food, Holidays, Motherhood, New York, Travel

It’s officially fall!

I know that it’s been fall for a good amount of time but I feel like we’ve just started to feel those effects on my part of town. The leaves are finally starting to change colors and most days you can feel a chilly breeze that makes you break out the warm jackets and cozy sweaters. But my ultimate bucket wish list? Apple picking. From day one, I’ve told Łukasz that I’ve been on the east coast for such a long time and I’ve yet to experience a real east coast fall: you know, going to see the leaves change, pumpkin patching, apple picking, all the good stuff. Maybe finish the night with a big old mug of apple cider or mulled wine. Now that Petra’s 17 months, there’s nothing she loves more than having the space to explore without worrying about where she could be going. This was obviously a no-brainer of a weekend.

When at the apple orchards, eat lots of apple cider donuts! Petra gobbled these up. We went to Barton Orchards in Poughkeepsie, NY which is about two hours away from NYC. It was an amazing scenic drive. Honestly those changing leaves is what made me fall in love with the east coast and what makes me hesitate when we even think about leaving.

Petra fell in love with this wagon. She immediately wanted to help and pull our cargo but of course she instantly regretted it. It’s not light! I think she ended up enjoying the ride more so she could sit and eat apples and donuts. Łukasz and I would hand her apples and she would put them in our half bushel bag. So helpful!

And of course, sneak bites. It was a day full of apple snacking which I’m definitely not mad about. Healthy snacking is a plus.

On our way back we stopped by the petting zoo and Petra pet all the donkeys. They’re so sweet! Like big puppies, they just wanted to be scratched behind the ears.

I definitely recommend these Orchards. We happened to visit on a Monday so the grounds were rather empty and the cool attractions and restaurants were closed but I’m ok with it if we are able to avoid these crowds! The Orchards full up on the weekends, people get there at 9am. Aside from Orchards they grow their own veggies and fruits and they even have a tap room on site for some refreshing adult beverages. I literally can’t wait to come back here with Petra and Łukasz next year!

Xo,

Karen

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Travel

Up Yonda Farms

On our way back from camping, I knew we had to stop somewhere to sightsee. The drive is, like, four hours! Soon after we left Rogers Rock and had lunch at Bolton Landing, we decided to explore and stumbled upon this beautiful outdoor conservancy. It was called a farm but it was mostly a few close and easy hikes with an indoor butterfly garden. I was mostly excited about the butterfly garden because I wanted Petra to see these Monarch beauties up close. They did not disappoint. Even though I believe Spring is the time butterflies are abundant, on this summer day, we had a fun with a few gorgeous butterflies. Łukasz managed to catch one on his hands and after Petra saw how it was done, she had to grab one for herself too! We held her back though and taught her hold to gently hold them so as not to squash these delicate creatures. Petra learns so quickly by watching us. It's constantly reminding me to watch what I say and do to set the right example for her. Kids really do learn by example!

The hikes in the surrounding areas provides some of the most beautiful views of the lake that I had ever seen. While I got Petra ready to go hiking by slathering her with sunscreen, Łukasz checked in and found out that the property belonged to a rich family who donated it sometime around the 1920's and they turned it into a conservancy to help preserve the natural forest that surrounds it. It's gorgeous! So many lovely wildflowers. I will admit, I wasn't properly dressed for this and I showed up wearing Saltwater Sandals but luckily the forest floors weren't too thick and the hike didn't require any crazy climbing. Petra loved the view as she was strapped to Łukasz' back. It got a little hot so we let her walk around a little at the top of the hill but she was more than content walking on grass and playing with her water bottle.

Such a beautiful day! I'm really glad we got to stop by this space. We had come to Rogers's Rock so much, who knew that this beautiful space was only a few miles away! Adventuring with these two is my favorite!

Xo,
Karen

Travel

Petra Goes Camping

Around the time Petra was thee months old, we wanted to take her camping. Three months! The trip didn't end up happening because it rain and rain plus breastfeeding seemed like I would be confined to a tent the whole time. Well, I'm glad we waited a year because a few weeks ago, we finally took Petra on her first camping trip to Lake George in Upstate New York. Camping had always been one of our favorite pastimes before our little lady was born so we were really excited to see how Petra would like it. Knowing her exploratory nature at 14 months, it was like she had been living in the woods the entire time. She even went to bed in the tent easier and faster than she normally would at home. Isn't it amazing? Sometimes it seems like we're all innately animals who just need to escape to our natural habitat of living in the woods from time to time.

We spent two nights, which is literally NOTHING, to Lukasz' disappointment but we had a great time playing on the lake. Petra was all about the beach and the water at our campsite. We bought her this swimsuit filled with floaties. I'm pretty sure she hated it but it was better to be safe than sorry! It has decent reviews on Amazon. Food happened to be my main concern especially when we have such a picky eater with a few little teeth but it ended up being pretty simple. We had purchased a camping stove a year ago for the trip that never happened and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to quickly sautée some chicken or salmon, both of which Petra loves. I cooked up some veggies as well but she wasn't as keen on those as I was. When traveling with a little one, I would highly recommend a camping stove. It's not exactly "roughing it" but it really took the guesswork out of meal times. For snacks, we packed plenty of fresh fruit and clif bars.

For bedtime, we brought along a few thermal sleeping pads to put outside of the sleeping bags but we also wrapped Petra up in a vintage LL Bean onesie that really kept her incredibly warm throughout the night. Especially with Petra, who loves to toss and turn in her sleep, I was very concerned that eventually she would wiggle out of our sleeping bag but she actually slept quite soundly. It was actually me who probably woke up every hour to make sure she was completely covered and warm but isn't that every mom's story? I really underestimate how chilly the ground can get even if you're going camping when it's 90 degrees throughout the day. The temperature changes so quickly, it always catches my by surprise.

On a side note, Pierrot, our fur ball was all about being outdoors. This guy would probably spend his life camping in the woods if we allowed it but he also needs someone there to feed him and give him clean water or else he will starve. He's quite the mix of outdoorsy high maintenance. He's generally a good calm dog at home in Brooklyn (some would say a CatDog… me, I call him that) but he's actually the best when he's able to run free off leash. He never wanders far and all he really expects is that maybe we toss him a ball every now and again.

And so, I leave you with this cute picture of Petra drinking out of her camping mug and look at her tiny Keens! Overall, it was great miniature vacation with the family. Babies love camping! And we definitely plan to do a lot more camping as Petra grows older. I love that we can really introduce her to a love for the outdoors. It only makes me excited to see her grow up wanting to hopefully do things like be outside kayaking than playing with a smartphone. What a sweet little babe ❤

Xo,
Karen

Motherhood

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

food, Travel

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

food, Holidays

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

Travel

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

Travel

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

Travel

We’re going to Poland!

  

There’s some news we’ve been sitting on for a while that I’m excited to talk about! We’re traveling to Poland in two weeks!

I could not be more excited for this opportunity our little family has stumbled upon.  It will be mine and Petras first trip to Europe and it’s also going to be the first time we meet Lukasz’s side of the family. 

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before but it’s definitely an adventure to raise a baby with two different cultures.  I knew that it would be so important to me for Petra to understand her Peruvian heritage and I know it’s even more important to Lukasz for Petra to really understand what Poland is all about.  For me, having been born and raised in the US, the idea of my culture is a little bit ambiguous but for Lukasz, having been born and raised in Poland, the things that are important to him, culturally, are more defined.

Some close friends know but we’re also trying to raise Petra to speak English and Polish as a priority. I speak to Petra in English and Lukasz speaks to Petra in Polish.  It’s an experiement but we hope it’s one we can succeed in.  The idea of our daughter communicating with her fathers side of the family is so important to us. 

So in the next two weeks, we’re trying to get everything ready and I’m so nervous at the idea of traveling on a plane for a long time with an infant.  Our flight to Poland is at night and Petra has been amazing sleeping through the night, only waking once, sometimes twice. I’ll also be keeping breastfeeding as my secret weapon to pacify her.  I’m hoping the flight will be a comfortable one for her. Any tips and suggestions are very VERY welcome. 

Xo,

Karen

Travel

Lukasz’s Birthday

Last Thursday, my babe, Lukasz, turned 27.  To celebrate, we decided to leave the city and head up to New Paltz.  It’s the cutest little college town.  It has the small town feel that makes me feel like I’m in an episode of Gilmore Girls! 

Unfortunately, we passed the stop to get to New Paltz and ended up an hour away in Woodstock, NY! Never one to shy away from exploring, we drove around to see what fun stuff we could do.  We found a water reservoir hidden along the road and stopped to explore the forest and do a little photo op with the baby.

I really love how Petra has grown so much in these last few months.  Before, my idea of venturing out with a little munchkin would have me filled with anxiety. Is it safe? Is the bugs? Are there ticks? Will I be able to breastfeed?  Now, she’s just as curious as we are to head out into some unknown, safe in her dads arms.  I love it so much and it makes me excited for the days I can spend with these two, camping and hiking when she’s a little older. 

On our way back, Lukasz stopped at an orchard and grabbed a quick bag of apples and cider.  I forgot how much I love fall here.  The air gets chilly, the leaves change into beautiful warm colors.  It truly is my favorite season.

We also stopped by Lukasz’s family’s house in Jersey. They’re such nice and warm people.  There’s also a lot of polish being spoken which I love exposing Petra to.  They greeted us with delicious dinner and an ice cream cake for Lukasz.  It was a good day.  

I love this handsome and amazing man. Happy birthday, my love. ❤️

Xo, 

Karen