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

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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

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

Starting solids



Even when I was pregnant, the day that my daughter would start solid foods was something I was super excited about.  I was excited because we live in such a huge city with so many different cuisines and flavors and tastes and I couldn’t wait to introduce it all to my little one.

I remember when my little brother was a tiny baby, I woke up one morning to my mother starting my brother on cereal.  I walked up to him, his tiny mouth a total mess and he gave me the biggest smile.  I still think about it and it melts my heart.  It’s still so strange to me that the tables have turned and now I’m the one with my precious little baby and she’s embarking on a new journey of her development. But I wanted to do a few things different…

First off, I didn’t want my daughter to start cereals or rice right away.  I know that it’s a great baby food that keeps babies feeling full but I don’t really feel that they offer much in terms of nutrition.  I also think that foods like fruits and cereal are easy.  When I was thinking of foods to start Petra on, I headed straight for the veggies. I’ve always been such a big vegetable lover.  My mother can attest that I refused to eat meat but I could down a salad with lemon juice squeezed on it like it was nobody’s business.  Even during my pregnancy, I craved cucumbers drowned in lemon juice with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and cumin.  Lukasz, on the other hand, was raised on heartier meals including plenty of meats (hey Kielbasa) and root veggies like potatoes.    So who’s to say what Petra will like more!  This is what’s so fun about introducing kids to new foods!

For Petra’s first food, I pureed sweet potato using a Baby Bullet my parents sent us, which I absolutely loved.  I boiled one sweet potato and blended it with a little bit of water and it made like a million servings! (Ok, more like 6)  The Baby Bullet came with a storage system as well which is absolutely adorable and convenient.  I can freeze foods for later and I can also refrigerate them in cute little containers that have a date dial so I can always make sure the food I made is fresh.

So Petra’s first taste of the sweet potato was not so great.  To be honest, I feel like the reason was mostly due to her learning how to swallow something thicker than breast milk.  A majority of the potato ended up on her bib and halfway through our feeding session, she thought it would be adorable if she could just blow raspberries while her mouth was full (she was right, it was really cute, dammit.)  And I have to admit, having never tried to teach a baby to eat before, it was a little discouraging… I don’t know if I expected her to love it right away.

But I continued to feed her one serving day after day and by the third day, she was loving the sweet potato and a majority of it ended up in her tummy this time around.  I made pureed apples and pureed avocados this morning. It’s also important to remember to try one veggie at a time, in case they’re allergic to any of them!

A couple of books I’m currently checking out on this subject are Around The World in 80 Purees which is a book about worldly baby food to start at 6 months and 201 Organic Baby Purees, the title says it all. I highly recommend both.

Xo,

Karen

The Birthday Post

It finally happened, my 28th birthday came and went.  I don’t feel 28, I don’t feel older than, like, 21.  Are there people out there that feel that way too? Just a perpetual child in a body that’s growing older?  I don’t mind getting older either.  They say you’re supposed to be wiser too.

I had a really good day!  Originally, Lukasz and I had planned to take Petra on her first camping trip but our plans fell through when we realized it would be raining all weekend at Lake George.  Breastfeeding a two-month old baby in a two-person tent because of thunder and rain? Pass.  Luckily, we live in the greatest city in the world so theres always something to do.  That’s actually one of the things I’m really excited to explore with Little Petra: just how much this city has to offer in terms of entertainment and food and culture and just everything.  We decided to hit up the Museum of Natural History and maybe go some place for dinner after on the Upper West Side. And Tatiana and Todd had the day off, so it was basically a party. 🙂

But here’s the thing, have you ever spent a whole day out with a 2 month old? After getting on the second train to take us uptown, Petra decided that some more milk was in order and it could not wait.  So after a pit stop in Central Park for a quick lunch for our baby girl (read: Breastfeeding in the park), we were back on track headed towards the museum.  Here’s a pro-tip:  Never do anything in NYC on the weekends.  Kidding!  But not really.  I kind of forget how crowded everything is on the weekends and the museum was no exception.  Petra slept a little bit and we wandered the exhibits.  I always forget how big that place is going in.  There was so much to see and so many floors and so little time and so many people.BirthdayBirthday6

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We attempted to get this picture a few times. It was kind of hard to get one without Lukasz attempting to grab my boobs, hahaha. What a goofball ❤

And for dinner, we hit up Jacobs Pickles.  It was our first time trying it and it was AMAZING.  Everything, their pickles and biscuits and fries, etc was super delicious.  We even got lucky and sat outside and they accommodated the stroller next to us.  I’m definitely keeping this place in mind for future dinners because it was kid-friendly and the food was great.  That’s one of the things I love about the Upper West Side, how family friendly the neighborhood is.

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I look like I’m throwing Tatiana some shade here but I promise I’m not. I’m probably wondering what lipstick she’s wearing because I love her!

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Half of these pictures were courtesy of Tatiana.  I could have sworn I got more but I guess I was too busy having fun, haha. All in all, taking Petra out for a full day was a little scary to think about but everything turned out great. When we got home, we were exhausted and sleepy and happy.  It was honestly the best low-key way to spend my birthday and I loved every second with my little family and friends.  What a great way to start Year 28!

xo,

Karen

Breastfeeding Essentials


My journey with breastfeeding has definitely been interesting.  Ever since Petra was born, I knew she would be breastfed.  There are so many advantages, medically and financially.  That isn’t to judge anyone that has done formula.  I know that I got lucky in having Petra immediately latch and my supply grow steady. And while I haven’t had any lactation problems so far (except one mild case of mastitis), there isn’t a day that goes by where I question whether I’m producing enough breastmilk or wonder whether Petra is getting the adequate amount of nutrition to help her grow.  She’s only at 8 weeks old but it has been a tough two months full of self doubt and a lot of work, from sore nipples to crazy pumping.  I don’t know about you guys but I very stupidly assumed breastfeeding would be easy.  Gosh, was I wrong but I did want to share the things that made it a little bit better.

1. Nipple Shields: I didn’t even know what this was until I was home from the hospital for 5 days and my nipples began to hurt from, well, Petra breastfeeding so much.  Łukasz is actually the one that brought it to my attention and I was rather impressed at his knowledge of such a thing.  Anyways, a shield is a thin piece of plastic that you put on your boob to create a barrier.  Some hate it because it eliminates the skin-to-skin contact.  Others hate it because they say it might cause nipple confusion.  For me and Petra it was a lifesaver.  My boob-skin (what?) got a break and after a few weeks of wear, I actually didn’t need it anymore.

2. Breast Pump: Oh the breast pump. I began using mine about a month after Petra was home from the hospital.  I love mine.  It was actually gifted to me by a friend who is expecting herself.  Sort of a test run to see how I like it, haha. Mine is electric although I have heard that manual pumps are amazing.  I have personally never tried a manual pump but I have no complaints from mine.  It gets the job done and it’s quick and it has two pumps attached so you can pump simultaneously.  I’ve only done that once though, it makes me nervous when at least one hand isn’t free.  Sort of negates the purpose right? Oh well.

3. Bamboobies: Boob pads! For those moments when you spring a leak the moment you hear a baby cry! No, but let’s get serious for a moment.  How weird is that? I will literally be about to hop in the shower when I could swear I hear Petra cry and bam, my body responds almost immediately.  It has settled down a bit now that my supply is established but these breast pads have been amazing.  I first got them as a sample from a baby expo and I loved them so I bought a whole box. I considered buying the reusable ones but I just can’t deal with the thought of having to wash them all the time. But I’m sure they’re great too! I’m just the laziest.

4. Water: I’ve googled a million lists on nutrition for how to maintain your breast supply and to be honest, keeping hydrated is the only thing I found consistent in those lists.  I now know there isn’t a magical food that’s going to make you produce more milk although women swear by oats, and fenugreek, and lactation cookies.  Maybe they work but I’m tired of eating oats.  Breastfeeding has made me incredibly thirsty though, but it makes sense: you make milk, you expel milk and while water won’t magically become milk, it helps to keep hydrated. Thus, my water bottle is literally always next to me.

5. Ziploc Bags: Lastly, these babies for storing milk.  I haven’t been great at increasing my milk storage in the freezer but I am trying, slowly but surely.  I remember wondering what I’m going to put the milk in and bottles are expensive and bags made for breastmilk are too. So one day while perusing the usual mom forums, I saw a mom say that she uses freezer ziplock bags.  Just make sure you get the ones with a zipper.  They’re inexpensive and they hold milk well. Bam, bought a box the next day and now I have a freezer fullllll of breastmilk.  Well not full but, like I said, slowly getting there.

This all being said, once again, I’m not an expert.  I’m just a first time mom trying to figure it out as I go along and what works for me might not work for others.  Maybe a shield just isn’t for you or maybe you prefer a manual pump, that’s all cool too.

Xo,

Karen

Second Trimester

  

About a month ago,  I officially finished my second trimester and I’d have to agree with everyone out there when I say it was probably the easiest part of pregnancy.  There were times in the beginning where I was still not convinced there was anything in my stomach and during my second trimester, it all became so real as I watched my stomach grow and I started to feel our daughters first kicks in my belly.  It felt like little butterflies that have now turned into full on punches to all of my organs.

All in all though, the second trimester is the easiest because I felt like there wasn’t much happening most of the time.  I slowed down my coffee intake because I found that, with all the hormones, it definitely made me more anxious and emotional than I normally am.  I also took the time to finish my baby registry on babylistregistry.com.  It seems fun to start a registry but it’s also extremely stressful, especially when there a million baby products out there and you don’t know where to begin.  I’m definitely going to write a future blog post about my registry must haves. 

It was also interesting to see Łukasz feel the baby’s kicks for the first time as well.  I can imagine that it was pretty cool to actually be able to feel this little alien growing in my stomach, instead of seeing the negatives of how it was affecting me in the first trimester.  At the end, the coolest thing is seeing how real this is all becoming.  We have set up the baby crib and space in our apartment and its overflowing with so many cute things from our trip to California.   

As far as eating habits go (probably the most common question aside from how I’m feeling) I haven’t had any particularly strange requests or food combinations.  I never craved pickles and ice cream together.  I have been eating more sweets lately and when those sweet cravings hit, I try to reach for fruit instead of candy but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy more often than not some starbursts or a bag of skittles.  I’ve never been picky about food though, I love food and I’m always down to try anything once. My eating habits have remained pretty much the same and people say I look like I’ve remained the same, I just look like I have a basketball hidden in my shirt now!  I haven’t even experienced any swelling which is AMAZING.  I’m hoping that will be very good news when the time comes to lose the baby weight. The baby appears to be gaining weight really quickly and the doctor has advised me to do some mild cardio, lest I want a 9 lb baby coming out of me.  I wish I could go running but even a few minutes of it leaves me winded.  I’m also worried that I’m shaking the baby? Is that a thing?  Are there any runners out there that ran well into their third trimester?

As I enter my third trimester,  I can definitely feel sleepiness come over me more quickly.  I hear this last part can be difficult and I’m hoping I can power through! Fingers crossed. 

Xoxo,

Karen