4 ever Anniversary

Today it’s raining here on our coast and instantly puts me in a slower pace and the babies in sweet slumbers. While they’re napping I thought I’d recap our anniversary from two weeks ago. I snapchatted most of the day because I had left my camera at home and my phone library was full! I really need to update my photos and get a clean slate. I blame it on my two adorable little girls! I can’t resist capturing all their moments. #storyofmylife
With many trips coming up this winter we wanted to stick to something close by so NYC it was. The temperature outside was cool and crisp so I made sure to bundle ourselves up in sweaters and blankets! The girls behaved so well on the way there which was surprising because we didn’t even have breakfast.
We wanted to save our appetites for Laduree: a darling french little brunch spot in the Soho neighborhood! Most of the time we go with the flow as far as trying new places but Roman wanted to go to a watch show in the area it worked out nicely:) Everything about this french inspired, macaron-loving brunch place was so classy! The fresh flowers, the waiters, the glamed-out high chair, the frilly menus, and even our tufted teal bench…
They also had a garden seating area! I got a delicious smoked salmon sandwich and Roman ordered some eggs benedict! The food was very tasty and really exceeded our expectations.
While taking a walk Fiona noticed the painted ballerina and her face lit up! We ended up doing a few twirls being the girls we are:) The day was full of sweet memories. Soho reminds me of Paris with it’s cobblestone streets and pretty buildings. This trip made me realize how most of NYC we never get to see. There are so many cute cafes, hotels, and just random little places that we haven’t heard about! When I first moved to New Jersey I wasn’t a big fan of NYC but now I’m beginning to realize why so many people love it (the husband especially)!
Then we headed to Central Park. My all time favorite spot in the whole city. On the way over both the girls fell asleep for their naptime so we just sat in our car and talked for about an hour and half. It was a nice break from the walking and we got some “us” time in! Central Park was alive and so beautiful in October! We really enjoyed the picturesque views and the autumn foliage all around! Fiona got to have some playground time. It was getting close to dinner and both of us were craving some soup so we decided to try something new and tried pho soup right before heading out.

We came home put on our PJS and were ready to hit the sack! I love when we do family days like this and seeing the girls take in the world through their little eyes brings me so much happiness. Thanks to my honey for making it the best weekend ever! Thankful to God for all his blessings and especially for being with us this past year!
To many more years of joy and happiness! xoxo

Apple Picking

To welcome in the new season we went apple picking today with a few mommy friends and their babes. We headed to our local farm. There was a slight breeze in the air and it felt so refreshing. Once we started picking the apples we felt the sun come out and we were amazed at how warm it got.
Fiona enjoyed running around with her friend Marchel more so than actually picking the apples and Grace well she was busy sucking on her little apple. She wouldn’t let it go.

Fiona “Help, Mommy she’s falling”
We enjoyed picking different apples and watching our littles enjoy the fresh air. Hide and seek was a must in this huge orchard. Here Fiona is trying to hide behind a pumpkin and a few mums along the way. Can you see her? ;) She also loved counting the pumpkins and just being her silly self. Oh how much I love my wild little girl!
The bumpy ride through the orchard got all three of the little princess babies fast asleep in their strollers by the time we got back to the market stand. It was a perfect finish to our little adventure.
The moment we got home Fiona was out as well and the house was abnormally quiet. So here I was blogging during naptime. Rare! I know! My most current post in awhile. Hope you guys are enjoying this beautiful start to fall!

Short & Sweet

A couple weeks ago we took a spontaneous trip to California to pick up a new car we purchased. We flew in on a Friday night and drove out the next day Saturday evening. Talk about the shortest Cali visit ever! 24 hours to catch up! I was sad that we were so cut on time but now looking back the time we did have was that much more meaningful.

On Saturday afternoon we went to grab some gelatos with the kids and my grandma and great aunt joined. My sister and I ran into Anthropologie to shop a little while our babies napped. To our surprise my sister found a perfume she really liked so I ended up treating her for her upcoming bday. When we returned my grandma smelled the perfume and said she loved the scent so I sneakily went back in the store and bought her one too. She had the smile of a teenager on her face when I handed it to her. It was one of those precious moments that give you tingles in your heart. I love my grandma!
I think that is my favorite photo from the trip! My mom and baby Grace standing like a little champ!
We even managed to see my dear cousin Yana for a short time! I love it when we are both in town at the same time!

This weekend my sister and my nephew are celebrating their birthdays! Happy 1st birthday Anatoliy & 25th Olviya! Wish we were there to share in your joy! We love you and hope you guys have a grand ole time!

1000 Gifts

Hi guys, I wanted to share a few things I jotted down in my gratitude list.
It’s the little things that I begin to see God’s reflection more and more in that I want to remember.

21. French inspired farm to table restaurant
22. The way Fiona holds the phone when we’re Facetiming my mom. Hi ceiling.
23. The calling of cicadas in our backyard
24. Friends who hold your baby while you eat
25. ballet flats
26. diapers
27. Little fingers dabbling on the piano
29. Dahlias opening in full bloom
30. Tomatoes ripening on the windowsill
31. that Costco guy that was singing “the more we get together the happier we’ll be & your friends are my friends”
32. My husband’s forgiving heart. <3
33. Entertaining toddler talk
34. Floral summer sandals
35. The peak of a wave and it's strength
36. Gracie crawling pose and her but crawls.
37. Juicy plums
38. Two bumble bees dancing to each other’s buzz
39. Watching my two littles begin to play with each other. <3
40. Coral nail polish
41. Monarch butterlies
When I watch the butterflies sometimes I can't help but reflect on how beautiful & diverse all of God's creation is. If we only but open our eyes to all the beauty he has created for us to experience. Every different shade of color, shape of flower, grain of sand and crashing wave; It is all a gift.
fyi:I have finally figured out how to use macro on my camera! :) Hope you enjoy the last few days of August! What a month it's been.

#GratefulHearts + #1000Gifts

To go along with Within’s August Grateful Hearts month I wanted to start a list of things I am grateful for in my little daily moments. I love Ann Voskamp’s book 1000 gifts because it does a beautiful job of painting the art of gratitude. She has inspired me to start my own list.

1. The sound of the AC humming while the babies nap.
2. Butterfly bushes
3. When Fiona asked me to give her a piggy back ride down the stairs and kissed the back of my neck.
4. Sand between my toes
5. Phone calls that bring you to tears
6. Watering the garden in the early mornings
7. Wild blackberries
8. Sun kissed skin
9. Library trips to storytime
10. Summer rain amidst the humidity
11. Melting french brie cheese
12. Baby Grace falling asleep in my arms during worship
13. Monday morning prayer calls #within
14. Big shopping carts that fit two little girls
15. Laying on the couch talking to my husband at the end of the day
16. Fiona’s messy pretend play doh = “mini babybel cheese wheels” .
17. That contagious dimply smile
18. Baby Grace coos
19. Hearing my nephew’s giggles
20. Hot glue gun crafting
Thank you God for each one of these little special gifts this week. Teach me to open my eyes more to the beauty in and around me. May I learn to live a life with overflowing gratitude. Many times I tend to complain and miss out on these moments but I pray you help me change my heart and the way I perceive things. Instead of striving may I learn to be satisfied in the mundane moments. Instead of complaining may I find true joy in today. Instead of comparing may I look to your affections above all. – Natalie #GRATEFULHEARTS #1000GIFTS

Good day + Good friends


Last week we had a little weekend getaway with our friends from Brooklyn to Jersey shore.  I loved the short drive to our hotel and the quaint and family friendly villas we stayed at!  The morning we got there I actually ran into someone I knew.  Hey Sara!  She had just came back to Jersey from a long term missions trip and we bumped into each other in the bathroom of all places!  This is so rare for me & I get super excited when I know someone!

The trip was perfect.  The girls were so happy and content.  Fiona fell in love with the pool and that is her new favorite word. It goes like this “POOL, PLAY, OCEAN, WEE,”! That is what she says the moment we put her in the carseat.  We got checked in early to our room so all three kids fell asleep for their naps and us couples just sat in the living room and chatted about parenting, marriage, & 7 seater cars;).


We even took the nature walk.  After a couple wrong turns we ended up in the middle of a golf course.  We snapped a few photos as the sun was setting and headed back to our room to make dinner.  The kids played, the husbands grilled, and us ladies finished up the last details of the dinner.  On the menu was a cherry vinaigrette arugula salad, steak, potatoes, asparagus, organic mac & cheese for the kiddos and turkey sausages & freshly squeezed strawberry lemondae.


Our stomachs full we decided to give the kids a bubble bath!  It was hilarious watching their foam covered faces enjoying the jets roaring around them.  They loved splashing the walls with the water bottle.  (Don’t worry we cleaned it all up).  I loved seeing Fiona play with David.  They get along so well and it kept Fiona entertained.

The beach however was probably my favorite part.  It always is.  We brought our boogie boards and we enjoyed riding the waves.  It was the first time I had gone fully into the ocean all summer and it felt so refreshing.  Especially riding the waves!  It reminded me of our first year of marriage when we used to go all the time after my husband got off work.  We had yummy tacos under our beach umbrella and enjoyed watching the kids play in the sand!  This is the closest Fifi ever gets to the ocean water:)

Thanks for a lovely trip Edelsteins!

Anatoly Ivanov 9 months

Hey guys, it’s that time again! These months have been flying by, faster and faster with each one! So crazy! Anyway, let’s get to the recap at hand.


Hey Toly,

Your monthly onesie says “9 time to shine”, and I feel like you’ve been living out that phrase this month! Your personality continues to brighten our days! This month you started crawling(!), much to your father’s delight! He thought that you might skip crawling, and go straight to walking. It took you a good 3 weeks to really get comfortable, and confident in your stride. It’s funny because I kept the camera on 24/7 those first few days because I felt like you were SO close, but you decided to take your sweet time…and then when you finally did start crawling, I missed capturing it on camera-of course. Apparently you crawl just like your daddy used to. You use one knee to push forward while dragging the other knee behind you. I would describe it as the curious/cautious crawl. You love to move around and explore, but also want to make sure that you don’t fall forward.


Another big thing you’ve started doing is eating more solids (YAY!). Previously you liked to be fed by a spoon or pouch, but now you are doing an awesome job picking up your own food. It gets pretty messy, but I am slowly learning that messes are okay. J You learning to feed yourself is more important to me. The way your pudgy fingers pick up your food and bring it up to your mouth is so cute! You have two of your bottom teeth and your constant drooling leads me to believe that your top two are next.

I’ve learned another lesson this month. I love reading parenting books, and hearing other’s experiences with their own kids, but ultimately I’m learning to allow you to take the lead on when you’re ready for things.

You don’t like your crib for naps, and prefer mama’s bed, with me cuddled right next to you. I love lying with you, but feel like I can’t get anything done around the house if I just nap with you all day long. ;) You love sitting up and playing in the bathtub. You would sit in there forever if we’d let you. You like to pull yourself up on whatever you can get your hands on, and if we hold you up, you’ll take a few steps before plopping your bottom down. I’m curious to see if when you’ll start walking..no hurry though.


You’ve started playing more lately. You love balls. Our friends gave us a bunch of the plastic McDonald’s play place kind, and you never get tired of them. You love throwing balls/toys down from wherever you are, and for us to keep picking them up for you. You play pretty independently. I’ve plopped you down next to a few different kiddos this month, and you just mind your own business…unless somebody has a toy that you want. ;) At church you grabbed another boy’s hair and made him cry. You looked up at me with your big greyish eyes all confused as to what you did wrong. Speaking of doing wrong…while I believe that you are an angel child;), I know that you’ll start testing our boundaries soon. I hope I’ll be consistent and firm..it’ll be hard to say no to those eyes of yours. They are the coolest shade of grey with specks of brown. It’s crazy how much they’ve changed.


One last thing before I wrap things up here. You survived your first ‘road trip’. I hesitate to call it that because it really was supposed to only be a 3 hour drive, however it took up 7!. Traffic was insane, and we contemplated heading home so many times, but somehow we made it to Santa Cruz. You were not a fan of sitting in your car seat for so long. We took a few stops for you to stretch your legs, and for us to breathe a little. ;) Once we got to the beach, you fell asleep in my arms for over an hour. I held you and watched/listened to the waves and took many deep breaths and realized that it was worth it..even if we drove more than we relaxed, and the sand was not your favorite, it’s always good to get out and into God’s creation for a little bit.

IMG_1668IMG_1749 IMG_1649

Well that’s all I have for now, I’ll catch ya at your 10 month update! I love you!

-Your Mom

Summer firsts + recap video


This summer has been packed with lots of new joys and new experiences for our family.  Fiona turned 2 and I will hopefully do a recap post of her birthday someday.  Grace is a heaven-sent sweet little girl.  I feel like the second time around is easier.  I’ve heard someone reference it as the pancake parenting theory (it gets easier with practice).

This past month was a big one for both girls. Grace is such a good eater and sleeper. She weighed in 13 lbs on her 3 month check up! I love watching her grab her toes and fingers and put them in her month.

Fiona wears her heart on her sleeve, in her voice, her fists, her stamping feet, and her crocodile tears ;)  Once Fiona is awake its ‘go time’. I love this age because of how adventurous it is but there are moments that are challenging I’m not gonna lie. One of my mama friends told me that at her age toddlers are very egoistic. The world revolves around her and I’m learning to balance it all. No lounging around for that wild child.  Sometimes I sit back and think about how blessed I am to just be a part of their joyous lives.  Sigh.  Thank you Jesus!
Here’s a few firsts of the summer so far:

photo 4

1. I made my first cobbler.  Fiona & I picked a few blackberries from our garden and I didn’t know what to do with them all so cobbler it was.  I was reading the instructions to make it and thought I had read it wrong.  You pour water on top of the batter and it just bakes away.  

photo 2

2.  Fiona rode her first tricycle & then we realized we might be rushing it.  Her legs just kind of wobbled in the air and hit the pedals here and there.  Maybe by next summer she’ll have it down;)

photo 1

3. Grace rolled over on both sides!!!   I usually find her sleeping on her stomach or side in the mornings:) It happened all of a sudden and then I had to reassure myself that she was still my wee little one and she wasn’t growing up too fast.

4.  Fiona has got her before bedtime prayer all memorized and doesn’t have to repeat after us anymore.  (Proud mama)

5.  Fiona tried her first Kinder egg experience and boy did we not foresee the raging tantrum that would follow. Yikes! No picture needed.


6.  I bought matching outfits for the girls and they had their first matchy day on 4th of July! #thatmom

photo 2

7.  I went running for the first time since having Gracie and boy did it feel exhilarating. Now if only I could do that everyday!


8.  We had a sweet Father’s Day and invited parents/grandparents over.  Fiona made Papi her first gift the (coffee-enthusiast in our household).  We bought a blank canvas picture frame from Target and used some fresh coffee beans and mod podge and Ta Da!

photo 1

9.  We had some major changes with ministry.  We merged/joined a local church in our area and my husband Roman is now the new youth pastor.  God is so good in how this all came to be and I am still amazed by the way he guides us.

photo 5

10.  Lots of firsts for the garden and hopefully I’ll do a recap of that soon.  But I’ll leave you with these hand picked florals from the yard.

And ending the post with a recap video from random moments: )

Anatoly Ivanov 7-8 months old

Hi guys, I’m finally getting around to posting Toly’s updates..just a few months late, but better than never I suppose. I hope you are all staying nice and cool in the heat we’ve been having. <3


Hey Toly,

Somehow I skipped doing your 7 month update and then I turned around and boom!, you were 8 going on 9 months. Agh! I wish I remember what you were up to at 7 months, but my memory isn’t the best, so I’ll just do my best to combine the two months.

I’m not the only one who’s been busy these past few months…You’ve been busy exploring, discovering, learning and developing your incredible personality. You LOVE looking at yourself in the mirror. You get the goofiest grin on your face when you do it. You’ve really mastered sitting up, and are SO close to crawling. You can’t seem to figure out how to push your legs to propel yourself, so you try to move by rolling over. It’s really quite cute! Your dad wants you to be crawling already, but I don’t mind you taking your time. I just realized today that when you’re mobile, I have to be better at keeping my floors clean. ;)

I’m off work for the summer and am thoroughly enjoying my time at home with you! Last week we took a trip to Lake Tahoe with your cousins (feels crazy typing that!),and had a blast spending time with family. Your cousin Fiona was so sweet with you, and I’m sure that you and Gracie will be chasing each other around soon as well. It was your first time in the pool. We just dipped your feet in, and you started pumping them up and down. You experienced your first little sunburn. I thought that I was thorough in my sunblock application, but apparently I seemed to have missed a patch on your arm.

toly in tahoe

While having dinner at my mom’s one night, I stepped back and soaked in the sights/sounds/smells. The kids were lively, and the room was filled with good food and conversation. I felt grown up all of a sudden. :) Your dad keeps me young. The other day he told me that I looked like a ‘cute girl’ instead of a ‘mom’. I wasn’t sure of the wording of his compliment, but took it anyway. ;) I’m so happy that you have such a wonderful example of a father to follow.


dad and toly 2

You are SO happy almost ALL the time! You love attention, and interacting with people. You like grabbing my hair, and your daddy’s face with your tiny hands. You move your arms and legs wildly when you get excited. I just love how much you’re growing lately. You’re still a good sleeper, and sleep from 8ish-7 almost every day. You wake up once at 4/5 to eat.


You’re still loving milk, but solids are a hit/miss. I keep trying different combos, and at least twice a day, but you’ll typically only eat a few spoonfulls. It’s funny because when I try to hand you a piece of food to graze on, you’ll throw it down..as opposed to putting all other non-food objects in your mouth. Oh well, we’ll keep trying.

These past few months we’ve celebrated my first mother’s day, and just recently your dad’s first father’s day. It is such a treat to be your parents! Thank you!


Happy 8 months Tolik! I love you SO stinkin’ much!

-Your mama

Family Vacation 2015


Hello there! :) I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend.  I wanted to share a recap of our family vacation from last month.  It was our first family getaway after baby Grace was born.  We flew into Sacramento for a week, and during that time took a trip to Incline Village, NV with our family to relax for a few days.  We changed it up from our annual Los Angeles trip, because let’s be honest, driving for 6 hours with a toddler and 2 young babes doesn’t sound too relaxing. ;)






Lake Tahoe is just glorious.  I feel like God took some extra time when creating that little haven.   I saw the beauty of God’s MAJESTY everywhere I looked! I’m warning you guys with the photo overload. Tahoe+family tends to do that.

We had a great time catching up: playing Scrabble, cooking and eating, swimming, biking, kayaking, napping, taking walks, and watching our little babies bond.  Baby Grace and Toly got to go swimming for the first time ever. It was more of a dip, but still. ;) It was awesome just spending time with one another and enjoying the beautiful fresh air!









My adorable parents:))


Our Fiona girl is such a beach bum. She also loves the swing, and is content to be swung for hours. We were able to get into a beautiful private beach (courtesy of our awesome host), and this beach had pools, and a playground for the kids. So Fiona got the best of both worlds.







My mom and I woke up early one of the mornings and went for a walk.  We picked some wild lilacs blooming in the mountains.  My all time favorite spotted flower in Tahoe was the Wisteria blooms.  Oh what beauty!  I can’t wait to plant them one day and let them go wild.








laketahoe 22

I love this last picture because of Nathan’s face.  He was tired chasing after our little squirt.  She sure keeps us all on our feet. ;)

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer & spending time outdoors with family! ☀