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?



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.