Wednesday, February 29, 2012

baby registry!

When Victor and I got married in the US last summer, "wedding presents" were an issue.  How do you politely say, we really want that blender, but international shipping is phenomenally expensive and not worth it? And as much as I really, really, really want a KitchenAid mixer, it wasn't worth the extra headache (or double the cost!) of ordering from a European website to make sure it has the correct electrical outlet plug, etc.  

Vic and I are both shameless givers... so talking about gifts makes both of us squirm.  We were very grateful for ALL of our wedding presents (and our entire honeymoon was paid for by our wedding guests, so is our future living room wall-to-wall bookcase that I've been obsessing over via IKEA website... Hello spring projects!).  

Anyhow, with this whole Baby business happening all up in my belly, I've already had several requests of "What can we get you guys?!"  And seeing I have no idea... I've been doing a lot of research. Buying baby stuff as a first time mama is difficult and stressful.  There are a zillion baby products that are marketed as "Must Have Or You Won't Survive."  And I shamelessly by into it.  I relish in my hours of online research, the lists I have gone over, and the general idea of "how" I want to prepare for baby: Organic.  Minimalist. Relatively gender neutral.  Vintage inspired.  Oh, and punk 'effin rock.        

Shopping online for baby can be relatively painless when you can read.  This seems.... like a stupid thing to say.  But let's face it.  I am not fluent in Portuguese.  Yet.  I can figure out the basics, look things up in my dictionaries.  (You will need more than one...)  But unfortunately, I can't obsess about the detail differences between products, etc.  A lot of websites don't have English translations, and online shopping is a newly emerging trend here.  (Weird, right?!  When I asked friends (and store employees) about Wedding Registries last year, people had NO idea what I was talking about.... ?!!)  

SO... I cannot in my right mind order The. Best. Stroller. Ever (according to the MommyBlogs in the US online.  As in, from the US.  I am in Portugal.  Even if companies DO ship here, the shipping cost is usually doubles (or more!) the price of items.  (Example, my beloved KitchenAid Mixer.) My poor mother has already spent a small fortune on international shipping in the past two years, sending everything from online shopping purchases (and returns....), Twizzlers (NONE in Portugal...?!), camera parts, my favorite Neutrogena face wash that I can't live without, etc.  Instead of burdening her with the epic task of scrambling around in the next few months to collect all of the baby stuff I "won't be able to live without," I decided to make a registry that our generous, wonderful, delightful and technology-capable friends and family members can use... to generously help share shipping costs... I highly recommend utilizing Amazon UK whenever necessary, as it is much cheaper to order from there, when shipping to us here in Portugal.  

If any new mamas (or old pro' mamas and professional papas too!) notice that we are missing Must Have Baby Products, please let me know!  You know my email address/ facebook!  Who wants to buy me some organic nipple cream?!  OOOOHHH!!!!  How awkward?!  I'm trying to be my pathologically liberal and open-minded self... But nipple cream?  I want someone REALLY AWKWARD to send a supply of that stuff.  And stretch mark cream.  So far, I am heavily moisturized and not stretching anything yet... but I have no problem spending the next 22 weeks dipping myself in every kind of lotion available.  Just in case.  I think I am more anxious about the aftermath of my body, post-baby, than I am about the act of giving birth...  WOAH.              

SO!  We are registered at

Just look us up, under Jacqui Castro & Victor Castro (listed in Ossining, New York) and for shipping information, you can email my mama Patti at JJBeens1[at] for our home address here in Portugal.

MUITO OBRIGADA!! Thank you thank you thank you!


PS. I haven't registered for my Perfect Portuguese car seat, stroller, crib set (etc!) yet, I am still... researching and translating...  but don't you worry!  I will have those items posted as soon as possible!  HAhah!!! 


Monday, February 27, 2012

i have a confession...

So my first "weird pregnant thing" happened.  I sneezed and peed a little.  No, I didn't pee in my pants, but almost...  and while I won't be posting every shameless and weird bodily function/ experience/ etc., I just thought it was funny and thought I would over-share.  I kinda feel like I'm six years old again and I have to make sure a go for a pee before and after everything.  


Sunday, February 26, 2012

11 week sonogram photos!

Better late than never, no??

In just 3 weeks, I will have our next sonogram, complete with video... YAYYAY!

My mama just booked her flight... she's coming to Portugal!! April 10th to April 22nd!! So happy!  I love my mama!! I told Victor that mama will be super happy to help paint and wall paper the bedrooms we will be swapping in the next month...  He thinks my mom won't enjoy that sort of thing... that we cannot ask her to fly 5,000 miles to wall paper.  Oooh boy.... Just wait, Mr. Castro.  You underestimate what makes your mother-in-law happy!

Belly photos coming this week!  (I cannot find my camera... I think Bianca has it stashed somewhere in her room... So that is the biggest reason for the delay in photos...) 

Woah!  11 weeks.  This is when it got super real!  

There is our little peanut-  11 weeks!  Baby wouldn't hold still!  Kept squirming around!  And I kept laughing and knocking the probe thingy out of place!  

This was the first image that we saw-  I panicked for second... I thought there were two in there... Turns out, it was just two photos next to each other.... 

OK!!! Time for bed...  Have to get Bianca up for school in 4 hours... I am up WAY past my bed time!!!

Week 17-- whizzed by me!

Oohhh my goodness what a week... Bianca was off from school Monday- Wednesday of this past week, for Carnival.  She had the option of going to school and basically playing all day, but she said she wanted to stay home with me.  OOOh joy!  :)  So Monday, Galina the wonderful amazing angel of my life cleaning lady came, tidied things up for us.  I love when Galina is here, because I feel like such a lazy princess if I am sitting on my ass, that when she is here, I am "super busy" around the house.  Laundry, organizing drawers, I throw things away, I tidy around her, or I sit and do paperwork (which can look very important...)  Bianca and I went food shopping, which can be fun... and this week, it was.   Sometimes I prefer food shopping by myself, so I can wander the aisles, trying to figure out which products I am actually purchasing (remember, not only do I have to figure out the Portuguese labels, sometimes they are in German, French, Greek, etc....)  But Bebe was really well behaved (she's almost 8, and when she is happy and in a great mood, is my best little helper.  Other days.... when we're cranky, not so much.... Oh the joys of step-parenting!)  

I mentioned to Galina on Monday if she knows anyone who can fix my sewing machine.  I have this gorgeous Singer machine that I recieved for my 21st birthday (yes, my mama was floored when I told her that's what I wanted.)  Sometime last year, I plugged my American sewing machine into a cheap European adaptor and blew the motor.  I cried.   And while there are a TON of Singer signs all over the place, most of the shops don't do this kind of repair...  So on Wednesday afternoon, Galina brought her friend by who took the machine who will hopefully be able to fix it!  I am SOO excited!  I've missed my little machine!

Victor is working like a maniac this week, preparing for his two-week trip!  He will be filming four commercials.  I will write more about this when he is away. (Sniffle. Sniffle.)

Having Bianca home most of the week really cut in to my blog/ online activity schedule... I feel like such a d-bag for not writing at all this week, but I hardly checked my email, Facebook, etc...  Now that I'm not nearly as nauseated by cooking this last week, I promised Vic I'll get back into cooking and baking.  I was seriously slacking.  But in all fairness, by the time I finish making dinner, all the cooking, chopping veggies, etc, I am so exhausted and my back is killing me!  I can barely peel myself off the couch afterwards!  And then Vic is bummed that he comes home and I am ready for bed 10 minutes later!

So this week, I made some vegetarian enchiladas, a shrimp and broccoli pasta, something else, I tried my hand in red velvet cupcakes...  I will be trying again this afternoon.... Hopefully my new batch of red velvet will be much more photo-worthy than the last batch... The Paula Deen recipe I tried was shit...  super crumbly, and I didn't read the recipe before I made it... It required 1.5 cups of oil.  Gross.  Won't make that mistake twice.  Also, I am looking forward to delicious cream cheese icing.  mMMMmmm

I made pancakes this morning, just a basic, from scratch recipe that I found online, that I've tweaked and love.  My American maple syrup supply has run out, so this morning, I tried my hand in making homemade syrup.  It was so sweet and delicious!  I will have to post the recipe!  So easy-  I like recipes that I don't screw up the first time I try.  Those to me, are keepers.

Other news, totally un-pregnancy related... I shaved my legs yesterday for the first time in a month.  And I will admit, I'm not a big leg-shaver.  Everyone knows this.  I blame going to an all girls high school.  Becuase it was so hilarious to see people get so bent out of shape due to blonde leg hair.  But anyway, I digress, as usual.  I cut the SHHHIIZZZZY out of my ankle.  And I swear, I'm not a big puss when it comes to little bumps and scraps and bruises.  I like to show them off.  (Thank you, Roller Derby. <3)  But I took a freakin' CHUNK out... I nicked the vein over yr ankle bone?  I have a two-inch gash.  And while I screamed a lot of bad words, I was fine, until Victor poured this liquid cleaning stuff on it.  I was thinking it was something like American Bactine, where it only hurts when yr 6 and yr Mama needs to blow on the booboo and its all better.  This hurt like a BASTARD!!  I almost started to cry!  Then I threw a little tantrum after he put the band-aid on... Yes I have a big, pouty bottom lip, that shit HURT!  Definitely the last time I shave my legs for a long time.  Thats IT, Mr. Castro!     

Pregnancy update:  
I look kinda fat.  I don't look pregnant.  I look like I have a gut.  Vic says it looks like a belly, I say it looks like a gut.  I try to dress as "pregnant" as possible, either flowy shirts that hide it, or snug shirts that show it off.  And when I do wear snug shirts, I make sure I rub my belly in public, in case anyone might wonder... AHHAH!!!  Am I vain or just super weirded-out that I have a pot belly?  I am super ok with pregnancy weight gain, it just looks so bizarre on my body, looking in the mirror and seeing this shape that I don't recognize.  Its as if you looked in a full- length mirror for the first time and saw yr ass in yr favorite pair of jeans... "My ass looks like THAT?!"  And then you realize you need new jeans...  And while at times I may get upset when I ask Victor if he likes my outfit, etc., he is always honest, whether I like it or not.  So at least I know that when I leave the house with him, I always look my best.  (I am still a bit peeved to just find out he doesn't like my vintage green lace headband/ bow.  I think I'll wear it tomorrow when he is at work.)

I am almost due for my 18 week pregnancy update, so I will leave all the baby related, nitty gritty details for tomorrow's post.  But I will say, this week was blissfully uneventful.  

OHH!! Except for one thing:  I HAVE MY PORTUGUESE RESIDENCE CARD!  I officially live in the European Union!  I am legal!  I will have to write an effin' essay on getting legal documentation here in Portugal.  OMG... Almost 2 years, and I finally have the paperwork.  The bureaucracy here is amazing amounts of bullshit.  You literally go to one office, they tell you to go to another.  Its appointment only.  You make the appointment, wait two months, show up, to be told you have to go to another office.  With different paperwork.  You go there.  Wait for appointment.  THey tell you that you need to go back to the first office, start there.  If you are lucky, you have a different person helping you, they give you different answers.  Different paperwork.  If you are lucky, you get past round one, and move to round two.  So, I now have a piece of cardboard (tri-fold) with my photo, glued on, stamped, fingerprinted.  I am legal.  I thought I would receive some official citizen's card, with a microchip like Vic and Bebe... No. I get a tri-folded cardboard.  Hilarious!   

Baby update:  the umbilical cord is getting thicker (weird) and baby now has fingerprints!  How cute is that?!  Baby's skeleton is changing from cartilage to bone.  This week, baby is the size of an onion.  We love onions in this house, just as much as we love avocados! 

Sunday breakfast!  

Monday, February 13, 2012

second trimester- 16 weeks: avocado!

So I am officially 16 weeks pregnant (4 months) and our little baby is the size of an avocado.  I think this is the best news ever... I just LOVE me some avocados!  One day, when Victor and I have our dream house, we will have a huge huge garden with American avocado trees (and oranges, lemons, limes and olives, plums, peaches and apples.... I know this is irrelevant to baby making stuff, but its nice to think about, when dreaming of our Baby Avocado). 

From weekly email I receive...

16 weeks.  


"Baby's now the size of an avocado!
Watch what you say... tiny bones forming in baby's ears mean s/he can now pick up your voice.  A few more miniscule changes:  Eyebrows, lashes, and hair are starting to fill in, and taste buds are forming."  

So, I have to disagree with this smooth, gorgeous healthy skin business.  I will admit, I have been blessed all my life with healthy skin.  I have had no major complaints in my entire life about my complexion.  I wash my face, I get a pimple every few months (if ever), yadda yadda yadda, yes I am a lucky b*tch.  I always wear sunscreen, I never go to the beach or pool without my sun-proof hat, and when I run a lot during the summer, I get the occasional little pimples on my temples under my hairline where I wear my running headband.  

Pregnant Jax:  OMG eww.  It is February.  It's 45 degrees F here in Portugal.  It is rainy and cold at night.  It's not like I am running outside during hot summer months right now, there is no "normal" reason why I should be breaking out like I have been these last few weeks!  It is so gross and I feel guilty complaining about it, as I've only had "bad skin" for a month, and hopefully it will clear up in the next few months at most... but it is a definite adjustment!  Instead of washing my face only once a day, I'm upping it to twice a day, maybe three time if necessary... I feel like I need a face-sized BiorĂ© strip thing.  Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Gross.  Thank you genetics for blessing me with nice skin, most of the time.  (My mama says I'm "peaches & cream.")              

My next complaint:  I don't have a belly yet!  My butt is bigger, my boobs feel huge (Victor happily agrees) and while I have a little pudgy belly, there is nothing too exciting happening up front quite yet.  I have gained 2 kilos so far (about 4.5 lbs) which is a big deal for someone who is 5"1, but as far as pregnancy goes, it's really not all too much to see.  My doctor says everything is wonderful and on track.  Two weeks ago for my last check up, I got to listen to baby's heartbeat!  It was just one of those little microphones that you stick on the belly (don't know what it's called) and while it was super early and the doctor said we probably wouldn't hear anything yet, sure enough, we heard it!  I kept laughing and popping the microphone thing out of place.  (Same thing happened when Vic and I went for my first sonogram last month.)

Changing gears...
One of my biggest motivations for wanted to write a BabyBlog was to address is the personal intimacy of pregnancy and being adopted.  The first few weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I was really freaked out.  (Not in a bad way, just freaked out in a normal Oh Sh*t, Now What? sort of way...)  Of course, first time pregnancy is strange and scary and exciting and all the other emotions you can possibly feel simultaneously, but I have had such limited experience with pregnancy that I kinda felt like a phony.  I sincerely felt like I was lying when I told friends and even family over Christmas in New York...  I had no belly to sorta' show off, all I could do was forgo the booze.  And I couldn't stay awake past 8 pm.  Which could have easily been attributed to jet-lag...

Anyhow, I will definitely be writing a lot more about this topic, and the tangents that spiral out from this whole concept of being adopted and now experiencing pregnancy for the first time.  I looked online briefly, to see if there were any books about it.  I found nothing on the topic.  Granted I think I looked for about 20 minutes, but nothing was jumping out at me.  Which is fine, the initial weirdness has passed, but I would really like to explore this topic more.  

I would just like to note to the world, I have no personal adoption issues.  I was raised by my two wonderful, nearly-perfect parents, I had a happy, healthy childhood, and I am a relatively well- adjusted adult.  Of course I was a pain in the ass teenager with typical teenage angst, but I blame that on growing up in Westchester- HAHahhAHha!!!  I never had "adoption issues."  I have never had intimacy issues in relationships.  This is the first time in my life that adoption has affected me in any way, and it's more of a curiosity about a topic I don't know about, rather than an issue.  When Victor and I first arrived at my parent's house for Christmas holiday, and we were all hugging and kissing and Mama and Daddy were asking about the baby stuff, we had a great laugh saying, "Oh sh*t-  NOW WHAT DO WE DO?!  Does anybody know?!"  So Mama bought me a ton of baby books, and Aunt Lesley is my next go-to source for bun-in-the-oven questions.      

Anyhow, I've gotta get a move on, the cleaning lady (oh wonderful, wonderful, sweet angel Galina) is coming in an hour and a half... And I have to shower, tidy up (why do we feel the need to clean before the cleaning lady comes?!) and I have to run a ton of errands before I pick up Bianca from school today at 5...  Oh so much to do.

And I promise I will start posting more pictures.... Again, my 11 week sonogram is coming soon as I set up the scanner, maybe some baby pictures of me and Vic, a little belly shot, good things like that.  I know you all are waiting with baited breath...... AHhah!!! 

PS.  My New Favorite Website:

Anyone can feel free to get me ANYTHING from this website.     


"Thanks to increasing blood flow, it's time for some major cash and prizes. Enjoy quick-growing hair and nails, smooth and firm skin, and a healthy glow. One bit of bad news -- your eyes might be feeling a little dry these days... "

Friday, February 10, 2012

she is brilliant!

Oi!  So I had this brilliant idea to upload a few photos of us, just to get the blog rolling... and two hours later, I am about to throw my computer out the window.  I have been trying to upload some 20 photos, nothing too excessive... I tried uploading into several posts, but then they were out of order, now I've decided maybe the next best thing is to try to make a album for your viewing pleasure.  

BUT, while I have no problem writing a blog and sharing a few photos here and there, privacy issues ARE a concern of mine, and anyone who knows me well (which should be all of you, as you are reading about my private life....) knows that I do appreciate my privacy and interweb discretion.  Since I do maintain tight control of who sees my Facebook profile (as in, if yr my friend on FB, you can see everything... yr on the team.) I think I will post the password to my albums that will correlate to the BabyBlog.  I said I was neurotic... Am I going overboard?  Or does anyone know an easier, more efficient way of posting private albums to a blog?  HmMmmmmmm...    

Wish me luck!  

Ok... Let's see if this works...

The following link should be a password protected link to my new Photobucket album... The password is available on my Facebook page!  Be sure to view the album as a slideshow (until I figure out how to connect a proper link...)   

TaNK GiRL* apocalypse!

Awwww snap!  The apocalypse is truly upon is..... we're having a baby!  As we have so many friends and family scattered all over the globe, we thought it was best to start a babyblog, for all of our loved ones to be constantly updated.  

As of today, I am 15 weeks pregnant, and our anticipated due date is July 29th, 2012.  Which means, Victor and I are in for one long, hot summer...  I am looking forward to lots of floating in the little lagoon at the beach near our house and frozen yogurt.  We are also already planning to swap rooms around in our house, painting, epic reorganization and maybe some minor construction- HA!!  (Any volunteers available to help?!  I will bake cupcakes and Vic will provide all the Sagres you can drink to repay the favor...)  

While we have already told friends and family, we decided to not let post on Facebook and "go viral" with our big news until I made it through the first trimester, worry free.  This is my first pregnancy and everything about Baby Castro is so surreal, so I just wanted to cherish the panic for awhile.....  AHHHH!!!  I am totally neurotic about reading baby books and researching everything baby related, and while I wouldn't quite say I feel comfortable about the whole thing, I am definitely excited and happily... panicked?  There is just so much to do and learn about, it's wonderfully overwhelming.  

As far as my first trimester went, I have been blessed with only minor morning sickness, which usually strikes when I am helping Bianca get ready for school.  I usually get to brush my teeth several times before noon, but from what I've ready about other women's morning sickness, I have been really super lucky!  As long as I have some toast, some tea and a yogurt, I do just fine.  Though at night, around dinner time, Vic's biggest complaint is that I don't eat.  Yes, I've had the occasional bout of nausea/ vomiting in the AM, dinner is the absolute last thing I want to eat.  I have evening sickness... HA!  I feel like I happily graze all day, and I try to keep it as healthy as I can.  I will admit to devouring a small bag of mini- Snickers bars over the course of a week, but other than that, I snack on oranges from our neighbor's yard, and peanut butter and crackers.  At least those are my favorites the last few weeks.  I also crave big bottles of water...  So I think as long as I take my pre-natal vitamins, milk, soy milk, veggie loaded egg white omelets, and fruit, I'm doing pretty good.  All the Portuguese chorizos that were just so damn delicious just a few short months ago now turn my stomach...  so I'm staying away from them... eww...  

I have had several check-ups already, and my doctor says I am doing just fine!  I hope everything continues to be this easy and uneventful...  that's a good thing, right?!  I've already bought some maternity clothes, as my jeans are no longer feeling quite as comfy as they used to, and I am so excited that Old Navy makes maternity skinny jeans... RAD!  And they were super cheap, which is a huge plus.  And I'd just like so say THANK YOU to my Momma Patti for paying for the epic shipping costs for all the packages she sends to me and Vic.  Especially for surprising us with 1-lb. bags of Twizzlers... heart.heart.heart.  

I still have to take my first belly picture, and post it with our first sonogram that we took a few weeks ago.  I think the biggest reason why I haven't taken the classic "belly photo" is because there isn't much to photo yet... It's a little disappointing!  I was hoping that there would be some more action to show off all the hard work I've been doing!

I will admit that I have been slacking big time in the exercise department... which is kinda unusual for me, as I love my Elliptical machine.  It's just so damn chilly outside right now (nothing compared to New York winters though!)  But our house doesn't have heat (as it isn't really needed in our area of Lisbon, Portugal), so at night we light the occasional fire and just put on the little space heater and we're good.  BUT, it TOTALY KILLS all motivation to do prenatal yoga in the living room, get on the Elliptical, or go for a jog outside.  Vic and I have taken some wonderfully long walks along the water in Seixal, basking in winter sunshine.

I've had some super weird dreams too, which I can get into later.  One was about people I went to grammar school with and haven't spoken to or thought about since about 1997, another dream was that I got a text message from a girl I used to skate roller derby with, and she asked me to meet her in Dublin to drink whiskey, and another was about how I couldn't find my math homework in high school....  WEIRD!  

So anyhow.... Welcome to our babyblog!  Wish us luck... EeEEE!!

Jax & Vic