She is a dedicated mama, living away from her family, but incorporating all of their special traditions here in the United States. I am in awe of this, and think what a lucky little boy she has!
Thanks for sharing your life with us, Sandra! Merry Christmas!
Images shared from Sandra Drew
1. Describe your children in 3-5 words. How did you choose their names?
Active, curious, happy and very snuggly. I remember waking up one morning, and my husband said I picked the name – Luka. I loved it, and I knew at that moment that was it. Luka is a very common name in Eastern Europe, but my husband stumbled upon it online while searching Google for “International Names”. His middle name Niko is after my brother-in-law.
2. How old are your children? How did you tell people you were expecting a baby?
Luka will be 2 in November. I told my family over the Skype at seven weeks, and we did pregnancy announcement to my husband’s family here in the US.
3. How would you describe your pregnancies? How was delivery, birth and labor for you?
My pregnancy was easy, and I loved every single part of it. I spent my first trimester watching Netflix and eating Moe’s sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner until my midwife told me to slow down on deli meats. That was devastating, but I survived.
My third trimester was the toughest as I got diagnosed with gestational diabetes, so constant thinking of what foods I can eat and doing my sugar levels was tiring. I kept being active until the very last day because I wanted to make sure Luka was healthy.
Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I got induced at 39 weeks. I was in the hospital three days having contractions but not progressing. I was “stuck” at 1cm. After the third day, they decided to send me home and let the labor come naturally. I was so sad they were sending me home because all I wanted is to have him and hold him, but it also meant I get one week less of my maternity leave. Finally, two days after they sent me home my water broke while I was sleeping at . We rushed to the hospital and at that night Luka was born, and I was the happiest person.
I knew myself well enough, so number one on my birth plan was epidural. I have no tolerance for pain, and I knew from the very beginning if I do natural birth it will involve drugs. I got epidural and 40 minutes after Luka was born.
4. Describe yourself as a mom in 3-5 words.
Easy going, very protective, loving
5. What type of mom do you hope your children think you were someday when they're old enough to tell you?
I hope they think of me as the strong, loving mom who taught them a good life values and family traditions but also as a fun mom who is their best friend too.
6. What things have you done as a mom that you're most proud of?
I am proud of raising Luka to be bilingual and flying with him at four months overseas to meet my family and friends.
Another thing that I am very proud of is the way I balance my work and family time. It is very important to me that I spend every single minute of my free time with Luka. After 9-hour shift coming home to a messy house, not having dinner can be overwhelming but all I do is take a breath, put on my cool mom mood, and we have the time of our life. I know that he will remember those moments the most, not the way our house was.
7. What have been the most difficult parts to being a mom?
Not having my family around has been the most difficult. I truly understand now the importance of keeping the family together. Sleep deprivation is tough, and taking care of the infant while having a nasty stomach bug, ugh – that was miserable.
8. What is your favorite baby/child product(s) that makes your mom job easier?
Mamaroo Infant Seat was a life saver! Luka would lay in it for hours thinking he is taking a car ride. Pacifier and security baby blanket.
9. What advice about being a mom would you give to a brand new mother?
Make sure you cherish every moment, keep a baby journal and take a day at a time, do not stress and think of everything as just another phase.
10. What is a typical day like for you?
During week days we wake up at 7, have a quick breakfast (usually in the car), and I do the drop off at the daycare. I get to work around and work until . My husband leaves work earlier and does the pickup. By the time, I come home they usually start dinner, so we eat and then go for a walk or to a playground or library on nights when it is open late. Luka goes to bed around and I am usually in bed by . On the weekends, we usually do a fun family thing depending on the season and if there are any events nearby and always Skype my family.
11. What 5 things would you like to do with your kids someday, if anything were possible and money no object?
Take a Disney cruise, own a vacation home in The Alps and teach them how to ski, travel to Brazil, and own a private jet so we can get to places faster.
12. What are your favorite Christmas or winter activities? What are some of your holiday traditions? How do you typically spend the day?
We celebrate two Christmases. Since, I am raised Orthodox, our Christmas falls on , so we have December and January Christmas. :)
For December Christmas we spend the day with my husband’s family, we all get together, exchange presents and just enjoy the time together. For January Christmas, we go to the church and spend the day with friends and Skype my family. I also make traditional meals, and we always do our favorite activities that day as a beginning of a new successful year.
As much as we do fun stuff, and Santa brings presents I do make a point to make it more about the Holiday itself and want those traditions to be carried on with my children.
Leaving Luka at the daycare for the first time and every time after if he is sick or not feeling 100% himself. I truly felt that my place was to be with him and nurture him instead I had to go back to work because we couldn’t afford me staying home. Seeing him now and how great he is doing with his friends and what amazing arts and crafts he does I could not be prouder and I know he is happy.
14. What makes you a strong mom?
My unconditional love for our family. And not freaking out about doing things perfectly or according to what everyone else says. Took me a long time to realize that one but it did make me a strong independent mom I am today.