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I think I jinxed myself yesterday morning by thinking that taking care of a baby was much less stressful than I remembered and that the biggest issue was Tanya acting out more. Tanya is almost three and I'm sure she's also jealous of the time I spend on the baby, so she's having more tantrums and more not listening, and being generally stubborn. You tell her not to do something, she's does it deliberately and on purpose. Yesterday morning she was driving both me and my Mom nuts. Olivia, on the other hand, has been sleeping a lot and been generally a good baby. I do have to wake up three times a night to feed her, but she eats quickly and that's pretty normal baby stuff. (And I was terrified being alone with Tanya even when she was like a month, and I'm fine being with a tiny baby now, because I do know what to expect).

But I jinxed it because yesterday, Olivia got gas pains a lot, was crying much more and generally just wanted to be held and to nap on me and not in the crib or the little co-sleeper I use for the first month. So I was basically holding her all day and was trying to soothe her in the evening while she looked like she was in pain, which made me want to cry too. She cried for maybe 5 minutes straight, but that was long enough for me to be upset about it. She did sleep ok at night, in her co-sleeper, and I was rubbing her tummy more, and this morning, after I changed her diaper and fed her, she even sat quietly in her baby chair in the kitchen for ten minutes while I ate breakfast, but boy, I can't wait for this stage to pass and for her tummy to settle down. She's over 9 pounds already, so hopefully it will be just a few months.

Bear went back to work this past week and my Mom has been coming over every day. Usually I would take Olivia outside to nap in the stroller in the courtyard at least once a day, sometimes twice. I would read my book or chat with neighbors. If my Mom and Tanya stopped by on the way to or from the big playground, Tanya would want to sit on me and play with me more than usual - she is definitely reacting to my focus on the baby. Before she would just tell me to go away more. I do try to play with her when I can. I know it is a big change for her.

Bear's birthday was on Thursday. It was very low key this year. Tanya and I drew him a card and I gave him his presents on Thursday morning. I got him another little drone, a book on Black Holes and DVD of Logan. He saw it in the movie theater but he wanted to own it and I wanted to watch it, so win-win. Tomorrow, Bear is taking Tanya to Long Island for the day to celebrate Father's Day and his birthday (he was born on Father's Day so his family always combined the celebrations) and he will get a proper cake. I will just be home with Olivia all day, since she's too young to travel anywhere and I just want to be home anyway.

I've been watching "Orange is the New Black" Season 5 - an episode a day, pretty much. And Great British Baking Show this morning on PBS app. I'm still reading LeGuin book - I'm up to book reviews section. Mostly I'm just sleepy.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday, June 9th, 2017 04:58 pm
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I keep reminding myself that I need to be patient with myself. That postpartum recovery will happen with time and it's only been a week. But I just want to get over this phase of stitches and lochia and engorgement. It was my least favorite part last time and I can't wait to get to normal again. But again, it is easier this time - I can walk normally, unlike last time, and I'm not as stressed about baby care. I can change diapers and she's eating and doing normal baby things. I even sleep a tiny bit more than I did with Tanya. First week with Tanya I could barely sleep. I still get frustrated and feel totally useless when I can't get the baby to sleep easily, but Olivia actually sleeps a lot, much more than Tanya did. And she is eating well. I, thankfully, have enough milk - too much even. (She eats differently than Tanya did. Tanya would eat efficiently in one feeding and not ask for more until a few hours later. Olivia eats in 2-3 stages. She eats, gets tired, burps and asks for seconds. I wonder if this will be reflected in how they eat.) So I need to remind myself to be patient and be in the moment.

What complicated this week is that Tanya got a cold, which became apparent on Wednesday morning. It's tapering off, so hopefully we can get to relatively normal tomorrow. But she is not allowed in my room where the baby is or where she can snuggle with me like she likes in the mornings. Which is very frustrating and upsetting for everyone because Tanya just wants to see the baby and pet the baby and hug my hair. And I want to encourage her bonding with her sister. The good thing is Bear is home this week, so at least she gets a lot of Papa attention and it is less miserable that it could be for her. And I was frustrated a bit because I can't exactly comfort her or snuggle with her because I had to be careful not to catch it since I need to care for the baby. At least I actually gave her breakfast and lunch today. Hopefully, snuggles tomorrow.

On Wednesday, Bear and I also took Olivia to the pediatrician for the first visit - and first vaccine. There is still a little jaundice that we have to watch out for but she's eating and peeing well, so it should clear by next week. The three of us also managed a nice time outside in the courtyard, taking Olivia out for a nap in the stroller so she could get some sun on her face. That was very nice.

And this morning, while Olivia napped on me, I watched the first episode of the new season of Orange is the New Black. It was ok - I liked it enough, especially conversation between Judy and Sosa, but it's not grabbing me yet. Too much going on. I wonder if the whole season will be just about the riot. We'll see. I'll keep watching when I have a chance. Mainly I just try to nap.

Olivia is here!

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 04:29 am
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Olivia Elizabeth was born at 1:33am on June 3rd, wanting her own birthday. She is 8 pounds and 15.4 ounces.

I'm 37. I'm not old.

Friday, June 2nd, 2017 01:03 pm
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This has probably been the weirdest birthday I've ever had. Mostly because I'm just waiting for my contractions to start and I'm on edge a little bit about it. And I'm not very comfortable sleeping or lying down or anything. I went to the doctor yesterday and he said that I'm basically 3-4cm dilated already so as soon as contractions hit I need to not wait and just get to the hospital immediately and that it can happen at any point now, probably soon. Now, with Tanya I was 2cm dilated for almost a week before I went into labor and he was also saying it could happen at any moment. So it's not unfamiliar situation. But I'm still over analyzing every bodily feeling. Especially as with second kids birth is usually faster and there is a drive to the hospital.

So I'm basically home, on my bed, lounging. My parents are here - my Dad is working from my place, and Tanya is home, of course, while Bear is at work today. He left me presents, which I opened this morning. I couldn't sleep very well, I maybe got 3-4 hours total, waking up often enough, so I was awake since 4:45. Around 6 I decided I could open presents. Bear got me socks with Solar system on them (when Tanya saw them, she insisted she put them on me right away :) ), the Essential Nina Simone CD, a cross stitch kit with a bit polar bear and two cubs, and an Unofficial Harry Potter cookbook (which is basically cookbook of British dishes for American audience, and looks fun).

I got a Kindle book gifts - Bear's parents got me Words Are My Matter by Ursula Le Guin, her non-fiction collection, and Marianna got me My Own Words the autobiography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, both of which where on my wish list.

And my parents got me a new handbag for work, Calvin Klein, beige, very pretty; Lindt dark chocolate bar with sea salt and The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.

So lots of new books for me to read. And my parents got a little cake for lunch. I also got some cash from grandparents and Janna. Very quiet, informal birthday, which is a good thing right now. So now I wait.
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Today was very very cold, again. I had jury duty today, so I had to venture out in it. Bear left for work early and my Mom already came over by the time I got up at 6:45. I left at 7:30 to get to the courthouse by 8:30. It's a straight shot on a subway, so it wasn't terrible. But walking even 2 minutes from the subway to the courthouse was super freezing.

I had the shortest jury duty ever. I got to the courthouse, got in line to get in the building, waited about 10 minutes to go through the metal detector and then went downstairs to see if I could get dismissed as a caretaker since I'm home with Tanya most of the time. I brought her copy of the birth certificate and everything. And in about one minute they dismissed me for 2 years. So then I just left the building and went to take the train back home. I got home by 9:20am. Because of construction on the subway line, I did have get off a stop earlier and walk 10 minutes and that was super freezing. I had gloves on and my fingers still got frozen.

My Mom stayed until Tanya's naptime. She is much less than a pack rat than I am - I don't like to part with sentimental favorites like my old backpack. So I let her toss it - that really works for me, letting my Mom get rid of old clothes or things I know should go. So we sorted my make-up and cleaned out two old backpacks to throw out. I do have a brand new shiny purple one and I want to limit things for the move at the end of February. We also took some photographs and postcards from the bedroom wall.

For the last four days, Tanya actually wanted to nap in her own toddler bed, that is pushed next to my bed. She slept in the crib until she was about eight months old and then she totally refused to do so (my Mom was the first one to yield to her crying and pick her up and take her into her bed). So Tanya has been sleeping with me ever since - which really does work for us, since I could get sleep and not be a zombie at work, and Bear prefers to sleep in the living room so he can stay up later and not feel like he is disturbing anyone's sleep. We periodically did try to get her back into her own crib - we converted the crib into the toddler bed, but she really didn't want to. But this weekend I mentioned that the crib, where she basically keeps lots of her stuffed toys, will be baby's bed and we will get Tanya a whole new bed for her own room. She was like, "No, this is Tanya's bed." And she is staking the claim ever since. She still wants to sleep with me at night - she is comforted by my hair, but for naps she is all about her bed now.

While she was napping, I was reading my book - I finished Jemisin's "The Fifth Season" and Novik's 3rd Temeraire book lately - so I started non-fiction "The Last Days of the Romanovs" by Helen Rappaport. (In the evening, when it's dark I'm reading Strugatski brothers "It's Hard to Be a God" on my Kindle). Hoping to get these two more books in before the end of the year. And do some book review posts.

And after the nap, I left Tanya with her little video game, which she is allowed to play for 10 minutes a day, and called my OB's office for the results of the genetic blood test. Everything looks fine, which is great. I also found out we are having another girl! Now we just have to come up with a name. It was easy the first time, since we named Tanya after my grandmother and her middle name is from James' grandmother. With this one we are actually looking at name lists.
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10. biggest surprises of parenthood -- how has having a child compared to what you thought parenthood would be like? ([identity profile] hamsterwoman.livejournal.com)

I always thought that I would be a parent, mostly in an abstract way. When we were 19 and first talked about kids, Bear wasn't sure about kids at all but I knew I wanted them at some point. (As he got older he came around, obviously). I never really dealt with babies or toddlers at all, so that was all a big mystery to me. I barely held a baby until my friend Marianna had one and even then it was for like a minute. And I was just scared of that stage. I never even thought about what being pregnant would be like. I did always like kids and I worked in summer camps for all three summers of college when I was 19 to 21, first at sleepaway camp and then at day camp. There I dealt with girls aged 7 to 10, so I was always comfortable with that and could picture that age. But I never really deeply thought or fantasized about parenthood, other than abstract, yes I would like kids someday, to have a family. Once in a while I would have most idealic pictures of playing and talking and sharing my love of books. I didn't really have expectations other than what the hell do you do with a baby? Can't they just magically get to be 6?

So a year after we were married and I was 33, it was really time to get pregnant. And I did pretty quickly. My pregnancy gave me all the happy hormones until about month 6, I only started getting nervous then. But there are books, which helped and I had my Mom who came around a lot and helped tremendously. The most terrifying moment was when we came home from the hospital and my parents left in the evening. They were coming back the next morning, but Bear and I were left with this helpless 2 day old baby with no idea of what we were doing. I don't think i slept that night or for that first week.

The biggest surprise so far was just how much I love this little person. Like we made an actual person. Daily life with a baby or toddler can be boring, frustrating, annoying, tedious but then I look at her perfect face and her curiosity or she says something and it's just amazing. She wanted me to climb up the chain ladder at the playground today, and I said I can't and she just tells me "poprobuy" (try). She won't accept, "I can't". It's funny every time. She is just amazing. She didn't sleep through the night for like 13 months, but I was just willing to wake up at night and take care of her. Just that protective/nurturing instinct was surprising.

And I get so proud of all the little things she does. When she was 2 months old, she was lying on her stomach and I held up her toy giraffe and she raised her head super high for the first time. And I got so happy. How happy she makes me when I think of her is definitely was not something I was expecting very much - I was never a super emotional person.

My other surprise, I think, is how much easier it has gotten with every year. She's still very demanding obviously, but I preferred her being 1 to being a baby and I definitely prefer her being 2 to being 1 - I love her talking all the time and her ability to tell me what she wants. I thought terrible twos would be terrible but it hasn't been bad at all. She has occasional tantrum but I usually know the cause and don't overreact. But she's on the good schedule so she doesn't tantrum often. I think because I didn't know what I was doing and nursing for over a year, so having to pump when I was at work, and lack of sleep all that made the first year the hardest. I'm hoping the baby stage will be a little easier with the second one, although there will be two of them and that will take some new skills and I have no clue how to cope with that. But I will learn.

Speaking of the second one, if everything will go well, I will have one in June! I'm pregnant! Just officially entering my second trimester (there is a reason I put this question on this date). The last two months were pretty terrible - so much nauseousness. I basically coped by going to bed with Tanya at 8:30pm and sleeping early to avoid the worst of it. It's easing up during the mornings and days, but evenings are still hard. Hopefully, it should taper off now. I would really like my evenings back. I barely see Bear as it is. I really hope everything works out since I really don't want to be pregnant again. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday, May 28th, 2016 11:40 pm
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Two weeks to catch up on.

From Tuesday, May 17th to Sunday, May 22nd we were in Long Island, visiting Bear's parents. Bear was at work for most of it - we really only saw him in the mornings - but it was still nice to actually see him and it was good to spend time with his family. Tanya loved it. Bear transferred the car seat to his Mom's car, so we could drive around. We also turned the car seat forward - it was time, she is getting tall.

It was still cool, spring weather - some jackets once in a while (compared to the heat wave this week). And we went to a lot of playgrounds. The regular playground, beach playground, local town playground by the bay. One afternoon we went to this local farm where kids can feed the animals through the fence. The animals were only allowed to eat celery or dark greens, which one could conveniently buy at the farm. Tanya loved feeding the cow and the sheep, was not afraid at all. She also loved spending time with her Aunt Carrie, Bear's sister. Bear doesn't have the best relationship with her, mostly because she keeps causing trouble and worries their parents greatly, but she is very good with Tanya and Tanya enjoyed the attention. At one point she wanted me "away" and she was busy playing with Carrie's spices and her food cabinet, so I used the time to go upstairs to use the bathroom in peace and quiet - a rarity. But, of course, "away" means "go sit over there but not out of eyesight" in toddler so Tanya, after five minutes, realized I wasn't there, went to climb the stairs and then cried at the bathroom door when I couldn't let her in.

When I did have my own time, during naptime (except one day where she skipped a nap) and bedtime, I borrowed Bear's Kindle Fire where I uploaded Season 9 of "Doctor Who" that my Dad got for me. And, I watched the whole season. The season was mostly two parters, so it worked out well with about two episodes per day. I'm going to do a separate reaction post, but overall I enjoyed the season for the most part, except for the stupid 'documentary' sleep episode , which I found terrible. Loved the Christmas special to pieces. And Episode 11 was pretty amazing - just the Doctor, no other actors, sustaining my interest really well.

I didn't really have a lot of time to read though. It's strange. I like "Jonathan Strange" when I read it, a lot, but when I'm not reading it my fingers are not itching for it. It's not the book I don't want to put down. At least not yet.

The book I don't want to put down is the book I got as a present last week. On Saturday, May 21st, for our last dinner in Long Island, with Bear home too, his parents had a sort of early birthday celebration for Bear and I. They usually celebrate both our birthdays on Father's Day (mine is June 2 and Bear's is June 15. He was born on Father's Day) but this year they are going away and since we are going on vacation too, it would be a month before we would see them. So early birthday celebration. Mostly, Bear's Mom just wanted to give me my present early. She got me "Hamilton The Revolution" book - the libretto to Hamilton the Musical. This book was on my wish list but she didn't even see that. She read a review of it in a newspaper and got it for me. The book is really amazing. It focuses on the development of the show, the songs, the actors and all kinds of background insights both into Hamilton and into the theater world. I was amused in the beginning by all the Harry Potter references as well. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a fan, apparently. He is exactly my age, so there are a lot of references I get. I'm in awe of this book. And savoring it.

This week Tanya and I were home by ourselves, just the two of us. Bear had an extra long work week. He left on Monday afternoon and just got back this evening. My parents came to visit Monday and yesterday, and my Mom by herself on Wednesday, so I did get some company. And we hang out at the playground a lot, so I do get to have some adult conversations.

This week is a hot week. As usual, the weather went from cold spring to hot summer in a day. It was up to 87F today - 75F in the morning. I got my summer shirts out and my shorts. I do love my summer shirts. And since it is finally really warm, my Mom insisted on the next stop in Tanya's potty training. At home, she's been wearing panties, since she asks to go, only wearing diapers to nap and sleep. But we used to put a diaper to go outside. Well, we are now carrying a small potty to the playground, so Tanya got to run around in panties outside (there is a bathroom there, but it is a little gross and not that comfortable for a toddler to use). I time an hour and a half, and make her use it. She did ask today, so progress. And since it's summer, we just bring a change of clothes in case of accidents. It is a lot more hassle, but my Mom is right, it is time.

The other day, I picked Tanya up from her chair after dinner to carry her into the bedroom and she hugged me and then said "Tanya lyubit Mamu" or (Tanya loves Mama). Aw.

Next week will be baking week. I want to make a blueberry pie on Monday when Marianna and her family, and Yeva are coming over. And I decided on Boston Creme Cheesecake for my birthday. So lots of sweets.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday, May 16th, 2016 10:30 pm
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So apparently I'm reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell now. It was a little unplanned. I finished Sacks and was going to start Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children . But that book was in hard copy and on Friday morning Tanya woke me up early by moving around but then she went back to sleep for another hour. Since I couldn't sleep and only had my Kindle with a flashlight nearby, I figured I would read something. Jonathan Strange is on my "to read" list this year but at 900 something pages it is a little intimidating. Just the time commitment; it's going to take me a while, especially with no commute to read on. But I started it. I had absolutely no idea what this book was about - I vaguely knew it was set in the 19th century. And for some reason my brain associates the title with "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide." I never even read the cover page for the book description. I know there was a TV miniseries, which I want to eventually see. I avoided pretty much all spoilers. I also know many people really love this book.

I'm on Chapter 5 right now. I like the writing style and the story so far but it is still a little early to get a handle on the characters or the plot. My favorite part so far was the description of what a society party was like - hot and super crowded and superficial in a lot of ways. And Mr. Norell just wants to read his book in the corner. I can relate to that. The book is certainly amusing me right now. I guess this would be my world for at least a month. Maybe longer.

I'm also finally watching Season 9 of "Doctor Who." I saw the first episode the week it aired (and rewatched it today) but wasn't able to see the rest. My Dad just got it for me this week from this Russian website and I can switch the language back into English. So I'm looking forward to that. Maybe to the Christmas Special since I love River.

Yesterday, we all went to visit my grandparents and while we were there my uncle (my Dad's younger brother) came over as well with my aunt and cousin Anna. I saw my uncle and Anna maybe a little over a year ago but my aunt never met Tanya. (They live in New Jersey, more than an hour away and we are not super close). So it was fun to hang out, once Tanya got over the shyness of meeting so many new people all at once.

Today I actually picked up my phone and called people to ask for things. It's not always easy for me to do that. But I really had to call the apartment management person. They sent our our lease renewal last week and effectively raised our rent 5.4%. New York City actually passed a rent freeze - 0% this year but there is a loophole that if the tenant was paying a "preferred rent" and not "legal rent," the landlord could raise it to "legal rent". So it's legal but such a dick move. $80 more a month is not a small sum. And we've been in this place since 2012, paid our rent on time, etc. So I called today to see if there was anything they could do. The manager was actually pretty nice and easy about it. Said she would talk to the owner and call me back in the afternoon. And she did. Our rent would now only go up $30. Still annoying of them to get around the intent of the law but better than before. So yay. And I made sure to reinforce in my mind that it is good to call and ask for things (when I went to therapy one summer when I started to develop travel anxiety, one of the things that stuck with me is the need to reinforce the positives and not just focus on the negatives). I also called a different real estate guy that one of the Moms at the playground recommended, now that we want to start searching for an apartment to buy again.

And tomorrow, Tanya and I are heading with Bear to his parents's house for the week. Bear will be working, fairly late at night too, but at least we would see him in the morning. And Tanya and I will get to hang out with his parents and Tanya will get a chance to practice English more. She speaks more in Russian since she's around me all the time, but when Bear is home she is picking up more English phrases for sure. She was eating something, either strawberry or banana and she told me in Russian "Tanya kushaet bananu" then turned right to Bear and said "Tanya eats banana", translating for him (although he can understand basic Russian and she knows it). She also loves to comment on what she is doing. As she was drinking milk, she said "Tanya pyet moloko" or "Tanya is drinking milk", then when she was done, she said "Tanya popila moloko" or "Tanya drank/finished drinking milk." She also mastered her shape sorter a week ago, a new skill we will show off to grandparents.
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The semester is almost over. Classes are done next Monday, when I will give my final exam, and then I have to finish all the grading by May 11th. I just printed out the exam, so I'm all set in prep. Now just to grade Paper 5.

I've been a little bit consumed by watching Season 1 of "The Flash" on Netflix in the past week, so I suspect I will only start to focus on grading once I finish the final two episodes. I love this show, which is a little unexpected. But the villain is so, so good and the tension is built nicely. I'm a tad obsessed at this point, which hasn't happened in a while. Watching the whole season at once only confirms to me that that is how I prefer my TV now - all at once with no commercials. I think I will continue to watch this show just on Netflix, the same way I do with "Agents of Shield" - it just works so much better watching at my pace in a month, rather than over the course of the year.

It's Passover and I'm keeping it - so no bread or pasta or rice or oatmeal for me. It's been cottage cheese and eggs and cheese for breakfast and lots of potatoes. I do miss my bread - but it is only three days left. On Friday, we were still at my parents so we had a Seder there. My parents don't really like the whole ritual, just the food, so I did a very short version of prayers from my Haggadah. But the food, as usual, was delicious. Tanya really loves chicken soup (the other day, I was giving it to her at home and she wanted to say "Tanya is eating soup" and was trying to get to the Russian word 'to eat', saying the English one. So I helped with 'Tanya kushaet soup" and she corrected me with "bulyon," which is Russian for chicken soup. She cracks me up) and she really liked munching on mazza.

On Saturday, after my parents drove us home and Bear came home from work and food shopping, we drove to Queens to Marianna's for our friend Seder, which we do every year on a convenient Passover Saturday. It was a smaller gathering this year, since Janna's baby is only a few months and she opted out. It was Marianna, her husband Adama, their daughters Galya and Ida, Yeva, Bear, Tanya and I. The boys took care of the kids while Marianna and I with some assist from Yeva cooked. It was so nice just to cook together and talk.

Our menu this year was chicken soup with mazza balls, Ethiopian cabbage dish (potatoes and cabbage), asparagus, salad, baked wild salmon, mazza bread with mushrooms and onions, eggs and desert (I got a Passover cake in Costco). And I put together the Passover Plate, of course Adama got plaintains which we usually have every year too, but it was getting late so he gave us some to take home and Bear made them Monday. Lots and lots delicious food. I still did a shortened Seder since we had to leave by 8, but I got most important bits in.

Tanya didn't nap in the car on the way there and, of course, couldn't settle down for a nap in a new place filled with new fun toys, so she didn't nap. She did very well, surprisingly, and wasn't too cranky in the evening. She fell asleep right away on the way home at 8pm, went to bed quickly again once we got home and slept in until 7:40 the next morning - so she caught up on her sleep. But Saturday she was just excited to play with Galya and then Ida, once Ida was up from her nap. For the first time, Tanya was actually playing with others, not just parallel playing, but playing. Even last time we came for a visit, she was more cautious. This time, she even led Ida by the hand herself to join in some game. It was fun to see.

Yesterday, we went to the playground twice, in the morning and in the afternoon. And both times she started following two girls around. In the morning, it were sisters who were maybe 7 and 5, playing on the slide, and Tanya wanted to climb on the side like them and touch their jackets. And in the afternoon, she saw two other sisters, maybe 4 and 3, drawing with chalk, so she went to the opposite corner of the playground to her stroller to get her chalk, then ran to the girls and joined them. Offered them chalk, tried jumping/running after them as they jumped the chalk drawn numbers game. They were mostly puzzled but let her follow them, prompted by their mother. She is starting to join it, though.

And she is making more and more sentences - in present and past tense. And it's often so amusing to me. Yesterday morning, I was washing the floors and she would come up to me and try to grab the mop and wash the floors herself, saying "otdai shvabru", loosely translated as 'give me back the mop', kind of. It's funnier in Russian.
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It's April 9th and we are wearing winter jackets. It's rainy and might even snow a bit. What is this spring? I suspect it will go from cold straight to hot and humid without the nice, breathy period in between. Well, at least it wasn't raining in the morning so we could go outside a bit.

Of course, I also get extra exercise because our elevator hasn't been working since Wednesday. We live on the fifth floor, which is really the sixth since there is a ground floor with the lobby, so that's a lot of stairs (69, I counted). On top of just walking up and down those stairs I have to carry the stroller and a toddler. Although, sometimes she wants to walk up herself holding on to the railing - she did three floors that way the other day. I kept asking her if she was tired, but she was having fun. Still, to go up and down the stairs, it's bringing down baby for one landing (there are two per floor), go back up, bring down stroller, then next landing. Lots of exercise. I ran into the elevator guy, who was fixing it this morning, and he said that while he fixed the actual elevator, the lobby door is off or stuck or whatever and needs to be taken off and welded, which won't happen until Monday. At least Bear is home now and he can carry everyone down until Tuesday morning.

Bear was away for work since Wednesday afternoon and just got back at 5:45pm tonight, so Tanya and I were just by ourselves on Wednesday night, and then again once I came home on Thursday afternoon. So last 48 hours, it was a lot of Skype to Bear and to my parents to have some adult conversation. Mostly, it's not very exiting. She is playing with a ball more, ever since she watched the Elmo episode with balls, and she has mastered her colors, so she names everything with color now. We had to buy a new ball on Friday since someone took ours on the playground (which is weird since usually people are good about it. maybe it was the cleaning crew who thought it was left behind while we were on the slide?). So in the store Tanya wanted "siniy ball" (blue ball - in her combination of languages). She also saw kids walking the other day and had to point out that they had "zelyenyi boots" (green boots). She's starting to make sentences of three and four words, which is fun to see. We are trying to teach her shapes, since she's not quite there yet.

Other than that, I kind of, accidentally, started watching "The Flash." I wanted something to watch the other day and I was looking around on Netflix and I figured I could watch the pilot. I liked the crossover "Supergirl" episode with the Flash and I like Grant Gustin in general from Glee. So I watched the pilot and liked it a lot, enough to watch two more episodes since then. I like it - it's really good for early episodes, especially Barry and Joe, their acting and their relationship (my favorite thing so far). Of course, there is a big CW quality with people too pretty and too young and too smart for the jobs they have, which makes it hard to buy at times (too few people working on that giant reactor too), but it is charming too. And I can't take Barry's Dad seriously since he was Dawson's Dad on "Dawson's Creek." But I guess I'm watching it now.
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I'm not a big fan of Daylight Savings Time. I mean I like the extra sunlight - not that I go out much in the evening, but I really, really don't like adjusting to the new time. It takes about a week and I read somewhere that your body never really does adjust to it properly. At least my Uni is on Spring Break and I don't have to go to work tomorrow, so I won't have to wake up at what my body thinks is 5am. And if it was just me, I would just grumble a little about it, but it wouldn't be too bad. But I have a toddler, who didn't appreciate going to bed an hour earlier today under the announcement that the time changed. Bedtime took an hour and 20 minutes and I got really tired singing the bedtime lullaby.

She didn't nap yesterday because I was away and Bear wasn't able to get her to nap. So I put her to bed an hour earlier (her usual bedtime is 8pm) and she was asleep by 7:20. But because she didn't have a nap she slept longer and only woke up at 8 by new time. We adjusted the mealtime and nap schedule today but I suspect bedtime would take a while. And I need that time once she goes to sleep to grade this week, so that should be lots of fun.

My friend Janna had a baby three weeks ago, so yesterday I went to visit them. Yeva also wanted to go - I changed the date of the visit to fit her schedule. But Yeva is notoriously late to everything, so I was actually happy that we agreed to just meet in the city and not just go together from here. (We both live in Brooklyn, while Janna lives in Manhattan). I took the subway and was by Grand Central by 10am, right on time. Janna texted me and asked me to stop by and get her a cappuccino as a nearby local shop - she declared it the best gift ever. Yeva didn't even leave her house by then :) I spent about three hours at Janna's. First it was just us and a sleeping, tiny baby. She was born 5 pounds 15 ounces, and while she has been gaining weight well, she is still so tiny and adorable. Like a tiny live doll. Then Yeva came about an hour later. And then Janna's husband and her older daughter, 2 and a half year old Jo, came home from shopping as well. It was very nice to just hang out. I gave Janna the cross-stitch I did for baby Jac (short for Jacqueline), a little toy monkey and a monkey outfit. This is a year of a monkey and I was born in the monkey year too - so represent. And I got some coloring books for Jo, so she wouldn't feel left out.

At around 1, after holding the baby, who was awake, changed and fed by then, and taking lots of pictures, Yeva and I headed out. Since Yeva had her car, I just went with her. We went to get some pizza and hung out some more. And then I headed home, stopping by to get some cheese for the lasagna I was making that night. So a nice half a day just being social, something I did need.

Today was a much quieter day. I washed the floors, then we went to the playground. Nothing extraordinary. But the weather is so lovely and spring like this weekend, that it just felt very relaxing. Back to grading tomorrow.

Meme )
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I'm procrastinating on grading Paper 2. I signed up for Folder Review for next Thursday to give myself extra time, but it seems my brain still prefers a little pressure and closer deadlines. I have been productive in working on the discussion questions for class and on the midterm question. I also finished reading The Buried Giant. And if I start grading tomorrow with six papers a day, it will be done on time and everything without too much anxiety. But I really should grade now. But, of course, I will procrastinate a little more by writing this blog.

I'm been social over the last couple of days. Even got take out, which is rare lately. On Sunday, Bear, Tanya and I went to visit my friend Marianna and her daughters Galya (4) and Idalia (18 months) in Queens. We just spent a lovely afternoon at her place, watching our kids play, ordering Nepalese food - which for me also included some Miso Soup and Sushi so it was a mix with Japanese, and just generally having a relaxing day. It is really fun watching Tanya and Ida interact. They mostly stare at each other, trying to figure each other out. But they do play near each other and there is interaction. They are two days apart. Ida is taller and much more compact, with more weight on her. And she has a big sister so she is better at interacting with other kids. Tanya is ahead in speech. Both adorable. When we first got there Galya made them hold hands and they did that for a while starring at each other. I told Tanya to pet Ida's hair, and she loved doing that. Marianna told Ida to give Tanya a kiss and a hug, and she did that. Tanya's bewildered face was priceless. And it was great to see how much Galya has grown since I last saw her a months and a half ago. She was more in control in her own space and guided play between all the kids.

Bear also had a chance to show his new virtual reality programs. It's really, really cool. He has headgear and is using a smartphone. He recreated his office at work, his grandmother's house and is working on the creepy program of a person being in a coffin. But it is pretty amazing. I get a little nauseous moving around his grandmother's old house, but it is still ridiculously awesome. He promised me to build a beach scenario where I can just sit and stare at the waves. Since I'm non-visual, with a blind mind's eye - it's called aphantasia apparently - it's the only way I would be able to actually see the beach if I'm not on it.

Speaking of aphantasia, [personal profile] zhelana linked a great article about it. This one. . It was really fun to read and be a little bewildered on how others can't even imagine how we with aphantasia think. It never occurred to me that not seeing Bear's face when he's not around me is a disadvantage. It's not like my feelings for him would disappear if I can't see him. I really enjoyed reading it and then I contacted the scientists running the study on aphantasia at University of Exeter. I was just excited to put my experience and reflections on paper. I first realized I was unusual three years ago. I just didn't realize how rare it is. I got a response the next day and filled out some questionnaires too. Apparently only 2% of population are extreme cases like me. Many others have "weak" inner eye but not totally blank.

My friend Yeva came over yesterday (and we ordered some Uzbekinstani food), and I talked to her about aphantasia. One of the questions on the questionnaire was to count all the windows in the house/apartments and describe how one did it. Yeva could not imagine how I could count all the windows and remember what my bedroom looks like without seeing it in my head. I just do. I know exactly where everything is; I don't actually see it if I'm not there. It turns out that she can also hear sounds and taste things if she thinks about it, like imagining a garden with a waterfall. I can't hear anything that is not real not can I taste something that I'm not eating. I can imagine a garden but not see it nor actually hear the waterfall but I know what it should sound like. I just find all this brain stuff fascinating. But I really didn't realize how rare my blind mind's eyes is. I don't feel deprived or anything though. I never known anything differently. I remember faces and details really well.

Baby is crying. I'm going to go soothe her and take it as a sign that I should go to sleep. She's abetting my procrastination!
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I really need to figure out how to handle my work stress better. I work part-time during the semesters teaching two sections of writing classes at a University. The rest of the time I'm home with my 18 month old, which is another job in itself. Of course, part-time is a relative term. I physically go to work two days a week and teach two 80 minute classes. But during the weeks where I have commenting on rough drafts (for papers 1 and 4) or grading papers (there are 5) - so seven weeks total, I don't have any free time at all. My every spare moment, which with an 18 months old and household stuff, really just includes nap time and bedtime, is used to grade.

There are 43 students at present, and I spend about 30 min on paper, sometimes more. Plus, after reading about 4 to 6 of them in a row, especially this early in the semester where the writing is very terrible, makes my brain literally hurt and shut down. So grading and commenting weeks are weeks of high stress for me where I try to get through 6 papers a day, every day for a week, to try to get them back in a week. I do have half a week backup time, just in case, but that just prolongs the agony.

So this week, from last Thursday to this morning was commenting week. I was fine, stress wise until Monday. I got a whole class done by Sunday night and I was on track. Of course, by Monday night I was exhausted from waking up early and teaching and commuting, so I got less done. And on Tuesday night, Tanya decided that she needed me nearby at 9:30pm to sleep, so I ended up commenting on two papers with a flashlight. But then I felt so exhausted I fell asleep, 3 papers from my goal. That really shouldn't have raised my stress that high - I was still on track. But by the evening I was feeling it. Frustrated and testy. I really try hard not to take it out on others, so it's probably bottling in too. I got 3 papers done during Tanya's long nap on Wednesday and actually managed 6 in the evening without my brain drying up. And I got 3 done on morning commute and last one in office hours. I was all ready for class. But last night, it really wasn't helpful to start getting upset over it. So I need better grading stress strategies. I'm going to really try to stay on track this semester.

On the upside, I get a grading free weekend. Yay. I still have to write a letter of recommendation, write a bunch of emails, and read the essay for next week to prep Monday's class, but no grading! I get Paper 1 on Monday, so I should really enjoy it. I just watched the latest episode of "Supernatural" - yay, girls! - and now I want to curl up with the 3rd Robert Galbraith book Career of Evil (J.K. Rowling detective books) which I got from the library today on my Kindle. I got notification in the morning and took our my other book I'm reading and stuck a Kindle in my bag to read on the way home. Unfortunately, the Kindle didn't pick up the school Wi-Fi so I couldn't download it. I ended up reading National Geographic on the way home, which is fine, I'm behind on them but I can't wait to read my book it. It already had a very, very creepy beginning from the perspective of a serial killer targeting the main character, so it should be fun!

Tanya continues to be awesome and watching her pick up language continues to be super fascinating to me. She is repeating absolutely everything we say now and is starting to sing along with songs. My Mom told me to try reading her some small baby poems which I've been reading to her for a while (some Barto ones) and not to say the ending word on the line to let her say it. And she totally did! And she did that with the alphabet poems too. She really does remember it or at least recognizes the rhyme.

We also started letting her wear just the underwear at home for about an hour in the afternoons to get her to recognize when she needs to go pee and to start asking. She's been good about pooping in the potty for a while now and knows how to ask that. And in this last week, since we started diaper free time she really started to pick it up and has been mostly recognizing when she needs to pee, although she can't quite hold it all the way yet. Still, no giant accidents. I'm really impressed how far she came in just a week of this. We want to get her diaper free by summer. Fingers crossed. She has been having fun with putting all her stuffed animals on the potty. She picks Elmo up, for example. says, "pee, pee. begi (run), begi (run)" and runs with him to the potty and tries to put him on. It's hysterical sometimes.
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Mad Max: Fury Road )

TV: Downton Abbey and Sherlock )

I spend most of last week at my parents with Tanya since I had work orientation for two days. We only got home on Saturday morning. The week itself was pretty nice and orientation ended up being very helpful, despite being over two long days. I'm just going to do a short recap of the week. I should really just post more often.

Monday In the morning, Tanya and I went to Tanya's doctor for her last vaccines for a while. The visit actually went very well, no drama. Hopefully, no more visits, fingers crossed, until August. My Mom came over early to cook some soup and pack and as we neared our place, we saw that she was already outside, ready to go. We did have to come back as my Mom forgot her purse but still came to my parents's house pretty quickly.

Tuesday - Tanya started using declensions in Russian! She said, 'idyem babe' 'let's go to grandma' and not just nominitive 'baba' or 'grandma'. She said 'k mame' (to mama) too. I'm continuing to be amazed by how she is learning the language. She repeats after us a lot, and uses both English and Russian. It's really fascinating.

Wednesday - Day 1 of orientation. My Dad drove me in early. I was in the building by 7am (orientation was at 10). So I found an empty classroom, turned on my computer, ate my breakfast while finishing watching the Sherlock special. Then I worked on my syllabi and the online site. The orientation itself was more useful than I thought it would be. It was a recap of pedagogy of the course but the refresher was nice. I got some nice new idea for discussion day and for peer review day. I wanted to shake up my discussion class this semester; last year I felt I was talking too much and needed to get the students to participate more.

Thursday - on Thursday morning, I turned on my phone to watch the Oscar nomination, and as I was setting that up I saw the news bulletin that Alan Rickman died. My first reaction was refusal to believe it, hoping I misread or that it was a prank. I didn't have an emotional connection with David Bowie - I didn't grow up with his music or the movie - so Monday's news wasn't personal, but Alan Rickman was one of my favorite actors. I own Sense and Sensibility, Galaxy Quest, Dogma and Love Actually DVDs and Bear had all Harry Potters. My Dad has Die Hard. Alan Rickman was just such a presence. I kerp getting sad every time I catch my Snape mug with his image on my bookshelf.

On Thursday I also got myself some new slippers on sale, more food for Tanya at baby R US and some more milk for her.

Friday - Day 2 of orientation. I had to work on Assignment questions in the morning and also turned on my contract. We also worked on the grading criteria and later practice graded some papers to make sure everyone was grading on the same rubric. The best part of orientation was seeing some of my work friends, like Rosemary, and meeting new teachers too. There was lovely conversation at lunch about both work stuff and just regular TV, books, politics, life stuff. I'm also turning into one of those parents apparently who offers advice to expectant parents. I should stop that.

Saturday - back home, mostly a quiet day. I did take a walk to the library in the afternoon, for the first time in years (I've mostly been using their ebook feature and borrowing books for my Kindle) so I could renew my library card. And as soon as I stepped outside once I renewed the card, I took out my phone and put the 3rd Robert Galbraith book on hold. Technology is awesome. I then walked quite a way to the playground to join Bear and Tanya. So I ended up getting some walking exercise too.

In the evening, Bear and I started watching "Mad Max". I'm savoring this sudden ability in the last month to have free time in the evening and watching movies or reading. Tanya is finally staying asleep, most of the time after she falls asleep. Now that the semester is starting that time will be spent grading but still, time I will have. Yay. Why is my body and brain telling me to have another baby again and have erratic sleep again? (We are still thinking about having another but I'm starting to get a bit of baby fever -which I did not have when we were planning Tanya, but appently I do now. Still, brain, think of sleeping).

Sunday - I made pea soup in the morning and then walked to the local kosher butcher store to get some hot dogs and buns (I made them for dinner). I also went to a bunch of little stores including a Chinese bakery and a regular bakery. We got the first real snow of the winter in the afternoon. So quiet day. We finished the movie in the evening.

We are visiting Bear's parents today since it's a work holiday. Tanya is napping and I can finally catch up on the blog. I'm also reading three books now (Bechdel, 9th Tomek book and Purgatory), so I will probably read one of those now. It's really cold outside, 25F or -4 C, and it snowed a little this morning. There is finally winter. Some tea and a book sound just about right.
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30 Days of Me Meme

Day 11: Put your MP3 player on shuffle and write ten songs that pop up

My iPod is almost always on shuffle and I often just let iTunes fill it up randomly; I like variety. I did preload with more Broadway than usual lately, though. Ok, let me press shuffle again and see what comes up.

10 songs )

30 Days of Fanfic Meme

11 – Genre – do you prefer certain genres of fic when you're writing? What kind do you tend to write most?

I guess I tend to write romantic stories the most. I like pairings. Also friendship stories. Usually in canon but I have been writing a lot of AUs lately. I have written a few fairy tales for a pairing too.

Life

It was just Tanya and I all day today; Bear is away at work. And it has been a very very long day full of toddler misbehavior and mischief trying my patience. She started early by waking me up at 4:30 and then tossing and turning until 6, so I didn't get much sleep.

By 7:30 she refused to finish her quinoa cereal, threw the empty cup of milk on the floor and broke off the handle, managed to get part of her pajama into the potty full of poo, and throw a brush in the same place - I didn't even have breakfast yet.

After morning playground, she usually naps in the stroller but she thought babbling and throwing her pacifier away would be more fun. By the time we got home for our nap she was so tired she napped for two hours. Which would be great but then she woke up too late to be sleepy later for second nap. And she thought that the best game today would be throwing food on the floor and watching Mama berate her - that was really funny. And refuse to eat carrots and potato I made for her.

I'm so going to watching TV right now; I need a sanity break. Today has been the exception but it has been particularly trying. Mostly because it's just me all day and night. At least tomorrow my parents are going to come over in the afternoon so I will get a break.

Tanya usually understands Russian better than English. I can tell her to go put the hedgehog toy in her toy stroller without pointing to anything and she goes and does it. But she is starting to vocalize and some of her "words" are in English, probably because they are easier for her to say. "Ap" for apple and "br" for bread. She understands the Russian words for apple and bread but uses the English for speaking. But she does vocalize in Russian too "baba" and "deda" and "lyalya". This is going to be fascinating to observe.
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I can never sleep properly before the first day of school. I'm not nervous about work or meeting new students. I think my brain is just trying to make sure that I'm not late and that I prepared all my first day handouts.

My parents came over last evening and stayed overnight since I had to leave by 6:30 and my Mom is watching Tanya. Bear is away until Saturday afternoon. She roped my Dad into working from my place (his work allows occasional work from home days) so he could help out too when he wasn't working. They are also leaving for a vacation in Aruba tomorrow for 10 days, so both were looking forward to spending time with their granddaughter.

I made sure to say goodbye to Tanya before I left because that is a better option that just disappearing on her. She's been waking up between 6 and 7 lately anyway, so I didn't really wake her up. No crying - pretty successful exit.

My commute is pretty long. I need to take a subway and a train. Since I only have to travel twice a week and I can get a lot of work done on the way, I don't really mind it too much, especially in the morning. I got the luxury of reading my book for a few hours. The beginning of the semester, before the grading starts in earnest is pretty nice. Most of my planning handouts are ready and I can read for pleasure guilt free.

I stopped by the corner store to get my bagel with cream cheese, which I eat later when I get on the train and caught the subway. I saw a very gorgeous sunrise this morning. The subway travels above ground for the while and the window across from me was bright pink with the sun disk all dimmed and slightly yellow. Very lovely.

I was reading On the Move , the autobiography by Oliver Sacks. Since his death on Sunday I just wanted to get started on it. I just finished reading Roadside Picnic by Strugatsky brothers, so the timing was right. (I'm still working on the Hamilton biography but that book is long, so I will break it with other books. And I usually read two or three books at a time). I'm almost 100 pages into the book - I read the first three chapters. I find it interesting that he doesn't really discuss his childhood. He starts as a teenager getting his first motorcycle. As motorcycle enthusiast, it is a major part of his identity, so I understand his choice. It is just unusual not to have a general run through of dates/parents/siblings/childhood memories. Some details make their way through the narrative as he goes along but mostly, the early chapters are his late teens/20s - college/medical school/travels. Some of his other books (I read 2 so far - Mind's Eye and An Anthropologist on Mars ) have autobiographical details, especially Mind's Eye which deals with his eye cancer and perception. But those focus more on his later life. This autobiography is definitely surprising in details about his youth like motorcycles or weight training. And there are his travel letters and accounts which are an entertaining read. I'm definitely enjoying the book so far.

I also listened to my iPod when not reading a book. I haven't recharged it in a month I think - there was just no time with looking after Tanya all the time. We listen to the radio at home or to CDs. (On Tuesday, Tanya rummaged through Bear's CDs, found a CD of sci-fi music from movies and TV and dragged it to the living room. So I put it on. She didn't care for early tracks like Twilight Zone but when I put in Halloween, she just started dancing to the scary horror movie music. It was hysterical). Last week, in anticipation of listening to my music again, I made a Favorite Broadway playlist - taking two tracks from all the musicals I have. I wanted to just have one favorite track per musical but that was too hard. Even two was hard but I stuck through it. My 'flaw' in this playlist was adding songs from Buffy Musical - now I just want to rewatch the whole episode (I picked Rest in Peace and Standing), which will lead to watching more Buffy episodes. Other musicals included Aida, Anything Goes, Avenue Q, Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables, Cabaret, Hedwig, If/Then, Into the Woods, Once, Rent, Buffy and Rocky Horror. I should probably add Dr. Horrible.

I got some time in the morning before my classes started, since there was no office hour today. I had to print and photocopy syllabi, reading guides, rosters, writing samples and a lot of paperwork. I also put together the first assignment question. We are starting with Jane Goodall's reading again "In the Forest of Gombe" but I am asking them to see the drawbacks to some of her concepts. New approach. Maybe I can teach some critical thinking!

First class is really easy. I talk about the syllabus and class requirements and then the students write a writing sample. During that time I reread the first essay and prepped my discussion question for next week during the first section and read the writing samples from the first section in my second one. (I teach two sections of Basic Composition). My second section filled up - so it has good number of students. I don't have to worry about cancellation, which is a relief.

After my classes, I stopped by the department and said hello to more colleagues I haven't seen all summer and then started making my way home.

It was very hot today and the subway station tried to boil us all alive, I think. It was so hot with no air conditioner. It was a relief when a train pulled up.

Good first day overall. Now I'm home alone with Tanya for 48 hours before Bear comes back. Then we will travel to Long Island for Labor Day weekend. So still a bit of vacation left before the semester really starts.

On exciting front, Tanya is starting to be braver in walking. Lately she's been holding on to just one hand, but yesterday she did a few steps by herself if I let go her hand several times and even started walking by herself from a standing position. Just a few steps but very exciting.

And in TMI, I really hope my body gets the message soon that I weaned and haven't nursed her for over a week now. My boobs are very uncomfortable. No one tells you these things. It's like postpartum. It sucks but no one really mentions the details beforehand.

And in exciting news my friend Janna is pregnant with her second baby. The first one is turning 2 in a month. I probably won't have the time but I found the birth record cross stitch kit anyway to try to make it for the baby. I'm trying to be optimistic about having the time to cross stitch again. Last time I make anything was Tanya's birth record, just before she was born.
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Another week gone by. They do tend to go quickly. Back to work next week. I'm already updating syllabi, setting up the class websites and updating first class handouts. The first class is on Thursday. I'm teaching two sections of Basic Composition this semester.

At least, I'm hoping it's two sections. My first class is nice and full at 18 students but the second class is limited to students of a specific program only and not to general uni population. The problem is, it only has 6 students so far. My boss thinks it's not a problem since it's a sponsored section so it should run despite the low enrolment but I won't relax about it until the semester starts. I really can't afford not to teach two sections.

Meanwhile, this week we again went to my parents from Tuesday to Saturday for the last summer hurrah. And on Tuesday night I finally cut off the night nursing. I was weaning my daughter all month and it was time to drop the last feed. No more nursing. I went almost 13 months and soon I will get my body back. Of course, that meant lots of crying that night and lack of sleep. I think I managed 4 hours and Tanya maybe 6 or 7. But to my surprise the next night was really good. She slept better, had water when she woke up at night and didn't cry about it anymore. I was expecting at least 3 miserable nights, so yay. She's not sleeping through the night yet, though. One day. She is also finally got used to regular cow milk.

On Wednesday, despite complete exhaustion we went to the beach in the morning. The water was much colder, so no swimming, but lots of fun in the sand.

On Thursday, my Dad worked from home for half a day so he could drive me to work for the new semester orientation in the afternoon. I met up with a few of my work friends and we had fun catching up. Then the orientation was really about the rise of international students since 2011 and the challenges of teaching not grammar but vocabulary more. It was really nice to shift my mental gears and focus on work.

After the orientation, my Dad and I drove to Costco where I finally ordered new glasses, since it was cheaper to buy them there with no insurance than at another place with insurance. My insurance will reimburse about $50, so that's a plus. The new frames are purple (I have red now). I will keep the red ones for the computer since the new ones will have a stronger prescription.

Then I ate a lot of free food samples, which was great since I was getting hungry. And on top of that I bought their Gelato - 3 scoops on a waffle cone for only $1.50. So cheap and delicious. A bit too much ice-cream really.

After unloading everything my Dad bought at home, we then drove to Toys R Us so I could get more baby food for Tanya. We also stopped by the bank and a nearby store, so I could buy Bear an anniversary card. It was our 3 year wedding anniversary on August 26th. (It will be 17 years together on Sept 6). Today we were going to get some cake from the bakery that made our wedding cake (here's a link to an old post with a couple of wedding pictures including the cake ). But the store has closed. Luckily, they will open soon in a new location -they have really amazing cakes. I went to a local bakery instead. Hopefully, next year we can resume our cake tradition.

Friday was the day of three trips to the playground. Kids today play a lot of zombie games. The boys were chasing zombies with toy guns and on another playgound boys were playing zombie tag. And one kid had a dog costume on and was barking like a dog and running around - Tanya was fascinated by him.
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Today my daughter turned one year old!

I can't believe it's been a year already since she was born. On one hand, it seems like I just went into labor and, on the other hand, this year was pretty slow with all the changes. It is certainly an adventure.

Last night, Bear decorated the living room with a few banners and some ballons and I made blueberry cheesecake for today since I figured she can easily actually eat it.

When Tanya woke up this morning, Bear brought over a yellow baloon which she loved and then after her milk breakfast she went into the living room and saw all the decorations and was looking around in amazement. We gave her our present of Mega Blocks to open. She was actually really playing with them, putting them together and apart.

Bear then had to go to work but my parents came over pretty soon after. My Dad took a day off. I was eating my breakfast and giving her cheese and blueberries (she likes to have something from my plate when I'm eating, so I prepare extra for her) when they came with 5 fancy balloons and two big bags of presents.

She loved it all. They got her two books, big spinning top (yula), a music box, a xylophone and a doll stroller. My friend Janna got her a wooden box with different blocks where you have to match a shape, and Bear's godmother sent along a baby toothbrush, baby toothpaste and DVDs (which we won't show her for a while since we have no TV for baby policy). Bear's Mom sent a baby purse by mail which arrived this afternoon with more presents to come when we go there in couple of weeks. Big bounty for a little baby.

My parents took her outside to play and nap before the heatwave arrived -it will be really really hot all week. Meanwhile I had time to cook. I made kotlety (cutlets) and a veggie stir fry with eggplant and zucchini.

Later my Dad went to a Japanese restaurant they wanted to try and brought back lots of sushi rolls, mostly tuna, salmon and eel. I haven't had sushi in so long! It was super delicious. And after 3pm we had the blueberry cheesecake, which turned out well if just a little rich. Tanya had a few spoons of it too and seemed to really like it. We had a candle to blow out and everything. A very proper birthday.

When I was younger, I never thought of myself as a person who would make a homemade cake for my kid's birthday. I guess I'm following in the tradition of women in my family after all.

We gave Tanya cow milk to try today. She didn't like it much, which is normal. We will keep trying. I'll try mixing with my milk tomorrow. I want to wean her by September.

My parents left after 4:30 and we went outside just a bit despite the heat but didn't stay out long. Bear was home by 5:20 today and he Skyped with his parents so they could wish Tanya a happy birthday too.

And right before bed we tried our new toothbrush for the first time. Her top two teeth are finally coming out. It was a big day. She went to sleep pretty quickly after storytime.

I think her birthday was more fun for me than my own. I was reading a few entries in my journal today from when she was born -that was a bit amusing. I'm glad I'm writing things down.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday, July 3rd, 2015 07:55 pm
bearshorty: (Default)
Feeling sand between the toes, on a nice warm sunny day is just lovely.

Tanya and I are at my parents's house. Since we are traveling to Bear's parents this weekend for the Fourth of July, my Mom wanted time too, so she picked us up on Wednesday and will drive us back tomorrow early morning (where we promptly will repack and go to Long Island).

My Dad was not working today because of the holiday tomorrow falling on Saturday, so this morning we all went to the beach.

My parents live 5-10 minutes from the beach, by car. And over the last decade there was a lot of renovation of the beach area. It is really wonderful now with a long road to walk/bike/rollerblade. In just the last year they built a waterfall, park, new playgrounds, little amusement park and just made it very nice. Hurricane Sandy did destroy a lot but it only gave the opportunity to rebuild.

The beach is big, clean and not crowded at all. At 8:30am there were like 5 people beside us and only by 10:30 people really started to trickle in. Still, lots of space. The water is pretty cold and I don't really like swimming in the ocean too much (give me a pool anyday) but it was nice to just relax on the sand.

It was Tanya's first time playing on the beach - she saw it before but never touched sand. She loved it. She was pulling sand onto the blanket and just enjoying it. Surprisingly, she didn't try to eat the sand. She played until 10:30 and then I walked her in the stroller for her nap, with my Dad taking over once she fell asleep. I got some free time then to just enjoy the beach. It was too windy to read. My Mom brought cherries.

We went back home by 11, since Tanya had to eat and my Mom only likes the beach in the morning. After our lunch, Papa and I went to Dollar Tree to get some decorations for the upcoming 1st birthday party at the end of July (it will be small but I still want it to be nice), and we went to Baby R Us to get more baby food and Mega Blocks that will be a present for Tanya. I also picked up a book as a present for Ida but I will still need to get more for her.

In the afternoon we went back to the beach area but to the amusement park section and a little park by the waterfall. Tanya is very headstrong -she will protest loudly if we don't let her do something - and she also wants to move all the time. She is not a child to sit still like I was. She is now walking if we help her and hold her arms so she wants to do that all the time at hyperspeed. Our backs feel it. Once she will learn to walk, I think she will just start running.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thursday, May 14th, 2015 07:11 pm
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I got Harry Potter stamps today! I was in the post office, mailing our lease and I saw them right in front. So, of course, I had to get that stamp book (20 stamps). I don't think I can bring myself to use them. I want to keep that Snape stamp, at least. And the stamp of 11 year old Hermione raising her hand high is pretty awesome too. They come in a pretty little booklet too. I can't believe I didn't know there were Harry Potter stamps. (I was wearing my Ravenclaw summer baseball cap that I got in Harry Potter World in Orlando too; I'm a proud nerd.)

I went to the post office in the first place today because my Mom and I made a trip to Baby R Us with Tanya napping in the stroller to get organic baby food. I do love going to Baby R Us for that because of both sales and variety. I got 20 squeezables for $15 and 20 Earth Best jars for $16. And we had $5 in reward points. She is set for a while. The store is maybe 15-20 minutes away walking and post office and bank are not too far from there to make it worth the walk.

The weather got to lovely 68F today. It was warm with a bit of wind to require a light jacket with gorgeous blue skies. My morning walk was over an hour too, so my feet are nice and tired.

Yesterday we went to the Zoo. It's free from 2 to 5 on Wednesdays and the weather was finally warm enough. It's not too far, about 30 minutes by car with a free parking lot. We took a cooler with Tanya's homemade soup with us since she eats at 3 and drove there right after her nap.

We spent an hour and a half there and it wasn't too crowded yet. Lots of kids and families. Tanya was very serious most of the time - she is an observer when it comes to new environments - and she is too young to really understand or pay attention. Still, I like showing her new stuff. She did smile a lot at the alligator, but that was probably because first we looked at the eyes sticking out of the water and then had to go lower to look at his body underwater. She liked going up and down. We came back to that alligator maybe an hour later and he didn't move at all.

We saw kangaroos and emu, children's zoo with sheep and goat and Llama like brown creature and big fat pig being led on a leash, geese, ducks, 2 black swans, etc. I liked children's zoo a lot; you can feed the animals and we read about all those animals. I can't wait until she is old enough. The famous groundhog Chuck was lying on the steps of his wooden house in a very relaxed position, just chilling. It was pretty funny.

We also saw otters, amur leopards, different monkeys, lizards and snakes and some fishes and many other small creatures and birds. At 3pm we found an area with picnic tables which was pretty empty except for various loud peacocks roaming around. Tanya had her soup and then I nursed her as we watched one peacock unfold his big magnificent tail.

As we made our way through the zoo I got to be quite social and talk to other moms or grandmothers, which I generally don't do. But with so many little kids around and Tanya looking cute too, it was pretty easy. We met a little 7 months old girl named Ophelia (which is kind of an awesome name, although I immediately thought that being named after a disturbed suicidal fictional character might be hard for the girl later).

And when we were standing by the leopard area, instead of looking at the leopard, Tanya saw and focused on the bright green Ninja Turtle hat a little 1 year old boy was wearing next to us. She loves hats. Reaches for all hats all the time. The little boy smiled at her and both babies reached out to say high. She is nine months old and it already starts!

Bear was sad a little that missed the first zoo trip (and was suspicious of the little boy's motives :) ) but we are going to aquarium in a few weeks for my birthday so he gets to do that with her.

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