Thursday, February 21, 2013

Welcome baby boy

Our little boy finally arrived nine days after his estimated due date. Now he's about a month old.

By all accounts I had a very easy pregnancy. My favorite parts of being pregnant were my weekly prenatal yoga classes, getting to eat cheeseburgers and shakes without any guilt, and how everyone was so friendly to me. Strangers would tell me congratulations and ask his gender or due date. During my pregnancy I drank yogi mother to be tea and took newchapter prenatal vitamins, which I can't be sure contributed to the ease of my pregnancy, but I'm sure it didn't hurt anything.

French training and our big move consumed my life during my last trimester. If you've ever studied a foreign language, you knows it's hard work, but what I didn't account for was how difficult it would be to sit and concentrate for long stretches of time while severely pregnant. In addition, I found the logistics of moving overseas with an infant quite overwhelming. Bring on the stress!! But in the end I passed my language exam and everything in our DC apartment plus our consumables (a shipment of non-perishable food, toiletries, and cleaning supplies) got packed and sent on it's way to Africa.

Then, 38 weeks pregnant, we packed the remainder of our belongings into my brother's hatchback and drove to my home state of Ohio to have the baby and spend my maternity leave with my family. I spent this pregnancy in two different countries (3 if you count our trip to Japan), two U.S. states, and visited 3 different OBGYN practices. Unconventional, yes; but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Taking care of this little guy has been such a privilege. He's delightful. I'm excited to see what the future has in store for us.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Seven Happy Things at Work

My favorite design studio, This Paper Ship, recently blogged about their seven favorite things at work.  Check out their blog!  I thought this was a great idea for a post.  Lately I have been needing an attitude check:  I've been missing my old job in Tel Aviv; I had a lot of trouble getting over jet lag since I jumped right into training; and last but not least none of my clothes fit me anymore which is making me feel so blah.

But there are a lot of great things about spending time at FSI (the Foreign Service Institute, where we do our training).  Here are my top 7:

1. Seeing old friends in the hall and cafeteria
2. Getting paid to learn, especially getting paid to learn a language
3. Not having a blackberry--they are really useful in the field, but it is nice to get a break and not be constantly "on call"
4. Getting out of work early--even though many classes assign homework, I love being able to go home and do it
5. Making new friends and meeting lots of interesting people
6. Getting to wear business casual
7. When my spouse drives me to work (this isn't a given, but he knows I'm not a morning person even though I'm a fan of public transportation)

What are your top 7 things?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lots of Life Changes

So a lot has happened in the past few months since I've updated this blog.  Life change #1: I'm pregnant!!  I announced it on Facebook using this photo:

We're really excited/nervous/have no idea what we've gotten ourselves into.  Yes, we will be taking a baby to a developing country.  Don't judge.  And if you have experience with raising a baby in developing country, please comment on this post--let's exchange e-mails.  

I know I'm extremely fortunate that I had the easiest first trimester imaginable.  I had no morning sickness and wasn't even that tired.  I threw up once, but I think that was because I was carsick.  When I found out I was pregnant, I stopped drinking coffee cold turkey.  Friends, I hadn't gone a day without coffee in 12 years.  You can tell on my face how thrilled I am (here is documented evidence of the day I stopped drinking coffee):

One of my New Year's resolutions was to go on a detox, and I believe this counts: no caffeine or alcohol, tons healthy food, and prenatal vitamins.  Unlike in the taco bell commercials, I haven't had many weird pregnancy cravings.  In Tel Aviv, once I had a hankering for that fake icing that you buy in the grocery store, but I had no idea where to get any and the feeling passed.  One week I only had eyes for Subway, and thankfully there was one next to my office complex.  Besides that, I have been craving copious amounts of fruit, mostly peaches and tomatoes.   

Life change #2: We're back in DC--at least temporarily.  I'm still in denial about the fact that I've left Tel Aviv.  I loved my job and my coworkers, I made some awesome friends, and I loved living by the Mediterranean Sea.  I'm so lucky that I got to work on some really exciting projects towards the end of my tour.  It broke my heart that it had to come to an end.  It has eased the pain a little that we've been able to catch up with some of our close friends from Tel Aviv here in DC.  

On the bright side, we adore DC.  It is such a cool city and we have amazing friends here.  We're close to my husband's family, which is great.  Last time we lived here we were both students and we were living in a basement and pinching pennies.  So we're looking forward to spending as much time as possible with friends and family and living it up for the next few months as we study French!

I'm beginning to show signs of being prenant.  I no longer fit into my clothes.  I brought some of my baggier clothes with me from Tel Aviv in hopes that I could get some mileage out of them, but now I realize how foolish that was.  Also, we found out from the doctor that we're having a boy!!    

(Middle photo credit: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Exploring Japan - the vacation of a lifetime

My husband and I have been contemplating for a while now the possibility of taking a vacation to Japan to visit my little brother.  Miraculously, everything fell into place and we were able to take this once-in-a-lifetime trip.  Of course, my husband is now completely smitten and he wants me to bid on it, but our attitude going into this trip was to see everything we could see in 8 days.

We spent our time in three main cities: Tokyo, Kyoto, and the region around Sendai (where my brother lives and works). Tokyo is a city of 13 million, and thus the biggest city I have ever visited.  I was immediately struck by how clean it is.  In New York and London, for example, when you blow your nose at night what comes out is black (yuck!), but not so in Tokyo.  In Japan you have a fascinating juxtaposition of high tech (think bullet train, Tokyo high-rises, neon lights) and ancient tradition (geishas, beautiful shrines, temples, and gardens).

Some of the highlights:

  • Studio Ghibli, the museum of famous Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro).
  • Sleeping on real futons on traditional tatami mats in a Ryokon
  • Eating sushi for breakfast at the Tokyo fish market
  • Fukushima Inari - the shrine of 1,000 red gates
  • Bamboo grove near Tenryuji in Kyoto

Being in Japan was an exhilarating mixture of adrenaline and disorientation that I haven't felt in a long time.  Everything is so different from the West, and at least when we went, there were very few tourists.  The Japanese are so friendly and charming.  It helped that my brother speaks Japanese--that goes a long way.

While in Japan my husband and I celebrated our six year wedding anniversary.  We went out to a traditional Japanese meal with my brother and then to the New York Bar (the one in Lost in Translation). We had such a fabulous time.  It was so good to spend time with my little brother and to lose ourselves in the tourist experience.  Was it worth it? Absolutely.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Afternoon Tea Party Baby Shower

Over the weekend my friend and I threw a baby shower for our dear pregnant friend!  She looks so cute, right?  The shower was so much fun.  We had it partially on our balcony.  I found the DIY streamer instructions on Oh Happy Day.

The menu included
          Champagne w Strawberry PureePeach Puree
All sorts of fruit juices
Water with lemon slices

French bread crudité
          Slices of French bread
          Herbed veggie dip
          Fresh veggie crudités
Cucumber bites with whipped herb topping
Tea sandwiches
          Vidalia onion w/ salt and butter
          Smoked salmon on dark bread (pumpernickel or rye)
          Watercress or arugula
          Chicken curry
Cherry and goat cheese crostini
Caramelized Onion Tart
Mushroom Galette

Vanilla Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Candied Popcorn
Blueberry scones with lemon curd
Strawberries and dip
          Sour cream and brown sugar
          Balsamic vinegar and powdered sugar

My beyond incredible friend and co-host made the lions share of the food. She has her own blog, which I will ask her permission to link.  And the men?  They went go carting!   

Friday, March 30, 2012


Don't you just love meringue?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Turkey in February

One of the neat things about living in Israel is that you are a short flight to so many interesting locations. Last weekend, we got to realize a longtime dream to visit Istanbul, Turkey. Seriously, folks, we have owned a Turkey guide book for six years!

I wouldn't necessarily recommend going to Istanbul in February because (get this) it is FREEZING COLD. But, on the bright side the prices are a cheaper and it is definitely not as crowded.

My favorite memory of Istanbul is the Hagia Sophia. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. You walk in and you are speechless, surrounded by gold and light, looking up at a ceiling that seems to float in the ether. Well, the pictures simply don't do it justice, but I will share our attempts to capture it.

The Hagia Sophia was originally built in 360 AD and it changed the history of architecture. The one we saw was the third structure to stand on that ground (built in 532 AD). It suffered from earthquakes and was converted into a Catholic church, a mosque, and now a museum.

This picture (below) is the interior of the Blue Mosque, or the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, which sits across from the Hagia Sophia. It was built in 1616 AD.

Other highlights of the trip: dinner at a tavern in Beyaglu and a cruise of the Bosphorus. Below is my husband's favorite picture from the weekend.