August 15, 2016

Leo: 1 Month

  
For Leo's monthly updates, I'm going to use a variety of fruits and veggies to make out the numbers. You've probably seen moms using flowers to spell out words and numbers for their baby's monthly updates and I think it's adorable. Since Leo had me craving lots of fruits and veggies during the pregnancy, I thought it would be cute to use fruits and veggies. Of course I had to use a banana to match his Honest Banana diapers. 



Leo 1 month, August 1st 

Weight? 
11 pounds & 3oz

Height?
22 Inches

Clothing size?
Newborn clothing is finally starting to fit a bit snug, he's slowly moving into 0-3 months 

Milestones this month? 
Putting on some good amount of weight and holding his head up. 
I feel like he is extremely nosy and needs to be looking around all time. 

Special outings this month?
Took BOTH kids to the splash pad. I was so nervous, but it was good. We even got lunch at the park and Leo napped the whole time we were there. 

Thoughts about the past month?
I was so nervous to be a mom of two and a newborn all over again. 
But just like every mom told me, you learn your limits and you get into a routine pretty quick. Can't believe I lost sleep over this, I was worried it would be overwhelming and I would feel so lost. 

What is his routine like?
Pretty much sleeping and eating all day. He's been sleeping longer stretches at night now. 

Any big changes?
He is very strong in his movements, will kick his legs really hard if he's upset. He also knows that crying gets him more than grunting. He no longer likes to be swaddled, makes me sad, because I love baby burritos. He's looking around more and smiling. 

What are his favorite things right now? 
His contrast cards, sleeping on my chest and the sound of the vacuum, it puts him right to sleep. 

Things he doesn't like?
Taking a sponge bath, he cries and cries until I change him and bundle him up. I finally was comfortable enough to give him a bath in the sink and he loves that way more than the sponge bath. 

What are you looking forward to? 
More baby chunk lol. I can't wait for him to be so big and fat with big rolls on his arms and legs, just like Vida. I love chunky babies.  



One week



Two weeks

Three weeks 


Four weeks 

We love using our Made by Joy milestone cards. 

You can purchase your set over here



July 20, 2016

Leonardo's Birth Story

  
   


I still cannot believe I am a mother of two! Two!! It's so surreal. I feel like it's a dream and I'm going to wake up any minute now, on my couch, pregnant, sweaty,
uncomfortable and with food all over my shirt. 
But it's real! We have two wonderful children. 

Our little man made an early appearance, just like his sister. They were both born at 36 weeks and 6 days. Is there a calendar inside my uterus that tells my babies that they need to leave the womb at that time? Seriously! 
Again, I missed a hair and nail appointment because my children decided to come early. I just want to be pampered before going into labor, is that too much to ask for? So there I was, again on that hospital bed with frizzy hair and split ends and no nail polish on my toes or fingers. Sigh... Maybe next time.... 

So, on to his birth story and my experience giving birth at a German hospital. I was nervous. Nervous because my German isn't perfect. I can order French fries, ice cream, ask where the bathroom is in German, but labor jargon in German, yeah, not so much. 
I kept thinking, what if I go into labor and the midwives and doctors that are working that night don't speak a word of English?! What am in going to do? Have my phone out and translate everything in the middle of contractions?! No way!! All was good though, everyone that night spoke perfect English, and were so accommodating. Not only did they accommodate me and Anthony, they also accommodated our toddler. Yes, we brought Vida with us to the hospital. More on that later!! 

So, June 31st, Vida and I headed to the annual German and
 American Friendship Festival on base in the late afternoon.
 I was having minor contractions all morning but I thought it was just Braxton Hicks, they hurt but weren't too bad and I had to get out of the house to get some delicious fair food. 
We arrive at the fest and she rode some rides, we got on the Ferris wheel, we ate some delicious food and had an amazing time just the two of us, I knew I had to soak all in these moments with her before the baby was born.
 We were there for about 3 hours, of course she didn't want to leave but I got very tired and my belly felt extra tight that afternoon, I was just ready to go home and take a nap. 

We arrive home and Anthony was already there. Anthony took her to the park and I headed to our room for a nap. It was a glorious nap. 
I woke up and we had a late dinner, around 9:30pm. I end up having an extremely painful contraction that I had to stop eating and hang onto the chair for support. Anthony asks me if the baby is coming and I reassure him that it's way too early. The contractions subsides, we eat dinner and watch a movie with Vida. Since it was a Friday, we decided to keep Vida up late and let her finish the movie and put her to bed. 

11:45pm rolls around and I feel this pop inside me, almost like someone cracked their fingers. I get up from the couch and sure enough, a little bit of water starts leaking. I sit on the toilet and the rest of the water comes out. I couldn't believe it. Anthony was outside with our dog, I open the back door and I tell him "hey, my water broke" of course he's all excited but asks me if I'm sure?  I said yeah, it's all over my pants. 
He heads inside and I go shower and prepare for the contractions, I'm nervous. 
I feel like it's my first time all over again. a little bit of panic sets in.

About an hour later the contractions start to get intense but still bearable, I can sit on the couch and relax. We timed them and they were very far apart and very mild. I told Anthony "we have lots of time, I'm not in active labor yet"  
It's about 12:30am and I messaged a friend to see if we could drop Vida off, 
I felt terrible on how late it was. 
Nobody knew he would come so early so I wasn't really prepared with the sitters for that night let alone that weekend. I knew who I was going to use, I just didn't think I was going to be using them at 1:00am. I didn't hear a response, so I called and messaged a few other friends, still no answer. It was about 1:15am and the contractions were now starting to get a bit painful. I had to concentrate on the pain and my breathing so I set my phone aside. Vida was sound asleep by this point. We had her in her pjs ready to go.

 1:30am rolls around and I tell Anthony that we should go to the hospital so I can get in the tub there and just relax with my essential oils. 
I reassured Anthony that I was sure someone will answer their phone and someone would pick her up from the  hospital. 

He loads up the car and make the 20 min drive to the hospital. I hate sitting while having contractions, It is sooooooo painful. That car ride lasted an eternity. 
We arrive, check in at around 2:15 and the midwife comes to get us and takes us to this little room to check the baby's heart rate. She does a quick cervical check and tells me I'm only at 3cm. I wanted to cry, the contractions were painful, I was hoping I was further along. 

We had Vida sound asleep in the stroller next to us. We told the midwife that we were hoping someone would be picking her up soon. I'm not going to lie, having her in the room with me gave me peace of mind. I wasn't worried about her being her crazy self at a friend's house or crying looking for us and being so confused on where she was. I get annoyed by her,  but I'm a bit attached to my daughter, we do everything together, so having her there in the little corner of the room sound asleep just made me happy. I have a hard time letting go, I'm not afraid to admit that. 

It was about 2:30am and the midwife comes in to let me know that in a few minutes my room and tub would be ready. They were very busy that night, around 2:45 the doctor came in to introduce himself. He came right when I was having a huge painful contraction. His timing couldn't be more perfect..not!

Germans are super polite, they will say hello or good morning when entering a room full of perfect strangers and will shake your hand if it's their first time meeting you, even my mail man shook my hand when he handed me my mail the first week we moved in to our home. 

 So this doctor comes in and extends his hand towards me. I'm standing, facing the bed, with my hands on the bed railing, breathing in and out a very painful contraction, gripping that bed until my knuckles were white and I look over at him, I'm probably red in the face and he doesn't move his hand. I barely shake his hand and quickly placed it back on the bed to prevent myself from falling. I'm sure he thought I was a rude with my quick and weird handshake. "Dude, I'm sorry my body is bringing a baby down my birth canal. I can't do handshakes right now. Let's do a head nod next time, okay?"

 This doctor is super friendly and bubbly and I just want to punch him. 
He seems too excited. This ain't Disney world. He's just way too excited for my liking. lol

So, I'm still standing while having these contractions. Since I'm no longer hooked up to the machine, Anthony wasn't able to see when the contraction was coming. So I had to gesture for him to hold me while I let my body just relax in his arms. It's the feeling of weightlessness that makes the pain a bit more bearable. The problem is that I can't speak when the contraction starts, it's so painful, I feel like I'm slowly going to pass out. 
My husband is great during these moments. I would just raise my hand slightly and he would hold me and I would just release my body, I probably look like I'm dead in his arms. 
My body, arms, neck and head just go limp. Once the contraction is over I hug him and tell him that I can't do it anymore and he reassures me. He hugs me so tight because he knows how scared I am. I really am scared in those moments. For me and epidural is not an option, and when I did the hospital tour they asked me if I wanted to sign up to get an epodural. I ploitly said, no thanks. Only in an emergency C-section will an epidural be available to you, if you had not signed up for it.
I was so relived not to have nurses pushing the epidural on me like when I gave birth in the states, nurses asked 5 times, and they would ask right at my weakest point, at the start of the contraction, they messed up my breathing and left me confused and angry, two things I do not want to feel during labor I want to be calm and relaxed! Here in Germany, not once was the epidural mentioned. They let me do my thing.

It's about 3:15am now and bubbly doctor tells me the room isn't ready yet and he apologizes. I can hear the women down the hall screaming while they give birth. It sounds like they are being murdered. It scared me to my core, even though I been though birth before, It was just scary to hear those sounds. It's like oh my gosh, I'm next. 

 The midwife comes in to check me, I tell her I feel like pushing. She tells me that the baby is right there!!
The nurse holds my hands and walks me down the hallway and tells me if I  can walk a little faster or if I can run a bit, and I said, no way!! 
Then I feel the urge to push and I get super nervous and I move my little feet faster, and we walk into the room as the midwives are frantically setting up all their stuff. 
A sweet nurse took the stroller to her office and watched Vida for us while we went to the delivery room. I can still remember the nurse gently pushing the stroller around the corner. There goes my first baby...she doesn't even know her life is about to change in a few minutes.


I lay on the bed and they tell me to start pushing, I wait for the contraction and I push and little man's head starts crowning. 
The "ring of fire" doesn't hurt that much the second time around, you kind of expect it and you prepare yourself for that burning feeling. It does feel like your vagina is on fire though. 
The first time I felt that, I was scared. I didn't know that was going to happen and kept asking my OB if everything was okay down there.
So we go through this pain and we only get one day off a year? I know right? Motherhood is the shit!! 

Then they tell me not to push, I hate those words. I heard those words when I was delivering Vida. You can't fight that urge and do so gracefully. It's horrible. Your stomach does this awful jumping sensation, the midwife tells me to wait for the contraction. 
I do one more big push and he's out and it was like an out of body experience once again.  
I look at him and he's so tiny and they quickly place him on my chest and I'm crying and completely in awe of what just happened. His little tiny cry was so sweet. 

Another fast, drug free delivery, my hair is a mess, I didn't get to use the tub like I wanted too, but I'm just grateful for a healthy baby and a safe and fast delivery. Leo was born at 3:45am, weighing only 5 pounds. He was so itty bitty. 
Thank goodness he didn't have to go to the NiCu. 

Leo latched immediately to my breast  and I'm so tired at that moment, I could pass out but I force myself to stay awake so I can just stare at him. 

The midwives and Doctor leave the room and give us time to soak in these moments with our baby. Anthony goes to check on Vida. She's still asleep and the nurse is still there watching over her. I'm so grateful to that staff. They were so wonderful to us. I wish the delivery room would have been ready earlier but it was a busy night. Sometimes if there are no rooms available or you are less than 3cm dialated you can be turned away 
and sent home, hhospitals are not as big as they are in the states. 
I'm glad I quickly went from 3-10cm because that drive back home would have been a horrible idea. 

I ended up staying in the hospital for 24 hours, I wanted to rest and give Vida some time with her dad. In the USA I had to stay for 3 days. I was so ready to go home when I had her. Recovery the second time around, was much faster. I felt like my body knew exactly what it had to do. With Vida I was scared to walk too much for too long. 

The nurses at the hospital were so sweet and took such good care of us.
 The language barrier was tough but we managed to communicate with one another.
 They would come in throughout the day to our room to hold Leo. One British nurse would say "oh Leonardo, oh Leonardo" when she would see him, i think she was in love. When he went for his bath the following day, they had bundled him up and put the cutest hat on him. I looked at him and said "oh my goodness, he looks so cute" the German nurses asked me "what is oh, my goodness?" and I explained it to her and the whole day she would say to all the babies "oh, my goodness" it was so adorable.  

Anthony brought Vida to see Leo, and I couldn't believe how huge she looked. 
She looked so big to me. I couldn't stop staring at her. She held him and my heart burst with happiness. She looks at me and says she has to go because she was going to the park with her Dada. My stage five clinger just wanted to leave and without me. It made me tear up. Friends reassured me that it was normal and she wouldn't be like that forever. 
They were right. 

I went home the following afternoon and cuddled my two babies and now we are a family of 4 and everything feels perfect. I loved giving birth in the German hospital. I wasn't forced to do anything I didn't want. Nobody offered me drugs or tried to rush my labor. They respected me and catered to me. The room not being ready was not their fault, but I'm glad they got me in quick when they saw he was coming out really fast. I'm thankful to the staff and my husband for being there for me and Leo. 

Here are a few  photos





Totally forgot how to swaddle a baby. Thank goodness for Google lol

Thanks for stopping by. 


xoxo







July 4, 2016

36 Weeks

          

How far along?   36 weeks 
Total weight gain/loss: +20 
Maternity clothes? This PinkBlush dress and skirt.        
Stretch marks? No. Thank God        
Sleep: terrible. I live in the bathroom 
Best moment this week? getting everything done for baby boy                   
Miss Anything? soda, even though I haven't drank any in over 4 years. 
I really want a large cold coke             
Movement:so much 
Food cravings: watermelon 
Anything making you queasy or sick: just the smell of eggs         
Have you started to show yet:
   Yes             
Gender: boy
Labor Signs:
  a few contractions here and there        
Belly Button in or out:
 out
Wedding rings on or off? On         
Happy or Moody most of the time: happy               
Looking forward to: maternity family photos 
        

June 27, 2016

Vida's 1st day of German Kindergarten

    

Vida had her first day at the German Kindergarten in our town this morning. 
In Germany kids are able to start, what is more like preschool in my opinion at the age of two. I remember moving here last year and couldn't understand where all the children were when we went to the local park. I only saw moms with tiny tiny babies. My friend told me about the differences in school and I finally understood why there were no kids at the park. When we lived in the USA you could go to Chick Fil A and find kids playing in the play area at 10am. 

Vida had a spot last year about a week after we moved into our house but this mom, chickened out and pulled her out. I didn't think she was ready, but in reality I wasn't ready. :( I felt lonely when my husband went to work and not having any friends nearby made it hard. 

Once my car arrived from the USA, we went everywhere and did everything, so I was happy to have her home so we could go to the zoo, pool, kids cafe, splash pad etc. This year she was definitely showing signs of being ready for school. So we decided to sign her up and we waited about 8 months for this spot. 

So when we got the call she could attend this August we were so excited. 

In Germany there is a acclimation period where the parent must attend school with the child for a few hours each day and slowly, the parent is asked to leave for 30 mins, then 1hour, then 2 and then 3 etc to see how the child does without the parents there. It's really an excellent idea. It gives me peace of mind, I don't have to drop my kid off and hear them cry, especially when my child can be a stage 5 clinger. 
So today was her first acclimation day, the teacher asked me to just sit and watch and she would show Vida around and introduce her to the children. Vida did awesome. She would look up a few times and smile at me and it warmed my heart to see her so happy playing. The teacher only spoke to her in German and I'm hoping she'll be speaking it in no time. 

I'm so happy the school is letting us get acclimated before summer vacation so when school starts up again she should be good to stay without me and I can stay home with the baby. 

I had to make her favorite breakfast for her first day. Chia seed pudding with blueberries, hard boiled eggs with guacamole and sliced pears.
 She didn't end up eating it, I think she felt werid being up at 7:00am but when we got back at 9:30 she gobbled all this down and went straight to the couch for a long nap. Poor girl isn't a morning person. 

        
   
She had such a fun first day and looking forward to what this school year will be like for my girl. I'm super attached to her, I can't help it, but I'm learning to let go and letting her learn and grow in her own way. 
I'm glad she's only going part time and I've decided to let her go  3-4 times a week instead of the whole week so we can spend time together too. When she gets home at 1pm she's so hungry and sleepy. She eats her lunch and quickly goes down for a nap. 
We go for summer holiday in July  and back to school in August. She's so excited. 


Thanks for stopping by. 



June 24, 2016

PinkBlush Maternity Review and Giveaway

-Giveaway Closed-

I had an amazing opportunity to provide a review for PinkBlush Maternity earlier this month. If you haven't heard about PinkBlush Maternity, grab your coffee (hopefully it is still hot) and let me tell you all about this awesome online maternity store that carries trendy, beautiful, maternity wear for very affordable prices.


PinkBlush asked me to select one item from their store to try out, I couldn't make up on my mind, there was just so much to chose from. 
So, after combing the site for hours, yes for hours, I finally selected the gorgeous 
(You can click the link above and check out this dress and the other colors it comes in)


If you know me, you know that I can live in Maxi dresses year round. This dress did not disappoint. The material is super soft, lightweight and the material was not clingy at all, everything I look for in a maxi dress. 
When I read I could wear this after my pregnancy and still be able to nurse my baby, I was sold! If I can't take a boob out, I can't wear it!! 

I also loved the Crochet detail, it gives this dress a more stylish look that would be a great dress to wear to your Baby Shower etc. Or you can throw on a cute little cardigan and your ready for a more causal look




I know shopping online can be very daunting for some, but PinkBlush has great customer service, affordable shipping rates and return policies that can make shopping with them a breeze. They also have a sizing chart on their page to help you out in picking the right fit. 
I decided to go with a size medium for my dress, even though it is a bit stretchy, I just wanted the dress to fall loosely around my belly and not cling so much to it. It is a bit long, but I only stand at 5'1, so I knew that was something I would have to hem myself, just like every dress I own.




In a gorgeous Poppy Field with my girl

When I read that I would have to hand wash this dress, I was a little bummed. Why give me more work to do? haha. It was very hard to wash this by hand, so I decided to wash this in my machine on the most gentle setting possible and I hung it outside to dry. Now, this was my experience, I know all machines are different. So please take caution. The dress came out just fine, no rips or tears, the crochet detail was in tack and the color was just as bright, I was so relieved. Just be careful if you do decide to do this.
I just wouldn't recommend putting their clothes in the dryer.







As a big thank you to you all for reading my review on this gorgeous dress, I am teaming up with PinkBlush Maternity to give away a $75 gift card!!!

 

Congrats to Randi-Lynn you are the winner!! 







Thank you PinkBlush Maternity for sponsoring this post. 






June 13, 2016

Romania


Our trip to Romania this last month was amazing! 

I researched as much as I could about the city of Bucharest and kept reading that it wasn't child or family friendly. I was a little bummed to read that, but then at the last minute, I decided to pack up our stuff and join my husband on his business trip and make the most of this mini 7 day vacation. At least it would be a vacation with room service and a indoor pool and no cleaning.
 Well, let me tell you, Bucharest did not disappoint and it is 100% family friendly. 
The locals were so friendly and I was impressed by how many spoke English, either fluently or enough to get by and communicate, and when I mean everyone, everyone, young and old. It was very refreshing and was a godsend when I was lost and needed help. 
Many of them thought I spoke Romanian and was just being lazy, I told them that I only knew a few words and I had the accent down pretty well.

So, here are a few highlights of our trip:



 We stayed at the gorgeous, JW Marriott in Bucharest. For being a 5 star hotel, it was surprisingly affordable. I definitely recommend it. 
The breakfast buffet made this family very happy. 


 We spent about 5 hours at Cișmigiu Gardens and park, and if it wasn't for my tired pregnant self, my toddler could have spent the whole week here. This park was less than a 10 minute drive from the hotel we were staying at.
 I even ended up walking back with the stroller, that's how close it was. 
This park and garden had swings, carousels,playgrounds, shaded walk ways, snack and ice cream stands and a cute little lake, where you could rent little paddle boats. 



 She was having so much fun, I have no idea how I got her to stop and eat lunch when she wanted to play non stop. I loved how many children were here to play on a weekday at 1pm.





We visited the Parliament building on our way to the park.
 I didn't get the chance to do the tour, so we explored the grounds instead.
Will definitely check out the tour sans children next time 


 This park can be found right across the street of the Parliament building,
It is insanely huge. Vida ended up falling asleep when we arrived and a part of me was happy because I could have lost her in here. So while she napped, I had a little snack at nearby cafe.





This library was so beautiful, we went inside and explored. 
Have your I.D ready to go when you enter, they had pretty tight security.

isn't it stunning?


 Our very first Cat Cafe experience, I didn't know this was a thing. 
This cafe is in a very weird, side of town, it looks sketchy at first, but once you go inside the gate, it is so adorable. The cafe had about 5 cats and all are up for adoption. You can stay, play and order some delicious food and drinks off their menu. 
We had a fruit smoothie and cuddled all the cats. Vida was in kitty heaven.

inside the cat cafe
On the Saturday, we took a trip to Old Town. We walked through Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse, it is a street covered by yellow glass. You can find cafes, bars, restaurants and hookah bars throughout.
 We stopped by this gorgeous Restaurant called "Hanul lui Manuc" and ate the most delicious, authentic Romanian food. It was sooooo good, Vida loved her chicken soup.
They had a live band playing and all seating is outdoors, you can sit in the courtyard, where we were, or up in the Inn terrace, it was so picturesque, I felt like I was in a fairy tale 

 
 My favorite Romanian soup, Ciorbă de perișoare
My husband was impressed on how I pronounced the food. My best friend growing up was Romanian and her mom cooked all this food, I can literally say, I was raised eating romanian food. 

 After lunch we set out to find Emilia Creameria, the cutest ice cream shop I have ever seen!
So many flavors to choose from.

 You cannot go to Bucharest and not visit "Cărtureşti Carusel", also called “The Carousel of Light” bookstore. This place will take your breath away. This bookstore has 6 floors and at the very top a bright and airy cafe.



my girl was in book heaven



and no trip is complete in our books until we eat some delicious pastries. 
This pastry shop was right across the street from the hotel it was called "Ana Pan"
and everything was delicious, especially the chocolate eclairs.


 Overall this trip was perfect, we had so much fun exploring the wondeful city of Bucharest. We ate so much delcious food, I really want to go back soon just to eat again. 
I wish we had more time to go exploring outside the city but being so pregnant, and with Anthony pretty much working the whole time, it wasn't doable. We hope to go back again, but as a real vacation and explore Dracula's Castle and other parts of Romania, like the countryside. My last piece of advice, don't pass up this city, you have to go visit Bucharest and take in all the beauty this place has to offer, she has her rough edges from so much turmoil from the past, but it really is family freindly, and again, the locals were just the kindest people I have met. 

Until next time, Paris of the East...