Emin and his four month birthday!

by meleeneh on August 31, 2017

On August 30, Emin turned 4 months old!

13 lbs 8 oz • 24.75 inches • Brown/grey eyes and dark brown, wavy hair •
Plays with his toes when on his back • Bears weight on legs when in a standing position •
Uses his fingers to rake and grab an object • Rolls from his back to his belly and back again •
Sucks his thumb and fist • Loves Mickey Mouse • Vacationed in Los Angeles and Maui •
Wears 3-6 months clothes and Size 2 diapers

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Mihran turned 3!

by meleeneh on August 31, 2017

Mihran celebrated his 3rd birthday at Disneyland, followed by a sports-themed party with all of his friends at the park. Here are photos from his special day! Happy Birthday Mihran!

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Emin and his three month birthday!

by meleeneh on July 31, 2017

On July 30, we celebrated Emin’s 3-month birthday!

12 lbs 5 oz • 24 inches • Brown/grey eyes and dark brown hair •
Holds head steady when upright and on his belly • Smiles and laughs intently • Grips objects •
Squeals in delight and says “ah-goo” • Loves Mommy & Me Yoga •
Vacationed in Sonoma with his cousins • Wears 3-6 months clothes and Size 2 diapers

And one more photo…

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Emin is 2 months old!

by meleeneh on June 30, 2017

On June 30, we celebrated Emin’s 2-month birthday!

11 lbs 7.5 oz • 23 inches • Green/grey eyes and dark brown hair •
Holds head steady when upright • Smiles intently, especially when he sees his brother •
Able to focus on a face, vertical blinds, ceiling fans, patterns, and shapes •
Attended his first reggae and classic rock concert at San Mateo Central Park •
Starting to make coo sounds • Wears 0-3 months clothes and Size 1 diapers

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Emin and his one month birthday!

by meleeneh on May 31, 2017

On May 30, we celebrated Emin’s one month birthday!
We can’t believe a month has passed already!

9 lbs. 9.5 oz • 22 inches • Grey eyes and dark brown hair (lots of it!) • Lifts head briefly at
45 degrees when on tummy • Holds head steady when upright • Smiles spontaneously • Able to focus on a face • Loves to snuggle and fall asleep on someone’s chest • Listens intently when his brother is speaking • Not a fan of diaper changes • Wears newborn clothes and diapers
(but about to graduate to a bigger size) 🙂

Here’s a behind the scenes shot with big brother Mihran.

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Guest blogger: Emin Gabriel DerHartunian

by meleeneh on May 10, 2017

Saturday, April 29 started like this: Mihran (my older brother) told my parents that he needed to talk to me to tell me that I needed to come home today. My parents chuckled and said, “Mihran, Aper (little brother) needs to grow a little more in Mama’s belly. He’ll be home soon.” But my brother was insistent (as any 2.5+ year old is), “No, he needs to come home today.” And like a good little brother, I listened and obeyed. 🙂

After putting Mihran for his afternoon nap, Papa went to Home Depot while Mama remained home. Mama started to notice some leaking fluid while she was in the bathroom. After speaking to her acupuncturist and her doctor, she was advised to come into the hospital. Mama was convinced that she was not in labor because her experience with her water breaking with Mihran was a very sudden gush of fluid, in addition to feeling strong contractions. This, on the other hand, was small amounts of fluid leaking and no pain from contractions. The doctor told her that with a second baby, it is a whole different ball game. Thus, Mama called Papa and told him he should make his way home sooner rather than later. She tried to reach Mamik, who was at Hillsdale Mall, to see if she could come stay with Mihran while they went to the hospital. Mama had barely finished packing her hospital bag only the day before, and along with my car seat and birth ball in hand, Mama and Papa headed to Mills-Peninsula Hospital as soon as Mamik arrived at the house. Mihran had just woken up from his nap and was a bit confused by the circumstances. Before falling asleep, Mama and Papa had promised him that he was going to visit Nicole and Nina, but now plans had changed, and he was disappointed to miss out on his play date. This was around 4PM.

The nurse that checked in Mama was named Alicia, and both Mama and Alicia quickly realized that they were high school classmates! Alicia confirmed that Mama’s water had released and that she was having contractions, of which she felt none! Dr. Fletcher, the doctor on call, advised my parents that if labor did not progress within 12 hours, Mama would have to be induced in order to prevent potential introduction of infection or other complications. Her deadline was 4AM. Additionally, there was a possibility of meconium in the amniotic fluid; therefore, it was important that I be admitted and monitored. When checking her in, Alicia made sure that Mama got a hospital room with a tub and the best view- how sweet! Unlike what my parents had expected and what happened with labor with Mihran, they would not be able to labor at home this time around.

Mama made it her mission to avoid induction and to start the labor on its own, so after being officially admitted into the hospital, she and Papa started walking laps around the Family Birth Center, passing the same nurses’ station and the same family waiting in the Waiting Room (enjoying a giant size of Kentucky Fried Chicken dinner) several times. The contractions began on their own without intervention around 10PM, and became more and more evident and prevalent in a short amount of time. The timing between contractions decreased as the labor was rapidly progressing. The contractions were coupled with nausea, but having experienced the same thing during labor with Mihran, my parents had come prepared with citrus essential oil and a diffuser to combat it. Mama was also armed with her birth ball, headphones, iPOD, and eye mask to allow her to concentrate and connect her mind and body without the distractions of the beeps and commotion of the hospital room.

Our Stork and Sprout doula, Laura, joined us around 3AM to help Mama with her contractions and labor. Mama was 6 cm dilated and experiencing intense back labor (similar to what she experienced with my brother Mihran and what she describes as having your back ripped open and hot acid poured on it) and opted for an epidural in order to preserve her already injured and weak back. With no sleep since the day before, she continued to labor for several hours through the early morning. Throughout the process, the nurses thought that her contractions had slowed down, in which case they wanted to prescribe pitossin to progress the labor quickly. She advocated for herself and reassured the nurses that she was, in fact, having contractions, and with the help of Laura, repositioned the monitors to better detect the contraction activity. Also, I preferred only one position, Mama lying on her left side. If she changed positions, I was less of a happy camper, so she remained side lying for the rest of the labor and even pushed that way as well.

Hours passed and with several changes in nurses (it was Vanessa at this point), I had traveled down the birth canal to 10 cm dilation. Mama began to push with the support of an incredible girl-power labor team, and within 30 minutes, I was making my first appearance. Papa’s first reaction as my head had crowned was the sound of glee and the words, “Oh my God, he has so much hair!” The nurses agreed. Dr. Divanji soon joined the festivities in order to see me through the rest of the birth. She allowed my Mama to feel me as I was coming out, and Mama’s reaction, too, was, “He’s so fuzzy.” Finally, Dr. Divanji pulled me out and Papa cut my cord. I had arrived at 10:16 AM on April 30, 2017 (1.5 weeks before my due date).

We spent the rest of the morning and day having major skin-t0-skin time and bonding. The pediatrician said I was doing well and my Mama was in the recovery process. My favorite part of the day was meeting my older brother. At first, he kept looking between Mama’s belly and me and wondering how I got out of the belly and whether or not there was a baby still in there. He was so excited and giggled as he asked question after question about me and how I got to the hospital. He was fascinated and very cautious. I had bought him a stuffed animal of his favorite Paw Patrol character, Rocky, and several new books, his favorite. He also gifted me a turtle toy. How sweet!

Because this was the second child for my parents, it was a vaginal delivery, and both the pediatrician and OB signed off on it, we were able to go home one day early so we could reunited with my brother. Since then, we have been learning how to operate as a family of four, to manage new sleep and eating patterns, and to hopefully establish a “new normal,” though we are all aware it takes time to do so. Thus, we are enjoying the journey and accepting any and all help we can get. 😉

Finally, Emin Gabriel, my name. In Armenian, Emin is pronounced Eh-meen, and Gabriel is pronounced Gaw-bree-yel. Emin means safe and trustworthy, and Gabriel means God is powerful or to have strength and is also the name of God’s messenger angel in the Bible. My parents decided to name me once they met me in person at the hospital. They had various criteria they had wanted to follow, and both names fulfilled their wishes. Simply put, they loved the names and their significance. Most importantly, Emin was Mihran’s top choice (runners up were Francia [France] and Tonatsar [Christmas Tree]). Thus, I start and end my blog with a story about how my Metz Aper (big brother), having never met me in person, has already made some key decisions on my behalf that will forever impact my life and the life of my family, first, the date of my arrival and second, my name. I’m one lucky little Aper (brother)! <3

Mama_Emin Big bro_Nini_Emin Baby_feet Papa_EminAfter_birth  Emin

 

 

 

 

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We’re having a…?

by meleeneh on December 29, 2016

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Happy Christmas and Joyous 2017!

by meleeneh on December 23, 2016

HAPPY CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR FROM THE DERHARTUNIAN FAMILY!
WE WISH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY A JOYOUS AND HEALTHY 2017!

miro_santa_2016

Family highlights of 2016 (links to blog posts included):

  • Mihran is the ring boy (in an all-cream tuxedo) at Raffi and Angela’s wedding in May.
  • Argam is interviewed by Forbes Magazine, and the magazine names PicsArt one of the 20 best photo editing apps for mobile devices.
  • Mihran starts in the Blue Jay classroom in February and the Owls classroom in August at Second Generation Genentech.
  • Mihran visits the snow for the first time in Lake Tahoe in February.
  • Argam serves as AIWA panel speaker for “Shaping the Next Generation of Future Leaders” held at PicsArt in San Francisco.
  • Argam and Meleeneh attend Genentech’s Give Back Conference and see surprise performances by One Republic, The Killers, P!nk, and Justin Timberlake.
  • Meleeneh travels to Philadelphia in June to attend the Drug Information Agency (DIA) Annual Conference and sees the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
  • The DerHartunian Family travels to Armenia and Georgia during the month of July and celebrates Mihran’s Christening in Dilijan.
  • Meleeneh is appointed the Leadership in Residence (LIR) at Genentech to serve on her department’s Leadership Team for a 6-month rotation.
  • Mihran turns 2! He speaks Armenian fluently and his English skills are improving. He loves music, traveling, the car wash, airplanes, garbage trucks, fire trucks, and reading with mama. His favorite shows are Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, and Masha and Bear. He is preparing for potty training too.
  • Argam celebrates 1-year at PicsArt!
  • The DerHartunian Family travels to Sedona and Phoenix in November, goes hiking in 30°F weather, and enjoys every minute of it.
  • We learn that we will be welcoming a baby boy into our family in May 2017! (Video of gender reveal coming soon!) Mihran wants to name baby brother Tonatsar (Christmas Tree). 😀

We are looking forward to making even greater memories in 2017 and welcoming the newest member of our family! We will be ringing in the new year in Oahu- Aloha!

Love,
Argam, Meleeneh, Mihran, and Baby Boy #2

 

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Mihran’s Christening Highlight Video

by meleeneh on October 12, 2016

Thank you Lumen Photography for capturing Mihran’s special day in this memorable video for us to share with our family and friends. (We suggest watching it in 1080p HD.)

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Voyage to the Motherland II: July 2016

by meleeneh on September 23, 2016

This summer, our family had an adventure in Armenia and Georgia. It’s been 9 years since I blogged about my first Voyage to the Motherland. After spending this July there, I realized so much had changed since 2007, yet so much hadn’t. One thing I can tell you that didn’t change (and oh, do we miss it on the daily basis) was the quality, depth of taste, and simplicity of the fresh fruit and vegetables (and the café glases). 😉

The last time Argam was in the Motherland as a tourist was 2006, but since then, he has visited a handful of times because of PicsArt. We did not intend to visit all of the major tourist sites on this trip as we had done so on our previous trip; our main objective was to celebrate the Christening of our son and submerge ourselves into the daily life of Yerevan. Reflecting back on the trip, I’d say that’s exactly what we did…plus a little more.

First week of July 2016

We arrived in Armenia on July 4. This was our first time traveling with a toddler internationally, and we definitely learned a lot along the way. We had decided not to book a separate seat for Mihran because he is still under 2 years of age; however, we quickly learned that he was too big for the bassinet provided by the airline and that he was more comfortable sleeping in his own seat. We were so lucky that the stewardess on Air France helped reorganize the seating so that we had an entire row to ourselves, one seat for each of us. Mihran loved it (and so did we)!

Our first week in Yerevan was spent adjusting to the 12-hour time change (the hardest part of the trip, I admit), settling into what would be our home for the next 4 weeks, an apartment on Hyusisayin (Northern Avenue), and finalizing details for Mihran’s Christening. We couldn’t have done the latter without the help (and often times, translation help) of my second cousin, Lina, and PicsArt General Manager, Gourgen, who accompanied us to various vendors to ensure that our special day would turn out memorably perfect (plus, having a local negotiate is more effective than an American!). When we met with the Hayr Surp Samvel at Haghartsin in Dilijan, he gave us a list of items to bring to the Christening, including dzet (olive oil) and red wine. Both items were easy to find and purchase, but we were confused why we had to bring oil, thinking to ourselves, doesn’t the church prep and bless it’s own meron (holy oil)? When we asked locals, they were just as confused as we were. On the day of the Christening, we learned that these were offerings you make to the church and to God. For example, you can also offer flour, which is used to make the nshkhark (holy Communion). Light bulb!

During this week, we also had the honor of visiting the PicsArt office at the TUMO Center, making us so proud of the work that Argam and the company are doing. My initial reaction was, “Am I Silicon Valley?” I couldn’t believe how impressive the site was, and the programs that they offer to the youth (for free) are admirable. Day by day, our family from the US trickled into Yerevan, and before we knew it, we were in week 2.

Second week of July 2016

Week 2 was centered around celebration; it was Argam’s dad’s birthday (celebrated in the beautiful Tsirani Restaurant, 20 minutes outside of Yerevan), my mom’s birthday (celebrated at Dolmama Restaurant in Yerevan), Mihran’s Christening (celebrated in Dilijan, 1.5 hours outside of Yerevan), and my 35th birthday (celebrated at the Zulal concert and at The Club Restaurant in Yerevan). After having been there for a week or so at this point, the most apparent and newest revelation both Argam and I had was the convenient accommodations and love for children. Mihran felt right at home, and everyone, familiar or stranger, old or young, and male or female, welcomed him with hugs and warm wishes. One awesome example of great accommodations for children was the play areas that were built into most of the restaurants. Thus, we were able to enjoy our meals without Miro being trapped and uncomfortable in a high chair; he would play, grab a bite or two, go back to playing, grab a bite or two, and the cycle would continue. He was the happiest camper! One other revelation related to children was that high chairs and changing tables are scarce, so parents traveling to Armenia with a little one, heads up. Oh, and forget car seats. Lap baby all day, everyday.

The baptism ceremony was held at Haghartsin Monastery. Mihran was a real trooper during the ceremony, enjoying his time with his godfather, Shaunt, and all of his family. He only cried once when the priest poured water on him, but that’s because the water was ice cold (straight from the mountain). Otherwise, he enjoyed all of the intricacies of the ceremony, especially when he received the Holy Communion. “Mmmm, hatseek (yummy bread),” was his response. Our intimate gathering at the beautiful and nature-engulfed reception hall at Getap Hotel was filled with speeches, toast after toast, dancing, and a surprise birthday cake for my mom. All of the elements of the day came together as if we had been planning the event for over a year, but in true Armenia fashion, we pulled together a memorable and fantastic event in a little over a week (which my planner self would normally have a panic attack over). Our vendors were superb and we thank them endlessly: Lilit Margaryan (Mihran’s custom made Christening outfit), Lumen Wedding Photography (video and photo), Mon Ami (florist), Papaya (cake), Getap Hotel and Restaurant (reception hall and catering), DJ Vazgen (music), and Lia Arutynova (invitation and guestbook).

Third week of July 2016

After we had recovered from the week-long celebration train, it was time for our first excursion, Tbilisi, Georgia. The drive from Yerevan is about 6 hours, depending on the road you take. When our driver arrived in Yerevan, he gave us two route options. He asked us, “Which way do you want to go?” With a toddler in the car, our natural response was, “Get us there as fast as you can.” Barely having left Yerevan, Mihran got car sick…multiple times. We asked the driver to drive less aggressively so that his stomach would settle. After several hours had passed at this pace, the driver told us that there was one part of the journey that he would have to drive especially fast. Why? The highway would loop into Azerbaijan, during which we may get shot at by an Azerbaijan village. Oh…that’s all?! As we found this out and were still in shock, Argam looked on his phone to find that this was one of two places that the US Embassy discourages all tourists to pass through, and that’s exactly where we were headed. Lucky us! Did we get shot at? No (thank God), but you can be sure that we took the alternate route on our return to Yerevan. And actually, the alternate route through the Lori region was breathtaking. But before I share about trip back to Yerevan, I will share more about Tbilisi.

The stark difference between Georgia and Armenia becomes apparent as soon as you reach border patrol. Customs in Georgia are located in a nice, new, air-conditioned building with a duty-free shop. Customs on the Armenia side was a small toll booth outside. The infrastructure and surroundings of Georgia are more impressive, advanced, and established than Armenia, largely due to the economic aid it has received from the US and other countries. The tourist and residential population of Georgia is much more diverse than Armenia’s as well. Some of the population is able to understand Armenian, but the Georgian language dominates, even amongst the Armenians in Georgia.

Tbilisi is divided into Old Town (our preference) and New Town. Our hotel was smack in the middle, making walking around in the city even easier. I can say that the cobblestone paths of Old Town were not stroller-friendly, so we ditched our stroller after the first day. During our two days there, we explored Nagala Fortress which had fantastic views of the city, (former) Armenian churches, the monument dedicated to Sayat Nova, sulfur bathhouses, and lots of cafes. We ate khingali and khatchapouri at almost every meal; we were obsessed! Honestly, although the surroundings were more beautiful than Yerevan, we all agreed that the friendliness and warmth of the Armenian people are unmatched. There is much more to explore in Georgia, but we were happy we did a deep dive into Tbilisi.

Fourth week of July 2016

By the time our last week rolled around and our parents had departed, we were back to exploring Yerevan. While Argam was at work, I took Mihran to an amazing daycare on two occasions, where the superb care was 1:1. Mihran and I also had lots of lunch and napping dates. I visited the Roche office in Yerevan and met with the wonderful women who work there. We also visited the Tsitsenakpert Genocide Memorial and GUM spice market, said goodbye to our local friends and family, and visited our favorite restaurants one last time (Anteb, you’re the top contender). By the time our journey was coming to an end, we were fully feeling like locals. We would see and greet familiar locals on the street throughout our day, at restaurants, or at the market. The streets of Yerevan grew more familiar as we got a better sense of where everything was in relation to one another (and we had to stop looking at Google Maps), our vocabulary skyrocketed (including Mihran’s), and we embraced the Armenian way.

Not only had we changed over the course of one month, our surroundings did as well. At first, there were fewer tourists, and most of them were from Iran. The mountain sides were full of vibrant flowers of purple, orange, and yellow. The weather was cooler, and the wind and hail storms were more frequent. Over the course of the next weeks, diaspora tourists and the temperature increased on a daily basis. The mountain sides turned to shades of pale grey and brown. Peaceful protests against the local government transformed into violent protests in front of our eyes. In reflection, it’s amazing how much Armenia and we had changed over the course of 9 years, but more amazing how much Armenia and we had changed over the course of 4 weeks…and yet, neither Armenia nor we had changed at our core level.

If you are traveling to Armenia for the first time (with or without a child), we have great recommendations (and learnings) to share, not only about accommodations and food, but also planning an event in an international country and submerging a toddler into a new environment. We are happy to share anytime!

Hayastan, karotank kez (Armenia, we miss you)!

Highlights from our trip are captured below. Enjoy!

Click here to view these pictures larger

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