The Siberian American: June 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Summer 2017 Goals

I don’t think I’ve ever posted goals on my blog, but there is a first time for everything. I am pretty goal-oriented, but summer has less structure, so I thought it would be a good idea to write everything down!


Decide on activities for our Maine babymoon.
Chris and I booked the flights and all of the places we are staying on the trip, so now it’s time for me to fill in the blanks with everything I want to do. I’m trying to keep this trip a little more relaxing than what we usually do, but I’m too much of a planner not to book a boat trip or two!


Finish registering.
Chris had the day off on Monday (he’s scheduled to work 22 days straight, and his vacation starts over on July 1, so he took two random days off this week), so we put a big dent into our registry. We made most of the decisions on the big products, but I need to make a final decision on the bedding (the one I really want is pretty expensive, so I’m looking for alternative). Mamas, anything I need to make sure is on the registry?

Sign up for a class/hospital tour.
Chris was really confused when I told him I wanted to do a class and a hospital tour because I’m giving birth at one of the hospitals he works in, but he forgets that he has a lot of call around the time the baby will be born, so there is no guarantee he’ll be home. I’ll just be happy if he’s able to make it to the delivery!

Buy more flowy dresses.
I’m finally getting to that point in my pregnancy where I’m showing, and my clothes are getting tight. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on maternity clothes, so I’m hoping I can get away with buying flowy dresses since it’s summer and will basically be summer in Texas until baby boy is born.

Go swimming more often.
I’m also getting to the point where my back is starting to hurt quite a bit. My mom has been encouraging me to come over to my parents’ house to swim (we have a pool at our apartment complex, but it’s even better to have a private option). I’m planning to take her up on that offer and see if it helps with the muscle aches.

Pick out a name!
I’ve mentioned in the past if it was up to me, we would have a name by now. Chris keeps telling me “we have time,” but the planner in me is going crazy. It also doesn’t help that I get asked at least once a day if we’ve picked out a name. This goal should really read force Chris to make a decision.


Figure out birthday and anniversary gifts for Chris. 
Obviously, our big gift to each other this year is our trip to Maine, but giving gifts is definitely one of my love languages, so I definitely want to come up with a few small gifts for Chris. It’s just so crazy our Super Week is less than a month away!

Finish organizing our apartment.
Chris and I unpacked our apartment pretty quickly, but I do have a few things left to organize, and I really need to do it before the baby gets here. I’m pretty sure if I don’t, it’s never going to get done!

Make my own ice cream.
Blogging for Books sent me Food52 Ice Cream and Friends, and I am so excited to attempt to make my own ice cream! I’ve never tried to before, but this recipe book has so many delicious options. I’m especially interested in trying to make a chocolate hazelnut baked Alaska and cherry-mint snow cones! This book is so perfect for summer, and I think I’m going to buy a few to include as part of housewarming gifts for some of my friends!


Read at least 20 books by the end of September.
This might be a little ambitious, but I’ve finally really gotten into reading again. Since my last book post, I’ve read eight books and will probably be done with a few more before it’s time to write the next one. I’m three books ahead of schedule in my goal of 100 books this year, but I’m hoping to get even more ahead because I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to read towards the end of the year!

Start and finish Erin’s Book Challenge in July.
Along the same lines, I want to attempt to read all the books I selected for Erin’s challenge in July. The challenge is ten books, so it’ll help me get ahead, and I like challenging myself to read even more than I have been.


Get back to blogging three times a week.
These last few months have made it hard for me to blog, but I want to get back on schedule. I’ve really missed writing and commenting on everyone’s blogs (not to mention responding to comments. I promise I will get to that ASAP!). The funny thing is when I do write, I have so much to say. I mean, even this post about goals is getting close to 900 words. Chris has been working seven days a week lately, and I thought it would give me more time to write, but somehow, it hasn’t. I’m really determined to get back on track, though!

Write and edit more travel posts.
I really enjoyed putting together my Chimney Rock travel post this week, and there are so many more I want to write! While Chris is working on the weekends, I really want to sit down and get several travel posts ready.

Have posts ready in my draft folder.
This goal is a little laughable because even when I was blogging all the time I barely had posts in my draft folder, but I really want to get ahead before the baby gets here, so hopefully I can make it happen!

What are some of your goals for this summer?

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.


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?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Gorgeous Day at the Dallas Arboretum

I can’t even begin to tell y’all how much I’ve missed doing travel posts on my blog. Between a crazy May (and June isn’t looking any slower. What’s with this summer?) and taking it easy during the first half of pregnancy, I haven’t been able to put together a travel post since early April! I have about a million ideas and thoughts I want to share, though, so I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things! We also just finally booked our trip for the end of July (details on that next week), so there is a lot of content coming up, and I’m so excited to get started!

I’ve shared a lot about all of our adventures throughout the years, but I rarely mention what we do here in Dallas. I absolutely love visiting the Dallas Arboretum, especially in the spring. This year I really wanted to make it to the Dallas Blooms event to see the tulips. Unfortunately, a few days before we went, there was a huge hailstorm in Dallas that killed all the tulips. The arboretum was really quick about replanting those spots, though, so we didn’t see any empty flower beds.

The day we picked to go to the arboretum was the very best day. Chris took the day off to go to my first OB appointment with me, and we were both over the moon after seeing our little one on an ultrasound for the first time. We also got to share the news with both of our brothers, so it was a day full of joy.

So much joy!

One of the best parts of the Dallas Arboretum is it’s right by White Rock Lake, so the scenery is so beautiful. It was one of the hotter days we had so far this year, but being by the water made it tolerable. I really loved seeing all the beautiful, colorful spring flowers and enjoying a fun date with my love.

Have you been to the arboretum in your city?

Monday, June 5, 2017

Six Books I Read in May

Hi, friends! I took an unintentional break from blogging last week, but it was so necessary. Now that I’m further into the second trimester and my migraines aren’t daily, I’m hoping to get back into my normal Monday, Wednesday, and Friday blogging schedule! I decided to do my book post a week before the linkup this week because I’m hoping to have a gender reveal post next Monday! Fingers crossed our little one cooperates. Towards the middle of the month, I was worried I would only have one or two books before the linkup, but thankfully, now that I’m feeling a little better, I have been able to get into reading again! I’ve read some really good books this month, so I’m super excited to share them with y’all.

I'll Eat When I'm Dead by Barbara Bourland
(c/o NetGalley)
I have mixed feelings about this book. The description made me think it was a mystery or a thriller, but it's really not. It's more a drama about life at a competitive magazine in New York. It was a bit slow in parts, but I did still like it overall. I would have liked it more if I knew what it was going in, though.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan
(c/o NetGalley)
I didn't expect this book to be so dark, but it also had a quirky side that made it interesting. The author did a fantastic job of tying all the character's together as Lydia tried to figure out the reason behind Joey's suicide. If you like thrillers, this is a good read.

Perennials: A Novel by Mandy Berman
(c/o NetGalley)
This book had so much potential. I really liked the camp, but I feel like there were way too many characters, and the book really lost its focus on Rachel and Fiona. It claimed it was about their relationship, but a lot of the narrations barely focused on them. Plus, the tragic event mentioned doesn't occur until nearly 90 percent into the book, and there just wasn't enough time to show how it changed Rachel and Fiona.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
(c/o NetGalley)
Taylor Jenkins Reid has done it again. Honestly, after reading this description, I didn't think this book would be as good as others she has written, but she really made Evelyn Hugo come alive. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking story that's different from anything else I have read. If you love women's fiction, read it ASAP!

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
(c/o Blogging for Books)
I was surprised by how much I liked this book! Honestly, the plot sounded cheesy-a teenage boy suddenly wins millions in the lottery, and his whole life changes. Jennifer E. Smith is an amazing writer, though, and the emotions in this are so raw and real. I found myself wanting to keep reading to see how it ends. If you like YA, this book is definitely worth a read!

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber
(c/o NetGalley)
This was a good thriller. It was an interesting plot and kept me interested. The characters really made this a good story. I wasn't in love with the ending, but I also didn't hate it. Overall, if you like thrillers, this one should be on your list!

Favorite reads in May: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn HugoWindfall, and Are You Sleeping

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?