what motherhood means to me right now

me and jules

It means…

letting my coffee get cold.

studying all the methods of sleep training and ultimately deciding to do it my way. She was/is getting heavier and squirmier, so rocking her to sleep just wasn’t an option for me anymore, especially when it would take almost an hour of bouncing her around in my arms. Talk about a workout! I just couldn’t bear a “cry it out” approach, but other “no cry” techniques just weren’t working. So I just started putting her in the crib and humming her favorite lullabies until she fell asleep. She might be the only person in the world to like my singing 😉 Eventually, I was able to leave the room now and again. Now all I do is just lay her down in the crib with two pacifiers (one to suck on and one to play with—she’s got idle hands) and leave the room. The only times I go in is  when she gets twisted up or hits her head on the side of the crib, in which case I’ll quickly straighten her out and/or comfort her. Some nights are better than others, but mostly I can’t complain. She falls asleep on her own in the crib and that’s all I can ask for. Naps, however, are different and she still needs to be held and rocked a little bit for those, but the rocking usually doesn’t exceed 10 minutes. We can deal with that for now.

always worrying and wondering if I’m doing the right thing. Do I not take her out for fresh air enough? Does she need more cuddle time? Am I stimulating her enough?

knowing that the worrying will only get worse as she gets older.

sometimes running on 4 hours of interrupted sleep. Coffee helps. But then…see #1 above

lots of pinching and squeezing of her cheeks, thighs, butt, toes, nose, you name it. I just can’t help myself.

enjoying her now at 8 months, but still very much looking forward to her first birthday.

getting really good at multitasking. I can hold her with one hand and prepare a bottle with the other. MAD SKILLZ.

realizing that sometimes the answers may not be in parenting books or the Babycenter message board. It’s about going with my instincts and taking cues from Jules. Hence, successful—and mostly-cry-free—sleep training!

also knowing that sometimes the answers can be found on the internet. When in doubt, Google.

dad’s birthday

candles

Last weekend was probably the busiest since Juliette was born! Friday night, Bob and I celebrated Valentine’s Day early with a delicious dinner at DeStefano’s. I can’t say it enough: they are simply the best. The food and service are always always always on point. They could probably screw up my order and spill a drink on me and I’d still think, Nope they’re still the best! Needless to say, we left stuffed and happy. The next night, we went out for a friend’s birthday at Virage, now known as Bar Virage. For whatever reason, they rebranded and changed their menu and we were so not impressed. Virage was an old favorite and a restaurant we frequented many years ago, but they rid their menu of all their best dishes (R.I.P. spinach fettucine and bacon-wrapped figs!) and now it just seems…less special. I was disappointed with the food, although there is something to be said for accommodating service. We had a fun time with our fun group, which ended with a few rounds of beers at McSorley’s. I haven’t hung out like that in a long time, so the next day I was extra tired and achy (read: a little hungover). But we still made it out for an early birthday dinner for my dad, however exhausted we felt. We were a smaller group without my brother and his kids, but it worked out just as well. It was low-key and perfect.

We started with dinner and dessert at an Italian restaurant.

bros burrata jules and grandma

dessert

Mason’s beautiful birthday card to Dad. In left to right order: Jules, Jax, Mase and Dad!

bday card dad and mase

tre

Then, we came back to the house for a second dessert – birthday cake! This year, mom baked it.

cake

Jules had a teeny tiny taste of frosting.

jules has cake

Her silly cousins love her and it is just the cutest!

jules and mase

Tequila down the hatch!

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Spoiler alert: dad hates tequila.

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Oh and check out my total mom fail…

jules

Didn’t even realize that her dress came with briefs. They were still attached to the dress with the plastic tags! Insert facepalm meme here.

christmas day 2015

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This year, Christmas was extra special for us because it was Juliette’s first Christmas. That morning, we put on some classics and tore into Santa’s gifts. As expected, she really took to the actual tearing of her gifts, more than the playing of her gifts. It was super cute, but I can’t wait for more Christmases where she’ll be more aware. I remember feeling like this was the most magical time as a kid. Of course, what child doesn’t love this holiday? But I had my little December traditions: watch Charlie Brown Christmas specials a few times, The Grinch etc. I’m so excited for when I can introduce Juliette to some of my favorite movies. I fully intend for her to love The Polar Express, Miracle on 34th Street and A Christmas Story. I think this might be one of the best parts of parenthood—imposing your ideals on your kids, haha 😉

jules and grandpa

Watching the train run around the tree with Grandpa.

unwrapping

We got so caught up in Juliette’s unwrapping of  gifts that Bob and I almost forgot to exchange with eachother. How times have changed.dirty bib

Juliette’s dirty bib.

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Later on in the day, we packed up the car and headed to out Jersey to spend a few days with my folks. It felt like a little mini vacation because we partied and had lots of homemade coquito (like egg nog, but way better…and Puerto Rican) and then relaxed while my mom did awesome things like make us breakfast and sleep with the baby so that we could have a couple of nights of uninterrupted zzz’s. It was heaven!

tequilamike

ladies

Coquito in red solo cups, as we do.

Every year, I love my dad’s little Christmas village more and more. He likes to add a few new things to it and I have such fun pointing out what’s new and who’s going where. I told him next year, I might help him set it up so we can tell some new stories with the characters. I think it could be really fun (and tedious).

dinner tablesaladbeans

Can you believe 2016 is almost here? I’m sure you’re tired of hearing it because it’s an overused sentiment, but boy did this year fly by. I remember being pregnant in the beginning of the year and thinking, this year is going by soooo sloooow, I just want this baby to be here already. And then boom, once she came, it was like the clock sped up and suddenly she was 6 months old and we were feeding her solids already. Either way, I know 2016 will be another momentous year for us. It will be such a joy to watch this little girl turn one this summer. We may start looking for a house again towards the end of the year. And who knows? We may even take a small vacation? The year has many possibilities!jax and trethe boys

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How was your holiday? Wonderfully merry, I hope!

picking for apples and pumpkins

pumpkin

I was terribly excited to go pumpkin picking at Battleview Orchards in Freehold, NJ this year. Partly because it would be Juliette’s first time, partly because I was indisposed all summer and now I’m finally getting out a little more regularly. At last!pumpkins

We always have a great time during our annual family pumpkin picking festivities, but I especially loved it this year because we got to pick for apples too. And there’s something about picking fruit straight from the tree that makes it extra special. We also had some hot cider with freshly-baked apple cider doughnuts because if you’re going to be a fall cliché, you might as well embrace it. The doughnuts were warm, pillowy and just the right amount of sweet. In other words, so sooooo good. I’m still dreaming of them days later.

Now, a preview of Juliette’s Halloween costume. She’s going to be an ewok. And the most adorable one at that.

juliettekaren and bob

family

Bob and I kept reminding ourselves to take a picture with Jules on a pumpkin (because pumpkins + baby = can’t even handle that cuteness), but unfortunately she fell asleep against Bob in the carrier. Picking is hard work!

juliette sleeping

That little face! She’s the sweetest.

There were two main patches of pumpkins, but there were rows and rows of various types of apple trees: Winesaps, Fujis, Empires, Granny Smiths and Braeburns to name a few. The abundance of colorful apples were a gorgeous sight. Some were rich red, some bright green and some a lovely mixture of both.

fallen applesjaney and masebitten apple

All were absolutely delicious, by the way.

sisters

jax

jaxie

mase

janey and karenjaney and mase2green

 

janey and tre’s brooklyn wedding

finallyA long time ago, I promised to post some pictures from my sister Janey’s wedding. I know you guys were holding your breaths for this 😉 so here they are. She finally sent me the pro pics the other day and they were just to die for. I’m really excited to share them with you.

downtown bk group 2To be quite honest, there were many many more pictures I wanted to show here, but I had to edit myself and only include my favorites. Here we go:

downton bk groupThe wedding party met up at a boutique hotel in downtown Brooklyn (the room had a  hammock!) and then drove to the couple’s old neighborhood for some nostalgia and picture-taking. The ceremony and reception were at Deity, a gorgeous wedding hall in Boerum Hill.

fixing the bowtie

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The guys looking sharp

the guys

…and they totally know it.

the guys 2

the boys3

The bride and groom looking lovely and so in love.janey tre 1

family

The ceremony was held in the loft, which was all red brick, twinkle lights and glossy wooden floors. It was just beautiful.

down the aisle 3

down the aisle 4
maid of honor

holding hands

tre family and friends

the ring

groom sisters

My dad giving a funny speech at dinner. I really had no idea he was quite the public speaker!
dad laughing magie

My nephew Mase tearin’ up the dance floor. He just gets better and better with age.

mason

Someone get this kid on So You Think You Can Dance! (Side note: I reeeeeally didn’t care for the pointless Stage vs. Street theme this year. Discuss?).mason2

We were all so fortunate to be part of this big moment in Janey and Tre’s awesome love story (and if you ever met them, then it’s guaranteed —those two will be your favorite fun-loving couple).

i had a baby!

juliette cute 2 edited

And her name is Juliette. She is beautiful and lovely and she is my everything. She looks very much like Bob in my opinion, but that depends on who you ask. We’ve got two firm camps of “she looks like Jillian” and “she looks like Bobby”, but either way, she is an awesome baby. I love her so much and I make sure she knows it with a million kisses and cuddles a day.

juliette wink edited

Things have been a little crazy around here lately. We’ve run into some hiccups along the way, such as issues with breastfeeding. Jules had a serious tongue-tie (aka a short frenulum), then a case of thrush and now I’m on antibiotics, which means I can’t give her my breastmilk so it’s a “pump and dump” situation for the next week, while she’s fed formula. Not to mention the physical and emotional stresses of the postpartum period. Let’s just say childbirth was NOTHING compared to what I had to go through immediately afterward. That may be a story for another day because I feel very few women share what the post-birth period is really like. It can be a long, complicated and painful recovery. There are all these websites and books that tell you what to expect from life with a newborn, but very few that discuss the mother’s recovery part of it. And even then, some don’t get into the real nitty gritty of it. I think because it might be an embarassing topic for most, which I totally get.

I don’t expect to be posting too regularly around here for the next few weeks, maybe something short now and again. We’ll see. But I do plan to be back once I’m fully healed and I find my groove. In the meantime, follow me on Instagram! I’ve got some pics up there and I promise not to turn it into a baby-only zone. Although, right now my life is consumed by this little munchkin so it might be a little baby-heavy for the time being, haha.

Thank you for sticking with me! I look forward to catching up with you all.

oh hey!

me and bob

It’s been a while.

Things have been better since I last updated you. Actually, they got worse before they got better. Let me explain.

We had a mouse in our house.

A MOUSE. In our house.I was feeling miserable about it. Not only was I still adjusting to my new surroundings, but now I had to deal with this. And see, I don’t like mice. To me, they are filthy little creatures that carry diseases and they give me the creeps. Nothing is more uncomfortable when you’re walking on eggshells in your house, expecting a rodent to pop out at you any moment (Bob tells me they don’t “pop out”, rather they scurry away. But still). Any little sound or squeak inside the house and I jumped. And this mouse was sharp! He bypassed multiple types of traps set up around the house. I would have been impressed if I weren’t so disgusted. We finally had pest control come in to set traps and fill up some of the holes around the house with a filling that’s supposed to block rodents and insects from entering. Since then, we haven’t had any mouse sightings, thank goodness. Of course, then his grandmother who lives downstairs started seeing mouse droppings on her countertop shortly after. I did feel bad about that. A few days later, when his grandmother found the mouse dead by her front door (from natural causes?), a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Sorry to say it, but it’s true.

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Bob and I celebrated our birthday in a  low-key fashion this year. We went out to eat, just the two of us, at Bobby Flay’s semi-new restaurant Gato.  The life-changing scrambled eggs appetizer made my night! It was easily the best thing I’ve eaten in months. It was spicy and wonderful and had the consistency similar to a soft cheese spread. Second best thing? The berry crostata dessert. It was such a nice night and the first time we were able to slow down and enjoy each other’s company in weeks (which we’re trying to do more of before the baby arrives). The seemingly never-ending move really took up a lot of our weekend free time. I’m hoping the baby doesn’t come too early so we can have a few weeks of calm before she’s due to arrive later in the month.

eggs

My sister’s wedding was last weekend! I took very few pictures and they were only of the bride getting ready at the gorgeous NU Hotel in Brooklyn. No time to snap pics when you’re the maid of honor! But I would eventually like to post the pictures once I have the professional ones. A full photo of the bride’s dress (along with other beautiful moments from the wedding) needs to be shown off because…duh. Plus, there’s this video of my nephew Mason tearin’ it up with his dance moves that my dad has yet to send me. The kid is seriously so good. I’ve never seen anyone just feel that music and let loose like he does. I hope he never loses that!

getting readybouquet

I’d gotten to the point where I legitimately had NOTHING to wear. The weather warmed up considerably and I thought I’d get away with wearing my old summer dresses once that happened. As it turned out, I’d gained more weight than I realized and those dresses made me feel like sausages in casings. When I told my mom, she asked me, “Why did you think you’d be able to fit in your old dresses?”. Good question! I think part naïveté and part wishful thinking. I had held out for as long as I could on the maternity wear, but I had to give in last Monday. I went to Target on my lunch break and bought over $100 in dresses and one pair of comfy pants.

Okay and one eye shadow too because I have no self control in the beauty section. No regrets!

nice shoes

Things are going to start to quiet down within the next couple of weeks (here’s hoping), so I’d like to start picking up my DSLR regularly again. I miss taking pictures. I miss blogging too. And you guys, of course. How are you?

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