Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What I've Written

Here are some of my latest posts for Parent Society...come check me out!

5 Reasons I Could Never Be a Stay-At-Home Mom - not trying to piss any one off with this one, it's just not for me.

4 Ways to Cope After Passing Your Due Date - it's no fun when your baby is over baked.

5 Ways for Working Moms to Reconnect With Their Family - being a working mom has its rewards and challenges, here are some tips to help you reconnect after a busy workday.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Crest & Oral B Giveaway

Getting your kids to brush their teeth is like the easiest thing in the world...said no mom ever.  I have to fight tooth and nail (no pun intended) to get Isabella to brush her teeth.  It's like a big shocker every morning and night that she needs to brush her teeth.  And heaven forbid I should mention the dentist, the poor girl is terrified even though the few times she's been she had a positive experience.

Crest and Oral B Pro-Health Stages are working together with America's ToothFairy (the National Children's Oral Health Foundation) to promote healthy teeth and lessen the fear of the dentist.  With a brand new design featuring Mike and Sulley from the upcoming prequel Monsters University, children don't need to fear monsters under the bed or the dentist!

Here are some tips to help keep your kid's teeth sparkly white with Crest Pro-Health Stages Monsters, Inc Toothpaste and Oral-B Stages Toothbrush

  • Make sure that children under 6 use only a pea size amount and instruct them in good brushing and rinsing habits to minimize swallowing. 
  • The toothbrush helps to protect tender gums, surrounds and cleans teeth, helps kids to reach their back teeth, fits little hands, and makes brushing fun with their favorite characters.
To minimize fear of the dentist you can try:
  • Visit the dentist with your child before their first appointment.  Ask the dental assistant for a tour and to give your child a quick preview of what to expect.  This can minimize fear and anxiety and prove to be a great learning opportunity.  
  • For older children you can bring them with you to the dentist to give them an opportunity to ask questions and see how the instruments will be used.  This gives them a chance to witness good oral health behaviors and it gives you a chance to get your teeth cleaned and maybe overcome your own fears.
  • Keep regular dentist visits to keep a sense of familiarity and comfort with the dental team and provide preventive care necessary for a healthy smile.
  • Reinforce concepts such as daily brushing and flossing by posting a calendar and rewarding your child a gold star or sticker for every day of excellent oral care.  Help get your child excited about their next dental visit by bringing the calendar with you to show the dentist.
  • Let them bring a favorite toy or blanket to give them security and comfort
Isabella was super jazzed up when we got our Monsters University toothpaste and toothbrush set.  It's blue and sparkly and it was just the change up we needed to take the battle out of brushing her teeth.  We've started using the gold star method described above and as a reward for all her gold stars we're going to take her to see the movie when it comes out.  Just an extra added incentive!

You can buy the Crest and Oral-B Pro Health Stages Monsters University toothbrush and toothpaste in stores, such as your local Walmart or you can enter to win one here.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  I received a free sample of the product so that I might provide an honest review.

Breast Feeding Pros and Cons

So you all know that breast feeding is something that was very important to me going into this.  I really struggled with Isabella and had to pump a shit ton to make sure she had enough breast milk since I couldn't get her to latch.  This time around I prepared.  I asked questions, read books, took classes...I was ready.

I won't say it's been easy, but it hasn't been excessively difficult either.  Here has been the good and bad of my experience so far, and keep in mind it's only been two weeks so that's all I can really go on at this point.

The Pro's

  • It's so easy and convenient not to have to worry about packing bottles or heating up a bottle at 2am.  I just pick up my shirt and be done with it.  
  • I know it's what is best for her and I'm not knocking formula, I used formula with Isabella.  
  • She could be a super pooper...for real the kid could go pro and I know it's because of the easy digestibility of breast milk.
  • It's an all purpose mothering tool.  She's fussy or tired or whatever, she can always soothe at the boob. 
  • It's free!  No running out for formula or what not.  Breast feeding can save $3,000 a year.  That sounds like enough for a kid free vacation if you ask me.  
  • It's a built in escape mechanism.  It gives me several breaks in the day to just sit and bond with her or beat the next level on Candy Crush or catch up on my DVR or just sit in peace and quiet.  
The Con's
  • It can be a bit painful.  Everything I read in my breast feeding research has said that it's not supposed to hurt and if it does then you're doing it wrong BUT every real woman that I've spoken to has said that the first few weeks were painful.  I have cracked nipples that I'm soothing with breast milk and nipple cream and letting air dry.  The initial latch is toe curlingly painful, but it's getting better.  
  • Cluster feeding is a bitch.  Our second day in the hospital I thought I might pass out from exhaustion from having my wee nursling on the boob every hour.  I'm not looking forward to growth spurts.
  • I'm tethered to this child.  Andy can't help with night time feedings.  Grandma can't help while I run out to get my nails done.  It's very burdensome to know you can't leave, even though I honestly don't want to at this point.  Soon I'll start pumping so I'll have a stash if I need to run out by myself for an afternoon.  I just wanted to wait until we have a good breast feeding routine going.  But Isabella's dance recital is coming up and I want to be able to watch it without a baby on the breast, so I'll need a stash by then at least.  
  • I haven't quite built up the courage to NIP (nurse in public).  I've done it in the dr's office and at the photographer's studio, but I still don't feel comfortable nursing at a restaurant or the park just yet.  I'm hoping as things get easier it will be easier to get her to latch without getting practically topless.  
So it's been a mixed bag, but I'm really going to stick with it.  My first mini-goal is 6 weeks, then 3 months, then 6 months, then a year.  My main goal is 6 months and then we'll reevaluate then.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

An Ode to My Husband

I can unequivocally say that without Andy I'd have fallen apart.  This is the truth.  He has been so amazing and so helpful and I usually never write posts like this because they come off as super fake and phony, but I couldn't not write it.

The feeding of our new sweet girl falls completely on me since I'm the one with the boobs and I haven't started pumping yet.  This is both absolutely wonderful and absolutely draining, especially those middle of the night feedings that can sometimes last an hour or more.  But he's been great.  He wakes up when she does and changes her diaper before giving her to me to feed.  He gets up with Isabella and makes us all breakfast.  He helps out with dinner.  He even swept and mopped the floors without me asking.  He's been trying to be good about getting me out of the house and he's been my absolute biggest breast feeding supporter.  There were times when the initial latch on pain was so bad and my poor nips were so cracked and bloody that I was ready to completely throw in the towel and he really rallied behind me reminding me how important this was to me.

What's also wonderful is that he has 6 weeks paid family leave, which is better than my 6 week unpaid maternity leave (but it's ok since I only have to go back to work one day and then I'm off until September...couldn't have timed this baby better!).  So it's really nice to have him home with us and not have to worry about him getting up early and going to work.  We can tag team each other and make sure everyone gets a shower and a nap in if needed.

I'm just so full of love for my new little family and having Andy's help and support had made the transition go much smoother, it makes me feel like I can handle all the bumps in the road and has kept (most) of my anxiety at bay.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Going from 1 to 2 Kids

It has been a little over a week since Arya joined our family taking us from a tight little unit of 3 to a full fledged family of four.  The adjustment has been a bit bumpy at times.  When we first got home from the hospital it really hit me how different things were.  I missed Isabella.  Since I'm breast feeding on demand, most of Arya's care is falling on me.  I can't have dance parties because I'm nursing.  I can't do bedtime because Arya needs to eat again.  I can't run outside with her because I'm still sore from giving birth.  It crushes me with mommy guilt.

I miss watching TV with Andy at night.  I even miss cooking dinner.  And all this makes me feel even guiltier because Arya is just the sweetest little thing and I don't regret having her one bit.  I think I'm in a slight state of mourning for the life that I had while I transition into the new family that I have.

Also, being stuck inside is a big trigger for me.  I need fresh air and to keep busy.  I don't feel the anxiety and sadness I felt when Isabella was first born.  It's been much easier to take care of Arya this time around.  I know how to change a diaper, give a sponge bath, and I expected the exhaustion.  But I still need to get out at least once a day for some fresh air.  Whether it's a trip to the store or a quick walk around the block.

It's been difficult feeling like I'm tethered to the baby, but she's been quite sleepy so I have some time for myself.

I know giving Isabella a sister is one of the greatest gifts I could give her, it just doesn't feel like that just yet.  I'm sure things will settle into place, especially once my little nursling isn't eating every few hours and I'm not taking naps in the day time.  I just miss how easy things were.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pirate Pinata Kit Review

I'm currently planning a Mermaid/Pirate party for Isabella's 4th birthday party.  I know right?  Shut up that she's even going to be 4 next month!  So when Birthday in a Box contacted me for a review it couldn't have been better timing.

I'm not the craftiest person around, so anything that helps to make my life easier I'm all for it.  That's exactly what the Pirate Pinata Kit does.  It's an adorable pirate treasure chest that comes with a full bag of yummy treats and a blind fold for kids.  Do you remember when we were kids and we would beat a pinata with sticks?  Who thought that was a good idea?  The cute little ribbons that they tug on is much more safe and it adds a cute little flare of decoration.

No joke it took me about an hour and a half to decide what I wanted to review because there are just a ton of options.  The quality of the pinata is very durable and it's taking all my will power not to tear through the bag of candy.  It's easy to open and fill and comes with something to hang it from a hook on the ceiling.  I can't wait to see how excited Isabella and her cousins and friends are going to be when they see it!

So if you're planning your little one's party, go check out Birthday in a Box.  The prices are more than reasonable.  I'm actually going to order a few things for the candy table and goody bags myself.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Arya Hope's Birth Story

It was Tuesday May 14th, 2013.  I woke up, 3 days past my due date, and started getting ready for work.  I made my coffee, grabbed my lunch, and headed out the door for my hour long commute from New Jersey into Brooklyn.  I didn't feel any different.  I didn't have any contractions.  I only felt very very pregnant and anxious to have this baby!

Somewhere on the Staten Island Expressway I started feeling contractions.  Very painful contractions.  After the third one I decided I would time them.  They were lasting about a minute coming every three minutes.  I was in a lot of pain, but I just assumed that they would go away like all the other times.  They didn't.  By the time I was on the Verazzano Bridge they were coming every two minutes or so.  I called my sister who, blessedly, lives right off the bridge.  I called Andy to tell him to get ready to meet me at my parent's, who live right near the hospital.

By the time I got to my sister's apartment, I could barely talk.  The pain was so intense it felt like I was being sawed in half.  It took nearly an hour to get back to Jersey with all the traffic.  I thought I might die.  I remember thinking that I needed to poop really badly.  I practically crawled into my parents house, where I did in fact poop before going to the hospital.

Andy drove me to the hospital where he promptly got a wheelchair and I was zoomed up to L&D.  They got me into a bed straight away and the nurse checked me and told me that I was at a full 8 cm.  I practically begged for an epidural and they got my IV in and I was able to feel the sweet relief from the epidural.

I got comfortable, grabbed my phone and started updating my friends and family, settling in for what would surely be a long morning.  The doctor came in about 20 minutes later and checked me and said it was time to push.  9 pushes and 5 minutes later I heard the doctor say, "You have a baby girl" and I heard Arya's sweet cry.

I checked into the hospital at 9:36 and she was born at 10:59 (at first they told me 11:02, but on the birth certificate it says 10:59 am).  Labor was fast and furious, but I couldn't have had a better experience.

Small Things I Don't Want to Forget:

  • I punched my poor sister in the back twice while she was driving me.  Not because she made me angry, but because the pain was so intense.
  • How I cried when they said she was a girl.  I thought boy the entire time and it was such an emotional moment when I finally found out what sex Mrs. Petrillo was.  
  • Isabella was so happy when she found out she had a sister.
  • Isabella riding on my lap from L&D to the recovery room and how she was so proud of her sister and so excited to be snuggled up next to us in bed. 
  • Eating McDonald's right after getting to the recovery room.  
  • Since the labor was so fast there wasn't a lot of time for the epi to wear off and my legs felt like jelly.  

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mrs. Petrillo is a ...


Arya Hope was born on May 14th 2013 at 10:59 am weighing 7lbs 12 ounces and meausuring 20 and a half inches long.  Everyone is home and healthy and appropriately happy and tired. I have a ton to write about, especially her birth story, but for now I'm going to rest while my littlest naps in her swing and my biggest runs out in the yard with her dad.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I am currently 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant.  I am over it.  I want this baby on the outside.  I've had about enough of painful contractions that don't do a damn thing.  At my last appointment I was told that the baby is very low (good), cervix is thinned out (great), but I'm barely dilated to a centimeter (WTF?).  That is completely unacceptable to me.

You know what else is getting old...people saying "Oh the baby will come when s/he is ready."  That's just peachy, wanna know something...I'm ready.  Since my uterus is apparently a 5 star hotel that this child does not want to check out of I am officially evicting it.  I'm considering lighting a fire between my legs and smoking the kid out.

Oh and this is also annoying.  The fifty million text messages, phone calls, and conversations that I have about when the baby is coming, how I'm feeling, why I'm still working.  And the thing is I get it...people are just being considerate and concerned, but I have the exact same conversation about 35 times a day.

I don't know when the baby is coming.  Probably never.  I feel like I'm 40+ weeks pregnant.  I'm still working because I only get 6 weeks and I want to spend it at home with the baby that is never coming. Although May 16th will be my last day of work because then we're looking at induction the following week and at that point I wouldn't have to go back to work anyway.

So how do you get an overbaked baby out?

I've tried pineapple but I couldn't eat the core because it's gross.  Didn't work.

I've been walking like a mo fo and while it's helping to keep me fit, it's not working.

I've also been having the one position that is still viable to us and it's also not working.

I'm squatting, which is giving me a nice tush, but no baby.

I'm really scared of evening primrose oil, red raspberry tea leaf, and castor oil because they're supplements and I'm not sure of the correct dose or what to expect from them.

Any tips or advice?  I go back to the doctor on Thursday so we'll see what she has to say about a plan.  I'm hoping to avoid an induction, but I'm starting to accept it as a possibility.  My office will let me go until 10 days past my EDD, so that would be the 21st.  Here's hoping that Mrs. Petrillo checks out before then.

Monday, May 13, 2013

40 Weeks

How far along?  40 Weeks
Total weight gain/loss? Up 25 lbs I haven't gained at all this week
Stretch marks? Stupid reproducing stretch marks.  I've counted at least 5 on the left side.  I've heard more can just crop up after delivery, but I refuse to believe this is true.    
Sleep? This was not a bad sleep week and I actually snuck in a few naps as well.   
Best moment last week? Celebrating Mother's Day at home.  As nice as a Mother's Day baby would have been it was much nicer relaxing at home eating banana pancakes than pushing out a baby in the hospital.  Although it would have been nice to have a glass of champagne.  
Movement? Lots of low pressure and thuds.  
Food cravings? Just all food.  I want to eat everything
Food aversions?  chicken and onions
Gender? Team Green
Labor signs? Lots of contractions.  The closest I've come is 6-8 minutes apart lasting 30-60 seconds for about an hour, but then they go away.  They always go away.  I don't even get my hopes up anymore.  
Belly button in/out? Out and it looks like it's wearing a hood.  
What I miss: I have been dying for a margarita.  Straight up.  On the rocks.  Lots of salt.
What I am looking forward to: Having my body back.  
Milestones: This baby is completely overcooked.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Giving Myself a Break

I expect more from myself than I do from anybody else.  I have a very detailed "to-do" list every week. I cook 5 nights a week.  I clean.  I write.  I try and do fun crafts/experiments with Isabella.  I organize.  I push myself to do these things.  I feel guilty when I just sit around during the day and do nothing.

I've come to terms that that is just who I am and it's best to embrace it, form systems that work well with it, and live it.


I am 9 months pregnant.

My body is gently requesting that I take a lode off and take it easy.  So I've listened.  I scrapped the to-do list.  I've been putting my feet up.  I've been watching bad TV.  I've been letting my almost no screen time family watch some movies, even though it's sunny outside.  When we are outside and playing, I let Andy take a more active role and I stick to things like blowing bubbles and pushing a swing.

I've been delegating.  I hired a cleaning lady to come twice a month to clean the house.  I've asked my sister to run some errands for me.  My mom has taken over doing the laundry and Andy has just been wonderful.  He's taken on a lot of household responsibilities and has even taken on some cooking (although, to be honest, that's still my forte).

It's been a little disconcerting.  But it's been nice to let people take care of me for a change.  It's been nice to actually relax on the weekends instead of jetting off to a million places trying to get a million things done.  And you know what?  Everyone is surviving just fine.  The Earth hasn't spun off it's orbit because I didn't mop the floors.  Isabella is still perfectly happy to play in her own back yard instead of going to the park with a friend.  Andy was more than happy to grill up a dinner on the bbq for his family, even if he did ask a lot of questions about the side dishes.

It's good practice for me.  I want to rest after delivery, not feel guilty about everything.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What Will It Be?

It's been super fun playing for Team Green this pregnancy.  I knew I was having a girl with Isabella and it was so much fun to plan out her nursery and pick out frilly little clothes and dresses and decide on a name, but I also love the not knowing.

It has most certainly saved me some cash money not being able to buy a ton of clothes.  There's not a lot of options out there for gender neutral clothing.  Mostly everything is beige, white, or yellow.  It's also been fun dreaming up both scenarios for a boy or a girl.

And considering all of the pregnancy related things that annoy me:  comments about how big I've gotten, or how I've really "popped" or the stranger belly touches.  The one thing that never aggravates me is when people guess if it's a boy or a girl and the reason why they think that.

Most people think it's a boy because:

I'm carrying differently, out front and not wide, like I did with Isabella (apparently I was a wide beast and no one told me)

My face didn't change

My stomach is very round like a basketball

My nose didn't spread

Some people think it's going to be a girl because:

I'm craving sweets

The heart rate has been above 140

My skin changed

My hair didn't get thicker

I seem like a "girl mom"

I like all the reasons.  I think they're all fun!

What do you all think Mrs. Petrillo is?  Any particular reason.

Here's my most recent belly pic:

I'd love to hear what you think!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mommy Guilt

As I near what is (God willing) the end of my pregnancy I've been experiencing some obvious physical symptoms of discomfort.  My back aches, my feet hurt, my hands are showing some signs of swelling, and I'm pretty much exhausted all the time.  These are all par for the course for someone who is 9 months pregnant and even though I don't like it, I know it's normal and short lived.  I get that.  My husband gets that.  My friends get it.  Even my third graders get it.  Know who doesn't get it?   Isabella.

There are a lot of things that I used to do with her that I just can't anymore.  We used to play this crazy game where she's the Princess and I'm the Prince and I have to run and save her from an alligator who tries to tear her princess dress.  It's a bit bizarre, but it's fun.  The only thing is is that it involves a lot of running and lifting her up and twirling her around.  Not something me, or my back, can really handle at this point in time.

Sometimes when I'm giving her a bath, she likes to be carried from the tub into her bed like a baby...something that is easy for daddy to do, but something that mommy can't really do anymore.

When we play outside she wants me to run these elaborate obstacle courses with her that I just can't do.

I understand that it's only temporary and in no time I'll be right back at it, but it makes me feel so guilty to tell her no.  Or to tell her that I need a little rest in between activities.  Or to put on a movie when I really just need to sit down for a few moments.  I'm suffering a big bout of mommy guilt.

I know that I need to take care of myself physically, but I also know that it breaks my heart when I can't give 100% to Isabella.

Don't get me wrong we still do tons of activities together: play wii, play board games, blow bubbles, I sit and kick my feet in the pool with her even though it's frigid, I take her to the park and push her on the swing, we go to the museum, I arrange play dates, we read stories.  But there's still a limit on what I can and can't do with her.

I'm going to assume that when Mrs. Petrillo comes there's going to be more of the same, "Mommy can't right now" while I recover from labor and delivery and hit a stride with breastfeeding.  I guess we'll just have to learn as we go.

Monday, May 6, 2013

39 Weeks

How far along?  39 weeks
Total weight gain/loss? Up 25 lbs I'd be super stoked if the weight gain just plateaued at this point
Stretch marks? Yes and I think they're having orgies after I go to bed because more just keep popping up.  Still only on the left side which is beyond bizarre to me.  
Sleep? My sleep has reached an unfortunate state of affairs.  I have to pee like twice a night and the effort it takes me to roll my ass out of bed is insane.  
Best moment last week? Getting to wear my favorite maternity dress to a Communion.  It's pretty fancy and there  hasn't been much fanciness going on lately.  
Movement? I think Mrs. Petrillo thinks the way out is through my belly button because it looks like it's trying to bust out.  
Food cravings? chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream
Food aversions?  chicken and onions
Gender? Team Green
Labor signs? I've had a definite increase in the intensity and frequency of my contractions, but they're still not following the 5-1-1 rule.  
Belly button in/out? Out and it looks like it's wearing a hood.  
What I miss: High heels.  I wore them to the Communion party this weekend and my calves screamed for 2 days.  
What I am looking forward to: Finding out if Mrs. Petrillo is a boy or a girl.  
Milestones: I have never been this pregnant before.  I had Isabella at 38 weeks 6 days and I am currently 39 weeks 2 days.  

Here's me and my girl in our party dresses

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Nesting is no joke.  Seriously, intellectually I know that my body needs this time to kind of kick back and relax, both physically and mentally in preparation for this baby, but the little voice in my head keeps saying "CLEAN ALL THE BASEBOARDS"

I've been a complete cluster fuck of cleaning and organizing lately.  I've:

  • Cleaned all the baseboards and wiped them down with a dryer sheet because pinterest says it keeps the dust away.
  • Swapped out all the Fall/Winter clothes for Spring/Summer ones
  • Organized and cleaned all the outside toys
  • Organized my draws and Isabella's
  • Cleaned out the junk draw
  • Organized the closets
  • Organized the coupons
  • Deep cleaned the oven
  • Washed the windows
  • Washed all the bathroom rugs
  • Practiced wrapping my moby wrap
I think I may have snapped.  I've also been pretty busy prepping freezer meals so we're not living off pizza and charity when the baby comes.  Somebody stop me!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Stinky Feet

Whenever I've had my doctor's appointments I try to wear the least amount of clothing possible so that when I get on the scale it's not too terrifying.  So usually, I wear a pair of leggings with a tank and a long cardigan.  I take off the cardi and I have just leggings and a tank...nice and light.  I want to be able to eat all my pounds not pay for them in bulky outerwear.  Since the majority of my pregnancy has taken place during the colder months, I've worn my boots and just taken them off and stepped on the scale in my socks.  No problem.

Until Spring came.

I made a big rookie mistake.  I was heading to the doctor's office straight from work when I realized that I was wearing ballet flats.  Which every woman knows that flats = stinky feet.

Now I had a conundrum.  Do I go on the scale with my shoes on and take the hit for the extra half pound or so OR do I take my shoes off and stink out the nurse?

First I called Andy and I asked him if he thought I had time to come home, wash my feet and put on sneakers.  He said that I did not have time and that I was crazy.

Then I called my friend Kristy, she said I had to suck it up and keep my shoes on.  Then she said I was crazy.

Then I called my friend Jen and she said that I needed to stink out the nurse and keep my extra pound.  She also said that I was NOT crazy.  So she wins and I took her advice.

stinky feet pregnancy
Not my feet
I got to the office about 15 minutes early so I slipped off the offending flats and blasted the car's air conditioner on my feet and shoes to maybe dry them out a bit.  I also googled "how to get rid of stinky feet fast" but since I didn't have any vinegar or antibacterial soap in the car I was SOL. When they called my name I took my shoes off and immediately smelled them.

I'm so gross.

But whatever I only gained the exact 2 lbs I was supposed to so that makes up for any stinkability I may have caused.  Also, these are nurses, I'm sure they're used to worse.

I did notice that she glanced down at my feet and then I pedicure either!!!

I was a big foot offender that day.  But no worries I learned my lesson.  I now have perfectly and professionally pedicured toes and I make sure to wear either socks or flip flops on doctor day, especially since I'm there every blessed week now.

See, I'm not crazy at all.