Archives for March 2015

Ten Years.

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Our very first picture together

Today is the tenth anniversary of the day that Chester and I first met. TEN years, people. That calls for a little trip down memory lane, yes?

Let’s look back to March of 2005, when I had just ended the relationship that I was in through half of high school and all of college. I quickly realized that spending all of those years with the same person had left me with virtually NO idea of how to date. Prospects in my circle of friends were slim and I was absolutely not the type to hang out in a bar, hoping that the love of my life would walk in.

So, I decided to take my search online. After several horrible experiences with guys from Match, I decided to move over to Yahoo! Personals (which has since been purchased by Match). I had no reason to believe that this would yield better results, but it was cheaper and you all know how I love a bargain.

I had been on for about three days when this cute guy (that would be Chester) sent me an “icebreaker”—a short, little message to say that he had liked my profile. Thankfully, I had chosen a photo taken before my despair over being single led me into the poor decision of letting my mom cut my hair.

I sat on the icebreaker for several days, not really sure if I wanted to be disappointed again. But, late one night, just before I was about to go to bed, I just felt like I had to answer him. Something was telling me that he was different.

And, the rest, as they say is history.

For the next month, we e-mailed and IMed (those were the days, right?) and agreed to meet in person. On April 23rd, I showed up to our agreed upon meeting, on the corner of 3rd and Chestnut Streets.

And, I waited. And, waited.And, waited.

It started to rain. I became annoyed that I had bothered to spend the money to have my hair professionally blow dried so that the mullet was less obvious.

When random guys riding by on bicycles started whistling at me, I mentally gave Chester five more minutes to show up before heading home.

Luckily for him, he careened around the corner in his silver car, just in time. Which was actually a full 45 minutes past the appointed time. So, it was also lucky for him that he was just as cute in person as he was photos.

And, I was hungry, so I figured the least he could do was buy me dinner. So, we headed to Continental.

I kept up the charade of being annoyed for awhile. But, he was so nice and easy to talk to that it was hard to stay mad. And, he didn’t seem to mind that my hair was reminiscent of David Bowie’s, circa 1972.

We ended the night with coffee at Cosi and a walk on Penn’s Landing. By then, I knew that he was the “The One.”

I cancelled my Yahoo! membership that night. By that summer, we had moved in together.

In 2009, we got engaged—which is also a good story, but one that I’ll save that for another day.

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Returning to where it all began, for our engagement photo shoot

We got married the next year.

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Three years later, B came along.

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We had NO idea what we were doing.

So, ten years, one apartment, one house, two cats, one dog, one kid, several job changes, thousands of miles traveled together by plane, train and automobile, hundreds of fights, millions of laughs later, there is still no one else that I would rather be with.

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One of my favorite photos of us, in Toledo, Spain on our honeymoon

Every day has been THE BEST.

What I Read: February/March

As you might have surmised from the looooong stretches of time that go between postings, I don’t have a lot of time to blog these days. Work is busier than ever lately and the weekends are full of fun with B and Chester and/or errands. Most of the time, I’m going, going, going from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Don’t get me wrong. I (mostly) love my job and I (totally and completely) love my family. But, writing used to be a much bigger part of what I did in my free time and I miss it. I have lots of ideas, but by the time I finally sit down at night my brain is completely fried. and the last thing I can do is string a sentence together.

Luckily, reading is my other favorite thing and that’s the level of activity I’m able to manage lately. So, here’s what I’ve gotten into during the past few weeks:

Us

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I have been meaning to read more of David Nicholls’ work ever since I read One Day a few years ago (I refuse to see the movie because I know it will spoil the magic for me). Like that work, Us, which was short listed for the Man Booker Prize before it was even published last year, is a story about a relationship between two people who seem completely ill-suited for each other.

Connie was a free-spirited artist before settling down with uptight biochemist Douglas. At the outset of the novel, Connie tells Douglas that she plans to leave him, after nearly two decades of marriage. The news comes shortly before they are about to embark on a “grand tour” of Europe with their son. The rest of the novel alternates between that less-than-relaxing tour and flashbacks to the earlier days of their courtship and marriage.

Although the characters are not terribly original (Douglas, for example, reminded me of the equally clueless, but strangely likable ,protagonist of The Rosie Project), the story is well crafted, humorous and poignant.

Orphan Train 

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In this novel by Christian Baker Kline, Molly is a troubled girl, who has spent much of her life being bounced around between foster homes in modern-day Maine; elderly widow Vivian lost her parents shortly after her family immigrated from Ireland to New York and was transported to a new life in the Midwest via an “orphan train.” Their lives intersect when Molly is made to work with VIvian as part of a community service requirement and the two discover just how much they have in common.

Based on the synopsis of the book, I thought I would love it but was ultimately disappointed. The writing style was overly simplistic, and that made it kind of boring. Halfway through I did a Google search to see if it was a young adult novel because that’s how it reads. I was surprised to find that it wasn’t!

I didn’t find myself caring about Molly at all, and skimmed the portions of the book that were told from her point of view. Vivian’s background was much more interesting and the novel could have been far more compelling had the story just focused on her. I wasn’t familiar with the orphan train movement, and it did make me want to learn more, so I might have to seek out some other books on the subject.

The One and Only

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I’m not ashamed to admit that I love me some “chick lit.” Sometimes, you just want an easy read with a predictable plot, right? Emily Giffin is one of my favorite authors in this genre, but I don’t think that this is her best work.

Giffin’s main character, Shea Rigsby, has spent her entire life in the small college town of Walker, Texas. She loves all things football—especially the Walker College football team (so much so that she started working in college’s sports information department as a student and never left) Her best friend, Lucy, is the daughter of legendary Walker coach, Clive Carr. When a tragedy strikes close to home, Shea begins to question everything about her life and decides to make some big changes in the process.

The main ingredients are there—Tragedy! Best friends! True love!—but something was missing. Maybe I was disappointed because I can’t relate—at all—to football as a religion? Or, maybe I was slightly creeped out by Shea’s love interest (I don’t want to give anything away, but you might be able to figure it out from the brief description above)? Either way, I would get your chick lit fix elsewhere.

So, that’s all I’ve got this month, but I’m always on the lookout for recommendations for the next thing to pick up. Any suggestions?!

Little B: 18 Months

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Happy half-birthday Little B!  At 18 months, I feel like B has definitely left the baby stage behind and is firmly in toddler territory.

Milestones

She cut another molar this month and at her 18 month doctor’s appointment she weighed in at 21 pounds, 13 ounces and was 2 feet, 7 inches tall. She is mostly in 18 months size clothes now, although she still has a few 12 months size shirts that fit her.

Doing

She has been into jumping, climbing on the furniture and running (on her tiptoes, which is completely adorable. But, I’m hoping that she doesn’t take after me and still run like that at 32). She also loves to spin around, to make herself dizzy, and can occupy a decent chunk of time chasing and stepping on her shadow. I love watching her play lately, because she is starting to pretend a bit. She likes to “get ready to go to Target” by putting on her plastic bracelet and grabbing her purse. She “cooks supper” for her stuffed animals using her play kitchen and then feeds them and gives them water from her cup.

Personality

Sadly, the tantrum phase continues. Sometimes there is a clear trigger (like, it’s a half hour past nap time, and she has clearly reached the overtired stage). In other instances, everything seems to be totally fine and then she goes into meltdown mode. Equally frustrating is the fact that she seems extra prone to separation anxiety lately (like, the “hang on mom’s leg so she can’t even go across the room” variety). Morning and dinner hours have been particularly problematic lately. She recently decided that I am not allowed to put her down to get ready for work in the morning and that she isn’t a fan of sitting in her booster seat at the table. Sometimes, I feel like she just wants to squeeze in some extra snuggles and play time after we have been separated for eight-plus hours. While there is nothing I would love more, it’s just not always possible to do as I rush out the door for work in the morning and get through the limited time we have at night for our dinner/bath/bedtime routine. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to deal with these mood swings. I hate to see her cry and sometimes it is just easier to give her what she wants in the interest of everyone’s time and sanity, even if that means I’m doing my make-up with one hand or eating dinner with her on my lap (while telling myself that this, too, shall pass).

Fortunately, when she isn’t in a blubbering heap on the floor, she loves giving hugs (she is starting to wrap her arms around me to give me a real squeeze, which makes me melt!), kisses and rubbing noses when we ask her to “do nosey-nose.”

Saying

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Best friends

B seems to be picking up words pretty quickly now, so it’s hard to keep track of the new additions to her vocabulary. The funniest thing from the last month is that she has picked up our habit of scolding Poor Tracy. If the dog is barking at the mailman, for instance, Chester and I will often yell “back!” or “bed!” at her. Well, now B does it…sometimes when Tracy isn’t even really acting up. And, she does it in such an authoritative tone of voice while raising her hand or pointing a finger at Tracy, which makes it even funnier.

Favorite Books

Pretty much the same as the last few months, but lately she’s really been all about Madeline, Harold and the Purple Crayon and Ollie’s Easter Eggs lately! She knows a lot of the lines and characters in her favorite stories at this point, and if we mention these things in the course of normal conversation, she will run to her book basket and dig out the story in question.

Favorite Songs

She loves to dance to the The Hokey Pokey and Jingle Bells. The latter has long been a favorite, but lately she loves dancing along to it. We keep some bells on a hook by the back door so that Tracy can ring them to let us know she wants to go out, but more often than not, B steals them to dance with. And, she is still quite the little singer. Although she still can’t actually say most of the words, she is consistently getting better about imitating melodies.

Favorite Things

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We weren’t even going out, but she made me bundle her up over her pajamas

The pink chair that we take her monthly photos on, mostly because she has figured out how to make it rock back and forth; puzzles; crayon and paint-with-water activities; puzzles; stuffed animals (especially Arthur, panda, bunny and the Cat in the Hat); winter hats and her puffy vest; having her photo taken.

Least Favorite Things

Snow hitting her in the face; sitting at the dinner table, as mentioned above; having a wet diaper  or dirty hands.

Eating

I swear that this kid is trying to be a vegetarian. She eats ground turkey and beef inconsistently, and continues to refuse our attempts to get her interested in chicken or turkey in other forms. But, she still rarely turns down a pile of broccoli, sweet potatoes, crackers slathered in hummus or applesauce…and of course she loves sweets of any kind! I feel like we serve the same things all the time, so I definitely need to find some new menu inspiration ASAP.

Fun Experiences

The miserable winter has continued, but there have been some warmer days on occasion, during which we have tried to get in some outside time. One of her favorite places to run around is Rittenhouse Square Park.

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I think she thought she was doing a catalog photo shoot on this particular day. She was really posing it up!

We celebrated Valentine’s Day with a trip to Max Brenner for a chocolatey brunch. We went close to nap time, so B was slightly groggy when we sat down at our table, but after several sips of a chocolate milkshake she was all sugared up and couldn’t stop chatting and flirting with everyone around us. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a holiday in our house without a themed photo-shoot.

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We are looking forward to the arrival of Spring this month and all of the adventures that are on the horizon!