Happy birthday, sweet baby girl


Dear Petra,

You are one year old today. One whole year. You have truly been the one to teach me that so much can happen in a year. I’ve watched you go from a tiny little bundle of joy to a crazy little one year old. You have so much life in you, it’s sometimes scary but I know I’m lucky. I know I got something pretty amazing when I had you. It has been a year of growing for both of us. You learned to eat, sometimes with your hands, play with toys, wave hi and bye, nod your head yes and no, take a big girl bath, play with toys, grow teeth, chew with those teeth, roll over, sit up on your own, stand and balance on your own, play nicely with the dog, up until last week when you took your first EXCITING steps. And I learned how to have patience.  I’ll be honest when I say that it wasn’t easy.  This has truly been the hardest year of my life but you have also made it the happiest.  You were worth every second of crying and trying to figure you out.  You were worth every sacrifice I could have made.  You were worth the sleepless nights and long days.  You taught me how to be an adult and you forced me to grow up.  And even now, as you become more interactive every day and learn so much more, you’re reminding that life is still fun and it’s not worth being serious all the time.


We’re both still figuring it out.  Like how I’m trying to figure out how to teach you to not bite me without raising my voice and you’re still getting a hang of the walking thing but that’s what has me so excited right now.  That this is only year one and we have so much ahead of us and there’s so much we need to do together!  But I’m going to need time to slow down because I haven’t stopped crying thinking about how fast time is going now and I need you to be my little girl forever.  And I’m going to need you to need me and even when you don’t, maybe you can pretend to or something.  Because this is who you’re always going to be to me, and even someday when you’re 28, I’ll look at you and still remember the moment you were born and I held you in my arms and I thought about the person you would someday grow up to be.  And I looked at your confused little newborn face and I felt like my heart was going to explode with all the love I had for such a new little human being.


Lately I’ve been thinking about the beginning, about when I met your dad and we made plans for our life together and we talked about having a baby.  It’s funny to think back in those moments now because I feel like you were always there waiting for us and waiting to be a part of our life.  There was nothing before.  First your father and I had each other and then we had you and then we had everything.  Happy birthday, my beautiful little girl. I love you, I love you, I love you. 

Xo,

Karen

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Running a Half

This past Saturday, I did something I never thought I would do: I ran a half marathon.  I know that a few posts back I explained how I would train pretty consistently but that didn’t happen. I got sick halfway through the month of April with a pretty bad cold that turned into a sinus infection. Then Petra got sick and most of my time running was taken up by taking care of my baby girl.  I spent the week leading up to the race running but also not trying to overly exhaust myself because I knew I’d need the energy for Saturday. My long run was 6 miles easy. Like super easy. I told myself 13 miles would be fine.

My diet was a little bit healthier and I focused on eliminating carbs, despite everyone telling me I’d need them for energy.  I’ve just always felt bloated when I eat pasta and I didn’t want to chance it on race day. Someone mentioned that I might have a gluten intolerance and I’ll definitely look into it at some point. I’ve been eating a lot of eggs and chicken breast and veggies and it has honestly helped me feed Petra a healthy diet too knowing we’re basically eating the same healthy food. 

On Saturday, I was pretty nervous and I only had a banana for breakfast but I felt pretty energized.  When I got to the race, I ate one of those energy gels (which are terrible) because I started to have doubts about the fact that I probably didn’t consume enough calories to sustain my energy for thirteen miles. I packed a few gels at 100 calories each on my belt so I could quickly reach for them during my run if I needed them, which I did in the end.

The actual race itself wasn’t terrible. It’s funny because I felt like my body just went into auto pilot after a while and I feel like if I stopped, I wouldn’t be able to start running again so I just ran. It was my most Forrest Gump moment. I ate a gel pack at around mile 6 and my knees started to hurt around mile 9 which wasn’t a great sign. I did start feeling a little tired but I tried to fill my body with empty calories at the water station and I chugged Gatorade instead of water. I’m not one to run with music but during that last mile, my only thought was seeing Lukasz and Petra at the finish line. It really helped me run faster to get home. My time was 2 hours and 17 minutes. 

I will admit, I thought I’d do better but who am I kidding? I wasnt fully prepared for this so I feel like I did decently, trying to maintain a 10 minute mile pace.  Overall, Id do it again. It was fun challenging my body this way. I went out for food and a glass of wine after with my family and Tatiana and Todd but honestly, I think next time, I need to stay home. My body needed all of Saturday to recover and the next day, my legs and muscles were surprisingly okay but my abs were killing me (six pack trying to peek through?). Lukasz and I said we’d run another half in the fall so we’ll see! 

Xo,

Karen

Glossier

It’s not surprise that I’ve always been a fan of Glossier. They make things super simple and easy when it comes to skin care and makeup which is such a necessity when you’re a mom. To me, less has always been more.  Skin first, makeup second!

I usually start my mornings by using Milky Jelly Cleanser.  It makes my skin feel so smooth and hydrated and clean even if I went to bed with a face full of makeup. Then I use Priming Moisturizer which leaves my skin feeling babysoft. I like to think of this winter as the winter I discovered moisturizer and how essential it is to keeping your skin healthy.  My make up is super simple with some Nars Blush in Orgasm, Burts Bees BB Cream (whatever has spf in it) and making sure my brows are brushed up and out.

Glossier recently reached out to me to become a rep for their products and I’m so excited to be joining their community.  Feel free to check out my page and shop around! You get 20% off your first order and free shipping on anything over $30.  If you have any questions, let me know. As a rep, I’m more than happy to answer anything and give recommendations. This is such an awesome next step and I’m so excited to be a part of the growing beauty community at Glossier! Happy shopping!

Xo,

Karen

Birthday Planning

Petras birthday is a little over a month away and I’m really trying to finalize some plans that I want to get together for her first birthday! It’s sort of tricky because on the one hand, Petra won’t remember this so it seems like it’ll be mostly a party for the adults. On the other hand, you only turn ONE year old once so we’re pretty excited (and, like, a little sad) at how fast our baby girl is growing up. 

I’m really teetering between just having pizza and drinks at the park next to some swings or maybe like doing a really nice dinner someplace fun and kid friendly.  I’ve even considered brunch because it’s my favorite meal and when it comes to kid foods, there’s nothing more kid friendly than breakfast foods. Plus it’s in the afternoon so we’ll be done by the evening. But I don’t know! It’s all up in the air right now. 

One thing I do have my heart set on, though, is getting her a cake from Milk Bar. Their birthday cake is amazing. Lukasz got me one for my birthday a few years back and I’ve been dreaming of having an excuse to get another one for a while. Because I guess I can’t eat a whole one by myself…  oh well! Any other birthday ideas?

Xo,

Karen

Running


So… I’ve decided to run a half marathon. This decision actually happened at the beginning of February when my coworkers were up for a good fitness challenge. On a whim, I signed up hoping this decision would force me into actually working out and eating healthy.  It didn’t and now I’m about a month away from this race and it’s crunch time.

I’m not actually worried because I’ve always been something of a runner.  I ran before I moved to New York. I ran after I moved because I had nothing to do and no one to hang out with. And before Petra was born, I had been signed up to do a charity run for cancer until I found out I was pregnant. But it’s been longer than a year since I put a good effort into this hobby of mine and my schedule has been so crazy that I didn’t even feel like I had time for to run. 

Well, I just joined a gym and this gym has childcare so my excuses (weather and having a baby) have been whittled down to zero and I’m on my first week of actually running consistently and it feels really great.  It’s something I’ve definitely missed.  Running made me feel really good about myself and I had forgotten that feeling until now.

With about a month to go, I’m really focused on running and breathing for a long period of time.  Since I haven’t had much working out for over a year, I’m not too concerned with time or trying to set some kind of PR… I just want to do a half marathon because I know I can do this. I’m gonna be posting more about this on my instagram account if you want to see. Im pretty nervous… but so excited!

On growing up

I feel like I’ve been wanting to write a post about this for a while but it has taken me time to really form my thoughts on this subject.  I recently watched an episode of Girls where Hannah has to deal with the decision about having a baby or not and she happens to meet a version of herself on a stoop.  This version of Hannah is an actress and has two babies and she gives Hannah some unexpected advice “Kids are super easy.  It’s being an adult that’s hard”.  While I hate to be that person that comes to some sort of realization while watching a dumb show, this dumb quote really resonated with me.  Being an adult is hard.

I’m not going to get super specific about how I came to be pregnant and whether it was planned or not but, I will say that Lukasz and I were two semi-adults when everything happened.  And even the most prepared person will be caught off guard when that pregnancy test comes up positive.  Up until that point, my free time was spent lounging around, wasting money on crap and alcohol and probably watching TV during my free time.  Free time… remember that?  It’s really funny how having to raise a baby really, sort of, throws you into just being an adult and making adult decisions… or “Adulting” as the kids are calling it these days.  Now I have to think about how I spend money a little bit more and having a baby girl really affects every decision I make, right down to my eating habits.  How can I expect my daughter to eat healthy when I’m eating burgers all the time?  Lukasz and I have been thinking lately about how to advance in our careers and making a five year plan about what property to buy in the future, something with an extra bedroom in case we have another baby and a yard for our dog.

While it all seems pretty understandable, it’s just all so new to me. Also!  Kids are not easy.  But I’m going to really blame Petra on this one.  I’ve met other 10 month old babies and Petra has a crazy amount of energy that it’s hard to keep up with her sometimes.  But ok, all of that aside, I remember when Lukasz and I were thinking about getting a dog and we really wanted to wait for the right time because a dog was a “big responsibility” and we had to walk it twice a day and feed it.  In hindsight, I laugh at us back then and how silly we were.  Now if someone tells me “I can’t get a dog, I just don’t have the time for it.”  I roll my eyes and shake my head and juts walk away before this rage boils up inside of me and manifests itself in word vomit.  A dog is a piece of cake and babies are hard.  BUT they’re worth it.  My daughter is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life and even if I’m exhausted every single day, I go to sleep grateful and happy to be her mother.  And I’d do it all again a million times over.

xo,

Karen

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