A few weeks ago my husband and I snuck away for a night while my mom was in town visiting. The two of us were supposed to go to Maui in May, which was going to be our first BIG trip away from the kids. After what a crazy year it’s been, I knew we needed a little recharge.
We are so fortunate to live in the Bay Area, where we have multiple options of amazing destinations within one to two hours from us. Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of them. It’s about an hour and a half drive south of us, and boasts famous sights such as Pebble Beach, the 17-mile drive, and the historic Carmel Mission Basilica.
It’s been a very warm autumn for us, and temperatures have been in the 80s and even 90s up until a week ago. So when I was packing for our getaway, I was excited to finally get to wear my fuzzy sweaters as the weather was 20+ degrees cooler on the coast. We stayed at the Carmel Mission Inn, which is a charming boutique hotel in the Carmel Valley. This was our second time (my third time) staying here. The rooms are modern and newly renovated, there is a pool and hot tub, and it is conveniently located across from a shopping plaza and only 7 minutes to Carmel Beach and Point Lobos state park. The only bummer was that they weren’t serving breakfast due to Covid, but we didn’t mind.
After checking in to the hotel, we went to get massages at The Refuge, which is the first co-ed outdoor relaxation spa in America. Due to the pandemic, they didn’t have the steam room/saunas open, but their hot & warm pools with thermal waterfalls were amazing! They also have cool and cold pools, which I was not interested in trying but Kendrick convinced me to sit for 2 minutes in the “cool” pool which is the temperature of the Pacific Ocean.
Before entering the spa, they took our temperature and required us to wear a mask during the massage, which was outdoors in a tent. I actually loved getting my massage outdoors, because my tent was setup right next to a waterfall which acted as a natural sound machine. When my masseuse found out I was a mom, she told me, “the best thing in life you can be is a mama.” 🙂 I couldn’t agree more.
A “rule” of theirs is no phones allowed anywhere outside the locker room. Kendrick and I had decided that we weren’t going to use social media at all during our trip, so this didn’t bother us and I love that they enforce this so couples can focus on connecting with each other.
After enjoying a few hours at the spa, we hurried back to the hotel for a quick change, so we could catch the sunset at the beach before dinner.
We dined at The Flying Fish Grill which I highly recommend! It was our first time there, and I decided to try it after reading so many five star reviews. Kendrick loved the complimentary wonton chips they gave us with mango salsa. I ordered the almond sea bass and Kendrick had the seafood pasta. Make sure to leave room for dessert because the warm banana sundae was the perfect ending!
I was hoping to catch the sunrise on the beach the next morning, but it was too foggy. We grabbed coffee (I ordered my first PSL of the season!) and walked down the beach. What a wonderful change of scene to our normal routine with the kids. 😉
After, we went to hike at Point Lobos state reserve. I fell in love with the Spanish moss trees that had such an eerie beauty amidst the fog. We didn’t see the sea lions which are popular there, but we did hear them!
We couldn’t leave without shopping downtown for our kiddos. Thinker Toys was a cute shop and we found the perfect gifts for them there. My favorite was Kris Kringle of Carmel; a quaint Christmas shop with ornament personalization. We bought a 2020 ornament and customized it with our names. Our sweet tooth led us into Carmel Bakery, where we picked up some treats for the ride home including cannolis for our neighbors.
Overall, we felt Carmel is doing an A+ job handling tourism during the pandemic. There were signs posted everywhere downtown with a notice of a $100 fine for not wearing a mask. We didn’t see a single person not wearing a mask, even walking on the beach.
Getting away, even for 24 hours, was so revitalizing for our marriage. I truly love spending time with my husband; he’s my favorite person in the world and I always learn something new about him when we travel. Someone told us once, “you two are like the steering wheel of a car; if the steering breaks, the car spins out of control. But, if the steering is in tact, the car can drive smoothly.”
Thanks for steering with me, babe. No one else I’d rather drive with. ❤
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 😉
Two days ago we celebrated our four year wedding anniversary, and I couldn’t let the day pass without writing a quick few words about how extra special our celebration is this year. If you would have asked me on our wedding day, if we would have a child four years later, I would have said the likelihood was 99%. If you would have asked me if we would be homeowners here in the Bay Area; I would have said, “you’re crazy!!” and that there was a <1% chance of that happening.
Well, here we are four years later, with our son Gio, who’s almost 18 months; and we just bought our first home. (cue: surprised emoji)
99% of me is really excited for this next step. I can’t wait to share this home with our family and friends, and finally be able to host our parents comfortably…without them sleeping on a couch or blow up mattress.
I can’t wait to host holidays. The most important piece of furniture to me was buying a dining room table that could extend to fit our whole family.
I also can’t wait to watch Gio grow up in this house. He is going to have so much fun exploring the yard and playing in the play house…and helping me pick our produce (or maybe just eating it, haha). The previous homeowners left artichoke bushes, apple trees, blueberry bushes, avocado trees, and some other kind of fruit tree in the yard! It truly feels like the quintessential California home.
Moving somewhere new means leaving the street we’ve called “home” for almost 5 years. Previous to living in our current apartment, we lived right down the street in a one bedroom, until I found out I was pregnant. You can read about that move here.
This block has been my comfort zone for the past 5 years. I walked this neighborhood many, many times ….from nightly walks with Kendrick, to daytime runs, to slow waddles when I was pregnant, to our first family walk postpartum, to numerous stroller walks/naps when Gio was a couple months old, to wagon rides after he turned one, to walking with him beside me now…. how things have CHANGED.
Oh how I’ve loved this neighborhood; it will always be where Gio first grew up. We’ve made so many good friends, and although we won’t be moving far, it still is sad we won’t be within walking distance anymore.
Tonight will be our last night in our apartment…and I’m feeling all the FEELS. I remember when we first moved here two years ago, and how strange that first night felt. I told Kendrick, “what are we doing?? Let’s move back!” And he said, “You know we can’t do that. We have to move forward now.”
Words of wisdom from my husband that speak so much truth about life. We must continue moving forward. Growth happens when we pass through the uncomfortable. It’s temporary. It doesn’t last forever. And I’ve found some of the best things in life came from me making a decision to be uncomfortable.
SO, here’s to NEW beginnings. TO moving forward. And to having a place called HOME.
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.
Popping in to say thank you to my friend and fellow blogger Alli, of Finding Plan A, for nominating me for the Liebster Award. I haven’t been very consistent with my blog since Gio was born, so I feel honored to get this little shout out.
What’s the Liebster Award?
Originating in Germany in 2011, the Liebster Award 2017 is an online award that is given to bloggers by other bloggers. Liebster translates to sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. The Liebster Award recognizes new and upcoming bloggers that have the potential to grow and become successful influencers within the blogosphere.
All nominees are asked to share ten facts about themselves, as well as the answers to a few interview questions; so I’m sharing the quirky, slightly embarrassing things that have never before been shared on the internet. Here goes.
10 Facts About Me:
I am a former competitive gymnast.
I had an obsession with dolphins in middle school and came home from camp one summer to find that my dad repainted my room to look like an ocean complete with sponge painting ( for the coral) and dolphin wall paper.
My first concert was *NSYNC in fifth grade.
My first CD I ever bought (correction: my parents bought) was Savage Garden.
I was homeschooled from Kindergarten to second grade.
My first bone I ever broke was my (left?) thumb but I didn’t realize it until it was all bruised and blue and purple. I was a gymnast at the time and they still made me do exercises with one hand.
My favorite singer is Michael Buble; I wrote in my high school yearbook that I would marry him.
My guilty pleasure is anything peanut butter and chocolate (random food fact: I used to eat dry cake mix out of the box in high school – SO weird I know, WHY??!)
My first “boyfriend” was a boy I met my first summer at sleep away camp; he lived in Virginia and we sent love letters (okay more like pen pal letters) to each other for the rest of the summer until school started and he forgot about me.
My fantasy is to spend Christmas in a small town in Vermont to live my own version of a Hallmark holiday movie…complete with a white Christmas 🙂
1. What is one place you haven’t been that is on the top of your bucket list?
Italy! I would love to start at the top of the country and travel down south and visit Naples and the surrounding towns, because that’s where my family is from. We named our son Giovanni, to honor our Italian heritage, so I would love for him to see the history behind his name.
2. What is the most daring experience you’ve ever had? (For example: sky diving)
In the summer of 2013, I visited Martha’s Vineyard because my brother in law’s family has a house there. We rode in a boat out to this bridge called the “Jaws bridge”, appropriately named because it was the setting of the fictitious Amity Island in the 1975 movie JAWS. (Note: I have never seen JAWS). Apparently jumping off the bridge is a “thing”, and since I’m not really afraid of heights it didn’t seem too scary to me.
Cut to me climbing up the bridge rail, 20 feet above the water and staring down at all the huge jellyfish floating below. JELLYFISH!!?? No one mentioned THIS! Kendrick was also standing beside me and having a slight panic attack. He forgot to mention to me until this very moment that he was afraid of heights. We debated climbing off and going back to the boat. But, we couldn’t back away now. So, we decided to strategically time our jumps in between the waves of jellyfish. As soon as I hit the water, I jumped on Kendrick’s back and yelled, “Hurry up, swim to the boat!” But he said he couldn’t swim too fast because we would catch up to the jellyfish in front of us. We ended up making it back to the boat without getting stung, but I didn’t swim in the water again the rest of the trip.
3. What is your biggest accomplishment?
Becoming a mom 🙂
4. What’s your biggest fear?
Spiders and snakes – and being trapped in a small space.
5. What’s a hidden talent you have?
I can walk on my hands. (thanks gymnastics!)
6. What’s an activity, craft, or sport that you want to learn how to do?
In high school I wanted to learn how to play guitar, and actually did try to learn, but I have concluded that I don’t have long enough fingers. I secretly always wanted to learn how to act, but the idea equally terrifies me.
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).
I’m so sorry for my absence this past month! As baby Gio gets bigger, he requires more play time with mommy and less sleep during the day…which I’m not complaining about 😉
He’s been sleeping through the night for over a month now. In the beginning, I was doing a late evening feed around 9 or 9:30pm, and then he would sleep until 7:30am or 8! Recently he’s been wanting his last feed earlier around 7:30pm or 8, in which case he’ll wake up earlier around 6 or 6:30am. We’re not on any sort of set schedule, but depending when his last feed is, he’s pretty consistent in sleeping 8-10 hours after that.
We transitioned him to his own room when he turned 3 months. We had my in-laws in town the beginning of March, so I figured it would be the opportune time to do it. Kendrick and I slept in his room on an air mattress (he was in the bassinet), and after they left, we put him in his crib and he slept through! His room is caddy corner to ours and we share a vent, so I knew I would hear him if he woke up.
In other news, this past weekend was our first family getaway!
Kendrick and I have been going up to Lake Tahoe every winter for the past 3 years. Now that baby Gio is here, we were even more excited to share our love for this place with him. It has become a special place for us because it was one of the few places Kendrick hadn’t been to in California before I moved here. We went for the first time a month before our wedding, and have been back almost a dozen times since.
A friend asked me what it was like packing for him, and I told her it was more fun than packing for myself! Naturally I overpacked for him, and under packed for myself, classic mom move! We decided to forgo bringing his bassinet (mainly just to save space), and let him sleep in the bed with us. The only other item I brought besides his stroller was this Fisher Price seat, which was foldable!
What I packed for Gio: (3 night trip)
5 long-sleeve pajamas
4 long-sleeve onesies
3 pairs of pants
2 short sleeve onesies
3 pairs of socks
2 Aden and Anais swaddle blankets
3 burp cloths
1 lightweight thermal blanket
2 fleece blankets
1 fleece bear suit( didn’t use because it was so warm!)
Bath squirt bottle (instead of bringing his bathtub we just brought a squirt bottle to rinse him off in the sink)
He was super fussy our last night there and kept crying which is unusual for him (the last time we saw him that upset was after his shots), so we decided to give him a little Tylenol assuming that the altitude may have been bothering his ears.
Other than that last night, Gio was a perfect angel! We hit the slopes on Friday, and even though it was St. Patty’s Day, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t crowded. Diamond Peak has an interchangeable parent pass ($74 all day) which was so convenient for us! Kendrick and I both got a chance to ski twice.
We rented a house in Incline Village (north Lake Tahoe), which gave us plenty of space to spread out. My sister came with us and was a HUGE help – she sat in the back of the car with Gio on the way up and entertained him (thanks sis!). We only had to stop once on the way up to feed him, and opted for a Starbucks. When I went to change him in the restroom I couldn’t believe they didn’t have a changing table! The sinks were too close together to change him on the counter, so thank goodness for my Skip-Hop station, because we had to change him on the floor! So not ideal.
A life-saver on the trip was my UnderCover baby breast cover! Initially I tried the Bebe au Lait cover after Gio was born, but didn’t like how bulky it was and that it didn’t have full coverage around my sides. I decided to return it and instead bought this cover online. Another mom I follow on Instagram recommended it and I’m so glad she did! It’s lightweight, has 360 degree coverage, and also doubles as a scarf, carseat cover and shopping cart cover. I feel way more comfortable nursing now in public, which is good because we have more trips ahead 🙂
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!)