Last Saturday when we experienced near 70 degree weather here in Denver, in February, one of my oldest and dearest friends dropped by for a playdate with her little gentleman!
A walk to Starbucks, a stop at the park, and a some lunch at Noodles filled up our morning and tired out our toddlers.
I have been friends with Alex for over ten years and we have seen each other through the highs and lows of our twenties and all the milestones like job promotions, graduating university, and we have also been there for each other through some serious breakups and at the end of the tunnel we came out finding our better halves. Now we're wiser, so we hope, and entering a new decade as mommas, continuing to share wisdom and experiences with each other and deepening our bond.
We are the type of friends that go months without seeing each other, and we don't always have time to gab on the phone, but when we do get together, we don't miss a beat.
Every new momma has that epiphany moment when it all clicks and she gets that motherhood really is a club of sorts and she realizes she just got initiated when she takes her first car ride home, at 20 miles per hour, with the new family member strapped in the back seat. If you're the first of your friends to have babies, then you know what I mean, and you are also waiting for your other girlfriends to take these precious car rides home from the hospital so you can have that unsaid connection and understanding with them. I am so glad Alex and I are a part of this elite group together.
There are different personalities and attributes you get from different friends, like a well dealt hand of cards. Alex is my ace. She is the book worm. The knowledge seeker. The "Googler," the fact finder. The researcher, the thinker. The, "we'll figure this shit out" and "get it done" girl. She has been my boss, she has been my landlord (for a week), she has been a mentor and role model.
This lady is THAT lady that went back at work two weeks after giving birth. I admit I even dropped my jaw at this one! She works at a successful Denver law firm, is in her last semester of law school at Denver University, has her masters, raising her teenage nephews, happily married, and raising a toddler all the while looking like Behati Prinsloo on her most tired day.
I remember when I told Alex that we were going to start to try to conceive. We have had dinner dates in our pre-baby days, on rooftops and over REAL cocktails, and discussed how we thought we were going to do motherhood. You know, with pre-natal yoga, designer bags as "diaper bags" and we were going to stay true to ourselves and be career women with the most stylish babes on our hips while juggling brief cases. Well, maybe she stuck to that plan, but I sort of fell off the wagon in some areas I suppose. Nevertheless, here we are, both mommies, in the club. A club that actually never closes.
Her little Lucas was born in October, just a few months after my Remy, and now they're at ages where they can play together and interact and we are both looking forward to seeing these two tiny tots grow up together. She has been the friend to support me and encourage me through all things involving school, career, even love and now mama hood as well.
I have said this before, see previous Play, Meets here
, and here
, and the very first one here
, but I'll say it again, I just love learning and sharing with moms from all walks of life. Learning how we all do this job differently and uniquely, all wanting the same end goal, a happy, healthy successful child, is fascinating to me. Read on to hear how this sweet, savvy, smart, Russian beauty balances law books, sippy cups and lipgloss.
Alexandra, 31, Legal/Government Relations Associate/ Ignacio, 43, Baby Lucas, 16 months February 18
HH: You have mentioned you still can't believe you're a momma! What moments make it real for you the most?
AG: Waking up at 7am everyday, because that's when Lucas wakes up, makes it very real! But on a serious note, when it's just Lucas and I hanging out, I catch myself thinking, wow, this is my son. Also, when he says, "Mama." I still haven't gotten used to that.
HH: What are your favorite characteristics of Lucas so far? Describe his personality for us.
AG: Some of his looks in the pictures are perfect representations of his personality. He is incredibly independent. I love that he's always happy and laughing. When I've had a long day just looking at his smiling face makes everything better. I love that he's curious about everything and is in tune to so many things going on around him.
HH: You seem to have "balance" down pretty well between a full time job, finishing law school, being a wife, raising a kiddo, but what has been the most challenging thing about motherhood for you so far and how do you handle those hurdles? If any...
AG: Funny because having to "balance" it all makes me feel like I'm failing at all roles. I can't give 100% of myself to any of those important roles. I think the fact that I can't focus most of my time on Lucas is probably the most challenging. There are weeks when I miss him terribly and wish I was there to say goodnight but that just makes me cherish the moments we have together much more.
Another challenging thing about motherhood for me is not knowing the answers most times. Having to figure out how many hours babies should sleep, what they should eat, why they cry, what makes them feel better when sick....there are a lot of decisions to make and I think the more research you do the worse it gets so I try to keep it simple.
HH: How has motherhood changed you?
AG: A goal of mine was to let Lucas blend into our lives instead of us revolving our lives around Lucas. I like to think that it hasn't changed me, just gave me a lot less free time and made me much more efficient at multitasking. I definitely feel more responsibility for his well being and want to set a good example for him. It has made us closer as a family.
HH: Where did you deliver Lucas? Explain however much or little about the labor/delivery as you wish...
AG: Lucas was born at Sky Ridge Medical Center. Delivery was great. I was uncomfortable the night before so knew something was up. Then contractions started to progress in the morning. I got to the hospital, contractions became more painful, at 8cm I got an epidural then it took 3 pushes and Lucas was born. I think I got to the hospital at noon and at 3pm Lucas was born. Ignacio was with me the entire time. It was a really great experience. I think back to it a lot and about how amazing it is to deliver this little human.
HH: How did you guys come up with the name Lucas?
AG: We made a list of all the names we liked. We looked at a couple books and online. We wanted a name that was timeless and rooted in history. Then we started to narrow it down. Every couple weeks we'd look at the list and eliminate a couple names. When Lucas was born we had two names on the list: Alexander and Lucas, and you know which one we picked.
HH: Where do you go for mom advice and inspiration? What moms do you look up to and/or admire and why?
AG: I go to my co-workers and Glorianna a lot. All of them had babies 4-5 months before me and I feel like they go through all the concerns before I do so I try to find out what they did. I ask our pediatrician and do some internet research on reputable websites. I really look up to some of the celebrity moms because they take care of themselves during pregnancy, give birth, then are back on the runway looking amazing months after. I think every woman has that ability.
HH: Wow, I am so flattered! Something is to be said about being one of the first in your circle of friends to have babies...
HH: Most stylish celebrity mom in your opinion?
AG: I'd have to say Kate Middleton. I love her style. She's elegant and beautiful.
HH: Oh, ditto! I love her clean lines and classic styling. No fuss. Then again, I have a girl crush on the polar opposite too, Gwen Stefani...
HH: How did you celebrate Lucas' first Christmas? Any traditions you are excited about sharing with him?
AG: Lucas was two months on this first Christmas. We took him to Texas because Ignacio's dad was very sick. So Lucas's first Christmas was also his grandfather's last. Very bittersweet but we're grateful they met and spent some time with each other. One of our traditions is getting a very tall Christmas tree every year. My hope is that Lucas will help us decorate every year. He helped last year.
HH: If you could tell your pre-baby self one thing, what would it be?
AG: Get a night nanny from day one. Stay calm, babies will fall, hurt themselves, get sick so try not to freak out.
HH: What has the most joyous moment of motherhood been so far? What has brought you the most happiness?
AG: All the silliness that Lucas brings to our family. Watching Lucas and Ignacio bond is pretty awesome for me to see. It has always been something that I imagined and now it's happening right in front of me. Seeing them together makes me the most happy.
HH: This is one of my favorite things about parenting too- seeing your spouse interact with your child and seeing the sweet and special things they do with each other.
HH: You are a very well coiffed girl and always look like you stepped out of a glossy! Any tips for beauty and style for new mommas?
AG: Shop online! I can never make it to the mall so I do most of my shopping online to keep up with fashion trends. Get rest! I know there are a million things to do after the baby goes to sleep but 8 hours of sleep does wonders for you. I never skip my beauty routine. I always make time to take makeup off, wash face, moisturize, etc. I also try to drink a lot of water.
HH: Do you manage to squeeze in exercise too?
AG: Exercise for me is a must. It gives me energy and keeps me in shape. I don't have time to do an hour work out so I try to do 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. I do P90X3, which is a system of work outs that only take 30 minutes. I make sure to put it on my calendar so it's harder for me to miss them. I try to do the work out in the morning (at the gym at work), at lunch or right after Lucas goes to sleep. It only takes 30 minutes and really gives you a great work out. If I'm traveling, I try to make up for it with some cardio but the workouts are very easy to travel with. The program is pre-planned so no need to think about what work out to do or where or how. Just pop in a video into my laptop and start sweating whenever I have the time.
HH: I agree! THE ENERGY! That's what its'a bout most for me! That and seeing this 24 year old on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Inspiration. I started working out consistently, four months postpartum with Arlo for at least 30 minutes 2-3 times a week. Walks to get coffee and take the girls to the park count! When I workout, I actually have more energy and feel stronger and happier to finish the days strong with my girls.
HH: What about clothing options for when you were breastfeeding? I know your wardrobe has to be top notch for your line of work. What brands/lines did you find out there that worked for feeding and pumping?
AG: During pregnancy and after one of my favorite places to show is Seraphine Maternity. It's only online but I love that their clothes are fashionable and almost all accommodate breastfeeding. Because it was such a hassle trying to find a sexy nursing bra, I basically gave up and ended up at Nordstrom where the sweet sales associate told me that they can make any bra into a nursing bra. :) From then on I picked my usual bras and had them turned into nursing bras. Seraphine also has some very cute nursing bras that I wore. If I need a local place, I'll check out Pea in the Pod.
HH: Great tip about bras!
HH: What do you want your son to grow up to know?
AG: I want him to have an understanding of how lucky he is to be in the United States. He is able to have things here that children in other countries only dream of. I want him to be thankful for that.
HH: This is something discussed a lot in our home too- even at this early age! Being married to someone who was born in another part of the world and following world affairs really puts your fortunes into light and being thankful, humble and counting our blessings is top priority.
HH: What is your favorite activity to do with Lucas?
AG: Reading before bedtime, followed by swimming (ocean, pool, bathtub).
HH: What are your favorite baby gear/products you have found during each stage so far that you couldn't live without?
AG: Comotomo bottles, love them! Nose freida is a life saver when he's sick and on normal days. Lucas has really sensitive skin so our allergist recommended a cream called Vanicream which has been amazing...I started using it too. Tommee Tippee sippy cups, they really don't leak. Baby clothes with magnets instead of those annoying closure buttons. A high chair that has wheels!! I make him breakfast every morning then wheel him into our room where he eats and I get ready for work. While breastfeeding, the Medela hospital grade pump, I rented it and the extra expense was worth the efficiency. We use a white noise sound machine and a humidifier for naps and bed time.
HH: You have traveled quite a bit with your son, what travel tips could you offer anyone traveling with a tot in tow?
AG: Always take your breast pump as a carry on . Bring lots of milk if your baby is young, plan for delayed flights. Bring a couple sets of clothes for the baby in the carry on and tons of snacks! Our life saver was Baby Einstein! I had a 10 step process for Lucas. We start with snacks then move on to toys then more snack, then a book, and when he has completely had it, I pull out the ipad and put on Baby Einstein for the remainder of the flight. I only had to use it a couple times. ALWAYS give them milk, juice or a pacifier on takeoff and landing. Eliminates any ear pain, it worked every time.
We tried traveling with car seats, strollers,etc. and this works when Ignacio and I are both traveling. When it's just Lucas and I, I found the easiest is a rolling carry on, Lucas in a baby carrier and a small purse I can put on top of the rolling carry on while walking.
Other than that we bring almost everything while traveling. We bring his bedding, sometime we've had to use hotel blankets as a bumper. If we're staying with family, we usually try to find a baby products rental place so we can rent a crib, high chair, toys, etc. without having to bring them from home.
HH: This is great! This will come in handy for us as we are taking a weekend trip to California soon and we are not big travelers.
HH: Any advice for new mommas or women who are expecting out there for surviving the first year?
AG: The book 12 hours in 12 weeks. I think the key to happiness with baby is getting them on a good sleep schedule. It makes them happy because they know what to expect and you're happy because you're sleeping. I'd say that every 3 months babies make great strides and every 3 months it gets easier. So just keep breathing and do the best you can. I did a mix between that book and the Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight. If you can afford it, I highly recommend a night nanny a couple days a week. It let's you recover and be happier.