On Overcoming Pain

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So you may be looking at this photo, thinking “What the heck does this have to do with pain?” Bear with me. You all know I typically love to keep this space a happy, positive, fun place, but if I only shared the happy stuff, that wouldn’t be real life, right?

The other night, I was sitting on my couch prepping for my Leadership class that will go on tonight, and turned to the Chapter in John Maxwell’s “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Leadership” titled “The Law of Pain.” Ugh. To say that I was less than excited to dive into this chapter is an understatement. But this class has been so amazing and eye opening for me that I knew I had to continue on and reading this chapter is all part of the growth process.

So I dove in…and it was not easy. This chapter forced me to go back and think about all the painful experiences I have had in my past. And it asked me to evaluate how I had responded to this pain. Because no matter what…you can be the best person out there…but bad experiences have a way of finding you. It’s just a fact of life that there are ups and downs that we are unable to control. But what we CAN control is how we react and manage the pain.

As I looked back into my “pain file” of bad experiences, I looked over at my Christmas Tree and thought about one of the hardest times I have ever had in my life. It was a fall of 2012. It was supposed to be a happy time. I had just found out I was pregnant with my first baby. We named the baby Peanut. We were ecstatic. We called our closest family and friends and shared the news. Everyone was bubbling with excitement. We started looking at baby things online and thinking about how to shift our apartment around and decorate a nursery. And then only a few short weeks later, when I was 7.5 weeks pregnant our world came crashing down. I had started having some complications, but we were hopeful because we had seen a heartbeat on the monitor. But after one rough weekend, I knew something was wrong and come that next doctor’s appointment, our little Peanut was no longer on the screen.

It was the first time I saw my husband cry. And actually now writing this…as I thought I had come a long way from my pain, I am seeing that maybe it’s not true and it’s still very much there…as the tears are welling up in my eyes once again. I don’t know if I dealt with my pain very well at the time. I know I cried. A LOT. I know I felt empty inside. Like something was missing. Like I was supposed to be a mom, but then I wasn’t. It was just ripped away from me. Stolen. Like it was a fake, imaginary, dream…well more like a nightmare. Like this couldn’t possibly be my first experience at being pregnant. This negative, awful, scary feeling. Thoughts rushed through my head of “Would I ever be able to have a child?” and “Is there something wrong with me?” I think I closed up into a ball for awhile when I was alone and just wailed…and in public, I tried to put on a brave face and pretend that I was okay.

I think I finally decided to truly embrace my pain when I wrote about this experience on this here blog. When I decided the walls needed to come down. I decided that it wasn’t my fault, and that this terrible experience was out of my control. And that I wasn’t some weird anomaly. This happens to a lot of women, and they just don’t talk about it. So I decided to talk about it. And deal with it. And I pretty much wrote that post as therapy for myself I guess…but I never expected what would happen in return. I got an outpouring of messages, comments, + e-mails from other women who had gone through the same thing. People that I was close to, and had NO idea they had gone through this. People that I hadn’t talked to in years came out and wrote me. People said “thank you” for sharing this, and I realized wow…I am not alone. And neither are they. I truly wish no one ever has to go through this horrible loss of an unborn child…but if they do, I am glad that I was able to be there for them as someone who could relate to their pain.

Now what does this all have to do with the photo on this post? Well, this wooden rattle was the first toy that we had gotten for our little Peanut. My husband brought it home from work, and we just loved it. We were so excited. And when we found out the horrible news, I just couldn’t bear to hang onto it for another child or to give it away either. It was Peanut’s rattle. We weren’t really sure what to do with it…so when Christmastime came along, we decided to make an ornament out of it as a symbol of our little Peanut. So that we would never forget that first little ray of sunshine. I suppose this was a positive way to deal with our pain.

Each year we open our Christmas box, and we take out that ornament to put on our tree…and I don’t get sad anymore. Instead I feel happy. I feel that Peanut is a part of us. That he or she is watching down over us on this special time of year and is blessing our little family, which now has two happy, healthy little boys. And I keep that hope that eventually one day I will get to meet my little Peanut in “person.”

I hope that whatever pain you have dealt with in your life or you may be dealing with now during this holiday season, that you can find a positive way to overcome it and growing stronger because of it.

Lots of love and light this Thursday evening to you all!

XO,

Gina

Our Snow Family is Growing

Baby Notes 2 Announcement

Surprise!  The Notes Family is growing!

We are very excited to announce that we will have a new addition to the family on or around August 31 of this year!  Yes, that is two days after Nico’s 2nd Birthday.  What are the odds?

Now I know I mentioned in a recent post, “I know I’m not pregnant.”  I promise I wasn’t lying!  I just really didn’t know!  Boy did I feel stupid when I found out why I had really gotten sick that day.  At least I know it wasn’t because I was that terribly out of shape haha.

Speaking of getting in shape, it’s probably obvious, but I have had to put P90X on hold for awhile, because it’s pretty much the most intense workout ever, and not exactly made for pregnant ladies.  Also, my fitness goals have clearly changed.  Instead of six-pack abs, I will be looking at a basketball belly here in a few months.  However, I’m not going to use this pregnancy as an excuse to “go crazy and eat whatever the heck I want, because I’m going to get fat anyway”.  I am going to try my best to stick to a healthy diet (even when I’m nauseous and all I want is crackers), and I have also started on the PiYo workout program, which is pilates and yoga.  Much more prego-friendly!

It’s been hard to share what I have been up to lately, because of carrying this big “secret,” so while I am now at 10 weeks during my pregnancy and not quite through the first trimester, I have decided to share our baby news a bit earlier this time around.  Mostly because keeping secrets is exhausting (especially now that I have a toddler running around).  I’m already exhausted enough!  But also, because a post written by a good friend and local neighborhood mom, Sascha, really hit home for me.  I support the decision to announce your pregnancy whenever you so desire, but for me…. right now… this is the right time.

If you have been following my blog for awhile now, you know that I lost my first pregnancy with our Little Peanut.  When I got pregnant with Nico, I lived a lot of the pregnancy in fear of what could happen.  I was constantly scared and anxious that we would somehow lose him too.  But getting through the first trimester also isn’t some sort of magic number of weeks that sends you off on a sweet sunset sail toward labor and delivery.  I have had many friends lose pregnancies in their second trimesters too.  Things happen in life that we have no control over, and as heartbreaking as that is, I felt that even though I know there is the possibility of losing another pregnancy, it wasn’t going to stop me from being happy this time around.  No matter what, you will ALWAYS worry about your children.  It doesn’t matter how old they are.  So I am not willing to let fear stop my happiness.  And God-forbid if my family has to go down that dark path again, at least I can be rest assured that I have a supportive network of family and friends around me to get me through.  Every life is worth celebrating, and right now I am happy to celebrate the 10 week old growing baby in my belly.

That being said, pregnancy with a toddler is crazy!  I’m trying to get through each and every day while exhausted and nauseous.  It’s strange to be going through it a second time around.  It’s sort of like we’ve gone back in time a bit.  Not gonna lie, it’s hard.  And I imagine it only gets that much harder once the baby actually arrives!  But thinking about Nico being a big brother this summer makes me so excited.  He has even started giving the baby kisses (kissing my belly) which just melts my heart.  He is the sweetest thing.

World's Best Big Brother

We cannot be more thrilled to grow our family, and I am looking forward to sharing my pregnancy journey with you for a second time around.

Hope you are all having a fantastic week!

XO,

Gina

{25} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of Nasty Gal.  Incredible story and extremely inspirational.  Would recommend to anyone, not just the ladies.

writing  In Nico’s baby book.  I have a few months of catching up to do with all his new milestones!  

listening  “Talk Dirty” by Jason DeRulo.  As a former sax player, I had to give a shout out to the awesome solo work in this song.

thinking  It’s been a bit of a crazy few weeks for me and my family.  We lost my beloved Granny recently, and although she was 93 years old, it was  sudden and a bit of a shock for all of us.  After losing my Uncle earlier this year, it’s been rough for everyone, especially my Mom.  I cannot imagine losing my own mother, and I know this has got to be incredibly difficult for her.  My Granny was the sweetest lady, and I miss her dearly.  I am comforted in the fact that I was able to be by her side in her last week along with the rest of our family, and that she was comfortable and knew we were all with her at the end.  I truly appreciate all of the love, prayers, cards, and support that people have given us during this time.

smelling  The great outdoors.  Spent Zack’s 1st Father’s Day Weekend hiking Bear Mountain on Saturday, and Sunday was spent smelling the sweet salt air at Rockaway Beach.  I would definitely recommend the Perkins Memorial 3.9 mile trail loop.  Amazing views and a challenging, fun hike.  I impressed myself by doing a few rock scrambles with a baby on my back as well, and we were able to introduce Nico to his first ride…the carousel!  Onto the beach…if my fellow New Yorkers make it to Rockaway this summer, you must go to 106th street for arepas at Caracas.  I insist!  P.S. Nico LOVED the beach.  That’s my boy!

watching  Watched the throwback movie Big for the first time with one of my favorite actors of all time, Tom Hanks.  Although the method of getting “bigger” was a tad cheesy, I really enjoyed the movie and would recommend it.

wishing  For the weekend to get here!  We are heading to Cape May for the first time for a family vacation with the hubby’s side.  Looking forward to snuggling that little nephew of ours, and spending time with the entire fam.  Have any of you been to Cape May before?  Would love some suggestions on what to do/where to eat/where to shop, etc.!

hoping  That Nico feels less pain when the rest of his teeth come in…yes, you heard right…Nico got his first tooth this weekend!  My boy is getting big.  

wearing  This new vintage style bathing suit I purchased from Grey Dog Boutique.  Discovered this shop from Bonnie over at Flashes of Style.  Go say hi!

loving  The the line-up of summer travel we have on the horizon.  While driving long distances can sometimes be draining, Zack and I are always up for an adventure, and this summer will be no different even with a little one in tow.  We started off the summer in New Hampshire with good friends, enjoyed upstate NY last weekend, and have Cape May to round out the month of June.  July we will be heading to Rehobeth Beach (DE), North Fork (Long Island), Deep Creek Lake (MD), and celebrating my 30th (eek!).  Ending the summer will be a trip to the Outer Banks (NC) and celebrating Nico’s 1st birthday.  Some may call us crazy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

laughing  I’m not a cat person, but this kitten jam had me rolling!  

wanting  This shocking coral lip color for the season.

needing  Some more time with girlfriends.  I’ve been loving the family life without a doubt, and I love my boys to death, but sometimes a girl needs some quality time with her girlfriends too!  Hoping to set up a few “girl-dates” while the weather is nice and warm. 

feeling  A second needle injection into my thumb this morning.  OUCH.  My thumb has definitely gotten a lot better since the first shot, but it’s still not completely back to normal, and as the doc said “I am too young to have this problem!”  Not to mention how impossible it is to “rest your thumb.”  I really do hope this one will curb me from having to undergo surgery, but worst case scenario, I have heard it’s a fairly simple procedure.

craving  More time to work on this blog and other personal endeavors/passion projects.  My creativity is bursting at the seams with very little time to act!  I’ve always been great with time management, but juggling work, caring for a baby, and our social/travel calendar have made things a bit more tricky.  I know it’s tough to “have it all,” but I’m determined to come up with a way to make things work without sacrificing my family time.

clicking  Nico is pulling himself up to a standing position, and I think it’s time for some functional shoes for summer.  I’ve been searching around online, but does anyone have any favorites they love for their little one?

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What have you been up to lately?

Happy Hump Day!

Love,

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.

I Hope You Had the Time of Your Life

Loved One

I typically keep this space light and fun.  However, those you have been reading my blog for awhile now know that I also don’t want to plaster on a fake smile when I’m hurting.  Unfortunately, life is not just about the happy moments.  We have ups and downs and ebbs and flows.

This happens to be one of those difficult weeks.  It’s with great sadness that I lost my uncle, my mother’s brother, to a long, nasty battle with cancer.  He had a rare type of esophageal cancer, and while he fought like hell, there was nothing more the best doctors in the world from Johns Hopkins could do for him.  My only solace is knowing that he went peacefully and he is no longer in any pain or suffering.  While my uncle was a bit wild on the exterior, he had a heart of gold and a kind soul.  He was musical, artistic, funny, bright, and he loved his family more than ever.  I will miss him like crazy, but I know he is still with here with us in some way.

I know this song is cliche, but it’s appropriate, and it reminds me of my uncle playing guitar, so I thought I would share it here today.  Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers.  Thanks.

XO,

Gina

Twenty Eight: A Reflection

bday

My Aunt Marie, My sister on the left, and that’s me on the right – My sister and I are two years and three days apart, and we’ve been celebrating our birthdays together our whole lives. Love you little sis!

twenty eight: a reflection

twenty eight

you’ve been great

so much has happened

from the past year to date

it started with

a new camera to shoot

a photography class

to give this blog a boost

went to the obx

on family vacay

relaxed on the beach

all worries kept at bay

katie’s oc bach

was a ton of fun

laughing and dancing

til up came the sun

summer days at ft. tilden

with erin and rai

summer nights in dewey

to celebrate labor day

this year brought us very

many weddings galore

most of them being

near baltimore

there was one in boston

during a crazy manhunt

another in montauk

on the gorgeous waterfront

a ten year reunion

for my high school class

can’t believe

how much time has passed

a trip to a.c.

for a bachelorette

dinner and dancing

complete with roulette

brunches and bar crawls

in the n-y-c

pollard potluck had

their 5th anniversary

nights in new york

during santa con

thanksgiving and christmas

had lots of family to bond

we went through some struggle

went through some strife

when we lost our little peanut

it cut like a knife

we tried to stay strong

and looked up above

for some courage and guidance

and we got through with love

next came a photo shoot

with blue balloons

a new baby coming

for us all to swoon

we call him little monkey

our pride and joy

we can’t wait to meet

our sweet little boy

my fav blondes came to visit

new york in the spring

we walked on the high line

and of course went shopping

arizona adventures

brought me to tucson

hung out with my pen pal

hiked in phoenix at dawn

prescott, sedona,

and the grand canyon too

are all the great places

that we got to view

after over ten years

our huge fam got together

with over one hundred kin

and some beautiful weather

a father’s day feast

with the notes clan one day

gathered instruments together

and a concert we played

the fourth of july

brought us to maine

the lake house was awesome

and the lobster insane

this year has been wonderful

twenty eight has been sweet

but this year is now over

and we cannot repeat

twenty nine is stepping in

so let’s have some cake

celebrate, cheer, and sing

for the new memories we’ll make!

Can’t believe another whole year has passed by, and boom I’m in my last year of my twenties.  Time really does fly by.  Twenty eight was awesome, and I am really looking forward to embarking on so many more of life’s adventures in year twenty nine.  Thank you so much for all of the wonderful wishes I have received thus far!

I would also like to say a special early “Happy Birthday” to my little sis, Angela, who is also celebrating her birthday this weekend.  We are lucky to have our birthdays so close, and we have always been able to celebrate together from either near or far.  Love you Pooks!

Hope you all have a wonderful Friday and a fabulous weekend ahead!

XO,

Gina