Pregercises

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Should you exercise during your pregnancy? During your first trimester, it can be hard to even get out of bed let alone exercise, because you are so exhausted. However, I am a big fan of exercise during pregnancy. Not only does it surprisingly give you more energy, it also boosts your mood, improves sleep, and helps with the aches and pains of pregnancy. Exercise strengthens your muscles for labor and delivery, and makes it much easier to get back to normal after the birth of your baby.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant women exercise for at least 30 minutes per day most days of the week. You want to get your heart pumping, increase your flexibility, manage weight gain, and prep your muscles, but you also need to make sure you don’t overdo it and cause stress for you or the baby.

If you were exercising before your pregnancy, there is no reason to stop once you get pregnant. Many women continue to run or weight train during their pregnancies. However, you do not want to start a rigorous routine when you are pregnant if you were not a big exerciser beforehand. Modify your workouts based on your fitness level and speak to your doctor about what the best plan would be for you.

Some people may think that pregnancy limits your exercise. That is true to an extent, but there are SO many things you can do during your pregnancy for exercise. Here are some of my favorites that you can do at home or on your own:

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Since crunches are off the table for me during pregnancy (I am afraid of that ab split! No thank you!), planks are a GREAT alternative to keep your core strong. My favorite are the elbow and side planks. When in elbow plank, make sure to keep your back flat so that it’s not drooping as that will put stress on your back. Hold for as long as you are able!

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Side leg lifts are great for the outside of your legs and your boo-tay. Move your leg up and down on each side. For the second version of the leg lift, start on all fours and push one leg out and up. Then bring it back in toward your chest and repeat. This exercise is really good for the hamstrings and the boo-tay as well.

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Push-ups of course work that upper body! If you have been doing regular push-ups before your pregnancy, then you could go ahead and continue. If not, then you may want to do push-ups on your knees or against a wall to be safer.

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For regular squats, place your legs shoulder width apart, keep your chest up and your shoulders back. Look up and make sure to put your weight on your heels. Pretend like you are sitting back in a chair and make sure your knees are behind your toes. You will definitely feel the burn in your quads and glutes! For plié squats or wide squats, open up your stance and your will feel those inner thighs getting strong.

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Walking is one of the best exercises you can do while pregnant. Walk at a quicker pace to get that heart rate up as well, and make sure to always stretch. Stretching (especially lower body) is really great overall to prep your body for labor and delivery.

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Step-Ups are fantastic for your legs and bum, and also counts as cardio!

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Start with your feet flat and raise up to your tippy toes. Repeat for at least 30 reps. You can do each leg separate or at the same time–whichever is more comfortable for you. Your calves might be screaming by the end, but they will be strong and toned as well.

Pregercises_Yoga

One of the most relaxing ways to build strength, tone, and stretch during your pregnancy. Some of my favorite poses include downward dog, upward dog, warrior 2, warrior 3, and child’s pose. As someone with an ever-aching back, it only gets worse during pregnancy, so these yoga poses really do wonders for me.  I have actually been participating in PiYo for the past couple months which is a combination of yoga and pilates. It’s a faster paced program that keeps you moving the whole time, and I have felt so much stronger and healthier in my pregnancy this time around because of it. Happy to share more info if you are interested!

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Last but not least, one of my favorite exercises during pregnancy…dancing!  I hope I don’t really look like this when I dance. Maybe I do. I’m a nerd and was trying to end this post on a silly note, but in all seriousness, dancing is a fantastic (and fun!) way to stay active and fit during your pregnancy.

Some other exercises not pictured here that are wonderful during pregnancy include: swimming, low-impact aerobics, pelvic tilts, seated rows, weight training, running (if you were a runner before), and spinning or barre classes.

Did you stay active during your pregnancy? If so, what was your favorite way to exercise?

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

XO,

Gina

P.S. Nico had his first photo shoot for an ad catalog yesterday (my husband’s company.)  He got to model the most adorable lion coat! It was pretty cute, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Stay tuned. :-)

Blue & Yellow

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Took these photos back on Easter/Passover weekend when we were in Maryland visiting family. It was a GORGEOUS day outside allowing me to wear this sleeveless number without a jacket and fully enjoy the sunshine. Oh boy am I happy that spring is finally here!

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Dress: ModCloth (sold out, but similar here) / Boots: Target / Watch: Michael Kors – now on sale!

My little bump is starting to pop here in these photos at 19 weeks. I am now at 21 weeks today, and we will head to the doctor on Wednesday for our 2nd anatomy sonogram and to check in with my midwife to see how baby is progressing.  I always get so excited/nervous for these appointments!  I am feeling good and starting to feel baby’s movements so I’m hoping that this means we will be getting a good report!

We had a nice weekend and decided to enjoy the fabulous weather by taking a little family trip to the Bronx Zoo. Nico was in complete awe of the giant tigers and bears. We ended the day with a trip to Arthur Avenue for some delicious Italian fare. Nom nom nom.  Yesterday we headed to Long Island City in Queens for a 2nd birthday party, so I guess you could say we borough hopped around this weekend!

Today I got my PiYo Buns workout in this morning (buns are burning ya’ll!), and I am hunkered down working from home trying to stay out of the wind, cold, and rain. Hoping tomorrow will bring the sunshine back.  Happy Monday everyone! Let’s make it a great week!

XO,

Gina

{32} Lately…

20weeks

Lately I’ve been…

reading  Aaaaaand I’m still reading The Goldfinch.  Haha might possibly be the longest it’s ever taken me to get through a book that I didn’t absolutely hate. LOL. I also just finished Eat That Frog, which is an excellent book about time management and making the best use out of your time. Picked up lots of great business tips in there.  

writing  I recently had the privilege to interview Shannon Fitzpatrick for Autism Awareness month about her son Chase and how Autism has impacted her family. Thank you Shannon for opening up about your experience, and hopefully this can help and inspire those going through something similar.

listening  To Nico say “I love you too” this morning, just about MADE.MY.DAY. Love that kid.

thinking  About some ideas for an upcoming post on the best exercises to do while pregnant.

smelling  The deliciousness cooking at my local cafe and Monday “office” Cafe Madeline.

watching  Revenge on Netflix. I had been wanting to watch this show for awhile, but didn’t want to jump in without seeing the first few seasons. So I decided to catch up via Netflix. It’s dark, but captivating!

wishing  A Happy Birthday to my (pretty much) brother-in-law, Adam!  Hope it’s amazing and wonderful just like you!

hoping  That Nico has a fun time at his first dance/movement class today! Wish I could be there with him, but Mama’s gotta get some work done.

wearing  Floral Pants from Motherhood Maternity – Tank from GAP – Blouse from Express – Polka Dot Flats from GAP Outlet

loving  The sunshine! It’s been very nice out the past couple days, and I am relishing in it! Even broke out my floral spring pants this morning as you can see from above.

wanting  A prenatal massage and a big huge pregnancy pillow (that I never had with my first baby). Mother’s Day? (wink wink)

needing  To go shopping for some new clothes this spring. Yes, I know I have the perfect maternity clothes already in my closet from my last pregnancy, because the babe will be born at the same time of year as Nico…but can you blame me for wanting something new?

feeling  Pretty good! Aside from a little back pain (which PiYo totally helps with by the way!), I am feeling pretty good during this second trimester. How I wish the whole pregnancy could be like the second trimester!  Haha.

craving  Ditching alllllll my cravings for processed sugar this week as I am hosting a 7-Day (No) Sugar & Squats Challenge!  Today is the first day (50 squats down baby!), so feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you want in!

clicking  Through apartment listings. Trying to figure out if it makes sense to move before we have our little one. We could technically squeeze in our current place, but it will be TIGHT. The problem is that finding anything bigger is going to be a huge increase in expense (my guess), and we have such an amazing deal now that it’s hard to leave. We shall see what the future brings!

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HAPPY MONDAY!

What have you been up to lately?

XO,

Gina

***I was inspired by Tina of Like Ordinary Life to create this post, and she was inspired by Lauren of siddathornton, who started The Sunday Currently.

You Wouldn’t Believe It If I Told You

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“What are you wearing to Alex’s baby shower?” my sister asked.

“You wouldn’t believe it if I told you,” was my response.

Yes, I am a pregnant lady, who decided to wear a crop top two piece dress to a baby shower.

“But I promise it’s classy!” I exclaimed.

I can’t even describe to you what my sister imagined me wearing to this shower. Haha. I think I really threw her for a loop.  I purchased this dress at the end of last summer season, and didn’t find the right opportunity to wear it then. Fast forward to this year, and the tags were still on. My tummy is ever growing, and this shower was pretty much my last opportunity of the year to get any wear out of this dress before I blow up like a balloon haha. Lucky for me, this bad boy has a high waisted skirt and fans out over the bump, so people could barely notice the bump, and somehow I think I actually managed to make that slight skim of midriff stay classy, even with a baby growing inside me.  (I think. I hope.) Who knew?

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Photos by: Mary Ann Guaragna / Edited by: Myself

Top & Skirt: Necessary Clothing (last season, but loving their selection of dresses right now) / Shoes: Sole Society (similar) / Sunnies: ModCloth / Watch: Michael Kors (now on sale!) / Bracelet: Baublebar / Earrings: Stella & Dot (similar) / Hair Curled with Sapphire 8-in-1 Curling Wand c/o: Irresistible Me (now on sale!)

I don’t know about you, but I am still waiting for the spring weather to arrive and STAY put.  I’m tired of this back and forth fake out with one nice day and then back to freezing cold again.  Come on SPRING!  Just get here already and don’t go away!  I’m sure mid-July when I am hugely pregnant, sweating, and waddling, I will regret these sentiments, but right now I am just craving that warm weather.

The father-in-law is coming up to visit tomorrow night and he is taking Zack and I to the Brooklyn Nets v. Washington Wizards basketball game. Not only am I excited to have a night out, but I have been dying to get to a Nets game, and who better to play them than my old team, the Wizards! Did you know I used to intern for them?  One of the best internships I ever had. It will be awesome to see them play again from a new perspective.

Hope you are all having a great week!

XO,

Gina

Mix & Match

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Top: Express (similar) / Skirt: Target (sold out – similar here) / Shoes: Cynthia Rowley / Necklace: Express (similar) / Watch: Michael Kors / Bracelet: Stella & Sparkle / Lip: MAC Up the Amp / Hair: Curled with Sapphire 8-in-1 Wand c/o Irresistible Me

I love to mix and match different patterns, and florals with stripes are probably my most favorite combo.  As long as you stay within the same color palette, I think it works.  I was happy to have an excuse to get all dolled up for my friend’s bridal shower.  It was a beautiful event, and I was very grateful to be invited!

I am working away from my local farm fresh cafe this morning, and headed home to pack this afternoon for our trip to Maryland for Passover & Easter.  We are lucky both of our families live close to each other so that we are able to spend the holidays with everyone!  I know Nico is especially excited to see his fam!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

XO,

Gina

Curls & Twirls

 Before & After

As much as I love fashion, hair is not really my thing. I love it. I wish I could do it. I love having it done for me by other people. But when it comes to doing it myself, I usually end up falling short. I end up taking the easy route and just flat ironing it straight for lack of a better option. Even worse, now that I am a busy mom, I let it air dry or throw it up into a messy top knot. The days of actually “doing” my hair are few and far between, but I still long for a fancy do when I have a special event to go to. I just have trouble making it happen myself. I have tried multiple tools, curling irons, etc., and I always end up in a sweaty huff and unhappy with the results. Until now.

After trying their fabulous hair extensions back in September, I decided to give Irresistible Me’s Sapphire 8-in-1 Curling Wand a whirl. Ladies and gentlemen (all three of you gentlemen that read this blog), I am happy to say that I HAVE FOUND THE CURLING IRON OF MY DREAMS!  Not only are there tons of options for different type of curls, but it was EASY, and I could do it MYSELF!  I actually liked the results, I wasn’t a sweaty huffy mess afterwards…and the best part is that my curls stayed from 10 in the morning when I did my hair until well after I went to bed for the night! As someone who struggles to do their hair normally, this tool has totally changed my mindset on prepping for a fancy night out.  I am so happy to finally find something that works for me, and works SO well. Thank you Irresistible Me!

More BEFORE photos:

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And now for the AFTER:

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Sapphire 8-in-1 Curling Wand: c/o Irresistible Me / Top: Express / Eyes: Sonia Kashuk / Lip: MAC Up the Amp

What do you think? Not bad for my first go at it huh?

Used this curling wand for the first time for a beautiful bridal shower in upstate NY for a lovely bride!  It was a lot of fun and a gorgeous affair.  I loved how fancy I felt, so I decided to go for round 2 of the curling iron this past weekend at my cousin’s baby shower in MD. Happy to say it wasn’t just beginner’s luck! I’m still obsessed with the tool, and plan to use it for many more events in the future.

Had a nice little girl’s weekend with my mom, family, and close friends…although I did miss my boys while away!

Yesterday wasn’t feeling so great, but hoping today will bring sunshine and happiness my way.

Hope today will bring the same for you!

XO,

Gina

Tulum Diary

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Happy Hump Day everyone!  These cold temperatures are still lingering here in NYC, and it’s making me miss the weather from our trip to Tulum, Mexico. I’m excited to share these photos and a little bit about our adventures down there.  It was honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Boho hippie chic in style, completely relaxing, but adventures around the corner for those who want to partake. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of the trip sick (from the food I’m guessing? God only knows), so we didn’t get to do as much as originally planned, but we still had an amazing time and at least enjoyed the warm weather!  We stayed in Tulum for a week and then ventured to the town of Akumal for three nights.  We also explored around to different areas to visit Mayan ruins, cenotes, and Playa del Carmen. The first photo is from the Mayan ruins in Tulum. Simply gorgeous!

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This photo is also from our trip to the Tulum ruins.

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My little monkey hanging out in the carrier!  He is such a good traveler!

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Pool at our condo in Tulum. We rented it off airbnb.

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This was taken before our private dinner right on the beach at Momo Hoja.  Never thought the most romantic dinner of my life with be with a toddler in tow, but this place took the cake!

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Doesn’t get any more amazing than this.  It’s basically paradise at Papaya Playa Project.  They are welcome to outside guests, free parking, and fabulous beds as long as you place an order for food or drinks.  Done and done.

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Decided to drive out to Coba for the day to explore the Mayan Ruins.  I definitely recommend getting a tour guide here as it was extremely helpful to understand what we were looking at and we learned so much about the ancient history, language, and culture of the Mayans.  They allow you to climb to the top of one of the pyramids here.  I climbed it with a baby in my belly and baby on my back.  A little steep and a little scary, but pretty awesome!

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Crystal clear blue waters of Tulum = heaven.

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Spelunking at Aktun Chen. This was really fun and kid friendly.  We toured the spectacular cave, saw lots of animals, and then went swimming in the underground river cenote.  Pretty amazing.

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Lounging for the day at El Paraiso.  Zack also took a boat off the beach here to do a snorkeling tour and had a great time!

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Sopes for lunch at the incredible Le Zebra beach club.  This place was absolutely gorgeous, and I would recommend people stay here!  Fabulous food, rooms, and scenery.

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They had BEDS in the restaurant!  I meeeean…it doesn’t get any better than this!  Haha.

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View from our Villa in Akumal – Villas Flamingo

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Didn’t get fancy at all in Tulum, so decided to glam it up a bit in Akumal for dinner on the beach.

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Day trip to Cenote Azul for some fabulous swimming and snorkeling!  What a gorgeous place!

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Don’t want to leave!!!

Ahhh, I am craving this warm weather right about now!  Take me back!

It’s been a busy week here in NY, working away with fitness challenge groups, freelance writing, and running around with my Nico.  We had so much fun over the weekend capturing our gender reveal and we are so pumped for Nico to have a little bro!

Hoping warmer weather is in our future.  We are ready to play outside again! How about you? What are you most looking forward to for the spring season?

XO,

Gina

Nico’s Little _______ !!!

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Happy Monday everyone!!! I know I have been driving you all crazy with the anticipation of our gender reveal for Baby Notes #2!  The photographs are in, and today is finally the day!  Zack, Nico and I went to the doctor on Thursday for our monthly appointment.  First things first, everything is looking good so far for a HEALTHY baby, which is most important!  We are so very lucky and blessed.  While at the doc, we opted not to find out the sex of the baby in the office, rather as you may remember from Nico’s reveal two years ago, we had the doc write the gender along with a sonogram pic in a sealed envelope.  Let me tell you how difficult it was not to rip open that envelope for those two agonizing days!!!

We purchased a pull-string piñata in both pink and blue confetti in advance.  Our trusted neighbor, Tammy, stepped in to help us with our operation, and she was actually the first to know the baby’s gender before anyone, including us!  She opened the card in secret and filled the piñata for us with the correct color confetti.  She also placed the sonogram photo inside so we could have it for later.  We headed to Prospect Park on Saturday early evening with our other neighbor and photographer, Cara Kantrowitz George, to document the big reveal.  We pulled the string and SURPRISE!!!!!!  Take a look at what unfolded below. :-)

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Photography by: Cara Kantrowitz George

Piñata by: LaLa’s Party

What a special moment in our lives!  We are so excited for Nico to have a little brother!  Little boys are so much fun, and I’m hoping they will be the best of buds, just like Zack and his brother are.  I still sometimes can’t believe that our family is growing so quickly, but this moment definitely made it feel like a reality!  We are so grateful to have such amazing neighbors to help us creatively document this wonderful surprise.  We thank you Tammy and Cara for taking the time to make this day so special!

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

XO,

Gina

{31} Lately…

Nico St. Patricks Day

Lately I’ve been…

reading  Still reading The Goldfinch.  Didn’t realize how long the book was!  I am actually enjoying it, but I have been pretty sidetracked with reading business development books and other things.  I will eventually finish it!  

writing  I recently started freelance writing for the new parenting blog started by Mom365. They are a newborn photography company who specializes in hospital photos.  Their blog has tons of parenting tips and advice from moms across the country and is an excellent resource, especially for new parents.  I am so excited to be included in this new venture!  Here is one of the more recent posts I wrote about taking baby outside in the cold.

listening  Went to brunch over the weekend at a piano bar and heard amazing music from Dylan Meek.  We ended up getting his CD and have been playing it while cooking dinner this week. So relaxing!

thinking  How much I miss Nico’s curls.  I held off getting his hair cut for SO long. People thought I was crazy as his hair was growing into his eyes and all, but I just thought it was adorable.  I did have to admit, things started getting out of control, so we finally decided to go for a haircut.  I’m definitely missing those baby curls on my little boy!

smelling  The chicken dinner my husband prepared for us last night lingering in the kitchen.

watching  Just watched 127 Hours, which was nominated for an Academy Award a few years ago.  What an incredible survival story.  It was tough to watch at times, but I’m so glad we watched this amazing account of a man’s will to live.

wishing  We were back in Mexico enjoying that warmth & sunshine once again!  Although my stomach probably wishes otherwise haha.

hoping  For a good doctor’s appointment this week.  We are going on Thursday to check on our little baby for an anatomy scan to make sure he or she is healthy.  Please send us love, prayers, and good vibes!  We will also be able to find out baby’s gender VERY soon!  We are hoping to do a fun reveal in the next week or two (not only for you, but for ourselves as well!), so stay tuned!

wearing  GREEN!  In honor of my Irish heritage.  Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m actually 50% Irish.  As you can see from above, Nico is celebrating too. Happy St. Paddy’s Day to all!

loving  Nico uttered these words this week… “I love you Mama.” I meeeeeaaannnn this pretty much just made my entire life!  I think every mom waits to hear those three little words from their child. I admit, I prompted him to say it, and right now he loves parroting everything I say, but it was absolutely amazing all the same. :-) 

wanting  One of these amazingly cool cartoon bags.

needing  Support for my Lenten service project! My sorority sister, Brielle, and I decided to join together to run a family supply drive for the Thorpe Residences in the Bronx, NY. They provide food & shelter to families in transition. They are in need of everything from diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, to board games & toys for family game night. We created an Amazon Wish List that will be up until April 12th for donations, and we can also accept donations in person. Brielle and I will be hand delivering the items to Thorpe after the drive. We appreciate anything you are able to donate!

feeling  How proud of how productive I was yesterday.  I normally hate waking up early, but decided to force myself to stay awake (and not go back to sleep), get my workout in early, eat breakfast and get a jump start on my work for the day.  I have to admit, it felt amazing, and I felt like I had so much energy to get things done.

craving  A green smoothie…because it is St. Patrick’s Day afterall.

clicking  Through beautiful houses in Deep Creek Lake, MD.  Planning a bachelorette getaway for my bestie, Meg, and should be making a final selection on a place tonight!  Whoo hoo!

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On a final note, I would like to wish a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my niece, Brittany!  Hope you have a great day!

What have you been up to lately?

XO,

Gina

***I was inspired by Tina of Like Ordinary Life to create this post, and she was inspired by Lauren of siddathornton, who started The Sunday Currently.

Feeling Grateful: Update on Andrea

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This right here is a photo of my sister-in-law, Andrea, and her husband Tink a couple weeks ago.  They went on a WINTER hike up a mountain that was covered in ice and snow.  Yes, this is the same sister-in-law who I spoke about on my blog back in October.  Then, she was anxiously hoping and waiting to have a life-changing brain surgery to rid her of the terrible Parkinson’s symptoms she was experiencing.  Fast forward to present day and she is hiking MOUNTAINS! In the SNOW!

I want to first start out by thanking everyone who helped support Andrea in receiving this surgery.  We raised more than enough money, and she donated the extra funds to future Parkinson’s research.  She was incredibly excited, and didn’t even bat an eye about having to fully shave her head beforehand.  We received a photo of her smiling with a big thumbs up pre-surgery.  She was so happy and ready to go.

According to her doctor, the surgery went very well.  I spoke to Andrea about how she has been feeling since the surgery, and these were her remarks:

My symptoms from Parkinson’s are gone. I’m able walk normally again, and I don’t have to worry if I will actually make it out of the woods if I go on a walk.  I’m thinking I could walk endlessly. It’s been a incredible mind and body experience that still amazes me everyday I get out of bed and simply set my feet on the floor. And then, I think I couldn’t have had this chance without the help from everyone who donated. Living with gratitude is a wonderful feeling.

I have seen such a change in Andrea’s spirit and happiness since the surgery.  She has been able to complete so many physical challenges, hikes, and all the outdoor activities that she used to love and couldn’t do for years.  I love that despite this crazy cold weather, she is not waiting for the summer to get outside.  She is that excited to get back out there, and the weather is no issue for her.  It’s incredibly inspirational and a true testament to living life to it’s fullest while you can.  Our entire family is extremely grateful for all of your help getting Andrea back to a life she can fully enjoy.

THANK YOU.

XO,

Gina