if you’ve been around the last couple years, you’ll remember that Mister Man and i celebrate our anniversary with the traditional gift rules. year three is leather.

in the past year of being married to this man, i learned that in addition to picking a great husband, i picked a real good baby daddy. (i also learned that when you have a baby, you don’t have very many pictures of the two of you without said baby in them.) i couldn’t have imagined a better partner to raise children with than my Mister Man.

i don’t have a lot of words to say this year. mostly because i’m very, very tired. but not as tired as i would be if Mister Man didn’t help me as much he does. he pulls more than his weight around the house, he gets up with amelia all the time so i can at least stay in bed some nights, and he still manages to take care of the two of us with a smile on his face.

i don’t know what i did to get so lucky as to have him by my side for the rest of my life. i really don’t deserve it. i’m just happy that God sees fit to bless even the most undeserving of us with wonderful people in our lives.

Mister Man, you are my reason for getting up with a smile on my face in the morning and you will always be my favorite person to go to sleep next to. i don’t know how the next 50 years could possible beat the last three, but the best part is, i know they will. every day is an adventure with you.

love and sugar.

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traveling without your baby.

there are a lot of posts out there about how to travel with your baby, and with good reason – when you get on a plane or take road trip with a baby, you need all the tips you can get. but there are parents who travel, whether for work or for fun, without their baby. this post is for you.

Mister Man and i recently took a trip to st. john in the virgin islands, all by our little lonesome selves (if you follow me on instagram, you can see those tidbits that i haven’t posted about yet). we have a special place in our hearts for st. john, it’s where we took our honeymoon, and we plan on going back as often as we can. this trip was planned before we even got pregnant with amelia, and the timing just worked out that she would be old enough to leave with our parents. you see, for us, it’s not really a vacation if you bring a baby along. for one, they can’t remember anything about the trip, so them being there doesn’t do a whole lot for them. and two, when you bring a baby on vacation (at least for us), you just move the normal routine to a different location with less amenities than you have at home. that just isn’t relaxing for us (and we have brought her with us on a family vacation already so i’m not just saying this as an assumption).

so we went on a vacation without our little joy. and it was wonderful.

i missed her, of course i missed her. i couldn’t wait to get home to her at the end of that week. but i didn’t cry because i couldn’t stand to be away from her. i didn’t call our parents every hour, or even every day. i didn’t really even worry about her. instead, i soaked in the alone time with my husband. i enjoyed being on my own schedule for six whole days. i gave thanks for our parents, who i trust my daughter with absolutely.

for Mister Man and me, time together makes us better parents. our marriage comes before our parenting, because if we aren’t good at being husband and wife, then we won’t be good at being mom and dad. this vacation couldn’t have come at a better time. we came back feeling refreshed and ready to be even better parents to amelia than when we left, because we felt stronger as a couple.

all that being said, here are the things that helped us on our first vacation without our baby:

1) pumping on a schedule: if you’re still breastfeeding your baby, and you want to continue when you get back/not be incredibly uncomfortable on vacation, bring your pump. and make it a point to stay on as much of a schedule as possible. once you’re at your destination, it’s usually not too hard. you can pump during breaks from the beach, or in the car en route to your next tourist spot. the hardest part is finding places to pump when in transit. some airports have fabulous pumping rooms (MSP has a lactation room fit for beyonce), while some…don’t (MIA needs to do some work on their family restrooms). find a family restroom or an empty gate or terminal in a pinch.

2) bring the right accessories: when you pump, you’re going to have milk. and hopefully you can bring that milk back with you. you’re going to need plastic bags, a cooler bag, and some ice. if you have plastic bags, you can carry empty ones with you and ask for ice from restaurants or the flight attendants when you’re away from your hotel or in transit. a cooler bag comes in handy as a carry-on when you’re bringing the milk back with you. just put the milk in with bags of ice, extra bags and your pump parts, and you’re set for the trip home. i had no issue getting my milk through security, and no one should, at least if you’re flying through the u.s.

3) write out baby’s schedule: this is for your own peace of mind. i know that my parents and my in-laws know amelia’s schedule. and to be honest, if they fudged it a bit, i wouldn’t mind at all. but knowing that i had shared all the necessary information made me feel so much better. so write it all down. the nap quirks, food suggestions, all of it. it will help.

4) leave a medical directive: leave a note stating that you give permission to whoever your baby’s caretakers are to make necessary medical decisions for your baby on your behalf. include your baby’s insurance information in the note, but leave the insurance card as well. include the information for your pediatrician and their office too. this way, if your caretaker has to take the little one to the doctor, or call the nurse line, or God forbid bring them to the hospital, they can make any calls they need to make on your behalf before getting a hold of you/you arrive home.

5) sleep in: this is probably the most important tip i have. if you go on vacation without your baby, SLEEP IN. for lots of people, i’m sure this is a given, but if you’re anything life us, you need a little push. we are the type of couple who enjoy getting up and enjoying coffee on the terrace on vacation, and getting an early-ish start on the day. we forced ourselves to take it slow and easy this time, and i’m so happy we did. getting full nights of sleep has never felt so amazing, because i could still get up at my own pace. and that my friends, is what heaven is.

i highly recommend some substantial time away as a couple when you’re newish parents. whether that’s within the first year or the first 18 months, do it sooner than later. your baby won’t hate you for leaving, and your marriage will thank you. date night can only get you so far, so get away for some quality time and some quality sleep. as always, i’m happy to answer any questions anyone has on traveling without your babe (or anything else!), so email me at hooleywithaz at gmail dot com.

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mister man turns thirty.

what else can i say about this man on his thirtieth birthday that i haven’t already said?

he is the love of my life. he is my partner in crime. he is the father of my child. he makes me laugh every day. he is a provider and a caretaker, a nurturer and a protector. how i ended up sharing my life with this one never ceases to amaze me and inspire my prayers of gratitude.

and today he turns thirty.

cheers to you on this special birthday, and to many more. i love you Mister Man.

p.s. i didn’t know he could do a one-armed pushup until last night. BUT HE CAN. the man is incredible.

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if you were around last year, you’ll remember that Mister Man and i celebrate our anniversary with the traditional gift rules. year two is cotton, hence the name of this post. 

year two of the mister man/erin tale was eventful. to say the least. year one brought lots of fun, quite a few vacations, but nothing huge in the grander life sense. whereas year two kicked off with us putting an offer on a house, and we haven’t slowed down since. see my belly for visual proof of this (winky face).

i never really realized how love worked until i experienced what it was like to be so deeply in love with someone that you don’t think you can love them any more than you already do, and then all of a sudden you wake up and realize that somehow you love them more today than you did yesterday. now, after two years of being married to my favorite person, i’m just beginning to understand how this is possible. and i’m seeing it happen in a big way.

mister man is going to be a great dad, and the reason i know this is not because i’ve seen him around so many babies, but because he’s such a great husband. he takes such good care of me, and he provides for our family in a way that only he can. he makes me laugh and he is there for me through anything and everything. and if that isn’t a recipe for a good dad, i don’t know what is.

sometimes i look back at this year and i wonder how, with all the craziness, there weren’t more arguments had. but i think that when you have a partner who is 100% dedicated to making a wonderful life with you, forever, until death do you part and beyond, there’s no need to argue. that doesn’t mean you don’t have serious discussions, or disagreements, because that would be silly/impossible (and i’m nothing if not a realist). but it does mean that there is no “meanness” in those discussions, no hurt being laid on the other, just an effort to talk and understand.

two years is just a drop in the bucket for this man and i. God-willing, we have decades left to love each other and enjoy our lives together. and i will not be taking any one of those (many) years for granted, because every day that i wake up next to him, i know how lucky i am.

he’ll laugh at me for the sappiness of this little post, but i know he agrees with me. and i want to make sure we remember what the end of year two looked like for us: one year of homeownership under our belt. our first baby on the way. lots of sappy love everywhere.

i’ve said it before, but i’ll say it again: thank you for being the butter on my popcorn Mister Man. being married to you is one of the great joys of my life.

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the beard behind the blog.

i can’t talk about life over the past few months without talking about Mister Man aka my loving husband aka my baby daddy aka the best person in the world. without him, i would be living in filth, eating peanut butter sandwiches and sauerkraut for every meal, and just generally being miserable.

he has pulled so much more than his own weight since i’ve been pregnant. he cooks when i don’t have the energy (or the stomach) to do it. he shovels every time it snows, which is every damn day. and up until last weekend, i hadn’t done a load of laundry the entire first trimester. he has just taken care of me so well. and that’s huge, because he can’t see any outward signs that i’m pregnant…i haven’t gotten physically sick, and i don’t look pregnant at all. so he’s doing this all based on how i say i’m feeling. the man is a saint.

so in honor of the father of my child, who also happens to have been gloriously bearded until last night, here is the beard behind the blog:

look at that handsome face. and that beard. ohmahgah. it’s a new rule in our house that the beard must be grown every winter.

i call this the revolutionary soldier ‘do. not as good as the full beard. but perfect for playing hockey and distracting the goalie when he’s scoring on him. yes, the man still plays hockey and is pretty darn good if i do say so myself (not like i’m biased at all).

german soldier circa world war I. fun fact about Mister Man: he’s a chemical engineer and a salesman. meaning he’s a first-degree nerd (read: smartypants) and a people person. pretty sure that’s like the human equivalent of a unicorn.

ah, the classic ‘stache. this look is best rocked with a cardigan. which he happens to have quite the collection of in his closet. coincidentally, the first gift i ever gave him was a green j.crew cardigan. i think i knew even back then he was the classic type.

i can’t with this. i just put it in here because it’s so ridiculously amazing, like him.

this is the face i fell in love with, back before engagements and marriages and houses and babies were even on our minds. this is the face i realized i wanted to spend the rest of my life waking up next to, back on a snowed-in december weekend in 2011. i still like it quite a lot.

i owe him a lot of dinners and backrubs and his choice of radio station in the car (classic rock only for him) once this little lemon baby gets here. i’m very happy that he’s the one i get to have with me through all this. and i’m very happy that he has stuck with me through all the sauerkraut eating.

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