Family BBQ

Our first weekend in California happened to coincide with Petra’s 9 months so a celebration was definitely in order.  When I was younger, my house was the party house and when I say party, I mean BBQ and that usually meant some kind of tacos.  So naturally, I expected no less than that and my parents delivered.  Saturday was a huge celebration for our baby girl where some of my side of the family would meet her for the first time.  My parents even got a taco guy because when in Southern California, if you’re not eating tacos then you’re doing it wrong. Petra and I wore matching shoes.  I picked out a sweater for Lukasz.  My family is basically adorable.

But let’s talk about the little lady of the hour…  Petra is actually 10 months old now so I’m really late on this but I feel like I still needed to post this and talk about it so I never forget how tiny Petra once was and every little milestone that happened and how much I love her right now, right this minute.  Petra is officially nine months old.  A week before turning nine months, she got her first bottom tooth.  It was a couple of bad teething days where all she wanted was just to be held by me at all times and maybe chew on something cold a few times. She would get her second bottom tooth a couple of weeks later.  Little P has the best appetite.  She eats three actual meals a day with a few purses mixed in as a snack.  She is literally game to try anything, I love it so much.  She used to hate sweet foods but now her favorite foods are probably blueberries and oranges (carefully peeled, of course).  She smiles and laughs while she eats, its too cute to handle. She smiles and shows me her teeth right before she stuffs food into her mouth.  She LOVES her papa.  SO. MUCH.  Those two melt my heart, the way they play, the way he speaks Polish to her all day, everyday.  Lukasz once texted me and told me that Petra answered him back in Polish by saying “tak”.  He was so excited!  Petra is also becoming good friends with Pierrot.  She loves chasing him even though he’s always faster because shes crawling. Sometimes when Pierrot gets into his silly moods and begins chasing his tail, she stares at him and starts cracking up.  It’s the sweetest thing.  In addition to crawling, she stands herself to standing position and cruises the furniture which means she cant be left alone, not even for a minute.  She’s always on the go!  Petra loves being outside more than anything, but that’s the beauty of New York.  The whole city is a playground for us and I love being outside with her.  It’s been a bit of a rough winter but I see Spring and summer on the horizon and time spent on the swings for Little P.

As you can see, there was much to celebrate in California… ❤

The picture below is one of my favorites of Petra and her grandpa!  This was also Petra’s first time playing with balloons and she loved every second of it!  I’m already in the process of brainstorming for her first birthday and balloons are definitely on the list.  They make her so happy!

Gosh, what a pretty family!

Xo,

Karen

Venice Beach

On our first week, we also visited Venice Beach close to Los Angeles County.  For some reason, I always get super nostalgic for Venice Beach when I’m in New York. I watch Californication and begin to idealize what California and LA are to me even though, it’s really nothing like that. It also reminds me of the Doors because, Jim Morrison and all of that fun stuff.  It really just takes me back to my teenage years when I fell in love with Classic Rock and thought I would be a hippie forever, haha.

Things definitely didn’t turn out the way I thought they would, they turned out better! We happened to make our way to Venice on one of the few gloomy days that happened during our trip.  It was also a random suggestion in the middle of the day but when someone says they want to go, we gotta go. Lukasz had only visited Venice once about a year before we met.  It was one of the few places in California he happened to make a pit stop and one of the few places he found actually interesting during his travels out West. Venice is like a mini New York in that people just aren’t afraid to be themselves. It was really nice to get to come here with our daughter (although the weather could have been better). It did make for some interestingly gloomy pictures, despite our high spirits.

On our way back to the car, as the real rain began, we stopped at this little Peruvian restaurant that was as literally a hole on the wall.  I can be a little picky about Peruvian food.  My parents always seem to know the spots when we’re in California and I get my fair share of it when we go visit.  I’m always wary of trying new Peruvian restaurants in New York because they always make the food so kitschy. The true mark of a good semi-authentic place is always the portion of their ceviche. It has to be a nice hearty bowl of fish. Otherwise, what’s the point?  This place in Venice, whose name escapes me, really hit the spot. It was all weirdly served in “to-go” containers despite us eating in but everything was great from the ceviche to the Lomo Saltado. 

It was one of those days that left you tired at the end, with all the driving, Petra fell asleep in the car after eating so many French fries. My favorite thing ever is showing her these new places and getting even more excited to come back when she’s older as well.  It’s so amazing to show everything to a new little human being.  I feel like, with Petra and Lukasz, I have travel partners for life.

Xo,

Karen

California: Another Day of Sun!

We’ve been back from California for a couple of weeks now but I just finished sorting through all of our photos!  I think I got shutter-happy because I ended up with over 1000 pictures.  The camera never left my side but I felt like I never wanted to miss a moment of Petra and Lukasz and I soaking in the California sunshine.

This mini vacation was definitely long overdue for us.  It’s so great to live in a city like New York but I think it’s so necessary to take a break from the hustle and bustle every once in a while.  Having the plane land in California was like literally a breath of fresh air. Even the plane ride TO California was calm and collected, with Petra sleeping a decent amount of time but not being overly rowdy when she was awake.  We flew JetBlue and the staff was super supportive and accommodating of us having a little one.

Though the weather during our stay was up in the air, we lucked out and it was sunny during a majority of our time there with a couple of rainy days thrown in.  It was different from our past trips to California, we usually make this trip in February and be weather is usually super sunny and high 70’s. After all, isn’t that what California is known for? 

Petra got a chance to meet all of our California family and friends, including Eric, one of my best friends since middle school. These are the moments I looked forward to the most, introducing everyone to my little family. So much love going around, I felt so lucky.

We took it easy the first couple of days but went to the park and a few local hikes in the Irvine Park area. Petra rode a swing for the first time! Oh my goodness, the happiness on her face has me looking forward to Spring and Summer so we can go out to the park and have so much fun.  Her happy face makes me melt! It almost makes me feel anxious thinking that these moments are fleeting, I just love her so much! Stay little forever, baby girl!

If anyone plans on going in a hike with littles anytime soon, I highly recommend getting a Tula carrier.  It’s amazing and it let us be hands free.  Lukasz loves baby wearing and Petra loves being worn by her papa. She even fell asleep on our little hike, she was so comfy! We got our as a hand me down from Lukasz’ sister who previously used hers for her two little ones. They’re really durable! I love it. 

I have a few more posts for California coming up, I just really love the pictures and had to post for my own excitement if not for your reading pleasure.  Thanks for following along!

Xo,

Karen

Visitors!

My parents and younger brother were in town for a couple of weeks to celebrate Christmas and ring in the New Year with us! I was really intrigued by how things would go.  My parents are true Southern Californians, meaning they don’t do well in the cold weather.  Who can blame them? I like to escape to California in late winter/ early spring because I can’t take the New York cold anymore.  For their trip, I tried to get them to be prepared as much as they possibly could and I think they did great.  The weather actually wasn’t too bad while they were here so we got super lucky.  

It’s always fun to have people from out of town visit because we get to be tourists for a day.  We did so much in two weeks! Some highlights include:

1. Just enjoying the food: I feel like the main thing about New York and anyplace I visit is really all about the food.  We ate out so many times and Łukasz and I even discovered a new AMAZING Peruvian restaurant called Chimu pretty close to where we live.  We’ll definitely be going back.

2. WTC: In the four years I had been here, I had not gone to ground zero or visited the surrounding area.  I feel like there’s something so sacred about those grounds.  I don’t feel like it’s made for my consumption as a tourist so I never wanted to venture myself but I did go to the museum while my parents were in town. It’s all so heartbreaking. On a different day, Łukasz, Petra and my family took a trip to the top of the tower. The view was spectacular.

3. Chinatown on Christmas: With my parents and brother squeezing into our one bedroom apartment, there was no way I was about to cook Christmas dinner.  In the past, when Łukasz and I celebrated just the two of us, we went with a few friends to Chinatown for Dim Sum.  It’s always delicious and full of people.  I definitely had to have my parents experience that themselves.  My mom also loved the area because she was able to find some crystals and rocks for good prices.  She loves her crystals. 

In addition to the above, we also went to the museum of Natural History and my parents did some exploring on their own: Central Park, Times Square and more of the upper west side.  I know my dad was a natural by the end of he trip. He totally understood the subway system that actually took me months to get used to. But I think their highlight was being able to spend time with Petra.  It’s such a bummer that we live on two different coasts but hopefully we can travel back and forth more often. Hope they can come visit again soon! Maybe during the summer when it’s a little warmer. 😉

Xo,

Karen

Happy New Years!


Happy New Years! It’s 2017! We celebrated with an early bed time around these parts (#MomLife) but I felt great when I woke up on the first of the year.  To be honest, the year went out on a negative note for me, personally.  I SOMEHOW ended up catching the Stomach Flu and it was one of the worst weeks of the year that I’ve experienced.  It’s really difficult to take care of a seven month old when you have to throw up every 10 seconds. And so, I will give a special thank you to my parents who have been in town these last two weeks, and to Łukasz, who left work early one day to take care of me and Petra when I felt completely awful.  

Petra celebrated her first Christmas! She got a few presents that she was excited about for, like, 2 seconds, ha.  It was really awesome to watch her celebrate her first Christmas.  It’s rather difficult to impress a seven month old baby but Petra seemed pretty happy.  We all did an unconventional Christmas dinner and celebrated with Dim Sum in Chinatown, an area that my parents loved. The next day we headed to New Jersey to spend Christmas with Łukasz’ extended family. It was all so sweet and cozy and my parents got along with his extended family really well.  I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday!

And now that the New Year is here, I’ve spent the entire week that I was sick thinking about New Years resolutions. I personally love the idea of resolutions because, while I don’t need an excuse to make major changes in my life, it’s nice to just have that idea of a fresh start.  I love wondering how I can do things differently this time around. I definitely want to treat my body better by eating healthier and exercising more. I’m sure that’s a common one! But on a more personal note, 2016 was a difficult year for me as I got my bearings as a first-time mama. I questioned myself often and I worried a lot about what other people were thinking.  

I had a conversation with my coworker recently about how I hate having hangovers and I don’t drink often because of this reason and then he said “plus you have a baby” which took me by surprise. I almost felt the need to defend myself and say that havinga baby really had nothing to do with having a drink. That having a drink or a hangover didn’t make me a bad mother. That maybe sometimes it’s nice to get a babysitter and go out and have some fun. But I didn’t. I didn’t defend myself because I wanted to try this thing out where I just stop caring what people think.

It’s surprising, the amount of advice people will give you when you’re pregnant and when you have a baby. It’s also surprising the amount of judgement they will pass when you forget a baby’s socks and people wonder if her feet are cold OUT LOUD to you or if you have a glass of wine with dinner and people ask if you’re breastfeeding…

So my New Years resolution is to stop caring what others think and to also be easier on myself. And if Petra is happy and Łukasz is happy and I’m happy then I think things are going right. Oh, and also to travel more, but that’s a pretty common one too!

I hope everyone has a great year! I’m too excited for words just imagining what’s to come. ❤️

Xo,

Karen

O Christmas Tree!

This past weekend, Lukasz, Petra and I finally set out to get our little family a Christmas tree.  Ideally we wanted to visit a farm upstate but we didn’t really have the time as our days off are now spent preparing for my parents visit.  Nevertheless, walking through our neighborhood, there are plenty of cozy little Christmas tree lots to be found so we walked around until we were able to find one that also sold cute wreaths to put in the middle of our apartment.  

Even when I was little, I would always think about Christmas and the traditions I would begin with my family someday.  I feel that Lukasz and I already do things differently than my parents since we get a fresh Christmas tree every year where my parents are believers of the fake trees which also has some positives to it such as no needles on the floor.  Even so, nothing really beats that fresh tree smell. 

While we put up ornaments, it was so adorable to play Christmas music (that She & Him Christmas Album is absolute magic) and to watch Petra play with some of the ornaments we’ve stored for the last couple of years.  Her favorite happens to be a cute little reindeer Lukasz and I bought in a little store near 14th street when we first started dating.  Who knew two years later that our little girl would playing with it and hanging it on the tree? Gosh so hard to believe!  I loved watching her little face light up with happiness and curiosity when showed her the tree all lit up.  Even now, she loves crawling over and hanging out underneath the Christmas tree.  I’m so excited for her first Christmas! Later this week, I also plan to make some salt dough ornaments and paint them gold.  An easy DIY, plus I can also make an ornament out of Petra’s hand print. An easy keepsake!

Please note the drool in all of these pictures from this little teether! Too adorable for words.

Xo,

Karen

Brooklyn Review: Mabel’s BBQ

When I was pregnant, I used to take the dog out for a walk to McCarren Park at night.  I used to walk down Berry and right around North 11th, I’d catch a whiff of barbecue.  The scent was amazing but I never cared to investigate where it was coming from.  Flash forward a few months, Petra is 6 months old and we’re on a family walk on a chilly weekend morning both Lukasz and I happened to have off together. We were about to head towards our usual to grab lunch, (Teddy’s on North 8th) but I remember the barbecue.

Walking into Mabel’s is like walking into a cozy barn right in the middle of Brooklyn. It was a Sunday morning and actually quite empty.  It’s also really big which is something I’ve come to appreciate more and more due to us traveling with a stroller more often than not.  Petra has only recently started to sit more comfortable in her high chair so I still like to keep her seated in the stroller which is more supportive than restaurant booster seats and high chairs. For the record though, they do have booster seats available. 

Lukasz and I both ordered hot mugs of mulled wine, the perfect drink for basically the entire winter. The menu is full of delicious southern classics! I’m not a big meat eater si ordered the crawfish etouffee with cheesy grits and Lukasz ordered the seeet and savory corn cake, both perfect brunch options. Petra, who is still trying new things little by little had some of my grits and she really loved them! How can she not, it’s corn and cheese.  For the most part, she kept herself busy playing with a menu or sitting on our laps and tasting some of our food.  It’s getting more and more fun to take her out knowing she can partake in whatever it is we’re doing or eating.

If you’re in the Williamsburg area and looking for some yummy southern comfort food, Mabel’s is a great choice.

Xo,

Karen

Seven Months

Yesterday, our baby girl turned seven months! 

Petra has been army crawling up a storm around the apartment.  Not only is she crawling but she’s comfortably sitting up on her own and on some occasions, we’ll find that she’s pulled herself up to standing position on the crib, near her toys, by our shoes, etc.  It’s hard to leave this little adventurous lady alone!  

Petra hasn’t cut any teeth yet but that hasn’t stopped her from exploring all kinds of food.  After her last doctor’s visit at 6 months, we got the ok to feed her a little bit of everything with the exception of honey, of course.  I’ve been pureeing some simple goodies for her such as sweet potato and peas and we also do a little bit of baby led weaning by plopping down some apples and bananas and letting her explore texture and taste on her own with close supervision. 

While Petra doesn’t have any teeth just yet, she’s definitely been teething, sticking anything and everything in her mouth.  She’ll even bite down hard on my fingers to get some relief.  We’ve found that making tiny posicles using the Nuby popsicle molds has really helped.  These are perfect for little hands to grip and I think Petra finds the cooling taste soothing for sore gums. I’ve only used them a few times but my go-to recipe has been blending strawberries with some frozen breastmilk.  We’ve also been trying to have teething toys around at all times, such as her Sophie Le Giraffe.  I can see why the toy is so popular now! Sometimes all it takes is to be sitting in her stroller, chewing her giraffe and she’s happy as a clam.

Petra loves being outdoors.  I knew it would be hard to get out during the winter so we got her a Bugaboo High Performance Footmuff which seems to really do the trick in keeping her warm.  During these cold months, it has been a struggle to get her clothed and bundled up and ready to go outside but once we’re in the stroller, she’s happy to be in the fresh air walking her trusty sidekick, Pierrot.  They’ve definitely become closer friends these last few months.  She’s constantly crawling to him and he’s constantly licking her hands, which I’m not ok with (hello germs) so I’m also pulling them apart. But there are times when all she wants to do is pet him and, he’s not really into the hair pulling thing (because what dog is?) but he lets her and I love him for his patience.

She’s definitely into routine and around 8:30 every night, after a bath and sometimes a book, she drinks her bottle and goes to bed.  And even on the nights where she might not be ready just yet, she spends five minutes in her crib and slowly puts herself to sleep. She’s such a good baby girl.  I don’t know how we got so lucky with our little Petra.

It’s been pretty amazing to watch these milestones go by! Petra is definitely at such a fun age right now.  I think back often to the month after she was born and how hard things used to be and constantly remembering that it will get easier and it definitely has gotten so much easier.  What a journey so far! It really truly is only the beginning.  I love this sweet girl so much.  I feel really so so lucky to be her mama. 

Xo,

Karen

Weekly Findings


These days, the weeks seem to fly by, constantly seeming like every day is a countdown to the next holiday which is fine by me.  I’m sure so many out there are ready to kiss 2016 goodbye and get on with it. While this year hasn’t been that bad for me (New baby, cute fiancée, I’m doing alright) I know politically and just in general, it hasn’t been the best year.  We do plan to end the year on a positive note.  My parents will come to visit for two weeks starting next weekend and I’m really excited to spend another Christmas in New York.  We even got our tree this past weekend which I’ll post pictures of soon.

Salt Dough Ornaments: I just got some supplies to make some gold salt dough ornaments! Does anyone remember making these when we were kids? I really want to make one of Petras hand so we can keep it forever and ever! And I also bought every Christmas cookie cutter shape imaginable! Salt dough ornaments everywhere!

Most Popular Baby Names of 2016: Of course, “Petra” is nowhere to be found ;). But I can definitely say that we came pretty close with Sophia as an option for a name.  It was hard for us, like I’ve previously mentioned, finding a name that sounds the same in Polish, English and Spanish.  I also really loved the name Zosia, which is a diminutive of Sophia in Polish but Lukasz vetoed that one.

Wes Anderson H&M Commercial: One of my favorite directors made a holiday ad for H&M! It’s got all the signs of classic Wes Anderson with his beautiful color palettes and perfect symmetry! It reminds me a little of Darjeeling Limited, which I loooove. 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside… Updated: The song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” happens to be my favorite holiday song ever.  I know that every year the debate arises about how creepy it is, but I think it’s an adorable duet.  For those that feel the former, this is an updated version of the song that makes it feel a little more updated and friendlier.

Mom is Queen I really enjoyed this article by The New York Times about how more people are using the word “mom” to refer to someone they admire or look up to.  It’s such a different take and change of the jargon most of the youth culture comes up with today.  Or maybe I just want to be a cool mom, ha!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Xo,

Karen

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Thanksgiving

Super late Thanksgiving post alert! But better late than never. I simply had post about it and show all of our pretty pictures because it was Petra’s first Thanksgiving and I was wanted us to remember it forever.  Sometimes I can’t believe that she’s six months old and time is flying and now when we do things like celebrate Thanksgiving with a big dinner, Petra is right there, eating and celebrating with us.  This time, last year, she was still in my tummy…  HOW IS TIME MOVING SO FAST?

This Thanksgiving was a little different in that I can honestly say I prepared for it, like, the day before but, weirdly, felt extremely calm about the whole thing.  I picked out some recipes while Petra was taking a nap the day before, did some grocery shopping via Instacart, packed Petra up and went to the buy a roasting pan and that was that! 

On actual Thanksgiving Day, first things first, the parade had to go up on the screen. As in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade!  On previous Thanksgivings spent in California, I would always have the parade up the second I woke up. Who knew one day I would be living in that city…yet watching the parade in my living room on a TV? Haha, does this make me a real New Yorker yet? Crowds are definitely not my thing.  After watching the parade and getting ready, Lukasz’ took Petra and the dog to have a “Dad’s Day” while me and my other lady, Tatiana basically spent the entire day drinking wine and cooking up a feast. I don’t really know why this Thanksgiving wasn’t as stressful as precious years but it really was just fun to hang out and cook all day and then enjoy the fruits of our labor with my adorable family.  Petra even ate some of our candied yams! 

In addition to the Turkey (duh) we have a green bean casserole, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, candied yams, cranberry sauce, stuffing, glazed shallots, and gravy.  For desßrt, there was two pies, pumpkin and chocolate pecan and ice cream. We also had Mai Toddianas which were Tatiana and Todd’s delicious drink recipe! 

All in all though, I don’t need a holiday to remind me to be thankful for what I have. I’m reminded every single day that I wake up and look around. I have an amazing boyfriend who is also an amazing father.  And I have one beautiful and adorably sweet daughter that I can never get enough of.  These two are my whole life and I don’t know how I got so lucky. #Thankful.

Xo,

Karen