Gianluca

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Gianluca was born on August 13th 2017…
Our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! Little party crasher!
Kidding, it was perfect and it was life coming in full circle. I can’t think of a better way to have celebrated our one year of love and commitment than with a new baby boy being born at 4:55 am. He was 7 lbs and 12 oz. He was 21.5 inches long.
I felt like I was having signs of labor all week and the Tuesday before he was born I was convinced he was coming but nope, we were sent home. The Friday before he was born we went out to dinner for our Anniversary because we just weren’t sure when he was going to make his arrival so we figured we would celebrate early. Then on Saturday I was determined to get him out. I did not want to be induced! I woke up, went straight to a local Indian restaurant ate a bunch of spicy lentils, walked through the book store with Ari, my mom and Ava. After that I went golfing with my husband. And when I say golfing I mean I rode on the golf cart and read a Danish parenting book while he golfed. I had serious contractions on the golf cart. After he finished 18 friggin holes we went home I took a shower made myself a cup of hot chocolate (2 tbls cacao and maca powder, mixed with a heaping spoonful of coconut sugar and macadamia nut milk) we went to the hospital.
The most painful part of my labor were the IVs that the nurses failed to get in my veins that they previously said were fantastic… I had bruises all over my arms when I left the hospital. I think my active labor lasted an hour and a half and then a few very painful pushes later and there was a beautiful baby laying on my chest! As easy as I made it seem with that last sentence. There was definitely a moment before his head emerged that I cried and thought I can’t do this. I might have even said it out loud. But then I realized… there was no way to make the pain stop unless I pushed this baby out!
I would have to say one of the happiest moments of my life happened when my husband told me the baby was a boy. I have always wanted a little boy and I always saw myself with one. I had to just exhale and thank God. Seeing my husband with our son is also a dream come true. He is a wonderful father to both Arianna and Gianluca.

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My mother stayed with us for a couple of weeks to help me out which was wonderful and very much needed. Gianluca is two and a half months old now and everyday has been wonderful with him. Some days I am more tired than others, but everyday is a happy day with my blue eyed prince. I’d say the toughest time happened when I came down with mastitis. I thought I was dying. Things are more under control now though and my body has sort of figured out how much milk Gianluca needs. I definitely could still donate enough to feed another infant though, which is worth looking into.
Anyway, we adore him and Arianna is an amazing big sister. I love just staring at my son and seeing him smile and now GIGGLE! We just recently took a trip to New York City this past weekend and my son audibly laughed with me! He farted which always makes me laugh but this time he watched me laugh and then let out his own burst of laughter. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. Gianluca was wonderful on our trip and on the airplane. He won’t remember but it was very important for me to show my children Central Park. It was a beautiful weekend and I loved walking around with my family of four. We also went back to New Jersey since the airport was in Teterboro, the town next to the town I used to live in! We drove through beautiful Hoboken and Weehawken and I was able to show Ari my old house, school and soccer field.

I love my babies and our family feels much more complete with the arrival of Gianluca. I feel so blessed to have two healthy children.

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Honeymoon

A couple of weeks before my anniversary seems appropriate to finally write about my Honeymoon.  Especially considering that I started my first year of marriage looking like this:

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Eze, France

And I’m ending it looking like this:

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Eze, France

Kidding, on my actual anniversary, August 13th I’m hoping I will be holding a baby in my arms not still pregnant!  We shall see!

I have no idea what time I went to bed the night of my wedding.  All I know is the next morning I was up at 7 am throwing my things into a bag and running off to 8 am mass exhausted and hungover.  I drank a lot of white wine at my reception!  We then had to hop a plane to New York and onward to our first destination, Italy.  When we made it Puglia, Italy in the beach like town, Polignano al Mare I’m pretty sure we just passed out for 12 hours.

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This town is known for (besides being beautiful) the restaurant in the cave (which we sadly did not go to/ I’ll be back for one day) and the song Volare as the singer, Domenico Modugno, was born here.  The writer of the song was inspired by Marc Chagall (one of my favorite artists) paintings of lovers whimsically flying in the air together.  You will hear this song being played everywhere.  I heard it on the airplane in a beautiful slow version and I heard it next to our hotel as a little train picks tourists up by the statue of Modugno and plays it throughout the town.  It was adorable.  I absolutely loved this little town.

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Another endearing thing about this town (and the surrounding areas) are the poems that are written everywhere!  Instead of ugly graffiti, the graffiti was just of poems written in Italian of course.

After exploring our little town we ventured to others and managed to catch a few during their festivals.

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One of my favorite towns was Alberobello because of the Trulli.  These little funny shaped homes that are now full of little artisan shops.

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We also saw Lecce and Ostuni.  I do wish we explored Lecce more, but again, one day I’d like to go back to Puglia.  The food was amazing and everything was very affordable.

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I lived off of seafood pasta and white wine.

After Puglia we ventured North West to the Ligurian Coast.  We stayed in a town called Rapallo.

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I was so excited because I thought that one of my life long dreams would come to fruition by finally getting to walk around Cinque Terre.  My husband rented this beautiful boat to take us there but within twenty minutes I was sea sick and curled into a ball.  I did get to see Cinque Terre from the sea, but it was with one eye open and the other clenched shut trying to help myself not throw up.  Ah well, maybe one day I’ll be back but with Dramamine.

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The Ligurian Coast is home to one of my favorite dishes, Pesto!  Only they make their Pesto a bit differently.  They use a different type of pasta called, Trofie and they add cut up boiled potatoes and green beans.  Now, when I make Pesto I throw in green beans as well (and also some spinach and walnuts to sneak in more health benefits for Ari).

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My favorite town in the Ligurian Coast was Portofino.  There are a lot of shops there and little hiking trails to take you to more sights.  The Ligurian Coast was gorgeous and I enjoyed just laying by the infinity pool off of the cliffs with my new husband but it came time to explore new territory, Spain.  We took a short flight over to Barcelona and I made it my mission to see all of Gaudi’s work!  As a high school student I was obsessed with his architecture and how creative he was.  The man truly thought out of the box and I loved it.

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The Sagrada Familia was incredible.  They have been building this for over 100 years and it is still not finished.  It will be taller than any building in Barcelona but smaller than the tallest mountain- Gaudi did this in respect for God.  We did not go into any of the structures though because of the lines and the money each one wanted.  If I come back with my children I will make more of an effort to take them inside and let them learn, but I was having a lot of fun just exploring with Nick.

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Spain is known for their Paella.  We ate a lot of Paella in an effort to try them all (I think I make the best Paella though).  I found that my favorite dessert was Crema Catalana.  It’s like a creme brûlée.

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Our favorite restaurant however did not sell crema catalana or paella but fresh plant centered foods, smoothies and juices.  It’s called Flax and Kale and we went there every single day, sometimes twice a day for breakfast and lunch.

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We both needed to detox and my body especially needed alkaline plant based food after eating my weight in pasta and drinking more glasses of wine then I had ever had in those previous 26 years of life.

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happy husband

After our stay in Barcelona in this really cool hotel I might add, that was more like a petit museum (the owner of the hotel also owned an Egyptian museum) we hopped on The Crystal Symphony for a Cruise.

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Our first stop was Majorca/Mallorca.  We went to a wine tasting there which was a lot of fun.  Believe it or not I’ve never done a wine tasting before so I was very excited to have this experience.  I loved our cruise!  I also had never been on a cruise before, so that in itself was exciting for me and scary.  One night I had to grip my bed while trying to fall asleep because of a storm at sea.

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Our cruise also had tea time at 4 pm and I don’t think I missed one day of it!

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I love me some tea time

Next stop Monaco.  I woke up, the sun was shining and I had breakfast on the balcony and this sight to see.  I was on Cloud Nine.

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I loved Monaco.  Nick and I walked around during the day and looked around at all of the shopping.  I did not go into any casinos!

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The most beautiful Starbucks

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At night we went to a beautiful party at Grace Kelly’s Rose Ball and saw Andrea Bocelli sing.  I cried, it was too much beauty and I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.  As Nick’s grandfather would say, it was a happy cry.

Another tour that our cruise offered was to Eze, France.  I did this tour solo because Nick was running all sorts of crazy errands that day.  I missed my bus with the group (Nick’s fault) and had to take a taxi to Eze which was actually a great experience.  I was able to ask the taxi driver all about Monaco, Grace Kelly and their citizenship (it’s quite hard to acquire citizenship there).  He dropped me off to meet up with my group at the Fragonard perfumery.  With no husband around I went crazy with souvenir shopping.

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me with my first set of goodies
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Their perfume is their art

Eze was beautiful and hilly.  It was quite the hike and I did it happily in my flip flops because I was just so happy to be there.  All of the shops were so cute.  I made sure to pick up quite a few toys for my Ari from all of the toy shops.  As always the people in France were so kind.  I get defensive when people say the French or Parisians are rude.  I have never found this to be true.

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After my relaxing solo adventure through Eze it was time for our last stop, Rome!  I still make fun of Nick for this because he booked us at the scariest hotel!  I don’t even want to get into all of the things wrong with this place!  I was just so happy to wake up in the morning and just get hell up out of there into the city!  I had not been back to Rome since I was 16 years old.

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I kept trying to piece things back together for myself.  It is such a romantic city and I loved rediscovering it again with my happily ever after.  We stumbled upon the coliseum together, campo de’ fiori and met up with a couple of Nick’s cousins.  We ended our trip with another party.

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It’s a happy life with Nick

And that was our Honeymoon, finally recorded after almost coming full circle with our first year of marriage.

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Maternity Fashion

It’s a rainy Saturday morning and everyone in my house is asleep.  Ari came home a couple of hours ago after her first camp out with her nature camp!  She stayed up until 4 am with the other little girls in her group so as soon as she got home from 7 am pickup I had her take a shower, take her kids multivitamins and probiotic, rubbed some lotion mixed with lavender oil on her and put a movie on to secretly lull her to sleep (she kept telling me she wasn’t tired).  She came home bright eyed and bushy tailed but I figured  it would be best if I had her sleep the rest of the morning and maybe do an activity with her in the afternoon/evening to help her sleep schedule be a little less hectic tonight.  We’ll see how that goes!

As for me and baby we are just waiting around for our due date!  We have two more weeks and I’m feeling pretty good.  Too much standing and walking and I need to sit down though.  Too much sitting and I need to stand up because my back hurts.  It’s constant adjusting until I finally put my feet up and curl into the fetal position at night with a little foot stuck under my rib cage.  I am so excited to meet this little person who has been rolling around and testing the limits of their space every day inside of me.  With that being said, I know some part of me will miss my bump and having a little life to nourish within my core.  Dressing the bump has also been so much fun especially during the summer.  There have been a few people who have commented sympathetically, “poor thing, how are you dealing with the heat?”  And I have to say, the heat in Ohio this summer has not been that bad.  I have enjoyed wearing my little polka dot maternity swim suits to the pool, sitting under an umbrella with a magazine and just watching Ari play.  I also have to say being pregnant in the summer has been very cost efficient.  Winter pregnancies need a whole new coat to fit around the bump!  I wouldn’t even want to try and pull over a tight sweater and be left to sweat every time I went into a warm room.  Not to mention being off balance with a big bump and trying to navigate walking on icy sidewalks.  Yikes!

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Paris was chilly and I could not zip my coat over my little 6 month bump!

  I thought I could be one of those girls who could get away with wearing their normal attire or at least be able to buy normal dresses instead of maternity specific but I quickly found that maternity was just made to fit better and is much more comfortable!  The normal wrap dresses I tried on would maybe fit my breast area but then be too tight on the bump or reverse; they would drown my breast area in fabric and be perfect for the bump.  One of my favorite flowier dresses I wore to an event and felt so beautiful in it but when I got home I had red marks in my shoulders.  The dress had been cutting off my circulation and I had no idea!  So that is why I decided to really research into maternity clothes and commit to the investment in getting clothes that fit my new body type.  I have had so much fun finding cute little dresses and fashionable jeans.  Maternity pants are the first investment I made and early on because my belly felt so tender even when the baby was tiny.  I needed the stretchiness.  A great brand I found at Nordstrom is Paige.  The jeans fit under your bump with two elastic pieces carefully hidden at the sides.  I have a pair that are black with trendy little rips and tears.  I love them.

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paige

Now on to my favorite, dresses!

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kimi and kai

I love a cute dress sans pants!!!  Comfy and classic are two things I love.  One company I fell in love with, again through Nordstrom, is Kimi and Kai.  I was lucky enough to be able to collaborate with them and have them send a couple of dresses to share!

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kimi and kai

Kimi and Kai also have their own website you can visit to see more than just what Nordstrom is offering.  The great thing about maternity clothes is that they can last more than just three trimesters.  Some maternity outfits double as nursing outfits, so instead of having to pull your entire shirt up or down or completely remove it, you can just discreetly pull at a secret piece of fabric and voila!  Milk for baby!

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best of both worlds: maternity and nursing dress combined by kimi and kai

The white dress with black polka dots is exactly what I’m talking about.  Pick up one of those frills on the shoulder and baby has access and no one has been flashed.  I am all for breast feeding but I prefer a cover because I personally am uncomfortable with anyone seeing an intimate moment like that between my child and I, so the more discreet I can be, the more comfortable I am.

A few other designers I like are Seraphine, Olian and Majamas.

One of my favorite dresses that I will be wearing after my pregnancy is this Seraphine navy polka dot dress.  I also fell in love with their comfy form fitting maxis.

Olian has a lot of fun prints and they are based out of Miami.

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Olian

I also found a Company called Moms The Word that sells several different designers.

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I wore this Tees by Tina dress to my baby shower. Found through Moms The Word.
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This dress is Moms The Word’s very own Milan dress.  So comfy and pretty.

And if you just want to be down right comfy, work out, fall asleep, nurse baby, lounge on couch… repeat… I suggest Majamas!  USA made and eco friendly!  Their recycled polyester fabric is my favorite!  I want to live in it forever.  They also have great organic cotton dresses.  I wore one last weekend to a party actually.  I forgot to take photos but no worries it doubles as a nursing dress so I will be wearing it a lot in photos of my new bambino and I!  Their qualcosa tanks are my absolute favorite to wear working out with a bump because they cover your posterior bum when you’re wearing leggings and they cover the bump beautifully with their gorgeous patterns.  The florals are my favorite.  The company is actually in Chicago and the owners are very friendly and helpful (I’ve called them a couple of times to help me with sizing).

Maternity fashion is so cute in my opinion and it’s best to do whatever is comfortable for you and wear whatever makes you feel beautiful because there are parts of pregnancy that are just not so glamorous.  In my opinion when you look good you feel good.  During some of the hard times in my life I knew the best way to cheer myself up and get myself out of the house to work hard for my daughter and I was to just take a shower and put on a cute dress and some red lip stick.  Somehow that made everything else feel manageable to me.  Everyone has their own tricks: yoga class, deep breathing, massage, cooking a beautiful meal, cleaning their home, netflix binge watching etc… Whatever you need, do it because you’ll come back so much better.  Pregnancy in the grand scheme of things is so short but so memorable.  My daughter keeps a photograph of me pregnant with her in her room.  It really is such a beautiful time for you and your child.

 

Traveling while pregnant

Bambino Fedeli has gotten around the world (whether he/she liked it or not).  Our first couple of trips were in my first trimester down to Naples, Florida.  These trips were spent mostly in the fetal position with saltines and ginger ale sitting in bed with me.  Around four months pregnant though we took Ari to Orlando to celebrate her 7th birthday at Disney World with some of Nick’s family and some of mine.  I was fortunately finally coming out of that first trimester haze and feeling well enough to   navigate Epcot and The Magic Kingdom.  We all had a wonderful time and the walking was good for me and baby.  The only difference traveling to Disney World pregnant made was that I of course could not go on some of the really cool roller coasters that I normally would have loved to ride and I had to constantly apply bug spray just to give myself some peace of mind concerning Zika.

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The next trip we took was another big European adventure or pilgrimage I should say.  We hopped on a plane and after three movies landed in Lisbon, Portugal.  17757511_10208851687395036_6783051151990565205_n.jpg

Now on this trip I’m about 6 months pregnant and I’ve got a little beach ball attached to me.  Portugal is very hilly so the pregnancy waddle was in full swing along with some minor complaints about how my feet hurt and some times when I just flat out stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to catch my breathe and pop my back.  The food in Portugal was pretty good in my opinion.  I don’t think my husband was over the moon about it, but he can’t see very far past Italian food.  It was a lot of cod cooked with onions and boiled potatoes.  I’m all for fish and potatoes so I had no problem with this.

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Ari ate a lot of their grilled and pressed cheese sandwiches.  All of us without question fell in love with a little pastry called Pastel de Nata.  They taste like a hybrid of a croissant and a yellow colored creme brûlée.  Delicious.  We ate about 7 a day, or at least I did.  Were they pregnancy safe?  I doubt it, the custard is made mostly of egg yolks and they are definitely not all the way cooked but for goodness sake if I followed every little thing I would be eating packaged food all of the dang time and that really goes against my eating philosophy of fresh whole food.  “Don’t eat sprouts, be careful if the veggies are bad or if the spinach has e coli, don’t eat this cheese, this fish, the sandwich, the salad with that dressing, the sushi, kombucha etc…” I understand some suggestions but others geesh.

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Lisbon reminded Nick and I of Barcelona.  Both are pretty tropical and warm.  Lisbon is just much more like I said earlier, hilly.  Portugal is a hidden treasure.  They have beautiful beaches, great surfing (not that I went surfing or to a beach on this trip) and beautiful music called Fado.  We went to a restaurant where we were able to hear live fado and it was so lovely.  Brazil has their Bossa Nova, Portugal has their Fado and they are both so melliflous with their language filled with shh like words.  The music is filled with passion.

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Baby Fedeli and I love these two so much

We took a day trip by bus to Fatima.  Before I met Nick I had no idea about the story of Fatima.  I did not grow up Catholic.  I was 100% open to the idea of becoming Catholic because I spent my childhood exploring Catholic churches and admiring their beauty.  I wanted to one day be able to get the Eucharist and even looked into taking classes to convert when I was in high school but never got around to it.  I didn’t think Christianity was any different than Catholicism so I didn’t see it as a big deal to convert.  After being Catholic for a year and half now I do see the differences and they are pretty big. Converting has taught me a lot.  I didn’t even really know the history of how Christian denominations broke off from the Catholic Church originally to pursue divorce.  I didn’t know much about martyrdom and holy wars, sacraments, the saints, Mary or the rosary.  I’m of course glad to know about them now.  My ideas and morals are pretty set in stone now instead of being all over the place and up to interpretation like they were when I was some sort of strange self created hybrid between Christian and Pagan.  Anyway, Fatima, there were three children who saw Mary in their home town of Fatima, Portugal.  She kept appearing to them until finally a great miracle in the sky happened.  There were also some secrets revealed.  The story is pretty incredible and anyone should read into it for themselves, believers or not.

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The next venture was to Lourdes, France.  We of course collected our water from the Grotto.  Lourdes is very commercialized, beautiful of course but I’m going to be honest there are a lot of little gift shops everywhere which make it a bit hectic and less peaceful.  I was not at peace while I was there.  I was cold and a little bugged because I couldn’t sleep at night there.  On our last day I went into the confessional in Lourdes and just cried to the priest.  There was so much in my heart that I was not at peace with.  There was a lot of anger and unforgiveness in me and I desperately needed to bleed it out.  I came out very puffy eyed and knew that I was going to have to begin a healing process and eventually write everyting off so I could free myself.  I needed to move forward and retrain my neurons to fire only to positive thoughts.  I needed to look around and see everything I had to be grateful for.  There were people in wheel chairs all around me, people fighting battles and demons I was unaware of and here I was with just some mental scars.  I had it easy.  I had to let go and let the light back in.  This did not take one day.  I was not completely healed after I walked out of the confessional or drank the holy water.  It took a couple more months for my mind to finally feel free and truly happy and content again.  I just finally spoke out loud what had been lingering and building up in the back of my mind to someone and was able to have someone pray over me and give me a little guidance.

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On to Paris and feeling a little lighter.  The one thing I made sure to do in Paris was research all maternity stores.  I was getting rounder and the pounds were doubling what the Dr. suggested, so I decided if I was going to look like I had a beach ball attached to my ever growing body I was going to dress this beach ball cute.  One brand that I have fallen in love with is Seraphine for all pregnant mommas out there, you’re welcome!

Just make sure you are on the United States website and not the British website or else you will think those pounds are dollars and consequently think that the clothes are half of what they really are… not like I did that or anything…

We had a wonderful time in Paris again.  We visited Le Souffle everyday as a result of my husband’s souffle affinity.  We had chocolate souffles, pistachio souffles, creme brûlée souffles and my husband had Grand Marnier souffles.  Baby Fedeli and I opted out of those.  We also stayed in a different area this time.  Last time we were right by the Eiffel Tower in the beautiful Hotel Plaza Athenee.  This time we were at Hotel Bel Ami in Saint Germaine.  This is truly an adorable area.  It felt more like we were living in a little neighborhood.  There are cute shops around and the Louvre is not far.  We could also easily walk to our favorite shopping areas right across The Seine and to Ari’s park in The Luxembourg gardens.  I think because the Parisian children had school and it was a popular spring break time for American children there were a plethora of English speaking children for Ari to play with this time around.  She had so much fun it was difficult getting her to leave and it was difficult for me to get her to leave because I loved seeing her so happy and making friends in a foreign country.  It made me very proud of her.  She is so adaptable and open to new experiences.  I think I said, “Okay just ten more minutes” ten times.

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I have to mention, every hotel we stayed at on this trip made Ari feel like a VIP guest.  We went during Easter time so every single day there were Easter candies left for her.  We collected so many chocolate eggs from our hotels.  Also Hotel Bel Ami did not only leave her chocolates daily but a big bottle of Non-Alcoholic Apple flavored champagne, tangerines and assorted gummy candies.  Ari seems to make friends wherever she goes.

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Breakfast at Bel Ami

As for the Baby and me my only complaint was again sore feet.  I have come to the point in my pregnancy now at 34 weeks where I just wake up with sore feet.  It takes them about ten minutes to walk around and wake up.  Other than that traveling with a baby attached to me has been a lot easier than I thought.  I assumed I would have been much more uncomfortable.  My last trip with baby was last week.  We took a short trip to Chicago to celebrate a little family member’s communion.  My mom lives in Chicago so we stayed with her, my sister, step dad and grand father.  It was a short but wonderful reunion.  The flight was only thirty minutes long and though I’m eight months pregnant no one from United bothered me.  I’ve heard some stories where women have had to bring Dr.’s notes to get on flights.  That will most definitely be my last trip though because even though the flight was short each time my back hurt so badly sitting stationary in those chairs.  It’s definitely time to hang up my wings and nest for my little baby.  ❤

 

Traveling with my Little

Ari’s first out of the country trip was last October (unless Puerto Rico counts… I suppose it does but anyway…)  We flew over the pond to Positano for a beautiful wedding celebrating two of our loved ones.  Ari was six years old at the time and she was an excellent traveler.  There were a few other children from our family that went on the trip as well and guess which one complained the most… ME.

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My husband and I travel a lot and one thing a lot of people don’t know (he certainly does though!) is that I am afraid of heights and hence I am afraid of being in an airplane hundreds, thousands, I don’t even know how far off of the ground.  I hate it and have found myself crying on several trips and reciting rosaries over and over again at the slightest turbulence.  Ah yes, it’s something I’m working on.  Flying with Ari though I can’t have a panic attack because I would never want to make her scared of traveling and exploring.  I want her to be fearless and blissful (to an extent, I do believe a bit of anxiety is actually beneficial in some aspects of life) so I take deep breathes and tell myself to suck it up, grin and bear it when she is next to me… all while sweating profusely and whispering Hail Mary under my breathe.

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Anyway, the first city we went to was Florence.  Nick studied abroad here so he knew the city well.  We saw his old school and went to his old favorite restaurant which was amazing.  The food in Italy is not hit or miss.  You can go into any mom and pop joint in my opinion and eat the best dish of pasta you’ve ever had, until the next meal of course.  I went to Florence ten years ago with my family and it was nostalgic being there.  I kept trying to piece together memories.  The Ponte Veccio is the bridge I almost rolled off of and died after my dress flew up and I tried to smack it down before I gave other tourists a show.  My parents were convinced I had an angel watching over me that day.  I was just glad no one saw the knickers.  The city seemed like a big maze when I was younger but on this trip it finally made sense and I was able to navigate my way around.

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After Florence and a mistake train ride to Bologna (I used to believe my husband was always right, until I started traveling Europe with him) we made it to Positano for the wedding.  The Amalfi Coast is nothing short of beautiful.  We stayed at a hotel that was on the bottom of the mountain, right next to the boats.  I loved it because it felt so convenient.  One morning our family decided to take a boat to Capri.  They had to hike down the mountain to get there.  I just had to watch from the balcony over breakfast, wait for the line to die down, walk down the stairs and hop in line with them.  A lot of the restaurants are on the bottom of the mountain as well so if you are planning on a visit and you’ve got bad knees or whatever, you will still enjoy yourself and have a beautiful upward panorama if you are lower.  Of course the wedding festivities were up the mountain so I did my fair share of hiking on the trip as well.  If you’re going to Positano bring flats.  Sure there are cars but driving through those winding streets off of the cliffs are scary and you’ll want to browse all of the cute shops and secret passage ways and corridors so I wouldn’t even suggest relying on it!  I had no idea what to expect but my Louboutins were not having it.  Hence for the most part of the trip I ended up wearing beautiful dresses paired with old flip flops until I got to my final destination.

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What I wanted to look like all of the time as opposed to what I really liked most of the time.

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Ari’s new friend. These two did not even speak the same language and yet they were attached at the hip. It’s amazing how children communicate and play.

If you do go to Positano get on that boat because Capri is gorgeous and if you like to shop they have a lot of options and higher end stores if that’s your thing.  Ari found a beautiful dress at a little boutique for cheap as well as a beautiful doll that she named Limone.  I picked up perfume from Carthusia.  It smelled lovely but unfortunately my bottle of perfume broke on my trip back to America so I was left with only a day’s use.  Just another excuse to go back though!  I also found these amazing chocolate covered limoncello balls.  Wow.  I have a few left that I hoard and savor.  There is also this crazy elevator tram that goes through the island to take people up and down.  I’ve never seen anything like it!  You’re packed in like sardines but it saves a taxi ride or sore feet.

After Positano all of us went to Rome.  Nick and I had just been in Rome for part of our honeymoon so for me it felt like, “oh hello again old friend.”  Nick and I revisited a lot of sights to show our family and our little Ari.

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I do have to mention a few places outside of Rome that are worth a visit.

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Villa D’Este in Tivoli Italy. These gardens are incredibly beautiful!!!
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Civita di Bagnoreggio or The Dying City or what I like to call the City of Cats. There are more cats living here than actual people. I also like to call it the Ultimate Walking Dead City because it looks like a good place to be if there were a zombie apocalypse.

After Italy it was off to Paris and London.  Ari says her favorite country is London.  I’m still trying to explain the difference between cities and countries and continents to her… but you get the point.  She loved London.  She loved their accents and she loved tea time even though she cried in Harrods’ tea parlor because she burned her tongue on scalding tea.  Poor baby.  Tea time is very special to Ari and I.  When we lived in Naples, Florida we went to Brambles Tea Room a lot to just have well, serious female bonding time.  Tea time is just such a luxury.  It’s not a mandatory meal, it’s just an excuse to take time out for yourself and loved ones if they’re around and simply treat yourself to flavored flower water, honey and little sandwiches and pastries.  You don’t work on your computer, you don’t play on your phone.  You simply indulge in little treats and talk to your company in the middle of the afternoon (often the most stressful run around exhaustive time for some people or when they just need a little break to day dream).  Its like a much needed siesta/meditation with others in my opinion.  Tea time is a lost art.

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Ari and her stuffed animals have seen a lot of the world.

Anyway, Ari enjoyed the London Eye, the many merry go rounds they have around the city and the Big Bus Tour.  She also was romanticized by the idea that a Queen and a Princess lived in London.  She was really hoping to spot them when we went past Buckingham Palace but no luck of course.  I personally was excited to see Ben’s cookies again.  I’ve traveled a lot of the world, certainly not all of it but a lot, and I can say that Ben’s cookies make the most Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie I have ever had.

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These things smell terrible.

Paris.  My dream city.  A woman I love very much, who was more of a mother figure for me in college than anything else, used to have me over for tea and we would talk and she would counsel me every week.  She sometimes gave me food to take home, chili one time, brownies another.  She and her husband put together Ari’s crib for me and one time she even watched Ari for me when I needed to finish a paper.  She was so kind to me and she never expected anything in return.  She was Jewish and I remember thinking that although she is Jewish she is the most Christ like person I have ever met.  To give, to welcome, to accept and to expect nothing in return is exactly how I think Christ would want us all to be.  I also just thought she was fascinating.  I loved her home, I loved the stories she shared about her own life and I held on to her every word because she is so wise in my eyes.  One day I asked her, of everywhere that she had been what was her favorite place.  She said Paris because of the light.  She said the light was different there and she couldn’t explain way.  Perhaps it was because of the way it reflected off of The Seine.  I then knew that before I died I would have to see Paris.  I just didn’t think it was going to be anytime when I was still in my 20’s let alone 30’s.  But my husband made another dream come true for me and took Ari and I to Paris.  We stayed in this beautiful hotel, Hotel Plaza Athenee, in the honey moon suite which was hilarious to me because obviously we had Ari with us so it could not be the seductive hideaway it was meant to be for those couple of days.  There were rose petals all over the bed, a bottle of champagne with freshly baked banana bread and candles lit all over the bath tub.  So… our six year old took candle lit baths every night, played in the rose petals and helped Nick and I eat the banana bread.

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Ari had just watched Audrey Hepburn’s Funny Face before we went on the trip so every chance she got she shouted, “Bonjour Pareeeeee!!!”

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After almost two weeks of traveling I fell very sick when we arrived in Paris but I did not let that stop me.  The adrenaline of a dream come true helped me drag my sniffly achy body through the city to see the beautiful light reflect off of each gorgeous piece of architecture.  We were able to run through the Louvre, make it over to the Eiffel Tower eat delicious souffles at our favorite restaurant justly called “Le Souffle” all while still giving Ari time to play at Luxembourg’s wonderful park and gardens.

This two week long trip was actually the most romantic trip I have ever been on, kid included.  It was our first international trip as a family.  A week before Nick and I had returned from our Honeymoon in Europe (will post this soon) and as beautiful and special as it was, there was just nothing like a family trip and seeing my husband bond with our daughter like that.  I came home loving him so much more and really feeling like a family.

 

Exhale and reflect as usual

18922055_10209337729105775_5596093069402948099_nThis pregnancy has been amazing thus far.  I love the feeling of my baby inside of me.  I love every kick and punch and flip… even the uncomfortable ones where I politely move my baby’s little foot or fist back into my belly before he/she bursts out tiny limb first like a mini Spartan warrior.  Sure there are days when I reminisce on photographs of my cute pre-pregnancy body but I have to say I have such a greater appreciation for my pre-pregnancy figure now that I’ve grown horizontally.  I always thought I looked healthy but not beautiful or something to aspire to… but after baby is out I will simply be aspiring to the old Chantelle, which makes me proud of my old body and myself (=

Since I have been pregnant before I am usually asked if this pregnancy is different than my first.  It’s similar mood wise.  I am very in love with my baby just as I was with Ari.  But I had a lot more nausea with Ari.  I was sick all day with her.  This baby wasn’t too bad.  With Ari there was a lot more fear as I had never even held a baby before!  With this baby I am just excited to finally hold a baby again!  I also gained more weight with this baby!  At 8 1/2 months pregnant I have gained what I did full term with Ari.  But I’m going to keep the exact number to myself.  Also my life is just more settled with this baby, more on that later.  I also knew I was having a girl with Ari, this time I don’t know and it’d driving me crazy.  There is a certain time during each day when I just look at my belly and ask it, “what are you?!”  There are so many adorable outfits out there and I feel like I can’t pull the trigger until I know what my baby’s gender is.  Maybe my husband did this on purpose to protect our finances.  He insisted that the gender remain a surprise until birth though, so here I sit and wait for my little bambino or bambina to arrive.  Meanwhile I do have a couple of really girly outfits stowed away just in case the baby is a bambina!  Although it would be really wonderful to have a little boy.  I just don’t know, I don’t even really know what I want it to be, just get here baby, nice and healthy and a little on the chubby side (=

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For any pregnant woman I would have to summarize pregnancy as the first trimester sucks because nausea just well.. sucks for lack of better words.  The second trimester is a dream come true.  You finally feel your baby move, you are filled with love and an unexplainable connection/ protectiveness over your tiny human.  You also get to see the result of all of baby’s hard work growing: a wee little beautiful bump.  Then the third trimester comes along and you begin to lose your mind over making sure your baby has enough socks, but are the socks organic cotton, what is the best formula just in case I don’t produce enough milk at first, does the baby have enough diapers, where can I get little nightlights for our late night feedings, what if I fall down the stairs from exhaustion or slipping on a step?!?! Ahh!  Or maybe that is just me.

I started the nesting phase super early with this baby.  My nursery is completely set up and I have washed and rewashed and folded and refolded and arranged and rearranged enough times to be diagnosed with OCD.

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The painting were done by me in an effort to save money!

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98% of the time I am filled with joy and excitement over being able to soon hold my baby, but the labor process does cross my mind and make me cringe.  I would like to be honest with every woman who has not had a baby.  Labor hurts like hell.  It feels like you are being run over.. over and over again.  I don’t understand how any woman can say labor is beautiful and such an incredible experience that they would joyfully do again.  What hallucinogenic are these women on?  Where can I get them?  Perhaps they are just so overwhelmed by the beautiful out of this world emotional joy and end result of holding their beautiful baby in their arms finally, that they forget what had to happen for their cervix to expand to the size of a donut so a human being could fit through it.  Unfortunately I have the memory of an elephant.  I’ve never blacked out, I’ve never had a night or even a few hours that I can’t recall from any sort of recreational activities.   Everything is crystal clear to me including the long labor of my first baby girl.  Anyway that’s just the straight truth not the sugar coated version.  But women are strong and we’ve been doing this for centuries and centuries.  The female body in my opinion is the most phenomenal creation, God given, beautiful, resilient and other adjectives that make my heart burst with pride for our gender.

Being older and more informed there are new things that I have pondered about with this pregnancy.  I like to think I live a healthy holistic lifestyle… but to be honest when I’m eating my organic strawberries it’s accompanied with several (heaping) spoonfuls of nutella.  With that being put out there the new holistic homeopath in me says, no vaccinations, eat the placenta, and drink Raspberry Leaf tea everyday to strengthen my uterus (which I’m beginning to loathe).  Then the alternative side of me says, just a tiny sip of warm earthy coffee is probably okay, and what if the negative studies on vaccines are just anxiety ridden poppy cock and eating the placenta?!?  If the body wants it out, then the body does not want it back in!!!  Honestly I didn’t even know that was a thing.  I read that eating the placenta can fight the baby blues, but I didn’t even know that there was such thing as post partum depression.  After I had my daughter Arianna I felt so happy.  I was filled with pride over how beautiful and healthy she was.  I also felt beautiful regardless of the 40 plus pounds I had gained.  Now knowing that women get post part depression actually gives me anxiety wondering if this time around I may fall victim!  Sometimes the old adage rings true, ” ignorance is bliss.”  No matter what life throws at us though I know everything will turn out alright.  Women are so much more open and transparent with each other these days.  I know I won’t have to feel alone if I ever do feel blue.

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I had a little nursery reveal party at my house. I know that no one does nursery reveal parties but I worked so bloody hard on it and cried so many happy tears in it that I deemed it necessary to share with my loved ones. I also like excuses to celebrate.

I do feel so blessed that this time around I will be able to give 100% of myself to this baby as a stay at home mum.  Knowing this makes me feel so at ease.  I’m not questioning, what will I do next?  How am I going to manage this?  Who is going to watch the baby?  What if said caregiver makes a mistake…Etc… With Arianna I was able to stay with her full time for three months thanks to my family’s generosity but after that time period was up it was time to get back into the real world, which meant a road trip back to UNC Chapel Hill.  I had a full scholarship I couldn’t just lay down and cry “Uncle” just because no one believed I could finish school now that I had a baby.  That scholarship was a gift from the University.  It was God seeing into my future knowing I would need that!

Arianna’s life was never a choice, regardless of others telling me her life was a decision I could make.  There were people who truly made me feel like my life would be over if I had a baby.  Things did fall apart for me, but they would have fallen apart regardless.  My ex was cheating on me and I realized it when Ari was maybe 9 months old.  All of the signs were there, he didn’t  live with me, he rarely called but I blamed it on his busy soccer career.  I was wonderfully and dreadfully naive to evil.   I was forced to go through with the legal process of divorce and every day for a couple of years I cried because of it.  I truly didn’t believe I would ever love or trust someone ever again.  I also didn’t think anyone would love me in return and that is another thing I was told as a result of having a baby.  I definitely struggled financially and it just seemed like everything was spiraling out of control.  But I had this ooey gooey squishy little girl who loved me so much and that was everything.  A child’s love is everything.  It’s the sun, the moon, the stars, my universe was in my child’s embrace.  She kept me so busy I didn’t have enough time to have the proper mental breakdown that my circumstances would have warranted.  I look back and my memories are full of her smiles and hugs and kisses and silly ramblings, dance moves, falling asleep on my chest, trying to pronounce, “I love you.”  My memories rarely draw back on my tears and when they do it’s because I want to encourage someone else who is going through something similar.

Anyway I didn’t mean to make that a pro life tangent.  I just feel so blessed that God forged a path for my first baby and me that led to a loving and growing family.  I couldn’t see it back then and no one else could either.  Sometimes I sit in Baby Fedeli’s nursery and I am filled with happy tears because today I feel so safe and secure and there is nothing like that feeling when you went so long without it.  Everything turned out beautifully.  I did graduate.  I met amazing fellow mom friends.  The women who came into my life to help me and my child are forever in my heart and forever testimonies to me that God’s love is here on earth.  It’s shown through every selfless act, through every act of unconditional love to another, to a stranger.  I did end up falling in love again and being loved in return.  The nightmare marriage was annulled which felt like the removal of an ugly scar.  Arianna has a mom and a dad now plus a big loving family!   I could go on and on and sometimes I do when I’m in the notes section of my cell phone.  I’m so grateful.  It’s like finally being able to exhale.

One of my friends showed me this passage when I was beginning to go through well everything… Every time I read it I am in awe.  Isaiah 54:

6 The Lord will call you back
    as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young,
    only to be rejected,” says your God.
“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
    but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
In a surge of anger
    I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
    I will have compassion on you,”
    says the Lord your Redeemer.

“To me this is like the days of Noah,
    when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
    never to rebuke you again.
10 Though the mountains be shaken
    and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
    nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

11 “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
    I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,[a]
    your foundations with lapis lazuli.
12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
    your gates of sparkling jewels,
    and all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children will be taught by the Lord,
    and great will be their peace.
14 In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
    you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
    it will not come near you.
15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
    whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith
    who fans the coals into flame
    and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
17     no weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

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Lovely flowers that were done by Pieter and Gwen, same people who did the flowers at my wedding!  The cake was also made by the same bakers who made my wedding cake, Nick and his wife Grace.  Cassata of course ❤

Baby Fedeli

In December of 2016 I received a phone call.  The Dr. on the phone then told me that I was pregnant.  I was completely surprised.  I had gone to this Dr. to make sure that my body could actually get pregnant after the traumatic delivery of my daughter Arianna.  Having my daughter was stressful because the entire time I felt like I had to defend my wishes and yell at people in the delivery room.  I didn’t care how long it took to give birth to Arianna but I felt like everyone was rushing me to get her out.  Ari missed her due date of February 13th consequently a Dr. scheduled an induction for me on the 22nd of February despite a midwife feeling my stomach and telling me that the Dr.’s were wrong this baby was not late, this baby was going to be born on the 18th of February.  Well sure enough I was laying in bed watching a movie on February 17th and I knew in my heart that my body was naturally beginning the labor process.  I stayed at home until I felt like I was ready to go to the Dr.  I was then scolded at the hospital for having waited so long.  Of course I was in a lot of pain my contractions were very close together, but I wanted to be at home until I knew it was time.  Regardless I went through labor for 7 hours and during this time I kept having to yell at residents who wanted to vacuum her out and use different instruments to pull her out.  All of which I knew could misshape her skull.  I kept telling them to let me do it myself.  At 6 am Arianna came out on her own as lovely as can be.  That was not the end of the story though.  Another resident who I hadn’t seen before then told me that he was going to pull the placenta out.  I told him to get away from me and that the placenta would come out on its own within the next 20-30 minutes.  Apparently I wasn’t stern enough and I was probably distracted by my precious baby.  He then ruptured my placenta causing me to go into surgery, losing blood and having to be on an antibiotic afterwards.  I was pretty angry to say the least… and in fear that the surgery may have scarred my uterus.

Anyway!  Three months after our wedding I decided to see a Dr. to make sure that my body was not going to have a problem with getting pregnant.  Now flash forward to the phone call.  I’m expecting to get bad news, perhaps there really is scarring or perhaps my blood test revealed that I have a hormonal imbalance (my mind can jump to dark places).  Fortunately this was a good phone call, I was actually already pregnant and scarring wasn’t anything I needed to worry about!  I don’t think I stopped smiling for the rest of that day.  I think I was smiling in my sleep.  I could not be happier.  I love children and have wanted to be a mother since I was 6 years old.  I have always wanted a lot of children.  This was a dream come true and this part of me that felt incomplete was finally whole.  I really can’t explain it.  I also did not want my daughter to grow up an only child.  Speaking from experience being an only child is lonely.

When I told Nick, he did not believe me.  He knew how stressed I was about being able to get pregnant.  We excitedly went in for an ultrasound that week but there was nothing there!  There was only the start of a little cord.  We had come in so early our baby was too tiny to be seen on the ultrasound screen.  The Dr. told us not to worry and to come back in one week to give the baby time to get bigger.  I prayed that our baby was okay and sure enough when we came in the following week, there was a little baby on the screen with a tiny beating heart.  My heart was filled with joy and relief after seeing this little one.  I was fiercely madly in love with this baby already.

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We decided to tell Arianna on Christmas Day because she kept telling (various) Santa Claus’ that she wanted a baby sister or brother for Christmas.  A Santa Claus in Florida actually pulled me aside to tell me that he had to tell my daughter that he did not give families babies, only toys, and that she should speak with her parents about this request.  When we sat Arianna in front of the Christmas tree, she too did not believe the news!  She has been kissing and hugging my belly ever since though and telling everyone she comes into contact with that her mommy is having a baby.

The first trimester was filled with morning sickness and a couple of migraines which only made the morning sickness worse.  If I was hungry for even a minute, I had to run to the toilet.  The baby demanded food.  Now, our baby is 18 weeks old.  The second trimester has been great so far.  I am beginning to feel the baby move and although I eat frequently  I don’t feel nauseous when I’m hungry anymore.  I also feel like the fog and sleepiness of the 1st trimester are gone.  Of course it is all worth it when I see my belly grow or feel little kicks.  We are expecting Baby Fedeli early August and I could not be happier!  I went in for another ultrasound this week and was able to see my baby moving around.  Baby Fedeli is an active baby with a strong heart beat.  I can’t wait to hold this little one in my arms.

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