Family time


I still can’t believe it is 2015!  So grateful for the past year and looking forward to being a mama of 2! Time flies and today as I sat at my doctor’s appointment I couldn’t believe that in 7 more weeks we will meet our precious little princess. This weekend I just got back from a two week trip to California!  We had a hard time adjusting to sleep & naptime in Cali but I’m relieved that the few short days since being back home Fiona has gotten into her old routine again.  While she naps, I thought I’d do a recap of our trip.



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We had previously wanted to come for the holidays but decided to wait until January to make it to our dear friend’s wedding. Congrats to the newlyweds Vadim & Kristina Zanko on their beautiful day.




I told my husband that for the majority of the trip I really wanted to spend time with my siblings.  Every time I visit i get excited to see how everyone is growing and changing.  All my siblings loved on Fiona and it was beautiful watching her call after their names and bond with them.   The everyday celebrations and little episodes were such a delight.  They sure know how to come up with the most entertaining questions and cutest sayings.  While making sushi one of the days, Nathan exclaimed that I was the best “chef cook” in the world. Apparantly that is also what they call my mom.  We also had a deep discussion on what “taxes” were and I was surprised that my little sister thought that we payed taxes to the store boss.  They were super intrigued to hear about who took the .7 cents at the dollar tree.  I also loved how my brother Nathan walked around in his high water pants all day everyday and wouldn’t take them off until one of the older siblings threw his outgrown pants away.  My brother Victor made the best kettle popcorn from scratch.  Our prince David matured so much and I loved seeing him reading his bible and doing so well when his Sunday school performed.  My favorite was how Fiona learned some of the Lord’s prayer at the evening family prayer.  She knelt on her own knees to follow all her uncles and aunts and exclaimed “Amen” real loud when the end came.  Those simple moments I really want to remember forever.



Uncle and aunty love <3




My mom’s care and love was so appreciated!  Many times I think about her and still don’t know where she gets so much strength and love for us all!   She is such a woman of God and is a true wonder to me!  I sure got my vitamin C fix with all the fresh citrus.  I felt like baby grew double the weight while I was there from all the yummy meals.



My little nephew has grown into a adorable chubby 3 month old and I couldn’t resist him and his cuteness!  He is such a good baby and I am so proud of my sister!  She is a most beautiful mother.





My sister and mom threw a super sweet and intimate baby shower for me at a favorite european cafe called Ettores. It was a beautiful evening showering our new little princess and I felt so loved! So grateful for those that took the time to share and rejoice with us!



It was a great trip and I was so glad I got to get away from the cold temperatures and enjoy some California sunshine! #tillnexttime

Anatoly Ivanov-3 Months

Hi friends,

It’s been a while, and we have so much to catch up on, but it’s going to take me a while. I went back to work 3 weeks ago, and it’s been challenging to find time to even make dinner, so as you can imagine, blogging was not my priority. And before then? I’m sure that your holidays were just as busy as mine, so no need to explain that. J

I had to make time to pop in and do Anatoly’s 3 month update because he will be 4! months pretty soon here. When Anatoly had his 1st month birthday, I told Natalie that I was going to make him a photo book and document all his sweet moments/month birthdays, and that I’d try to have each month done before the next one rolled around…yeah, still haven’t started.



Since my mom has been watching Toly during the weekdays, he has probably gained 10 pounds (<–number is exaggerated, I will know the actual number next week). He is getting chunk-ayyy! I’m so proud of his little rolls, especially because he was so slow to gain weight initially. I was fortunate enough to be able to switch schedules with a coworker of mine, and now I have the time and a place to pump at work (something I’ve been worried about since I was pregnant). Toly is eating around 4-5 ounces every 3 hours or so.

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After the holidays, and a weekend out of town, Toly started waking up again to eat at nighttime. It’s usually only once or twice, so it’s not too bad, but I’m hoping he starts to sleep through the night again someday soon. We still swaddle him, but are planning to drop the swaddle soon as he has more control over his hands now. Nap times are a hit/miss. Some days he will take a few hour long naps, while other days his fights them.


Andrey used to tell everyone that while Toly was boring lol He is anticipating the days when Toly will be running around the house with him. This mama is content to cuddle her not-so-small baby for a little bit longer. J Toly is such a little smarty-pants. He totally recognizes us and our voices, moves around, laughs and coos, and loves to be able to see all the action going on around him. We usually move him into whatever room we’re in, and he is content to just stare at us. He is still loving his play mat, and is able to hold on to some of his toys now. He oftentimes has his hand in/near his mouth. I am just in awe of how much he has developed in such a short amount of time.


I am so happy to be this chunky boy’s mama, and cherish the sweet moments that we have together. Although it’s been hard going back to work, I {try} to be more intentional with the time we have together. When I’m at work, I tend to look at the other kids and think about how one day they were wee little ones being held by their mamas like I hold my boy. I wonder who he will become, and hope/pray that he is filled with God’s love from a young age.


Thanks for stopping by, even with our sporadic posting.:) I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and even better start to the new year. I don’t really know what this year will bring, but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.


I’ll leave you with my current favorite video of my boys. Andrey does this awesome Russian stretch/story with Toly that is so darn cute! Makes him (and me) smile every time.


Mom Enough

“Never mom enough, but filled with the One who is always Enough.”

I was so excited to see an amazing free Ebook on motherhood on the desiringGod website by some of my favorite writers! I downloaded it on my phone and read it in one sitting while baby girl napped. We as mothers are the greatest influencers that our children will have. It allowed me to see a beauty in the mundane and simple stay at home tasks and the real role and joy that comes in our “everydays”. It was so encouraging and filled with many gold nuggets of truth and conviction. I printed it and plan on reading it over and over again throughout this year when faced with mommy blues or drawn out days!  You can find the download here.

full_mom-enoughHope you will also be encouraged!


Christmas Recap 2014

With the church family we celebrated Christmas the Sunday after Christmas. After a Christmas service of carols and a awesome message on the greatest Gift we headed over to our place. We had a great time eating, talking, & opening presents that we had gotten for one another. I loved how thoughtful the gifts were and how everyone got to know each other a bit more after having to share something sweet about their person! I got a healthy cookbook and it was just what i needed to start off the new year! It was a great day and I loved it.









Hope everyone had a great Christmas with family & friends!

A Captured Gift


On December 6th we threw an event with our church and a local studio “Predestined in love” to provide christmas photos for families in the area. It was a rainy day but we were still so happy to see so many families come out. Thank you Sandra for your serving heart and loving personality! Thank you to all the volunteers that showed up bright and early to set up and get the printer and everything working. Here is a recap that we showed at our Sunday service:)

<3 Merry Christmas

Anatoly Ivanov- 2 Months

IMG_6979IMG_6980Somehow my babe is 2 months old already! He has gotten so big, and with a fun personality to match! He’s very predictable (most of the time), and we can usually decode his cries. Unless they have to do with his tummy. I feel like I ate a bunch of new to him foods during the Thanksgiving weekend so we had a little fussiness. I always feel so bad when his tummy hurts because I’m never really sure what it is that I ate/drank. I can tell you one thing that I cannot have and that is my beloved mineral water. I feel like I want it even more now because I can’t have


It’s been a joy to watch him grow this past month. His chunky cheeks make me so happy! We still have to work on the thighs though. ;) His skin has cleared up, and his hair seems to have stopped shedding. His eyes seem bluer than ever-but I know they still might change. He still loves bathtime. We give him a bath every night as a routine/associate with bedtime thing. We don’t always use soap, as babies don’t really get dirty. He seems content just to soak. My little brother Victor was over for bath time one night and asked if Toly has ever peed in the tub. We said “No”, and of course Toly decided to prove us wrong that night. #sillychild. Sometimes he get’s this adorable look on his face that makes me feel like he understand me. ;) I know he doesn’t, but still it feels like it. One time I was holding him and praying over him and I was crying, and this ‘concerned’ look he gave me was priceless.



He has started to like being changed. He usually coos and smiles throughout the process. Andrey likes to leave his diaper off for a few minutes to let Toly’s bottom breathe a little, and he loves it. I just realized that Gap onesies are the easiest to put on. The material is super stretchy, and fits over Toly’s head quite nicely. #Gapbaby. We were gifted so many diapers that we are still working through them. I did order a bundle of Honest diapers because I got a 1/2 off coupon in my email. I love the adorable prints, but if I didn’t have the discount, I don’t think I would buy the diapers on a regular basis. Although cute and au natural, I feel like they are too pricey for something that a)we go through so quickly, and b)ends up on the trash. Anywaaaay, back to the topic at hand…our little monkey. Toly had a bunch of clothes/blankets with monkeys on them, and also his little face sorta looks like a monkey (in the best way possible:), so his little nickname seems to have stuck with us. We started laying Toly down to ‘play’ on his play mat and he sure loves that thing! His legs start pumping up and down and his hands go wild. He’s a mover that’s for sure. A few days ago he ever rolled over. I think it was more accidental but still. :)



IMG_9292We have transitioned Toly into a cradle (from his pack and play). While still in our room, the cradle is a flat surface, and I feel like Toly can finally move his noggin around if he needs to spit up. It took a few days for him to transition, but now he’s totally used to it. We’ve been using the Mom’sOnCall methods (thanks Nat!) for sleeping/eating/playing and we are so thankful that our babe sleeps so well. Typically he will go down at 9/9:30 and wake up around 4 for a feeding, and then sleep until 7. Then during the day, Toly eats around every three hours. It’s so nice to have a bit of a schedule. I’m hoping it can stay relatively the same when I go back to work.

*I’ll have you know that I had this post ready to go last week, I just have the hardest time selecting photos. Too many to choose from. <3 I’ll leave you with my current two favorite photos and video.




Thanksgiving and date night weekend

Hi guys,

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend! We sure did! We spent ours at both families homes, so by the end of the day I was just as wiped out as Toly. Somehow Andrey never runs out of steam. lol We didn’t go shopping on black Friday, and quite frankly I don’t feel like we missed out on much. I had purchased some things online a few days before Thanksgiving and it seemed like the deals were just as good better since I didn’t have to get my bottom off my chair. ;) How bout you guys? Anyone score some amazing deals that we must know about for next year? I actually went to Target on Sunday and it was so empty that it felt weird.

On Friday night we dropped the babe off at my mom’s house and had our first solo date. We actually tried to take our Christmas photos right before our date-you know since it’s not every day that I brush my hair and put ‘real’ clothes on ;), but we took too long to get ready and missed the sun by a few minutes, causing the pictures to be grainy/unclear, so we’ll have to try again this weekend.

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We were a bit full from our late lunch, so we went to grab coffee/kombucha at a new (to us) coffee shop called The Mill. We loved our drinks, and the service was awesome. Andrey’s vanilla latte had little vanilla bean specks in it! I absolutely adore vanilla beans! I’ve been thinking about heading over there again all week but the rain has got me in a stay home in my pajamas kind of mood. :)

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Before driving out to dinner Andrey suggested that I look up fun things to do in Sacramento, to see if I could find anything else we could do. I found that downtown was having a reading of the Christmas story and a lights show, so there we went. There were a ton of people, so parking was a little difficult, but I’m glad we went. There were families dressed up in their Christmas pajamas. It was so cute! We never did Christmas pajamas, but I think it would be a fun tradition to start.

We finally worked up an appetite and headed over to Formolis Bistro. My salad was good, but Andrey’s whiskey burger was amazing! So much flavor packed in that thing! I had read about this restaurant in the Sac Bee a while back and had forgotten about it, so I was glad to have stumbled into it. <– Andrey and I went on a walk a few weeks ago, and this restaurant is right by Andrey’s beloved Peet’s coffee. We decided to check it out when we’d have a chance. The reason Formolis was in the paper was that their owner/workers take a 3 hours trip to a  biodynamic vegetable plot in the Napa Valley to pick organic vegetables for the restaurant! I thought that was pretty cool.


Eventually we started to miss our little guy so we headed back to my moms. We ended the evening as we always do-with bath time, and I told Andrey that although our spontaneous date days are gone, I wouldn’t trade our new lifestyle for anything.


Meal Planning Recap

The month of November came to such a quick end! And today is already December! I’m excited because the closer it is to me getting to visit my family again in January!😄😄😄  No more leaves on the trees here in NJ, everything is barren looking and grey. It snowed twice this month, but nothing too heavy! I can’t wait for the first BIG snow fall so we can go play in the snow & take Christmas photos!

I loved meal planning for this month especially being busy with school and all the little events and errands we had planned for Thanksgiving.  I would say I stayed right on track with the dinners 90% of the time! It was a huge time & money saver! No bad veggies wasted in the fridge. We got to eat leftovers a few times so that was nice, I got a few extra nights off! Thanksgiving went by smoothly & I loved the laid back weekend that followed.  Roman had four days off in a row so we enjoyed the family time staying indoors for the most part and just playing with Fiona!  (Put up the Christmas tree & everything)! It felt so festive and it got me so excited for the holidays!

New tested and tried recipes for the month of November:

1. Missy’s Lemon & Blueberry Cupcakes

2. Natasha’s Kitchen Boccone Dolce cake <– this is a pretty cake to make for Christmas! It tasted like a huge raspberry macaron! No kidding!

3. Korie's Cranberry Walnut Cookie ( i just might post this recipe, they are so good!)

3. Olviya's mother in law's Turkey recipe with tip from NK & Olgas flavor factory gravy!

4. Homemade Pelmeni

Last month’s menu:

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This morning I whipped out the December menu and printed it and posted it on the fridge!  Something I did differently this month, was leave two blank days for inspiration. Sometimes I’ll see something or try something at a party and want to make it! So that’s what I did on the later weeks of december. Left two blank days, called Inspiration days! :)) (Inspire me Ladies) :For December my goal is to make more hearty soups, try out my friend Vita’s homemade bread recipe, & try a new cake recipe(haven’t decided which one yet) and some yummy egg rolls for Christmas dinner!

Happy Cooking & Baking for the month of December!  This month in particular, I was so so thankful for bloggers out there that share their food adventures with us!  One in particular I loved that Natasha from NK posted the turkey recipe with the tip from Gordon Ramsay; the recommendation for the butter, lemon, and parsley stuffed into the skin!  Oh my, was that so tasty! I wanted to lather it on some bread and just eat it plain! So shout out to all the food bloggers out there that inspire and help us cook hearty and yummy meals!

What are some tasty recipes you tried this past month?! I just love new pinterest tags or recipe links.  I’m a sucker for recommendations!  My sister has a board up of all her tested and tried recipes and I love almost everything on there! Anytime west sista Olviya tells me about something new she tried I get hooked! 

Happy Thanksgiving!



1. I am thankful for Jesus Christ my Savior!  For the blood that was shed on my behalf and for the Father’s love and grace that he gives to me daily!  My salvation is the greatest treasure I have, a true gift.   Thank you Jesus!


2.  I am thankful for my husband.  For his kind and giving heart.  There is no one else I’ve met that loves people wholeheartedly like he does!  For always pushing me and cultivating my character!  For shepherding our church family and never giving up!


3.  I am thankful for my little princess Fiona and her soon to be sibling.  She is the sparkle in our lives!  It is one of the greatest gifts of God to entrust us with little blessings and it leaves me overwhelmed of his goodness.


4. I am thankful for FAMILY near and far! For all my brothers in sisters! For my parents, grandparents and extended family!

5.  I am thankful for friendships, food, & fellowship!   My favorite memory from this Thanksgiving was at our church potluck on Wednesday when we passed a pine cone around the table and said what we were grateful for!  I loved hearing the stories and the things people had overcome!  I am thankful that God places people in my life that I can learn and glean from.  And lastly, I am thankful for you!  Thank you for reading:)


Happy Thanksgiving and May God Bless you!

Operation Christmas Child


our mini Christmas tree!

This wednesday for Bible Study we got busy wrapping and putting christmas presents together for Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child.  I love everything about this cause!

I loved the team effort that went into play and how excited everyone was to bring something for a complete stranger half way across the world.  I actually got inspired by a friend on Instagram to do this with our cell group! So thanks Tanya! :) We went to Target and loaded a cart full of fun toys ranging from age 2-14!





It was awesome to see such a great turnout with everyone that came out to help! The christmas music, yummy donuts, and fellowship in between were the perfect touches to an evening of giving back!





I absolutely love wrapping gifts and seeing others get involved was the coolest part of it all!  We wrote individual letters to the children to make it more personal & I loved reading a few of them before they went in the boxes! It feels like Christmas is around the corner! Ahhhhh how I love Christmas time! Can’t wait for the JOY of it all!!!! A big thank you for everyone that helped wrap and helped participate this wednesday!

Operation Christmas child

Awesome video:)