Jack’s 9 Month Update

Jack’s Outfit: Burberry (it’s peter’s old outfit, but here is something similar)

Chair: Serena & Lily

Wallpaper: Cole & Son

Crib: Natart

Crib Sheet: RH Baby & Child

How is our little guy already so old?! His first year is going by waaaay too fast and I’m already starting to miss those baby snuggles! I know everyone says that but the more kids you have, the faster is goes!

That said, I’m loving his darling personality that comes out more and more! Lately he has been giving the best hugs and kisses and wants to play nonstop with Peter and Caroline.  He chases them all over the house and has major FOMO when it comes to nap time. He really just wants to nap with all of us around him and hates to be alone in his crib during the day.  He sure is one busy bee lately, but thank goodness he sleeps 7pm-7am everyday! I can already tell he is into everything boy… he is super into trucks/cars/balls/anything that moves. Jack is one happy-go-lucky tough cookie and the perfect addition to our crazy, little family!

You all sent me so many good questions and I think I’ve answered hem below, but if not, leave a comment.

MILESTONES & SOME OF HIS FAVORITE THINGS TO DO

  • Fast crawling
  • Climbing up the stairs
  • Cruising along furniture
  • Using a walker or anything that doubles as a walker (i.e. chairs, diaper pail, etc)
  • Working on that pincer grasp, but feeding is still very very messy! I think he loves making messes and smashing his food all around 😉
  • Clapping
  • Playing peek-a-boo
  • Hugging
  • Giving kisses on command and spontaneously
  • Loves feeding me (or Caroline) and makes a cute “yumm/mmm” noise as he puts the food in my mouth
  • Trying to play catch or rolling balls
  • Babbling a ton
  • Loving his baths/swimming and wants to splash around in every drop of water he sees (including the toilet!! eek!)

STATS

No joke… Jack is huge!! He is 31 inches and in the high 90th percentiles for height, weight, and of course head circumference, which he definitely gets from me, haha! I need him to start walking or holding onto me better when I carry him, because I think my right shoulder is going to give out. I never had this with Caroline because she held on so well like a little monkey! But I suppose that was all together different, since she walked at 9 months and was much lighter 😉

EATING

Jack is such a good eater and will consume almost everything I put in front of him. However, about a month ago he stopped wanting me to spoon feed him. I’m sure you have all been here at some point, but he kept flailing his arms, and trying to bat the spoon away. I was losing that battle too often, so obviously I’ve completely switched over to finger foods at this point and can occasionally give him a pouch to eat from on his own.

His favorite finger foods are: broccoli, carrots, blueberries, bananas, strawberries, avocado, quiche, scrambled eggs, waffles, cheese (especially these mini mozzarella balls), chicken, fish (halibut!), grilled ham & cheese, pasta and cheeseburgers!

Before this whole spoon issue, he used to love mashed bananas with peanut butter, flax oatmeal, greek yogurt with fruit, and pureed chicken noddle soup.

SCHEDULE

7 AM wake up and 6 oz bottle

8 AM breakfast with big kids

(8:45 AM take the big kids to preschool, Peter goes everyday, Caroline 3 days. Usually Jack and I head to tennis, mommy & me or some other type of errand or exercise walk/jog at this time.)

10 AM 6 oz bottle*

10:30 AM first nap (usually on the go)

(11:15 pick up big kids from preschool, most days, but certain days they stay longer with enrichment.)

12 PM lunch

1 PM 6 oz bottle

2 PM second nap (this is still a work in progress since he lately only wants to nap on the go. His crib naps are about 15 minutes long, ugh. So some days he might get a little fussy in the afternoon and usually I just try to get all of us out on a walk or head out for an activity at that point. I can’t complain too much because he always sleeps through the night.)

4 PM 6 oz bottle

5:30 PM family dinner

6:30 PM last 6 oz bottle

6:45 PM bath time (every other day)

7:00 5-minute bedtime routine and asleep without a peep 😉

* Over the next month I’m going to transition him down to four 8 oz bottles a day instead of five 6 oz bottles. I’m also going to work towards one longer nap midday after he turns one year old. I noticed that when I pushed his 9am nap to 10 and then 10:30, he slept much longer vs doing three mini cat naps a day.

MUST HAVES FOR 9 MONTHS BABIES

Walker: VTech

Straw Cup: Munchkin (I like that this one makes them work hard for the water to increase oral motor strength)

Sippy Cup: Nuk

Bib: Oxo Tot

High Chair: Oxo Tot

Sleep Sack: Swaddle Designs and Margaux & May

Carseat: Peg Perego (just moved him into this!)

xo,

Marina

 

 

The Ocean Is Calling… Caroline Turned 3!

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^ Pool party favors to keep the kids busy in the water! I opted for these instead of Moana themed favors 😉 I bought the buckets and other pool toys on amazon and used a paint pen to write the kids’ names on them.

Party Planner: SoiréeSmith

Moana: Wayfinder Princess

Cucpakes: Alliance Bakery

Cookies: Sweet Chickadees

Photo Backdrop: Amazon (If I was going all out, I would have added balloon garland to frame it on the top and one side of it.)

Table Decor: Plates/Napkins/Tablecloths, Palm Leaves, Leis, Take Home Cookies

Party Favors: Buckets, Water Blasters, Dive Toys, Fish Squirts

Venue: LifeTime Athletic (You don’t have to be a LifeTime member to have parties here!)

Invite: Paperless Post (While I love paper invites, I needed to get these invites out in a hurry and it was also more cost effective.)

Thank You Cards: I used the image from Paperless Post to create my own fill-in-the-blank thank you cards through Vistaprint (see above).

Our little minnow finally turned three in August! And, I say “finally” because she had literally been asking about her party ever since Peter had his first friends birthday party in December! Because she was sooo excited to have her own birthday party and invite all her friends, my husband and I decided we needed to make this a very special day for her! Every year won’t be as big 😉 Caroline loves the water, so we opted for a pool party, and of course we had to invite her favorite Disney character, Moana!

The kids spent the first hour swimming in the pool and then had an entertaining hour with Moana learning all sorts of songs, dances, and more. The girls were in heaven and even the boys loved it! I’m telling you this Moana was amazing!!

Parties can be a ton of work and especially last minute set up that is so difficult to do when you have little ones running around, and guests arriving. I was beyond thankful when Andrea from SoiréeSmith was able to help me out! I contacted Andrea about a week before the party and she jumped right in to see where she could be of use. When I threw out the idea of tropical floral centerpieces, she drove over to the flower market to text me pictures of what they had available to create exquisite arrangements a couple days later. I truly could not have done it without SoiréeSmith! For day of set up, Andrea stepped right up and totally put me ease… setting up the party room exactly how I wanted it to look, while I was out mingling with the other parents and watching our kids swim. We only had access to the room 15 minutes prior to the party start time, so this was critical! If you live in the Chicago North Shore area, I highly recommend working with Andrea for any type of party or wedding!

xo,

Marina

Snowed In, Again

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^ Peter, February 2018

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^ Peter, March 2017

Half zip sweater: Ralph Lauren (this one for baby sizes)| Teepee: Pottery Barn Kids (similar style here) | My First Anywhere Chair: Pottery Barn Kids

This is a bit of a repeat from last winter, but with many new followers this year and over a foot of snow outside… I decided to repost my “snowed in” post again.

Snow days can be so much fun, but they can also drag on with little kids that can’t be outside for too long. Here are my favorite indoor activities to do with my little ones on a snowy or dreary day. They are perfect to keep the kids entertained, get them moving, and teach them something new.

  • Set up an indoor campsite – You can do this by setting up tee pee or building a fort out of pillows. What kid doesn’t want to go camping in their family room?! You can make up fun stories to tell them inside the tent, and then later send them out to find make-believe firewood to keep you all warm and food to eat. It’s fun to see what they come up with when you ask them to go hunting for food and berries. If all else fails, the kids will love hiding in the tent with you lifting up different flaps and peaking through the windows.
  • Create an obstacle course – Get some of their energy out by setting up an obstacle course in a big carpeted room. Have your little ones climb over a pillow hill, army crawl throw a tunnel, go down the slide, weave through cones, and step up a big box and jump off it. Have a little competition and encourage the kids to count while the other ones completes the course.
  • Bake banana bread – Banana bread is a delicious cold weather treat and who doesn’t have  overripe bananas around, so why not bake with your kids. Toddlers love to smash the bananas, measure out the ingredients with scooping and dumping and of course… sample the dough. You can add chocolate chips to make it even more decadent.
  • Take a dip in the “indoor pool” – Change up your nighttime bath routine, and put the kids in midday for some swimming practice and bubble blowing. And if you want to get crazy, bust out the bathtub crayons for some artistic fun in the bathtub! Just be careful they understand that they cannot draw on walls and that those are special crayons that can only be used on the tub.
  • Play Simon says – This might only buy you 10 minutes, but it could be a lifesaver when you need your stir crazy kids to sit still during the evening witching hour. My kids find it hilarious when they get tricked and do something without me saying “Simon says” first. And then they try to trick me 😉
  • Get help with your household chores – As moms, we typically have a lengthy to do list. Why not employ your kids and make it a fun game for them? You’ll be surprised how they love sorting laundry by color and enjoy taking laundry out of washer and putting it into dryer. Give them a mini dust pan and brush and have them help you clean the floor by going on a crumb hunt.  Try having your little ones help you unload the dishwasher, starting with the non-breakable kids’ plates and cups of course!
  • Play restaurant – See what kind of fun concoctions your kids come up with when feeding you. Pretending to be at a restaurant, is a fun way to work on those manners, while introducing how to converse with a waitress or waiter.
  • Make a homemade bagel bird feeder – With just a few ingredients your little tots can make this bird feeder for those poor birds that have a tougher time finding food when it’s snowing. Hang it from a tree, and then go back inside to watch the birds (or squirrels) flock to the tasty treat your little ones created.

xo,

Marina

Jack’s One Month Update

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Muslim swaddle blankets: Bébé au Lait (pack of two and so darn soft!)

Well that month sure went quick! It’s actually been 5 weeks already, so I’m a little late on my one month update 😉 Such is life with 3 kids! I’m trying not to let anything stress me too much this time around. So, if I don’t get everything I want done in a day (which happens almost every day)… I’m doing my best to be okay with it, and get some much needed sleep or baby cuddles in at the end of the night.

You all had some great requests and questions for me, so here you go!

Ups & Downs (Mostly Ups!) of the Past Month

I’ve truly been blessed with a great third baby! Jack seems content in life and just goes with the flow… hopefully this sticks! He pretty much only fusses or cries if he is hungry. Maybe a couple cries if you have to change his diaper, since he doesn’t like being cold and exposed. And perhaps some soft cries if he is ready for his nap. He really is a dream baby! And thank goodness since I have to focus so much of my energy and time on the other two kids. Basically I just need to make sure Jack gets enough “mama’s milk” as my kids call it and enough sleep and he is a happy camper! And of course we give him lots of attention, and all of us try to make him smile throughout the day.

The transition to three kids has actually been easier than I thought it would be! Again, Jack is an easy baby so far, and it’s still early, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I was slightly worried that I’d be up all night and zombie in the day, but that hasn’t been the case. Jack has been sleeping long stretches in the night, which really helps me recharge for the long daytime hours. Sure I’m tired, but it’s doable.

One thing that has helped me is doing my best to be prepared for those more chaotic moments in the day. For example, I know that I have a hard time getting all of us out the door for a 9am preschool start, even before Jack entered our lives. So, the night before, I lay out clothes for all of us, make up the kids sippy cups for their morning milk, set out my pumping equipment, and plan what I’m going to make for breakfast. Since Jack isn’t the most efficient nurser yet, I decided to pump in the morning and offer a bottle. He is able to take this faster and I’m able to better help the other kids eat breakfast and get dressed, etc.

So on to the challenges… I’d say the two biggest challenges so far are being stuck nursing much of the day when there is so much to do with the other two kids, and dealing with this freezing cold Chicago winter. Now that I have offered a bottle to Jack, I found that he drinks a lot of milk! I mean, a lot! Sometimes I pump 6 oz and he will take it all. So when he nurses, it takes a long time – about an hour or more every time, and he is actually drinking the whole time. It has gotten faster in the last week, but the first month was tough. I wanted to give Jack the opportunity to get my milk supply up, which is why I didn’t take him off after the recommended 15 minutes per side.

With the cold weather, we aren’t able to get out of the house as much as I’d like. Walks are out of the question some days with real feel temperatures in the single digits. And I am scared to take the three kids to an indoor play spaces where they would be exposed to lots of germs. I’m doing my best to keep Jack healthy for at least the first two months. Also, it seems like everyone in our community has been getting away to tropical vacation, and we can’t travel just yet.

The afternoons are particularly slow for Peter, since we don’t have any activities planned while Caroline naps and I’m usually on the couch nursing. Peter is most tired then since he dropped his nap, and gets bored. But probably the most trying part of the day is the hour before dinner where the kids start going a little stir crazy and get hungry. However, this is probably not uncommon for most families, especially in the winter when it gets dark early.

The good news is that Jack is getting faster with nursing, I have the option of pumping and bottle feeding, and Spring is on it’s way! Like I said, it has been mostly ups, but I also wanted to be realistic in that it is not all sunshine and rainbows.

Our Routine

For the first three weeks, I let Jack nurse whenever he was hungry and then he’d basically sleep in between those times. At times this was a lot of nursing (especially in the evenings), but I had the luxury to let him do that, since I had family in town to help with my other two and cook dinner etc.

Now that Jack is a month, I have him on a schedule where he feeds, then is awake (with tummy time), and then takes a decent nap. Typically he feeds every 3 hours during the day with the exception of the evening when he cluster feeds before his longer sleep stretch. This usually lasts from 6:00-10:00pm. I’ve had to introduce a formula bottle during that time for a couple reasons. First, I can more easily get the rest of the family fed and the older kids to bed. Second, I felt like my milk supply wasn’t keeping up with his demand, since I was tired at the end of the day. I realized I could be a better mom/wife to everyone if I gave Jack that extra bottle in between nursing.

As for nighttime, I have Jack going to “bed” around 10pm and then he usually sleeps a 4-5 hour stretch. When he wakes I change him and nurse him and it’s straight back to bed. Thankfully he is happy and content going right to sleep as long as he gets enough milk. Then he will sleep for another 3-4 hours until around 7-8am.

Jack’s Milestones

I’ll keep this section on the shorter side!

At three weeks, I introduced a bottle of milk once a day, and he did great! It took about 5 minutes of him playing around with it at first and spitting milk out, but then he gulped it down and hasn’t looked back.

At four weeks, Jack starting smiling and cooing a little bit! It is truly the sweetest thing. I think Caroline and Peter get equally as excited when they make him smile as I do 😉

Jack has really started focusing in on his siblings when they talk to him and teach him things. For example, when Peter started telling us a story in bed the other night… Jack immediately stopped his fussing (he was hungry and due for a feeding, but I had to put the older kids to bed) and watched Peter in awe. It was so cute!

Tummy time is still a work in progress 😉 I think Jack is a little too relaxed for tummy time and doesn’t want to work as hard as the other kids did. So this is an area I’m really trying to work on as much as we can during the day.

Baby Weight Journey & My Recovery

I’ll admit I got pretty scared when my weight just kept ticking up this past pregnancy! This time around, I wasn’t as good about watching what I ate and I had more unhealthy cravings (like carbs, cheese, and chocolate). It was the most I have gained for a pregnancy – 34 pounds. Just barely within the 25-35 pound guideline range 😉 For Peter’s pregnancy (my first), I only gained 17 pounds, but he was born early at 32 weeks, so I can’t really compare here. And then for Caroline’s pregnancy, I gained 25 pounds. So as you can imagine about half way through Jack’s pregnancy I got nervous that my body was’t going to bounce back like it had for the prior two pregnancies.

Thankfully I lost about 24 pounds during the first few weeks postpartum. That said, I’m sure the 10 remaining pounds will be way tougher and more than that, I need to tone up! I’m anxious to really get back to working out once I hit the 6 weeks mark and get doctor clearance. I started my cardio tennis class back up after 3 weeks, and have done some easy workouts (i.e. elliptical, walking, and pilates on the reformer)… it feels so good! But I’m obviously not pushing myself too hard until I’m totally healed. With my other two pregnancies, I found that it was hard to get back to normal until I stopped breastfeeding. Did you find this too? Perhaps with nursing I have an increased appetite, and that is part of the problem, haha.

It has been tough not being able to go on as many walks with our bitter cold streak. Hopefully spring comes early this year. Also, one of my goals for 2018 is to try BBG and get in super-toned shape and not worry about the scale! Who wants to try it with me?! I like the concept that the workouts are short in duration, which makes it easier with a tight kid/baby schedule to work around.

Drop me a note if you have more questions!

xo,

Marina

Jack’s Birth Story

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Swaddle blanket: Little Giraffe | Moses basket: RH Baby & Child | Moses basket stand: RH Baby & Child

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Baby Jack’s one-piece: Ralph Lauren | Caroline’s top: Zara (old, but similar style here) | headband: Emery Peter’s sweater: Janie and Jack (old, but similar color here) | Peter’s jeans: Ralph Lauren

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Jack’s shirt and pants: Monica and Andy | Moccasins: Freshly Picked

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Jack’s quilted one-piece: Janie and Jack (on sale!)

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Photo by Marena Beck Photography

Sweater: J.Crew (old, but similar color here and here – both are on sale!) | White jeans: J Brand

I seriously can’t even believe it has already been a month with our little Jack! He is a total a dream baby, and I can’t imagine life without him. I can’t wait to share more about his routine and his mini milestones in my next blog post! My older two kids, Caroline and Peter, have adjusted well to him being part of our family, and life is even better than I expected (despite this freezing cold Chicago winter that has kept us inside for many days)! Once Jack gets his 2 months shots, we might be hightailing it out of here for some much needed sunshine 😉

Below I’m sharing part I of the one month update with baby Jack! I figured it makes sense to split it into two posts, so you aren’t reading a novel. Oh wait, this is already a novel, haha. Today I’m sharing Jack’s birth story.

Jack’s Birth Story

December 16th, 2017 was the most perfect day for Jack’s arrival, and I couldn’t have asked for an easier delivery! We were so thrilled to have gone full term with our third pregnancy, and without having any complications. I felt so positive going into the hospital that morning and just knew it was going to be a good day. Jack Alexander Kazin was born at 4:31 in the afternoon, weighing 8 pounds 2 ounces and measuring 21.25 inches long. Our hearts are exploding with love for all three of our wonderful children, and now our family is complete!

After 1.5 false alarms, we decided to schedule an induction on December 16th, so I could line my mom up to be there for help with the other two kids (such peace of mind), and so we could make sure that the baby wasn’t born on Peter’s birthday (December 18th, 2013). I say 1.5 false alarms, because the second false alarm was triggered by the stomach bug, which was not my fault… right?! For the first false alarm time, I truly thought I was going into labor. It was after playing cardio tennis during my 38th week… probably not my smartest idea (but all prior weeks of playing, I had felt good). I didn’t feel right after running for those short balls, and started having contractions every 2-3 minutes and a lot of pelvic pain that day. Turns out my contractions weren’t causing that much cervical change and my contractions slowed down after about 12 hours. Of course they sent me home from the hospital, and I had to embarrassingly tell our sitter it wasn’t the real deal after making her rush over with a packed bag ready to spend the night.

The second false alarm came on the evening of December 12th while I was getting sick from the dreaded stomach bug. I was losing so much liquid that dehydration was kicking in and causing me to contract like crazy! Thank goodness I listened to the doctor on call and got the necessary hydration via IV, so I didn’t cause labor when I was so weak. Of course we come home from the hospital around 3am, send home our sitter (again), take a shower, and wake up to Caroline (2 years old) running down the hall throwing up with the same stomach bug. This was after Peter had also had the stomach bug the day before. Needless to say there was lots of bedding laundry and carpet cleaning to be done leading up to our Saturday induction date. Oh and my husband also got the bug on Thursday.

Okay so now that all those false alarms were out of the way, I could prep for the real deal 😉 I asked my mom to fly in a couple days earlier than planned for the holidays, so she could help with Peter and Caroline and allow my husband and I to focus all of our efforts on the new baby coming and not be worried about our other two. I’m so thankful that my mom was able to come to the rescue and it gave me such peace of mind knowing she was with the kids!

On the morning of December 16th, I woke up at 5:20am, so we could be at the hospital by 6:00am. Some of you may have seen the Instagram picture of me in front of the Christmas tree with my last baby bump! It was dark out when we drove to the hospital and all the Christmas lights were on… it was simply gorgeous.

At the hospital, they could not have been more capable, relaxed and kind. We had the best nurse helping us out that morning, and she made me feel so comfortable. They got me all hocked up to IV (my least favorite part) and started the Pitocin. I came in around 3 cm dilated and was already contracting, but it still took a long time for them to get the Pitocin level high enough to really get things going. Supposedly there are regulations on how quickly you can increase the Pitocin dosage. Also, my body loves to contract regularly, even though it might not cause cervical change. Once my cervix did finally start changing, my contractions were still feeling the same as the braxton hicks, so I still think I wouldn’t have know if I was in true labor or not. I kept waiting for the painful contractions to come on. Mine were just pressure-filled. At around 5 cm dilated, my doctor came in and told me it was a good time to break the water bag, but before she did that, she wanted me to get my epidural. I felt like it seemed early, but she reassured me that it was a good thing. So of course, I said, sure and it all went pretty quick after that!

Right after they broke the water bag, they had me switch to lying on my right hand side. This was not a good move as the baby’s heart rate immediately dropped. Calmly, but quickly the nurse and doctor turned off the Pitocin, helped me turn back to my left hand side and gave me an oxygen mask. I knew something was up and it scared me a little bit, but I tried to just have faith in the doctors and stay relaxed. We later found out the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck and when I moved over, it must have pulled too tight!

About 5-10 minutes after I went back to lying on my left side and they got everything stabalized, I started feeling the sensation that I was ready to push! I dilated from 5 to 10 cm so fast!! I had my husband retrieve the doctor and when she came back in, her words were “this baby is ready to come out!” After one contraction of pushing, with a quick stop in the middle to cut the cord that was wrapped around his neck… our baby boy entered this world! I immediately got to hold our bundle of joy and it felt totally surreal.

Over the next couple hours we enjoyed skin-to-skin time, nursing, and all those early baby snuggles. It was absolutely blissful and such a luxury/blessing to have a healthy baby that could spend time with us before heading off to the nursery for his routine check-up/bath.

We were so anxious to get our baby back from the nursery, that I kept having my husband go check on him to ask why it was taking so long 😉 After a not so restful night in the hospital (nurses coming in and out and those yucky self-adjusting plastic mattresses), my husband and I decided to get home as soon as we could to join the rest of our family and my parents.

About 24 hours after Jack arrived, we were fortunately released to go home… just in time for Sunday dinner with the family. Even more exciting was that I was able to be home and wake up the next day for Peter’s 4th birthday. We have a fun tradition of waking up the birthday boy/girl in bed while singing Happy Birthday and carrying a tray full of presents. Boy did it feel amazing to be home with have our family together! I can’t wait to share more with you over the next year and let you know how we continue to adjust to being a family of five!!

In the meantime, here are a couple of my other recent baby related posts: My Must Have Pre- & Post-natal Products & New Products for Baby #3! Let me know if you have any questions – nothing is off limits!

xo,

Marina

My Must Have Pre- & Post-natal Products

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Belly wrap: Belly Bandit | Pom pom hat: J.Crew | Ivory cashmere sweater: Nordstrom (old, but similar style here – on sale!) | Skinny jeans: Rag & Bone | Winter boots: Helly Hansen (old, but similar style here and here)

Happy New Year and cheers to 2018! I can already tell it is going to be a wonderful year!!

With baby Jack being two weeks old now, I figured I better start blogging again 😉 Thanks for being understanding as we enjoyed our family of five over the holidays and took it easy! Today I’m sharing my prenatal and postnatal must have products. Soon, I’ll also share some of my maternity style must haves. Feel free to ask me any questions!

PRENATAL:

Prenatal vitamins (I am still taking them while nursing!)

Stretch mark prevention lotion (I also recommend using the lotion postnatal for a few weeks)

Natural facial scrub (This works well if you have any unwanted hormonal changes, but need something safe for the baby.)

POSTNATAL/NURSING:

Belly wrap (For sizing reference, I used a medium in the first 10 days or so, and then I switched over to a small. Keep in mind that I have pre-stretched these in the other two pregnancies, haha.)

Pads (I know this is TMI, but it’s reality and who wants to feel like they are wearing a thick diaper… try these thin ones!)

Pajamas that make nursing easier (here and here)

Nursing pillow

Breast pump (Very convenient when you have older kids to chase after during the day and don’t want to be hocked up to a plug!)

Pumping bra

Nighttime nursing bra

Daytime nursing bra

Nursing tank top

Nursing cover (different styles here and here)

Nursing pads (You’ll want these at night, so you don’t wake up with wet pajamas!)

xo,

Marina

 

Baking for Dad!

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Long sleeve shirt: Ralph Lauren (on sale for $15!) | Kids apron: Williams Sonoma (also in red) | Step up kitchen helper: Guidecraft (one of my all-time best kid purchase!!) | Garland (above stove): Target (only $20) | White cutting board: OXO | Set of 4 Ramekins: Williams Sonoma | Goldtouch sheet pan: Williams Sonoma

Today is my husband’s birthday and Peter was so excited to bake dad his favorite dessert… chocolate pot de créme!! Peter and I have been having so much fun cooking together. It’s the perfect cold weather activity, so I encourage you to try baking or cooking with your little ones! And yes, it will definitely get messy 😉 But it’s so amazing to see how much the kids can do when they are young.

Here is the Epicurious recipe that we used to make the chocolate pots de créme today. I swear it is super easy and hard to mess up! The only thing is… you’ll want to give yourself enough time to bake and chill it before serving. Although usually my husband eats at least one right out of the oven 😉

PREPARATION

    1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Bring cream and milk just to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot chocolate mixture. Strain mixture into another bowl. Cool 10 minutes, skimming any foam from surface.
    2. Divide custard mixture among six 3/4-cup custard cups or soufflé dishes. Cover each with foil. Place cups in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are set but centers still move slightly when gently shaken, about 55 minutes. Remove from water. Remove foil. Chill custards until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.)

xo,

Marina

Getting Ready for Baby Boy!

  1. Collared coverall: Tartine et Chocolat
  2. Muslim swaddle blankets (2 pack): Bébé au Lait
  3. Quilted one-piece: Janie and Jack (on sale!)
  4. Luxe baby blanket: Little Giraffe
  5. Smocked footie: Magnolia Baby
  6. Bear hoodie: Baby Gap
  7. Striped footie: Kissy Kissy
  8. Knit pants: Baby Gap
  9. Cotton footie: Burberry
  10. Gray coverall: Jacadi
  11. Debut set: Beaufort Bonnet Company

Here is some of my favorite baby boy layette! I have already bought several of these items for our little one that will be arriving in December, and I plan to get the rest soon 😉

I love that many of these items would be a perfect baby shower gift too!

xo,

Marina

Third Trimester Pregnancy Update

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Off the shoulder dress: ASTR the Label (note this is not maternity, but it works if you are pregnant! Similar styles here and here)

I know these dresses are a little summery, but you could snag them now for next year or for an upcoming tropical vacay. Also, here is another ASTR the Label dress, which is festive for Fall! I recommend layering it with a light jean jacket (daytime) or suede moto jacket (evening). Oh how I love the dusty rose color for this time of the year!

Okay, so now on to the pregnancy update…

Q: What pregnancy is this for you and when are you due?

A: It’s my third and probably my last given that three seems like a good number of kids! Our little baby boy is due mid-December and we can’t wait to meet him. We also have Peter, who will turn 4 years old in December (hopefully not the same day as the baby arrives!!) and Caroline, who just turned two last month. My first two kids are 20 months apart and then second and third should be around 28 months apart.

Q: How has this pregnancy been different so far?

A: The funny thing is that with our first pregnancy, as a couple, it is all we would talk about! My husband was constantly asking to feel kicks and we were also going to baby stores for the latest finds! And of course, I was stocking up on the baby’s wardrobe. This time, however, it is my kids that keep asking about the growing baby! It is seriously the cutest thing. Peter is fascinating to learn about the baby’s development and keeps asking to watch the weekly progress videos you can find online. He loves to feel the kicks and tells me what he is going to help with when the baby arrives. The other day, he put together a pile of his old baby books that he wanted to give to his new brother. Peter also keeps telling me that he has a baby growing inside him and he move his belly forward and say “it kicked, mama!” And then we have Caroline that is a total baby lover and keeps telling me how she is going to take care of the baby and hold the baby. Yikes, I’ll have to be careful that she doesn’t grab him out of the bassinet when I turn my back for a second 😉

Q: How have you been feeling?

A: I’ve been feel pretty good! I really can’t complain, because earlier in the pregnancy I didn’t have any morning sickness. Just fatigue in the first trimester and now in the third trimester, I’m starting to feel quite big and I’m ready to put my feet up at the end of the day, haha. But I suppose that comes with the territory. I should be eating better, but with the kids around I find myself nibbling on their leftover “kid food” often, and I’m having more carbs than greens lately… eek! I’m trying to counteract this with my cardio tennis class, Dailey Method, pilates, and walking.

Q: What is the worst thing about your pregnancy so far?

A: My varicose veins! They are out of control this pregnancy. I didn’t have much the first two pregnancies, but this time around is another story. I knew this was going to happen given my mom had to get hers removed. So I’ve just been wearing a lot of maxi dresses this summer.

Q: What kind of strange cravings have you had this pregnancy?

A: This is pretty embarrassing, but I have been craving chocolate milk! I know that is totally a little kid drink and for some reason I’m obsessed, haha. I’ll grab a small bottle at the store or I’ve even made it at home. And of course I’m craving sushi too. I can’t wait to get a hamachi roll and tuna tartare when the baby arrives!

Q: Are you prepared for baby #3?

A: Well I’m not sure you can ever be totally prepared, but I’m getting there. I just ordered mini diapers, started going through Peter’s old newborn clothes, and I’m starting to simply my schedule for the new year. I know I’ll be very busy juggling the three kids throughout the day.

What I need to do now is work on the little boy’s nursery, but right now it is our guest room. We have family coming in to town around the baby’s birth and Christmas, so I’m thinking I’ll leave the room as is until late January. For the first month or two, the baby will sleep in our room.

Leave a comment and let me know what other questions you have for me!!

xo,

Marina

 

 

My Potty Training Experiences

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I recently potty trained my daughter, Caroline – right before she turned two years old. And prior to this, I trained my son, Peter, back in January, which happened to be right after his third birthday. Although I definitely don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, several people have asked about my experiences, which I’m happy to share!  Let me know if you have questions about what I wrote below or any one-offs as well.

First, I’ll share the method I used. Then, I’ll explain why I potty trained my kids at different ages. And lastly, I’ll share my tips for success!

THE METHOD I USED

For the most part, I went with the 3 Day Potty Training method. It seemed to make the most sense to me when I was researching how to potty train Peter and I liked that it was an intense three days to kick off the process. A friend of mine sent me the abbreviated PDF file, so I didn’t read the full book.

With this method, it is recommended to load your child up with liquids, so they get the hang of peeing on a potty quicker with more chances in a day. That sounds logical, but I decided to skip that part of the methodology and I still found it to work. I let my kids drink what they normally, and this allowed me to understand how often they needed to go on a regular basis. Then I could also start predicting when they might need to go. This was particularly helpful when we were out in public, because I knew when we needed to have a toilet close by. Or if I needed to tell a sitter/teacher, when to give my child an opportunity to go.

I also used Oh Crap Potty Training YouTube videos to supplement what I read. I found these especially helpful when I was training Peter and ran into one-off problems (such as ‘poop withholding’). I really like how Jamie explains the scenarios and gives you a solution to try.

WHY I TRAINED PETER AT 3 AND CAROLINE AT 2

Truthfully, Peter was showing me signs at 2.5 years, but I wasn’t quite ready. We had a lot going on at the time and I wanted to wait until I could fully give it my 100% and didn’t have any trips/long plane rides coming up where I knew I’d struggle with getting Peter to go the potty while holding on to Caroline at the same time. Once I got all my ducks in a row and found a nice window from scheduled activities (winter break), I started immediately. Thankfully, for the most part he got it down in a week and I was able to take him on small outings or to short drop-off classes the following week. To set your expectations, it probably was about 3-4 weeks until I felt like I could rely on Peter and trust that he would go when he needed to. I’m not sure if it is a boy thing, but he was/still is the king of not wanting to leave his toys to use the potty. One nice thing about waiting until 3 with Peter, is that by then Peter would always wake up dry during the night and naps, so I knew he could make it through the night without a potty break. He never wore a pull-up at night and I never had to go through night training.

When it came to Caroline, I had a very different and easier experience. For one, she is the second child and watched Peter go through the process. Also, I’ll say I’m probably a lot more chill going through it for the second time. Caroline has been using the potty daily (but not consistently) ever since we potty trained Peter in January of this year. She was only 16 months at the time and would pee too often in the day that I didn’t want to move her to underwear at that point. Potty training both of them at the same time would have been too much to take on. So I waited until late this summer after her summer camp was over and gave us enough time to get it done before preschool starts up this September.

MY GENERAL TIPS

  • Be prepared
    • Have lots of underwear for daytime (when you get to that stage) and pull-ups for nighttime (if needed).
      • Sometimes boys love to wear underwear just like their daddies, so see if that is an option. It worked for Peter and got him very excited about the concept of being a big boy and wearing underwear just like dad.
    • Have potties all over the house – I have a portable BabyBjörn potty chair and also a few BabyBjörn potty seat covers.
    • Perhaps, have a new treat or reward handy that will motivate your child in addition to lots of praise (i.e. stickers, chocolate, mini toys, etc)
      • Just think through what your reward is and make sure you can bring that in your bag for public outings.
      • Caroline has a little sweet tooth, so 1 crispy M&M did the trick.
      • Peter didn’t care for chocolate at the time, so I would let him see a picture or very short video of a truck on my phone.
    • Clear your schedule for at least 3 full days and keep it light for the first week.
      • Even making dinner can be tough in those first days while you are watching your little one to make sure they don’t have an accident. You will probably feel like a hovering mom.
    • Don’t forget to bring increased patience! It can feel like a never-ending process, but I promise you it will get better.
  • In the beginning, do not ask “do you need to go the potty?” instead just put them on the potty every once in a while and tell them “it is potty time.” If they don’t go, that is totally fine and let them get off after a couple minutes. Otherwise, you might here a lot of no’s.
  • Make it convenient for your child to go by having potties all over the house and in close proximity to where your child is playing or eating, etc.
    • I found that with Peter, there was a few days where he would want to sit on the potty for hours since he was afraid to have an accident. So, I set up a monitored activity (i.e. play doh or coloring) and put his portable seat right next to us. That way he could draw a little bit, and then sit down if he thought the pee was coming, and jump right back up to color more. He would do this several times until he started to understand his body better and know when the pee was actually coming.
  • At some point, you may feel like giving in and just putting a diaper/pull up back on to run an errand or drop your kid in a gym daycare etc, but try your best to stick with it!
    • If you put your tot back into the security of pull-ups, they might pee in their underwear next time, since it is hard to know what you are wearing when you are that young.
  • When going on outings, do your best to give your child an opportunity to go right before you get in the car and when you get to your destination. If you are at the destination for at least an hour, definitely give your child an opportunity to go again before you get into the car.
    • For the carseat, I bought a protective pad just for my sanity. Peter never had an accident in the carseat and Caroline hasn’t had one yet. You could also use that same pad in a stroller for a long walk.
  • If you need your child to go potty quickly (i.e. you need to leave the house), you can try making it a competition. I used to do this with Peter… “who is going to go first – me or you?!” And then he’d get all excited and say he could do it before me. Same thing works with Caroline and Peter now, when I want both of them to go quickly.
  • Lastly, nighttime routine might feel endless if your little one keeps asking to get out of bed to use the potty. This is especially hard at the end of a long day and it can seem like your nighttime routine is screwed up forever, but you will get it back! Both of my kids did this for the first couple weeks, and it can be exhausting to keep taking them to the potty before they realize they don’t have any more to go or you somehow convince them to go to sleep. I’ll say, it is quite an effective tool on their part to stretch out bedtime routine. At times I wanted to tell them no more potty trips before bed, but then I didn’t want to discourage potty usage. Also, 90% of the time when the kids would ask to go… they could magically squeeze a little more out of them, every time!

Hope this helps!

xo,

Marina