I don’t think anyone’s constant advice over the 9 months of my pregnancy could have prepared me for what was to come during the newborn phase. When I say my world was turned upside down by a 5lb 14oz baby — I AM NOT EXAGGERATING.
We spent 3 nights in the hospital because I had a scheduled C-Section and I just remember so vividly thinking to myself — How am I going to do this when I get home? lol. Don’t get me wrong, I was loving EVERY MINUTE with my baby, but the reality was setting in that they aren’t easy. Daniella would cry and cry all the time in the hospital and the nurses would say you have to swaddle her or do this and that. I explained to them that I tried it and it didn’t work. One night we were so desperate for sleep that we allowed the nurses to take her to the nursery so we could get an hour or two of sleep. In that moment, I felt like the worst mom in the world because I felt like I was sending my daughter away. But the fact of the matter is, how can I be a good mom, if I don’t have the right amount of rest and emotional stability myself? You can’t.
When we left the hospital, we immediately went to the train station to pick up my mom who was coming in for a week to help us with our precious newborn. THANK.THE.LORD my mom came in. That first night was so difficult. Babies have their night and days mixed up when they first come out, Daniella would sleep all day long and would stay up all night. At 5 am that first night, I remember sending my husband upstairs to wake my mom up because nothing we were doing was working to get her to sleep. My mom came down and was able to get her to sleep. And while she did that, I went into the bathroom and cried…. In that very moment, I knew this was going to be the most rewarding yet most challenging time of our lives.
Clearly we survived the newborn stage but below are a few tips that really worked for me that I hope can potentially help other new mommies:
- SLEEP WHEN THEY SLEEP — I never freaking understood why people said that. In my mind, I probably thought babies slept all the time. They do just not at the times you need them. So when they fall asleep, you take your ass right onto sleep with them! You are a new mommy and need just as much rest otherwise you will eventually go insane
- GET THEM ON A SCHEDULE — I read an article by this mom who said what helped her newborn get their nights/days adjusted and sleep through the night was getting them on a schedule. So many moms find this controversial because they say a baby that young shouldn’t be on a schedule. Well guess the fuck what? I put Daniella on a simple schedule at 3 weeks old. She started sleeping through the night by 5 weeks. Maybe we were lucky, I don’t know. But in my heart, I believe it was getting her on a schedule. And to this day at 11 1/2 months, she still sleeps through the night. Below is a sample of the schedule we used from http://www.hashtagmotherhood.com:
- DON’T COMPARE BABIES — What one child is doing at 2 months, your baby might not do until 4 months. Every baby is different and beats to their own drum. Please remember that because you will mind fuck yourself every day if your more worried about what other babies are doing than what is right in front of you. I am a prime example!
- FOLLOW YOUR MOMMY GUT — The absolute best advice I could give a new mommy going through the newborn stage is follow your gut. If you think something is wrong, call the doctor — no one is judging you! I probably called the doctor 50 times in the first few months and guess what I am not ashamed. For me, I followed my gut and gave my daughter formula instead of breast feeding. For me, I was not interested in breastfeeding. I had to go back to work at 8 weeks (gotta love the Federal Government) and I just didnt want to!!! Guess what — my daughter turned out just fine by drinking formula! Now my wallet didn’t because she drinks the ready to feed version but we survived lol. My point is — You are the mommy! You know whats best for you and your baby. Don’t let anyone ever tell you differently.
To all the mommies currently going through the newborn phase, it’s hard but enjoy it because the first year flies by so fast. I miss my little peanut who didn’t mind getting changed and would sit so quietly. My daughter now won’t sit still — but I love that too 🙂
Until Next Time…
So as my daughter approaches her 1st birthday, I can’t help but sit back and reminsce on this past year.
Up until I got pregnant, I always thought my greatest accomplishment was my career and relationships I built with my husband, family and friends. Little did I know that my TRUE greatest accomplishment would arrive on December 1, 2016.
My husband and I were 32 and 33 when we conceived so we were already very comfortable with the lives we had built. We both are in thriving careers, our health and have traveled the world. But I was very eager to add to our family to make it complete. We conceived in MArch of 2016 after ONE MONTH of trying. Honestly, I was expecting the worse we started trying for our daughter. I’ve heard these stories from women who were in great health who struggled to conceive for months and even some years. So imagine my surprise when my pregnancy test said PREGNANT! Let me pause for a second and tell you the hilarious story of how we found out we were pregnant.
It was a normal day like any other. We both went to work and came home exhausted and tired which is nothing new! I took a pregnancy test bc I was a bit more tired than normal (and honestly I was ready to get pregnant so I was tracking my shit!!). Instead of waiting for the test to be done, I ended up falling asleep on the couch for 2 hours or so! When I got up my husband said “It’s Friday, lets have a drink”. Of course, I said break open the Prosecco. So there we are drinking away on a Friday and having a good time like always. I had to pee so bad so I get up and walk into the bathroom and just happen to look down at the counter where my cheap $1.00 pregnancy test is laying and clear as day there are two lines! I had to do a double take. Then I immediately panicked because I was already 1.5 bottles of prosecco in. I walk outside to where my husband is and show him the test. In his drunken stuper he didnt understand what it meant. In fact I will never forget him saying “what the fuck is this? I don’t understand two lines, Audra. I need to see pregnant or not pregnant”. LOL. Well, we were stationed in italy and at this time everything is closed so we had to wait until the Morning to go on base to get a digital test just for him and sure enough it says PREGNANT! To say we were shocked is an understatement.
Fast forward 9 months (6 months of those 9 with horrendous swollen feet and morning sickness), my precious daughter, Daniella Jade, makes her grand arrival into the world and my life hasn’t been the same since.
When someone asks me what my greatest accomplishment is now, I don’t even hesitate when I say my daughter. My life will never be the same and I can’t imagine it without her in it. So this blog post is for you my precious baby! I love you more to infinity X2!
PS — I am going to do a few blog posts today about my first year as a mommy so I apologize in advance for the mommy blog overload!
New Years 2013 was our first NYE overseas. I was slightly depressed bc it was the first Christmas we didnt spend with our families. But then I remembered, my cousin lived in Austria where he was a professional backetball player! So what did I do? Immediately messaged him to see what his plans were. He didn’t have any so we packed up the Infiniti and drove the 6 hours to Vienna.
When we arrived, I finally got to meet my cousins girlfriend (they are now married) and she is originally from Vienna. Her mom and sister was so nice and cooked everyone a huge meal. It was myself, Mike, my cousin, his gf, her sister, their best friend and my cousins friend who at the time played ball in another country! Amazing people
This is myself and my cousin…
Everyone at dinner…
Now Vienna didn’t give me the amazing butterflies that Venice did. While the city is incredible beautiful and my cousins gf’s family were so nice and welcoming, I can’t say the same about other individuals in the city. We had a really bad racial bias experience that night that I haven’t forgotten about that just soured the rest of the evening. However, overall Vienna is a nice country and the food is pretty good too. I do wish I had taken more photos but considering we went there to party and most of us were drunk the whole time — it didn’t really happen #dontjudgeus.
The title of this post says it all. Living overseas, after living in Washington, D.C. my entire life wasn’t easy! There were so many things that I had to get used to. But if there was one place that almost immediately had me smitten, it was Venice, Italy! To start, we lived on Aviano and were only a quick 40 min train ride to the island of Venice! So understand that we went there all the time. The architecture, the food, the locals and oh my goodness the shopping was just amazing!
A few must do’s for anyone visiting Venice —
- Visit Bacaro Jazz Bar! So they play jazz via a laptop, don’t have a live band, their bar is small and there are bras all over the ceilings. But the food is delicious, their homemade Sangria is to die for and they are loyal to their customers. The vibe here is just amazing!
- Do the damn Gondola ride! Listen, you’re probably going to be in Venice only once so just do the ride! Its fun, the tour guides are funny and entertaining and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. And look — if you don’t want to pay the price — just negotiate. The Gondoliers are always open to negotiating. You can thank me later
Below are a few more photos from our multiple trips to Venice! Now excuse me while I go hide in a closet and wish I could go back for one more Spritz Aperol!
I always say I am going to keep my site updated and in the moment when I type it on here, I really truly mean it. Reality is, it never ever happens. LIKE EVER! Luckily this time, instead of letting few years go by I only let about 6 months go by. Progress right?!
So while I have some free time while I am at work, I am going to update my blog with my adventures from living overseas from 2013-2016! I promise I will get to my 2017 updates sometime soon HA HA.. First up — Venice, Italy!
Ok, ya’ll! In my last post, I had mentioned that we had closed on our first home last September. Super exciting and we were very proud but I will NEVER…EVER…buy brand new construction again. At least not from Ryan Homes/NVR.
I had always heard amazing things about Ryan Homes and how they are they leaders in new construction homes. My experience just goes to show you that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear.
When we signed the build contract, it was early on in our pregnancy. We knew when we were arriving in NJ and how long we had to get into the house. We legit had only about 30 days before we could no longer stay on base in TLF from the time we arrived. We made it clear that we need to be moved into our house by September 15 at the latest otherwise we would be SOL. They all but guaranteed this to us as we were signing the build agreement. I’ve come to realize people will tell you ANYTHING to get you to sign on that dotted line. Needless to say we didn’t close on time and needed the help of a lawyer just to ensure our asses were covered.
So we have closed and started to move in and for a brand new home a whole bunch of shit was messed up. Let me just give you a running list:
- Dishwasher wasn’t flushed with the counter top. So half the damn thing was sticking out. How not even the project manager noticed is beyond me.
- The granite counter top in our bathroom was completely measured wrong and not aligned properly.
- We have an amazing view of the apartments behind us. We were told that we would barely be able to see the apartments and there would be a landscape package put in. They FAILED to mention the landscape package wasn’t going in until ALL of the houses were built (our home was the 2nd row of homes built….).
- They used the cheapest paint possible because it literally rubbed off on everything.
- They already had to fix a carpet and hardwood issue
- Our ceiling has started to fall out lol. Yes you read that right.
- The cabinets in the laundry room were filed down at an angle in order for it to fit in the space. I mean really? You couldn’t just measure the space to begin with???
I mean there is other little shit but its not even worst wasting my breathe on. But here is the kicker that really has me considering talking to a lawyer…The building next door to us is “Affordable Housing”. Meaning that the people that bought the homes cant make over 80K(we paid close to 300K) and the houses are DRASTICALLY different than ours. They didn’t even give them GRASS!!! Now why is this an issue for me? NO ONE TOLD US IT WAS GOING IN AND I WOULD BE LIVING DIRECTLY NEXT DOOR TO A CLEARLY AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNIT. I feel like we had the right to know before we bought the house because best believe — I would never have bought the house. Not because I am bougie and don’t want to live next to lower income individuals. I would never have bought the house bc it drives down the value of our home. It is going to hurt us in resale. So most likely I will be not let this go.
Anyway, I have learned my lesson and will never buy a new construction home from Ryan Homes because the quality we received for the price we paid is ridiculous.
If you made it this far through my rant then BLESS YOU lol. Until next time…
Holy Shit! Has it really been two years since I logged in and did a blog?? Granted, I was not the biggest blogger but that’s neither here nor there. 🙂
Last time I checked in, I believe we were stationed overseas in Aviano, Italy and we were living the lived of early 30’s adults with no responsibilities besides our careers….well guess what? Shit has changed and gotten really REAL!
In March of 2016 we found out we were expecting our first child. We had decided in January to start trying but never in our wildest dreams did we except to get pregnant so fast (My husband and I secretly joke that he has super sperm LOL).
In August of 2016 we moved from Aviano, Italy all the way back across the point to South Jersey. Now, this was great to me because I am a city girl and Philly is just 20 minutes away AND my family is two hours away in MD. Couldn’t get any better.
In September 2016 we closed on our first home — We did a new construction townhome and I will NEVER do that again!! I’ll have to do a post on the ups and downs of this first chance I get.
And on December 1, 2016 we welcomed our first child — Daniella Jade Harrison. Life truly hasn’t been the same since.
Oh and in January, I started a new position with a different agency in the US Federal Governement. Talk about a crazy fucking year, right?
I plan to really keep up on my blogging especially now that I have a little girl and I may need some input from my fellow mommy friends out there. Oh and of course the foodies of Philadelphia!!
If you have made it this far — BLESS YOU! I am going to start back tracking my blog with some photos of the amazing countries we visited in Europe. I have to share that bc it is amazing.
Until Next Blog…