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 😉
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).
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 😉
So, I must preface this post by saying I had started writing a 2 week update last week, but never got around to finishing it; SO…this will now be a 3 week update. The beginning is what I meant to post last week, and even though Christmas is over, I want to share my reflections on my first Christmas as a mother 🙂
It’s been 2 (now 3) weeks since Giovanni came into the World and as we get ready to celebrate Christmas, it’s been so special to have him here with us. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and you may remember me saying that before we got pregnant, I was secretly hoping his birthday would fall around this time of year. My own birthday is just three days after Christmas, and it’s been beautiful to reflect on my own mother carrying me almost 27 years ago, and also Mary carrying the baby Jesus.
After giving birth, I am amazed at what Mary had to go through over 2,000 years ago. Even with modern medicine, giving birth is dangerous, and it is a complete miracle to give birth to a healthy baby and also have a healthy mommy. I can’t imagine not having the team of nurses and midwives by my side, and having to labor and give birth in a cold, damp, smelly and unsanitary stable like Mary. Not to mention what her recovery process was like; giving birth is messy! Remember…she was only 12 or 13 years old!! What a scary thing to go through at such a young age. It makes me appreciate the cost of my salvation so much more.
A beautiful song that reflects the humble birth of Christ is Michael W. Smith’s “Welcome to our World”. I look at my own son, and can’t believe that our Savior came into the world in the same way…a helpless little baby. He had tiny fingers and toes, and was dependent on his mother, just like Giovanni is dependent on me.
Kendrick and I have learned a lot these past 3 weeks, and have settled into a schedule (somewhat), and have gotten a lot more comfortable changing diapers (Kendrick has done most of the brunt work in this department). For some reason Gio has the messiest diapers in the early morning hours when Kendrick changes him. (He’s already gotten peed on numerous times.)
Our love for him grows each day, as we find ourselves laughing at his funny faces or admiring his beautiful features. As he slept in our bed yesterday, I found myself telling my sister, “I just can’t believe he’s my child.”
Up until you have children your whole life is centered around yourself. Then, you have a child and this new human becomes the center of your world…it still amazes me that my body was able to grow and give birth to such a perfect being. Kendrick has been saying it is a true miracle when a baby comes out healthy. So much has to go right to have a healthy baby, and the fact that Gio came into this world with 10 fingers and 10 toes, a heart that beats and eyes that can see is a complete miracle.
Here’s a little update on what’s been happening these past few weeks:
My milk coming in. This happened 2 days after coming home and let me tell you…no one warned me how painful it would be!! I took a nap that afternoon, and when I woke up, my boobs had turned to two rocks on my chest!! I’ve had small boobs my entire life, so this new change has been very uncomfortable for me. I qualified for a free breast pump through my insurance, and thank the LORD it arrived the very same day! I don’t know what I would’ve done otherwise. I am very thankful that I’ve been able to breastfeed successfully, and know there are many other mothers who struggle with this. In those late night hours, when I struggle with whether to sleep or pump, I’m reminded that it’s a blessing to be able to feed this boy on my own.
Night sweats. They started the night after I gave birth, but I didn’t realize it was normal. When we got home, Kendrick was concerned I was running a fever, but after a friend came over to visit, she told me these were normal and it’s your body trying to get rid of the excess water you stored up during pregnancy. Whew! I was glad to hear that.
5 Baby Must-Haves:
Fisher Price Rock-n-Play. This thing has been a life saver! We ended up registering for this instead of a bulky swing, and I’m so glad we did!! Gio has actually been sleeping in this instead of his bassinet. It’s small, cozy, and foldable which makes it easy to move and transport. It also plays music, rocks, and vibrates. The rocking and vibrating is really soothing for him especially if he’s a little fussy. I HIGHLY recommend this to any mom.
Kiinde Twist Bags. When my milk came in and I had to start pumping, I was SO glad that I had bought a box of these. I love the twist top for easy pouring, and the measurements on the bag.
Dr. Brown’s Preemie Nipples. My sister-in-law recommended I buy the smallest size nipple so that when I started bottle feeding, Gio wouldn’t get lazy and stop taking the breast. Since my milk came in quickly and I had to start feeding some milk from the bottle, I’m glad I had these on hand.
Pampers diaperswith the color changing line! I didn’t know the diapers had this until I read a blog post late in my pregnancy and the blogger mentioned that Pampers (and also Huggies) have a yellow line down the middle that changes to blue when the baby wets himself. What a genius invention! Although The Honest Co. diapers are cute, I’d rather have practical!
Nursing tank.This is technically for momma but I count it as something for baby too because it helps you nurse so much easier! I’ve lived in these Pea in the Pod tank tops for the past 3 weeks..I even wear them to bed! I have a couple nursing bras, but these are much more practical because you don’t have to worry about wearing another shirt. These are another item my sister-in-law recommended and I stocked up and bought four before Gio was born.
Mommas out there- what are your must-haves?? Feel free to comment and link your favorites down below!
To my readers– thank you for your loyalty this year and for sharing my posts with your family and friends. My hope for the new year is to get back to posting regularly…and also to share my postpartum fitness journey!
As I write this, my little babe is fast asleep and I can’t believe he is here! A week ago today I was laboring at the hospital, a few hours away from meeting my little boy.
This past week has flown by, and I’ve quickly learned that life with a newborn is very busy! Between the feedings, changings, and pumping…the hours in the day seem to disappear. I’ve been lucky to have my mom in town from the east coast, and thanks to her I actually get a chance to eat. I’ve also been able to shower and nap, which are huge accomplishments in and of themselves.
It’s funny how quickly you adapt to ‘mom life’ when your newborn arrives. My focus has shifted completely and I’m 100% devoted to my child and his needs. Breastfeeding has been going well for me, and Gio certainly takes after his dad in the eating department. He has no problem latching on, although he does prefer the right breast. (To compensate, I’ve been pumping my left often.) He is healthy and happy, and even tempered. He slept straight through his circumcision without crying (what baby does that??) and slept through getting his blood taken a few days later. Kendrick joked with the nurse that he is better at getting his blood taken than his momma.
Well, before the little one wakes up I want to try and share what I can from his birth story.
So, here goes!
I was laying in bed on Monday morning, December 5 when my water broke. At first, I wasn’t totally sure that’s what it was. When they portray your water breaking in the movies they make it seem like it’s this big event when everything comes gushing out of you. Well, that wasn’t the case. It was more like a slow trickle that I couldn’t control. Kendrick had just left for work, and so I called him to tell him the news. “Call the hospital!” he said. “I’m coming straight home.”
I called and they told me it sounded like all the signs were there, but they wanted to come in and check me to make sure. They said if my water did break, I would be admitted, so to come prepared. My heart started racing hearing this, and I quickly got changed and cleaned myself up. All our bags had already been packed, so we were ready to go! I wasn’t sure if I would experience this big rush of waters on the way to the hospital so I put a towel down on the front seat just in case.
The drive to the hospital was surreal; I kept looking over at Kendrick and he would turn and smile back at me. We couldn’t believe it was happening! Kendrick called his parents to let them know the news; they had flown in over the weekend from South Carolina and were staying close by. We arrived at Kaiser Hospital in Redwood City at 10:19 am. My midwife confirmed that my water had indeed broken, and so I was admitted. Because my blood type is 0-, I had to have a RhoGam shot during my pregnancy and after getting admitted, they had to give me antibiotics (penicillin through my IV) so that I wouldn’t infect the baby when our blood mixed. I’ve never been good with needles, and after getting my IV put in my blood pressure started to drop. I could feel myself getting faint and losing consciousness. Kendrick said the baby’s heartbeat dropped significantly and all of a sudden 5 other nurses were in the room. They put an oxygen mask over me and told me to lay on my side to help increase blood flow. I kept taking deep breaths and tried to stay calm so that his heart rate would come back up. It started to come back up, and after a couple minutes the nurses said that he was doing better. They left the oxygen mask on me though and continued to monitor for a little longer.
After that extravaganza, I continued a slow labor process into the afternoon. By 2:30 pm the nurses wanted to give me citotec to help move the contractions along. Citotec is a more mild form of pitocin, that I was able to take orally. It only took half a pill to get the contractions started. However, they were still not close enough together so four hours later they gave me a full dose. That made the contractions really strong, so much so that by 10 pm I decided to get an epidural. This time I did not pass out…thank goodness!
My contractions slowed and I was able to sleep for a few hours. Then, I woke up and started feeling them again. The anesthesiologist came in the morning to give me a stronger dose and I ended up throwing up all over myself. From then on, it was hard to keep fluids down- I was nauseous and dehydrated. I was also taking a bag of penicillin every few hours through my IV.
My mom arrived around 11 am. (She flew in straight from Pennsylvania!) She wasn’t supposed to arrive until the 10th, but I had called her late Sunday night (the day before my water broke) and told her I wanted her to come out earlier. Who knew I would start laboring the next day!? It all worked out perfectly.
I continued laboring through the morning and still felt strong contractions; my epidural wasn’t giving me any relief. Finally, by the afternoon, they decided to give me pitocin to speed up contractions so I would have the “urge to push”. By this point, I was in lots of pain, dehydrated and exhausted. I had been throwing up liquids and juices I was trying to keep down.
Kendrick was so worried I wasn’t going to make it through the pushing phase, and even called my midwife aside asking if I should have a C-section…I could barely open my mouth to suck on ice chips.
But then..something strange happened. After they gave me pitocin and decreased my epidural (they decided to do this because an epidural often slows down the labor and dilation progress and I wasn’t progressing as quickly as they wanted me too) so… after they did this, instead of being in more pain I just fell asleep! I passed out but they were monitoring my contractions on the screen and saw that I was having really strong contractions but not waking up. It was very strange!
However, the nurses said not to wake me, because I would need my strength for the last and final phase. I slept for an hour or so and after waking up I felt much better. When my midwife Terri came in she said they weren’t going to give me more epidural; instead they just wanted me to push! It was time to get this baby out. I started pushing at 5:10 pm and had Kendrick, his mom, my sister, and my mom with me in the room. Kendrick was holding my left leg, a nurse was holding my right leg, and I was instructed to grab behind my knees and pull both legs back. While pushing, there were always two people holding my head up (my sister, Kendrick’s mom and my mom rotated).
At 7:45 pm, on Tuesday, December 6th Giovanni Natiello Ribeiro made his entrance into the world!
My midwife Terri immediately handed him to me and I watched while Kendrick cut the cord. They let me hold him until Terri finished stitching me up and cleaning me and then after that the nurses took Gio to clean him up. (I’m glad they let me hold him during that time it was a nice distraction from what she was doing!) They weighed and measured him (8 lbs, 12.9 oz. and 21 inches long) and then gave him back to me to nurse. He latched on at 8:45 pm- an hour after coming out, and nursed until 9:30 pm- 45 minutes!!
After that my sister and mom left and Kendrick’s parents helped move our bags over to the other room we’d be staying in post delivery. My legs were still numb from the epidural so the nurse helped transfer me onto the other bed. They wheeled me and baby over to the other room. That night there were a bunch of nurses in and out checking on me and baby. By that point I was so exhausted and just wanted to sleep through the night, but I knew I had this little thing to take care of and that it would be a long time before I was able to get an 8 hour stretch of sleep again. It’s such a strange feeling after giving birth; you wait 9+ months to meet your babe, and then they come and it’s like meeting a stranger. I did not recognize his face, his features, his expressions, or his sounds yet. Now, a week later, when I look back at his birth photos I see HIM- Gio. But at the time, it was all so foreign to me.
***This post has been interrupted by a projectile pooping incident…OH the joys of parenthood!!
Well, before something else interrupts me I will end this post here. This past week has been a wonderful, crazy ride that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Each day brings a new adventure and a new laugh.