Monday, March 26, 2007

Parents' Visit

It was a cold and dark morning when my parents got in their car and started driving south on I-95. Some 10 hours later, after getting lost and found a couple of times, they arrived right into the sunny and cheerful North Carolina spring.

What kind of stuff can one do when it's 80 degrees and sunny outside, flowers are a-blooming, birds - a-chirping, and everything around you is so bright and fresh, as if it all just sprang out of an Easter basket! Mom got right to cooking enormous quantities of steamed meatballs with vegetables and portobello mashrooms, creamy mashed potatoes, and spinach soup. And that's on top of various yummy home-made spreads and cheese-and-spinach pirogi she brought with her.

Dad stayed busy as well. He mostly concentrated to chilling with Mark with occasional breaks for calling friends and relatives to let them know that he was chilling with Mark. It was funny to see how nervous Dad would get every time Mark would make a sound, any sound. Convinced that Mark loved being serenaded, Dad stomped the grounds rocking him to sleep while singing old revolutionary marches mixed for full effect with old street ballads about Odessa, a girl named Murka, and the use of one's trousers as sails.

It was a surprise that with schedule this busy we managed to go on quite a few walks. Most of them were in the immediate neighborhood. But we also went to our favorite lake, Lake Johnson, on Saturday. As always, it was absolutely perfect there - plenty of people of all ages walking, running, biking, playing with their dogs, fishing. Only this time the boat house was open for business and there were plenty of paddle boats criss-crossing the lake.

The rest of the day (they really stayed only for one full day) was spent mostly at home, trying to eat as much of the fresh yummy food as possible, taking plenty of pictures, playing with Mark, playing with Xander when Mark was being changed or fed (quite often) or just relaxing. After all, everyone that comes here says it feels like a beautiful dacha here, only without all the hard gardening work.

Friday, March 09, 2007

1 Month

Mark is 1 month old today. Hooray! It's been a very short month for us. For the first 2 weeks I wasn't working, plus Mom was staying with us. That preserved my sanity.

Unfortunately, I had to start work when Mark turned 2 weeks. Some people say that it's ok since I work from home and that it's a lot better and easier than if I worked in a traditional office. These people obviously have not a clue. First of, if I worked in a normal office environment, I would stay at home for longer, at least 6 weeks - that's the earliest a child can be sent to a day-care. And then, I wouldn't have to multi-task the way I do now - raising a baby full-time (with all the feedings, diper changes, pacifing, etc) and working full-time (answering the phones, sending e-mails, handling projects, etc).

But let's talk about positive things for a change. So, Mark is 1 month old. Boy, did he change. He gained plenty of weight (our scale is not working, but I think he's about 8lbs now). And he grew too, by about an inch. So he's actually growing out of some of his cutest outfits. As a matter of fact, I'll be retiring a couple of his outfits tomorrow and yes, I will frame them and hang them on the wall in the baby's room. Mark's eyes are still blue, of course, but his hair is getting a bit lighter and looks like he just might take after his daddy and become a red-head.

All the physical changes are exciting. But the best thing is watch him develop new skills. It might seem that a little baby is nothing buy an eating-pooping-crying machine. Sure thing, he does a lot of these things. But he does other stuff as well. For example, he stays awake for quite a while now. And while awake, he looks around, lifts his head when on his tummy, cooes, pays attention to a rattle (if someone shakes it). In short, he's a busy bee.

To celebrate his first mini-birthday Chris and I got some cake (Red Velvet, if anyone's interested) and some Applebee's takeout. And of course, we drank to Mark's health - a glass of wine for Chris and a bottle of water for myself.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Finally, the spring seems to be arriving to NC. It's still chilly in the mornings, but warms up to 65F by afternoon. Daffodils, crabapples, forzicias and other flowers, shrubs and trees which names I have no idea of are blooming. And even pine trees look more cheerful.

We take Mark on much longer walks now, sometimes for up to an hour and a half. He sleeps through most of it. He is just 1 day shy of being 1 month old. I was actually going to post this on 9 March. But things are quiet today at work (so far) and Mark is sleeping peacefully in his crib. So why not take this opportunity and post some pictures. Here they are...