How I Met My Husband

I am posting this on December 20th, because my husband and I were legally married on that day in 2006. We then planned our wedding ceremony for May 26, 2007, 5 months later, and that now is the date that we celebrate our anniversary. We went to the court in Lynchburg, Virginia, and were legally married, because it would make a few other legal things easier since Danail was not a US Citizen at the time (he is now) and since we knew we were going to be married, we got the legal part completed so we could plan other things.

Now, on to the story of how we met. I met my husband in the spring of 2005 in an Entrepreneurship class. We both majored in Finance and he went on to graduate that spring, but I took another 2 years until I graduated in 2007. I always say that I met him just in time, because he soon graduated and moved near Washington DC to work in finance right after college.

There were 2 funny situations that happened that brought him to my attention. I had a very funny, extremely extroverted roommate who knew almost everyone, and she loved to very loudly say hello so-and-so to whoever she would pass by. And if that person did not respond, she would say it again more loudly, pretty much yelling at them to say hello. She knew my husband before I did so he was one of the lucky ones that she would yell hello at when he’d walk anywhere near us. I wasn’t as extroverted so I just said hello and nothing more, but I remember he was very tall, handsome and I loved his voice with his strong accent. I had no idea what strange country he was from (Bulgaria). He probably told me at that time, but I was so ignorant of where it was, I probably forgot immediately.

The next incident where we ran into each other was an almost car accident. I have to admit that I was a little bit of a crazy driver in my 20s. I drove fast. I was a good driver, so I never had any accidents, but I drove too fast back then and now I drive like a grandma. Anyway, I was driving my black Buick Regal into the class parking lot and I almost ran into him in his little car. What struck me was that he was driving an 80s (I don’t know what year) Plymouth Horizon that looked like this:

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This was hilarious to me because this was the same exact car that my grandmother had and it was the car that I learned to drive on. I drove it when I was 17 to my job at the local grocery store in NY. I don’t know anything about cars, so I will sound ignorant when I try to explain this but there was some valve that would constantly pop off and the car would stall out. So, I’d randomly be driving and have to pull over, pop the hood and close some valve or something, then get back in and keep driving. And he was driving that same car when I almost ran into him. This was a memorable moment because his car brought back all those memories.

Since I hadn’t actually hit him, we just exchanged greetings/apologies from the windows and kept on our way. Later in class I apologized for almost running him over and I told him about this car and we really laughed about it. So, that was our first conversation that day. It was close to the end of that semester so we didn’t even ever talk again and he graduated and moved to DC to work.

A few months later in the fall of 2005 I got a random message from him asking if I remembered him, the guy I almost ran over in the parking lot. He then said that he was coming back to visit our school for homecoming and could he give me a call? I said sure and gave him my number, but I never expected him to call me. He called me the next day and asked if I wanted to meet him to go watch the football game. I said I’m not into football, but sure I’ll go. We didn’t end up going to the football game, but instead sat and watched a tennis match and I learned that he was a skilled tennis player and loved the game, and neither of us were interested in football.

He had planned to stay there the whole weekend and was staying at a friend’s house, so we ended up spending the whole weekend together doing random things. I have short memories of going to a movie, eating ice cream, and walking around and meeting several of his friends. He seemed to have a lot of friends that were girls (probably because he was so cute). I think we even went to church together that Sunday before he had to drive back to DC, which was a 3 hour drive from our school. We kept in touch and had a lot of long phone conversations and then eventually started visiting each other every few weeks. He’d drive back to school to see me or I’d go to DC for a weekend to see him. I have a lot of nice memories from our “long-distance” dating time. I loved where he lived in Arlington, it was so close to the city and so fun to wander around with him. I remember that we’d buy a $5 foot long sandwich from Subway and share it. He lived in the tiniest apartment room and he paid $500 rent in one of the most expensive areas near DC. He used to buy this raspberry flavored iced tea that he called juice. He had never heard of iced tea, didn’t know what that was when I told him.

He was on a work visa for 1 year so he could not stay at the job he had in DC, so after that 1 year he moved back to our college and enrolled in a masters program, so that he could extend his student visa to stay in the US. At that time, I had a full time job at the college, and when we became engaged, we decided to complete the legal marriage so that he could have the benefit of free tuition as a spouse of an employee at the college and then we had our wedding ceremony a few months later. That all happened in Virginia and then in May 2007, I graduated with my degree in Finance, quit my job and the next weekend we moved to Michigan and had our wedding ceremony and started our new life. I can’t believe it’ll be 10 years next year since we met.

Why I am Done Reading Health Blogs… For a While

If you’ve read any of my blog, you know I’m interested in nutrition and the importance of eating healthy real food. I have (in the past) been subscribed to multitudes of health blogs and followed the research on the paleo diet, auto-immune protocol paleo, the Weston A. Price foundation, organic foods, Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, so on and so forth. I’ve reached a threshold that I can’t take any more information, at least about health. I am in information overload. I stopped following all but one single blogger that blogs about many more things than just food. I feel that I know enough to live a healthy lifestyle most of the time and I can’t do any better right now. There comes a point where the health-food craze becomes almost a religion and people get overly zealous and judgmental and I don’t want to come near that.

I think this blog is going to turn into a different direction in the future and evolve as I am evolving and growing as a person. Even though I have 2 active children at home, I am always (when I’m not consumed with them) reading and researching and praying to improve myself so I can be a better mother and person. I have not been very organized with goal-setting, especially with trying to keep myself accountable in a public setting like this blog, but that’s something I’ll be working on. Hopefully I will be sharing what I am learning.

I have not posted in a month or so because I was tired of everything I was saying but I think I’ll start again and say something different. Writing is therapeutic. It clears thoughts from my head. It helps me learn by first thinking something, then writing it down, then reading it again (and again). It’s 1am so I think I’ll go to sleep now.

Why I Hate Talking about Politics

We do not subscribe to cable or even own a television. I don’t say this to be prideful, I just am glad we eliminated that thing that wasted so much time and increased unnecessary anxiety in my life. We do have a desktop and a laptop computer so we could watch news online and sometimes we do. But, when we had a television, it was usually in order to flip on the news and see what was happening. And I used to watch a lot of news. What was the point of this? Because it’s important to be informed, right? Especially as Christians, we are told that it’s important to know how terrible the world is and to pray for our evil leaders, etc. There always have been and always will be rulers we don’t agree with in the world. I don’t need to see their faces every day and hear their words to know that they are there. I don’t need to know every issue that is being debated and have a list of evidences of why or why not I agree or disagree. This doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions or believe that those things are important. I’ve just matured enough to understand what is outside the scope of my influence and I now refuse to waste my time thinking or talking about them.

I always vote. How can I vote if I’m not “informed”? Oh, you mean how can I vote if I’m not watching the news every single night and being angry at the people I don’t agree with and cheering on the people I do agree with? I find that game stressful and useless, so I’d rather just know a few simple facts about the candidates, which I can find quickly by reading a few websites and make a decision. The most important issue… is life. It’s pretty simple, I vote for candidates who are ProLife. I don’t vote for candidates who agree with murdering unborn babies. I don’t care to analyze any of the other issues. I don’t care who wants to marry who. I might have a few thoughts about guns, but I don’t care to share or take up much of my time analyzing these things that I can do nothing about.

I am not discouraging people from being involved in politics, but I will not be involved beyond voting. My job is to be a mother, wife, Christian, friend, daughter, and not an arguer of political ideas. I have removed that useless, stressful, previously self-imposed role from my life and I haven’t missed it for a second.

This does not mean that we will never own a television or that I will shelter my children from watching the news, quite the contrary, I think it will be important for them to have a period of time of learning about the political system and watching debates and learning how politicians speak and that time will come, but I won’t emphasize it as a life-long hobby, at least for myself right now.

Gracie is 4 Months Old and Why It Doesn’t Matter as Much

The second baby is so different from the first. Mothering a second baby is so different than mothering the first baby. With the first, my questions were: Will my baby smile? Will my baby really laugh? Will she sit up? Will she ever walk? Will she really talk and words will come out of her mouth? I’m not sure if those things will really happen! Now I know they will happen and they do. Of course, it is still amazing and precious the milestones that Grace reaches, but now I know that these miracles happen and I am not holding my breath until they do.

With Eva I knew exactly how many weeks old she was at each milestone. I would ask friends how old their (not first-born) baby was again and I’d expect an answer in weeks but when I got a lazy estimate, I’d be surprised and wonder how they could not know exactly. But, now I understand. I know Grace is past 4 months old, but I didn’t take a picture of her on the day she was exactly 4 months old and analyze every attribute like I did with Eva. Life goes on. Miracles happen all around us and it’s hard to take them all in.

Grace is such a precious baby. People call her the chill baby, because she just hangs out and watches. She is usually happy and giggling. She has her moments as all babies do, but I am blessed with an easy 2nd baby. She sleeps through the night and takes a long 3 hour nap in the afternoon usually the same time Eva does, so I am doubly blessed to have that block of time alone to work or read. She usually wants to be held all morning long and has cat naps on and off, and then the long nap in the afternoon.

Eva loves her little sister. Although the other day I was talking to Daddy about if we would have any more babies and Eva said very firmly that there were too many babies around here and we didn’t need any more! She likes to tell Gracie that she needs to share, which means that Eva gets everything and “Baby” can watch. We recently picked up a Bumbo chair from a consignment shop and Eva loves that Grace can sit there and watch her do things. I just love having 2 girls and can’t wait to watch them grow up together and hopefully be the best of friends.

Grace – 3 Months Old

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Grace is a very different baby. She has been sleeping through the night for 10-12 hours since she was 8 weeks old. I did not do a thing to encourage this. Eva did not sleep through the night consistently until after 7 months old, so this is amazing. She has a very calm personality. Of course she cries like all babies do, but I’m just amazed at how calm she is most of the time and easy to please. She loves to have someone look her in the face and smile and talk to her. She coos and smiles back and giggles and squeals. She kicks her feet and throws her arms around. She loves to suck on her fists and fingers. She has started to grab toys but is very clumsy and gets irritated when she can’t grab them or she has a grasp on them and just shakes them around as if she can’t let them go. Her hair is so blond and her eyes are so big and blue. When we go out with her she just looks around with wide eyes at everything and then eventually falls asleep without a peep. If I sing to her she has the biggest smile I’ve ever seen and just looks in wonder probably wondering how a person could make such interesting noises. Eva loves her little sister and if she cries she will tell her that “it’s okay” and “don’t worry, Baby”. Or, if I take a few minutes to respond to Grace, Eva will say “Mommy, help Baby!” She asks to hold her all the time and then says “Take picture!” which I always do.

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5 Tips for an Easier Labor & Delivery

I had very different delivery experiences with my 2 girls, and I did some things prior to my 2nd that I think helped me to have – what I would call – a perfect birth experience. It really helped me to read personal accounts of what other mothers did, so hopefully these are some ideas that might help another pregnant mother prepare. You could just say it was my 2nd child and that is why my labor was so quick and easy, and I think that is partly true, but I also think these few things helped as well.

  1. Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. RRLF is a uterine tonic. I couldn’t drink a lot of this as a hot tea during the summer, so I would make a large pitcher of it chilled with some stevia and drink it every day throughout the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
  2. Do squats every day. Seriously. Of course you should get regular exercise and be active every day, but this is one of the best exercises to open up the pelvis and get your body ready to birth a baby.  Other helpful exercises to help baby get in a good position for labor (and help with back pain) are: downward facing dog and cat stretch. I tried to do these exercises almost every day.
  3. Clary Sage essential oil. I only recently started learning about essential oils and I do not know much. But, I did read about Clary Sage and decided to try it. I started using it a week before my due date. I diffused the oil every night before bed AND I rubbed an essential oil mixture on my belly every day that included Clary Sage and Lavender in a coconut carrier oil.
  4. Relax but keep moving. How is this possible? My labor switched on and started to get intense right away so I immediately got into the shower and tried to relax and let my body do what it needed to. I tried to not think too much about it and just let it happen. After the shower, I slowly got dressed and kept walking back and forth to get things together.
  5. Prayer. I prayed consistently every night throughout my pregnancy that God would bless our baby and that I would have a faster, easier labor than my first. Praying about it also put me in a positive mindset that this was going to be a better birth experience and I believed that.

Grace – 2 Months

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Height: 24.5 inches – 99th percentile. Weight: 12 lbs 7 0z – 73rd percentile. Head: 15.3 inches – 64th percentile. I am so thankful for this little girl. She is healthy and thriving and I love her so much. It is amazing to watch her smile in her sleep and giggle when I change her diaper. My two little girls are a miracle and I thank God for them every day. I also love this handsome man holding our two beauties :)

Eva – 2 Years & 9 Months Old

Thought it was time I did a regular update on Eva’s latest life events. I can’t believe my little girl will be 3 years old in a little more than 3 months! I’m so thankful that potty training has gone so well.

Eva's Potty Chart

We are no longer doing stickers or rewards because she doesn’t need them and using the potty is just a habit now for her. She got bored of getting stickers after a while so there wasn’t any problem trying to transition out of getting a reward, she just stopped caring if she got one and was happy enough just using the potty. She also now has no problem using a regular sized toilet out in public places. If we don’t have a toddler-sized potty seat with us, I can just hold her on the regular toilet and she does fine and is not scared of it like she was the first few times. She also is wearing panties all night and has only had 2 accidents in her bed in the past 3 weeks. I read that it could take a long time to get out of diapers at night, but since she was usually waking up dry, I decided to just keep her in underwear all the time. The 2 times that she had an accident during the night, she was upset about it, so I think it reinforced her learning about controlling her bladder. I also have stopped giving her water before bed. I encourage her to drink water all day long, but by 8pm, I put her cups away and don’t mention it and she seems fine with that. She’s been going to bed between 9 and 10pm, so that gives her body 1-2 hours to go potty and have an empty bladder before bed.

I still have the toddler-size potty chair in her bathroom as well as the potty seat that covers the adult toilet. I usually help her up on the adult toilet, but this past week, she has not been telling me when she has to go. She just goes and uses the toddler potty, cleans herself, then dumps the pee from her potty chair into the adult toilet, then washes it out, washes her hands and puts it back! I was really impressed with all of that! She really wants to just do it all herself, so that is great.

In other news, Eva still loves her baby sister. When Gracie cries, she says, “Oh no, I help baby!” and she runs to her and tries to hug her or says “Don’t worry, Baby”, which is what I say a lot to her so she is repeating it. Other things she says are: “I see Baby!” and “Awww, Baby so cute!” Eva talks non-stop and loves to dance and run around. Her constant energy can be overwhelming so I am thankful her Daddy is so active with her so Mommy can have a break sometimes.

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We still read every night for a while before bed. I try to give as much time as I can to this period of time before bed and just recently, since Eva is talking so much more, I started to make a habit of just sitting and talking to Eva after we read. She loves this attention and loves to tell me things. Her conversations mostly center around ladybugs, butterflies, animals, and her grandparents. She always says: “Mommy, I tell you something”. Then she says, “Do you like butterflies?” then, “I like purple butterflies. Do you like purple butterflies?” It’s very cute how innocent and simple her conversations are. I want to make sure I listen and cherish her little thoughts and ideas.

Squash, Carrot & Ginger Soup

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  • 8 cups of homemade chicken bone broth
  • Large winter squash
  • 4-6 carrots
  • 2 pieces (about 1 inch each) fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • salt, pepper

Roast the whole winter squash in the oven at 350 for 1 to 1.5 hours until soft. I roasted the squash one day and then made the soup the next day, since it takes a while. After the squash cools, it’s easy to remove the skin and seeds. Add squash, chopped carrots, ginger, garlic, salt & pepper to broth. You can leave everything in big chunks since it will all be blended later. Let veggies cook in broth for 2 to 3 hours on low. Use immersion blender to blend everything together. Add coconut milk, blend a few moments more and serve. I wasn’t sure how much ginger I should use, so I added one piece, blended it, then tasted it, then added another and felt it was a good amount. This was so good. Sweet and a little spicy.

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Mung Bean Noodles, Veggies & Parm

Mung-Bean Noodles

This meal took 10 minutes to make. Simplest thing ever. I’m liking these new gluten-free noodles I found. They don’t have much of their own taste, so they take on the taste of whatever you add to them.

  • Mung Bean Fettuccine (only 1 ingredient: organic mung beans)
  • 2 carrots shredded into long ribbons
  • 5 stalks of kale chopped
  • 1 cup cabbage chopped
  • 1 cup of real Parmesan cheese

Saute veggies in coconut or olive oil. Boil fettuccine for less than 5 min. Toss everything together with Parmesan.