A Gal Getaway

I have read countless articles about the importance of friendships as you get older. I find now that I am settled in my career and have a family, it can be a lot harder to find time to cultivate those friendships. Between my job and family, my spare time is pretty rare. Plus being an introvert, I need my own downtime which I am pretty selfish about. I wrote about it here why this very thing is so darn difficult.

Even more so when your best friends do not live near you, which is the case for me.

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This is one of my all time favorite pictures of the three of us, circa 2006.

So in an effort to try to be better at being intentional about my own personal relationships, I reached out to two of my favorite people on Earth and suggested that we make a plan to get together for a weekend every year, just us. One for sure weekend out of 52 sounds manageable right?

Jeannette and Annette both live in KC, and it use to be easy to visit them when I went home to my parents. However, we hardly ever stay in KC for more than one night anymore because George is the worst travel companion, and we only live 2 hours away. This makes it more difficult to squeeze in time with them though since my time is already split between grandparents and parents.

Enter Ladies’ Weekend.

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We all have significant others, and two of us have kids, but this weekend we left all of them to their own devices. We were just the three of us again like most of our college days.

We hung out, stayed up way past my bedtime (but I didn’t fall asleep on the couch-which is a win), ate way too much food, and did some touristy things in KC that we had not done before. We played Heads Up for hours, and I haven’t laughed like that in a long time. We acted like kids while playing arcade basketball games, but also were full on adult when we made ourselves a fancy breakfast from scratch.

Our weekend revolved a lot around basketball. The NCAA tournament was winding down, so we watched a lot of great games. We also toured the College Basketball Experience, which is in downtown Kansas City. This was so much fun! I definitely want to go again but with my dad, who actually played basketball in college. He is also the reason I got into the sport in elementary school, and proceeded to cheer/coach me until high school.

There were shooting games (free-throw, three point, and dunking at various heights), a passing game (this was my favorite), and a video game similar to guitar hero but you were judged on your dribbling skills. There were several courts as well where pick up games were happening with elementary school kids up to adults. We didn’t get any video of our game playing. I learned that I cannot do a free throw pregnant, but I can still slam it down on pop a shot.

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They also have lots of interactive areas where you can compare yourself to college players. There is also several areas that were museum like with hall of fame information and a lot about coaches in the NCAA.

Our wingspan was not up to par with the collegiate player.

As someone who grew up watching college basketball with my dad and where pick up games were one of our favorite past-times as kids, this place was really awesome.

I hope that they continue to develop this experience and add more about the female aspect of the game. There were no displays on women’s basketball. It was still cool, but I think there is a lot of potential there to hit another audience.

We may have to go again once George is older because he is obsessed.

🏀🏀Basketball 🏀🏀

A post shared by Emily Whitener Roberts (@emilywhitenerroberts) on

We also rode the street car, which was a first for all of us. Public transport is not the greatest in KC, so it was nice to see they are making an effort. We also went through the City Market, which is always a highlight for me. We walked around Crown Center leisurely, and we all satisfied our taste buds with chocolate or my personal hometown favorite of Topsy’s popcorn.

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We attempted to eat in the Jazz district, but it just wasn’t in the cards for us that night. Apparently things close down or we weren’t wearing the correct “upscale” attire to even enter in. We ended up at a dive bar claiming to have the best burgers in KC. They were good, but “best” was debatable.

As a mom, I do not get much time with friends period, but definitely get very limited time without a kid in tow. So this was so nice to just be with Annette and Jeannette without our kids or significant others. Even though we probably talked about them for most of the weekend.

I think as a mom, things like this have to be a priority at times. Some may think it as selfish as a parent to want that time away but I think our bodies/souls need it mentally and physically at times so we can be the best spouse/parent/friend that we can be. It was nice to invest quality time into these relationships, but it was also nice to be away from home for a little while.

I don’t see it as running away from my responsibilities, but as a way for me to make sure my responsibilities don’t run over me.

I also appreciate a partner who also saw the value in me spending time with my ladies, and happily had a boys’ weekend with George so I could get away. Tom knows that I don’t get a lot of me time and encouraged me to go especially since our world is going to get a little more hectic here with DC’s arrival soon. (He also cleaned the house before I got home too. He’s a keeper!)

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So the first year was a giant success. I already can’t wait to see what will be in the works in the years to come.

How do you make your friendships a priority? Do you have friends only trips?

Baby 2: Thirty Weeks

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How far along: 30 weeks and 2 days (There is something about making it to 30 that is so comforting.)

Sex of Baby W: Little Lady

Weight gain: I have gained a total of 9 pounds. Tom and I agree that I am officially bigger straight out than I was with George at the END of his pregnancy. With George the weight was really all over from hip to hip, and my whole stomach held the weight. DC is just a basketball straight out. I can still feel my hip bones this time around. So different.

Size of Baby W: Platypus (minus the tail) or a large cabbage

Maternity clothes: All the time. I am really hoping that the weather starts warming up so I can wear dresses more regularly. The weather is all over the place lately. (But then again, I would have to shave more often…)

Baby items: I did buy some little baseball moccasins. I’m trying really hard not to go broke with all the cute stuff out there. Easter comparison: Target online the other day had only a half page for boys Easter outfits, and there were TWO WHOLE PAGES for girls. Boys want to look snazzy too, and not all in the same polo and mint green bow tie. But now that I have all these choices for DC, it is hard not to go hog wild on getting stuff for her. Anyway, I am going to try really hard to hold out on clothes until her room is completely ready. We don’t really need many other big baby items since we are using a lot of things from George’s baby time. I am still going back and forth on a double stroller option. Suggestions? I want it to fit with our Britax infant seat, which seems to be my dilemma.

Belly button in or out:  I thought it was going to come completely out, but it is still mostly flush with the rest of my belly.

Sleep: Sleeping has been pretty awful. My legs cramp up a lot at night because I am afraid that I’ll move and I will end up on my back. I can’t really ever get comfortable either because I hate sleeping on my left side. My shoulder has been really tight because of it. I can’t remember the last night where I slept soundly. It’s like I am constantly in that half sleep mode. I also have to pee at least once during the night, if not a couple times. I guess this is my body’s way of preparing me for the newborn phase again.

Best moment the past few weeks: I just spent the weekend with my best two gal pals for a ladies only weekend. I will write about it here in the next few days hopefully. It was so good for my soul to see these two!

Worst moment the past few weeks: The week where the Whitener house came down with every variation of stomach issues. George is just now starting to poop normal again. It has been an exhausting and disgusting time in our house.

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Miss anything: Sleeping. Deli sandwiches. Gyros full of feta.

Cravings: Taco Bell chicken quesadillas. Commercials are hard to watch because I pretty much want anything I see.

Movement: She moves the most at night, but she seems to be moving more throughout the day. She loves to sit right near my belly button, and she pushes so hard. I don’t remember this much pushing with George. The other day it looked like I had a cone-head coming out of my body.

Symptoms/how I am feeling: I have had a lot of discomfort when I am sleeping like I said. The morning sickness has reared its ugly head again. I had one really bad day, and then it has hit me a couple other times but not as horrendous. My gums are bleeding a lot when I brush my teeth. I am super clumsy right now. I was clumsy before, but it is really bad now with my lack of balance. On the plus side, I do not have acne like I did with George. I have had very few blemishes at all in fact. Maybe DC is providing me more with the “glow” than George did. I am starting to waddle a little more and more. I was told twice last week that I looked uncomfortable…both by individuals who have never had children before. I am actually feeling really great for the most part so it kind of bothered me when they said this. Chalk it up to hormones.

Looking forward to: This month in general. We have a lot of stuff going on this month with Easter, baseball games, end of the year celebrations, and our baby shower. It will be busy, but it should be enjoyable.

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Here is George at 30 weeks.

Potty Training Is Not For The Faint At Heart

Dare I say it?

George is potty trained. It has been 2 months since we started this journey, and the last two weeks have been completely accident free. The last month has been relatively free of accidents with one or two a week.

(Caveat:  He is not completely done with night training. We only make it through the night about 50% of the time without having to change the sheets. I think this will get better once we actually transition him out of the crib. Still holding strong on that.)

We made a personal choice to try to have George potty trained before DC gets here in June. With her, we will DEFINITELY wait until she is ready to start this process. With George though, we figured trying six months out from her due date gave us some time to see if he could handle it, and then time to accept that we may have two in diapers if he couldn’t. We felt we needed to try to avoid that many diapers if we could, so we started training without George being “ready.” Although, do you really ever know when they are ready for the next thing?

We decided to use the Three Day Method. This is where you go cold turkey on diapers and put them straight into underwear. No pull-ups, just underwear. You basically barricade your family in your house for three days straight to start training them. It is all about positive talk and helping them understand the feeling of going to the bathroom. It is not done by a timer or anything like that. You make sure they are really hydrated, and just watch them like a hawk and run to the bathroom when they are making signs/tell you they need to go (or carry them as they are going to try to finish on the toilet). It’s a lot about how you phrase things as well to make it seem like your child has the control in this situation and how awesome they are doing at this new skill.

Here are some general comments/observations about the process and some advice from one parent to another.

  • Buy tons of underwear, and splurge on the character ones. It seems silly to pay that much for kids’ underwear, but it is worth it. George was much more invested in the beginning because he was wearing Paw Patrol. Also there may be times that you throw underwear away because you just can’t deal with what came out of their body. It’s ok. Remember you bought lots.
  • More than likely you or your child will fall in a puddle of pee. I don’t know how many times I almost wiped out the first few days when we rushed George to the bathroom as he was midstream.
  • God bless anyone doing this with carpet.
  • Your dogs will go nuts anytime you say the word “potty,” which is about every five minutes. They think that it is their time to go outside too. It was a loud and messy weekend at first.
  • Every kid is different. The method we used said not to read books while going, but this is the only way that I can get him to go before bed now. We followed her verbatim the first week, but then we made adjustments to fit George’s personality. We read about cranes and like magic every single night, he goes in that damn potty. We may have also bribed him a few times. Him knowing chocolate was at the end of the pee stream was worth it some days, and it did not hinder the process for us. Know your kid and what will work best for them. He was motivated by books, suckers and chocolate.
  • George has been an exception to most training stories, and he only had poop accidents when he got the stomach bug last week, and they were all during his sleep. He has never pooped on the floor and always tells us when the poop is on it’s way. (The stomach bug was the exception since he had diarrhea. We may have had the diaper show back up a few times show because he was basically a faucet out of his butt. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to survive.) Overall though, George has done better with the poop side of things than pee. We feel pretty fortunate that the pooping part has come easy for him because that generally is not the case for everyone.
  • Have extra clothes in your bag and in your car. Also check that what you have is seasonal. We may have had our kid in shorts when it snowed because I accidentally grabbed jean shorts instead of pants as the back up clothes…whoops.
  • We started off using a potty chair, but after the first week we realized if we ever wanted to go in public again, he would have to start using the big toilet so we have since ditched the chair for the actual toilet.
  • If you have a boy, you will have to physically hold their penis while they pee at times. A whole other level of parenting. Otherwise you have pee everywhere, which I hear is in my future anyway with a little boy.
  • George’s favorite part of all of this seems to be telling us the play by play of what is happening. He loves telling us about his penis, farts, and what hole his poop comes from.
  • Make sure that you pick a time to start this when you don’t have a lot going on. We picked a 4-day weekend to start it where we did nothing but follow George around our house cleaning up pee. I really recommend doing 4 days instead of just 3 with this method, especially if you are working parents. We also knew we would not be traveling with him most of this spring so we could keep his schedule as consistent as possible. These two months were a time where there weren’t a lot of parties or big town events we would be missing if we elected to stay home to contain the mess. No one wants to bring the kid who pees everywhere to a party. We stayed home a lot!
  • You should buy stock in paper towels. We went through so many rolls that first month.
  • You want to curse all the time. That first week I wanted to quit so many times and thought I was the worst mom. All the curses. I was so upset that he didn’t “get” it in three days, I thought we did something wrong when all these reviews were saying this method was magic and no accidents happened after the third day. It’s taken two months people for me to be confident in his bowel movements. Fortunately some sweet mommas brought me down off the ledge with reassurance that we didn’t fail, and poor Tom dealt with my hormonal doubt like a champ..
  • On another note, this is not recommended when you are pregnant. Potty Training is exhausting by itself, but add a growing belly and hormones to the mix-Whew! There is a lot of quick action, bending, carrying, and chasing that happens in the early days. But duty called to get this done!
  • I am pretty sure that I cheered louder for George successfully going in the bathroom than I did for Clemson and the Royals winning their most recent titles. You just get so jazzed about poop you can hardly contain yourself! George and I may have also texted Tom poop in the potty pictures in the beginning because we were so excited.

I am really proud of George because while it didn’t go as quickly as 3 days, I still feel like he picked this up fairly quickly. I am happy that we have had a few months where we don’t have to buy diapers before DC gets here. While it is still a lot of work to make sure he is successful, it has been totally worth it to get him trained before Sister is here.

Every kid is different, and they will go through this training at different rates using different methods. This is a HARD thing for a family to accomplish. There will be tears (from all parties), tantrums (from all parties), and it’s just utterly disgusting. AND it is a whole family effort. Everyone that takes care of your child has to be on board with the method you choose. You know your kid the best, and it’s ok if it isn’t magically done in three days. Some get it right away, some take a little more loving care to learn this. If you think about it, George eliminated freely into a diaper for 2.5 years. I should not have gotten so upset that that wasn’t undone in a matter of three days.

So here’s to all you parents that are in this yucky time with us.

This definitely reaffirms Tom and I’s decision never to adopt a dog that isn’t already potty trained.

Things That Happened This Week

Here are just some random tidbits from this week.

Everyone in the Whitener household came down with some stomach illness this week. George threw up all night Sunday for who knows why. Tom threw up all night Tuesday due to food poisoning. Wednesday, morning sickness welcomed me into my third trimester like a truck running into a wall. I did not throw up, but I felt like it even when I would talk. Super fun week trying to make sure we all don’t die.

I had a student rub my belly without asking. She had her face all up next to my stomach. Fortunately, I like this student. However, I have only met with her a couple times. It was an awkward moment for sure, that I didn’t really know how to react to, except shock.

One day this week, I had all of my student appointments no show. Four different students decided to be rude on the same day and not come meet with me without any notice. I hate that it wastes my day waiting around for them and then trying to follow up with them after the fact. Manners folks.

I have picked out all the paint colors for the new rooms. I really tried not to have them all gray, which was my original plan. Picking them out has got me itching to get in there. They put all the electrical and plumbing in this week so we are moving along.

I do a lot of academic coaching in my job. We reach out to students at various points of the year when we know there are issues, such as right now with midterms. Our faculty report student grades at this time, so I can see anyone who is getting a D or an F in a class right now. Our office reaches out to all the students in this category. I specifically will call any student who is getting more than three Ds or Fs to talk about their plan for the last half of the semester. We hope it to be more intentional with a conversation about their options and reality of the situation since it is generally harder to raise that many poor grades in 8 weeks time. Every semester, it surprises me a)how many students have no clue and are in shock that they have an F or b) they truly believe that they can pull 5 Fs to 5 Bs and refuse any help or guidance. Astonishing.

Tonight, I cut George’s hair all by myself. I have only ever cut my own bangs, so I was extremely nervous to do this. It grows so fast, I hate to take a little boy to the barber every month. So I took a swing at it tonight to just get it off his neck and out of his eyes. We’ll see how much I damaged his sweet looks tomorrow. He went straight to the bath and then straight to bed, but I got this nice comb over before I finished reading his night time books.

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What has your week been like?

Bachelor Nick Final Week

We have come to the end of the road for Nick’s heart my friends. Finally. Here are my thoughts on this week’s episode.

  • I do love Nick’s family. And how cool for his sister Bella to get this paid vacation at her age.
  • It is weird to me that they refer to his relationships with Andi and Kaitlyn in “seasons.” I mean, yes, it was a season of the Bachelor, but if he is really serious about it wouldn’t it be a relationship?
  • Nick is getting into his own head, but hopefully he can convince himself to take a risk.
  • Raven with his family was anti-climatic.
  • Oh Chris you are so stirring the pot with your one liners on the drama. I think they are playing his past rejections up for production value.
  • Bella does not seem impressed with Vanessa.
  • Ok that is not a Clemson ring.
  • Haha Nick’s sister telling Nick to speak up for Vanessa. Come on Nick, at least seem interested.
  • Oh so this is the first moment that Vanessa said that she may leave Montreal.
  • No love is not enough to make a relationship last. I love his dad’s answer. They [his parents] really do seem like great people.
  • Everyone is crying on this family meet up.
  • I hope Vanessa likes Christmas. I would be weirded out by this date.
  • Vanessa saying that she isn’t comfortable with the idea that her relationship may be slightly greater than Raven’s is what normal people would say in a normal situation. Vanessa, girl, you have to know what you signed up for. You are competing for Nick’s heart. There are going to be rankings…
  • I think Nick explained himself very well about why he is guarding himself and not being as open with Vanessa. But it also seems very sly to tell her he doesn’t think about the other women when he is with her. Because that makes this whole scenario of dating other women at the same time ok.
  • These relationships are so different.
  • He called Raven “my love.” I feel like he is a little more relaxed with her.
  • He picks up Raven all the time.
  • So Raven and Nick haven’t talked about where they would move. Would she uproot her shop? I doubt Nick would move to her small town.
  • No big deal. Just some husky puppies. SO MUCH FUN!
  • This conversation with Raven seems very friendzone when he was talking about his stress with not wanting to hurt either of them. Forget the comment of not bringing up other women…
  • Ok now they are getting back on track to a romantic relationship.
  • He doesn’t seem as reserved with Raven has he is with Vanessa.
  • I think he picks Raven, or is that what they want me to think?
  • Do you think they think of the most random mundane tasks to tape Nick doing for these pensive moments like putting logs on the fire and walking through a snowy forest?
  • How awesome that they get these rings from Neil Lane. Big honkers too.
  • Raven’s dress is gorgeous. I love that they get styled for this episode. How lucky is that?
  • Ahhhh Raven is first…does that mean she isn’t the one?
  • I don’t know what is happening. I can’t read him.
  • He needs to stop Raven talking about her family if he doesn’t see this happening.
  • I am impressed that she kept it together while he breaks her heart. She is one classy broad.
  • What! You break her heart and then make her go outside without her coat.
  • Oh Raven, you are still young. You will find someone! Don’t give up on looking.
  • Well Vanessa has been one of my favorites since the beginning.
  • Ok Vanessa, can you deal with the compromise aspect? It can’t just be Nick who compromises. You become a team.
  • I hope that they can stop being stubborn and hard headed to make this work. But I hope that she isn’t watching the season back because she is going to be pissed about Raven’s fantasy suite date.
  • He sure does love to pick up women.
  • So now comes the decision if I stay up another hour to watch the After the Final Rose. (of course I stayed up)
  • Raven was so perfect in her responses at the AFR.
  • It will be interesting to see her in Paradise.
  • Vanessa doesn’t hold anything back.
  • As I said, it is good that Vanessa didn’t watch the fantasy suites.
  • Hey couples fight. It’s better that they leave everything on the table.
  • Wow, I didn’t think she would move to the US. Will they settle in LA?
  • I think they are so stubborn they will make it all work. But they are focusing so much on the arguing. They are very defensive and seem like they do not like each other much.
  • I am not ok with Nick being on DWTS, but hopefully they can get through more of the fame. I am just tired of seeing him. However, maybe we will see a different side of him since he won’t be focusing on “love.” This will be his 5th reality show though…
  • What’s with all the women wearing black?
  • Rachel is so poised. I am wondering where the drama is going to be this season with her?
  • We all love you Rachel!
  • I would be so pissed if I was Rachel and they sprung the start of the season on me. I would have died. No ability to prep myself mentally.
  • Also how awkward is it that she is doing it in front of a live audience? Again, I would be mortified.
  • So how is this going to work? She is meeting several of these guys and then there is a break for the rest? Does she start right now and get whisked away to the mansion? She will be thinking about these men until it starts and envisioning relationships with these specific men. Do they get their phones taken away now so they can’t text or internet search one another? I don’t get it.
  • Oh good the racism comments have already started not even minutes into the start of her season.
  • “You look good and smell good?” This is painful to watch.
  • I can’t catch all their names! They don’t have the little screen titles. What are their professions?
  • That also was not the most dramatic thing that has ever happened on a After the Final Rose. Do they not remember Jason Mesnick surprising us all by dumping Melissa and going back to Molly? Seriously Chris.
  • I hate this. Why do I continue watching this show? Because I have no self-control over witnessing the drama, that’s why.