Saturday, November 23, 2013

Nicholas is 1 Month Old!

How has it already been a whole month since Nicholas came into this world? I've said this before about Gia, but it feels like he's always been here and it also feels like he just got here. 
 
1 Month Stats: 
 
 Weight: 9 lbs 11 oz (50%)
Height: 21.5 inches (50%)
 
 
I bought him some cute nautical month stickers on Etsy and we started the picture taking today. Someone was NOT a fan.
 
 
My little munchkin grained nearly 3 pounds in a month! Even the doctor was impressed with that one. He currently takes between 4 and 5 ounces every 3 hours (mix of breast milk and formula) which also surprised the doctor (although it makes sense given the weight gain!). One time a day he'll give us a 4 hour stretch and that's usually in the early evening. For now it's working out because Jon has been working 3pm - 11pm this week and after Gia is in bed it's nice to have a tiny bit of downtime after I put the house back together. Eventually I'm hoping that 4 hour stretch shifts to the later part of the night (12am to 4 am sounds great!).  
 
 

And, here's a little one-month old comparison for you. (The bottom picture of Nicholas is him at 2 weeks. I added it in for facial comparison. His screaming face makes it hard to see if he looks like Gia at all.)
 
 
Gia was SO much bigger. At one month she was 11lbs 6 oz and 22 inches. So, not much taller, but almost 2 whole pounds bigger! You can see it in her chubby little arms and legs. Nicholas's arms and legs are still pretty scrawny. 
 
Lastly, in other related news, I finally took pictures of the mostly-completed nursery and will post them here soon!
 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pee Wee Soccer

I have a major backlog of posts about things we did this fall that I haven't had a chance to blog about yet. So bear with me for the next few weeks as the posts bounce all over the place. First up is PeeWee Soccer!
 
 
 
 Gia is a pretty active kid. She can be a girly girl, but she also loves to run around and be crazy. So, we signed her up for peewee soccer. It's an hour-long town rec program for 3 and 4 year olds and it teaches them the basics of soccer. Two of Gia's good friends and her cousin are also playing with her. She was so excited to start!


They begin with some warm-ups like jumping jacks and stretches.


Then they do some drills and each kid gets a chance to kick the ball into the net and practice dribbling the ball around some cones. (Apparently no one told Gia that we don't use our hands for soccer!)



And then the last 10 minutes of each session is a "game," which is really just all the kids chasing after the ball, trying to get a chance to kick it.



These pictures are from the first day--and Gia LOVED it. She wasn't so crazy about the game at the end. She gets nervous when there are a million kids running around because she's afraid someone is going to run into her. (This summer at gymnastics camp this is exactly what happened. She and another kid collided not once, but twice. And ever since then she gets scared if there are too many kids running around near her. Can't blame her.) So I didn't force her to play in the game at the end. I let her watch.

In the coming weeks we had a bit of a hard time getting her to play and love it as much as that first day. When it's time to get ready in the morning, she says she doesn't want to go to soccer. When we get there she is usually ok, but some days it takes more coaxing than others.  And then we started dancing school and Gia is constantly telling me she loves dance more than soccer.  Girlfriend has preferences and we're totally ok with that. But, we're not letting her quit soccer. She's going to play till the end of the session and then next session, we'll try something else!

 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Note to Self

One of the best things about being pregnant is that people (strangers) are so nice to you. People hold doors for you, smile at you, offer to carry things for you. People generally act the way I wish we'd act all the time. (That's a whole other story for another day though...)
 
Well, having a newborn isn't much different. People are so kind. I know I'm not "supposed" to be out & about with Nicholas just yet, but, well, I have another child & a household to try to keep afloat. So out we go.
I don't take Nicholas out every single day. He stays home with my husband as much as possible, but there are times when he just has to come with me. And every single time, I'm bombarded with kindness from strangers.
 
Today, alone, I was told "God Bless" at least 4 times while in Shop Rite with him. 
 
And then, there's the Holy Grail of Nice Comments You Can Make to the New Mommy. Of course I love hearing how cute he is, but really, all babies are cute. When they find out how old Nicholas is sometimes they follow it up with, "Wow, you look great". And let me tell you, it makes my day. Even if they're lying, it does wonders for the self esteem, especially when I'm in sweatpants and feeling less than pretty with my big old postpartum belly. 
 
So, note to self, next time you see a newborn and want to tell his mommy how cute he or she is, also tell her how great she looks. Because even if she looks exhausted and clearly doesn't have on any makeup, any hasn't showered yet that day, she made it out of the house with an infant. That's a feat in and of itself.  And maybe, just maybe, you'll brighten her day the way some really awesome strangers have brightened mine.
 
 
Ps. While we're on the subject of kindness, I wanted to share one more thing. This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting one of my blog readers, who is a friend of a friend and someone I'd never met before. She said some of the sweetest things about this blog and it meant so much to me. The same goes for all of you that leave me comments here or on my Facebook page for this blog. You all know how much I love blogging and the fact that a few someones out there are reading and enjoying it, means the world to me.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gia's Transition to Big Sister

Of all the things that come with having a new baby, like buying diapers again, learning to breastfeed and getting up in the middle of the night, the only thing I was really, truly worried about was Gia. We've had quite an amazing 3 years with her and I feel so blessed to be her mom. Before Nicholas was here, I felt guilty about taking some of my attention away from her by giving her a sibling. I'm an only child, so this was all new territory. I knew in my heart things would be fine and that having a sibling would be amazing for her, but I was still worried.
 
And, although it's only been three weeks, so far, so good.
 

 
Gia has been a complete trooper and has handled the transition with her usual grace. We've been very careful to keep her life as normal as possible. With both of us home, she hasn't had any less attention than usual. Because of that, I don't think she feels threatened by the baby and therefore is really sweet with him and hasn't acted out at all. This is not to say she's been a perfect angel every moment of every day. She's still a normal three year old. It's just that none of it has anything to do with her brother. It's her usual "I can do it myself" stuff that frustrates her and causes her to get into trouble.
 
She's extremely sweet with the baby. She loves to kiss him and pet him, she asks to hold him all the time and she even likes to hold the bottle when we feed him. She's pretty gentle and she's a huge helper.
 
There have been so many adorable moments:
 
On Nicholas's first day home Gia tried to brush his hair with her baby Cinderella's brush, which is a hard plastic little thing--not great for Nicholas's soft, nearly bald head. It was so innocent and sweet though so I let her do it 1 time before I cut her off.
 
She nuzzles his head, kisses him, and tickles him, all while announcing, "I'm giving him some love."
 
She's a great helper. Right after the c-section I wasn't supposed to go up and down the stairs in our house more than once a day and I really tried to stick to it. In the morning we'd come downstairs and have breakfast and play. Eventually I'd go up for a bit to shower and do small chores upstairs, and then I'd come down for the rest of the day. One morning Jon wasn't home and I accidentally left the formula upstairs from the night feedings. I asked Gia to go up and get the orange box for me and she did.  I made a huge deal over the fact that she did just what I asked and that she helped her brother. She was so proud of herself.
 
Last week Jon put on football & Gia tolerated it for about 2 minutes. Then she said, "Mommy, Nicholas doesn't like this show. I have to change it or he's going to be sad." It was SO hard not to laugh at that one.
 
Every morning when Gia wakes up she comes into our room. If we have time, she climbs into bed and we watch a few minutes of tv before going downstairs for breakfast. Now that Nicholas is here she goes to peek in his bassinet before she gets into our bed. One morning she looked in the bassinet and he wasn't in there (he was in bed bc I'd just fed him). She was so shocked and she said, "Daddy, Nicholas is GONE!"
 
Her newest cuteness is that she loves to show Nicholas things. She shows him everything. Nicholas, this is my carrot. I'm a big girl so I eat carrots. You are too little to eat carrots. You have your bottle.
Nicholas, this is Palace Pets. See Ariel? I did her hair.
Nicholas, me and Mommy are icing cupcakes.  When you're three like me you can have a cupcake.

I can only imagine what else is in store for us as they continue to grow and start to interact with each other. I'm not sure my heart can handle all this love!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ebates

This is not a sponsored post...just wanted to share the love with everyone.
 
If you're planning to do shopping online this year, (I know I'll be doing nearly all my shopping online this year) check out Ebates so that you get cash back for all your purchases.  So far this year I've gotten nearly $200 in checks from them. 
 
Here's how it works. Before you buy something online, go to the Ebates site. Search for the store through their search feature. Click on the store link and it opens a "ticket" for you as it takes you to the store's website. Then you shop as you normally would. Sometimes they also have deals and coupons just for Ebates members. So, you'll get cash back and extra savings. Double whammy!

 And, Ebates will pay you for every new member you refer to the site who then completes a purchase through the website.

They mail the checks once every quarter. After all of last year's holiday shopping, I got a $50 check from them in January, which was awesome. 

Use my link & then share YOUR link with friends and you'll get a referral bonus too!
Check it out!
 
 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

These first few weeks...

Jon has been off and these past two weeks have been pretty great. We've been in happy newborn haze. We stay in our pjs till mid-afternoon some days. One of us plays with Gia and the other tends to Nicholas. We have lunch and then we go out. Jon takes Gia to the park or the farm and Nicholas and I just relax at home. Or we all go for a ride so Gia can take a snooze in the car. 
 
 
 
Now that Nicholas is here and we're all thriving, I want to document it all. I wish I could record nearly every moment of every day. There are so many things I now wish I'd documented about Gia's first days. I remember a lot, and then there's a lot I don't remember. 
 
I remember Gia being a champion eater. She'd take her bottle, burp and go right back to sleep. She was an expert sleeper (giving us 5 hour stretches by 3 weeks and sleeping through the night at 7 weeks.) After she took her bottle, I remember her looking up, with her big, brown, unfocused eyes and smiling. We used to say she saw angels up there. (And with the whole "Bobby" thing, I'm pretty sure we were right.) I also remember not really feeling like her mom until a few days after she was born. 
 
 
 
With Nicholas so many things are different. I felt fierce mommy-love from the second he was born and I got to kiss his little cheek for the first time. He's easygoing, just like Gia was. He only cries when he's hungry or wet and he's a good sleeper (4 hours at night). But, he's also taking the scenic route through these first few days of his life. He eats slowly, he looks around slowly, taking it all in. He looks like a little turtle or an old man. Or both. He's also super-strong. He likes tummy time and can push his head up and over to the side, and has been for about a week now. He accidentally rolled himself over from his belly to his back the other day too. And, he even gets his knees under him.
 
 
 
He's so snuggly, too. I totally forgot that part of having a newborn. He's so warm and cuddly and sometimes Jon and I just hold him because he's little and we can.This morning I fed him at 5:30 and he ate and fell right back to sleep and I put him down on the bed and just so I could watch him sleep.
 
 He's already getting too big for newborn size clothing and is fitting in some of the smaller 0-3 month stuff. The newborn diapers aren't huge anymore either. His little umbilical cord stump fell off and he's taking 4 oz of his formula/breast milk mixture** most of the time, which means we'll be done with the small 4 oz bottles soon too. 
 
Watching him grow is bittersweet. I know he's my last one and I want to keep him a baby forever. With Gia I was always SO excited for the next milestone. With Nicholas it's a little different. I want to hang on to his babyhood as long as I can.
 
And then there's me. Being a mommy for the second time is a much more mellow experience. With Gia I was nervous about little things. It took a few weeks for me to fully trust my motherly instincts, and even then there was a lot of guesswork because it was my first time parenting and there's a lot I didn't know. This time has been quite a bit more relaxed (for Jon too). On Halloween we went to visit my mom at work and I didn't even bring a bottle for Nicholas. I know him well enough to know we'd make it home in time for his next feeding. If that had been Gia, I would have had 3 bottles and 2 different outfits in the diaper bag hours before we needed to leave the house. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)
 
The toughest part so far? The busyness. I knew having two kids would mean there wasn't much down time. But wow--it's crazy. One tiny little person creates a LOT of extra work. Between laundry, pumping, bottles, mealtimes for us, and keeping Gia's life going (school, soccer, dance), we're always doing something. And right now Jon's home... Check back with me in a few weeks to see how I'm doing in my "happy newborn haze"!
 
**For the record, we are bottle feeding and I'm pumping, so Nicholas is getting both formula and breast milk. I'm pro feeding your child however you can. Breast milk, formula...it's your choice and I'm not judging either way.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tiny Dancer

Now that Gia's 3 there are so many more activities she can do. We signed her up for pee-wee soccer on Saturday mornings (post on that coming soon!) and I was hoping to sign her up for dance. But, with Nicholas's arrival, I was worried about scheduling too much. I knew it would be tough for me to get her to and from activities with a newborn. So, I never did anything about dancing school and then it was too late. The 3-year-old class was filled. 
 
Then one day at the end of September a friend of mine called to tell me the dancing school I wanted to send Gia to was starting a new 3-year-old class on Fridays, and it wasn't starting until November. She wanted to know if we'd be interested. Without hesitation I said yes. It was perfect. Gia wouldn't be joining a class already in progress, she'd know someone in the class and Jon would be around for the first few weeks to get her there.
 
Before I had Nicholas, I took Gia to a dance clothing store and we picked out two pretty leotards, tights and had her fitted for ballet shoes. She was in heaven checking out all the pretty things in the store. After that she kept asking when dancing school was going to start. I had to keep reminding her that didn't start until after Halloween. It must have seemed like an eternity to my excited little ballerina.
Friday was her first class. In true Gia fashion, she was SO excited. My mom came over and helped her get into her leotard and tights. She even let my mom do her hair.
My mom and I took her to class. First we went into the dressing area and took of her shoes and put on her ballet shoes. Gia met her teacher Miss Morgan, and then they went into Studio C. Can you tell she was excited?!


My mom and I sat in the waiting room, watching her on the little tv screen they have of the dance studio. It was so adorable. There were only 2 other little girls there, so it was kind of like a semi-private ballet lesson. They did a few warm up stretches, played with ribbon wands, did some ballet leaps and then started to practice first position. They were all so good--they listened, took turns and really looked like they were having fun.

45 minutes later, out came my little dancing girl. She had a blast. She loves her teacher and she loves being a big girl who goes to dancing school. 

When we came home she ran right to Jon and told him that she had so much fun at dancing school. "I'm a ballerina now, Daddy," she told him.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thankful

It's not yet Thanksgiving but the start of November always gets me thinking about what I'm thankful for. This year I'm feeling overwhelmed (in a good way) with all I have to be thankful for. Maybe it's the hormones, maybe it's the season, maybe it's a little bit of both...but lately, I'm feeling like a big ball of blessed.
 
Yesterday several of my friends on Facebook started posting their daily "thankful" statuses and I thought I'd like to take the time to think about what I'm thankful for every day this month, too. Rather than posting to Facebook I'll post here and add to it every day. Keep me accountable, ok? If you check this page and notice I'm behind, drop me a line on Facebook and remind me to get going on the thankfulness!
 
 
I'm thankful for...
 
November 1 --  my healthy baby boy Nicholas (who also happens to be a very relaxed and easygoing baby, which I'm also thankful for!)
November 2 --  my healthy girl Gia (who also happens to be the funniest, sweetest 3 year old around, which I'm also thankful for!)
November 3 --  my husband. He's been absoultey amazing through my whole c-section recovery. I couldn't ask for a better partner in parenthood & life.
November 4 -- my mom. She's so supportive & loves me & my little family so much. It makes me so happy to see her with my kiddies too!
November 5 -- my health.  (Went for my 2 week postpartum checkup & all is well!)
November 6 -- doctors. Gia had a little scare today and ended up in the ER. I'm so thankful for all of the people who treated her.
November 7 --  staying at home with my kids. I love my job, but being home with these 2 is priceless.
November 8 -- good friends who are there for the good and the bad!
November 9 -- family dinners. I love sitting around the table with my husband and daughter, eating a good dinner that I made. 
November 10 --  my stepdad. He's awesome and we are so lucky to have him in our lives!

Oops...a little behind...

November 11 -- cupcakes. Yes, cupcakes. They're the perfect sized dessert. They're like little cups of happiness (to me, anyway!)
November 12 --  Starbucks & my Keurig. Late nights with the little man mean my coffee addiction is back in full swing. And, like a big girl I'm now drinking full caffeine again.

November 13 -- my car. We got it right before N was born (it's a Traverse) and it's perfect for our family. It's also a dream to drive.

November 14 -- Gia's school. I'm so happy she has a place that she loves so much and that she has amazing teachers who foster her love of learning.

November 15 -- photographs. We had an awesome newborn photo session with Noelle Soroka Photography last week and I love love love the pictures. Having these moments captured means the world to me!

November 16 --
November 17
November 18
November 19--
November 20 --  this blog. Because of it I've had some amazing opportunities this past year and I'm hopeful they'll continue. (It's amazing what happens if your life when you recognize your true passion and commit to it. I love writing and this little blog opened some huge doors for me!)

November 21 --

 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween!

As a kid, Halloween was never my favorite holiday. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't something I looked forward to for weeks, like I did with Christmas. 
 
Gia, on the other hand, loves Halloween. She loves getting dressed up and she loves candy. I don't think she can believe her luck--there's one day a year when you get free candy just for wearing a costume!
 
I started asking her what she wanted to be for Halloween in September. I knew I had to get her costume early because Nicholas's arrival would make it impossible to get any Halloween prep done at the last minute. She decided she wanted to be a Bumble Bee. I have no idea why or where it came from, but she was consistent with her request. We were at Homegoods one day and I just happened upon an adorable bee costume in her size, so we scooped it up. 
 
Yesterday was the big day and Gia was ready! She had a little party at school and she came home with a backpack that was literally filled with treat bags from the kids in her class. I let her open each one and put the candy and little toys in her pumpkin bucket. You would have thought she won the lottery. (I guess when you're 3, free candy is better than the lottery!) Every single thing she opened was amazing. "Mommy! My very own lollipop! Mommy! Chocolate! Mommy! A tootsie roll!"  This went on for nearly 30 minutes.
 
In the afternoon we visited my mom at work and Gia got more candy. 
 
At this point her pumpkin was nearly full so we came home and emptied it. Then we had a quick pizza dinner with friends and trick or treated in our neighborhood. 
 
Nicholas and I only made it one block before I pooped out. Lots of walking is still tough for me after the c-section. But, in that one block, I witnessed the cutest sights. Gia and her best friend Adrianna could not contain their excitement. The ran from house to house all by themselves. They rang the doorbells (each of them rang a few times--my poor neighbors!) and then SHOUTED "trick or treat" when the doors were opened. Once they got the candy they took off back to us, screaming "thaaaaaank you" to no one in particular and yelling about the awesome candy they got. I heard nearly every person who opened the door say how cute they were.



It was the BEST day. Nothing makes me happier than seeing pure joy on my kid's face. And next year, it will be double the fun when my little guy gets to dress and maybe toddle up to a few doors himself!


And, in honor of the fact that Halloween was on a Thursday...here's a little Throwback!


Halloween 2010

 




Halloween 2011



 Halloween 2012