6 Month Update

This month Leon turn 1/2 a year old! The night before his 6 month appointment he got a fever. Despite doing everything I could to prevent bringing home any germs from work, my baby has the flu :(. This flu and cold season this year is just horrendous! Luckily, his fevers are low grade. He’s irritable and waking himself up with congestion but I know this could’ve been a lot worse. He’s weighing 16 lbs 10 oz  and steady on his growth curve.

Eating

We started solids around 5.5 months and Leon is loving it! We are doing mostly purees. It just seems to work more efficiently during the week to have pureed food prepped and ready for the grandparents. I did a lot of research on “baby led weening” and we try to do that on the weekends. So far we’ve tried rice cereal, avocado, banana, peas, apple, pear, sweet potato, squash. He never turns away from trying new food and is the happiest with a full belly! He is also drinking around 4-5 bottles a day and mostly formula. I have reached my goal of breastfeeding/pumping for 6 months. Despite a very low supply over the last month (he is getting only 1 bottle of breast milk every 2 days) I am trying to push through till the end of this horrible flu/cold season. His dirty diapers have definitely changed to daily or every other day since starting solids! I am making all his baby food on my own and may do a post on this soon!

Bedtime & Sleeping

Leon is sleeping 10-12 hours at night since 3 months old. These last few days have been a drawback in sleep because of him not feeling well but I’m hoping he goes back to regular routine soon. He also loves to sleep on his belly now, which freaked me out in the beginning! He continues to be a bad napper and naps around 30-45 minutes. If he gets a good one in which is rare it can be up to 2 hours. He never wants to miss anything! For nap time and bed time we are trying a bit of the cry it out method (please no judgements here!). I can say it’s working and he is learning to calm himself down in under 10 minutes and fall asleep. His witching hour is around 6-7 PM. He wakes up anywhere around 4-5:30 am… still working on this! He seems to go down better when I put him to bed versus his dad. He’s definitely more calm with his momma.

Milestones

Leon is babbling, smiling, and giggling like no one’s business. He especially smiles and laughs when he sees his dad! He rolls better from back to belly. Although he’s rolled from belly to back he doesn’t do this well and often gets stuck and frustrated. His pediatrician said that this was okay. He isn’t sitting up on his own completely but is slowly learning to balance. He continues to grab his toys and play wonderfully!

Traveling with baby

We haven’t been on an airplane with him yet. More so because of cost and still recovering from maternity leave. We have been on multiple road trips around Florida. Leon does well in the car rides now. In fact, he loves to go out! He’s able to adapt to where ever we stay over night. Packing on the other hand has been a whole new experience and it takes twice as long to get out of the door with a baby. We have a few trips planned this year!

Work balance

It’s been a total of 3 months back to work and feels like I never left. It has become easier to leave for work as time has passed. Naturally, I miss him everyday. I FaceTime my mom during the day to see how he’s doing. So grateful that she’s able to watch him during the work week! The weekends are always busy for us. This might be the first weekend we have nothing planned. I am learning to say no to things so I have some family and me time.

Postpartum

My emotions are better and I feel less stressed about things like timing feedings, tracking diapers and sleep. I used to want to keep him on a strict schedule but have quickly learned going with the flow a bit makes me a happier mother. I am not back to my pre-baby weight but I am actually happy with the weight I am now. I have started light exercise again and doing T25 works outs at home! I am still learning to embrace my body fully and the changes that come with having a baby. Clothes certainly don’t fit like they used to but have noticed my style is changing too!

A New Focus For 2018

2017 was the year of preparing & then adjusting to life as a new Mom. Now I have an almost 6 month old and am already amazed at how fast my son has grown. He makes it known when he’s bored, he never turns down food or a bottle, loves to babble and have conversations, loves to laugh & giggle. When they say motherhood is the biggest identity shift you’ll ever have, they weren’t kidding. HA! I thought that balance was hard pre-baby, being a new mother is even more challenging. I think Leon started smiling at 3 days old and seeing him smile everyday completely made everything worth it.

For 2018, my priority is my family. I’ve come to realize that means decluttering whether that means people, emotions, material things. I’ve also found in these short months that I’m the best mother and wife if I make myself my priority.

If you want to talk specific New Years Resolutions my main ones are to 1. Find more work life balance. 2. Spend money on experiences for my family not things! Maybe this will be a new focus for my blog as well :).

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DIY Charcuterie

Roger & I love hosting. There’s something about having our family or friends all in one place that makes our heart happy. We had our annual friendsgiving and I wanted to try making my own charcuterie. It turned out to be a crowd pleaser, everyone loved it! If you’re hosting Christmas this year and need an appetizer to serve, this is a fancy little idea to have for your guests. Comes in handy if you have hungry guests and someone who likes to say the extended version of grace before eating (hehe sorry dad!).

Two words: Trader. Joe’s. They have everything you need to set this up. Crackers of different flavors, affordable cheese, and assortment of cured meats. Don’t forget to add fruit, I love grapes or persimmons.

Baby’s First Thanksgiving

Last year we hosted Thanksgiving for our really big family. Now with Leon we couldn’t imagining doing that again this year. It was still exhausting! We kept Leon up past his bedtime because our family couldn’t get enough of him and he let us know he was tired! I hope he gets use to our crazy family soon haha. But you know what, I am so grateful for them. I love having such a big family. There’s always a birthday or celebration every single weekend. I love that Leon is going to grow up with so much love. I’m so grateful for my little family, my 2 boys. The holidays are going to be so much better now!

Nara Travel Guide

I am motivated to finishing up these Japan guides as we still have a lot of people asking us about our trip to Japan (it has been almost a year since we went!). At the end of our first week in Osaka we went to Nara for the day. TIP: For some affordable breakfast, 7/11 in Japan has so many treats! We had one close by our AirBnB and got breakfast here almost everyday.

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Nara Park

The roaming deer are considered Shinto messengers to the Gods and the well known symbol of Nara. The wild deer are scattered all around Nara Park and we couldn’t pass up the experience of feeding them.

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Kofukuji Temple

Right in the middle of Nara Park is the Kofukuji Temple. There are also food vendors and it’s a nice place to stop for lunch.

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Nandaimon Gate & Todaiji Temple

Did you know Nara used to be the capital of Japan? Todaiji Temple is a well known landmark of Nara during this period. We’re always amazed at how the Japanese can preserve their culture and respect their historical landmarks.

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Kasuga Taisha Shrine

This was our favorite! We stumble upon this beautiful Shrine with beautiful moss covered lanterns. Beautiful and serene in every way, the photos don’t do it justice.

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On the way back, we stopped to pick up Japanese cheesecake in Nara station. It’s different than the cheesecake we know and baked to a soft and fluffy texture.

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Next will be a travel post on Tokyo!

 

Post-Irma thoughts, 2nd wedding anniversary, and living a flavorful marriage.

A little life update here as life has been a bit hectic and is just now calming down.

Living in Florida we are well versed in hurricanes. Irma scared me. Those few days before were a big adrenaline rush. Do we stay and bunker down in our house or leave the state with baby Leon in tow? Ultimately, we decided to stay with family in a higher evacuation zone.

As I was packing, I thought how nice it would be to be able to pack your most important belongings and essentials in a suitcase and leave. We live in a world where the clothes you wear, the car you drive, or how big your house is determines who are and even your happiness. I sometimes have the urge to sell everything and travel The Bucket List Family style. Even though Roger and I work so hard to have our home, in the end stuff in just stuff. I had my 2 prized possessions with me… my husband and my son. That’s all I needed.

We were so lucky it wasn’t worse. The hurricane came down to a category 2 by the time it hit us. It took a week for us to get power back and days worth of clean up from debris and a fallen tree on our property. Luckily, no damage to the house. With that being said, my heart is heavy for places like Puerto Rico, the Caribbean islands, and Mexico. 

In the middle of all this we also celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. And my goodness did it feel like the world was against us! I was a bit upset by it but in the end we got to celebrate a dinner out without baby and it was nice. We went to a restaurant in downtown St. Pete called Annata Wine and loved it. Overall, the each dish had different but cohesive flavors, even different textures. We had a very large charcuterie plate, octopus with lemon accents, and lobster risotto with avocado gelato! Roger and I always get excited about trying new restaurants, especially when we walk out happy. It was the perfect ending to our stressful week.  Here’s to two years of marriage my love!

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Loving Lately | Post-Partum Edition

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My Loving Lately series is back! I haven’t been wearing much these last few weeks during my maternity leave. Not only is time limited but I am trying to soak up all the baby snuggles I can get! These few products have been keeping this new momma refreshed.

  • IT Cosmetics Confidence In An Eye Cream. Eye creams are a hard product to love. There isn’t much out there that are effective for depuffing the delicate skin around the eyes. This eye cream has been one I have actually liked in a very long time. It claims to have “drop of light technology” and ingredients like ceramides, chrysin, licorice root, avocado, squalane that work to hydrate, smooth wrinkles and dark circles. I do notice it has made my under eyes brighter and moisturized. I can’t speak on the long term anti aging properties or decreasing puffiness.
  • Mario Badescu Rose Water Spray. I wish I had brought this with me to the hospital. The aloe and rosewater helps keep me feeling refreshed and clean. Best believe that’s an amazing feeling after diaper changes and baby spit up. I spray my body as well as my face.
  • L’Oréal Lash Paradise Mascara. I am taking a break from lash extensions and ran into this new mascara. I am usually loyal to my L’Oreal Voluminous but gave into the hype. This one gives a lot volume and length and I love the wand. A little concealer and this makes me feel a little bit more awake.
  • La Roche-Posay Sunscreen. My favorite light weight sunscreen for the face. Just a layer of this before my walks with my little one. Seriously lightweight and the formula is not sticky. Good news is you can find this any drug store.
  • Tarte Rainforest of the Sea 4 in 1 Setting Mist. This setting spray is suppose to be a primer, setting spray, hydrating, and skin refresher. I think it does the hydrating and refreshing well and not so much the priming.

Newborn Essentials (0 to 3 Months) For the Practical Mom

Hi all! My favorite thing when preparing for baby was reading blog posts and watching YouTube videos on baby essentials. It can also get way too overwhelming especially when you want to give the best of everything to your little one. Really overwhelming when there are a million baby products out there. I’m finding out that babies don’t need much. But the best products are the ones that make life easier and serve multiple purposes.

As a disclaimer, every baby is different. What works for us may not work for your baby. Nonetheless, I hope this helps other moms, especially new mothers. I will continue to update this list until Leon’s 3rd month.

FTC: This post contains affiliate links in which I earn a small commission. All profits go toward maintaining my little blog :).

Baby Carrier

A baby carrier is a MUST. It holds baby close and leaves you hands free to do things around the house and even go on walks. For these reasons wraps are usually best for newborns. There are a million options out there. I tried the Boba wrap which is similar to the Solly wrap and Moby wrap. A LOT of moms swear by these but I hated them. It was too much fabric and got too hot for baby. It was also took too much to assemble and put on, not good for fussy babies. I love the Baby K’tan because it’s easy to put on. You put it on like a scarf and adjust the 2 rings appropriately. It’s lightweight and doesn’t make baby sweat like the other heavier fabric wraps. Baby K’tan has 3 options – Original, Breeze, and Active; I chose the active because it has UV protection. The only con is that you have to chose a size that fits you. This may not be an option if you also want dad to wear it as well. Also, the sizes run small so size down. Be sure to look up the sizing chart online for reference!

Sleep

Our sleeping situation for the first few months is to have baby in our room in a Pack ‘n Play (PnP). We chose this instead of those fancy bassinets so it can grow with baby. There are other options that have a better aesthetic as well but this one was very affordable. This one also has a reversible changer and napper. The changer has been a life saver for diaper changes in the middle of the night.

We love the Rock ‘n Play for naps. I keep this downstairs in the living room where we spend majority of our time. This is also a great to have for babies who have reflux because it allows them to lay at an incline. Also it has the option to rock and play music (including white noise).

We have fallen in love with the Dock A Tot and completely worth the price tag. When baby is restless we allow him to nap in here. There are a lot of safety concerns for overnight sleep and for that reason we do not use for overnight sleeping, only supervised naps. TIP: DockATot + Love to Dream Swaddle (see below) is our magic formula for sleep!

A noise machine is another essential. I can’t speak on the popular DOHM machine but this Skip Hop one does multiple things! It has multiple options for lullabies and white noise. It’s also a night light and projects stars on the ceiling. It’s perfect for our little one’s nursery.

Favorite Swaddle

There are SO many options and so many people swear by specific ones. I bought so many to try with no luck. Leon hated the ones that kept his arms at his side even as a newborn. The Love to Dream swaddles are the only ones I found with hands up. TIP: This swaddle + DockATot = perfect combo!

Nursing

Breastfeeding Pillow. No one told me breastfeeding would be a workout. My upper back and arms were so sore the first few weeks! I have both of these pillows. I keep one upstairs and one downstairs for convenience. There are pros and cons for them both. The Boppy is easy to grab and wrap around me when I’m holding baby with the other arm. It can also be used to sit baby up and I even use them for myself when I nap!  It doesn’t, however, have good back support like the Brestfriend pillow. I keep this one upstairs and it helps with late night feeds.

  • Nursing Tanks & Bras. These are the best when nursing. You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on them either. This is currently all I wear and when going out I just throw a T-shirt over them.

Clothes

 

  • Zipper Onsies. Any brand will do! With a fussy baby and a dirty diaper you do not want to go through snaps and buttons.
  • Burp Cloths. You’ll need a lot of them. You can actually use anything as a burp cloths. We got a lot of flannel blankets and muslin blanket that we use.
  • Banana Bibs. Dressing boys can be just as fun as girls. Banana bibs are both useful and serve as an accessory to style baby!

 

Favorite Stores

 

  • Primary.com. I love this online store. Their clothes are so soft and I wanted more neutral colors (I got tired of baby blue real fast!).
  • Other stores that I’ve found to be affordable: Old Navy, Gap, H&M, Babies R’ Us. Nursing Tanks.

 

Luxury Items

 

  • Google home or any smart home device. We received this as a gift and a few months back before baby and surprisingly it has been very helpful especially when you’ve got your hands full. As a new mom you can imagine the billions things I google per day.

 

Fun Stuff

 

  • Camera. For obvious reasons! A good camera for cute photos and capturing memories is a plus.
  • Portable HD. To store all those baby photos and videos. My goal is to backup photos after each month.
  • Polkadot Print Shop Baby Book. Fell in love with this baby book and can’t wait to update each milestone. It’s customizable as well and you can put baby’s name on the front cover!
  • Milestone Cards. I love these! So cute to take photos documenting each week and baby’s firsts.

 

Labor & Delivery Story // Baby Leon Is Here!

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Photo By: Omo Photography

As most know, my pregnancy went pretty smoothly. I was so grateful that I could enjoy my first pregnancy. I loved feeling baby kick. I was so amazed that my body was growing a life and I was excited to be starting a family.

There’s this note on my phone that I wrote that I want to share. Little did we know Leon would be arriving in just 48 hours.

Dear Leon, 

I’m sitting in your nursery and folding some of your baby clothes. I’m just so excited to meet you, see you, and show you our world. God has given me another sign that everything is going to be okay. I just got an overwhelming feeling of joy and calm thinking about you and it has brought me to tears. I can hear your dad cleaning in the kitchen. He is SO excited, I can see it in his eyes. I think he’s in nesting mode too.  I know it will be a little chaotic in less than a month with your arrival. But we can’t wait to start this journey with you. 
Written July 11
Started having contractions this exact night. You were born 2 days later. 

Here’s my Labor & Delivery Story:

Beginning of my 37th week of pregnancy, I think my belly dropped. I started to have more discomfort and pressure on my pelvic bone. Other than wobbling a bit more, I felt completely fine. On the evening of July 11, 2017, I started having cramping pain and had trouble sleeping. I remember tossing and turning in bed and wondering if these were actual contractions or Braxton-Hicks. I had my weekly OB appointment the following morning, so I waited. By morning, I knew I was having contractions. It felt different. I had more pain in my lower abdomen and it radiated straight toward my back. The pain was still tolerable and contractions were not regular. I knew at the least I was in early, early labor. My OB checked me and to my surprise I was already 2cm dilated and 80% effaced. I asked if I could still go to work later that day and the doc told me yes as it may help distract me from the pain. She told me that many women are in this phase for several days and if things progressed to call.

So I went home and tried to take another nap. I was too uncomfortable. I still went into work that afternoon. The pain continued to gradually get a little worse and contraction were happening anywhere from 45 minutes to 30 minutes apart in no pattern. I knew this wasn’t a reason to panic just yet. I saw my patients and by the end of the day the pain became more and more intense to the point where I had to stop talking and breathe through them. Timing starting to be around 15 minutes to 20 minutes apart. I drove home (I know bad idea!) and had contractions in the car. I called Roger and told him I think we need to pack the hospital bag and charge the camera. I don’t think he was ready either as he was too worried about making dinner for us. I think a part of me thought I still had some time and this couldn’t happen so quickly. This being my first baby a lot of mothers don’t go this early. So our hospital bags were not packed, camera wasn’t ready, nursery was not done. The house wasn’t prepped for baby to come yet. Thank goodness we set up the car seat a few days prior. So, when I got home I started throwing things in the hospital bag and spitting out directions to Roger. At this point the pain this pain was unbearable. Contractions were happening 5-7 minutes apart. I called the OB who told me to go ahead and go to triage.

I remember getting to the hospital and asking Roger to get a wheel chair, the pain was so bad I couldn’t walk. He had some trouble with the valet guy and I thought this baby is going to come out right in front of the hospital. We walked into triage and the front desk had trouble with our long last name and getting us checked it (I wasn’t surprised). By the time I got to triage and was checked by the doctor I was already 5cm dilated. Roger and I were watching the monitor as each contraction came and I breathed through it. I don’t know how women do this naturally! I said YES to the epidural. I never passed a mucous plug and my water didn’t break. This was happening, Leon was coming. 

They finally got me into my labor and delivery room. The anesthesiologist came in to give me my epidural. Thank the Lord for modern medicine! After the epidural I was more relaxed and finally was able to take a nap. I could still feel some of the strong contractions but was able to tolerate it. 2 hours later, I was 8.5cm dilated. The OB came in to break my water and speed up labor. This was around 3am. My parents finally arrived to be with us. 1.5 hours later I was fully dilated and ready to go. My nurse came in to coach me through pushing. We did some practice pushes and Leon was already coming out! The first thing the nurses saw was a full head of hair! The OB rushed in and 15 minutes of pushing later he was out!

Everyone always talks about it, but to experience that moment you get to see and hold your baby that you’ve been carrying for 9 months is hands down the most incredible feeling in the world. There was a sense of familiar; by just holding him and the sound of my voice he already knew I was his mother. It was an overwhelming feeling of joy and love. This little human was a part of me and will always will be. My life flashed forward and I could imagine all the adventures we we were going to have. I looked over at Roger and he was smiling so big. I look at him differently now and love him more than I possibly thought I could. He has come into his role as a father so endearingly that it inspires me everyday.

Leon’s Stats:
Born July 13, 2017
7 lbs and 2 oz
20 inches
So Leon now that you’re here. I am overjoyed you wanted to hang out with mom and dad sooner than later.
I can’t wait to show you our world.

Baby Bump Update: 36 weeks

I’m at the point of counting down weeks till our little one arrives! It’s hard to believe that in 4 short weeks we could be taking him home. I am in full nesting mode cleaning the house and preparing his nursery. Not too nervous yet about labor and delivery (though I’m sure that will come) but more so the challenges of breast feeding and adjusting to this new addition to our family. I cannot wait to start this journey of motherhood!

Pregnancy Symptoms

  • Swollen feet. I am hanging in there and working as long as I until my due date. Unfortunelty, this means I’m on my feet 24/7 and can’t avoid the swelling in my feet. It is worse on my right too!
  • Fatigue. Some days I have full energy and others I can lay down all day. I’m still listening to my body and resting when needed.
  • Stretch marks! I got my first one in the last 2 weeks on my lower abdomen. I’m using vitamin E, shea butter, and coconut oil everyday.
  • HOT. They weren’t joking about being pregnant in the summer, let alone in Florida! I am usually cold but being pregnant has me sweating even in the AC.
  • Migraines. They are back! I did so well in the 2nd trimester and now I am getting them every other day. It’s torture that I am so limited in what I can take to treat them.

I’ll be working hard to get his nursery prepared and start packing for the hospital in the next few weeks! So many emotions all at once. Excited to meet our little boy soon <3