Best of Both Worlds

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What kind of life do you desire for yourself?

I find that as I get older and time goes on, my priorities have changed. In my twenties, I may have been fine with working late hours, meeting up with friends for an after work drink, crashing late, and doing it all over again the next day.

But now as a mom of two kids, I want to be here to tuck my kids into bed at night, read them stories, and snuggle them to sleep.

Previously, I was okay with a long subway commute. I used it as an excuse to get lots of reading done and was proud at how many books I could finish underground. Now, I do not want to spend a total of 3 hours per day commuting, because that means 15 hours a week extra that I would be spending away from my kiddos on top of a long work day.

My family has become my priority these days. I love being a mom…the good, the bad, and the ugly. The lack of sleep and toddler tantrums have nothing on those newborn snuggles and those slobbery toddler kisses.

That being said…I never saw myself as a stay at home mom. My mom worked hard outside of the home each and every day, and I figured I would follow in those footsteps. I studied hard in school and had dreams of a future and career that involved television and movies and sports and more. I wanted to be successful in my own right, and never have to rely on someone else to pay my bills. Not that those who are stay at home moms are not successful. It’s the hands down HARDEST job I have ever had to date! And I give props to every single stay at home mom out there, because having and raising kids on a daily basis IS definitely success in my book.

But the difference between then and now is that I didn’t realize then that I could be FINANCIALLY successful AND be a stay at home mom at the same time. I could own a business, work from home, AND spend my days raising my children the way I see fit. The best of both worlds in my mind.

Now, I’m not saying that it’s easy. I work HARD…both as a mom and as an entrepreneur. And some days I still feel like I am not quite measuring up in either category…because let’s face it…as mom you never feel like you are doing everything right…I am only human, and I can only do so much and yes, it’s HARD to work from home when you have a toddler…and now with a newborn, it’s even more crazy. But I am making it work, because it’s what’s best for ME and what’s best for my family. I am getting to fulfill something that I always wanted to do by having my own business and creating my own success…and I am not missing out on those opportunities to see my children grow.

The best part is that I have the FREEDOM to work when and how I want. I am able to create my own schedule and hours. I am helping others to reach their goals not only in health and fitness, but by teaching others to build their OWN business as well.

This opportunity is not exclusive to me. Have you ever thought about being a fitness coach? What about being home with your kids more? Or having the freedom to work from wherever you want? Or to stop stressing about money on the regular?

If so, I would love to invite you to join me and Team SPARK on Monday September 28th as we host a sneak peek into our business and share what is that we do on a daily basis. We are looking for 5 hard working, creative, and intelligent individuals who are looking to create more freedom for themselves or for their families. If you have any interest at all in learning more, please comment below and fill out this application to save your spot in our 3 Day Coach Open House group!

https://pandpfitness.wufoo.com/forms/team-spark/

Hope you are having a great week!

XO,

Gina

Family Maternity Shoot With Misa*Me

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I am absolutely incredibly lucky and grateful to have a first cousin and bestie who is an impeccable photographer! Marisa Crider of Misa*Me Photography snapped these photos of my little growing family during our larger family reunion back in the month of June when I was 30 weeks pregnant. It was a hot summer day, and somehow she was able to capture some great shots even with a cranky toddler. It started to rain a bit during the shoot, and then all of the sudden, the sun peeked out. I’m telling you, she is a miracle worker! I love the way she is able to capture the light. She took so many more fabulous photos for us, and it’s going to be a tough decision as to which ones end up on the walls of our home! These were some of my favorites that captured all (almost) four of us. Now, here, at 38 weeks, I cannot even believe that we are about to meet our little guy here soon!

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Wearing – Dress: Betsey Johnson (borrowed from a friend – found a Size 4 for sale on Etsy!) / Heels: Cynthia Vincent / Necklace: Vintage via Etsy / Watch: Betsey Johnson / Bracelet: Stella & Dot

On Nico – Dress Shirt: Carters Just One You / Shorts: Old Navy (similar)

On Zack – Dress Shirt: H&M / Pants: GAP

Thanks again to Marisa for taking these wonderful photos! We will cherish them forever in our home. If you missed our last maternity shoot with Misa*Me, or want to take a trip back down memory lane from two years ago, you can view those photos here.

Heading to the doc as we speak for two appointments today. A little nervous about what they are going to say! Bags are packed just in case we don’t come back, but hoping they let baby come on his own when he is ready 😉

Hope you all have a great day!

XO,

Gina

Easy Breezy

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Tribal Palazzo Pants: Target (sold out, but similar here) / Tank: Old Navy / Sandals: Dolce Vita (sold out but similar here) / Sunnies: Vintage Kenneth Cole / Necklace: c/o Stella & Dot /Earrings: c/o Stella & Dot / Bracelets: Guilty Jean, Stella & Sparkle, Vintage / Watch: Michael Kors / Lip Gloss: Smashbox Savvy

Can you believe today marks 31 weeks of pregnancy! WOWZA!!! The 2nd half has been flying right by! I delivered at 38 weeks the first time around, so I am starting to get a little nervous about everything we have left to do before baby’s arrival? Now you might be thinking, what could they possibly have to do? They already have everything they need, and they are even having another boy! Well, trust me when you live in a small Brooklyn apartment, you need to figure out how you are going to go from fitting a family of three to a family of four! Haha. We spent this past weekend getting our TV mounted on the fireplace so that we can eventually get rid of our entertainment center to make room for the rocking/glider chair that we will have to move OUT of the nursery (through the window, because it won’t fit through the door mind you), so that we can then fit crib #2 into the nursery. Whew! Just thinking about it makes me exhausted already.

I found the most comfy palazzo pants at Target during the spring time, and as soon as I saw that stretchy waistband, I thought they would be perfect during my pregnancy. I could not have been more spot on! At 31 weeks, these (non-maternity) pants fit me with room to spare! And they are SO incredibly comfortable!

We are gearing up for a 4th of July trip to Seneca Lake this Thursday…but not before I check in with the baby doc on Wednesday. Fingers crossed for a good appointment and a good trip to come!

Make it a great week everyone!

XO,

Gina

Why I’m Tougher This Pregnancy

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Pregnancy. What a wild ride it is…and each time is different. My first pregnancy was cut tragically short due to a miscarriage after 7.5 weeks and ended in devastation and sadness. My 2nd pregnancy, I was a nervous wreck for the entire 1st trimester and then some. Afraid to work out. Afraid of another loss. Eventually as time wore on, I started to become less nervous and embrace my pregnancy along with all the ups and down, scares, vomiting, nausea, itchiness, heartburn, early contractions, duck waddling, and more. With every sonogram (and I had a lot of them) I felt closer and closer to my Little Monkey. Eventually, on August 29, 2013, my little boy was brought into the world and everything made sense. All of that craziness was worth it, and my life was forever changed. I can’t believe that little boy is now almost 2 years old, and I have another on the way.

Most women would say that being pregnant the 2nd (or in my case 3rd) time around is more difficult. I would have to agree that it has been quite challenging. However, I think it has somehow made me TOUGHER. And here’s why:

1st Trimester Nausea & Exhaustion

I thought this was bad before, but this pregnancy was much worse! Previously, I would get sick, and then feel better, but I pretty much felt a constant wave of nausea all day every day for the entire first trimester. Even if I got sick, I did not feel any better. I tried ginger candies (I was repulsed), preggie pop drops, eating small frequent meals, and sea bands, but nothing really seemed to do the trick except letting time pass. I was also much more exhausted, but couldn’t exactly fall asleep whenever I wanted to. Knowing that I was able to get through this first rough of a 1st trimester with everything else going on in my life makes me feel like one tough cookie.

I Have a Toddler This Time Around

This is probably BY FAR the most challenging aspect of this pregnancy! Previously, if I needed a nap or I felt sick I could lay down and rest. As a stay-at-home working mom this time around, I cannot just take a break when I need to. My toddler is very active and wants to run around and play all day. He takes one nap a day, and at the beginning, I was napping right along with him! With the 2nd trimester, I gained a lot of energy back, and now I work during his nap time, but it was a a struggle in the beginning. There was a lot of time for planning during my last pregnancy, but I feel as if this pregnancy is just flying right by! Anyone that can get through a pregnancy while taking care of a toddler is tough in my book!

I am Running My Own Business

Speaking of work…since the company I was working for folded in September, I decided to take a step in a new direction as a fitness coach and freelance writer. I now stay at home with my son, work from home, and make my own schedule, but it’s also extremely tough to fit everything in in one day on top of being pregnant. Toddler playdates, doctor’s appointments, conference calls, emails, quiet time to write, taking care of the house, building a business…there is so much to fit in each day, and only so much time. I find myself working a lot of late nights trying to get it all done, and luckily my husband is good about letting me sleep in a lot so that I don’t run myself ragged.

I am Working on My Fitness

As I said before, I was previously scared to work out during my last pregnancy. I walked a lot, which was a great way to keep active, but I did not feel “in shape” at all. This pregnancy, I have been doing the PiYo program (combo of pilates and yoga) at least 4-5 times per week for at least 30 min per day, hiking on weekends, etc. My body feels so much more physically fit, strong, & toned, and my lungs have so much more endurance and capacity. I feel so much more energized on a daily basis after I have completed my workouts, and I generally just feel tougher!

I am Eating Healthier

I do feel that I generally ate pretty healthy during my last pregnancy, but since becoming a fitness coach, I have paid even more attention to what I am putting in my body on a daily basis…especially processed foods and sugars. Of course, this pregnant mama is never going to completely cut ice cream out of her diet…I mean we all have to live a little, right?!?!  Sometimes those pregnancy cravings will get the best of me for sure. I am not perfect, and will never claim to be!  But on the whole, I am conscious of what I am eating and I strive to make healthy, clean choices for myself and my growing babe.

I Have Been Through It Before

I have a newfound confidence this time around. I mentioned being afraid a lot during my last pregnancy…but this time I am more confident with my decisions, I realize that there are some things that are just out of my control, and I have to let go a little.  I generally have an idea of what to expect this time for labor and delivery (although I do understand that things could be completely different), so I am not super anxious about what’s going to happen. I understand that things may happen unexpectedly, I now know what contractions feel like (and I know to drink tons of WATER to prevent dehydration and early contractions), and I know not to freak out if I go into my regular check up and they tell me I am not leaving without a baby. I feel prepped and I feel calm.  I’m actually more anxious about how things are going to go POST-delivery when I have two children! Haha.

Curious as to what you other mamas are going through out there? How have you been feeling throughout your pregnancy? If you are pregnant for a 2nd time around, have you felt that it’s been easier or harder? Do you feel tougher as well or has it all been a lot to handle?

I definitely feel that my workouts combined with my nutrition have played a HUGE role in my “toughness” this pregnancy, both mentally and physically. It keeps me going and keeps me strong.

Happy Monday to all you Mamas, and everyone else out there reading! We had a nice weekend with family and friends. Today marks 28 weeks pregnant for this gal.

Let’s make it a great week!

XO,

Gina

Santa Success

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I consider seeing Santa without crying this year a “GREAT SUCCESS!”  (in a Borat voice).  I was anticipating some possible tears due to the sheer fact of toddlerhood, but we tried to prep him with little Santa videos, talks about what we were going to do and just acting straight up excited about the experience.  Of course, the toddler right in front of us started screaming bloody murder as soon as he got anywhere close to Santa, so I sensed Nico getting a little scared/nervous about what was going to happen.  We ended up just easing our way up toward Santa slowly, chatting with him and giving him high fives, before we actually did the lap sitting.  Luckily, the staff at Bloomingdale’s was incredibly patient.  They did not rush us at all, and I love that you can also take your own photos there.  Nico gave Santa a few sideways glances and seemed a little unsure about the whole thing, but eventually he cracked a slight smile…enough to capture on camera.  And like I said previously, no tears this year equals success in my book!

We are now down in Maryland with family preparing for the holidays.  I went shopping with the mama last night and braved the crazy crowds.  I have also spent most of this week wrapping presents for family and friends.  We are getting excited for our Seven Fishes Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow night!

Happy Holidays to you all!

XO,

Gina

Stay Wild

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On Nico – T-Shirt: Beckett’s Threads / Pants: Just One You Made by Carters / Shoes: Pediped – similar

Things are getting wild over here at the Notes household.  Nico took 16 steps yesterday.  SIXTEEN!  He’s still a bit unsteady, but I’m pretty sure full on walking is probably going to happen before this upcoming weekend is over.  Which means things are going to get crazy.  That being said, I do feel pretty lucky that I have a son who enjoys reading as much as Nico does.  Yes, reading Hop on Pop 20 times in one day can probably drive you a little mad.  But he is starting to take to plopping down on his own and looking through all the books.  He loves to pull them all off the shelf, and then dive into each and every one.  I wonder what he is thinking when he looks at them…if he is remembering the words that go along or he’s making up his own rhymes in his head.  Eventually he will crawl over to me with a book in hand saying “Buh!” his big brown eyes telling me he wants me to read to him.  And I oblige every time, because I never want to discourage a good habit, and because who wouldn’t want to cuddle up with this little nugget while I still can.

On another note, how cool is Nico’s tee?  Beckett’s Threads is offering a 15% discount to all my readers through Sunday night on this tee and other rad baby gear.  There are even a few items for mom as well.  Just use the code PANDA15. Hope you are all enjoying your week!

XO,

Gina