The Siberian American

Monday, June 26, 2017

Stunning Views at Chimney Rock, North Carolina

I’ve always wanted to visit North Carolina, so I was excited we could fit in a few days of exploring the state during our Smoky Mountains road trip last October. The trip was important to me for a lot of reasons, but the biggest need was to relax after many difficult months before and after my surgery. For that reason, our itinerary was a little less packed than usual: we spent more time driving and stopping at lookouts than climbing rocks and going on strenuous hikes. The day we hiked to Chimney Rock was one of the exceptions to that rule.


We spent the morning and early afternoon driving all over the area exploring waterfalls (post to come!), so by the time we headed to Chimney Rock State Park, we were exhausted. I knew it was the only day we would be able to fit in the hike, so I was determined to make it happen.


Usually, there is an elevator that will take you to the top of Chimney Rock, but we knew it was broken (and it’s still broken to this day), so our only option was to climb over 500 steps to get to the overlook. I’m not going to lie: it wasn’t easy for me. There were a few times I wanted to quit because I just wasn’t sure how far I could push my body in one day. Thankfully, there are several lookouts on the way where you can rest and see plenty of gorgeous views.


The views at the top were worth every single step. Once you reach the rock, you are at 2,280 feet above sea level, so you get incredible panoramic views of Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge. It’s truly breathtaking to see the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance while standing on a 535-million-year-old rock! I honestly could have sat there and enjoyed the view for hours.


Other Smoky Mountains Road Trip Posts:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

One Year Since Our Move Home from Chicago: Reflections and Confessions

This time of year always makes me a little nostalgic. The beginning of the Medical New Year is July 1, so over the last few years we have gone through a lot of changes around this time. Last year, we moved back to Texas from Chicago around this time. It was a strange move. I felt like I was in limbo, dealing with serious pain and just waiting for our insurance to start, so I could schedule a doctor’s visit and a surgery date. It’s crazy to me how much has happened in the last year since our move home: I had surgery, spent a few hard months recovering, and then got pregnant! Today, I just wanted to spend a little time reflecting on the past year and our time in Chicago now that we’re a year removed from the experience.


I honestly thought I would miss Chicago more. I definitely miss the city and our friends, but not in an I hate it here and want to move back to Chicago way. One of the sayings mentioned a lot in our doctors’ wives community is grow where you’re planted, and we’ve really been able to take that to heart in this move. It helps that Chris works with a great group of residents, and we love getting together with them and their significant others. It’s also been wonderful to be able to be a part of family events again and to spend time with old friends. That said, I really wouldn’t mind moving away for fellowship or for his attending job. One thing living in Chicago has taught me is there are a lot of places in the United States left to explore, and I am willing to be flexible.

Summer does make me Chicago a little bit more, though. We’re just at the beginning of our months of intense heat here in Texas, and I definitely wouldn’t mind a walk to Lake Michigan right about now! I also miss summer nights on the patio (I promise I’ll get my Chicago restaurant guide finished soon!), boat rides, and being in driving distance to a lot of great hikes.

I’ve been asked a lot lately if I could see us moving back to Chicago for fellowship or when Chris is done with training. Like I mentioned above, I am open to a lot of possibilities. Still, I think our time in Chicago was so special because of where we were in our lives at that time. Intern year was crazy, but I worked from home and was able to adjust my schedule to fit the time off Chris did get. That’s not really the case anymore, especially with a little one on the way! If we were to move back, I think we would more likely move to the suburbs or even to Wisconsin or Michigan, depending on the job opportunity, but for now we will enjoy our next three years in Texas!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Let’s Have a Coffee Date: Vacation Plans, Pregnancy, and Residency (Vol. 7)

Hello, friends! I have several little things I want to share with y’all, so I thought we’re due for another coffee date. I’ve mentioned before that May and June have been super busy for us this year (in a good way), so I’m excited to have the chance to sit down and write about life.


I would start off and share the news that we found out we’re having a baby boy! Other than the reveal on this blog, I haven’t really shared on social media since I figured it would spread through word of mouth. Plus, it’s been more fun to tell people in person! I’d also probably joke around and ask if you had any name ideas. Funny enough, when I say “we” can’t decide on a boy name or “we” can’t come up with anything, what I really mean is Chris. I have a list of about ten boys names I love, but he hasn’t liked any of them. I also went through a list of 600 names with him a few days ago, and he wasn’t impressed. He hasn’t told me any names he actually does like, though, so I’m going to just give him some time before I start pressuring him for an actual opinion.

Speaking of Chris, he was finally able to feel the baby move on Monday, and he was so excited! Our little one has been super active lately, so I knew it was a matter of time before I could time it correctly. I finally did, and I was so glad Chris was able to join in on the fun!

Also, now that we know we are having a boy, we went to Babies R’ Us for the first time, and I must say it was both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I had done quite a bit of research before we went, but the magnitude of the options available is just crazy to see. We’ve asked several friends for their opinions as well, but everyone has a different opinion on everything, and who knows what will actually work for baby once you’re in the thick of things! I’m glad we went, though, because the sales people are super knowledgeable and were able to answer questions we didn’t know we had until we looked!

We finally decided on a destination for our birthday/anniversary/babymoon trip! I know I’ve said a few times we were having trouble making a decision, and I think it’s because I was feeling a lot of pressure because it’s our last trip before baby! (We obviously canceled our Yellowstone trip because we were worried about me being far from a hospital at 35 weeks pregnant!). Chris also had a really short window of when he could take vacation time, so we were a bit limited on flights and destinations. We finally decided on flying into Boston and taking a road trip to Maine! We loved our short time in Maine on our fall color cruise a few years ago, so I am excited to see more of such a gorgeous state. We’re thinking of stopping in a few places in Massachusetts and New Hampshire before exploring a bunch of small towns in Maine. I haven’t nailed down an itinerary because there are so many places I want to see in the area. All I know is there will be plenty of lobster (a return to the Clam Shack is a must!) and fresh blueberries.


Speaking of road trips, Blogging for Books sent me a copy of Road Food (10th Edition) by Jane and Michael Stern, and I am pretty much obsessed with it. One of our favorite parts of a vacation is deciding where to eat, so you better believe I quickly flipped over to the Maine section to see if any of the spots were on the way for us. I was excited to see that Clam Shack was on their list because it’s just so good! I love that the reviews are short and to the point, and the book showcases a great variety of food. We will definitely be using it for our latest road trip and others in the future.

On Friday, Chris and I are headed to a residency graduation dinner. It’s obviously not for him, but it’s crazy to me that this year has flown by so quickly. In just a few days, it will be a year since we moved from Chicago. I’m a little bummed this year is almost over because Chris’s call is going to be insane next year, but it’s also exciting to be closer to the end! I know these next three years are just going to fly by, and soon we will be going to his graduation dinner!

I promise I wouldn’t just talk about myself if we met for coffee, so tell me about you! What has been going on in your life lately?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Gender Reveal: It's a...

What a happy, full weekend! The day of our gender ultrasound was slightly dampened by one borderline measurement, but after doing our research and talking to others, we aren't worried about it. I just wish it was explained a little more at the clinic, so we didn't have to calm ourselves down with our own research. Still, it was so fun to see our little one and get such an amazing, detailed look at everything! Baby was moving a ton, and it was hard for the tech to figure out the gender at first because it didn't like the probe and kept showing its butt to the camera! Haha. I felt the strongest kicks I've had so far after that ultrasound, so Baby wasn't too happy about it! I'll share some more details later, but today is all about the gender. We had our reveal on Saturday and had so much fun sharing the news. We decided to go with a Nothing Bundt Cakes bundt cake when I realized they had a gender reveal option because I could seriously eat it every day.


IT'S A BOY!

Like I mentioned on Friday, I didn't have much mother's intuition about it, but I have been thinking it's a boy forever since we had a girl name figured out and had no idea about a boy name. We are so thrilled about welcoming a baby boy into our family in October. I can't wait to go on adventures with our little man and see the world through his eyes. God is so good!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Gender Prediction Fun + 20 Week Update

Where did the time go? Sometimes it’s absolutely crazy to me that I’m halfway there. Other times I feel like I have been pregnant forever, and I’m surprised I’m only 20 weeks! I really thought I would do a better job of documenting all things baby on the blog, but I also didn’t expect to feel quite as bad as I did. I have written a letter to the baby every day since we found out, though, so I’m hoping to share some of the details of the last few months with y’all soon. Today, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve experienced lately before I share some gender predictions.


I am feeling much better now. I am almost hesitant to write that because every time I do, I get a major migraine and get super sick for a day, but I also have great days, so overall I’m feeling quite a bit better.

I am really feeling the baby move now! I started feeling flutters at about the 18-week mark, but now he/she is moving all the time, and I’m feeling more pronounced kicks. Most of the time, I can place my hand on my belly and feel the movement from the outside too, but the baby always stops when I try to get Chris to do it! He is always a little sad when he hears me laugh from the movement, so I’m hoping he gets to experience it soon too. It’s one of the coolest feelings ever and makes it that much more real.

I’m definitely wanting to nest all the time these days, so I’m eager to find out what we’re having so I can really start planning the nursery. I have a vague idea of what I want it to look like, but certain things will definitely change depending on whether it’s a boy or a girl.

I’m so excited for our big ultrasound today! We are having a gender reveal party on Saturday, so I will hopefully have a post ready for y’all on Monday! I wanted to go through some of the old wives’ tales before we find out, though, and give y’all an idea of what we think, too!

Old Wives' Tales

Heart Rate Above 140 (Girl) or Below (Boy): At our first ultrasound at 10 weeks, the heart rate was 173. At our next appointment at 16 weeks, the heart rate was 156. That’s a GIRL prediction.

Beauty Glowing (Boy) or Stolen (Girl): I have never really had acne, but all of a sudden, I do! It was actually one of the first things that made me think I was pregnant. That’s another GIRL prediction.

Craving Sour & Salty (Boy) or Sweet (Girl): Give me all the berries! I also finally got to eat a peach, and it was just as wonderful as I imagined it to be! Ha! My strangest craving so far has been eating bread on its own (I’m not much of a bread eater), but that doesn’t really fit in either category. My biggest craving has definitely been fruits, so that’s one for GIRL.

Morning Sickness (Girl) or Feeling Great (Boy): Morning sickness is an understatement. Until recently, I was best buds with the toilet. Definitely one for GIRL.

Chinese Gender Prediction: I’m not super sure how this one works, but I plugged in my birthday and the baby’s due date on a website, and it predicted GIRL.

Sleep Position Left (Boy) or Right (Girl): I’ve always slept on my left side, so that’s a prediction for BOY.

Headaches (Boy) or No Headaches (Girl): I’ve had a ton of migraines, so that’s another one for BOY.

Mood Swings (Girl) or Calm (Boy): I’ve mentioned before that I have been way more emotional than usual, so that’s one for GIRL.

As far as old wives’ tales go, that’s six for GIRL and two for BOY. Here are a few other notes:

Mother’s Intuition: I haven’t really felt strongly in one way or the other. The only reason I think it could be a boy is Chris and I are really set on a girl name and can’t think of anything for a boy. Funny enough, there is an old wives’ tale that says if you can only think of names for one gender, it’s that gender, but it seems to me it would be the opposite. Obviously, it doesn’t mean anything, but it’s fun to consider!

My Side of the Family: My mom and my brother both think it’s a boy. My brother actually had a dream that it’s a boy. My mom is way more intuitive than I am, though she didn’t find out what I was until she had me and was super convinced I would be a boy! Haha.

Chris’s Side of the Family: Most of his side of the family thinks it’s a girl! One of his cousins “requested” for us to have a girl because he and his wife are having a girl at the end of June.

It’s been fun to guess over these last few months, but Chris and I are both ready to know! I can’t wait to share what we’re having with y’all soon!

Anyone want to throw out a guess? Do you think we’re having a boy or a girl?