The Siberian American: August 2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Let’s Have A Coffee Date (Vol. 8)

Hey, friends! I wanted to have another Maine post ready for today, but we’ve been focusing on supporting the many, many friends we have in the Houston area as much as we can. For those who have asked, we are nowhere near the devastation (we’re talking over 250 miles away), but many of our friends from college are from the area, and quite a few of my high school friends also moved to Houston, so we’ve been talking to them and trying to help from a distance. I thought I would do a quick post of life updates and work on travel posts this weekend when Chris is working!

My best friend’s bachelorette party was this weekend! I picked the Omni Dallas as the location, and it was the perfect place for it! The view of the skyline from the pool deck was just stunning, especially at sunset. One of my favorite parts of the party was an “Only in Dallas” food tour! I liked it so much that I will be writing a post about it soon.

I am now officially at less than two months from my due date! I’m definitely uncomfortable and have a lot of trouble sleeping, but overall, I’m doing really well. Our temperatures dropped a lot this weekend, so I’ve been taking advantage of that and going on several walks. We get to see our baby boy on an ultrasound on Friday, and I’m super excited because it’s the first time we’ve seen him since our gender ultrasound.

I’ve been on another reading roll after quite the lull in July. It has a lot to do with my lack of sleep, but it’s been so nice to read more recently, and I’m excited to share my latest reads with y’all soon!

With everything going on lately, I totally missed the fact that college football starts this week, and the NFL will start soon too. I’m only participating in one fantasy football league this year since I will have a newborn soon, but I’m still super excited for the best time of the year.

This time of year (the summer to fall transition) makes me want to buy all the clothes, so I'm pretty thankful I don't know what my size will be after pregnancy, so I can save money! I did buy some more flowy dresses to get me through the next few months, though.

Now it's your turn! What's going on in your life?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Cheers to Three Years of Blogging!

Today is the three-year anniversary of my first blog post for The Siberian American. I remember buying the domain for three years and wondering if I would actually still be committed when it was time to renew. Here I am three years later, still in love with blogging, and I definitely renewed that domain a month ago!

Even though I’ve had to cut back on posting during pregnancy, I am always thankful for this wonderful community. I’ve met and connected with so many great people, and I am grateful for all of you. My goal is to ramp up posting again in September and to keep it up when our little man arrives.

It’s so crazy how many life changes this blog has seen in just three years: when I first started writing, Chris was still in medical school, and we had no idea where Match would send us. Now we’re back in Dallas after a year in Chicago and already in the third year of residency with a baby on the way! So, cheers to three years! I am so grateful we are on this journey together, and I can’t wait to share more of our adventures with y’all!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Pregnancy Update: My Second Trimester

It’s so crazy I’m in my 30th week of pregnancy and that I can talk about his arrival in single-digit weeks. (yes, I’m aware he could come later than 40 weeks, but let’s just ignore that fact). Today, I wanted to share a bit about my second trimester with y’all.

The second trimester was so busy for us! I was right at 14 weeks when we moved, which was rough because I was still super sick. Once I got over the extreme nausea (around 17 weeks, though it came back quite a few times after that), I spent weeks dealing with pregnancy migraines, which I didn’t even know were a thing until my doctor told me it’s normal. Right around 23 weeks, I started finally feeling better until Chris got me sick for a week with a bad cold. Thankfully, after that, I’ve been feeling much better with just a rough day here and there.

One of the best parts of the second trimester was feeling our little one kick for the first time! It’s so fun to think back on those first subtle kicks now that he moves all the time. Chris was so excited when the kicks got strong enough for him to feel!

It was also the best to share our news with everyone, finally! We waited a little longer than most do because I wanted it to coincide with Mother’s Day, but it’s been so nice to be able to talk about it with our friends and family! We also loved finding out the gender! We didn’t do a big announcement with that (except on the blog!), but we are beyond excited for our little boy!

When I said we were busy in the second trimester, I wasn’t kidding. My brother-in-law got married, my parents had their housewarming party the next day, three out of four of our parents had birthdays, my brother came home from Europe, we had a gender reveal, several big residency events, and we capped it off with our babymoon to Maine, where we celebrated our birthdays and anniversary! That’s just a run down of the biggest events, too.

I haven’t been one to take a bunch of photos, but towards the end of the second trimester, I’ve started showing enough for strangers to comment on it. One of the funniest stories was a few days after our trip when we went to get ½ price cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory. It was pretty busy, so I went to get a beeper before sitting down on the bench. The lady next to me asked “how much longer do you have?” I told her 15-20 minutes because I thought she meant with getting a table, and she was like “uh, I meant with your baby.” It was so hilarious!

As for now, I am excited for all the things coming up in the third trimester! We recently had our first baby shower and will be having another one soon. My best friend’s bachelorette party is this weekend, which is super exciting since I’ve been planning it for the last few months! Our maternity photos are coming up soon, too. We’ve started working on the nursery, and Chris set up the crib last weekend. I’m getting pretty uncomfortable and am having more trouble sleeping. I also miss going on longer walks because these 100-degree temperatures are too hard for walks. We’re also pretty sure we’ve decided on a name! We’re not planning on sharing it with anyone, though, (not even our parents) just in case we do change our minds. I’m excited to share more about the name once he’s born!

Other Pregnancy Posts:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Our Trip to Maine By the Numbers

I’ve always wanted to do a by the numbers post for one of our trips and have just never gotten around to it! Before I get into all my detailed posts about our babymoon, I thought it would be fun to break down our vacation a little bit.

6 full days
When I say full, I mean full. We did so much on this trip, and I can’t wait to share all the details!

9 lighthouses seen
I actually tried to limit going out of the way to see lighthouses because there were so many other things to see, but we still managed to see nine, and I’m not complaining!

3 boat tours
At one point in our planning, I turned to Chris and asked if he would hate it if we ended up doing three boat tours. Thankfully, he agreed because we loved all three of them! They were all different, and I’m super excited to tell y’all about them.

2.5 hours
The amount of time we waited for a lobster roll at Red’s Eats. You’ll have to wait for my post on it to hear all of my feelings on that, but it was an interesting experience!

3 states visited
We flew into Boston and spent some time in Gloucester and Rockport before driving on to Maine. On our way back, we spent the night in Kittery, Maine, which also gave us the chance to explore Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

8 miles hiked
I’m only counting our two big hikes in this number, and boy, were they memorable! I love hiking, but hiking pregnant was a whole new experience. The views were completely worth it, though!

4 celebrations
I sure do love traveling on our Super Week. It’s so fun to celebrate all of our big occasions in a new place! Christopher’s birthday was the day before we left, but we celebrated it along with my birthday and our eighth wedding anniversary on our trip! Of course, we also celebrated our last big trip before baby boy’s arrival!

3 days spent at Acadia National Park 
I must say I love that you have buy a seven-day pass for Acadia because it gave us a chance to split up our time there and see as much as possible!

2 blueberry lemonades ordered
This is where I made a mistake, friends. I didn’t discover blueberry lemonade until nearly the end of our trip, so I missed out on several days of having this amazing drink. It’s one of the best lemonade combinations I’ve ever had, and I sure wouldn’t mind getting a few gallons shipped to me in Texas!

Countless amounts of lobster eaten
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I will usually eat crab over lobster any day. Of course, that’s not the case with fresh Maine lobster. At the restaurant we went to for my birthday, I had lobster and corn chowder, lobster cakes, and lobster fettucine alfredo all in one meal. It’s just that good.

Other Maine Babymoon Posts:

Other Maine Posts:

Monday, August 14, 2017

How I Told Our Parents About Baby

Happy Monday, friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. We had our first baby shower this weekend, and it was so much fun! The host put together the cutest elephant theme. I’m planning on sharing more about it later, but it’s crazy to think I’m in my third trimester now and getting so close to meeting our little one! The next two months are going to be pretty busy but definitely fun! Anyways, now that I’m in the third trimester, it’s about time I finish some of the stories from my first trimester! I told y’all a few weeks ago about how I told Chris about baby, so today I wanted to share a little about how I told our parents.

Five weeks pregnant in Breckenridge!
Chris and I had pretty differing opinions about when to tell our parents. He, thinking like a physician, wanted to wait until 12 weeks when it was “safer” to tell people. I wanted to tell just our parents as soon as possible. Also, Chris and I were going to Colorado with my in-laws for a week just a week after we found out I’m pregnant, and I really didn’t want to try to hid it from them, especially since I had no idea how I would feel.

I’m a pretty private person, but I do try to stay open with our families. They knew that my OB had given us the green light to try to conceive starting in January, but I also warned them we had no idea what this journey would look like after my surgery.

We decided to tell my parents when we were dropping off Skyler, who was staying with them while we were in Colorado. I told Mom I had a present for them as a thank you for them keeping Skyler. Mom, of course, said “but we haven’t even done it yet!” I had gotten her a onesie that said “I love my baba” on it, which is the Russian name for grandma. It took her a little while to get it because she really just didn’t expect me to have any news! She first thought I had gotten her an outfit to put on Skyler! Finally, I said “Mom, I’m pregnant!” and it all clicked into place. She told me later she hadn’t even seen the writing on the onesie because she was so confused. Needless to say, both of my parents were super excited, and we celebrated in the traditional Russian way—with a toast! (don’t worry, I toasted with water). I’m not sharing the video because it’s in Russian, but there was definitely a lot of joy.

My mother-in-law had the opposite reaction. Somehow, she had decided I was pregnant all on her own and was just waiting for us to tell them (and had even thought we had visited them two weeks prior because we wanted to tell them. Nope, we just wanted to see them! Haha. Funny enough, I was pregnant by then, but we didn’t know yet!). To tell my in-laws, I had purchased a wooden sign on Etsy that says “the best parents get promoted to grandparents.” Sadly, it didn’t come in on time, so I ended up printing out a piece of paper that showed the gift and told my in-laws when we met up to drive to Colorado I had found something that made me think of them! Even though my mother-in-law was already suspecting the news, they were still super excited about the news of their first grandchild!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Five Books I Read in July

My reading has been so sporadic lately. I started off reading a bunch in July, but then we went on our babymoon to Maine, and I only read on the plane. Am I the only person who actually reads less on vacations? We do so much during the day that I’m just too exhausted at night to read. Plus, I decided it was finally time to finish The Lunar Chronicles, which are a bit longer than some of the other books I’ve read lately!

Blink by K.L. Slater
(c/o NetGalley)
Overall, this was a good thriller, but the middle was a bit boring and dragged. Once Part 2 hit (about 70 percent into the book), it got really interesting, and I couldn't put it down. I ended up liking some of the twists and thought it made for a good read!

The Guests on South Battery by Karen White
(c/o NetGalley)
I don't usually read stories about ghosts, but I like Karen White, so I thought I would give it a try. It took me forever to get into this book. It's the fifth in a series, and I wish I hadn't read it out of order. The story did get interesting about halfway through, though, and I got into it. Overall, it was a pretty good read, and I think I might go back and read the other books in the series.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
This book is both interesting and disturbing. It's crazy to think something like this could actually happen. If you haven't gotten to this book yet, it's worth a read!

Cress by Marissa Meyer
For a while I was putting this book off until Winter came out. Well, Winter came out almost two years ago, and I was still not picking the series back up because I was too sad for it to end. I'm glad I finally did. This book is SO good. I love all the characters, especially Cinder and Kai, and the story just flows so well. I seriously can't wait to pick up Winter now and finish the series!

Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino
(c/o NetGalley)
Sometimes I think it's not fair to judge an author by her best work and compare everything else he/she writes to it. Still, that's human nature, and I can't get away from it. Swear on This Life affected me deeply, and it was one of the best books I read in 2016. This one doesn't even get close. In fact, I liked Before We Were Strangers more. I just never truly felt connected with the characters. That said, I still read it in almost one sitting and would recommend it for those who love women's fiction. If you haven't read Swear on This Life yet, I suggest you read this one first because there's just no comparison.

Favorite reads in July: Cress and The Handmaid's Tale

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Eight Favorite Experiences in Eight Years of Marriage

Chris and I celebrated eight years of marriage while we were in Maine, and I love using our anniversary to reminisce on all the special moments we’ve had throughout the years. Today, I thought it would be fun to share eight of our favorite experiences in our years of marriage. These are off the top of my head and in no particular order.

Celebrating Our 21st Birthdays and One Year Anniversary in Las Vegas
We had so much fun on our first trip to Vegas together! We saw Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE and KA and ate at so many amazing places. Vegas is still one of our favorite places if we only have time to get away for a few days.

Related Posts: 
Best Shows in Las Vegas, Best Buffets in Las Vegas, Hiking Through Valley of Fire State Park, Best Things to Do in Las Vegas if You Don't Gamble or Drink

Studying Abroad in Europe
There’s something special about being married and getting to study abroad in Europe together. We went with a group of about 40 other students from Baylor and were definitely the “mom and dad” of the group, but we had the best time! Our study abroad program was heavily focused on travel (Fridays off and lots of holidays), and we took advantage of it by seeing 16 different countries. I’m so glad we were able to do something like this before the craziness of medical school.

Related Posts: 
European Train Travel Tips, Three European Travel Stories I Will Never Forget, Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, Via dell' Amore, Cinque Terre, My Top Five European Travel Moments, Three Cities to Visit in France (Besides Paris), Three Great Day Trips from Paris, 24 Hours in Strasbourg, Eight Ideas for the Best Romantic Getaway in Paris, 24 Hours in Stresa, Italy, Three Relaxing Destinations in Italy, 24 Hours in Bath, England, Five Things You Must Do in Marseille, France, Five Places in Europe I Would Love to Visit Again

Discovering a Love for Cruising
I hadn’t been on a cruise in the United States (we did a month long cruise from Russia throughout Europe when we lived there) until we got married, but we’ve done six together since then! (two to Alaska, one Southern Caribbean cruise from Puerto Rico, one Eastern Caribbean cruise, one Western Caribbean cruise, and one fall color cruise). We haven’t been on one in almost three years mostly due to Zika, but I am definitely planning on going again when the baby is old enough!

Related Posts: My Three Favorite Caribbean Cruise Ports, Cozumel, Belize River Cruise, Belize Lamanai Mayan Ruins, Maya Key in Honduras, Emerald Princess Review, Saint John and Saint Andrews, New Brunswick, Bar Harbor and Acadia, Maine, Portland and Kennebunkport, Maine, Brilliance of the Seas Review, Seven Reasons I Choose to Cruise, A Crab Feast Excursion in Ketchikan, Alaska

Graduating Baylor
Baylor will always be a special part of our story: we met on our first day on campus, spent that first semester falling in love, and got married the summer after our sophomore year at a gorgeous spot on campus. All of that made graduating together from the university we love even more wonderful. We were in different colleges, so we got to watch each other’s ceremonies. It was such a great day!

Related Posts:
Seven Years: A Short Version of Our Love Story, A Waco Weekend

Watching Chris Become a Doctor
I’ve never been one to sugarcoat medical school. It’s not easy (though it’s a cake walk compared to residency). Still, there was nothing better than watching my love fulfill his dream during those four years. I was so proud as he crossed that stage and officially became a doctor in 2015. Now we’re making our way through residency, and it’s hard to believe that day was over two years ago!

Related Posts:
Match Day ProcessMatch Day Results

Celebrating the End of Medical School with a California Road Trip
We’ve been blessed to visit many amazing places in our eight years of marriage, both in the United States and abroad, but our California road trip ranks as one of our favorite trips. We were celebrating such a big occasion in a place full of incredible views and so many fun things to do. I loved visiting La Jolla and the San Diego Zoo for the first time, and our drive up Highway 1 was absolutely incredible. Someday I’ll get around to finishing up my recaps of that trip, but it’s definitely a trip I will always treasure.

Related Posts:
Seven-Day Itinerary from San Diego to San Francisco, Old Town San Diego, La Jolla, San Diego Zoo Tips, San Diego Zoo Private Tour, Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, Hearst Castle Views, Hearst Castle Grand Rooms Tour, Hearst Castle Upstairs Suites Tour, Pacific Coast Highway Tips, The Most Beautiful Place in Big Sur, Five Things You Must Do in San Diego

Our Year in Chicago
Y’all know the story by now: I moved to Chicago kicking and screaming…and then I fell in love on basically the first day. Intern year was hard, but living in Chicago made it so much better. That year ended up being one of my favorites of our marriage so far. I loved exploring a new area of the United States with my love, and you better believe I left Chicago with tears in my eyes when the year was over.

Related Posts:
Best Weekend Trips from Chicago, Three Great Day Trips from Chicago, Best Places for Brunch in Chicago, Best Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago, Wendella Lake Michigan Fireworks Cruise,  Seven Things You Must Do in Chicago During the Holiday Season, Shoreline Sightseeing Classic Lake Tour, Best View in Chicago, Lake Michigan Circle Tour Itinerary, The Field Museum, Sunset Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan

Our Journey to Parenthood
Of course, I had to include the last few months in my favorite marriage experiences. We have been so excited since finding out we’re going to be parents, and it’s hard to believe we’ll be mommy and daddy in just three short months! As much as I have loved all of our adventures, I know this one will be the best one yet!

Related Posts:
Our Announcement, All About Baby, Pregnancy Confessions, Gender Predictions, Gender Reveal, How I Told Chris About Baby


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Five Reasons You Should Visit Maine

Our trip to Maine was a dream. I loved every moment of exploring the coast, and I could have been happy spending another month in the area. Before I get into all the details of our trip, I wanted to share five reasons why I think everyone should visit Maine.

Let me let y’all in on a little secret: I’m usually not the biggest fan of lobster. I prefer crab to lobster any day, and I think lobster tastes like whatever sauce is made with it (most of the time butter). That’s not the case with East Coast lobster, especially Maine lobster. It’s sweet and absolutely delicious. For one meal, I had lobster cakes, lobster fettuccini alfredo, and lobster and corn clam chowder. I still prefer warm lobster to cold lobster, so lobster rolls are hit or miss for me, but lobster is definitely a must when you’re in Maine!

Rocky Coastline
We spent most of the time heading up to Bar Harbor on Coastal Highway 1, and it was simply breathtaking. I might have convinced Chris we had to do three boat tours just so I could see the coastline from the water. It’s just that beautiful.

Maine Blueberries
I feel the same way about blueberries as I do lobster. I don’t hate them, but they are by far my least favorite berry. I also don’t like anything made with them (blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, etc). Maine blueberries are a completely different variety, and boy are they good! I even liked the blueberry muffins I tried, but my absolute favorite was fresh Maine blueberry lemonade! Even Chris, who is not the biggest lemonade fan, loved it (though his favorite was the Maine blueberry soda). Now I just need to figure out a way for them to ship some to Texas!

All the Cute Small Towns
There is nothing cuter than coastal towns, and Maine is full of them! When I was working on my list of towns to visit, I had such a hard time narrowing down where to go. We had so much fun walking (and driving) through all the adorable downtowns and stopping at all the interesting little shops.

If you’ve read any of the posts from our Lake Michigan Circle Tour, you know Chris and I love lighthouses. I thought we wouldn’t be able to see many lighthouses on this trip, but there were so many great ones, we ended up seeing more than we planned! I’ll be sharing exactly how many in my Maine by the numbers post next week, but I must say those beautiful lighthouses made the trip even more special for us!

Have you been to Maine? What was your favorite part?