CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS: THE LUCKY MANDARIN

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"Hanes for the Holidays" campaign is spreading the magic all over , and it is most definitely a magical time of the year around these HQ of San Francisco . Holidays season is probably everyone's favorite : laughter, anticipation of happiness, magic in the air - what's not to love?



Every year brings something new , something happy and exciting. As a child , my fondest memories were of those magical moments when the aroma of the freshly cut tree filled every corner of our apartment; the stories that we made up when decorating the tree; the bursting excitement of anticipation of that morning when we would run out to see if Santa ( well, Grandfather Frost actually) came by our place , and digging to check what he brought for us all... Every little memory of this time still fills my entire being with warmth and this is the feeling I dearly want my children to have now and also when they are away from home , living the reality of an adult life.



 Over the course of the years we grew to love every moment of traditional preparations and acquired some of our own. A "lucky mandarin" is one we love , probably the most : every year on 21st of December , our wedding anniversary , Justin and I sneak away for a dinner time, but not before we hide the little "lucky mandarin" in the tree with the most sincere intentions to bring happiness, prosperity, love and luck to the one who finds it when taking the tree down.



At first, it was just the two of us for some time that enjoyed this moment, but now that the older children have grown, they are having just as much fun and making it even more creative . We take turns each year on who does "the hiding job", and this mine fell on the 2015s last days. After gathering compliments for the mini-skirt look that doesn't happen very often ( oh , thank you Hanes, for making it very possible !) , there was a little made-up story for the little ones with clues out of ornaments to lead to the hidden lucky mandarin. Who knew, that something so simple would grow into, if not a huge, but very dear to us (and definitely our own ) little tradition. Magical times bring magical moments - all that I can say.

Do you have any traditions that are just "yours"?



* as seen in the post: sweater and skirt - hatch collection c/o; boots - stuart weitzman; hoisery - hanes, c/o; nadya is wearing hanna anderson and zara for kids; nikola is wearing hanna anderson and appaman.

** Thank you to Hanes for kindly sponsoring this post, and thank you everyone for supporting our sponsors and making Urban Crusing/ LivingNotes possible.

In Gratitude

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Because I want to remember every moment forever, my heart filled with gratitude. For every smile. Every step. Every word. Every cry and every minute I get to be near by them. Thank you God, Universe, Destiny, Life.



Просто потому, что я хочу запомнить каждое мгновение навсегда, с сердцем, переполненным благодарностью. За их каждую улыбку. За каждый шаг. За каждое слово. За каждую слезинку, и за каждую минуту, которую могу провести рядом. Спасибо, Господи. Спасибо Вселенная, Судьба и Жизнь.


When in San Francisco...

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San Francisco has stolen our hearts the moment we stepped off the plane at the SF airport.
The mysterious fog, absolutely gorgeous architecture, a diverse mix of cultures and hills like you've never seen before make this city unique and unforgettable. San Francisco is not a novice at being a gracious host either : there is always something interesting to do here, and many fantastic places to eat, and today we will take you to five "must-see"s while in San Francisco. And because there is always a baby either in the stroller or in my arms, all the places we take you to are child-friendly and motherhood-supportive.

1 Exploratorium at Pier 15

Something to do for everyone, from age one to whenever you decide "fun" is not something you are interested in. The impressive square footage that is stuffed with all sorts of things of the "amazing!" and "very cool!" category will keep your attention occupied for hours.



2. De Young Museum

The current collections of art from all over the world to San Francisco's own artists is stunning. Grab a set of headphones when going into a special interest exhibits and don't forget to stop by the observatory on the way out - the views of the city are stunning.

3 The Legion of Honor

If modern art is not your thing, the collections from The Legion of Honor will surely satisfy your 'art tooth'. You will need a day or two to just walk through the entire museum. Add to it that the place is extremely baby-friendly and you can't pass it by {ps: even nursing a baby is not only not a problem there, but the guides will point you into the direction of a lovely lounge place. That is impressive.



 

Being one of the largest settlements, SF Chinatown will quite literally make you feel like you've traveled a few thousand miles away from the US. Make sure to have a great camera on hand, because you will want it.

 

5 Lands End

San Francisco is probably one of the rarest cities in the world that offers a unique combination of a perfect city lifestyle and nature, where both coexist beautifully. I promise,  Land's End will take your breath away as it did for us when you see the magnificent beauty of the Big Water.



And between roaming the streets of this beautiful city, make sure to visit some of the best culinary spots of the West Coast.

1 The Ferry Building

If the word "cheese" makes you feel excited, ensure to include a Cow Girl Creamery into your "must visit" list. Very helpful workers on site will not only allow you to taste anything you like from the selection , but will recommend amazing picks that will wow you and your guests alike



2 Tony's pizza Napoletana

This very small( and "cash-only" not too long ago) place delivers results that are fantastic. Pick a slice or make a custom order-to-go if you are short on time, or book a table at the restaurant. If you go with the later, make sure to call at least 2 hours in advance.



3 Le Marais

No one can ever have too much of French food, i am convinced if it, when Le Marais is in the picture. A relatively new but an amazingly impressive cafe/bistro has already created plenty of buzz around city's neighborhoods. DO try to come before 3 pm to ensure that all you may wish to have will still be available.

4 The Clement street

For a good variety of all sorts of kitchens there is a unique section on the Clement street. Just get start walking Arguello towards the Avenues and pick whichever one seems dear to your heard ( or stomach in this matter)



5 A Happy Table

And last, but far from least, on my list of recommendations is a ... happy family table. No restaraunt and no chef , no matter how fantastic, will ever be able to create the memories you can while sitting down to the table with those you love. Those "table conversations" can never have a pricetag, but believe me , the reward is well worth it.

So, pull up a chair and join in to those you love. And to ensure that everyone's needs are taken care of today we partnered up with Stokke and Hatch Collection to give you the opportunity to win the best seat at the table (quite literally) and unique designs that would keep your growing bump in style and serve you far past the "bumpy" days too.

Simply enter below, and GOOD LUCK!


Hatch Collection+Stokke Giveaway

*as seen above : skirt, sweater, romper - Hatch Collection; chair - Stokke Tripp Trapp; stroller - BabyZen YoYo+; Stokke Xplory; Bugaboo Bee 3 Van Gogh Edition; boots - Lowland by Stuart Weitzman; bag- Rebecca Minkoff , Chanel, Marc Jacobs;  Evyianne is wearing June & January, Vasilisa is wearing Appaman & SoYoung lunchbox .

 

10 PREGNANCY-FRIENDLY ESSENTIALS: part 1

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Maternity style and fashion have taken a fantastic leap forward in the last few years. But even though the options are abundant today, I personally have a hard time investing into something that is only going to be worn for a few months and then tossed away , but feeling pretty is so, so, so important during this changing and delicate time.

Hatch Collection  pioneered the maternity fashion world with a grow-with-me pregnancy friendly styles that could be used before, during and after the most special time of your life. I hopped on the Hatch wagon a few years ago, and I can honestly say that it has more then served the purpose of keeping me stylish, beautiful, confident and comfortable. This time around I have also discovered the Madeleine Maternity who carry a similar concept as Hatch, but with addition of NURSING friendly styles : another pioneer into the market that MUST be expanded.

Keeping things simple by count, but not by styling abilities, here are the 10 pregnancy-friendly essentials that save me on day-to-day bases ( especially now!)



PANTS:

Denim Legging : crafted in the iconic twill and washed in a rich indigo to suit your every look from lounging at home to an evening away. With a self-covered elasticized waistband and form-following leg ending neatly below the ankle, the legging highlights your shape and clings with comfort. This denim is perfect for a sneaker, boot, or primped pump pairing: it's versatile, just like your favorite jeans,  comes in white and black denim to suit any palette. You'll live in these.

The Turkish-style Indochine Pant is the summer separate you won't want to be without: the chic shape, sculpted from a pieced body, drop-crotch, and tapered leg is ultimately as flattering as it is easy. An elasticized waistband and narrow self-ties are made to sit flat on the hipline and host a tucked-in shirt. Whether you're looking for a basic black or opt for the more fashion-forward tribal Indochine pant in contrasting batik prints, this is one bottom that will be at the top of your list for warm-weather wear. Birks or high heels - it will take you from day to night and beyond your pregnancy too.

The Drawstring pant: comfortable and casual, it's perfect for summer, spring or early fall and will be your best friend for those few weeks after the baby is born too - looking and feeling put together without having to spend time on it is something that EVERY new mom knows to appreciate.

TOPS:

The Bateau is one of my personal favorites that I accumulated in every color over the last few years, and is a classic continental shape that will keep you looking fresh and fashion-forward. The narrow black, red, or olive stripes run a perpendicular from sleeve to body, and hip-level patch pockets prove that the delight's in the details. Wear this staple over one of our slimming leggings, and you've got the perfect continental look. French know what they are talking about then stating that stripe is a wardrobe stable.

The Fez Tunic’s wide neckline is gathered and released into a sheer A-line shape, which is mirrored in ¾ length sleeves decorated with raw-edge bias taping that will boast a fray patina with wash and wear. Throw this top on for lunch al fresco, or wear picnicking for airy comfort. Perfect for summer to keep you cool and comfortable , but covered from extra UV rays.

Platform shirt : perfect for office or for a night out. The black is a classic and will took a permanent residence in my closet. Also, the elongating silhouette is something that cannot be overlooked : a MUST in pregnancy! 

DRESSES:

The Grecian Dress: this sleeveless dress works just as well worn with heels, sandals or shoeless in the sand. Its goddess-like, flow-y shape is finished by intricate tucking along a V-neckline at both front and back, but the romance of the shape belies its ease: just slip on The Grecian Dress in lavish pink silk crepe, black, navy, or white and blue shibori-printed poly and you'll have your sweetest look of the summer, whether it's the beach you are going to or a wedding.

The Jersey Drape Dress: another one of my favorites from Hatch, this sophisticated yet extraordinarily comfortable jersey drape dress features a dropped shoulder and fitted sleeve boatneck, and extends to a square-cut planar shape that finished with a slit curved hem at each side moves with you and transitions impressively from day to night with a quick change of accessories. It also travels amazingly well: folds small and keeps wrinkling at bay!

Inez dress from Madeleine with a frond pleat turns this regular and very flattering dress into a perfect one for a night out, for office wear ( especially during those times when you are not ready to disclose your newest secret) or for any wedding reception you have over the summer. Through a blazer or a jacket over it and pair up with knee-length boots and you are set for fall/spring too.

Ballet Dress : well, the name alone would be enough for me to love it, but there is more. It's exceptionally flattering, falling right below your knees and draping nicely on the body, pregnant or not. The best part? It's NURSING - friendly, which is amazing, because not much out there in the dresses-world that can accommodate a new mom and her breastfeeding needs. The two tiny hidden zippers on each side make breastfeeding discreet even without a cover or a blanket, double bonus , because every single one of my babies hated being covered.

Here is to the 10 pregnancy fashion essentials for me. What are yours? Drop a comment if you feel like sharing!



* seen in the post: dress *Madeleine Maternity Ballet dress ( nursing-friendly!) ; shoes - Tod's ballerina studded flat ( best arch support I've ever tried!) or very similar here ( on sale!) ; jacket - gap ; necklace/bracelets - 31bits, ashley clarke ( on huge sale right now!)  ; sunglasses - Madewell; lipstick - Nars lip pencil in Mysterious Red; bag - COS or similar here . anything else - as always feel free to ask here or on Instagram! xo


BEATING SUMMER HEAT WITH TEA

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July is in full bloom and so is the heat. Since coming to the US I've discovered the iced tea and it has become of on my ( and all of ours ) thirst-quenchers during those hot summer days. A dash of fruit and berries adds an additional vitamin boost - what can be better?!  Here are some of our favorite recipes that have been on heavy rotation during the last two weeks:

Blueberry - lemon tea
1  (12-oz.) package frozen blueberries
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 bags of white tea ( or any other)
3/4 cup of honey
Garnishes: fresh blueberries, lemon rind strips , mint.

1. Bring blueberries and lemon juice to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook for 5 minutes; strain and squeeze the juice.
2. Bring 4 cups water to a boil; add 3 tea bags; steep for 5 minutes. Stir in honey and blueberry juice mixture. Pour into a pitcher, cover and chill 1 hour. Serve over ice. Garnish with mint if desired.



Citrus tea :

2  whole cloves
1  family-size tea bag
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup honey
Crushed ice
Garnish: lemon slices
1. Bring 3 cups water and cloves to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat; simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and add tea bag; steep 10 minutes.

2. Discard tea bag and cloves. Add fruit juices and honey, stirring until honey dissolves. Cover and chill for 1 hour; serve over crushed ice. Garnish, if desired.



Honey-Ginger tea:

3 cups water
2  family-size tea bags
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
7 cups cold water
Garnish: lemon slices
Preparation

1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan; add tea bags. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes.

2. Discard tea bags. Stir in honey and ginger. Pour into a 1-gal. container, and add 7 cups cold water. Serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.



Raspberry - Honey Mint tea ( perfect for pregnancy!)

4 cups water
7  raspberry leaf tea bags
1/2 cup honey
4 cups cold water
1  navel orange or lemon, cut into wedges
1  lime, cut into wedges ( optional)

1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add tea bags. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags.

2. Stir in honey. Pour into a 2-qt. pitcher; stir in 4 cups cold water and orange and lime wedges. Serve over ice.




Жара в разгаре - самое время для освежающих, но полезных напитков. В Америке я открыла для себя "чай на льду", и это стал один из моих ( и наших) любимых освежающих напитков.

Вот несколько рецептов , которые у нас "в ходу" последние пару недель.

Цитрусовый чай на льду.

5-6 кусочков гвоздики
2 пакетика любимого чая
1/2 стакана апельсинового сока
1 1/2 стакана  ананасового сока
2/3 стакана меда ( по желанию)
Лед
Кусочки лимона

1. Довести 3 стакана воды и гвоздику до кипения на среднем огне, прокипятить 10 минут, снять с огня и добавить чай, заваривать 10 мин.

2. Убрать чайные пакетики и гвоздику, добавить соки и мед ( по желанию) , перемешивать, пока мед не растворится. Накрыть и охладить. Подавать со льдом и кусочками лимона.



Чай из голубики и лимона.

2 горсти голубики
1/2 стакана свежего лимонного сока
3 пакетика белого чая
3/4 стакана меда
Мята, кусочки лимона

1. Довести лимонный сок и голубику до кипения, прокипятить 5 минут, процедить и выдавить сок ложкой из голубики.

2. Довести 4 стакана воды до кипения, добавить 3 пакетика чая, заваривать 5 минут. Добавить мед и сок, и перемешивать до полного растворения. Охладить , подавать со льдом и листиками мяты.



Медово-имбирный напиток:

3 стакана воды
3-4 пакетика любимого чая
1/2 стакана меда
столовая ложка свежего тертого имбиря
7 стаканов холодной воды
кусочки лимона

1. Довести 3 стакана воды до кипения, добавить чай, прокипятить в течении минуты, снять с огня и заваривать в течении 10 мин.

2. Убрать чайные пакетики, добавить мед и имбирь, перемешивать до полного растворения меда. Перелить в 3х литровую емкость и добавить холодную воду и кусочки лимона. Подавать со льдом.



Малиново-медовый чай ( замечательный напиток во время беременности!)

4 стакана воды
7 пакетиков малиновых листьев
1/2 стакана меда
4 стакана холодной воды
1 апельсин или лимон, нарезанный на дольки
1 лайм , нарезанный на дольки
Мята по желанию

1.Довести 4 стакана воды до кипения, добавить чай, заваривать в течении 10 минут.

2. Добавить мед и перемешивать до полного растворения. Перелить в 2х литровый кувшин, добавить холодную воду , апельсин ( или лимон) и лайм, мяту. Подавать со льдом.



FAQs : in this post - girls' attire via COS; stroller - Bugaboo Bee 3 all black edition; bag on the stroller - Petunia Pickle Bottom; bottles with straw from here; girls' necklaces and bracelets via 31bits. Any other questions - ask away here or on Instagram!


JULY 4th & E'S SECOND BIRTHDAY

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Celebrating July 4th took an entirely new meaning for me two years ago, when a certain someone with golden locks entered our life an entire week early ( and on the very date I did NOT want to have birth happen :)). I remember like it was yesterday how the 4 kids and I went to "our" frozen yogurt place, and Nikola said "oh, hey mommy! Last time we ate yogurt , Vasilisa was born that day! Maybe the baby will be born today too!" I snickered and told him to eat his portion, but on the way home my mind kept a very keen record of the very regular contractions. I was in a complete denial state until about 5 hours later, and then in the thrilling stage of realization that , yeah - this IS it. And extremely happy: it was NOT the 4th, it was still Wed, the 3rd and I was not going to have a Fourth of July baby, we could have two holidays back to back, but not intermixed and I wouldn't have to spoil anyone else's celebration by having them tend to my birth rather then watching the parade and fireworks.

That's what I thought. But that's not what E decided. Long story short, he decided to take his time and make me labor through the night, so that he could make his grand appearance right in the prime of the day on July 4th, and giving plenty of time for everyone to adore HIM and then go and watch fireworks, which are as far as he is concerned,  of course are to celebrate HIS arrival as one of the most patriotic Americans that ever lived ( because who else would slow down his birth so that he could honor the birthday of America too? ) 

Two years later, I can say that we have on hand a very sweet, an extremely clever and absolutely stubborn little man with the very mind of his own, who gave us more run for our money then anyone else ever had. He is my "black and white" little explosive bomb, who has two speed settings only : off and EXTREMELY high. He is a man of contrasts ( picture : come for some hugs and kisses and may bite you too while at it) . He is the only baby so far that loves cuddling and got attached to a blanket; and we ALL love and adore every little bit of him. And even though I know that we are in for some serious terrible twos ( that showed up a wee bit earlier then the calendar was suggesting ) , but I am anxious and excited to see what the new year with E has in store for us all, and what life path lays ahead of him. 

Here is a little peek into the 4th. One thing needs to be said - we are not mega-big "party-throwers". I will even say more - we are VERY simple when it comes to celebrations: we need a cake and a couple of presents to make the day "official" and then we are off to have fun together.



** my anxious and very eager helpers. they they were much more interested in helping to EAT then setting it up though :) **



** when you jump so much your hair falls apart ( for the 100th time that morning too )**



** a very important decision about who sets the plates **



** although E's gluten sensitivity has tremendously improved since his birth, an almond flour cake sounded like a great idea especially considering how delicious Le Marais makes it. all his favorites in one: almonds, cake and all the berries imaginable **



** who doesn't check out what is there for him to enjoy?! ( impressively , he did not eat it right that moment! )**



** the birthday song that had him smile from ear to ear (and it was beyond heartmelting) and a designated birthday candle. we are on year 7 of using it, and I do not know what we are going to do when it runs out - we are seriously attached to it now **



** make a wish, blow the candle and... reach for your cakes and treats! **



** i love this moment so much! as every mom of two-under-twos knows it is not an easy feat, but , my heavens , is it worth it or what! they have a connection that goes beyond that which can be explained in words. I wish and dream they carry it through years to come and all the time after **



** the man and his cake **



** he has a LOT to say lately. i understand about 2% of it. but it doesn't make it any less enjoyable to listen to, but i seriously would give half a kingdom to know that it is that he is actually saying. anyone knows a toddler interpreter? we pay top dollar! **



** since the baby and I are still quite impressed by the effect of the attitude Madam Morning Sickness can have, we decided to skip on the cake and foods in general ( except for the juices ) as to not to ruin the day. so there was no need to pull the leaf out of the table and I thought this was an adorable moment : daddy and his team xxx**



** years - two. fingers - too many **



** this is what they mean by family table conversations. every second of it had my heart ( heavily affected by pregnancy hormones too!) melt to butter **



** i do not remember what exactly it was, but obviously, judging by E's expression, it's beyond exciting **



** you know the cake is good when this is what is left on the plate **



** our traditional mini-cruise around the Bay to watch fireworks from the water. fantastic as that idea was, after dealing with some AFTER the show traffic and spending THREE hours instead of 15 minutes getting home, we may re-think the tradition for the next year. but the kids had fun throughout the adventure and that was all that mattered for the day! **



** the boat , the view , the company , the conversations - the perfect four **



** the very San Franciscan fireworks : the fog covered 50% of the view, but somehow it made it even more magical. looked like stars falling from the clouds. if you have never experienced fireworks in the fog - highly recommend it! simply beautiful! **



** for those that asked: my pants are from Gap, tank is a thousand years old, and is from Nordstrom, but this one and this one are fun and similar; jean jacket is Gap; girls' dresses are Kate Quinn Organics and Nordstrom ; E is completely "Gap-ed" out ( unintentionally, but that's what happens when you inherits a ton of stuff from all your siblings and get a couple of your own) and Nikola's choice of clothing is from Gap and Peek; the stroller is Bugaboo Buffalo Escape, and the bag on the stroller is from Petunia Pickle Bottom; backpacks are Kanken ; girls' headbands are from Shop Bando. The beautiful wooden chairs at the table are Stokke Tripp Trapp ( and I cannot give them enough praise! amazing chairs!) I think this covers all, but if you have a question, ask away here or on Instagram! xo **


LIVING NOTES: ON PREGNANCY

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Week 34 is in full bloom. There is much to be said for the third trimester. The trimester that is typically known among the pregnant population as “hate-it-can’t-it-end-already-i-am-so-done”, is actually my “i-love-this-so-much” time. Somewhere passed week 32-33 the Madam Morning Sickness is starting to get the message that she is, indeed, going to have to pack her bags rather sooner then later, starts to curb her attitude and is moving over to allow for me to actually experience the joy of having a little person growing inside.

I love it all. The belly that is now far passed my nose. The fact that the feet currently are living a completely independent life. The sleepless nights, because a certain so-and-so kicks so hard somewhere around 2 am , it wakes me. It’s my time to savor the very, very special connection between my new baby and myself. The connection that is only ours. The connection that we , even if selfishly, won’t share with anyone. The connection that started 34 weeks ago and will go on for an eternity. The connection that exists between a mother and a child.

This is also the time when the butterflies fill my entire being as once surreal fact of “we are going to have another baby!” starts to take the very real shape when nursery is being put together, the tiny clothes are washed/iron/folded, and the preparations for birth are starting to take place. My Hypnobabies audio recordings are my constant companion now, and I think I am finally hitting that “zen” state that I was looking for a month ago.

The nesting is also in full bloom. While it is one of MY favorite parts of last trimester, I can bet $100000 ( and win) that everyone else in the family would take a raincheck on that. My already cleaning-nazi personality is on steroids now - read it as : everyone is cleaning everything and nothing can be put out of place. How does that and “zen” mix - I don’t know but they seem to co-reside perfectly well at least from my point of view, although I am sure the rest of the family have a little bit of a different opinion. After all, the projects that have been sitting on the back burner for some time until recently, now all have the “must-be-urgenly-completed” flags, and - given the nature of those projects and my current physical state - i am NOT the one who is completing them.

What I want to remember always are the moments where all the other children connect to the little person inside. I want to remember always how their eyes light up with out-of-this-world excitement when a little foot kicks their laying on my belly hands. How their smiles stretch ear to ear when they pick our the heartbeat through a very cool device the midwife uses to listen to the baby. How their hearts radiate love towards me and the baby. My heart has melted a long time ago from gratitude for every second of it. Those are the moments I want to remember always.

As far and me and the belly - we are on the home stretch!



34 неделя в самом расцвете сил.

Много можно говорить о третьем триместре. Тот триместр , который типично известен как "ну-когда-это-мучение-уже-закончится" , для меня является "как-я-люблю-это-время" периодом. Где-то после 32-33 недели, Мадам Токсикоз наконец-то догадывается , что она не будет жить с нами вечно, что ей пора паковать сумки , и что пришло время умерить свой гонор и дать возможность другим чувствам показать себя, а для меня - наконец насладится этим прекрасным временем и счастьем носить нового человечка под сердцем.

Я люблю все в это период. Пуз, который вырос намноооого дальше моего носа. Факт, что мои ноги живут теперь полностью независимой жизнью, и увидимся мы только через несколько недель. Люблю бессонные ночи, виновником которых является крошечный кое-кто, типично пихающий меня в самые ребра где-то в 2 часа ночи. А еще, еще люблю ту очень, очень особенную связь между мною и малышом, которая началась 34 недели тому назад и набирает силы все больше и больше с каждым днем. Эта ниточка связи - только наша. Эта ниточка связи, которой мы - пусть даже и эгоистично - не делимся ни с кем. Эта ниточка связи , которая существует между мамой и ребенком вечно.

Это тоже то время, когда все внутри замирает от осознания, что скоро у нас будет еще один малыш, и эта реальность приобретает все более и более физически видимые черты, когда собирается кроватка, стираются/гладятся/складываются крохотные вещички, и идет полная подготовка ко встрече нового, но очень важного, человечка. Мои Hypnobabies аудио теперь мои постоянные компаньоны, и то состояние Зен , о котором я размышляла несколько недель назад, пусть с опозданием, но наконец-то осело и моем сознании.

Гнездование тоже в полном расцвете сил. Вот тут есть небольшая заминка. Хотя это один их МОИХ любимых моментов третьего триместра, я могу поспорить на миллион ( и выиграть) , что все домашние просто предпочтут промолчать. Мое внутреннее и так "гестаповское"  настроение всегда держать все в чистоте теперь , как сказал муж, на стероидах, а значит не только я, но и ВСЕ , кто живут в этой квартире , моют, чистят, делают что-то каждую  свободную минуту. Как этот факт и мое состояние Зен выглядит со стороны , я не знаю, но в моем сознании они прекрасно уживаются, хотя , опять же, наверняка домашние совсем иного мнения . Ну, и если честно, то их понять можно: все те проекты , которые ОООЧЕНЬ давно были отложены в дальний ящик, теперь помечены флагом "сделать немедленно", и - принимая во внимание мое нынешнее физическое состояние и природу этих проектов - делаю их точно не я. Я только проверяю.

Есть моменты которые я хочу запомнить навсегда. Это те моменты, когда волшебные свет сияет в глазках старших деток, чью положенную на мой пуз ручку пихнул нынешний пузожитель. Улыбки, которые растягиваются от уха до уха, когда они наконец-то услышали сердечко малыша через классный прибор акушерка использует во время осмотров. Я хочу навсегда запомнить ту любовь , которую излучают детки по отношению и ко мне, и к пузожителю - искреннюю и чистую, ту, на которые способны только дети. Это те моменты, только ради которых стоит жить.

Ну, а пуз и я уже почти на финишной прямой!



FAQs: I am wearing gap shorts, ballet back tee and a cardigan, flip flops are from gap too ( everything is extra 40% off this weekend!) , my bag is from Madewell ( 20% purchase for the weekend too!) , sunglasses are chanel via Nordstrom, and so is the necklace; the little man is wearing Peek jeans and his and J's jacket and Ts are also from Gap; the playmat is from Let's Playground, the stroller is Bugaboo Buffalo Escape and the bag that is handing on it is Petunia Pickle Bottom's boxy backpack. Anything i missed or you want to know about - ask away here or on Instagram! xo




BITS AND PIECES FROM SANTA CRUZ

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Summer time is my favorite. My earliest childhood memories tie to beach and vacations; endless fun building sand castles and staying in the water until the lips turn purple; running after "the ice cream man" and picking out juiciest peaches from the fruit stands; eating watermelons for dinner and strolling for hours in the evenings by the water, admiring the moonlight and the milky way.

Life put me on the opposite side of the world from where I was born and raised, and although there is no Black Sea anywhere within the close proximity of where my kids are growing up, the Pacific Ocean is just as fantastic of a summer friend to them , as the Black Sea was to me.

Work and life don't always cooperate with how as a child I envisioned my summers to be, and for many years in a row our "vacations" always collided with some sort of a business trip. Although kids always had fun ( naturally), we kind of missed playing in the sand too, and since we live in such close proximity to the ocean and there are so many great beaches within just about 2 driving hours of a radius, a day or two away but more often then not, became a perfect solution to recharge, replenish and enjoy the beauty California has to offer.

I often hear that the water is freezing in Northern California. Well, while it's definitely not a luke-warm treat Florida or Hawaii have to offer, maybe because the beach waters I was used to were freezing too, I actually find it quite enjoyable and refreshing. And the kids... Well, the kids would find the Arctic waters warm if they were allowed to play in them, so that's not even an issue here.

We made our way to Santa Cruz on a late Sunday afternoon. If there is one thing I learned about these little getaways, is that season or not - weekends are always crowded here and weekdays is the way to go. We stayed at a hidden little B&B gem just minutes away from the beach. With the first rays of the sun the crew was up and much too excited to sit still, which translated into an early "check-in" at the beach. Can't blame them though: +75, no wind and sunny is a treat.



** a perfect sand castle placement is the fundamentals of sand architecture. so I was told by "pros" **



** too hot to walk on, it really was **



** i couldn't believe that despite of the VERY hot sand this little man dug right in **



** totally my face expression all day long **



** too tired to play - must sit down to chill. when does THAT ever happen?! **



** the sandy hands, the sandy bum , the sandy everything. i must not belong to the "normal mom club" because i totally loved everything about it **



** my usual photographer was too busy building bricks for the sand tower and I didn't want to bother him, so the substitute took about 50 pics, and only one came out in semi-focus :) but the bump and i needed some sort of a record of being at the beach too, so it gets a place here too. also, guess who slathered everyone with suns screen and forgot about her own self and now sitting with cucumber mast on legs that sport a nice shade of maroon? oh, pregnancy hormones...**



** the weekend traditional "mommy-on-duty" **



** and a very popular one too. also, note a little dude inside of the "foundation hole". about 10 minutes later he got into the one that was practically his height and I had a pleasure of viewing the little red hat move back and worth as if alive on its own **



** i absolutely cannot believe that my little baby boy - feels like - yesterday is turning two this weekend! a little patriot too - 4th of July, he's got America's favorite holiday to have a double special meaning for all of us too **



** after my failed attempts to convince the little guy to take a nap, daddy-on-duty made it simple : he just strapped him in the stroller, smiled and said "sleep". 10 minutes later i had peacefully snoozing dude. i think i'll be turning for assistance more often then not from now on  **



** the team of architects. they were discussing all day what to build. dug about 10 different foundation holes. when we left the beach 6 hours later, they still didn't agree on WHAT exactly they were building. go figure. **



** sisterhood is all about having fun! who's with me?!**



** five pairs of shoes hidden under the stroller. on my question "why" the answer was "so they don't get too hot and sweaty!". i LOVE having children.**


FAQs: girls swimming suits - gap kids ( there is an amaaazing summer sale going on now too!) ; boys swimming trunks - target couture; i am wearing an Anthropologie one piece ( regular kind, but fits the bump perfectly! the swimsuit is also from a great sale that's going on now); girls headbands are *mint and arrows; the stroller is Bugaboo Buffalo Escape; the bag is Petunia Pickle Bottom and the purple shoes are little Birkenstocks. if anything is missed that you want to know about - let me know here or on Instagram! **

GETTING AROUND THE CITY WITH KIDS

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Living in the city with the kids is wonderful, but for sure takes a little bit of a "try-and-see-what-works-for-you” approach. City life is not for every family, for sure, and I know plenty of people that would rather live in suburbs, but after trying that in a couple of different areas, we quickly realized that we are very much the “city people” and would much rather sacrifice the living space over the vibes the city brings and the benefits it has included. I will cover the living space some other time, but here are a few things on how we get around with the “team” in the city.

One of the reasons I love living in the city is because it doesn’t require a car to have a fulfilling life, and in all honesty, for me personally , it is MUCH, MUCH easier to haul everyone across the city on foot then deal with the “car situation” : the car seats, the entertainment while in the car, the issues of carseats… and then there is parking and traffic - entirely complete problems of their own.



An absolute must for me in the city is baby gear in different shapes and forms. There is no question that a good stroller - or several , actually, has been my big key to happy sanity. We invest high in them because this is the major cause of whether I will love  life or hate every day of it. I found through experience that there is no ONE stroller that will fit your bill for every point encountered. City living can absolutely be done with just one stroller, but it is much more difficult that way, at least for me. Some days I  need something with a large basket, and on another day I need something small and compact, and then there are days where I need to be in 15 places at once at stroller is not an option at all.


STROLLERS



On the days I know no public transport is involved in any shape or form, I pull out my trusty full-size stroller, where the baby can rest comfortably throughout the day and all the necessities can be carried in the basket. Whether it is a single stroller with a riding board attached, or a double with two full seats, depends on a few factors. If i know there will be a need for a nap, but no option for one at all, the double stroller serves as a carriage, a home-base and a bed , all in one. A narrow profile of the tandem style stroller gets you anywhere where a single stroller can fit, which is a plus. You loose some storage and encountering stairs may be an issue, which is a minus. A side-by-side double is easier if you have to go up or down the few stairs ( that many museums love to have) and your storage ability is typically more, but it may not fit into some of the city shops, and if you don’t have a subway , the bus drivers will not take you on unless you fold the stroller. But if you tailor to your day’s needs with the right stroller - it will run as smooth as can be, with babies being happy, rested and content, which is 80% ( if not all 100) key of a successful day.



PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION



For public transportation with the baby and strollers, situations vary depending on where you live. If you have a well-established subway system, as NYC or most European cities do - count your very many blessings. I miss NY subway daily. Even if there is no elevator for easiest access ( which NYC offers several stations with elevators and the few blocks of walking to and from are totally worth it, in my opinion!) , there is always someone willing to help when they see a mom with a stroller. For the cases when no one was around, the stroller that can “walk” the stairs by going into two-wheel mode was my life saver: i take the baby out, hold him/her in one hand, pop the wheels to close and just “walk” the stroller behind me, while having a toddler hold on to my jacket/finger/shoulder bag. Sure , you will not be skip-hopping down the stairs and need to take a little bit of time ( toddlers don’t walk fast ) , but it’s not a big deal at all. Once down the stairs, I would put everyone back where they belong, straps and all included, and wait for the train. IF the train is too full, we would skip one - 5 minutes don’t make a huge impact on your life , but it can be a tremendous life-saver for your sanity. Getting out by yourself with no help is the same process as getting in, but a lot easier, because you are walking up.

 If your subway system is limited or you don’t have one at all, buses/trolleys are the second best option, but it has some tricks to it. First of all, KNOW your laws and regulations, and don’t take anyone’s but written book’s word for it. For example, in San Francisco, strollers in UNFOLDED state are allowed by law and regulations ( they fall into (assistance category alongside with guard dogs and wheelchairs), and no driver can refuse you a ride. IF they demand you fold the stroller, they MUST provide a car-seat for your children to sit securely in. Otherwise, not only they cannot refuse the ride, they are supposed to come out , clear the path, and secure the stroller with belts provided in each bus. The only time they can refuse the ride is IF ALL the spaces are already occupied - believe me , that never happens. But this is not the story that some of the bus drivers will tell you. After a couple of years of dealing with some of the attitudes, we found that a compact, but still fully functioning stroller was a great solution for me - if a driver pulls an attitude and doesn’t want to lower the lift, ( which happened a few times) , i can easily pick up the small stroller up the stairs without any assistance and off we go.



BABY CARRIERS



Next in line come the carriers - I always have one in my bag or the stroller. I found that we have a need and use for 3 types : the sling, the wrap and the structured one. I also discovered over the years that babies have preferences and often those preferences change, so having all three on hand is a lifesaver and completely worth the price tag. Carriers are also a fantastic solution for when we are on the go with a single stroller and suddenly a certain someone needs a rest and we don't have time ( or ability) to sit down. I put the smaller child in the carrier, a bigger one in the stroller and everyone is happy, content and we are making it everywhere on time.



BEATING THE CITY TRAFFIC



And last but far not least - the "need to be in 3 places at once" situation. Although San Francisco has cab and Uber services, and they are great, nothing saves you better from traffic jams then good old bicycles, two child seats and a couple of scooters. We use this method quite a bit, actually. Often I take some of the kids with me on scooters or/and in the stroller, and the others go with J on the bikes. We'll trade if one of us needs to be somewhere with no time to spare, and at the end of the day we just meet up after everything is done. We have three bikes and five scooters, but for daily use we figured that we can perfectly manage with two bikes ( because our oldest is practically my height! when did that happen?!) and three scooters: we attach an extra scooter when not in use to the rack on the back and pull it up when everyone needs some sort of a vehicle.

It is not always very convenient to carry the baby in one hand and be holding a toddler in the other, or ,when we meet up at the end of the day, to walk home pushing the stroller and bikes, and that is why Babyzen YoYo is unbeatable for us: it folds small enough to pass for just a regular bag, so we attach it to the bike and viola! you are were you need to be within 15 minutes, all traffic avoided and you still can have your sanity and not have to carry the baby everywhere you go all day long, unless ,of course, that is something you like doing and your baby will sit in the carrier all day ( ours won't - stroller is a must for us), and that's where baby carriers come in handy again.



NECESSITIES ON-THE-GO



We have a couple of rules that we stick to religiously. First - everything that kids want to bring they have to carry. Unless it’s a baby/toddler under 3, they are completely responsible for carrying their own toys/fun and that is why 99% of the time you will see our kids with backpacks - that’s the “magic chest” that has it all. Some days they are packed fuller then others and I try to somewhat control the contents and keep it light enough so that they don’t get tired, but this is where they have complete freedom of choice, and that is where they also learn about their own abilities. Lunches/snacks also go into individual backpacks. Of course, as a mom - naturally - I carry some of this or that too, so a good bag is a "must" for me always.
For getting out - the prep is the night before. We made it a rule early into marriage/parenting years that everything for the day ahead needs to be done the night before: toys packed, lunches pre-made as much as possible, baths taken, clothes selected and prepped, so that all it takes in the morning is getting up , washing/brushing, breakfast and off we go. The total time from out-of-bed to out of the door is under 40 minutes for everyone included, and but I always budget in another 30-40 minutes for a newborn up to 3-4 months. I don’t know that the magic is, but from birth to about 4 months is ALWAYS takes an extra 40 or so minutes to get out.



A LIST OF DAY-TO-DAY BASICS


STROLLERS in the city:
Single full size with a riding board : Stokke Xplory, Bugaboo Buffalo
Double : Stokke Crusi
Compact : Bugaboo Bee 3 , Babyzen YoYo

CARRIERS:
Structured : Stokke MyCarrier
Soft Structured: Ergo Original
Slings : Sakura Bloom
Wraps : Solly Baby

BACKPACKS:
SoYoung, Kanken, Skip Hop ( that double up as a little harness too - those little tiny feet can run way too fast sometimes!)

BAGS:
Petunia Pickle Bottom, SoYoung ( great for dads - J claimed Charlie as his bag from day one )

BIKES AND SCOOTERS:
Public Bikes, Micro Scooters

One very last thing - here is what I found from my personal experience as well. While it may seem as “a lot of things to have”, when you live your life actively and to the fullest, it is important to have the carrier you love, the stroller that doesn’t make you feel like you are sick and tired of it, and for me personally, feeling “put together” does in fact, involve all the baby gear as well. And since we don’t have to spend $1500+ on gas and other things “car related”, it makes up with abundance for the ability to have a variety of styles/colors of baby gear things. Plus, it’s another little drop in the cup of trying to take care of our Earth.

So, there you have it - our tips and tricks. Share yours here or on Instagram - I am all ears!



"JOIE DE VIVRE" NURSERY STYLE

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Well, it seems that we haven't been loving Le Marais cafe for no reason ( won't mention any nutella croissants here at all, or peach cream puffs , or artisan bread - all are worth flying across the world for),  and girl's French lessons had its influence too. Amazing food, wonderful company and great French culture somehow manifested itself even in the baby girl nursery. Oilo Studio for Stokke Sleepi was the keystone that the French-themed baby girl nursery built itself around.

Through a good friend lead, I stumbled on the Wall Sticker Company's Ruby Red Shoes series and fell in love with it. It's different, it's interesting, and I am happy to present to you our version of "Joie de Vivre" in the baby room execution. It is not quite 100% complete - we always reserve a few things until right before the birth - but this is as good as it gets for now until the baby girl is in my arms:



** those little letter trains have been our favorite for a while after discovering them at Sprout San Francisco. i am confident E will steal them in the morning , though **



**a little world of happiness for the one that makes life worth living **



** the sheet set that started it all . and even though i typically steer away from pink, this set had my heart. if you are on a lookout for beautiful crib sheets, Oilo Studio has a lot to offer. The sheets are 300 count, and the skirt is cotton canvas - nice and heavy weight; there is a pillow option if you like those and a mini-size for Sleepi mini is optional as well. all machine washable ( you will be surprised how many of the fancy sheet sets aren't !) **



** all of the baby and mama necessities hidden in this cleverly design Oeuf mini library. apart from beautiful design, it's city-apartment extra friendly: narrow profile, yet fits EVERYTHING and more. i have more then enough swaddling blankets, nursing necessities stashed in the cloth bins ( another big favorite ) , and there is much room to spare for everything else that will be added on as needs arise **



** soft, organic, tiny and out-of-this-world adorable clothes. the fact of a new baby coming soon finally sunk in and I can't wait to put this doll-like layette to good use **



** one of my faithful Petunia is ready and waiting, summer design in hopes of convincing summer to actually stay in SF for longer then a day. also: can't have a baby room without latchy catchy. one of the best discoveries made this year **



** washed, ironed and folded. Nadya and I had the time of our lives oohing and aahing over this part. on the other note - i completely don't believe in gender-specific colors :) all our boys wore pink and girls are destined for blues too. besides, one's got to stock up on the side-snap stripes!  **



** a new addition to the baby-gear family that i cannot take my eyes off. i have a very soft spot for baby gear that can fit in any modern living room design without "crushing the party" . bloom coco lounger definitely knows how to party in style **



** Vasilisa's personal little peace of heaven. she asked a few times if the baby "can come sooner?" today . while i certainly hope that the answer will remain "no", her excitement is heartmelting to my mama-heart. also, because my instagram was overflowing with questions about the wall-paper after i posted a picture of a little peek into the room, i will answer the most FAQs here. the Wall Sticker Company is based out of Australia, they have a fantastic selection , in my opinion, of different decals, murals and wall papers, but unlike other companies that I came across, products from this one are fabric adhesives that CAN be repositioned and reused over and over again ( and it's true, it really can be - we experienced it ourselves, as i may have changed my mind a time or two as to where I wanted the accent wall to be). the installation is easy - very easy, which is a rarity too. the order arrived to me within 10 days or so of placing, which is very fast, considering they print to order. the shipping is a little more then I would have liked it to be, but the product and the end result are so worth it, I would highly recommend it to all and everyone **



**we are ready for you when you are, little Beauty. but don't hurry too soon **



** in this post: Ruby Red Shoes wall mural - The Wall Sticker Company; crib  - *Stokke Sleepi ; changing table - *Stokke Care; sheets - *Oilo Studio; changing bags - Petunia Pickle Bottom Sashay Satchel in *Evening Blooms and Sashay Satchel in Succulent Garden; shelf - Oeuf mini-library via *Sprout San Francisco ; baby rocker - *bloom coco lounger via Sprout San Francisco; name trains letters - Sprout San Francisco; blankets - *Stokke knitted blanket, aden & anais swaddles and wool hooded blankets via Sprout San Francisco; baby organic layette - *Kate Quinn Organics, Kate Quinn for Sprout San Francisco, Under the Nile, Sprout exclusives, *Petunia Pickle Bottom**['/.


**asterisk : c/o 


A WEEKEND BEACH ESCAPE

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I live for the beach and ocean. Some people love rain and clouds, others are happiest in the desert or mountains, and I have to have my beach and water to feel complete. The summer finally made it to the Northern California, which means no time can be wasted. 

Northern California beaches were a learning curve for me. Growing up "beach time" meant sizzling heat, warm milk-like sea and endless hours in the water until our lips turned blue ( and parents - purple from yelling at us to come out of the water) . Here, the beach time often means a jacket , and depending on where you go, it may also mean no swimming at all ( underwater currents) , but the sun, sand and the mood are so soothing, that it's impossible not love it, and I fell hard for it too. It's my little sanctuary, if you will, a place where I can gather my thoughts, relax and enjoy family time or alone time just the same.

We didn't think that the water would be warm enough for the swimming ( although it was ) , but here is the first REAL beach trip for the year in a picture-story:



** a decision where to dig and what to build is always the hardest one, am i right? **



** the men discussing the agenda for the morning ,and out of one million things planned , probably 99% got accomplished, "dig someone in the sand" included **



** i was enthusiastic to shed the jacket for about five minutes. that ocean breeze, you guys... #alwaysbringyourjacket



** the "napping place" set up, and an absolute "must" for the day, because a not-a-baby-almost-toddler is "very fun" when he/she doesn't nap. a blanket used to work when we had only 3 kids, but with 4+ there is always someone jumping around someone's head unless you put them in a secluded area :) **



** sand-chitectors. the orange shovel-holding one was the main creator **



** digging deep! **



** i don't know whether it is realization from experience that this cute baby stage is going to pass extremely fast, but every minute watching E explore is beyond fun. I know I am "the mom" and I am bias , but honestly, how can you not laugh when watching a baby sniff , touch and try to taste some sand and all of the reactions that come with it? Priceless **



** i know that "teen age" is knocking on the door, so i will take every minute while he still wants to hang out with us. any of you parents of older children - how did you stay "cool enough" for them?! i will take all the advice there is!  **



** daddy was THE man of the hour because he could build cool bridges and knock the towers down **



** snack set up. i swear kids eat best at the beaches, regardless of all the sand flying around. who is with me?! **



** my conclusion: all i need to do is to bring the beach home and i will never have a single wrinkly nose at the dinner table **



** we played it safe with this gentleman and wisely filled our resqueesables with the home prepped smoothies and soups. so glad we did - he touched nothing off the plate : SAND :):):) **



** i know it's practically a repeat, but i LOVE this picture . this is E to the "t": independent, eating, and STANDING. he won't sit lately. as if - none at all. i think the excitement of the upcoming "twos" is just too much to sit still **



** the "mommy for the day" , and i am soooooo grateful **



** i was too busy reading to get a snap of a napping babe, but a post-nap happy face is just as good! **



** shoes off and trying to figure out his feelings for that warm grainy thing under the toes. he was not too impressed **



** nothing a kiss or two couldn't fix though. he was out and running in 5 sec **



** but not before a healthy set of giggles. i wish i thought to record E counting " whaaaahh, toooo, twoooo... " ( 1, 2, 3 ) and the contagious giggles that followed. insta-mood booster. that's all **



** practically a teenager. from my side just one word : WHEN?! **



** abandoned nest. but i can't blame him - the ocean calls **



** a few more weeks and there is going to be another pair of shoes there ! still wrapping my head around that but can't wait at the same time! **



** for those that asked: my hat is from ASOS, jeans are Point Sur via JCrew, tee from Madewell and jacket is via Gilt. Shoes are Birkenstocks and Saltwater sandals; boys clothes are via Peek kids; girls dresses are from Kate Quinn organics*, Peek and Tea collection, lunch boxes are  SoYoung*,  colorful plates , mats and soons are Oogaa*, squeeze packets are ReSqueeze*, stroller is Bugaboo Buffalo Escape, "sleeping nook" is 4Moms Breeze* ( ps: 20% off sitewide with code 10ANNIVERSARY! ) if anything's forgotten - ask away!**


asterisk* c/o


A FEW SNAPS FROM THE WEEKEND

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A sun has been a rare guest this year so far in SF, but it was bright and shining, and you can never pass a day like that. Pregnancy hormones or not, but the gloomy weather sends me to a depressive mode. There is just something about sun that makes you want to discover the new streets, get an ice-cream cone and just sit in the park while watching kids play and loving life, right?!



** the outside seating was overflowing. looks like I was not the only one who missed the sun so much this year **



** a picture together is a picture together - i'll take any we can get **



** the Chinatown specialties. the seaweed is the best here and the prices are too! **



** i know it's my own pregnancy, and it was very conscious decision, and i am thrilled we are heaving a new baby soon, but sometimes it becomes sort of surreal : 10 more weeks ( or less! ) and we will have another human in our family! life is a miracle, you guys. it really is. I never thought in my entire life I would be so blessed. I thank God and all my lucky stars for it every day. My not-so-little-anymore family, my rock and my love **



** we stopped at a Chinatown corner shop to get a little bag for the little guy  ( who has been stealing everyone's backpacks lately, but they are too big for him still ) , and I cannot believe that this "3 for $10 deal" on keychain dolls ended up in our bag too ( there went my strict toy policy ) , but the girls have been oohing and ahh-ing over the dolls, and sometimes you just have to give in - joys of life , right? **



** safe to say he was and still is VERY happy **



** the markings of the Little Italy borders . LOVE. **



** if there is a mascot of San Francisco, then it has to be the bicycle. did you know that SF is the most bike-friendly city in the US? Believe it or not, we also have bikes ( and ride them too), somehow I never captured that thought... **



** one of my favorite photo galleries. true spirit of SF in every capture **



** these details are everything... **



** can't go to the Little Italy without a stop at Molinari's - our secret place for best Italian cheese ( and everything else Italian): freshest, cheapest and the most friendly family that ran it for generations. And kids get a piece of candy every time we go in too, because they made friends with the owners on our first visit ever. Needless to say , it's a must **



** a very important conversation, solving the dilemma as to where to go for gelato: our favorite rose flavored one was out **



** but if there are two things that you will never be short on in Little Italy, it's pizza and gelato. we found another little family owned gem just up the block **



** note that "ah" expression on E's face. It is also typically accompanied by loud "aaa-aa-aaa!" , which translates in his language to "I want some too and NOW!" **



** he really has the best of all worlds : a little bit of everyone's gelato : that's 5 flavors for him alone ! **



** Since the weekend is around the corner, and if you happen to be in SF (the forecast is promising!), looking for some authentic gelato,  here are a couple of our favorite places to stop by : Gelateria Naia, Gelato Classico, Cafe Roma and DeLise.

And although pizzas are all over the place, nothing really beats Tony's, especially the Sicilian with ricotta on top!**


**FAQs: stroller - Bugaboo Bee 3; Vasilisa's hat - Little Sun Hat c/o; bag - Petunia Pickle Bottom c/o; kids backpacks - kanken and kanken mini; camera : nikon D4s; my shoes and outfit details can all be seen at the end of the post here **

LIVING NOTES: ON PREGNANCY

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Pregnancy, oh, pregnancy... The best time in a woman's life, and the most challenging at the same time. I have never kept a personal record of my previous pregnancies, but perhaps now is the best time anyway.

If I were to describe my pregnancy as a term in one sentence , in would sound something like "the most delicate , wonderful and fascinating time that is absolutely unpredictable". Even sixth time around I can fully confirm the book phrase "every pregnancy is different": it absolutely is. There is NO way to predict how easy will be to get pregnant ( be it first or next time) , no way to predict if you will be dying from morning sickness or having zero changes in your daily routine until the new little baby lays in your hands.

For me, this time has been the "sickest" one. Although I am not laying on the bed, quite literally, wishing I was dead and praying to just keep some water in, as I was the first half, even at week 30, that lovely throwing up thing is still there, and I think I can safely assume Madam Morning Sickness ( that for me is at night, by the way) is not planning on moving out from our apartment until the baby moves in.

It is also interesting to see how , even though it is the sixth time, my body and my brain react the same to every little things, except maybe for the first-timer "IS THIS NORMAL?!" ever-handing question. My brain seems to subconsciously run a constant log as to what is happening, reassuring me know somewhere on the back of my mind that everything is ok, everything is well, telling me in a way "you can keep on going with what you are doing." The world did not stop for me the moment the baby kicked the for the first time or started to hiccup, but it became so infinitely better in that very instant.

Just like the first time, I am counting the days until I get to hold the little warm tiny person close to my chest , although this time around they somehow are passing much faster then I ever remember. It is 6 times more then fun this time around too, because I have at least 6 more people that are so happy and so excited for the little baby to come. I love having older children, and especially older daughters - we ooh and ahh over the little baby clothes together, and seeing Nadya melt over tiniest newborn outfits melts my heart in turn.

With all that "melting" , I am yet to hit that "zen" stage that has always been there for me, where everything is just not a big deal. Not sure if hormones are not kicking in, or I am too busy to notice, but I am surely on a lookout for calm and peaceful "me" , and trust me, my poor husband is too , even if he will never admit it himself. Mood swings? What mood swings? Mood-americal-rollercoaster. That's more like it.

Here is to the first little chapter on the pregnancy notes, until the next one - lot's of good vibes your way if you are trying, wishing or are pregnant. Can never have too much good coming your way, right? xo



Беременность... О, беременность... Самое прекрасное время в жизни женщины, и порой самое сложное. Так уж сложилось, что у меня не оказалось никаких личных "беременных" записей за все годы , но лучше поздно , чем никогда. Да и , наверное, сейчас самое лучшее время в любом случае.

Если бы терминология описала мою беременность одним предложением, то это звучало бы приблизительно так: " наиболее деликатное, чудесное, нежное и прекрасное время, но абсолюнто непредсказуемое". Даже идя по этому пути в шестой раз, я могу 100% подтвердить книжное "каждая беременность индивидуальна": это действительно так. Нет абсолютно никакого метода предугадать, насколько быстро удастся забеременеть ( будь это первый раз или последующие), невозможно угадать, будешь ли умирать от токсикоза или течение дня  вообще никак не поменяется , пока не будешь держать маленького человечка на руках.

В моем случае, этот раз - самый "токсикозный". И хотя я больше не лежу в кровати , думая - в самом буквальном смысле - зачем я вообще живу и не молю Бога о том, чтобы хоть вода задержалась внутри желудка, даже на 30й неделе то чудесное туалето-обнимание все еще присуще каждый день, и , я думаю, что я могу с полной уверенностью сказать, что Мадам Токсикоз не собирается выезжать из нашей квартиры , пока малышка не въедет официально.

А еще интересно, что даже несмотря на то, что иду уже "по шестому кругу", мой мозг и организм так же реагируют на все новое , как и в первый раз, ну за исключением того вечно-присущего впервые "ОЙ! А это НОРМАЛЬНО?!" . Мой мозг как-то сам по себе потихонечку ведет четкий учет всего происходящего где-то на подсознании и так же тихонечко дает мне уверенность в том, что все хорошо, все нормально, беззвучно говоря мне "продолжай делать то, что делаешь - я слежу за событиями" .  Моя жизнь не остановилась , когда я почувствовала первый толчок или первые икания, но мой мир стал неимоверно прекраснее в ту самую секунду, когда новые ощущения воплотились в реальность.

Так же , как и в первый раз, я считаю дни до того момента, когда я смогу прижать к груди теплого крошечного человечка, хотя в этот раз время действительно летит быстрее, чем когда-либо. Также , в этот раз мне в 6 раз интереснее быть в положении, потому что вместе со мной по крайней мере еще 6 человек ждут кроху с нетерпением и радостью. Это так прекрасно, когда есть старшие , "понимающие" , дети , особенно дочки - мы вместе ахаем над каждой вещичкой для новорожденных, а наблюдая , как Надя тает над всем крошечным , мое сердце в свою очередь , как тут говорят, тает "в текущее масло" .

Но со всеми этими "таяниями" , ко мне еще не пришла та стадия "зен", когда все просто чудесно и ничто не нарушает баланс. То ли гормоны еще не сработали, то ли я слишком занята в этот раз, чтобы заметить что Зен уже тут, но я жду это время с нетерпением, и точно знаю, что мой муж тоже ( хоть он никогда в этом и не признается) . Частые перемены настроения, присущие беременным ? Какие перемены? Тут не "перемены" или "капризы". Тут американские горки эмоциональности собственной персоной, причем лучшие и самые крутые в мире.

Ну, вот пока все на первый раз. До следующего раздела. А всем, кто планирует , мечтает или в ожидании - удачи и самых прекрасных звездочек счастья вам! Хорошего много не бывает. хо



FAQs: tee - Free People; jeans - Point Sur for JCrew; shoes - AGL; sweater - old via Gilt;, bag - Petunia Pickle Bottom; sunglasses - Karen Walker; lipstick - Nars Heatwave. if anything is missed, as always, feel free to ask here or on instagram.


ON A FOGGY SAN FRANCISCO DAY

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Last week in San Francisco was a little more foggy and a lot more wet and chilly then we would like it to be. Much as we love strolling the streets and spending hours in the parks, but Wednesday was one of those very days when staying inside for a major portion of the day sounded more then a perfect idea. It happens rarely, but I love those times: the phone is on silent mode; it is just me and the kids to play, read and have fun in our own little world. I had some fantastic new sets of HABA blocks on hand ( the very ones that kids were drooling over at the store displays and begging me about for months ) and the timing could not be more perfect: school year is ending, testing is in fool bloom and a moment for a reward and encouragement seemed to be due. I cannot express in words how touching and fulfilling it is to see children's sincere happiness. We spend good three hours building, learning, rebuilding masterpieces and creating all sorts of bridges. A few snaps will keep this moment alive for me forever. Take a peek if you like.



** a couple of new sets of HABA blocks and infinite amount of fun is guaranteed **



** that victorious moment of success **



** the tongue is a required part of concentration, wouldn't you agree? **



** the request for an architectural wonder from THE architect herself, who is not quite up to reading level yet **



** THE clear blocks - the very set that was admired since before Christmas. It's cherished like it's made of glass. I love it **



** my little scientist: not a moment passes without him explaining what works how and why. I never had an older brother, always envied my girlfriends who did, and I am so thrilled that we were blessed with a son as a first child **



** and since the youngest child was faithfully napping safely tucked away in his crib, we made use of the time with the small marbles **



**and right as E woke up the sun came out in the early afternoon, which meant it was time for a park run, but not without catching the rays reflecting through the blocks first. Because it was simply BEAUTIFUL. **


**FAQs - toys : haba blocks; kids are wearing Polarn O. Pyret, Tea Collection, Gap kids; my tee is from Anthropologie, jeans are JCrew and shoes are old Blochs. **

TWO MINUTE'S FROM E'S LIFE

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The youngest for now, Evyianne is growing waaaay too fast. This is when I am immensely grateful for user-friendly modern technology today. Just over the weekend we were talking how much we wish we had the iphones/ipads/similar devices when we had our first kids. We didn't even get a good camera until much later in marriage years. Sure, it can be a pain at times to have that extra-ability to be reachable at any time of day or nigh and buzz off in your bag or pocket at the least convenient moment, but on the other hand the trade off is that even despite of busy schedules, overbooked days-on-the-go or even it it is a something you don't want to forget, you have the ability to capture THE moment right there and right then.

The little video below is nothing Oscar-worthy on the Hollywood scale, but priceless to me. It was around sunset, and Evyianne was being just Evyianne. I had my phone within reach and grabbed some of the moments that I always want to remember and I know that E would love them when he grows up , too.



Пока еще самый младший, Эвиан растет, как гриб после дождя. И вот где я неимоверно благодарна за легко-доступную технику нынешнего поколения. Буквально пару дней назад, мы с мужем вспоминали первые годы нашей жизни, когда все этн Ай-фоны/ай-пады и тп еще не существовали, и вспоминали с сожалением. Даже хороший фотоаппарат у нас появился уже спустя несколько лет жизни.

Конечно, с одной стороны, эта легко-доступность в любое время для и ночи иногда надоедает, особенно, когда телефон начинает гудеть в самый неподходящий момент. Но с другой, именно эта лекго-доступность и дает восможность, несмотря на загруженность и дела, поймать именно ТОТ самечательный момент, который хочется держать в памяти вечно, но который с течением жизни, к сожалению, забудется.

Наше маленькое видео - это не материал для Оскара по Голливудским стандартам, но для меня, оно самое лучшее в мире. Ме просто сидели вечером на диване. Было сумеречно. И Эвиан был просто Эвианом. Мой телефон был под рукой, и мне удалось поймать те несколько моментов, о которых я хочу никогда не забывать. И уверенна, что Эвиан потом тоже с теплотой будет просматривать эти кадры со своими детьми.



A BABY BOY'S ROOM IN THE CITY

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City life is vibrant, fast, fulfilling and we love everything about it even if living in the middle of it all means taking a huge cut according to American standards in square footage. Although we don't mind a tight fit at all, having a new baby means a lot of sleepless nights and nighttime feedings which don't mix so well with not-quite-a-baby-but-not-a-toddler-yet stage that Evyianne is in. As stars would have it, a reach from Oilo Studio and their newest addition of linens for Stokke cribs ( that we love, in case you haven't noticed that yet) , Haba toys and a pressing need for some quiet space for the newest addition came all at the same time. We dug out floorplan blueprints and noted that between a not-really-needed storage room and a spacy balcony there could easily be created another small room with just a few easy modifications. So we rolled up our sleeves, went to work and the result is more then perfect for us. Take a look below if you like!



** welcome to our little city boy sanctuary **



** i talked before about why Stokke crib was our choice ( you can read it here and here), but there is one more important factor that we never considered until moving to SF - the ease of maneuverability that Sleepi offers. Earthquakes are common in CA ( up to 500 a month! crazy?! but absolutely true. our 11 year old reported it from his science class) , so we roll Sleepi in the middle of the room every night to ensure that the baby is in the safest position possible. that alone combined with Sleepi's ability to fit through narrow door frames makes it a must for us **



** the picture does not do the justice to this beautiful luxurious linens Oilo Studio created for Stokke. and even though unfortunately Evyianne's matress must be on the lowest setting which prevents from appreciating all the magnificence of the bed skirt, nonetheless, it adds a beautiful and tasteful touch. 300-count satin bed sheet and a 100% linen band skirt accompanied by artistic designs - it's a royal type of a sleeping arrangement but modern life friendly: all sheets are fully machine washable and designed to the highest standards of quality—everything you've come to expect from Oilo. **



** unique and striking - two words that come to mind. very much like Mr. Evyianne himself **



** my nighttime reading pile while waiting for E to fall asleep. i am 100% sure that everyone knows these books, and i am 100% loving every page of every single one of them. if you don't have either yet - get it! it's an easy, but very good read, a worth-it addition to home book collection **



** although he gets to sleep here all by himself ( at least for now ), he definitely doesn't get to play JUST by himself: we couldn't pass on the ability to create a little play area for everyone else. lucky for everyone, E is a very hospitable little man. ( for as long as you don't touch his cars ) **



** play teepees are the best invention ever: take no space to store and provide infinite fun abilities. the window on this teepee is a huge bonus, agree? handmade by a creative mom, teepee tot is worth supporting in my opinion **



** a little man inside of his castle **



** we contemplated a chalk wall for about 5 seconds after we realized that "draw on chalk all" will equal to "draw of every wall with whatever i want" for Evyianne and Vasilisa ( and can't forget the new coming addition too, who will learn EVERYTHING from those two) , so we decided an easel was a perfect solution instead **



** and we seem to have gotten it right. also, we have a little lefty who also uses the right hand just the same. i am curious to see what her preference will be later in life, but it is both hands for now **



** the beautiful HABA blocks collection is the most high-in-demand toy of our household. i talked about our thoughts on toys here, and there is another post coming up soon, so i will simply say this today : best investment is the investment in developing child's imagination. that can never go wrong, in my opinion **



** one of my favorite book series. we are always on the hunt for the ones we don't have to complete the collection, and it's been fun for all of us **



** every boy needs a plane. this one is not for Evyianne quite yet, but Nikola made great use of it until then, so that it is not dusting in boredom :) **



** and speaking of N - this is how is more often to be found then not: hiding somewhere with the book. all i can say - i love this age. he talks about all the things he read nonstop and it's seriously the best! **



** but then i love this age too... even if he sits on my lap for about 33 seconds and the book reading results in HIM flipping through the pages with the speed of light while i tell a make-shift story to accompany the pictures **



** and that's a wrap! i hope you enjoyed the little tour just as much as we love having the space! **


** Crib: Stokke Sleepi c/o ; sheets Oilo Studio c/o ; bag: Petunia Pickle Bottom c/o; teepee: TeepeeTot c/o ; chair: Lexmod  ; rug : Ikea ; shelves : Ikea; building blocks : HABA toys c/o; green truck : Plan Toys ( on sale!), cat pillow : Areaware ; door catcher: latchy-catchy; c/o, cloth dolls : Ruben's Barn c/o; i am wearing JCrew top and shoes and Point Sur jeans, girls are wearing the Podolls, boys - Peek clothing; backpacks are from SoYoung and books can be found here, here and here! i think this covers all FAQs, but don't hesitate to ask here or on Instagram! xo**

A TRIP TO ALCATRAZ


Last week tourist lucky stars aligned for us: as we were passing by the Alcatraz tours booth we saw the "tours available TODAY" sign ( which never happens, by the way), so we didn't think twice , got in the line, and 30 minutes later we were on the boat cruising to one of the most coveted tourist destinations that we were dreaming of visiting for the entire time of living in SF.

A little background on Alcatraz:

Alcatraz Island is located in the San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. Often referred to as "The Rock", the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison (1868), and a federal prison from 1933 until 1963. Beginning in November 1969, the island was occupied for more than 19 months by a group of aboriginal people from San Francisco who were part of a wave of Native activism across the nation with public protests through the 1970s. In 1972, Alcatraz became a national recreation area and received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

Alcatraz History tours were designed to help introduce the rich history of Alcatraz during the penitentiary years and many of the inmates who called "the Rock" home. From the mid 1930's until the mid 1960's, Alcatraz was America 's premier maximum-security prison, the final stop for the nation's most incorrigible inmates. Today, Alcatraz is a place of contradictions, with a grim past and an enduring future as one of San Francisco 's most prominent landmarks and tourist attractions.

Walk with us in our "signature" picture-story. Although nothing can compare to listening to the story of Alcatraz as told by the inmates themselves through the audio tours ( highly recommend!) , I hope that the pictures below will transport you to the atmosphere that resides on the island.



** while she was anxiously awaiting for the boat to deck, certain someone very timely fell asleep : couldn't wish for better favor or behavior from him! **



** the first stop, orientation, small lecture and a map, of course! **



** i adore her face expression here! she seriously told me that she is reading the directions :) cannot not love 3 year old's point of view **



** directions all figured out, plan is set and we are off! **



^^that binoculars/phone in the pocket is everything. it comes EVERYWHERE wish us for the last 2 weeks ^^



** the architectural beauty is breathtaking. it is difficult to believe that the island served the purpose of the jail **



^^ the prison itself ^^



** your "tour" starts at the entrance, even before you get to the headphones location. this is the "reception" area for new inmates. this is where they changed and washed. zero privacy **



** audio tour check point. earphones are on , "start" buttons pushed at the same time, and you travel in time within seconds with the actual guards and inmates telling the story. amazing, seriously **



** the cell. 5'x7". not much. this was "it" - the living quarters, exposed and with zero privacy too **



^^ the cell for particularly difficult inmates. it had a door that locked in addition. no light. the dweller of this cell was only allowed out ONCE a week for a shower. ^^



** officers quarters. the most astounding part was to find out that the officers actually resided on the island itself. more so - they had homes and families here. children ran around the island that has the correctional facility for some of the most dangerous criminals. the children that grew up on the island however, have nothing but happy memories **



** the dining hall. it was one of the most dangerous areas of the prison with inmates free and together in one place, according to the officers. luckily, nothing too serious ever happened **



** once you left the building, you were greeted by beautiful nature, gorgeous architecture and breathtaking views of San Francisco which is mere 1,5 miles away from the island. a double punishment, as the music from the city was easily heard by the prisoners, but the deadly currents of the ocean would kill anyone who dared to escape , even if successful ( and there were attempts!) **



^^ got to be one of my favorite pictures of Evyianne: while we were so involved exchanging our thoughts and emotions from the trip, the little man woke up and clearly did not share our enthusiasm. but that's him through and through - never hiding an emotion that guy ^^



** my scarf and jeans are from Madewell, shoes are Blochs from years ago, but JCrew has similar ones ( and really comfortable too!) , the t-shirt is Free People, sun glasses are Karen Walker, blazer is Gap ( years old too); girls dresses are Tea Collection and Peek Clothing, Vasilisa's jeans are hand-me-downs from older sisters, and are from Gap as well as her hat, kids shoes are Saltwaters ( comfortable, cute and eternal, kids you not!)  and Birkenstocks for Nikola; backpacks are SoYoung ( our favorite, in case you cannot tell :)), and Evyianne is proudly riding in Bugaboo Bee 3 all-black edition, wool gray blanket is from Sprout SF. I think this covers all of the FAQs , but if there is anything else, don't hesitate to ask here or on Instagram! xo **


BABYWEARING DURING PREGNANCY

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Babywearing while pregnant is along the same lines as playing sports. When you are used to wearing your baby regularly, your strength and stamina increase accordingly. But it's not something you'd take up suddenly on a whim when you're 25 weeks along. However, if you are used to carrying your toddler before the pregnancy, two lines is do not sentence you to the couch and do not require to put your life on pause, and unless you have medical complications,  it is generally safe to carry on doing the same carry methods with the same carrier that you used before. You may need to switch to back carry or side carry when belly pops, as this will be helpful especially with a bigger toddler.

When you have a well designed carrier, there is less chance of your body having to compensate for weight displacement. Your toddler is held in close to your rapidly-changing centre of gravity, and there is little strain on your back and body. I found that from sling carriers, Sakura Bloom is great for carrying a toddler ( side carry is my preference), and Stokke MyCarrier for structured carrier is yet to be beat for comfort ( used it with my last two babies, including two pregnancies for the back carry - fantastic weight distribution).

Few things to consider:

*ask your healthcare provider if any doubts

*use common sense & listen to your body: pregnancy is not the time to be heroic or experimenting with unknown; if you are tired - let your toddler walk for a bit, don’t strain

*ensure you have a good carrier : this will define a 100% success or 100% failure in baby wearing

*do your research - there are many baby wearing support centers that will educate and assist moms for free. google one in your area and take a class; often talking to moms who experienced baby wearing during pregnancy can be very helpful

*have fun and enjoy this special time with you toddler. before you know it, they will be up and running away from you waving “bye, mommy!” as they skip and hop to their first day of school.

Great source for benefits of babywearing.





Можно ли носить ребенка в слинге во время беременности - один из самых часто-задаваемых вопросов. Ответ на него простой: да. НО. Как и со спортом, беременность - это не время для постановки рекордов или резких новых изменений. Если вы абсолютно не носили ребенка на руках до беременности, гордо надевать слинг или другую переноску в 25 недель - это не самое разумное решение. Но в то же время, если вы прекрасно справлялись с малышом до, две полоски - это не приговор лежать на диване и поставить жизнь на паузу, и если у вас нет медицинских противопоказаний, бы можете продолжать носить малыша в слинге в удобном для вас положении. Возможно со временем вам придется поменять положение - лично для меня, например, положение В БОК или НА СПИНЕ были и есть самыми удобными, когда начинает расти пуз.

Если у вас хороший слинг или переноска, то ваше тело не будет ощущать тяжести и вес ребенка равномерно распределяется. Так же, при правильном положении в хорошей переноске, ребенок находитя близко к вам, и его и ваш центры тяжести совмеваются, помогая избежать того самого - ах! спина! - ощущения. Моим любимым из категории слингов по сей день является Сакура Блум, и ни одна структурированная переноска не побила еще Стокке по комфорту и легкости использования ( я пользовалась этой переноской с последними двумя малышами и во время последних двух беременностей, нося деток на спине - просто замечательное распределение веса , и ничто нигде не жмет)

Несколько важных моментов:

* посоветуйтесь с вашим врачом/аккушеркой, если у вас сомнения;

* используйте здравый смысл: беременност - это не время ставить мировые рекорды или что-то кому-то доказывать; если вы устали, дайте малышу пройтись пешком, пока вы отдыхаете.

* обязательно используйте очень хороший слинг или переноску, это и есть залог 100% успеха или 100% провала при ношении малыша.

* проведите свою личную домашнюю работу на эту тему. сегодня существует масса центров помощи новым мамочкам - найдите такой в вашем раионе, походите на занятия; очень часто очень полезно поговорить с более опытными в данном вопросе мамами, они могут поделиться своими секретами.

* наслаждаитесь временем, когда вы еще можете носить вашего малыша на руках. Вы не успеете моргнуть, как услышите Пока, Мама! аккомпанируемое сверкающими пяточками, когда ваш малыш будет бежать в школу 1го сентября.





A DAY IN THE PARK

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The sun and fog traded places in SF this week, and if there is one thing we've learned from living here, it is that these are the times when you take complete advantage of the warmth and beauty. We trailed our way to our favorite Little Italy through the crookedest street in the world to the Michelangelo park.

One of the small local secrets , this park has my heart : it's hidden among the houses and gardens, it is not something that pops to your eye but when you walk in, you never want to leave. Feels nothing like a typical playground, it's our "secret garden" of SF.



*stroller parked, backpacks off, dolls are in waiting, and the team is off to play:



*sisterhood: it's all about playing together, right?!



*the little gentleman had time of his life, and watching him glow made my day one of the happiest. it's seeing them discovering things for the first time, seeing them being so excited about putting two-and-two together about something new, what makes parenthood so incredibly fulfilling. nothing to compare to. absolutely nothing.



2-in-1 : Mister Unstoppable and Mister Independence :



*i got talked into sliding because "well, mommy, if you go slide, then the baby does too!" Can't argue with that, can I?



*and then the nice conversation about life followed at the bottom of the slide. the SF sun is just too nice to pass on whenever it wins over the rolling fog.



*don't let these gorgeous curls and blue eyes fool you: this little miss will outdo any boy out there. Her energy is the bomb, and climbing skills are on the Olympic competition level. A couple of pictures to prove my point: 




*once a baby himself, this almost-teen makes me wonder where the last 12 years disappeared to... Nikola, if you ever read this, you are the best older brother anyone could ever wish for, son.



*bubbles and balloons are unbeatable when comes to unlimited fun for this crew. rocket balloons for the win for sure. best $6 i've ever spent.



*and then Evyianne wanted a "turn all-on-his-own" ( naturally) . the 30 second long "adventure" that followed was so emotional that yet again i was thrilled the camera hardly ever leaves my hands. as often life would have it, this moment too would have gotten faded from the memory among the flow of new that comes every day. .but these are the moments that are worth remembering forever - i mean , just LOOK at the faces and the emotions they portray. no words necessary :)



*tucked away among the beautiful architecture and surrounded by gorgeous flowers, this playground has to be the most picturesque place to play we've been to in SF so far. the early afternoon sun reflecting the beauty of the hand-lade brick wall makes you feel you are placing your feet somewhere among the castle grounds of medieval Italy, instead of equally beautiful but very modern Little Italy of San Francisco in 2015.



Lately...

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Spring is in full bloom in SF, the belly occupant is kicking and life is busier then ever. Click through for many q&a's that picked up in the popularity on Instagram above - thank you for your on-going love and support, we are thrilled to have so many friends! xo