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

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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

Sandomierz

Way before our little family touched down in Poland, Lukasz had told me his sister has been planning a sort of family reunion for Lukasz’ visit.  Lukasz had tried to play it off as something small but when Lukasz, Petra and I officially arrived at the restaurant, Bistro Podwale, we literally walked into a crowded room, full of applause and cheer.  It was so so wonderful to feel the love in that room and it was even more amazing to finally be able to visit Lukasz’ hometown and meet his family. 

From the moment we walked in, Petra was greeted by everyone!  She was adored, kissed and cuddled.  If only she could remember this moment and how loved she is by her whole family!  I’m so glad we were able to capture so much of it on camera, including this photo below of Petra and her great grandfather who is 95 years old!  It is literally one of my most favorite photographs ever. 

I’ll be honest and say that for the second half of our stay in Sandomierz, I got sick with some kind of a stomach bug.  I had no desire to eat anything and I was extremely nauseated.  But I was able to step out a couple of times and do some sight seeing with Lukasz and a couple of his friends.  We visited his high school, which is one of the oldest secondary schools in Poland.  We visited some churches, which Poland has in abundance.  And we visited the town square which was really adorable. It’s such a stark contrast to think about me growing up in California with modern buildings and miles and miles of freeways, all the while Lukasz living in this small and adorable town with so much history.  The whole thing is so mind blowing.  It’s also one of the things that makes me love Lukasz even more. 

I wish we had more pictures or touristy stories to tell but this trip just really came down to family.  I look forward to the next time we come visit and maybe Petra will be a little older and we can do some additional things on our wishlist like going camping in the mountains and hills near Sandomierz.  After this trip, I really feel like there’s so much more to explore with this little tribe of mine. I feel like this is only the beginning.

Xo,

Karen

Warsaw

After the plane landed in Warsaw, we were picked up by Lukasz’ sister who lives there with her husband and her two kids.  It was really awesome to be able to meet her and have Petra meet her aunt for the first time.  It was also awesome to have Lukasz see his family for the first time in about three years.  It was a very emotional experience, to say the least but it was also amazing to be able to discover this part of Europe for the first time with my adorable tiny family.  Of course, when I was finally able to get a decent amount of sleep, we went out into Warsaw and walked for the entire day.  We went to the old part of town that Lukasz hung around the most when he was younger and going to school.  It’s so beautiful, the kind of old European town I have only seen in pictures. 




We stopped at an adorable little restaurant, Kompania Piwna, in the old town that Lukasz used to frequent when he was younger and had some pierogi because when in Poland, do as the Polish do. ;). I will admit, it was really chilly the whole time we were there and it rained almost every day in Warsaw which really limited our time outdoors. But we were more than glad to go from spot to spot to seek shelter and Petra loves being outdoors so she had no problem being outside either (although it’s getting a little harder to wrestle her into her winter clothes as she grows older… she’s definitely going to love summers in New York where clothing can be kept to a minimum.)

We did a few touristy things like visited the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising and visited the University of Warsaw.  On one of our nights, we even visited a vegan restaurant. (Who knew Warsaw had such a growing vegan population?). But really, this trip came down to visiting friends and family and I was more than excited to do that.  These are people I had only heard stories about but, more importantly, people that had left such an imprint in Lukasz’ life. It was also oh-my-gosh amazing that Petra was able to meet her cousins for the first time.  While Bianka and Tadeusz are years older, their bond was instant and adorable.  My heart melts thinking about it and hoping the day when we see them again isn’t too far off. 

Visiting Warsaw was really one for the books, so many firsts for all of us. I, sincerely hope that in the future, there’s more good times to be spent here.  We soon had to leave Warsaw and head to our next stop, Lukas’ hometown, Sandomierz.

Xo,

Karen