12 hours in the life of Alisa…Part 1 & 2

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I’ve been wanting to document Alisa’s daily routine for a while now. Somehow the routine always gets in the way of me doing so. I am thrilled I finally found the time to do this…I am obsessed with remembering every single detail and each moment that takes my breath away. This is what her schedule is like now at 4 months old.

Enjoy her story…

It’s time to wake up! I heard the birds are up! What’s that mommy? It’s a weekend? You would like to sleep a little longer? But mommy the birds are up!!!

I’ve been tricked into getting more sleep! How could I resist when I got to snooze next to daddy??? My sock however wondered off…

Fancy a snack? I like to have something in between all the milk mommy makes me drink, I call this my “vegetable patch”! Butternut squash…yum….my favourite!

Now that I’ve eaten its time to play with my favourite toy “The Monkey”. I’ve grown very attached to her mostly because we have the same ginger hair color and also because of her huge smile…which I love to copy! And look mommy found my sock!!!

Nap time is rolling around so mommy makes me a bottle of yummy milk. I’ve developed a habbit of eating in my sleep…Sleep tight now!

Changed, fed and down for my afternoon nap. Whenever I have my hand in a fist mommy knows I am sleepy…

Well that was a quick nap! My cat nap! Before they even knew it I was up and ready to play! Dress me in a pretty dress and take me out for lunch somewhere fancy!

Here I am sitting in my car seat, looking around, mommy is having a Ceasar salad and daddy is eating a hamburger but all I got was my milk again! One of these days I will definetly sneak a taste! I bet it will taste good!

Looking at everyone around me enjoying their lunch completely tired me out, mommy rocked my pushchair back and forth and some fifteen minutes later I started to snooze. Might as well take a little nap, it doesn’t seem like we are going home anytime soon!

My evening snacks, I like to have a little something light right before I have my evening formula! Today I enjoyed a mango and banana blend and washed it down with some camomile tea! I am a big fan of eating healthy! In just an hour I will be taking my bath and then its bedtime!

Eat, Sleep, Play repeat…

We don’t have a baby. It’s pretty obvious that the baby has us!

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“Elka” or New Year for the little ones

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In Russia New Year’s celebrations are huge. So huge that people receive an official week or even longer- as paid leave. The entire country goes into a carnival -like celebration starting from the 27th December and slowly recovers later. There are home cooked meals, fireworks, natural pine tress, happy children and Santa or as Russians call him  “Ded Moroz” (literally translated this means Grandpa Frost”). New Year for Russians is now what Christmas has become for the rest of the world (in the light commercial, over-indulgence sense of the festivity). ]

It would be a major understatement to say that New Year’s is celebrated in Oman “lightly”. The children especially miss out on hanging up paper snowflakes, dressing up, joining celebrations and meeting Ded Moroz. Over the last few years the Russian community in Muscat has taken to organizing a special celebration for the children, a kind of show, where all the characters Russian kids know and love come to live in a magical performance. This is organized entirely on volunteer basis, there aren’t even sponsors or professional actors. The last 5 or so shows were the brain child of my mother, she put time and efforts into getting little kids and their parents involved in this festival of fun. Costumes are put together from scratch, the plays are “googled” and edited, lines are learned and the performance comes together on the grounds of the Russian Consulate of Oman just a week before New Years. I’ve attended the last two shows (and participated) and the number of people who how up every year is truly staggering. The children sit patiently, mouths open wide in awe as Santa emerges followed loyally by his army of fictional characters. Usually the kiddies get to perform, sign a song or recipe a poem and in exchange they receive a present from Santa. It’s always so much fun.

It’s happening again this year! If you are Russian or Russian speaking you are welcome to pass by the Russian Embassy (located near The Hyatt) this Friday, 23rd December at 11am sharp. If you have kids who wish to see the performance please bring a present with you to put into Santa’s “bag of gifts” and label the present with the child’s name. There is absolutely no entrance fee or age restrictions!

Here are some photos from last year’s show! (Guess where I am?)

Maternity pictures

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I am a big (amateur) photography junkie so when I had the chance to document this amazing time in our lives through the lense- believe you me I did not pass on that opportunity! In one of my previous posts here I introduced you to Anastaseya Photography- a woman, a mother and a photographer who specializes in maternity, new-born, lifestyle and family photo sessions here in Muscat. I am incredibly lucky to know her personally and even more so to have been able to book a photo session for her for this Thursday!!!

Over the last few months I was collecting pins into my little board of inspirations over at Pinterest hoping to achieve similar results with our maternity photo shoot or to at least get ideas for locations, props and poses.

Below are some of my favorite moments “capturing” this amazing experience of being pregnant:

 As you can see I chose images that featured both the parents and I think that’s very important. I don’t want 45 pictures of me and my “belly” looking left and right and center and holding flowers and what-not. This isn’t about me. This is about us as a couple, as parents bringing a child into this world. She is ours. I want the pictures to show how involved her daddy was every step of the way and how obsessed he is with her already. I want her to see the bond. whether she is 3, 15 or 67 I want her to look back at these pictures and see how much we enjoyed become her parents and how important she was to us.

 Having said that you probably won’t see me publishing any pictures that look like this: (bummer…right?)

I don’t personally have anything against nude maternity photography it’s just not for me. The female body is beautiful during pregnancy absolutely, but if mine is to be captured on film I want it to be fully clothed!!! (I must admit the picture above disturbs me a little…)

In terms of the location, I would love to have an outdoors photo shoot. I initially had a very “alternative” idea that involved Boashar Sand Dune, Quad Bikes, Pink Baloons and some rough riding. Until my husband reminded me that I am pregnant… My idea was for the pictures to show the feminine aspect of pregnancy, all the tenderness and fragility of it combined with a rough exterior (that is my husband) represented in the sand bashing and quad-bike riding. This way the baby will know what she’s really made of…but then we settled for a park 🙂 The pictures will hopefully turn out to be very refreshing with heaps of greenery around us, cozy lawns and flower beds. Oh. But I am still bringing the pink balloons and maybe a few other props like baby items, ultrasound scans of the baby and maybe a black board with a “Coming Soon” message. I just can’t resist.

So look out for these next week…I am so  CRAZY excited!

(But that just might be all the sugar that I just ate talking…)

Road rage & the stupids

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Much has been said about driving in Oman already. Everyone who has spent at least 20 minutes on the roads here will know that it’s a constant battle of good against evil. It is downright dangerous. People drive like maniacs. Especially taxi drivers. There doesn’t seem to be a single reason for this obscene driving except that the roads are too darn smooth and no natural “barriers” exist to slow down the drivers apart from…light posts, pedestrians or other cars.

So me and mom are driving back from a friend’s house late last night when we encounter a very unpleasant umm “situation”. Mom is turning left, indicator on and the whole deal- out of the corner of my eye I see a car that is doing 100km/h in our direction and warn mom to take care because he is “flying” towards us. Mom obviously doesn’t see him because there are trucks and cars blocking her vision and she either doesn’t hear me or completely underestimated how quickly he was “flying”. She takes her turn and we hear mind-numbing screeching of brakes behind us as I yell at her to hit the gas pedal to get out of his way faster.

Now obviously someone is wrong here. He was speeding and mom didn’t see him so they can both be held equally responsible. However, the accident was avoided but what happened next was utterly obscene. The driver kept on gesturing for mom to pull over and once she did he started calling the police.  I stayed in the car at first but then once he claimed to have “a 9 months pregnant wife in the car who was about to give birth because the road situation scared her so much” I had to get out of the car and demonstrate that…”ya..ok she isn’t the only freaked out pregnant lady there”. Imagine the man’s surprise? He was still on his phone trying to reach…I assume the police? however no one was answering. I told him he can’t call the police if there was no accident they would just not show up! My mom said sorry like a million time and explained that she just didn’t see him because of the parked cars but he didn’t care. Since no police had showed up 10 minutes later and he was still on the phone…(with no one), we decided to leave. Mom said she is going to go and apologize to his “9 months-about-to-go-into-labour-wife” and imagine the shock she got when she discovered that not only did the lady say “oh-no-problem”…but SHE WASN’T EVEN PREGNANT!

Seriously. The man was going to call the police because he was cut off by another car and lied about his wife (?) going into labour. Ah, so maybe the next time a car breaks too suddenly in front of you or maybe  A BIRD FLIES PAST YOUR WINDSHIELD go ahead and call The Royal Oman Police- they would be thrilled to hear your little story over a cup of (decaf for this guy!) coffee.

Sheesh.

How we got carried away…

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Wedding preparations are bound to get the best of you. I doubt there is a single couple out there, who had a calm, fight-free,fit-throwing-less wedding preparation. Unless they hired a planner. Or got married spontaneously. In our case, we spend two months getting ready for a wedding, that flew before our eyes in minutes. We were so exhausted from looking at ribbons, choosing baloon colours, tasting cakes, trying on clothes, signing invitations, looking for a place to live… This all sounds like great fun when you read it, and you are probably thinking “Eh, what is she complaining about”, but try joggling wedding preparations, a full time job, and a full time family. It was difficult. And unbearable at times. And that is mostly why we scaled down so much. There were no ice sculptures, no famous singers performing, to wedding album even-we did as much as we could, and we were happy with the result. Some way through Alex concentrated on proving us with a home, and I took care of the wedding preparations, we would meet up daily and discuss what has been achieved. I received a lot of help with the preparations, My Cynthia has organizing the bachelorette party and the wedding in the Bar, My Foosa was responsible for an unforgettable “giving-away” the bride routine, My Lyu was coordinating the above mentioned procedures and made everything as easy as it could possibly be. The moral of the story is; don’t turn away help with wedding preparations, if your grand ma is unsatisfied with the receptions menu and wants to make some of her famous chicken pie-let her, if your in-laws find you a great wedding dress tailor-give her a try, if your parents decide to bring 10 last minute guests in-take it with a smile. They are a part of your wedding to. A wedding is a family affair. It is never about you and your husband alone. That would be too selfish. It is about two families uniting their children and becoming one, and if they want to get lost in the process-so be it. Let them. Enjoy it.

Church Ceremony Must Have’s

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Tashkent City has a few nice churches, both catholic and orthodox. We were going to have our ceremony in the orthodox church and hence were carefull to book it in advance. The church will only wed those who present a liable wedding certificate issued by the state, hence the city council ceremony always takes place before the church ceremony, even if its just a few hours before.As I’ve mentioned before, September is crazy on weddings-both Christan and Muslim. The ceremony is not complex one, it is however long and heavy on the details. There is a list of specific items that the bride and groom must have during the ceremony, and must cherish throughout life. The list is fairly easy to obtain, and is available on the information board at the entrance. Here is a list of items:

  • Icons (Jesus and St.Mary)
  • 4 big hankerchiefs
  • A big white towel or cloth (2 m)
  • Weddin Rings
  • 2 big church candles
  • Crosses on a chain
  • State wedding certificate
  • Bride and groom should be baptized

The ceremony takes about 30 minutes to complete and cost at that time 50,000 soums which is approximately $30. It is essencial to book a slot at least a week in advance. The items mentioned are held or worn by the wedded during the ceremony. Both husband and wife shouls be wearing crosses, and holding lit candles with a hankerchief as not to burn one self. The ceremony consists of the pope walking around the couple, blessing their union, blessing their rings, the icons and performing other rituals. The best man and the maid of honor (will be called ‘My Cynthia’ from here on) have a vital part in the ceremony. They remain close to the bride and groom at all times and hold crowns over the heads for about 15 mintues. The icons that are then meant to travel through life with the family were brought from a church in Ukrain, as well the hankerchiefs and the cloths we stood on as husband and wife before the church. I will provide more details and the hilarous moments we managed to have during a ‘formal’, ‘tradition’, ‘quiet’ ceremony 🙂

Finding the perfect place

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About a month away from “the day” we have finally stopped fantasizing about finding a decent restaurant, where the cuisine,decor and AC availability would all blend into a magical location. Since Septembers were quite warm in Tashkent, we began considering having an outside wedding. As soon as that occured to us we realized we could have it all, the pool, the floating candles and the barefoot dancing. Two places were available which comprised a perfect blend of everything I wanted, and everything we could afford. The Dedeman Hotel and the Sheraton Hotel. Both places were located in the city center, and were reputable locations for weddings and other celebrations. We visited both, studied the menues, questioned the waiters, asked for photographs of previous weddings done there. At the end we decided to opt for Sheraton, it had a slightly better location than Dedeman, so that all the guest would be seated under a covered tent and not far from each other. Whereas Dedeman had a very spacious garden area that was not covered in case of rain. I went to check out Sheraton, at lunchtime, and called Alex straightaway gasping “I found it, its perfect”. He must have gotten very tired of all the wedding chaos by then, because he didnt even ask how much it cost, he said “if you love it, lets take it”. I wish he said that a month sooner when all the other places that “i loved” were found, that would have saved a lot of trouble. A few hours later both our moms (and a bag of cash) were on their way to Sheraton, to book it for the 19th of September. I could not believe we had finally found a place! That was definetly the hardest part of all, because precisely on the place depended the decor, and the music, and the whole these itself! And there we had it, a spaciou, open air, tented place that we could mold into perfection-exactly as we wanted it.