Fresh Powder

Puffy jacket: Moncler| Sweater dress: Gap Kids | Cable leggings: Tucker + Tate | Boots: Ugg | Mittens: Zara (sold out)

We had such a fun long weekend at Grammy and Papa’s house! It was the perfect first (road) trip with Jack and we even got surprised with some fresh powdery snow on Monday. Unfortunately, I forgot to pack the kids’ snow clothes, but that didn’t stop Caroline from venturing outside for a few minutes!

And how can I not mention Caroline’s jacket?! It’s the perfect shade of pink! Caroline is wearing 3T and I know she will get use out of it next winter too. It may have a large price tag, but if there is anything you are going to invest in while living in the Midwest… it should be a coat. You pretty much wear them daily for 6 months straight.

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

 

Ring in 2018!

  1. Red sheath dress: Felicity & Coco (only $98 and comes in other colors!)
  2. Jumpsuit: Lulus (only $68!)
  3. Rockstud t-strap pump: Valentino
  4. Sequin midi dress: Dress the Population
  5. Ossie d’Orsay Pump: Imagine by Vince Camuto (45% off right now!)
  6. Lace dress: Bardot
  7. Seamed tank: Trouvé
  8. Faux-leather skinny jeans: Good American (similar style here)
  9. Drapery tank with bow: J.Crew (comes in ivory too)
  10. Embellished ankle strap sandal: Sam Edelmen
  11. Red off the shoulder dress: Chelsea28

What are you up to for NYE this year?! Whether you are doing something fun as a family or headed to a glamorous party with your hubby… here is some styling inspiration! All of these items can be found at Nordstrom, which also happens to be having their half yearly sale (side note: I LOVE these pajamas that just went on sale)!

If you are worried about your order arriving on time, try their “pick up in store” option while purchasing online! It’s pretty amazing to just run in and grab exactly what you want without getting distracted by other flashy things 😉

Oh one more thing, if you really want to get all dolled up, treat yourself to a spray tan (or a good at-home self tanner) and fake lashes! I love these MAC lashes for an evening look or even a family photoshoot. They add just the right amount of pop without being too noticeable.

Cheers to the New Year!

xo,

Marina

Holiday Gift Guide for Hosts

  1. Monogrammed cocktail shaker: Williams Sonoma
  2. Peppermint bark: Williams Sonoma
  3. Wine ice mold: Crate & Barrel
  4. Christmas tree board: Crate & Barrel
  5. Set of Maison candles: Voluspa
  6. Christmas kitchen towels: Williams Sonoma
  7. Set of coasters: Target
  8. Stainless steel water bottle: Swell
  9. Buffalo check throw: Pottery Barn

It’s that time of the year and I love it! There are so many parties, and its always nice to show up with a festive host gift! I’ve compiled my favorite gifts under $50. Of course, there are tons of fun local shop options too, and hopefully this gives you inspiration there too 😉

xo,

Marina

Holiday Gift Guide For Men

  1. Half zip pull-over: Nordstrom
  2. Sphere ice molds: Williams Sonoma
  3. Secret wash button-down: J.Crew (25% off with code THURSDAY)
  4. Magnetic collar stays: Würkin Stiffs
  5. Quilted gloves: Ralph Lauren (on sale + an additional 30% off with code JOY)
  6. Bar tool set: Williams Sonoma
  7. Thermapen: Thermoworks
  8. BBQ tool set: Williams Sonoma
  9. Sweatpants: Bonobos
  10. Quilted Jacket: Peter Millar
  11. Canvas & leather belt: Peter Millar
  12. Pocket organizer: Salvatore Ferragamo
  13. Wine System: Coravin (20% off with code FRIENDS)

I hope you find this holiday gift guide for men (think husbands, brothers, dads…) helpful! My husband already owns several of these items, so I know they are tried and true! He swears by the magnetic collar stays (could be a stocking stuffer), and uses his Thermapen and BBQ tool set whenever I ask him to grill. The Thermapen is seriously amazing with its instant read, and helps us to not overcook anything.

Also, your husband will look really cool when he shows off his new Coravin wine system to guests, or makes them an old fashioned drink with the proper ice spheres! Another benefit of the Coravin wine system is that you snag one glass of wine with dinner (without opening the whole bottle) on those nights when your hubby just wants a beer… so basically it is a gift for both of you 😉

xo,

Marina

Fall Fresh

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Peter’s half-zip pullover: Ralph Lauren (use code CHEER for 30% off) | Button-down shirt: Ralph Lauren (use code CHEER for 30% off) | Jeans: Ralph Lauren (use code CHEER for 30% off) | Boots: Hunter

Caroline’s dress: Jacadi (last year’s style, but similar styles here and here) | Cable-knit tights: Gap Kids | Boots: Hunter

We had the most gorgeous fall weather this past weekend, so of course we had to get out and run around! I was thinking I might use these photos for our Christmas cards, but my husband is voting for summery photos from our Newport Coast vacation. What do you think?

Can you tell I love navy and ivory for the fall/winter months and white and blue for the summer months? 😉 The perfect color combos! And don’t be afraid to add in a pop of red or hunter green for the holidays.

xo,

Marina

Here Comes Christmas…

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^ They loved their view from the 25th floor of the Trump Tower in Chicago during our recent staycation! Peter could watch “vehicles” (cars, trucks, trains, buses, boats…) as he calls them all day long 😉

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Holiday penguin pajamas: Pottery Barn Kids (boys and girls)

It’s officially Christmas pajamas season!! How cute are these penguin pajamas from Pottery Barn Kids?! And the best part, these pajamas (and other styles) are 40% off today!

Here are several other great Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales going on:

Ralph Lauren (30% off if you spend $100 with code ‘THANKS’)

Petit Bateau (50% off site wide with code ‘CYBER50’)

Jacadi (35% off off select styles)

Vineyard Vines (25% off + free shipping)

J.Crew (40% off + an extra 10%)

Minnow Swim (20% off with code ‘helloholidays’)

Nordstrom (20% off certain items)

Zara (40% off select items)

Gap (50% off with code ‘CYBER’)

Bella Bliss (up to 40% off)

Janie and Jack (20% off)

Pottery Barn Kids (20% off + free shipping)

xo,

Marina

J.Crew Holiday Favorites – 40% Off!

(Click directly on the item to be taken to J.Crew’s website.)

J.Crew just came out with 151 holiday arrivals, and today through November 26th, they are offering 40% off! The discount code is currently THANKU, but it may change tomorrow, so double check the website for the most accurate code.

I have this pom-pom hat and love it! And how cute is this ivory double bow sweater… you can easily dress it up or down depending on the occasion this season. Lastly I have to highlight the one-shoulder jumpsuit, that I recommend pairing with red accents for a pop of holiday color!

Happy shopping!

xo,

Marina