Tag Archives: milestones


4 Mar

I have a lot to celebrate this week – over the past week or so, I’ve gotten a lot of academic work done: I’ve finished my dissertation prospectus (research proposal), submitted proposal to a major theoretical conference in my field, completed an application for a TA-ship in a different–related–program for next year, and co-wrote a fellowship proposal with a faculty mentor.

Over the weekend, I got an email confirming that I have a spot teaching an annual month-long (very well paid) awesome course (that also happens to be the site of my dissertation research), and not only will I be teaching, I will be a lead instructor. Hooray! I’m finally being recognized for being capable and smart!

Today, I successfully “defended” my research proposal to my committee. It wasn’t so much a defense but a fun meeting with 4 of my favorite people/mentors talking about the academic work I will soon be undertaking. I’m left with new ideas to ponder (and the realization that now I have to actually DO the research. Ugh).

So I have a lot to celebrate! I’m on the brink of finally doing my dissertation research! I have a really exiting project that my mentors say is really offering something to the field! I’m getting my confidence back in my academic abilities and I’m really on a roll–connecting to a national conversation. And I love that my proposals are GOOD – not the half-assed crap I’ve put together in the past because I can’t get my act together (or I have life-drama intervening). It is so nice to be able to work and focus.


Despite the fact that I hit a major milestone today (over a year in the making!), I’m sad that I don’t really get to celebrate it. My family is happy for me, but they’re far away. N was so tired from a full day in preschool that he took a ‘nap’ at 6pm and hasn’t woken up. We went to the store, thinking I’d grab some treat or yummy food but nothing sounded good/was worth the money/calories. It was actually nice to acknowledge that I don’t need to celebrate with food, but it’s really sad to not be able to mark the occasion. Pop some bubbly, right? So that’s the slightly depressing take-away.

So, instead, I caught up on Ukraine drama, re-heated some yummy salmon & spaghetti squash, graded some papers, and soon I’ll curl up with my book on Stalin. But before I end the night wallowing in misery, some pictures of the fun we’ve been having over the past couple weeks:

IMG_9880 IMG_9891 IMG_9913 Valentine’s PartyIMG_9906 Cute kissing, umm, tropical animal. I forgot what it is, but it’s sure cute 🙂IMG_9926 Teaching N the culinary delight of french fries in ice creamIMG_9963 IMG_9975 IMG_9992 IMG_0001 IMG_0011 IMG_0098


N at 28 months

17 Jan

My little boy has been so delightful lately – he seems like such a little grown-up with so much personality – that I can’t help but post an update for posterity (and for his next baby book).

Nicknames: Snuggle-bug, snuggle-puppy, muffin, angel

Temperament: Alternates between being a really sweet, curious boy and being a cranky frustrated boy. As he develops his own mind about things, it is becoming clear that N is really easygoing and happy, but he has strong opinions about things. Sometimes he just wants things a certain way, and if you don’t do it (or know what he wants) he’ll scream, cry, or best of all, throw himself on the ground. He’s also very physical in his feelings: when he’s excited he’ll run up to you with open arms (or if you’re holding him, he’ll hit you in the face or bonk his head in joy. It’s great he’s so excited but can be painful) or if he’s mad he’ll thrown himself on the ground, biting the thing that offended him. He also takes his anger out on mama, by grabbing my hair or sticking his fingers in my mouth. When he’s really mad, he’ll knock chairs over or throw the toy that frustrated him. Such big emotions for such a little boy!20140117-230811.jpg

But these things are few and far between. Most of all, N is a happy delight! And when he is frustrated, I usually come to figure out that there’s a reason behind it: he’s not feeling well, he wanted something I couldn’t figure out, he was hungry, etc. And once I figure it out, he’s back to being my little sweet angel.

What Baby’s Eating: He loves bagels, raisins, cheese!, waffles (with syrup), graham crackers, blueberries, spaghetti, sometimes chicken & other meats, chocolate milk, and sweets. He likes one specific kind of veggie burger so I keep that in the meal rotation quite often. He also likes sweet potato tater tots and meatballs. Loves Chicken McNuggets, is so-so on other chicken nuggets. He also likes Thai noodles and Indian dishes (as long as they’re not TOO spicy. His instincts are definitely not towards the most varied and healthy diet, but I think I do an ok job of keeping it varied and healthy.

What Baby’s Saying: As I posted previously, we’re finally getting our language explosion! Hooray! Most of his sounds are related to ba and sha. He has great intonation: he says baby and bye-bye perfectly. He says bath-time as kind of a ba-sha that rhymes perfectly. Open is ba-ba but it rhymes with open. Hard to explain (or decipher) without knowing, but once you hear it, you know exactly what he’s saying.

Since he’s raised with Russian, I think his great sounding fricatives (sh, fa, j) come from that exposure. He definitely needs more sound diversity, but we’ll get what we can take 🙂 He also still prefers function words (doesn’t say a lot of nouns, more verbs and prepositions) but he’s kind of an all-business kind of guy.

Things I Could Do Without: The mysterious crankiness and tantrums. It’s hard to be 2! But as I said before, they’re usually caused by something–tiredness, hunger, thirst or a communication breakdown.

Item/Toy You Love The Most: Hmm, this is tough. For the first time in your life, you have too many toys 🙂 I say this in the best possible way – we’ve always limited toys because you have always been happy with a few simple things. But now that you’re getting into pretend play, I want to have more toys to support that.

You love driving cars around, especially this old, broken hand-me-down car that makes noises. You love driving that, and other cars, around the house, under-foot. In the bath, you love pouring water from cup to bucket to watering can. You also love driving cars in the bath (with a small bath ‘shelf’ used as a ramp).

You love your stuffed animals, especially a duck puppet, a fox mom and baby, a stuffed sock monkey and your baby. And your seahorse that plays music and glows. You’ll often wake up in the morning or from nap with your arms full of your babies.

Things I’m Loving Most Right Now: Your personality! You’ve really grown into a person. I think I see it so clearly now that your dad is around again. Since he hadn’t seen you in 3 1/2 months, he knew you as someone else. I can really see your growth reflected in his eyes.

I think what stands out the most is your independence and your sweetness. You climb steps on your own. You know who you want to play with and when (And if it’s not your turn he’ll say bye-bye and walk you out of the room). You love kisses and I’ve seen you kissing animals on TV and at the store. When you said goodbye to grandma and grandpa after our Christmas visit, you gave them lots of kisses all on your own. When you saw your papa after missing him for over 3 months, you immediately said “hi” and kissed him. You are so deeply, genuinely sweet and your independence only makes it sweeter. 




30 Dec

IMG_9551At just over 27 months (2 yrs, 3 mo), N is finally having a speech explosion. He can now say:

Ma – call for mama

Ba-pa (Grandpa)



Hish (thanks)

aye (hi)

Sasha (his dad’s name)

Daa (Dog)

Bii (Bird)

Baa (ball)

buh (more)


sha-sha (wash)


Da (Down, with finger pointing down)

Ba-ba (open, rhymes perfectly)



oink-oink (not cute like it’s spelled, but like the animal)

Rawr (for a lion or a bear or any ferocious animal)



fa (five – as in “give me five”)


30 Sep

Oh, my little boy is so grown up!! Today we made it through our first day of preschool!

1382173_10153293361915611_67333553_nDue to my new single-mama status N must now attend some kind of preschool and luckily the drop-in preschool right by my university allows little ones to come at 2 years old. Most daycares in the area require the kiddos to be there all day (even part-time , which is 2 or 3 full days a week), but I teach only at 9:30 and 12:30, so I don’t need a full day. So he’ll now be going half-days, every day, for this quarter.734120_10153293361965611_1666912061_nHe did pretty well–when we got there he was a bit clingy and didn’t want to say ‘goodbye’ but once they got him interested in playing he was ok. I guess there were a few fussy moments and a big water-spill all over himself, but overall the day went well. He was silly and happy when I came to get him and he took a good nap. We had a nice evening together and I think tomorrow will go just fine.1377006_10153293361760611_1532775263_n1240416_10153293361865611_1670481244_nMy parents left today so today was our first day all on our own. And you know what, N had a great dinner (ate an eggplant pasta dish I made yesterday and LOVED it!), we had time to play, take a bath, and he went down easily for the night. I worked–edited videos and I’m going to read a bit from my textbook for tomorrow’s lesson after I finish this. I just keep crossing things off my list–it’s amazing what you can do with a little peace and quiet.

2 years old!

19 Sep


The stats: You are right between 24 months and 2T in clothing. You wear a size 7/7.5 shoe. You are tall and lean and much bigger than your peers on the playground. Edited to add: you did so well at your 2-year checkup, despite the fact that you got a flu shot and a blood draw to check iron, vitamin D and lead (since we live in a creepy old house). Everything checked out ok! You weigh 30 pounds and are 35.5 inches tall.

Nicknames: Snuggle-bug, snuggle bunny, muffin, Nikitulia, etc.


Temperament: Generally you are very easygoing and energetic. You like to run outside and explore new things. But you have opinions and if you don’t get what you want, you don’t hesitate to scream & cry. Lately, though, you try to show us what you want, grabbing mama or grandma by the hand to point out just what exactly we need to do for you.


What You’re Eating: You like carbs, proteins, and dairy: bread, eggs, meat, cheese, yogurt. You’re not much for fruits and veggies, though I can sneak some tomato sauce onto your pasta. You do eat sweet potato fries (tater tots are the best!) and raisins. You LOVE raisins.

What You’re Saying: During the summer you picked up “ish” for Push (on the swing). You just started saying “bye-bye” a couple days ago and now it’s your favorite. In fact you talk unintelligibly all day long talking about this and that. . and bit by bit we’re beginning to understand you.

Item/Toy You Love The Most: Mama’s iphone. Or any iphone really. For your birthday we got you this really cute flip phone that plays sounds (Papa even recorded his voice!). You do like it, but nobody is fooling you–you prefer the real thing. What is especially funny is how you hold the phone to your mouth, away from your face, just like it’s on speaker phone. You also really love parks–you’re learning how to climb and go down the slide (either head-first or on your belly, feet first). You love the adventure of it all!


Things I’m Loving Most Right Now: When I’m putting you down for bed at night, you cuddle in for just a second. It is so precious! I also love your energy, playing games with you, and watching you learn!

Things You’re Loving Most Right Now: Playing with Grandma and Grandpa. While mama teaches each day, Grandma and Grandpa play with you. Sometimes in their RV, sometimes in stores or parks. But you have adventures every day with those two and you love it. You return in the evening so happy! And you have done several overnights with them and you don’t seem to miss your mama at all 🙂


Oh, my snuggle-bug, I can’t believe you’re two!! It has been quite the year–learning to walk, breaking your leg, learning to walk again, enjoying one of the finest Northwest summers ever, visiting Montana. . .the list goes on! You’re turning into such a little boy and I love watching your intelligence and personality develop every day. You are so deliberate about everything you do and so joyful! I forget all my worries and problems when I’m with you. You truly are my joy and you are SO loved!!

IMG_7305 MamaNikitaBirthday IMG_7349 IMG_7346 IMG_7388 IMG_7392 - 8x10

Happy birthday, my love!!


25 Apr

N’s new skill is giving kisses!!

He loves to play games: I’ll pucker my lips and make a kissy noise and he’ll either run to me and give me a big open-mouthed kiss on the lips, or he’ll squeal and run away. It is sooooooo funny!
013He is such a delight!

In other news, he’s sleeping well (generally – we have had a rash of not so great nights, but I think he either had a cold or has allergies so that’s affecting his sleep). His schedule is very consistent: Wake up during the 9 o’clock hour. Go down for a nap sometime between 1:30 and 2:30 and sleep for 2-21/2 hours. Bed between 8:30 and 9:30. He now asks to go outside by pointing to his shoes, coat and/or hat. He’s a good eater, loves his independence, and is shy and serious when in new places, with new people, and when doing new things. When he’s with us, he’s a funny, funny boy.

N is 19 months and 2 weeks!

New Car!

30 Mar

In 2008 we bought our dream car – a Scion tC. We actually first saw it in Ukraine and were stunned by its modern, sleek design. A sailor had brought it home from a trip and it was one of the few Scions in the country (if not in Europe). When we moved to the US it crossed our radar again and we fell in love with the pricing, features, and design (not to mention that it has a solid Toyota engine under the hood).004

When we finally got one, we were thrilled! When we got pregnant, we told ourselves that a baby shouldn’t cramp our style. That, and we wanted to get ahead on our auto loan so that it would be worth it to upgrade to just the right car. As babe has gotten bigger, moving from an infant, easy-to-click seat to a rear-facing monster seat, and as he’s gotten heavier to maneuver into said carseat, we’ve gotten tired. Every time we go anywhere we have to wrangle the boy into his carseat. Fold the stroller, pop off the wheels, and only then we can be on our way. Into the car, out of the car. We’re exhausted after any trip anywhere.014A little car wash for our pretty pretty car!

So, this weekend we broke down. We’re well ahead of our loan (a year and change left to pay) and we have some extra money to add to a down payment, so we stopped by a dealer to check out the cars. We had our sights on a Mazda SUV, but the salesman mentioned the Mazda5 and once we took a look we fell in love. It’s based on the Mazda 3 chassis. It’s technically a minivan because of the sliding doors, but its size is more like a car. It is one of the only in its size (as a mini minivan) and it’s really popular in Europe as a ‘people mover.’010 I did a ton of research last night, getting values for our Scion and for the Mazda so I’d know what was reasonable. I contacted a couple dealers to see what they’d offer, and I contacted my bank. I was ready.

So today we cleaned up the Scion and headed down. We took the Mazda5 out for a ride and it confirmed everything we read. It was fun, sporty, and family-oriented. It was a solid car that suited both our business and family needs. And we realized we’d be able to buy a brand-new car! It had only 10 miles on it!!009011There were, of course, a couple kinks in the plan. When the dealer ran a carfax report on the Scion it turns out there was an accident from before we bought it that was only reported in 2011. I don’t know if it’s real or legal or a real accident or what’s going on, but it affected our trade-in value 😦 We ended up getting $500 – $1000 less than we should have. Sucks but that’s life. They also didn’t seem inclined to negotiate on the price too much, so it’s a good thing I had been emailing with another dealership – got the same number and the free tinted windows they offered. Yay! During the contract signing with the finance officer, of course, they had to offer all their various service plans. I wasn’t interested (’cause I know they’re a scam) but I let her run the numbers anyway. As the played with the math, she had the ability to lower our interest rate so somehow I ended up with the full Mazda maintenance plan for free. We walked away paying a couple hundred less than the manufacturer’s retail price. Not bad, not bad indeed 🙂


I love the sliding doors (no worrying about hitting a nearby car as I load baby in), the low bed of the vehicle for loading business equipment, and the size (the first two rows seat 4 in captains chairs and there’s an additional third row/huge cargo space behind them). Hubs loves that Mazdas have a manual mode on the automatics so he can zoom-zoom all around, the design of the exterior, and the solid engine power for a ‘family car.’ We’re both happy. Babe is happy. Yay for a happy day!!

20130331-103339.jpg from the first page of the owners manual