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

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Foxes became super trendy

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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

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Went to Arizona and saw the Grand Canyon

Desert Florals

Grand Canyon

I made some waves with Waveborn

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Made fresh homemade tomato sauce and pesto from the garden

Tomato Sauce

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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

{16} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading  Children’s books.  You know…Green Eggs and Ham, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Ugly Duckling, Blueberries for Sal.  Starting Nico young and he is definitely soothed when people talk to him, so we are starting a nightly ritual.  As you might imagine, I haven’t had much time for grown-up books these days, but I have been glossing over Health, Marie Claire, and Redbook magazines while pumping.

writing  The majority of my writing these days has been logging feeding times for my little guy while we made sure he got back above his birth weight.  He was born at 5 lbs.  1.6 oz, and dropped down to 4 lbs. 11 oz.  At our last doctor’s appointment, he was well above his birth weight, and I’m pretty sure he is still gaining well!  We are very happy he is a healthy growing baby boy.

listening  Since Nico has arrived, I have been finding myself listening to more mellow jams.  My “Relax” playlist on my iPhone has gotten a lot of play lately.

thinking  I can’t believe how fast time is already flying.  Nico is already over three weeks, and will hit his four week mark this Thursday.  Insane!  I’m also thinking that I am very lucky I got to enjoy the first family dinner out with my boys last night, and he was an angel the entire time!

smelling  Mrs. Meyer’s baby oil.  It smells amazing!

watching  I basically caught up on every single TV show that I had on my DVR since I’ve been home.  Not that I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands, but just a lot of time at home!

wishing  For a little bit more sleep!

hoping  To find some more time this week to work on this blog.  I have a lot of posts I want to share of things that have been going on, but with a new baby on board, it’s definitely been a challenge!

wearing  Mostly leggings and sweats lately.  Comfort is key when nursing and staying at home.  It’s also a challenge finding things that look flattering on you post-partum.  What looks “adorable” with a baby bump does not look so adorable when it’s a post-prego fat bump.  I am, however, happy to say that we shot our first post-pregnancy outfit shoot this past weekend!  It was nice to put on real clothes again (although I’m still in my maternity pants), and I’m looking forward to sharing soon.  

loving  Being a mommy.  As crazy and exhausting and emotional as it can be sometimes…the good times FAR outweigh the bad!  I love seeing Nico smile and those newborn cuddles are just the best.  He is such a sweet boy, and I feel so very lucky to have him in my life.

laughing  Just took a look at my friend’s wedding highlight video, and saw all of us crazy clowns on the dance floor.  One friend was even captured mid cartwheel.  It was pretty hilarious!

wanting  The weather to be nice this week.  I have found that when I can get outside at least once a day and out of the house, I am so much saner and happier!  Nico also loves riding around in his stroller, so we both win.

needing  A mani/pedi.  I was supposed to get my last one the week I went into labor, and so that never happened.  I keep saying I will do it myself, but how do you pick up a baby with wet nails?  Haha.  Needless to say, I have also been sporting closed toed shoes when I leave the house.

feeling  Pretty good!  It took about two weeks for me to start feeling like my normal self again since giving birth.  Besides being tired from a few sleepless nights, I feel quite good.  I have managed to take some walks in the past two weeks, met up with a new mom group in the neighborhood last week, and I’m loving it.

craving  A personal chef and a house cleaner.  I barely have time to eat, let alone cook my food or scrub the floors.

clicking  Googling three week baby milestones, and catching up on all my favorite blogs I have missed out on for the past few weeks.

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What have you been up to lately?

Happy Monday!  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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