Friday, August 22, 2014

Diastasis Recti: Summer Edition

The journey of healing continues...

The OB/Gyn I saw this summer wasn't very helpful in that she saw Diastasis recti as a "cosmetic problem" that could be treated only with surgery. Unfortunately, I think that's a fairly typical response.

Here are some other approaches I've been using this summer to work on this aspect of my health:


Haven't done so well on this count; fairly consistent daily walks but not as vigorous as I'd like. Part of this is due to hot weather and not being able to go very fast. I also feel like with the stroller I obsess over whether I'm in the right "alignment" or not for core healing. So the exercise has probably been more about getting fresh air and Vitamin D than weight loss or toning.

"Tummy Team" rehab program

I started this 8-wk program shortly after we arrived in the U.S., and the very week I started was a challenging one with various setbacks ranging from David nursing a lot again to waking several times at night, etc. So in turn I needed to be taking naps as opposed to doing workouts, etc. That was quite frustrating, but eventually I was able to follow the schedule somewhat and work my way through the rehab points.

I haven't felt much of a result from the program, and that's a little disappointing. I'm taking it all in and incorporating some of the concepts, but it hasn't been a life-changer. So I hope to revisit it in the future, maybe even in the fall when I can get into a routine and work the movements into daily life in our apartment (ha ha, routines aren't our strong point, but we can always try).

Seeing a specialist

This was probably the breakthrough this summer out of all the approaches. My mom asked a local Pilates instructor if she had DR experience, and she said yes...and was telling the truth! I really enjoyed meeting her and having 2 sessions of working on my core with professional guidance.

I will say that all the work I've been doing for the past year+ has provided a good foundation. She was impressed by how I could do the breathing correctly and engage my core while doing some movements.

Some of the helpful information I received included learning how to adjust my alignment and also discovering that my split is actually pretty high up. Those are pieces of the puzzle that are hard to figure out long-distance. So now I have some more tools to work with as I go back to Russia.

I've been spending some time just going back to the basics and doing some breathing exercises with my hands on my stomach to feel how everything is working. And doing it over and over again until I feel the muscles going IN, not protruding out.

Each healing approach regarding DR has its own words to promote visualization, and I'm gradually adding all of these descriptions to my toolbox so that I can integrate healthy movements into my daily life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mother and child moment

I've enjoyed some bonding with David this summer. Here we are checking out a fun fort near where my sister lives:

Don't forget to take pictures of yourSELF with your kids/family/friends,
especially if you're the one usually behind the camera! Makes for good memories...

David was really clingy especially at the beginning of our summer trip, maybe because it was a new place. He constantly wanted to be with BOTH of us. I guess he still does kind of tend to want to escape from one parent to go to the other. But he is a lot calmer now!

As I said though, it's nice to spend time together and be needed, because he is on that brink of toddler independence where he is often more interested in other people and not me. :)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Relief of a sort

Hello, blog world.

David has been getting to bed at a more normal time for the past 2 days, so I finally have had an hour or two to unwind and catch up on correspondence.

...Now, where are those posts I was trying to write last month?

As I was mentioning to a neighbor, visiting here is always this conflict between wanting to be a hermit and wanting to see people and do certain things while I have the chance. And eat certain foods, but that need somehow doesn’t have any trouble being met!

The other factor is that of course people have different social needs, and we’ve all had to make some sacrifices to help each other have a moment with friends when we’re already tired, or a hermit moment when someone else wants an adventure. I’m not sure if analysis is even necessary…we’re all different!

New England offers some experiences that we don’t get in St. Petersburg, and David has had more outside time and seen a lot of wildlife that he doesn’t have access to normally. And he’s also splashed in the puddle pool and walked in the sand, things like that.

We’re headed back to Russia in just a few weeks. My heart is heavy thinking about deteriorating international relations and all the implications. And it is pretty painful just thinking about ordinary people suffering as a result. But we are looking forward to seeing our friends and starting a new school year. New beginnings always offer hope.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Amherst anniversary

Andrei and I celebrated 3 years of marriage yesterday! Life has definitely changed a lot, especially thanks to a certain little person.

For a fun "adventure," we took the bus into nearby Amherst, MA. It is actually a lot like my hometown, similar enough that I never go there, which at the same time means I've barely explored it at all.

Since we don't drive, we decided to use public transportation. In St. Petersburg there are a multitude of transportation options and they come every 10-20 minutes (more or less). And in this case it was one bus that came once an hour, though that might be just the summer schedule. Anyway, while we like public transportation, we would have to be pretty organized to use it around here, in order to be at the bus stop on the hour. When we were ready to go back we had just missed a bus, so had to wait about 40 minutes, and then the trip back took about 90 minutes. We didn't mind because we are used to a commute, and it was pretty comfortable to be able to just sit and read (or nap in one person's case) while in traffic. In St. Petersburg there aren't usually seats available, especially during rush hour, so it can be pretty tiring.

After lunch at a "Mediterranean" place, we explored a local bookstore and even made a few purchases. It is nice to support a local business even though I mostly read on my Kindle. And it earned Andrei's seal of approval. :) It was fun to be in a college town again after living in a big city where everything is so impersonal and spread out. Sometimes I miss the small town "character," if you know what I mean.

We still have some more adventures up our sleeve, even being halfway through our summer travels.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New England

So here we are almost a month into our trip and I haven't blogged yet!

My father said that a parent's definition of "vacation" is "taking care of your kids in a different place." So a lot of the adventures revolve around our toddler; not only taking care of his needs but seeing everything through his eyes, which can actually be very enlightening! And it's hard to think of anything else to write about at this point, so this is my fair warning.

Eventually I'll do some more specific posts on flying with a toddler and various aspects of parenting that we are dealing with this summer. I prefer to call it the "transitional" twos as opposed to "terrible." Just to be optimistic that way. ;)

Right now though I am sitting here sorting through photos. It can certainly be a big job, and I'm torn between the different options for archiving. I love the hands-on/homemade feel of scrap-booking and yet the practicality and durability of photo-books is something to consider. Certainly easier to get extra copies.

So, that's that. Back to photos!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Can you say "packing panic" out loud 10x fast?

So, yeah...I had lots of posts that didn't quite make it to being published over the last few weeks. And photos that I don't have time to upload.

We just had our 3rd family birthday celebration in 2 weeks, and there was also a baby shower that I was heavily involved in, so it's been event-ful.

Things are up and down a lot and many times a difference of just one hour can make or break my day. I hadn't packed at all until this evening and then in a matter of minutes I was about 75% done...I just needed to be able to concentrate. Whereas David waking from his nap one hour earlier can really make me get behind.

David has been out of sorts and I'm never sure if it's just his age or if something is bothering him. He doesn't have any visible physical symptoms, but could be teething. I was literally in the middle of typing this (it's 1am) and he suddenly popped up in his bed and started calling for "Thomas," his new train (which is made out of hard plastic and has lights and sound effects). Ants in his pants...

I'm not sure what the plane ride is going to be like, and I'll have to test the theory, but it reminds me of being in labor where the details are fuzzy, you just remember that it's hard. :)

One more full day and we're leaving on Thursday.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


I wasn't the only one who had a birthday last week. My sister Masha gave birth to a baby girl on Monday!

We're all thankful for her safe arrival.

As I was picturing Masha as a mother, I realized that my sisters and I all have children now: Emily and I each have a boy, and Masha and Nastia each have a girl.

While we might not have always been close growing up because of age or language or adoption, we now have something new in common. There are new "battle-wounds," physical and emotional, along with the joys of motherhood. And I have been feeling this a lot in general with my fellow women. Growing up and entering the workforce or moving away or getting married created some distance, but entering motherhood provides new ground for friendship. Of course this is true with my mom and other female relatives, and friends and classmates too.

And I certainly don't want to exclude that parenthood bond with my brother and his lovely wife, and their ever-growing family! :)

As far as my single friends and those waiting to be parents, I'm always encouraged by the discussions over at Kindred Grace (formerly Young Ladies Christian Fellowship). Lots of lessons to learn and things to think about in the greater community of God's family. I like having those conversations in real life, too.