The 4th Trimester (and Beyond): What No One Tells You

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There is a lot of info out there about what to expect when you’re pregnant. We so diligently go to our frequent OB or Midwife appointments to get both ourselves and the baby checked up on.

But AFTER baby arrives? When they send us home from the hospital with a new human who doesn’t sleep and pretty much ZERO clue what we’re doing??? Yeah it doesn’t really look like all the beautiful hospital photos plastered over Instagram. You want to know the REAL SHIT?

Well, that’s what I’m here to talk about today.

For starters, I want to mention that I think it’s kind of ridiculous that we go to ONE follow up post partum appointment at 6 weeks to get a check up and then we are usually sent on our merry way to figure out shit on our own and deal. Babies get checked out SO often in the beginning and for legit reason! But why are post partum mothers so neglected in our system? We have just had a serious trauma on our bodies. A HUMAN just made an exit, one way or another…through a now gaping hole down below or via slicing our insides open. (Yep, not sugar coating this ya’ll. You deserve to know the truth!) But I think maybe checking up on the mother’s health: physically, emotionally, mentally, hormonally – ALL OF IT – needs to happen more than ONCE after having a child.

Okay, that is my rant on our current medical system…and now onto the good stuff. Here are some of the TOP things that no one tells you about the 4th trimester (the first 12 weeks of the postpartum period) and beyond:

Breastfeeding is a BITCH! – Yes, I said it. I have breastfed all three of my children, and eventually I promise, it’s beautiful, but Lord, it hasn’t been easy. For something that is supposed to be so “natural,” I’m flabbergasted at how incredibly hard and painful and time consuming it can be, especially in the beginning. Of course, you may be one of the lucky ones where everything goes smoothly from the start and never have any nursing issues. To you, I say, “Thank your lucky stars! God Bless you!” But for most of the moms I know, it hasn’t been rainbows and butterflies from the get-go. I have heard, “oh if they are doing it right, it won’t hurt.” I call BULLSHIT! It hurt every single time starting out. Not that it hurts for everyone, but I am convinced that some babies are just so tiny (and y babies were tiny) that it’s impossible for their itty bitty mouths to get around your ginormous milk filled titty. (sorry, that’s not my usual choice of word, but I’ll do anything for a good rhyme – well, not anything). Now if the pain never goes away, there could be something inherently wrong. I noticed with my 3rd babe that the pain level was BEYOND bearable. It was clear that something was truly wrong with his latch, and we ended up seeing lactation consultants, tongue tie specialists, craniosacral therapists, YOU NAME IT to help with correcting his latch. On top of the latching issues, I also had a CRAZY oversupply (which I feel like a jerk saying, because the flip side is that many mamas just cannot produce ENOUGH milk). But my oversupply and fast let down was causing baby to basically choke every time he tried to eat making things super hard for all of us. My first baby dealt with this by ripping off my nipple screaming at the top of his lungs while milk sprayed voraciously into the air. I felt so embarrassed to feed him in public, because I was already terrified of having my boob out in front of strangers (those covers are a pain in the ass), but now I’m SPRAYING and he’s drawing attention by screaming?! I had to pump for 3 months before he finally would latch and have a full meal. I walked around the house shirtless most days (because of the pain) afraid to go out by myself with the baby for the first 3 weeks. Your boobs leak milk whenever they feel like, and if they get too full you are at risk for super painful clogged ducts and even worse infections like mastitis! This shit is no joke. Even once we got into the swing of things with breastfeeding my children, you are still tethered to them if they can’t or won’t take a bottle, making it difficult for anyone else to watch them. I totally don’t judge anyone for choosing not to breastfeed if it’s not working for them. Everyone needs to make the best choice for themselves and their families. DESPITE ALL OF THIS – breastfeeding is something I was really committed to and wanted to make work. At the end of the day, I am definitely glad I did. It DOES get significantly easier typically after the first 6-8 weeks, it feels amazing to be the sole source of nutrition for your child (and kind of incredible actually), and I do feel like it’s been a nice bonding experience for me and my boys. So I don’t regret all of the hard work…but it IS hard work!

One resource that has helped me in the past during those brutal nights of late night breastfeeding was an online community hosted by Lynzy of Lynzy and Co. She created the hashtag #latenightnursingfeed for mamas to come together in the wee hours of the night (or anytime really) to talk about the ups and downs of being a new mama.

You will bleed – A LOT! – Oh, you just thought the baby comes out, and that’s IT? Ummmm no. I bled for WEEKS! And I’m talking filling up 4 humongous pads stacked together in a hospital granny panty diaper in a couple hours. During labor and delivery you may rip and need stitches which can make it really painful down there and you will be loaded up with ice packs and witch hazel in your crotch. It hurts every time you pee and you have to use a squirt bottle to rinse with warm water each time. Your body has some serious healing to do inside, and all of the afterbirth takes awhile to remove itself. Even if you’ve had a C-section you are not immune to the bleeding. It might be less, but it’s still there.¬†

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You will still look like you’re pregnant – Once the baby comes out, your baby bump doesn’t just magically go away! You still look like you’re pregnant for awhile. Instead of being a hard bump, it’s just all gooey and squishy instead. I wore pregnancy jeans for weeks after having my babies, even once I got back into exercise. This is totally normal, so please be KIND to your body. For some reason, society places so much pressure on us to “bounce back,” not just physically but in many different aspects…but this post partum time is not about bouncing back. It’s about rest and recovery which is SO important. Again, your body just went through something MAJOR. It took 9 months to grow a human and your body will take time to adjust and heal. Trust me…when you’re ready, I’m your GIRL, and I have a health + fitness challenge support group with your name on it. I’ve GOT you. ūüėČ It’s definitely possible to feel confident and comfortable in your body again. But don’t feel that you need to rush into “getting your body back” right away.

You will be STARVING! – I mean ravenous. You will eat a crazy large meal, and then want another one hours later. You just did WORK pushing out that baby! Your body is in overdrive making milk for a tiny human and replenishing constantly. This is totally normal to last a couple weeks or months if you continue to breastfeed.

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You may not INSTANTLY bond with your baby – I remember thinking that my first baby would pop out and it would be love at first sight! There was some element to “wow, I created this human, and I love him” but I didn’t feel that overwhelming GUSH of obsessive love that I thought I would right away. I knew that I would do anything for him and would take care of him with all my heart, but it took TIME and getting to know him and his personality and quiet moments together for that love to grow and grow and grow.

You may CRY for NO REASON – Your hormones are going super crazy right after birth. You have a new human who can’t talk, can only cry to communicate, and no idea what you’re doing. You also aren’t sleeping. You’re incredibly exhausted around the clock with 24/7 duties (remember the breastfeeding?) so it’s SUPER normal to just cry and be extra emotional.

Postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression can happen to anyone – This is one of the most important things to check in with yourself after having a baby and know that it’s COMMON and happens to MANY women. It also doesn’t have to happen right away. I was never diagnosed with PPA or PPD, but I was right on the borderline, especially with Baby #3 this time around. They give you those dumb questionaires to fill out where you know the answers that are going to diagnose you or not, so most people don’t fill them out truthfully or maybe they aren’t even sure WHAT they are feeling with all the craziness going on. I’m not sure if I answered in full truth with the first two kids…I honestly don’t remember, but this time around…I tried to do my best to answer as truthfully as possible. And I hit right below the line of diagnosis on the scale…but here’s what I experienced. The sadness came more frequently than what I had remembered in the past. I was in a foggy state some days. Things that would typically make me happy, didn’t neccesarily make me unhappy, but I was kinda just going through the motions. Remember, I was walking around shirtless and in pain while nursing, recovering in between nursing sessions, and going to multiple appointments to check up on the baby and fix his latch. Lots of tears. Typically when I’m stressed and tired and overwhelmed I tend to snap at people I love (something I’m not proud of and working on)…but I felt I didn’t even have the motivation to snap. Plus trying to give attention and love to two other children. It was a lot. EVERY day and every moment wasn’t sad. I was happy many days and moments also, but for a person who sees the bright side of most things and likes to stay positive, it was a weird feeling for me to be upset a heck of a lot more then normal. I thought about going to therapy, even if I didn’t have a real diagnosis, but I ultimately never went. It likely could have helped, but it felt daunting to add yet another thing to my schedule. It helped a lot to start exercising again, which is a great stress reliever for me, and as time went on and breastfeeding got easier, sleep got better, things got a little better. But I won’t lie…sometimes all of these things are still hard and I still have tough days that pop up unexpectedly and catch me by surprise even 8 months later. I talk a lot about it with the hubby and he has been super supportive. I think getting some alone time has been one of the best things that has helped. Being a stay at home working mom is amazing and a blessing, but it’s also tough to get a break. So hiring a babysitter for some mornings to work my business or run an errand, finding time to recharge and do something that feels like ME. Then I’m usually a much better to come home and be a better mom. I do think it’s also easier for me once they get a little older. There are different challenges, of course, but the baby stages with lots of crying are hard for me. Postpartum anxiety or depression is not something to be ashamed of though, and if you are feeling any of these symptoms, don’t be afraid to talk to a doctor or a loved one and get help.

Here is a resource called Post Partum Support International which is an online community of mamas along with helpline for support.

Your hair will clog up the drain like WHOA – Oh holy hair loss! When you are pregnant, your hair is thick and luscious and you don’t lose the normal daily amount. But post partum? Oh LAWD! For me this didn’t happen right away, but a few months post partum (maybe 4-5), and my hair just started coming out in CLUMPS, especially in the shower. It happened every day for a few months and just tons of it was coming out, I couldn’t believe I still had hair left on my head! I have two spots on the side of my hairline where it’s most obvious, and then it all takes forever to grow back in and looks crazy. But it does usually get back to normal over time.

Poopin’ ain’t easy – Hey, I warned you in the beginning, I was gonna keep it real here ladies. For whatever reason, after having a baby, it’s incredibly difficult to poop. I guess all of that going on down there and body parts shifting around makes things go outta whack. Usually it resolves after a few days, but I swear the 3rd time around going to the bathroom didn’t feel completely normal for over a month. Colace will be your best friend.

You’re not a playa, you just SWEAT a lot – This actually happened to me more in the months leading up to birth while pregnant and during labor and delivery than I really remember postpartum, but this is another thing that can happen. I remember kicking off all the covers every night because I was SOOOOOO hot and wanting to constantly sit by the air conditioner (granted it was a summer pregnancy!), but as a person who dislikes the cold and prefers warm weather, this was weird for me! I don’t sweat a lot typically, but hormones are crazy and it’s pretty normal to sweat it out during this time.

Bringin’ Sexy Back ain’t really that sexy the 1st time back – Yeahhhhhh, so after pushing a human outside of you and everything shifting around in there, hormones raging…doc gives the green light but whaaaaaaa? I was definitely not ready for that after my 6 week appointment!!! Haha! But when I finally felt comfortable again, it did NOT feel like normal! It felt painful, super dry, your boobs are probably leaking and you definitely don’t want them touched now that baby is touching them, and you may not feel like that sexy lady you once did because your libido is LOW. It took a few times (and a LOT of LUBE) to get to feeling back to normal again, but it does typically go back to feeling good again! If it doesn’t, there could be some underlying pelvic floor issues, and a pelvic floor therapist could be really helpful!

You’re only cool if you pee your pants – No, no, that’s not true. That was just in the movies. But you MIGHT pee your pants. Speaking of pelvic floor therapy, this might be a really good option if you can no longer control your bladder. Jumping, sneezing, coughing, and laughing just aren’t the same anymore after having a baby. It’s super important to strengthen those muscles if you want to get it as close to normal as you can. Kegels may help, but pelvic floor therapy could be a good option. Also aside from your bladder, if you are feeling any pain down below (regardless of whether or not it’s during sexy time), a pelvic floor therapist may be able to help.

Your abs might separate – Yes, your abdominal muscles might actually SPLIT apart from each other. Crazy right? I think having a strong core in advance can be helpful with this, but even still it can happen. You will know if there is more than a finger space between the right and left abdominal muscles when you are in the process of sitting up, but you can also check with your doctor. If this happens to you, I would be very careful when jumping back into exercise. Skip the crunches, sit ups and similar exercises or else you can actually make it worse. I had slight ab separation after Baby #2 and over time it eventually closed up. If the separation is drastic, then there are also physical therapists you can see to help with this as well.

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Your will never sleep the same again – Of course we all know that there is little sleep in the beginning. And it DOES get easier…but you still won’t sleep the same. That passed out cold, nothing can wake you up sleep? Yeah, no. As a mom, you are on constant alert and you hear EVERYTHING. And when you don’t hear ANYTHING? Then you’re awake, because you’re afraid something’s wrong LOL. Welcome to mom sleep.

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You will feel like a ROCKSTAR when you put on real clothes – What used to be an every day occurence…getting showered and dressed…will now feel like an ultimate luxury!!! You will feel like a total rockstar…even when you are still wearing maternity jeans.

Someone will tell you that you need to enjoy every moment and you will want to slap them – Hah. Kidding. Not kidding. So many people will tell you that you are so lucky and blessed (AND YOU ARE), and that your children will “never be this small again” so you just have to “ENJOY EVERY MOMENT.” Well, in that moment when you are exhausted, in pain, stressed out, the baby is screaming, you’re in a fog, and you can’t hear yourself think…it’s HARD to appreciate that moment, and you may just want to tell someone to eff off haha. Instead, just BREATHE. This moment was hard. You don’t have to enjoy this one. But you WILL get through this moment. And you can enjoy a different one later.

Alright, now that I’ve shared all the craziness and behind-the-scenes of the 4th trimester and probably scared you all off from having any future children… ūüėČ

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I DO want to acknowledge that while the 4th trimester and the early days of mommin’ are HARD…it IS also very beautiful. You DO have many wonderful moments as well. Seriously, nothing can compare to a newborn snuggle sesh. There is something so precious about holding that tiny human in your arms and knowing they are fully dependent on you and they trust you, regardless of whether or not you have all the answers. Watching your partner hold your child and seeing them as a parent will send a beautiful wave of love and emotion over you for them that you have never truly felt before in that way. As a mom of three, watching your children bond with their new sibling for the first time will bring happy tears to your eyes.

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Yes, mommin’ is the hardest job I have ever done. But it’s also the most special. Things DO get easier as they grow and you start to figure them out and their unique personalities. Try to remember to have GRACE with yourself. You are also human and figuring things out. Life is forever changed and it’s a brand new adjustment for you and your family. You have a new needy little roommate and need to figure out how to live together.

So it’s OKAY if you don’t have all your shit together. It’s OKAY if you no longer have control of everything. It’s OKAY to not totally feel like yourself right now. It’s OKAY that you don’t recognize your body. This is all a normal part of what we moms go through. Have patience and know that this stage is a SEASON and it won’t last forever. Take things one day at a time. And my best advice is to find a mom group of support. Local is even better. That TRULY helped SO much during my experience as a new mom.

XOXO,

Gina

 

 

{21} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading  The seventh and final Harry Potter book!  I know it has taken me awhile to get through them all, but they are totally magical and worth it!

writing  Tons and tons of e-mails for work including invites to our events and follow up from past events.

listening¬† Patsy Cline. ¬†Nico’s new favorite lullabies. ¬†I know my Grandpa is with us when I sing to him at bedtime.

thinking ¬†That last week was¬†insane. ¬†Zack went to San Francisco on Tuesday. ¬†I had three days of back to back meetings with a client in town, and then Nico and I flew out to meet Zack in San Fran on Friday. ¬†That’s right‚ĶI flew across the country with a baby…solo…into a three hour time change…this section should be titled not thinking. ¬†However, I am proud to say, we made it, and it was all worth it!

smelling¬† Swiss Apple tea. ¬†Apparently it’s good for skin support. ¬†But I just love the way tastes and how it keeps me warm on these freezing cold nights.

watching¬†¬†Finally saw The DaVinci Code. ¬†The book was definitely better, but Tom Hanks is one of my favorite actors, so I’m glad I finally saw it.

wishing  That I had invested in snow boots this winter.  Who knew we would be getting pounded with this much snow?  I would have gotten this pair.

hoping  That my husband has a Happy 33rd Birthday today!  We love you.

wearing  Coats, coats, and more coats.  Thankfully, I have invested in some outerwear the past few years.  Definitely came in handy this winter.

loving ¬†Nico’s curiosity! ¬†He’s fascinated with the alphabet, and always stops whatever he is doing when we start spelling something to give us his complete attention. ¬†He’s also obsessed with his daddy’s guitar playing, and it’s a sure bet to stop him from fussing. ¬†It’s so awesome to see him start to notice the world around him.

laughing ¬†I’m constantly laughing with Nico every day. ¬†The sound of his laugh makes me so happy that I laugh right along with him.

wanting  Spring to arrive.  Sooner rather than later please!

needing  To pay the bills and do laundry tonight.  Meh.

feeling  Happy.  Although the past few months have had their ups and downs, I feel happy knowing that I have such a warm and loving family to be with each day or talk to on the phone or online each night.  My family is my happy place.

craving ¬†Warmer weather! ¬†I can’t say it enough!

clicking ¬†Through VRBO to check out places in New Hampshire for a weekend summer getaway with friends. ¬†Can’t wait!

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What have you been up to lately?

I’m including an extra special picture in honor of the hubby’s birthday today. ¬†Doesn’t this just pull at the heart strings? ¬†Thanks to you, Zack, for being the best Papa in the world! ¬†Hope you have an amazing day. ¬†XOXO.

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Have a happy one ya’ll!

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.

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{20} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading  Catching up on some magazines a bit.  Unfortunately, the trains have been super crowded since I have been back to work, leaving me to stand the entire time and making it difficult to get that reading done that I was hoping.

writing  E-mails, reel run lists, and finally getting back to writing blog posts again.

listening¬† Old school hip-hop has been making it’s way onto my car radio. ¬†Backspin anyone?

thinking  About booking that flight to San Francisco for the end of February, that Zack and I had an awesome much needed date night over the weekend, and that there is a ton of snow outside!

smelling  Leftover gingerbread coffee from the holidays.

watching¬†¬†Teen Mom 2 came back this week…woot woot! ¬†I have also been keeping up with the new season of The Bachelor. ¬†Go ahead and judge me.

wishing  That I could be in two places at once.

hoping  Our dear friend recovers from an accident he had recently.  It was super scary, and we are hoping he returns to good health soon.

wearing ¬†My new high waisted skinny jeans from Rag & Bone. ¬†Did I mention, I’m back to my old size again? ¬†Can you tell I’m excited? ¬†BTW…just because you go back to your old size after baby doesn’t mean you go back to your old body. ¬†I may be able to fit into the jeans, but I’m definitely a bit squishier these days (hence the high waisted) haha. ¬†Birth really takes a toll on you, but it was obviously worth it, and honestly, I’m not really stressing too much about it at this point. ¬†Maybe once bikini season is on the horizon I will be feeling differently‚ĶI’ve also been wearing this tartan scarf to keep warm in the snow.

loving ¬†That Nico is learning so much these days! ¬†He’s growing and changing so quickly right before my very eyes. ¬†Sitting up and rolling over all within a week span!

laughing ¬†At this photo of my husband. ¬†He is speaking at an upcoming conference in San Francisco (hence why I am thinking of booking a ticket there), and they chose this photo out of all the ones on the internet for his speaker profile. ¬†Just look for the guy who looks like the biggest douchebag, and you will find him. ¬†Sorry hunny, you know I love you, but this photo is ridiculous. ¬†It had us rolling the other night! ¬†Luckily, he is a good sport and he hasn’t asked them to take it down, because he thinks it’s kinda funny. ¬†Gotta love his sense of humor.

wanting ¬†Some hot chocolate with marshmallows. ¬†Yes, I’m five years old.

needing  To prepare myself for my first 5 hour car trip alone with the baby.  God help me.

feeling ¬†Already feeling the pull of being a working mom. ¬†I’m leaving work too early and getting home too late. ¬†Feels like you aren’t good enough at either job and the guilt starts setting in. ¬†I guess that’s just par for the course.

craving  More time!  So much to do, so little time!

clicking  Through Pinterest and design blogs for inspiration on how to redecorate our sunroom.  Trying to capitalize on an unfortunate situation by using this as an opportunity to start fresh, purge, and redesign the room.

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What have you been up to lately?

Have a happy one!

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.

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{19} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading  A little here.  A little there.  Chapter here. Magazine article there.

writing  Finished up my Christmas cards over the weekend, and sent them out this week!

listening¬† Christmas music…duh.

thinking ¬†I can’t believe the year is almost over, my maternity leave is coming to an end, and it’s almost time to go back to work. ¬†Bittersweet.

smelling  Roasted pork in the oven.

watching¬†¬†Vanderpump Rules (cringing as I write this, because it’s so trashy).

wishing  Everyone a Happy Holiday season and safe travels!

hoping ¬†That all my holiday gifts I ordered arrive in time and ship properly to my parent’s house.

wearing ¬†This tartan jacket, a gift from my aunt from last year’s Christmas.

loving ¬†That Nico is now sleeping through the night. ¬†I didn’t mind waking up once a night to feed him (he really is a great sleeper), but the two hour scream-fest before bedtime was not working. ¬†I now feel like a human being again since we aren’t fighting to put him to sleep every single night anymore.

laughing  At this Xmas Jammies video.  An interesting take on the holiday card, and also a smart way to plug the new family business.

wanting ¬†To get rid of this cough. ¬†Have been sick for about a week now, and can’t seem to shake it.

needing  To pack for our holiday trip to Maryland.

feeling ¬†SO excited for Nico’s first Christmas with my crazy, lovable family.

craving  Some new jeans.

clicking  Through photos that I need to edit.

*

What have you been up to lately?

Have a happy one ya’ll!

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.

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{18} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading  Attempting to read the 6th Harry Potter Book.  It tough to get a lot of reading done without my hour long subway commutes, but trying to enjoy a chapter here and there when I can.

writing  Questions to ask potential nannies.  We are starting our interviews this Wednesday.  Excited to find someone great for our little guy, but sad this means I will be spending a lot more time away from him when I go back to work.

listening  Frank Sinatra.  Nico just loves him!

thinking  I am happy the weather looks nice for this week!  Makes taking those walks around the neighborhood so much more enjoyable!

smelling¬† Blueberry coffee. ¬†It sounds kinda gross, but trust me, it’s awesome!

watching  Teen Mom.  Makes me so glad I have a stable, loving husband, a good job, a nice home, and lots of family support.  I could not imagine being a mom at their age.

wishing¬† That time didn’t go so fast. ¬†My little guy is growing up too quickly already.

hoping ¬†To go for another run this week. ¬†This past weekend I went out for my first run since getting pregnant and having a baby. ¬†I stayed active by walking, but hadn’t run in probably over a year! ¬†I suddenly got to the urge to get back out there, so I went for a 2 mile run, and it felt great! (despite now being sore haha). ¬†Hoping I can keep it up and at least get a run or two mixed in with my walking every week.

wearing  My typical mom gear of activewear.  Although, I actually did get to wear real clothes yesterday for a mini trip to Manhattan for a mani/pedi with a friend.  

loving  The crockpot that my Grandma bought for us.  We tried it out this weekend, and made two awesome dishes: White Bean Chicken Chili and Carnitas Tacos.  I love being able to prep a meal quickly in the morning, let it sit all day, and come home to an amazing meal with leftovers!  Yum!

laughing  At the @HonestToddler Twitter feed I just discovered yesterday.  Cracking me up!

wanting ¬†My Christmas cards to arrive! ¬†Maybe it’s the fact that I now have a little guy this Christmas season, but I am extra giddy and excited this year.

needing ¬†Christmas lists from my peoples. ¬†I am ready to start shopping already! ¬†Send ’em over…you know who you are.

feeling  Happy that we were able to go to Florida and spend time with my parents and Grandma.  It was really great for them to spend that quality time with Nico, and it was nice for Zack and I to get some alone time as well.  

craving ¬†Some snuggle time with my nephew, Nathan. ¬†It’s been too long since I’ve seen him…is it Thanksgiving yet?

clicking  Through weeks worth of blogs that I am behind on.

*

What have you been up to lately?

Hope you all had a great weekend!  Enjoy your week ahead!

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.

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{17} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading¬† What to Expect The First Year by Sandee Hathaway, Arlene Eisenberg, and Heidi Murkoff. ¬†Rather than read the entire book all the way through right away, I have decided to read each month as we are all going through it as a family. ¬†So far I have finished the first month, and I’m starting on month 2. ¬†

writing¬† Well, Nico’s birth announcement cards just came in the mail today, so I am super excited to address and send them out!

listening¬† The Coffee House station on XM Radio has been a top contender for most played the past few weeks. ¬†It’s soothing and Nico falls asleep in the car to it.

thinking ¬†I can’t believe we survived our first weekend trip to Maryland as a family! ¬†Although it was extremely stressful at some points, everything ended up working out well and the bottom line is we did it.

smelling¬†¬†Pumpkin Spice coffee…mmm…

watching  Million Dollar Listing LA.  My husband used to be a real estate agent, so this is one of the few shows he will actually watch with me.

wishing  A lifetime of happiness to my friends Teri and Charlie!  They are the reason we went down to Maryland.  We celebrated their wedding, and it was phenomenal.  What an amazing couple.  I am so happy for them!

hoping  To survive my first 48 hours as a single parent while Zack goes to Chicago to present at a conference.  Hopefully it will be nice outside and Nico and I can take some walks together.

wearing ¬†Got dolled up this past weekend for my friend Teri’s wedding, and man did it feel good! ¬†Hair, makeup, mani, pedi, a sexy bridesmaid dress…the works. ¬†It felt good to be pampered again after rocking sweats for so many weeks!

loving  The fact that I have amazing friends and family.  While on our first trip as a family, there were some bumps with the weather, traffic, fire alarms in the hotel, etc.  I am so lucky to have had my friends and family to help us out on our first trip.  From helping me carry diaper bags, driving my car, watching my little boy, holding him during dinner so we could eat, and more.  I know I am super lucky to have such wonderful, trustworthy people in my life.

laughing ¬†Every time Nico farts, I think it’s the most hilarious thing. ¬†What am I, 5?

wanting  My bags to unpack themselves.

needing ¬†Snuggles from my little boy. ¬†I just can’t get enough!

feeling  Sleepy sleepy.  While we had a great weekend, it was a bit crazy trying to figure out our new normal.  Did I mention the fire alarm going off in the hotel?  TWICE.

craving  These over-the-knee boots by Sam Edelman.

clicking  Through photos to try and figure out which ones I want to frame and hang up in the apartment.

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What have you been up to lately?

Hope everyone had a nice long weekend!  Hope you all have a great week ahead!

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.

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Pumpkin Patch

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This past Saturday, we celebrated the fall season by taking our first family day trip to the pumpkin patch. ¬†We trekked outside of the city to Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ where we found a sprawling PYO (pick-your-own) farm littered with TONS of people. ¬†The crowds were a bit overwhelming as we didn’t know what to expect, but once you got out to the fields for picking, it was a lot less crazy. ¬†There were tons of crops for the taking including pumpkins, apples, corn, lettuce, eggplant, tomatoes, raspberries, blackberries, and more. ¬†And these items were just currently what was in season. ¬†Other seasons of the year you could pick strawberries, peaches, black raspberries, and so much more. ¬†It was definitely a place for kids with a moon bounce, corn maze, hay ride, farm animals, etc, and even though Nico is still too small really remember the experience, you could tell he was enjoying himself. ¬†He was looking around and in a happy mood the entire day. ¬†This adventure was our first foray into sharing and experiencing the world with our little guy, and it only made us more excited for the future ahead.

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Nico’s Pumpkin Outfit: Absorba via Gilt

My bff, Meg, is arriving today to hang out for a few days and meet little Nico. ¬†I am so excited to spend some quality time, since we rarely get the opportunity these days to hang out with just the two of us. ¬†We head down to Maryland on Thursday to meet our new nephew Nathan, and to celebrate the wedding weekend of another one of my best friends, Teri. ¬†It will be our first long weekend trip with Nico, and being the obsessive compulsive paranoid person that I am, I’m a little nervous about how it’s going to go. ¬†I’m crossing my fingers that I don’t forget anything and that it all goes smoothly. ¬†Either way, my new mantra is “just go with the flow!”

XO,

Gina

Nico’s Newborn Shoot

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I am so excited to share these photos of Nico from his first couple weeks of life. ¬†Photographer Justin Goldberg of Eudora Video captured these precious moments of our Little Monkey when he was only 11 days old. ¬†Looking back at these now after only a month, he has already changed so much. ¬†His long, skinny arms and legs have plumped up, and he now has his eyes open much more often. ¬†It hasn’t been that long, but it’s hard to remember just how tiny Nico was when he arrived. ¬†It just goes to show how fast time flies. ¬†I am very grateful to Justin for shooting our first family photo op, and I will treasure these photos forever.

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This week has actually been a busy one around here (and busy definitely has new meaning as getting out of the house is a feat in and of itself). ¬†I made a Target trip on Monday with some moms/babies in the neighborhood, and took a long walk in Prospect Park with another mom/baby on Tuesday. ¬†Have I mentioned how awesome the Cortelyou Moms group is? ¬†Amazing. ¬†Today, I have a doc appointment, and tomorrow Nico has his. ¬†If we make it to Friday on the minute amount of sleep we’ve been getting, we are having lunch with Zack and his coworkers as they celebrate our Nico’s arrival.

Hope you are all having a wonderful week and enjoying this fantastic weather!

XO,

Gina

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 Рsimilar / Pants: Motherhood / Shoes: Nordstrom Rack / Bag: ALDO Рsimilar / Watch: Michael Kors / Necklace: Baublebar / Bracelet: Baublebar Рsimilar

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

Happy Monday everyone!  Have a great week.

XO,

Gina

Happy 1st Birthday to Popcorn and Pandas

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Would you believe that today marks one whole year that I decided to make the change to my little ole blog, popcorn and pandas? ¬†I know, I can’t believe it either. ¬†It’s been a crazy year full of adventures and travel, fashion and fun, pregnancy and now a new baby. ¬†It’s been wonderful and therapeutic to have this creative outlet to share with you all, and I am completely grateful that you all have chosen to follow along for this past year.

Below I have reflected a bit on some of your favorite posts this past year:

My first two outfit posts with the amazing photographer Marisa

Reminiscing a Rockin’ Summer

Reminiscing Rockin Summer

Summer Stripes

Summer Stripes

Lettered sweaters were my jam

Amaze

Sported my favorite Halloween costume

Hunger Games

Rang in the New Year in Winter White

Winter White

Foxes became super trendy

Foxy Lady

I had some ups and downs, announced my pregnancy, and did a cool photo shoot with Justin to find out the sex of our Little Monkey

It's A BOY

I added some Flair to my wardrobe

Flair Promenade

Craved everything peplum

Navy Peplum and Black

Felt a little Guilty

Guilty Spring

I ate my first mangosteen

Mangosteen

Went to Arizona and saw the Grand Canyon

Desert Florals

Grand Canyon

I made some waves with Waveborn

Waveborn

Made fresh homemade tomato sauce and pesto from the garden

Tomato Sauce

Pesto

Enjoyed the sunrise on Branch Lake in Maine

Branch Lake Sunrise

Watched as my belly grew larger and larger

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Retro Rainbow

Electric

Beachy Keen

And gave birth to a beautiful baby boy

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It’s been such a great year, and I am hopeful that this year will bring even greater joy. ¬†Thank you so much for following my adventures. ¬†Would love to hear any feedback that you have of things you want to see from me in the coming year. ¬†What you like/don’t like. ¬†What you want to see more or less of (outfit posts, lately posts, shopping posts, personal stories, photography, baby stuff, etc…) ¬†I have less free time on my hands, but hopefully I can make things happen!

Happy Friday everyone!!!

XO,

Gina