Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Jello Cube State of Mind.

I just read my summer bucket list - my last post on this blog, in June. I forgot that I have written it! Well, it seems that some of the items can be checked off the list, and some - we'll keep them for next summers.

There is a logical explanation for this more than half a year silence. Not an excuse, but a logical explanation. Yep, we've got a baby on the way. Exciting news, for sure!

Pregnancy is a new world, that consumes you. At least it did consumed me for these 6 months, but I really would like to come back to writing more often. And this post has a very specific purpose - to create notes to come back to when (and of course if) I am pregnant again. And if it helps a few others on the baby journey - well, even better!

1st Trimester

  • Actually, this is for any trimester, and I hope to keep this mindset for the entire pregnancy - right from the start I assumed an imaginary role of a jelly car. Jelly Car is an iPhone game, where you operate a car made of jello. It is rather convenient proposition, if you think about it - when you need to roll over something - an obstacle or a gap - you just tumble trough, or if you need to squeeze through something - well, you are made of jello - you can do that too! You need to play this game for at least a minute to completely get the picture. And ... this is how I decided to envision myself - as a jelly car, now that I realized I carry a possibility of another person inside of me. A possibility, because, as you know, everything isn't quite established and not certain until 12 weeks in, so it is better not to make a big deal out of it until then. Quite impossible not to, and I think I failed in that, but I tried. So, the mindset of a jelly car at least helped not to worry, not to fear any complications and unexpected circumstances. I thought - I am a jelly car, encasing a possibility of a new life, so even if we have to tumble over something unexpected or squeeze through a narrow pathway - we can do that! It also helped to feel protected from some comments or suggestions - the ones that I agreed with I "let through" and the ones I didn't like bounced off the jelly exterior. I'd say even up to now that is the best "tool" I've got in my pregnancy "box". 
  • Prenatal vitamins: they taste nasty! It is very typical not to enjoy your prenatal vitamins. For some reason, even though they are usually made to smell like vanilla or candy, within a course of a month I couldn't stand even the thought of them. Yet you absolutely want to take one every day. So I kept switching and switching, asking all experienced mommies I know of recommendations. This is how I came to try Garden of Life Prenatal vitamins. These vitamins smell like ... bouillon cubes, and ... that was a wonderful thing! Besides all the usual things in prenatal they also contain ginger (should be helping with morning sickness) and probiotics - to help the digestion (which did become a problem during the 1st trimester). Prenatal vitamins problem was solved and forgotten! 
  • Morning sickness - I got off easy - not too many instances of leaning over the toilet bowl. I have read up on tips - and one of them really did work. Before I even got up I ate a Finn Crisp with some salt. Made a huge difference. Eating small portions and often helped as well. 

2nd Trimerster

  • Overall, second trimester I felt just great. To the point that if not for the growing belly, I literally forgot I was pregnant. No more morning sickness (with a few sudden flashbacks), no more tiredness, it felt like I finally woke up from a 3 months sleep. That makes the 1st trimester sound bad, but it actually wasn't that bad, it is the 2nd trimester was that much better in comparison. 
  • Stretch marks - as research says, actually you have no control over them. Either you will have them or you won't - all depends on your genes. However, I wanted to believe I can help myself even if a little bit by using some lotion. I chose Bio-Oil for no particular good reason, but since it was very much in your face everywhere - they really do good marketing. I did start using it on recommendation, but the recommendation was also unsubstantiated - "I just used it, and ... no stretch marks!" At least it eases the itchiness from when you belly grows. No stretch marks so far. However, my mother also didn't have them. 
  • Baby prep 101 - stage 0. By the middle of month 6 I felt we needed to start preparing for the baby - get books, sign up for courses, start planning the baby shower.  The collection of books is gathered - I will write about them separately. Some of the courses are finished - we even received a certificate from the hospital! Baby shower is not planned and no registry created. I know some of the future moms get really excited about getting all that baby stuff, but not me. I'd rather have all of this already done and bought (and the less the better - if I only knew what I would really need - I'd buy just that, or better - borrow). For me the biggest excitement is just about meeting the baby. Ever since wedding planning in 2009 I remembered that The Knot gives a nice calendar with activities for each month of what to do at that stage of wedding planning. Their sister site, The Bump, as I suspected had a similar list for preparing for a baby, and it did! It helps a bit with knowing what to do when. 
  • Hip pain - I am a back sleeper naturally, and during pregnancy you should sleep on your side (actually left side in particular, since it will help your own organs to have more room). I was trying to follow this guideline, and because of considerably more side sleeping one night at around 6 months I woke up from dull, but strong hip pain that wouldn't go away, even during the day. Researching this topic on the Internet convinced me I am in for 3.5 months of torture, and that I would accept labor pain as relief. I panicked, but decided to try the first and simplest remedy suggested - body pillow to keep your whole top leg more parallel to the bed/floor. That really cured the pain - it went away! It just took a $10 Target pillow. I did try a special pregnancy pillow - in a form of a C - it was too hard and uncomfortable and needed to be returned. 
  • Yoga - since I had no physical activity restrictions anymore, I decided it is time to come back to yoga. Yoga has become one of my favorite ways to keep in shape in the last few years and I was keeping up with it pretty regularly, time and laziness permitted. I was already looking for prenatal yoga classes, when my favorite teacher Marina, the owner of Mind Body Flow Yoga made a huge discovery for me - I actually can continue the usual, not prenatal yoga classes with a few modifications of poses. Coming back to my regular practice made a world of difference. Overall, it seems yoga was created especially for pregnancy - all the focusing, breathing through difficult poses, all the stretching, constant training of your concentration can become a huge help in labor. In theory. We will see. 
Overall, the second trimester is really so nice and easy. Just as they say! As an added bonus you get a chance to learn the gender of the child - this was a very exciting day! It is the day when you know a bit part of your own history is revealed to you, and you can almost touch it.

One of the most worrisome days for the pregnancy is the day you have a screening for various genetic deceases - they give you probabilities of the baby having any. I tried to calm my nerves that day with observing nature, which did give us a glorious morning that day - I even have a photo of it:

Observing nature overall gives me power, balance and harmony and - it did help that day! We received reassuring news for that screening.

You also get to feel the first kicks, and then more and more. It becomes daily entertainment. The first thing I felt wasn't a kick, though. It was a feeling that somebody is simply leaning on the inside of my stomach. All of a sudden I had an ability to feel the inside of my stomach. At this point-  kicks are coming almost every hour and become more powerful. I suspect our baby boy is preparing for the Olympics. :)

These are the main things I wanted to remind myself of for the next time - if and when. Hope this helps if someone else is reading. As a general guidance - please do consult with your doctor before following any of my tips and thoughts - everybody is so different! 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Summer Bucket List

The hot days of summer are just beginning, and it is nice to realize that we have all this glorious weather ahead of us. Finally WE have the best days in our region, and I just want to soak all this in, the best way yet. And next year we will try to top what was "achieved" this summer. That's the plan! :)

I noticed that if I make a list of something, it does come true. Perhaps in reality it will take 2 or even 3 summers to do all of this, but eventually we will get to it!

So, here it is - my summer bucket list in no particular order:

  • Lots of yummy weekend breakfasts with my hubby 
  • Read a book entirely in the back yard
  • Kayaking
  • See my brother more often
  • Patio dinners with with parents and grannies
  • Beach day(s)
  • Going out to a hot dogs and burgers place for dinner
  • Drive-in movie
  • Make my own preserves (from berries gathered on a farm)
  • Camping with a tent
  • Bonfire
  • A day on a boat on a lake
  • Biking for ice cream, and just biking
  • Ice cream social for my neighbors
  • Road trip with family
  • Lazy days with no agenda
  • Belarussian style bacon made over open fire
  • Swimming in rivers and lakes
  • Learn a few new summer soups and salads
  • Sailing
  • More photo-sessions with my friend, Yulia
  • Hammock in our back yard
  • Learn a new pie or cake
  • A day in a pine forest to smell it and hear the wind in trees
  • Spend quality time with my friends on a join vacation, even just in Belarus
  • Visit my childhood summers village - Kopatkevichi, and stay there for at least a week
  • Yoga in the park
  • Running a half marathon
  • Play badminton
  • Watch our favorite movie with my friend; the movie we saw at least 20 times, when we were teens 
  • Stroll night summer streets and avenues of Minsk
  • Visit Cape Cod
  • Go whale watching
  • Pay a visit to the Pacific ocean along the West Coast
  • Attend Ivan Kupala, Belarussian mid-summer holiday
  • Fireworks
  • Visit London and hear Adele in concert
  • Hot air ballon ride
  • Fly a kite
  • Go fishing
I think this should be a good start. :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Zero Gravity

Zero gravity is what I come home with after a vacation.

This is a state I am in right now, and will try not to lose this nothingness.

What caused this wonderful state of mind? Lots of time with my love - my husband, Punta Cana beaches and his Majesty, the Ocean. Added to this recipe were luscious jungle of the resort, simply made, scrumptious, almost home cooked meals, champagne in the morning, great two books to read. Mix all of these ingredients and you get zero gravity.

In zero gravity I am free from compulsory dependency on my phone, I stop hurrying from one "to do" to another, I pay attention to hear and now, and I can completely lose myself in watching the turquoise ocean. There is nowhere to be, nothing to do, nothing to worry about.

Gran Bahia Principe Ambar was a perfect place to stay, Paulo Coelho's Aleph was a perfect book to read (in addition to it and to counterbalance was Lemony Snicket's Austere Academy - a perfect birthday gift from my hubby), the ocean was the most beautiful shade of turquoise to soak in.

I will try to carry myself with zero gravity for as long as I can, and if something weights me down, I'll remember this feeling and will try come back to weightlessness.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hola, Mexico!

I enjoy waiting for vacation as much as being on vacation, because everything is still ahead of us - so much time for each other, the sun, the ocean, flip-flops, good books, day trips to Maya pyramids, breakfasts, good time with friends, a wedding to photo-shot and  to dance at! ......

Any all-inclusive resort cares about their overworked guests a lot by providing very limited and very expensive internet access, so don't be too hopeful to hear more from me this week. Many stories and pictures to share when we are back, and for now a preview of this weekend's photo session.

It is amazing how much you learn with every new photo you take. I love this photo, but also see how I would retake it a little better. What do you think I have in mind?

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I think our self awareness sometimes plays it gently and makes you realize your big life changes in very unexpected ways. Last year brought a lot of new: new place to live, new status to adjust. I knew these things happened factually, but in reality this all just hit me. Just now, really.

Driving home a minute ago I thought: I am driving home to MY OWN HOUSE, from a NEW house of my friend, waiting for a HUSBAND to come home... and, I am a go-to person for my PREGNANT friend, when her husband is not around.


And yet, this ALL still doesn't make me feel like an adult. And, I hope, this will never change. :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Changes, Spring, Goofiness ...

There is one fact you don't know about this blogger - she has been laid off!
It happened a month and a week ago and left me feeling a little strange in the beginning. I even cried a little. (Ok, I bawled my eyes out in the office of my biggest boss with a presence of a nice (not sarcastic remark) HR person). But the hard feelings went away very quickly, giving room to the spirit of opportunity and a good change. 

I am very much obliged to my then boyfriend (now known as husband :) making me listen to "Who Moved My Cheese?" one time, when we were on a wavy road heading to Hershey's, PA. I owe my swift transformation from despair to hopefulness and joy to this 45 minutes story. Several years ago I pointed it out to a very depressed colleague of mine when she was leaving our company. Strangely, she reappeared on Facebook just days ago with the following message: "I will never forget "Who Moved My Cheese?" THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU I appreciate it more than you may know."

Our beautiful Spring also helped out - I am enjoying no work situation, when everything is so bright, young, fragile and beautiful. I can't say there is a season I don't like - I really do love all of them,  but Spring is truly special: after all the snow is gone, spring steps into its powers so vivaciously, it takes my breath away every time.

Surely enough, good changes came along much quicker than I even expected: I am starting a new job soon, and it is going to be sweet - literally and figuratively! More things on career side of life on this blog soon, I promise!

For now, to end this post on a goofy note, here is how Andrey and I looked on outrageously warm April day:

I know, you are thinking - why "goofy"? Well, we look goofy to me in this picture. :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

I will: Maryana & Maksim

It is always special, when your friends are getting married. It is especially joyful to see two people clearly so good for each other to grow from being a girlfriend and a boyfriend to a bride and a groom-to-be! I remember the weekend we first met Maksim, I noticed a new glow to Maryana's already always bright personality. And, the frame of Maksim's arms around Maryana looked so good!!

There is another side to M&M: the guys visited us 2 weeks ago and from the minute they stepped into our house I stayed in bended over from laughter position pretty much the whole weekend - such a couple of comedians!

The bride and a groom graciously let me put them in front of the lens for a couple of hours, and since the weather didn't even think to cooperate, we took a stroll underneath the glass roof of Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens. Next time you think this is a good place for a shoot, check the calendar and make sure that Easter bunny is not making appearances in the gardens - an oh-so-cute army of toddlers was a little bit of an obstacle for our romantic photo session. :)

Maryanka, Maksim - we are so exited to share your day with you at the end of the month in ..... Mexico!!

Maryanka, you are stunning!!