Letters from Daddy 4/28/12

{Letters from Daddy are a series of letters from expectant father to son, on what it means to be a man.}


Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality

You can hear it spoken in words of bold intention

You can feel it in actions that speak louder than words

Commitment is making time when there is none

It is coming through

Time, after time, after time

It is the fuel that sustains your spirit against all odds

It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism

Of excellence over mediocrity

Of hope over despair

You can see it as a light in the darkness when all others have gone out

You can taste it in the sweat borne from persistence without exception

Commitment shatters the duality of excuse and regret

It leads to only one conclusion,


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What to Expect When You’re Expecting Sweepstakes

What-to-Expect-When-Youre-Expecting-BookBy now I’m sure that most people have seen the  movie trailer for one of the most renowned pregnancy resources out there — the “What to Expect When Your Expecting” #1 best-selling pregnancy book.

Unlike the book, which takes a more informational tone, the movie is a romantic comedy that follows the journey of five couples into parenthood — featuring a star-studded cast.  And…I have to admit, I’m a bit excited to know that the movie hits theaters in just a few weeks on May 18th, a week before my due date!  Makes things that much more real for me! :)

Many brands are even piggy-backing on the new flick to promote their pregnancy-related products — BabiesRUs being one of them.  The company is  running a sweepstakes on their website for a chance to win a “BabyMoon” Vacation package as the grand prize (a.k.a. chill time before baby arrives).  Second and third prizes aren’t too shabby either: a prenatal/newborn photo shoot and a year’s supply of organic baby food!

What to Expect When Your Expecting SweepsEntering seems fairly easy: just add one or more of the featured baby items to your registry. These include the Boppy feeding pillow, the Britax car seat, the Playtex Diaper Genie and Playtex bottles, just to name a few.  Sounds like pretty clever marketing to me.

If you are a mom-to-be with a due date after April 17th, what do you have to lose?  Start your registry and add the qualifying items before May 18th!  For those of you with an existing registry, like myself, simply add those featured items before it’s too late!  Good luck :)!

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35 Weeks Pregnant

35 weeks pregnant

My exposed belly!

  • How far along:  35 weeks. 5 days.
  • Total weight gain:  Think it’s still about 1lb a week.
  • Sleep:  The biggest issue continues to be sleeping comfortably. My back hurts. It’s hard to turn from right side to left side. And frequent trips to the toilet continue to interrupt my sleep.
  • Best moment this week:  Meeting up with a couple of friends to break up the daily routine.
  • Movement:  Yes! Although I don’t notice any consistent patterns. He is active at random times, it seems.
  • Symptoms:  Biggest symptom is the upper back pain, shortness of breath and waddling.
  • Food cravings:  Very thirsty these days, so I’d say water.
  • Food aversions:  Besides the usual poultry, I’m finding it harder to enjoy a homemade salad — basically have to force myself to eat it.
  • Labor Signs:  Brief Braxton Hicks contractions and movement in lower abs.
  • Belly Button in or out?  Practically non-existent, but I’d say more of an innie!
  • What I miss:  Being able to jump up out of my seat or get things done quickly. The slow-pace takes some getting used to.
  • What I am looking forward to:  Finishing up the nursery!!! It just has to happen soon!
  • Weekly Wisdom:  The only journey is the journey within.
  • Major Milestones:  Baby’s kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. He’ll spend the last few weeks putting on weight!

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Wordless Wednesdays: Yoga Tips

Just in case you didn’t know which yoga moves were safe during pregnancy :)!

yoga during pregnancy

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Packing A Bag for Labor

hospital bag for laborWith the final stretch before my due date approaching, reality is beginning to hit me.  In just two short weeks, I will be full-term and know that now, baby can actually come at any moment.

What worries me most, is that there is still so much left to be done before then.  The nursery needs a few finishing touches in place, including curtains, a rug, fresh crib sheets and a final clean-up.  All new clothes and blankets that baby will be using in first few weeks need to be washed and stored away.  And, I still need to make some final baby registry returns/purchases.

But the one thing that I need to tackle ASAP (before it’s too late) is packing a bag for the big stay at the hospital.  For some reason, I’ve delayed this seemingly simple task. A part of me feels that I still have plenty of time, but I’m beginning to realize it’s best to be prepared!

So where do I start?  Pregnancy books and resources suggest a variety of items to bring during the stay, but it’s best to simply contact your hospital to check what they actually provide.  I was ready to pack everything until I learned my particular hospital provides baby with a change of clothes and diapers, for instance.

Knowing this makes my task less daunting — so I’ve prepared a checklist of the items I plan to bring with me to make for a comfortable stay:

  • Id, insurance card and pre-registration paperwork
  • Birth plan (a.k.a. epidural request)
  • Eyeglasses
  • Toiletres
  • Sonogram picture as focal point
  • Book or magazine
  • Change of clothing for me
  • Take-me-home outfit and receiving blanket for baby
  • Camera
  • Phone and charger
  • My Brest Friend (pillow for breastfeeding support)
  • Nursing bra
  • Robe, slippers
  • And car seat!

Not too bad when I put it in writing, I see :)!

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34 Weeks Pregnant

34 weeksOver the past week, I’ve definitely noticed a drastic change in my energy level, as I grow closer and closer to the full-term mark of my pregnancy.  The watermelon in my stomach (or cantaloupe according to BabyCenter.com) is really beginning to take it’s toll on my body.  Forget the walking, all I can do is waddle around and make sure I have a glass of water nearby to quench my thirst!

Getting through all the housework I expected to do has become nearly impossible as well, as my body cannot take too much bending or maneuvering.  I need to take a break every 20 minutes or so, lest I feel faint. According to the doctor, this is all normal as I progress through the last 3-6 weeks of my pregnancy. And even though I feel like I’ve been gaining too much weight, they say it’s normal and baby is measuring fine at 34 weeks today.

  • How far along:  34 weeks. 5 days.
  • Total weight gain:  A lot. About 45 lbs!
  • Sleep: It’s nice to sleep in these days, since I’m waking up several times throughout the night for a bathroom break.
  • Best moment this week: Spending quality time with family at baby shower #2!
  • Movement: Yes! Particularly in the evenings.
  • Symptoms: Upper back pain. Lower back pain. Dry/itchy skin. Out of breath. Heavy tummy. Pressure on my bladder.
  • Food cravings:  Ice pops and lots of water!
  • Food aversions:  The one food aversion I’ve had since the beginning: smell of poultry.
  • Labor Signs: Lot’s of movement…not sure if it’s Braxton Hicks contractions or just baby moving.
  • Belly Button in or out?  In-be-tween. Still.
  • What I miss:  Being able to work out, believe it or not!  Just too heavy to do anything these days.
  • What I am looking forward to:  Eating hot dogs this summer!
  • Weekly Wisdom:  Do not be afraid. Embrace life and all of it’s chapters with open arms.
  • Major Milestones: If you’ve been nervous about preterm labor, you’ll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems, generally do fine.


Baby Shower Weekend Part II

baby shower

Cute lollipops as shower favors!

What a great weekend! Not only did it feel like early summer weather-wise, but I was lucky enough to have a second baby shower, courtesy of my mother and sisters, for the other half of my family unable to make the first shower.  I was thrilled to finally spend some quality time with everyone and unwind with a day full of games, food and gifts.

Everyone got a chance to guess how big my belly was by simply measuring out how much tape it would take to wrap around my bump.  Of course the majority of guests over-estimated, but it was fun to see everyone take a stab at it.  Although I feel like I’m over 200 lbs, I’m glad that isn’t actually the case!

One of the other activities that my sisters had prepared was getting all the guests to use fabric markers to decorate onesies; Some of my friends and family really let their creative juices shine.

Check out the winning onesie below:



I was blown away by all the gifts we received as well — everything from crib sheets, bassinet, booster seat, monitor, play pen, diapers, bottles…the list goes on and on!  I lost count on the number of gift baskets full of baby clothes, lotions, blankets and goodies! The time and effort put into creating them really touched me.  I feel so blessed to have received so much for my little Chili pepper :)!  So much to be grateful for…can’t wait until our precious boy is finally here.

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Baked Mac & Cheese Recipe

Being at home these days in preparation for the arrival of our little bundle of joy, means I have a lot more time on my hands for trying out new recipes and cooking ideas that have been on the back burner for, well, years.  I’ve never really had the time — or urge, really — to get into cooking.  But now it’s becoming a bigger hobby of mine, and I know with a little practice, my “latin cooking skills” will begin to shine.

This past weekend, I decided to just start with a simple mac and cheese casserole and infuse it with a bit of nutrients, via peas.  It actually wasn’t as time-consuming or daunting of a task that I imagined it to be — just 8 minutes prep and 20 minutes bake time to get that crunchy homemade cheesy taste I was craving.

mac and cheese

I was pretty impressed with the results, since believe it or not, it was the first time I ever tried to cook mac and cheese from scratch!  The dish was quite tasty…although one little caveat: Um, I kinda used the wrong type of cheese (mozzarella instead of sharp cheddar!). It left me thinking, “What’s missing?”.  A novice mistake, but next time I’ll get that right for sure ;). Check out the recipe below!

Baked Mac & Cheese Recipe
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 8 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 28 mins
Serves: 2-4
Delicious homemade mac & cheese, perfect for a lunch or dinner side.
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of pepper
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 (16-oz.) package elbow macaroni pasta
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Microwave 2 cups milk at HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes.
  3. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat.
  4. Whisk in 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.
  5. Gradually whisk in warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened.
  6. Whisk in 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese.
  7. Stir in 1/2 (16-oz.) package elbow macaroni pasta.
  8. Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish; top with extra-sharp Cheddar cheese.
  9. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

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33 Weeks Pregnant

33 weeksVery late in the week for my 33 week update, but better late than never :).  Happy Friday (Yes, it’s Friday the 13th, but it can also be a good luck day!) Enjoy.

  • How far along:  33 weeks. 6 days.
  • Total weight gain:  If I’ve actually been calculating accurately, it’s about 44 lbs!
  • Sleep: Exhausted, and waking up throughout the night to relieve my bladder.
  • Best moment this week:  Sleeping in past 7:30am!
  • Movement: Yes, he is still an active Chili pepper.  Now I can even see his little body parts protruding around my belly!
  • Symptoms:  Exhaustion, excessive back pain and additional heaviness in my tummy.
  • Food cravings:  Crackers and cheese and even the occasional veggie craving.
  • Food aversions:  Smell of bland chicken cooking. Never stops.
  • Labor Signs: Baby is moving tons at times, which makes me think he is trying to come out soon!
  • Belly Button in or out?  In-be-tween.
  • What I miss:  Summer. But that will be here before we know it, thank God!
  • What I am looking forward to:  My second baby shower with family on Long Island!
  • Weekly Wisdom:  Enjoy this time and freedom as much as you can.
  • Major Milestones:  Baby has passed that 17 inch mark and is looking much less like a wrinkled alien.
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Product Review: Pea in a Pod Maternity Leggings

leggingsIf there’s one piece of maternity clothing that I’d recommend you shelling out some extra cash for during pregnancy, it’s maternity leggings!

For the majority of my pregnancy, I’ve been able to get away with regular clothes…partially because over-sized sweaters paired with standard leggings were perfect for the cold winter months when my belly was barely noticeable to the outside world.  Then when spring hit, and my bump was much more apparent, the standard leggings just wouldn’t cut it.  Not only did I feel like they were constricting my circulation and falling a bit too low on my hips, they were simply uncomfortable, as they pressed along my baby bump!

That’s when I decided I just needed to suck it up and spend an extra buck or two for more comfortable and fitting garb.  My first stop was Target, as I heard they carried an affordable line of leggings.  However, I was quite disappointed after trying on the only small-medium pair left in the store…they hugged my stomach just a bit too tight for my liking.

Next stop on the list was Destination Maternity — the mother of maternity clothing stores.  Lucky for me, I spotted a pair of leggings on sale on my way out (a “buy 1, get 1 half off” type of deal I couldn’t resist)!  Although the leggings were quite pricey at $40 each, I kept reminding myself that I was actually getting two for $60 so was really worth it — especially since they would be much more comfortable than the pants I was wearing up until that point.

And boy am I thrilled that I decided to splurge a bit! The Pea in a Pod Maternity Leggings are EXTREMELY comfortable; I can’t imagine how I went so long without them.  Not only are they made of a more durable material and stretch fabric, but they simply provide the overall coverage and comfort a pregnant mom needs! Certainly worth paying for that type of satisfaction.

I can’t stress it enough: If there is only one piece of maternity clothing you purchase, make it comfy pair of leggings. You won’t regret it! :)

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