Because sometimes it’s good to take a summer sabbatical. And that is exactly what California is for us.  Here’s a few of my favorite pics from our vacation with the family!
IMG_8425IMG_8445IMG_8499IMG_8517IMG_8528IMG_8536IMG_8542IMG_8548IMG_8555IMG_8572IMG_8587IMG_8670Seeing my preggo sister was the highlight for this trip! It was so awesome to see her glowing with so much expectant joy! Baby Anatoliy we can’t love you more and can’t wait to meet you! Baby girl had so much fun with her uncles and aunties! Weeeeee!!! I forgot how strong the sunshine is on the west coast. #neveragainforgoingthesunscreen. So many memories and so much happiness!

Grow Baby Grow

Hi! Happy Tuesday to you all. I hope your week is off to a great start. We just got back from a family trip to Los Angeles a few days ago, so I finally feel rested and ready to try and catch you all up on this summer’s shenanigans. Natalie and her precious family came to visit us in California 2 weeks ago, and while she was here, she and my mom threw me the most wonderful baby shower. The theme was Grow Baby Grow, was inspired by these adorable pots my mom found at a baby store. My mom had been planning and collecting cute things for the shower for months, so it was cool to see how it all came together.IMG_6037



Loved my cake topper…cake not so much lol I tried to be all domestic and bake it myself, but it melted into the pictured mess you see. Ah, you live and learn. Next time, I’ll listen to my mama and have one made. ;)


Loved this game. I thought we would have a million winners, but lo and behold, only one girl won. candles=love. Please excuse the handwriting…writing with chalk pens is more difficult than it may seem. ;)


Appetizer table.


The good stuff. #diaperraffle


How can you not smile when looking at my new elephant hamper? I just love it so!


<3 these two.


My two gorgeous mamas! Etsy print can be found here.


All the lovely ladies.

food collage

Some of the delicious food.

the favors

The succulent favors. I recruited my family into helping me make these a few days before the shower. Succulents were purchased here. Favor idea was found here.


Uh-oh… ;)




Yep! Iced coffee was a good idea. :)

IMG_6048 guests collage

IMG_8115 IMG_8164

We had the shower at a park, and it was in the 90’s that day. I’m so thankful to the gracious guests for being so kind and not complaining…I was sweating up a storm! When I got to the park to set up a few last minute things, I felt like a gazillion things started to go wrong. My hydrangeas straight up died/withered away in the heat, our ‘grow baby’ backdrop fell over and a few of the glass jars broke, the paper cups and napkins were being blown away by the wind, my cake was melting, oh and did I mention that it was 90+ degrees?! :) I had a few gracious guests remind me to breathe, and to enjoy the shower. At first it was really hard for me to do, but then towards the end of the evening I made myself slow down and enjoy the time with my friends/family. I was reminded of my wedding planning…so many details, so many things could/do go wrong, but at the end of the day you remember the reason for the celebration and the memories of the mishaps slowly fade away. I’m so grateful for my friends and family that came out to celebrate with me. One of my favorite moments was hearing all the women share their advice before I opened their gift for baby Toly. So many wise words were shared.  IMG_6195 I hope to make these into a book!

Thank you to all who made this beautiful day happen, and everyone else who came out to celebrate with me. <3


Matryoshka party!

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 8.17.22 AM A first birthday calls for a celebration.  For baby girl’s party I planned a family get together in our backyard the day after 4th of July.  I got inspired to do a russian matryoshka theme.  Here’s a little recap of the party.
IMG_7712IMG_7718IMG_7678All the beautiful ladies.

IMG_7686IMG_7691Our blessing and joy she is! So much happiness in such a tiny human!
matryoshka2My favorite part of the whole evening was when Fiona opened presents.  It was the cutest thing.  She had to touch every single item and look it over and sat on her gifted little play car the whole time.  She loved the tissue and paper cards even more than what was inside.  babysfirstpartybabysfirstparty1So thankful for my friend Irena’s help with the party!  She even wrote out a really cute russian riddle. (see below) !
matryoshka33 IMG_7801 Thank you everyone for coming and celebrating with us!  We really missed our Cali family but can’t wait to see them all in one week!! California here we come.

Proud to be an American!

spirit of the lord

Happy 4th of July friends! This morning we participated in our town parade and handed out mini flags.  Our main street was packed with people!   To start off the parade they shot a cannon.  My first time hearing one!  It was great to see all the veterans, volunteers, bands, chiefs walk by so proudly!  It left me super patriotic and proud as can be.  So glad we moved to this town.  I was busy passing out flags with our smiling outreach baby.  We got through 1600 flags in about an hour!  So many people loved the flags and it felt good reaching out and inviting our community to our local church! I thank God that although I was born in Ukraine I had the privilege of being raised in America.  The land of the free that was founded on truth.  Something I want to continue to stand for.  proudtobeanamerican1 proudtobeanamerican2

proudtobeanamerican IMG_7624 IMG_7639 IMG_7594

Enjoy the fireworks tonight and be safe!

Take me out to a ball game….

This past Tuesday we went out to a Yankees game. My husband got tickets from his job and we decided to take some friends with us! I never liked baseball growing up but going to a game with the right people really made the night! Arielle (Baby Fi’s favorite babysitter) and her mom Linda are extreme baseball fans so we were well informed of what was taking place! Arielle recently came home from a missions trip to Ecaudor so it was so nice spending some quality time with her and her mom!

IMG_7465 IMG_7478 IMG_7522And apparently our seats were exactly perfect for catching fly balls. We got two balls that came right at us. Arielle almost got it but kind of hit it out of her own hand. #soclose We didn’t stop talking about that moment for the rest of the night. The other fly ball scared me right out of my seat! Good thing Roman had taken the baby with him to get food. We enjoyed some very overpriced unhealthy steak burgers and chicken fingers. #somuchforeatingclean But my favorite was the dippen dots! The last time I had some was in middle school on our trip to Waterworld. #tbt Love me some dippen dots!
Baby’s first ballgame. <3

Happy 1st Birthday!

A beautiful little girl named Fiona turned one today. She is the bundle of joy that made me into a mother. I still remember the morning when we met her. The most amazing blessing!

happy birthday babygirl! Mama & Papa love you oh so much! More than your love for paper and keys! More than your love for sitting in your carseat. More than you love for ripping out all the tissues from the tissue box, or biting on daddy’s slippers. More than your kiddie pool. More than your love for being in mama’s arms and kissing me when i say tsom tsom (kiss kiss).  More than peak a boo.  We love you unconditionally. Everytime we look at you we are reminded of how much our Father in heaven loves us! Something that is beyond explanation. We pray that you continue to grow up in what God has called you for. That you will be a JOY to all.

We did a little spontaneous photoshoot in our backyard a week ago when the roses were still in full bloom.  I made a little flower crown with what we picked from our flower bushes.


Our silly goose she is! IMG_6948Today we made 4th of July flags with church to pass out this weekend during the parade in our town. They are invites to church. It thundered all night long with pouring rain. It was a brilliant night to spend indoors listening to the thunder. I baked a little cake and our bible study sang happy birthday to little Fiona.





Babymoon in Mexico

Hi guys,

Andrey and I got back from Mexico two weeks ago, and I figured it was time I do a recap on this dusty blog of mine. :) It was our first time in Mexico (for a vacation…I’ve been on missions trips before), and we had a great time! We stayed at the Now Jade resort.I wanted to do this recap with a bunch of pictures, and some of the highlights of our trip. We flew out of San Fransisco fairly early on Tuesday morning. Our flight passed by relatively quickly, and before we knew it, we were on foreign soil. :) The first thing I thought when we got off the place was ohmygosh this place is HUMID! Humidity is not my friend, but I got used to it fairly quickly…especially being in the water all day.


We were greeted with cold, wet face towels to cool off upon arrival.

We took it easy the first day, as we were all running on a few hours of sleep. We went out for Chinese food at what would become our favorite restaurant at our resort, Spice. We sat by the hibachi grill, and while the show was nice, the sweat dripping that ensued was not lol Note to self: never sit near a hibachi grill in Mexico. The rest of the trip was spent reading (3 books read=big accomplishment for me!), napping (a must on vacation), tanning/lounging around, eating, and eating some more. A perfect vacation in my books!


I laughed SO much on this trip! We had an entertaining group. :)


The fire show.


Mojitos alllll day long!


Dusk was my favorite time of day in Mexico. The pool/beach crowds would start to disperse, in search of dinner, leaving the cabanas free for lounging/reading…plus, the wind usually picked up later on in the day. <3


The cool infinity pool, and Andrey playing volleyball.


Andrey & George both ‘tried out’ to become the next American Idol…let’s just say that it didn’t go too well;) The song selection wasn’t the best, and Andrey practiced a few minutes before singing. lol When in Mexico, right?!


There were multiple weddings at the beach everyday…we took advantage of the beauty. :)


Being goofy…we need to learn how to take cute maternity pictures. ;)


In search of food. :)


<3 the ocean


These girls are professional vacationers. :)


Excuse the fuzzy IPhone picture. The boys watching the FIFA world cup. Mexicans take soccer very seriously. :)


Andrey & George picked some coconuts off the trees. Fresh coconut water = so good!…even if I was the only one who thought so. #”thistasteslikedirtywater”


Some of the restaurants we went to had some fancy shmancy foods like ham ash, and coffee air…It was cool to try foods that we wouln’t normally order. Dinner meals were also a time of much laughter…you know, because there’s no better way to break up the stuffy atmosphere in a fancy restaurant. ;)


Coconut water blended with some pineapple juice. So refreshing!


I meant to write babymoon, but somehow ended up restating the obvious. ;)


25 weeks. Belly bump is LARGE and in charge. :)


Andrey fell in love with their coconut ice cream. Here we are enjoying one last scoop before departure.


aaaand just like that, 7 days had gone by, and we were headed home!

I’m so glad that we were able to experience a trip like this before our little bambino joins us. I know I’ll look back at this time with great fondness. ;)

I hope that you guys are having a fantastic summer!



Pool day!

To start off the weekend we went to Crystal Springs Aquatic center today and boy did Fiona have a blast. I waited until after she woke up from her bedtime to go and it was perfect.  She had so much energy and wasn’t afraid to get soaked.
^^^^ We played hide and seek in the kiddie pool and she was squealing with delight.  I told my husband that I get so happy when babygirl is happy! I love seeing her explore and learn new things! Such a blessing, the mere fact that we just get to enjoy her and be so entertained by her little personality.


She played with the fountains for the longest time.  When they got bigger she would quickly crawl away.  IMG_7240

^^^ I absolutely love this picture of her chowing down on a mango!  She wouldn’t take her eyes from the water. IMG_7188

^^^ She left the pool in tears. That only means it’s a sure thing we are coming back.


^^^  Bye Bye , Love Fiona

Hope you guys enjoy this beautiful weather!


I do love me some blooms.  Here are the latest from the backyard.
That trellis did bloom in blush pink climbing roses. It got fuller with the following weeks.
^^^^ Roses Galore! I think these are called six sisters! Each stem holds six buds or more.  I love how they look once bloomed so full yet petite.
IMG_6751^^^Cilantro ready to sprinkle on everything I cook.   One of my favorite herbs!
gardenupdate2^^^ The dahlias are coming up even though I planted them way to close to each other.  I can’t wait for late summer for them to bloom.  My neighbor Pearl gave me another plant, Lily of Valley and I can’t wait until next spring for that one. The bottom pics are the blackberries that have just taken over our yard.  They are everywhere !
^^^ Don’t really now what kind of berries these are.  I tried one and it tasted sour so they are definitely not ready.  I found them against the back of the yard hidden behind a whole bunch of weeds.  So yesterday after my pulling weeds session I took a shower and noticed little red spots all over my legs! Lo and behold I got poison ivy.  I’ve been pretty good about not itching it but hopefully it goes away soon! Around this bush is a whole bunch of foreign territory so I’m blaming it on this area.
^^^ These lilies are so bright and vibrant! They are alongside our driveway and front of the house.  The other day Fiona and I leaned over to smell them and got spotted with yellow pollen all over us.  Good thing I noticed it before we went anywhere.
^^^A pretty weed.
IMG_6790^^^My indoor herb garden.   Unfortunatly my basil plant just didn’t make it.
^^^^ I saved the best for last!  OMG! What beauties! They just came up this morning and I had to snap a picture.  They smell similar to lilacs but don’t really look like them!  The peak of burnt orange in the center surprised me and I thanked God for the uniqueness of all His creations!  I enjoy the simple days being outdoors with the baby!  I love cutting fresh flowers and bringing them indoors. So much to look forward to. Happy Gardening!

Rest in Peace


#throwback to 2012 after church picture of Diane and I.   She had dried the flowers I had brought her and put them in a vase that said “friends forever”.  One of the most thoughtful and most cherished gifts I’ve ever received.

Our dear sister in Christ, Diane Bruzkowitz went to be with the Lord yesterday morning.  She will be greatly missed.  What I will remember most is that the song of the Lord was always on her heart.  She loved to sing! Her hymnbook was her best friend.   Even this past Sunday when we visited her hands were raised in surrender praising our Maker. I’m going to miss talking to her on the phone and singing together.  Or the times when I came over to her house with baby fiona and she would sing lullabies to her.  Or our random porch moments just sitting reading God’s word.  I am so thankful to God that he placed her in our lives.  She is a reminder to me to love to the fullest and for the fullest glory of God.