September 15, 2012

Dear Giuliana: Month 3

My sweet, beautiful baby girl,

month3 Collage



I cannot believe that 3 months have already passed. My time flies by when I’m with you. You are still just as beautiful as ever- in fact, you’re becoming more gorgeous every day. Sometimes, you make faces that look exactly like daddy. Even when I don’t think it can be possible to love either one of you more than I already do, a little smirk will spread across your face and I see your daddy’s personality glowing in your eyes and my heart swells with more love for both of you. For you, because you are a part of him and for daddy because without him, I would have never met you. I love you both so completely and infinitely that it hurts. (In the best way imaginable!)


And are you ever a daddy’s girl! Don’t get me wrong- you and I still have a blast together! We still do our dance parties and cuddle as much as possible and go on walks with Kevin. But you love your daddy something fierce. You definitely recognize us and when daddy comes home from work, you light up! You are all smiles for him and I know that he can’t wait to come home to that smile!

And not only do you smile, you’ve been laughing! I used to think that a baby’s laughter was one of the best sounds in the world. Now I know, without a doubt in my mind, that YOUR laughter is the single best sound I have ever heard. First, you smile with your eyes. Then the corners of your mouth curl up and your lips part. Next comes your amazing little giggle- and sometimes even a shriek of delight! And when you laugh, so do the rest of us.


I hope you always have that gift- to keep smiling and light up the lives of those around you.

Your third month was kind of a crazy one, and I am still impressed with your adaptability- another gift I hope you can maintain as you get older. During one of the hottest couple of weeks this summer, our air con542507_4376599415056_1789809823_n[1]ditioning went out at home. We ended up spending more time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house than we did at our own, and you handled that like a champ! Just more people to love you, I guess! But you were patient while I worked- you even went to work with me a couple of times!

In a sad case of adaptability, you got pink eye right at the end of your third month. We had to give you eye drops 4 times a day, and although you did not like them, you let me drop them in with minimal crying and squirming- not such an easy task for such a little girl! I still don’t understand how you contracted pink eye in the first place, the doctor suggested that you might have touched your nose, then your eye. We’ll never know for sure, but 2 good things did come out of it- you’re advanced enough to have some hand-eye coordination and we found out that you weigh 12.2 pounds!You’ve officially more than doubled your birth weight, and you’re growing into such a big, strong, healthy girl. I know I say it every month, but we really weren’t sure what to expect when you arrived so early, and I have been nothing but impressed with your tenacity and strength.

Speaking of hand-eye coordination, one of our proudest moments to date was in the last couple of weeks when you started grabbing your hanging toys and bringing them to your mouth. It seems like a little thing, and one day when you’re playing on the Varsity team, we’ll look back and laugh at how impressed we were… but for right now, we all think its pretty amazing! I am getting such a kick out of watching you learn new things and absorb the world around you!

Watching Football

I’ve been dying to take you to one of the high school football games- maybe next week- because I think you will like it so much! You love being outside, you love motion and colors, and so far, you love watching sports on TV. Remember when we watched the baseball all-star game together? Well since then in the last month, you’ve gotten to watch the Olympics and the opening week of the NFL and for whatever reason, you cannot tear your eyes away from the screen! And you’re very intense while you’re watching! (By the way, you seemed to like the water sports best during the Olympics…)

A couple of other highlights from this month (and I’m apologizing now if this ends up embarrassing you later):

  • Pee diapers really bother you. Like, really bother you. You immediately start to cry. we can be driving or in a restaurant- it doesn’t matter. When you’ve peed, we all know about it. It’s the angriest I’ve ever seen you. (Probably until you read this!) But it’s okay- I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it means you’ll be easy to potty train. Again, fingers crossed!
  • You are starting to enjoy your baths more and more. At first, you strongly disliked them. There was a lot of crying and shaking involved. Now you seem to love them! You relax and smile. You watch yourself in the mirror. It’s a nice way for both of us to unw377341_4403011075331_1914184429_n[1]ind together at the end of the day- it usually makes you pretty sleepy and I love holding you naked! You have the cutest little butt! (Sorry, future G- but it really is adorable!)
  • You love, love, LOVE your monkey binky! It’s right there in that picture of you and Kevin. And in your week 11 picture. When you’re upset, sucking on it soothes you and now that you’re using your hands, you like to cuddle it!
  • That picture to the right of you and Kevin?… that is very indicative of the relationship between you guys. He’s fully gotten used to you and he’s very protective of you. He enjoys being near you and smooching you. You’re comfortable with him too. 559178_4394633585899_72785660_n[1] When you’re laying down and comes over to visit you, you smile up at him. It’ll be cool to see how you guys interact when you’re a little older (and you’ll probably want to yank on his tail or ride him). My two “kids”… I love how sweet you guys are together!
  • You’ve been sleeping through the night. It’s a pretty sweet deal- you usually fall asleep around 10 pm, and aside from the occasional 4:30 am wake up call, you sleep through till 6:30, 7:00, sometimes even 8:00 am! Oh happy day for mama!
  • Oh, did I mention that you’re the coolest baby in town?? 386961_4455754393881_827167213_n[1] It’s true. You’ve got the shades to prove it. They’re still a little too big for you, but I figure for as much as you enjoy being outside, they’ll get a lot of use. Plus, you look A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
  • Lastly, you love your family. Not just me, daddy, and Kevin, but your extended family. You recognize all of your grandparents and always smile for them. Your grandma and grandpa on Daddy’s side have been so great- anytime I need a babysitter so I can run to work, they’re there for us, so you’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with them and they are so good with you and they love you so much! I want to talk about my family for a bit though…

Seeing you with my family is like nothing I could have ever imagined. My mom is great with you- that was no surprise. She has been an amazing mother- very knowledgeable and protective and maternal. I’ve seen her with other babies and small children, so seeing how she interacts with you doesn’t surprise me one bit. In fact, I look to her for guidance and support. Don’t get me wrong- my dad has always been a fabulous father. But- although I know he has- I can’t actually remember him holding a baby. And then there’s Uncle Jeff. I distinctly remember him being afraid to hold babies! But with you, they are all so incredible! Grandma loves cuddling you and rocking you to sleep. Uncle Jeff has babysat you a couple of times and you both seem to love each other. He’s not afraid of you at all. And he might deny it, but I think he secretly looks forward to each time he gets to see you! Aunt Jenn too. She’s always asking about you. It makes me happy to see how much of an interest they take in you! (Maybe you’ll get a cousin sometime in the near future!)

Now watching you with your grandpa- that has been the best surprise! He loves spending time with you- feeding you, talking to you, playing with you. You guys have your own games that you play. You’ve fallen asleep together cuddling on the couch. (probably watching a car auction!) I’m not surprised at how much he loves you, but I am surprised at how wonderful he is with you. I’ve never heard him use baby talk before now!  You like to watch his mustache bounce up and down while he’s talking to you and when he kisses you, I call them walrus kisses. You seem to like them a lot! And oh boy, when him and grandma are together, they just dote upon you! The love in the room is so strong that it’s tangible and as I stand there behind them, watching them shower you with tickles and kisses, I feel almost like I’ve gotten to go back in time. I feel like I am getting to see what they must have been like with me when I was your age. How lucky am I to get the chance to make that trip?? And how lucky are you to be surrounded by such an amazing family and so much love? Always remember what a fortunate little girl you are and never take for granted this wonderful family we’ve been born into!


Giuliana, I love you more and more as each day passes. I’m looking forward to falling asleep tonight because I know I’ll get to wake up to your sweet smile and fall in love with you even more!577005_4487994919874_1409485061_n[1]





Gblue GandK Collage

August 23, 2012

Throw Back Thursday: First Picture

Well believe it or not, this post has nothing to do with the baby. (Although I can’t promise I won’t mention her once or twice!) This one is a blast from the not so distant past…
34574_1521588881577_2080024_n[1] This is one of the first pictures that Brian and I took together. To be exact, it was the third one.

These were the first two:
34209_1521588801575_8141706_n[1] 38431_1521588601570_7109352_n[1]

We couldn’t get the lighting quite right…

But anyway, this was in January 2010, shortly after we had started dating.We went to the Griffith Observatory to star gaze. He was easy to talk to and we had a ton of fun from the day we met, but this was when we were really just starting to become completely at ease with each other. Like we had known each other for years.

And that’s why I love that first picture. (Well, all of them- aside from the lighting!) We were so genuinely happy to be there with each other and it's so easy to read that on our faces! We’re not only smiling with our mouths, but also with our eyes. I can look back at these pictures and remember exactly how I felt- a slight flutter in my stomach that accompanies a new love, giddiness at the jokes and one-liners we playfully bounced off of each other, contentment at spending quality time with someone I was growing more and more in love with.

The amazing thing is that, other than some extra weight and a few more wrinkles, we are still that happy, smiling couple posing on top of a Los Angeles hillside. I still feel that flutter when he walks in the door after he comes home from work. We still crack each other up with jokes that only we would understand. I feel contentment in the best possible way when I see him pick up our daughter and pat our dog on the head and then lean down to give me a kiss.

Although these pictures weren’t taken that long ago, we have gone through so much together. I cherish being able to look back at these snapshots of the beginning of this crazy adventure of ours and reflect on how far we’ve come. Who would have guessed that the goofy, bearded boy that took me to the observatory that night would become my entire world and the love of my life. ♥

August 22, 2012

Dear Giuliana: Month 2

month 2 Collage My beautiful little Giuliana,
I’m writing this late- two weeks late, actually. But I’ve been spending almost all of my time with you, and it’s precious time better spent enjoying you rather than blogging about you. But I have been taking more pictures than I can count and when I have the time, I jot down little notes so I can make sure to remember as much as I can. I didn’t know it before you came into our lives, but so much happens within the first months of life. You amaze me everyday with how strong you’re growing and how beautiful you’re becoming- and that’s pretty spectacular because you were such a strong and gorgeous baby from the minute I met you.
You like to grunt. It’s really cute. You and I accompanied daddy to his dentist appointment and a lady in the waiting room overheard your grunting and told me that you’re going to be a talker. Considering the family you’re coming from, she’ll probably be right! And I’m excited to hear everything you have to say!
You’re starting to smile more and more. You smiled last month, but as difficult as it was to admit, we all knew they were gassy smiles. Now they’re real. You respond to us and our facial expressions. And when you smile back at me, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. ♥

You really are a strong baby. You’re getting bigger- at your 2 month check up they said you were 10 pounds, 10 ounces and 24.5 inches… average weight and 97th percentile for height! It will be nice if you continue on that trend. I told the doctor that maybe you’ll be a volleyball player. He replied, “yeah. Or a model.” (See, even your doctor thinks you’re beautiful!)
You’ve started to roll- well, trying to roll, at least. In that picture to the right- of you and dad sleeping- you rolled to your side on your own right there. I had to snap that picture with my phone because you and daddy were sleeping the same way, and it was adorable. I love you both so much!
You’ve rolled to your side multiple times now and it makes me so proud and I can’t help but cheer you on. Like, I literally startle you because I get so excited and loud. I’m warning you now- whether you become a volleyball player or a model, a dancer or a pianist- I will be at every game, recital, and/or show and I will be cheering you on. Always. I will be your biggest fan.
I know this is probably going to embarrass future teenage-Giuliana, but I couldn’t help but post another PJ picture because you are so. darn. cute. I can’t get over it. And especially cuddled up with Kevin. He loves you and is so protective of you. In fact, whenever someone new is holding you, he will go and lay down in front of them. And you got to meet a lot of friends this month! Pretty much the whole gang. And let me tell you, you are a loved baby! What a lucky way to enter the world- so many people to love you and teach you and look after you! We are a lucky family!

But I need to go back to the PJs… you are so cuddly in pajamas. You’re cuddly all the time, but even more so in long sleeves and footies. And since you were born right smack in the middle of summer, the only time I get to hold you in so much clothing is at night or early morning in your pajamas. You seem to like cuddling as much as I do and I hope that continues because it brightens my day. Sometimes my arm starts to fall asleep or I really want that diet Dr. Pepper that’s just out of my reach, but cuddling you relaxes me and there is no better feeling than holding you and feeling you squeeze me back.

You’re not always sleeping though. You were the first month, but now you’re awake A LOT more. So we have dance parties. You really like music. Disney and LMFAO songs to be exact. As far as I can tell, your favorite song is a tie between Part of Your World and Sexy and I Know It… what can I say, you like to wiggle.

Usually, you’re laying on your back while I move your arms and legs around. When you were smaller, I had to do most of the movements but now, you’re doing a lot on your own. You like to kick and punch now! And you always keep your little fists and toes all clenched up! I think music is going to play a very important role in your life. When we’re in the car and you start to cry, we pop in turn on some Disney and you’re a happy camper. Good thing daddy LOVES the Disney, right?? It’s been a lot of fun- we all sing and laugh together. They’re songs that bring back happy memories from childhood, and I hope they’ll do the same for you.

In such a short time, we’ve already had so much fun….

We go on walks. Sometimes they’re just quick ones to take Kevin out. We’d stay out  longer, but it’s hot outside! Sometimes it’s with Daddy and Kevin in the evening. You love your Ergo carrier. And you love nature. You like to watch tree branches blow in the breeze. You like to look at flowers. When we’re outside, it’s like you’re in constant awe and your eyes constantly scan back and forth. When we’re stuck inside because of the heat, you love to look out of the widows.

We watched the MLB All-Star game together. I hope you like sports because you’re going to be watching them a lot. At the very least, I think you will definitely grow up with a healthy respect for athleticism and competition.

We took a family trip to the zoo! You slept through a lot of it, but when you were awake, there were tons of trees to look at. :) And Daddy and I had a fun day too. It was our first real family adventure- just the three of us, and we all handled ourselves quite well. Then you even let me and dad eat a nice lunch and go Costco shopping. A perfect trifecta of a day! And Miss Giuliana, you are quite the monkey lover!
zoo Collage

We celebrated Grandpa Howie’s birthday! You let us go out to a nice dinner that night too! There were other babies in the restaurant that got fussy and their parents had to switch off taking them outside. YOU, however, slept through the entire meal and allowed me and daddy to feel all nice and smug. Keep up the good work baby!

And finally, in some of my favorite pictures to date, you and I had a photo shoot while daddy and Kevin slept… you started off asleep and I was taking pictures of the 3 of you on the bed, but then little Miss Personality woke up and now these pictures make me smile every time I see them!
funnyfaces Collage Giuliana, I have loved watching you grow these last couple of months. You have brought me so much joy and although my life is 100% different than it was at the beginning of summer, I wouldn’t trade any of it. You  delight me, frustrate me, teach me, and amaze me. I love you so, so much!

July 10, 2012

Pinterest Challenge: I Heart U Alphabet Art

I kept looking for different ideas for displaying the alphabet in nurseries. When I saw these cute I ♥ U alphabet ideas, I knew it was something that I had to recreate for Giuliana's room and hang in the reading nook I'm in the process of creating.
1) Anna C:
2) Hopscotch Haiku:
3) A L-Sand:
4) Colleen Tolliver:

Cute, right? And when would be a better time to share then the Summer Pinterest Challenge? :)

The DIY link-up brain-child of Katie and Sherry? Count me in!

To make my alphabet art, I used an Ung-Drill frame that my brother and his girlfriend had given me as a gift last year.
It was so easy- the colors in G's room are pink and brown, so I busted out the paint and made the frame pink. I also bought some wood letters and painted them brown- except for the I and the U which I painted the same pink as the frame. I also painted a wooden heart pink to use in place of the letter O. Then I arranged and rearranged the letters on some recycled wrapping paper until I liked the way it all looked. 

Once I felt good about it, I glued it all down, slapped it into the frame, and ta-da!...
I love it! I'm so happy with the way it came out and I can't wait to finish the nursery and get everything hung up- update to follow!

And just because I think she's so adorable- 
I love that face!!!

Edit 7/12/12: I also hooked up with HOH!

July 9, 2012

Dear Giuliana: 1 Month

Dear Giuliana,

Yesterday was your one month birthday. You spent it getting to meet your aunts and uncles on the Rodner side of your family at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Everyone loves you and thinks you're beautiful. (Naturally!)

This past month has gone by incredibly fast and it blows my mind to think that you're actually still supposed to be in my belly for 2 more days!

Your birth was really scary at first- dad and I weren't sure if you were going to have any health problems and how severe they might be. You still seem to choke a little sometimes while you're eating- and that makes me hold my breath- but you cough and sputter for a bit and then all you want is to continue eating. It scares me, but your doctor says he likes the fact that you can clear your own throat and he would be more worried if you never choked while eating. So here you are now, 4 weeks old, growing and strong, and our healthy baby girl!

Now that the worry is (mostly) over, I am truly enjoying the fact that you came so early. Don't get me wrong, you're a lot of work! Sometimes I feel like all I do is change diapers and wash dishes and do laundry... not my favorite tasks. And you'll kill me when you're a teenager for putting this out there, but you've already thrown up on me (4 or 5 times), pooped on dad (3 or 4 times!), and showered us both with pee... we're still learning this diaper changing thing. But it's all worth it.

Sometimes I just sit with you in my arms and I stare at you. Sometimes you're seeping, sometimes you're awake. But I can watch you for hours- hours that make time go by so fast. The hours have turned into days that have turned into weeks. While I hold you, I like to feel your lungs expand in your chest as I watch your little belly go up and down while you breathe. It amazes me that dad and I created you and sometimes I get so overwhelmed with emotion that I cry. I cry tears of joy because I feel so lucky to have you in my arms. You look like a perfect little doll with perfect, chubby, rosy cheeks that I can't help but constantly kiss. Then you'll smile or open your eyes or grunt, and each time, I think it's the most adorable thing I have ever seen.

 I have been filled with an unconditional love for you and I didn't think was possible to develop such a deep love so fast. I know most of it is still your reflexes, but when I hold you face to face, you wrap your little arms tightly to my shoulders with a little Giuliana hug. While I'm feeding you, you wrap your hand around my finger.

I love how small you are and I don't want to wish this time away, but I look forward to meeting the girl you will grow into. I love playing with your crazy spiky hair and think about what it will look like when you're bigger. Will it turn curly and light like mine or stay straight and dark like dad's? I love looking at your perfect face and I daydream about how beautiful you will continue to get. Your grandma is one of my best friends, and I look forward to the day that you and I can have the same relationship. I'm excited to teach you how to throw a ball, and go shopping with you, and talk about boys with you. I am so grateful to have such a perfect baby girl in my life.

I cherish this time I get to share with you. In the last month, you have shown me how strong you can be- this tiny, helpless premature infant that scared doctors before her arrival and then made them fall in love with her. An itty-bitty 5 pound creature that was hooked up to all kinds of wires and machines for her first five days of life. But now, just a few short weeks later, you've gained weight steadily (over 7 pounds now!), impressed everyone with your eating skills, and you've been lifting your head up- really, you're so strong! You were ready to be born- you were ready to show us what an incredible and resilient little person you are.

In this short time, you've also shown me how strong I can be. I have felt physical and emotional pain that I never could have imagined, but I have gotten through it. Because of you, I feel like a more powerful woman. I feel like I can get through any challenge that I come across. You have challenged me to be patient. You have challenged me to work harder with less sleep. And you have challenged me to learn (and practice) what it means to be selfless. Let's continue to challenge and teach each other.

G, you are an amazing baby girl and I am so happy that you are in our lives. I love you.


June 30, 2012

Triumphant Return

After well over a month (maybe close to 2?) I was able to make it to the gym this morning. 

My mom Some might say this was a dumb thing to do. In fact, one of the ladies at the gym asked how long ago I gave birth. When I replied three weeks ago, she shockingly asked if my doctor had cleared me already. 

Nope. In fact, I don't see my own doctor until next Friday. But I've been feeling really good, the class I wanted to take wasn't super early, and compared to my normal balls-out approach to working out, I maintained a relatively low intensity. 

So how did I feel?

I felt GREAT!!!

It was great to be back at the gym with my mom. It was great to be able to move my body the way I used to be able to. (I can lift my knees to my chest again!) It was great to be able to do regular sit-ups again. It was great to feel light again!

I missed being away from G, but knowing Brian has things under control at home made it easy to be away for an hour or so.

I need to modify my old work out routine- obviously, I won't be able to do 6 am workouts anymore. For a while, anyway. Brian and I have been taking Giuliana and Kevin out on walks almost every night, but I'm ready to step it up a little bit more. Insanity, maybe? Turbo Fire? I'll figure it out.

And here's how things have been looking around here in the last 3 weeks:
I'm in love!!! ♥

Her 3 week stats: 21 inches, 6 lbs, 9.5 oz... coming right along!

June 25, 2012

The First Two Weeks

If the Friday Giuliana was born was one of the happiest days of my life, the Saturday after she arrived was one of the worst.

Because I would still be a magnesium-induced fall risk for 24 hours after giving birth, not only was I literally stuck in bed ALL DAY, but I couldn't go see my new born baby. They wouldn't let anyone wheel me to the NICU because of the way they were monitoring me. So bed rest it was, with an IV stick stuck in my right arm, a lab tech coming in every couple of hours to take blood from my left arm, a catheter, and a tv remote that didn't work. Oh yeah, and my baby shower was at 12:00 that day. 

Alexis came and visited me in the morning. Brian came by for a couple of hours before he made an appearance at the shower. Doctors kept coming in to inform me of G's status (it was always positive- she was just an uncoordinated eater at first, so she would forget breathe while she was eating). My parents came after the shower ended. Brian came back to spend time with me in the afternoon/evening. 

But the day was slow. I was in pain. I really wanted a shower- or at least be able to brush my teeth. And most of all, I wanted to see my baby.

Finally, after 11:30 pm, my nurse came in with good news- they were going to remove my IV and catheter, and I could get up immediately after.

As soon as I was able to, I jumped up wobbled to the shower and got cleaned up as best I could. Then I was able to make it to G's bedside for her midnight feeding. The nurse there fed her as I watched- they were still a little weary of how well she was able to eat. But as soon as she was finished, I was able to hold her and have some skin to skin time. 

It was bittersweet- I had already sent Brian home for the night so he could get some quality sleep- but I wished he was there with me. We still didn't have time for us to be our little family yet. I don't think he even got to hold her yet at this point. Even though I was thrilled to be holding my little love, it made me sad that Brian wasn't there with me.


The next day (Sunday), they released me from the hospital, but told us that Giuliana wouldn't be able to go home until Wednesday at the earliest. Brian was visibly upset, but I look at it as optimistically as I could- it would give us time to get everything ready for her. To open our gifts from the shower and set up her nursery. To clean up the house and prepare Kevin a little bit more.

We went to visit her before we left and she was so sweet, and so small.
It wasn't until we were walking away that I cried for the first time. That was when it hit me that the little baby inside that hospital room was MY baby. OUR baby. And we were leaving her.

The rest of the day was spent with family- we went to my parents' house where we were also meeting up with Brian's family and Alexis, eat dinner, opened up G's gifts from the shower, and then we headed back to the hospital for her 9:00 feeding.

The next 3 days, we went to the hospital as often as we could- in between running errands and getting the house as ready as possible. Leaving Giuliana never got easier. Actually, each time felt more difficult and I think I cried more each time we had to leave. 

So hard to leave that sweet little face
Every time Brian and I have faced a challenge, we have been able to lean on each other. We balance each other emotionally and I am so thankful not only to have him in my life, but to have him as my best friend, my husband, and now the father to my child. He is an incredible man that is strong when I need him to be, but also not afraid to show emotions of his own. I love him so much.
My eyes are puffy from crying :(
It is quite possible that Wednesday, June 13th might have been even better than G's actual birthday. I was feeling incredibly better, we were feeling more settled at home, and best of all, Giuliana was released from the hospital!
The nurse took this picture before we left the NICU
Her gestational age was 36 weeks exactly, her eating habits had vastly improved, and our family could finally all be together.
Strapped in for her first car ride
Giuliana came home just in time for Brian's first Father's Day! We did a little photo shoot and spent time with our families where everyone got to hold her and spend real quality time with her for the first time.

She is the sweetest baby. Even her little cry is sweet and it makes me smile. All of her little noises- grunts, sighs, cries- she even has this little laugh- they all make me happy. Happy that she's here, happy that she's healthy, and happy that she's home and in our arms where she belongs. 

She loves to cuddle and be held. She has this crazy spiky black hair- I'm still not sure where that came from! And I swear, her cheeks are the perfect size to be kissed! No question about it- we're in love!

As for me, I realize now how silly I was being before and how much I complained about such insignificant matters. Like, my weight and being forced to eat a more well-balanced diet. I've already lost weight- I'm 4 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight, actually. I would go through it all over again (but hopefully the next time I'll have a bit of a healthier pregnancy- or at least a healthier end to my pregnancy). 

Time to wrap this up and go cuddle my little love.