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moving, having a baby... you know, the little things...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


So, I guess we've officially moved. It's been a hard few days, physically exhausting and emotionally draining, but it's over.
Aside from a few boxes in the attic of the old house, all of our junk is currently in the new house. A lot of it is in the garage, but I'm just trying to avoid that area as I unpack and clean up what's inside the house. We moved on Saturday, but today (Tuesday) was the first day that I've felt like we were home. While Annika was in daycare, I cleaned, and cleaned, and organized, and decorated, and cleaned some more. I cooked our first meal here, too. Kind of a big deal, seeing that I don't usually cook at all:) There are still lots of things to do in the house and it's pretty much still a blank canvas, but it's livable. I have so many different decorating ideas, ya hear that, Pinterest? Can't wait to get my hands dirty, in a creative sort of way, in the next few months or so.

Oh, and we have exactly one more day as a family of three. Thursday morning, bright and early, Lord willing, a forth member of our family will be joining us. And then... well... just pray for us.

I'm planning to spend all day with Annika tomorrow... We are going to go to the park, then have lunch in our village (with ice-cream... shh, don't tell daddy! or my gestational diabetes!), then after nap we will do our pedicures and maybe bake something.  Our last day just the two of us, awe... I think I'm going to cry at some point or another too...

Here are a few bits and pieces (from my phone!) of the new house... remember it's a work in progress!


4th of July in Winona Lake

Monday, July 7, 2014


Well, it's Monday after 4th of July weekend and it may as well be January 2nd. You know, the festivities are over and the reality of everyday life hits you in the head like a boomerang and knocks you down on your knees where you sit and wonder, what in the world just happened.
I guess things weren't that dramatic, but who doesn't like to exaggerate?:)

4th of July here was very fun though. The weather couldn't have been more beautiful and our lake was SWARMING with boats full of vacationers. The main street of our town was lined up with lawn chairs from early morning. People were that eager to call a spot for the parade and the fireworks in the evening.

We spent most of our day hanging out on the lawn with our friends and some semi-naked people.

In the evening we went over to our friends J and Kirby's house for a traditional celebratory dinner. Kirby is a great cook and she is also from Texas, which explains her obsession with wrapping everything and their aunt in bacon. Delish!



Annika's sleeping schedule is completely off this summer, so by the time we got her home, in bath and her PJs, the fireworks started and we just let her stay up and watch those from our pier. She was in awe and things got even better for this girl when someone showed up with a huge bag of cotton candy. This iPhone picture is the only picture we took from the fireworks show.


Hope you had a great day celebrating America's birthday. Cheers.

on my year of being a sahm

Monday, June 30, 2014


So, I'm nervous. It's been a big year for our little family. What, between Greg becoming a business owner, and us buying a house and getting ourselves a new baby...

Plus, I'm about to embark on a whole new adventure. I just finished my school year before becoming a stay-at-home mom for 12 months. I only had about 3 months at home with Annika, and every morning I was jealous that Greg got to get up, get ready and go to work. I truly hope this time will be different, because I'm wanting to embrace my babies and the every-day ups and downs at home with them. Many people, including my own husband, might think that I chose to take a year off because I needed a break from work, because I wanted an "easy" year... Ha! I KNOW it will be a much more difficult and challenging year than the year I would have spent working. But it will also be more rewarding to me. And that is WHY I made that decision. Time flies... I don't want to look back and say "oh, I wish I had spent more time at home with my kids."  
Maybe I'm naive, but I'm hoping that this year will be a busy one and that I won't actually be "staying" at home all the time. Annika will be starting preschool at the end of summer. I'm planning on library visits, walks to farmer's markets, play dates, outdoors adventures... And tell me if I'm being completely crazy here, but I'm also hoping to spend some me time... like working out, doing DIY projects, decorating our new house, reading, photographing, blogging. Too much? K, we'll just play it by ear then:)
One of my resolutions (and this one is really worrisome to me... in the sense that I think I'm going to fail!) is to speak more Russian with the kids. I started pretty well when Annika was a baby, but little by little Russian almost disappeared from our home... Apart from Greg occasionally pointing out my body parts in Russian to Annika. Wish me luck! I want to raise my babies bilingual, because this is one of the best things I can give them. Aside from chocolate, of course... 

Alrighty, now that I've set super ambitious goals and plans for the year, I'm going to go pray to the Almighty. Seriously...

First pregnancy update... at 36 weeks

Friday, June 27, 2014

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36-week belly

The first time, when this whole pregnancy thing seemed new and fascinating, I did a much better job keeping track and documenting the whole experience. Didn't work out this time. I wonder if having an active toddler has something to do with that:)

This has been a completely different pregnancy. Well, apart from the suspected gestational diabetes. That stinker is there again, we think. It's suspected, because it's not officially diagnosed. Once again, I failed the first glucose screening and refused the second (the 3-hour one), because I know how hellish it was the first time (I puked it all out, if you were curious about the details:)). Knowing that I had a high risk of having elevated sugars, I started controlling my diet right away. Actually, even before, because I was doing Weight Watchers (in which, btw, I'm a total complete believer! Amen!)

This pregnancy has been easier, faster, less... noticeable, for lack of a better word. To begin with, I started off about 15 lbs lighter than the 1st time. My nausea lasted for about 2 weeks, on and off, and mild. That's in contrast to a whole 1st trimester of 24/7 queasiness the first time around. Yuck! So I Praise Jesus! 2nd trimester was a breezy breeze! There were days, when I would forget I was pregnant, and would wear heels and accidentally order a triple latte. 
I also didn't start showing until much later and have been smaller at every stage. Just in the last couple of weeks that belly's popped out of control and it. is. uncomfortable. I'm predicting these last 3 weeks will be difficult, if not downright unbearable. But that's a small price to pay for having had such an easy going so far. Right? Right?!?

Just like the first time, we don't know the gender of the baby, but I'm feeling a boy. Possibly because I have a boy name picked out and still wrecking my brain over a girl option:) Maybe just like the first time, Greg and I will be fighting over a name on our way to the hospital. Fun times:)

I have no quality pictures of this pregnancy, but I will show you some that I have posted on my Instagram. Please, excuse the iPhone quality, please!

Oh yes, and get ready for the selfie overload of the century!

Winn Casa update

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


People ask us all the time when the big move to the new house is. I'd like to know that too. Who do I ask?:)
 The work is moving along and there's been a lot of progress, but the promised deadline of July 4th is looming and it's still hard to believe the house will be ready. Baby Winn is due in about 3 (THREE!) weeks and I'm still hoping to be moved in by then. Greg just smirks and doesn't say anything; I think he believes me to be naive:) I'll call it optimistic.
The 2 major projects (the master bathroom remodel and removing of the kitchen/dining room wall) are very close to being finished, but the little things remain. Wiring, painting, carpet cleaning, flooring, painting... And did I mention painting? Very (very!) foolishly I've taken on the responsibility of painting 2 bedrooms, a large living room, and 3 hallways. I'm not sure I was thinking clearly when I committed to that, but I just keep telling myself I have time. After all, I'm ONLY 36 weeks pregnant (oh boy!). Annika is in daycare a couple of days a week so I can get those things done. I've started painting this week and thankfully it hasn't been too painful or time consuming. I think I can, I think I can.
Anyways, here is the little bit of progress ( some iPhone photos ahead...)

The kitchen/dining room transformation will probably be my absolute favorite. Eeek!
We started with this:


And as of now, we are at this:


And the opposite side "before":


And "in progress":


And the master bathroom used to look like this (it was so small, that this was the best shot I could get)


And after the removal of some walls and moving of the door frame, here is the progress:


I started painting Annika's new room. It's the smallest room in the house and it has given me courage that I can do it all even by myself:)


I'm hopeful to see more changes in the house next week, so stay tuned for many more updates:)

Mommy life so far...

Monday, June 23, 2014


Last Monday was officially the first day of my year as a stay-at-home-mama. There are so mixed emotions about this new experience, and "nervous" is definitely the bigger part of the mix. Greg's new business ownership, new house, new BABY... To say this is a life changing year would be an understatement of the century. I won't be going to work everyday, our income will decrease (but the expenses increase), there will be 2 children to depend on me daily... Plus I'm still not over being selfish. Wish me luck, would you?
I'm so ready to put on the "mommy jeans" (not really, but metaphorically speaking) and embrace this year as a SAHM. I'm envisioning many tea parties, play dates, trips to the library, crafts, farmers markets and mommy groups.
Last week was wonderful though... On Monday I took Annika to the park for story time (for the month of June our public library moves their story time to the central park and they even provide a free lunch for the kiddos). Lots of mamas were there and I didn't even feel awkward in that atmosphere (strangely, I always do at our park, as if I don't belong in the mommy group...). Annika saw some of her friends and even shared her raisins with them (that's big, because NOBODY touches Annika's raisins).


The rest of the week the two of us ran errands all over town, mostly grocery shopping, picking out paint colors for the house, doctors' appointments and what not. There may even have been a playdate where everybody was running butt naked under the sprinklers. But I can't say for sure, there must be a crack in my memory... Hehe... I'm sorry, I had to...
I think the secret to not going crazy as a mama is to keep busy. So far so good, I must say.

Family vaca: Isle of Palms, Charleston, SC

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

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Sunday night we got back from Charleston, SC after a week of pool, ocean, and family time. We stayed in a gorgeous spacious home on the ocean in Isle of Palms. It was a very relaxing week, where our biggest problems of the day were whether to go swim in the pool or in the ocean, or what we were going to choose to eat for dinner, or whether we wanted to dress up at all and get out of the house... We did get out of the house a couple of times, twice to go to downtown Charleston to just walk or have dinner (just young couples of the family), and once to the children's museum. The children's museum was obviously intended for the two little cousins, Mae and Annika, but the older crowd managed to make it fun for themselves too: they placed bets and raced little kid boats. I hear someone won a buck. 

These types of vacations aren't that good for your skin, but how amazing are they for your soul! You wake up early to the sound of the ocean waves and can already taste salt on your lips. You creep downstairs to greet the sleepy crowd and you all quietly sleepily fuss around the kitchen making breakfast and then sit and eat and lazily sip coffee on the balcony. No one is moving much except the two little always energetic two-year-olds. Already you feel so accomplished that putting on your swim suit and sunscreen seems like a lot of work. But then you do and the pool/ocean time is so worth it, although it does exhaust you even more:) Then you put babies (and some adults) down for a nap and the only sounds in the house are of more coffee brewing and fans running and muffled voices and again those glorious ocean waves. The evening is filled with play time, talk time, more pool or ocean, and then prepping things for yet another delicious dinner... Speaking of delicious dinners... My favorites were probably the Chinese dinner that my brother-in-law's girlfriend Weishan made and the low-country shrimp boil. I'm not sure I will attempt the Chinese dumplings, but the shrimp boil will definitely be offered at our next friends dinner (instead of the usual taco night or grilled brats or grilled chicken marinated in Winn Teriyaki sauce:)).

On Monday, my year as a stay at home mom began and it's been amazing so far. More on that later. 

And here are some random photos from the vacation, in no particular order.