3 Weekend Moments

Hi all, I hope your Monday is going great so far. (I just had to look at my calendar to see what day of the week it was:::these days are flying by!). I wanted to share three special moments that happened this weekend with you all. It was the first time that we took Toly out (besides his Doctor’s appointment). I was a bit nervous, but he did such a good job! On Saturday we went to my cousin’s baby shower. I was so glad that I had decided to go. I had such a great time, and was reminded of the importance of fellowship. The shower was beautiful, as was the momma we celebrated. IMG_6573 IMG_6576 IMG_6561 IMG_6559IMG_6556

My grandparents live next door to where the shower took place, and they got to meet Toly for the first time. My grandma is so sweet! She told me that 2 Sundays ago (when I was in labor), she couldn’t sleep at night so she got up and prayed. She wasn’t sure who to pray for (she didn’t know that I was in the hospital), nonetheless she was obedient to the Holy Spirit, and prayed anyway. Then when she found out about Toly’s little problem, she stayed up the next night praying as well. She is such an example of a disciplined and obedient servant of the Lord to me! <3 IMG_6554

I wanted a photo of my grandparents with Toly and I, and so my grandpa said that he was going to change out of his work/home clothes and came back wearing a dress shirt/tie. ;)IMG_6566On Sunday, Andrey’s family was having a harvest celebration at his grandpa’s apartments so we took Toly to meet all of the other side of the family. Andrey’s little cousin came up to look at Toly and exclaimed, “Aw, he’s so tiny–He’s like a cupcake!” It made me laugh! :) IMG_6603

Later that evening Andrey turned to me and said, “Today was a fun day.” I agreed with him, and then because my mom-brain forgot what we had done that day I asked him to remind me what we did again, and he said, “We gave Toly a bath!” To which my heart melted into a puddle. Yes, giving our boy his first bath was the highlight of our day. #it’sthesimplethings. IMG_6610 IMG_6588


Anatoly’s Birth Story:: Part 2

For Part 1 click here.

Things started to move along quickly after I got the epidural. The next time I was checked, I was 5cm, and 90% effaced, and then a few hours later I was ready to go. My Doctors and nurses came in and began to set things up. I was so excited that things were finally happening! I pushed for an hour and they kept telling me how close I was, and asked if I wanted to feel his head. At first I said no, and then one nurse asked me again and so I did. Feeling his head made it so real for me, and so I gave it all I had for the final pushes. A few minutes later,Toly made his entrance into the world!

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Since he was overdue (and possibly stressed), Anatoly had his first bowel movement in utero, and so that meant that the Doctors had to take extra precaution to make sure that if swallowed, the solution wouldn’t infect his lungs. We had extra doctors/nurses in the room during my delivery, and as soon as I pushed him out they had to take him to check him out and rinse him off. This made for a very sad mama. I wanted to hold him right away. What seemed like an eternity later, they placed him on me for just a few seconds and then they had to take him away to the NICU, where he stayed for the night. I had read about babies swallowing their meconium (first poop), in utero, but had no idea that it was so serious. Andrey went with Toly to the NICU, and once I was finished with all the fun afterbirth events, I wanted to go to them so badly! Unfortunately I had to wait a few hours. Gosh, it was hard being separated from my boys. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t sleep because I kept worrying about Toly.

IMG_6462IMG_8828 When I was finally cleared to go see Toly, Andrey wheeled me into the NICU room where the tears did not stop falling. Anatoly was hooked up to all sorts of tubes, and wires and just looked so tiny and helpless. Some sweet volunteers donated a blanket and beanie they had knit, so I almost didn’t recognize my boy. They let me hold him and I never wanted to let go of him again. Andrey had to be my tissue supplier and nose wiper-I was a mess.

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The doctors told us that it seemed like he was doing better but they had to do more tests and would let us know how things were after they got the results. So a few hours later Andrey and I came back to the NICU, and they told us that things were looking good, and that they would probably allow Toly to come stay in our room later that afternoon. I was overjoyed to hear that good news. My family came to visit, and I was finally able to try and breastfeed Toly.<–Easier said than done. He still had a bunch of tubes attached, so I was scared to mess things up. Nat & I hospital mom and dad hospital

Around 4pm, the Doctors gave us the green light to have Anatoly room with us. They would still keep monitoring him, but at least he could stay with us. What a relief it was! Andrey’s family came to visit us later on, and it was nice to be able to relax a little, knowing that our baby would stay with us. The doctors and nurses came back to check on me and Toly every few hours. There were all sorts of tests they did. Poor kid would just fall asleep, only to be woken up again..but I am EXTREMELY thankful for the thorough care, and would rather be safe than sorry.

IMG_6475 On Tuesday we just rested, tried to get the hang of feeding, and kept having more tests done on Toly. We had a few more visitors. My mom brought over some yummy homemade food. It was nice to see some fresh faces,and share our joy with them. Andrey’s friend David and his family came over and we had a mini photo shoot. Toly was not feeling it, and my lack of sleep was catching up to me. The doctors discharged me that night, but allowed me to stay and room in with Toly until they could discharge him the next afternoon. I was thankful to have been able to stay in the same (HUGE) room for my delivery and recovery.

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On Tuesday we just rested, tried to get the hang of feeding, and kept having more tests done on Toly. We had a few more visitors. My mom brought over some yummy homemade food. It was nice to see some fresh faces,and share our joy with them. Andrey’s friend David and his family came over and we had a mini photo shoot. Toly was not feeling it, and my lack of sleep was catching up to me. The doctors discharged me that night, but allowed me to stay and room in with Toly until they could discharge him the next afternoon. I was thankful to have been able to stay in the same (HUGE) room for my delivery and recovery.

The next day (Wednesday), Toly was finally discharged around 2pm and we left the hospital as a new family of three! I was so nervous to drive home with our precious little one. I felt so safe in the hospital, but once we walked out those doors I started noticing so many things that I wanted to protect Toly from. Looking back, I may have just been a bit hormonal;) We made an obligatory stop by at a drive-through Starbucks to get my pumpkin spice latte, and headed home.

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After the delivery, I was a bit emotional and every time I thought of how good God was, my heart would overfill with gratitude and I would start to cry. I am SO thankful to God for being with me through this beautiful experience, and for giving me peace during the difficult moments. I’m thankful for Andrey-Gosh, He is such a great support to me, and simply wonderful with our son.I’m thankful to the wonderful team of Doctors/Nurses who took the BEST care of our little family. I’m thankful for our family and friends who visited us, AND brought warm carrot muffins;), AND came over to hold my baby while I showered, AND made me delicious food, AND washed my floors (thanks mom!).  I’m so undeserving, yet He is so good.

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Psalm 150:6



Anatoly’s Birth Story:: Part 1

Hi guys! Somehow a week has passed since we welcomed baby Toly into our family! We have been adjusting and getting used to life with a newborn this past week. It’s been tiring, but also the most amazing experience ever! I wanted to share my birth story in case anyone is interested in reading it. I love reading/hearing other people’s stories, so I thought maybe someone else might too. If birth stories aren’t your thing, it’s totally okay to skip out on this one;) I’m seperating it into 2 parts, because I got a bit wordy. Enjoy! <3


The Birth Story

It all started on the beautiful, crisp morning of October 5th. I felt a little gush of water around 4am and thought that maybe, just maybe baby Anatoly would finally join us soon. Let me backtrack a bit. Toly was due on September 29th, so everyday that passed by was making me more excited for his arrival. I had scheduled my induction date to be on October 13th (the furthest my Doc would let me go), in hopes of allowing Toly to come on his own. The days after September 29th were spent trying every trick we knew of. I walked a ton, did some stairs at a local college, and ate pineapple. Did these tricks speed things along-who knows?..but they kept me busy. On Friday I celebrated my birthday with my family coming over for dinner, and then on Saturday my cousin Alena got married. My sister and her family were in town, and I kept hoping that Toly would come during their short visit.

Okay back to the good stuff…

After doing some googling, I tried to lay back down and relax. I started feeling contractions (Oh, that’s what they feel like!).

{Insert} fun factoid: My Doctor and everyone else kept asking me if I had been feeling any contractions during my last few weeks and I would always say “Um, I don’t know”, “I don’t really know what they are supposed to feel like”. To which they would reply, “Oh, you’ll know…” ;)

I tracked my contractions and when they were 7ish minutes apart I woke Andrey telling him that Toly might be joining us that day. He got up real quick! I had always wondered what my ‘moment’ would feel like. Would we rush to the hospital, would my waters break, or would I just come in and get induced. I didn’t want to come to the hospital and get sent home so I called ahead and after hearing my symptoms the nurse told me to come. It was GO time, and I we both quickly took showers, double checked our bags, ate breakfast (I had heard that you get hungry during labor, and I am not pleasant when I am hungry), and baked some cookies for our nurses.

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Before heading out to the hospital we stopped by ‘the white wall’ and took my last pregnant photos, and some videos. IMG_6450 

We checked in to the hospital around 8:30, and the nurses checked and confirmed that indeed my waters had broken. We were so excited to think that our baby would be joining us so soon! We were taken to the labor and delivery suites and I was hooked up to the monitors. A doctor came and checked me and said that I was only 1 cm dilated, and 70 effaced, which pretty much meant that I had a ways to go. Andrey and I watched ‘The Office’  while enjoying some Peets coffee/tea while we waited.


A few hours later the Doctor suggested that we use some Pitocin to speed things up. Since my waters had broken early that morning, they wanted to make sure that I had the baby sooner than later in order to decrease any chance of an infection or harm to the baby. After they hooked me up to the Pitocin I felt the contractions start to come harder and faster. Andrey turned the screen away from me because he thought it would help ease the pain.:) An anesthesiologist came in to talk to us about the epidural, and after he left I turned to Andrey and said that I was definitely interested. I waited probably another hour or so before calling my new best friend back into the room. My ‘birth plan’ was to take things as they come, and since they were coming along slowly and painfully, I decided to ask for help. Once the epidural was administered, I started to feel relief almost instantly. I still felt the pressure of the contractions, just not the pain.

Part 2 coming next!





Sweet as can Bee

This past weekend was full of excitement and sweetness!  We flew into California for just a few days to attend my cousin Alenka’s wedding! I love family weddings! It was a beautiful and elegant wedding. Congratulations David & Alena and many blessings to your future!  We will def have to take a visit to Portland now!!  We also shared our little news with some of our family & friends:  We are expecting baby number 2!  I know I probably should of done two separate posts but I had pics from the wedding and haven’t been much of a blogger lately so didn’t want to double the work.lol  Coming March 2015!!














Apple Orchard

This past weekend we went apple picking with a few friends!  I love that we have so many local farms in close proximity to our place and am so glad we took advantage of it!  The trees were nice and full this year with all types of yummy apples!  The sun was out and the air was crisp but yet warm since we just had rain the day before.  The highlight of it all was just watching the kids running around and catching up with good friends!  Fiona had a hard time actually ripping the apples off the tree, but with mamas help we made it happen.  She probably bit into five different apples and then would hand them to me to get her another one.  With our mouths stuffed and hearts full we headed to the market to wrap up.  I bought an apple pie and some sweet corn to take home and boy was it a perfect touch to dinner!


Getting a ride in the apple cart #ohmy was she ecstatic!!














Kisses to baby Ivanka!

I think from now on we are going to make this a fall tradition. Happy Fall everyone!





D-day has come and gone

Hi guys,

Just wanted to pop in to say hello, and that I am still pregnant:) When my Doctor first gave me my due date, I knew that the actual chances of me delivering on that day (September 29th), were slim (around 5% to be exact:), so I would tell people that I was due at the end of September/beginning of October…I thought that Toly would come early in all honesty, even though I heard that first babies (boys especially) like to hang out in the womb a bit longer. Well I guess my instincts were wrong lol I’ll have to fine tune them next time around. :)I am 1 day past due, and looking forward to whatever day/time Mr. Ivanov decides to make his entrance into the world.  I must say that it has been quite fun telling people today that my due date was yesterday…their eyes get all big, and worried as if my water will break any minute. :)


Did you guys know that yesterday was National Coffee day? I’m pretty sure that I was the last one to find out..It would have been so cool if Toly shared his birthday with such a holiday. ;) I wonder if he will love coffee as much as Andrey and I. It’s weird to think of our future boy drinking coffee, but as many random people in grocery stores have told me, they (their kids) go off to college in the blink of an eye.

psl rise-shine-sippy-cup


Have you all had your pumpkin spice latte fix yet? My friend from work (Hi Dasha!), had this cool idea of waiting until a fun event/trip, to get her first cup…so I copied her and decided that I would wait until baby Toly gets here to celebrate. My hospital has a Starbucks right by it, so I’ll send Andrey out. :)

*Fun random fact: Did you guys know that Starbucks Pumpkin Spice syrup doesn’t even have pumpkin in it?

I found a bunch of delicious looking ‘copy-cat’ recipes on Pinterest, but there is just something nostalgic about the taste of the original (in my case) drink.


Today at the Farmer’s Market, the old ladies told me to walk,walk,walk (to help speed things along). It was sweet. Also at the market I noticed a bunch of apples and got excited about going to Apple Hill soon. I almost bought a bunch of apples today, but it’s not the same. Andrey laughs at my sentimentality. ;)


Photo recycled from our 2011 trip

The photo above was taken two years ago at our first annual family trip. Can’t believe this year will make 3 years! Speaking of photos, I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands lately so I organized/uploaded my photos onto a new hard drive. It took me forever! How do you guys organize your photos? Years, Seasons, Events? I love it when things are organized/easy to find.


I got these flowers as an early birthday gift, and gosh I really love them! They brighten my doorstep, and mood every time I see them! It’s the little things. :)



Recently (with all the free time I’ve been having:), I stumbled on some funny ‘hey girl’ memes…they always make me laugh, and so as a joke I made a meme with Andrey’s old picture and sent it to him. He thought it was pretty cool, so I’ll share it with you. hey girl What do you guys think? Should I change my occupation and become a professional meme maker? ;)

I think I should finish up here, as the sun has already set, and my walk that I had planned on taking is now not going to happen. All is well friends, you were worth it!


Pregnancy photo shoot

We had our pregnancy photos taken by Andrey’s friend a few months ago (when I was 29 weeks along), and I’m just getting around to sharing them. I really don’t like taking pictures, or rather being the subject in pictures, but I love having photos to look back on, so I make myself take as many photos as I can. How’s that for a run-on sentence? :) I think a part of why I don’t like having photos taken of me is because I feel so ridonkulous posing…as much as I prefer ‘in the moment’ photos, a maternity shoot does take some planning. I remember having such a hard time figuring out what to wear, and even making Andrey run into Ross with me a few minutes before our shoot. No luck there. lol When we got to our location (which so happens to be the University we both graduated from), David (our photographer) asked me, “So did you bring any props?” and “What kind of poses were you thinking?” We had been at the park for a birthday all day, and I was a sweaty mess (thankfully sweat doesn’t come through in photos;). My ‘prop’ was my belly, and I quickly looked up some ‘poses’ on Pinterest. I’m really happy with how they turned out. But please, don’t be like me…prepare for a photo shoot beforehand. ;)IMG_0015 IMG_0024 IMG_0027 IMG_0037 IMG_0042 IMG_0053 IMG_0045


End of the summer trip

Hi all,

I don’t know how you all feel about the changing weather/season, but I am ready for it! Last weekend we got a cabin in Lake Tahoe with my two families.:) We had a wonderful time eating, celebrating Nathan’s birthday, swimming (okay, I admit-I only went in once #coldwaterchicken), reading, and breathing in the crisp Tahoe air. I was a little worried to travel (even if it’s only 2 hours away), and even researched if there was a UCDavis hospital near Tahoe. Thankfully baby Toly decided to continue cooking a little bit longer. ;) We are counting down the days! Andrey tells me that he thinks I’ll be late, but I have a feeling he may come early…what do we know though? ;) I had my last day of work last Tuesday, and have been relaxing at home since coming back from Tahoe. It’s been glorious, but I’m getting a little anxious/excited for the huge change about to hit us. Anyway, back to the trip…


My mom’s Tommy Bahama chairs were a lifesaver. I glued my bottom to the chair and placed my toes in the water for a relaxing way to tan/read/spit seeds.


Making galaxy goo. :)



Nathan requested that we make red velvet cake together for his birthday on Sunday. Could you tell that we’re related? :)





Papi eating my mama’s delicious mushroom soupchik.


Kooha (Russian farmer’s cheese cake) and coffee on a fancy plate. <3


My beautiful sister-in-law Anna


(37.5 weeks) Last trip as a family of 2


My handsome brother and gorgeous momma


Dad teaching Liliya how to eat crawdads. She was hooked. ;)

IMG_6265   IMG_6406 IMG_6262Goodbye summer! Until next year, where I’m sure you will be a whole lot different…in all the best possible ways. ;)



How to Live without Regret


How to Live without Regret  -by Hal White

The Bible is filled with metaphors that teach about the brevity of life. Life is described as a mist, a fast runner, a breath, and a vapor. To live intentionally and make the best use of your life, you must never forget that life compared with eternity is extremely brief. I love how the psalmist says:

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is.” – Psalm 39:4 (NLT) “I am here on earth for just a little while.” – Psalm 119:19 (TEV)

Bonnie Ware is an Australian hospice nurse. She usually spends the last 12 weeks of someone’s life with them. Some time ago she began asking her patients: “Do you have any regrets?”and “Is there anything you would do differently?” When asked these two questions common themes surfaced again and again.

Regret #1 – “I wished I hadn’t worked so hard.”

In Bonnie’s blog she wrote, “This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

Regret #2 – “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Bonnie Ware said this was the most common regret of all. When people realized that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. There are so many things they wished they would have done. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that is was due to choices they had made, or not made.

I encourage you to live with intentionality. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. I dare you to dream again.


-Hi guys, I wanted to pop in and share this devotional that I’ve been thinking over and rereading lately. Hope it inspires you to live a life with more freedom, and less regret. <3-Olviya


Life lately


…and then the summer was over. :)

Hi guys,

I hope you are all doing well! I just had a moment and decided to check in here, and yap your ears/eyes off with my favorite (to do) random thoughts posts.

Where do I even begin, it’s been so long…I suppose I shall start with the weather, and then warm my way up. I have been loving the cooler Fall-like evenings/mornings we’ve been having here in California. They make me think of Fall, and how wonderful it it. I’ve been back at work at the elementary school since two weeks ago, and I have outside duty in the mornings. I stand outside and keep an eye on the kiddos getting dropped off interesting parents dropping their kids off at school. Some (parents) make me laugh…spitting seeds at 8am?, while others worry me with their speedy ways…Overall though, I just really enjoy standing there…feeling the cold breeze, holding my belly, and sipping on my coffee. I have 2 weeks left before I take my maternity leave, so even though the days may be long, I’m trying to soak it all in.


I’m currently 35 weeks pregnant, and feeling ever so ready to meet this guy already! Andrey and I simply cannot believe that I only have 5 (or so) weeks left, before our lives are forever changed! :) We have a few things to finish up, but other than that, we feel ready…well as ready as first time parents can feel, I suppose. ;) I’m still feeling good, I just get a bit tired earlier/faster than before. Trying to sleep all that I can before I forget what sleep it. :) Working out has fallen off the radar unfortunately. My gym membership expired this month, and I have yet to take advantage of the breezy mornings/evenings for walks. I make myself feel better by telling myself that growing a baby is hard work!


Sunday school is starting up soon, and I just don’t know how/if I’ll be going back to teach. I have no idea what motherhood will be like, so I don’t want to commit/flake on my class. Any other mama’s taken a ministry break to take care of your babes? Speaking of ministry, Andrey has been having a group of teenagers come over to our place for cell group on Friday nights, and it has been more of a blessing than I thought it’d be. Even though I’m usually tired come Friday night, I love seeing Andrey involved with the youth, and to have that accountability. My favorite is when he starts speaking in Russian, and the teens give him a blank stare, and then he realizes it and switches over;) or when he makes them laugh by being silly. Neither of us are naturally funny people, so usually people laugh at the way we do/say something (which is totally fine by me!). :)


I’m looking forward to: HAVING A BABY!, Fall, one last Lake Tahoe trip (if baby A doesn’t come early;), my maternity leave, and seeing my sister in a few short weeks!!!

What are you looking forward to?