Sleep, Eat, or Shower: Choose One – The First Month with a Newborn

I knew the first few months having a baby would be life-changing. I just didn’t realize how much; aka: you can shower, sleep, or eat, but you only have time for one, choose wisely. Needless to say, we didn’t have the easiest start to our little family, but we’re powering through.

Bennett was born with sever jaundice. He was born early (37 weeks). We (Bennett and I) have different blood types so his slightly underdeveloped liver had an extra difficult time processing my red blood cells. This led to him being “under the lights” for the first few days of his life. We also had to stay in the hospital longer.

The combination of the jaundice treatment (being away from me), a not great terrible nurse who advised me to “wait a long while” before trying to breastfeed for the first time, and his being born early, resulted in nursing challenges. I ended up seeing many lactation specialists, five to be exact. Who, all determined, I was producing hardly any colostrum and then later, I didn’t produce enough milk. Weight tests before and after feedings determined I was only making about half of what Bennett needed. So, all the lactation specialists and pediatricians advised us to supplement with formula. We needed to get the calories in so he could process the red blood cells and get the bilirubin levels down.

The next couple weeks were spent with daily trips to the doctors to get blood work done for his bilirubin tests and weight checks to see if he was gaining. Bad news for both, for a solid week. Bennett ended up losing almost a pound and his levels did not go down like we hoped. Not being able to produce the food my baby needed made me feel like such a failure. Breastfeeding was something I was passionate about. Eventually (after a lot of formula), we got his bilirubin numbers down (at about 2.5 weeks) and then finally at three weeks old, he passed his birth weight.

Despite everything, I haven’t given up on breastfeeding. It’s a long, hard, and tiring road, but I’m trying. I have modified my six month goal, to a one month goal. Then, I’ll continue to set manageable goals to keep my sanity. The feeding plan is as follows:

  • Breastfeed on demand (usually every 1.5 hours but can be up to three hours) this of course includes waking him up throughout the night. I was not prepared for that. At the beginning, he was nursing for 45 minutes to an hour. Around week three, we cut that time to an average of 36 minutes per session.
  • After breastfeeding, supplement with formula if he is still showing hunger cues and doesn’t seem satisfied. He never is satisfied after nursing. The supplementation started at one ounce, but has increased as he is getting older and growing.
  • After breastfeeding, I pump. Pumping started with 30 minutes after every nursing session. Then we cut it to 20 minutes after every daytime nursing. [I was dying with the previous schedule]. Then, after my body still wasn’t improving, the lactation specialists reduced the pumping to 10 minutes. I know they thought I would give up completely if I kept up with the previous schedules.

So, yes, that is a lot. The whole process takes about 1.5 hours. Yep, by the time I finish the feeding, it is time to get going on another feeding. All day, every day.

Feeding baby via syringe
Feeding via the syringe
At almost one month, we started with a bottle

Naming Bennett

Jimmy and I used our September drive to Blacksburg very productively. I was armed with a list of baby names I didn’t hate (literally spent all my free time going through thousands of names) and a baby name book a wonderful coworker gave us. We went through names one-by-one. Deciding we liked some a bit. Favorite compromise was Gregory. However, it didn’t really meet all our requirements.

Ingrid’s Requirements:

  • be unique but not too weird
  • ideally have family significance
  • “flow”

Jimmy’s Requirements:

  • be normal
  • ideally have Christian ties

These requirements did not match up on many names. There were a few we liked and had jotted down. One in particular, Bennett. During the drive, Jimmy was on the phone with his best friend Andy. I got a call from my brother Kurt, so we were on two different phone calls. Kurt asked how the drive was going. I said there was traffic, but we were working on our baby name list. Kurt asked for favorites. I said “well we think we like Gregory and then I really like Bennett, but didn’t you guys want that name?” Kurt and Kate said we should use it. It was still a little grey area for me.

Then, we’re driving back from Church on Sunday in Blacksburg and Jimmy notices a street sign “Bennett St.” He goes, “what about Bennett.” I said “that was my grandfather’s name!” [it was on our list but he forgot]. He goes: “I really like it.” I reply “I really like it too!” Now, Bennett Street is a tiny two block street in Blacksburg, very easy to miss. We literally saw a sign for our son’s name!


Then, on the drive back home, we were getting onto 81 and I said “what about middle names.” Jimmy replies: “William. It’s my dad’s middle name.” I smile and say: “It’s my dad’s middle name too!”

And there you have the naming of Bennett William Racine.

Ingrid’s Requirements:

  • ✓ be unique but not too weird – absolutely! When he says “Bennett” people will know what he’s saying but there shouldn’t be 8 other Bennetts in his class.
  • ✓ ideally have family significance – definitely does! Honoring the late MSGT Leland Bennett, my grandfather. William for Jimmy’s dad, my dad, and my brother Kurt.
  • ✓ “flow” – yep, with or without the middle name

Jimmy’s Requirements:

  • ✓ be normal – nickname “Ben” aka completely normal
  • ✓ ideally have Christian ties – there are quite a few saints named William


2016 Year in Review

Baby bump, Hokies, and our new car. That sounds about right for 2016

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2016 was clearly all about the baby bump.


Jimmy continued his health and fitness commitment: playing lacrosse at least twice a week, going to the gym almost daily, and using the 5×5 weight lifting program. He went hunting a few times and got one deer. He continued growing the National Harbor branch of his company as the Geotechnical Department Manager.


Honestly, I don’t remember what I did pre-pregnancy. I know I continued pure barre. I chopped my hair off. I’m sure there were lots of brunches and wine nights with my friends. Then, positive pregnancy test and my whole world changed 🙂 Oh, in June I went to Smith Mountain Lake for our annual Girls Wine Weekend trip. Obviously I was drinking all the seltzers and none of the wine, but didn’t matter, I had a blast! I was spoiled at an amazing baby shower in October. I turned 30 in November.

Decided to chop my hair off 💇 my head feels like it's floating 🎈

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We (Ingrid & Jimmy)

January 2016 – we had an amazing time enjoying the Blizzard of 2016 when it snowed for basically a day straight.

Always the first ones out ❄️❄️❄️ #blizzard2016 #7am #snow #hour19 #kaigotstuck

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Snow dog #KaiRacine #blizzard2016 #kaigotstuck

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When your husband braves 2 feet of snow to smoke some pork shoulder 😍 #smoker #blizzard2016 #manly

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February – we went to the boat show in Annapolis.

March – We took a spring break to the Penthouse to use up Jimmy’s “use it or lose it” leave. We also got to go celebrate our wonderful friends’ Keli & Mike’s at their wedding. Congratulations Keli & Mike!

Starting our spring break #beachfishing #jimmyfishes

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Morning mimosas #beachtrip #surfsidesc

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April – April started rougher. A HUGE tree fell on the house my grandmother owned that Kurt and Kate were currently living in. But then, we got to go celebrate another wonderful couple and see their engagement at the spring game in Blacksburg 🙂 Congratulations Meredith & Ryan!

May – We went to the Outer Banks with friends.

June – We found out we’re having a Baby!

We told my family about Baby at the Cottage. We went to Massachusetts to visit Jimmy’s family. We also told Jimmy’s parents, his sister, and his extended family about Baby this trip.

July – We went on our annual beach trip to SC.

August – We told my extended family about Baby at a house warming party Kurt & Kate threw.

September – We found out we’re having a son. We celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary.

We went to Blacksburg for Homecoming weekend.

Homecoming weekend Blacksburg 2016

October – we went apple picking.

Looking to 2017

Obviously 2017 is Baby year. So, we’ll mainly work on becoming first time parents this year. We also want to do the following:

  • Ingrid: lose the baby weight! (I’m already obsessing just because I want to feel and look like me again, and I want to fit in my cute clothes that I miss).
  • Trips: Penthouse, Blacksburg for a game (and bring Baby), Richmond for Meredith & Ryan’s wedding, Atlanta for Petey & Danielle’s wedding, lots of Cottage trips – Baby has his own crib & changing table there
  • Jimmy – wants to continue lacrosse & shooting, possibly join a hunting “lease”


32 Weeks

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Baby Bump

This week was a whirlwind of activity. Monday night I hosted the fourth anniversary of our wine club. Sarah, Jayme, and Keli all came over for a fire and a delicious spread of pomegranate goat cheese salad, a red & green fruit tray, bagel bites, cookies, baked brie, and the gooiest fudge ever (fail). We missed you Meredith! This year marks the second of no drinking for me (last year I had just gotten my wisdom teeth out). Hopefully next year I can partake in the wine part of the wine club 🙂 I stayed up until after 10 laughing and having so much fun with these girls – totally worth being tired!
Fourth anniversary wine club

Tuesday was Jimmy’s 32 birthday! He got up bright and early to head to the gym. When he got home, I had breakfast waiting for him. Cheesy eggs, breakfast sausage, an english muffin, and coffee.

Tuesday during work, I had the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce buffet luncheon. I go up, get my food, start walking back to my table, and my meatball rolls off my plate, bounces off my belly, and rolls across the floor. I started crying I was laughing so hard! The director of the chamber watched the whole thing and was dying laughing too.

Tuesday night, we were both exhausted from three parties in three nights, so we got some takeout from Anthony’s Restaurant and chilled on the couch. It was wonderful.

Wednesday our glider came! I could not choose a glider for the life of me. We went into multiple stores to test them out. Obviously I loved the Dutailier reclining model (aka all the money ($500-$700). Jimmy really liked the armchair style ($360). However, I just could not feel ok spending that much money on a chair. Especially one that would likely get spit up on. So, I started looking for a glider that 1) had removable seats/pads (making cleaning easier), 2) was reasonably priced, 3) got good reviews, 4) would fit both me and Jimmy. This led me to the Shermag Glider Rocker Combo with Ottoman ($223). I added it to my Amazon Baby Registry and used my 15% completion discount to purchase the glider (and a bunch of other things we needed) so I ended up paying a little over $200. It glides smoothly and silently, is comfortable, fits Jimmy, has removable cushions. So, met all the requirements. Naturally, I needed to fully assemble the glider the same night I got it.

Shermag glider and ottoman
Ignore the tiny white Styrofoam pieces – didn’t get to vacuum before I snapped the picture

Wednesday night, at 10:36 pm, Kai had a COMPLETE FREAK OUT! He must have heard something in the backyard because he jumped out of bed barking. He then proceeded to bark at the top of the stairs – nope that’s not scary at all when you’re home alone (Jimmy was at lacrosse) and was just sleeping. I decided he probably needed to go out, so I bravely went downstairs and let him loose. He sprinted barking to our woodpile, jumped on top of the woodpile, and barked looking over the neighbor’s fence. This makes me think it was an animal in the backyard and not a scary home invader. I didn’t do any of the things Jimmy has me practice for when there’s a possible home threat. Actually, I didn’t even take out my earplugs to listen for a threat. Fails all around. I figured Kai sounded mean enough. Well, actually, I wasn’t thinking. I was exhausted and achy and super pregnant.

Friday, I got a half day from work in honor of Christmas Eve. So, I installed the Husky All Weather mats and cargo cover in my car.

Saturday morning (Christmas Eve), Jimmy went duck hunting with a friend. Later that day, we went to Jimmy’s parents’ for mass at All Saints in Manassas, enjoy the traditional Christmas Eve pizza dinner, and have a sleep over – Christmas jammies for the win! Christmas morning, we all opened presents and had breakfast. I know Jimmy loved waking up in his childhood home and going downstairs for Christmas morning just like he used to 🙂

Christmas 2016
Christmas Mass 2016

After the Racine Christmas, it was time to hit the road to head to Southern, MD for the Freemyer Christmas. I am thankful every holiday that our families live so close, so we are able to either do combo holidays, or celebrate with both separately and be able to continue with our own family traditions each year.

32 Weeks Pregnant Questionnaire:

How far along? 32 Weeks

How big is baby? 16″ & 3.8 lbs; the size of a jicama (a what?!?!? so again, no fruit this week)

Maternity clothes? Yes.

Sleep: Getting to the uncomfortable stage here. Oh and if I try to straighten and stretch out my legs while sleeping, I get a Charley Horse! I have never had one before; it is painful! I scared Kai terribly by yelling out in pain around 6 am Tuesday morning. Not fun. I’m also still getting up every hour. #LackOfSleepTrainingMama

Best moment this week: 1) Christmas, 2) wine club Christmas night (seeing Sarah!!!!), 3) Jimmy’s birthday

Movement: I’m trying to think the fact that only I can feel him (due to my anterior placenta), is special and a bond between just us, but really it’s annoying and I want my family and friends to share in the baby kick magic.

Food Cravings: spaghetti [met this craving twice on Tuesday – for lunch and dinner #NoShame]

Food Aversions: none

Gender: Baby’s a boy!

Labor Signs: none that I can feel. I inflated my labor ball to start bouncing around on the regular.

Pregnancy Symptoms: I can breathe easier this week. He’s definitely lower than he was. Hopefully this means he’s getting head down and ready. Although we still have some time for that. However, this means that when I stand up, I instantly feel like I’m going to topple over because his weight is concentrated in a low ball. Other symptoms: those night-time Charley Horses (AHHHHHHHHH), getting up every hour, crying at random things (like this video that definitely is not sad or even sentimental)

Belly Button in or out? Flat

What I miss: walking instead of waddling

What I am looking forward to: the first time I get to hold him. I seriously dream about baby cuddles every single night.

Upcoming appointments/events: 12/28 OB – we’re in the bi-weekly appointments now

Weekly Wisdom: get the nursery done in the 2nd trimester, I know this is aggressive, but by the third, you probably won’t be up for organizing, building, rearranging. I feel so settled knowing everything is ready for Baby.

Milestones: Bump’s first Christmas – I’m a purist and won’t say Baby’s first Christmas until he has one on the outside.

Bump Picture:
32 weeks pregnant

32 weeks pregnant
The funny one

27 Weeks

Some sources start the third trimester this week. While I won’t officially say I’m in the third trimester until next week, I definitely feel a shift from what was a wonderful second trimester.

This week started rough because I was so tired from not sleeping well most of the weekend. Maybe the sleep had something to do with it, but I’m getting to the feeling huge level of pregnancy. My doctor said I’m perfect for weight gain, but it’s hard looking at the scale and seeing it higher than I ever imagined. Or trying on a shirt that used to be super loose only to need Jimmy to help me get it off. Yep, I’m getting stuck in clothing. I can only dread imagine how big I’ll get before this is over. Keep repeating: pregnancy is beautiful. Pregnancy is beautiful. Pregnancy is beautiful. On top of all that, I turned 30 this week.

Because I was sleeping so terribly, I moved rooms. Sunday night and Monday night I slept in the bed in Baby’s room. Tuesday morning I woke up to Jimmy bringing in breakfast in bed and feeling like a new person. It was glorious!

Friday night, my family went out to dinner at Ray’s the Steaks to celebrate Kurt’s birthday. I’m so thankful my parents had Kurt – he is the best brother and best friend I could ever ask for. Since the day my parents brought him home, I thought he was a gift for me 🙂

As a 30th birthday gift, Kurt & Jimmy insulated the attic on Saturday. This is something we needed to do. We have an older house, so the level of insulation we have in the attic isn’t up to today’s standards. Which, was fine when it was just Jimmy and me, but we’re going to be bringing home a newborn in the dead of winter. That doesn’t work for me. So, Kurt & Jimmy went to Home Depot, bought the 12 bags of insulation needed to get the free insulation blower rental (not foam, regular insulation) and went to work.

attic insulation materials from The Home Depot
insulation blower from The Home Depot
Two engineers figuring out the blower
attic insulation work crew
DIY attic insulation work crew

To be super safe, insulation installation meant I was kicked out of the house. My friends Jayme & Keli were super sweet and took me out for pedicures and then to brunch for a birthday celebration at Circa. It was so nice out, we decided to wander around Clarendon until game time (complete with a pit stop at Pottery Barn to lounge on their couches). Then we went to Clarendon Grill to meet up with parents & friends to watch the Virginia Tech/Notre Dame game.

Sunday was very low-key and relaxing with Kai, Jimmy, and Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Then we went to Founding Farmers in Tysons for dinner with my family and Jimmy’s family. It was a great day!


How far along? 27 Weeks

How big is baby? 14.4″ & 1.9 lb – the size of a head of cauliflower or an acorn squash. I know he’s bigger than these measurements though. He’s been measuring ahead most of my pregnancy.

Maternity clothes? Yes, definitely. I don’t think I could squeeze into any “normal” clothes if my life depended on it. I feel like a whale. Not Shamu level yet, maybe a Beluga whale.

normal sized child & me

Weight Gain: I stopped tracking this on the blog because it was driving me crazy with fluctuations – 4 lbs difference in one day taken at the same time of day?!?! However, I will pop in and update occasionally just so I can remember. I’m up 20-22 lbs depending on the day. I know a lot of it is water retention/swelling because some mornings my fake bigger sized rings indent my fingers. At my last appointment my doctor said I’m still “on track” for my recommended 30-35 lbs – how, seriously? If I stop gaining weight right now maybe, but umm, the baby is still growing… so, this doesn’t seem possible. Maybe my doctor has the ability to see the future because this week I had little interest in food (don’t worry, I ate regular meals, just didn’t NEED food all the time like the rest of this pregnancy) and specifically no desire to eat ice cream or sweets. So perhaps she is right and I will slow down on the weight gain. Or, perhaps I won’t. I’ve been eating healthy (minus the ice cream) and I’ve been working out 3+ x a week so it is what it is. I can’t wait to kick my butt with workouts this spring/summer. Jimmy’s quote on this: “don’t worry babe, this February you’ll give me baby and I’ll take care of him and you can go to the gym and workout.” [pause] (clearly he hasn’t read any of the books I gave him) [continue] “maybe March. We’ll start in March.”

Sleep: was so bad I moved rooms.

Best moment this week: birthday celebrations

Movement: pretty sure he headbutted me at one point this week. Oh and he must have discovered the tiny space kind of above my hip where the placenta isn’t because I felt his foot or elbow or something move against my skin. It freaked me out! Like take one finger and push down as hard as you can and rub your other hand from your finger to your wrist. That intensity, that length of time, that feeling, but from the inside. Thankful for my placenta padding everywhere else.

Food Cravings: tea, sparkling water with a splash of OJ, chicken noodle soup, reduced sugar dried cranberries – this really got Baby jumping!

Food Aversions: sweets – maybe my steady bowl of ice cream each night caught up to me because I want none of it now. I breath a sigh of relief *FINALLY*! I am not a sweets person. I usually skip all desserts without a second thought. However, it was all I wanted this pregnancy until this week. It was killing me. I couldn’t not have sweets. It made me cry multiple times. But Hallelujah we might be pass that! I also did not want anything to do with apples, bananas, potatoes, cheez-its, or chips.

Gender: Baby’s a boy!
it's a boy confetti

Labor Signs: nope. Stay that way for at least 2 months please.

Pregnancy Symptoms: swollen – FYI it is really hard to workout when your feet are super swollen; battling pregnancy insomnia; being a general emotional mess – multiple nights of uncontrollable sobbing; craziest thing: my bump is significantly bigger at the end of the day vs the morning now. Also, some days it’s much smaller than other days – I think this is based on how Baby is chilling that day.

Belly Button in or out? In but it is wider. It stopped hurting this week. That, or I’m going numb to slight pain.

What I miss: my pre-pregnancy body. This week was a hard one on my self-esteem. I blame the lack of sleep and my birthday.

What I am looking forward to: the summer when I can run & workout and eat healthy and be normal sized again (hopefully)

Upcoming appointments/events: 7 month OB & glucose screening 11/30

Weekly Wisdom: Eat as healthy as you can, be as active as you can, but don’t stress. There is plenty of time for insanity the month baby is born (if you listen to my husband) or about two months after baby is born if you listen to your doctor/other moms/the rest of the world.

Milestones: this is the last week of the 2nd trimester; Baby can open and close his eyes; I turned 30

Bump Picture:

Kai made it in both pictures this week! Note: this was by far the biggest bump day I had this week. I swear I look full term here. Nope, still 10 weeks until full term.

2015 In Review

24309514106_89e32b9bc6_bLooking back on 2015 seems like a blur. I feel like I wrote our 2014 post two days ago. Time is crazy. Anyways, I’ll summarize 2015 as water, woods, and surgeries.


Jimmy took up hunting this year. He also got a compound bow to use hunting (woods). He got two deer this winter, success, so we’ll be enjoying venison chili throughout this year.

Jimmy continued his skeet shooting league. He was captain this year. He also joined two lacross leagues, which he loves.

Jimmy is still working as the Geotechnical Department Manager at the National Harbor office, which he loves.


In 2015, I finished my first half marathon! In well under the time I predicted. And I did not walk once – that was my main goal, well that and not just give up and lay on the side of the road.

Speaking of health, I discovered a new love affair with Pure Barre. I was a ballet dancer for oh, 10 years of my life, so this workout brings back all of the memories. It’s hard. It’s fun. It makes me so happy! And, it’s a fantastic workout. Jimmy was the best and got me classes for Christmas (it’s sadly, very expensive:( )

I took a wonderful girls trip to Smith Mountain Lake with some of my best college friends.

In the most exciting news, I got lasik! I absolutely love it! In the most painful news, I got my wisdom teeth out in December (all four and two were impacted) and that was brutal. (two surgeries there)

We (Ingrid & Jimmy)

We spent almost every Spring & Summer weekend in Southern Maryland (woods & water). We helped my parents work on the new property throughout the Spring and then enjoyed boating, fishing, bow shooting (Jimmy), swimming, and family time throughout the summer. It is Kai’s favorite place in the world so we go as often as we can. It’s all about the dog amiright?

We went to the Outer Banks for a Memorial Day trip with a bunch of friends, that was a blast. Jimmy really enjoyed surf fishing. (water)

We went to the Penthouse twice, once with Ted & Lauren, and once with Kurt & Kate. (more water). We’re so thankful to have that property in the family.

We saw Cinderella during a wonderful night out with Jimmy’s parents and sister Katie for my birthday – thank you!

We went to our 6th Vintage Virginia wine festival.

We celebrated our third anniversary.

We went to Blacksburg for a football game with some great friends. In true Bburg fashion, it was cold and rainy the whole time, but man, it was wonderful to be back!

Finally, we hosted a fun New Years Eve party for our friends to close out the year.

Looking ahead to 2016.

I am copying and pasting from my 2014 (and sadly 2015) posts because, well, we very much failed on accomplishing any of our goals. Whoops. I’ll write a little commentary on if we completed anything or not.

From 2014 & 2015 posts:

“This is also a challenge because you never really know where life is going to go, but I do see some things happening.

We have some house projects we want to complete:” (reflections on my 2014 list)

  • Fixing our side steps. The concrete’s been struggling since I was around 12 so we’re going to just replace it with a pressure treated wood step/landing/storage thing – this is clearly more Jimmy & my Dad’s plan – We did this!!!!!
  • Finishing painting. In 2012/2013 we painted the living room, dining room, master bedroom, kitchen, guest bedrooms (2) & Jimmy’s video game room. In 2014 2015 2016, we have the entryway, stairway, hallway, 3 bathrooms & basement and we’re done [whew] – didn’t do any of this.
  • Landscaping. There are plans for the backyard. I am vaguely aware of them. I have stated Sugar’s stones stay. That’s all I care about. – nope, not done. Actually not even started…
  • Building a slate patio in the backyard. – didn’t even start this either
  • Organization. As much as I hate to admit, I still have a couple of boxes of my things that don’t have a place in our home yet. I want to get everything organized and condensed as much as possible this year. – those boxes are still there. Things are a little better organized – our pantry and linen closet definitely – but still a ways to go on everything else.

Grade: D

New 2015 projects & goals: (let’s be ambitious and add to the list we didn’t accomplish last year, that’s totally the way to do this life planning thing, right?)

  • Helping restore/renovate Hotel California (new property addition to the Freemyer family – posts to come) – we did this!
  • Renovating our two bathrooms – nope, maybe not doing that and actually doing the kitchen (depending on if you talk to me or Jimmy)
  • I: Run in my first half marathon – did this!

Grade: B

Since it worked so well the last time, let’s add some more goals here.

  • Declutter. “Living clean in 2016.” I want to get rid of the clothes/crafts/stuff we don’t use any more and simplify and declutter our lives.
  • continue as many Pure Barre classes as possible


Trips for 2015:

  • Penthouse to enjoy the beach – did this twice, A for I&J
  • Hotel California to enjoy boating – did this all Spring & Summer, and some Fall actually, A for I&J
  • Colorado to visit Todd – nope, did not happen
  • Blacksburg for a Tech game – scheduled for October – yep, did this!

Grade: B+

Trips for 2016:

  • Penthouse to enjoy the beach
  • Hotel California to enjoy boating
  • Colorado to visit Todd
  • Boston for a Lombardo family reunion of sorts

Well, considering how successful we were in 2014 2015, I’m going to leave our projects, goals, and trips at that and see how we do.

California, Maryland

I’m not sure if I’ve ever posted about the Cottage before, which is very surprising considering it has been a huge part of my life.

The history of The Cottage:

My dad’s parents wanted a place to get away from D.C. on weekends and during the summer, so they purchased a piece of waterfront land in California, Maryland. (Right next to Hollywood, Maryland – believe it or not). The Freemyer family officially became one of five families on our gravel road (these five original families all still own property here).

The Cottage

And they built a cottage for their family of three. When I say they built, I mean they actually designed and physically constructed the house themselves. That’s how you did things, they never thought to hire an architect or a contractor because that would be expensive, so they built the house themselves.

Being a family of three, they didn’t need much room, so The Cottage is one open living/dining/bedroom that opens to the kitchen (my grandpa might be responsible for “open concept”), a separate bathroom, and a closet. That is it. The whole house. However it worked perfectly for three. My Dad said he spent almost every summer at The Cottage growing up.

Fast forward a couple decades and it’s my Dad bringing his family to the Cottage. When I was super young we didn’t go to The Cottage – my mother was rightfully scared toddler Kurt would leap off the pier. However starting around age 8, we went to The Cottage a lot.

Throwback Cottage
Throwback Joey, Kurt, me, Jimmer

The Cottage became the place I learned to fish, boat, crab, water-ski, wake-board, camp, kayak, and so much more. It became a place I brought my friends to enjoy swimming, boating and a weekend away. It became my family’s retreat. Although a small one – the summer of 2014 brought my parents, me, Jimmy, Kurt & Kate (and two dogs) staying in a one room/one bathroom cottage.

I&J Cottage

J wakeboarding

K boating

Fast forward another couple decades and the property next to The Cottage is for sale. This is a 3 bedroom house built in 1916 with a renovated bathroom, an actual kitchen, an attic, a big flat grassy yard, and a pool. The original owners’ grandkids (my parents age) were selling the house on the point. This lined up perfectly to when my Dad was planning on retiring. It seemed like God was saying something. So my parents took a leap of faith and bought the house next to The Cottage and decided to make it their permanent home (and call this place “The Hotel California”).

Since the purchase, Kurt, Jimmy, my Dad and I have been making frequent trips to work on the place: scrape cracked plaster, fence the yard, paint, clean, fix some steps, etc. Last weekend we all moved my parents to their new place!

There is still a lot of work to do: the house doesn’t have insulation (brrr!), the basement is the actual dirt ground, the ceiling needs a support beam, the sitting room needs to be converted to a master bathroom, the kitchen could use some updating, there are future plans for a garage, etc. But it’s a place all six of us (and three dogs) can go and enjoy together.

Kai Hotel California

I Did It!

Rock n roll dc half marathon

I successfully finished my first half marathon! I set this goal almost a year ago but an ankle injury delayed me a full 6 months.  I wish it hadn’t because the weather for that September race would’ve been a whole lot better than the weather I ran in – which was cold and rained the entire race.

When I started the race, I was numb from my elbows to my fingers; I couldn’t even press play on my iPod, it was miserable. I started to thaw around mile 3 so that was nice.

Mile 6 brought a hill. A huge hill. For some reason I thought this was a completely flat course, I was so wrong. But there was a great crowd to cheer us up the hill, that helped so much. I definitely want to volunteer and cheer runners on in the future, it made such a difference in motivating me.

I predicted I would finish in 3 hours and 30 minutes. Since this was my first race, I really had no idea what type of time I run. My only goal was not to walk. I am proud to say I did not walk once 🙂 some of my running was more of a shuffle – especially around mile 10, but I kept my pace. Speaking of pace, I completely surprised myself, I finished the race in 2 hours 51 minutes and 10 seconds. Success! Yes that is pretty slow but I never had a time goal so anything I ran would be a PR.

ingrid half marathon
The look of determination to get to the finish line

My parents and Jimmy were at the finish line cheering me on. That meant the world to me. They helped me make it to the car and even opened my chocolate milk when I could not because I was shivering too much. Then they took me to brunch at Liberty Tavern.

post half marathon brunch

I’m so proud of myself for running this. For pushing through when it got hard and all I wanted to do was walk (or stop). For setting a goal and accomplishing it. I’m not sure I’ll run another half, if I did, I’d like it to be in the fall or in South Carolina, basically anything to avoid the cold and wet.

2014 In Review

Looking back on 2014 is more challenging than on 2013 (did not see that one coming). But maybe that’s a good thing. We’re settling into our life together and finding comfort in our routines. Of course, there were some highlights. We also did a pretty good job of keeping up with our goal of being my physically active/fit.


Most importantly: Jimmy turned 30! We celebrated in a very “Jimmy way” starting with Jimmy and the guys going shooting. Then meeting up with some friends & family for lunch (and lots of beers) at Blackfin in Merrifield. Followed by a brief break and then heading to dinner at Ray’s the Steaks with the rest of the Racines. It was great.

Jimmy also discovered a new love for skeet shooting. He joined a shooting league through work and has really enjoyed learning this new skill.

Speaking of work, Jimmy got a promotion and is now the Geotechnical Department Manager at a new National Harbor office.

Jimmy also played in a lacrosse league this year. That is until a knee injury took him out of the game.


In 2014, I registered for my 1st half marathon and trained my butt off for that. And then injured my ankle so I couldn’t run in the race. But, I am already signed up for another one (it’s in a few weeks) so I’m going to complete this goal. Towards the end of the year, I got a new job that I’m enjoying a lot. I took a couple trips to Blacksburg.

We (Ingrid & Jimmy)

Looking ahead to 2015.

I am copying and pasting from my 2014 post because, well, we very much failed on accomplishing any of our goals. Whoops. I’ll write a little commentary on if we completed anything or not.

From 2014 post:

“This is also a challenge because you never really know where life is going to go, but I do see some things happening.

We have some house projects we want to complete:” (reflections on my 2014 list)

  • Fixing our side steps. The concrete’s been struggling since I was around 12 so we’re going to just replace it with a pressure treated wood step/landing/storage thing – this is clearly more Jimmy & my Dad’s plan – didn’t do this. Need to complete this year.
  • Finishing painting. In 2012/2013 we painted the living room, dining room, master bedroom, kitchen, guest bedrooms (2) & Jimmy’s video game room. In 2014 2015 we have the entryway, stairway, hallway, 3 bathrooms & basement and we’re done [whew] – again, didn’t do any of this.
  • Landscaping. There are plans for the backyard. I am vaguely aware of them. I have stated Sugar’s stones stay. That’s all I care about. – nope, not done. Actually not even started…
  • Building a slate patio in the backyard. – didn’t even start this either
  • Organization. As much as I hate to admit, I still have a couple of boxes of my things that don’t have a place in our home yet. I want to get everything organized and condensed as much as possible this year. – those boxes are still there. Things are a little better organized – our pantry and linen closet definitely – but still a ways to go on everything else.

Grade: F

New projects & goals: (let’s be ambitious and add to the list we didn’t accomplish last year, that’s totally the way to do this life planning thing, right?)

  • Helping restore/renovate Hotel California (new property addition to the Freemyer family – posts to come)
  • Renovating our two bathrooms
  • I: Run in my first half marathon

We have some trips we want to take: (reflecting on my 2014 list)

  • Boston to visit Ted & Lauren and Jimmy’s family – we did this! A for I&J
  • Penthouse to enjoy the beach – we did this! twice! A+ for I&J
  • Cottage – not really a trip trip but we want to go here more this summer. Kai just loves it here and so do we. – eh, not really, maybe one or two trips, so D?
  • Germany or Hawaii – clearly the details aren’t worked out on this one – this one did not happen
  • St. Louis to be in Ted & Lauren’s wedding – we did this! A for I&J

Grade: B-

Trips for 2015:

  • Penthouse to enjoy the beach
  • Hotel California to enjoy boating
  • Colorado to visit Todd
  • Blacksburg for a Tech game – scheduled for October

Well, considering how successful we were in 2014, I’m going to leave our projects, goals, and trips at that and see how we do.

Bringing in 2015

This year we kept it low-key and had a few close friends over to ring in the new year. It worked out for the best since it was cold out (shocker) and I really didn’t feel like going out. Yesterday my wonderful Oma passed. It was a long time coming, but that doesn’t make it any easier. So having some of my best friends, Jimmy, Kai, and a fire sounded perfect to me.

New Years 2015

Kai is not amused
Kai is not amused

We did have a great Baked Brie and Cranberry Braid I made.

Baked Brie braid

I usually write our goals for the upcoming year, but I’ll save that for another post.