Happy 1st Birthday Nico

Nico34

IMG_0498_Layers

IMG_1163_Layers_v1

IMG_1945_Layers_v1

IMG_2272_Layers_v2

IMG_2434_Layers_v1

IMG_2936_Layers_v1

IMG_2976_Layers_v1

IMG_3581_Layers_v1

IMG_4008_Layers_v1

IMG_4746_Layers_v1

IMG_4766_Layers_v1

IMG_5324_Layers_v1

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.*

2012: A Year in Review

IMG_3654

Ringing in the New Year in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica!

IMG_3776

Hiking in the Cloud Forest in Monteverde, Costa Rica

IMG_4071

Three Italianos Reunited in Brooklyn!

IMG_4124

Valentine’s Day Surprise at the Mary Poppins Show! I dressed just like her without even knowing.

IMG_4196

Celebrating Zack’s 31st at crazy Mehenata Bulgarian Bar

IMG_0283

OAR Concert with Jack and Sammy

IMG_4205

14 inch hair chop! Bye Bye. Thanks Nikki!

IMG_4722

Sweetlife Festival at Merriweather in MD featuring Avicii…AMAZING.

IMG_4582

Seeing Emily Blunt and Jason Segal at the premiere of 5 Year Engagement at the Tribeca Film Festival

IMG_9548

SKYDIVING!!! Thanks to my amazing husband – he surprised me on our one year anniversary with this bucket list item.

IMG_4732

Dad FINALLY visits us in NY. With Zack, Mom, and cousins at their pasta shop in Brooklyn

IMG_5606

DMB Concert and Upstate NY trip

IMG_5083

Virginia Beach trip with friends for Shirin and Shahrum’s wedding

IMG_5482

Testudo came to Zach and Jessica’s wedding! Go Terps!

IMG_0106

Happy Birthday to ME! Love my new camera!

IMG_5824

Girl’s Weekend in OC for Katie’s Bachelorette – Seacrets is crazy!

IMG_0298

Family vacation in the Outer Banks, NC

IMG_0705

Surfing Competition in the Rockaways

IMG_0880

Dewey Summer Send off on Labor Day Weekend

IMG_0937

A Naval Academy Wedding for Megan and JoJo

IMG_1037

Visionary Art Museum Wedding for MaryBeth and James

IMG_1226

Trip to Montauk for Mike and Abby’s Big Day

IMG_1968

Katie & Adam tie the knot at Sagamore Farms

racejohn

Running with Patrick and Melissa for my late dear friend John Petrovick. “Inside all of us is HOPE.”

racejohn2

Thanks to Gabbi for helping to raise money for John’s cause.

IMG_2209

Camping trip with Erin and Rai to French Creek

IMG_2380

End of the season pic with my JV High School Girls Soccer Team

IMG_3118

ASHS 10 Year High School Reunion – man time flies

IMG_3963

AC trip for Alex’s Bachelorette!

IMG_3668

All my girls at the 5th Annual Pollard Potluck

IMG_4619

Christmas Morning at Mom and Dad’s

poodiewedding

Alex and Seamus get married to end the year!

It may seem like a lot of photos, but this is just a small snippet of what took place in 2012.  There were so many more fun memories of this past year.  There were also some sad moments as well.  I have learned a lot this past year, and I know that I am truly thankful for the family and friends that I have.  I am incredibly lucky for the support and love that I have received this past year, and I hope I was able to return the favor to all of you as well.

I wish you all a Happy New Year’s Eve.  Please stay safe tonight.

Bring on 2013!

XO,

Gina

Thank You!

I just wanted to give a big thank you to all my family, friends, and supporters for your donations to Q’s Quest for the Johns Hopkins Departments of Neurology & Neurosurgery.  I surpassed my goal and raised over $5,200 dollars for the cause.  I couldn’t be happier, and you all have made a huge difference toward finding a cure for brain cancer.  I’m sure my friend John is smiling down from heaven right now.

I also want to thank my friends who ran the Rock ‘N Roll New York 10K with me in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.  Due to an injury, I was nervous that I may not be able to run the race, and thought I would have to walk it.  I hadn’t run in a month, and on race day, I decided to go for it.  I made it through 6.2 miles without being able to train properly, and I did it with 9 minute miles (I was originally hoping for 8:30s when I was able to train), so I am extremely happy with how everything went.  I have no idea how I was able to do it, but I appreciate my friends that ran with me, and I know I must have had an angel carrying me through.  🙂

Up for this week: trying to nurse my sore legs back into shape!  Hope you all have a great week!

XO,

Gina

Inside All of Us is Hope

In 2 days, I will be partaking in yet another adventure.  I will be running the Rock N Roll NY 10K in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.  Now, the fact that I am running this race is not so much the adventure.  I have done plenty of races in the past.  The adventure is more in the reason I am running this race.  I am running for my friend John Petrovick who you see pictured above.

John was a friend of mine for 14 years.  We met in high school in biology class and hung out after school on the soccer fields.  John was hilariously funny and while making everyone laugh, he is also the most amazing, inspiration person that I knew.  He battled through 4 years of brain cancer all while continuing to run marathons, finish law school, and remain the funny, friendly, caring person that he was.

We unfortunately lost John on April 28, 2012, but we did not lose the legacy and inspiration he left behind.  John played a huge role in his doctor’s (Dr. Q) quest to cure brain cancer.  He encouraged his doctor/surgeon to join him for the Baltimore Half Marathon, and they raised thousands of dollars to help Johns Hopkins departments of neurology and neurosurgery.  These past few months, I have tried to continue with John’s efforts to raise money for this cause, and so far I have raised over $3,600 in his memory.  My goal is to get to $5,000, so I still have a bit to go, and not much time left!  I’m at 72% of my goal, and I would really appreciate your help in achieving this for John.

To donate please click here:  http://www.active.com/donate/qquest/ginanotesforjohn

Also, for those of you who didn’t know John, this is how amazing he was: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=CDrEIYyyIds&NR=1

For those of you who did know John…you already know he was “superman.”  Please join me in the fight against brain cancer.  As John would say, “Inside all of us is HOPE.”

Thanks for your support, and I will update you after the race!

XO,

Gina