Thursday, October 29, 2009


Dominick’s been fighting a cold for little over a week now. Once we hit day ten of coughing, runny nose, sneezing and sleepless nights – we headed into the pediatrician’s office.

Now, we love our doctor. We love the practice and the nursing staff. What we don’t love is when ever you go there, you feel like your walking into a cesspool of sickness! Lucky us they have “walk in hour” every weekday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. We were sure to arrive pretty close to 8 a.m., not knowing how busy it would be and we wanted to limit the exposure time we’d endure waiting in the waiting room.

The waiting room wasn’t too crowded: a grumpy teen ager to my right, a four year old playing with his business suited dad across the way. No one looked horribly ill. Thankfully we get called in the room pretty quickly.

Long story short – Dominick was prescribed his first antibiotic, zithromax. The nurse practitioner said his symptoms were lasting too long and he had fluid in his ears that could easily turn into an infection. I wasn’t too happy about the antibiotics, but if it’s going to help Dominick get better – I can deal. I have huge issues with taking antibiotics if they’re not needed… but that’s an entirely different post.

On our way out – it was extremely crowded. We were literally stepping over patients as we made our way to the door. One little girl had a very pink eye – I tried to keep my distance… two twin boys were both hacking up a lung and god knows what other sicknesses were brewing in the several other dozen kids slumped in their chairs.
I literally wanted to cover Dominick with a plastic sheet and hold my breath as we made our way through the waiting room.

I’ve heard of some doc offices having “sick” and “well” waiting rooms. Brilliant! But even when your kid is “sick” you have to endure the torture of sitting on the vinyl covered benches, hoping that the room was disinfected just before you came.

I admit it, I have become a germaphobe. This coming from a person who would never think twice about double dipping – yes I admit it! But I’m a completely different person now. I can’t help it. I work in a children’s hospital where they constantly cram infection control down your throat… now I have to deal with other people’s sick children! That just put me over the edge.

I have since stocked up on disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and I literally had to hold myself back from buying those surgical face masks we all know don’t do a thing.

Hopefully Dominick will start feeling better soon so we won’t have to go back to the cesspool any time soon. I’m sure we’ll be there again… but let’s hope it’s after flu season.
PS - still loving the electronic snot sucker! I get personal joy out of seeing how much snot I can get out of my child. Weird... but true!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Ozzie!

October 28th marks Ozzie's 8th birthday. We can't imagine life without him and have been so blessed to have him as a member of our family. He makes us laugh everyday and is always there for a special kiss or snuggle. We love you Ozzie!

He's so patient... so loving... he's just waiting for me to drop the treat I'm dangling above my head. Good boy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

First Bites, Lap Space, October Birthday Boys

We tried puffs over the weekend - you know, the cheerio like cracker thing that melts in your mouth. He really liked them! He's such a happy baby. October 18, 2009.

First bite of apples... October 18, 2009. He hasn't had this reaction with anything yet! I think it's because the apples were cold. It's just adorable! Poor guy...

I'm running out of lap space, seriously. If we ever have any more kids or pets - I'm, you know what, out of luck!
Here are our three October Mazzarella Birthdays: Fred (Kristen's boy friend), Frank and Frank (AKA Papa)

Pumpkin Picking – Part II

The day wouldn’t be complete without photos behind stilly cutouts. Here Dominick and I stand in Casola Farms. Aunt Kristen helps Dominick out.

Dominick has been eating "solid" food for about two months and it so happened that there was a stand selling roasted sweet potatoes, which happen to be the little guy's favorite! Here's Grammie helping him with a taste.
And no, we didn't let him have the whole thing.
Here I am enjoying a roasted corn on the cob. They litteraly shucked the corn and dipped it in a slow cooker full of butter! YUM!

Dominick and I posed for a family photo.

Here's Dominick's first self portrait - not bad, hu?

Helpful or Useless?

A friend at work just welcomed twin girls into the world on Saturday. I exchanged advice and tips after I got back to work and one email turned into the "Top 10 Baby Items" and "Five Useless Pieces of Crap"

Did I leave anything out? Did you find anything particularly helpful or useless?

Top 10 Must Haves:
1. Bumpo seat with activity tray. You need the tray – otherwise they just sit there with out anything to play with.
2. Pack n Play with changer & bassinet. Extended use ‘till baby is older.
3. Sleep sacks – babies can’t sleep w/ blankets, and after they’re done with swaddling – the sack is the way to go. Halo makes a good one.
4. Bottle/baby food warmer – I have one made by Avent, but we don’t use their bottles. I swear, I used it 10 times yesterday alone. It heats up frozen, refrigerator or room temp formula/breast milk or baby food. The thing is smarter than I would be if I tried to use hot water or the microwave.
5. Swaddle me blanket – it’s a swaddling blanket for dummies. It has Velcro! You can’t do it wrong and the baby stays put and you both sleep longer at night.
6. Several boppy pillows. Many, many uses – breast feeding, baby propping etc. My husband even used it as his pillow in the hospital.
7. MUST MUST have sleepers with ZIPPERS. There’s no way you’ll get those hundred snaps put together right at 3 a.m. Once, I found Dominick in the morning, half out of his sleeper cause I got the snaps completely out of order.
8. Some sort of musical/light up soother for the babies’ crib. Think musical aquarium. I have one like this by Baby Einstein – it has several modes, even a night light to check on baby AND a remote so you can turn it on/off w/out stepping into the room.
9. VIDEO monitor. These things are priceless. You can see exactly what your little ones are up to.
10. Sleepy Wrap – one of those long pieces of fabric that you tie and twist the baby into. I know – it sounds crazy, and looks completely complicated. But Dominick LOVES to be in it. It was my savoir when he was really small and I needed to get something done. Even better when you’re out and you don’t have to bring a stroller.

Top 5 Useless Items:

1. Wipes warmer – enough said
2. Be ware of having TOO many jumpers/exersaucers/bouncey seats/swing – our living room looks like the show room at Baby’s R Us. We have one of everything. But then again – every baby is different and we did use everything at some point. Just be ready for the clutter.
3. Those mitten things to cover their hands – just keep the nails trimmed.
4. More than one diaper bag – it’s so inconvenient to pack and unpack a bag each time just to switch. Just pick one. But – you may pick one now, then realize your needs are completely different once the babies get here.
5. okay – can’t think of a fifth… but usually you learn a lot of lessons the first time around – what works for you, what doesn’t.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Darling Husband

October 11 marked my darling husband Frank's 32nd birthday.

We had a wonderful dinner at home. I actually cooked! On the menu - rack of lamb and roasted potatoes. I know, rack of lamb, doesn't that sound intimidating? Well, it was easier than I thought. Here's the recipe. It seriously took me 40 minutes, tops.

I was so impressed with myself, I had to take a picture.

Frank really liked it. After his first bite, he turns to me and says, "Hon, I think this is the best thing you ever made me!"

Definitely boosts this cooking novice's confidence.

We're doing presents tomorrow night incombination with Frank's father and his sister's boy friend's birthdays. October is a busy month for birthdays. For immediate family: mom, dad, step-mom, father-in-law, husband, sister-in-law's boyfriend, and long time highschool friend who I consider family. Let's not forget Ozzie's birthday is the 28th. Little guy will be eight!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Little Pumpkin

Call it a right of passage… another milestone if you will – we took Dominick pumpkin picking for the first time.

Well… I wouldn’t necessarily call it “picking” we didn’t pluck anything off a vine. Here in New Jersey, we have wonderful farm land, heck we’re even called the “Garden State!” But for some reason, when people go pumpkin picking they do not actually pick anything. Back in the day, sure! Frank’s mom said they actually had to bring a knife with them to cut the pumpkin off the vine. We merely meandered around a field littered with all sorts of pumpkins.

In some families the annual pumpkin picking adventure is an annual tradition. It sure is in Frank’s family. I can’t say that my family has ever done it.

This year was special, this year was Dominick’s FIRST ever time pumpkin picking and he really didn’t seem to know what was going on. I think a lot of his firsts this year will be more for our enjoyment than his… but we will bring on the pomp and circumstance with each one.

Grammie (Frank’s mom Theresa), Aunt Kristen and her boyfriend Fred all trekked down to Colt’s Neck to find the perfect pumpkin. It’s about a 30 minute drive through country highways – it’s actually pretty nice once you get off the parkway.

Well, we weren’t the only ones who decided Sunday was the prefect pumpkin picking day. There were people all over the place, from all over the place, PA and NY. We headed straight to the pumpkins and walked right passed the “photo area.” Think three different staged areas set up with hay bales, scare crows, pumpkins and gourds galore. Of course we stopped, waited our turn, took other people’s family pics and then headed in our selves.

We propped poor Dominick up between two pumpkins – the look on his face was priceless - utter confusion.

What the heck are these people doing? What is this scratchy stuff I’m sitting on? Can I put it in my mouth? What are these round things next to me? Can I eat them? Why is my family yelling my name, waving furiously and trying to get me to look up when I have all this new stuff to look at?

So, we did pictures then moved on to the actual picking of the pumpkins. Oh wait, more pictures. We needed to get pictures of Dominick in the actual pumpkin patch… remember, no vines. So we put him in the middle of the field, surrounded by these bright orange pumpkins that were literally, the same size as he was. He humored us and we snapped away.

Okay, now onto the actual picking. I picked ours out right away – perfect shape, size, color – we’re good to go. We have things to do! Grammie and Kristen on the other hand like to take their time and find the absolutely perfect pumpkin. Dominick and I waited patiently people watching.
There was a huge family, maybe twenty people or so. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – all gathering for a family portrait… in the pumpkin field. They were wearing some sort of orange/black combination. Maybe this was their annual tradition. I can't wait to start some new triditions of our own.

Grammie and Kristen finally picked out their pumpkins and back through the photo staging area we go – it’s on our way out. But wait, wouldn’t it be cute to put Dominick on top of a pile of little pumpkins and gourds to take more pictures? Poor guy. The pictures really came out cute, but he was in no mood to smile or act adorable. Just way too much stuff going on around him. We looked like idiots trying to get him to smile.
Frank had to work, but ensured us he’d make it out next year. These are memories that I would trade for anything. I am so looking forward to his first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first Easter… first birthday! That will be here before you know it!

Pumpkin picking part II on the way.

Frantic Pace

My morning went a little like this…

4:14 a.m. hear little one talking to himself, debating getting up to put him back to sleep, I doze off, he does too

5:15 a.m. alarm goes off, baby up again and this time for real

5:18 a.m. warm bottle while trying to entertain a very hungry baby

5:20 a.m. make self cup of coffee

5:22 a.m. change baby’s poopy diaper

5:35 a.m. feed said hungry baby while trying to entertain a very hungry little pug, who also has to go outside

6:00 a.m. put baby in bumpo, stocked with toys and bring into bathroom so I can shower, also joined by cat who sleeps in the sink and little pug who is waiting patiently on the bath mat for me to finish so I can feed him and let him out before his bladder explodes

6:25 a.m. change second poopy diaper, not kidding

6:30 a.m. place baby in exersaucer, look for pug who eventually gave up and went back upstairs to sleep

6:31 a.m. head up stairs, get dressed in dark as to not wake sleeping husband. Try to figure out if my socks match and if my sweater is navy or black… crap it’s navy.

6:32 a.m. back down stairs followed by starving pug who is really excited ‘cause he thinks I’ve remembered to feed him and let him out

6:35 a.m. change baby’s THIRD poopy diaper – this is a record folk! Dress baby hoping he doesn’t spit up on his outfit before we get out the door.

6:37 a.m. place baby back in bumpo because he’s bored of the exersaucer

6:38 a.m. pack baby’s food/bottles and diaper bag for day care

6:45 a.m. try to salvage hair that has already semi air dried

6:50 a.m. make my own lunch

6:55 a.m. warm up car and bring out bags – I literally have two lunch bags, my work bag and Dominick’s diaper bag, Dominick’s coat and hat and extra bag with sheet and blanket for day care

7 a.m. come back inside greeted by little pug. He’s not giving up this time and I feel horrible for forgetting him. He dances over to his bowl and happily eats his breakfast then goes outside to potty.

7:02 a.m. fill dishwasher with dishes left by husband night before, hand wash coffee to-go cup and refill with coffee… notice there’s some residual soap left in cup. Trying to rationalize if I have time to rinse cup, make another cup of coffee, or just suck it up and drink the coffee with extra bubbles. Palmolive is non-toxic right? I suck it up.

7:05 a.m. okay, grab baby and on the way out run into a sign taped to the door “don’t forget your lunch” turn around and get my lunch

7:06 a.m. put baby in car, strap him in and off we go.

7:10 a.m. realize I left Dominick’s “communication” book at home – it’s his schedule of all things baby. I try to figure out if I’ve gone far enough to not have enough time to turn around. I turn around and hope I make it there without getting stuck behind the garbage truck - head back home and grab the book. By this time, little one is fast asleep

7:13 a.m. trying this again – on way to day care.

7:30 a.m. arrive at day care with sleeping baby. Take out all his stuff, balance bags on shoulder and hoist the seriously heavy car seat out of the car as to not wake sleeping baby.

7:32 a.m. drop little one off, touch base with teacher, off to work

8:00 a.m. actually make it to work on time and take a deep breath… now I can start my day…

What happened to the days when I’d roll out of bed, oh, around 6:30 ish. I’d take my time in the shower relishing the hot water, actually put on make up and style my hair… Those days are long gone.

Now, mornings are totally different. Usually with a frantic pace trying to get everyone out the door, clean, fed and presentable.

Life will never be the same and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Feeling Festive

We’re gearing up for fall and the holiday season. I’m actually excited this year. I have way more energy then last year when I was 7 months pregnant! I’ve made it my personal goal to be FINISHED with all my holiday shopping by December 1. Hold me to it!

I can’t wait to tackle my HUGE shopping list. I have a very large extended family and often end up buy holiday gifts for about 30 people. Yeah… 30! That doesn’t count the little gifts for work buddies - just family! With the four new additions – we have a great excuse to buy even more!

I’m very organized about the entire process. We have a holiday savings account that gets automatically added to with every paycheck and I have an excel spread sheet with a budget and gift ideas for everyone. I do a lot of online shopping – why not! You can browse, read reviews and the nice UPS man delivers it strait to your door. You don’t have to fight anyone at the sale table for that last holiday snowman sweater.

Online shopping tip - use the website It's basically a "broker" for hundreds of stores. Go to ebates, then shop at one of the stores listed on their site - you receive a percentage BACK! No kidding! They send you a big fat check quarterly. Some stores you earn 3% some it's as much as 10%. They also list lots of coupon codes for free shipping or extra savings. I've been doing this for about four years and received over $300 from ebates! If you do go, please be sure to say that I (Rebecca Mazzarella) recommended you. I think I'll get some sort of referral bonus.

I have yet to put out my Halloween decorations but that’s top on my to-do list this weekend. Dominick’s and Ozzie’s costumes came and they are absolutely adorable!

Remember December 1!

Getting Physical

It’s been an interesting week.

Dominick had his PT session yesterday with Adrienne – his all time favorite physical therapist. Okay, she’s his only PT, but she’s still wonderful with him, and us for that matter. Today, Dominick gave her one of his “face hugs” where he grabs your face with hand and brings it close to his face. It’s so adorable and he only does it to people he really likes!

Here are a few nice pics from his last session:

This is the stretch hold we do wtih him twice a day. He actaully kind of likes it!

Daddy dressed Dominick - He tucked his thermal shirt into his wind pants! How cute is that!

Hi Mom! I'm down here!

Dominick has his "InfantSee" eye exam today. It's a free program that encourages parents to have their 6-12 month old children screened for various conditions/deseases that can potentially be harmful or much worse if htey wait until "school age" to get their first eye exam. The PR firm I used to work at did the PR when they launched the program. It really is a wonderful resourse for parents. Here's the website:

Frank's birthday is on Sunday - he'll be 32. He said that "32 is the beginning of getting old. The number just sounds old" Happy birthday to my dearest husband! We have lots planned for your birthday weekend! Reports on that to come.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


We have jumped into the world of baby food. Yes, I'm one of those moms that is actually making the food at home. Listen, don't knock it until you try it! I will honestly tell you - it's way easier then you'd ever imagine AND it's cheaper too! I haven't ever cooked much and I figure I'm going to have to start cooking for Dominick anyway, why not start now.

You just steam/bake/poach then puree! That's it! Here's a great website for easy how to's and recipes:

We have little one and two ounce containers for easy portions. Most everything can be frozen, so we have a freezer full of a rainbow assortment of fruits and veggies.

We started out with carrots. This was Dominick's first ever people food, 9/25/09.

Not too sure... what the heck is this... oh wait, it's good!

He loved it! He opens his mouth wide with every bite like a little baby bird.

Next up, peas.

Okay - he didn't like the peas as much as the carrots, but he still ate every bite. He's such a good eater. At daycare, his teacher Miss Pam can't fix anyone else's food in front of Dominick because he thinks it for him and throws a fit if he doesn't get any!

We're still trying to figure out the best feeding schedule and amounts so that he takes all of his bottles.

On his like list so far is: carrots, peas, sweetpotatoes, butternut squash and bananas. We tried avocado but he really doesn't like it. It came flying back out! Wish I had may camera for that one.

Next up - green beans, acorn squash, apples, peaches and zucchini!

Friday, October 2, 2009

He Can Do It!

Wanted to fill you in on some of Dominick’s recent milestones and little tidbits:

At six months Dominick is rolling all over the place. Tummy to back, back to tummy. When I lay him down at night in his crib, he usually ends up in a completely different location in the morning. Sometimes spinning clockwise!

Dominick has mastered sitting up. He sits up so straight with great posture. He loves to sit and play and just watch the world go by. We’re still working on get him from laying down to sitting up.

Teeth - the boy has SIX teeth! Four on top, two on bottom. His teething hasn't caused him too much discomfort. We had a few sleepless nights, and Tylenol or baby oragel did the trick.

Physical therapy - torticollis update. We've been going to physical therapy at the hospital where I work for about two months to help straighten and strengthen his neck muscles. His PT says he's doing really well and can hardly notice a tilt. Now we're down to every other week with daily stretching at home. It has been so much fun to see him work with his therapist and see how much he's progressed over the past few months. She's given us great tips on helping him learn to roll each direction and sit up. We're sure he'll be pulling up and standing in no time!

Crawling - not just yet. He started a few weeks ago with picking up his little bottom and moving his feet. Now he uses his legs more and his bottom gets higher in the air, but he hasn't figured out to use his hands so he literally smashes his face into the blanket! It's too funny to watch. He'll get it soon enough. But I'm actually pretty happy with having a baby that will pretty much stay put... for a while anyway.

We’re looking forward to Halloween. Dominick’s and Ozzie’s costumes have arrived but you’ll have to wait until the big day for their reveal! They’re just too cute for words!

Say Cheese

I get to check another milestone off my mama check list. Yes, mom’s have milestones too! Last weekend we took Dominick for his first professional photo session. We made an appointment for him at the JC Penny’s Photo Studio. Not so sure I would call it professional, but it sure was cheep! Free in fact. No sitting fee and we get a free portrait. But it’s all a scam. Once you see the pictures of your little angel, you’ll want to buy everyone in every size. And we did.

I definitely deserve some sort of badge because this was no walk in the park. It was a busy Saturday morning and we thought we timed it just right, in between feedings and nap schedules, to ensure we’d have a happy smiling baby. But turns out – so did every other family. Including another Mazzarella family who showed up too! No relation, just strange coincidence.

Dominick was his usual happy smiling self, but poor mom was stressed to the max. There was so much going on and other children having melt downs – I think that all added to the stress level. Dominick took it all in stride and did wonderfully.

We’ll definitely do it again, but we’re going to try different places and probably only do holidays for the first few years and definitely birthdays every year. We never did this when I was growign up and I've always looked forward to taking my kids to get their pictures done. Silly? Maybe. NExt time, we’ll just have to do our best to resist buying every single print.

Here are a few of our favorites: