Welcome to my blog!

I was thinking about starting a blog for quite a while but could not decide what to write about. My husband and I travel quite often because of his job. We always loved it even before we met. We actually met because my husband decided to take a job overseas and came to a place where I was, about 7 thousand miles away from him. His decision changed our lives for the very best!

I also like to cook but I don't think that I need a blog to document every meal I make. Only occasionally, maybe. We also decided to eat healthier so the blog will help me to keep track of our meals and weight.
That's how I eventually signed up for a blog and named it Veronika's Travel and Living.

Hopefully, I'll like blogging. We'll see.. ;)

Friday, December 31, 2010

Brendan's First Christmas

It was so great to have Brendan with us on Christmas this year. It was our dream and wish to celebrate Christmas with our first baby and we are beyond happy that it came true.

We had a very nice day. As usually we got up and had our coffees with Baileys and opened our gifts. It was fun to open Brendan's gifts.

We were not sure what to get him as he doesn't get it yet. In the end we got him a few toys and the family sent him some new outfits. The winner was the recordable book with the Christmas story read by Chris' niece. It's precious! What a great gift to keep for years!

Brendan was so great on Christmas day, he was happy and did not cry. It was awesome!
We spent the rest of the day watching our favorite Christmas movies: Christmas Story, Polar Express, Bad Santa and some great cartoons. In the evening I made our traditional Christmas dinner: pasta with garlic shrimp. It was a great day!
Oh, I forgot to say that Chris got me a new cell phone which was a total surprise as I asked for gift certificates as I see lots of shopping for new clothes in 2011 :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Brendan Christopher is Here!!!

Brendan Christopher was born on November 12th, 2010 at 7-14 p.m. in Perinatal Clinic in Moscow, Russia. His weight was 8 lbs., 2 oz., height 21.25 inches. He is a big boy! Chris and I are so happy and are so much in LOVE with him! He is the best!

I will post details about the delivery later. In short, it was the best labor experience you can get. The clinic we chose is definitely the best in Moscow and all the doctors are super professional. It all came down to my delivery being so well planned that it was easy and non-stressful at all!

Anyway, now we are learning to be the parents: changing diapers, bathing, feeding, figuring out problems etc. And we love it!

I will try to write more about The Day. For now, I have some pictures:

A few minutes after he was born:

November 14th

November 15th:
Finally home in his cradle, November 16th:

Today's pictures:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We are ready!

Come on, Son! We are ready to meet you :) The doctor will be back tomorrow, Chris' birthday was yesterday, so from now on any day is fine with us!
Yesterday we got through Chris' birthday without me going in labor. Of course, it would be fine if our boy decided to share his Dad's birthday but it was also cool that Chris and I had a nice dinner at home. I made Caesar salad with shrimp, rice and curry with duck breast and got Chris' favorite chocolate dessert. He also had some red wine. The dinner was very nice, we really enjoyed all the food and Chris was happy. I gave him a new cell phone and it was a total surprise for him. He uses a company's cell phone and it got so old that I thought it would be nice if he has something more modern. He will definitely use it on our or his trips when he needs to check his e-mails, for example. He said that he really liked his gift and now he is excited to set it up so he can use it to the full.

Yesterday on the way from the grocery store I felt some cramps a few times and thought that it's starting. Then I felt the same a couple of times at home, none of them were regular, so I just kept wondering if that was just the beginning or so called training contractions. Later they disappeared and I felt fine the rest of the day and night. Just in case I packed the rest of the things in my hospital bag, did the dishes and just put things in places. I had a long list of things to do before The Day and now there is almost nothing left which is great and makes me feel ready. Of course, I'm scared and sometimes when I think about it I have tears both from how hard it's going to be and how happy we will be to meet our son. Even typing it now brings tears to my eyes. It must be the happiest moment in people's lives and we are about to experience it. I'm also a little scared as I'm afraid to miss or not recognize contractions and not knowing when to call. I guess it's pretty normal to worry about such things especially when it's the first time.
Oh well, just a few days or maybe one day. Who knows :) The latest it should be November 17th and the earliest tomorrow November 10th.
Again, I'm ready and Chris is ready and all our family members, friends, acquaintances and colleagues are waiting for the good news from us. It's great to feel their support. I hope that everything goes well and I will help our baby boy to be born healthy and well.

40 weeks:

The carriage we bought, perfect for the coming winter in Russia!

The cradle in our bedroom is ready

Full term, taken today:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy 2nd Anniversary to us!

Chris and I got married two years ago on November 1st 2008! It seems like we know each other forever and at the same time it feels like we just met. I think that it's great! Our wedding was beautiful and perfect for us! In addition to usual wedding preparation we had to plan and do more things than other couples. As a US citizen Chris married a foreigner (Russian) and he had to apply for a fiance visa for me months in advance. We got really lucky with how fast my documents were processed and I was invited for the interview to the US Embassy in Moscow. The interview was easy for me as our story is simple and true. Although, it was necessary to provide proof of our relations such as pictures, letters from our friends and colleagues. After I got my visa, we started the process of helping my parents to get their visas to go to our wedding. In the end, everything worked out fine! It was great to have my parents, my brother and two of my friends at our wedding.

We are not doing anything special tonight, just a nice dinner. I'm going to make scallops with mashed potatoes and asparagus for dinner, get some awesome dessert and watch the video of our ceremony. And I'm very excited about a small glass of champagne! Last year for our 1st anniversary Chris bought us a trip to the Bahamas, Atlantis. It was one of the best trips we've ever had! Such a wonderful and fun place! This year we are celebrating our anniversary just a few days away from meeting our first child - our son! It's very exciting! Every day when Chris leaves for work he says: It could be today! :)

Two years ago:

With my parents and my brother:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

39 weeks, pre-birthday celebration and funny story

So I'm officially 39 weeks. I had my appointment on Thursday. It went well. The drive there and back was torturous! My husband is allowed to have a company driver, so we don't have a car here and don't drive. As his wife I also have a privilege to use company drivers, so they give me rides to the clinic and other places I need to go. Traffic is horrible in Moscow! No surprise it's a capital city with millions of cars and horrible road plans. Sometimes my rides to the clinic last forever. If the traffic is good it takes about 45-60 minutes to get there and back, if it's bad it could be up to 2 hours. Horrible.

Now my appointment. As I mentioned before my doctor is going to be out of town till November 10th. It was unexpected but totally possible, I guess. She recommended another doctor to fill in for her while she is away. I never heard her name but I'm looking forward to meeting her on the coming Tuesday. I have mixed feelings about the whole situation. I checked the new doctor's profile and I'm not that thrilled that she has only three years of experience opposed to many years like my doctor. At the same time my doctor wouldn't recommend just anybody, she will find someone she trusts etc., not to mention all doctors are good and professional there. I guess I'm overreacting as it's my first time and there is nothing I can do to change the situation. My parents are doctors and they say that 3 years of experience is good and that I and the baby will be fine. I sure hope so!

It was interesting to hear my doctor's ideas on my due dates. She said that most likely I will go in labor between November 7th and November 14th. If it doesn't happen until then, they will start induction on November 15th. It was exciting to hear the real dates. We'll see. My doctor is back on November 10th and I have an appointment with her in the morning, of course, if our guy doesn't decide to be born before that.

It's going to be very interesting as my husband's birthday is on November 8th and his Dad's birthday is on November 14th. We are wondering if our son will have his own birthday or steel it from either his Dad or Grandad :)

Speaking of Chris' birthday. We decided that we will start pre-celebration this weekend in case we won't get to celebrate his birthday on the actual date. Of course, his first question was if he is getting a gift tonight :) No, the gift comes on the actual birthday! So tonight I'm making home-made pizza and hot chicken wings with blue cheese dip. Everything sounds great! The wings are in the oven right now and smell awesome.

On Monday will be our 2nd Anniversary! Again, nothing big this year. I'll make special dinner and I have also requested to get a bottle of champagne to have a toast. I think that we'll just watch the video of our ceremony and have a nice quiet evening at home. We are not getting any gifts for each other as we have bought a good video camera and decided that it's our gift to us this year.

Now you won't believe what happened to me today. I went grocery shopping to our local store. So I got sausage, mayo, mozarella cheese etc. I was standing by the cheese shelf trying to decide what blue cheese to get when one of the guys passing by me says: Excuse me, you have water dripping from somewhere! At first, I did not understand who he was talking to and what he meant. He repeated what he said, adding that there is water on the floor around me. Of course, my first thought was:" Oh My God, my water broke! My heart jumped up. It took me about 20-30 seconds to realize that my pants are not wet. I thought: "How could it break if I don't feel it? Is it possible that it broke and is just there without me feeling it? This kind of stupid thoughts went through my head while I stood there staring at the guy and the floor around me which was wet with some white liquid. I wish I could see my face when I looked at the guy. He obviously saw my frustration or fear and said:" I think it's dripping from your basket!" It took me quite a few seconds to discover that it was the stupid mozarella pack leaking!!!! Can you believe it? Of course, it could only happen to me when I'm very close to the due date and it has always been my fear that my water breaks while I'm grocery shopping at the local supermarket and everyone sees it! Hilarious, right?

Well, we'll see what happens when it's all for real.

Monday, October 25, 2010

38 weeks

So we are getting there. It seems to me that time flies so fast. I always thought that it seems like forever for pregnant women to get to their due dates, I thought and heard that they cannot wait for the day as they feel so huge and uncomfortable and cannot sleep. I'm not bragging but I still feel well, do not feel huge and really lucky to sleep pretty well through the night. My Mom said that she had no problem sleeping when she was pregnant with me until the morning when her water broke and I was born later that day. It seems like our son is being very nice and caring so far :) I really appreciate it!

I had my 38 weeks appointment and everything still looks good. On a negative note I got a call from my doctor today and it turned out that she would be out of town from October 30th through November 9th and my EDD is November 7th. It sucks big times! At the same time there is nothing I can do about it and she is going to recommend another doctor who will fill in for her if I go in labor at that time. But she also hopes that she will be back by the time I will go in labor as it's my first time and it usually happens during week 41. We'll see. Today I started talking our son into not making his appearance until November 10th, hopefully he will listen. If not, all doctors at the clinic are professional, so I hope everything will go fine.

Great news is that we officially have the name and we told it to our families. We are very happy that everyone loves it! It's the name that we initially chose. I wrote here that Chris had doubts about it but after he mentioned it to his Dad all his doubts went away as it turned out to be his Dad's favorite name and he loved it. After that we told it to my parents and Chris' Mom. Now our guy has the name :)

The nursery decoration is in place. Chris is the Hero for spending yesterday afternoon putting the wall decoration. I helped a little at the beginning and held the tree when he was putting it on the wall but he did 98% of the work. I'm very proud of him. The room looks great and every time I come in here now I cannot believe that it's our room. Our landlord was totally cool with it. He is always cool, by the way! I called him asking for his permission to put a wall decoration in the nursery, immediately he said that it's no problem and then asked: What do you want to put there? :)) He had no problem with it!

I have also finished my two cross-stitching projects that I used for decorating the baby room.

So I guess there is not that much more to say. Here is my 38 weeks and a few days picture.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

37 weeks

Full term!!!!! Wow!

I had my appointment on Tuesday. Everything still looks great, the baby measures right 37 weeks and he is still a boy. I started having scary pre-labor dream. The one that freaked me out was that I had a baby and was told that it was a girl. My first thought was: "What I'm going to tell Chris? He was expecting a boy." The second thought was "What are we going to do with all the boy's clothes?" :) Then later in the dream I went to check on the baby and it was a boy. It was funny that he had long body and long legs. I had to ask for a second blanket as one wasn't long enough to wrap him.

Anyway, my appointments were great. I got to see our Excellent Boy (my ultrasound doctor once called him that). He has some good cheeks now. His heart rate was also good. Actually, I monitor his heart rate every day now. The clinic gave me a special monitor that tracks his heart rate for 20 minutes and makes a chart. Then I send it to my doctor through internet and she checks it. I really like it. I like to listen to his heart and watch his heart rate increasing up to 160 every time he moves or kicks the sensors :) and sometimes he starts having hiccups during the test. It's funny!

Last week Chris got back from the states. Thank God he is back home. His next trip will be in January and my parents will come and stay with me and the baby here. So Chris brought all the baby clothes we bought and received as gifts. We have lots of stuff! Great stuff! I have already washed and ironed all newborn clothes and put them in the closet. One of the main things that are left on my list are to have major cleaning of our place and buy a baby carriage. Unfortunately, the cleaning lady I have found is constantly busy and just cancelled tomorrow's visit. I just hope that she will come next week. I want to get it over with. After the place is cleaned we will put our wall decoration in the nursery. I think it will look great. We will also have to practice installation of the car seat. We don't have a car here and we use our company's drivers for all the rides we need to take.

I'm a little upset as Chris has started having second thoughts on the baby name. We have chosen the baby name about 5 months ago and I kept asking him if he really likes it. He always said yes. So I started calling our little guy this name. Every day I liked it more and more and I think that it's perfect for my son. The problem is that I'm Russian and we have chosen an American name. I don't have any background information about the name, I just like the way it sounds. Actually, it's the only name I really liked after I looked through baby name sites. I can easily picture my whole family calling our boy this name, including grandmothers. After Chris got back he said that he is not sure about the name. He said that it sounds weird when he says it. I think that any name would sound weird as we haven't seen the baby yet and it's still unbelievable to realize that we are having the baby. I understand what he means. He is afraid to make a mistake and choose a name that he may not like later or people may not like. It's a huge responsibility. At the same time if we like the name, the family will like it. I think that he just needs to hear someone else's opinion. I don't know what to do. I really like the name we chose but I also want him to like it the same much. At the same time I don't want to ask for people's opinion and be forced into changing the name. It sucks! I wish it came up earlier not three weeks before the baby comes. At this point I feel like my boy is being taken away from me if we call him a different name. And the problem is I don't think I will like any other names. It was hard enough to choose the one we have chosen. At this point I'm afraid that if we choose a different name I will regret not using the name we have initially chosen.

37 weeks

It's funny that when I look at myself the belly doesn't look that big to me and I'm concerned that it's small :) I'm so used to it now but I still have no sense of how big my body is at this point as I always bump into doors or drawers. I took a few pictures yesterday and saw that the belly IS big! As Chris said, don't worry you look VERY pregnant!

The weather is changing here. Yesterday it snowed for the first time for about 15 minutes. Now it's the whole freaking process to go to a grocery store: put on warm stockings, pants, belly band, sweater, hat, scarf not to mention coat that I cannot button on my belly :)) and I refuse to buy a new one just for three weeks. Needless to say that I'm already tired after I get dressed. I guess I won't be out that much if it's really cold outside.

I have two classes left. On Saturday I want to go to a breastfeeding class. We'll see how it goes. I haven't bought the breast pump yet, maybe they will have some good advice on what to choose. I guess that's it for now. I just hope Chris will make his mind on the name and I so hope that he likes the name that have initially chosen.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No traveling for me for a while

One of the things I miss being pregnant is being able to travel. As I mentioned before my husband gets visa renewal trips combined with vacation every three months that's why we used to travel a lot either to the states to see the family or to Europe. One of our favorite destinations is Corfu in Greece where we went twice and want go back again some time in the future. Ireland and Northern California were our best trips we've ever taken. We are so happy that we had such opportunities in life and came up with these ideas for our trips.

I know that I can travel when I'm pregnant but traveling overseas and flying for 9 hours excluding waiting time and other flights is a totally different story. In fact, it takes up to 24 hrs from the time you get up in Moscow and arrive to Florida. It was very tiring to me when I wasn't pregnant, closer to the end you feel like a zombie. So I did not go with Chris in July for these reasons and I'm not going now. He is leaving in a few days and I'm going to miss him a lot. There is no way around this trip and he is taking it earlier this time so he comes back 4 weeks before my due date. Thank God for Skype as we'll talk every day and it won't seem that he is really away. On a good side he will see his family and hang out with his cousin. I'm very happy that he will get to spend some time with guys, watch Football Sunday and have a normal American life for two weeks :)

I'm also excited for his return as he will bring all the baby clothes we bought in the states and the car seat! So the wheels are in motion and we are very excited and a little freaked out realizing that I have only 6 weeks left! I plan on going to more classes in my perinatal clinic. I chose First Days of Newborn, Breast Feeding, Postpartum Period, Baby from 0 to 1. I have already started a list of things to do while Chris is away. One of the things is Christmas gift shopping :) It sounds ridiculous but I don't think that I'll get to that after the baby is born. I'd rather take care of it now. I'll try to make myself busy so that time flies and I don't feel lonely without my husband. Of course, I'll talk to my parents and my best friend on skype. I hope that everything will be fine and Chris will enjoy his trip to the states and will safely come back home to us.

Chris has assembled the cradle and the swing.
On a bad note, the swing motor is messed up and makes noise when you turn it on. No way we're taking it back to the states and exchanging it but we hope that they can send us a new motor. Too bad that it happened, we were very excited about the swing. It looks great though.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Crib Bedding

I've got the bedding and I absolutely love it! I was obsessed with bear theme for the bedding and I'm glad that the one I found has two cute bears on it. :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

32 Week Updates

I haven't updated my blog for a month as I've been busy with planning, cleaning, researching and shopping. C. will be going on his usual visa renewal in a couple of weeks so I want to have everything done and purchased before he leaves. I'll be 34 weeks when he leaves and 36 weeks when he comes back. I think that from that point the time will fly so fast that it's better to have everything ready now.
First of all, we've bought a VERY nice crib which was a gift from my parents. C. put it together and now requests to address him as The Hero!

The crib looks nice in the nursery. It's also HUGE! I've already ordered the bedding which should be delivered today. We also want to buy a cradle to put in our bedroom for the first few months. Hopefully I'll buy it on Monday. I saw one in the same store where we bought the crib and really liked it.

We have ordered the car seat and we have LOTS of clothes for our baby boy. Chris will bring the car seat and all the clothes from the states when he comes back from his visa trip. I cannot wait to see and organize all the tiny clothes MIL bought using my list.

At the beginning things were very frustrating and confusing as far as what to buy, how much/many, when, where etc. Now I feel much better when everything started coming together. Such a relief!
I went to two Labor&Delivery classes. It was very interesting and informative. We learned how to breathe during contractions and learned about different stages of labor. In my opinion the most important thing is to be a good team with your OB/GYN, listen and do everything she says. I hope that I'll be able to do it.
Tomorrow C. and I going to our practice class where we'll learn how to bathe a baby, wrap him, change diapers etc. It's very exciting.
I'm still working on my knitting project - baby blanket. I'm afraid I won't finish it in time as I'm also cross-stitching two decorations for the nursery and if I'm doing one the other falls behind the schedule :(
Our last ultrasound was great though we couldn't make our baby boy help us with the 3D u/s. We could see his face for less than a second. He looked SO cute and was sucking his thumb!!!! It was very sweet and touching! He was sleeping :) My next u/s will be this coming Tuesday, hopefully the kid will cooperate this time and we'll see him in 3D.
So I guess it's a good summary. Here are some pictures:

31.5 Weeks

30 Weeks
27 Weeks