Sunday, 16 November 2014

My Firstborn

For six years (one week short of six years, to be exact), my first child, my beautiful daughter, has been the first thing on my mind when I woke up and the last thing I though of before falling to sleep. My love for her has grown exponentially since I gave birth and has become the single most fulfilling emotion that graced my life. My love for my husband, my mom and brother, my close friends and other important people in my life was still there but the depth of my feelings towards my daughter trumped all else.
Our relationship was built gradually, starting as a mother's worry for her newborn and evolving into a warm, deep, caring sense of knowing, belonging, loving this little person who just became more and more awesome as the days passed by. We established our own communication, our own language, our rituals. This became all important for me. It also changed and/or modified my relationships with everyone else in my life, bringing out the good stuff - as well as the not so good - to the surface and influencing how I saw the world and everyone around me.
No, I did not forget about everything else. Having a child brought me and my husband even closer, augmented our love and enriched our relationship. I did not stop thinking about and doing stuff that make me who I am - although some of these things took a while to get back to. I continued working and dedicating a significant amount of my energy to my work. I continued travelling through work and enjoying every bit of it. I eventually continued going out, with my husband, with my friends, co-workers, going to the movies and the theater, taking long walks, just enjoying myself.
Still, my feelings for my child and my life with my child became the single most defining aspect of my everyday. She's grown up into a smart, sensitive, happy child, attuned to the world and other people, curious and observant, with a lot of empathy and deep emotions. And that made me so happy and so proud of everything she did and accomplished. This became especially pronounced this year as she has grown up so  much, showed such a special sense of understanding life and her surroundings, and learned so many different skills.
And then, almost a month ago, everything changed. I had this concern that giving birth to another child would alter this most important relationship in my life. Partially, that was the reason why I delayed getting pregnant for the second time. Things started changing during pregnancy and even before I've said it out loud it was my child that defined the profound shift that was to take place in our household. One day she just said 'Mom, I know, when the baby is born, nothing will ever be the same'. Ha, talk about an insightful kid...
However, the real extent of the change manifested itself once I got home for the hospital with the baby. While I was in the maternity ward for three days, I was beginning to get to know my newborn and enjoy time with her but my thoughts were always with my elder. What is she doing now? Is she worried that I'm not around? Does she miss me? Is she sad, upset? Am I going to get home in time for her birthday?
Come home on time I did. And managed to organize everything and everyone so that the birthday celebrations would not lack anything, just as before the baby. But I couldn't make it to the party for her friends. That killed me.
However, the realization of how much things have really changed hit me hard that evening. The baby was asleep and I went to get my party girl to bed. We got into the pajamas, brushed our teeth, and I lay beside her, just as I've always did - that was our special time, to talk, giggle, tell stories, sing and cuddle. I hugged her and she was almost nodding off when it hit me - God, this may not happen every evening from now on, there is someone else who needs me, and this does not feel the same as it did before- there is someone else to think/worry/care about. I felt a great sadness overcome me and I started crying.
In a way, I miss it. I miss that feeling of caring so much for my special girl and only for her. I feel sad that I have sort of robbed her of that feeling as she will never receive my undivided and exclusive attention in the same way as she did before the baby. I know that the love I feel now is not simply shared/divided - it is augmented and richer, but I still mourn the loss of that unique feeling and bond I had with her.
The baby will never be the only one - she is always the second child thus she gets to share me from day one and for her it will be normal. But it is different for my firstborn. She's been really great since the baby came home, gracious, caring, helping with everything, she's just a darling girl. But that night I felt the loss of something I know will never be the same and felt it so much so that it hurt physically. 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Mom 2.0

Well, who would've thunk it? Being pregnant, giving birth and becoming a mom the second time around is equally as all-consuming as it was six years ago when I first gave birth. And that's where all the similarities stop. IT IS NOT THE SAME. It is so much more of everything...
My newborn will turn one month next week and to say that my life has undergone a complete and profound change is an understatement. The depth and wealth of emotions I have been going through this past weeks is almost indescribable, wonderful and deeply perturbing, all at the same time.
The biggest changes - at least how I see them now - concern my relationship with my firstborn, my impressions on giving birth, breastfeeding and doing all these things that only women can do, and my attitude towards my body.
I'll try and write about all of these in separate posts in an attempt to clear my head and find reason and rhyme to what is a whirlwind of intense emotions at all times since another precious little girl saw the light of day through the miracle that is childbirth.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Friday Shoes

I did get myself a new pair of shoes as a birthday present, although not the fancy designer ones I stated my desire for in one of the previous posts. I went the sensible route this time (that, and I found out that the designer shoes were never made in my size, damn you large Hobbit-like feet) and opted for some Clarks brogues. Exhibit 1 below:

These are a perfect example of the office/casual, the look I'm going for most of the time (could never do the full formal pants suit or matching blazer and skirt thing, no way) and will go well with most of my wardrobe. It's a nice shade of navy, there are rubber soles as added bonus and padded insoles which are just heavenly to walk in - one feature of the Clarks shoes that may just win me over for good.

I see on their website that there is a black patent version of these, which I would love to get my hands on as I have a similar pair that is now almost seven years old and in dire need of replacing, but these were not on offer sadly.

I hinted to my significant other to do a little browse through the ZARA accessories section and I'm hoping I'll find a neatly wrapped up necklace of my choice as my birthday present tomorrow ;)

I already made two cakes, the third one is in order tomorrow, my husband's birthday is on Wednesday so there is a heavy chocolate cake in my future for sure and I've found a new recipe for macarons which means I'll be tempted to try it out . . . 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

No Sugar Coating It!

New jacket
Courtesy of mom
Birthdays are a lot of fun ;)

 A very pregnant me - watch out, that belly button is popping out ;)
 I love the flare in the back and the pleating - i don't know if it's visible on the picture (blurry shots from the office bathroom, not the nicest outfit shooting environment, I know), but that's the main thing that won me over.
Chunky necklace, wood, organic, the right combination if you ask me, it's all carefree and boho chic of sorts.
I love the lining in a different pattern and color - details, it's all about details!

It's a useful addition to my wardrobe and it will work post pregnancy as well. Given that I have not put a lot of weight around my boobs/arms/upper body except for the very protruding belly, I chose a size smaller than I would need now. It fits my shoulders and the rest well and I hope it will continue to fit well after the eye-popping belly is gone. I love the colorway, navy, mustard, red and green - goes with so many things in my wardrobe and it's a nice, lightweight jacket that can make a plain outfit instantly more pulled together if need be, so suitable for where I spend most of my days when I'm not a prego lady/baby mommy - in the office ;) It can work with the casual style as well, I can envision slim dark jeans, flats and the jacket carrying me through the play dates, kids birthdays and the like. Do I make it sound like i LOVE it?

Thursday, 31 July 2014

It's Friday Tomorrow!

Gosh, it's tiring going to work every day at seven months pregnant . . . That's why I'm excited about Friday! Although, the weather is crap, no real summer this year, rain and hail mainly, interspersed with bouts of sunshine that cause horrible humidity, really not the best performance this year, Summer dear!
I took a long walk on my lunch break today, popping in and out of shops, looking at what's on sale, and trying to stay dry - rain was dripping intermittently every 5-10 minutes.
I mainly wear a uniform of capris, ballet flats and whatever top fits the growing bump these days. Exhibits 1 and 2 below:

Not the most revolutionary look style-wise, but hey - cut the preggo lady some slack, will ya?  These capris from H&M turned out to be life savers this time around as my previous preggo jeans do not fit me this time - somehow, they are just too big. The black jeggings I invested in from Mothercare are also pulling their weight, although the biggest problem are the humid and hot days - I seem to not want to wear anything then and that's not an option, at least in the office ;)

The sales revealed a few covetable items: 

1. a soft, unstructured jacket from Monsoon, in navy, with mustard and red accents, perfect for my style which tends to seer clear of too fitted anything (sadly I cannot find a picture on the net, it must be from some of the previous collections)

2. a ZARA necklace which wold go with just about anything in my wardrobe:

3. a red, faux leather skirt for my daughter, also from ZARA:

But what I really really really want are these shoes:

These are from a local designer and are just the top of the iceberg in fabulous overload that are the rest of the collection of loafers and oxford brogues I fell in love with about a month ago. You can have a look see for yourself here. Amazing, yes?

I now need to think long and hard as to what to order as birthday presents from mum and the hubby - sure some of these will find their way to me neatly tied with a ribbon? ;)

Just finished reading one of Orhan Pamuk's books - The Museum of Innocence - not overly impressed, I give it 3 out f 5 stars. I'm now tackling the New York Post short stories collection available online here and planning the next big read. Also, eagerly awaiting to at least hear the news that the next season of Sherlock started filming (supposedly around New Year's time) and before that I hope we get the chance to see Benedict in 'The Imitation Game' and hear him in 'The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies' soon enough. 

Friday, 25 July 2014

The Waiting Game

Two things making me jittery since this morning:

1. Today would have been my father's 60 birthday. Typing 60 makes me cringe - he would have been only 60! And I would have expected a good 20 years more out of him, just as I do with my mom. But he's not here and I will never see him or speak to him again. It is these two things that make coping with his death as hard as it was almost five years ago. I so wish I could hug him once more and hear him say my name, nothing more. I see his picture on the shelf as I walk through my apartment every day and some days it just startles me how very much alive and happy he looks on it and for a second I forget that he's dead. I decided I'll try and not let myself be sad all day but work on remembering the happy bits, the anecdotes, the love, the four of us being happy and laughing.

2. A follow-up ultrasound for the fibroadenoma in my left breast. I was diagnosed with it past October and the shocking (to me) revelation came followed with the words 'don't worry, a third of the female population your age has that' or something to that effect. It didn't make matters any easier though. This is a benign lump that warrants some monitoring and especially during the pregnancy, to see whether the hormones make it bigger or smaller. On the conscious, rational level I know this is not something to get worried about or freak out over. I know that my life is not immediately affected by it. I know I need to be responsible and check it in regular intervals over the course of two years and that's it. On the subconscious, more primal instinct level, I want to scream my head off. I'm scared, I dread the moment I'll enter that exam room and I don't know how to make it through the few minutes that the examination will take place.

This speaks volumes as to my problematic relationship with any form of medical issues, given my family history related to cancer. I am acutely aware that I'm in that high risk group with everything that's happened on my dad's side of the family and I know regular check ups is the way to go (hello colonoscopy, probably next year, after I've had the baby). That, however, does not make it any less scary.

I just need to breathe deeply, take the plunge and hope for the best tomorrow. The lady doctor is very nice and I hope everything proves to be ok.

Meanwhile, I leave you with pictures of the bump and my current favorite summer handbag.

Thursday, 24 July 2014


In less than a month now I'll be reaching the ripe young age of 34. Sounds . . . scary? No. The number of years I've spent on the Blue Planet so far does not scare me, yet. Mature. Yes, but - I've somehow been born mature, always 'older' than I actually was at the time, and somehow all-knowing of the world and its secrets. Too knowing for my own good. That does not mean I haven't made mistakes. There have been mistakes galore for the 30 something years but I'm not in the retrospective mood this year. Some of the bigger ones have been rehashed too many times for my own good, some lessons learned, yes, some progress at forgiving myself made, but for what I consider the biggest ones - no, no scratching beyond their surface value and I know this is something that would have to happen, eventually. 
It's summer, my favorite time of the year, and although it hasn't been covering itself in glory this time around (I'm talking to you, oh Gods of rain, yes, you heard me), I enjoy it. I enjoy the warmth, the sun, the fruit, the lazy feeling, the empty Belgrade, and only regret not getting to go to the seaside this year, due to the planned vacation dates being too close to my actual due date. I guess summer is also what makes my birthdays more tolerable and somehow always taken more lightly than what the numbers suggest. Everything is less serious in August.
The birthday this year gets me closer to another birthday - of my unborn child, and that's what sets the tone for being 34. Will everything be all right? Will I give birth to a healthy child? How will my older daughter cope with the new addition to the household? Will I make mistakes as a parent of two? Will those mistakes be the ones that my kids resent me for in their 20s or 30s? How will I cope with two kids? Am I going to go mental for a few months like the last time around? Am I ever again coming back to myself, to what I want, need, wish and be free to do it? How much adjustment will it take? Will the compromises ever stop? How will my marriage be affected by all this? 
Doubt much? Yes. Worry much? Oh, yes, definitely. Scared? Way too much. I am scared of this new chapter in my life more than I'd like to admit. But that's me. I'm always scared and worried in advance. And than when it's time to perform/take the test/pass the exam, everything usually falls into place and happens the way it should. It's not always the way I expect it to be, though, but that does not mean that it ends up badly, no. 
I have an impression that I'm breathing hard these days, catching my breath, getting ready for the ride of my life. I know nothing will ever be the same. I don't know how will it turn out and what to expect. Am I ready? I don't know that either. All I know is that when it starts happening, I'll manage, hell, I'll even do a stellar job at times, or less of a good one at other moments, but I'll give it my all and I won't be looking back. And I won't be doing it on my own.
I hope the number 34 brings joy and good times for my family. I hope it brings that feeling of being good in your own skin and the ever-elusive peace of mind. I hope it brings clarity, reason, purpose and significance. I hope it adds to an improved version of me.
Here's to birthdays and great expectations!

Thursday, 10 July 2014


To say that I have a sweet tooth is a serious understatement. I LOVE sweets. I love chocolate first and foremost. I love cakes and I enjoy making them. I adore all kinds of creamy goodness associated with cupcakes, lava cakes, fruit tarts, filled puff pastries, caramel-flavored anything, and I could go on and on . . . Baking soothes and calms me, there is a method to it, exactness and a sense of controlling the process leading to yummy results.
I started doing it as a kid with my grandma and my mom, I was in awe of their egg breaking and yolk - egg white separation skills and I wanted to get in on the secret. I loved the smell of vanilla, grated lemon zest, cherries, ground nuts, melted butter, cinnamon and chocolate. But what I loved the most about the whole magical undertaking was the moment when the dough/cream/filling was finished and dispensed from the bowl to the pan/onto a cake, whatever. That meant that there was creamy goodness left in the bowl that was mine for the taking. It was the most solemn of all childhood rituals, licking the sweet stuff and feeling good about it!
There is a Serbian superstition that says that if you lick the cake bowls than you'll have rain on your wedding day. Now, there is no rational explanation in my head at least how these two are connected - I suppose this was devised as a deterrent for girls, preventing them in enjoying too much of the good stuff and therefore appearing unseemly and overflowing on their all-important day - but the superstition appeared to be oh so true on my wedding day. It was June 3rd, it was only 12 degrees Celsius and we had heavy, grey, overcast skies and rain falling from heaven and earth. It stopped only - how conveniently - for me to throw the bouquet and it went on and on and on for the day.

Regardless, I completely agree with the picture below:

My daughter seems to be following in my footsteps as she awaits the bowl for the licking with the same keen excitement that always melts my heart ;)

My love for macarons - an all important sweet in the culinary world - came only later and coincided with my first visit to France. It was love at first sight though - me venturing into Laduree and having a go at this melt-in-your-mouth heavenly treat - it could've only ended as a love affair. That is why I was exceptionally thrilled to find out that there is a Pierre Hermes macaron with my name! Come on - how cool is that! And a raspberry-mint taste to boot.


Speaking of sweets, here's another kind of candy that gets my pulse racing these days:

'nough said!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Friday Favorites

I know, two posts in one day - I don't recognize myself any more! But, this merits special attention. Apart from my new shoes, this cannot go unnoticed: Caleb Followill and Chris Martin, jamming all together at Glasgow Green! Dear Lord! To be a fly on the wall in that backstage!

Both Kings of Leon and Coldplay get my blood pumping faster than usual - I just love their music, it's so what good music should be about, guitar riffs, solo piano parts, and mind blowing lyrics. The fact that the two are easy on the eyes, at least in my book, helps too ;)

New Shoes and Stuff

The arrival of a black box can only mean one thing - I'm guilty of getting myself another pair of IDENTITY/LILU shoes! Being a Bigfoot that I am does not actually make my life easy in terms of getting appropriate footwear. It makes it a living hell! Oh, how many times have a gazed wistfully at a pair of sleek and elegant ballerinas in a shop window knowing I could never get my huge, chunky feet in them! But,  after I've discovered the talented Danijela Biskup and her shoes almost 10 years ago, I've never looked back. The fit is wide enough for my feet, each pair I own is more than a few years old, they stand the test of time well and I keep adding regularly to the collection. What I also like about them is that they organize weekend sales pretty frequently and it's always good scoring something you covet for a lower price, at least in my book ;) (you can tell I'm very patient, no instant gratification here, hurts the bank balance too much ;)

Here they are, silver flats in all their glory, with the bracelet du jour, a Secret Santa gift from a colleague.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Friday Favorites

1. My new fragrance: my mom's nearest and dearest treated her to a week-long trip to Paris in honor of her 60th birthday (mom, you rock!). Apart from having a ball, mom did the obligatory cheese and macarons shopping, as well as brought a little something something for a very special someone, er, me. Having accidentaly broken a bottle of my favorite Iris by Prada a few months ago, I went without a signature scent as I couldn't really decide which one to get. Mom resolved all dilemmas and came back with a new Givenchy fragrance, Eau Demoiselle. I love it to bits, it's gentle and flowery and does not interfere with my sensitive prego nose. And the packaging is great, vintage-looking, taking pride of place on my vanity.

2. The new Coldplay album, on repeat since released, calming and soothing for my overwrought nerves. I remember doing the same during my first pregnancy, no wonder my daughter loves them.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

It's official - I'm a Cumberbitch!

I just finished watching the three episodes of Season 3 of Sherlock on the sly and all I have to say is - hot damn Benedict Cumberbatch! Never mind that these three trump all previous episodes, never mind that the dynamic duo - Holmes and Watson - unfolds with such delicate complexity and unstoppable emotion before our eyes, never mind that they finally have a female character that is a match for both, what marks a distinct and profound change for me is the fact that now when I hear Holmes I think - Benedict, not Jeremy Brett any more! And I thought that would be impossible! Seriously!

Apart from his acting skills and that voice, here's proof undeniable that Benedict Cumberbatch is one good looking sleuth!

Sexy Sherlock
Photo Shoot

My personal favorite:

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Year We Lost our Grandfathers

Knowing that the Grim Reaper comes for those who are indeed first in line given their age and health issues does not make loosing a family member any easier. Within a month apart, both my husband and me lost our grandfathers. They were both almost 90 and their health, their bodies were failing them in the past few months to the point that living was not easy. Both have been blessed with long lives and relatively good health well into their 80s so I guess that in and of itself is more than any of us can hope to experience given our sedentary way of life and the questionable quality of food we are ingesting.
That does not mean that their lives were easy. My husband's grandfather survived the Second World War in a German labor camp. My grandfather was purposefully displaced from Montenegro - the land of stone and hills - to the rural flats of the Serbian northern province of Vojvodina. They both spent most of their lives tending to the land and animals, although they both also earned their pensions through regular office work.
Losing my grandfather means there is one less member of my family from my late father's side and that makes me so sad because it's also like every time that happens I'm also losing another part of my dad again. My grandpa was a tall, strong man, with wavy hair - a feature most of us, his grand kids, have inherited. He was very optimistic and easygoing in his manner and very disciplined and hardworking. He could cook wonderfully, another trait that runs among the male members of my family, and could also make a mean apple strudel. He was also very stubborn, another of his characteristics that some of us (khm, khm) inherited without doubt.
My husband's grandfather was a figure of authority, old-school man of the house type, but also with a great sense of humor and very lovable. In some photos the resemblance between him, my husband and my daughter is uncanny. Visiting his home in Slavonija, in Croatia, enjoying the outdoors, the country stuff so appealing to the kids grown up among the concrete blocks of a big city, was every bit as exciting for me as it was for my daughter. He lived an honest, simple life albeit taking the hard way out of some situations because that's just the way he was. Obstinacy is also a family trait in my husband and my daughter and it is he who they have to thank for it.
I will miss them both a lot. They will never meet the baby growing inside of me, but my daughter will remember them both.
My maternal grandfather, though, is still alive and well, going strong aged 84, and I am very thankful for that. His is a very special place in my heart.

Friday, 16 May 2014

These days

Other than silently observing the torrential rain that just will not let up for the past three days from the safety and comfort of my office/home, I just don't know what else  I could do. Sure, there are the help lines and care centers where you can drop clothes, food, blankest for over 6000 people who had to flee their homes throughout Serbia in the face of floods that obliterate your whole life in seconds. But even that seems insufficient, nothing, compared to the magnitude of destruction and desolation. We are truly helpless compared to the force of nature and devastation it can bring. This reminds me of a summer some 20 years ago when we stayed at a friend's vacation home in one of the most beautiful parts of Serbia and having visited the neighbors who supplied us with milk, cheese and eggs, we witnessed all their year's worth of agricultural works destroyed in minutes by rain and hail. That left me as speechless and numb as I feel these days . . .
On the other hand, there is me and someone else to take care of. This second pregnancy definitely does not feel that good as the first one. I'm six years older, gee, that may be it ;) I just don't feel energetic enough. I feel tired, sapped of energy, lacking of will, wanting to stay in bed most mornings, no good hormones kicking in in the second trimester. Everything seems a cause of worry. Just thinking about the family dynamics after the baby comes out is enough to make me want to go hide in a dark corner and not come out.
But the baby is growing and moving, It's there, it's alive, a part of me and it;s an incredible feeling. Another tiny little thing fighting to survive and face the world. Miraculous and scary, all at the same time.
My favorite part of the day lately is having a shower in the evening and then going to bed and to a good book.

I loved the 'Remains of the Day' and this promises another thrilling read, with elements of suspense and hints of detective work together with intricate character development.

I devoured this one, McEwan is really one of my favorites. His language is testament to his genius and his plots are unpredictable.

At least I don't have a case of baby brains and I can read and write. Small things make a life, just have to keep reminding myself of those.

Friday, 9 May 2014

In the mean time

There haven't been any posts in a long while, too many reasons for that, too little time. However, what I've read in this week's issue of GOOP prompted the desire to share. The newsletter is titled Ending Mommy Wars, alluding to the hard time we give each other as women, judging, eyebrow-raising and generally just frowning upon each other's choices on being working or stay-at-home moms. However, it is the two articles inside Ideal Mothers, Ideal Workers, and the Myth of Busyness and Work that provide powerful insights on what needs to change in the way we ourselves and the society at large perceive our roles - for both women and men - in the family and the work place. Many big issues are deconstructed - the stigma for men who want to be more present in their kids' lives, the struggle and failure of women to be perfect at all fronts, and the guilt associated with taking out some 'me' time. Worth a read!