Right after turning 5 months old, I left Lucy for the first time overnight to go on my first post-baby business trip to Washington D.C. We were so thankful that Jason's mom was willing to come and watch Lucy. I left Augusta on Sunday afternoon and got back super late on Tuesday, so it was about 3 days away from Lucy. We both did pretty well and it really helped knowing she was in good hands while I was gone. It only took Lucy 3 days to go through my entire supply of frozen milk that had taken me months to sock away!
Just like every other year, the month of December was a whirlwind for our family. Not only was it the holidays, but it was about this time that Jason and I decided that we were up to having people over to our house again and just being more social in general. It takes a few months to get used to having a baby in tow. We have finally gotten to the point where it doesn't take us FOREVER to pack up Lucy to get ready to go run errands. Prior to this point we were more than up to going to other people's houses, but the thought of cleaning our own, cooking food/dinner for people + taking care of Lucy was more than we could handle. But it's been a fun month reconnecting with old co-workers, friends from church, etc. We also enjoyed lots of Christmas parties, dressing Lucy up in festive outfits, getting her photo with Santa, and more! Christmas is definitely more fun with her around. As busy as December was, we somehow found time to even go out to an Anniversary dinner at 5 o'clock Bistro to celebrate 4 amazing years together. That same week my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary stopped in Augusta to have lunch with us on their way to celebrate in Charleston.
We spent most of the weekends in December Augusta preparing for our longest trip thus far with Lucy. And sure enough packing for our 10 day trip was EPIC! It took about 3 hours to pack and get out the door, which doesn't sound that bad except we had both worked that day. It was the first time that we ate dinner while packing instead of driving to Madison to eat there. We drove to Atlanta that Friday and spent the weekend with my family celebrating a shortened Christmas. We opened presents, watched Lucy start learning how to crawl - at this point she was mainly doing yoga poses and sticking her butt in the air - she had yet to figure out how to move her arms. We had fun playing our first (hopefully annual) game of White Elephant where Jason got the very funny gift of a flying monkey. Lucy got a baby playpen-gate thing and some foam alphabet tiles to help with her new skill of crawling. We enjoyed visiting and I enjoyed going shopping and walking with my mom - one of our favorite activities to do together. While in Atlanta we got to reunite with some old friends. Jason, Lucy, and I met Lauren and Keriann for brunch one day and I met up with Julianna and Catie for lunch the next day. It was so good to see such wonderful old friends! :)
We managed the long drives by timing everything around Lucy's naps. She normally wakes up at 7:15-30 and goes back down for her morning nap by around 9:30ish. So we had to be packed up and in the car by 9:30 to take advantage of her sleeping time. Even with her naps it took us quite some time to get to Starkville since every time we stopped we had to feed her, change her, let her move around, etc. But even so, we got there by the afternoon. All in all Lucy did really well. I spent most of the time sitting in the backseat with her, keeping her entertained one way or another while Jason did the driving.. When she slept I enjoyed some rare reading time.
Once in Starkville and reuniting with Jason's parents and brother (who met Lucy for the first time) it was time for Christmas Eve festivities. Lucy had a quick nap, we got her all dressed up, and we met up with Aunt Lois and Uncle Gary at the church for Christmas Eve service. Whether we are with Jason's family or mine, we always go to Christmas Eve service - which is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Most of the service was spent signing Christmas hymns - the best! Lucy had done so well the whole day but she kinda lost it at the end of the Christmas Eve service and picked the worst time (when her Grandma was introducing her to friends) to start crying/screaming... oh well...at least she didn't cry during the service!
The Baareman tradition is to go out to Chinese food after Christmas Eve service, but we told them that we didn't think Lucy could make it much longer, so they picked up Chinese and we all ate together at home while Lucy napped. After dinner, we opened presents and Lucy opened some of hers until crashing. She opened the rest the next morning.
After a whirlwind of a Christmas Eve we spent the rest of the week relaxing in Starkville. Lucy got to meet some close family friends and neighbors of the Baaremans, and we went out to eat a few times and did some shopping. The weather was pretty cold and rainy, but Jason and I got to go a walk almost every day at the nearby sportsplex which had an indoor track! All in all, we mainly just got to have fun with Lucy, watching her play with her new toys, try to eat baby food for the first time, and other fun stuff. We loved getting so much time to reconnect with Jason's family in person (since we do get to talk on the phone a lot, but in person is so much better!)
We were going to try to take a day and drive up to Memphis to visit our friends Michael and Angelyn. However, after realizing just how challenging it was to drive with a baby, we decided that 6 extra hours in the car for Lucy was probably too much for her. They were kind enough to drive down to Starkville so we could spend a few hours visiting and we even got to go out to dinner the four of us - good times :)
The drive from Starkville to my parent's Lakehouse (where we spent New Years) was pretty long, but we broke it up by stopping to get Jason one of his favorite things - fireworks! Between that and a lunch break Lucy did pretty good. We got there the day before New Years Eve so we had a few days to hang out with my family, play with all of our new Christmas presents, and even buy some new ones at the outlet mall! The weather was nicer than it had been over Christmas, so we got to go on a walk outside and enjoy the cool crisp sunshine.