The Siberian American: January 2019

Monday, January 28, 2019

Anthony Update: Months Ten, Eleven, and Twelve (Plus Some Current Updates)

Hey, friends! I’m definitely late on this update because Anthony turned 15 months on Sunday (how?!), but I wanted to have his entire first year on my blog. Plus, who doesn’t love an excuse for adorable baby photos? At the end of this post, I’m including some fun facts about Anthony right now.

General Thoughts
The last three months of Anthony’s first year were so much fun. We got to do many new things with Anthony on our four-week trip to Washington DC, and I loved watching him explore.

At his 12-month appointment, Anthony was 21.4 pounds (55th percentile) and 30.75 inches (80th percentile). He’s come a long way from being in the second percentile for his weight at his two-month appointment! Around his first birthday, he had eight teeth.

Those last three months before one were full of milestones. The biggest milestone was walking. He was taking a few steps here and there at 11 months, but he didn’t consistently pick walking over crawling until 13 months.

His other big milestone was his language. I had heard that children who learn two languages at once can be slightly delayed with their language, but Anthony has been doing well so far. The first word he said (and understood the meaning) was bye-bye. He always says it when we leave a room or go through any door (and he waves! It’s so cute). At his one year birthday, he knew eight words: buh-bye, dada, baba (for my mom), go, mmm good, ky-ky (Russian for peek-a-boo), kaka (Russian for dog), and ball. Since then, he’s added on quite a few more words. My favorites from his new words are mama (he finally said it consistently right after Christmas!), teeth, cheese, and bubbles.

Anthony had so many fun firsts in months 10-12. On September 8 (at 10 months), he had his first flight. He did so well. For those of you with babies and toddlers who haven’t flown with them yet, the biggest recommendation I can give is to buy them their own seat. It is so much easier and much safer, too! We took him to the ocean for the first time at Assateague Island, and he went to the zoo for the first time at the Smithsonian Zoo. We also visited monuments, Monticello, Shenandoah National Park, and took Anthony to his first apple orchard. We added three new states to Anthony’s state list while in DC, so by the time he turned one, he had visited five states.

On our flight back, he really was a super trooper because we got stuck on the plane when we landed due to a thunderstorm, and we didn’t get home until 11 p.m. We also experienced 30 seconds of the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced as we flew through the thunderstorm.

Like I mentioned in my last Anthony update, I was beyond excited when he turned the corner with his nighttime sleeping. For a while, Anthony was wanting to do all of his sleeping at night. He would go to bed at 8 p.m., wake up at 6:30 a.m. to feed, and then he would want to go back to sleep until 9 a.m. It was really nice because I could get some work done in the morning. As a result of his night sleep, he would only take two 30-minute naps during the day. This changed again recently, and now he’s sleeping 11 hours at night (he does wake up once occasionally), taking an hour and a half morning nap and a 45-minute evening nap.

Anthony still loves to eat! We made it to one year of breastfeeding (and we’re actually still breastfeeding, which is crazy to me. I doubted I would make it to a year, let alone longer than a year). He never really used bottles, so it was easy to transition to a sippy cup. He will pretty much eat everything. His favorite food includes eggs, cheese, tortillas (or any kind of bread), zucchini, squash, salmon, bananas, and strawberries. The only food we have noticed he doesn’t like so far is carrots. He’s also not a big meat eater yet. His Dada likes to say Anthony somehow manages to eat as much food as he does.

Anthony loves people (he is shy for about 10 minutes when he meets someone new, but then he won’t stop talking!), going to the park (swinging and going down the slide is his favorite), dancing (any time I say “dance, dance,” he starts dancing!), listening to music (Baby Shark is a favorite, of course), and reading books. He is also a huge fan of our dog Skyler and is always looking to see where she is. She is finally a big fan of his, now that he throws her food from his high chair. His favorite toys at that age were a dump truck (he loves to drive it around), his V-Tech Activity Walker, and any kinds of balls to kick and throw.

Really, the only big dislike at that stage was diaper changes. They got really difficult, and it was hard to keep him distracted.

Things I Want to Remember
Around ten months, Anthony learned how to give hugs! If you ask for a hug, he will cuddle in close, and it’s the sweetest thing.

Around the 12-month mark, he really got interested in Baby Shark. He calls it “Doo, Doo, Doo,” and he knows I say “Alexa, play Baby Shark” to get it to play. He tries to get Alexa to play it by saying, “A, A, Doo, Doo, Doo!” Then, as soon as the song starts, he starts to dance. He knows the last line too and starts saying “Doo, Doo, Doo,” so I’ll play it again.

Right now, we play with bubbles in the bath tub, and he absolutely loves it. He will watch them and say “bubble!”

He hands me my phone and asks me to see photos of himself. He calls himself “Tota” because his Russian nickname is Tosha.

He recently started wagging his finger and saying “no, no, no!” I think he saw us say that to Skyler.

He loves cheese! As soon as I put him in his high chair, he says “cheese?”

If he can’t see me at church or while we’re shopping as a family, he’ll call for me.

We bought him a Pottery Barn Anywhere Chair, and his favorite thing to do with it is roll it over and unzip it.

He is constantly waving at people and dogs.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Five Best Coastal Towns to Visit in Maine

If you’ve read my travel posts in the past, you know that Maine is one of my favorite places in the world. Chris and I constantly talk about how much we want to own a summer home there in the future (because we definitely don’t want to deal with those winters!). Now that I’m back to travel blogging, I thought it was only appropriate to kick off my travel posts with more Maine talk! One of my favorite parts of our Maine babymoon was visiting all the of the adorable coastal towns, so today I wanted to share five of my favorite spots with you.

Kennebunkport is the town that made me fall in love with the Maine coast. We first visited Kennebunkport on our fall colors cruise in 2014, and I knew we had to go back. Kennebunkport is full of adorable shops, historic mansions, gorgeous views, and amazing lobster rolls at The Clam Shack. If you want to swim, there are also several beautiful beaches to visit.

Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor is the gateway to one of my favorite national parks: Acadia National Park. Like with Kennebunkport, we first visited Acadia on our fall color cruise, and we loved it so much we knew we had to go back! Bar Harbor itself is special too. We loved walking along the water, going on a lobster boat cruise, and dining at the many delicious restaurants. You must stop for ice cream at Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream and grab some wild Maine blueberry muffins at Jordan’s Restaurant.

Camden is known for gourmet dining and the gorgeous Penobscot Bay. One of my favorite memories from our babymoon was our sunset cruise on the Penobscot Bay: it was absolutely stunning! Camden Hills State Park, a short drive outside the city, is also worth a visit. Mt. Battie (inside the park) offers gorgeous panoramic views of Penobscot Bay.

Boothbay Harbor
Boothbay Harbor stole my heart. It was the cutest little town with the most beautiful, clear water. It might just be a top contender for that vacation home of ours. I loved walking the Footbridge and just exploring all the fun shops along the water. It was absolutely charming and felt a bit like going back in time. I can’t wait to go back!

I included York on my list because it’s one of the easiest towns to get to from other states if you are driving. York is located on the southern tip of Maine and is full of fantastic beaches and gorgeous mansions. My favorite part of York, though, was the Cape Neddick Light (most commonly referred to as the Nubble Light)—one of the most photographed lighthouses in Maine.

This is just a taste of some of my favorite places in Maine! I'll be sharing more in-depth guides in the future.
P.S-If you know me, you know why all of the photos I showed y'all today are of the water and not the towns themselves-the water is my favorite part!

Other Maine Babymoon Posts:

Other Maine Posts:

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

Monday, January 7, 2019

Six Books I Read in December

Happy book day, friends! I'm so excited to be sharing books with y'all today because I've read so many good books lately! Chris started working nights a few days before the new year (so brutal), which has been a good excuse for me to get some reading done! Also, I had quite a few First to Read ARCs that expired January 1, so I had to finish quickly. Because of this, December was heavy on historical fiction, but it all worked out since most of these books were fantastic!

(c/o NetGalley)
I waited till December to read this book thinking it had a Christmas theme (it didn't), but it was still a great, light read for this time of year, which I really needed after some heavy books. I sped through it and was excited to see how it would end. Here's the thing: I really loved the way the ending was done, but I hated some of the events that lead up to the ending. Some of the main characters' actions really didn't sit right with me, and I think this cheapened the ending a bit. I'm obviously being vague on purpose to avoid spoilers, but I'm happy to discuss it with those who have read it. Overall, it was a cute read, and I would definitely recommend it.

(c/o Penguin First to Read)
Wow, what a story! This historical fiction novel set in the 1920s features Alice "Nobody" James, who, after fleeing a life entrenched in the New York mafia, finds herself at Paragon Hotel, Portland's only all-black hotel. It weaves between Nobody's life in New York and the racism she witnesses as she is thrust into life at The Paragon Hotel. This novel is heartbreaking, interesting, and relevant. One of the things I love about historical fiction is learning something new, and this book taught me so much: about the Italian Mafia in New York, the Prohibition Era, and the rise of the KKK in Oregon (I had no idea Oregon was originally established as an all-white "utopia"-wow!). It's powerful and beautiful, and the only reason I can't give it five stars is the ending fell a little flat for me.

This book definitely lived up to the hype. The writing is absolutely beautiful, and the story is both heartbreaking and hopeful. I love when historical fiction teaches me something new, and I feel like I really have a better grasp on the situation in Cuba, past and present.

(c/o Penguin First to Read)
I read this book right after I read Next Year in Havana, and I was so excited to read a book with Beatriz as the main character. She's a great character, and I loved how she went outside of the norm of society. I didn't love this book as much as Next Year in Havana because I didn't like the romance as much and didn't feel quite as connected to the characters. Overall, though, I liked that this book gave a better overview of life for exiles in the United States after the Cuban Revolution!

(c/o Penguin First to Read)
I love Susan Meissner's books because they always teach me something new. In this case, I learn a lot about internment camps during World War II. Overall, I liked the main character, but this book did lack some emotion for me. It was a good read, but I have read better books from Susan Meissner.

(c/o NetGalley)
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an incredible author. Honestly, when I read the description of this book (about the rise and fall of a fictitious band in the 1970s), I thought that if it wasn't written by Taylor Jenkins Reid, I wouldn't have read it. This story was just incredible. It was heartbreaking, beautiful, and just so raw. I felt a rollercoaster of emotions. I loved the interview format-it was so perfect for this book! I pretty much loved everything about it, except one thing towards the end, but it wasn't enough to change my rating from five stars. I rarely give out five stars, but this book is absolutely worth it. I want to start all over from the beginning!

Favorite reads in Month: The Paragon Hotel, Next Year in Havana, and Daisy Jones & the Six.

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Let's Talk About My Blogging in 2018 and My Goals for 2019

I've thought a lot about what I want to say about my lack of blogging in 2018. I honestly never wanted to be one of those bloggers who has a baby and leaves the blogging world. I love writing and the blogging community too much for that. I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep blogging, but honestly, I felt so much better when I let it go and only wrote when I could. I've touched on it a little in the past, but here is what happened in 2018 that made me write only 19 posts all year:

Photo by Brittnie Renee Photography
1) Anthony hated sleep. 
From birth to 9.5 months, Anthony would not sleep. There was a point in time when he would wake up every 30 minutes at night for several months. I was in survival mode, and blogging just couldn't be a priority. All of a sudden at 9.5 months, he flipped a switch and started sleeping through the night! For those currently in no-sleep land, it does get better!

2) I work from home. 
This was a big one. I have enjoyed working from home the last few years, but now with Anthony, I get most of my work done during his naps and after he goes to bed at night (except on Tuesdays, which are always super busy for me, so my mom comes and watches Anthony). With the lack of sleep and still having to finish my projects, blogging just didn't work.

3) I had major post-partum anxiety. 
People always warn you about post-partum depression, so I didn't even know post-partum anxiety could happen. My heart was constantly racing, and driving anywhere became a huge struggle. I feel like I'm finally coming out of that severe anxiety haze, so here are my goals for 2019:

Post Once a Week
I'm hoping to start posting once a week on Mondays. I have missed blogging so much, and I think I have gotten a little better at time management now that Anthony is older, so I am really hoping to make this happen. That said, I'm not going to put pressure on myself to make this happen. These next few months are going to be a bit crazy in our family (I'll hopefully explain more later!), and I'm not really looking to increase my stress.

Post One Travel Post a Month
This is a huge one for me. I still get emails all the time with people asking me travel questions, especially about our California trip (which is by far my most-viewed blog post, thanks to Pinterest), and I have missed writing about travel so much! I didn't write a single travel post in 2018 because they are the most time-consuming posts, but I have so many things I want to share, and I'm really hoping to make these a priority in 2019!

I really want to say thank you to everyone who reached out to me last year. I love this community so much, and I'm so thankful for those of you who checked in on me or even commented because I definitely wasn't the best at reading your blogs in 2018! Cheers to 2019! Wishing everyone all the best this year and always.

Linking up with Kristen and Helene!