Thursday, July 19, 2012

Birth story

I woke up with a feeling that something is wrong. I felt very different than other days and just to make sure everything is ok, my husband took me to the hospital. And yes, my instincts were once again right. My amniotic fluid started to leek which led me to an overnight stay in the hospital and eventually to a final statement from the doctor that I should go home and take it easy. And I did.
Lazy Sunday, eating an ice cream and watching cheesy movies (Mamma Mia, to be very specific J). I felt several contractions but nothing major that would bring my thoughts to worry. I will never forget that moment when I was just about to go to bed and all of the sudden, an elusive amount of water came out of me.  I looked at my hubby and we both knew this is the time. Of course I started to panic, we had almost nothing prepared. My bag wasn’t packed, I didn’t wash my baby boy’s sheets yet, I simply didn’t expect him to come so early. I still had a month to go.
And then I realized one more thing. This little monkey picked his arrival to surprise more than just mom and dad, he chose to be born on my mother’s 50th birthday. What gift can top that?
We arrived to the hospital around 10pm and doctors suggested that we should take a little nap since this is going to be one long night. I fell asleep and woke up around 3am with a slight feeling that contractions already started to play its role. More time went by and everything started to be more painful. I decided to go for an epidural and after a description from my friends, that this drug does miracles, I was very surprised that it didn’t work for me. ‘What a heck’ was all I could think at that point. I told my husband to push the button that can add an extra amount of medication. Nothing.  I told myself that I have to be the strongest I’ve ever been and forget about the pain and just do it.
My husband was watching the monitor and with every coming contraction he warned me about the excruciating strength of pain I am about to feel. Since I was four weeks from my due date, we were both very afraid if the baby is going to be ok. My brain was overflowed with endless thoughts about the baby, my fear grew stronger but my heart kept telling me he is going to be just fine.
We kept looking at each other and then, the most beautiful moment happened. I told my husband: Let’s pray together. And we started out loud, something we’ve never done before. That sacred moment of pure human vulnerability calmed me down and I knew I was ready.
Few hours later, 10 cm and ready to push. Even though the pain was at that point the worst, I didn’t care much because I knew this is it. I am going to meet my son for the first time. MY SON. Doctors told me they can already see his head and they let me touch it. Surreal moment.  I was so exhausted but in situations like that, your body is stronger than you think and after 45 minutes of constant pushing, I heard the special voice of his. They put him on my chest and I started to cry with happiness. He looked into my eyes for the first time and from that moment, the meaning of love gained a whole new magnitude. He is perfect, just perfect.. That was all I could think. The relief was indescribable.  Happy birthday my boy.  And my mom tooJ.

Friday, May 11, 2012

From around the world

Books, books and more books.. who doesn't love them? One of my favorite places to go and rest are libraries. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling just thinking about them. Even though there is not as much time as it used to be before I had kids, I still manage to find a minute or two to just sit down, relax and read a few pages every now and then. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, whether you are reading or not!

This video makes me excited to have a girl even more..

Cool app for parents

I really want this outfit for my next little traveler


Adieu to one of the best author of children's books

Cool article about marriage

Oh, this wallet

Song that makes me smile.

(photo found here)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My mother

Is my best friend. She filled every single gap of my insecurities with love and understanding. I don't remember a moment when she wasn't there for me. But I often think of all the work she has done for us kids. One of the things I am grateful the most is that she stayed at home with us, it gave me such feel of safety and comfort that I never felt lonely.
Moments I treasure: sitting in her bed at 3am, snacking on salami and pickles, just because we felt like it. Or when I was leaving for college every Sunday, she waited at the bus station with me with a bag full of food so I could survive another week. And I can't forget our intimate shopping trips, picking out clothes and trying them on.. laughing. Oh my, how I love those trips!
I love her very much and am thankful that she taught me how to love endlessly and with all my heart.
Hope you have a wonderful Mother's day, make sure you make you mothers feel loved the way they deserve to be!

(picture of my mother, love the way she dressed!)

Friday, April 27, 2012

From around the world

Here is another portion of beauty for you. Which one is your favorite? I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

This is absolutely brilliant. My favorite part is the domino effect.

I kind of want this ring. Like a lot.

We are all united. Moms do have the best (and hardest) job ever.


Would you try this for your kids?

Song that makes my heart swell.

(photo via yatzer)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Madrid, my love

If you'd asked me 2 years ago, which city is my favorite, I would have answered without hesitation: London. That was before I visited Madrid. My husband tried to take me there many times, but for some reason I was very skeptical. When I looked at the pictures of the city, first thing that came to my mind was "hmm, not very interesting, next". Thank God I listened to him for a change!
Madrid is the capital of Spain and third largest city in Europe. With its colorful history, there is no wonder how many beautiful and important buildings surround this town. But what struck me the most was the amazing vibe. You could feel it everywhere. Vigorously contagious mood crawls under your pores and serves them a huge feast of happiness. It's classy but edgy. It's conservative but free. It almost wants you to get naked, jump into the crowd and do what feels natural to us. Dance, create, enjoy. Inspirations awaits everywhere around you. Pleasant smiles from locals brightens your day. Everyone seems in a hurry but stops when its needed.
And there are plenty of places to rest. One of my favorite is Parque del Retiro. It was built as a retreat place for a Royal family and you certainly feel like one when being there. This urban oasis can't get any better. With live musicians, peaceful lakes, endless amount of garden you truly feel blessed to be there. You can either have a picnic there or go visit nearby Museo del Prado. That sounds pretty enticing, doesn't it?

Another great tip in Madrid is visiting Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, home to a football team Real Madrid. And trust me, even though you are not a fan at all, you will enjoy this 2 hour tour, that takes you to the trophy room, players dressing rooms (and showers!), presidential box and the best part: you can go down to the pit area and sit at the players benches. I'd recommend not to have a guide but freely cruise around the 125000 seat stadium. Tickets are around 16 Euros/person.
Talking about food in Spain is almost pointless, since everything tastes so good. We love tapas bars and there are few worth mentioning. Usually tapas come with a drink, but sometimes they don't. We always had to order some extra since we didn't have enough of them. Seriously, I could eat them all day long, good thing I don't live in Spain! Spaniards usually go out around 7pm and have a few drinks and some tapas and then they have dinner around 10pm that can go as late as you wish. Lifestyle that doesn't suit for everyone but definitely great for socializing and simply just living. We tried few places and really liked La Posta del Quitapenas near Puerta del Sol. You can sit outside and enjoy the vibrant feel of the city along with the wonderfully tasteful meal.
When you are in Madrid, you can't leave without trying chocolate con churros. They claim the best ones are in San Gines Chocolateria. Frankly, I didn't think so. The spoon went straight through the chocolate and therefore I shouldn't even mention the word THICK. If you know about a good one, let me know.

When we travel around Europe, the best solution for us it to rent. When you have a child, you want to have some privacy after 7pm, which means a place with more than one room. Since suites in Europe are pretty expensive, renting an apartments will do justice. There are many agencies out there but when in Spain, we were really happy with this one. Our apartment was beautiful, modern (and affordable!) and located right next to Puerta del Sol.
Madrid holds a special place in my heart. I love the rawness and unformed courtliness. City feel but convenient complexion. It feeds my soul to the tiniest bits. If you become a part of it, it swallows you right in front your eyes.You can choose to love it or hate it but I've warned you.. You might easily fall into the first choice.

(all photos by me)

Friday, April 13, 2012

From around the world

I will try to put some of my favorite links here every other week that fly around the web. Many bloggers share this idea and I have to say, I've always found one or two inspiring thoughts there. Hope this brings you the same joy as it did to me! Happy weekend!

My friend showed me this beautiful video (Thanks, Romi!)

Some people actually thought Titanic was not real:)

Love this article about blogging

This song makes me happy right now


I am very excited to see this movie

Cool travel apps

(Picture above from Annie Hall, found here)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New idea?

I was thinking about starting regular posts about travelling. My husband and I are passionate travelers and if there would be one thing we could do all the time, traveling would be that. I can pack a bag in a second and if you think that toddler gets in our way, you are wrong:). He goes with us everywhere. And because I am pregnant now and remote, exotic locations must wait for a while, I thought this might be a nice reminder of what we love to do the most.
I am no expert in the travel field but I've seen a piece of the world and can share some tips and advices, either when it comes to taking a journey alone, with a spouse, friend or a kid. What do you think? Would you be interested?

(photo by me)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

DIY Easter fun

With Easter coming, I decided to show you some easy craft you can do either yourself, or with your kids. And when I say easy, trust me, it's really not so complicated. My little boy helped me as well and it was a great project for both of us.

All you need is:
balloons (any size)
stiff or a liquid starch
cotton or crochet thread
2 bowls

First, you blow up the balloon to any size you desire and tie the knot on the top. Then pour some of the liquid into the bowl and cut a good size of a thread. Try carefully dip the thread into the liquid and apply on the balloon in any direction you want. My tip is that you want to put a bowl under the balloon since there will be a lot of dripping. After applying multiple layers, hang the balloon for few hours and let it dry. When it's ready, cut the knot of the balloon and watch it slowly disappear. And voila, there is your egg! Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

French vs. American

I can't help but react to the article that pops up about everywhere in the Internet world. A big controversy that raised an eyebrow of countless American mothers, even though it was written by one. Pamela Druckerman has been living in Paris for many years with her husband and 3 children. While raising her daughter there, she started to realize that French kids behave a bit differently, that they have better manners than her own child, they don't throw tantrums in public places, sit quietly through dinner in a restaurant and play independently without even bothering their own mothers. She currently published her book "Bringing up bebe", where she describes all the fun stuff American moms are apparently missing.
As a European living in US, I think I have some fair share to express my opinion. I wouldn't necessary call it the French thing. There is no secret that kids in Europe are much calmer, more relaxed. Most of the things she says are in fact true. But, with every praise, there is also a downside.
I think the biggest problem of moms in US is that they focus their energy on reading too much material about how to raise their child. I did it too and stopped right after I moved over the pond. And boy, let me tell you, it made my life much easier. Media persistently put pressure on how to educate your child and make him smarter, but forget to add tips about how to let him be a kid.
Another problem is the constant supervision. Always making sure he or she is doing it the right way. After watching an intriguing document about babies from all over the world, I could just see how kids from different continents play and discover the difficulties on their own whilst still being watched by mothers, minus their nervousness.
And last thing is food. Unfortunately, we are not that lucky as French people and finding a real baguette might be a mission impossible, but the truth is, you can always try to do better. I cannot figure out the snack system though, my child would declare hunger strike without having them. But I keep trying every day and hopefully, one day there's going to be only an orange at 4pm.
Now, let's go back to Europe. Don't kid yourself, they are plenty of bratty kids over there as well, yet they do seem to have more peacefulness and most importantly, they act adequate to their ages. But I would also like to point out one thing European kids are missing. And that is a confidence. And I am not talking about the overconfidence effect most kids in US could give away, I am talking about the self-esteem parents in Europe don't support as much as it is needed. That leads to another problem, which is thinking outside the box. Children are not taught to go in different directions. American kids have a huge advantage since they've been learning this skill since their tiny age. That said, it really doesn't matter if your are French or not, being a good parent is about listening your own intuition, chill and have fun. Don't let your child being the boss but show him the right path he should follow. We are all in this together, so cheers to a universal child!

Picture above found here

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I am obsessed with..

Morrocan style. I swear, If I could, I would decorate my whole house in this design. Maybe it might have something to do with my ongoing love affair with Middle East (on that later) or it might be the mystical feel that draws me back to the fairy tale land. Either that, the aesthetics of carved arch doorways, leather poufs and metal lanterns capture the imagination of a place, once remembered as holly, like a magical garden of secrets.
In Morroco, traditional house is called Riad, which in arabic means "garden". Riad is built on a base of a courtyard that usually includes few trees and a fountain. It also has an opened corridor which cools the house down when the weather is hot. They usually served as a residential places for wealthy families and you can find many of them today being turned into small hotels.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Alyssa Monks

This extremely talented artist from New Jersey, 35 year old Alyssa Monks, is known for her remarkable photorealistic paintings. The detail of them is indistinguishable from photographs, which makes her work rare and unique. Her chase after realism became her obsession and turned her passion into creatively stunning work that let you think and wonder.

“I am exploring the possibility and potential where representational painting and abstraction meet - if both can coexist in the same moment."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Valentine's day knock knock knock

February is here and for those, who actually celebrate this heart-shaped holiday, I have something little extra, in case some help is needed. My husband and I don't actually keep the tradition of Valentine's day anymore, but I still remember the first one we celebrated together. It was very amore.

For husbands:
you can start his day with making those,
then leave little trails so he won't forget he's the one,
take him to see his favorite movie you were trying to avoid last 6 months,
check your local Groupon for Valentine specials,
give him some relaxing time,
or finish the day with two glasses of his favorite wine.

For wives:
who says jewelry can hurt someone?
something something sexy
making the effort with home made card always counts,
send her some love,
and don't forget the chocolate.

And for the little ones:
something they'll always appreciate!

Did you know, that the Chinese Valentine's day is on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month in the Chinese calendar?

The picture above is from here

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I write no americano


It's pretty difficult for a foreigner to express himself in a different language. I've been dealing with it for a long time. I can speak, I can have a clever conversation (when I am lucky), but when it comes to writing, I am lost. Well, that being said, please excuse any of my typos, grammar mistakes and blurts (no wait, that is just me).
But what surprised me the most is that I am actually forgetting how to express myself in my own native language. Something only immigrants can relate to. So for all of you out there, living in a different country, do you experience something similar? And how do you deal with that?

(oil painting "Vacation Promenade" by Brent Jensen)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Who would've thought?

I was meaning to start this blog for more than a year now. Why didn't I? Hmm, too many overseas moves, baby in one hand and another on it's way (nauseous mornings, I blame you). The other thing was this big question in my head: am I going to reveal too much to people I don't even know? Probably one of the bigger dilemmas of every blogger out there. But I came to the conclusion while successfully stalking other fellas (did I just say that?), that I like what I see: one happy blogging community, meeting interesting people, exchanging ideas whether it relates to motherhood, art or cooking tips. And that's basically who I am. I love (almost) everything. I want to try everything. I am not wasting my life. One thing I say myself all the time: I don't want to live with regrets. What if? That question doesn't really exist in my head. So here I am. Having another (WHAT IF is not in my system) moment.