Search This Blog

Monday, February 5, 2018

CHEERS to Being a Year Older and Wiser ;)

Seems like the New Year just started and yet so many people have already had a Birthday! 

Last week I turned 27! What?!

When did that happen? Time seems to be going faster than it has ever been. 

On the day of my Birthday my husband came home early, brought a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a cute mini cake from one of our favorite bakeries. I knew how much fun Cyril would have blowing the candle out and singing "the Happy Birthday song," so I went looking for a random old cake candle and finally found a little open pack of candles from a previous Birthday we had. Oh and guess who blew it out? The toddler of course! Haha

And of course no matter what was going on, Benji was all giggles. Love the stage he is in right now! But I probably love every stage, except the newborn stage, oops! (The snuggles is all I like about it though). Anyway, my husband secretly tried finding a last minute babysitter so he could take me to dinner but unfortunately that didn't work out, which is all good! 

Both boys ended up napping and I needed to do a few things around the house. We ended up running a few errands and tried picking up a fiddle-leaf fig tree from Costco that I have been wanting, but there weren't any cute ones so I'm waiting for a new shipment to come in.

But over the weekend I did get together with a few girls to celebrate me so that was nice! Both boys are on a good schedule so I'm just going with their flow and it makes my life sooooo much easier. My life pretty much revolves around their naptimes, naps in the car, and bedtimes. Oh and LOTS of diapers, hahaha! So yeah, it was nice to see my friends, and dress up!

Hubby and I are still planning to go out for my Birthday dinner. Speaking of which, I should probably text the babysitter now. ;)

And how cute is this dress?! I saw it online and fell in LOVE! Went to one store, they didn't have it so I had to have somebody call different stores to track it down and the minute I put it on I was sold. 

Linking it HERE
For sizing, I am wearing 4 US (fits like a 0-2).



New designer arrivals have landed at NORDSTROM.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How We Survived Colic

*This post is a continuation of Our Breastfeeding Trials and Triumphs post. So go read that one first if you haven't yet ;)

Now that we are on the other side of colic and have our happy baby, I want to give encouragement to those who are currently going through this awful time and feeling robbed of enjoying your little baby. As nursing became pleasant and manageable, Benji would get more and more fussier in the evenings and this was no longer due to his feedings. Without realizing or knowing what colic was at that time, and dealing with our breastfeeding struggles, I would say that colic started as early as 3 weeks of age, it just wasn't as predictable.With our firstborn, Cyril we did not experience this type of crying and knew that something was "off" when our baby would start screaming at the same hour of day, every single day, and would scream for 2-4 hrs at a time, and nothing we did would truly settle him.

So let me give you a definition of colic:

"Colic is a frustrating condition marked by predictable periods of significant distress in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby. Babies with colic often cry more than three hours a day, three days a week for three weeks or longer. 

Nothing you do to try to help your baby during these episodes seems to bring any relief. Colic can be distressing for both you and your baby. But take comfort: Colic is relatively short-lived. In a matter of weeks or months, the colic will end, and you'll have weathered one of the first major challenges of parenthood." -The Mayo Clinic

At about 6 weeks of age, we realized this screaming in the evenings for about 3-4 hours was a constant. The peak of colic is known to be between 6-8 weeks after birth, and this was true for us. It would start at about 5pm and would go on until 9pm, every single night. He screamed as if somebody was hurting him. We started avoiding going places around these times (hard to do during summertime and having a two year old who also needs attention). At about 11 weeks old we went on a trip with my sisters family where we stayed in the same condo, I was nervous on going since I hated being around people at the time my baby screamed since I didn't want any pity looks (my sister was very understanding and supportive, but the protective mama bear in me didn't want anyone to see my baby in distress). That weekend was the weekend we realized the evening screaming was slowly disappearing, but we didn't think much of it. We came home and gave it another week and it was GONE! He is now such a smiley baby! Our evenings are so calm and pleasant. We no longer avoid places. And honestly I truly started enjoying him when colic ended. I still sometimes wonder what it was and why he went through it. Maybe it was due to the fast and dramatic birth he had, or maybe it had nothing to do with it. I might never know. So here's a little encouragement to you moms battling with colic. HANG IN THERE. Know that you will get through this and that you will be on the other side. Get some help. I found that when I felt like I could no longer do it, my husband would take over to give me a little break and it was such a relief to have some time to pull myself together or even tend to my toddler. Keep a good attitude during this horrible time. Have hope! Your baby WILL be happy!

Here are some things that worked for us, I hope they work for you too!
Homemade Gripe Water Recipe:
-1 cup water
-1 1/2 tablespoon fennel seed
-1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
-1 teaspoon loose chamomile tea or use a tea bag if preferred bring to a boil and cool

Give baby 5mL in a syringe as needed. If you are nursing, drink this yourself so baby can also get it through your breastmilk. Also double the recipe and store in your fridge for up to three days.

Things that made ALL the difference:

Seeing a Chiropractor! Infant adjustments are nothing like the adult ones, so don't lose me here. A baby adjustment could be as gentle as you feeling the firmness of a tomato at the grocery store, and I seriously think Benji didn't even feel it when we brought him in. He slept for HOURS peacefully right after and the next day. I wish I brought him in sooner.

Going Dairy Free or Using a Dairy Free Formula: Pretty early on I started noticing mucous in Benji's stool. I brought it up to his doctor and he suggested I go off of dairy and see if anything changes. Sure enough, no more mucous (except the occasional slip up on my end), and the fussiness decreased.

Bouncing On The Edge Of The Bed or The Exercise Ball With the Baby Swaddled: This is one of those things that you randomly do and it tends to WORK! These are my favorite swaddles.

Carrying A Bottle of Pumped Milk Wherever You Go: Only my husband knows how important this was for us, hahaha (trust me it's only funny now). When I couldn't get to nurse him fast enough and while we still struggled with breastfeeding, giving him a bottle was the only way to keep him

Make Sure Baby Gets Burped After Each Feeding AND Belly Naps if possible: Such simple things that truly make a difference. I always had Benji nap on his belly in the living room, in his boppy lounger. That way I could see him at all times, and these were some of the longest naps he has ever had!

And these were my survival items, and in my opinion any newborn must haves:

1. Colic Tea: This is a colic must have! I went through so many of these cans. I always had a few tea bags in my diaper bag and while other people around me drank coffee or other yummy drinks, I drank this diluted chili tasting tea! Ha! These were also super convenient since I couldn't always get to making my own gripe water.

2. Baby Swing: This Fisher Price swing was such a big hit with Benji and one of my best baby purchases. I had no plans on buying this enormous thing, but boy did it keep him calm. Almost five months in and he's still loving it!

3. Probiotics: I think this is another one of those things that lessened the severity of his crying. Both Benji and I took these (since I was nursing). I have searched sooo long for a good dairy free probiotic and didn't find anything that was dairy free or gluten free (why give a newborn gluten so early on?!) until our naturopathic doctor mentioned this HLC High Potency probiotic. These do have to be refrigerated so if you can find these locally, do so! But if not, you can order them through Amazon, I would just make sure to call them and make sure they send you an ice pack and maybe do expedited shipping. I would split the capsule, put half of it in his bottle and drink the other half myself.

4. Digestive Enzyme: While trying to figure out why Benji was so fussy, our naturopath suggested we try a digestive enzyme and see if it helped incase he was having a hard time digesting my breastmilk. But since I started going off of dairy and saw huge improvements, I'm not sure if this made a difference, but maybe it did. Worth looking into for a fussy baby who is breastfed.

5. Dohm Machine: Colicky babies love white noise, and this Dohm machine is by far the best white noise out there in my opinion. We also brought this with us on our trip and it helped to block out outside noise when he was asleep.

6. Baby Shusher: This "Soothing Sleep Miracle" is something that I wish I had when we dealt with colic. But unfortunately I found out about it after colic ended and probably still should have gotten it for car rides. Benji loved the "shhh" sound I would make and it would help him quiet down. But this little cool machine lasts up to 30 minutes and turns off. Maybe a next baby must have? Haha

7. Essentail Oils: I am not a huge oil person but came across a highly rated oil on Amazon and gave it a shot. I added 1 or 2 drops of Digest Ease into one tablespoon of coconut oil and mixed it well. Rubbed a tiny amount into Benji's belly. It seemed to helped. I also diffused Anxiety Ease in the room and loved the smell! There are tons of fancy diffusers out there, but I love this simple one.

***I am not a professional, these are just things that seemed to bring some relief for us.

Although I found some relief in the things listed above, nothing truly 100% got rid of colic for us until it went away on it's own.


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,