Knox: A Birth Story

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Introducing our 3rd sweet boy, Knox Gannon Notes! He graced the world with his presence on Sunday August 19, 2018 at 6:48pm at 6 lbs 7.1 oz and 19 inches. I can’t believe today marks 3 weeks that he joined and completed our little family. We are so happy to have him here. Both Nico and Luca are over the moon and constantly fawning over our little guy. They don’t really understand that he mostly eats and sleeps in these early days, and they just want to play with him all day! They have taken on their new roles as big brother and big, big brother very well, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

During my pregnancy with Knox, it was the first time I really felt strong signs that labor was going to be on the way. I was induced 2 weeks early with Nico due to IGR (intrauterine growth restriction — turns out he was fine, and just small, which was no surprise to me), and with Luca my water broke, but I never went into active labor and also had to be induced. This time around, I REALLY didn’t want to be induced. I was really hopeful that I would be able to go into labor on my own.

I started to see (well FEEL) signs of labor preparation as early as the 2nd trimester with Braxton Hicks contractions. I would feel them usually at nighttime when relaxing at the end of the day. This baby was larger than the others and he felt super heavy to carry around especially in that 3rd trimester. I tried to keep moving as much as I could throughout my pregnancy, but once about Week 37 hit, I was lucky if I got in one good workout per week. My body was OVER it!!!! I remember that after walking around, even just a little bit, I felt like I needed a huge rest after. It was uncomfortable to walk, get up and down, sleep at night, and even just drive my car. My baby was getting so big, and I only had so much room in my little 5’0 frame! I was READYYYY!

On my 34th Birthday, July 26th, we went to Coney Island as a family to celebrate with my boys along with my sister and brother-in-law. It was a really great day, but as we were walking around, if I started to walk too fast, I got SHOOTING pains going up through my body from below. I have since found out that this is a “thing” and it’s called “lightning crotch.” WHAT?!?! Haha, I know…I had no idea either. It didn’t feel at all like contractions, but I knew something was happening and he just HAD to be arriving soon!!!

Time passed, and then nothing…haha. I started to get super impatient. Started to do every little thing around the house…got the boys bunk beds, ordered all the baby things that we neglected to order earlier, started purging a bunch of toys we didn’t need anymore, cleaned out our office. Thank God hubby was on board to help with all of this. I was on a rampage and was starting to get super bored. I was too scared to go too far, because I was CONVINCED the baby was going to arrive any minute…but then he wasn’t coming and so it was a lot of days sitting at home in the AC and nesting nesting nesting away haha.

At my 38 week midwife appointment, they checked my cervix and I was already at 2cm dilated! Now for many, this may not seem like a big deal, but for someone who had only dilated on her own to 1cm in the past, I took this as a good sign. I had been eating TONS of dates, drinking loads of loose red raspberry leaf tea, taking primose oil capsules every day, and moving around as much as possible since about 36-37 weeks, so maybe something was working here! I was feeling more and more Braxton Hicks so I felt something must be happening soon.

A week goes by, and at my 39 week appointment, nothing had changed. I was a little defeated, but hey maybe he just wasn’t ready yet. Since this baby was bigger than my other two, I at least knew that he wouldn’t be evicted for an induction unless he was super late to arrive. That said…remember how READY I was? As much as I really truly wanted to enjoy all the kicks and feelings of my last pregnancy, I also was just very uncomfortable and wanted him to arrive ASAP! So when the midwife asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes, it was an immediate YES PLEASE!!! It took her awhile…apparently I have an oddly shaped cervix, but she eventually made it happen. This doesn’t work for everyone, but if it does, it usually helps to speed along labor to happen within 24-48 hours.

Welp, that time went by, and nothing was happening. I was still feeling contractions, but they weren’t strong and they definitely weren’t very regular. I started to become convinced that maybe he was never coming, and I would have to be induced again at the end of the month…

Nonetheless, we decided to have my mom come up the weekend before my due date so she would be here when it all went down to watch Nico and Luca. It’s funny because as soon as she got here, it was this overwhelming sense that okay, this might really happen soon. We were all ready to go. We stocked up on groceries at the Farmer’s Market that Saturday and walked around on that super hot day.

Next thing I remember is waking up the next morning to a long contraction that started out in my back and got stronger than normal. It was 5AM, and I was actually moaning in my sleep and it woke me up. 20 minutes later, it happened again, and I said…”Zack, today might be the day.” Now at the time, that statement didn’t carry a TON of weight, because I had been saying comments like this for about the past 3 weeks!!! Haha. So what did I really know? But it felt stronger than normal, and he couldn’t stay in there forever right?

The weird thing was…the WHOLE family woke up that morning at 5AM, which is very unusual. Zack was up…Nico and Luca came into our room…and even my mom was awake in the living room. It was a strange feeling like we all knew something was about to happen that day. Zack made us a big breakfast on my request (because I thought maybe it would be my last meal haha), and I felt contractions on and off that morning but generally about every 20 minutes.

As excited as I was that something may happen that day, I got slightly discouraged when after 5-6 hours nothing had really progressed. I was still feeling contractions, but they still weren’t super strong and they weren’t getting any closer together. Zack and I decided to go for a walk to try and get things moving while my mom stayed home with the boys. We walked and walked for about an HOUR, and at this point, I started to get PISSED. Haha. I think I only had 2 small contractions during that walk, and I was getting discouraged and uncertain. My mother in law (also a midwife) mentioned something about prodromal labor, which basically means you could feel these things and it could last a few days or even weeks before “real” labor begins. I was super frustrated, and decided to just lay down and rest after our walk.

At that point, I was texting some of my best friends, and they were all curious if anything had progressed. I mentioned to my childhood best friend Rhiannon what was going on, but that things weren’t really progressing. She wrote back that it sounded like it may happen soon, and told me, “It could change any moment.” LITERALLY a moment after her text arrived, I felt a huge GUSH!!!! And started saying, “Omg omg omg!!!” My water had BROKEN! And also, Rhi, I think you are psychic.

Now that my water had broken, it was a game changer. I knew this baby would be arriving no later then 24 hours later. Holy cow! This was getting REAL! This time around, my body knew what to do. In a short amount of time, my contractions started to get stronger and also closer together. It was happening pretty fast, and when they were about 5 minutes apart for about 30 minutes, we decided we should move in the direction of the hospital so that when things picked up we would be close by.

I had a few contractions on the way there that were pretty intense, but less than I had anticipated, and again started to question myself if we were going too early. Zack asked me if I wanted him to drop me off at the front of the hospital, but I didn’t want to wait alone or walk to labor and delivery by myself while he parked the car and brought in all of our stuff, so I told him it was no big deal to go with him to park, especially since my contractions had kind of slowed down.

Welp, I immediately regretted that decision! Haha. As soon as I stepped out of the car and started to walk, it was like contraction upon contraction…every couple steps I would have another one (yes on the street corner!) and have to bend over and breathe it out until it subsided and I could take a few more steps. That walk to the hospital from the parking lot across the street (and down the hill) was probably the most excruciating walk (and longest walk of such a short distance) of my life. And poor Zack was carrying a million things too.

By the time, I got to triage, I was in some serious contraction pain and definitely making some loud noise up in there! Lol. They checked me and I was already at 6cm dilated. So GOOD thing we decided to come to the hospital when we did. I did express that I would want an epidural, but things were moving pretty fast. The contractions were seriously painful and only a couple minutes apart, so there was very little time for rest.

I got to the labor and delivery room, and honestly I just remember screaming like a psychopath, excruciating contractions, my throat killing me from all the screams, and sweating profusely. It felt SO.DAMN.HOT. in there. I don’t know if it was just me, but it was terrible. In terms of the clock, my labor was going REALLY quick, but in my mind this felt like a fricken eternity. It kept getting more and more intense. The midwife questioned me getting an epidural at this point. She checked me and I had moved to 9cm. She told me I was so close, why would I get one at this point, and of course the competitive/challenger part of my personality was thinking, “Hey maybe she is right! Maybe I don’t need it!” And then another contraction would come and I would scream, “I’M DYING!!!!!!!!!!!” Hey…you guys wanted me to keep it real, right? LOL. She had me try to bear down a bit to get him to come down, and it felt so horrible to try and push, the contractions were still right on top of each other and I felt like I would have no energy to push and get through this pain at the same time.

So I tossed my challenger personality to the side and at that point, I very adamantly told them I wanted the epidural. I just needed some relief. They warned me that because it was so late, it may not fully take and that it may be harder to push and that I would have to sit VERY still while the anesthesiologist was inserting the needle, but I didn’t care. This mama wanted that relief and wanted it NOW! Part of me wonders what it would have been like to deliver fully au natural, but at the same time, I don’t regret my decision. Sometimes, us mamas have to do what is right for us in the moment and go with our gut, so that is what I did. Everyone is different, and I did what I felt I needed to do!

The hardest part of the labor was sitting still during 9+cm contractions while this doctor was putting in that epidural. I just kept telling myself “Don’t move, don’t die” lol. I knew that I had to get through this part without moving and just completely stay in my head until it was over for the sake of myself and my baby, and then I would feel some relief. As predicted, the epidural didn’t fully take since I was so far along and I could still feel some pain (although much less). They had to add to it two times before I stopped feeling the pain, and then at that point my legs were completely NUMB. Like way more numb than I had ever been with previous births. I couldn’t feel my legs at all. They felt like dead tree trunks. I thought to myself, “how am I ever going to push now if I can’t feel anything?”

The photo below is us after the epidural kicked in and right before pushing Knox into the world. I was a hot and sweaty mess after going through crazy labor, though the epidural did give me the shakes/chills. I was just happy to not be feeling the pain anymore…

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Shortly after, Knox’s heart rate started to decelerate because he was dropping into the birth canal. Things were MOVING! It was a little scary and hectic, but it was time for me to push him the heck out. I don’t know how I did it, because I literally felt nothing below the waist, but I dug down deep into my abdomen or something and pushed with all my might. Luckily I am a pro-pusher haha, and he was out before I knew it and on my chest. They did have to rush him away after a minute to check on him because of the heart deceleration, but he was okay, and he was HERE!!!!

(And about 5 hours before his due date…already prompt from birth!)

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It was a pretty surreal experience and so much different than my other two labor and delivery experiences. We had so many moments of calm and lots of time for photos with the other two. This time around, with being in 9+ cm of labor before an epidural it all just felt super intense and crazy and there was no time for any of that! Haha. When he arrived, I honestly just could not believe I was finally holding him in my arms, and I was so utterly happy that he was here and healthy. ❤

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My post partum experience was a little crazy as well being at a different hospital than the other two. They had no private rooms available and Zack was unable to stay with me, so shortly after delivery, I was basically on my own (with a pretty terrible roommate quite honestly). Luckily my mother-in-law (who is also a midwife) had arrived at the hospital to meet the baby and check on me before they had to leave, because the post partum unit didn’t do a great job of checking on me that night. They did do a great job of keeping me awake though. We got about ONE measly hour of sleep that night…I was in a lot of pain because I had just delivered, but I had to care for the baby by myself and listen to my roommate having contractions next to me (because she hadn’t given birth yet apparently). When they finally moved her from the room, I was so relieved I could sleep…but then they came in to clean up the room in the middle of the night. Like, really? No sleep in Brooklyn apparently.

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I tried my darndest to get out of the hospital a day early, but I had to spend another night there on my own during which Knox was cluster feeding like crazy to get my milk to come in. I also had to fight for a “baby friendly” experience as the staff kept trying to take my baby away to the nursery for every test, etc. and I kept having to remind them that “you are not taking my baby.” It was exhausting and difficult, but we eventually broke free from the hospital and came home.

Because discharge took so incredibly long, I was able to finally take a shower, put on some make-up and take a few photos with our sweet new baby.

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Once we got home, I was so incredibly grateful to have my mom at our house for the week to help nurse me back to normalcy with her amazing food, helping with laundry and cleaning, and playing with the older boys. And Zack, of course, was also a HUGE help (and still is.)

The most difficult part of our journey thus far has been nursing. After 2 weeks, we discovered that Knox had a posterior tongue tie and lip tie resulting in some SERIOUS pain for this mama. I had felt pain in the beginning with the other two and figured it would subside eventually once he got a little bigger. But it never got any better, and I knew there was something else going on. So we decided to have the ties revised with a doctor who specializes in this field and will hopefully be working with a craniosacral therapist soon to help with getting Knox to open his jaw more, stretching the muscles, etc. so that we can have a better breastfeeding experience. I have felt a little improvement, but we still have a ways to go. I’m hopeful we will get there eventually.

The sleepless nights are tough, but with two other kiddos prior, I am used to no sleep, so that I can deal with! I know these early days are always tough in the beginning, but again…having been through it before, I know we will get into a routine soon, especially with the older boys having just started back at school. Tomorrow is Zack’s first day back to work, and I will be solo managing the 3 boys for the first time on my own! It will be a challenge, but we will find our groove.

In the meantime, I am holding onto ALL the amazing newborn snuggles and cuddles right now, and boy are they awesome. ❤

If you are still reading, thanks for sticking with me! I know that was long-winded, but if you know me by now, then you know I’m not a woman of few words haha.

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead and a happy holiday to those celebrating tomorrow.

XO,

Gina

Luca: A Birth Story

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It’s been over two weeks since the arrival of our second little monkey, Luca Ronaldo Notes. He arrived on Sunday August 23rd, 2015 at 1:39 am measuring in at 5 lbs. 4 oz and 19 inches. We are over the moon and so in love with our little guy.

He arrived during the 38th week just like his older brother Nico, only this time my story is slightly different. Throughout my pregnancy, Luca was measuring small (also like his brother), and they kept a watchful eye, but because of my history of having a small healthy child, they weren’t terribly concerned and basically left me alone treating me as a “normal” patient. However at the 37th week, my belly did not grow, and out came that watchful eye once more. I was scheduled for two appointments per week up until baby’s arrival and was told if the baby did not come by my due date (August 31) then we were going to have to talk about induction once again.

Welp, we definitely didn’t make it to the due date! Saturday morning (August 22nd) I woke up and felt some liquid (down there), went to the bathroom and it wasn’t much, so went back to bed. About 5 minutes later, I started feeling some more and thought I would get up and check it out again. On the way to the bathroom, I told my husband that I thought my water could possibly be starting to break, but I wasn’t sure. As soon as I was about to sit down, there was a big “whoosh!” and yes, it was confirmed…my water was definitely broken! I wasn’t feeling any contractions yet, so I decided to take a shower and prepare to get ready for the hospital soon.

I called my mom and she made her way up to Brooklyn to watch Nico. I wasn’t sure if she would make it in time, so we had our neighbors on stand-by in case we had to leave. We called our midwives, and because I wasn’t feeling many contractions at this point, they said I could wait it out at home for a while, take a walk, etc.

I spent the rest of the morning cleaning the house (last minute nesting anyone? haha), and then went for a walk around the neighborhood to try to get the contractions going. I started to feel a few painful ones, but honestly they were not that unbearable, and they were happening too infrequently. My mom had plenty of time to get to New York (from Maryland) and we gave her the lay of the land (on another walk) to show her some of the best places her and Nico could hang out for the next few days. Again, there were some contractions, but they were infrequent and not much was happening.

Because time was passing and my water had broken, it was time to get to the hospital. We left the house at 6pm and headed to Beth Israel in the East Village. It was quite a calm drive to the hospital…not at all what I had anticipated. No traffic. Music playing. No screaming. Infrequent contractions. I suppose this could have been much worse!! We arrived and met my mother-in-law there who also had time to make the trip up from Maryland. She is also a midwife, which doesn’t hurt in the Labor and Delivery Unit!

I checked into triage to confirm my water had indeed broken (umm yes, I told them that I normally don’t have fluid coming out of me all day long). Regardless, they still had to “check.” It was confirmed. However, what was also confirmed was that I was only 1cm dilated. I was going to need some help. Help meaning I was basically going to be induced once again. Now I was really trying to avoid induction this time around, but at least it was happening when our little guy was supposedly ready to make his entrance. The fact that my water had broken made me feel a bit better about the induction process rather than starting from scratch like last time.

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The induction was about as painful and uncomfortable as I remembered from two years ago, although this time things kicked into gear EXTREMELY quickly! My contractions were picking up speed and picking up intensity right away. I decided to get an epidural a little earlier this time around so I wouldn’t be in “crazy mode” like I was last time. I am extremely grateful for that decision, because as soon as I asked for one, things started to increase even MORE intensely. By the time I had signed off all the forms, the induction had done it’s job, and I was in serious active labor.

I was in a lot of pain, but the epidural process was smooth, and eventually it started kicking in and I could relax. I felt things had picked up rather quickly, and lo and behold I was right. By the time they got around to checking me, I was at 9.5 cm. WHAT!!! It was almost PUSH time!?!?

Before I knew it, they told me I could start pushing. I gave a couple good pushes, and HOLD UP! Lady next door is hemorrhaging. Holy crap! Everyone ran out of the room (which I understand she was in much more danger than myself, so I get it), but I was kinda left there like uhhhh what now? I kept feeling the urge to push, but held off for about 20 minutes or so until everyone was able to come back.

Luckily the lady next door was OK! Whew, and I could resume pushing once again. After it was all said and done, Luca Ronaldo Notes arrived 3.5 hours after I had been induced at the hospital. He was a happy, healthy, lovable little boy and we were in love!

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I have to say, recovery has been much easier the 2nd time around, and all of the newborn things have been easier knowing what to expect. The challenge is doing all of the newborn things while trying to entertain a toddler at the same time! I have had a lot of help these past couple weeks, but the true test will come next Tuesday when I am left to fend for myself with the two boys! Haha.

I’m sure all will be well. There are plenty of women out there who have done it and survived right? Soon enough we will figure out our routine and our new “normal.” Until then, I am just trying to get as much sleep as I can at night, loading up on coffee during the day, stealing toddler kisses and soaking up newborn snuggles.

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Hope you are all having a great week! Make it a good one!

XO,

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…I 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…I’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.

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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.

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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

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

Neon

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