We Haven’t Found Out the Gender Reveal

Happy April Fools! It’s no secret that I like to bust my family’s chops. I’m kind of surprised that they didn’t see this coming. Every since my family found out that the baby’s gender could be determined by a blood test much sooner than an ultrasound, they’ve been hounding me about finding out if Giacomo will have a brother or sister and having a gender reveal party.  They have been convinced that I already know the baby’s gender. At my last visit, my mom came to the Dr with me only to be disappointed. The results weren’t in yet. She convinced herself that me and my Dr are in cahoots and we do in fact know the gender. We don’t, but because it’s April Fool’s Day I had a gender reveal anyway, only we used white balloons instead of colored balloons to reveal…nothing.

Now I’m not so mean. I did call my Dr. today to see if the results came in, but they still haven’t. We didn’t find out about Giacomo, and I still don’t know if we are going to find out about baby #2, but we did have fun pretending we would.

 

Jack’s Big Announcement Photoshoot

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Jack finally spilled the beans! He will be a Big Brother in September! We tried to let Lilu be part of the announcement pictures also, but she was just eating the jelly beans.

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Oh well. I made the signs with some paint and my Cricut. The eggs were from Target, and I just used crayon to write on them. I had a great time making them even though I don’t know what I’m going to do with them now, maybe put them in the new baby’s memory box.

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When I found out, it was during one of the few snow storms we had this year. Matt was outside shoveling, so I left a note on the door that said “You make me sick!” He came in saying “What’d I do? and I told him to open the note. Inside read “Because you knocked me up.” He already had a hunch that I was pregnant anyway, and we celebrated with him drinking some wine and me having some ginger ale.
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I’m 14 weeks along right now. It still feels surreal, and I am a bit nervous still.  Jack is and this baby will be a Rainbow Baby, a term I only recently learned.  A Rainbow Baby is a baby born after a family has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. These babies are rainbows after terrible storms. Even though I am passed the “safe zone,” I am still worried. (I have gone through two miscarriages, and it was terrible. I cannot imagine the pain that accompanies full-term loss). I have been trying not to worry too much though. I believe that keeping in a positive state of mind and thinking good thoughts while pregnant will mean a happy thinking baby, so here’s to optimism and wonderful thoughts. We can’t wait to see who has been growing inside me all this time!
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Glittered Wine Glasses for President’s Day Weekend

After a break of a few years, we finally resumed our annual President’s Day weekend family reunion ski trip (or, for many of us, sit in a cabin in the mountains and hang our trip). My sisters, parents and cousins rent two side by side houses so we can bounce back and forth from the houses.

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I used to go snowboarding with my husband several times a winter, but I haven’t been able to since I hurt my knee. I’m so glad that this year all my gear was finally put to use; Matt took my niece Jenna out to try boarding. She had a great time with her dad and uncle on the mountain.

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To celebrate the re-start of our festivities, I made some pretty wine glasses for all the ladies in the trip.

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The glasses are pretty easy to make, and as with anything with glue, the hardest part is the waiting between layers. I used the Cricut machine to cut out everyone’s initial and name in vinyl lettering for the wine glasses. I also glittered the stems of the glasses. If you don’t have a Cricut, you can still make glasses with glittered stems. We had a great time, and the glasses were a hit!

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For the monogram glasses:

  • I wanted contrasting fonts for the monogram letter and the full names, so I went with a full, swirly monogram and a thin, hand written font for the names.
  • I applied the whole name on the glass in gold vinyl in MV Boli (a system font already on my computer).
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  • I applied the first initial on the opposite side in purple vinyl (to match the glittered stems) in a monogram font I found on dafont.com called Monogram kksc . You can download the same font here. 

 

 

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For glittered stems:

Note – you want all of your coats of glue, glitter, and sealer to be thin. If your layers are too thick, they will eventually crack

  • First, wash and dry your glasses and use rubbing alcohol on the surface of where you are going to apply the glitter.
  • Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the stem and base of the glass.
  • Sprinkle on superfine glitter.

Purple Glitter Stems 1

  • Allow to dry for several hours or overnight. You will know the glue is dried by looking at the underside of the glass. If you see any white, the glue is still wet.
    Purple Glitter Stems 2
  • Apply another thin coat of Mod Podge and reglitter.
  • Allow to dry again.
  • If you need to, repeat the glue and glitter layers until your desired coverage. I only needed two coats of glitter, but you shouldn’t need more than 3 or 4.
  • When your last layer is dried, apply a very thin coat of Dishwasher safe Mod Podge*** and allow to dry. If you think you need to, you can apply a second coat after the first has dried.

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***Many people seal their glitter glasses with Triple Thick. I tried it with my glass, but it reacted with the dark purple glitter I used. I wasn’t sure if I did something wrong, so I asked about it on a crafting group page. Apparently certain glitter brands/colors will muddy and react the way mine did. I really like the feel of the triple thick sealer (it feels more like glass) so I will try to use it with another brand/color of glitter in the future and post if there’s a difference.

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Don’t Chew on Jesus, The Joys of Stock Photography, and Other Reasons to be Grateful

2015 was a difficult year. I suffered more than one loved one having passed, I had terrible separation anxiety from Giacomo, my father had a serious health scare, and the year ended with a such devastating loss for my young niece. I am still too upset over some of these to really talk about them openly. I realized though, that these tragedies really didn’t define the whole year. A lot of them happened so quickly together and at the very end of the year that they overwhelmed my memories of 2015. The reality is that 2015, like most years of our lives, had its ups and downs. It was actually a wonderful year. We got to see Giacomo grow and learn (I am only beginning to understand how wonderful it is to be his mom), we celebrated an the amazing birthday of my beautiful cousin (a milestone many did not think she would make), we took an amazing vacation, and we spent a lot of time with family and friends making beautiful memories. There are some things that will never have a bright side, like the loss of a child or a dear friend, but if I never stopped to appreciate my son’s smile, my nieces and nephew’s humor, or the memory of a friend’s laughter, I would be in a much darker place.
All the ups and downs of the year made me realize it was time for me to make a change. I saw this quote, and realized how completely  true it was.
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So I am ready for a new chapter. I decided I want to focus more on my teaching. I want to do something that empowers and helps people, and at this point in my life the best way I can is through teaching. Today was my last day at my marketing job. I was everything at once. Scared, nervous, happy, and excited. This was not a decision I took lightly and it was not easily made. It’s done now and I can’t help but think I did the right thing.
When I realized that I forgot the joy of my year, I decided to make another change, a new resolution. I hope it will remind me to appreciate all I have been blessed with throughout the year. I got the idea here. The point is to document something you are grateful for every day. Obviously, we are all grateful for our family, our home, our opportunities, but for me the point here is to try and see the little things. For example, I am grateful for over hearing conversations with a one year old “We don’t chew on Jesus.” (He was actually chewing on St. Jude, but whatever).
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Don’t chew on Jesus

Today, on my last day of work, I was grateful for stock photography. I left this gem in my drawer for the next worker to find. I only wish  I could be there to see the reaction.
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It’s not something I plan on publicly sharing, but I still encourage everyone to try this exercise. I write my private journal with Penzu, and I made a separate journal just for my once a day grateful posts. Even if a daily journal is too much, try a regular journal (it doesn’t even have to be a “grateful” one). I hope you all have a wonderful year, and I hope I can make you smile at least once this year!

Grinch Ornaments for Giacomo’s 1st Birthday

It’s crazy to believe a whole year has gone by since my Mr. Man came into the world. I always say that the day he was born it felt like an explosion, that my heart grew 3 sizes that day like the Grinch. So for his first birthday, we had a Grinch themed party. Giacomo had such fun playing with his cousins, family, and friends.

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I would have just had pizza and subs, but my sisters and mom took over and insisted on cooking a feast of antipasto salad (Truffula Salad), chicken cutlets (Roast Beast), sausage and peppers, kielbasa, pierogies, baked beans, pasta, potatoes and peas (Who Hash), and a 6 foot sub.  For I took over and went crazy.I couldn’t have done any of this without their help. I definately have the best family!

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For dessert nieces made chocolate dipped marshmallows and decorated sugar cookies, while I went nuts making cupcakes, chocolate pretzels, Rolo pretzels, Oreo balls, pumpkin cheesecake, Rice Krispie Treats,  a regular cake and a smash cake for Jack, and Who Pudding. The kids even enjoyed a Hot Cocoa bar.

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To thank everyone for celebrating, I made Christmas ornaments of the Grinch and his heart.

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For the Grinch ornaments, I swirled green paint inside the ornaments and left them upside down to dry. After two days I had to recoat. I let them dry about a week before adding the Grinch face.

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I layered yellow vinyl over black vinyl cuts for the ornament. Using the Cricut Explore, I cut the Grinch face by uploading  as a simple image. (I uploaded it twice, once for the face and once for the eyes). grinch clipart

I’ve made glitter ornaments with Glitter-It in the past, but I finally decided to try the mop & Glo method I’ve seen on craft sites and Pinterest. It does work, and it’s super quick! Just swirl the M&G in the ornament, drain out the excess, add in glitter, shake it up to coat, and tap out the extra glitter. Glitter-It works great, but so does M&G, and the giant bottle is way cheaper.

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I feel like the heart ornaments went with my whole year’s theme. All year I’ve been writing about the joys of the heart as well as heartache. The year started with my heart growing with Jack’s birth, and since then I’ve written about the joys of being a mom, the heartache of leaving baby, The Mighty Quinn’s Heart surgery, my dad’s heart attack, and now again, the joys of being a Mom.

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I was driving home from the party, I was thinking how it was the first time I did something really “Mom,” and it was the first time I felt like Mom. Feeling like mom is subtly different than feeling like a mother or a mommy, and I’m not sure how to explain it, but giving my son a fun birthday made me feel like a Mom, and I loved it.

Know ALL the signs of a heart attack (Not just the typical signs)

This Thanksgiving, I didn’t realize how thankful I really would be for my family. I was prepared to feel blessed for my new baby, but not prepared for the overwhelming relief and thanks that my father is still alive today. The day after Thanksgiving, my father suffered a massive heart attack. He had to be airlifted to Deborah Heart & Lung Center for an emergency procedure, but is now resting and feeling better.

My dad did not have typical heart attack symptoms, so I want to spread as much awareness as I can about what to look for if you may be at risk for a heart attack.

I took this from the American Heart Association’s website. You can also get information here.

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack,” where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. 
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. 
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. 
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

My dad did not have the “movie heart attack.” He had the other, sneaky kind. I wanted to share my dad’s story of atypical symptoms because if he would have ignored how he felt, he would not be here today. My was driving himself into work when he started having jaw pain. He tried to ignore his symptoms thinking it was a bad toothache, but he began to feel weak and started sweating profusely. Assuming he had an infection and a fever, he called out of work en route, but the person on the other line recognized the symptoms and told him to get to a hospital.

Being my dad, and not the average person, he drove himself to the hospital, parked a quarter mile away, and walked into the emergency room while having a heart attack. While in the ER, he suffered another attack, worse than the first, and the decision to transfer him was made. All the while, my dad was making jokes, teasing my mom, and laughing. Even now he thinks more about making everyone smile instead of worrying about him.

The doctor told him that if he would have just went home and gone to sleep, he would not have woken up. If he didn’t talk to that particular person when calling out, who knew jaw pain and sweating was a sign of a heart attack, I would not have my father today. He had two stents put in, and will have another in a few weeks. In the meantime, he’s trying his best not to be over active and just resting.

My post-Thanksgiving blog was supposed to be about apple pies and corn cake, with a nod to how thankful I am for my family. It is amazing how life can completely change in an instant. One second you are in your p.j.’s writing a blog while texting funny memes to your sister, and the next second you’re throwing on whatever clothes you can find so you can get to the hospital in time to see your father before he is airlifted to Deborah Heart and Lung for an emergency procedure.

We’ve all heard it before, we’ve lived through it, we’ve learned, but once the dust settles we will always forget that our lives are fragile.  I am so thankful that my dad called that particular person, that he had the sense to go to the hospital instead of to his comfortable bed, that he is alive. We all feel so touched by the outpouring of support and prayers so many people have given us. Thank you all so much! Be thankful and be blessed, and kiss all your loved ones!

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Happy Anniversary Cheese!

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Last weekend kicked my butt. I was so, so sick! I even had a fever. I can’t remember the last time I had a fever; I must have been a kid. I’m really lucky. I have my family 5 minutes away, and Matt took Jack to my mom’s to take care of him in case I was contagious. By Tuesday I was healthy enough to go to work, but I really miss my Mister Man! I only saw him in the morning and at night, and I made sure to nurse him to help protect him from getting sick too. I hope it worked. I’d rather be sick a thousand times than him being sick. It’s funny how easily that kind of preference happens.

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I actually wasn’t sick the whole weekend. Friday was our 5 year wedding anniversary. I loved getting married. I was so excited when the Deccan declared us husband and wife that I didn’t even go in for the kiss. I just started jumping up and down like an idiot. I had a plan this weekend to finally make a shadowbox of our invitations, my hair piece, Matt’s tie, our flowers, and a little tribute to our wedding song (“I Wanna Grow Old with You”) for the occasion. That obviously didn’t happen. So, instead, here are some adorable pictures of us on what was, up until that point, the happiest of days.

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We were together for nearly 10 years before our wedding. People are often surprised when they find out how long we’ve been together; someone even called us creepy. I could never really understand that surprise either. Matt’s my best friend. It was only natural for us to be together. You don’t leave your best friend; you grow with your best friend. I don’t have many friends, but I hold onto the good ones, so why would I let my best friend go?

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People would always say “you’ve been together so long, it’s like you’re married anyway. There isn’t much of a difference.” I didn’t feel that way at all. There was a big difference; being married is so much better than when we were just dating. Who you chose as your spouse is the reflection of the person you are as the person you want to be. That’s one reason I think our wedding day, while it’s now 2nd for happiest day, it is still probably the most important day of our lives.

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It’s the day we declared to our family, friends, the world, and God that we will always be a team.  We lean on each other so neither of us falls.

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And, of course, if I never married Matt I wouldn’t have my Giacomo.

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Oh I’m tired!

I am soooo sosososo sooo tired! I know, babies do that to you. But really I haven’t been this tired since Jack’s colic. The stupid thing about though is it’s my own fault. I’ve been trying to transition Jack into his own room. He’s too big for his co-sleeper. He’s been sleeping in bed with us, but he is starting to move around too much, and I’m afraid he’ll get caught under a pillow or blanket or something. So all week I’ve put Jack down in his crib. He always wakes up between 11-12 and that’s when I’d usually take him out of the co-sleeper and into my bed. In his crib, he’s been sleeping longer, not waking up until after 12:30 even.

Now here’s the “I’m-the-stupid-one” part. I sit up and wait for him to wake up. After worrying that he wouldn’t sleep in his crib, it turns out that I’m the one who can’t sleep without him! He cries for a few minutes and I jump up and bring him back into my room. It always feels like he’s crying forever, but I timed it, I last about 2 to 3 minutes but I think he’s been crying for 15. I’m also tired because my sleep training came after being super busy. This past weekend, we met Giacomo’s newest friend, saw an awesome concert, celebrated a bridal and baby shower, and explored the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC.

Jack and Quinn

Friday we went up to meet Quinn Daniel, my cousins newest addition. The little precious just turned one month this past weekend. He is so tiny and sweet. I’ve already forgotten when Jack was so small. Quinn’s brother Brodie is one year older than Jack, and he’s just starting to talk more and really showcase his personality. It was so cute watching the little ones interact. Jack was so curious about Quinn. He just wanted to touch and look at him. I’m so happy that they all have each other, built-in friends for years to come. My cousins were my closest friends growing up, and I’m so lucky that they are these constant rocks in my life, friends I know I will always have and count on.

Matt also finally got to use his birthday gift this weekend. He cashed in his tickets to see his favorite band, Rush. You may or may not have heard of Rush. They are very polarizing, and people either really love or really hate them. I usually explain them by referencing I Love You, Man. Rush is the band the guys are obsessed with in that movie. I used to be pretty indifferent to them, but after so many years of listening I actually like them quite a bit now. They are three of the most talented musicians, and their drummer is indisputably one of, if not the best drummer of all time. They’ve been around forever and this could supposedly be their farewell tour, so I’m happy we got to see their concert one more time. Rainy tailgating and classic rock made for a very late, but very fun night.

I’d have loved to sleep in the next day, but weddings and babies were to be celebrated. For the baby shower, I was not able to make my baby wardrobe or book bird house, but I did make a diaper bouquet. The bouquet is very easy and a little different from the traditional diaper cake. I used a mason jar as a vase, mainly because I saw these beautiful purple hard and wanted a reason to buy a case, but the jars actually hold the diaper roses beautifully. This is so simple to make and looks beautiful, all you need is a jar or vase, wooden skewers, green and pink tissue paper, diapers, and rubber bands. I’ll post the super easy how-to later.

Follow all that up that with walking over through the Javits Center for the Summer Fancy Food Show. I go every year to see what’s new and to make new connections with people.  Most vendors at the show are looking to sell their product to retailers, but they’ve always been super nice and excited to showcase their products. Except this year. Not all, but a lot wanted nothing to do with me and my co-workers once they saw we were suppliers and not retailers. I’m not sure why. I get that I couldn’t buy cases of their products, but I can certainly buy them off the shelf as a consumer. Oh well. I’ll stick to buying nice people’s products.

So busy weekends and lots of sleepless nights means I am exhausted. I’m glad it’s a 3 day weekend. Maybe by Monday I’ll be able to let Jack sleep in his room without running to check on him every 10 minutes.

2015 Stanley Cup Finals: Ang vs. Matt

Okay, I lied. I said I would only root for Kane once every 4 years during the Olympics. But that was when I thought the Rangers were going to the finals with the Blackhawks. Now that I’m only half right, I can proudly wear my Kane shirt and cheer GO BLACKHAWKS, much to my husband’s dismay.  Matt is a Ryan Callahan fan.  For the first time me and Matt are really, truly rooting against each other’s teams, and it’s actually kind of fun.

Matt doesn’t care enough about baseball to actively hate my Yankees, and I favor a few different football teams (and who really cares about his Jets anyway), but we both are Rangers fans, so we have always been cheering them on together. We’d still watch the Cup and have interest like any other year, but this season my favorite non-Ranger is against Matt’s favorite non-Ranger. And now it’s on. We have 2 different wagers going. Whoever’s team wins, the other person will have to treat the other to a surprise. I’m not sure what that will be, considering I don’t think I’ll be losing. The other wager is player based. Whoever’s favorite player has the most points at the end of the series wins. When I win, Matt has to do (and put away) the laundry for a month. If I lose, I’ll be loading the dishwasher without complaint for a month. So far Lightning is up 2 games to 1, but I’m guessing that’ll change tonight!

I was Locked in a Room with a Zombie

Between mid March to the first week of May, there are several birthdays and celebrations on my husband’s side of the family. This year, we decided with my in-laws that we would celebrate all the spring time festivities at one big event.  I don’t know where he found it, but my father-in-law discovered Room Escape Adventures: Locked in a Room with a Zombie.

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

So what did this event entail?  We were locked in a room with a zombie and had to escape within an hour. That’s pretty much it. You are locked in a room and the key to get out is hidden among several riddles, clues, locks, and keys. Even if you were to find where the exit key is hidden, you would need to have solved the other riddles in the room to get to the key.

I don’t want to give too much detail away and ruin the challenge for anyone, so here is the blurb from the website: Prepare to be locked in a room with up to 11 other people and a Zombie that is chained to the wall! Hidden in the room is a key that will unlock the door to your freedom.  To find the key you must locate numerous clues and solve riddles.  Every five minutes the hungry Zombie’s chain will be released another foot.  Within an hour, the Zombie will be able to reach you.  You have 60 minutes to the find clues, solve the puzzles, unlock the door and escape the room without getting eaten!  Are you smarter than a Zombie?  Find out!

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With such vague information, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. I thought he was crazy and the whole experience would be cheesy, but this turned out to be one of the best times I’ve had in a while.  The site describes the whole adventure as a “team building experience.” That sounds a bit corny, but it isn’t the normal type of team building experience. It isn’t like we were trust falling on each other, or having someone blindfolded and guide them. We were locked in a room with a zombie. We had to gather clues and solve riddles (word riddles, number riddles, puzzles, all kinds) all while dodging a zombie and/or distracting him from someone who is trying to gather a clue. Ok so the zombie was an actor, but in the moment you sure as hell don’t want to be tagged by the guy.

We had 2 extra tickets, so my friend Meg and her boyfriend Dave joined us, and thank goodness they did! They were responsible for solving some of the riddles. In fact, everyone was responsible and helped in some way. The riddles were varied enough that each of us had our own strengths, and pretty much everyone was solved at least one riddle to help out the team. At the end of the hour, the game host gives an analysis of the team as a whole and points out each person’s strengths and how he/she helped the team. My favorite analysis was of my mother-in-law, who offered to sacrifice herself to the zombie even though we still had a good 25 minutes to finid the challenge.  Only 30% of teams actually come out of the challenge “alive,” and we were one of them! with less than 30 seconds left, we tumbled out of the room and escaped the zombie.

We Won!!

I’ve seen coupons for it on Living Social, but even without them it’s not an expensive night. It’s also a really fun family night. Even though it is a zombie theme, it really isn’t scary at all. Players can be as young as 8 years old, and according to the host kids are better at riddles than adults. The only negative part is that you aren’t allowed to take the challenge again until a new sequel story comes out. Every few month there are new clues, riddles, and stories. I really hope we can do it again. Try it out here! http://roomescapeadventures.com/

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