A Baby Sprinkle

Yesterday at Linda’s (where I work) two colleagues threw me a baby “sprinkle”. When my friend Kim found out I was pregnant around 11 or 12 weeks one of the first things she asked me is if I would have a shower. I told her no, that I had been showered before with my first and thought it was tacky to have another.

She was bummed. She wanted to get me something and do something. I suggested then that she could do a sprinkle which is similar to a shower just not with as many presents. I also told her to leave the games out of it but of course she didn’t listen.

Being two of the craftiest people I know, Kim and our friend Britney set out to put my sprinkle together. It was months in the making and all their hard work showed. These two should be in party planning, not bras!

Here are some pics from the party…

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Kim & Brit made this invitation and chose the theme and colors based on a lil getting-to-know-you questionnaire.

Kim made these little elephants by punching them out from scrapbook paper and then attached them to toothpicks to stick inside the homemade vegan cupcakes that Brit made. Honestly, they look store bought. I would have stopped with the toothpick.

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I wasn’t joking when I said Kim was crafty.

They decorated the hell out of our tiny conference room by pushing the huge table to the side and utilizing it as the gift/goodie table. They even put our flat screen TV to work with a power point baby trivia game. There were balloons, and they also hung streamers from the pipes at the top of the ceiling.

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Our boss Carl peeks in but opted not to stay, being the only guy and all.

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They even made party favors!

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Kim clowning around with balloons.

For the Jack & Jill baby shower of my first baby my best friend Lauren made a baby guessing game due date/gender pool. A calendar is built out two weeks before my due date and two weeks after with the due date highlighted. For $5 you got a box with your name on it. If you guessed right you got the proceeds of all the boxes. My friend Diane’s husband won that pool and if I remember correctly the pot was $160!!

Kim and Brit did something similar using stickers. Whoever wins the due date AND gender gets a $25 gift certificate to H&M! I chose a girl on Friday, September 13th for two reasons: I feel it’s a girl based on a very profound dream I had early on and because I like the date 9/13/13.

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The due date/gender pool!

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With Kim & Britney

My thank you note to the women and (two) gents who work at Linda’s:

What can I say? I was so, so touched by yesterday’s baby sprinkle! The games, the gifts and the yummies were just so lovely. I truly enjoyed our time together — having some laughs, pigging out on cupcakes and learning about the gestation period of an elephant – WHO KNEW!

Thanks for sharing in the happy moments, I’m sure the baby felt them through and through.

I’m definitely looking forward to finding out who wins the baby pool :)

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The Linda’s ladies.

 

30 Weeks Pregnant With #2

A couple of weeks ago I really began to feel this baby come to life in my belly.  While I know I didn’t keep a detailed week-by-week account of my pregnancy with Mylo, I do know he was bopping around much sooner than 28 weeks.

There are no true patterns or consistencies, but I ‘m enjoying watching my belly shake from side to side when the baby moves about. This baby’s calmer in-utero existence makes me think there’s a girl in there, or a very mellow boy. Of course I’d hate to be wrong, but a very powerful dream pretty early on gave me the girl hunch.

At 30 weeks now, the arrival of this baby is becoming more of a reality. I am reading more and more birth stories in preparation for my own homebirth and am in awe of other natural birthing moms’ courage, stamina and confidence in their bodies.

We’re still piecing our birth team together. So far we have Kristen our midwife, Piper her assistant and Dia the doula. We’re in the process of meeting with a photographer to hire – which hasn’t been easy since birth photography isn’t a big business yet in New York City. Finding just the right person who respects the intimate birthing space they are being invited into, is affordable, and has a portfolio, has been a challenge. Then there’s who to have on call (if needed) for Mylo – most likely my mom.

Ahh, Mylo. My love. My first-born. Part of me aches that these next ten weeks are the last I will have with him alone. Meanwhile another part of me aches for this second child who will make us a true family. I’m excited to see Mylo shower the baby with his sweet ways yet anxious about the sleepless nights that lie ahead. And of course I have pangs about becoming a divided family: Daddy taking Mylo to the park while leaving baby and mommy to figure things out.

As for running in the third trimester, I’m still loving it but find I need to focus more on maintaining my center of balance. The hardest thing has become how I feel after the run then I do during the run. The pressure from the baby on my pelvis throughout the rest of the day is excruciating and causes me to do a painful waddle walk. Basically, I look like a pregnant woman in a lot of distress when normally, on a day I don’t run, I barely have a pregnant walk at all.

30 Weeks Pregnant w/ Baby #2

30 weeks pregnant w/ baby #2

Sleep has also become an issue. Mainly because my bladder wakes me up, but also because Mylo seems to be waking up earlier and earlier and making his way into our bedroom like it’s time to party. Most mornings his entry is at 6:00 am but some mornings it’s as early as 5:30. Sigh.

My maternity leave package leaves more to be desired, but I suppose that’s what you get when you work for a small boutique start-up company.

Time with Mylo, finding a photographer, lack of sleep, work worries and the fact that running is coming to an obvious end — are what’s on this pregnant mama’s mind these days.

Reunion Weekend

When I was a senior in high school, one of my good friends died in a tragic accident that was related to our hard-partying ways. Many people in our school and community thought we had it coming to us. That attitude seemed somehow not right back then. And 18 years later, I still feel that receiving that kind of support was somewhat tragic in itself.

Timmy Ryniker, or “Ryno” as we called him, was one half of a twin. His sister Kerri was also a close friend, but I was tighter with Tim. After Timmy died, I pulled back a bit from this group of friends. We all processed the loss differently, and my way seemed a bit more head on at the time. They all grieved at first but went on with life as if nothing had happened — until it was late at night and the drinks and marijuana had been flowing freely. Only then would the tears also flow. So in the last months of my senior year, I distanced myself from them. I didn’t even go to prom.

I kept in touch with a couple of the girls throughout college, but not with Kerri, and not with any of the guys. Years later I’d heard through the grapevine that Kerri married a boy from college. His name was Tim.

Then she joined Facebook.

Kerri reached out to a few of us living in the city at the end of last winter — me and Scott (my upstairs neighbor) included. She was coming to New York and wanted to see us. So on a Thursday night last May we got together for drinks downtown in the financial district. It was wonderful to see her. Other than having much shorter hair, Kerri hadn’t changed a bit. Her beautiful green eyes and easy smile were as if I were still looking at my 17 year old friend.

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Scott, Ruben, me, Jay and Kerri in the foreground. Ruben’s girlfriend is behind me.

The festivities continued and ended that night at our friend Ruben’s rooftop Manhattan apartment. After several more drinks and a couple of pizzas, Kerri commanded our attention. Her hand trembling, she emerged from her pocket a photo, and began to explain the real reason she was in the city. She planned to have Tim’s face tattooed on her arm the next day. She became very emotional. It seemed the entire city had fallen quiet at that moment.

Of our group of friends, I was the only female there. She then addressed the guys, of which there were four. “The year after Timmy died you held a golf benefit in his honor, which made me and my family so happy. That was the first year and also the last. Why?”

Kerri's tattoo

Kerri’s tattoo

My heart went out to Kerri, who was clearly still working through her loss. But I’ve made peace with Timmy’s death. While I think of him often and of the carefree lives we led back then, I felt terrible (but also remarkably healed), that I did not share in her tears that night.

I saw Kerri again last October at the after party of the golf outing that Ruben organized in memory of Timmy. The next one is this September.

Timmy Ryniker Golf Outing 2012

Timmy Ryniker Golf Outing 2012

Little did I know that I would have even more time with Kerri months later.

Over the winter, one of the girls from my group in high school wrote that she needed a break from her family in Florida and would be coming to New York in May. Another was willing to take time off from her job in Texas. Kerri was up for driving down from where she lived upstate. Two of us were already in Brooklyn. It was going to be a reunion!

In anticipation of the five of us together for the first time since high school, I offered up my home and made plans to bring Mylo to my parent’s house on Long Island. I even planned a big reunion party for the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

It was a much-needed week of bonding and patching up old friendships. I was especially happy to have rekindled my friendship with Kerri, who sat with me in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a rainy Friday to bring Mylo out to my mom’s.

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Janna, me, Kerri, Rachel and Jaaron… together again for the first time in 18 years.

Growing up had made us vastly different. Kerri is a hardcore omnivore with a husband who hunts their dinner. I’m the only vegetarian of the lot. One is still pretty much “the hippie”. She likes to grow her own vegetables but dons a Louis Vuitton crossbody satchel. The one we’d never expect to be the most gainfully employed, is. Only three of the five us are married with children. Two of those three have healthy marriages.

Had we met for the first time today, there aren’t that many commonalities that would tie us together. It’s nice to know that a childhood steeped in memories and later on, a profound loss, is what has sealed our friendships.  And I have no doubt that Timmy would approve.

25 Weeks Pregnant With #2

I feel like a lot of the things I have to say about this pregnancy are negative. When things pop up that become little thorns in my side – and believe me, they are pooping up – my loving husband reminds me that I went through them with my first too, just much later in the pregnancy.

Lovely heartburn symptoms started up not long ago. And last week I woke up in the middle of the night with a killer charlie horse in my right calf. I was screaming, crying and cursing while directing Jason to fix it but not to touch it. Yea I know, kind of a tall order. Poor J. After several attempts to massage it out of my leg while I thrashed around on the bed like a fish out of water, he finally suggested I stand up. And pronto, just like that, it went away. I was pretty sore and with a slight limp the rest of the day. When I started to blame the baby, he reminded me that they too, happened when I was pregnant with Mylo. Thanks to him he also remembered that as long as I ate a banana a day, they didn’t reoccur.

This morning my plantars fasciitis, an ailment in my right heel from back in my marathon training days, came around to say hello. I know this certainly did not happen when I was pregnant with Mylo.

I used words like “magical” to describe my first pregnancy. I limited my diet coke intake and made sure I was getting sufficient amounts of iron and protein. Other than when the baby comes to life at night when I lay down, there’s not much magic happening here. I have no time to monitor my iron and protein intake and I’m ashamed to say that I’m back to “sipping the crack” – as Jason calls it – almost every other day.

And then of course there is the fact that I am just, well, BIGGER. Frown.

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25 weeks pregnant w/ baby #2

There are some positive things about this pregnancy. For instance I’m truly grateful that I’m pregnant at all. I’ve loved sharing this pregnancy with my little boy who is convinced he is going to have a sister. Mylo’s also convinced that the baby will come out of my deep, cavernous belly button hole and uses one of his toys like a stethoscope to peer into it.

When my midwife came over for my 24 week appointment she let Mylo use the doppler on my belly so we could hear the heartbeat. Of course he was more fascinated by turning the doppler on and off then by the sound of the baby’s heart.

But not me. Hearing my baby’s heartbeat in utero comes pretty close to my favorite sound, Mylo laughing.

 

 

20 Weeks Pregnant With #2

I am 21 weeks pregnant now, but took this photo when I was 20 weeks along. Finding the time to write about this pregnancy has not been easy, and that makes me kind of sad.

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20 weeks pregnant w/ baby #2

It seemed like I had all the time in the world to focus on my first pregnancy, and I did. I wasn’t working for starters and didn’t have a two year old to run after. I spent many mornings running or at the gym and most of my afternoons obsessing about which stroller to purchase. Oh, and lest I not forget the naps I took!

I began running with this pregnancy at only 13 weeks pregnant. Not running through the first trimester seemed like the right thing to do given my previous losses. And I suppose the frigid winter temperatures made it even easier for me not to run.

I run about one or two times per week maximum now, and when I do, I feel like a ton of bricks. I feel a pressure in my uterus that I don’t recall feeling with my first. And other strange things pop up. For instance during this morning’s run, my left foot felt strained a good amount of the way. After each run my groin is so achy that by the end of a long day, I find myself walking in a waddle and I am no where even close to the waddle stage.

So why do it? I suppose because I get a lot of positive feelings from my runs too. I know that in some way or another I am passing on those vibes to my baby. So I’ll run until my body can’t anymore, or until the scorching summer temperatures prevent me from carrying on.

I like being pregnant, I’m just sad I can’t stop to enjoy it like I did the first time. Although the first time, I didn’t have a little person kissing my belly, or telling me that the baby in each sonogram photo “looks cute,” either. Which of course, melts my heart.

Cousin Charlie

My cousin Charlie passed away last Friday, catching us all somewhat by surprise.

Our history with Charlie – for everyone other than my mom – was regretfully not that long.

I couldn’t have been any older than 12 when my mom came home one day and announced that she had bumped into her long-lost cousin while food shopping at Waldbaum’s. (Keep in mind this was before email and cell phones.) It was a weekday and she invited him for dinner. My aunt drove in from New Jersey, and my grandma came over too. It was a reunion and they were thrilled to have him back in their lives.

Charlie needed money, so he began cleaning and doing odd jobs around our house. His presence quickly became a familiar one, if not also a bit comical. Even at a young age, we were aware of how vastly different and cool Charlie was. He was my blue-collar kid cousin, though he was twice my age.

Charlie was a burly guy with tightly wound curls, bushy eyebrows and an infectious smile. He donned a true Brooklyn accent and thick gold chains. While doing work around the house, he often had visible “butt crack” which my brother and I found absolutely hysterical. He’d clean my mom out of food faster than me and my brother and our friends could. Charlie taught me what a boiler maker was (the kind you chug) when I was a freshman in high school.

And then he moved away.

In the 90′s Charlie headed west to Las Vegas where things were cheaper and he had his mom to look after. His mom Lilly lived to be 100 years old! Charlie, Lily in Vegas Newspaper

Charlie’s absence was definitely felt, but his name was popular in our house and he called to speak to my folks often. As I became older I observed a relationship between him and my dad that warmed my heart. They were friends but my dad also assumed the role of life coach, relationship therapist and parent to Charlie. My brother and I often joked that my dad got great pleasure from this, and he did.

There are so many wonderful memories with Charlie, nearly all of them make me smile and laugh. Like the time my dad was in Vegas for a trade show. He invited Charlie and told him to dress casually. What did Charlie show up in? A baby blue tuxedo! As if you don’t naturally notice a beefy man in a blue tuxedo, my dad recalls the commotion he made – while navigating the booths in search of him – with equal parts affection and embarrassment.

And then there was the final time I saw him in Vegas last year. My close friend Lauren tagged along on that family trip and the night we met up with Charlie he came on to her. Charlie told Lauren he was looking for a roommate and gave her his card, below. It was hysterical and harmless, but of course my dad directed (or tried anyway) Charlie’s attention some place else.

charlie_card

Enough said.

I think Charlie looked at me a bit differently after I became a mom. But that’s ok. I’m pleased he got to meet and shower my son with kisses, even if all Mylo wanted to do was grab hold of Charlie’s eyebrows.

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December 2010 at my parents house

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My husband, my brother and my cousin Charlie in Vegas, 2011

Cousin Charlie was my crazy Uncle Eddie (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation). I’m told there’s one in every family, but I also know that Charlie was one of a kind. I’m so glad my mom found him and shared him with us. He will be missed.

A Street Cat Gets Lucky in Brooklyn

I’m part of a Brooklyn neighborhood listserv called Bococa Parents. It’s come in handy for buying and selling baby swag and for getting information relevant to the community that is not always child-related. Unless I have time to read the posts, I normally delete the emails. But a couple of months back, I was happy to come across a post from a mom in search of help for low-cost vaccines and spay surgery for a kitten they took in off the streets.

The sweetest kitten came to our door last week and after searching it appears to
not have anyone looking for her. We are happy to take her in, she has quickly
become a part of the family.

I am looking for advice on any inexpensive/free (but good) options for vaccines,
tests, spay, etc. I am recently unemployed and “kitty” wasn’t in the budget. We
will of course make it work but wanted to see if anyone had any suggestions,
especially in Brooklyn. I know ASPCA is an option but wanted to see if there was
something closer.

-KF

I let her know that I could help through my animal rescue organization and she was blown away. I was blown away! It’s not everyday a kitty off the streets gets a home, and that that home wants to do the responsible thing.

Goggle (her three year old named her) was spayed at our vet last month in Brooklyn using a Muffins Certificate (a low cost spay/neuter certificate program). Goggle’s human also got her the shots she needed and had her microchipped. The rescue paid for Goggle’s expenses at the discounted rate we get from our vet and was reimbursed every last penny of it.

Working in animal rescue and being part of a community that networks dozens of homeless animals on a daily basis, it’s a breath of fresh air to hear stories about people who do the right thing by their pets. I am happy for this family, but I am thrilled for Goggle!

Goggle taking in her youngest human sibling.

Goggle takes in her youngest human sibling.

 

 

Family Fun in Florida

Last month we took a short but very sweet family vacation to Florida. Other then a beach trip to Montauk, it was our first vacation completely alone with our son Mylo. I honestly didn’t know how what to expect – would I feel smothered by having no alone time? Was it a big mistake to share a hotel room with him?

From the minute I woke him up at 5:15 in the morning to head to the airport, it was an adventure.

A true truck lover, I intentionally packed his toy airplane in his carry-on. I knew having a tangible toy plane would help him connect the one he was sitting in, to the one he liked to pretend fly through the air. Mylo was a trooper the entire flight.

Waiting to board at Laguardia

Waiting to board at Laguardia

Our hotel room wasn’t ready for us when we arrived but the front desk was kind enough to store our luggage. I took Mylo to the ladies room and changed him out of the sneakers, sweats and fleece he was wearing and into sandals, shorts and a t-shirt.

We had just arrived some place where you could really feel the sun on your skin. There was blue water and there were palm trees. Sure it was only Florida, but we had left behind more than four months of cold winter temperatures. It was paradise as far as I was concerned and somehow, Mylo “got” this.

You can tell it's our first day from how white my boy is.

You can tell it’s our first day from how white my boy is.

Mylo fell madly in love with the beach and the waves, which made us both very happy. One of his favorite activities while there was removing sand from the beach. He would gather up fists full of sand then throw them into the ocean. It didn’t seem to phase him any that he had a whole lot of ground to cover!

Beachin' it!

Beachin’ it!

There was some concern over what three vegetarians – the youngest of us being a very picky veg – would find to eat in Florida but we managed just fine. In fact three out of the four dinners we had were magnificent and could have given many New York City restaurants a run for their money.

As far as sharing a hotel room with Mylo, it was heavenly. The beds which were only fulls, left me and Jason playing bumper cars with my bump, literally. Not to mention that I can’t stand having to vie for blankets. So the remainder of the trip I shared a bed with Mylo and it was some of the best sleep I had had in a long time.

Canoodling my kid

Canoodling my kid

And there was alone time. One afternoon when Mylo fell asleep on the lounge chairs  by the pool, I lay next to him reading while Jason went for a run. Another time, Jason took Mylo to the beach playground while I went for a run in the morning.

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Mylo tackles a slide

On the last night of our trip my we got together with my childhood friend Rachel and her family, who drove from there home in Wellington to have dinner  with us.

Rach and me, friends since grade school.

Rach and me, friends since grade school.

Overall, Fort Lauderdale left more to be desired as a vacation spot. When I was in college Fort Lauderdale was a money town, where yachters went to vacation. Prior to our trip, I did not know this was no longer the case. There were more spring breakers then we would have preferred – especially at our ocean front hotel – which was not cheap. Apparently it’s still the norm to pack six to eight teens into one room.

We had a wonderful time on our much-needed family vacay to Florida, but we certainly wouldn’t return to Fort Lauderdale.

Mylo was not the least bit thrilled we pulled him away from his sand removal project for this family photo.

Mylo was not the least bit thrilled that we pulled him away from his sand removal project to pose in this family photo.

15 Weeks Pregnant With #2

It’s so true what they say about each pregnancy being different. Emotional differences, without a doubt. But there’s been no mistaking the physical differences as well.

I had absolutely no nausea when I was pregnant with my son Mylo. While people said I was lucky for that, my lack of pregnancy symptoms during the first trimester, often left me feeling not pregnant. Which lead to many sleepless nights.

This time, I had morning sickness beginning around week six until about 11 weeks. According to a few friends who had horrific nausea during their first trimester, what I experienced was a cake walk. It was never debilitating, just rather annoying. And there. It was enough to remind me this time, that yes, I was definitely pregnant. Ironically, the only thing that seemed to get me through my nausea, which began around lunchtime and could stick with me till bedtime, was food! Bagels and oranges. I couldn’t get enough of these during those five weeks.

I’ve been a leisure runner since my early 20′s. The day I found out I was pregnant with Mylo, I had just from a four mile run. That level of activity pretty much continued up until my ninth month.

Other then the runs I took in December – the month I didn’t yet know I was pregnant – my losses, coupled with a harsh winter, had me staying put until after the first trimester.

Another thing that’s noticeably different this time around… my belly. I never did manage to knock off the last six pounds left over from my first pregnancy, but my burgeoning bump is more than just weight. It’s rock hard, already!

15 weeks pregnant

People ask if I’m tired all the time. I remember napping a lot the first time I was pregnant. Mainly because I could, I wasn’t working in 2010. But between my part-time job, running an animal rescue and keeping up with my ever-so-active 2 year old, I don’t have the luxury of being tired with this pregnancy.

One thing I’ve had my fair share of this pregnancy and that I continue to have, is headaches. My husband Jason reminded me that I also had them with Mylo. In fact I have one right now. This blog post, which could go on and on (I haven’t covered my bizarre cheese doodle craving yet) is coming to an abrupt close.

Finding Out I’m Pregnant

It was no deep dark secret that we’ve been trying to add to our family.

I miscarried for the second time last October and spent all of November trying to wrap my head around it. I just wasn’t convinced that I had carried two unhealthy babies. Nor did I believe that it was stress related. Thanks to the encouragement of a good friend who had went through the exact same thing, I pursued a doctor who would run some tests and then supported my efforts to keep my next pregnancy.

Never did I think the following month we’d become pregnant. When I missed my period around the New Year I took a pregnancy test. Minutes later, one faint line appeared. I tossed it in the bathroom garbage. I waited a few more days when I calculated 4 + weeks pregnant (if I was even pregnant) to take another. Again, I peed on a stick early in the morning. Minutes later, only one line appeared.

I lay back in bed and tossed and turned. I didn’t understand how I could be late, but test negative. Was I already in the process of miscarrying? Weeks four to five proved a crucial time in my prior pregnancies — it’s when I had had my two other losses. I didn’t want to start the suppositories if I wasn’t pregnant (they could prevent me from ovulating the following month) and yet if I was pregnant, the suppositories could help me keep the pregnancy.

Jason and I mulled it over in bed and decided I would make an appointment to see Dr. Brennan to have a blood test done.

Later that morning I was back in the bathroom when I saw the pink shiny wrapper of the pregnancy test staring back at me. Something made me pick it up and look at it. Yep, I garbage picked. I couldn’t believe my eyes, there was not one but TWO lines! One very bright and the other more faint. I dug deeper into the garbage and picked up the first pregnancy test. I pulled it out of its wrapper and same thing, two lines. One bright, one even fainter.

Top one was taken at 4 weeks 3 days. Bottom one at 4 weeks.

Top one was taken at 4 weeks 3 days. Bottom one at 4 weeks.

I called for Jason, who was in Mylo’s room, and blurted out “I AM pregnant!” There was a long hug and some tears of joy all while Mylo danced around us. It was a few days into the New Year, and one of the happiest moments of my life.

I’ll admit, patience has never been one of my strongest virtues. Knowing this, my husband told me, “it would have paid to be patient.” He was right. For once.