Tag Archives: Family

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from our family to yours!

May your day be filled with happiness and laughter!

Happy Easter

xoxo
Olena

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Checking In With Sofia: 8 Months Old!

Hey, hey!

Time flies… I’ve repeated this many times and will say this over and over again… I feel like the time is just like sand fleeting through your fingers; and I am desperately trying to hold on to every single moment. Yesterday my baby turned 8 months old!

8 months old

Justin and I have watched Sofia reaching many milestones over the past month. She first stood up on her knees and several days later was able to stand up while holding on to her little car.

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Yesterday, she tried to climb a couch by stepping on her car to get to the 8 months sticker as I was snapping the picture above…

She loves to pull herself up in all the places you *me?!* would never think of: “Oh, mommy, you’re cooking? Let me pull myself up on a bottom drawer of the stove, so I can see better!” She’s done it all: kitchen drawers, garbage bin, chairs, sofas, TV stand, toilet… *Who needs the Discovery Channel? There’s so much to discover at home!* I honestly think she would do at least 10 pull ups if only her grip was stronger!

Sofia also started clapping on International Women’s Day. How fitting! I was overjoyed. It was the best gift of all!

Bella and Sofia

This week our baby girl even started waving hello/bye-bye. She’s doing it in her own endearing uncertain way, and I’m trying to engrave it in my memory.

We’ve introduced new foods as well! New types of cereal, fish (haddock), avocado, cauliflower, pear, peach, nectarine, pineapple, and mango.

Feedings can be messy. I love watching Justin getting frustrated when Sofia splashes food all over the tray by hitting a spoon with her tiny hand. Somehow he is always caught ‘by surprise’. In response to his mumbling, I say, “Wait till she starts eating on her own!” *Fun stuff!*

Sofia is a big girl now because she even tried drinking water from a grown up glass. *It’s a big deal, don’t you think? Wink!* 

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While she really loves drinking water, she is still getting used to doing a starfish on her back at the swimming pool. *More on the swimming classes next week.* 

Sofia also became my official running buddy. Over the past week, I’ve gone running with a stroller 3 times and it was a blast along with puddles of sweat. *Haha!*

Sitting up

What have you been up to, my friends?! Stay tuned, many interesting posts are coming up in the near future!

xoxo
Olena

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Let’s Play Catch Up: Sofia’s 7-month ‘Time Lapse’

Well, well, well… Hello there, lovelies!

How have you all been?

The life has been nothing short of AMAZING in this part of the woods. I’m pretty sure I’ve already said it at least a thousand times, but I love, love, LOVE being a mom! It’s such a rewarding feeling. Plus, Sofia has been such a great baby. I am sooooo lucky!

Can you believe she is 7 months old?! I know, I can’t. Time flies waaaaay too fast! I mean, I love see her grow, but I also want to freeze this moment forever. I’m torn…

Here is a quick ‘time lapse’ for you.

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The day Sofia was born…

Favorite things: Skin-to-skin contact and eating non-stop 🙂

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1 month

Loves sleeping in a stroller and in a swing, daily walks, daddy’s lullabies and a colorful painting in the living room. ‘Oh, and give me that booby back!’

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2 months

Sleeps through the night, gives smiles every now and then, started going to a yoga class. ‘Aroo, aroo, aroo!’

3 months old

3 months

Very talkative, rolls over from back to stomach, enjoys dancing classes in a carrier and playing with toys on her play mat, sleeps in her own room. ‘Mmmmm! My hand is yummy!’

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4 months

Holds her head very well, treats mommy and daddy to occasional giggles, loves doing airplane and stretching, experiments with funny sounds and smacking her lips. ‘That mobile thing on my bed is fascinating, I’ll definitely try to catch one of those rotating starts sometime soon!’

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5 months

Loves to talk, sleep on her tummy, explores surroundings by rotating on her belly and likes to lean forward in a booster seat. ‘Who’s that dog licking me all the time? Also, I have feet? Let me taste them!’

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6 months

Fascination by Bella prompted crawling because there is an absolute need to touch that doggy and take away her ball. Loves taking out mommy’s National Geographic magazines from a TV stand one by one. Can sit but has to hold herself up with her hands, flips from stomach to her back. Started on solid foods (first cereal is barley cereal, vegetable – carrot puree, fruit – banana) and water, but breast milk is still the very favourite. Goes to a swimming class. ‘Oh, no, I just dropped that toy… Thank you for picking it up for me! Actually… it’s kind of fun! Go pick it up again!’

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7 months

Loves laughing at daddy’s jokes and when he picks her up by hands and feet. Can sit on her own. Reading lift the flop book Toes, Ears & Nose only one time is NOT sufficient. Bella’s tail, door stoppers and wires are the best toys. Also it is always a great idea to crawl to check on what’s happening in the bathroom and kitchen. Tried out many foods so far, but the absolute favourite are sweet potato, butternut squash and zucchini puree. ‘Is eating chicken necessary? And, mommy, that applesauce thing is just blaaaah…’ Drinking water is fun (has to run down the face and make a bib wet or, otherwise, what’s the purpose?)! Nursing is most entertaining when mommy’s face is being pulled in all directions.

This week there will be a couple of more posts, so be on the lookout!

xoxo
Olena

 

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Happy New Year!

Can you believe it’s the last day of 2015?!

I can’t help but to reflect on what a wonderful year it has been.

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I have so much to be grateful for! Our baby Sofia and 4-legged baby Bella, our family and friends, old and new.

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And last but not least, my beloved husband.

I’ve definitely had some tough situations to deal with this year and he’s always been there for me. As they say, through thick and thin till death do us part. He is my best friend, and I still can’t fully grasp how lucky I am to have this man in my life and that two of us created our beautiful precious baby.

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I know it will probably sound absolutely crazy, but when I was pregnant, it seemed like a miracle that there was someone growing in my belly. And now, I am a mom. I LOVE being a mom! It is such a rewarding feeling.

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I haven’t been much in the blog world this year. I guess, it’s mostly because I wanted to live my experiences and not to spend a lot of time writing about them. That being said, I am so grateful for my blog friends and readers. You are like an extended family to me and I value more than you can ever imagine!

I am so excited for 2016! It will be a year full of firsts for Sofia. It’s so inspiring to watch her push her boundaries each day. My aspiration for 2016 is to grow too. I want my little girl to be proud of her mommy.

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I am wishing you all a beautiful year ahead. Make it memorable. Make it count. Tell your family and friends how much you love them and appreciate them, don’t wait for special occasions to do so. Love. Create new memories. Share smiles. Don’t forget about people in need. Don’t be greedy. Get stronger day by day. Be healthy.Be happy. Explore new horizons. And be the best possible version of you not for everyone else but for YOU!

Happy 2016!

xoxo
Olena

 

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Snacking Doesn’t Have To Be Boring! #SeasonEatings

Hi friends!

How have you been?!

There is sooo much happening in our household! Sofia is growing so fast and I’m full of conflicting emotions: I want to see her grow but at the same time I just want to stay in this moment.

It was a big month for us with Sofia’s baptism.

Sofia's Baptism

She also just turned 4 months old.

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Since I’m breastfeeding exclusively, it does take a lot of energy. It doesn’t come as a surprise that I find myself looking in the fridge for a snack more often then usual. However, just like during pregnancy, I want to make sure to opt for healthier options. First of all, everything I eat gets passed on to my baby girl. And with the holidays just around the corner, I want to look my absolute best! *Is it too much to ask for? Haha!*

These past couple of weeks I was experimenting with healthy snacks that not only satisfy my sweet pre-holiday cravings, but also provide me and my baby with nutrients.

Probably one of the best recipes I came across is these No Bake Peanut Butter Bites. They are super delicious and fast & easy to make.

no bake peanut butter bites

First, soak 1 cup of raisins in warm water for 10 minutes. Then, add 2/3 cups of oats, 2 tbs peanut butter, 1 tbs chia seeds and 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Blend together until well mixed. Make 1 inch balls and put in fridge to set for 15 minutes. *Try not to eat them all at once because it’s not snacking at that point, more like pigging out. Haha!*

Another scrumptious snack I made recently is these Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chickpea Cookie Bars. They definitely take a little longer to make, but they are definitely worth it.

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While preheating the oven to 350 F, rinse and dry 2 cups of chickpeas. In a blender, mix chickpeas, 3/4 cups of maple syrup, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda until smooth. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and poor batter into it. Lightly press 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips. Bake for at least 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and then transfer to a rack for another 30 minutes to set. Cut in bars or squares and enjoy!

If you don’t have time or desire to make anything, you can always resort to the following ideas:

  1. Fresh fruits: I personally love snacking on apple slices with peanut butter!
  2. Vegetables: how about a few slices of tomato sprinkled with feta cheese and olive oil or baby carrots & celery with tangy hummus?
  3. Nuts: toss together your favorite trail mix and pre-measure it in serving sized ziplocks.
    By the way, if you are not aware, Nuts.com  has entire page dedicated to various healthy snack ideas.
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  4. Holiday flavored teas to satisfy sweet tooth: I’m addicted to David’s teas! Check out a set I bought for myself this week. I have tried mulled wine, hot chocolate and Alpine punch flavors and I’m in love!
    12 teas of christmas
  5. It’s not really a snack, but try fooling your stomach by lighting some candles at home. At the moment, I’m in love with Vanilla Snow Flake from Bath & Body works. *I bought it last year, so I’m not sure if they still have it to be honest with you.*

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What are your favorite holiday snacks? Please, do share, it’s always fun to try something new!

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Health, Holidays, Kitchen Adventures, Running, Weight Loss

The Health Benefits of A High Protein Diet

Hello lovelies!

Can you believe it’s November?!

Sofia’s first Halloween has come and gone, but I will cherish this memory forever. *Look at how cute she was!!!*

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Even though it is still technically fall, once we have our car tires changed for winter ones and start seeing Christmas decorations lighting up outside, I inevitably think of winter coming. And I am not sure if it is purely psychological or temperature related, but I tend to gravitate towards comforting food around this time of the year. *I don’t regret the majority of those decisions YET! Haha!* 

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I see nothing wrong with indulging ourselves from time to time, but I also believe in renewing focus to eat healthy. The problem with junk food is that once you’ve had too much, you start feeling crappy about yourself. And what could be worse than having low self-esteem when everything around you screams joy?!

One of the proven ways to fool your stomach is to give preference to foods that fill you up faster such as food rich in fiber and protein.

Bodybuilding Warehouse, one of the UK’s leading supplement companies, provided me with the following infographic highlighting the health benefits of a high protein diet.

health benefits of a high protein diet

According to Bodybuilding Warehouse, “In a world filled with junk and processed food it’s now vital to make sure you understand what you’re consuming. Over the last 10 years studies have shown again and again that a high protein diet is highly effective in not only helping you feel curb hunger but also improves brain function, strength and aids in muscular hypertrophy. Before we look into the what benefits a high protein diet offers it’s important to note what we mean by “high protein”. High protein to a bodybuilder could mean 400 g of protein a day, we don’t recommend that. Our data is based on the 1-1.5 g of protein per pound of body-weight approach. Some people many find it difficult to consume higher amounts of protein but it’s perfectly safe to consume bodybuilding supplements like whey protein to help aid you reach your target protein per day.”

What are your thoughts? How do you incorporate protein in your diet?

xoxo
Olena

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My Birth Story

Happy Hump Day, loves!

Last Friday, my little munchkin turned 3 months old. I can’t believe how fast time flies!

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I can’t help but to think of the day she was born, the first cry I heard and the first time I got to hold her in my arms… But let’s start from the very beginning.

Even though Sofia was born on July 16th, the story goes back all the way to July 10th, the day I had my last doctor’s appointment.

Early on, I was advised of possibility of being induced or having a cesarean. Sofia was measuring big at my ultrasound appointments.. Like many others mommies-to-be, I did my research by reading some books and simply googling online and decided that I didn’t like any of those options. My plan was to do anything in my power to give birth naturally. That being said, I was also open to anything as long as my baby was safe and healthy.

childbirth

At my last appointment (at 38 weeks and 1 day), my doctor checked me and told me that everything looked great and I was already 1.5 centimeters dilated. Given my desire to progress things naturally, he decided to try to jump start my labor by swiping membranes. *OUCH!!! I had no idea what he was about to do and I actually think it was better that way! In all honesty, prior to this procedure I thought that I was ready to get that baby out, but the pain definitely put things in perspective and I got really nervous!!! Haha!*  He told me that my labor could start within the next 48 hours. If not, I would be contacted the following week for an induction.

You better believe when I say it, but I was pretty much walking non stop and bouncing on a balance ball like a mad woman for the next few days!!! July 11, 2015

Despite my attempts, Sofia was too comfy hiccuping in my stomach!

So let me ask you a question: When someone tells you that they will call you to schedule an induction, don’t you expect to be called at least a day before? Well… I got a call on July 15th at 6.20 am to come in for 8 am. IMAGINE?!?! I was freaking out all the way! Thankfully, I was able to negotiate the time and we were at the hospital at 9.15 am.

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While I was being checked (dilated: 2 cm) and hooked up to a heart rate monitor for the next half an hour, Justin went to fill out some paperwork.

My anxiety was through the roof! I had no idea what to expect. At some point I even asked for a bowl because I thought that I was going to get sick. Fortunately, my doctor came in and explained the process: I were to get a pill at 3 hour intervals (10 am, 1 pm and 4 pm) and then to have an IV set up at 6 pm. In other words, I wouldn’t be in pain for A WHILE! I felt an instantaneous relief! *No kidding!* 

At around noon, I was served lunch. Since I didn’t feel any pain and couldn’t even tell if I had real contractions since they were somewhat sporadic, not painful and not too far apart, I told Justin not to worry and go out for lunch.

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A nurse came in at 12.30 pm for another check up and put me on a heart rate monitor before giving me the next dose of medicine. To my surprise, she came back not even 15 minutes later. Apparently, I was having contractions every 2 minutes and she didn’t feel comfortable giving me another pill because my body responded so rapidly to the first portion of the drug.

I was ecstatic! Unlike my expectations, I didn’t feel anything at all! Things were progressing fast, so I started bouncing on the ball to help the baby descend faster. The only inconvenience was having to be connected to a heart rate monitor. So when nature called and I needed to use a washroom, I had to wait for someone to disconnect me.

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As I was walking to the bathroom, I felt a gush. My membranes finally ruptured! I was scared, excited and everything in between!

I continued on bouncing on the ball for a little bit longer when all of a sudden my contractions became extremely painful. I was floored! I definitely didn’t expect that!

A nurse was trying her best to massage my lower back to alleviate the pain. Unfortunately, it didn’t help much, so she offered to try a bath. I gladly accepted. Sadly, after about half an hour of flipping in the bath tub, I couldn’t take it anymore and asked for an epidural. I simply couldn’t imagine dealing with this kind of pain for much longer as I was only 3 cm dilated.IMG_5156 edit

At around 3-4 pm, after checking the severity and frequency of my contractions, the anesthesiologist made a call to proceed with a spinal which is administered slightly deeper than an epidural. Not even 5 minutes later, I was a happy trooper!

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At 9 pm I was already 7 cm dilated. Justin and I were so thrilled that we told both of our families to come to the hospital. The party was on, I didn’t feel a thing, and we were all ready to meet Sofia!

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Unlike our positive predictions, the nurse wasn’t as eager… When she told us to send our families back home, we were bummed…

At midnight, I was at 9.5 cm. To my biggest disappointment, a doctor came by and after checking me said that the baby wasn’t dropping and apparently wasn’t properly positioned. Despite of being head down, she had her back next to mine instead of facing my spine. He suggested a c-section… I, on the other hand, wasn’t ready to give up and asked to give me an opportunity to have a vaginal birth.

I was fully dilated sometime around 5 in the morning. I had a fever and was put on antibiotics. My doctor let me push. Justin was awesome and super supportive. However, after about 1.5 hours of pushing, Sofia still didn’t feel like coming out. I was tired and the doctor was worried about baby going into distress. For her safety, I agreed to a c-section.

What I didn’t know is that I had to be removed from all painkillers for the next 45 minutes while waiting for the surgery. *Ouch!!!* As you can only imagine, there was all kinds of moaning along with me apologizing in between. *Don’t even ask why! I just felt like I had to apologize for being in pain. LOL!* 

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Even though I was very apprehensive, I didn’t feel a thing during the c-section! I didn’t feel any pressure or pain. The only concern that I had was the feeling that I couldn’t swallow. So I had to try to calm down and relax. Justin definitely helped me through that.

Fun fact: I was randomly told that I virtually had no fat on my belly. It did make me feel much better! *Hehe!*

Sofia was born at 7.44 am on July 16th. She was 47.5 cm long and weighed 3,690 g (about 8 pounds 2 ounces). It was the best moment of my life to hear her first cry and to be able to kiss her tiny pretty face!

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It didn’t take long for them to stitch me up, and shortly after I was wheeled into a recovery room. That’s when everything became a blur. Unfortunately, I had a bad reaction to the drug and had a panic attack. Poor Justin! This is, honestly, the only thing that I would change. Other than that, I really do think that my labor wasn’t that bad and was definitely worth the end result!

I was discharged 3 days later. It’s important to mention that in those first 72 challenging hours at the hospital, I fell in love with my husband even more than I ever thought I would. I am truly lucky… And so is Sofia… because she has the best loving daddy in the world!

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Justin, Sofia and I were finally on our way home!

xoxo
Olena

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