It’s been a while…

SO much has happened since I last blogged but I want to use this first post to let you in on a super important change we have made in our home. Over the past year I’ve read a lot of books and absorbed a lot of knowledge on ways to potentially help prevent illness by using toxic products. This isn’t a topic most people are interested in but I started to dabble with nontoxic living while Mike and I were going through our IFV journey. While I had never heard of young living in back 2013/2014 I was doing everything in my power to eat healthy foods and stay away from products that I felt were toxic. I had a sneaky suspicion that our infertility could be related to products we were using and the unhealthy food, we could afford and were eating. It was until this past year, that I really became interested in what I was using to clean my home and what exactly I was putting into the air we breathe. 

Environmental toxins have been known to cause irritability and illness. Although I feel like I can not control all areas of our life and what toxins we come in contact with I can control some areas. This includes, but is not limited to, using cleaner body products, hair products, cleaning products, food storage, cookware, laundry detergent, car cleaning products, dry cleaning, and CANDLES. Like, did you know CANDLES ARE A TOXIN?! Per Weil, “scented candles can present risks in two ways- the fragrance and the wax. Paraffin, the wax used in most candles, can emit chemicals like benzene and toluene. These substances are known carcinogens. [Additionally], candles using artificial fragrance will lead to inhalation of a possible endocrine disrupter.” Great. No more pricey Anthro candles for me. Another shocker – products that may be advertised to be clean are not always clean?! While I thought I was making good decisions buying the trendy Mrs. Meyers products from my Grove subscription, they are actually what the industry calls green washed. This is when companies mislead consumers about the health, safety, and environmental impact of their products. I feel bamboozled by a lot of products lately. Do me a favor and download the app, Think Dirty. Scan some of your everyday products and see how they rate in the app. I’m almost certain you will be shocked by what you’re using in your household! I sure was.

While we can’t afford to trash all of the toxins in our life and replace them with clean products right away, I’m making a conscious effort to reduce the chemicals we come in contact with on a daily basis. After doing a TON of research on clean products and ways to “detox” our life, I kept circling back to Young Living. This is a company that sells 100% pure essential oils with a Seed to Seal promise committed to unmatched quality. Not only was I drawn to the thousands of ways we could replace toxic products with YL essential oils in our home, I was especially drawn to their Thieves cleaning product line. If you’re in any “Mom” Facebook Group, I’m sure you’ve seen people raving about it. It’s a super concentrated product you dilute to replace pretty much every cleaning product in your arsenal and it’s truly clean, non-toxic, and believe it or not, germ-killing!

This company is a win-win for us. While it obviously will help reduce environmental toxins, we can also diffuse certain oils to promote better sleep and reduce stress (two of the pillars!), promote immunity, ease anxiety, alleviate depression, improve digestion…the list goes on and on. There are oils and products safe for my 3 & 5 yr olds. There are oils that can be ingested, so we can add lemon or lime drops to our water or peppermint to our coffee! They also have CBD line that we may be interested in using down the road as well. They have anything and everything and while I’ve used oils sporadically in the past, I’m really excited to dive deeper into their endless benefits. Think room sprays, linen sprays, glow serums, scent rollers, laundry detergent, scented dryer balls, every cleaning product you need made of the things you combined. No hidden ingredients. No toxins. This is what we need!

I also want to note that no one reached out to me and said, “hey, I sell Young Living and want you to try our products!” I did my own research and ended up buying from someone I’ve never even met because I wanted to try them that badly. While, the main reason we are making so many of these changes is to reduce toxins, I also want to use this knowledge to keep our babies safe. By making these changes now, I truly believe we’re making a positive impact on our future.

If any of you have questions or want to chat about the Young Living product line or starter kit, leave a comment below or reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram! @essentialswithmama

2017 Christmas Card

So now that our cards are out the door to family and friends, I thought I’d share pics used for our Christmas Card!


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We did a mini session with a photographer I found on Facebook. I feel like mini sessions with multiple little kids is great because they last 20-30 minutes which was about all Charlie had patience for. She wanted to go “cwimb” at the “pwayground” which was a few feet away. Mental note for next year: don’t pick a location with anything exciting nearby. The downside of a mini-session is that you only get a hand full of pictures, so when your bangs look like they do above (what is happening with them?!) you just roll with it. 😉

Here’s a pic that didn’t make the cut but is super cute of my energetic girl…


…which reminds Mike of…



8 days to go until the big guy comes and I have to get my you know what together.


Cousin fun and a playdate at the bar…

Last weekend Charlie’s cousin Keiks came into the city to have a lunch playdate! The girls played kitchen all morning then we headed out to have some lunch. We were the only people in the restaurant which was awesome and rare. The girls were angels as usual 😉


Daddy was exhausted after the playdate too…


Mike had to take his last Absite exam for residency this past weekend! Woohooo! It’s just one more step to us being done with residency. To celebrate the residents get together every year after the test and this year we brought the kids…to the bar.


These girls had a blast eating fried food/cheddar bunnies, running around and dancing to inappropriate music.


Of course there was coloring. Even at the bar…this girl LOVES to color.

I told you last week she loves to color so much we are working on coloring paper and not walls and furniture. Sunday afternoon we spent some time cleaning the walls and toys that she has decorated.


img_3481She now loves the magic eraser.

Weekend Roundup

Here is a look at what we have been up to:

I had my anatomy scan! Baby looks great and although I feel enormous the baby is measuring average size.


Baby wasn’t super cooperative so I’m going back to finish the scan tomorrow.

 Charlotte is a busy little lady these days. When she isn’t trying to climb on the coffee table…img_3387


…she’s watching Finding Nemo and coloring. We are working with the idea of only coloring on paper. So far she has decorated the walls, the couch, her clothes and some toys. It’s amazing how true this saying is “when a toddler is quiet it usually means they are up to something.” 100% accurate with our girl.

We went to a Birthday Party.



To the park.


and on a playdate then out to dinner at a delicious Persian Restaurant called Ravagh.


I wish I got a picture of the food and this little beast inhaling rice, hummus and chicken. I’m pretty sure she ate more than Mike and me combined.

Then she slept…



This past weekend was quite busy. While we had a few play dates and enjoyed the Patriots win (woohooo), many women around the country/world marched. They marched for all sorts of reasons that may or may not matter to you. This isn’t a place where I’ll be sharing my political views but I will say I appreciate the rights women have now and I support those who do not want these rights retracted in any way.

Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.


The last year…and a half.


My New Year’s resolution is to start blogging again…so here’s what’s been going on…

So much has happened since I last posted. First of all, becoming a mommy has rocked my world to the core…in an amazing way. Here’s the thing…no matter how prepared you are you are never prepared. I have LOVED every second of being a mom but let’s be honest, I have never cried harder, laughed louder or enjoyed life more.

Here is Charlie’s 1st year recap.

1 Month 


  • Wears newborn and  0-3 month clothes and size N diapers.
  • She had a horrible bout of baby acne and it is finally cleared up just before two months. We tried everything to get rid of it (coconut oil, breastmilk, Aquaphor) and we learned that it just takes time. She still is such a cutie pie!
  • She’s SUPER hard to burp and constantly has the hiccups! They don’t bother her though!
  • Nickname is currently CC because it’s just so cute.

2 Months

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  • Wears 0-3 month and 3 month clothes and size 1 diapers.
  • She loves her Wubbanub (Bernard the bear and and is getting better at keeping it in on her own. We try not to use it a lot, mostly for naps and in the evenings for bed.
  • Big news is that she started daycare on September 1st and although it was SUPER hard for mama she seemed to do okay.
  • We sit her on our lap and hold her chin to burp her, it’s the method that works the best.
  • She eats 1t 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm, 12am, 3am. Dada does the nighttime bottle around 11:45 so I can go to bed after her 9:30 bottle.  LIFESAVER.
  • Nickname has changed to Charlie Bear…adorbs.

3 Months


  • Wears 3 month clothes and size 1 diapers.
  • We moved her from her bassinet into her crib. It was a rough transition for about a week but she eventually got it. She looks so teeny tiny in the crib.

4 Months

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  • Wears  3-6 month clothes and size 2 diapers.
  • She opens her mouth when you go in for a kiss! Nothing better than an open mouth baby kiss.
  • Charlie is a side sleeper. We lay her down on her back, she rolls to her side and pretty much stays like that all night long.

5 months (November)


  • Was able to sit up by herself on November 29th!
  • Charlie is drooling like a dog and gnawing on her hands like crazy.
  • She likes to pick her feet up and slam them down. This causes her to turn 180 on her back during nighttime sleep! We lay her down one way and by the morning her feet are where her head was! It’s hilarious.


6 Months (December)

  • Started solids! Her first solid was avocado and she seemed to like it! I gave her solids as a snack around 5 pm when we got home from daycare.
  • Went swimming for the first time on December 31st. She was so relaxed and almost fell asleep in the float.
  • She rolled over for the first time on Sunday, December 6th while watching her big cousin Ava do it.
  • Christmas was so much fun. She loved playing with the tissue and wrapping paper.






7 Months (January)

  • Now in size 3 diapers.
  • Charlie enjoyed her first New Years Eve getting Hibachi!
  • Loves watching football with Daddy.


8 Months (February)

  • Took her 1st airplane ride to Disney World!
  • Rode her first ride, the Carousel.
  • Didn’t really want to eat any solids while traveling which made mama crazy! She would eat oatmeal and take some formula. Had apple sliced for the first time and LOVED THEM!
  • She loved watching everything.





9 Months (March)

  • Started crawling on March 15th!
  • Is now a belly sleeper! I love seeing her little tushy up in the air at night.
  • Took her first subway ride.
  • Has been having a hard time sleeping through the night. She has come into our bed a few times a week at 3:30/4 am. This only last a few weeks but it was tough.


10 Months (April)

  • This is how I find her every morning. 🙂
  • She is down to four bottles a day – 1 at 7am, 1 at 11:30, 1 at 3pm and one at 630 before bed.


11 Months (May)

  • Had to get nighttime diapers because Charlie was waking up with a wet belly.
  • OBSESSED with Sesame Street but mostly the song at the end. Will sit and rock her body in the most adorable way.
  • Loves being outside and going on the swings.


1 Year (June)




  • We had her 1st Brithday party in Carle Shurz Park. Nina from Brownstone came to play guitar and we had all of her friends and teachers from her daycare class. Neena and bob drove all the way down from Boston!
  • Charlie naps once a day, sometimes for 2.5 hrs sometimes for 1.5.

Being parents is everything we hoped and dreamed it would be. Charlotte is a blessing in so many ways and makes everyday so much better.

Maternity leave starts and so does the baking…

Oh hello JUNE!

Today was the official start to my maternity leave. I’m not officially due until June 18th but since I work in a school and we are closed for the summer, I can take maternity leave starting in my 9th month. Yes, my 9th month started a while ago but to be honest the thought of staying home with nothing to do really worried me. Nothing to do…I’m sure I will give anything to say that in a few weeks but for now it’s true.

Just look at what is already done…

  1. Our bags are packed.
  2. The camera is charged.
  3. The baby’s stuff is set up/organized well as much as it can be before she gets here.
  4. I have cooked freezer meals for after delivery.
  5. I’ve finished the Baby Bump Book and started her baby book.
  6. All 736 of her outfits are washed.
  7. The apartment is clean.
  8. I’m caught up on all my Bravo and Bruce Caitlyn Jenner news.

What else is there to do?

Bake I guess. If you know me you know I am a horrendous baker. Like, can’t bake the cookies that come in the cold already mixed cylinder packages, type of can’t bake. It’s bad. So I’ve decided to bake until this baby decides it’s her time. Today I made Lemon Loaf and I must say it’s not bad!


Disclaimer: It, much like everything else, gave me heartburn. Fail.

Dr. appointment in the morning! Fingers crossed that I am already 4cm dilated and didn’t even know it!

(stop laughing…I realize that’s insane…but a girl can dream)


Here is the recipe:

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp softened, unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut oil (softened)
1 cup powdered sugar; plus 1 tbsp
2 tbsp almond milk
1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Use a mixer to blend together eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon, almond extract and lemon juice in a separate bowl. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and blend until smooth. Add coconut oil and mix well. Pour batter into well greased 9×5 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Make icing by combining all icing ingredients in a small bowl with an electric mixer on low speed. When the loaf is cool, remove it from the pan and frost the top with icing. Let the icing set before slicing.

Maternity Pictures

We have belly pictures… 🙂 Here are a few of our favorites!


I was a little skeptical about doing maternity pictures mainly because I wasn’t sure how I’d feel in front of the camera but also because I didn’t want to force Mike to take pictures again. (although he was a champ and super handsome in our engagement pictures, it’s not his favorite activity). So it was great when my sister gifted them to us because both of these things were out of my hands! I could not be happier with how they turned out and I am so thankful we have this precious time documented forever.












I had high hopes of blogging a before and after of our apartment. We will be staying in our one bedroom for the next two years until we relocate for Mike’s surgical fellowship. Who says you can’t raise a baby in a one bedroom apartment in NYC?!?

A HUGE thank you to Krystal Balzer Photography!

She was wonderful and we can’t wait to have her back to take pictures of our little lady.

Hospital Bag

We went to the doctor yesterday for our 36 week check up and my cervix is “soft” and I’m effaced! This basically means that the baby is getting ready to make her appearance. 🙂 Wooohooo! However, we got the go ahead to take an overnight 4 hour trip up to Boston for a family friend’s funeral tomorrow so I am hoping she decides anytime after Friday. The plan is to leave right away if I have any signs of labor but let’s hope she is super cozy and wants to stay for another week or so. Mike thinks she’ll come on June 5th and I think June 2nd. What do you think!?!?

We’ve been packed since 34 weeks and I am so glad that it’s already done. I read a few blogs to prepare myself for what I needed and I hope I have everything.

Here is what’s in my hospital bag:

mama hospital bagPictured: Nursing bras, nursing pads, nursing tanks, nightgown, shorts, button down sleep shirts, sandals, slippers, razor, deodorant, face wash and lotion, body wash, toothbrush and paste, hair ties, Lanoline cream, cozy socks.

Not pictured: Camera, iphone, charger, pillow (not sure if I’m bringing it yet) and ice pops.

Here is what’s in Miss Charlotte’s bag:

baby bag 2

Pictured: A whole bunch of adorable baby clothes, binky, blanket, nursing cover.

I didn’t get a picture of what is packed for Daddy because there is nothing packed for him yet. 🙂 They say to bring snacks and clothes but as of right now we are not planning on paying for a private room. Mike can’t stay with me unless we pay for a private room. Can you believe that!? I know…outside of NYC this is unheard of…peeps here are cray.

Here is my 35 week update:

How far along: 35 weeks!

Gender: Girl
Weight gain: 32 lbs…this belly is HEAVY!
Maternity clothes: I’m running out of clothes! I wear dresses mostly because the pants I have are too tight and I refuse to buy more clothes with such a short time left.
Sleep: What’s that? Just kidding. Sleeping is going well, I went though a short period of time where I was having insomnia and waking up around 3 or 4. Recently I am so exhausted by the end of the day I pass out and just get up 4 or 5 times to pee.
Best moment this month: I’m pretty much done working and it’s been nice to focus on the house and getting ready for the big day.
Miss anything: Seeing my feet and being able to bend over easily!
Movement: This little lady is super active and I love it.
Cravings: Ice cream.
Queasy or sick: Nope!
Looking forward to: Meeting our little lady!

Did someone say c-section?

Well hello! Apologies for the radio silence since March. Life as I know it has sped up and become increasingly busy! So much has happened over the past couple of months and I’m happy to report that I’ll be blogging A LOT more between now and the big B-Day. 🙂 Look for posts about what’s in my hospital bag, my New York City baby shower and my maternity pics!

First let’s touch base about this picture:

 photo 5

This is my back and what it looks like currently…well 5 years ago when I had this X-Ray taken. I have 4 Harrington rods secured to my spine that will stay there forever.  I had two scoliosis surgeries, one when I was 9 years old and the other when I was 10. My spine was not only curved but it was twisting my rib cage. Some, when diagnosed with scoliosis, have the option to wear a brace first to try and straighten out the spine. My only option was to have a pretty serious 14 hour surgery where my amazing surgeon would place two rods on both sides of my spine (lower back) . A year later at my check up I was told I needed to have my second surgery because my upper back was still curved. So I had another lengthy surgery to add two more rods from the middle of my back up to my neck.

I recovered well and have had some minor back pain throughout the years as my only “complication”. To be honest, I am blessed everything went as well as it did and I don’t take any of it for granted.

So why am I telling you this?

Well, when I had these surgeries I was told that I would have to have c-section deliveries when I wanted to start a family. At the time that seemed like light-years away and compared to my curved spine and the complications that would arise from not doing surgery, it was a no-brainer.  Fast forward to now and I am delivering next month!

Good news, science is amazing and has come a long way. Women who have scoliosis surgeries no longer require c-section deliveries! However, there is a question as to whether or not I can have an epidural. Womp womp…there is the bad news. I have spoken to my doctor and seen an anesthesiologist at the hospital. The plan is to go into labor and try to get an epidural. If it works GREAT! If not I will then be given IV narcotics that will only last in my system for 5 minutes or so at a time. I’ll push a button each time I feel like I need more and hope for the best.

I’m a little nervous about this but to be honest there is nothing I can do about it. I trust that I am in good hands and will be given good care and that is all I can do. I’m thankful to be pregnant and that vaginal delivery is an option for me.  🙂

On a different note Daddy has been doing some “homework”. My mom gave him this book for Christmas and we recently spent an afternoon in the park. I tried hard to sit on the ground comfortably without complaining for a couple of hours.

Meanwhile this is what Mike did:

photo 2

photo 4

My heart melts…


For more information about Scoliosis and pregnancy check this site out: FAQ about Scoliosis

Boston Baby Shower

Charlotte was spoiled for the first time last weekend at our whimsical sweet Boston Baby Shower. Two dear friends hosted a tea to honor us. It was so nice to be around friends and family to celebrate out little peanut and here are some pics:

IMG_3833 (2)shower 2

shower 3

shower 4


shower 5

shower 10

shower 6

shower 7
shower 9

I still can’t get over how beautiful everything was. 🙂