Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Once again, it was just the three of us and our cat, Xander. The day before Christmas it rained and we mostly stayed inside. Except when we ventured out to the Barnes&Noble to use my 25% off coupon (yeah, my pile of books waiting to be read is growing). And we stopped by the Blockbuster and rented a whole bunch of movies - Bourne Supremacy, The Simpsons, Ocean's Thirteen, and Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End. All - 2-day rentals. It's a good thing Blockbuster relaxed their late-fee policy somewhat - no way we could watch all these in 2 days.

On Christmas morning we opened Mark's gifts first. He got a big toy piggy bank from his great Grandma Phyllis. Now, her gift was carefully wrapped in pretty wrapping paper and had a little red bow on top. This being Mark's first X-mas, he thought that he was supposed to play with the wrapper and the bow and, happy and easy-going child that he is, he was only too happy to oblige. As a matter of fact, he was so distracted by the red bow, that it took us a while to get his attention to a gift our neighbors got him - a Build-A-Bear teddy bear. The teddy even came with its own birth certificate and that's how we found out that it was exactly 10 months younger than Mark. Still no name for the little bear, so we're open to suggestions.

I got Chris a cezva for making Turkish coffee, an old-style coffee grinder that really powders the beans, and half a pound of Columbian Supremo. On a picture it looks like some funky stuff, but I assure you, it's perfectly harmless and totally 100% coffee related. And Chris got me 3 gifts. One of those he gave me last week 'cause he just couldn't keep a secret. It was a box of locally-made chocolates - yummy! The second gift was a book from my Amazon wish-list. It's only the end of day 2, but I'm almost done with the book - it's THAT GOOD! And finally, Chris got me a really nice yoga mat (I'm sitting on it in this picture) and it was my favorite color - blue and green. Now I just need to find time to do yoga.

Xander got a gift of our love and also a new box. He loves all boxes and bags - gets into every single one of them. So this time he squeezed himself inside the Build-A-Bear house and looked out of its window on us opening our gifts. And what about our gift for Mark? Yes, we did get him a really nice gift. But we decided to save it until the New Year's since he now has a lot of new things anyway. So we're going to keep our gift a secret just a little while longer. But it's something really awesome!

Mark's been kinda cranky lately (can't tell by this picture). Might have something to do with him teething again. Yes, his 6th tooth pocked through 2 days ago. So, armed with all those new sharp teeth, Mark munches on Cheerios and apples and bananas and even hard cookies. He loves finger foods! Of course, most end up not in his mouth, but all over the floor and on his clothes. We have to change his outfits after each meal, seems like. And a bib provides very little protection against a spoon-full of Organic Pasta Primavera.

Mazltov, Mark now travels around the house. He doesn't crawl nor does he walk. But he bounces on his butt in the funniest way. In the past few days he really perfected the technique. He's a Grease Lightning of butt-scooting. And because he travels so much now, he gets into all the places that were out of reach before - cat's water bowl, kitchen cabinets, file drawers, magazine files, you name it. So we did some urgent baby-proofing. He's also getting better at standing and taking little steps. And he tries to dance a bit. One of his interactive toys plays an alphabet song and Mark wiggles his butt and bounces on his feet when he hears it. Other times he moves his hands up and down along with the music. Oh, an a huge news today - he waved "bye-bye" to me when Chris was taking him on a walk! How cool is that?!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What Do I Do At Work (Happy Holidays)

As a Translation Project Manager and a Vendor Manager I get asked this a lot - what is it that I do at work. Ok, ok, so not that many people ask this exact question. Most assume that I translate stuff. Bzzz, wrong! I have a very tough job though (even though I work from home). Why? Well, here's a little insight into our typical day at the office: FOLLOW THIS LINK.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Scooting Around

Today Mark got a booster shot of the flu vaccine and, as a reward, a cool Spider Man bandaid. Getting a shot in left thigh first thing in the morning is not very pleasant. So it might explain Mark's crankiness for the rest of the day. Or maybe it's because he has to be dressed in his Buzz Aldrin suit every time we have to get out of the door since it's so cold now. And Mark simply hates getting dressed. But he looks so cute in his little space suite outfit; it simply can't be helped - all the compliments and cooing he's been getting.

Big development here - Mark is a very proficient now at scooting around on his butt. He started a few days ago and at first only moved a foot or two. Now he travels all around the kitchen, cruising from cabinet to cabinet to the fridge to dinner table to Xan's food and even as far as the living room. Laundry closet fascinates him the most since it has a front-loading washer. But for now it's off-limits since we still have to baby-proof it. Mark is very curious about things now - he tries to open every door and drawer he chances upon and take things out and bang them against each other and against the floor. He's been making new sounds - "baba", "eto", "schto to", "toytoy". Unfamiliar things call for "schto-to"; familiar objects - a mix of "schto to" and "toytoy". Every light fixture is a cause for excitement - we love lamps and lights!

Of course, there've been some accidents with all this crawling around - a couple of falls here and there. Also, as he learns to scoot more efficiently, he becomes more ambivalent about walking. Now instead of trying to take steps towards a toy or a book, Mark prefers to plop down on his butt and scoot to it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

10 Months and 1 Day

That's how old Mark is today! He's about 19 lbs and 27 inches now. He still doesn't crawl which is probably a good thing since our house is totally not baby-proofed. But not crawling doesn't mean sitting in one place. Mark can scoot on his butt, push and pull with his hands, wiggle on his belly and roll around. He also stands really well now, holding onto things and people. He can also stand all by himself for about a second or two. And even though he hasn't managed to pull himself up to standing yet, he does plenty of trying. He loves to stand and reach for things!

There are a couple of new toys, like a musical ball and an activity table, that keep him busy with music, lights and sounds. Old toys are good too, especially the ones that make lots of noise when thrown around. But anything and everything can be a toy now - an empty shoe box, a table leg, a stainless steel bowl and a set of measuring cups. A flashlight is a particularly fascinating toy - trying to catch that little light is plenty of fun. Mark also plays ball very well (he's been doing it for over a month now). We have a couple of ball games. One is the baby soccer - Chris holds Mark up and I roll the ball and Mark (with Chris's help) kicks it with both feet. Another ball game is just rolling the ball back and forth.

Finger food rules! Finally Mark went from chocking on the smallest mushiest piece of banana to feeding himself bananas, cooked carrots, cheese and of course, Cheerios. Most of it ends up on the floor or in his high-chair. But some does make it to his mouth. And solid foods are more fun this month too. They are lots chunkier. Also, he eats pieces of cooked meat and chicken, pasta, rice, and tiny amounts of regular foods, even ice-cream. He eats pretty much everything and he makes the funniest faces when he tries new food! And oh boy does it get messy - basically we have to change his outfits and clean half the kitchen when he's done!

Lost of new sounds now. Mostly dadas and nanas. Occassional nadas and daydays. Then there's "vvvvvv" sound and various gurgling and slurping noises with a "ma" and a "ra" thrown in for good measure. Also, when he "reads" through his board books, he makes different noises and "words" for different pictures - sounds like he's talking in some crazy foreign language. He's also very vocal about his wants. If something is not right - a toy is taken away or we read newspaper instead of playing with him - he loudly objects. Mark also knows the word "no" (in two languages). Most of the time when he hears a "no", he gives us a sly grin and a little giggle, waits a second, and then tries the same mischief just to see our reaction.

Mark's hair is getting very long now. It's not red anymore and is actually getting lighter and lighter. Looks funny - dark and reddish ends and blond roots. Still doesn't sleep through the night. And still sleeps in his bed only part of the night. But that's ok since Mark is a very snuggly little baby. That's except when he decides to wake up at 5:30am.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Today is the 7th night of Hanukkah. Mark is asleep and all is quiet. Every night this week Chris reads him a little story from Mark's first Hanukkah book. One story was about latkes and miracles. Another one was about space aliens. Tonight's one is about a parrot named "Dreidel". Also, we decorated a small potted rosemary plant and put blue and white garlands around our kitchen light. And yesterday, while my parents were here, Mom and I cooked some traditional Hanukkah food - a brisket, a kugel, and some fried sweet doughnuts (although they weren't really doughnuts, but pirozhki). And of course, we light a menorah every evening. The only thing we don't have this year is a little dreidel for Mark. It's really hard to find it in Raleigh, NC. Plus Mark is really too little yet. But next year, sure thing, dude!

So yeah, my parents were here this weekend. As usual it was a lot of fun and a lot of food. Mostly the food that they brought from NY. Yet again I failed to pursuade them that yes, Raleigh is the land of plenty and that no, we're not starving ourselves. Fortunately, the weather was really nice - in the 70's - the entire weekend and we went on long walks. Like today Chris and I and Mark walked all around the lake to burn some of the food calories off. And then we went for some ice-cream, hehe. Yesterday we also went to the lake. But also I took parents to the flea market. I love our flea market - there's so much stuff there. Dad didn't care much for it though since a) they don't sell any cheap airplanes there and b) as he put it "it was all mostly junk". But hey, isn't that the whole point of a flea-market?

I almost forgot about last Friday though. Guess what?! I got to see Rachel Ray and she even signed a book for me and Chris. She was doing book signing at our local B&N. Chris went there early on Friday morning to get a ticket (since it was a free signing, but they limited the number of people to "only" 350). Rachel Ray was to arrive at 7pm. We went to the store at 6:30 only to find out that since my ticket was #331, it'd take at least a couple of hours. So we went home for a while. Finally, around 9:30pm Mom and I went back to the store leaving Mark and Chris at home. It was absolutely crazy! We were actually next to the last people in line, so we didn't get to Rachel Ray until about 11pm. But as a reward, I got not only a personalized and autographed book of hers, but a picture with her as well.