Monday, July 24, 2017

Jameson Drew's Newborn Photos

Thank you to Katie Lewin Photography for doing such a stellar job on Jameson's photos.  She has captured our family for the past few years now and she never disappoints! 
Thank you, Katie, for taking our vision and bringing it to life... especially incorporating Andrew's Jeep #shesthebest

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Welcome Jameson Drew

June 9, 2017
5:00 AM
"OMG, I'm peeing!" was my first thought. 

I jumped out of bed and ran into the bathroom and actually jumped into the shower to realize I wasn't peeing but in fact, my water was breaking!!

"Andrew!  Andrew!  ANDREW, my water broke!"

Never saw him jump up so fast to call his parents to say, "It's go time!"

My sister-in-law popped over just in case we had to leave earlier than when my in-laws arrived BECAUSE I thought for sure things would go quickly since this is baby numba three. #pahaha

I asked her to braid my hair so it's out of my way while doing the whole labor thing ;) 
We entered the hospital around 6:30 and waited in triage until my bed was ready in labor and delivery.  It's funny as when I walked in, one of the nurses recognized me as she was my nurse when I delivered Brayden.  Sounds weird to say, but I felt at home...

Contractions started around 7:30- nothing consistent... 3,4,7 minutes apart.  I kept track of them on a great app, "Baby Bump Pro" #getitforsure

The nurses never asked me if I was "sure" my water broke (last time, they asked if I was sure I didn't pee myself) but I remember one nurse saying, "Yes, she definitely ruptured." 

I arrived in my labor and delivery room around 10 AM and found myself just watching the clock and asking myself, "Do I need an epidural?"

I had an epidural with both Sophia and Brayden and I wanted to see if I can go without one.  My thought process was, "Since this is my third, things will go quickly.  It may hurt but it will be done and over with- FAST."  #ifitwereonlythattrue

It wasn't until 3ish or so is when the contractions really started to kick-in and I was brought to tears a few times.  My hubs kept saying, "Just get the epidural, Heather... There's nothing wrong in getting one.  It will make things easier."

My doctor came in and it wasn't until she said, "There's nothing wrong getting an epidural.  I can tell you, it will hurt without one and you'll remember the pain.  The epidural will ease the pain and make it more comfortable."

Between her and my hubs, they convinced me to go ahead with the epidural and I'm sooo glad I did.  #noregrets

I still felt the contractions, but it was more pressure than a "pain".   As the contractions continued, I had to be flipped to my side because the baby's heart rate would drop during a contraction.  At that point, I was thinking, "Do I need an emergency C-section?"  However, flipping to my left side seemed to do the trick #thankheavens

Before the epidural, I was 5-6 cm dilated and 90% effaced. 

 Within 40 minutes, I went to 10 cm, 100% effaced and ready to push.

"Why don't you try- bear down and push.... OK STOP!  We need the doctor, this baby is coming!"

As soon as the nurse said it, I bursted into tears!  
"Why are you crying, Mama?  You're going to have your baby."

I know, that's just it! 

 I was so relieved that I can finally hold this baby in my arms.  My diagnosis of Lyme disease at 28 weeks pregnant seriously took such an emotional toll on my body and mind, and just the thought of he/she being born within minutes totally took over me. The nurses gave me an oxygen mask to help me get it together! 

"Push.  Wait, Stop... Push, Stop... LOOK!"
(4:17 pm)

"IT'S A BOY!" I screamed and started laughing and crying.  
 I looked at my Hubs and he was wiping the tears from his eyes.  He was telling everyone "She swore it was a girl the whole time." #iseriouslydid

"You want to do skin-to-skin?"  One of the nurses asked as the baby was peeing on her.  #itwashysterical
"Of course!" 

 This was the first time any of my babies were placed on me without being wiped down and it was just the most blissful experience.

I had no pain-
 just pure joy, relief, excitement, and gratefulness. 

A sweet boy, Jameson Drew.

How did we come up with his name?

The Hubs and I can't seem to remember "who" came up with it, (I think I did but he swears he and no, we aren't hardcore whiskey drinkers so it's not after the alcohol #inevertriedit

 Originally it was "Jameson Thomas" but when I came up with "Drew" (after the Hubs, "Andrew") for our girl's middle name, "Elliana Drew," it kinda just stuck with us.

Jameson Drew Nikola has a great ring to it!

 He completes our The Nikola Clan <3 
Jameson Drew Nikola
June 9, 2017 (12 days early)
4:17 pm
7lbs., 9oz., 20 inches long

Sunday, May 21, 2017

"Are your Fries Gluten-Free?"

"Are your fries gluten-free?"

"Yes, they are!"

"No way!  That's great.  Are you sure?"


The fries were not gluten-free.

This is my then, four-year-old daughter, Sophia, who ate an order of french fries from a profound restaurant just two hours prior, now exhausted in my lap after violently vomiting, seven times.

Her little arms gripped the toilet bowl, her body convulsed as she got sick, telling me, "This is the worst, Mama."

I held her hair back and cried... 


my eyes out while telling her I'm so sorry this happened. #worstfeelingever

You see, I brought her gluten-free food to the restaurant and just decided to ask if the fries were gluten-free out of a whim.  Once the server said, "Yes" and was even reassured they were- I was sold. I have to tell you though, a little voice inside me said, "Ask to talk to the chef, just to be sure." #lessonlearned

After her reaction to ingesting gluten (about two hours), I contacted the restaurant via its Facebook page (because I was too upset to call). My message to the restaurant was to please be sure the waitstaff is educated in how the meals are prepared.  Thank goodness Sophia's reaction to gluten isn't as severe as a peanut allergy... That would have been a whole different story.

The response back was immediate, apologetic, and sympathetic.  The restaurant's manager expressed her own son has food allergies so she understood why I was upset.  She even invited us back for a guaranteed "gluten free" meal.

From this experience on, I always ask to speak to the chef or someone from the kitchen when we are out for a meal, which is rare.

"How is the food prepared?"  

"Are separate utensils used?"  

"Is her meal prepared in a separate location or on a separate grill?"

Yes, I get eye-rolls and looks as if I'm speaking a different language.

However, just like any mama would do for her child, I double, triple, check with the appropriate people because my daughter's health is at risk.

Sophia has celiac disease and was diagnosed with this autoimmune disease when she was two-and-half years old.  This is something she will never.. 

I repeat.. 

NEVER outgrow. 

She needs to eat a gluten-free diet for the rest of her life and even just a bit of gluten or cross contamination can set her off into severe vomiting spell.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation,  "When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body."  Without proper nutrients, she will not develop or thrive."

May is celiac disease awareness month.  Like any other mamas of children who have this disease, we are #sorrybutnotsorry for asking 1,000 questions when it comes to ordering a meal, attending a birthday party, or even school for the first time.  Although it's not nearly as severe as other diseases/allergies, restaurant owners/food providers need to be educated in the meals they offer and prepare.  I beg those in the food industry to please understand eating "gluten-free" isn't a "fad" or a trendy diet.  My daughter's life, and others, actually depend on it.

I am happy to say that Sophia hasn't had a gluten "episode" in the past 10 months.  I will continue to be that annoying mama, asking multiple questions to ensure my daughter continues to eat gluten-free so she'll be a healthy and thriving little girl.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Nikola Kids Birthday party at Poughkidsie!

Today we celebrated Sophia and Brayden's birthday at an awesome 5,000 square foot play center called, Poughkidsie, located in Poughkeepsie, (get it?) NY. 

Knowing I was going to be eight months pregnant, I didn't want to host their party at our home or have to do much of the work for it (sad, I know; especially since I love planning parties and bringing themes to life...But this mama is feeling way too PREGNANT for any of that #only6moreweeks) 
So after asking other mamas for recommendations, a few month back via social media, I discovered Poughkidsie. 

After scrolling through their website and seeing a "gluten free" birthday package, plus its diverse activities which encourage creativity and imaginative play, I decided let's give it a shot! 

The kids started off in the "Create Workspace" where they can choose to paint and decorate a dinosaur or hand-held mirror! 
After painting, it was off to "The Village".  I have to apologize because I didn't take as many pictures as I should have to show how cute this "Village" really is- It has six themed shops with props and dress-up clothes. Just make sure you bring a pair of socks, no shoes or bare feet are allowed in the village #keepingitclean

So impressed with the "x-ray" viewer plus a real exam table!  Kids were "fixing" babies and animals!

Ringing the bell=Pizza time!!! 

After playing in the village, it was pizza time!  I could have taken advantage of a gluten-free pizza being delivered but I decided to bring our own for Sophia.  I didn't want to chance anything, especially today!

Then it was back in the village for more play!! 

Finally, it was time to sing, Happy Birthday!  Cake/cupcakes were not included in the original package, however, you can order through their preferred vendor.  I decided to just bring our own gluten free cupcakes and brownies!

The party lasted two hours and I am very happy with how everything went- smoothly!  The kids took their projects home, plus they received another craft in their goodie bag, which was provided by Poughkidsie. #score

All the gifts were packed up in two bags for Sophia and Brayden which made leaving super easy.

I highly recommend Poughkidsie for birthday parties or even just an afternoon/morning of crafts and play.  The facility is clean and the owners and employees are friendly and hospitible. 
Sophia and Brayden both said they had a great time, playing with their friends and painting their dinosaur and hand mirror! 
Anddd as you can see, they had so much fun, they couldn't stay awake on the car ride home!   #missionaccomplished 

Check out Poughkidsie's website here for all the info! 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sophia's Birthday Celebration to American Girl!

This trip has been on my mind for the last two years.  Going to the American Girl Store is like a right-of-passage for a little girl.  
I wanted her first trip to be special and meaningful and I knew back when she was three, we would make our trip to the NYC American Girl Store to celebrate her fifth birthday!

Fast forward to #Sophiais5 and the time has finally come!

 I woke up super early (and giddy) to do my research as to how to navigate from Grand Central Terminal to AGS.  BTW- take the rear entrance out of Grand Central which brings you out to 47th and Madison.  You are literally less than 5 mins away from American Girl.  It was the BEST shortcut, ever! 
Props to NYC for the beautiful splashes of Spring!

The whole process can be extremely overwhelming, so first timers, be prepared!!
Sophia wasn't into a "girl" doll at first.  She wanted a "Bitty Baby" (mainly because that's all she plays with are "baby dolls".)  However, after showing her around and Daddy's magical ways, we were back looking through the two floors of "girl dolls" #waytogodaddy

I couldn't get over the "doll holder" in the bathroom... lol! 
And we finally have a winner, Rebecca!! 

Cafe Experience: A+

I have to admit, the price to eat lunch at the American Girl Cafe is "fair" for the amount of food you're given, plus being in NYC.  You can access the menu, here
The Cafe had a variety of gluten free entrees as well as providing the first/second-course gluten free.  I'm not going to lie, I was a nervous wreck after we ate, waiting for Sophia to get sick.  THANKFULLY, she was A-Ok!  
American Girl Cafe is definitely gluten free-friendly!
 Overall, the day was so memorable for all of us.
 Seeing Sophia interact with "Rebecca" after having her for a few days now just puts such a smile on my face.  Rebecca enjoys walking with Sophia, taking bathroom breaks, and changing into various outfits throughout the day.
 I think Sophia has herself a life-long friend in Rebecca ;)
And I'm not going to lie, I can't wait to go back ;)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Let's make a Bet to kick off 2017

2017 is seriously RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER #omggg

With that, I'm sure we'd all like to start our new year strong when it comes to our health. Making "health/diet" goals is one of the biggest New Year's resolutions, ever!

If I were to tell you, you can get paid to work toward your "get healthy" resolution, would you believe me?


For the second time ever, Beachbody is hosting its "Health Bet"from January 9th to February 5th.  This "BET" means BB is so confident that you could lose anywhere from 5 - 15lbs, feel fabulous, have more energy to chase your kiddies, and fall in love with yourself and fitness, they're betting up to $3 million dollars to prove it!


All you have to do is:
1. Work out for 30 minutes for at least days per week (I have a feeling you'll want to workout more by the time I'm done with ya ;))
2. Drink the amazing, superfood health shake, Shakeology, at least 5 days per week
3. Hold yourself accountable for doing 1 & 2 by logging in daily with the free "My Challenge Tracker" app.  Plus you'll have me for support and motivation! #illbeyourcheerleader

Do all three of these things each week, and then you'll get a cut of $1-3 million dollars! 


No fine print, no joke, all good stuff here!!  #promise

If you're at all interested (and you should be) in this, please email me at or message me on FB.  This is open to new and past participants in my accountability groups!

You must be registered for my Health Bet Accountability group by January 2th, 2016

Are you ready to make a bet- one you can certainly win in 2017? #letsdothis!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

First Trimester "Fun"..

As promised, here is my first trimester post, outlining the good, the bad, and the ugly of the first 12 weeks of pregnancy with Baby Nikola #3...

Let's go back to Columbus day weekend- it was our final week of camping and by the time we arrived in Lake George on Friday evening, I was so tired and had such killer back pain, I decided to go right to bed (DING DING DING)...

Fast forward to Monday evening, I decided to take a pregnancy test after determining "my friend" should've already arrived... Didn't look at the test until Tuesday morning..

"HOLY *(^*&!!" Were my exact words... #forreal

Fast forward to Tuesday night, I told Andrew while asking him if he liked my new shirt?

His reaction, "SHUT UP!  Are you really?"  


Weeks 5 & 6- I felt pretty good.  I was able to get-up and workout in the morning.  Had slight nausea but nothing crackers couldn't cure.

Weeks 7 & 8- HOLY BACK PAIN... I suffered from lower back pain with Brayden and going to a chiropractor throughout his pregnancy was such a life saver.  Needless to say, I made an appointment with my chiropractor and am going to him every 3ish weeks! Fatigue definitely started to kick-in, too! 

Weeks 9-11- OMGGGG.. SAVE ME...  Nausea went away but this full blown, unsettled and just BLAH feeling took over.  I honestly have a hard time explaining it.. It was worse than nausea.. It's like you think you should eat, but your body wants carbs, you cave and eat carbs..You don't feel any better.. Nothing is satisfying..  Cooking.. UGGH... Didn't feel like cooking, prepping food or eating at dinner time..  I'd feel up to eating when that BLAH feeling would subside which was usually around 8pm... Back Pain.. yup, still there...and throw in some pelvic pressure...The REAL FUN has begun! 

Went to my first OB appointment- everything looked great; however, I am considered a "high risk". This is because my sister's brain condition, Polymicrogyria, was diagnosed within the last two years (after I had Brayden) so now since there's an actual "diagnosis" my doctor thought it'd be a good idea to monitor me more closely.  She gave Andrew and I the choice of being considered "high risk" and we decided to go ahead and approve it.  Due date is June 21, 2017; however, I may go earlier as that is my "trend."  We are NOT finding out the gender of this sweetness! #yesimserious

Week 12, Feeling much better!  The BLAH feeling has subsided...I just need to make sure I eat something when I wake up (like within 1/2 hour) and snack throughout the day in-between meals.. Nothing new  I can say, my body wants its carbs #sobadbutsogood Seen high risk doctor plus my regular OB- they have no concerns.  The baby is the size of a Tootsie Roll.  I expressed some concerns- Sensitive varicose veins in my upper legs, pelvic pressure, and working out...

Pelvic pressure- I developed an inguinal hernia (you can google it.. I don't want to get too TMI, here) with Sophia and it acts up while pregnant.  It's an uncomfortable feeling, but there's not much that can be done.... #suckitupbuttercup #butithurts

Working out- I struggled for some time with accepting the fact that it was "OK" for me not to workout every day. #fitnesscoachproblems It wasn't until I read a FB post from another fitness coach, reminding me to listen to my body and give it some slack...After all, I am creating a HUMAN BEING and that takes a lot of work...

Now mix the hernia + working out= major discomfort when exercising using all modification moves.. This is HARD for me to accept... But as I was reminded, I must listen to my body.. So if that means working out one-two times a week.. That's what I'll have to do..

Sooo... That's it in a nutshell. #bringonsecondtrimester

Sophia and Brayden don't know, yet.  I'm trying to find a creative way to tell them on Christmas but nothing has hit me...yet..

Pinterest, here I come!!

Do you have any suggestions on how we should tell them another clan member will be joining us soon?