"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." ~ Matthew 5:8

Friday, November 7, 2014

He's here! (A month late)

Photo credit goes to my mom

It seems high time to introduce our little blessing: 

William Eric
October 2014
9 lbs 6 oz
20.5 inches

  • Eats like a little chunk! The pediatrician even nicknamed him "Little  Moose."
  • Started smiling at 3-1/2 weeks! Smiles at daddy when he comes home, mommy when she feeds him, and at his favorite picture on the wall.
  • Squirms...and squirms...and squirms. He's a busy boy!
  • Prefers to be held sitting up.
  • Happy in the morning, rather fussy at night- but it's just a passing phase!
  • Has outgrown newborn clothes and some 0-3 sizes.
  • Loves being outside, walks, the sound of the shower, and bath time. 
Thanking God for our little son! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Splash of Color

Another New England fall has arrived, and I confess myself unabashedly charmed. There is a wild and glorious beauty to the Midwest where I grew up that I will always love, but the vivid reds, yellows, browns, and fading greens surprise and delight me every day here. I love the crispness of fallen leaves underfoot, the chill in morning and evening air, the warm comfort of the middle of the day, and the sturdy colorful mums that adorn nearly every doorstep.
Yesterday I took me and my very pregnant self (due any day now!!) over to a nearby trail surrounding a pond and cranberry bog.

My ipod does no justice to the colors, but it was a delightful walk.

Dappled sunlight encouraged the remaining green leaves to proudly show forth their summer hues, but here and there the light gleamed golden through the fall foliage.

It was a wonderful distraction from my current wait for our son's arrival!
What do you love about fall?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Watch that bump grow!

Who shares pictures of their belly and draws attention to its growth? No one, unless they're crazy or pregnant (or both!), and then it's all the rage. I've been astounded by the expansion of my middle as our son continues to grow -he, by the way is due in ONE MONTH - so I thought I'd let you all be amazed too. Please excuse the occasional bathroom selfie: I normally turn up my nose at such things, but I can't help walking by the mirror and think, "Wow! I'm growing another human being!" and capturing that photographically. 

14 weeks

15 weeks  (by now I was feeling little popcorn flutters-so exciting!)
16 weeks
17 weeks

20 weeks : different pieces of clothing were starting to fit funny...
23 weeks: a very fun photo shoot with my mom. I love the pictures she took!

25 weeks: at a wedding with a friend who's just 2 weeks behind me with her first, a girl!

27 weeks: eww, another bathroom selfie. But look! I'm getting round.
28 weeks: I have literally lived in this workout shirt. It's now the only thing that really fits for my workouts. Thanks mom!
30 weeks: and this week...was when I went KA-POW! At least that's what it felt and looked like! But kindly notice, I still have ankles, not cankles, for which I am very thankful.
33 weeks: on the way to my baby shower. So many kind people who love our little man already!

34 weeks: I'm really only wearing maternity shirts, for fear that I'll stretch my other shirts
Last but not least: 35 weeks this past Saturday
I may be huge and getting huger...but it's all worth it! I can't wait to meet our little son.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Shot Heard Round the World

As I mentioned in my last post, my twin came out for a business trip and a quick visit with us in July. It was such a treat! My family lives 23 hours (driving) or 2+ very expensive plane rides away, so it is a joy and rare treat when I get to see them. I should mention that this is not for lack of my sweet husband trying to scheme ways for us to get out there-but it's just a lot in a weekend.
Anyhow, it was, as always, a fantastic time with him. He and Eric get me laughing so hard it must leave the poor baby dizzy inside me! We played games, talked at length on serious subjects, quoted our favorite comedians, went for walks, church, and even a friend's surprise party.
On Saturday we decided to make the trip up to Lexington and Concord, the famous "beginning" of the Revolutionary war, at least in terms of fighting. John, Eric, and I all love history, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

We were surprised at how much there was to do and see. We could easily have spent more time there. Between 2 visitor centers, numerous houses open to tours, and 5+ miles of walking trails, it's easily a day trip.

In the background is one of the visitor centers: behind me as I was taking the picture was the famous North Bridge where the fighting began.


American author Ralph Waldo Emerson lived here for a time.

Isn't he handsome? One of my best friends-and certainly my first!

I'm quick to feel warm these days, well into the 3rd trimester, but I'm pretty sure it was just a wonderful warm summer day, with deep blue skies punctuated by puffy clouds.

We spent a little time walking around downtown Concord as well. It was very picturesque!
When do I get to see family again, you may ask? Hopefully soon after the arrival of our Little Man, in just about 8 weeks! I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things...

...from this July:

1) A special 4th of July weekend that included Eric's time off (yay!), walks, games, time with his family, a dinner guest, and an amazing fireworks show.

2) A visit from my wonderful twin John: how awesome that his business trip brought him right to this area!

3) The celebration of sister-in-law Julia's graduation with a cookout and time with friends: she's a beautiful and accomplished young lady who loves Jesus and serves others!

The lovely graduate with her mom and brother at the Boston marathon this spring.
4) A birthing class! Although some aspects were definitely "too much information," it was good to get the lowdown on late pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. It was nice to tour the maternity ward so both Eric and I could see where our son will (hopefully) be born, and just plain exciting to think it's not that long from now!

Can't wait until I can see this precious little face without an ultrasound!
5) A special overnight trip Providence RI, just the two of us. We decided to take the get away as a sort of "babymoon," since such an opportunity won't be so easy in the future. Also, our son is due right around our first anniversary, so we decided to celebrate now! It was very special. In fact, when the staff of the hotel heard why we'd come, they upgraded our room to a 1,200 sq. ft room on the 24th floor, and brought us sparkling wine (which neither of us could have!) and chocolate covered strawberries. We were blown away by their kindness, and thoroughly enjoyed the amazing view of the capitol building!

 What was special about your July?

Monday, June 16, 2014

25 Weeks

Picture courtesy of my sister-in-law Julia: Me @ 25 weeks and friend Beka @ 23 weeks.
How big is baby? Around 13-1/2 inches from head to toe, and starting to chunk up at a little more than 1.5 lbs. I'm pretty sure some days I can feel him growing!
How I'm feeling: Much, much better than most of last week. I caught the stomach bug that's been going around and boy did it knock me down! I was pretty sore and it took me a while to recover my energy. However, I feel quite well now!
Weight Gain: About 16 lbs as of my last appointment. Trying to keep it slow and steady!
Symptoms: My feet...ouch. A little scary since I have a ways to go, but my feet get so sore! Apparently it's from my center of gravity shifting, but they feel so bruised and sore. Eric is such a sweetheart and gives the best massages, and I often soak them in cold water. I can also definitely tell on the days I don't drink enough water or get too tired, because Braxton Hicks contractions arrive. However, I'm really feeling great in general and I'm so thankful!
Maternity Clothes: More and more so- I find myself often prying off a piece of clothing that just doesn't fit over or under the bump anymore. I'm packing those pieces away, and look forward to "shopping" in my closet when the time comes that I can wear them again. I still enjoy some non-maternity shirts, skirts, and a few dresses. I especially love some maxi skirts my mom got me, and some maternity shorts from my mother-in-law. Many thanks to them both!
Sleep: Not bad, for which I am very thankful! No need for nightly bathroom trips yet, and I usually sleep quite well. The one downside is the pinched nerve that bugs me in my ribs when I lay on my left side. Could be so much worse!
Diet/Cravings/Aversions: Eggs (cooked just about any way), smoothies, and lemonade are my favorites right now.
Movement: Yes (smile). I just love reminders of my little man's presence and the reassurance that he's doing well. I enjoy learning his sleep/wake patterns, playing "poke and seek" with him, and watching my belly ripple as he wiggles. Eric gets to feel him pretty often, but somehow he's managed to elude everyone else but my mom!
Best moment of the week: Well, I guess I'm on the front end of 25 weeks, but it would have to be giving Eric some surprise maternity pictures for Father's Day. He's going to make such an amazing dad!


Friday, June 13, 2014

5 Things I've Been Enjoying

1. The flowers and beauty all over our lovely neighborhood
2. The lingering of spring. At 24 weeks pregnant, I'll take every mild day I can get!
3. Dinner on the deck with my handsome husband. We love our little apartment!

4. 3D ultrasound pictures of our Little Man. Doesn't he have a cute little nose?
5. A gorgeous bouquet the amazing Eric surprised me with when I came home from visiting my family!
What are you enjoying today?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

8 Months: a learning!

Today Eric and I celebrate 8 months of marriage! Just a blip in time, should God see fit to give us decades, yet every day seems like a reason to celebrate since we know it is His grace that prospers our union. We know it's not of us that we can say the last 8 months have been beautiful, glorious, delightful, exciting, wonderful, etc. Sure there have been hard days, and moments when we miscommunicate, sin against each other, or just plain wonder how to do this "marriage thing." But the general pattern has been one of "happily ever after," and we're so thankful for the ways our Savior has taught us and covered over our sinfulness!
As I was pondering lessons learned over the last months, I confess I thought, "Why share anything? We're so inexperienced, and there are so many who know so much more!" But in the end,  I realized that we who are in Christ are here to encourage each other, so even if the following thought was one you learned decades ago, perhaps we can inspire you once again!
I decided to pick one key learning from amongst many: one I need to live out every single day!
  • Speak encouraging words to your spouse, no matter what you "feel."
Now I'm not saying you should lie to them, or avoid addressing issues or struggles, but it seems key and so Biblical to encourage them in the Word and also to choose to see good in them to build up.
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." ~Ephesians 4:29
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God"
 ~ Colossians 3:17
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."
~1 Thessalonians 5:11
A couple of fabulous results I've noticed when Eric and I seek to encourage each other and speak words that build up and don't tear down?
  1. We both become more excited and motivated to run our race as Christians better.
  2. It encourages humility as we focus on each other's good traits rather than our own.
  3. We feel safe with each other as we know we will both seek to use words that give life to the other and don't mock or destroy.
  4. We feel closer together and more eager to spend time together.
  5. The more we look for ways to encourage each other, the more we see to encourage.
I'm so thankful God has given me these months with Eric, and I hope and pray our marriage becomes more and more every day a reflection of Christ and His church!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Boston Marathon

A quick blast from the recent past: the Monday after Easter, I got to experience the Boston Marathon for the first time (Important note: as a spectator, not a runner!). Eric's family graciously included me in their trip to the event. They consistently love me as one of the family, which I so appreciate!

Between blankets, chairs, snacks, and a packed lunch, we were well-equipped to stay for several hours. At first the road was empty, but soon some incredible people came up and over the hill. This first wave may have impressed me the most: those with various disabilities, some with missing limbs-but all determined to reach the finish line. I couldn't help wondering: am I that persevering in my spiritual race?  

Eric's mom, sister, and brother.

As the other waves of runners passed, we had a great time cheering ourselves hoarse to encourage them. The little ones even handed out juicy orange slices to refresh runners on their way. It was incredible to think how far these participants had already come, and fun bringing a smile to their weary faces by simple words of encouragement!
These adorable kiddos passed out orange slices and cheered as loudly as the rest of us.!
It was a fun adventure to get to witness this world-famous race, and special to get to do so with my new family! Perhaps next year I'll be attending with my 6 month old son...wow!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Trip "Home"

Oksana enjoying a DQ treat before Zhenya's cello recital
I've just returned from a delightful, 11 day trip to visit my family-for the first time since our October marriage! It's rather difficult and certainly not wallet-friendly to travel from our home to theirs, but thanks to my parent's generosity, it became possible to do so!
Eric was able to travel with me and spend the weekend as well as Memorial Day in the Midwest. It was such fun to travel with him, and to celebrate the graduation of 2 siblings and the birthday of 1 more while he was there. It felt odd but right visiting my parent's home with my husband!
Sadly, on Tuesday, he had to head back to work, while I got to stay for another week with my family. I'll be honest, it was exceedingly, excruciatingly (am I conveying my point well enough?) hard to separate from Eric for the first time since our marriage 8 months ago, but I was thankful he was willing to let me have the time with my family. I definitely enjoyed the opportunity!
We played games, went for walks, baked brownies, read aloud, talked, laughed, and just lived life together. On top of that were a few special treats: Zhenya's cello recital, breakfast with John, and a surprise baby shower!
I took shamefully few pictures, but thoroughly enjoyed the time with all my siblings: there may be a lot of them, but they each have their own unique personality and special talents, and it was so fun to catch up with them after so many months!
Here's a sneak peek...more to come!
Last but not least was a fun maternity shoot with my mother, who has diligently honed her photography skills over the last few years in a way that puts me to shame and blesses me all at once! We had a blast trying out different locations, laughing over awkward poses, and capturing this sweet season as God knits together the little life inside me.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

18 Weeks (and 5 days)

The one time it's somehow okay to share pictures of your belly...so why not? 

How big is baby? Nearly 6 inches long and weighing about 8-1/2 ounces: comparable to an heirloom tomato.

How I'm feeling: Again, generally pretty well! I've been dizzy a bit, but apparently that's quite normal as my blood pressure drops a bit this trimester. It's enjoyable to feel like myself, just with a bit of a belly! 

Weight Gain: About 8 lbs total.

Maternity clothes: my most-used piece is the stretch "BeBand" from Target: a soft stretchy band that goes over my jeans waistband, allowing me to wear my jeans even when I can't button them anymore.

Sleep: Full of strange dreams, but otherwise good!

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: I've been hungry so much this week, so I've really been trying to direct necessary "munchies" to healthy ideas, like grapes, carrots, or apples.

Movement: Oh yes. It still feels like popcorn popping, but I'm loving the reminders of the little person inside me. Eric can't wait to feel movement as well!

Best Moment of the week:  Brand new ultrasound pictures-and the ultrasound itself. It was absolutely amazing to see our baby again today, to hear that everything "looks perfect," and to see the Little Squirmer bumping around!

What I'm looking forward to: Telling our families the gender of our baby in the next week or so. Yes, we know, and no we can't say yet!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Best Kind of Addition

Well, it seems to be high time to share with the blogging world what many of my readers know already:
Eric and I are expecting a little one in 22.5 weeks! To save you doing the math, Baby is expected to arrive (hopefully!) around September 27.

I'm definitely feeling "rounded" at 17 weeks!

Eric and I are so thankful and excited! I guess I'll jump right in with the seeming trend and answer a few questions about this week (17 weeks).
How big is baby? About the size of an onion (but much cuter!), Baby is around 5.1 inches long and weighs a whopping 5.9 ounces.

How I'm feeling: generally, great! I'm savoring these days of feeling pretty much myself right now. I have some aches and pains here and there, and an occasional dose of morning sickness, but my energy level is definitely higher and I am loving getting out in the spring weather!

Weight gain: it feels funny to discuss this with the online world, but hey, maybe it's good accountability! I had gained about 4 lbs as of my last appointment, but that was 3 weeks ago and I'm pretty sure it's gone up since then. Honestly that has been hard to accept at times and I'd love to keep on the healthy side, but it can get hard when I feel like a starving maniac!

Maternity clothes: Not really. My mom graciously got me some wonderful clothes, but while I can still fit into regular clothes, I'm enjoying it! I do wear dresses and skirts a lot as they are more comfortable.

Stretch marks: Not that I can tell!

Sleep: I'm generally sleeping very well, although I have some nights where I'll suddenly be wide awake at 1am and don't go back to sleep for an hour or so. I haven't had to get up in the night though and feel comfortable, which is nice.

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: Eggs have been a favorite lately. Fried eggs, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs-you name it, I like it! I've also been loving lemonade or lemons in my water, as well as the occasional urge for celery.

Movement: Yes!! Probably the best part of the last 10 days or so has been feeling little bubbling popping motions that are most definitely from our munchkin. On Easter Sunday, I had to remind myself to concentrate on the sermon as Baby was dancing up a storm. That movement is so precious, reassuring, and somehow bonding. I know it gets uncomfortable later on, but even then I hope to relish it as a sign that my child is alive and well.

What I’m loving: Popsugar Fitness workout videos! They make me feel energized and somehow less huge.

Symptoms: Round ligament pain, some lower back pain, some nausea.

Exercise: Strength training/cardio videos inside, and walks/jogs outside whenever possible. I feel so much better when I do exercise.

What I’m looking forward to: Our ultrasound next week!!

Best moment of the week: More than one moment, but I'm so thankful for the times Eric puts his arms around me and tells me that he loves the changes happening in my body as I become a mommy. It means so much to have him cherish me no matter what!

Mood: Every once in a while I have a weepy day, but generally pretty normal and happy! I'm trying to "set my mind on things above" (Colossians 3:1) on the long days at home.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tornado in October? Our wedding rehearsal

Although my sweet mother has graciously posted quite a few pictures from our wedding (5 months ago), I'm finally getting around to sharing a few pictures along with my "point of view."

October 4, 2013, dawned bright, crisp, and clear. I remember it felt so surreal to wake up and think, "Tomorrow I'm getting married!" However, I didn't linger in bed to ponder this. Eric and I were going on a breakfast date!

Look at that smile!
A few months before, a friend had advised us to take a short time the day before our wedding to just be together-to lay aside the many details and remember what our wedding day was really about. We were thankful our parents supported us in this, and so we escaped to Panera for a blissful interlude. We enjoyed sitting in a quiet corner, praying, talking and laughing together.

Our dads had some plan up their sleeves...the front of the tshirts said "father of thing 1" and "father of thing 2."

When we returned, my family and a few friends gathered for family devotions. The normalcy and intentional focus on Christ was so refreshing and sweet to me. Then, my mom and sister treated me...to a manicure and pedicure! I felt so pampered and spoiled and loved the time with them, and I was so amazed by all the sweet people bustling around to make the next day possible.

The rest of the day passed in a speedy blur, and before we knew it, we were arriving at the church for the rehearsal. Our wedding rehearsal! The reality was really hitting me, and Eric and I were thrilled...and perhaps a bit distracted? Anyway, everyone was very patient with us and the rehearsal went well.

A bit of excitement came at the end, however, when a tornado warning sent all of us (about 60 people) into the cramped basement of the old church. It seemed a bit strange and unexpected, considering the time of year, but thankfully the warning was soon over and we were able to head to the rehearsal dinner!

Eric's parents pulled together an absolutely lovely dinner in a turn of the century mansion a few minutes from the church. The beamed ceilings and spacious rooms set an elegant atmosphere, and the food was both fun and delicious.