It is ironic that as I write this, my daughter is crawling on me and my son is driving a car on my foot.
There are many pictures I could post from the past two weeks that have depicted “rest”. I have been able to “rest” an extraordinary amount. My little sister who lives on the east coast, came to visit us in California. I had not seen her since September of last year. She had plans to fly out in March, but then, you know, a global pandemic happened. March turned to May; surely this would be over by May, we all naively thought. May turned to June. The changing news and other family members’ varying opinions made it difficult to settle on a date. Finally, she booked a flight for the end of July. Ten months, the longest I’ve gone without seeing my sister.
It had been 132 days since the start of quarantine when she arrived. 132 days of unrest. 132 days of roller coaster emotions, ‘doom and gloom’ news, political/social justice protests, and presumptive fear. 2020 has been anything but restful.
When I stop to think about the quality of my life, the definition of rest for me goes deeper than just “taking a day off from work” or “sleeping in”. Rest to me is being surrounded by people who are life giving, who fill my cup. As opposed to people (or things) that consume my time and cause me stress and unrest.
There was a funny meme circulating how the absence of community during quarantine caused people to “miss those they didn’t even like”. I have always opted for fewer, more meaningful friendships as opposed to casting a wider net. For me, these past 132 days have further solidified and deepened friendships with those that I knew were my “number ones” pre-Pandemic.
While my sister was visiting, we took a trip to Lake Tahoe, one of our favorite places. We packed our SUV tight; four adults, two kids, and a storage turtle-full on top. My sister and her girlfriend joining us was every mother’s dream. It felt like having two full time nannies with us, who never went off the clock. Part of me is ashamed to admit that they did more for my kids on that trip than I did. My sister sat between my three year old and one year old the whole ride there and back – eight hours total. Due to the bedroom structure, I put my one year old’s pack n play in my sister’s room and she woke up with her every morning at 6:00 am. She cooked for us, changed diapers, wiped my toddler’s butt, applied sunscreen, packed beach bags and lunches, meal-prepped, took my daughter for a hike when she couldn’t nap, took my son on his first kayak ride, and babysat so my husband and I could go to dinner.
What did I do?
I laid on a beach towel and read a book. In the middle of the day, 210 miles from home, surrounded by strangers, socially distanced of course (#2020). Rest, in that immediate moment, was an hour’s worth of reading by the lake. However, in the broader sense, rest was the accumulated time spent with someone who added to my quality of life.
As moms, we are constantly in “survival mode”; then you add a global pandemic, and we are suddenly actually trying to survive in an alternate universe with no childcare, no school, no playgrounds and no play dates. As Leeana Tankersley wrote in Always We Begin Again:
“At some point, we need to exit survival mode – even if it’s for an hour or two a week- and learn how to practice the kind of rest that brings us back to the moment instead of taking us out to sea.”
My daily rest will not look like me reading a book solo on a beach. But, it can look like me writing this blog post at nap time, or listening to a podcast (Coffee + Crumbs) while preparing dinner. Taking little breaks in the day, asking myself what my body needs, or what fulfills my soul.
I’m so grateful for the time my sister spent with us and the many ‘breaks’ I had with her around. The day after she left, I was reminded how lonely motherhood is. How we can feel like we’re drifting out to sea.
We need rest and we need each other, to bring us back to the shore.
This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in this series “Rest — A Photo Essay”.
We were four days away from the first day of spring, and it was our last Saturday morning as a family of three. My sister Lizzy and her girlfriend Katie were coming into town that night, and we had planned one last family outing to Vasona Lake Park in Los Gatos. The sun was shining, and birds were chirping, and I could feel a shift in the seasons…and not just the vernal equinox.
I knew we were approaching a shift in our season of life. After 2+ years of being parents, we had finally gotten to a place of comfort. We had our routine, our son was happy and healthy, we were all getting sleep, and despite all the demands of life, we still felt like we had enough to give to each other at the end of the day.
I was 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant. At my doctor appointment that past Monday, I had asked my OB about processes to help start labor. I hadn’t gained as much weight as I did with Gio, but physically, I was done. I had it in my head that this baby was going to come at least a week early, and now that we were getting closer to that “deadline”, I was getting anxious. Gio had been two days early, so surely this girl would come early. My OB told me that she would make an appointment for the following Monday (39 weeks), and if I wanted, I could get my membranes striped in hopes of starting labor. Although I was ready to be done being pregnant, I didn’t feel comfortable resorting to this solution yet. She told me to try some other natural labor inducers first, like sex.
With this in mind, Kendrick and I devised a plan for “Operation: Get Baby Out”. My sister and her girlfriend were scheduled to land at SFO around 9:00 pm Saturday night. We got home from our morning at the park around 2:00 pm. Gio had fallen asleep and so we took advantage of the quiet time to “nap”.
I’m not sure if it was coincidence or the right timing, but less than four hours later, I started having mild contractions. Kendrick had taken Gio out for a walk, and I was sitting on the couch reading my kindle. I had mild cramping pains, and jokingly said to Kendrick, “I think I’m having contractions”, but didn’t really think it was anything to worry about. Kendrick however was convinced that I may not make it through the night. “what’s your sister up to?” he asked. He was referring to my sister Alishia who lives locally in Palo Alto. He said I should start making a plan in case we had to go to the hospital before my other sister Lizzy landed. “There’s no way we’ll need to go to the hospital before then,” I stated surely.
I looked at the clock and figured I should start timing my contractions, just to be safe. I also realized how hungry I was; it was after 6:00 pm and if we DID have to go to the hospital, this could be my last meal. I felt hungry, but as I was eating, I also felt a wave of nausea. That’s weird, I thought. After dinner I went back to laying on the couch, trying to ignore the contractions that were happening. Kendrick went off to give Gio a bath, and I retreated to take a shower and see if that made me feel better. The contractions were definitely getting stronger and closer together. I had one right before getting in the shower, and then another one in the shower. When I got out, I looked at the time and saw that only 8 minutes had passed. That meant my contractions were probably about 5 minutes apart now.
That’s when I started to feel something that was familiar to me. An uncontrollable trickle running down my leg; which only meant one thing..that my water was breaking. This is when i started to panic and reality set in. It was 8:20 pm…my sister still had 40 minutes until she landed, but I knew we weren’t going to be there to pick her up. I can’t remember if I dialed the hospital first, or my friend Sona, but knowing that we couldn’t leave Gio alone I think I called Sona first to see if she could come wait at our house until my sister arrived. All the while, Kendrick was still putting Gio to bed and didn’t have a clue what was going on.
Sona said she was able to come over (thank you, Sona!!); I hung up and then called the hospital to let them know what had happened and that we would be on our way shortly. I gathered the bags we had packed, and made sure I had everything I needed. I went out to the living room and saw that Kendrick was finally leaving Gio’s room. “My water broke, we need to go the hospital,” I whispered. “What??!” he responded quickly. “My water broke about 10 minutes ago. Sona’s on her way over.”
As Kendrick put our bags in the car, he asked what hospital I wanted to go to. Since moving to Sunnyvale last May, Kaiser Santa Clara was closer to us, about 8 minutes away. However, I had given birth to Gio at the Kaiser hospital in Redwood City, and had planned to do the same with Sofia. My OB told me that Redwood City has a team of midwives that help deliver; (the midwife that delivered Gio was a total rock star), and Santa Clara is a teaching hospital so there would be a resident doctor who would deliver. Personally, I just felt more comfortable with having a midwife, so we opted to drive a little further to deliver at Redwood City.
On the way to the hospital we called my mom and told her we were going to have a baby! We checked in around 9:00 pm, and I was surprised how quiet it was on the floor. I wasn’t in a lot of pain yet, but my contractions were still happening, so I was anxious to find out how dilated I was. The nurses seemed to be moving slowly, and not too worried about me. I guess because I wasn’t crying out in pain, haha. I changed into the hospital gown, and sat on the bed to get hooked up to the IV. I had tested positive for strep B while pregnant (same as with Gio), so they had to start me on penicillin. The midwife came in and introduced herself, and when I asked if she could check me, she said she wanted to wait.
I continued laboring for the next couple hours as the pain grew increasingly worse. I was hesitant to get an epidural because of my experience the first time, but I also knew I needed some relief. In the meantime, I had a really strong contraction, and felt very nauseous after and told Kendrick, “I think I’m going to throw up.” There were no nurses around and Kendrick was trying to find a bin but it was too late…I started throwing up and he immediately came by my side, and caught it in his hands. That’s true love right there.
As I had my head hanging over the bed, my nurse came in with another nurse who was going to be taking over for her (this was around 11:00 pm). They started chatting and were completely unaware that Kendrick had his hands full of barf. “This is completely normal,” she said. “Looks like you’re in transition.” Well, that didn’t make me feel any better; all I wanted was for someone to wipe my face and bring me a cool compress for my head.
“Do you want to get the epidural?”, a nurse asked me. I was still hesitant, so she asked if I wanted an anti-nausea medication instead. Even though I was in lots of pain, and had just thrown up, I was trying to push through. “No,” I replied, “but can someone check me?” She said she would get the midwife to come back in. Before making my decision to get the epidural, I wanted to be checked so I could have an idea of how much longer until “go time”. She said I was 4 cm dilated, and upon hearing that I felt disappointed. Only a 4? I thought. It could still be a while until I had to push this baby out, so I should probably get the epidural. It was around midnight, and the nurse told me the anesthesiologist was on the floor, so it would be convenient to request the epidural now.
I got the epidural sometime between 12:30 and 1 am, and after it set in, I was immediately relieved. The intense pain finally stopped and I suddenly felt so exhausted. The nurse dimmed the lights, and Kendrick and I took a nap. I woke up around 2:30 am, not to the feeling of pain, but just lots of pressure “down there”. I waited a bit before saying something to Kendrick. “Babe…” I whispered gently. “What?” he responded groggily. “I’m feeling lots of pressure down there. I think I have the urge to push…”
I pressed my call button for the nurse. I told her I was feeling pressure down there, and she said, “well, you can always push your epidural button for another dose if you’re feeling pain.” “I’m not feeling pain,” I responded, “just lots of pressure.” She checked me, and said I was 7 cm dilated. She left the room and Kendrick said, “let’s go back to sleep for a little bit.” It was 3:00 am, and the pressure wasn’t going away. I was certain that what I was feeling was the urge to push. I called the nurse back in, told her, “I have the urge to push.” That’s when she said okay, let’s get the room ready.
I was confused that I was suddenly going from being 7 cm, to getting ready to push out a baby. The nurses got the tools ready, and put my legs up on the stirrups. The midwife sat down between my legs, wearing shamrock earrings. I couldn’t believe I was about to give birth to our little girl on St. Patrick’s Day! Kendrick texted my mom at 3:24 am saying “time to push”.
Four (or five) pushes later, at 3:32 am on March 17, 2019, Sofia Alessandra entered the world. They immediately placed her on my chest, but were worried that she wasn’t crying enough right away. All I remember were the nurses saying, “we need her to cry more”. She ended up being OK…but the strange thing was my placenta hadn’t come out yet. With Gio, I didn’t even feel it come out; but this time, I had to push it out. I forget if they let me leave her on my chest to push; I think they took her away to weigh her and told me I had up to 30 minutes after delivery to push it out and if it didn’t happen, they would have to call in a doctor. After almost 30 minutes passed, the doctor arrived to help but of course the minute she entered the room it came out, HA.
They gave Sofia back to me to nurse and just like her brother, she had no problem latching on. She started nursing at 4:20 am and nursed for 40 minutes.
Here we are, 10 weeks later and I can’t picture life without her. She is definitely a mama’s girl, and still loves to sleep on my chest just like that first day. I’m so glad I typed out this story when it was fresh in my mind, because my memory is definitely not as vivid as the first time.
Since everything happened so quickly, I didn’t get to take one last belly photo…so this selfie from that afternoon will have to do. ;-P
Here are a few photos taken 6 weeks later by Suzy Coleman Photography. Thank you Suzy!
My dearest Sofia, I love you so much precious girl! You are currently sleeping in my arms and I hope to one day share this story with you; maybe even when you are pregnant with your own little girl 🙂 when my mom was staying with us after Sofia’s birth I asked her about her own three birth stories; it’s so fascinating to me that each one is different and also that my mom never got an epidural! (you go, Mom!) Anyway, if she’s anything like me, I know she’ll appreciate hearing the story of her birth.
Psalm 139:13 : For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
It’s a Wednesday morning, I’m sitting in Starbucks, and I am writing. Funny how free time now seems like such a luxury! Kendrick took Gio to his gym class this morning, and I have a hot cinnamon shortbread latte next to me.
I can’t believe in less than 8 weeks we’re going to welcome a new member to our family. I know it’s been a while since I posted, so let me back up and start at the beginning.
2018 was a year of growth for our family, in more ways than one. In May, we moved into our first house. It still feels crazy saying that. Then, two months later, we found out I was pregnant. It was a strange feeling of excitement, but also partial annoyance that just when things started to feel “settled” and like we had this whole parenting thing down, our world would be turned upside down again. Gio was 19 months old and in that “bliss” stage. Plenty of other parents had warned us that when he turned 18 months, our ‘itch’ for another baby would come on. I didn’t personally feel that…instead I thought, “things are great right now! I don’t want to mess that up.”
Alas, God always laughs when we make our own plans. Sitting here now over 7 months in, I realize that I am ready for this. I’m ready for the sleepless nights again. I’m ready for the newborn cuddles. I’m ready for Gio to become a big brother. 🙂
How we found out I was pregnant
This pregnancy started off with me eating pickles out of a jar. True story. Before I even knew I was pregnant, Kendrick found me in the kitchen eating a pickle. I remember him giving me that sideways glance and asking, “are you pregnant?”
I laughed out loud exclaiming, “NO!” He smirked a bit and said, “OK; but I’ve never seen you eat pickles from a jar.”
He walked out of the room and I pulled up my PMS tracker app on my phone. On the app, it will show little red dots on the days when your period is expected. Those little red dots were filled in for the week before… which meant, I was a week late. I scratched my head, truly confused about how this happened. Wellll, I know how it happened, but it still didn’t totally make sense to me. At that moment, I was puzzled, but honestly not that worried. It had only been a couple months since I had stopped breastfeeding Gio, and I figured maybe my cycle was off.
I closed the app and tried not to worry about it. I’ll wait a few more days I told myself, then if it has not come, I’ll take a test.
Fast forward to three days later, and I’m waiting in line at a small grocery store with a sandwich and pregnancy test in my basket. Kendrick knew that I was buying a test, and we agreed that I would wait until he got home that afternoon to take it. This had been the initial plan with Gio, but I had been too excited to wait for Kendrick and took it on my own before he got home.
This time, I went into the bathroom alone, peed on the stick, and set it on the counter and closed the door. I walked out to the living room where Kendrick and Gio were sitting. I gave him a nervous smile, still not exactly sure what I wanted the result to be. In two minutes, our world would (possibly) change. Part of me wanted to delay that reality as long as I could, because at this point I was fairly certain I was pregnant.
Well, you can guess what happened next. We all walked back to the bathroom, including Gio, and opened the door to our fate. It was positive! We were now a growing family of four.
The rest of my first trimester wasn’t too different from my pregnancy with Gio. I didn’t get the dreaded morning sickness, which I was SO thankful for; but Kendrick noticed that I seemed more emotional and hormonal this time. (his words, not mine….haha)
The rest of the summer passed quickly…my mom came out to help in August, so that Kendrick could go to Brazil and celebrate his grandma’s 100th birthday. We had a wedding at the end of September, which my mom came back for and we spent a couple nights alone up in wine country.
Then it was October and Fall was upon us. We both decided we wanted to find out the sex of the baby again, and scheduled it for Halloween day. I also knew I wanted to plan a trip with just the three of us before baby number two came. I had been to San Diego with my family when I was nine years old; that was actually the first time I came to California and I hadn’t been back since. As I was researching hotels, I remembered the name of the resort I stayed at with my family. I looked it up to see if it was still around, and it was! It’s called Paradise Point Resort and located in Mission Bay; close to the airport, and close to lots of touristy spots like the San Diego Zoo. I won’t go into details, mainly because I don’t have time, but we loved our experience there. The resort has everything you need, and the rooms are super spacious, modern, and comfortable. We bought the most basic room with a King size bed, but had a huge bathroom, a sitting area with a couch, and a round table, a large walk-in closet, and a private back patio with a couple adirondack chairs.
I am so, so glad we took that vacation together. It was truly memorable in so many ways and such a special time that I will forever look back on. It was actually on that trip that I first felt the baby kick; AND I had a dream that baby was a girl. The night after I had the dream, we were watching the sunset on the beach, and as the sky turned pink, I thought, “yup, it’s a girl.” ❤
A few days after we got home from San Diego, it was finally time to find out the gender of baby #2! Kendrick was certain it was a girl, and I was pretty sure as well but still had doubts.
We took Gio to our ultrasound appointment with us, and Kendrick and I both wore pink for our prediction of the gender. We were right!
We revealed the news at our friends house later with a combined Halloween/Gender Reveal party. I popped a black balloon which had pink powder inside. Here’s a picture of us before sharing the news! (If you’re wondering what my costume was, I was the “Lady in the Yellow Dress”, a play on the “Man in the Yellow Hat” from Curious George. Gio was Curious George (aka a monkey) but wasn’t wearing his costume yet.
This has turned into a very long post, I’m sorry!! That’s what happens when I forget to document almost my whole second pregnancy. I’ll leave off with these few pictures we took in early November when I was 21 weeks along. A mom friend of mine, Suzy, (of Suzy Coleman Photography) took some family photos for us and also managed to sneak in a few shots of just me and baby girl 😉
Wow it’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write a blog post. I’m feeling a little rusty to be honest! While writing has always been a passion of mine, it’s definitely fallen on my priority list since becoming a mom. However, whenever I do make time to write it feels so good! Especially if I know that what I’m writing about can benefit someone else out there.
As you may know, or not know, my husband and I are owners of a fitness studio, called Studio K-Fit here in Redwood City, California. In addition to personal training, we offer our signature small group workout called K-FIT HIIT; a high-intensity cardio class. Participants have the choice of doing a 30 minutes or 60 minutes option (K-FIT HIIT 30 & 60) We’re the only studio in the Bay Area that offers a low impact, high-intensity cardio class utilizing both the Water Rower and the Airdyne Bike. What I love about these classes, bias aside, is they can be modified for practically anyone at any fitness level. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of running. Professionally, I’m still not a huge fan because of all the strain it puts on your joints. After I became pregnant, it gave me a good excuse to stop running, but I didn’t want to lose my cardio stamina either. The Water Rower and Airdyne Bike were the perfect equipment for me; and with some modifications during the core segment, I was able to continue working out up until my son was born.
Once I was cleared by my doctor postpartum, I jumped back into K-FIT HIIT classes. Working out during those early months didn’t pose a problem, because I could just bring my son along with me (perks of being a Studio owner) and he would sleep during it. As he got older, and he started staying awake longer, I was presented with a new set of challenges. My once easy going baby no longer could sit through a class without needing something from me. Plus, our Studio is not designed to be “baby friendly”. Although we are the owners (and can essentially do what we want), I didn’t want to be inconsiderate to our clients who come to the studio to escape the craziness of their lives. Many of them are parents themselves, so they’ve dealt with their fair share of child meltdowns. There’s a time and place for everything… but I quickly realized I had to find an alternative to bringing Gio to the Studio.
I heard about Fit4Mom through a non-parent friend who had another parent friend with a baby born two weeks after Gio. She told me that their Stroller Strides class was held down the street from her house and that I should check it out.
My first Stroller Strides class I attended, my son was about 3 1/2 months old; and it felt like an accomplishment just getting out of the house on time! The class begins with a warmup together, introducing ourselves and our babies, and sharing a fun fact about ourselves. Then, the group splits off into two smaller groups…those who are walkers, and those who are runners. I chose to walk and followed the other mamas to another location in the park where we would complete a strength set. The only equipment we use during class are resistance bands and yoga mats. The instructors do a really great job of utilizing park benches, sidewalks, fences, basketball courts, walls, and fountains to perform our exercises. For example…doing step-ups on a park bench, or pushups off a sidewalk curb. It’s all about being creative.
We usually complete four or five strength stations around the park, and work our cardio in by walking or running to each station. All the while, the babies are getting the royal treatment. Not only do instructors lead the mamas, they also entertain the kids! At each station, instructors will either sing nursery songs for the babies, read a book aloud, or when babies get fussy and cry, they’ll rock/push the stroller back and forth so the mom can finish her exercises. It’s a full on show!
At the end of class, we’ll circle up and lay out our yoga mats to do a few core exercises and stretch. Kids are required to stay in the strollers for the duration of the class for their own safety and for the safety of others. However, sometimes if kids are getting fussy at the end, instructors will let them come out during stretch time, with the caveat that the quality of the mom’s stretching will be affected. It’s cute to see toddlers try to imitate their mamas; they just want to get in on the workout too! 🙂
In addition to the workout, there’s scheduled activities for the kids after class each week. Some of these things include arts and crafts; like making a sensory bag, finger painting, or making play dough. Other activities include story time at the library, meeting at a coffee shop, or a trip to the playground. This is what makes Fit4Mom truly unique and special in my eyes. They go beyond building a fitness empire, to building a strong community of moms. Their slogan, “strength in motherhood” couldn’t be a more perfect description of the values and ethos which they embody.
*It should also be noted that this group is totally breastfeeding friendly! As a new mom, I was nervous to go out places when I knew my plans would overlap with when I had to feed Gio. That’s what I love about this community, they just get us! They know that we have other priorities and that being a mama always comes first!
Honestly, there was a period of a few months when Gio and I couldn’t make it to class, because he was taking his morning nap at 9:30am. Some moms may not find that an issue, but for me personally, I knew that I would be stressed out if I didn’t let him nap, so that was a sacrifice I had to make.
Overall, I can not recommend Fit4MOM enough. I’ve met so many wonderful moms through class, and Gio’s met lots of new friends! It’s something we look forward to each week, and Gio really enjoys watching me exercise. He’s been known to even laugh when I’m doing pushups, burpees, or jumping jacks. I still have yet to figure out if he’s laughing with me, or at me….HA.
If you live in the Bay area – Fit4Mom has locations on the Peninsula, San Mateo, Fremont, and Danville. Gio and I personally attend class at Burgess Park on Mondays and Wednesdays, and at Burton Park on Fridays. If you attend one of those classes, come say hi! We’d love to meet you.
As I write this, I remember at this time last year, I was in the hospital waiting for my contractions to start. I was admitted to the hospital on December 5, because my water broke at home, but Gio wasn’t born until 7:45 pm on December 6. You can read more about Gio’s birth story here.
I intentionally planned to celebrate Gio’s birthday early because we chose to have him dedicated at our church the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Both of our parents were planning to be in town, so I thought why not lump the celebrations together and do one, BIG joint celebration!
Donuts have always had a loving place in both my husband and I’s heart. After moving to the west coast, it became a silly obsession of ours to always get Dunkin Donuts when we traveled back east (they don’t have any where we live!). Especially when my sister and brother in law were living in Boston, there was practically a Dunkin Donuts every corner! Kendrick and I are able to buy the French vanilla coffee (our favorite) at our local grocery store, but as for donuts, we had to drive to Half Moon Bay (40+ minutes away) to satisfy our craving.
That is until we discovered an amazing donut shop within walking distance from our house (dangerous!) called Donut Delite. I feel like I’m cheating on DD by saying this, but their glaze donuts are seriously heavenly. (And better than DD in my humble opinion). SO, all that to say, when I came across the donut 1st birthday theme on Pinterest, I knew I had found a winner.
A lot of my inspiration came from a fellow blogger who executed the same birthday party theme for her son earlier this year. Unlike many other donut party pictures I saw, where there was a lot of pink, purple, inflatable donuts, and other brightly colored tableware and decor; the way Julie did it was simple, not overdone, age appropriate, with just the right pop of color. Take a look at her party here.
The donut printables and favor tags were available for FREE on Julie’s site. She had also linked to the donut balloons on Amazon, and other party decor she used.
I ended up making a lot of the decor myself, since I had the time and wanted to save money. I bought a 1 inch round paper punch, and punched out confetti for the tables, and also used it to punch holes in the paper donuts I made. I made Gio’s “ONE” banner for his highchair, and bought the white tassel banner at Target. I’ll link to all the decor throughout this post.
It was a lot of work pulling everything together, and I couldn’t have done it without my amazing family – my mother and sister in law have impeccable taste and stellar decorating skills, so they really helped pull my vision together. My mom and sister did a lot of the work behind the scenes with all the food prep and plating, and clean up after the event. It takes a village, right??
We served fruit skewers with strawberries, pineapple, and donut holes on the ends. OF course I had to serve bagels too since they went with the “donut shaped” food theme. And the beloved glaze donuts.
I also made homemade “donuts” that were egg-free since I have a friend with an egg allergy. Also, I knew not everyone likes donuts so I wanted there to be something for everyone.
I bought Pumpkin Bread mix from Trader Joe’s, and subbed flax seed for the egg, and baked them in my donut pan. I rolled them in cinnamon sugar after they cooled and they were the perfect treat! I also made banana bread “donuts” and just followed a banana bread recipe and baked them in the donut pan, and topped with powdered sugar.
It is 7:22 am on a Tuesday morning, and Gio is taking his first nap; he was up at 4:30 am.
So, since I’m already one pumpkin muffin + 1 cup of pumpkin spice coffee in, I figured I’d do some writing 🙂
I’ve been wanting to share some of my favorite books and podcasts lately, because they have been so encouraging to me, especially in this season of motherhood. What I particularly love about reading books by other moms or listening to podcasts hosted by moms, is that often times I find myself saying, “ME TOO!”. That is what I love about this new community I am in, we just GET each other. All other societal divides are put aside when you meet another mom. You have a connection and bond that no other person can understand. No matter what stage of motherhood you’re in, all moms have been through whatever it is you are going through, and that to me is SO comforting.
Since becoming a mother, I have noticed that I don’t judge people as much as before. I heard someone say, (I believe it was Ashlee Gadd on the Coffee + Crumbs podcast) that “we do way less judging as a mom, because we don’t want to be judged for being a bad mom.”
That mom who lets her child eat food off the floor? …FINE.
That mom with the crying baby in the checkout line at Target…I’VE BEEN THERE.
PSA: THIS IS A JUDGMENT FREE ZONE MAMAS.
We all have to make decisions that are best for our family, for our child, for ourselves…so, how we choose to parent may look a little different. But, no matter what, we should extend the same love and grace that we would want to be given; because at the end of the day…we fed, clothed, changed, played, bathed, and kept another human being alive; and that deserves some praise!
Coffee + Crumbs– I learned about this podcast from another mom who posted a link to the show on Facebook. After listening to the first episode, I realized that all 3 moms who host the show all live in California! I felt even more of a kindred to these mamas who were living and raising kids on the west coast.
The Goal Digger Podcast– This is not particularly motherhood related, but I’ve been following Jenna for a while now, (since before I was pregnant), and she is such an inspiration. From starting her own photography business, to educating others on how to start a business, to launching her own podcast for creative girl bosses; she is such an authentic, hardworking gal. She has also been very open about her personal life and struggles, including two miscarriages in the past year. Right before I found out I was pregnant with Gio, she shared that she had a miscarriage. Although I’ve never met her, I grieved alongside her as she shared her walk down this road. I’ve been continuing to follow her journey and no matter what you are going through in your life, she is an encouragement for all of us.
My favorite episode recently is: #74 “How to Stay Creative and Tackle Your Next Project” with author Emily Freeman. I resonated with so much of what Emily said and it was actually from listening to this episode that I felt encouraged to start blogging again. (I had been on a little hiatus since April).
Of Mess and Moxie – by the hilariously funny Jen Hatmaker. I literally laugh out loud when I read her books. Now that I am a mom, I can relate to her so much more. She is just honest and real y’all (she lives in Texas, which is rather fitting for her big personality). I also recommend reading, “For the Love“.
A collection of short stories complied by the women of the Coffee + Crumbs podcast. An easy, encouraging read. I started crying 2 pages in. Lots of good reminders — I did a lot of highlighting!
Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Above all else, your body will become a home for your children- your lap will become a place of security, your chest a place of warmth, your arms a place of assurance. Every inch of you will be used to care for these children, and though its completely and utterly exhausting on most days, the super hero stamina is still a miracle worth noticing.”
“You are always a mother. You are not only a mother.”
“It turns out, one of the most wonderful joys of motherhood is the other mothers.”
“Other moms have messy feelings too, and it doesn’t make us monsters. It makes us human. It makes us weak. And acknowledging that makes us strong.”
Wow my little baby is 10 months! My last monthly update was when he was 4 months…and I don’t nearly have the time to catch you up on everything since then; but, I would like to share what’s been happening recently.
Gio learned to crawl! It started out as a scoot/belly crawl at the beginning of September, and moved in to a full on crawl on all fours. Now it seems like he can get across our little apartment in under a minute (CUE: SHOCK FACE). Heaven help me when the boy starts walking…thank goodness we live in California where the weather is pretty much perfect everyday; I have a feeling we’ll be spending a lot of time outside!
Gio also learned to pull up this month. It just happened in the past week actually, and all he wants to do is grab things at a height and pull them down, especially the remote control. If he eyes that thing, he is SO determined to get it that he’ll risk being thrown off balance; resulting in some bumps to the head.
We had to put up a baby gate/superyard, and the same day I was going to order one from Amazon, a mom in one of my Facebook groups posted one for FREE. ((I had no idea that baby gates can cost over $100!!)) Not really a fun purchase to make, so I was stoked I could get it second hand.
Some of the highlights this month also included a trip to Santa Barbara and Los Angeles mid-september. The last time we were in Southern California was in April (right after Gio turned 4 months), so I was excited to go back and make new memories in our favorite place … more on that in another post. 😉
Although some things have gotten easier when traveling, like not having to stop as much to breastfeed or change his diaper, it has also gotten harder because he’s now growing and moving and doesn’t like to sit STILL! He really doesn’t like his car seat and 50% of the time will make a fuss when I put him in it. We lucked out on the drive down and I was able to sit up front with Kendrick while Gio napped a bit and entertained himself for the most part. We also broke out “The Wiggles” Nursery Rhymes video on YouTube when we needed to…on vacation anything goes!
Another fun part of Gio growing up is having him join us at the table when we go out to eat. He looks so cute and grown up sitting there in the high chair. Let me tell you, the kid LOVES to eat. Like father, like son. He pretty much will eat anything I give him; correction, he WILL eat anything I give him. We ordered him a side of broccoli when we went to lunch in Santa Barbara, and he gobbled it up. He also had his first taste of pao de queijo (gluten free Brazilian cheese bread). If you’ve been a loyal follower, one of my very first posts I shared with you that I made Kendrick a homemade Brazilian dinner – complete with pao de queijo! Read more here) .
I want to write a separate post on our trip to Santa Barbara, but in case I forget, I HAVE to share with you our most favorite restaurant we discovered. It’s called the Brasil Arts Cafe, and of course, the menu offers a variety of authentic, Brazilian food AND smoothies, acai bowls, salads, and some typical American fare. We loved it so much we ended up going THREE times while we were there.
Anyway, this past month has been so much fun and each week with Gio is a blessing that I never take for granted.
Some other highlights:
He transitioned from 3 naps, to 2 naps. On a good day, he’ll take an hour and 15 minute nap in the morning, and an hour and a half nap in the afternoon. (HALLELUJAH!)
He loves to play peek-a-boo with me and always laughs when I hide and ask him, “where’s Mommy??” and then pop out and exclaim, “There she IS!” …haha gets him every time 🙂
He started saying, “dada” and it’s his only recognizable word…although he doesn’t say it exclusively to Kendrick, so he has no concept of the meaning yet
He signed “milk” for the first time while we were on vacation. Every evening I give him a bath before bed, put on his pajamas and sleep sack, and then breastfeed him before bed. As I was putting on his sleep sack he signed “milk” because that’s always what he gets before bed. (YAY GIO!)
He laughs at the words “BOO” and “MOO”. A sure way to get him to laugh is when I demonstrate the “cat/cow” move like you do in yoga. He ALWAYS laughs when I add the sound effects while doing this.
He has always loved swinging at the park and is now able to play on the rest of the play structures…like crawling through the tunnel! We try to walk to the park/playground down the street every evening if we can. I like to get him tired out before bed 😉
Oh Gio, I love you so much!!
That smile can brighten any day!
This is a picture of my husband Kendrick around Gio’s age…what a resemblance!!
Out to eat in Santa Barbara…eating pao de queijo and broccoli
We stopped in a toy stop while in SB…and let Gio test drive this car 😉 maybe he’ll get it for his 1st birthday…
This past month with Giovanni has been my favorite so far! Each month he grows, I love him more and more. Weighing in at 16 lbs, 14.7 oz; his days as a newborn seem long behind us! He’s already in 6 and 9 month clothing, and size 4 diapers!
He started sleeping in his crib this past month, retired the Rock-n-Play, and graduated to the jumperoo…which he LOVES! He likes to bear weight on his feet when we hold him, so I knew he would be thrilled to exercise a little independence and jump on his own..I’ve already taken so many videos of him in it! He’s so darn cute 😉
He has his own little personality now and this may sound weird but I forget sometimes that he can’t talk (haha)…he expresses his love for me in so many other ways that just melt my heart. Like when I wake him up in the morning, and as soon as I pop my head over his crib his face lights up. Or when he’s sleepy and I scoop him up in my arms and he nuzzles on my chest.
He took his first vacation this past month, and this weekend we’ll be heading down to Southern California for spring break.
Yesterday marked one year since finding out I was pregnant (read how we found out here), and looking back now I smile because though we were SO happy in that moment, we had yet to find out how much morejoyGio would bring to our lives. And as each month passes, I know that there is something even better that lies ahead.
Here’s what happened this month:
Gio discovered his hands…and now they are in his mouth ALL.THE.TIME.
He has become much more expressive and talkative…I know he’s happy as a clam when he just sits and babbles to himself.
Sleeps 8-10 hours at night
Likes to look at himself in the mirror- when I hold him in front of it and smile, he’ll smile back 🙂
Has such strong neck and leg muscles …he always wants to stand on our laps.
He is now able to grip things..and just started holding onto his rattles and toys.
Hasn’t rolled over yet, but he’ll roll on his side so I think he’s almost there!
Is stretching out- he’s now 2 feet, 3 inches long (99% percentile), definitely gets his height from dad!
Is becoming more of a Momma’s boy which I secretly love… 😉 if he meets someone new now, he’ll look away toward me.
Loves listening to his Portuguese children’s songs…since I’m home with him during the day and I speak English to him, I try to play more Brazilian music so he’s exposed to that.
Is looking more like mommy now..his eyes aren’t as almond shaped as they were at birth (which made him look a lot like Kendrick).
Last Friday I had my 6 week checkup post-baby. I tried not to psych myself out for that fateful moment when I would step on the scale. Over the course of my pregnancy I gained 42 pounds. More than I had expected, but since this was my first pregnancy, I wasn’t as worried about weight gain as I was about staying healthy and doing what was best for my body. I was very active for most of my pregnancy and my OB wasn’t at all concerned about my weight, so that reassured me that everything was going smoothly.
Truth be told, when I saw that number on the scale, I panicked a little. I’ve never had to intentionally try to lose weight. I’ve maintained a healthy balance between exercise and nutrition so that I can eat what I want without feeling guilty.
The first 22 pounds have come off seemingly easy. I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding and walking daily. After week 3, when I started finally feeling like myself again, I hit the gym for some higher intensity cardio. My favorite machines have been the water rower, the ski erg, and the Airdyne bike. I like to rotate between all three during my workouts and add strength training in between. Then, I usually finish with a core set.
(NOTE FOR NURSING MOMS: Be wary when feeding your baby after a high-intensity workout! I learned this the hard way. I had no idea that the lactic acid could affect the composition of my breast milk. Recent studies claim that moderate exercise has no effect on breastmilk, only “exhaustive” exercise…this may be the case, but I can only account for my own experience. I spent an hour working out, rotating high intensity cardio with strength training; and when I fed my baby a half hour after, he ended up spitting it all back up. I must also note that my milk smelled sour, something that has never happened before. Since he showed no other signs of sickness, and didn’t have a fever, it made sense that the reason he spit up was due to the composition of the breastmilk. Every body is different and what happened to me might just be a fluke, but I don’t want to risk putting my poor babe through that again so I will be sure to feed him BEFORE working out next time.)
Anyway, I still have 18 pounds to lose to return to my pre-baby weight…however, I can’t deny that having a baby changes your body, and chances are my body is never going to look the same as it did before…and that’s OK. It took over 9 months to grow a baby, so it may just take another 9 months for my body to return toits NEWnormal. I am not going to stress over the scale. I am going to give myself a 5 pound buffer to account for the changes my body’s been through (these new boobs weigh at least a couple pounds each) 😉
I’ve set a goal for myself to lose between 13-18 lbs by April 6, 2017…a little more than 3 months from today. Since this is a first time journey for me, I’ll be documenting my progress along the way. If I don’t reach my goal by this specified period, I will not give up. This process is about the journey, not the destination; my number one priority is my new baby and taking care of his needs first. If that means I carry around some extra weight for a little while, then so be it!
I’ll be posting on Instagram (@mrskfit), Facebook (Mrs K-Fit page), and Snapchat (@acn1228), in addition to my blog…so be sure to follow along on these social media outlets as well.
I’ll also be releasing a newsletter twice a month filled with exclusive content; such as workout videos, delicious (and easy!) recipes, monthly challenges, tips and inspiration, and of course – baby photos! 🙂
To receive the newsletter, be sure to subscribe to my blog!
Here’s a quickie core set to start your week off strong:
15 butt lifts
15 toe touches
10 sit-ups (* I only did one set of sit-ups, but if you feel good, go for two!)
We’ve made it to the one month mark! I think with all the holiday celebrations, it made time go by even faster.
The past month has been nothing short of amazing. Gio’s been such a great baby, and even when I moan about getting up in the middle of the night, I take one look at that face and can’t help but smile.
He is eating like a champ (takes after his father) and now weighs 10 lb. 12 oz, and is 22 1/2 inches long. His hair is lighter than what I thought it would be, and I’m curious what the coloring will be as he gets older. So far here’s what we’ve learned about our little guy.
He sleeps with his mouth open (like me)
He purses his lips when he poops (and also will turn red)
He has started grabbing onto things (especially shiny things like my necklace)
He has started to track with his eyes (if Kendrick puts him down and walks away, he’ll follow him)
He doesn’t like baths
He likes being carried in the Ergobaby
He loves his Rock-n-Play (and has slept mostly in this)
He smiles right after he’s had his milk (aka when he’s in a milk coma!)
His lips and nose resemble mine and Kendrick’s
His eyes are like Kendrick’s
He loves the camera! 😉
Here’s some pictures from his newborn shoot when he was nine days old. Thank you to the talented Jessie Salas Photography. I absolutely loved doing an in-home shoot!
model status…he was totally posing for the camera!
These next few are my absolute favorite!! It makes my heart melt seeing my handsome husband hold our beautiful boy ❤
Sneak peek of the little man’s room…we spend lots of time changing diapers in here 😉