Solitary firstlings




Last year around this time I was expecting the arrival of our second daughter.  During this weekend we will be celebrating our Gracie’s 1st birthday. She’s running around now and I can hardly believe how much she has grown!

A couple weeks ago I noticed these specs of cheerfulness all over the garden. It cannot be?! The snowdrops had come!  And four weeks earlier than last year.  It brought back so many memories.  I had seen them come up days before giving birth to our darling Gracie girl.



These solitary firstlings in the garden bring me so much hope.  Spring is a time of growth and wonderment for me.  I love just watching those delicate petals open up.  Last week we had beautiful 75 degree weather and all the bulbs just came alive.  I did some raking and cleaning up.  I potted a few of the snowdrop clumps that i had noticed spread and brought spring indoors.

Spring I can hear your song. Raindrops on the tulips. Daffodil shoots. Sound of birdies chirping. Sulking in the garden.  I can’t wait for you to come!  For the sunshine to kiss the faces of my daughters cheeks and for many memories to be made in that little garden of ours.







Hey guys,
It’s been a while! I hope you all are doing well. I had something on my heart for the past few days, and wanted to share it with you.

A little while ago, someone had posted this quote (above) in the staff room at my work. I thought that it was pretty cool, and kind of forgot about it…until recently when I remembered a time that I am pretty darn embarrassed to share with you all.

Many years ago, some girlfriends and I took a trip out of state. Our friend’s family was gracious enough to open their home to us, and even went out of their way to make our stay more enjoyable. One of the days we were just kind of lounging around, trying to figure out what to do, and our host’s said that they would call up their friend to take us to the mall. This friend, who was working on his car, dropped everything, cleaned himself up, and raced over. Within that time frame, someone else had just texted us to get together. Someone we thought was cooler. When Mr. Mechanic pulled up, we chose to go hang out with the ‘cool’ guy, and left him behind. I still cringe when I remember this story because of how rude, and ridiculous I was. I placed a higher value on another individual based on their popularity. It was so juvenile, so un-Christ like, yet I still catch myself acting this way occasionally. I don’t mean to say that we can’t have people to look up to. However, when that admiration affects how we treat others, it becomes a problem.

The Bible tells us not to show favoritism:

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? James 2:2-4

Instead we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. The only way we can truly do that is if we have the love of Christ in us.


On a unrelated, but kind of related note:

Today my students read an article about Martin Luther King Jr. I asked them what they thought MLK fought for, and they said, “He just wanted for everybody to be friends”.:) Now isn’t that the truth? We all want friends, to be loved, to belong. Yet, in this crazy strange world we live in, people can comment away on each other’s social media sites, and ignore each other in person. It’s sad, and debilitating to so many who fall into the trap of the followers, and likes, and knowing more about other’s lives, than we take time to allow God to teach us about who we are in Him. I speak from experience. If you do not know who you are, and what you are living for, the world has many options to offer you…but none of them can fill that God shaped hole in your heart like having a personal relationship with Jesus.

My prayer for you dear reader is that you are filled with Christ’s love and purpose, and for that love to overflow onto others. Less favoritism, more love.




Anatoly Ivanov 10-11 Months

DSC_0358Toly 10 months

toly 11 months

“I don’t think a day goes by that Toly doesn’t get a kiss” Gloriana Krasnodemsky

Dear Toly,

Although we’re the ones giving you kisses, I feel like you’re giving us so much more! It’s beyond me how you will be one soon! As the season is slowly starting to change, I’m remembering the precious first moments we had with you, and all the changes that came with them. I had my first pumpkin spice latte the other day, and it wasn’t as good as the one I had when we drove you home from the hospital.😉

Although you’re getting older, you will always be my baby. I never imagined myself as a boy mom, but gosh you are the best! Sometimes the days seem a little long, but I find myself back in your room gazing at you sleeping just a little while after putting you down.

You continue to be a happy and calm baby. You love going to your grandparent’s (Krasno’s)house to play. They has the best toys, animals, and babysitters. You also love going to the Ivanov’s house. You thrive off of their energy, excitement, and garden goodies.

You’re not walking on your own yet, but you do hold yourself up and cruise around while holding on to furniture. You love throwing balls to us, and around the room. We always find a ton behind the couch. You also like crawling under the couch, and our bed to find whatever toys you may have thrown there. You are an excellent listener, and page-turner. Your favorite books are ones with thick pages that you can turn, and flaps you can lift up. You love opening doors, and cabinets. Whenever I cook, you keep me company nearby by making music with small pots and pans. Your dad likes to turn on his Russian techno music for you (much to your mother’s dismay). He says that you ‘dance’ better to it. Don’t worry, I turn on Beethoven for you sometimes to balance all that out.  You have an adorable dinosaur sounding croak—it’s hard to explain, but so cute! Your favorite words are ‘woah!’, and baba. You’ve said mama before, but I know that you didn’t know that it was me you were referring to.😉

One of my favorite things from these past two months is seeing you interact with your daddy. He loves showing you new things. He’s a very hands-on dad, and you love it! When Papa comes home from work, you get so excited! It’s the sweetest thing for me to witness.

You’re an excellent eater! Some of your favorites are borscht, eggs, bread, fruit (pretty much any kind), and most veggies too. You’re down to 2 naps in the day, and continue to sleep for around 11-12 hours at night.

Until next month (your 1! year update)!

-Your mama


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.❤
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.❤
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 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’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