Viewing posts from July, 2014

My love for flowers

I'm kind of obsessed with flowers. A few years back after I quit my job as a social worker, I would spend my days creating beautiful arrangements with my mom, at first just for my parents restaurant, and then for friends and family. I'm so obsessed that given the choice between a Tiffany's peice of jewelry or a flower-spree, I will definitely choose the flower-spree. 

I used to think I could make a business out of this as we would often get asked by friends and family to arrange flowers for weddings and funerals. We would get all excited, quote an extremely low price (because after all, they are friends and family!) and we would stay up all night slaving away getting no sleep and pricking our fingers with thorns. 


Then we thought ok, this is totally not profitable. Let's just make arrangements for ourselves to enjoy rather than trying to turn it into a business. 


Below are some flowers I've arranged over the years

cafe renaissance vienna leila rahmanian flowers

Leila Rahmanian flowers

Cafe Renaissance Leila Rahmanian flowers

Leila Rahmanian flowers

Leila Rahmanian flowers

Leila Rahmanian flowers

Leila Rahmanian flowers

Cafe Renaissance Leila Rahmanian flowers

Leila Rahmanian flowers

Leila Rahmanian flowers

Leila Rahmanian flowers

Leila Rahmanian flowersCafe Renaissance Leila Rahmanian flowers

And Baby Eats......

I absolutely love cooking for my baby because it's just so easy. There is nothing easier in this world to cook than baby food, and I am all about easy. 

A few months ago, I started Valentino on solids. We started with rice cereal, that I would mix in with his formula. At first I made it super runny until he got used to it, then I slowly worked my way up to a thicker consistency. In one the early days, I made the mistake of giving him rice cereal that I had made too thick and he kept me up all night screaming of gas pains. 

Here he is at 5 months eating his rice cereal. 

valentino rahmanian

After he got used to eating rice cereal I would add in some fruit, starting with bananas. I'd make the rice cereal, add half a banana, and then mash it up with a fork.

baby food 5 months

I would give him the same food for 3 days before trying anything new to rule out allergies. Then I'd make little mixes for him, like banana strawberry smash (he LOVES this)

baby food

He also loves his yogurt. I'll take plain whole fat organic yogurt and mix it up with his breakfast sometimes. I'll microwave some frozen blueberries for a few seconds, mash them up and mix them with yogurt. Or I'll boil an egg and mix the yolk with yogurt, but I won't always mix everything with yogurt because I want him to try and get used to different textures. 

baby loves blueberries

After I feed him most of his food with a spoon, I throw some on his tray and let him make a mess of it and hopefully have the rest land in his mouth rather than the floor. That's his favorite part of meal times. Here's him playing with some steamed and smashed sweet potato. 

Valentino Rahmanian baby food

A day in the life: Caring for a baby while pregnant

I love reading "Day in the life" I thought I'd write one of my own. This is what a typical day looks like for me:

These days I am just plain exhausted. I crave sleep ALL THE TIME.

I'm peacefully sleeping, drooling and dreaming, when I'm woken by sounds of baby talkingn to himself from the monitor. I rush to get up, stand up, and feel the room spinning and my head throbbing. Morning sickness then starts to kick in. I go to the bathroom and then fall asleep on the toilet for ten minutes. Then I'll go and make a bottle of formula and go greet baby Valentino. I'll pick him up and attack him with kisses.

day in the life

I'll then feed him his formula. After his feeding I'll wait for him to burp and then I'll change his diaper and clothes. I will then leave him in his room to play for independent play time. 

I'll then go downstairs and eat breakfast, which is usually 2 apples, that must be either honeycrisp or pink lady. I am an apple snob. My husband will also join me for breakfast (as he works from home).

I then go back upstairs and nap for half an hour, and then get up to feed and change baby again. After servicing him I'll take him into the bedroom with me and lay down with him. This makes for good cuddle time. Then he will take a nap for about an hour. While he is napping I nap as well, but as soon as I start to fall asleep, he wakes up. This always happens and I can't stand it. 

Then it's lunch time. I'm too exhausted to cook, and I'm not that enthusiastic about eating. So hubby orders a pizza and I reluctantly have one slice. While we eat lunch together, baby joins us at the table in his high chair and we all eat together. I'll either heat up some baby food that I made earlier in the week, or give him rice cereal with some fruit mixed in. 

After lunch it's baby's nap time. This nap will be about two hours long, so I'll get to nap and actually fall asleep as well. I will sleep for however long baby sleeps. 

Then he will wake me up, and a very groggy me will go and service him again. After I service him I'll read to him and play with him. 

Then hubby will finish working and we will then invite my mom to come over with dinner (as again, I am too exhausted to cook). While waiting for my mom and sister to come over, I'll put Valentino in his stroller and we will all go out for a walk, along with Sir Edward. During our walk, Sir Edward will lead the way, and will every so often look behind him to check on us. Sometimes he will walk alongside Valentino's stroller and will keep looking up at him. Then he will circle us. He has this habit of circling us while we walk him. We researched this and apparently he is doing this to protect us from all those predators out there. He is hilarious. 

After 20 minutes of walking we will usually have to turn back as I start to feel sick. 

When we get back home, I'll hand Valentino over to hubby and then I'll nap some more. About two hours later hubby will wake me up saying my mom and sister have arrived with dinner. A very groggy me will get up, go downstairs and eat dinner with everyone, while at the same time feeding Valentino in his high chair. Afterwards, my mom and sister will leave and we will get ready for bed. We have a whole bedtime routine that takes around 2 hours, and hubby does all of it. It consists of feeding Sir Edward, loading and running the dishwasher and cleaning the counters. Then we bathe Valentino. He loves bath time. He splashes bubbles everywhere and he has recently figured out that he has a peepee and points at it. It's SO funny. After his bath, I will dry him while hubby goes and takes Sir Edward out and the trash out. Then I will feed Valentino a bottle of formula and then read him a book. After his book I'll put him in his crib with a stuffed animal, brush his teeth and gums, and kiss him goodnight. I'll then clean his mess of a room and then turn on his spotify classical music playlist on the ipad before leaving. I want him to have sweet dreams with Vivaldi and Brahms in the background.   

I'll check him from time to time on the baby cam, and will hear him jibber jabbering to himself. Once he is asleep I will shower, have a cup of tea, and get ready for bed. I'll usually be fast asleep by the time hubby finishes working and comes to bed. Then I'll wake up the next morning and do the same thing all over again. 

I typically do not sleep this much in any given day, but pregnancy is not very nice to me. It drains me of my energy, bombards me with sickness and leaves me defeated. 

My C-section experience

 Last year, I gave birth via elective c section. At the time it seemed like a difficult decision, but in retrospect, I'm really glad I did it- so glad, in fact, that for subsequent births, the only way you will catch me giving birth vaginally is if it's in the back of a car on the way to the operating room.


My c section wasn't planned, but it wasn't a complete emergency either. Because baby was a week late, was getting too big and not able to move as much as it should, the doctors gave me the option to either be induced or have a c section. I chose c section because I didn't want to be induced, then go through 20 hours of labor only to end up having a c section anyway. I have heard that story too many times. I thought, why not just get it over with nice and fast? The baby was already a week late, and my heartburn and aches and pains were just out of control. I wanted him out YESTERDAY!!


So we rush to the hospital, only to have to wait 5 hours before they operated. They gave me a gown to put on and, strapped a bunch of monitors and equipment on me, and put an IV in my arm. The IV was horrible. I have what you would call a low pain threshold….and a completely irrational phobia of needles. For the duration of the wait I was brimming with anxiety, not about how the surgery will go, the knife, or how my baby will turn out…I had faith that all that would turn out fine. But inside I was dying about the thought of that needle going into my back….. :-/

During this 5 hour wait, I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything. Not even ice chips. This was incredibly hard. I remember how other moms used to tell me that being thirsty while waiting for the surgery was unbearable, but I never really thought much of it until now….It just kept getting harder and harder. I begged my husband to give me a sip of his drink, I begged the nurse, I begged everyone. I had thoughts of secretly going into the bathroom and drinking the tap water from the faucet.


When the time finally came they rolled me into the OR and had husband go into another room to wear scrubs. While he was away, they administered the spinal block. Everyone says that the spinal doesn't hurt, and that it's pretty much just a small pinch. The anesthesiologist told me that it shouldn’t hurt and it usually doesn't, unless your spine isn't completely straight. At first they gave me a shot to numb the area. People say this shot isn't too painful, but I almost cried (did I mention I have a low pain threshold?). Then they gave the second shot- the spinal. I  felt it go in deep, and then there was this sudden sharp pain and pressure that seemed to last forever. It literally felt like they were pumping boiling water or some stinging poison into my spine that wouldn't stop. I jumped and screamed and everyone yelled at me and told me to be still. So I dug my fingernails into the nurse who was standing in front of me so that I could hold onto her. I would have preferred it if my husband was standing there, but she was sweet and really supportive. As soon as it was over I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. The worst was over. But I have to say- it did really suck.


Then they laid me down on the operating table, put a catheter in, and started pinching me on the stomach and hips asking if I feel anything. I didn't feel the catheter go in or the pinching. My husband came in right in time for the operation and sat next to my head. They put a cover up over my stomach so I wouldn't see anything. During this entire time I was shaking and my teeth were chattering. They told me it was because of the medicine and how everyone does that. I asked them to put a pillow under my head because I had severe heartburn, and it was totally coming up.


They started to operate and I felt a little bit of tugging. My husband started talking to me about random things to distract me from it all, all while taking pictures of my blood and guts hanging out of my stomach. After what seemed like a few minutes, the doctor said, "wow look at all that hair!" I heard a loud cry, and my heartburn instantly went away.


Then I saw a little baby with a head full of black hair being whisked away by a nurse to the area next to the operating room where they clean and weigh and bundle up the babies. My husband went with the nurse. I was so fascinated watching them that I completely forgot I was still being operated on. They were stitching me up when they brought the baby back and held him close to me so I could kiss him. He was so cute! He was like the perfect present, and I just wanted to quickly get out of the operating room so I could hug and squeeze his cheeks.


Many moms who go through C-sections don't feel as if they have a close bond to their babies because of them being taken away right after making their appearance. I have heard stories of mother's resenting their babies and even refusing to see them. I know that it's typically recommended for immediate skin to skin contact right after birth, but I didn't mind one bit as I knew he was in good hands with my husband following the nurse and taking pics of him whilst he was being cleaned up, warmed up and weighed. I'm sure my baby didn't mind either. If he did I'm sure he has forgotten by now. No harm done.

They finished stitching me up in no time, and put these huge gauze pads over the stitches. They also put these huge pads on these granny stretchy underwear and put them on me. The whole thing from start to finish probably  took about an hour, but to me it didn't even seem like 20 minutes because it was so exciting (minus all the needles).


After being wheeled to our room, I spent a lot of time holding Valentino and just staring at him in awe. Me and hubby would take turns holding him and kissing him and booping his little nose. He was so little and cute that I just wanted to smother him with kisses and squeeze his cute little cheeks and play with his cute little baby toes.


That night my parents and sister came to visit and brought cakes and food. I was not allowed to eat solids yet, but hubby ate dinner that they brought, everyone had cake, and we gave a bunch of cake to the nursing staff. I just drank water. Maybe I drank a little more than I should have because I started vomiting it up. The nurses said this was a side effect of the meds, and told me to go easy on the water.


Later that night the nurse helped me stand and walk to the bathroom. That was excruciatingly painful. Everywhere hurt, but I wasn't bothered by it because the baby kept me happily distracted. And to me- needles are WAY worse.


On the third day we went home. It was so exciting getting baby dressed, putting him in the car seat, and going for our first drive together. Stepping inside the house felt so good after those few days in the hospital. I was feeling good, and could walk and go to the bathroom by myself. The first shower I took felt really good also, after going 3 days without showering (I was too weak to shower at the hospital). My pain was much better, although sometimes when getting up I would have this sharp unbearable pain in my lower stomach which is apparently normal for everyone who has a c section.


Some things I wish I had known before having a c section and some things I would have done differently:


  • I would NOT have eaten fast food on the way to the hospital even though we were in a rush. It made me so thirsty that I would have sold my husband for just a sip of water.


  • I would have showered right before going to the hospital, as I'm finicky about showers and didn't like taking one in the hospital. 


  • I would not have packed so much crap in my hospital bag that I didn't need. Looking back, I think I only used a few things from that bag. Next time I wouldn't pack any toiletries, makeup, nightgowns, bras, slippers and underwear. I didn't need any of it.  The only things I used out of that entire bag were Chapstick and a brush to comb my hair. The hospital gives you these special super big and stretchy underwear along with these huge maxi pads. They also give these special sock/slippers that prevent you from falling. They provide toiletries, a comfortable hospital gown, and anything else you could want. I'm not sure all hospitals are like this, but Fairfax Hospital in Northern VA was fantastic.


  • I would have asked the hospital for extra underwear and those huge pads to take home with me. They were so convenient and comfortable. I couldn't wear my regular underwear because the top of it stretched right over my stitches and it would hurt having it on. The hospital maxi pads are amazing because I bled so much that regular pads didn't help any (unless I wear like 4). The amount of bleeding is unreal. I didn't think it was possible to lose that much blood. It's like having your period but 100x worse. TMI sorry guys. 


  • I would have let the nurses in the hospital care for baby while me and husband got some sleep. Next time I will definitely do this because once you go home, you can pretty much say goodbye to sleeping for at least the first two to three months. So catch up on sleep while you can. The main reason I didn't give the baby to the nurses to watch in their baby nursery was because I was worried that someone might steal him. This recently happened in a hospital in Quebec I think, but chances are really slim that this would ever happen in the US nowadays,  especially in Fairfax Hospital.  They have these wristbands attached to mom and dad, and something attached to baby's umbilical cord that they have to scan to see if it matches before they give the baby to the mom or dad. But it's good to get to know your nurses so if a fake one comes along (like they did in Quebec) you can spot them out.


Would I have another c section? Absolutely! The worst part of it for me was the spinal block, but that compared to hours and hours of labor and contractions was worth it. Although the recovery time for a c section is a lot longer, it's nice to be pampered and spoiled while recovering. I also loved how I was thoroughly medicated, at all times.


Thank God for modern medicine!