The Siberian American: 2018

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Let’s Have a Coffee Date: Hello from DC!

Hi, friends! I’ve been meaning to update y’all on everything going on lately, but life has been all about getting ready for DC and then adjusting to our place here, so I haven’t been on my laptop much. I have really been missing blogging lately, though, and have all kinds of ideas for content, so I’m hoping I can start posting a bit more once we get back!

Overall, DC has been better than I expected. I was so nervous because Anthony had finally started sleeping well at night (usually one wakeup around 4 to 5 a.m., unless he is teething), and I had heard going to a new place can sometimes mess with that. We did have several days with two to three wakeups, but overall, he has done really well! The only exception was a few nights when he was randomly awake for a few hours, but then I realized he had two more teeth coming out, so that made sense.

One of the reasons I was nervous about DC is we are staying in a place that’s basically one big room. I came up with the idea of using a sheet and a curtain rod to separate the kitchen and the living area/bedroom, and we put Anthony’s pack n play in the kitchen. I’m also trying to keep him on Central Time as much as I can because I don’t want to get him used to waking up early due to the time difference.

Anthony has really enjoyed going on adventures with us! We have taken him to see the monuments and some of the Smithsonian museums. We also spent a day at the zoo, and Anthony absolutely loved it! He kept going “oooh” and laughing at all the animals. His favorite animals were the elephant, tiger, and lion.

We’ve been a little bummed because it has rained almost every day since we were here, and we were really looking forward to going on walks since it’s cooler here than in Texas. I feel like it’s been raining in a huge part of the country, though, and at least we haven’t gotten any of the terrible flooding! It has made it even more humid than usual, though. This is my first experience using a dehumidifier, and it’s so crazy to have to empty it five times a day!

If you have read my travel posts in the past, you know I always have a large list of restaurants to visit anytime we’re visiting somewhere new. We’ve already checked off several really great places, and I’m crossing my fingers I can get on top of blogging once we’re home and share a little DC guide with y’all!

This past weekend, we took a road trip to Ocean City, Maryland and Assateague Island for Anthony’s first trip to the ocean. I really loved Assateague Island, despite being practically eaten alive by mosquitoes. Anthony really loved watching the waves. I think the water was a bit cold for him, but he did enjoy watching it! Our three-hour ride home turned into six hours because of really horrible traffic due to the rain, but Chris and I both agreed it was still a really wonderful weekend.

This weekend we are heading to Charlottesville, Virginia, and then doing the Skyline Drive at Shenandoah National Park. We’re crossing our fingers for some nice weather, so we can do a little hiking.

It’s crazy to me that it’s almost time to celebrate Anthony’s first birthday! I’ve been working on his party details, which is so much fun. I’m excited to share the details with y’all in just a few weeks!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Anthony Update: Months Seven, Eight, and Nine

Hey, friends! Anthony turned ten months last Monday (what?!), so it’s definitely time for another update. I’ve really been wanting to return to this space on a more regular basis, but all of these crazy things keep happening (life update soon), and I just haven’t had the energy to sit down and write. Now that I’m a mama, I have really focused on not pushing myself and giving myself grace, even when I would normally feel like I am failing. Anyways, enough about me, and let’s talk about Anthony! These last three months have been my favorite so far. We have had so much fun, and Anthony has learned a lot. I’m excited to share all about them with y’all!

Photo by Brittnie Renee Photography
General Thoughts
One of my favorite things is the older Anthony gets, the more I see his personality come out. Anthony is observant. He loves learning new things and will watch closely when I teach him something, and then he will keep on trying until he figures it out. He loves exploring, but he also enjoys crawling into my lap to read a book. He is full of joy, and his sweet giggles are my favorite.

We went to the doctor the day Anthony turned nine months, and he was 18 pounds, 6.7 ounces. That’s in the 30th percentile. We were super excited to hear that because Anthony has always been low on the growth chart—at one point he was in the second percentile. He always grew well on his own curve, but we were still happy to see he is catching up a bit. My guess is he is probably closer to 20 pounds now.

These last three months have been full of milestones! A few days after Anthony turned seven months, he started teething, and his two bottom teeth came out pretty quickly. A few days after that, he began to army crawl, and he moved to normal crawling quickly. By 7.5 months, he was moving really fast. At 8.5 months, he could go switch from crawling or laying down to sitting. On the day he turned nine months, he started consistently pulling up. Now, he does it all the time and will move from one place to another a bit while holding on. It’s pretty funny when he stands up in his pack n play and stares at me when he wakes up. Anthony’s top teeth broke through last week, so his new favorite thing is to hit his teeth against each other.

The two big firsts I wanted to mention was Anthony’s first long road trip and his first trip to the dentist. We went to Hot Springs for our birthday and anniversary trip this year, which is about a five-hour drive. It went really well, and we had a great time on our trip! Unfortunately, on the way back, an 18-wheeler had a blowout right in front of us, and the tire struck our car. It did some damage to our car and ripped one of our tires to shreds, so we had to pull over and wait for AAA to come help Chris replace the tire (he wasn’t comfortable doing it himself because we weren’t in a safe spot). Thankfully, it all worked out, and we got home safely, but it was scary at the time. Anthony was a trooper and handled being stuck in the car for extra hours really well.

When Anthony’s teeth came in, they were super sharp, and he kept biting under his tongue and making it bleed. This created a large ulcer under his tongue that wouldn’t heal because he kept aggravating it. I ended up having to take Anthony to the pediatric dentist to smooth out his teeth, so he would stop making the ulcer bleed. I was really anxious about it because I knew he wouldn’t understand what was going on, but it went so much better than I expected. He hasn’t made the ulcer bleed since the teeth were smoothed, so I’m hoping it will fully heal soon.

Remember how I said crazy things kept happening? Those are just two examples.

Months seven and eight were rough when it came to sleep. Anthony was waking up every two hours at night, and he decided he hated naps. He rejected his pacifier around six months, so putting him down for naps got really hard. As we were nearing the nine-month mark, I thought I was going to lose my mind from so little sleep. I talked to the doctor at his nine-month appointment, and she basically just told me some babies aren’t good sleepers, no matter what you do.

Then, all of a sudden, he turned a corner. He went from waking up every two hours to waking up at 11 p.m. and 5:30 a.m., then waking up for the day between 7 and 8. Now, he usually only wakes up once between 4:30 and 5 a.m (unless he’s teething). His naps got so much better, too, especially after I worked on dropping the third nap. Right now, we usually do a 2/3/4 schedule. It’s what seems to work best for him—I’ve tried to stretch out the morning wake time, and he doesn’t like it. He’s not super consistent with how long he sleeps, but before he was sleeping through the night, he would take a two-hour morning nap and a one-hour afternoon nap. Now, it’s closer to two one-hour naps (often more like 45 minutes). I can’t even begin to explain what a huge difference his new schedule has made for us. I feel like a new person!

We’ve made it ten months breastfeeding! Anthony nurses when he wakes up in the morning and a short time before bed and then in four-hour intervals throughout the day (usually after his naps). I also feed him three solid meals a day. He always says “mmmm” after each bite, which is super cute. Puffs are also a huge hit around here.

Anthony has been blabbing for a long time, but I think he’s getting close to making associations. In the morning when he wakes up, he usually calls for me, saying “Awa!” He has been saying Dada and Baba forever, but not directly at Chris or my mom (Baba). Chris calls on his way home, and Anthony will “talk” to him. The other day I turned on a podcast during playtime, and Anthony said Dada! I think maybe he thought it was Chris since it’s usually him on the phone. He’s also good at repeating sounds. The cutest is when we’ll ask him if he’s OK, and he say “OK!” back.

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Anthony loves swimming, crawling, and pulling up on everything. His favorite toys are this Baby Einstein Octoplush (which he has loved for months), a LeapFrog activity center, this VTech Musical Rhymes Book (music and turning pages! It’s a big winner here), and the VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker. We also grabbed this cute little toucan  for our upcoming plane ride, and Anthony really loves it. His favorite thing for naps is this SwaddleMe Elephant Soother. I also like looking at sites like for baby deals! He also loves going on walks. He will sit in his umbrella stroller for as long as we let him, looking at everything. I can’t wait for it to be cooler outside, so we can spend more time walking around.

I’m not sure if it’s a real dislike, but Anthony has started moving so much that changing his diaper can be difficult. I can usually distract him with a toy, but I still try to make it as quick as possible. He’s also developed a bit of separation anxiety. He is pretty good at playing on his own these days, but he wants me to be in the room.

Things I Want to Remember
Anthony loves to take my hands and use them to clap.

Christopher’s favorite noise that Anthony makes is a motorboat.

He will crawl up to his activity center, pull up, turn on the music, and dance!

Anthony loves peekaboo. He will find a box or big toy and hide behind it to play.

He loves pulling up on the window in his nursery (it’s the perfect height for him) and watching the cars (and dogs) outside.

He loves throwing balls in my direction and then chasing after them, so he can throw them at me again.

Overall, I’m just loving this fun stage! Now that I’m a bit less of a mom zombie, it’s such a joy to chase Anthony around and watch his discover this world.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Eight Books I Read in May and June

Hey there, book friends! Life has been a bit crazy, and I missed the linkup last month, so I have eight books to share this month. The best part is I’ve read so many good books lately. I don’t know if I’ve been more selective about what I’m reading since I don’t have as much time to read, or I’ve just lucked out, but I couldn’t wait to share these books with y’all!

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth 
(c/o NetGalley)
I love Sally Hepworth, and while this book is a bit of a departure from her other books, I still enjoyed it. It reminded me a bit of Liane Moriarty's Big, Little Lies. Honestly, I didn't really care for the two side stories, but the main plot line was really interesting. Overall, it was a good read.

Lady Be Good by Amber Brock
(c/o NetGalley)
I had high hopes for this book because I really enjoyed Amber Brock's A Fine Imitation, but it fell flat for me. It had no real plot, especially for the first half, and Kitty was a bit annoying. It also felt really long when it was actually less than 300 pages. The second half redeemed it a little for me, but it was still not a favorite read.

Seeing Red by Sandra Brown
(c/o NetGalley)
This is my second Sandra Brown book, and I liked this one even more than the first one. Sandra Brown is just so good at mixing a thriller with romance. The plot was interesting, and it was full of great twists. I was honestly sad to see it end! I'll definitely be reading more Sandra Brown in the future.

A Vicarage Reunion by Kate Hewitt
(c/o NetGalley)
I wanted to love this book as much as I loved the first one, but it really dragged in the middle for me (which is saying a lot for a book that's less than 300 pages!). I did like the story overall, though, and I'm definitely going to read the next one in the series.

Our House by Louise Candlish
(c/o Penguin First to Read)
This thriller was SO good. It grabbed me right away, and if I could have, I would have definitely read it in one sitting. The twists were done well, and the plot was unique. I have been not impressed with many thrillers lately because it feels like they're all the same, so it was refreshing to read this book! The only reason it's not five stars for me is I feel like Bram could have been a little more developed.

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
(c/o NetGalley)
I'm always nervous about reading a sequel to a book I really liked, but Us Against You delivered. The writing was so beautiful, and the emotion is raw. This book is about so much more than just hockey- it's about politics, relationships, and resilience. It's a must read.

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
(c/o NetGalley)
This is the best women's fiction book I have read in a long time. It was almost as good as Swear on This Life, which is saying a lot for me. It sucked me in from the very beginning, and my pre-baby self would have probably finished it in one sitting. Even now, I was reading it as much as I could. The emotions were so well done, and the past-present format worked great in this case. Usually, I like either the past or present more, but I was eager to read both sides of the story. This was my first book from Christina Lauren, but it definitely won't be my last.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
(c/o NetGalley)
What a fast-paced thriller! This one really kept me on the edge of my seat. I literally felt sick for the main character as she made some impossible decisions. I LOVED it until the epilogue. I honestly wish it wasn't there. I had guessed that it would go in that direction, but I was hoping it wouldn't. That's all I'm going to say about that, so I don't give anything away, but it was still a fantastic book overall!

Favorite reads in May and June: Seeing Red, Our House, Us Against You, and Love and Other Words

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Let’s Have a Coffee Date: It’s Been a While, Let’s Catch Up!

Hey friends,

I skipped blogging for most of May and all of June, and it felt really strange. I opened up my blog quite a few times and wrote several halves of blog posts, but I just didn’t have the energy to finish a post. I’ve been wanting to share about a million things with y’all, though, so I figured it was time for a coffee date!

Chris is officially done with the hardest year of residency so far! Of course, his medical new year starts with a month of nights, but he will have some free weekends soon! He’s worked almost every weekend since February, so we are super excited. It’s hard to believe we are finally halfway through training. He has two more years of residency and one more year of fellowship left.

Can I just say how proud I am of Chris for how he handled this year? It just hasn’t been easy-many nights and almost no weekends, all while getting barely any sleep. I know he’s a little sad about how much he has had to miss Anthony grow, but it has really made the times we did have together even sweeter.

We decided to book a quick getaway for our birthdays! We found a nice cabin with a scenic view about five hours away, so it will be our first long road trip with Anthony. Fingers crossed he does well! I can’t wait for a little change of scenery.

Speaking of change of scenery, I can’t believe we are so close to our four weeks in DC! I’m a little nervous because it’ll be Anthony’s first flight (we decided against a 20-hour road trip), and he’s super active these days, so I have no idea how it will go. I’m excited to go on some weekend adventures with Christopher and Anthony, though! I’ve never been to DC, so if you have favorite places there, let me know.

Photo by Brittnie Renee Photography
Speaking of Anthony, he is crawling all over the place now, and it’s definitely a whole new ball game! I am getting a workout every day while chasing him. I’m planning to write an update soon, but this month with Anthony has been so much fun! It’s amazing to me how much he has learned. I’ve mentioned about a million times that I think Anthony is just not a great sleeper, and that’s still true. He has never slept through the night, though most nights we are down to two wakeups, so I’ll take it. He’s also had a hard time with naps lately. I’m trying to see how I can adjust his schedule, so he gets a little more rest!

I don’t have much time to read these days, but everything I have read lately has been really good! I missed last month’s book day, so I can’t wait to share my reads from the last two months next week!

Linking up with Kristen for What’s New With You?

Monday, May 7, 2018

Three Books I Read in April

Well, it looks like three books a month is the magic number right now. We spent most of April packing, moving, and unpacking, so I was glad to get even a little reading done. The good news is I liked all three reads, and I’m excited to share them with y’all.

The Holiday Cottage by the Sea by Holly Martin 
(c/o NetGalley)
Holly Martin is one of my favorite chick lit authors. The romance is sweet, and the beautiful sea village settings are always lovely. This one isn't one of my favorites of hers-I think it got a little repetitive-but I still enjoyed it and will read the next book in the series!

The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet 
(c/o Penguin First to Read)
It took me a while to get into this book. I don't think it's fair to call it a thriller-it's more of a drama. The plot was unique, though, and I really liked the second half of the book. The emotions were powerful and written so well. I wish the first half was a little shorter, but overall, it was a good read.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center 
(c/o NetGalley)
This book really sucks you in. I would have definitely finished it in one sitting if that was possible. It's heartbreaking but beautiful. The plot is predictable, but it doesn't matter because the beauty in this book is how Margaret gets to the ending. I also loved how it is written as a reflection on past events-I think it really added depth to the story. This was my first Katherine Center book, but it won't be my last!

Favorite read in April: How to Walk Away

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Anthony Update: Months Five and Six

Well, friends, move number eight in eight years of marriage is in the books! Our place is slowly starting to look more like a home, though I’m definitely taking my time with unpacking this time around compared to usual. I started to write a life update, but it felt like all I was doing was complaining because I’m having a hard time getting used to this new place and am really missing our old apartment. I think that life update will have to wait until I’m a bit further removed from the move. Instead, I thought I would share more about Anthony!

General Thoughts
I don’t even know how it’s possible that my baby is already six months. Everything they say about how fast time goes when you become a mother is true. These last few months have been so much fun with all the giggles and learning!

Who Does Anthony Look Like?
I debated on whether to leave this question or not this time because I don't really have a good answer, but I think it’ll be fun to remember all the changes in his appearance. The major developments on the looks front is I think Anthony’s eyes are turning green! When I’ve looked at him on a sunny day, I can see a hint of green, and other people have started to mention the same thing to me. Chris and I both have green eyes, so I’m excited that Anthony might have them, too. He also has quite a bit more hair, but it’s hard to tell because it’s mostly blonde!

We are a nickname family. I have about a million nicknames for Chris and Skyler, and Anthony now has a bunch, too. The ones used most often are Tosha (his Russian nickname), Buddy Bear, and Little A.

So many fun things have happened over the last two months, but the biggest milestone is we gave Anthony solids on his six-month birthday, and he absolutely loves everything he has tried! So far we have stuck with veggies, and Anthony has eaten sweet potato (his first food), peas, and carrots. I was pretty surprised because he actually ate everything we gave him the first day we tried (and would have kept eating and eating). I thought he would spit it out and there would be a big mess, but he made basically no mess. Anthony is also a huge talker and loves making new sounds.

Anthony was a trooper during his first move! Knowing us, it’s one of many, so I was glad to see it didn’t affect him much.

At this point I’ve come to terms with the fact that Anthony just isn’t a good sleeper. He has never slept through the night, and until recently, he would wake up about every two hours. Now he will sometimes sleep three to four hours straight for the first two cycles and then wake up every hour towards the morning. In general, he takes really good naps, though. His morning and afternoon nap are usually an hour or two, so if he’s had an especially rough night, I’ll take some time to sleep. He does still sleep in our room in a pack and play, and I am considering transitioning him to his crib to see if he does better.

Anthony on Easter
I made it to six months exclusively breastfeeding! It hasn’t been the easiest journey (I might share more of it with y’all at some point), but I am proud we’re at the halfway goal. Anthony currently eats about every three hours during the day. Like I mentioned above, we are also slowly starting to introduce solids. Last Friday we went out to eat with Chris’s parents, and when his dad sat Anthony at the table, he started mimicking chewing and showing us he also wanted to eat some dinner! We were cracking up that he knew that’s what we were about to do.

Anthony basically likes everything. Chris and I always say we’ll take the difficult nights because Anthony is such a great baby during the day and very rarely fusses. He has recently started enjoying his jumper and really loves playing on the floor. He also always wants to reach out and pet Skyler, but she mostly prefers to ignore him. Musical toys are still his favorites, along with anything that rattles. I’m hoping to get my act together and write a post about all of our favorite things from zero to six months in case it helps someone (and so that I have it for future reference!).

Like I said, Anthony doesn’t really have a lot of things he dislikes. Tummy time hasn’t been a favorite lately because all he wants to do is roll from his tummy to his back. I guess I could also include sleep in this category, too.

I’ve been trying as hard as I can to soak in these sweet moments with Anthony. I know soon he will be mobile, and I’ll miss these days of early morning chats and giggles and hours of floor play. Motherhood is strange in that I love that he is so cute and little right now, but I am also so excited for all the new things he’s going to learn.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Three Books I Read in March

Hey, friends! I had no idea I wouldn't be back on my blog until it was time for another book post, but that's just this season of life. We just can't seem to get anywhere with sleep, Chris is working over 12 hours a day (including weekends), and we're moving next week. Life is good, but it's all kinds of crazy, so I haven't had the time to write or read much. I'm really hoping I can find more time to do both once the dust settles, but I'm not really pressuring myself anymore. I did manage to read three books, and I liked them all, so I'm excited to share them with y'all.

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman 
(c/o First to Read)
Gayle Forman knows how to write a beautiful story. This is a book of three teenagers who have lost their way, but their lives are changed after a chance meeting. It's heartbreaking, emotional, and the characters are so well written. If you enjoy YA, this one is worth picking up.

The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen 
(c/o First to Read)
I had a hard time getting into this book at first. Something about the writing just really bothered me. About halfway through the book, I started to really like it. I actually guessed a few of the twists (though I thought I was likely wrong, ha!), but there were still many things that surprised me. I thought the ending was done well and interesting. I will be reading more Mary Torjussen books in the future!

Note: Can I just say it's always my reviews that say something about me disliking the author's writing that get liked by the author. I always feel a little embarrassed that I was so critical when that happens!

The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman 
(c/o NetGalley)
I was in the mood for a feel-good story, and I knew what I was getting with a Viola Shipman novel. I think it's so interesting it's written by a man using his grandmother's name. This is a sweet story about generations of women who have worked hard to build up an orchard in Suttons Bay, Michigan. The story centers around the granddaughter, who is torn between baking in New York and being with her family. It does bother me that the author inserts an insane amount of random facts about Michigan into his stories (though I like some of them!), but overall, it was exactly what I needed after reading too many thrillers and depressing stories.

Favorite read in March: I Have Lost My Way

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?