This day was something that I both looked forward to and dreaded for a while. I really didn't not want to believe that Isla was turning one but I also felt so much pride that we had gotten through our first year as parents with such a great baby girl that I couldn't wait to celebrate. After all of the planning and stressing and setting up, Miss Isla of course was not happy about putting her party dress on. She got there late, due to a meltdown but quickly pulled it together once she saw balloons and had me hold her. Since her sweet tooth is just like mine she seriously ate her way through the party. So much so that she threw up and then pulled it together again just in time to cut the cake and have a slice! it was the perfect day with the perfect people and I'll forever cherish it.
Coming up with a halloween costume for the first time is so hard. There are SO many precious little outfits that it's near impossible to decide!!! Part of me wanted to dress Isla up like an adorable chicken or a monkey or something but I really wanted to do something that we coudl do together. We went with Troop Beverly Hills. I was the Phyllis Nephler the Troop Leader, and Isla was Hannah Nephler, the girl scout. She looked so insanely precious! We did a quick twirl around the park during the parade and she passed out in her crib before trick or treating even started.
It's officially back to school season and we've signed up for dance class to get in the groove and start socializing. I grew up a dancer so all I want is for her to go to dance class wear tutus and have fun! The class is adorable but it's basically a music class held in a dance studio. Honestly, I don't even care. I'm just pretending that she's doing a full barre combination every week. The first week I went in and Isla was in a black leotard, tights and baby Bloch ballet shoes, the teacher sweetly commented "awwww look you dress in costume for our class today". Little did she know that this was not a costume, and I had planned to dress Isla this way every week. I think after 3 weeks, and 3 pair of ballet shoes in different colors later she knew we were serious. Oh also... Isla has a major crush on the guitarist Mr. Donald that sings the songs each week.
Not sure if I'm supposed to be brushing Isla's teeth or not. No one told me what was the right time to start dental Hygiene but I feel like once you actually have teeth then you should start cleaning them right? Anyway, I bought teeny tooth brush and some banana tooth paste. Isla is obsessed with it and thinks it's hilarious to brush her teeth. I think it's hilarious the faces she makes. We all win.
Ahh the Pamper Scamper. Something I've heard stories about over the years from my mom about how my brother crawled his way to be the grand champion of our local Ocean City baby crawling race. In addition to those stories are the ones of years and years of family championships winning the annual Ocean City Baby Parade. Now that I had a baby that would be the exact same age as my bother was when he won.... the stakes were high. With a little hesitation but also excitement I surrendered myself to listening to all orders and creative direction of Kris Jenner... ahem I mean my mom. We did baby crawling training, we hot glued pearls and glitter to custom floats, the works. Isla did not win the pamper scamper. Some dumb kid in a neon teeshirt distracted all the babies and she stared at him the whole time. BUT she did come in 1st place and get the over all award for the baby parade. Although I felt like a teenager again and almost quit from my mom yelling at me I actually am so glad we did it and was really proud to hold Isla's very first trophy in my hands with her. It was an exhausting week but I have a feeling we'll be doing it all again next year.
Since I've officially been addicted to Little Spoon baby blends and have finally gotten my groove in feeling comfortable with Isla eating actual food I finally feel ready to try some solids. I was putting it off and ignoring it until my mom told me I had to try it at some time. My mom is good at pushing me on those types of things. 1/2 the time I'm nervous, but it's usually just because I'm mostly in denial that Isla is onto the next phase and getting older by the minute. I want to avoid time going so fast. Anyway, the perfect solid to start her with was pancakes. It was sweet, they're super soft and she can easily grab them and feed herself. She was instantly addicted. Who isn't though?
OK this is huge. Our first long trip away from Isla. We decided to go to Greece for one of my very best friend's 30th birthday celebration. Isla will be enjoying the sun and the sand at the beach in Ocean City, NJ with my parents. The plan is lots of Facetime, lots of photos, and lots of rosé for me. It is much needed, and is the perfect time to leave her for more than a couple of days.
Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. I only have the best memories growing up with my big family riding our bikes in the parade, going to the beach and watching fireworks. This year is extra extra special because we have our own beach house and I have a baby that I can start showing all of my favorite 4th of July traditions to. Isla barely knew where she was, but she did ride in her decorated stroller through the parade this year so I think her 1st year was a sweet success and I couldn't have been happier!
I piled everything sky high on the stroller, put a backpack beach chair on and also popped up a baby tent for our first day on the beach. Aside from being in a full sweat from the walk down and extremely editing what I "really need" for the next trip down... it went really well. And Isla loved it (like she had a choice!).
Sleep Training Isla was my number one priority after having her. Her naps and her nightime routine are down to a perfect science but now approaching summer I was nervous that would all be thrown out the window once we started spending our days at the beach. My goal was to figure out a way to sleep train her to nap on the beach. This is no science and really has not much of a theory behind it like my regular sleep training but this is what I do to get Isla to nap on the beach:
- I put Isla in the running stroller that I always take to the beach each day. It has giant wheels and pushes through the sand much better than the regular stroller.
- I put a thin muslin swaddle blanket over the hood and clip to the sides so she doesn't have sun in her eyes and so that she isn't distracted.
- i usually walk her up and down the beach until she falls asleep, and then she naps right in the stroller.
- Note: I tried using the small little pop up tents for her to sleep in but she got so much sand blown on her on windy days, and I didn't like that I couldn't cover it with a blanket to give her a little privacy.
Another big one for the books. Except this time it's my turn to step it up and make sure this day is extra special for Paul for his first Father's day. Since my Mother's day turned out to be so epic I really felt like I needed to go with the "all the feels" route in order to surprise or impress Paul. I decided to have Isla's first big beach photo shoot enlarged and framed for Paul to hang in his office but in addition I had been working on editing a home video of Paul and Isla with clips of the two of them from the day she was born up until that day. I hope he loves it and knows just how much we love him!
Ummm baby food is disgusting. Like actually really gross. And I never realized it until I had my own baby and thought well if I'm going to feed this to her, would I actually eat this myself? And my answer was always EW no way this is gross. Since I am not the type of mom to home make all of my own baby food I wanted to find something else. Thankfully I'm a millennial and I live in the age of instant gratification and the ability to have everything delivered to my doorstep. I discovered LittleSpoon. The have baby blends that are very fancy and the recipes all depend on the freshest ingredients of the season. Now, it's a little bit like the Soho House of baby food. Hard to get into once you apply to be a member of it. However, I like to think that maybe it's because they're new and still growing and not because they only want to feed certain babies they think are worthy lol. I mean it's not like I had to submit a headshot or anything. Anyway, they deliver these perfect blends to our door on ice every 2 weeks. This isn't an AD by any means... it's just that Isla LOVES them and it makes me feel like a good mom that I'm giving her homemade fresh baby food... even if I'm not the one making it!
Ok this is a big deal right?! It's my very first day celebrating as a mom and before becoming a mom this day sort of fell under the category of Valentine's day for me. Like it was great and I loved to make the day special, but also wasn't the biggest deal in the world to me. This year... totally different. I didn't expect at all to be treated like a queen, but was just so excited to celebrate being a mom, having a baby and enjoying some spring weather with Me, Isla and Paul. The day turned out to exceed even all of those expectations. I woke up to a giant pile of the most thoughtful gifts from Isla and Paul. A mommy and me book, a pair of Stan smiths for me and matching pair for Isla, and a beautiful diamond band with Isla's birthstone from one of my favorite Jewelry brands, Mystory Jewelry. if that wasn't enough we went to a fancy schmancy brunch at The Mark Hotel. It means so much to us because it was where we stayed during our week of going back and forth to Isla in the NICU. Food and vibe is off the charts there but as if my day could not have gotten any better freaking JLo and A.Rod walk in and sit down with their big family RIGHT ACROSS FROM US! Not behind and not next to us... across. So I could sit, sip my rosé and stare with the perfect view at one of my icons. I mean it really could not have been planned any better.
We've officially started our very first baby class. NYC can be intimidating with so many options so I went with the most convenient and friendly spot right by our apartment. We've started Developmental Movement for precrawlers. We lay our babies on a blanket, listen to music and just let them figure out what to do while an expert teacher assures us that it's all normal and to let them do what they do. 1 baby is already crawling across the room and gives us all hope that ours will someday do the same. Mostly, I think it's to get the moms out of the house, possibly make some friends and to master the ordeal that is walking into a crowded kids club and knowing where stroller check is. Yes, stroller check. We're getting our groove and it's a great excuse for me to show off Isla's outfits to other people besides me.
Our very first trip with an infant was for a family trip planned with my parents, sister, brother, and sister in law. Before our trip to Napa, I decided that we all needed to get a little sun and also because I couldn't do it alone I asked my parents to come with me to Miami. My husband has a huge event each year for work at the Ultra Music Festival and I always try to go. This would be the first year going as a mom and my first time bringing my baby anywhere so it made me feel comfortable to have my family there as my "team Isla" to help. I'm sure Isla would have liked to come to the concert but it was way past her bedtime so we relaxed in the sun and took nice walks during the day and then my parents were nice enough to wine and dine with Isla at night and get her off to bed while I enjoyed some adult fun with my sister and friends. only 4 months old and already a club kid.
Recently my family started the tradition of going away on an annual family trip together. Isla's first big trip happened to have been this one. We took her to Napa with us. I basically spent a week making lists and notes and going through various scenarios to try to figure out the my best "game plan" for making travel smooth. In case you care, or in case you are currently in the same boat here's my exact "run of show" for my travel day. I know that sounds totally bananas but it really took the stress out of it to actually play out exactly how I would go through the airport with an infant that was smooth and required the least amount of crap to travel with!
- Arrive to Airport with Baby in carseat.
- Unfold Yoyo Babyzen stroller (with infant bassinet attachment) and put baby in.
- Put carry on tote (aka normal diaper bag with additional ziplock with formula/water, a few extra toys & a few of my own essentials. Basically just an amped up diaper bag).
- Curbside Check Carseat and additional luggage.
- Stroll hands free to security.
- Take ziplock containing formula and baby food out of bag and give to security. Put diaper bag through.
- Take baby out and either fold stroller and put on security belt (this is the beauty of the yoyo zen) or stroll it through detector.
- Walk through with baby.
- Stroll to Gate.
- Fold Stroller right before boarding flight. Carry baby, stroller (it folds really teeny and is lighter than the carry on) and diaper bag onto flight.
- Put Stroller in overhead bin and diaper bag under seat
- After the plane lands unfold stroller out of overhead bin. Put baby in the stroller and diaper bag underneath and stroll hands free to baggage claim.
- With the help of hired driver or Uber driver grab checked luggage and infant car seat and load into your waiting car.
- Upon arrival at hotel pour a very large glass of wine.
My birthday falls just 2 short months after Isla, so my first birthday as a mom was a lot of mixed emotions. I felt the happiest I'd ever felt having just become a mom, but also felt a bit lost and filled with some post partum blues. Of course the celebration was great and I was lucky enough to take a few days away in the sun. But it was hard to shake the feeling of just not being "myself". I had yet to get used to my new "identity" as a mom and was still clinging to my old identity pre-baby. Thankfully my husband made the day very special and was so understanding while I got through this weird hormonal time.
The entire fall was an emotional time for me with all the hormones so everything happening with politics was just depressing me even more. The Women's March finally felt like something really good and i finally felt really really strong about something because I was a part of it. Isla and I didn't join the actual march (she was a month old and I was still death gripping the stroller handle bar) but we did walk beside it and up behind the barricades to check it all out at Trump Tower. I wanted to be a part of something big and I wanted her with me. it was just me, Isla and my mom. Our first march.
When I was pregnant, I was consumed with reading books on sleep training. I thrive on a good night's sleep and my biggest fear about having a baby was that I would never sleep again. I got the advice of both my bestie and my sister in law who were, to me, the strictest sleep trainers I knew. Both of their children are well behaved and always have a bedtime and a great schedule. When I reached out to them I was surprised that they both gave me the exact same response. Consistency. The routine from both of them was essentially the same but they each had their own version and I needed to make my own version. I've made a video here that you can check out to follow alone with our routine, but below is a break down of exactly what we do every night.
- Put on Pandora Baby Lullaby station and put in back pocket to have background soothing music on during the routine.
- Start a nice warm bath. Obviously don't burn your baby but dont' be afraid to make it nice and warm. It will relax them and come on... do you like a lukewarm bath?
- Wash them off, pour warm water over them, wash hair etc. No matter how much they cry at first I promise they will learn to love the warm bath.
- After bath lotion them up nice and even give a little baby massage if they aren't screaming too much from being cold. Make sure you keep that skin moisturized.
- Wrap them up in a swaddle blanket or actual swaddle. I liked to use a blanket during the day and then the tight velcro swaddle at night to teach Isla the difference in night and day. I wanted her to know that when she was swaddled nice and tight like that it was time for bed.
- Rock them and give them a bottle. (this will eventually drop out of the routine as they are older and you wean them off of the bottle)
- Rock them and soothe them until they are drowsy and alllllmost asleep. You want to teach them how to put themselve to sleep and self soothe. That's the whole point of the training. Eventually this will drop out of the routine too and you won't have to rock them to this point any longer you can just put them in the crib to fall asleep on their own.
- leave them alone unless it's a mid night feeding, or they are really wailing. The tiny little noises that they make and moving around is ok. We do it when we sleep too. If you go up to them and try to soothe them with every little noise they will never learn to soothe themselves. You will only just train them to continually wake up all night.
Keep in mind that the key is consistency. Do the same thing every. single. night. isla hated it at first and she would scream, sometimes I would cry and the entire routine would take like 2 hours. And then finally it just clicked. One night she just got it. She was going down every night consistently by about 7 weeks and sleeping through the night by 13 weeks.
I am no expert, doctor or special sleep trainer. This is just what I learned and what has worked for me.
baby's first walk is scary. Especially in the winter in New York. Suddenly the entire city felt like it was going to run into me, spit on me, or hit me with a bike. We ventured out 2 weeks after Isla was born. I walked to ABC Kitchen, had a lovely meal with my mom while Isla slept in the stroller. It was very uneventful but I was having a full heart attack the whole time. I thought for sure there would be a germ of some sort that would somehow jump its way into the stroller and infect my brand new baby, and I would be the worst mom in the world all because I wanted to get a Shrimp Salad and a cookie. I continued these little outings for at least 2 hours a day until I felt comfortable strolling up and down curbs, opening doors for myself with a stroller, and loosening up my grip on the handles of the actual stroller.