Happy 1st Birthday Luca

Baby Luca Has Arrived

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My Luca Bear. I cannot even believe my little baby is ONE today!!! It feels like you were born yesterday, but that also you have been here forever. When we got the news of my pregnancy with you, I thought for sure you would be the crazy one. Your brother was a pretty awesome baby, and I thought there is no way we could get two awesome babies. You kept me up all night kicking my belly during my pregnancy…and I guess the whole keeping me up thing hasn’t really changed haha, but aside from that (and the fact that you occasionally bite me…ouch dude, you should really probably stop that), you are pretty much the most awesome baby ever. Just sayin’. Like AWESOME.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine such a cool, chill, laid-back, patient child would arrive in my arms. I suppose I have your father to thank for that! It’s tough being the 2nd child. I’m not a 2nd child myself, so it was hard to imagine until you came along. Sorry little sis. But yeah, in this past year I have seen how hard it can be. Your older brother getting tons of attention, following his schedule…you along for the ride…mostly dragged along, woken up from naps constantly, pushed around, toys stolen. Of course there are the hugs too (mostly too tight). We kept a book of all your brother’s milestone moments, but we were too busy and stressed to create yours. But you honestly have handled everything like a champ…and with the BIGGEST SMILE!!!!

You rarely complain, you are incredibly patient, you go with the flow, and again with that smile!!! You are ALWAYS smiling. Like the happiest baby on the planet. I don’t think you even really cried for like the first 6 months of life. Not really. You truly made becoming a mother for the 2nd time a much easier process than I had anticipated.

A year ago today, you arrived in my arms and it was love at first sight. I knew how hard I could love a human being because I had your brother, so when you came, it was just instant. I knew I would love you just as much. And my love has kept growing throughout this past year.

I love the way you light up and crawl toward me when I come into the room with your little one legged crawl.

I love how your eyes smile along with your mouth…your Irish eyes are always smiling.

I love the way you snuggle your head on my shoulder when I sing to you before bedtime.

I love how independent you are with feeding yourself, and it’s seriously impressive how much you can eat.

I love how interested you are in animal sounds, dancing, drawing, my workouts, + the ABC song.

I love the way you push cars around a room and say “Broom Broom!” like you are having the time of your life.

I love the way you are always happy to see your brother even though he can sometimes be a butthead to you. You forgive him every time.

I love how when you say “Papa” it’s always in a whisper.

I love your sense of humor and that belly laugh that erupts whenever I show you a silly face.

I love those crazy curls on your head that no matter how many times I brush them, they pop up in a mohawk style.

My Luca Bear. Luca Dukes. Dukes. Goose. You have made our world so incredibly happy. You bring so much joy to our family and I seriously cannot imagine what life would be like without you in it. Apparently this birthday means you are a toddler now, but I don’t believe it. You still seem SO tiny to me (and maybe that’s because you are), but you are still my little baby, and I don’t see that changing for awhile. I am constantly amazed at the new things you accomplish on a daily basis and while I want to really keep you my baby forever, I am also excited to see you learn and grow even more in this next year.

Happy 1st Birthday to my sweet little angel baby. I love you to the moon and back again.

Love,

Mama

All About Hair

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As most of you know, I recently got my hair cut by the amazing, Tim Dueñas, at Arrojo Studio.  Having recently celebrated my 30th Birthday, I decided to treat myself to a fancy hair cut, and I am so glad I did.  Tim asked about my lifestyle and my daily routine, and without even needing me to show him a photo, he knew exactly what I needed in a hair cut.  Long enough to still put up in a pony and go (mom life doesn’t give me much time for styling), but plenty of layers and shape if I do find a moment to wear it down.  I am incredibly happy with how it turned out.

That being said…Irresistible Me sent over their fantastic extensions, and I couldn’t wait to try them on!  Now, let me be straight with you.  I know ladies have been rocking extensions for awhile now, but I never jumped on board.  To be honest, as much as I wanted to try them out, it was extremely intimidating to me.  I am not the best stylist when it comes to hair, and even when I received the box, I took one look, and e-mailed my contact there freaking out about how I was supposed to apply these things!  She sent me a video tutorial, and I have to say, I am completely surprised at how easy it was to clip them in.  While, I love my fresh new cut, it’s exciting to know that if I am craving a longer, fuller look for a date night or event, I can now achieve that without spending a fortune at the salon.

I have posted Before and After shots, and you can really see how natural they turned out.  A lot of other extensions I have seen have the potential to appear mullet-like, showing a clear separation between the real hair and the “fake” hair.  These flowed beautifully with my natural hair.  Speaking of natural…Irresistible Me boasts 100% natural hair in all their clips.

So what do you all think of extensions?  Have you tried them before?  Which look do you like better?

Before:

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After:

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*** I apologize for the blurriness in some of these photos.  We are trying out a new lens, and my husband was also taking these with a baby strapped to him, so there was some shake-age.  Haha.***

Hair Extensions: c/o Irresistible Me / Top: Necessary Clothing / Scalloped Shorts: Necessary Clothing / Shoes: ALDO (similar) / Bag: Rebecca Minkoff / Shades: Vintage / Earrings: c/o Stella & Dot (now on sale!) / Bracelets: Henri Bendel, Baublebar, Stella & Sparkle / Watch: Michael Kors / Lip: MAC Impassioned

And can you believe my outfit is actually a top and shorts set?  I wore them together, but apart, I think they would be just as cute styled in a different way.  I went on a sets kick this past shopping trip.  I don’t know what it was, but I was alone for once and excited, and I kept seeing adorable sets, so there you go.  The one I’m wearing is sold out online, but if you live in NYC, you may still be able to catch it in-store.  I also purchased this adorable two-piece top and skirt set, and I hope I can find the perfect occasion to break it out.

We spent the weekend in Brooklyn with our nieces, celebrated Nico’s 1st Birthday with a slice of rainbow cake (the big celebration is coming up this Saturday), and reminisced back to last year’s Labor Day Weekend when I was actually in labor.  My how much has changed since then.

Hope you all had a fantastic holiday weekend as well!

XO,

Gina

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.*