The Siberian American: September 2017

Friday, September 29, 2017

Pregnancy Update: One Month to Go

“You don’t look like it, but somehow, you’ve got a six-pound baby in there.” That’s what the ultrasound tech told me as we left yesterday. Today, I am 36 weeks and am truly thankful to be this close to meeting our little one!

As I mentioned in my life update, I constantly go from I can’t wait to meet him to there is still so much more I’d like to get done! Knowing myself, though, I will always feel like there is more to get done, so I’m trying not to pay attention to it.

Speaking of getting things done, the nursery is getting close! I had a minor panic attack this week when I realized how much gray there is in the room, so I’m hoping to buy a few more things this weekend to add more blue.

I’m starting to hate hearing how tiny I am. I guess people forgot what I looked like before pregnancy. Y’all, I’ve gained over 30 pounds. It wouldn’t bother me except that often when it’s said, the person is implying I’m doing something unhealthy for the baby, and he’s healthy and growing well, thank you very much.

Overall, now that I'm over my cold, I’ve been feeling really well! Sleeping has gotten harder, and I definitely struggle with walking, but I haven’t hit that get this baby out of me stage yet. I have been dealing with some Braxton Hicks, though, which truly feel like a cruel joke sometimes.

This is my last super busy weekend before my due date, and I’m planning on taking it a little easier after that. I do have a few friend dates since I know they will be harder in the next few months!

We got our maternity photos back, and I love them! I’m really excited to share some of my favorites with y’all next week!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Life Lately: All the Happy Things

Lately, I’ve been in the mood to just write. From helping with a conference to having a cold immediately after, I’ve had no energy to edit photos for travel posts, but I’ve had so much on my mind and just want to share a bunch of things that have made me happy lately.

Chris had his first day off in several weeks on Saturday, and we had the best day together. I had tried to plan several big things for us to do, but he was tired (and also worried about me walking around festivals in the heat), so we mostly did chores, but it was perfect. We painted letters for the nursery, installed the car seat, went grocery shopping, and celebrated our 10 year dating anniversary at Joe’s Crab Shack. None of that is super special on its own, but it had been so long since we got to spend time together, so we really enjoyed every moment.

I can’t believe I’m already 35 weeks pregnant. I’ll post a pregnancy update on Wednesday, but I’m definitely to the point where I’m super excited and ready one moment and anxious the next because it feels like there is so much left to get done (isn’t there always?).

I’m so happy it’s time for fall! It hasn’t felt like it here in Texas yet, but we should be in the 80s by the middle of the week, which will feel great after being close to 100 most of last week. I can’t wait until it cools down enough for me to be able to take walks again, and of course, wearing fall clothes is always fun!

Speaking of fall, I’m excited to make more slow cooker meals these days. I’m all about lighter food in the summer, so my slow cooker has been neglected. Blogging for Books sent me Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker, and I basically want to try every meal in the book. I’m loving all the variety in the book with 110 dishes (which also include desserts) as options. I’ll probably be making more slow cooker meals once the little man arrives, so I’ve been flipping through the book to see everything I want to try. Recipes that have caught my eye are: ropa vieja, carbonnade (a Belgian-style beef stew), beef and black bean chili, sausage lasagna, and croque monsieur strata. For a fall dessert, I’d love to try the apple-cranberry crisp.

This has been a weird reading year for me. I’ve been reading in spurts-either a bunch or barely anything. I just got through several books pretty quickly and am about to finish my 75th book for the year! I’m basically right on schedule to finish my goal of 100 books this year, but I’m hoping to get a little ahead because I know life is about to get busier!

What have you been up to lately?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ten Year Dating Anniversary: A Decade of Just Us

I love fall. Even though it doesn’t cool down in Texas until November, it feels like a season of change and renewal. For the last ten years, September has also been the month Chris and I got to celebrate the beginning of our story.

Christopher and I started dating on September 20, 2007 after what is still the most confusing conversation I’ve ever had in my life (you can read more of that story here). We had both recently turned 18, were freshmen in college, and still had a lot to learn about what it is like to be in a serious relationship. Even so, we fell for each other very quickly, and I definitely remember how crazy my friends thought I was when I started telling them this was a forever kind of relationship.

When we first got married (about two years later), I could have never imagined that we would spend the first decade of our relationship as “just the two of us.” Honestly, though, it has been good for us. We’ve experienced so much growth in the last ten years, both individually and together. I was able to support him from the beginning of this crazy medical journey, and we were still able to make time to go on many adventures together. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’m so thankful to have Christopher by my side.

Now, a little over a month until my due date, we celebrate all the amazing times we’ve had and are so excited to start this new chapter! Here’s to us, Christopher! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us (and our son!).

PS-Sorry I’ve been so MIA this week, friends. I brought home a cold as a souvenir from the conference, which is a little rough at 34 weeks pregnant! Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch up on all of your blogs soon!

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Most Fun, Fulfilling Weekend

Right around this time last year, I wrote about how I was stepping completely out of my comfort zone and going to a conference for doctors’ wives where I knew no one. I was amazed by how connected I felt to those other women that weekend, so much so that I decided to be on the planning committee for this year. Of course, I had no idea I would be 34 weeks pregnant when the weekend rolled around, so I was a bit anxious as to how it would all work out.

Radiology wives!
I’m not going to lie to y’all—I don’t think I’ve ever been this exhausted in my life. (I’m sure I’ll be saying that a lot in the next few months, though). I was in charge of all the social media and live streaming at the event, and even though I outsourced the live streams to many wonderful volunteers, it was still a lot to make sure everything was running smoothly.

That said, it was still one of the most fulfilling weekends I have had. It’s funny to think back on this weekend versus how I felt going into the conference last year. Last year, I was so anxious because I knew I would have to introduce myself to a bunch of people I didn’t know. This year, people were walking up and introducing themselves to me because they knew who I was, and I didn’t know them. I also got to see the ladies I met last year and get to know them even better.

There’s something really special and fulfilling about being around a large group of women who truly get the craziness of the medical world. I have many supportive friends and family, but unless you go through the experience, it’s really hard to understand. I know if Chris hadn’t decided to be a doctor, I would be clueless about Match, residency, and fellowship. I learn so much from these women, and I am forever grateful for their love and encouragement.

PS-Curious about what we do at a conference for doctors' wives? I explained more about our classes and fellowship opportunities last year.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Eleven Books I Read in August

Hello, friends! We had a super busy weekend this week with getting my hair done, a baby shower, and maternity photos, but I’m sad it’s over. It’s rare these days that Chris gets a full weekend off (what we call a golden weekend in the medical field), so I truly treasure it when he does. Anyways, let’s talk about books! After a slower July, I was on a roll with reading in August! I managed to finish both the first round and bonus round for Erin’s Book Challenge (which is why you see a lot less NetGalley books than usual. Haha) Because of the challenge, I feel like I read an even bigger variety of books than I typically do, and thankfully, I liked almost all of them!

Winter by Marissa Meyer
What an ending! I'm always nervous going into the last book of a series, but I love the way Marissa Meyer finished The Lunar Chronicles. I'm so sad I'm almost done reading about these amazing characters. Thankfully, I have a few short stories left.

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond
(c/o NetGalley)
I LOVED this thriller. The premise was super interesting and unique, and the story kept me on my toes . It was one of those books I didn't want to stop reading when I should have been really doing something else (like sleeping). The only reason it's not a solid five stars for me is I wanted a little more from the ending.

The Other Girl by Erica Spindler
(c/o NetGalley)
This was a solid thriller that I was able to read in basically one sitting. It was definitely predictable, but figuring out the ending didn't ruin the story for me in this case. The book kept me interested and was the perfect length for this kind of thriller.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman
(c/o NetGalley)
I almost gave up on Fredrik Backman after reading Britt-Marie Was Here. I'm glad I didn't. Beartown also started out super slow, but it transformed into a beautiful, powerful read about a town where the only thing that matters is winning. It's heartbreaking and poignant and truly a must read.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
It's been a while since I've read a Jane Austen book, so I was thankful for a challenge that convinced me to pick one up! I enjoyed it, as always! I need to read all the Jane Austen I haven't read soon!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Oh, yikes. I don't really understand the hype with this one, friends. I usually love coming of age stories, but this one felt so disjointed. Cath just wasn't the best character, and the Simon Snow passages seemed out of place at times (I almost lost it when Levi compared him to Harry Potter. Well, duh, but the book was basically based on Harry Potter anyway, so I figured he didn't exist in this world. Super strange.) Then, there was the ending, which wasn't really an ending. There were still SO many loose ends. I'm not saying it wasn't a good book; it just wasn't nearly as great as I thought it would be with all the positive reviews I've seen.

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson
This book was creepy but also really unique. It is one of those books that's hard to put down. I didn't love the twist at the end, but it was still a good book, and I will definitely pick up the second in the series.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
I was a little worried I wouldn't like this book because it took me forever to get used to the writing style. The thing that really got me about this book was the characters. You can't help but feel for Oskar and the profound loss he suffered at a young age.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Randsom Riggs
This book just never really captured my attention. Like others said, it's basically X-Men with children. It got a little better towards the end, but I honestly don't even care enough to read the second book in the series.

Irene's Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo
(c/o NetGalley)
What a powerful tale of strength and courage. This is a non-fiction book about Irena Sendler, who helped rescue over 2,500 children in Warsaw during WWII. Even though it's non-fiction, I think even those who don't usually like non-fiction would like it because it's told in a story format. If you are interested on what it was like in Warsaw during WWII, this book is definitely worth reading!

Fairest by Marissa Meyer
This was my least favorite of the Lunar Chronicles stories, but that doesn't mean it was bad. It gave insight into why Levana is the way she is. I thought I would feel sympathy towards her, but I really didn't. I did like the extra information about some of the other main characters, though.

Favorite reads in August: Winter, The Marriage Pact, and The Butterfly Garden

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?

Friday, September 8, 2017

September 2017 MunchPak Review

I received a free MunchPak to review, but all opinions are my own.

When I first started blogging, I shared that I had purchased a MunchPak subscription for Chris as a Christmas present in 2013 when MunchPak first started. We loved trying out new and popular snacks from around the world every month, so when Julian from MunchPak offered to send us one to review, I was eager to see what MunchPaks are like these days! Plus, my pregnant self can never say no to snacks! Here is what was in our MunchPak:

Tayto Salt & Vinegar Chips from Ireland: These are from a family-owned company from Northern Ireland. I usually like salt and vinegar chips, so I’m eager to try these out!

Kiwi Carbonated Soft Drink from Japan: This is more of a product for Chris because he likes unique soda flavors, but he is excited to try it!

Zoozle Musss from Poland: These are cola-flavored candy with a fizzy filling! I like cola-flavored gummies, so these will also be fun to try!

Caramel Heaven Wafer with Caramel Filling from Poland: These remind me a bit of stroopwafels from The Netherlands, though they are quite a bit thicker.

Chillz Spicy Potato Sticks from Pakistan: I love potato sticks, so these won’t last long in our house!

Fini Sour Tornadoes with Sour Filling from Spain: This is the only product I’m not sure I’m willing to try, but I know lots of people who would be interested!

Original Goralki Nugatowe from Poland: Wow, we got a lot of products from Poland in this box. These are chocolate-coated crispy wafers with nougat cream filling, which sound super tasty!

Nutella B-Ready from Poland: This is Nutella inside a wafer, so basically it’s a taste of heaven.

Blazpberry Red & Blue Raspberry Candy Belts from The Netherlands: These look like your standard sour belts, which are always fun!

Gerrit’s Sour Blockheads from the United States: These look like Sour Patch Kids!

Draze Marynarz from Poland: These are a tasty cream-flavored hard candy.

Hill Biscuits Custard Creams from England: I love having tea with biscuits, so I’m definitely excited about these!

My box came with 12 total snacks to try, and I thought it had a great variety of snacks and countries. I thought it was interesting that quite a few of the snacks came from Poland, but they all look delicious, so I don’t mind. All of the boxes are random, so if you purchased a box in September, you wouldn’t necessarily get what I got! You can also customize the box based on your preferences for an additional fee. The price of the MunchPak varies depending on how many snacks you want (you can pick 5+, 10+, and 20+) and how often you want to receive the snacks.

If you are interested in trying it out, you can use my code SIBERIANAMERICAN for $3 off any time within the next year. To get the $3 off automatically applied to your order, go to

Have you ever tried out a snack subscription box?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Our Elephant-Themed Baby Shower

Hey, friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. We managed to go shopping and take advantage of the sales. We got the last piece of furniture we wanted for the nursery (a glider) and bought our travel system since it was around $100 off!

Speaking of our nursery, several of you have asked if we have picked out a nursery theme, and we are doing blue and gray with elephants. Our friends figured that out from our registry, and they threw us the cutest elephant-themed baby shower last month! We’re all crazy about brunch, so it was held at this great brunch place in Dallas called The Woolworth, followed by more fun at a friend’s place who lives nearby. All the details were great, but my very favorite was the host of the shower made the cutest diaper cake of an elephant riding a motorcycle. I’m so thankful for our sweet friends, who hosted such a fun party for us!

The two lovely hosts!

She also made "cupcakes" at of onesies and socks! So cute. 
Rice Krispie treats made in the shape of elephants! 
Such a delicious cake!
So excited to start this parenthood adventure with my favorite person!
Reading the sweet poem where our friends told us they put their money together and bought us a crib!

Friday, September 1, 2017

My Life in Threes

Woah, this might have been the fastest week ever. I’m almost thankful Chris has to work tomorrow because I have several big projects I’d like to finish soon. Anyways, I’ve loved reading the “three things” blog posts from everyone, so I thought I would do one of my own!

Three Favorite Foods
*Crab legs
*Cheesecake Factory Red Velvet Cheesecake

Three Things I Don’t Want to Give Up
*Going on adventures/traveling
*My photos

Three Favorite Cocktails
*Rum and Coke
*Peach Bellini
*Wine (yes, I know that’s not a cocktail)

Three Favorite Simple Pleasures in Life
*Reading while it’s raining outside
*All the blankets all the time
*Going on a walk with Chris and Skyler

Three Things Always in My Car
*Sun shade

Three Things I Always Have with Me
*My purse
*LipSense glossy gloss

Three Most Recent Places I Traveled To
*Smoky Mountains

Three Most Often Used Makeup Products
*Thebalm Nude’tude Palette

Three Things That Make Me Cry
*Can I say everything? Seriously, the third trimester is #allthefeels

Three Things That Make Me Laugh
*Skyler-she is always doing something silly
*Animal videos
*Friends and family

Three Places I Want to Visit in the US
*Washington, DC

Three Places I Want to Visit Outside the US
*Ireland/Cliffs of Moher
*Bora Bora

Three Places I Want to Return
*Turks and Caicos

Three Blessings in My Life
*My amazing husband
*Our sweet baby boy on the way
*Family and friends