summer family visit

Four months was too long between our family visits!! The last time we were all together in one place was back on the family Disney Cruise vacation in March. Now here we were in August finally reuniting and welcoming a new member into our family fold, Mr Henry! Jessie and the littles arrived first on Wednesday night, followed by my parents, and lastly my brother joined the group. We had a week together to connect, share, love, laugh, and explore. It went by in a blink but while we were together is was a perfect visit. Watching the littles play with Henry was heart warming. They were so interested in him. It was clear that they would be even faster friends once Henry is a little older to play with them more. We played hard in the mornings at home and went out on little outings during the day and relaxed together at home at night. It was a sweet visit and I am truly looking forward to our next one in December for Christmas (although, I am sure there will be many Skype sessions in between).

Hanging out in our pjs at home were some of my favorite times. The littles and Henry played, and played and played and the adults watched, joined in, and connected with one another over coffee. It was mellow but exactly what we all needed.

We spent a beautiful evening at a nearby park when the air was cool and crisp and then planned our next day to be spent out at Belkin Family Farm in Natick where we picked nectarines and apples and explored the property together. It was a great excursion for us and the littles who were so interested in picking fruit and tasting it straight off the branch.

 

nursery tour

With only a few weeks to go until the little man makes his arrival, we finally have our nursery completed. It is one of my favorite spaces in our home, which is probably a good thing since I imagine we will be spending a lot of time there comforting, playing, feeding, and cuddling the little baby. In the beginning, the little man will sleep in our room in a bassinet next to  our bed. It will just be easier to have him close during that time when his sleep and eating habits will be more unpredictable and on demand. But, even though he won’t be sleeping in his darling little crib, I am sure we will be in his room to change him, to play on the elephant mat together, and to rock him. All of his little things are sweet and precious and I find myself going into the room to sit down and just exist in that quiet space (which will very shortly not be a quiet space any more!). Everything in there smells like baby and feels so warm and welcoming. It is amazing to think that we get not to only meet him soon but love him and parent him! It is truly surreal.  Bella and Buster have started to spend some time in the room too. We want them to be familiar with all of the stuff before the baby arrives. Of course, we monitor them while they explore his toys, the chair, and try desperately to chew on his elephant stuffed animals. It will be hard for them to restrain themselves from just thrashing the stuffies to bits but David has been working on it and there seems to be progress.  They can now go into the room and just hang out without frantically going after the toys = progress! I am sure things will change once the little man arrives and piques their curiosity but I am excited to watch them sniff, love, and protect him. It will be fun watching the little man grow up with the pups and romp around the house and yard. So even if the beginning months are challenging balancing all of the family needs, it will be well worth it I am sure.

When we started to put the room together we had one wood dresser. It had been our first home purchase when we moved in together in Boston. It is funny how when you buy a large item for one purpose you cannot image how it will be used in the future. We moved David’s clothes out of this particular dresser and moved it into the baby’s room. Since this piece was an oak color we decided that instead of painting it, we would stick to furniture of a similar hue and add color through linens, paints, and details. The major colors in the room are: blue, grey, and yellow. We wanted the room to be soothing on the eyes but not cold and I think we were able to meet that with our choices.

Here are some of the nursery room details

The changing table is part of the Kendall Collection from pottery barn. We picked it because we felt it was almost a match to the dresser we already had in our home. We were not huge fans of the knobs that came with the dresser though. So we headed to Anthropologie and found these little owls to replace them. The prints on the wall above the changing table are from Aldari Art on etsy.We wanted to add a little bit of color but didn’t want the room to become to overstimulated. Her animal prints are just so cute. They are one of my favorite details! His little hamper with the raccoon bandit is from the Container Store (one of the best stores! I could get lost in there for hours). And, on top of the dresser that we already had, we placed a  basket we received from our baby shower filled with burp cloths and bibs and a little dumbo and his mother stuffy. My mom and dad gave us the dumbo toy. When I was little my nanny would pretend to be Dumbo’s mother and her arm would be the trunk. My brother and I would sit on her arm and she would swing us back and forth singing the mother’s song. This toy is a beautiful reminder of my nanny and how lucky I was to have her in my life when I was growing up and until just last year. Though she will not meet our little one, I know she is still with us.

The yellow bookcase was a recent purchase. We started to receive all these great board books from family and friends and did not have anywhere to put them. We didn’t want to add another piece of heavy furniture to the room and then found this quirky bookcase “manger” from Land of Nod.

When the little man’s crib arrived, David and I would go into the room and ask, “And who will be sleeping here?” Seriously, how is it that we have a whole room set up for someone we don’t know yet? I still cannot believe we will be having a baby!  But, the crib is definitely proof that BIG changes are coming to our family. And if you couldn’t tell already, the baby’s room has an elephant theme. From sheets, to mobile, to stuffies, to quilt, he will be surrounded by his elephants while he is ushered to dream world (where he hopefully stays during full nights of sleep, fingers crossed!)

Ah, and then we get to my absolute favorite piece in the nursery!! I just LOVE this glider from Target. We were on the fence for awhile about whether or not we needed a glider.  Obviously it would be great to have to rock him to sleep, but there was no guarantee that he would (a) like it or (b) use it for very long. Despite these doubts we pulled the trigger and invested in these two pieces if for no other reason than to have a place to put your feet up after a long day! And with the chair we added an ottoman pouf from Aletafae on etsy. It just arrived today and it is AMAZING!

So now we wait, and wait, and wait. This is by far the hardest part.  The pregnancy has been easy but this waiting for the last few weeks and waiting until he is ready to join us is so difficult. I know that the longer he stays put and stays closer to his due date the better, but I just want to meet him and kiss him SO badly. I already love this little person who I haven’t met yet! At least now, while we experience this wait we can relax a little in his room!

favorite blogs

Two years ago I read an article about mommy blogs. The details of the message escape me know, but it generally discussed how mommies were filling the blogosphere with pictures of their babies and daily life. It suggested that in some way the “perfection” that was captured harkened back to the 1950s cult of domesticity.  The women were depicting themselves as modern, chic, and completely put together while they toted their little ducklings, all impeccably dressed, behind them. Not only did these women find time to care for their little ones but their pictures suggested that they showered and had time for themselves too! Plus, they were engrossed in passions and hobbies from fashion, to cooking, to interior design, to homesteading. I remember the article’s perspective on these women was a bit negative. It seemed to suggest that the “we have it all” motif of mommy bloggers was deceptive to “real” women. Curious about these reflections, I went on the hunt for mommy blogs.

While I agree that sometimes the mommy blogging world can on the surface seem serenely perfect, overall the mommy blogs I started following two years ago (and continue to be addicted to) share not just those “perfect” moments when motherhood, individuality, and passion intersect but the moments when parenting gets the best of you and when getting into bed early in order to end the current day feels like the only option. I guess it is this side coupled with the beauties of motherhood reality that make the mommy blogs so compelling to me. I want each of these women to find “success” in their lives and to feel “successful” as parents (clearly knowing that this is defined by each individual). I root for them and enjoy their insights and somehow find their advice to be  helpful. In some ways, I try to model my blog after theirs, but each of us has our own voice, perspective, and focus in the world. Regardless, I thought I would share the blogs that I follow on a regular basis because really I like these women.  They are pretty great in their own corners of our world.

Bleubird

LoveTaza

HeyNatalieJean

OhDearDrea

OhJoy

HeartAndHabit

CampPatton

SouleMama

EatLiveRun (not a mom yet….but about to be)

KendiEveryday (not a mom, but I check out her fashion quite a bit)

third trimester “to do list”

Whenever I get nervous or overwhelmed my go to is to create a “to-do list.” I know that it is a little weird but it just helps me to organize the chaos around me and helps me feel productive.  With the list in hand, I can believe that one by one it will all get done.  Yesterday, was an overwhelming day as I watched my April calendar go from manageable to overcrowded. Taking a few minutes to myself, I decided it would probably be a good idea to think about creating a third trimester to do list. The school year will inevitable throw me a curve ball as the final months wind down, but somehow this seems natural and non-intimidating. However, this baby business is just so new to David and I and, even though many of our loved ones have given us great advice, until we walk through this experience we just won’t really understand how dramatic the change will be. Fingers are crossed that this “to do for the countdown to baby” helps us stay focused and as stress-free as possible as we inch ever closer to his arrival.

Third Trimester: To Do

Finances & Paperwork:

  • Continue to budget for Baby

  • Life insurance/Create a Will

  • Put money aside for Hospital Bill

  • Update 401K plans

  • Put baby on Healthcare

Preparation:

Getting Close:

  • Create Birth Plan/Birth Preferences

  • Get Breast Pump prescription

  • Install Car Seat

  • Pack Hospital Bag:

    • Insurance information, hospital forms, birth plan, picture ids

    • 2 pairs of socks

    • robe and loose pajamas (2)

    • Underwear and maxi pads

    • flip flops

    • sweater/sweatshirt

    • Extra towel

    • Pillow

    • Tennis balls (2)

    • Snacks

    • Bathing suits

    • Comfortable shoes (slippers?)

    • Maternity bras & nursing pads

    • Lip balm

    • Toiletries: Toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair brushes, shampoo/conditioner, soap

    • Eye glasses and contacts

    • Cell phone and charge

    • Camera

    • Sugar free sucking candies

    • Small bag of change of clothes for David

    • Comfortable going home outfit

    • Nursing pillow

    • Coming home outfit for baby

    • diapers, diaper cream, wipes

    • Blanket

    • Pacifier

    • Hat

    • Scratch mittens

Sheesh this is a long to do list but somehow getting it down makes it seem more manageable even though it takes a few scrolls to see the list in all of its beauty.  Can I ask if I am missing anything?  What did you or would you include for a hospital bag?  Any additions I should make?  Let me know what your experiences with the third trimester have been like because I am SO open to suggestions!

goodbye second trimester

Gosh time is flying by!  I cannot believe I am finished with my second trimester. It truly feels like just yesterday we found out the happy news that we were expecting a little one and now there are only 85 days left until his estimated arrival. Ironically, it somehow stills feels like the end of the school year is a long way off.  How can it be that the end of the school year feels so distant yet the arrival of our little  one (which is for the same time) feels imminent?  David and I start our Natural Childbirth classes on Sunday.  Things are starting to get very real! I am super nervous about the class. I hope that whatever they teach us can actually be applied when the moment arrives, but I guess there is really no way of knowing, right?

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The second trimester has definitely been my favorite so far. I have felt energetic, playful, and excited. Exercising and eating well have been my prerogatives and despite the one week hiatus on the cruise, I feel like I accomplished both mostly successfully. The baby is kicking up a storm these days and it is amazing to reflect on how the littlest motions of the early months, that felt like bubbles, have become much more prominent kicks. Sometimes you can even see the motion externally like waves on the sea. This is my favorite part. It is so cool to be sitting at home or at work and all of sudden see a stomach flick or twitch. I cannot help but smile and wonder what he is up to in there. David and I talk to him constantly and every now and then he responds with a kick.  Usually though when we place a hand on my stomach all of his activity quiets. I like to think that he feels soothed by this. Watching David interact with my tummy is so darn cute. I just cannot wait to hold the little man and see David hold him too. I definitely am enjoying this selfish period where I get the baby all to myself though.  All of his motions are mine, but it will be wonderful to share him with David in a few more weeks.

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This middle period of pregnancy has been interesting.  My body is definitely changing and it is clear that I am not just putting on weight but am pregnant. I have shifted up in clothes and cannot get enough of maxi dresses. It feels so nice to float around in mostly pajamas. My favorite maxi’s have come from Destination Maternity and they are just so light and airy. Some other favorites include: Mustela lotions and my latest obsession for vanilla smoothies. What I love about this smoothie is that it is so filling. Usually after a full day of class, I rush into the lunch room and gobble up everything in my path. This smoothie though keeps me tempered and able to think about lunch before just shoving my face on to the plate. I have been spending time reading up on breastfeeding and baby sleep patterns and I find it to be quite an interesting lesson on human anatomy.  I keep stopping and reading a loud to David, “Did you know that the human body does….” Pure Barre is still my favorite exercise of choice and I am teaching Pilates this trimester at school in the afternoon program and bought some of the pure barre equipment for the girls. I am hoping to incorporate some of the exercises in for them.

The really big changes to daily life have included:

An epic appetite and insatiable thirst for water

A deep desire to nest around the house and prepare the baby’s room

An ever growing tummy

A new need for foot and ankle rubs from David after long days at work

Constant motion from the little man, he is up to 10 kicks every 30 minutes or so

A lack of consistent sleep at night (I always seem to wake up from 2:30-3:30AM)

A bedtime of 9:30PM (at the latest)

A feeling like this is going to happen SO soon and I need to READ everything I can now!

A constant joy about this next chapter (with a little anxiety about the delivery!)

Goodbye to my second trimester.  You treated me well and helped me feel more and more like a mother-to-be. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the third trimester is not plagued with aches and pains.  Let’s hope that the transition continues along this smooth path. And, as always I am grateful and thankful for my personal miracle.

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family celebration, vacation, and babymoon

Last week was a wonderful celebration!  My mom and dad invited all of us to join them on a Disney Cruise of the Caribbean for their 40th wedding anniversary. Planned a year in advance, it is hard to believe that we just finished this magical time together.  We were so lucky to partake in this incredible vacation and so lucky to be celebrating so many wonderful family moments. While on board we toasted to my parents and their beautiful commitment to one another over their many years of marriage, we sang happy birthday to Avery who recently turned three, we enjoyed being together as a family, and David and I enjoyed some quiet moments that we deemed our “babymoon.”

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We boarded the Disney Fantasy at Cape Canaveral  and spent two days at sea while we cruised down to St. Maarten. The ship was just beautiful. Disney is known for its attention to detail and its excellent customer service and in both of these areas they again excelled. Our dining staff, Yanina and Kaya, became instant friends and helped make our experience truly magical. Each day aboard, we explored all that the Fantasy had to offer from midship pools, to Broadway shows, to character encounters with Avery and Smith and so much more. Ending each night in one of the rotating dining rooms with Yanina and Kaya, we would recap our adventures and dine on lavish four course meals. It was a vacation fit for a king and I am not sure how much of the weight I gained is from the baby-to-be and how much was from the extravagant meals!  Regardless, it was well worth it as we all settled in to life on the Fantasy.

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Our first port of call was St. Maarten.  Here we departed from the cruise itinerary and Bryan became our guide. Having traveled extensively in the Caribbean when he flew for American Eagle, Bryan took us over to Maho Beach best known for its picturesque beach, delicious beach side bar, and the low flying planes overhead!

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To be that close to planes landing was actually quite amazing.  The bar showed the arrival times and people lined the beaches and paused from their swimming to watch the aircraft land. It was so cool!  This topped with warm clear blue water made our day in St. Maarten quite special.

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Our next morning, we woke up in St. Thomas to yet another beautifully warm and sunny day. We left the Fantasy early and boarded the Kon Tiki Island Boat Cruise. While aboard, we sang, danced, and partied our way to an isolated beach where we spent the afternoon soaking up the rays, enjoying our time together, and just relaxing.

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Our last stop was Disney’s Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. This island oasis was groomed in true Disney fashion. From their pathways, to the set up of the lounge chairs, to the island BBQ lunch, to the underwater reefs the island exuded care, relaxation, and fun. This was our longest day off the ship and we enjoyed every moment. David and I snorkeled in the morning.  It was so different snorkeling while pregnant.  At times, we would  be gliding along the ocean looking at schools of fish and then the little guy would move and bump and kick. I like to think all that movement was because he was enjoying the weightless swimming  in the sea. David and I would stop and say, “Wow so right now it is just you and me but very very soon baby makes three!” With only 88 days until the estimated date of arrival this trip marked our last vacation as “just the two of us.”  Thankfully we had plenty  of time with our niece and nephew to practice a little parenting this past seven days =)

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But really just being together as a family made the trip so special.  It is sad being home now in that it is so quiet.  I keep expecting to see someone come around the corner to say hello or to ask us to run off here or there on the ship. I am so thankful for last week and I am really looking forward to our next family gathering which will most likely include baby-to-be!

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