Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it’s officially January 1, 2018! To be honest, I am really glad the holidays are over. While I love Christmas and enjoy doing the Christmas “things”, this winter has been incredibly cold and I have barely wanted to leave our apartment. Which is also a big deal when you have a super active toddler who needs to let that energy out but every time she steps out, she comes back with her cheeks so red, it kills me. Normally I’m ok with the cold but I’m ready for some spring which I know isn’t due for a good while.

Anyways! I’m rambling. I am really excited for a brand new year and to do it all over again. I’m into it, you guys! I’m the cheesy person saying “new year, new me!”. I don’t really have specifics but I know I want to be healthier and make better choices and I think that’s why I appreciate the symbolism of a new year. I really like the thought of just evaluating things right now and determining that something needs to change. I could probably do with drinking more water, maybe going out for more runs. This is it! This is the time to just start fresh.

We started the year off great by heading over to Tatiana’s apartment. Todd and Tatiana had invited us for dinner and it was AMAZING. They used their new sous vide to cook us perfect filet mignon. We hung out and drank wine and chased Petra around. I was semi-determined to keep her awake until midnight but she was soooo due for sleep around 10am. She slept in the next room while we waited for the ball to drop. Honestly, it was perfect, just me and the people that I love. Todd and Tatiana have become like family to us here in New York and I couldn’t be more grateful to have the opportunity to spend the holidays with them.

Petra woke up shortly after the ball dropped and we went home where she pretty seamlessly continued to sleep and woke up on time at around 7am lol she’s such an early bird! That’s ok, though because I’m ok being an early bird too. If it hadn’t been 15 degrees outside maybe a walk would have been nice. Did I mention how I can’t wait for winter to be over already? I hope this year is full of love and happiness for everyone! Cheers!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and all the mother’s out there.  I’m lucky enough to have my mother in town this year.  Petra’s birthday and Mother’s Day are just days apart so that’s just how the cookie crumbled!  We’ll probably be going out to brunch but the weather isn’t being very nice this year which is a bummer.  Anyways, I wanted to thank my mom and all the mother’s out there for all that you do.  It wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I realized it’s a job that comes with many sacrifices but is also incredibly fulfilling to create a little human being and send them out into the world.  I can only hope that I can continue to be a strong woman and be a role model to my little lady and I hope to continue to surround myself with strong women so I am never without inspiration.

Xo,

Karen

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

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

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

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