The Merriest

Happy New Year!

December was a super busy month for my office, so I was definitely ready for a holiday break. My parents and my brother arrived in the early morning hours of the 22nd. After 24+ hours of travel, they were exhausted and excited to take showers and head to bed. Unfortunately for them, my neighborhood had no water! In a complete lack of preparedness on our end and contrary to emergency planning instructions received from the Embassy, JR and I had no extra bottled water for drinking, coffee, teeth brushing – nada at our home. He ran out to the store while we rationed what was left in our Brita pitcher in the fridge. I couldn’t imagine going to work without a shower, so we packed our bags to shower at the Embassy’s gym. Thankfully the water was restored by about 9am. While this allowed them to shower, Abby had other ideas about letting them rest. She kept them busy with crafts, games, and talking nonstop. No idea where she gets that.

We took them to Shadow of Metekhi, a great restaurant with beautiful views, for their first taste of Georgian food and dancing, and then spent the rest of the weekend in Christmas mode. Abby was really into Santa and all things Christmas. We’ve been singing Rudolph every night at bedtime since August (note, we are STILL singing Rudolph. She’s not ready to move on.)


Christmas Eve

 
Christmas morning

Abby’s favorite gifts were a small stuffed mouse JR bought her in Armenia, a camera from Nana and Papu, and her big girl bike. My mom was really skeptical when we (read: JR) put the bike together without the training wheels. I just wanted to see how she did without them since she did so well on her balance bike , but everyone else acted like I was crazy so I made her put on all sorts of protective gear just in case. To all of our amazement, she was riding solo within in a few tries! We were so excited for her and she was certainly very proud of herself, but adamant about no pictures!

During the rest of their visit we explored Tbilisi…

…ate khinkali

…saw The Nutcracker at the Tbilisi Opera House

…went to the Tbilisi Zoo where Abby had her face painted for the first time

and generally enjoyed all of our time together. It was truly wonderful to have our family visit us here during the holidays and we miss them already. Counting down to our next visit!

Catching up

I had really good intentions of blogging while we were in Ohio for my maternity med evac, but as evidenced by my lack of posting, that clearly did not happen. The good news is I can blame my absence on the arrival of William James, born December 9, 2016.

He’s basically the cutest and we’re all adjusting to life as a family of four!

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JR says that William already looks “distinguished.”

How we spent the rest of our time at home:

  • We spent Thanksgiving with JR’s family and it was really nice. His sister and her husband hosted the extended family and the food was so fantastic, there weren’t ANY leftovers. That says something about the food, but it created a real crisis for me when it was 7pm that evening and I was searching for a hot meal. At approximately 52 weeks pregnant at that point, JR knew it was a serious situation and helped me find a place that was open so we could order carryout. If you’re ever in this predicament, Applebees is open on Thanksgiving. You’re welcome in advance.
  • My due date was quickly approaching in December and William showed no signs of making an appearance. After scheduling an induction date with my doctor, JR and I showed up at the hospital on December 9 ready to have a baby. My doctor was confident I’d have a baby by early that evening (in fact, she broke down the plans for the day according to meal times, we’ll do this at breakfast, this around lunch, and baby will be here in time for you to eat dinner – she really gets me). As much as we both said we had no idea if we were having a boy or a girl, clearly we were both expecting a girl because we were completely shocked when the doctor said “It’s a boy!”.
  • Some of the highlights of that day (aside from meeting our baby boy!) included Abby’s visit, being done with labor by 6pm and able to EAT, and my sister having Pizza Hut breadsticks delivered to the hospital for me (this is a birthing tradition for us) shortly after William’s birth. She’s awesome like that. Everything went perfectly, but the next morning both Abby and JR tested positive for strep throat. Less than ideal to say the least. JR spent the next 48 hours parenting from behind a mask.

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  • Once we had William home and settled, it was time to focus on Christmas! It was really wonderful to spend the holiday with our families, and Abby reveled in the attention. She was (is) completely spoiled but it was so much fun to see her excitement over Santa and all the presents.

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Taking a picture of two kids is much harder than one!

  • Abby’s reaction to Santa Claus. What a difference a year makes!

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vs. last year  abby-1

  • We spent much of our remaining time going to a dozen appointments and working on the paperwork to take William home to Georgia. No joke – his visa arrived at 10:30am on the Tuesday that we left, with our flight leaving at 4:30pm. Nothing like the last minute!
  • Abby is really obsessed with him.

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Give William some space Abby! (said at least 100 times a day)

  • We’re so happy to be back in our house in Tbilisi and slowly life is returning to normal – at least a new normal. I’m planning to write another post soon about our travel back!

A few more pictures of my sweet babes!

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Back in business

I haven’t blogged in a LONG time.  I started a few posts and kept meaning to go back and finish them and well, I didn’t.  So I’ll just make a fresh start of things and do a little catching up here.

  • The holiday season in Tbilisi was wonderful.  We spent Thanksgiving with friends, enjoying a delicious turkey and all of our other favorites, including pumpkin pie (Abby ate her piece AND JR’s.  I knew better than to offer to share mine!).  They did an incredible job hosting 10 adults and 8 kids, and it reminded us of all of our Thanksgivings back in the States.
  • December flew by.  There were work parties, the Embassy kids’ party (see below for Abby’s pure joy at meeting Santa), and about 87 boxes from various retailers and family to sort through. We spent most of Christmas day in our pajamas, taking our time opening gifts and playing with Abby’s new toys, before having dinner with our friends and their kids.  Our favorite part of Christmas was giving Abby her play kitchen,  which we bought for $50 from the next door neighbors who were leaving for their onward assignment.  JR loved it because it was already put together.  With all the parts and screws, it probably would have taken him hours to build.
  • My mom came to visit!  She was here for about 10 days and we had the best time.  We  Skype with my family almost every night and it’s part of Abby’s evening routine to talk to Nana.  (Even when she plays with her toy phones and we ask who she’s talking to it’s inevitably “Nana” or “Papu.”) Abby was thrilled to spend time with her Nana, and Nana clearly felt the same way.  I had planned a lunch and trip to the spa for facials and massages, and when I was telling my mom the details, she started crying.  Not out of joy, mind you, rather she said “I’m just going to miss Abby.”  All because I wanted to spoil her for an afternoon!  She pulled it together, though, and we had a fun afternoon at the Radisson Blu spa.
  • We’re making plans for our first R&R, and although we could travel just about anywhere in the world, we’ve decided to visit Ohio. In March.  That’s what missing family (and Dairy Queen and Target) will do to a person!  The plan is for Abby and I to fly back a week before JR, so I have less than two months to panic about traveling alone with her.
  • JR and I each turned a year older.  Crazy that we met and started dating when I was 22!  Oh our youth.
  • That’s basically it. We’re boring.  But I’m determined to blog more frequently in 2016.  Until then, here are a bunch of pictures from the last few months.

 

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Swinging in Rike Park

 

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Playing in the big sandbox at QSI (the international school nearby)

 

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Abby was really excited to see Santa and Tovlis Papa, the Georgian Santa

 

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Showing off her shades and playing with stickers in her new tutu

 

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TbiliKids and Christmas market with Nana

 

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Sopo, Abby’s nanny, has been putting her hair in pigtails the past few days and I think it’s the cutest thing ever.

 

Halloween fun

We had the best Halloween weekend here!  JR and I haven’t lived in a neighborhood with Trick-or-Treat-ers in a few years, so we were really looking forward to passing out candy and taking Abby around to a few houses.

We started the weekend with trick-or-treating at the Embassy.  Sopo, our nanny, dropped Abby off in her costume all ready to go with braids in her hair. She does the BEST job with her hair.  I don’t know what kind of Jedi-mind tricks she uses to make Abby sit still, but I have no such luck!

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Blurry but cute!

Abby was immediately interested in putting all candy in her mouth, wrappers included.  She was displeased when I took the candy away, so in a quick attempt to appease her, I handed her a fun-size Twix.  JR was quick to point out that I’d made a huge mistake.  Chocolate everywhere.  Not a good plan when you a) are carrying your child around in your work clothes and b) need her costume clean again the next day.   We didn’t take any pictures of her chocolate-covered face, but once she had her first taste of that sugary goodness, she was hooked.

The CLO did an amazing job organizing the event.  There were over 150 kids, most offices decorated and passed out candy, and they had games, food, and activities for the kids as well.

Saturday was the neighborhood trick-or-treat.  JR and I had considered a few different costume ideas, ideally something that wouldn’t cost much and was easy.  As always, my mom helped with a package that included some granny clothes from Goodwill and a very classy nightgown in a 2XL to help us pull off our family costume:  Little Red Riding Hood, her grandma, and the big bad wolf.

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We realized Abby might be afraid of the wolf mask, so we had it sitting on the counter for a few weeks and occasionally took turns trying it on.  She was not into it at first but by the weekend she didn’t seem bothered at all!

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It was so much fun seeing everyone dressed up and spending time with our friends and their kids.  After we passed out candy for a while, we walked down to a friend’s house for snacks and a special Witches Brew beverage while the kids played.  When I commented that I didn’t think I Abby received any Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, my friend E handed me her very last one, stashed in her pocket.  That’s true friendship.

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Little Red Riding Hood, worn out

Can’t wait to do it again next year!