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.*

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

My 1st Mother’s Day

What a wonderful 1st Mother’s Day spent with my boys!  I relaxed this weekend, and we also took a day trip to Coney Island which means I didn’t spend much time writing posts.  However, I did snap a lot of photos, which I will be sharing in the next couple weeks.  My favorite gifts are ones that are made with love and pull at my heart strings.  This gift from my amazing husband had me in tears as he compiled a bunch of our videos of our son, Nico, who is now 8 months old (almost 9 now…eek!)  It’s crazy how much you forget about each little step along the way because your baby keeps growing and changing and you have to keep up.  Watching this video really hit me hard, because you cannot rewind those little moments.  He will never be that tiny again.  Seeing him with so little hair, making those squeaky little sounds he used to make, hating tummy time with a passion, when he really looked at me for the first time, trying those first bites of food, the first giggle, when he loved sleeping on my chest…you cannot get that back.  We are forever pushing forward.  Which of course, in and of itself is also extremely exciting.  I love thinking about all the other firsts Nico will accomplish…but it’s a bittersweet feeling, knowing you cannot go back to when he was tiny…and it gut punches you when you realize how fast this is all going.

Nico, it has been a pleasure and a joy to be your Mom these past 8.5 months.  I love you forever.

And a special belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms I know in my life.  I am lucky to have wonderful grandmother’s, aunts, a godmother,  ladies that I can call 2nd moms, and a fantastic mother-in-law.  Most importantly, I am so lucky to have my Mom.  She has shown me what it takes to be a good mom, sister, daughter, and friend.  I now understand all the hard work, time, and effort you put in to raise me.  I love you so much, and I cannot thank you enough for being my rock.  I love our nightly chats on my walk home from the subway, and you are already an amazing Mimi to our Nico.

XO,

Gina

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First Family Dinner Out

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With all of the craziness of figuring out life with a newborn, I sometimes find myself not leaving the house for days on end.  I also find that this isn’t very good for my sanity.  The constant 24/7 loop of feed, change, sleep, repeat can be a little mind numbing, and as adorable as that little face is to look at every day, living in a constant loop can drive you a little nuts.  Therefore, to break up the monotony, I have been trying to get out of the house for walks whenever possible.  Nico loves the stroller, and we have been super blessed with amazing weather these past couple weeks.  Two weekends ago, I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to take advantage of one of these walks and go out for our first family dinner.  I  put on “real” clothes (the pants are still maternity, but at least they weren’t sweats!), make-up, and even semi-did my hair…that’s as good as it was gonna get that day.  We tried a new place in the neighborhood called Dogwood, which boasts southern comfort food, and was absolutely delicious.  At three and a half weeks, Nico was an angel the entire time.  It was as if he was allowing Zack and I to actually have a date night.  Amazing.  I know they say these “quiet sleeping times” won’t last forever and eventually he will be a toddler and impossible to bring out to dinner, but I am living in the moment, people…living in the moment and loving it.

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On me / Shirt: StyleMint – similar / Pants: Motherhood / Shoes: Nordstrom Rack / Bag: ALDO – similar / Watch: Michael Kors / Necklace: Baublebar / Bracelet: Baublebar – similar

On Nico / Shirt and Pants: Carter’s / Socks: Gymboree

Happy Monday everyone!  Have a great week.

XO,

Gina

Mom’s Turn for a Birthday Shoutout

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My Mom and Dad are literally two days apart in age.  They usually end up celebrating their birthday’s together (much like my sister and I did growing up), but I figured I would give them each their own individual shout out on the blog for their special days this year.  So Mom…now it’s your turn…

She’s the one who tucked us into bed at night.  She’s the one who said goodnight at the bottom of the stairs.  She’s the one who made up songs with our names in them.  She’s the one who performed these songs while giving us a bath.  She’s the one who always tickled our backs.  She’s the one who made us dinner every night.  She’s the one who also made us eat it whether we wanted to or not.  She’s the one who drove us to soccer and basketball practice.  She’s the one that was cheering or coaching at every single game.  She’s the one who watched TGIF with us on Fridays.  She’s the one who thought of cool birthday party ideas.  She’s the one who took us shopping.  She’s the one who helped us with our homework.  She’s the one who helped us study until we were falling asleep with our books in our laps.  She’s the one who took me to her lab and showed me what scientists do at work.  She’s the one who helped me apply to thirteen…yes thirteen different colleges.  She’s the one who went with me to visit a lot of those colleges. (Loyola New Orleans was particularly fun.)  She’s the one who understood the true meaning of being a Terp since she’d experienced it herself.  She’s the one who taught me how to balance my checkbook.  She’s the one who still pretends we are five years old when we are coming down the stairs on Christmas morning.  She’s the one who cooks Christmas dinner every year.  She’s the one who has her own special Redskins touchdown dance.  She’s the one who makes sure there is always food in the fridge when I come home to visit.  She’s the one who comes to visit me in New York City.  She’s the one who is afraid of the subway.  She’s the one who shares my love of singing.  She’s the one who plans our OBX vacations.  She’s the one who sacrificed so much for us throughout the years.  She’s the one who taught me how to be a woman, a daughter, a friend, and hopefully one day a mother myself.  She’s the one who has no idea how much she means to all of us.

She is my Mom.

Love you so much Mernie!  Hope you have a fantastic Birthday! XO.

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At my 8th grade graduation. Look how stunning she is!

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My bridal shower with my main girl

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Photo courtesy of Joe Brier from The Happy Couple Photography.

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The fam

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Me and my gorgeous Mama

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