Keeping it real

Re-entry February 14, 2012

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Again, I am so sorry I have been lacking in the posts.  Today is not about a particular thing, but how I’ve been feeling.  Matt is leaving for Seattle tomorrow morning; he’ll return on Saturday afternoon.  While I don’t like it when Matt is gone, there’s some truth to “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

I am beginning to see changes in me, not physically but mentally.  I posted last week about my frustration with my lack of weight loss, and I received a lot of positive feedback.  I’m still frustrated, and I’m going to see a doctor about these frustrations.  However, I’m beginning to feel more confident about myself, and I’m not as easily pissed off as I was even a month ago.  On this day, Valentine’s Day, I’m sure Matt is especially appreciative of these changes.  My smiles comes easier, and are much more genuine.


Running is harder, but I’m beginning to think more positively about it.  I still need to register for my run; I swear, while Matt’s gone.  Matt and I had date night last Saturday, and we had the best time, maybe the first time in a long time.  This is the life I’m meant to have.

She's got something on her face. Happy Valentine's Day!


No Regrets February 7, 2012

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Today is Mr. A’s 62nd birthday.  Unfortunately, he isn’t around to help us blow out his candles.  Sadly, we lost Mr. A December 29, 2007.  I try not to think about things in the past that I would change; losing Mr. A is the only thing I wish I could change.  Unlike Mrs. A, I didn’t know Mr. A when I started dating Matt.  In the 3 short years that I had to get to know Mr. A, I learned how hilarious he was, incredibly intelligent, and endlessly caring.  I see these qualities and so many more in each of his children, especially Matt.

After 4 years, this hasn’t gotten any easier; Matt and I have shed many, many tears about Mr. A.  We are now faced with how to handle this with Annie.  We have plenty of photos around the house of Mr. A, and we make a point to point out “Poppa.”  Annie knows who Poppa is.  When we brought Annie home from the hospital, we took a detour to visit the cemetery first.  Matt and Mr. A had some connection with penguins, and has become a general family “thang.”  We call anything with penguins on it “Poppa Penguins.”

In the year after Mr. A’s death, we made a point to spend all important dates as a family.  We’ve slacked off in last few years; whether because of various schedules or just life events, we aren’t always together on days that we might need each other the most.  After my therapist suggested that we should begin a tradition with Annie on the anniversary of Mr. A’s death, Matt and I decided that we liked that idea.  Of course, we wanted to make a happy tradition and we thought that marking the anniversary of his death wasn’t particularly happy.  Today, Mr. A’s birthday, Annie and I baked and decorated a cake.  We lit a candle and we sang.  I think this is a great tradition.


Matt and I have a black-tie event tomorrow night, and I am really looking forward to going out with him.  I love when we dress up, since it’s so rare for us.  Running yesterday wasn’t too bad, but tomorrow looks rough.  I am really glad that I still have 9 1/2 weeks before the 5k.  I cashed in on my reward for having done half of my training; I got my pedicure tonight!  As frustrated as I am about my weight, I am seeing bluer skies and prettier rainbows.  Life is starting to look good.


Weekend Wrap-Up February 5, 2012

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Ok, really this going to be more of a week-long warp-up.  I apologize for my massive brain mush I suffered from this past week.  To be honest, I am blanking on what really happened after Tuesday.  This was not my strongest week, but thankfully, it ended well.  I think because I was without Matt’s help last weekend, it made getting into the week harder.  To add insult to injury, I added 3 1/2 hours of work to my schedule.  In reality this isn’t a huge deal, except that we are so massively short staffed that it wasn’t particularly stress-less.  (Just to give you a visual, I think the hall of our school is about 100 yards long, and Thursday alone I think I walked about 8 miles in school.)

We weighed in on Thursday.  I was so pumped going into it, and so crushed coming out of it.  Six weeks ago, I weighed in at 187.  Thursday, I weighed 189.  I am frustrated.  I am stumped.  I am pissed.  Everyone tells me I look great, I’m skinnier, “what are you doing?,” but CLEARLY SOMETHING ISN’T WORKING!  WHAT IS IT??????  I can’t even write how mad I am.  I have lost 10 pounds in 15 months.  I’ve had my thyroid checked, twice!  There is clearly something I am just not getting.

Running is getting harder.  I sneaked a peek at what’s coming for the week, and I am not looking forward to it.  This begins the real running.  I have yet to register for my first 5k, but I will at the end of this week.  It’s April 14th.  I’m not doing this for time, I’m doing this to finish.  Just FYI, I will cry while I run and when I finish.

I suddenly feel like we had a busy weekend, but it was enjoyable even if it was.  Annie had a sleepover with Mrs. A last night, as Matt and I went to a party for my aunt and uncle who were married over the summer.  We had a pretty normal Saturday, gym, errands, etc.  I did go to the gym by myself and (nearly) enjoyed my bubble while there.  We had a lovely brunch this morning with my family, and a lovely walk during naptime.  We decided against joining a Super Bowl party this year (it’s not totally ideal for Annie’s bedtime), but that didn’t stop us from having our own party.  Annie had a special treat: eating in front of the TV.  Of course, we taught her the “TOUCHDOWN!” stance.  We are a divided house; I’m a born and raised New England/Boston any team fan, and Matt has a special place for the Giants.  One day, Annie will have to choose.

Aside from the Living Social Oscar party (black-tie) on Wednesday night, we have a pretty normal week ahead.  I am very excited about this.  I cooked one meal last week, and I am looking forward to cooking a few more this week.  Next week is the beginning of a few business trips for Matt, and hopefully, a little normal will help me while he’s gone.  I’m going into this week with a clearer mind and a smile on my face.


Fudge Mania January 31, 2012

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Did you read that book?  Not only did I read it, I heard it.  We listened to it more times than I care to remember.  In a time before built-in DVD players, my parents used books on tape to entertain us while we drove to the Lake (approximately a 7 hour drive) or to Maine (normally done over 2 days).  I can’t remember all the books we listened to, but we killed each tape.  To this day, I can’t listen to a book on tape (or PodCast) without falling asleep.

Books are one of my things.  I can’t remember every book I’ve read, but I’m sure I’ve learned something from each one.  I read books at a young age that were well beyond my years.  I become fully engrossed in a book, maybe sometimes a little too much.  I don’t like non-fiction, science-fiction, or fantasy books, although I have read at least one of each.  I read to escape.

My dad and I read a book together when I was 11-years old.  I can’t remember the title, but I remember the feeling I got each night reading with my dad.  One time, I read a book that he had read when he was a child, and we would compare notes about the book.  Books bring me closer to people, and yet, keep me away from them too.  I missed countless hikes, blueberry picks, tennis games, and mud throws.

For Christmas 2010, Santa gave me a Kindle.  I LOVE MY KINDLE!!!  It was hard for me to keep reading since books aren’t small and compact.  I took no less than 6 books on our honeymoon to Hawaii; that takes up a lot of space in a suitcase.  The Kindle is smaller than a magazine and holds countless books, magazines, or pdfs.  My Kindle has saved my reading career.

I hope to spread my love of reading to Annie (and any siblings she might have).  All of my books are on a huge bookcase in her playroom, and we have started a small collection of some of the classics (Good Night Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, etc.).  She already loves to flip through books and magazines.


Today was the beginning of a new training session with Trey and Mary.  We’ll see how my muscles feel in the morning.  I’m hoping the running is easier tomorrow than it was on Monday.  Work is short-staffed, so I have volunteered to work longer hours and an extra day.  I am not excited about this.  Plus I need to find a dress for the Living Social Oscar’s (not on Oscar night), a black-tie event.  I feel good, but overwhelmed, and that’s when I, in the past, have gotten down on life.


Weekend Wrap-Up January 30, 2012

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I’m sorry I’m a day late.  I was not prepared for the end of the weekend and the beginning of a new week.  Despite that, I had a great weekend.  Matt attended his annual hacking conference in DC, giving me sole responsibility of Annie for 72 hours.  Of course, this was the first weekend since Christmas that we’ve had any prearranged plans.  Luckily, I had plenty of time to plan and prepare for this, making life a little easier.

It all began after a day at work (which was probably tiring, I can’t remember).  In order to make our Saturday plans flow, I needed help, so we spent the night with my parents.  Annie is so funny running around their apartment building and riding the elevator up and down.  These mundane activities helped immensely in our timeline for Saturday.  We were traveling to King George (that’s East of Fredricksburg) for a birthday party; it’s a 2-hour drive.  Thankfully, we were passing Ikea in Woodbridge.  Annie had a great time wandering (occasionally sprinting ahead of me) through couches, chairs, and beds.  When we finally arrived in the children’s section,  Annie actually said “WOW!”

I had a break on Saturday night after a long day of driving and catching up with friends.  One of my co-workers was having a birthday party, and thankfully, she lives a block away.  Annie had her first sleepover with a boy!  Of course, they slept in separate beds, and separate rooms.  I had a great time partying with my co-workers, without the stresses of work, and really just enjoy life (frankly, the way we should be able to enjoy our jobs, without the drinking part of course).

After chocolate chip pancakes on Sunday morning, Annie took a long nap while I got ready for a baby shower.  I dropped Annie with Mrs. A while I went to the baby shower, and was picked up by Matt.  He told me she came running at him!  I was so excited to see him when I got home from the baby shower, that I practically ran to him too!  I love this place where we are right now.


I ran today.  Whoa.  This week was a huge step up in the training, and I couldn’t quite do it.  I’m being accountable and honest.  This week’s running is 5 minute walking warm-up, 3 minute run, 90 seconds walking, 5 minute run, 2 1/2 walking, 3 minute run, 90 seconds walking, 5 minute running, and finally a 5 minute walking cool-down.  That last 5 minute running, I could only do 3 1/2 minutes.  I’m not down about it, I’m incredibly proud of myself for doing as much as I have.  I ran 14 1/2 minutes today, I’ve never done that.  I’m being weighed on Thursday, and I can’t wait.


Modern Family January 26, 2012

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In advance of my weekend of single-parenthood (which I have done before), I thought this was a good a time as any to talk about the little person who makes me a parent.  My Annie Bananie.  (FYI, if you know me at all, you know I’m crying the entire time I write this.)

I have never questioned what I am meant to do.  My higher calling is to be a mom.  I was certain that this job was the one that I would excel at, and yet, while I was pregnant, I questioned how good I would be.  As I mentioned before, I had a near perfect pregnancy and Matt was by my side for nearly every step.  The only appointment Matt missed was the ultrasound where we learned that Annie was Annie.  We had mentioned to the doctor that Matt was going to miss the appointment, and she said that we could reschedule.  HA!  I had waited 20 very long weeks for this day, there was no changing it.  In exchange for Matt, my mom and sisters joined me for this monumental occasion, oh, and Matt was on speakerphone.   I think the thought of a daughter scared the living !@#$ out of Matt.  The thought of having a daughter scared the living !@#$ out of me.

I was ready for the end of my pregnancy at least 3 weeks before Annie was born.  My due date (October 30th) came and went (I was a VERY pregnant black cat for Halloween).  I was extremely disappointed to be seeing the doctor at 40 weeks pregnant.  I pleaded with the doctor that my sister was flying home from college for the weekend to meet the baby, and there needed to be a baby for her to see.  Annie is a Snowmaggeden 2010 baby; there was no room in the hospital to induce me unless medically necessary.  I went back to the doctor 3 days in a row to sit for 30 minutes attached to monitors to find a reason to induce me.  There was never a reason.  Finally, we found an opening at the hospital; 9 am November 4th was our day.  My phone rang at 6 am to tell me I was getting bumped.  I was finally admitted to the hospital at 4:30.  I had one round of inducing drugs at 8:30, then a stronger set at 3 am (now November 5th).  My epidural didn’t fully take at 9 am, and anyone who was around helped me through contractions.  My cousin E (from Boston) surprised me at the end of a contraction!  My mom, Anna, and Mrs. A came in and out to keep us company during the day.  Finally, in the early afternoon, it was decided that I would have a cesarean section.  Again, we had to wait for more pressing births.  I can’t tell you the name of the doctors or nurses who were in the operating room, but I remember every moment very clearly.  The entire process was an out of body experience.  When I heard Annie’s first cry, I was stunned at how overwhelmingly calm I felt.

I was madly in love with this tiny person who had just be inside me.  There was nothing more I wanted to do than hold her.  I needed her near me forever.  I couldn’t hold her for nearly an hour after she was born.  Once I finally held her, I was whole.  I had waited 28 years to be called Mom, and it had finally happened.  We struggled with breastfeeding, turns out Annie was tongue-tied.  From the very beginning, Annie has been fabulous.  We are incredibly lucky.

Despite the ups and downs I have had, or Matt and I have had, Annie makes everything better.  Annie loves me unconditionally, and I hope that I can spend the rest of my life returning that love. 


Annie and I had a very calm and uneventful day, and it was awesome.  Matt has a conference in DC all weekend, and for the first time in several weekends, we have a lot of things to do.  Just like the running and weight loss goal, I can do this, and I will do this.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!



Betty Crocker January 25, 2012

I have been cooking up a storm recently.  I did not cook Friday or Saturday night last week, and I suppose cooking a frozen pizza on Monday doesn’t count as cooking.  I’m trying to use my Crock Pot at least once a week, it helps on the days that I work.  On that note, I’ll work backwards to last Wednesday.

I used my Crock Pot to make Cincinnati Chili today.  I had to boil noodles when I came home, but I loved the smell of the house when I got home.  I have a collection of magazines where I find a lot of recipes, here’s today’s  Even with Annie crying at my feet, it was incredibly easy to put together.

Since I wasn’t working yesterday, I made Chicken and Dumplings.  Once I had poached the chicken, the recipe does require a little more attention than most recipes I like.  Annie doesn’t like these recipes either.  It was pretty delicious, and filling,  We had a pot-luck lunch at work today, so I made mini raspberry cheesecakes last night.  If I had a second muffin tin, the recipe probably would have been quicker.  The recipe says it’ll make 32 cupcakes, but mine only made 24.  I’m not sure why, and I can’t figure out how to fix it.  As with other recipes, I found this one on Pinterest,

We had my parents over on Sunday evening for dinner (they felt as though it had been too long since they’d seen Annie).  I roasted a chicken and acorn squash, and had some wild rice from a box.  My mom used to roast a chicken nearly every week while I was growing up.  Matt doesn’t love roasted chicken, so I don’t cook it often.  Roasting a chicken is pretty easy.  I usually stuff half a lemon, half a head of garlic, a quarter of an onion, and herbs (sage, thyme, and rosemary) in the chicken cavity.  I put some of the herbs under the skin of the breast meat, and after I’ve coated the chicken in olive oil, finishing rubbing the herbs all over with salt and pepper.  I cook the chicken at 375 degrees for about an hour and 15 minutes.  For the acorn squash, I slice it in half and scoop the seeds out.  Place the squash in a baking dish cut side down, and bake at 375 degrees for an hour.

Matt and I are trying to add more fish (and not just salmon) to our diets.  Thursday I made Crispy Fish with Lemon-Dill Sauce (  I don’t love white fish, and this recipe calls for cod; luckily, the seasonings help the fish get some flavor.  If there’s something I love, it’s mayo.  The lemon-dill sauce is very similar to a tartar sauce, but not nearly as fattening feeling.

Last Wednesday, I set up the Crock Pot, and using a recipe from the quarterly Wegman’s magazine, made Beef Minestrone Soup (  It was very similar to a beef stew, just without as many potatoes and with many more tomatoes.  Matt doesn’t love tomatoes.


Running was slightly easier today.  The day was wacko at work, and I’m really glad I’m not going in tomorrow.  Maybe it’s time to find a job that doesn’t cause as much stress, and allows me to pee when I need to.  The week is good, but I’m not looking forward to my single-parenthood weekend.