My Pretty Girl is Pretty Fat

Perhaps the biggest advantage of being a stay-at-home mom is that you get the see your children grow up.  I am experiencing it now.

My little girl is growing up fast.  At 3 months, she is now 6+ kg.   They say that breastfed babies are less heavier than their formula-fed counterparts, but this one is quite the contrary.  She is heavier than her brother when they were both at the same age.  Just for comparison, here are photos of them in the same outfit.

This was Jakub at 3 months.

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And now this is Michaela.

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Being a second child, she gets to inherit her brother’s hand-me-downs.  I hate throwing away such good stuff, so I am making her wear Jakub’s old outfits.  Although, I bought a couple of headbands to give it a little feminine touch.

Even though she is heavier, she is still within the ideal range, so I’m not so worried about setting her up for obesity.  I’m pretty sure that when she is able to run, she will be as active as her brother and will easily lose all those baby fats.

Jakub was pretty chubby when he was a baby too.  But now he is very lean because he’s getting taller.  I actually wanted him to gain a little bit more weight, but can’t really complain because he is very healthy.

Here’s both of them now.

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Anyhow, I am happy to have this chance to stay home with them.  I will never trade it for anything else in the world.

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Back from Hibernation

After a very long absence, I am now back from hibernation. Not a lot of exciting adventures lately, as we have been confined at home. I’ve had my own share of motherhood challenges, but everything is ok now. Things are slowly getting back to normal. My new “normal,” that is.

Winter is relatively mild on this side of the globe compared to what the people in the US East Coast is now experiencing. Temperatures are sub zero during night time but has been consistently positive during the day. We’ve had a little snow but it is now slowly melting.

So what’s new? Well, for one. My daughter is now 3 months old and at a stage where her schedule is more predictable. She is getting more and more curious about the world around her and somehow seems to communicate through babbling.

Here is a quick photo I snapped of both my kids.

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I am also starting to standardize our daily routine.  It is very difficult to manage a household with two very young children.  Although I am very happy that my eldest is at a stage where he is completely independent and even helps me out.  He is the  one opening doors for me when all three of us are out and about for our daily walk in our neighborhood.  I haven’t been in contact with the general public since winter set in.  It is pretty tough.

I couldn’t just go to a Starbucks shop and get a good cup of coffee these days.  Well, there is no Starbucks in this town.

Anyhow, we managed to bring Starbucks home — coffee beans straight from the Starbucks shop in Prague.

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It is the perfect pair for these shortbread cookies which we got as a gift from a friend.

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We also managed to get a taste of California through this bottle of Chardonnay from Tesco.

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There is nothing special about this wine, but it is the perfect pair for fish or pasta on these cold winter nights.  Reminiscing our life in California gives me a warm feeling inside.

If the forecast is right, it should get warmer towards the end of this month.  Once it does, we will be on travelling mode again.  I am anxiously awaiting the new adventures that lie ahead.

Happy New Year to all of you!

The Art of Waiting

I only have one week left before I get to meet my daughter. Somehow, it seems like such a long wait. I am quite excited and nervous at the same time. To keep me occupied, I have busied myself arranging and re-arranging both of my children’s rooms. My nursery is still unfinished at this point since I am still missing one more detail.

Anyway, here are pictures of my son’s bedroom now.

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I didn’t want to do any painting so I decorated the bare walls with decorative stickers instead.

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The windows currently have automatic electronic blinds, but somehow I feel like it may need some curtains.  But the thing is, this house is passive and we need to absorb the light from the sun as much as possible, so I am still re-thinking it.

Anyhow, I’ve also been trying to eat healthily these days since I am really HUGE now.  I’ve already gained 15kg (33lbs), and for someone who’s short, that is not good.

Anyway, I found this all-natural juice from my neighborhood store and I’m loving it now.

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With one more week to go, I hope I don’t gain any more weight. Otherwise,  I may be running like crazy after my daughter is born just to shed off all the weight I’ve gained.

 

 

 

Pregnancy classes and Childbirth

As my due date comes to a close, we are now preparing the important details for the arrival of our little princess.  One of the most important things to consider is the birthing place.  Out here in CZ, everyone is covered by a national health insurance.  Although it is a good thing, one of the downsides is that there are really a few choices when it comes to healthcare.

Since we are from a little town, there is only one major hospital in this area.  There are a couple of hospitals in Prague, but it is a 45min drive from us.  So, without even considering other options, I decided to enlist at the Kolin hospital.  After all, the current Czech president, Milos Zeman, was born here.  It can’t be that bad, right?

So last week, we went on a hospital tour.  The tour itself only lasted 15mins, but there was a  2 hour class before it.  My husband came with me, so he translated some important parts of the class.

And then we got this….

prenatal box

A box full of goodies for expectant mothers.

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It is not as great as the Finnish baby boxes, but at least it is something.

The class was in Czech and so was the tour.  Even though I didn’t fully understand everything, I was thankful that we enlisted for it.   It just eliminates the hassle of trying to find places and people on labor day itself.

When I was pregnant with Jakub, I remember attending all sorts of classes.  I was a first-time mother back then and didn’t know anything.  I had a pregnancy yoga class, a lamaze class, a general childbirth class and a detailed hospital tour.  When labor day came, I had prepared for everything.  I even had a detailed birth plan  where I wanted everything to be natural – with no epidural, and the anticipation of breastfeeding my baby right after he is born.  But on the day itself, none of it went as planned.  Needless to say,  I had an emergency c-section, was unable to breastfeed my baby on the first few hours of his life and he had to stay at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a few days.

It’s a good thing to know a thing or two about childbirth and all the birthing techniques, but in the end it is really up to the child on how he/she chooses to be born.  This time I know better.  The only class that I ever attended was the one that came with this hospital tour.  I will just go with the baby’s wishes and let nature take its course.  As they say, “prepare for the best and expect the worst.”

Just Another Day in this Mama’s Life

We only have 2 months left before another member of our family is here.  Since this is already my third trimester, I have been feeling very sluggish lately and cannot seem to get myself off the couch.  I feel bad for Jakub because this is the time when he is most active and really wants some interaction.  But who can blame me, with a burgeoning belly like mine, laziness is an expected side effect.  All I can do now is do some educational things with him as we are stuck at home.

For now, this is the book that Jakub and I are currently reading.  It’s a great introductory book about the existence of different ethnicities.  This early on, I intend to make him realize that the world is full of different people, and it’s ok to be different.  In our area, we are the only multi-cultural household, so I think it is best for him to understand this at the onset.

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One of the challenges of living in CZ is finding a good English book.  Of course, most bookstores do sell English books but the selection is very limited.  There could be a wider selection in the bookstores in Prague, but since it is 45mins away from us, travelling all the way there is such a hassle in my present condition.  Luckily, I found this great website with the widest selection of books even offering free shipping.  The items are reasonably priced and delivered on time.

If you live in an area where high quality english books are hard to find, it is worth checking out.  To go to their website, please click here.

Anyway, to keep myself occupied, I recently busied myself with “nesting.”  We have finished cleaning up our new arrival’s future room and I did some minor decorations.  I’ll post some pictures as soon as it is finished.  I also organized some of our picture albums and was surprised to realize how well I’ve documented the growth of my children from conception to birth.  As an example, here are 2 ultrasound pics of both my children at the same stages.

Jakub at 21 weeks
Jakub at 21 weeks
Jakub's sister at 21 weeks
Jakub’s sister at 21 weeks

 

Based on these ultrasound pics, it looks like both of them will have similar features.  They all look like me.  The excitement is mounting.  We’ll see.

Have a great week!

Thankful

I just had my final class last Tuesday.   Through Skrivanek, I had been teaching English  to adult learners this past school year.  It gave me something to do while my son is out in school.

At first, I never really thought that teaching was for me.  I didn’t think I had the passion and diligence to do it well.  My mom was a high school teacher and she was very passionate about it.

When we got to the Czech Republic,  teaching was the only job I could find that didn’t require any Czech knowledge.  Since my Czech was not yet at a professional level, I thought, what the heck, I’ll try it for a year.   Little did I know that I would enjoy it and regretted that I didn’t do it sooner.  I was able to expand my network and meet new friends.

Through interaction with my students, I was also able to gain a deeper understanding of Czech culture and have come to love this country and its people.  My students were adult learners with advanced knowledge in English so teaching was not difficult at all.

I am quite sad that this chapter of my life is over, as I know I would miss it.  However, I am very thankful to all those people who were part of this life -enriching experience:  the people at Skrivanek, my students, the people at Krokodyl, who took care of my son while I was away, and especially my husband who had always been very supportive of this endeavor.

Anyway, I’d like to share with you 2 of my favorite art pieces that Jakub made in school.  As I was teaching, he was making these.

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He calls this:  “Flowers for mama.”

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Have a great weekend!