Monday, March 28, 2011

Max Photo Book

Just created a couple of these photo books for the grandparents and noticed you could share them on blogger and facebook, so I thought why not...

                                      Click here to view this photo book larger

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Due Date and Too Much Baby Info

This past Tuesday, March 15, was Chutney’s due date. He ended up making his surprise appearance on 2/12, so we’ve had him for over a month now but I had been wondering how big he’d be on his due date. Now I know – 9 lb, 12 oz/4.400 kg. That’s a weight gain of 2 lb, 7 oz/1.250 kg in his first five weeks of life!

While I am extremely happy that he is growing well, I couldn’t help but think that he would probably have been a 10 pounder, had he come on his due date or later (if you account for the fact that newborns lose some weight right after birth and then have to make up for it). If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I was hoping he’d come a little early because he was measuring big, though I was hoping for maybe a couple of weeks early, not five, so I sure am relieved that I didn’t have to push a 10 pounder out – WHEW! 

Otherwise, Max is visibly growing and we are all in love with him. He is still a little jaundiced, which at five weeks after birth is a little bit of a concern. His doctor suspects breast milk jaundice and per her instructions I took him off the breast for 48 hours in the hope that it will lower his bilirubin count. I don’t heart the idea of giving him formula and pumping exclusively for two days but hopefully this will help him kick the jaundice’s butt.

Max has also been having gastrointestinal issues. He has extreme difficulty pooping. He gets all red and strains a lot, while arching his back, pushing with his feet, flailing his arms violently and crying his little heart out after almost every feeding. A friend of mine, who is a doctor, thinks he is colicky. I’ve been talking to his doctor and trying different things per their instructions (drinking prune juice/eating prunes, eliminating gassy, constipating, spicy and dairy products from my diet, massaging his belly, pumping his legs, doing bicycles with his legs, applying warmth to his belly, giving him gas drops, etc.) with little to no effect. He is not constipated, just seems to be having a real hard time going #2 (#1 is no problem).

I read in an online discussion group that many newborns, especially premature ones, don’t yet know how to use their digestive system properly. Pooping seems to bother them quite a bit because in order to do it right, they have to flex some muscles, while at the same time relaxing others. Apparently, it takes some newborns a while to figure out how to do that. I had never heard that. We did not have that problem with our daughter. It seems plausible but then again, I don’t know. Max’s doctor recommended giving him a probiotic called Lactobacillus Reuteri, which I bought at Whole Foods the other day and will try after our 48-hour formula escapade is over. Have any of you used Lactobacillus Reuteri? What did you think?

I know some will think this is too much information and it probably is. The only reason I am oversharing is that some of you mommies out there may have encountered these problems and may have a solution. If you do, please let me know in the comments. I will greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tuk & Tam is 1!

It’s hard to believe but it’s been a year since I started this blog. This was definitely a year of ch-ch-changes for us. Here are the biggies:

  • Paul and I quit our magazine editing jobs.
  • We packed up our daughter, our two cats and all our worldly possessions and moved from FL to temporary housing in the Washington, D.C. area, so my dear husband can start a new career as a diplomat.
  • Paul went through A-100 (the initial training all new US diplomats get) and got his first Foreign Service post: a one-year assignment at the office of eDiplomacy in Washington, D.C.
  • We became fast friends with wonderful people from Paul’s training class, which made the move and transition easier.
  • I “met” more wonderful people (mostly ladies) through my blog and the Foreign Service blog world, which has helped me stay sane and learn more about what’s ahead in this lifestyle.
  • We spent time with family and old friends from the D.C. area, which has been a blessing as well.
  • Nia started at a new school, with new teachers and new classmates.
  • We moved again (from our temporary apartment to a more permanent one).
  • I took the FSOT (Foreign Service Officer Test) and failed miserably :-(
  • We got pregnant again – yey!
  • I surprised myself and Paul, among other people, by deciding not to go back to work during the pregnancy and for at least the first six months thereafter, ha!
  • My mother visited us during the summer and we helped her apply for her US citizenship.
  • Paul got his second Foreign Service assignment: consular officer at the US Embassy in New Delhi starting in May 2012.
  • I (preemptively) started learning Hindi with the help of Rosetta Stone (but have not gotten very far).
  • My mother came back in December for her US Citizenship Test, which she passed with flying colors but we are still waiting for an invitation for her to get sworn in as a US Citizen.
  • Nia was moved from first to second grade in the middle of the school year, which did not go as smoothly as anticipated but we are slowly ironing out the kinks.
  • Our precious son Max was born five weeks early on 2/12/2011 but is doing very well and getting cuter by the minute, if I say so myself.


  • The last three weeks have been a sleepless blur but we spent them getting to know Max and getting used to being parents of a very hyper 7-year old and a newborn.

Thank you all for reading my ramblings. I didn’t expect this blog to be therapeutic but writing here and hearing from all of you has helped me deal with difficult situations and I truly appreciate you being there for me!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

THAT Mom (Part 3)

This is  just an update that I should have written a couple of weeks ago but then the baby came early and I went into Boob, Poop, Love mode  (that’s the new Mom version of Eat, Pray, Love) and that messed up my blogging schedule.

Anyway, in my last blog entry on this subject, I talked to the principal of Nia’s new school and asked if we could possibly move Nia to a different classroom because I was concerned that the teacher was not interested in helping Nia succeed.

The answer we got a few days later was not ideal but it did bring closure to the issue. The principal said that he had thought about Nia’s situation and discussed it with her teacher and that they had decided to keep her in the same classroom. They felt that moving her again would make the transition longer and may not improve things. She was in a classroom where she already knew the teacher and her classmates and they wanted to make the best of it. I voiced my concern about the teacher’s commitment (or lack thereof) once again but the principal said he had discussed the situation with her and felt things were going to be OK.

So, Nia is staying in second grade, in the same classroom. She continues to say she’s happy about it, even though she has to put in extra effort. The teacher also seems to be trying to make things better. She reached out to me with specific things, with which we can help Nia and we have been working on those. The teacher has also been communicating Nia’s progress and saying that Nia is working hard and doing better than when she first moved to second grade in the beginning of January. A recent email exchange with the principle also seems to indicate that Nia is on track to finish second grade with her current class and move to third grade.

So, we are cautiously optimistic. Right now it looks like this may actually work. Not as smoothly as we had hoped but if Nia is learning, challenged and happy, we feel it’s a good thing.

Of course, the arrival of the baby has added some stress to the situation but that’s another topic altogether. We have been trying our best to communicate to Nia that even though we now have to share our time between her and the baby, she is still very much loved and an integral part of the family. She seems to get that most of the time but she’s been an only for seven years and it is sometimes hard for her to accept that she’s not the center of our little universe anymore. We just have to keep working on helping her feel loved and comfortable as a big sister – it’s work in progress...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Today is a special day in Bulgaria and even though I’ve lived in the US for the last 13+ years, I still get excited about Martenitzas every year. Martenitzas are a beloved symbol of spring and health and Bulgarians give them to their friends and family on March 1 wishing the recipient good health. They are made of white and red yarn and can be pinned to your clothes or worn as a necklace or a bracelet. You are supposed to wear them until you see evidence that spring has arrived, which in Bulgaria could be  a stork , a swallow (both migratory birds that fly South for the winter and come back each spring) or a tree in bloom. Here’s what Martenitzas look like, in case you were wondering. 

  Бакугани и гормити превзеха базара за мартеници

You can make your own Martenitzas or buy them from any of the zillion stands that sell a myriad of Martenitza designs in Bulgaria this time of the year. If you happen to be in Bulgaria on March 1, you will see that everyone wears Martenitzas, young or old, male or female. I always thought it was a very optimistic, uplifting tradition and have been honoring it from afar for years.

So, last night we made some Martenitzas for our family and proudly donned them on each of us this morning. Here’s a picture, which wasn’t easy to take because the littlest member of the family was especially wiggly:


Wishing you lots of health and hoping spring will be here real soon!

More information on Martenitzas (or Martenitsas, Martenizas, Мартеници) here.

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