Happy 1st Birthday Nico

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Dear Nico,

Wow.  ONE whole year.  I cannot even begin to explain the emotions I am feeling today.  I will do my best to put it into words.  I am tearing up as I write this, but I’m not exactly sure why.  When I brought you home from the hospital one year ago, I couldn’t believe they were actually going to let me take you home.  Aside from babysitting my cousins and neighbors in my teen years, what did I know about raising a baby?  Especially a 5lb baby who had come two weeks early.  It was a strange feeling after carrying you around inside me for 9 months to then have you right there next to me or in my arms, outside of the womb.  To actually see the little face I could only imagine for so long.  You were so tiny.  So delicate.  I felt as if I might break you.  I was scared to put your clothes on, to swaddle you, to wipe your little tush too hard, or seal your diaper too tight.  Breastfeeding was a bitch.  I’m not going to lie.  It was hard.  You didn’t want to latch.  And I pumped for months, because I was bound and determined to make sure things panned out the way I had planned.  Although, of course things never turn out exactly how you think they will.  But we made it work.  And we eventually came to have a fantastic nursing relationship.

People said this year would fly by.  They said to make sure to enjoy it.  I believed them, but when you’re up around the clock with only a few hours sleep and you can’t tell the difference between night and day as you are in those beginning weeks, sometimes I admit it was tough to enjoy things.  Those weeks were hard.  But sometimes I wish I could rewind and see you that tiny again…before you wanted to squirm away from me after a quick hug.  When you would just lie on my chest for a three hour nap completely content.  Those days we cannot get back.  I look back at those photos from those first couple months, and I barely recognize that little baby anymore.  You have grown and changed so much in what feels like such a short amount of time.

When you gave me that first smile, I just about melted.  As hard as motherhood can be sometimes, it’s all worth it for every little smile, belly laugh, hug, and kiss you have given me.  Anytime you accomplished something new in the past year…it was such a complete joy to watch.  To know that maybe hours before you didn’t know how to roll over, but now you could…I felt such a sense of accomplishment for you.  You were so frustrated when you couldn’t crawl.  You would flail your arms and legs about like a flying fish, and spin in circles trying to make your move.  But that day you learned to army crawl, you were so excited.  You slid around the entire living room.  And once you could really crawl, you took off to explore the entire apartment.  Your sense of adventure and exploration reminds me of your Papa, and I love that you inherited that trait from him.

You are so curious.  You have always loved to see what is going on around you.  You really pay attention and focus on things, especially the alphabet, animals, and people playing music.  I am shocked at the amount of focus you have sometimes to sit and entertain yourself with a toy or a book for a long time.  You love to be outside whether it’s at the park, walking along the city streets, playing in the sand at the beach, or in the water at the pool.  You have flown in airplanes with us, hiked mountains with us, and rode on endless car trips.  You have made so many friends in the neighborhood, and you have attracted attention from admirers wherever we go.  You are definitely a people person, (which I like to think you have inherited from me) and you are incredibly sweet and lovable to all of your stuffed animals.

I am feeling such a mix of emotions.  I’m sad that you are growing up and moving from baby to toddler.  I’m happy that you have accomplished so much in this past year.  I’m excited for all the new adventures we will have in year two.  I’m nervous about the new changes we have coming our way.  I’m sentimental that we will never get back some of those amazing moments from when you were small.  All of those old firsts are now taken for granted.  However, I am anticipating all of the new firsts you will take on.  I am proud of the person you are thus far, and I’m hopeful that your father and I will continue to guide you in the “right” direction…whatever that means.  Most of all, I feel such an intense sense of love for you that grows by the minute.  Every day I think it is impossible to love you that much more, and every day my love still grows and grows.  The more time I spend with you, the less I want to be away from you.  You make my heart full and it’s hard to imagine what life was like before you came into the picture.

You are my Little Monkey, my Nico Bonzo, my Booski, my Boo Boo, my Stinky Butt, my Bubba, my Babycakes, my world.

Thank you for making me a mother.  Thank you for being you.  Thank you for the constant light and joy you bring to our family every day.

I love you like crazy.

Happy 1st Birthday, Nico.

Love,

Mama

*First photo by Justin Goldberg.  The rest, my own.*

{27} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading Finished beachy read,  Another Piece of My Heart, by Jane Green.  Nothing groundbreaking, but a decent vacation read.

writing  A deposition for a court date.  I’m a witness!  Don’t get too excited, it’s just traffic court…

listening  To lots of upbeat music, because Friday I returned to the gym after a 20 month hiatus.  And I actually went again on Monday, and went for a run this morning.  Hoping to keep this momentum going, because I’m already feeling more energized (apart from my sore limbs).

thinking  That we had a really great time last Sunday at the Industry City Dance Party in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.  Zack was eager to go, and I was a little worried that we would be “those people” bringing a baby into an entirely inappropriate situation, but I was happy to find all sorts of kids and babies rockin’ out on the dance floor with the best of them.  It was definitely a party.  And not a kid’s party.  But the fact that kids were welcomed and deemed appropriate there was pretty cool.  Nico (not surprisingly) loved it, and our little fam had a really great time getting our dance on.

smelling  My fav scent, Light Blue.

watching  All the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos.  I was a little annoyed by them at first…people dousing themselves so they didn’t have to donate…didn’t make a lot of sense to me.  But after reading this blog post, I have a new perspective.

wishing  Nico an early Happy 1st Birthday!  He is turning ONE on Friday.  I just can’t believe it.

hoping  That I can get my act together this week for a party planning extravaganza.  And by extravaganza, I mean myself, a glass of wine, my living room, and some DIY crafting.

wearing  In the photo above I’m wearing my new ModCloth dress that I got at their 70% off sale!  It’s sold out, but check out some of their other sale dresses here.  Did I mention I was able to go shopping this weekend…ALONE?  It was kind of amazing.

loving  My new haircut (also seen in photo above) from the amazing Tim Dueñas.  Feels so much lighter and loving having some layers again.

laughing  At this adorable friendship on Daily Laughs.

wanting  The summer to stick around a little longer.  I’m not ready for the beach days to end…

needing  To start checking some more things off my bucket list.  And as I’m looking at it…thinking about making some edits.

feeling  Incredibly nervous as today is Nico’s first day with his new nanny and new playmate.  We are going to miss our old one so much, and it’s going to be a tough transition week for all of us, but I’m hoping he will adjust quickly.  

craving  These sweet cinnamon oven roasted peaches.  Thinking this is just the recipe I need for the peaches in our yard this year.

clicking  Looking for a few sweet new baby gifts for little ones on the way.

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What have you been up to lately?

Hope you are all having a fantastic week!

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.

Porch Swing

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On me: Top: J. Crew / Tank: J. Crew (available in other colors) – also similar here / Shorts: J. Crew (available in other colors here and here) / Sandals: Sam Edelman (sold out, but many color choices here) / Sunnies: Francesca’s (similar) / Necklace: Baublebar (similar) / Watch: Michael Kors / Bracelets: Henri Bendel, Baublebar, Stella & Sparkle / Earrings: ALDO / Lip: Lancome Red Haute

On Nico: Bathing Suit Top & Trunks Set: Carter’s

Feeling nostalgic today from our vacation to the Outer Banks.  If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already noticed I’m protesting my post-vacation blues.  The photos above show some of my most favorite times in the OBX.  Doing.  Absolutely.  Nothing.  Relaxation in it’s purest form.  There’s just something about a porch swing at sunset that immediately resets my zen.  After a long day in the hot sun, taking walks and building sandcastles, it feels great to come back to the cottage, have a nice shower, and climb into the porch swing and just sway.  Feeling the breeze as the sun drops down below the horizon brings an immediate feeling of calm and a sense of peacefulness that I haven’t been able to really recreate anywhere else but here.  Sometimes I will even bring a book into the swing and get lost into some other dream world.  This year, I brought Nico onto the swing with me, and for a kid who otherwise at this age is squirmy and adventurous, I was mildly surprised with his ability to just snuggle and relax with me on the swing for awhile.  It was as if he was silently saying, “Oh hey Mom, yeah I could get the hang of this relax in the porch swing thing.”  I’m lucky that my little one still does love to snuggle with me often…usually at night before bedtime.  But as he approaches his first birthday and becomes more independent, I start to see him squiggle away from me more and more as he explores the world around him.  It makes me sad, but at the same time I know he has to grow.  Part of me wants to cling and keep him small forever though and that part of me is going to soak up every moment I can while he is still little enough to be wrapped in my arms cuddling on the porch swing.

XO,

Gina

Rockin’ Wedding Weekend

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Hey friends!  Well, I wasn’t planning on being completely M.I.A. last week over here, but as it turns out our beach house in the OBX lacked wifi.  I’m sure I could have scooted over to a coffee shop of sorts, but instead I decided to enjoy the free time I had with family, and tried to relax as much as possible.  As much as you are able to with an (almost) one year old child in tow and thirty family members to catch up with.  Nico was a hit with the family and he made sure to show them all of his latest “tricks.”  What a little charmer he is.  The exception to this charm is that our dinner dates with the little guy might be put on pause for awhile.  The scene that entailed was definitely anything but.  Breakfast dates, however, are still a go.  We had a lovely one on the Nags Head Pier watching the waves crash onto the shore.  Nico loved the beach as usual, and we took him up to Jockey’s Ridge to check out the famous sand dunes.  Overall, it was a really nice get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Onto these photos of this beautiful wedding from earlier this summer.  Our dear friends Joe and Colette look ravishing and totally in love.  They were smiling from ear to ear the entire day.  The magic took place in Rock Hall, Maryland (beautiful and totally under the radar), and it also marked our first full weekend away from the little guy.  He was in good hands with his aunt/godmother, and we actually got to sleep in for once, which was kind of amazing.  We had a lovely weekend with friends, and looking back at these photos makes me want to plan another weekend with this crew soon.

Missing my vacation already, but a small part of me is glad to be home in Brooklyn.

Hope you all have a great week!

XO,

Gina

{26} Lately…

Lately I’ve been…

reading Finished a few good ones recently.  First up was The Fault in Our Stars.  I wanted to read the book before watching the movie.  Of course, it’s predictable and a total tearjerker, but I was pleasantly surprised with how well a male author (John Green) was able to capture the mind of a sixteen year old girl.  Next, I read Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn.  This author never disappoints.  Although the main character, Libby, is a little unlikable in my opinion, Gillian Flynn is always keeping you on your toes with her novels and makes you want more.  Heading to the beach this weekend, so if you have any beach reads to recommend, please do!

writing  A ginormous to-do list of everything I need to get done before our trip to the Outer Banks.  And a packing list.

listening  Summer…my summer anthem by Calvin Harris.  Prepping a little playlist for our road trip.

thinking  That this beautifully written blog post from my friend Sascha really hits home for the working mom.

smelling  The delicious homemade eggplant parm the hubby cooked this week.  Fresh eggplant, tomatoes, and basil from the garden.  Melt in your mouth amazingness.

watching  The Bachelorette finale really threw me for a loop!  I realize I am delayed on watching my shows, so sorry for being late to the party.  I won’t throw out any spoilers for those who may also be behind on their TV watching, but let’s just say I was really surprised!

wishing  Time would slow down a bit.  My little baby is almost a year old already!  I can’t even take it.

hoping  I can pull off this fabulous fishtail braid at the beach next week shown in this tutorial by Nikki.

wearing  Lots of leopard print this week.  Feeling feisty.

loving  The end of summer sales!  ModCloth, Free People, J. Crew, & Zara have some pretty good ones going on right now.

laughing  At how Nico loves to be chased around the house.  I will crawl after him, and he will start crawling away squealing with delight…then come back and start chasing me while laughing.  That belly laugh is enough to get me laughing and smiling all day long.

wanting  To be with my little boy today.  In case you couldn’t tell, I’m missing him a lot while at work this week.  Looking forward to spending a whole week with him at the beach and introducing him to the place I have vacationed since I was a small child.  Also excited that the whole family will be able to see how much he has grown.

needing  A little girl (one day) so I can buy these adorable ribbons from Brit!

feeling  Totally inspired by hometown friend Candice as she becomes the first plus-sized model to appear in next year’s Pirelli calendar.  Doesn’t she look fantastic!!??

craving  Something sweet.  What else is new?

clicking  On 1st birthday party ideas for my little guy.

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What have you been up to lately?

Hope you are all having a fantastic week!

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.

Captured in Cape May

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I’m finally getting around to sharing some more of our Cape May vacation photos.  Some of these were taken on my camera, and some of them are from my Instagram feed, so don’t mind the inconsistency.  My favorite part about Cape May was looking at all the adorable houses, many of which have been converted in Bed & Breakfast Inns.  The architecture actually reminds me of my neighborhood, Ditmas Park in Brooklyn yet even closer to the beach.  I loved that mostly everything was in walking or biking distance and that it was very family oriented.  Many thanks to my mother-in-law and father-in-law for organizing such a fantastic trip!

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*Note*  The 2nd baby pictured is my adorable nephew, Nathan!  He and Nico had a great time playing together throughout the week.

Now we are on a countdown to our next family adventure…the Outer Banks!  This is a place my family has been going every summer since I was four.  Last summer, I was hugely pregnant and unable to attend as my due date was creeping up, so I am extremely pumped to not only return to the OBX, but to show Nico how much we all love this place and each other.  My cousins have already started the text chain, and I cannot wait to see them!

Happy Monday!

XO,

Gina