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Checking in, Catching Up

17 May

Before you get started on this post, please go leave a comment on my giveaway.  A comment will enter you to win a hilarious calendar from a great friend in Italy.

Evi has been waking up at 7am lately.  I know that’s not too bad, and that plenty of kids are waking up a lot earlier… so I am not sure I’m allowed to complain.  However, it’s pretty early.  I’m usually awake by 6:30 at the latest, so I’m already up and downstairs by the time she wakes up.  The issue comes because I usually haven’t had time to make/finish my coffee and I feel pretty fuzzy when she gets up.

Speaking of coffee, we’re still waiting for a replacement carafe for our machine so we’ve been making it work with instant coffee…

Otherwise, we’ve been pretty boring around here.  I’m still running the Couch to 5K program.  Today I’ll be starting a repeat of week 4.  I’m also still doing my morning walks with Evi at least four days a week and usually five.  For a long time I was doing a great job of fitting in more workouts, but I’ve been letting that slide a little, so this week I’m aiming to get back to that.

My school semester is done until the fall.  I took the summer off to stretch out the length of time I have before the scholarship runs out, so now I’m good through next spring.  I have no idea what I will do after that.  I’ll worry more about it as the time gets closer, but it could involve applying for new schools (again) or going after a full time job.  Speaking of jobs, I actually applied for one that would be a full time position working from home, and I am super excited about the possibility.  I don’t really want to say more about it until I know what’s going on, but just keep good thoughts coming my way… they start reviewing the applications on Friday.

Writing is going pretty well, although it seems like I’ll definitely have to be turning my attention elsewhere in a month or so.  I gave myself two months to make a go of writing as my only career, and although I really am seeing a lot of progress, I am nowhere near a point where I could live off of the money.  I am submitting manuscripts to literary agents this month, so who knows… I suppose something could come of that.  I’m hoping it does, but it seems pretty unlikely in the current market.  Fortunately, manuscript submission is something I can continue to do no matter how busy I might be with another job.  I also have a ton of partial stories, outlines, and story ideas for more writing if I can ever find the time.

Evi is… amazing.  Seriously, I have the best kid on Earth.  She’s fun, happy, sweet, always in a good mood…  Yes, she’s waking up earlier than I’d like, but she gets up and has breakfast with me and then is totally content to sit and hang out with me quietly for a half hour or so while I type.  I talk to her and tell her what I’m writing about, and she mostly phases out and watches Special Agent Oso. The fact that she eats all of our food now is also making me hyper aware of the holes in our diet… we don’t always get enough veggies, so it’s something we’re working on.  Fortunately for us, she will eat just about anything.  She’ll even eat a litte bit of meat now, thanks to our neighbor’s helpful suggestion to try frozen turkey meatballs.  We made some for dinner last night and Evi loved them.  She ate two on her own!  She also loves buffalo sauce… because she’s awesome!

I apologize for being a lot less active on this blog lately.  Lately I haven’t felt like I had a lot to say here… so I’m happy to accept your questions, ideas, etc…  Let me know what you want to hear!  More importantly, now that I’m not posting as much I am missing your updates as well!  Leave a comment please, and let me know how you’re doing lately.  Tell me what’s new, what’s good or bad, and what you’ve been thinking about.

If you missed some of my recent posts elsewhere, you can check them out here:
Worst pre-run foods & tips for workout gear shopping

Weekend Wine – what I sipped this weekend

Stay-at-home versus Working Moms – this one is on a new collaborative blog I’ve started with some friends, so I’d love it if  you could stay on the site and check out some of the other great posts when you have time!

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2 kids and a dog GIVEAWAY

12 May

Extended until Friday!

Have you seen this site?  It’s FANTASTIC.  The webisodes are hilarious, and the calendars are absolutely priceless.

Thanks to an extremely generous offer from the site, I’ve got a calendar headed my way…. plus two more to giveaway to YOU!  First, go visit the site and check out the awesome webisodes and calendars.  My personal favorite is currently Sicily = Scotland, though Dad and Coffee is fantastic, and so is A Fit Lifestyle.

So here’s how to enter for your chance to win one of the fantastic 2010 calendars.

  1. Leave a comment here telling me what your favorite webisode is and why.
  2. For one extra entry, Tweet about the giveaway and come back to leave a separate comment to tell me you did.  “Enter a great giveaway from @SkinnySushi & @2kidsand1dog to win one of their amazing, hilarious 2010 calendars: http://wp.me/p1Skv-Hj”
  3. For another extra entry, become a fan of 2KidsandaDog on Facebook and leave a comment.

Good luck!  I’ll be leaving the giveaway open for a week, so get your comments and extra entries posted by Wednesday, May 19 at 5pm EST.

Zoo Weekend

10 May

This weekend was crazy and wonderful.  My parents came up from Florida and arrived at our house with my brother on Friday night.  I made some awesome, slightly hilarious animal cupcakes and we made things easier on all of us by ordering pizza for dinner.  Saturday morning we all got up, had a quick breakfast at Starbucks, and loaded up the car with drinks, cupcakes, snacks, and party supplies for our fabulous zoo birthday celebration.

The weather was… alright.  The temperature was a little cool, so perfect, and the sun was out, but there was a super high pollen count and a lot of wind blowing the pollen and dust around.  We made it to the zoo right on time and met everyone at the pavilion for a super casual lunch.  Everyone sang Happy Birthday to Evi (she cried!) and then we all enjoyed some animal cupcakes before heading out to see the animals.  Evi took a nice long nap, and then woke up to enjoy the sights.  She didn’t care too much for the big cats or the gorillas, but she loved the elephants, the golden lion tamarins, the cheetahs, and especially the flamingos.  She was also really happy to watch three alpacas chasing each other around the pasture.  She was great all day and took a nice long nap in the car on the way home.

Mother’s Day was a beautiful day, if oddly cool for this time of year.  We had a great breakfast at home with turkey bacon, blueberry muffins, friendship bread, and eggs… plus McDonalds coffee because our coffee carafe is broken.  After some time laughing and talking at home, and a comfy nap with my beautiful little girl, we said a reluctant goodbye to my brother and parents.  They were all headed back to the airport, where my parents were already flying home.  There’s never enough time with family, is there?

Aaron and I took Evi to see his grandmother for Mother’s Day.  We spent a few hours with his family, Evi played the piano for us all, and then we went out for a quiet dinner on our own.  It was nice to sit down at a nice restaurant with my husband and daughter and enjoy good food.  Evi charmed everyone in the restaurant and enjoyed lots of bread and mushrooms.  The drive home was fast, and Evi went to bed easily and slept well all night.

This morning I’m adjusting to life without coffee (until I can find the right carafe to replace our broken one) and hanging out with Evi, who is going through something (growth spurt? teething? slightly sick?) that is making her a little cranky and extra EXTRA sleepy.  We’re taking it easy at home today, going for a nice morning walk, and then spending the afternoon working…

My weekend was busy and chaotic, but wonderful.  Here’s a look at the food/exercise for the weekend too.  My Mother’s Day was celebrated with my mother, Aaron’s mother, Aaron’s grandmother, and (most importantly) my amazing daughter.  My children are what this day is all about.  And so, this little letter is for them.

To my sweet babies:

Aodin… you were my firstborn, my sweet son, and it was you who made me a mother.  You taught me my own strength, showed me the power and meaning of real love, and made me realize that a family is made up of love and laughter, joy and pain, hope, and surrender.  You helped me see the strength of my marriage and my own worth.  You are always in my heart and I  miss you every day.

Evi… oh, my sweet girl.  You are a beautiful miracle and you amaze me every day.  Thank you for being such an easy baby, for being fun and happy all the time, for making this mommy thing so easy.  I hope you know how much I adore you and how utterly you complete our family.  Thank you for helping me take control of my own health so that I can teach you the best way to live.  Thank you for always waking up with a smile for me, even when you’re feeling bad.

My family is so perfect, so ideal, so clearly a manifestation of the love and laughter and joy that make up the best of life’s moments.  Without my amazing husband and beautiful children, I would not be who I am today, and I like me a lot… so thank you to my amazing family.

Thank you too, to all of my friends and family, for all the birthday wishes, adorable gifts, and generous contributions to Evi’s college fund.  She’ll be especially thankful in seventeen years or so!

Beautiful Blogger

22 Feb

I’ve been given a blog award by the ever awesome Caryn!  The rules are that I have to tell you seven interesting things about myself and pass it along to seven other bloggers.  So here I go…  I am going to try and come up with seven things I haven’t already said on here somewhere.

1. I am planning another tattoo.  I want this one to be for Evi.  I haven’t decided where it will be, or what it will be, but I am using the following images of sweetpea flowers as inspiration:

2. I am seriously considering going on to my PhD, ideally in Italian Language and Culture… though this means I should be working harder on maintaining/improving my language skills.  Ideally, I’d like to teach at the college level.

3. I used to be pretty frivolous with money, but recently I’ve become… well, cheap.  I will spend the least possible amount of money on things, even when a little bit of extra cash could mean better quality.  I won’t buy total junk, but I will choose the bargain brand over and over.  It’s amusing to Aaron, who used to get pretty frustrated with my indiscriminate spending but now has to remind me that it’s alright to spend a little now and then.

4. I still hate exercise.  I only keep doing it because I have this weird streak that drives me to compete with myself, and because I have been so open on the internet about it that I don’t want to let anyone down.  So thanks, internet, for keeping me accountable and healthy.

5. I have 113 blogs in my reader and another four that don’t do feeds.  I love the reader because it means I can check for updates without going to every blog, which I would never have the time to do.  I don’t comment as often as I should, but I try to comment when people ask questions or when something really strikes a chord for me.

6. I really want to be a professional writer and I think I have the skills to do it.  I am working on it when I can and sending things out to various resources, but so far no luck.  I am still hoping.

7. I am really, REALLY nervous about going to FitBloggin.  It is my birthday present to myself, and I hope it will be accompanied by a small shopping trip and a pedicure, but I am terrified.  I really hope it will be a chance to network and get more readers, to meet some great people who are all health conscious, and to learn some new skills.  I am really scared though.  I am scared to be the least fit/savvy/put together one there.  I am scared of leaving Evi at home and missing her too much.  I am scared Aaron will be overwhelmed by having to take care of her alone for two days.  I know he’s more than capable…

8. Speaking of Aaron, he’s been playing Bioshock 2 lately and I hate it!  The game, though creepy, is actually  kind of fun for me to watch, but there is a lot of language and a ton of blood and I just don’t want it around Evi.  But I can’t ask him not to play it when it’s his way to get some much needed relaxation, and we can’t afford to buy him a new tv to play it in another room….

9. I get up early every morning so that I can spend an hour drinking my coffee and playing games on Facebook.

Oops… it was supposed to be seven things.  I got going and lost count.  Oh well, here’s my nine potentially interesting things then.  And here’s my list of bloggers who I’d like to pass the award on to:

  1. Brandee
  2. Chica
  3. Burble
  4. Wondy
  5. N at Amazing Instant
  6. Beautiful Mess
  7. Binx

Love, Life, and Sadness

28 Dec

Please take time to read the post below regarding a friend’s partner and his uncertain future. Thanks!

My name is brandy. And I have a blog.

And a plea.

I use my blog to showcase the crazy I meet everyday, share the stories of the kids I teach and document my love for tequila, dairy products and the abdominal muscles of Ryan Reynolds. Rarely do I talk about personal issues on my blog- as personal as the dude that I adore (who I actually met through my blog- single ladies, let that be a very good reason to blog, the possibility of meeting someone as wonderful as my man), but I need your help. And it involves my dude.

He’s a guy who made math comics for my class, so they would love learning about addition. He’s the kinda guy who sends my friends gift cards when they are having hard times, who remembers every story I ever told him, who was the first person I celebrated with when I got a teaching job. He’s the guy who sent flowers to me at school- dozens of my favourite pink roses just because he loves me. He’s a guy who has spent a year patiently explaining (and re-explaining) everything there is to know about football during the important games when silence is preferred. He’s made me word puzzles and comics and stayed up late playing Scrabble with me (even though I beat him almost every time). He’s listened to me cry about school and family and jobs. He is everything I never knew I needed and everything I always knew I wanted.

The holidays have hit us hard. He’s recently been told he may have something called multiple myeloma- an incurable cancer, that gives a person an average of five years of continued life. Though this news has came as a shock, he continues to be exactly who has always been- spending his time worrying about me, rather than worrying about himself. He’s the most selfless individual I know- (he stayed late on Christmas Eve to work, so his co-workers could leave early) and a post like this would never be something that he would promote or encourage but when I’m overwhelmed and feeling helpless, the blogging community has always given me tremendous support and comfort, two things I desperately need at this time.

As I write this, the future is uncertain and we aren’t sure what’s happening. He’ll need to see an oncologist soon, to verify what’s going on in his body. My hope is that everyone who reads this think positive thoughts and if you are a person who prays, could you add him to your list? (You can refer to him as ‘brandy’s hot awesome dude’). If you don’t pray, please keep him in your heart.This cancer is only a possibility and I believe that the prayers and positive thoughts of people can make sure it never becomes a reality.

I want to give a big thank you to the blog owner who scraped their original blog plans and graciously put this up. My goal is to get as many people as possible to see and read this post. If you are reading this and want to help, copy and paste my plea into your blog or send a link through twitter, so more people can keep him in their thoughts. I would be so very grateful (even more grateful than I am to my friend who first showed me the picture of Ryan Reynolds on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. If you haven’t seen it, google it. You. Are. Welcome).

I realize this all sounds dramatic, a Lifetime movie in the making- but this is life. Right now. And I’m throwing away any hint of ego and am humbly asking for you to pray or think kind thoughts. If you are able to pass this on, thank you and if you know anything regarding MM- please email me (my email is on my blog). This isn’t a call for sympathy or a plea for pity. It’s just one girl hoping you can think positive thoughts for the person she adores. If my current heartache provides you with anything, let it be with the reminder that life is short, love is unbending and no one knows what could happen next. Maybe it is silly, but I really do believe that positive thoughts can make a huge difference. Thank you for reading this and if you haven’t already? Please tell someone you love them today.

I did.

Another New Year

28 Dec

It’s time for the Uberlist!  First, here’s the update on last year’s list:

2009 UBERLIST

PERSONAL

  • BRING HOME BABY
  • Read three new books, not counting bedrest stash.

HEALTH AND BEAUTY

  • Get back to Weight Watchers after Evi is born.
  • Reach my goal weight.
  • Stay at goal weight through end of year.
  • Run a 5K.
  • Exercise for ten minutes, 3x/week.

WORK AND PROFESSIONAL LIFE

  • Learn to stay focused, work smarter.

COMMUNITY

  • Finish delivery of Project Flutter boxes.
  • Find a book club, play group, or class to take part in.

GREEN

  • Replace one household product with something more earth-friendly.
  • Donate to an earth-friendly cause.

MONEY

  • Continue dropping monthly debt balance.
  • Reduce student loan debt.

HOME

  • Buy one?

EDUCATION

  • Continue working with my Italian, become fluent by the end of the year.
  • Learn baby sign language for Evi.

TRAVEL

  • Take one trip WITH AARON that lasts for at least a weekend and involves staying overnight.

PHOTOS

  • Keep taking pictures of everything.
  • Learn to use at least one new camera setting.

MARRIAGE AND FAMILY

  • Go out on one official date.
  • Get a webcam to keep Evi in touch with grandparents.
  • Visit Aaron’s grandma at least three times.

FRIENDSHIP

  • Check in by phone/email once a month.
  • Not bad, but not great either.  This year, I’ll start again and hope that setting smaller goals leads to better results.  See this year’s list after the jump… Continue reading

    We’re Home!

    28 Dec

    We had a lovely, beautiful, fantastic time in Florida.  We flew down on Aaron’s birthday and Evi was awesome on the plane.  She was awake, but (as always) in a great mood and charmed everyone around us.  I did have the awesome adventure of changing her diaper in the airplane bathroom…  Now I know that it’s worth waiting, even if it means ruining a onesie or two.

    We had so much fun with the family.  We spent time in Tarpon Springs, a Greek sponge diving village, and had some amazing authentic Greek food and baked goods.  I am now in love with Samali, a semolina cake soaked in a citrus and almond syrup.  It was amazing, even better than the galaktoboureko and bougatsa!!!  Lunch was fantastic as well, featuring some great charbroiled seafood, an incomparable leg of lamb, and a lovely bottle of Retsina.

    Most of us also went to the science museum in Tampa.  My dad and sister had to work, so they missed out and we missed them!  We had a great time though.  It would have been even better if so many of the exhibits hadn’t been broken…  we felt sort of cheated when we had to pay $25 to get into the museum only to find about half of the exhibits working.  We still had a great time though, and Aaron got to see a really cool fighter pilot Imax movie with my brothers and my sister Ashley.

    Aaron and I also got two baby-free dates!  We spent a day at the mall, had lunch, and saw New Moon together.  The movie was…  disappointing… but we had a fantastic time spending the day out together.  At first I wanted to call home to check on Evi every five minutes, but the longer we were out, the more I was able to just enjoy my time with Aaron.  I think my family enjoyed babysitting Evi as much as we enjoyed the alone time.  Our second date included my brothers and my sister Brittany, and we all went to see Avatar.  Now that movie was AMAZING.  We all really enjoyed it and I would recommend it to everyone!

    We opened Christmas presents on Christmas Eve since we were flying out, along with my brother Blake, on Christmas Day and didn’t want to be rushed.  It was so much fun, and Evi loved ripping (and eating) the paper.  She got lots of great clothes and books, and a great Vtech – Move & Crawl Ball from Brittany that she is now obsessed with.  Still not crawling, of course, but loving the ball and really enjoying tummy time with it.

    It was so good for my heart to be home with my family again for the holidays.  I know now that whatever happens going forward, I want to be with them for Christmas whenever we can.  I miss them so much!  I loved the chance for Evi to hang out with them too, and she loved the time as well.  She was SO good.  She slept on the plane ride home too.

    I thought I’d be freezing once we got back to Maryland, but it wasn’t too bad.  Temperatures were in the low 40s, down from almost 80 in Florida.  We were driving Blake home from the airport, so we had dinner at a gas station (Royal Farms has good fried chicken, but GREASY) and then dropped Blake off.  We drove to Aaron’s Dad’s house to pick up Savannah, who had a lovely time staying with her grandpa.  We stayed for about an hour and had some time to talk and enjoy some Christmas cookies as well.  Finally, we packed everything up and got started on the 2+ hour drive home.  Maybe ten minutes from home we ran into a huge accident, and we finally passed it and got close to home around midnight, when OUR CAR DIED.

    We still don’t know what happened, but we ended up being able to roll it off the road and then Aaron walked the mile to the house while Evi and I stayed bundled up in the car with my cell phone, a snow shovel, and lots of blankets.  Evi was asleep, completely warm, and totally oblivious, and I stayed on the phone with my mom.  Aaron came back with our other car and we transferred everything and drove home.  Evi went to bed without issue, and we both were asleep in minutes.  We were SO exhausted.

    The car is still broken, and we’re hoping to get it towed to a nearby mechanic today to figure out what went wrong.  I have some things I really need to mail out today, so if the weather clears up I may be walking with Evi to the post office this afternoon.

    In other news, I am back on Weight Watchers.  I saw some pictures of me over this past week that made me feel really concerned about how I am treating my body.  I am back to making a concerted effort, and I’ll be tracking everything on my Food Journal for anyone who is interested.