six months

posted on: Sunday, November 28, 2010

on this day, exactly six months ago, i was doing this...

we celebrated our whole six months of wedded bliss by basically laying around the shoebox all day:
hanging closet hooks
watching movies and football
doing laundry
cooking a delicious italian meal
it was divine.

my darling husband asked me this morning, "are you going to make a big deal of this for the rest of our lives?"
i replied, "yes."
because, to me, it's life's celebrations--little and big--that make it worth living.

six months down, six million to go.
here's to a marriage that is forever as happy as we were today.

giving thanks

posted on: Saturday, November 27, 2010

so i missed Thanksgiving by a couple days.
no biggie.
i had a few things on my plate. 
namely, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, butternut squash and brussel sprouts, and gravy.
and i cooked it all. so i was pretty busy this week.
i win the award for super-wife of the week, though. 
so it's all good.

in the meantime, i managed to be thankful for a few things. 
in no particular order:

my brother. being alive. thank. God.
my family. even though my husband is blinking here.
my gladiator husband.
my kitty.
Christmas decorations.
a marriage that puts the images on the wedding blogs i used to frequent on a daily basis to shame.
a teeny-tiny apartment that will make every place we live in the future look like a palace.
twinkle lights.
delicious food.
clean water.
amazing friends.
even more amazing friends.
sensing a theme yet?

my hot momma gf's.
a car that runs in the snow.

i can't keep going, because my Countdown to Christmas, list of Favorite Things starts Wednesday.
there's a good degree of overlap.
no spoilers allowed.

hope your Thanksgiving was very very happy!

Shameless Promotion

i'm sure you've seen this going around the blogosphere before.
well, get ready to see it again.

the hubs and i were having a slight difference of opinion on sending out Christmas cards this year.
i wanted to.
he didn't.
mostly because he didn't feel it was worth the money.
so when Shutterfly announced this promotion for bloggers to get 
50 free Christmas cards,
i jumped on it!

i've always had great experiences with Shutterfly. they've been my go-to for printing images in the past.
i'm excited to see what they can do for my Christmas cards.

here's a few of my favorites:

once i finally pick one, i'll post it. for now, i want the people who read the ol' blog who actually might receive a Xmas card to be surprised when they check their mail. 

here's some links so you can jump on this too!

·         Christmas photo cards to 
·         holiday cards to 

My Favorite Beatle

posted on: Friday, November 19, 2010

okay, so maybe he's not really a Beatle. 
but he's named after his mommy and daddy's favorite Beatle.

meet Harrison Snow.
(side note: best rockstar name ever? is there even a question about this?)
(side note #2: i was secretly hoping his parents would slip the name "Aldous" somewhere in his name. every child deserves to be forever linked to Russell Brand, don't you think?)

this post is dedicated to baby Harrison, because he is having surgery today! 
he was born November 1, and has lived in the NICU at THREE different hospitals since the  day he was born. and finally, some doctors got around to figuring out what they think is causing him to have so much trouble breathing (aren't we doctors so annoying that way? taking our sweet time...). 

he has a little hole in his diaphragm. i could go into the science behind why this gives him so much trouble, but i have a feeling that you'd be better off if i spared the gory details.

so today, Harrison is having surgery to repair that hole. and he--and his surgical team--could sure use your prayers.

who could say no to this sweet little face?
and his parents, Jeff and my dear friend Susan could sure use your prayers too.

aren't they just the most gorgeous couple?
Susan hasn't gotten to hold her baby very much in the past 2+ weeks. 
now, i can only imagine how tough this must be...but you mommies out there know just how very torturous this must be for her. so pray especially that she can hold her baby--sans wires and tubes and nursing supervision--very soon.

their first family photo.
fattest baby in the NICU

family reading time. Pinocchio is the selection of choice. they're so smart.

Susan and I were roommates with this other preggo

me and the roomies. and a rather elvish Michael Donehey creeping in the background. madison square garden circa 2006.

 ...right after college. and we became great friends in the process. which is no small feat, as those of you who have had roommates know. roommate does not always equal friend.

but friends we were. and are. 2006-2007 was a great time of life.
i was applying for med school (and succeeded. obviously. finally.) 
and working nights in an ER as a tech.
meg was planning her wedding and teaching middle schoolers how to be abstinent.
and susan was the rockstar: touring the country playing violin for a little band called 
Dashboard Confessional. 

you can totally see/hear her in this video.
when it made the VH1 Top Ten, we were FREAKING OUT in the living room.
much like we did when the bird flew down the fireplace and into the house. 

ahhh memories. 

and Jeff's rockstar-dom is nothing to sneeze at either.
he was the drummer for Legends of Rodeo (best band name ever?).
my first memory of Jeff is seeing him drum for Legends at this little bar in Lake Worth called Brogue's
i was so awestruck by his awesomeness that i actually waited around after the set
to tell him how awesome i thought he was.
i don't know if he remembers this. 

here's some Legends of Rodeo for ya.

and just in case you weren't convinced of Harrison's own rockstar status, here is an actual, in utero ultrasound photo of him...
no photoshopping. this is legit.
need i say more?

well anyway. rockstar-ness aside, Susan and Jeff and Harrison could use your prayers.

won't you send some up for them today?

p.s. if you want to follow Harrison's progress, Susan keeps us all updated here.

baby, it's cold outside

posted on: Wednesday, November 17, 2010

since i'm headed back to Chicago on Friday...


this is by far my favorite version of this song. sung by Over the Rhine. i took this video with my teeny-tiny little camera when i saw them in NYC in 2006. and i'm buying tickets for their Chicago Christmas performance this year too (3rd year in a's become a tradition).
have you ever heard of them?

if not, you're welcome.

here's a slightly-better-sound-quality video of this not-well-known band singing a very well-known song.

drivers beware...

posted on: Tuesday, November 16, 2010

baby sister got her license today...

even her license picture is cute.
so proud of her.


Everything and Nothing At Once

posted on: Monday, November 15, 2010

here are a few random things you should know about me. 
maybe should is a stretch.
but you will know them anyway.

1. i am obsessed with shaving my legs. like, for real. i can count on one hand the number of times i have missed a day...since i started shaving at age 11. i have already informed my hubs that my first big expense when we start residency and earn paychecks, will be laser hair removal.

he is okay with this.

2. when i was a kid, i used to weed through the apples in the fruit bowl--usually of the Granny Smith variety--inspecting the texture and the color of the skin. looking for the signs i had come to recognize as depicting an apple that tasted the perfect combination of sour and sweet. 

now, i have discovered an apple variety that is consistently perfect: the Honey Crisp.

3. i just finished reading "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo". very enthralling and entertaining read. it's set in Sweden. due to the book, and the fact that i've been living out of a hotel room for a month, i have recently been frequenting the IKEA website, looking for design inspiration for our little shoebox apartment once we get back to Chicago. along with this site, and this one, and this one.

4. i have discovered that yes, you can indeed get sick of Mexican food.

5. 2010 has been a big year for me and the internet. via my iPhone, i took it with me to Italy during our wedding festivities. and now, it lets me Google-chat (Gchat for short. if you're a cool kid.) with my brother in Afghanistan whenevs. like just now. while typing this post. he said, "happy ikhtar!"

i have no idea what that means. but i'm going to go "wiki it" now. which is what he told me to do when i asked what it meant.


NOT a fashion blog

posted on: Sunday, November 14, 2010

just to give you all a slight idea of what i've been dealing with for the past month, here's evidence of taking a trend a little too far...

these uniforms were obviously NOT designed by women and for women.

so unfortunate. both the uniform and the photo quality.
Rachel Zoe would SO not approve. this is the military look gone way overboard.

i am looking forward to getting back to the Chi, if only so that i can wear normal clothes again.

Adopted Idea

posted on: Wednesday, November 10, 2010

my mind is literally spinning because i'm so excited and inspired about this post. 
i just set myself up for huge failure there. because it could turn out to be just so-so. but then again, i never promised amazing-ness...just excited-ness. on my part. bear with me.

here's my train of thought:
1. i wandered over to where Bridget lives and discovered that she is guest-blogging today at My Spoiled Eggs

2. so i wandered over to My Spoiled Eggs and discovered Ashlee. she is a newlywed (you can still be a newlywed after 3 years...right? i think so.) struggling--in a deliciously honest way, i might add--with infertility. and she's having a giveaway involving items from Anthropologie. i. die.

3. so obviously i read the requirements for entering this giveaway and tried to do as many of them as possible. goal being: get Anthro stuff.

4. but then i noticed that one of the ways to enter was to post about being an adoptive mom, or an adopted kid...or something of the sort. and i still don't know if i qualify in Ashlee's eyes for this category, but I realized that this is something that my blogosphere friends just might not know about me: 
i am an adoptive sister.

5. and now i find myself inspired to blog about my sibbies. you've seen them around my blog once or twice before...maybe just once. here.

here's the story. the long version. buckle up.
my parents were missionaries in Brazil when i was born. (i was born in Brazil. can't you tell?) and some of the work they did while they were there was with an orphanage. there was this baby. named Baby Debora. and she had been mistreated. and malnourished. and fortunately, this was around the time when my brother (remember him?) was just a wee little tyke, nursing all the time. so my mom basically wet-nursed this baby. sweet, but also a little gross. if you don't think so, that's okay. but i digress. so due to the wet-nursing, Debora grew and thrived. and my parents wanted to adopt her. but the court system ended up sending her back to live with her family...
who had mistreated her in the first place.


but a dream was born. my parents decided at that point, that they had two kids...and wanted more...but there were so many babies out there that needed families. so they would adopt. 

well, adoption is a very expensive process. and when we got back to the U.S. (i was age 3 at the time), we were literally eating Cheerios 3 meals a day. 
good times. 
so it took a few years for my family to be ready.

fast forward to 1994. the loooong, drawn-out adoption approval process is completed. i am now age 10, and BEYOND excited, because my parents are at the hospital, picking up my new baby sister. or as i preferred to think of her, my live baby doll. Anna Lia (we call her Annie) was born 3-15-1994...and came home from the hospital with us.  i don't have any baby pics of her with me here in Tejas, but here's one from the vault.

Annie...nana-bird, for short. or long.

who wouldn't be hooked on adoption after that sweet face? she kind of crazily looks a lot like me. which is really weird, if you knew the whole story. but since she's 16 now, that's her story to tell...and not mine. so you'll just have to die of curiosity. or meet her someday and ask her. 

but enough suspense. a year and a half later, we were ready to adopt again. 

**digression: i know i keep using the term "we"...which may seem odd to you, since obviously, at the age of 10, i was not actually a part of the process in making these adoptions happen. but this is how my family did it. it was a joint decision. we had many discussions as a family of four that got us to the point where we were ALL ready. many of them hilarious. for example, my family decided that we wanted to adopt black or biracial children. at one point, when my brother was probably about 7, we were discussing this at the dinner table and he burst out..."but the kids at school are gonna laugh at me if i show up with a brother who has bones in his nose!!" he was picturing African bush children a la National Geographic. we had a good laugh about this, then corrected his misconceptions, and we were all back on track. end digression.**

so, meet Jesse.
the. sweetest.
again, no baby pictures. sorry. 
Jesse Daniel was born 9/1/1995, but he didn't actually come home until 1/25/1996. he's the special one who didn't come home super close to his actual birthday, so my family celebrates Adoption Day every year, on January 25th. there's cake. and candles. and everyone who is adopted gets celebrated. it's awesome. 

i think my parents had actually only envisioned adopting twice, but we all still felt like there was still a hole in the family. a hole that could only be filled by Abby. so 3 years later, there we were again. 

so proud of her Thanksgiving turkey.
Abby Noel was born 5-8-1999. she was named "Noel" because my mom said "it felt like Christmas" when she came home. if you can't tell from this picture, she is the spunkiest, sweetest little chica who still loves to play with babies and doesn't let ANYBODY tell her what to do.

i know this is a long post, but honestly, i'm just scratching the surface of their adoption stories. each one of their stories has so many details and nuances that could only have been orchestrated by God himself. details that i feel so privileged and honored to have been old enough to actually remember. everytime i go home to see my fam, at some point, usually after we've eaten a huge, delicious meal cooking by Mama and we can't move, we lie around and somebody asks to have me tell their adoption story. which usually ends up in me telling all three. but i love it. 

being an adoptive sister has been one of the most formative roles i have played...and by formative, i mean that i have been formed by it. i can't imagine life without any one of these precious creatures. being their sister has helped make me who i am today, and i am so thankful for each one of them. 


Jesse will probably kill me for putting this on the interweb.

And she still loves kitties. To this day.

no words.
you can refer back to the beginning of this post for the link to the most recent family picture to date, taken in October. a few things have changed. 

i hope you have enjoyed this long-winded recap of how my family came to be the way it is today. 
if not, oh well.

i'll leave you with this thought, one that has always seemed to be written for situations such as these:

"God sets the lonely in families..."
Psalm 68:6

Thoughts on Decorating for Christmas

posted on: Tuesday, November 9, 2010

too soon? 
i think not. 

last year, on a particularly dreary November day, the weekend before Thanksgiving, i told my hubs that i was just going to "pull out" my Christmas decorations. just to see them. (though, come to think of it, at the time, he was just a boyfriend. 2010 has been a big year.)

well, he took one look at me "looking" through my Christmas decorations, grabbed his keys, and said "i'll be back". i was left, sitting on the floor with my decorations strewn out all around me, mini-fake-Christmas tree still in pieces. sad, and very confused.

within a matter of minutes, he was back, and got right to work in the kitchen. moments later, he had struck up the "All I Want For Christmas Is You" Pandora station, and placed a Dirty Girl Scout martini (Nick was a bartender before becoming a med he made his up. But you can find the recipe here.) in my hand. then he settled back on the couch, with a martini in his own hand (somehow managing to look manly and delicious while holding a martini glass), and said something to the effect of, "carry on."

i could not have been more in love at that moment. smitten, i was. 

here's the finished result of last year's decorating:

kitties love having trees in the house.
there was also a wreath involved. and several "mistletoe"-scented candles. and, of course, mistletoe. obviously not pictured here.
i may have mentioned this before, but we live in a shoebox. hence the teeny-tiny Xmas tree. next to the radiator. hoping it doesn't catch fire. thank God it's fake. 

THIS year, we will ALSO be decorating for Christmas the weekend before Thanksgiving. right after we get back from San Antonio. right before Nick's family comes in to town. with Dirty Girl Scout martinis. and Pandora. deja vu. 

got any Christmas decorating traditions? let's hear 'em!

A Baby Shower

posted on: Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I've promised this baby shower post for weeks now....and here it is!
My bestie Meghan is a prego. And a cute one, God bless her. 
As you well know, I am not ready to have babies. 
But whenever I decide that I am, I hope I look as cute as her. 
Actually, all my friends have made SUPER cute pregos. 
L->R: Tiff, Susan, Val. aka, the teensiest bellies ever. Read their story here.

They have set the bar really high for me. Which is unfortunate, because I already like to eat NOW...and can picture myself enjoying that activity exponentially more when I am "eating for two" I feel that the svelte-prego look is probably way out of my reach.

But anyway, back to Meghan...the belle of the baby shower.

Me & the Momma-to-be. Note the similarity in the size of our bellies. How unfortunate. For me.

Shower decor: a walk down memory lane for Megs.

Memories for Baby Annaleigh. Funny stories, words of wisdom, thoughts, prayers...

my GORGEOUS co-hosts: Susanna & Melody.

Silly baby shower games with good friends

the ladies

we were "holding up the world". a reference to how children are our future? i think?

stating the obvious. goofily.

puffballs found in a furnished home's decor should obviously be used as antennas.

Kiki's going to she made baby Annaleigh a shirt to remember her by.
some very original posing here.
so there you have it! we showered Annaleigh Jane with tons of goodies. and the world is anxiously awaiting her arrival sometime in the middle of January. i'm secretly hoping that she just can't WAIT to come out, and will make her debut right around January 3rd. because then she can share a birthday with lil' ol' me. wouldn't that be lovely?

Hump Day Jams

here's some tunes I've been listening to as of late.

Style ME Pretty

posted on: Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I've been reminiscing about our wedding lately. 
Maybe it has something to do with me constantly being in an Air Force uniform, 
and that day being my girliest day ever. 
Or maybe I just miss my hubs when he's working on my days off.
However, I egregiously left most of my images in Chicago when I traveled to Texas. 
Fortunately, there's facebook. And Style Me Pretty.

Style Me Pretty caught the magic of our little matrimonial celebration in Italy and awarded us with a lovely feature back in June. Now I'll be honest...Nick didn't give a hill o' beans about this. 
But I...oh, I was thrilled. 
And so was this happy face...

Isn't she just the cutest? See more of her incredible handiwork here...

Not that you were missing my wedding photos. 
But ever since the lovely Sarah Tucker posted her wedding memories 
(courtesy of the very same photog genius shown above...that's how we met!), 
I haven't been able to let go of the idea of sharing my pics with all of you. 
So now you are subject to my whim.

Mi Hermano

posted on: Monday, November 1, 2010

Since I'm in San Antonio, I thought it appropriate to blog en espanol. A little. 

Well, here we are in November, and I'm still catching up on the events of October. Fortunately, my time in San Antonio has been relatively uneventful thus far. Aside from a fantastic shopping trip and a couple of dinners out, I have yet to see much of S.A. outside of Lackland Air Force Base...and the inside of Wilford Hall's ER. Sucks for me, but it does make it easier to accomplish my mission of blogging October.

So my brother got deployed to Afghanistan. I can say this now without getting choked up, but it was pretty touch and go there for a while. It's probably a good thing that I waited to talk about this until it stopped being so fresh. This way my computer keys can stay dry. 

But I digress. Before the brother (we will call him Joe...because that is his name) left, my whole fam-dam-ily got together at my parent's house in Jacksonville, FL.
Lovely day at Jax Beach

Hubs, Dad, Brother caught in a little futbol action.

My littlest little brother, Jesse...with some creature's shell on his head.

Sooo many shoes.

Stud. Period.

The ever-dreaded family photo. With some extra significant others. (Back row: Annie, Jesse, Mom, Dad, Abby; Front row: Joe, gf Melissa, me, hubs)

This is more like it.

Mom and Dad. 30 years and counting.   

Remember that surprise I said I was cooking up? Well here he is.
Meet Max. Orange kitten extraordinaire.
My mom is a huge cat person and has wanted, and I quote, "a little orange kitty" since before my wedding in May.
Given the circumstances, with her son going off to war and all, I figured now would be a good time for that kitty to arrive. Call him a distraction if you will.


Max and Abby (isn't she beautiful)

Worked like a charm. Max and his new owner are getting along famously.
I'm a smitch out of focus in this one. This is the product of others not knowing how to use my camera. (:
 And here's one from the oldies vault. Probably circa 1999. We were playing with these Disney Princess wigs that belonged to Annie (see above family photo. she's grown up a little since then too.)
The result was mostly humiliating, and priceless.
There just aren't words. Is my brother wearing a necklace? wtf.  Also, I'm wearing glasses. My vision is 20/13. No idea what I was thinking. 
So there you have it. We bid farewell to the brother for the next year. He gets leave in 6 months so there's a chance we'll see him then. He was last seen on an air base in Afghanistan, where he ran into one of his ol' USAF Academy buddies in a "random" twist of fate. 
(I don't believe it was random. I believe it can be aptly attributed to the "Airborne Ranger in the Sky", if you will.)

An Afghan rendezvous.

There are many many things I am thankful for, and one of them is that I have been able to be on an Air Force Base during this time right after my brother left. Something about being around all these airmen and officers makes my brother feel a little less far away. It does not, oddly enough, make ME feel anymore like an Air Force Officer. But it does make me feel closer to Joe. Blessings in disguise...

Okay, one more from the vault. Proof that I actually AM an officer. 
Me and the bro at my "commissioning ceremony" in my living room. (:
June 18, 2007. West Palm Beach, FL.
Still to come...a baby shower. 
Stay tuned!
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