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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Our Breastfeeding Trials and Triumphs

Breastfeeding is something that is really important to me since it is the most nutritious food a baby can get, and the convenience of it is even better ;) And after successfully nursing my firstborn for fifteen months with some minor hurdles in the beggining as any first time mom would experience, I thought I had it figured out and that I would have the same experience with baby number two. But, as they say every baby is different, and every experience will be different as well.

With Cyril, after about two painful weeks of both of us learning how to nurse, things slowly started to get easier and easier. And at about four weeks, we had it down. With Benji, things seemed to get progressively worse each week.

But it wasn't until about three weeks or so that I knew something was off. Every time I would try to nurse Benji, he would scream, arch his back, and would get extremely fussy latching on as milk would dribble from his mouth. He would pull away in discomfort. My letdown was forceful and I thought maybe that was the issue. But after talking to my midwife, pediatrician, and other mommy friends, as well as searching the web as any mom would, we were certain that he had lip and tongue ties and that this issue would be resolved if we took him in (even though I was extremely hesitant about the whole tongue and lip tie deal since I never dealt with it with my firstborn).

 When we came to get the procedure done, the doctor found no ties. We got a second opinion and again realized that there were no ties. Instead of being relieved, I was disappointed. I was disappointed because we were going home with no solution, and I still had no answers to why I had such a hard time feeding him and why he was in so much discomfort at every feeding. Although we were told that it could be acid reflux, we wanted to give it more time to see if anything changed before we did anything else since he was so small and every week makes such a big difference when they are that small.

Desperate to get my baby (and myself) relief, I made an appointment with a Lactation Consultant. She agreed that Benji didn't have ties but did mention that he had a high palate which made nursing harder for the both of us, but not a big deal and nothing to worry about. As she watched me nurse him, with him immediately starting to get fussy and milk dribbling from the sides of his mouth, she quickly ran out to grab me a nipple shield. Again, I was hesitant to the idea of a nipple shield since I have heard that babies can become dependent on them and develop nipple confusion. But at this point I felt like there was nothing to lose and as soon as she helped me put it on, he immediately latched on and ate peacefully for about 10-15 min without latching off or fussing. I filled with tears as I watched my baby eat peacefully for the first time in his short 5 weeks of life. The shield made all the difference in the world. I ended up using the shield for about 2 1/2 weeks, and there was no nipple confusion when I stopped ;) Your baby needs to be fed now, so do what you have to do now. Ladies who want to nurse but are having a super difficult time, don't give up! Nursing doesn't have to be painful or stressful. There is support and things do get better! Benji is now 4 months old and the happiest little nursling. I am so happy I persevered through all the pain and continued searching for a solution. It was all so worth it ;) 

Here are some things that made breastfeeding a lot easier and doable:

1. Nipple Cream: These are a must for the first couple of weeks of nursing since cracked nipples can be a pain! But as time goes on, you will not need these so one good container is all you need! My two faves are Yorba Organics Nipple Cream With Wild-harvested Mafura and Natural Nipple Butter. Both can be used as as lip moisturizer after you no longer need them for the initial purpose :)

2. Nipple Shield: If baby is having a hard time latching on, staying latched, or your letdown is super strong, you have to try a nipple shield. I bought 3. Keep one in your diaper bag at all times.

3. Disposable Nursing Pads: Another must have for nursing mommas! My favorite ones are the Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads.

4. Washable Nursing Pads: I prefer these Organic Cotton Nursing Pads for when I'm at home and at night time. But hold off using these for the first month until your supply is regulated. 

5. Nursing Pump: Since I nurse baby on demand and baby is with me most of the time, there isn't really a need for a nursing pump other than for when I leave Benji with my hubby or a babysitter and I need to leave some milk. I have this simple Evenflo Single Breast Pump. I have used it with my first and it's still going strong ;) 

6. Manual Breast Pump/Milk Saver: Okay, I'm not sure where this thing was two years ago when I had Cyril, but this little thing is amazing! I have saved so much milk using this from my letdown alone. Simply put it on one breast while nursing or pumping on the other, and boom you have yourself milk to freeze! 

7. Lifefactory Bottles: My most favorite BPA free glass bottles! Both my babies loved these and they are just the cutest in my opinion. I also always gift these at baby showers :) 

8. Dr. Brown's Bottles: My second favorite BPA free glass bottles. Again, both babies had no problem taking these

9. Storage Bags: And these are the best storage bags if you're trying to build a nice stash in your freezer. 

10. Nursing Cover: Both my babies were summer babies and I needed something super light and breathable. This Muslin Nursing Cover is my favorite and the print is adorable. I used it with Cyril and now using it with Benji :) 

I hope that this was helpful! :)


*Affiliate links used in this post. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

How I Stayed Healthy During Pregnancy

The 9 months of pregnancy was the healthiest I have ever been. Anyone will agree that having your first baby you tend to overthink and overdo things and you tend to go all out. And now looking back, I am super glad I did all of these things. 

Here are some ways on how I stayed healthy during pregnancy:

1. Eating a variety of wholesome foods: I ate a variety of different foods, concentrating on superfoods. We limited eating out as much as we could. I stayed away from processed foods and cooked quite a bit. I indulged on the weekends. I also followed the Bradley Method diet starting at 20 weeks. 

2. Prenatals: Garden of Life Vitamin Code RAW PrenatalNew Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin Both are great! And my midwife suggested a Vitamin D supplement as well. 

3. Water: I drank so much I almost floated away. I also gave up on coffee, but did have a cup here and there in my third trimester.

4. Dental Health: When my husband and I just met my midwife (at about 6 weeks), my husband asked her what was the number one reason women miscarry, and after a long pause, she answered "poor dental health." Thankfully a few months before I got all the dental work that needed to be done. I also got a cleaning half way into my pregnancy. Note: Of course this is not the only reason, just one of many in her 40+ years of delivering babies. 

5. Exercise: As far as exercise, I wasn't as consistent as I was with my diet. However, I did do Tracy Anderson: The Pregnancy Project about 1x/week. I took the stairs to our 8th floor apartment vs the elevator, and practiced the Bradley Method exercises that prepared me for a natural childbirth. I gained 36 lbs total (and in case you're wondering, I'm 3 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight).

6. House plants: In all honesty, I don't know a thing about plants, except that they purify the air and that is one of the biggest reasons why hubby and I went out and bought three plants and my mother-in-law gifted me two after finding out my "new thing for plants." Haha. She is the sweetest. 

7. Air Purifier: My first trimester migraines went away a week after using the air purifier. Not sure if it has anything to do with it, but it helped to breathe cleaner air! We purchased the IQAir® HealthPro® Plus Air Purifier.

8. Chiropractic: During pregnancy, your joints will start shifting to make room for the growing baby and you will become very unstable.This can lead to a lot of discomfort. A chiropractor can help with lower back pain, sciatic nerve pain, migraines, and a list of other things! A chiropractor will align your pelvis to help your baby reach optimal positioning. It has also been said that women that received chiropractic care, had smoother labor and deliveries. I started at about 16 weeks and got my last adjustment at 38 weeks, going once a week. 

9. Epsom Salt Baths: These were amazing! If you are pregnant, you must get yourself some Epsom salts. Epsom salt baths are actually recommended during pregnancy since this is a way to boost your magnesium intake--a needed mineral to help build and repair tissues in your cute pregnant body. It will also ease your aches and pains, especially in third trimester! I purchased mine at Marlene's Natural Food Market but found a super good deal here. Make sure your Epsom salts are unscented and natural! 

10. Prenatal Massage: OK, this is more of a luxury and my hubby definitely spoiled his swollen wifey, lol ;) I got a package of 4 massages and waited to use them toward the end of my pregnancy-- totally helped  my sciatica that came on towards the end. Can I just tell you that a prenatal massage feels so much better than a regular massage!

11.  Prayer: Pregnancy was also a time that I sought the Lord even more. Pregnancy can be a roller-coaster ride and I ran to the Lord to help me through my lowest moments. He is the one that blessed my husband and I with this child. I trusted God completely with the health of my baby and my own health. 

Psalm 127:3-5
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. 

And since I'm a foodie, here's some of my prego eats ;)

Not healthy, but I was obsessed with croissants for about a week straight! True story.

Tuna salad on Dave's Killer Bread with a cup of buttermilk.

Buckwheat with a coconut vegetable curry and salmon.

Pineapple Dole Whip.

Oatmeal with granola, banana, blueberries and nuts. 

Snack: Smoked salmon, carrots, veggie chips, and those triangle cheeses. 

Cobb salad with homemade peanut dressing.

Veggie omelet with Greek yogurt and avocado. 
Steak tacos. Hubby went with tortillas and I chose lettuce.

I hope this post was helpful to those expecting little ones!

Friday, November 13, 2015

I Had a Baby


I had a baby. Like a real life baby that needs to be fed, changed, bathed, rocked, loved on, etc. And my life has never been the same again. Cyril Kotelevskiy was born on July 17th, 2015 at 5:45am weighing 9 lbs and 21 in. Five days after his due date. And I have learned that due dates are nothing but estimates. So if baby comes a week "past the due date," the baby is not overdue. 

The day we brought him home was one of the most emotionally driven days I have ever had. I cried, I laughed, my heart almost exploded from love, I was scared, and I was about to start the journey of my heart living outside of me. 

It's true. Motherhood is life changing, and I am so thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to experience it. It's hard. It's real hard, oh but how rewarding it is. These little people truly do make you a better person. And they teach you things. 

I remember the first couple of weeks feeling like I wasn't sure what I was doing and somebody telling me "it'll come naturally." And it truly did. Nobody knows your baby as much as you do. And time is everything. 

I remember shortly after he was born and me trying to nurse him for the first time at the birth center and my doula helping me latch him on, she mentioned something super interesting. She said walking, talking, and eating comes naturally and so does nursing but boy does nursing take time, patience, and dedication to learn! And now, being 4 months into being a mommy, feeding my little one is one of the coolest and sweetest experiences. And I'm so happy I stuck with it. 

I also learned that being a mom is not about knowing everything right away, but learning it as you go. And it's a forever journey. :) 

Cyril, about 5 hours after he was born.  

Oh and BY THE WAY, boxy dresses are your best friend post baby ;)


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My Baby Shower

I cannot believe it's been so long since I updated my blog! When I started out, I wanted this space to be a diary of my life and now that I am pregnant, I am bummed that I have forgotten or better yet "abandoned" this little space of mine. 

Here are some photos from my baby shower, some are from my camera roll and some were sent to me from my guests at the shower. 

I broke the shower etiquette and decided to know about my shower since I wanted to decorate, and loved how everything turned out. I didn't really have a "theme," but just a collection of little things I like. 

"Oh baby!" banner is from Etsy. Paper flag banner made by me. All the yummy goodies were made by people that love me, haha!

The little vintage picture is thrifted. 

The cake was AMAZING! Big thanks to Natasha Bashinsky for making such a delicious cake. The cake itself was "Spartak," and everyone loved it! Cake was decorated by my bestie Anastasiya and myself--thank you dear friend for cutting your sleep short to make everything the way I wanted! xoxo

Cupcakes were made by my friend Alina Strizheus, and let me tell you, the girl can bake! These are not your average cupcakes! Sorry you missed out. Haha. The cute rustic banners are custom made and are from Etsy. 

Fruit tartes were made by me, but assembled by my dear madre. 

My baby's Daddy :) Love this man so much! And am so blessed to meet our mini! He hasn't missed any of our antenatal appointments and has totally agreed to do The Bradley Method! He is such a trooper!! Big Daddy points! Hahaha! 

And my hubby totally broke the rule and was present at my shower. I needed his help and he delivered 110%! 

Chocolate covered stawberries; made by my sister-in-law Natasha.

With my sister-in-law Natalie! Thank you dear for sending me this picture. I loved the simplicity of the decor used at my shower. And the cute bassinet is Pottery Barn; cannot wait to put my darling boy in it. 

Pretty bunch. We go way back with these girls. Like way, way back! 

One more with sissy in it. 

    Gift + Party Favor station. I had guests bring a children's book (in a different corner) to enter a raffle drawing. We also played a few other games.

"Soap, please take one." 

Natural Handmade soaps as party favors. I got these from Etsy: Rogue Valley Soap.

Dress is by June & Hudson in Floral (non-maternity, yay!). Shoes are Zara (last season, or the season before that, haha). My make-up was done by my super talented friend Sophia Prisyazhnyuk, check her out:

Me & bestie. Our boys will be best buds! 
30 weeks & 20 weeks! 

Little ole me again, baby bump, and the famous pregnancy photo. Haha.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, this sister of mine was the first one I called and she was the most excited for me (other than my hubby who was right next to me). In fact, she pushed me to take a pregnancy test and I did! ;). She was also the first one I called with tears when I felt my first real pregnancy symptom of mild cramping which scared everything out of me (only first time moms will understand) Hahaha! She reassured me all was normal and that there was nothing to worry about. Love you sister! And I look up to you so much!

With some of my sisters in laws & friends. 

I was so blessed by everyone who came to celebrate my baby boy, me, and hubby (well somewhat, haha). Thank you to everyone who cooked, baked, cleaned, showered me with gifts, and drove fur just to be there. Love you all so much and appreciate everything and everyone from the bottom of my heart! 


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Eggplant Tea Sandwich

I heart eggplant anything. 

But mostly if it's with mayo + garlic + tomato. 

I know, I know this is supposed to be a health inspired blog and mayo is not considered to be a health food. But lets face it, it's real life we are living, and sometimes eating whatever we want is totes okay. You can, however, totally substitute mayo with Greek yogurt if you want a "healthified" version of this appetizer.  

The eggplant spread itself I believe was introduced by my aunt Stella, who I haven't seen for over a decade; she lives in Ukraine. 

I know many people make different versions of this appetizer but I love it most as a spread, on a toasted baguette. 

-2 regular size eggplants
-2 Tbsp. mayo 
-4 garlic cloves
-1 tomato on the wine (or whatever tomatoes you'd like)
-1 organic french baguette (got mine from Trader Joe's)
-1/2 onion, chopped + sauteed
-2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
-pinch of salt + pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with olive oil. 
2. Slice rinsed eggplant in half lengthwise, then cut each half in quarters lengthwise. Roast until softened and golden brown for 40 min, turning eggplant over at 20 min. 
3. While your eggplant is roasting, sautee your onion with olive oil until caramelized, 5 min. Add pinch of salt + pepper. 
4. Slice your baguette (I used my dandy electric bread slicer) and lightly brush it with some olive oil. While your eggplant is nicely roasted and cooling off, toast your baguette for about 5 min (your oven should still be on from roasting your eggplant). 
5. In your food processor (or blender or using your potato masher), pulse your eggplant until desired consistency. In a mixing bowl, combine your pulsed eggplant with mayo, crushed garlic and sauteed onions. Top your toasted baguette with your yummy spread (best refrigerated and cold) and sliced tomato.

Enjoy your tea sandwich with a cup of your favorite tea! :) 

Note: The spread is also delicious on a regular piece of bread (Ezekiel, my fav!), topped with gouda cheese, smoked salmon and tomato. A delicious combo!

Happy Holidays, 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Food Lately



Here's some random shots of food from my camera roll. 

Have you ever discovered something so yummy that you ate it for lunch the whooole week? If you guys love seafood, you will love this Wild Smoked Salmon Dip from Costco (which is not the most healthiest thing out there, considering that it's made with cream cheese, but sometimes it's just A-OK to eat whatever you want in moderation-even if it's for the whole week! Ha!). Paired with some whole wheat bread from Costco as well as Campari tomatoes that are super sweet and delicious. Make sure you sprinkle your tomatoes with Himalayan Crystals... pink salt that is :) Which is really good for ya! And it's yummy!

My hubby asked me to pick up some Kombucha, so to Marlene's Natural Foods Market & Deli I went. Which happens to be one of my favorite grocery stores, which also happens to be a bit pricy. But lets pay for health now so we don't have to later. Alright. Up next is Ezekiel bread, one of the most cleanest breads out there, two green smoothies for hubs and I, some Kerrygold butter, which is always UNSALTED (I like being able to control my sodium intake), and some red wine for good health.

Back in July I started a PiYo challenge group, coached by my friend Megan Ewoldsen. You should totally check her out on her Facebook page under "Megan Ewoldsen - Health & Fitness." She's a super cute and fit mommy of two beautiful little girls. Anywho, a part of the challenge group, was a month supply of Shakeology, and I quickly fell in love with the chocolate flavor.  

Pure heaven in a jar - filled with delicious vitamins & minerals. Bam! 

If you are ever in the Tacoma Downtown area, you must visit Margaret's Cafe. She serves the most delicious salads & soups (one of my favorite food combos!). I ordered the Lemon Chicken Ginger salad with the most delicious dressing (totally will have to go back and order the salad again just for the dressing), and a cup of her Split Pea soup. The roll was pretty amazing too. Oh and her Caesar Salad is one of the yummiest too! 

Until next time!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Chicken Sausage Alfredo

Hi lovelies! I hope everyone's weekend is going great!

Hubby and I have been so busy lately that we have been eating out a little too much. And now that I'm back to working part-time, I'm excited to start cooking a lot more. Yay!

After de-cluttering our apartment and getting rid of "junk" that has been accumulating (ahh I love getting rid of stuff!), I decided to make a pasta dish. My husband loves pasta and I don't make it as much as he would like me to.

So today I threw together some ingredients and decided to call it "Chicken Sausage Alfredo." I probably should have called it Broccoli Alfredo since I used so much broccoli! Ha!

I shared the picture above on my Instagram and said that I would share what my hubby thought of the dish. And he LOVED it! Seconds after trying it, with the cutest Italian accent and his eyes closed, he said "Italy, Italy, Italy!" Haha! He said it was very rich and flavorful, with a nice spicy kick! Oh and the turmeric gave it such a pretty color too!

I paired the pasta with a simple caesar salad and whipped up my own homemade caesar dressing. The dressing alone needs a blog post! I could eat the dressing on its own it's that good! Will be sharing in future posts. 

Heres a recipe to the pasta. 

Alfredo Sauce Ingredients:
-3/4 stick of butter
-1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
-1 cup Pecorino Romano (love the sharp flavor!)
-5 cloves garlic
-pinch of salt & pepper 

Alfredo Sauce Instructions:
In a saucepan, melt the butter and then whisk in the cream. Add pinch of salt & peppa. Add the crushed garlic and the cheese. Bring to a light simmer. And done! 

Pasta Ingredients:
-box of Quinoa shells (cook per packaging instructions)
-head of broccoli, chopped
-1/2 onion, sliced (purple onion would be great too!)
-package of Trader Joe's Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Sausage, sliced
-pinch of salt, pepper, turmeric, oregano and cumin 
-2 Tbsp. olive oil (for sauteing)

Pasta Insructions:
Saute over medium heat the onion, sausage, and broccoli for about 5-7 min. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, turmeric, oregano, and cumin. Combine the alfredo sauce and the cooked shells. 

Two hours later, hubby asked for more! I think I'll be making it again :) 

Until next time!