BundlKit_BottleBib_FisherPrice

The baby market is ever-evolving, and even in comparison to what I observe in the always-innovating beauty world, it blows me away. So while I will cop to using a significant amount of hand-me-downs to keep Goldie clothed and cozy, there are some new acquisitions that I just must share in the event you, or someone you know, is expecting and you want to give them (or  yourself) one of the best baby gifts that will be used and very much loved:

1- BundlKit
The modern minimalist aesthetic of this new premium baby apparel line is the first thing I noticed upon breaking open the box- and soon thereafter, I came to appreciate the super soft material and completeness of the offerings inside. Two onesies (one for 3 months, another for 6 months), a burp cloth, mittens, a hat, a swaddle blanket and a great keepsake carrying case all retail for $125 and in my opinion is officially the most no-brainer baby gift of all time. Especially because for each BundlKit sold, a blanket is donated to a child in need. 

 2- Bottle Bibs
Random yet genius. Even with a burp cloth tucked under Goldie’s chin, we still manage to finish every feeding with a décolletage full of formula. These are super simple but very smart outfit savers- think of them as part scrunchie, part napkin. Put one around the neck of a bottle and tuck the cloth under baby’s chin, then feed away.  A set of 2 is around $9, and you really can never have enough. Throw one in your diaper bag, one around your wrist, and a handful wherever you stash your formula. 

 3- Fisher Price Infant Seat:
There is something about the old-school tried and true brands- sure, the designs may not be the most sleek or sexy, but they work. Very well. This infant seat is a prime example- every friend of mine who has had a baby in the past 8 months raves about this- and I can vouch for why. The angle is just so that a baby can sit comfortably even if you aren’t 100% sure that you waited enough time post-feeding to put her down yet but you really need your hands free to, ya know, take a shower or check Instagram. It is light as a feather to tote around the house as needed, and can easily be rocked with one foot while you work, which I may or may not be doing right this second. 

There is more where this came from and as time allows, I will be sure to share them here. Because even the second time around, I appreciate that new moms can use all the honest advice they can get.

 

Goldie

I am not a lot of things. One of those things is the girl who believes that sometimes you just “know” something, that your body sends you messages and you should trust them. The other of those things is the girl who can endure any sort of discomfort without all the pain relieving options available to her fully utilized. 

Well, newsflash- apparently, I am now both.

Monday morning I had this weird feeling. Small, subtle contraction-like sensations that just seemed different. But I didn’t say anything, because I didn’t want to jinx the possibility that maybe, just maybe, I was gonna put this whole pregnancy thing behind me sooner rather than later. I figured I was just being over-sensitive and hopeful, imagining what I wanted to happen was happening when in reality, everything was business as usual. 

Then, while watching Ohio State play Oregon in the College Football National Championship, I felt a magnified version of said subtle contraction-like sensation, and heard- or maybe felt (as I said, I am not that all-in-touch-with-my-body-girl) a weird “pop” sound. Yep, my water had broken- amongst other things. Called the doctor, she kinda blew me off (I now have a theory about OB-GYNS profiling certain “types” of girls as drama queens and as such, ignoring their initial claims of labor) telling me to eat and rest up and most likely “labor” wasn’t imminent, rather something that could happen around 3am otherwise we would connect in the morning.  

Meanwhile, Brian downloaded a “contraction counter” app and was calling out to me as I winced in pain- “Is it mild? Is it moderate? Is it still going on?!” The whole scene was very funny, looking back. Anyway, about 10 minutes after hanging up the phone, the contractions were getting severe, so we hopped in the car, and off to the hospital we went.

I won’t bore you with the details- but in summary- I arrived at 11:10pm. At 11:42 pm, I had a baby. In order to get an epidural, a minimum of 30 minutes is needed of IV fluids plus a blood test. We had time for neither. So I pushed this puppy out sans drugs. Which is something I, and anyone who has ever met me, would have NEVER imagined. It was insanely painful, but even more insanely life changing. Especially in the midst of my current self-doubting state where I had been feeling like a shoddy mom hiding behind help in order to shirk my “den mother” duties, I don’t think there was a better thing that could have happened to me. I screamed, I swore, I sweat (profusely) and I pushed. And I did it. I felt every single sensation. And I never want to do it again. But I am glad I did it all the same.

And then, there was Goldie.

Goldie Nora Falik arrived on Monday, January 12th at 11:42pm. I am unabashedly obsessed with her name- it honors Brian’s maternal grandparents, Rube and Bea Golding, and my maternal grandma, Nora. And when Alexa says “Goldie”, it is pretty much the cutest thing ever. 

I am sure much of the feeling of calm I have had since Monday night has to do with this not being our first rodeo. I remember when we had Lex, how jealous I was of the relaxed swagger of the second time parents as they strolled out of the maternity ward, confidently holding a newborn competently strapped into a carseat. This time around, we were totally those people, and milked every moment of it. But I also think that the way Goldie came into the world has a lot to do with it too. For the first time in a very very long time, I actually feel like I’ve got this.

Time will tell, right? But for now, I am just enjoying the quiet calm, soaking up the sleepy moments with the utmost certainly that I will never be doing this again.  

 

JennFalik_2014

{A friend of mine posted an amazing stream-of-consciousness recap of her year on Facebook this morning, and it inspired me to look back at my year in much the same way- small soundbites capturing moments and experiences that most certainly impacted the person I am now versus the person I was a year ago.}

I started the year focused very much on the professional…launched a web series…learned the art of Photoshop…explored new ways to express myself on my blog and along the way potentially figure out what I wanted it to “be”…put myself out there in a new way as a partner able to produce branded content for clients as opposed to simply hosting it…spent hours upon hours upon hours learning video editing lingo and the ins and outs of graphics…booked and executed numerous segments in addition to it all…hustled like I was 25 again…so much so that I didn’t write my yearly “letter to Alexa” update before her 3rd birthday…

Threw perhaps the most epic party I have ever thrown for my 35th and loved every debaucherous second of it…had more amazing times with friends that are fast becoming our family than I can remember/count…drank too much, probably didn’t eat enough at times, worked out like a madwoman and became proud of the strong, fit body that I had created…focused on eating cleaner, cooking more frequently, and becoming more adept at the art of entertaining just to be kind of a bit more of a grown up…

Took Alexa to Disney World with my mom and learned so many things about my little girl that I realized I had not noticed before…found out that these little people can be scared, fragile, nervous and not always the mini-warriors that, in our heads, we think we gave birth to…noted to self to be more on top of this whole motherhood thing…back home in time for a fun Cinco de Mayo fiesta with friends where I marveled at Alexa’s free-spirited dance moves and the incredible people we had become lucky enough to surround ourselves with in suburbia…

Then, in a matter of minutes, the entire year got turned on it’s head…

May 19th…went to a new doctor in hopes of finding out why my voice had been hoarse for a month and counting, figured it was laryngitis…May 20th….at Today Show doing a segment on the Cosmetic Executive Women Beauty Award winners and get a voicemail from an Unknown number…”Hey Jenn, it’s Dr. Karol. Just wanted to let you know, um, your pregnant.”…WHAT?!

Unplanned, unexpected…I don’t know many 35 year olds who just “get pregnant” anymore…Worked to wrap our heads around it…Two weeks later, first ultrasound, we were told that there actually wasn’t a baby…Went to Kiawah for my father-in-law’s birthday, then to Miami for a wedding…drank a lot, stayed out too late, readjusted my  view of the future back to what it was prior to May 20th- Lex, Brian and Me…Back to the doctor on June 9th for a check-in…Was told to wait another few days for the pregnancy to “take care of itself”…Led to an unexpected emotional roller coaster where I questioned everything I thought I wanted versus what I may have actually wanted if I took the laser-focus career vision in my head down a notch…Was asked to come in for an ultrasound on Friday June 13th at which point we were told “Congrats, the baby looks healthy, nice heart-beat, you are probably 7 1/2 weeks along…” WHAT?!

Goodbye Titos…goodbye boozy weeknights with the girls at Compo Beach…goodbye body…goodbye family of three…hello new reality. We told Alexa, she said “wow”…my thoughts exactly…

Decided the “false” false alarm was a sign, a wakeup call to make me appreciate the gift that my family had been given…Especially when I found the baby was a GIRL and cheered like a European in the stands at the World Cup…made a conscious effort to be present in life beyond the hustle…not measure my worth in segments booked or clicks on links and instead in time spent with my family…worked on the projects that I WANTED to work on alongside clients and producers and brands that I WANTED to work with…put things in writing on my blog that I never thought I would type with my own two hands…created (sometimes) a calm atmosphere in our house at night complete with- gasp!- a healthy home-cooked meal every now and then…planted a garden twice as big as the one last year…tried to enjoy quieter days with hours to spare if I wanted to binge watch Sons of Anarchy in the middle of the day…joined the Board of Directors at Alexa’s preschool which sort of feels like the most adult thing I have ever done…embraced elastic waists and 9pm bedtimes…became the designated driver (albeit a bitter, agitated one)…learned what it feels like to go to Saturday morning birthday parties at Tumble Jungle and NOT be hungover (quite nice, I must say)…designed a nursery…decided on a baby name…reminded myself every single day about that aforementioned commitment I made in June about how I was gonna measure my worth…screen shot lots of inspirational quotes off Instagram to support my efforts, including one that has stuck with me the most “Let me remind you: Wherever your focus is directed that’s where your energy goes. Whatever you allow in your space, you eventually become.”

2014 taught me that you really never do know where a year can take you…and it is possible to shift your personal paradigm of what is the most important thing…it isn’t easy, and I am still working on it every single day, but I know it can be done…you can have a career without putting so much pressure on said career to define who you are in every aspect of your existence…you can be a mom and go on playdates and create Pinterest boards about crafts to do with toddlers without driving a minivan littered with Goldfish crumbs and soccer balls…WHAT?!

There may in fact be a happy space that exists between the laser-focused competitive career woman watching out for her bottom line and the calm and capable den mother watching out for her family… and hey, if you want to hang out in that space for a bit and figure out your footing, pull up a chair…let’s do this. (But give me a few minutes, I have to go get started on my yearly letter in honor of Alexa’s 4th birthday that is fast approaching- I owe her an extra good one this time around…)

All the best for 2015, everyone!

JennFalik_JustTheThreeOfUs2

This is a totally weird time for me. The realization is starting to set in that a few weeks from now, our little threesome will become a full-fledged family of four, and Alexa, who has been the center of our universe since January 7th, 2011 is going to go from an only child to a big sister. And while I do believe it when every one tells me that a sibling is the best gift we could ever give to her, it breaks my heart to realize that she will never remember this time of her life when it was (for better or for worse) (yeah, I know, probably for worse) all about her.  

After Alexa was born, Brian and I realized how many spur-of-the-moment things we didn’t do that we totally should have done when it was just the two of us. I can only imagine that the same feelings will be fostered as we try and juggle two girls, and my mind reels 24/7 with all the things we should be doing now with one. Things that we opt out of because they just seem like a pain in the ass/too much effort/too exhausting for all involved will seem like a colossal impossibility when we add a diaper-wearing, formula-guzzling newborn into the equation.

In the spirit of special memories, we decided to take Alexa to NYC for the night to stay at the Plaza Hotel (like Eloise, natch) and see the Rockettes at Radio City. I won’t go into the gory details (let’s just say I took Lex to Disney too early and as a result she is none too keen on dark theaters and shows these days) but the best part of the story actually comes from what happened after we came home- a conversation that made the anxiety-filled 24-hour jaunt totally worth it.

My husband and I were re-hashing the events of our escapade.  My short answer when asked by friends and family how the trip went was? “We survived.” His? “It was great.” In an effort to try and better understand how on earth he could even utter the word “great” in relation to multiple meltdowns, dinner-time antics (I again thank Steve Jobs under my breath at least 100 times a week for inventing the iPad), and over a dozen battles of our respective wills (in case you are curious, Alexa’s is the strongest) involving everything from getting dressed in the morning to sleeping configurations for the evening, I inquired as to his sanity. I was honestly concerned that he was becoming afflicted with some sort of very early on-set memory loss. 

His assessment was totally based on the happy moments and the tiny victories- not the angst in between. For example:

–Alexa’s excitement upon seeing our hotel room, and the dance she did on the bed while we took her picture and she sang “Cheese, cheese, cheese!” for the photos.

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 –Her delight over a lunch of “tea and cake” in the Plaza Food Hall because that, she decided, is what Eloise probably had for lunch every single day. 

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 –Our “Victory Dance” post-Rockettes outside Radio City Music Hall- my joy over seeing her make it through the entire show and, added bonus, enjoy every minute completely trumped any concern whatsoever that the 10,000 passers-by would think us totally insane to be jumping up and down and cheering in the middle of the sidewalk. It was in those 5 seconds or so that all the stress I had been harboring (knowingly or not) since Brian booked the trip earlier in the week melted away. Granted, it came right back when we tried to get her to agree to a horse-drawn carriage ride around Central Park but still…tiny victories…

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 –The walk home from the show, when all three of us excitedly scurried to the hotel in anticipation of our favorite Sunday pastime- sitting around in pjs and doing nothing for a few hours.

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–The hilarity that ensued upon entering said hotel room and discovering a tower of desserts waiting for us. Alexa tried each and every one and told us every little detail about what she liked, didn’t like, and which ones we were allowed to sample for ourselves based on her personal flavor preferences.

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So, fine. I will cave. He was right. The getaway actually was great. And here is to another few weeks of “glass half-full” assessments of our life as a party of three slowly comes to and end and the next chapter begins…

 

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