I mentioned last fall that was going to visit my family back in Poland in early October but never got to share how the trip went. It was one of the shortest trips I even made. There were times I used to go for 2.5 – 3 weeks. Times when I worked at my previous company, where 90% of the folks were Australians or Europeans, where we got 3 weeks off over the Holiday Seasons so basically everyone could go to their home country. It made sense. Those were also times before I was with T. so it was easy to just pack a bag and leave for 3 weeks at a time.
This year was different. Firstly, I only get 10 vacation days a year at my recent job (sobbing here) so I really need to plan all my travels wisely. That usually means traveling around long weekends or Thanksgiving week, to maximize the time that I can take all at once. Secondly, at the time of travel I was already around 6 months pregnant and I was getting anxious, just overthinking things. I didn’t want to be away from T. or my OBGYN for more than 10 days. All in all, my entire trip was nine days, including travel.
Now that my little babe is on this side of the belly it is so, so easy to forget all the weeks of back pain, insomnia and swollen feet. Emotionally the world seems so much better now as well. All the fear, uncertainty and concern of how things will be, are gone. Everything seems very clear now, all things are coming into place, all pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly now. There were two of us and now there are three. Seems like three is what has always been. My precious boy completed our little family.
The birth was all I imagined and more. Anticipating the due date I was scared, excited and anxious, I was not sure what to expect. My biggest fear was me not recognizing the early stages of labor, getting on a subway and my waters breaking somewhere between Jackson Heights and 59th Street on the way to work.
Just minutes after being born
After crossing the 37 week mark when the baby is considered near full term I started walking on eggshells. My anxiety grew each day. I was also dealing with pregnancy diabetes and somewhere around week 36 my sugar levels started to get out a bit out of control, no matter how careful I was. Well, I also cheated here and there since it was the Holiday Season! All the cookies, chocolates and other sugary treats were spread all over the office’s kitchen counters and were so hard to resist. That did not help the sugar levels either. Yikes.
My precious, beautiful, healthy and strong baby boy arrived on his due date, January 9th at 40 weeks exactly.
I cannot believe it’s taken me this long to announce his birth! I will sound too cliche but yes, it has been a bit busy around here these past few weeks. And as far as silence in November and December, I will refrain from complaining too much and all I will say is that I was just trying to get through the sleepless nights (big belly was getting in the way!) and manage to make it to work on time. Everything else became less of a priority.
Anyway, whatever happened pre-baby is a bit meaningless now, all that matters right now is life after Franco. 🙂
Baby Franco cozily snuggled in just few hours after being born
The last few weeks have been filled with a lot of office work and baby prep of course. I have been on a lookout for clearance, Amazon deals and I make sure that everyone knows that I am happily and gratefully accepting hand me downs 🙂 Since I know babies grow out of everything in a New York minute I am not overbuying / over hoarding clothing. Just a few pieces of a specific item in a specific size should hopefully do.
I am also counting days till my annual trip to see my family in Poland. When I travel I will be at week 26/27 so most likely it will be my last international trip for the year. Anyway, my wonderful sister (and mama to four little ones) is putting aside several newborn winter outfits / outerwear so I can take them back with me. Funnily enough, most if not all of those pieces are what I purchased for her babies over the last 7 years! Four of her munchkins wore the newborn sets she is giving to me now. I am thrilled since not only will I not need to buy newborn outerwear but it also has so much meaning to me. We are taking our sisterhood to a whole new level – we both are mamas now, we can relate to the same things.
While in Poland I am going to pick up some of the items that are way too expensive here without compromising any quality. Actually, I love the quality of European baby clothing, blankets, sheets. The cosmetics (not just for babies) are much healthier as well. So I am stocking up. I already did some shopping on a Polish equivalent of Amazon and will be bringing home some really nice goodies! One of the items I am most happy to get brand new and at least three times cheaper is an Ergo Carrier. They start at around $115 new here in the US, while the same Ergo carrier purchased in Poland is 129 zloty ($36). If you scroll down you will see all the beautiful fabrics they offer. I could buy it half the price used but I decided to splurge and get a new one since I am planning on using it until my little babe outgrows it (I am assuming 2.5 years old). After that I will easily re-sell it on eBay for the $36 that I am paying for it now. Ha! See? I have a plan.
I had a great frugal week, with minimal money spent on groceries or anything else. I was even able to add another $100 to my Roth IRA although I did not plan on it until September. On top of staying frugal I have also been very blessed to receive some free items that I welcomed with open arms.
Desktop PC from work
I am going to start with the biggest ‘score’ of the year. My office is moving to another floor and my bosses are taking it as an opportunity to update / upgrade all the IT & AV equipment. The computers we had been using up till last week are only 2 years old. They are being replaced with brand new machines and we were offered to keep the ‘old’ ones for personal use. Can you believe some people declined? Well, I surely took mine and set it up at home that very same day. T. and I already have a laptop each but I just really like having a desktop too. I still need to find a good place to keep it (I have a sewing machine on my desk), but for now I put it on a small table where we used to keep our TV (TV is now mounted onto a wall). Oh, the joys of tiny NYC apartments…
After finding out I am expecting I started researching what free (or almost free) goodies I can get for my little babe. This is what I have been able to get so far:
If you sign up for Target Registry (signing up and putting a few things on your list is all you need to do. No need to purchase anything), you can pick up from Target’s ‘Guest Services’ at their store a ‘welcome kit’ worth approximately $20-$25. I did not have a chance to pick it up after 2 or so months but to my big surprise it was actually mailed to me. On Target’s website it is advertised as worth closer to $50 but it was definitely less than that.
The last few months have been very quiet as far as my online life is concerned. Once big reason is – I am expecting a baby! I am 19 weeks along and just started feeling first tiny ‘kicks’. Exciting! I still can’t believe it is happening, it all had felt so uncertain in the not so distant past. We are embracing this huge and life-changing event, while also being a bit scared too. Good scared, excited scared.
Very true. Although I’ve definitely cut down to just one ☕️ a day.
While being pregnant is absolutely not a good reason to completely disappear, the last 3-4 months were very challenging. I basically was in a survival mode trying to keep it together. Posting anything on any of my social media sites was very last item on my priorities list. Now that I finally feel a LOT better, I am catching up a bit on all the updates from my frugal online friends.
To give a little more insight to what happened in the last 3-4 months:
We’ve been enjoying the last two weekends in Long Island. Thanks to our dear, very generous friend, we always have a place to stay in one of the most charming areas of the Hamptons, Sag Harbor. We make sure to never come empty handed so we always pack up a full bag of foods and goodies to basically cover most, if not all, of everybody’s meals. I love escaping the city for a weekend once in a while. I find it incredibly helpful in recharging for a week ahead. Very blessed to have friends who always welcome T. and me into their homes with open arms.
At the local bird sanctuary. Spring is finally here.
A little koi pond nearby. We are taking the spring in today.
We are just driving around the hood this weekend enjoying nature time.
April has been a bit of a hectic month for me and while I have been making an effort to do some ‘self care’ activities, I haven’t been able to do many of these. My boss is working from our NYC office this month (he has another office in Miami) so I have been on a very unpredictable schedule. Let me tell you – not knowing what time you leave work every evening makes it very difficult to make any plans. So, to avoid being a super flaky friend, I decided not to make any plans, until I know I can actually stick to them.
Busy, busy at work but you will not hear me complaining (well, at least not tonight). The spring has finally come and even though the evenings are still on a chilly side, the days are sunny and gorgeous. We are actually waking up to birds singing, which in my book, does not get any better than that.
April has been great so far, basically on all fronts. I had my 6 month MRI check up and all looks good and stable (I have acoustic neuroma if you are wondering what I am referring to). Nothing too scary but definitely not pleasant to have. I am very happy to have received the good news of no progress and no check ups needed until November. Praise the Lord.
I am also on track to max out my 401k by end of April. Since I am not loving my job and hoping to get a new one sometime soon, maxing out 401k for the year has been my biggest priority so far. Once I switch to a new job, I know there is usually 6-12 month waiting period before being able to contribute again.
More books to read for absolutely free. Love my local library.
I’ve been trying to bring more variety to our cooking and break the cycle of the 4 dishes we usually stick too. Pasta, beef chili, quinoa risotto and some sort of soup is all we have been having. T.’s cousin convinced us to try Hello Fresh which she has been using for the last few months. She loves it, so we are giving it a try too. I got $40 off the first box (It costs $60 per box for 3 dinners for 2 people) and will see how we go. It is a weekly delivery service but you can skip any week or cancel any time.
This is what we are cooking this week. Even though the service we chose is for 2 people, the portions are rather generous so easily could serve 3. So far I made the shrimp dish and it was delicious. Even if I choose not to continue the service after a few weeks, at least I will get some more ideas on what to cook.