Friday, December 30, 2011

December 2011 - Alena 8 months

Christmas was wonderful with our 2 little girls. They were so mesmerized by the tree, the lights, the music, the stories, and the movies. Santa was very good to them - and to us by not bringing too many gifts!

Alena is turning into such a Mama's girl. She lights up when I go near her and gets pretty upset when I leave a room. I am fine with it because Luci has turned into a huge Daddy's girl, so it will be nice to have a daughter who prefers me!

She is still trying to crawl, but hasn't mastered it yet. She can get up on all 4's for a split second and then her legs slide out from under her - she gets so upset when that happens. I am really not encouraging the crawling thing because I am still enjoying the non-mobile phase. I remember with Luci that once she started crawling - it was all over!

She is turning into a great eater too. She gobbles down all the fruits and vegetables that we feed her. And I have started pureeing the thickened soups from my parents, so she is getting a variety of flavors now too. She started feeding herself finger foods over the past week or so. She struggles a little with those puffs, but when she gets one in her mouth, so is so happy!

I am sad to report that her 2 bottom teeth have popped through over the past few days. Right around this time of year the same thing happened with Luci. However, after she bit me a few times, she sensed my hesitation when I went to nurse her and she quit nursing on her own. It was devastating to me. I am hoping that Alena won't bite me or if she will that I won't be as apprehensive about nursing. I have no problems with solely pumping the last 4 months, but I really enjoy nursing. Although I have SO MUCH milk in the freezer that I could probably quit pumping and nursing in February and be fine till she turns 1.

Luci continues to be a great big sister. She loves to play with Alena and share her toys (well, most of the time). She got a karaoke machine from John's parents and she loves performing for us - it is quite a sight! We are still struggling with potty training, but she will get it when she is ready.

We hope that everyone had a great holiday as we did!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A little too much...

..."Phineas and Ferb"?

Probably - when your 2-year-old daughter says: "So, whatcha doin'?"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Our Elf

We have adopted the new trend - "The Elf on the Shelf."

He's a little helper from the North Pole who visits us during the holidays and watches over us during the day. At night, he flies back and reports to Santa. When he returns to our house, he picks a new place to watch us. It makes for some morning fun!

We named ours Snowflake. We can't touch him or else he may lose his magic.

We just hope that he tells Santa good things!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November 2011 - Alena 7 months

Alena is going to be a talkative one - she is already trying to get words out with constantly spouting out "ba ba ba ba ba." Sometimes I swear she says "mama" but I am sure that I am delusional.

She loves her big sister - they play so well together now that Alena can sit up. Luci even shares her toys with her little sister. Although Luci tends to be a bit rough with Alena, she doesn't seem to mind one bit. The other day, I was washing dishes and I looked up to see Luci walking toward me saying "here Mama - here's Alena!" I wish I had the scene on video - Alena was dangling from Luci's arms with a huge smile on her face as Luci was CARRYING her into the kitchen!!!!!!!!!

She is eating like a pro now - one container of veggies and one container of fruit every day - in addition to 8-10 oz of Mama's milk 4-5 times daily. I am no longer concerned about her bowel habits - she is quite regular now. I have a lot of frozen soups from my parents and I am going to start to puree those for her now that she has been developing a good palate.

She is sleeping great too - at least 10 hours at night and at least 1 2-3 hour nap during the day with little cat naps here and there. No more need for the cry-it-out method. She is starting to stand with support now, like holding onto the couch. She is also starting the beginning steps of crawling - as she sits on the floor, she is lunging forward to grab things further away. But I am hoping that actual crawling doesn't start for awhile.

Luci has quite an imagination. She plays so adorably - I watch her as she acts out little scenes with her dolls and toys. She is loving the Christmas season with the tree, lights, and songs. She can sing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in its entirety.

She's a smart little whip too. She has been able to recite the alphabet and count to 12 for some time now (she knows the numbers to 20, but from 13-20 she mixes them up). Lately she has an interest in learning Spanish. One of Alena's toys has a Spanish mode, and Luci is always changing the switch from English to Spanish. So much so that I can sing the alphabet in Spanish now and I can hear Luci going through some of the letters with me.

We still have not mastered going on the potty consistently, I am hoping it will come in time. Santa is bringing her big-girl underwear with the princesses and Tinker Bell on them - I hope that they will be an incentive. We'll see!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Yes, we did it again!

She cried even less than Luci did!

Monday, October 31, 2011

October 2011 - Alena 6 months

I feel really guilty about wishing Alena's infancy away (that was a tough time for me), because here we are halfway to her 1st birthday. Time really does fly when you have your hands full!

She has developed so much over the past month. She is sitting up unsupported now - it happened overnight, it seems! A few weeks ago, if I would place her in the sitting position, she would just fold in half with her face planted on the floor. Then one day she caught herself with her arms and was in the tripod position, then a few days later she was sitting with her arms up in the air as if saying "look at me, looky at what I can do!"

She finally got over her cold and ear infection, but it left us with a bad habit - waking up in the middle of the night for a snack. She would go right back to sleep, but then she started with this thing where she wanted to be held until she was totally asleep. If I thought that she was sleeping and go to lay her down in the crib, she would start to cry - but then immediately stop if she was picked up. Well, that had to end -- enter Ferber-ization! We did the cry-it-out method, and within 3 nights she was sleeping through the night and not needing to be held. I am a believer!

I was feeding her 1 container of baby food daily and then advanced her to 1 container twice daily just last week. After I advanced her, I noticed a change in her bowels - I think that all that food was starting to constipate her. This past weekend she would have a screaming fit, and when it ended, I smelled the aroma. So I have added prunes to her menu and cut her back down to 1 container daily. We go to the doctor on Thursday, so I will be sure to address this with him.

She is drooling and putting things in her mouth constantly. Her favorite thing to put in her mouth - my knuckles. She gnaws on them nonstop - sometimes it really hurts. But she doesn't have any teeth yet (which I am grateful for since I am still nursing).

Luci had a good month too. She is MUCH better at dance school now. She doesn't cry or run to the door at all - and we can actually sit at the window the entire 30 minutes. Last week, one of the other little girls was hesitant about going into the studio, and Luci told her "C'mon Charlie, come with me and dance!" I am so proud of her.

We have to be very careful about what we say and who we talk about in Luci's presence these days because not only does she repeat everything - she REMEMBERS everything! The other day at dinner she looked at me and said "One day, your mom was at our house, and she called Alena Oscar the Grouch." I asked her if she was talking about Nonni and she confirmed it. I called my mom (cracking up) and told her. She didn't recall that, but said that she must have made that comment if Luci said so.

Potty training is going a little better. It's just that I have to remind her to sit on the potty, but she is very compliant. There have only been a few times when she tells me that she has to go potty, so mainly she is being instructed to go. I have her in pull-ups as an incentive, and Santa is going to bring her underwear as a stocking stuffer, but I am open to suggestions!

Halloween was fun - Luci had multiple activities and multiple costumes for each - thanks to the hand-me-downs from my sister! We had 4 different costumes to choose from!

Here are pictures from last month!

Monday, October 24, 2011


I saw the new Footloose movie.

Keep in mind that I LOVE the old one,
and have been obsessed with Kevin Bacon ever since.

But I must say, it was good.

A lot of the same lines,
same songs,
even same dance moves.

Some differences which were necessary for the time change.

Best differences - when Ren drives into school blasting "Bang Your Head" in his car - the new song in this movie is "Black and Yellow!"

Pittsburgh representing!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Right up my alley!

Totally going to see it Friday night! Will report back.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

September 2011 - Alena 5 months

Alena is our chunky monkey - weighing in at over 16 pounds already. But she is really long too. We always thought that Luci was tall, but Alena is 2 inches longer than Luci at this age already. She has been out of her 3-6 month sleeps for over a month already - they were just too short for her. The 6-9 month sleeps are just right now, which means she will be in 12 months sleepers sooner enough.

We noticed a change in her eye color. She did had blue eyes the first 2 months. During the next couple months, we though that they were going to be green. Now it seems as though that have changed again - to brown. Finally a brown-eyed grandchild - all the other girls have blue eyes.

We just started her on cereal and baby foods, which she is taking very well. But she still loves her mama's milk. I didn't think that I would be able to keep up with nursing and pumping as well as I did with Luci, but my mild supply this time is even more abundant than before. I have about 60-70 packets of milk in my fridge right now (anywhere between 7-11 ounce packets). It was never like that with Luci. It's crazy how things are different.

Speaking of differences - Luci was sitting up on her own by this time, but Alena can't do that just yet. If I try to sit her up on her own, she just folds over in half. Her back just isn't strong enough yet. She rolls from her back to her belly all the time, and holds her head well when she is on her belly, but she still needs to build strength to sit up. She is in her Bumbo chair quite a bit as a result.

Unfortunately, she has developed her second cold, which now has turned into a right ear infection. So she is on her first course of antibiotics. She has been sleeping in her carrier for a week now, which allows her to be comfortable and not choke on her mucous in the back of her throat when she is flat on her back.

She smiles and laughs all the time now. And she definitely recognizes those faces with whom she is familiar. When I come home from work and she sees me - her little face lights up and she kicks her legs and goes crazy. I love it!

Luci started dance school earlier this month. It's going alright. She freaks out at times and runs to the door for either me or John. We tell her to go back, and she does, then 5-7 minutes later, she does it again. I am hoping that as the weeks go by, she will become more comfortable and not need us to be at the door anymore. There is a window where we can sit and see each other, but she wants us at the door. Thankfully, we are not the only parents at the door.

Potty training was going really well right after I had Alena because we were at home (inside) all the time. She would go on the potty 4-5 times each day. But as I became more comfortable with the baby, we would start to venture out - going to the pool, to parties, etc. - and we lost the consistency of going on the potty. She will still go every night before her bath. She also tells us the instant she makes #2, and she just started to tell us when she makes #1. We tell her to let us know BEFORE, but I don't know if she totally understands what we are saying.

I love being part time these days because it really allows me to appreciate both aspects of my life now - career and motherhood. Staying clinical in my field is critical, but I think that in the future that I may go into education (there are a ton of PA schools in this area), so that I can have summers off and be able to take my girls to the pool on a daily basis - just as my mom did for us - and I wouldn't trade those years for anything!

Here are pictures from the last month.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wedding season!

Starting this Saturday, we have 3 weddings in 8 days!

Saturday - wedding (John's good friend)
Friday - rehearsal dinner and a wedding (friend from college)
Saturday - cousin's wedding (doing the second reading)

I think that we are done for a while after this!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sisterly Love!

What I resort to when Alena is crying and the swing is broken!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reality Check

I went to a funeral home viewing last night.

I wish it would have been for a friend's grandparent -
someone who had lived a long and fulfilled life.

But it wasn't.

It was for someone who I went to high school with.

We met before high school -
hanging out at the pool and having fun in the summers.

We were on the track team together,
and even went on a school trip to Italy together.

She went to California after graduation,
and sadly we totally lost touch.

She had become an extreme snowboarder,
and was ranked internationally.

Unfortunately, the mixture of a bad diet and a rigorous exercise plan
ended her life too soon.

You will be missed by all, Lisa, and I will cherish our memories!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

So Happy!

Happy Alena waking in the morning - I would be this happy too after the 3rd consecutive night of 12 hours of sleep! Watch - she will wake up at 4am on Tuesday because I have to work!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Figuring it out...

...Alena's sleep pattern, that is:

Monday - no work - awake at 7am

Tuesday - work - awake at 3:30am
Wednesday - work - awake at 4am

Today - no work - STILL ASLEEP - it's 9:45am!!!!

So - she sleeps on days I am off, and needs her early morning snack on days that I work.

She knows!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July 2010 - Alena 3 months

Maternity leave has officially ended - as has baby boot-camp. Going back to work was smoother than I ever thought possible, and Alena is out of that "so-small-infant" phase. Things are definitely easier at home, which has made going back to work much more tolerable.

Our little Alena is not so high-maintenance anymore, which makes me very happy. We are able to lay her on the play mat or even in the swing (with it not swinging because it's busted!) and she is content for long time. This makes it easy to be available to Luci when she is need of attention.

Alena is very much like her big sister and has found her thumb. I hear her in the middle of the night on the monitor sucking away at times, and she is able to pacify herself back to sleep. Speaking of sleep - her sleeping habits are not as consistent as Luci's were at this age. Luci definitely spoiled us. Alena isn't bad by any means, but lately she wakes up at 4am at times, nurses for about 5 minutes, and then falls asleep again until 9am. I am NOT complaining, just comparing. I am just hoping that as the weeks go by that she will not need that 4am snack. She didn't get up until 8:45 yesterday morning, but was up at 4:30 this morning she is just not finding her own groove just yet.

She is getting better control of her head these days. We do little exercises to help her gain neck strength. She is tolerating tummy-time much better as a result. Unlike Luci, she has not attempted to roll over yet. Looking back at Luci's 3 month post, I wrote that she was trying to roll over but would get stuck 3/4 of the way. It's hard not to compare.

Luci has become more brave at the pool. She is plunging herself in the water of the baby pool and puts her face under when she does so. She has been so active this past month - singing, dancing,'s hard to get her to nap on some days because we are so busy. A quick car ride is a great remedy for that.

I have been looking for a dance school for Luci, but haven't been able to find classes that fit with my work schedule...I am still waiting for some call backs though.

Here are pictures from the last month.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Losing my mind!

I need to find my groove again.

I am a very methodical person and I like routines.

But being out of routine for 12 weeks definitely takes its tool.

I tried to be organized last night for this morning:
Pump was set for the morning session.
Lunch packed in the fridge.
Oatmeal packet in my purse.
Clothes out.

Everything went very well at home and I was out of the door early...
despite Alena waking to nurse at 4am (thanks, sweetie!).

I was feeling my groove again at work quite easily.
Then I went to pump,
and I realized that I forgot a piece at home!

Thankfully John was off and was willing to bring the piece to me,
because there was NO way that I could wait until I got home.

I never did this after I had Luci...I am really losing my mind!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back to the Grind

Today marks my last day of maternity leave.
It's bittersweet.

I'm going to miss spending so much time with my girls,
but I am looking forward to having regular adult interaction again.

I am not looking forward to waking at 4am to pump,
but at least I don't have to do it every morning again.

I will also miss having so many lazy days,
but I am in need of a schedule again.

Going back to work this time around is going to be much easier,
and much more appreciated!

Monday, July 11, 2011

One year later...

I haven't posted about my friend Jessica who survived a traumatic event while giving birth to her 3rd daughter in a while.

Well, I am happy to report that she has been home since December, working very hard to walk, talk, and remember.

Her husband threw a big bash at their house this past weekend in celebration of survival 1 year after the trauma.

Jessica stood up and told everyone "thank you, I love you, and I'M BACK!" It was very emotional, but very inspiring.

Congratulations Jess, we are so happy to have you in our lives!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

For Real?

When my sisters and I were young, we danced.

There was a local dance studio and many of our friends and neighbors danced there.

They even had a dance company that was competitive - the head honcho there (Abby)really wanted us to join, but it meant a lot of time and a lot of money. My mom didn't want to commit because we were involved in other activities as well. Abby and my mom got into a fight over my mom's decision, insulting my mom and telling her that she was wasting our talent and that my parents' money would be better spent in her dance studio. Needless to say, we left the dance studio.

Now don't get me wrong, this turned into a very successful dance studio - I have friends who have gone far in the dancing business as a result (ie Rockettes, Broadway, even movies).

We just heard about a new reality show starting next week on Lifetime -
check out this website and watch the video. Here's another website.

Good decision, Mom!

Yes - that is where we danced and that is the lady my mom fought with!

The ironic thing is that I want to start Luci in a dance school and I WAS considering this studio because it's so close to my house - NOT ANYMORE!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 2011 - Alena 2 months

This was a much better month!

We kicked it off with Alena's Baptism. Her Godmother is my sister Marina and her Godfather is John's uncle (and his Godfather too) Uncle Joe. It was a wonderful ceremony and lunch followed. We are so lucky to have such a big and supportive family - 61 people were at the lunch, and all but 3 of those guests were at the Baptism. The priest was impressed too.

Unfortunately Alena got her first cold this month. It started last week and we had our worst night as a result. She was so congested that she couldn't breathe well. She must have had really bad post nasal drainage too, because she would try to cough to clear her throat but it would scare her and she would start to cry. I finally brought the carrier upstairs and she was able to sleep comfortably in it since her head was elevated, and she has been sleeping in in ever since - the cold is still lingering, but not as bad.

I was starting to wonder about her sleeping habits because she was still waking up once in the middle of the night (yes, I know I should see that as a blessing, but I was spoiled by Luci). I glanced at the post when Luci was 2 months, and I talked about how she started sleeping through the night. Right after I looked at that post, Alena blessed me with a 7-hour night, and has been doing the same ever since! She'll fall asleep anywhere between 10:30 and 11:30 and then wake up around 6 or 7am.

Alena is awake most of the day now. She'll take one good 3 hour nap during the day, with multiple little cat-naps in between. Her awake hours are mostly spent on her play mat, in the swing, or in my arms. She laughs and smiles all the time now, and it amazes me how much she resembles Luci at 2 months.

I have another thumb sucker on my hands. Alena is getting better at finding it now when she gets fussy. I am certainly not discouraging it because thumb sucking was such a savior with Luci.

Luci still loves her little sister - giving her kisses and loving her up (and I wonder how Alena got a cold). She is obsessed with puzzles these days - and not baby puzzles - she insists on doing puzzles that are anywhere between 24 and 64 pieces. She finds the faces and body parts of the various characters, pieces them together, and then can finish the puzzle with little help. It amazes me.

I try to take Luci swimming, but I have to go with reinforcements. So being dependent on other people going with me has made our trips to the pool very infrequent. We have a small blow-up pool that I put out on our deck and Luci can enjoy swimming while Alena and I enjoy the fresh air in the shade. It's all about being creative at this point.

We FINALLY got our swing set too. We totally consumed the day of John, my dad, my uncle, and my father-in-law, but it is complete and Luci loves it. It's nice to have an escape right in my own backyard.

I return to work in 3 weeks. I am not dreading it nearly as much as I did with Luci. Probably because I am not going back full-time. Plus I look forward to having a schedule and a routine. I plan on signing Luci up for a dance class, and we will continue to attend our church's play group. So we will remain busy and active.

Here are pictures of the Baptism (thanks to my brother-in-law) and here are pictures from the rest of the month.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I went to the grocery store with both girls-
by myself.

Alena cried the whole time.
Luci called out "Mama, hold me" the whole time.

I didn't get everything on my list, but I got the important stuff.

I'm done for the day!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Family Fun Weekend

Here is the line-up:

Friday - Graduation party (one of John's swimmers)
Saturday - Wedding (my cousin)
Sunday - Another Graduation party (John's cousin)

Due to my cousin's wedding we have some family members from Arizona in town. So my mom thought that it would be fun to have them over their house for dinner last night.

We didn't leave my parents' house until almost 10 - the kids were having so much fun and were so strung out on ice cream, cookies, and ring pops that we just let them run around until they were exhausted.

As a result - Luci is STILL sleeping - it's 9:30am!!!!

She is going to need her rest to get through all the festivities this weekend!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Life with a toddler

Last week:
I was finishing nursing Alena.
Luci was sitting in the playroom where I could see her.
I noticed a strange look on her face.
As I approached her - I was mortified.
She had her hand in her diaper.
When she pulled it out, her hand was covered in poop!
I stopped her just before she tried to smear it on the carpet.

This week:
I was getting dinner ready.
Alena was content in the swing.
I heard Luci open the pantry door (not an unusual occurrence).
Luci came into the kitchen with a look of concern.
Her sun dress was covered with some brownish-substance.
My first instinct - she vomited.
I looked into the living room and I saw a puddle of that brown substance.
Still thinking - she vomited.
Then I noticed the bottle of SYRUP by the kitchen table!!!

I wonder what next week will present...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A gift for myself...

I hate the summer with my hair -

If I wear it curly, it's a frizzy mess.

If I try to straighten it - I am a sweaty mess during the process, and then the result isn't all that great.

So - I treated myself to the Brazilian Blowout - a protein treatment that makes hair silky , shiny, and smooth for 4 months.

No more flat-iron, no more frizz, no more sweating - I am so happy!

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 2011 - Alena 1 month

This was definitely a trying month - a serious roller coaster of emotions. It has been a little harder than I expected - but not in terms of taking care of the little ones - I have found myself feeling guilty about everything. As a result - have realized a few things:

1. Having a baby this time of year (at least after having 1 child already) is NOT a good idea. When I had Luci, it was easier to get through the summer. Now, it kills me when Luci asks me to go outside, go swimming, go on the swings, etc - because the reality is that I don't want to take Alena out in this heat. Therefore, I think that it is smarter to have a baby in the fall or winter - that way the little one is older by the time summer comes along, which would make outings MUCH easier!

2. When we try for #3 - we will wait until Alena is at least 2 years old before we even start trying to get pregnant. That way, Luci will be in school and Alena will (hopefully) be out of the "terrible two's" phase, which would make things much easier.

Now onto the kids:

Alena gave me the best night yet just last night - she nursed at 10:30pm and then didn't wake up until 5am! It was the best gift ever! I just hope that she doesn't go back to ever 3 hours again tonight.

I have started pumping a little just to get Alena used to taking a bottle, which she has done without any problems - thank goodness! I have a friend whose baby refused a bottle and therefore went a week without eating while my friend was at work.

Although I have been feeling guilty about not being able to do the things with Luci that I typically would be able to do - she is really good. She'll play quietly by herself with her toys or read books to herself when I can't play with her. She'll even bring puzzles or books over to me when I am nursing Alena, which I love. Plus - she is so sweet with her little sister.

We had a crazy weekend - I decided to venture out on Saturday and take the girls to Gabi's soccer game and then to the pool for a little. Saturday's weather was not bad at all and Alena really enjoyed being outside for a while. Sunday was a different story - we had a graduation party to go to - and I was a little too over-confident after how well Saturday went. Sunday's weather was crazy hot and and crazy humid - and the baby was NOT happy. Not to mention that John has been unfortunately MIA for the past month due to getting the pool ready to open after teaching all day, and since this weekend was opening weekend, he couldn't come with me to anything. Thank God for my parents - they are my saviors! They saw how overwhelmed I was yesterday with feeling split between the 2 girls, and offered to take Luci to a picnic today. Although I was supposed to go to the picnic too, today is hotter and more humid than yesterday and I didn't think that the baby could handle the weather again.

Here's hoping that next month will be a more emotionally stable month for me!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lost the Lombardi Trophy...

...but won the Mirror Ball Trophy!Yeah Hines!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fluke or New Pattern?

Alena gave me a 4 1/2 stretch last night - TWICE!

I am hoping that this is going to be her new nightly pattern,
but I have a feeling that it was a fluke.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chunky Monkey!

That is what Alena is! We went for her 2 week check-up yesterday and we all (the pediatrician included) were amazed with her weight:

Birth weight - 8 lbs, 2 oz.
2 wk weight - 9 lbs, 4 oz.

I guess there are no issues with nursing. Actually, I have to cut her off at 20 minutes each feeding because she sucks so fast that she was spitting up a little more than I liked. Luci did the exact same thing.

Nights are more routine now - Alena will wake up around 2-2:30am and then again at 5-5:30am. Not too bad for 2 weeks old. I am just hoping that she will start with longer spans soon - yeah, I know - keep hoping!

Other than that - things are going very well. Luci has adjusted to Alena better than I had ever hoped. She loves her little sister so much - she is always concerned about her whereabouts, why she's crying, which boob she is feeding from, etc. One less thing for me to worry about!

We are all amazed at how much Alena looks like Luci - the only exception is that Alena's hair is a little darker.



Here are more pictures.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The First Week

I survived the first week of having a newborn and a toddler at home. Although I knew that it was going to be a challenge, I am impressed with how quickly I have adapted.

I will admit - I had a mini-breakdown the day that I came home from the hospital. I was just overwhelmed - with Luci and a scheduled C-Section, everything was done. I didn't have to come home to loads of laundry, I had everything ready and set up for the baby. This time around, however, I never expected Alena to come a week early - actually I thought that I was going to have to wait till my scheduled C-Section at 41 weeks. As a result, I was not 100% ready to bring home an infant. I was afraid that post-partum depression was setting in, but I got over it pretty quickly.

John was home all last week, which posed a challenge for me with Luci because she wanted to be with him at all times. And he wanted to get things done around the house - mow the lawn, wash the cars, fix things, etc. Now that he is back at school, Luci, Alena, and I are getting into a little routine which is working out very nicely.

I am very spoiled to have my Mom 10 minutes away. She comes by everyday and helps out. She mainly distracts Luci so that I can rest or focus on Alena when I need to. My parents have been providing tons of food and support - and I don't know if they will ever know how much I appreciate them!

Nights with Alena have been variable - Sunday night I didn't get to sleep until 3:30am, but she slept till 7:30am. Monday night, she was only up at 1:30am and 4:30am to nurse, then woke at 8:00am for the day. Last night, she was only up once at 2:30am, but it lasted for about 2 hours - all she wanted to do was nurse, then she was up at 7:00am.

She is starting to do what Luci did when she was an infant - those cluster feedings in the evening. This is what I used to refer to as the "feeding frenzy." I don't mind that she does this as long as I can have spurts of sleep through the night.

Now for the results of C-Section vs vaginal birth. Both have their own ouch-factor for sure. I was so uncomfortable when I first got home that I briefly thought that maybe I had made a mistake about being so insistent on a VBAC. But now that a week has gone by, I feel much better and I know that I made the right decision.

Strangely enough the weight has melted away already this time around. I gained the same amount with both pregnancies, but I have already lost a significant amount of weight. I weigh 3 pounds less today than I did when I decided to go on Weight Watchers 8 months post-partum with Luci - crazy, huh?

Once I get more organized, I will start posting more pictures - we took a ton in one short week, so it will take some time to get through them.

Monday, May 2, 2011

We only produce girls

So I only progressed to 5cm by 5:45am.
My water broke a little, so my doctor helped that situation.
By 7:50am I was 9 cm dilated, but it took a while to get to 10cm.

I started pushing at 10am.
I had a great nurse and a really good family medicine resident with me (in addition to John).
BTW - John did great!

The 4 of us had a good time in between contractions - joking, laughing, and chatting.
They were AWESOME - so encouraging and nice.
I pushed for about an hour and a half - and she was here!

Alena Mazurek (pronounced "a - LANE - a") - people keep asking!

Born 11:27am
8 lbs, 2 oz
20 inches long

So happy about a successful VBAC!!

Just for a refresher - my dad now has 3 daughters and 6 granddaughters!
PS - Luci loves her so much already!

No false alarm now!

Started with STRONG contractions at 11:30pm.
Every 3-5 minutes for an hour.
Boy did those hurt!

Called the doctor again - said to return to hospital.
Contractions got worse -- OUCH!!!!
4cm dilated at 2am.

Epidural at 3am.

God bless anesthesia!

Feeling good and waiting to be checked again.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

False alarm!

Woke up at 5:00am and couldn't fall back to sleep.

Contractions at 5:30, 5:40, 5:50
Then anywhere from every 7-14 minutes for the next 4 hours.

All of a sudden, they were every 5 minutes and strong.
Called the doctor, told to go to hospital to get checked.

Contractions every 3 minutes while on monitor,
checked out by doctor - still 1.5 cm.

Encouraged to walk around,
which I did for about an hour or so.

Still contracting, but they didn't feel as strong as earlier.
Re-checked - no progress.

Sent home. Contractions stopped.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 2011

Our little girl continues to amaze us daily.

She is starting to speak in full sentences, and can even count to 12 and sing her ABC's (not perfectly, but pretty darn close!). She repeats EVERYTHING - which means we are trying to be on our best behavior in terms of which words we are choosing when talking to each other. She follows conversations that are not directed toward her or that do not include her, so we have to be extra careful!

She has made lots of friends. I take her to a Mom's group through our church when I can, and she loves playing with those kids. There are a few neighborhood friends who she recognizes and runs to when she sees them out and about.

This was a very busy month. We celebrated many birthdays - mine, my sister's, my twin nieces', John's grandmother's, Luci's, and John's.All of this in addition to going to a princess tea hosted at my old high school, multiple Easter egg hunts,and Easter.

We even had the pleasure of my dad's sister from Italy to visit us for the past month. It was great to watch as Luci built a relationship with her Great Aunt.

We have been trying to prepare Luci for the arrival of the new baby by slowing introducing new things to her. For instance, a few weeks ago, I put the infant car seat in the car, then I set up the swing, and just this afternoon I set up the pack-n-play. When you ask her who those are for, she answers "new baby," who she now insists is a brother.

Here are more pictures from the past month.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Something's Happening!

****Some of this content may seem like TMI for some people - sorry!***

So we just got back from a doctor's appointment (now 38+ weeks), and I am excited to report that I am 1.5 cm dilated. I know that this probably isn't really all that significant, but I never dilated with Luci, plus the doctor felt the head, so we are assured that this one is in the correct position.

I actually thought that Sunday night was the night. All 3 of us were lying on the couch together watching "Toy Story 3" when I felt a pretty strong contraction. I have been getting Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks now, but this was definitely different. I didn't say anything, looked at the clock and noted the time. 10 minutes later I had another one, even stronger. But then that was it. Bummer.

My plan is to still proceed with a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-Section). All of my doctors feel as though I am a great candidate for this due to the fact that I never had a chance to labor with Luci with her being breech and therefore a scheduled C-Section. So I am giving myself the maximum amount of time to go into labor on my own and didn't schedule my C-Section until May 17th (41 weeks).

I have been going on walks frequently in hopes of inducing labor. My neighborhood is all hills, and I try to walk pretty briskly up them. My neighbors probably think that I am crazy, but I don't care. I am still working too. Although, the swelling of my lower extremities has just started. I was swelling way earlier with Luci, and couldn't even wear my rings at this point with her, but this time is not nearly as bad.

Hopefully something will be happening sooner than later!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Luci!

My little girl is 2 today - hard to believe!

We had her birthday party today and it was a total success!

I wasn't about to have people at my house at 38 weeks pregnant - call me lazy, I don't care. So we opted to have a a little place that is basically one big play room for kids. The kids loved it - they never stopped all afternoon and the adults enjoyed watching them have so much fun. I thought for sure that Luci would crash in the car on the way home and then take a good 2-3 hour nap - WRONG! She did fall asleep in the car, for the last 15 minutes of the ride - and that was it! I even tried to take her for a walk around the neighborhood, which usually works. But after an hour of pushing the stroller up our hills, I was done, and her eyes weren't even heavy. So we are hoping that she will crash tonight instead.

Happy Birthday Angel!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Plug your ears!

My little girl can scream!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 2011

We are in full transition mode right now. Luci is officially out of the nursery and is in her new room, in a big girl bed. It's been about 2 weeks now, and it has gone very well. She has mastered the art of climbing out of the foot of the bed and running down the hall to our room. The first week, this was occurring at 2am, but now it has moved later into the morning around 6:30 or 7, which is much better!

Her vocabulary is exploding. She says full sentences now and more people understand what she is saying. For a while, there were certain words that she would say that only John and I really understood, but now they are so much clearer - I am really impressed with how fast this has developed.

Potty training has taken a major halt. We encourage her to sit on her seat before every bath, but since someone different has her every morning, there has been no consistency with that visit to the bathroom. I am not really concerned at this time because I am sure that the arrival of the baby is going to throw a wrench in any sort of progress that we make - so I am just going to keep working on it a little at a time.

She has now become obsessed with Disney. We have been watching some of the movies lately (Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Princess and the Frog, Enchanted, Toy Story, and now Tangled). Her favorite is Snow White. Her cousins went to Disney World this month and came home with an early birthday present - a Snow White costume. It will come in handy this weekend because my old high school is hosting a Princess Tea and then the twins are having a Princess birthday party in a few weeks, so we look forward to dressing her up in it!

We have a very month ahead of us, and I will keep you all updated on the status of #2!

Here are pictures from the last month.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Nap Time

She unfolded her Elmo couch,

crawled in,

wanted me to zip her up,

got comfy,

and fell asleep.

I love nap time!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Making Room - Part 2

I posted in January about my plans on making room for the baby - here is the follow-up.

I had first mentioned about moving Luci to her new room.
The queen bed is gone, the twin bed is in.
The furniture has been rearranged.
We just need to fill the walls.
Here is what it looks like so far:
This picture isn't the best, but the walls are a bright green, and there is bright green in the bedding along with the various shades of pink.

The second part of the project was making room for all the toys.
John's cousin came and took the pieces of furniture that we felt that we really didn't need.
We did keep a few things, like a love seat for some seating and an antique desk that was given to us as a wedding gift.
Here is what it looks like now invaded by toys:
There is just so much more room in there for Luci to play, which we all love.

Slowly but surely - we are getting ready for baby #2!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Feeling pretty big!

So we're 32 weeks along - and I am feeling even bigger than I was the morning of my C-Section with Luci.

Oh well - I have to admit - I did not exercise this time.
When I was pregnant with Luci, I had all the time in the world since I didn't have another child to take care of, so swimming 3-4 times a week was no problem.

Now - with an extremely active toddler, and a husband who doesn't come home till late due to coaching - finding time to get to a pool proved to be a trying task. Add on the exhaustion of working and pregnancy - I gave up trying. So I am sure that have gained a little more than before.

Here is a picture of me at 32 weeks with Luci:

Here is a picture of me at 32 weeks now:
Like the little protrusion at my belly button? Yep, Luci gave me an umbilical hernia, which has grown during this pregnancy - so a hernia repair is certainly in my future, but hopefully I can hold off until we are sure about the number of kids we want (we always talked about 3, we will see how we do with 2 and then be sure).

I think that I am carrying lower this time too - with Luci being frank breech - she remained up pretty high the entire time. During my last visit to the doctor, she thought that this one was vertex already, but wasn't 100% sure yet.

Hopefully, this one will cooperate!

Monday, February 28, 2011

January-February 2011

We started out the New Year savoring the last available moments at the restaurant. We would go there to eat, pack up food, and just enjoy being there together for the last time. It was really sad, but my parents are thrilled to be retired now!

Luci is little miss independent now. She insists on doing everything by herself - eating, dressing, even changing her diaper - we know what her limits are, even if she doesn't. She actually does a really good job at dressing herself, it impresses me. She even tries to choose her outfits, but I have to intervene when they don't match, but she doesn't mind too much.

The funniest thing about her is how she refers to herself. If you break up her name, she can clearly say "lou" and "see" but when you ask her to say "Luci" it comes out "Dee Dee." It's hilarious. So when you are trying to buckle her in her seat, she points to herself and says "Dee Dee" to tell us that she wants to do it herself.

She loves to sing and dance for us too. She puts on a little show for us every night before and after her bath where John and I have to sit on the floor, watch her, and clap for her when she finishes. I can't wait to enroll her in a dance school - she will be very entertaining at a recital.

I am not sure how much she really understands that a little baby is going be to invading her space in the next 2 months. We almost finished her new room, and she loves to go in there and lay on her new bed. For now, she is still in the nursery - but we intend to move her within the next month just to get her used to the new space before the baby is here so that she doesn't associate the move with the baby. She should transition well - the 2 times we have left her all night with my parents' she slept all night in a twin bed with bed rails without any problems.

We are really looking forward to next couple of months - lots of birthdays to celebrate (including Luci's 2nd), Easter, and of course the new baby's arrival!

Here are pictures from the past 2 months.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Very Slowly...

...that's how I intend to potty train Luci.

She has been really good about running up to me with a diaper and wipes even before I realize that she pooped, or she will just call out "DI-PA" and I know that I need to change her.

So I decided just to get her interested in sitting on the potty.

I started about 2 weeks ago with having her sit on the potty seat after her morning milk (because she usually poops within 5 minutes of finishing), and then again right before her bath. She liked sitting on it because Elmo is all over it, but nothing ever happened.

Until last night. Before her bath, she tinkled a little while on the seat, and of course we make a big deal about it to let her know that she should continue to do that. Then again this morning, I sat on the seat after her milk, and sure enough - she pooped!

I am not going to push this on her too forcefully because I am afraid that she will digress once the baby comes, so we are just going ahead slowly.

PS - sorry about the potty-post, but this is what excites me these days!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quit - cold turkey

Luci has been a thumb sucker since she was in utero (she came out with blood blisters on her hands/wrists due to sucking in there!).

I was never too concerned about it - it was a great soother for her.

Well last weekend when she had a stomach virus, I noticed that when she would put her thumb in her mouth, she would then immediately remove it and frantically wipe it over and over again with her other hand.

This continued through the earlier part of the week. Then I also noticed that when she would go to put her thumb in her mouth, she would pull her hand down at the last minute to not suck her thumb.

Now, she is practically broken of the habit --- ALL.BY.HERSELF!!!!

We did bust her with her thumb in her mouth in the middle of her nap today, but that didn't last too long.

There is a downside - getting her to fall asleep for naps or nighttime is not as easy anymore because she doesn't have her thumb to soothe her anymore.

My little girl is growing up TOO fast!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Not-so Super Bowl

You'd think that I am talking about the Steelers loss - but I'm not.

How would you like it if you were a die hard Steeler fan and paid a good amount of money for a trip of a lifetime just to get to the stadium to find out that your seats were not complete and didn't meet code.

That is exactly what happened to John and his Dad.

Here is an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette explaining what happened.

Hopefully they own up to their promise about compensation.

BTW - I was at home with Luci all alone because she was vomiting all day - not so super for me either.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Making Room

With another bundle of joy on the way, we have been trying to figure out ways to make a little more room in our house for the baby stuff that we need to dig out again (i.e. pack-n-play, swing, bouncy seat, etc.).

First off - Luci's new room.

We are keeping the nursery as is. The bedding we got when we were pregnant with Luci is gender-neutral in a yellow room, so we have no desire to change it at all. Our other 2 spare rooms have been an office and a guest bedroom since we have been living here.

The guest bedroom was a fluke because all the furniture was given to us: queen-size mattress, box spring, bed frame, head board, dresser with mirror, and night stand. One of John's buddy's parents was getting all new bedroom furniture right after we got married and we inherited their old stuff - which was actually really nice. This is now going to be Luci's new room - however, I didn't think that a queen-sized bed was necessary for a toddler. Fortunately, a friend who I work with just bought a house and is in desperate need of spare beds - so we gave her the bed from that room. The rest of the furniture remains, and Luci's twin bed is being delivered on Tuesday!

Next step - find space for!

Our family room is narrow, but we were able to comfortably fit all the baby things in the room without feeling too cramped when we had Luci. However, we have accumulated so many toys since storing all of that stuff that we now know we need to make additional room.

We also have a living room, which is right off of the family room. The furniture in that room was also all given to us by a friend's parents. In there now are: a love seat, 2 wing-backed chairs, an end table, and a coffee table. We have offered some of the furniture to one of John's cousins who recently got a new place. So we are giving him the chairs and the coffee table. Now we will be able to fill the long wall of that room with all of the Luci's toys - thus clearing out our family room to make space for the baby stuff.


It's funny how things change - when we first got married, we were in such a hurry to fill the rooms to make the house feel like our home. And now that we are growing - I can't wait to get rid of the furniture that was so generously given to us to make room for TOYS? What's wrong with the picture?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pittsburgh's Going to the Superbowl!

and so is my husband!

Game tickets at face-value, staying with family in Dallas - this is going to be one of the cheapest Superbowl trips!

Oh yeah - he's not taking me! He's going to bond with his Dad!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dancing Queen

The music is in her head!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Silly Mama!

I did as instructed by my 20-month-old!

Friday, January 7, 2011

La Befana comes again

A few years ago, I posted about the significance of the Epiphany in the Italian tradition and in my family.

My sisters and I have continued this custom with our little ones. It's fun to see our kids excited about a tradition that we celebrated when we were young.

Here is what Luci woke up to the other morning:

She LOVES it - a Handy Manny plush toy. She even sleeps with him.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

November-December 2010

I slacked off last month with updates and photos - but I am catching up now.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were the obvious highlights of the last 2 months, but here are some others:

Luci's new obsession is coloring. She absolutely loves it. I bought her all sorts of coloring books, which can keep her occupied while I pay bills, cook, eat, they are even a lifesaver in church! She definitely doesn't color inside the lines, but I am happy that she is interested in it at all.

I know that I have mentioned in other posts about my family's Thursday night dinners at my parents' house. Well, lately the girls have started a new trend where they raid my old bedroom, find the old gloves scarves, hats, etc. that we used when we were at home, dress up in them, and then parade around the house. They even make Nonno a part of the fun.

We celebrated Pappy's birthday before Thanksgiving, and then again on Thanksgiving, which Luci loved, because she so enjoys blowing out the candles on birthday cakes, whether its hers or someone else's.

My old high school hosts an annual Breakfast with Santa, which we always attend. Although Luci wasn't too keen on sitting on Santa's lap this year, we did get pretty close. She put on a show for everyone there while she danced and jumped to the carolers' singing. She even got comfy on the back of the camel and cow on the big Nativity display.

My sisters and I have always made out-out cookies for Christmas, and we have carried on the tradition with our girls too now. Although they are not the prettiest cookies, we sure do have a lot of fun making them!

We all know that Luci is a thumb-sucker, and she hated the pacifier as a baby. Well now she has developed a new liking to the chee-chee (which is how we always referred to the pacifier). But the funny thing is that the only 2 places where she ever asks for it is at my Mom's house or my Aunt Anna's house - no where else. What can I say? She has a mind of her own.

The holidays were great - filled with family, food and presents - too many presents almost! I think that I am going to have to clear out a room just for toys. We'll see how that turns out.

Finally, we celebrated the last supper at my parents' restaurant New Years' Eve, which was very bittersweet. We all ate together as a big family for an early dinner. Then the husbands left with the all the girls, and my sisters and I stayed to help out with a busy evening. My parents' went out with a bang!

Here are more pictures.