Archive for category baby

Adelia’s Blessing and an Update


After a long summer’s rest from the blog, I think I’m finally ready to start at it again. We’re pretty settled in our Tucson house–just a few remaining things to do here before we can truly be unpacked. There’s still one box left, full of pictures to put on our walls. Our couch needs two new cushions, but I’ve already bought foam, so that should be done soon enough. We’re getting into the swing of things, although I think M can tolerate this climate better than I can. We’ve already been up Mount Lemmon three times to escape the summer heat. He’s biking to school every day and enjoying the UofA outdoor swimming pool.

Anyway, there’s more of all of that to come! We should be back to our regularly scheduled blog posts shortly, including more never-before-seen pictures from our trip to England. So far we’ve only shared the ones from M’s phone.  But before I get carried away with all that, I just wanted to share these pictures from my niece’s blessing last week so the family can see them.

One more thing. We’re thinking it’s about time to start a new blog with a new name because this one is a reference to our living in Boston which ended two years ago. It also contains a grammatical error, not that you know, because it’s in Russian and it’s a joke that doesn’t even make sense. But the thing is, it’s actually been really hard for us to come up with a name. I know it would be easy to just use our first names, because that’s what everyone else does, but I’ve just had some unsavory experiences in the past with my name out in the open on the internet. Which is why we use initials here instead of our names.  It also seems pointless to use something based on our geographic location because we’re not very good at being permanent anywhere. And everything else we’ve come up with either sounds hokey, or it sounds like we’re trying too hard. Who am I kidding? We are trying too hard.

In short, if you have any good suggestions, let us know!

Ok here are the pictures. Happy birthday, Adelia!

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Things have been pretty quiet on the blog, so I guess it’s time for a little life update. Here are the top 10 things keeping us busy lately.

1. House hunting

We’ve flip-flopped a couple times on whether to buy or rent when we move to Tucson this August. Currently the consensus is to rent, at least for now. We have way too many other decisions to make and major purchases going on in the next 2 months. Mortgage shopping was stressing us out. We’re also back-and-forth on the idea of booking something sight-unseen or getting a vacation rental for the first little while. Always scouring the housing market though.

2. Painting

We have a friend who owns a painting business. He hired M on for the summer to earn some extra cash and get his mind off the books for a few weeks. So far, it’s been perfect summer job.

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3. Sleep training

Blame it on our studio apartment, if you want. Blame it on the floor-to-ceiling windows and 16 hours of daylight that Calgary gets in May. Blame it on the difficult breastfeeding journey that we started out with. Blame it on inconsistently co-sleeping. Blame it on faulty parenting if you want to, but the fact is, this baby is a bad sleeper. I know lots of people will tell you it’s perfectly normal for a baby to continue waking at night up to a year or even 1.5 years old. But how many times? Waking once at night I can see as normal. Even twice isn’t bad. But this baby is still waking 5+ times every night. I feel like I’ve tried everything. I’m perpetually exhausted. So we’re working with a sleep consultant who offered her services for free for the sake of research, which is nice, but 2 months in, and E has gone from 90 minute spans at night, to now, taking at least one 3-4 hour stretch. It’s not much, but technically, yes, that’s an improvement.

4. Test Driving

Yet another plan that keeps shifting is the car we’re going to buy in our near future. We’re pretty well set on the Honda Fit, but we keep teetering on whether to buy it in Canada and import it, or just buy it when we get to AZ. Right now we’re planning on importing. We’re just waiting for a good deal on one in Calgary.


5. Packing

I’ve already sent two loads of boxes to the US with relatives passing through. My mom is visiting this week, so she’ll take another load. I’m always looking around to see what else I can live without for the rest of the summer.

6. Shopping

My feet are causing me so much grief lately. I finally went to a podiatrist and actually asked about surgery. The visit was mostly useless, but she did recommend a few steps to try before surgery. That’s good news. But I spent the afternoon at specialty shoe stores and even they were hard pressed to find something for my difficult feet. I’ve decided to give up on cheap shoes for good though.  I’m actually thinking about ordering some custom-made shoes. If anyone out there has experience with this, do tell!

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7. Making

Little baby shoes with vinyl scraps leftover from my bookbinding days.

Easter eggs with natural dyes: turmeric, onion, hibiscus, beet + crayon and sharpie + lovely house guests.

Final changes and proofreading M’s thesis. The defense is set for June 16.

8. Running

M almost convinced me to run another half marathon in June, but I think I’m settling for the 10K. He’s still planning on doing the half. If M pushes the stroller, we can usually go almost the same pace on our long runs. He’s still faster than me. It seems to be working out pretty well though.

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9. Learning

Little E has been cruising almost as soon as she was crawling at 9 months. But recently she has added to her bag of tricks. Now she can gracefully get down from standing up with support, she can bend down and pick up a toy while holding a support, and she loves to clap her hands and point her fingers.

10. Planning

We’re spending 12 days in England this summer! We’ve been reading up on the UK and getting some new passports for the Canadians in the family. We have 7 days in London, where M will be presenting his research and 5 in some location, yet to be determined. We’ve narrowed it down to a few options, but if you have a recommendation, lmk.



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Ok but just one more set of snow pictures as a farewell to a happy winter. And also because it’s snowing this morning. The little wooden sled is for sale. $10. Any takers?









We have mixed feelings about moving to Arizona, you know. On one hand we’re excited to be close to some family and friends there. We’re excited about pleasant weather for so much of the year.  We’re excited to escape head wounds from slipping on the ice. We’re excited to escape days like we’ve had the past 2 weeks, where it’s so cold you don’t go outside with a baby for fear of frostbite.

But on the other hand, there are days in Tucson where it’s so hot you don’t go outside for fear of heatstroke.

You win some, you lose some.

But at least we’re not moving to Edmonton!

M has been doing some research with a professor at the University of Alberta, and he had to drive up to visit for the beginning of an experiment. We decided to make a family trip out of the occasion. It was very cold. To be fair, it was really about the same temperature as Calgary that day, but Edmonton certainly wasn’t trying hard to win me over.

E and I spent the majority of the day at the West Edmonton Mall while M was at the University (the other UofA). I’m not really into mall-walking (although I have learned it is a favorite pass-time of Canadian mums in the winter time) but I couldn’t just live this close to the largest mall in North America without paying a visit. We mostly looked at the attractions and bought some chips and salsa at the Asian grocery store inside. Yes, really. E liked the roller coasters best, though the skating rink was a big hit as well.

We stayed with some dear friends of ours–another Canadian-American couple that used to live in Calgary.   It was lovely to see them and E made a new friend who is 1 pound heavier than her, but only half her age! They call him “Big Ben.”

And seriously, we’ll probably be pining for those occasional -40 (-40F) day when it’s +40 (104F) in Tucson.


7 1/2 Months








7 months


I think the pictures sum it up pretty well, but here’s what I would like to remember about this age.

This baby is so happy. She’s always smiling.

She’s so close to crawling.  In mid-January my bet was that she would be crawling in a month. I have about a week to see if I’m right.  My yoga teacher said she has a truly impressive cobra though.

She loves dancing with her daddy. About every other night, we turn on some electroswing and party.

Sometimes while she’s nursing she gives me a sideways smile, which is a totally inefficient way to drink and it often results in spills on my shirt. And then she giggles. How can I do anything but share in the joy?


First Foods


First Foods from Xivonne on Vimeo.

The first thing we did when we got home from our epic Christmas travel adventure was give little E some solid food. We were having potatoes for dinner, so we thought a potato would be as good as any food to try. I mashed a little up, mixed it with some expressed breast milk, and gave her a couple spoon fulls. She didn’t take to it very well. Day 2 was banana + breast milk, which she LOVED. And basically ever since then, she’ll eat just about anything I give her. Even potatoes.

After seeing her love affair with paper in full swing on Christmas morning, I thought she might like some nori (dried sushi seaweed sheets). She’s a big fan. Crinkley, dark, fun to eat. The picture at the top is her yogurt smile. This baby loves food. All food. Favorite food? Probably water. She starts making gorilla noises and shaking her arms and legs whenever I pour a glass. Least favorite? Hard to say. Maybe fava beans. Sorry, grandpa.



Just eating borscht and gearing up for Sochi 2014



Christmas, part 2: Penticton

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After the first leg of our trip, we headed north to Penticton, a 10-hour drive. Once again, E was a pro at being in the car for so long, and we made it all in one day. We did download an audiobook to keep us awake on the drive: books 1 and 2 of The Hunger Games. It turned out to be an excellent choice for driving. In fact, it continued to keep us up for a few nights after we got home so we could finish it (Just one more chapter. Okay one more. Another? Okay one more!...).

One of the highlights for sure was New Year’s Eve with Grandpa Wardrop. E and I went to bed around 9:30. Grandpa and M called it quits at 11:45. It was a serious party! Of course we also went snowshoeing.

I love how all of the pictures feature E and mommy and daddy aren’t pictured once. She was definitely popular!

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Christmas, Part 1: Boise

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First Christmas from Xivonne on Vimeo.

The idea was totally crazy. Calgary to Boise to Penticton to Calgary in two weeks. That’s 32 hours of driving with a baby, which really means like 48+  hours on the road if you count the stops. That is so much driving. But we all did well and we actually had a good time in the car. It was nice to introduce E to some aunts and uncles she had never met before and of course it was nice to spend some time with our family. Since we don’t know where we’ll be next year, we wanted to do as much visiting as we can while we are within a reasonable distance.

The highlight from Boise, in my opinion, was probably the church walk and carol sing-along on Boxing Day.  A lot of the old churches downtown were open for viewing with organists playing. Afterward there was a big crowd at St. John’s cathedral to sing Christmas carols. It was the best combination of community, music, architecture and Christmas.


Mt. Yamnuska

imageimageThis was a hike that we had considered doing earlier this year while I was 8 months pregnant. We ended up doing another hike in Kananaskis that day instead. After doing them both, I think Mt. Yamnuska is much more appropriate for a woman in her third trimester, although I wasn’t the one carrying the baby for this hike.image imageWe had been invited to a Halloween party in Bow Valley Provincial Park, so we decided to make a day trip out of it. We rented a car, did some grocery shopping and headed for the mountains. It was the last day of the year without snow, and we wanted to make the most of it.image imageIt turned out to be a beautiful, warm day for a hike. We only wished we had gone a few weeks earlier to see the golden aspen leaves while they were still on the trees. The yellow path still made for a lovely trek. imageimageWe didn’t quite make it to the top. There was a bit of scrambling at the top, which probably wouldn’t have been a good idea with the baby carrier anyway, but the sun was setting, the party was starting, and the baby was getting hungry. She was a good sport for most of the hike (sleeping), but she whined a lot of the return trip. So we came back to the car, gave her a snack, and changed into our costumes. image

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