Hair Therapy

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Since becoming a mom my minutes available for personal luxury have been downsized to nearly nonexistent. Gone are the days of waiting for a moisturizing hair mask to absorb while reading a magazine and painting my toenails. Luckily, products like VO5 hot oil treatment exist. (Yes, the same one from our days of youth). It wasn't on my radar for a while but there's a reason it's been around for as long as I can remember.

Place the tube in a cup of warm water, wet hair, leave on for one minute, then rinse and shampoo. There aren't a lot things I've got time for, but I've got time for that.  Try it you guys. In one minute you can be all, "I whip my hair back and forth." :)

The iconic five vitamin formula repairs and restores shine, strength and silky softness. And bonus, it's under $5 bucks. Win! 

Discovering Downtown

Thursday, January 15, 2015

We've been spending some time in Tennessee during my maternity leave and it's been wonderful being near family and friends, as well as rediscovering my home town of Johnson City. One day last week we had an impromptu "downtown day", exploring hidden gems, finding new favorites, and savoring the charms of a smaller city than what we're used to.

It started with lunch at Korean Taco House...

Then Dad got a dapper new 'do at Bang, the cutest retro salon.

We followed it up with coffee at Willow Tree Coffeehouse. (With our smiley little owl of course.)

And finally, happy hour at Freiberg's, a delicious spot for German food and beer.

Other favorite spots include: 

Atlantic Ale House for a selection of 16 rotating craft beers.  

Krazy Krepes. You must try the bananrama. 

Alright locals, what other spots should we try? Share in the comments! 

One Month

Sunday, January 4, 2015

 Evelina Grace - One Month Old

It's been one month since Evelina entered our lives and what a whirlwind of incredible emotions and amazing feelings! From happy tears to frustrated tears, there's no way to describe how a disrupted sleep schedule and the demands of a newborn are "worth it" but they just are. The first two weeks were the hardest, as I think any new parent will tell you, and passed by in a blur of feedings and diaper changes and deciphering cries and sweet kisses and snuggles all while dealing with my own personal recovery. But it does get easier with each flip of the calendar. And yes, there were a few day stretches of no shower, pj's all day, just cuddled up feeding and staring at my baby like it's my job to watch her grow. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. But we were also able to get out and about with her early on, something I was eager to do, one, to see how she would handle it and two, to get in a healthy habit of not sitting at home. There is no way to describe everything a new parent feels during this time - excitement, fear, joy, terror, frustration, magic, and I was happy to find that some things just come naturally. Maybe it's a mother's instinct (or just from spending so much time with her) but her habits and needs have been fairly easy to discern, even from a few days old. I love knowing how to comfort her, most of the time, and it may not remain that easy so I'm grateful for the time it has been.

But back to E. She had a big first month of life! Aside from being perfectly precious here are a few highlights.

  • Weight: approximately 8 1/2 pounds
  • Eyes: Dark gray/blue
  • Hair: Brown (sometimes I think I can see a touch of auburn in it though)
  • Size: Newborn clothes and diapers
  • Looks: Like her Dad! At the beginning she was his little twin. I think her face is changing some though, but she still looks mostly like him.
  • Personality: Mine! From always wiggling to always loosing one sock...
  • Nicknames: Currently Little E, Sweet Juice, my Squish (but anything goes, really)
  • Feeding/Sleeping: The first few weeks were exhausting and consisted of the typical round the clock feeding schedule, but things spaced out a little by week five and we can get four hour sleep stretches (yay!) We're breastfeeding and supplementing (more on that later) and this girl has quite the appetite.
  • Highlights: Christmas!, two road trips to North Carolina, uncountable visits to Cracker Barrel

  • Being swaddled, but only with her arms out. (From day one.)
  • Laying on her side and sitting upright
  • Outfit changes (She is mine after all...)
  • Baby massages from her grandad, Big Poppa G
  • Pooping in a freshly changed diaper
  • Making noise to hear herself "talk" 
  • Baths. I call it her spa time, she gets so still and zen with the calmest look on her face.
  • Family and friends - so far she's been pretty great with being passed around and held and oogled over without getting too fussy or overstimulated
  • Snuggling! This girl will let you spoon the bejesus out of her, I love it!
  • Selfies. Ok, maybe that one's more me. But she is really good at them!

  • Having the hiccups for too long. (Who doesn't??) Which she gets 
  • Having a dirty diaper (Who wouldn't?)
  • This Rock 'n Play sleeper. Hates it. Not a big fan of bouncy/baby seats in general.
  • Getting into her car seat. But once we get going she conks out.

  • She's a wiggler. Remember how much she moved inside my belly? Nothing's changed on the outside. From the little foot movements when she's content to leg pumping and arm flailing when she's alert and active, this girls' in constant motion.
  • She loves to stretch, especially arching her back and letting out large grunts. (Now I can totally picture how it must have looked on the inside.) And there's always some funny arm thing happening.
  • Speaking of grunting, she's very talkative (aka noisy!) Everything she does is in a big way - eating comes with slurping and lots of "aahs", waketime is full of coo's, and don't even get me started on the gas situation (from both ends). Her yawns are often, long, and often accompanied with a yell. She even makes these crazy gasping noises from time to time that really freaked us out at first.
  • She's strong! From the day she was born she was able to hold her head up for seconds at a time and turned to her side on the exam table at just a few hours old. And I swear this girl could stand up if she had any balance, her little legs have some insane strength already.
  • Her sweet smiles just melt me, obviously.
  • I'm a mom you guys! It's not that I thought I'd never become one, but after unintentionally putting it off for so long I kind of forgot about it a little, until all of a sudden I was pregnant and all of sudden had a baby and then boom! add "Mama" to my resume. Crazy, right?!
  • On her actual one month birthday (January 2nd) I cried like a baby basically all day. It's amazing watching her grow but it's also bittersweet. I was super clingy to her and would wail things from, "Someday her little head's not going to smell like a baby anymore." to "One day she'll be a teenager!". I could not get a grip! So yeah, I'm going to be that mom that cries over every minute milestone... 

I never meant to take this much time away from the blog but I was/am just enjoying my time with her so much (also known as meeting her demands) that it's been hard to pull myself away for screen time. I'm still very eager to write about her birth story and obviously have loads of pictures of her to share so stay tuned!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The best Christmas present everrrr? See above.

The hospital snuck Evelina out on her second night and took this hilarious, adorable picture. Can't believe she's been our for 23 days now! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas, lots of love from us to you!

She Shall Be Called

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Evelina  Grace  Timchenko
eh-veh-LEE-nə }  { ɡray-s }  { tim-CHEN-ko }

Evelina / Эвелина: Light - English,  Life - Russian

People with this name are excited by change, adventure, and excitement. They are dynamic, visionary and versatile, able to make constructive use of freedom. They fight being restricted by rules and conventions. They tend to be optimistic, energetic, intelligent, and to make friends easily. They may be changeable, restless, untidy, and rebellious.

Grace / Грейс: From the word 'grace', derived from the Latin 'gratia', meaning God's favor. 
People with this name have a deep inner desire for a stable, loving family or community.

Usually, when it comes to decision making, I'm much more emotional and Alex is the logical one. But in the name game situation our roles were completely reversed. After a few weeks of flipping through baby name books and not landing on anything that felt right I was beginning to worry we'd never find the "perfect" one. Aside from loving it, my requirements were things like no weird nicknames, no embarrassing initials, the typical stuff.  His requirement? "When you say it, it has to melt your heart." No pressure. So I started a list of ones that would work based on my criteria, and over the next week or so would read them aloud to him, see if his heart melted, and scratched more and more off the menu. Then, over dinner on our anniversary, he mentioned a few sweet nicknames he liked so we started backtracking from there. And suddenly, out of nowhere, Evelina was born. It wasn't on my list, I can't find it any of the name books I'd read (cover to cover), it just came to my mind, he repeated it aloud, I teared up, and it's safe to say our hearts were melted. "Did we just decide on a name?", I said. "Yep.", said he. And that was that. We loved the way it sounded, the origins (more on that in a minute), and the nickname options (we are huuuuge nickname fans) (also see below). Once I found out that it means light/life in our respective native languages it felt even more perfect, as she's bound to be the light of our lives. 

Grace followed pretty soon after. I wanted our first born to carry my maiden name, Gray, in some way, and had she been a boy it would've been simply Gray. (My mom's maiden name is Graybeal so there's a double connection.) But Gray alone felt a little masculine for her so I debated using a unique spelling of Grayce (mainly because I'm weird about following trends and kind of wanted to convey that this is about meee, not the #22 name of 2013!) but decided against it in the end (she'll have enough pronunciation/spelling going on already to make it even more difficult). 

And now for the stats and fun facts for our Slavic/Southern girl: 
  • The popularity of Evelina peaked in the 1880's (1887 at #528)
  • Roots and Origin - it depends on where you look but most sources agree on the following: It's derived from the French name Aveline, a feminine Norman-French diminutive of the name Ava, meaning "wished for child". (Also, my Dad's name is Norman. See? So many unplanned connections!)
  • Numerology #5 - Outgoing, friendly, flexible, upbeat, versatile, easy to talk to. Loves to explore and be free and will adapt as needed to achieve this freedom. Perceptive about people which enables her to be persuasive and get along well with others.
  • Russian Pet Names: Evelinka, Evelinochka
  • American Nicknames: Evie, Eve, Evah, E, Evs, Lina, Evster (as I've recently started using)
  • Notable Evelina's:
    1. "Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World " a novel by British author Fanny Burney, published in 1778.
    2. Evelina Khromtchenko - Russian journalist and influential fashion figure. (I promise I did not know this until after the fact!)
    3. Fictional character in the song, "Sweet Evelina" written in 1865 and popular with Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. 

Welcome to the world Evelina, the little light of our lives! 

She's Here!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Welcome to the world, Evelina Grace Timchenko!

December 2nd, 2014
6 pounds, 12 ounces
19 inches long
and a head full of dark hair!

40 Weeks: Fully Cooked

Monday, December 1, 2014

40 Weeks and fully cooked! 

Due day came and went, as I pretty much expected it would. Some helpful advice I received early on was to throw all pregnancy/baby related expectations out the window so luckily I wasn't attached and devastated when December 1st didn't become her birth day. My preference is an intervention-free labor and delivery as possible so I'm in no rush to rush her. I've been told I'm an exception to the rule since many women are begging to be induced by this point, but I can't say I'm that uncomfortable and really want her her to be able to come on her own time, as I believe babies and bodies are meant to do, outside of emergencies of course. However, yesterday's appointment showed some protein in my urine which leads to 24 hours of collection and lab work this afternoon to keep a watchful eye for pre-ecamplsia, and ain't nobody got time for that. So regardless of how this experience goes down, whatever is meant to be will be. I've done the planning, learning, and research to make decisions that I'm comfortable with and the rest is up to nature.

On a lighter note, there is NO flattering angle for photographs at forty weeks. It took at least fifteen tries to get this decent one. I mean, I know the bump is big, but I need an accurate size to scale, not one where my shirt makes it look double! And can we talk about my swollen face? I don't even look like myself. Some days just aren't photogenic days, and yesterday was one of 'em. Each shot would go like this, "Oh my gosh, I look huge. Do it again." and he'd say, "Peach, it's technically due day, you should look huge." Ugh. True, but still. I've said before, I hate to complain about the minor discomforts because compared to some, this pregnancy has been a breeze, but it's still strange to not look like yourself, even though I'm not quite sure what this is anymore.

So aside from meeting her, I'm excited to feel like my old self again. And excited to *hopefully, eventually, please heavens let it be*, wear my old clothes again. I made maternity work for the last bit with about five versatile tops (I just really hated spending money on things I'd need for such a short time!) but I've missed my old clothes and shoes (heels!) so, so much. If these feet don't shrink back to size I'm going to have lots of size 8.5 BFF's knocking on my door...

Waiting patiently for you, baby girl...