Tuesday, September 25, 2012

8 Years

8 Years Ago, I laid eyes on my Future Baby Daddy!!
I had seen photos, but it was 8 years ago today that I met him for the first time.
His brother introduced us. He had no idea that I had seen photos and thought he was quite a hunk.
This was him... 8 years ago as Best man at his brother's wedding.

That was me the NIGHT before the wedding. I was  in Boston, but my cousins came up from MD and spent the night in Boston and then we rode up to NH for the wedding the next day.
My older cousin (2nd actually) took me and a bunch of my friends out for a big meal and drinks.  It was SO, SO generous. He is a very special cousin.
Anyway, so the next day, we drove up to NH to attend the wedding. I was excited to get my eyes on "the brother" (aka:Andrew) I had asked my mom several times during the week prior if she had seen him yet (and the rest of the Kiwi family in town) and she kept talking about one of the kiwi cousins being cute! ha! Nothing about Andrew.

 (Check out my old school phone in the pic above)
This is the only pic I can find of ME from the wedding.  ITs not very good, but its me and my dad.
WHen Andrew's brother introduced us, Andrew shook my hand and then asked his brother if he could take his suit jacket off.  Ha. He seemed high energy to me. My dad made a joke (well, he was kind of serious) that he seemed like a crack head! lol.
(PS. my parents LOVE him now)
Andrew offered to buy me a drink later in the evening at the wedding. I said no thank you and walked away.  I had my guy bff come pick me up because he was down the street at his parents' house for the weekend. He came and stayed at the wedding and we got our party on. Andrew thought he was my boyfriend. NOPE!   But still, Andrew had a long term girlfriend back in NZ when he was here for the wedding. I knew that, and I knew he wasn't available.

IT wasn't until I went to NZ 9.5 Months later, that I actually TALKED to him.  By then, he had broken up with his girlfriend (unrelated to me! haha) and the timing was just right for me to sink my claws into him.
ANd, I'M sure he is so grateful for that!
And, I didn't go to NZ for him. I was already signed up through my college when I met Andrew at the wedding, by the way. I wanted to study abroad in NZ or Australia. Since my cousin's fiance/husband was from ChCh, NZ I decided to go there..you know, so I would have his family....being on the other side of the world at that age, its nice to know SOMEONE.
Andrew's dad picked me up at Uni on my first Sunday there and took me around town and then up to his house for dinner. Andrew's sister and her bf (Now husband) were there. Andrew arrived a little late and we had Indian for dinner!  That night, ANdrew's dad asked if Andrew could drive me back to my Uni dorm.
I Said NOOOOO PROBLEM :)
The rest is history.
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And, what did my baby daddy do for me this weekend?
HE painted this pine night stand for me. Actually, it was originally part of my desk I had in my first off campus apt. but Ive been using it as a nightstand. IT didn't match anything.



And, the other afternoon, it got quiet upstairs and I found this!
SHE NEVER falls asleep on me.



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Randoms: Food, TRIP and Affection


A few random things to post tonight.

Anika and I are going to Chicago this fall!  We are going to visit some of my close girlfriends. One friend, C, has lived there for a while. YOu may recall I went the weekend right before I found out I was pregnant with Anika.  I then went for her wedding when I was about 18 weeks pregnant.  Recently,  my old college roommate just moved there too! We don't know all the specifics of what we are doing yet, but we have time to figure it all out. I LOVE cities and I love what I have seen of Chicago so far.  I know we will have fun no matter what we do.
And, seeing good friends? YES!
We are really excited. 
We are flying Southwest, so I can take two checked bags for free. Ill take a suitcase and my pack n play for checked bags .Then, it is free to bring car seat and stroller of any kind. I think I am going to bring my infant seat instead of the convertible one. The infant seat is easier to carry and less bulky.  This is when it is good that A is small. ha. The height limit is 32 inches (she is 30) and the weight is 35 pounds (she is 23).  The straps will be a tight fit though.
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I realized that my childless friend had NO idea what a pack n play was after I mentioned that I was bringing one with me and she kept giving me options of places for Anika to sleep.  It finally occurred to me that kidless people don't automatically know what a pack n play is. ha. or a bumbo or bobby or any of that other baby crap.
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I miss cable. I sad it.  I would be happy with basic channels! Just something to turn on and watch. Like news.
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Remember I told you how Anika mowed down a couple hot dogs Labor Day weekend? Well, I found something hot doggish for her.  They are organic turkey dogs.  The ingredients are good. No nitrates, etc and Anika LOVES them.  I was thinking about how I said hot dogs are gross. The last hot dog I had was actually IN Chicago at a White Sox vs. Cubs game 2 days before I got that positive pee stick.  It was like the only thing to eat there and everyone else was having one. Ill admit, when I stopped thinking about what was in them, it was pretty effing good.
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We usually try to buy farm eggs. We used to get them from our neighbor. When we don't get farm eggs, I get them at the grocery store. I usually get the organic ones but Ive wondered about organic or cage free?
This weekend, someone from Nellie's Cage Free Eggs and Pete & Gerry's Organic Eggs was at the food festival.  Andrew asked what is better- cage free or organic. ha.
For these particular brands, ALL chickens are cage free, but the Organic eggs come from chickens that are cage free AND fed organic grain.  I thought they would be fed something more..., well natural.
Anyway, the organic eggs are 40% more money to buy, but I think the are the better eggs.
These are pictures of coupons so I could show you what I was talking about. haha. don't try to print them and use them.

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Andrew and I have not been the most affectionate people in the past several years. I guess, I am not that affectionate by nature.  Well, when Anika wasn't a very affectionate/cuddly baby, I wondered if it was because she wasn't really learning it from us. I mean, we cuddled her bunches, but we barely kissed or hugged  each other, or held hands in front of her! A while ago, we started doing those things!  Hugging and kissing in front of her. She would always smile when she saw it. 
It was kind of a show I guess. But, Now, we don't "fake it" and its  just happening naturally between us!
I have to admit, I'm happy to have a bit of affection back in our marriage.  I don't know why we let it stop to begin with!  Just a hug out of nowhere or grabbing each others hands really is nice. It makes me think of the early days of dating...you remember those right? Haha. 
Anyway, Anika has been more affectionate too. It may just be because she got older and she changed.  But, maybe because she saw us doing it!
Either way, its just one more little way that Anika has been the source of our marriage getting better/back on track and us being happier. Weird how that works, isn't It?
Andrew taught Anika this cute little thing where they give each other knuckles. She comes up with her fist and says "knuckle" and goes to Andrew first, then me and then Piri! ha.
She kills us sometimes with her cuteness.
When I opened the fridge tonight she pointed and said "Mumma's wine"
I DONT even drink my wine when she is awake, so OBVIOUSLY, SOMEONE else taught her that thinking they were funny.

I leave you with another 30 year old dress :)

Oh and her new Toms. That Andrew got too big.




Sunday, September 16, 2012

Little Fairies. And beer.

Saturday, we went down to Portsmouth for a Fairy House Tour. Actually, that was not the original reason for the trip. The little event was held at the historical Strawberry Bank.  Many of our friends have lived in Portsmouth over the years,  but our last good friends remaining (Ry, M and T)  are moving out of the sea side city next month :(   Yesterday was a perfect September day. Sunny, but with a breeze.
Of course we dressed the girls up as fairies.


There was a little performance of dancing fairies on the stage. Anika ate her picnic lunch while kind of watching the performance. There were lots of kids around.

Guess what she was doing here?

 HA, She told me she had to go, but I couldnt find a toilet! Poor thing.



The girls were more interested in the water.
Also, during the early part of the day, ANika was quite clingy to me. Didnt really explore much at all. Even with the big bubble maching going. She was not her usual self, but came to later in the day.

Fairy houses



My friend Ry and her daughter, T,  went back to her house so T could nap. Andrew, Anika and I walked around town. We went in some stores. We bought Anika a pair of Toms. HA. I wanted the silver sparkle ones, but I have been told by several people that they wear off and sparkles go everywhere. We ended up with the plain beige canvas ones. I am having a little regret over the choice. ANika has a lot of high quality shoes, but they have all been gifts and hand me downs (Minus the one pair of stride rite sandals we bought at the beginning of this summer).  We went to another upscale kid boutique (We don't have those where we live up here) and WOW! I could have spent some serious money on cute kid clothes and shoes, but...I didn't!  A. Andrew was with me! B. Anika doesn't need anything right now.  There was a pair of soft cute PJ's i liked for Anika, but they were $50! ha.  Andrew liked a pair of shoes for Anika A LOT, but he did not like the $58 price tag.  We went and had a Mediterranean lunch.  ANika had the hummus of the day with pita. 

We also went to a jewelry store. It is owned by a girl I went to high school with. She has a daughter a little older than A.  She makes her own jewelry. We had Andrew's finger sized and she is going to make him a new wedding band since his no longer fits.  Just going with plain silver this time, but a little aged looking. Cant wait to see it finished and on him!

We walked back to Ry's house and hung out. Ry's husband was home from work, so we all walked down to the park.


 Anika and T are 2 weeks apart :)
I was on the other side of this totter. Andrew was looking at a pretty girl walking 3 dogs. He kept saying Oh, Look at the doggies, but Um- I Know what he was REALLY looking at even if he tries to deny it!

After the park, we walked back to Ry's house and I freshened up. We said bye to Anika and she stayed with Ry,M and T.  Then, Andrew and I walked back to Strawberry Bank for a Beer and Food Festival!  We were invited to the beer festival by my friend L (Who lives up my way) several months ago. I bought the tickets several months ago.  I bought myself a regular ticket and ANdrew the DD ticket since he doesn't drink anymore (due to his bladder and the acidity).  (Although, he did have a few beers this summer!) Making a day of it and the fairy festival were decided last minute this past week.  I am so glad we did end up doing the whole day because it was a great day and night.
We walked down, just the two of us.  I had tons of beer.  There was food parings with all the beer so he had lots of food.  All the stations were NH restaurants and breweries, so we got to sample lots of things.
We only saw our friend L and her husband twice. It was pretty crowded and we had started on the opposite side as her.  We left after 2 hours  (we had gone to all the stations plus a couple twice and I was feeling warm and fuzzy!). We walked back to Ry's house through downtown. We stopped in a few stores and looked around without chasing after a child :)  Andrew even bought a few things! We even walked down the street holding hands.

When we got back to Ry's we got a great report about A. She was a pleasant girl. EVen took a bath with T and they played great together. That made me happy because as any parent knows, you just NEVER know how your kid will be.
We made the 1.5 hour drive home. Anika was out like a light. I slept a little but tried to stay up to talk to Andrew.
This morning, I slept until 10:30 AM!  I was up with A a little earlier in the morning, but Andrew got up with her for good.  They went out for several hours and I wrote this blog post and did tones of chores around the house while blasting pandora.  I meant to publish the post earlier today, but blogger was being a brat.

When Andrew and Anika got back home, I took Anika to an organic farm stand near our house. I have seen signs all summer, but could not find it. I called and found out it was WAY up a dirt road nearby.  It ended up being 5 minutes away and what a beautiful area! The lady was so nice.  We got organic garlic, collard, kale, tomatoes (little ones for my salads), beans, pickles and some echinacea tincture they make there!
I am going to sign up for the Fall CSA there and pick up a bushel of fresh produce every Saturday for 7 weeks!  I am really excited. 
 Hope everyone had a Funday Sunday!
Man, I love hte weekends. Working for the weekends!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Reflections

I want to reflect a little. I do a lot of thinking when I drive or when I am in spin class. I write entire blog posts in spin class, in my head. Then, I never get them typed.  Its sad.
I am going to try tonight to get some thoughts down.

I have noticed, I have been happy. Its weird. I mean, I have never experienced depression, but I have been known to dwell on things or find the negative. I used to find things wrong...with my life, with my career, with my husband, with my house, etc.

 When we moved back to NH, I left a career behind. Or at least, the beginning of one. The current job is good and I work for Wonderful people, but it's a very small company and there is just no place for advancement. I Make LESS now than I did 5 years and 4 months ago when I left my job in Boston. I do not have a lot of day to day human interaction.  I think the money is the biggest issue for me though.  On the plus side, the commute is GREAT. Only 12 minutes door to desk. With Anika, that really is a win win situation. I see all my peers getting promotion after promotion or going back to school. Most of the kids I graduated with have finished law school or grad school. I know its not too late, but there are limited options up here in this rural area. It is a family place, and I guess for that, I am happy. And again, the people I work for really are great, when I actually SEE Them!


I moved back to NH after I got married because Andrew wanted to move up here. The city here was different than the city he left. The first 3 years of our marriage were hard. Not all the time, but a lot. He struggled to find a good job.  We lived in the shack down the road from my parents in a town I swore I would leave after high school and Never come back to (only to visit). I felt like a failure. Sure, I was married to a great, handsome man, but I didn't want to be back here. I began to resent him. I missed the city. I hated the country.
At the same time, he was learning to live in a NEW country without his job, HIS house he had bought and worked hard for, his family and friends.  But, I wasn't very understanding about that. In fact, I really sucked at it.

Then, we bought the house (still rural) but at least it was OUR house, things were better. We got Piri right before then too. I was responsible for her. I liked it.  Then, there were a million things i HATED about the house and I wanted to fix or things or I wanted to buy, but my husband didn't want to spend the money.  He has always been so focused on paying off the house...and we HAVE! We have paid off a huge chunk of the principal. I still want a new bedroom set. I still want a dining room set. I still want new couches, but it doesn't bother me as much now. And, we have done small things- like a new garage door, new washer and dryer, ummm...that might be it! haha

Nowadays, I just find myself...happy. Happy with life. Happy with my husband. Happy with this town.

I have thought about WHAT happened? What changed in me?
First, Obviously, Anika. Anika brings SO much joy to both of our lives. When I start to get down about something or pout, I just simply think of her.  Just the THOUGHT of her and I realize how Friggen lucky we are.  Her health is #1, but then just WHO she is and what she does added to her being healthy- and well, that's something to smile about. I doubted my abilities to be a good parent, but I I feel like I am doing a good job.  Sure, she has done some things lately that embarrass me or make me think, oh crap- we created a monster, but I am talking OVERALL here :)

Second, since becoming a mom, I appreciate my parents so much more. My parents are selfless. My mom would do ANYTHING for me. JUST anything.  The older I get, I realize that my parents are not the norm...I am indeed one lucky daughter.  Now that I am older, I get that so much more. I mean, I KNEW before, but I just seem to understand it better now.

Third, and I really think this is the big life changer for me, but I still attribute what I said above:
  Andrew's health scare this past winter.

I was never really afraid of him dying, but you know, it crossed my mind at times that he had some horrible disease or cancer (they ran all the tests too).  There is no cancer in my blood family (ha, and Andrew tries to tell me I didn't bring good genes to the table-haha).  I have had VERY little death in my life. I am grateful for that. Andrew lost his mom to cancer, and I just CANT imagine losing one of my parents, especially before they got to see me have kids. He truly lives on and has such a good attitude about it. Sure, he misses her, but he stays so positive.
After the fear of him having some deadly illness, therew was the  fear that they couldn't figure out what it was. The unknown is scary. Then, the fear that he could never work again when they finally figured it out. If Andrew could not work, we could not keep this house.  He could barely move! I couldn't imagine a life with him not being able to function, or him not able to be the dad he was before, or the husband he was before.  Then, when he realized what his life might be like, he got depressed. I mean, he wasn't dx'd, but I saw it! He was scared and hated his life in those days. I didnt even know how to handle it.  I leaned on friends during that time- real life friends and online Friends :)


I prayed. I prayed so hard for him to get better. 
As we all know, he got better. I wish he believed in God, but he doesn't.  I think my prayers were answered, and I am so happy they were because he is a good person. He really is. A friend the other day made  a comment  "Oh ya, you are the asshole in your marriage" ...meaning ME :) yes, I guess I can be. ha.


Sometimes, I wonder HOW I got so lucky or how I continue to be lucky.  Is it because I am a good person?  I like to think so, but I always need improvement.  Something else weird has happened since ANrew was sick and I prayed for him to get better.  Every time I go to talk/type badly about someone, I get an overwhelming tug on me telling me not to. When I start to think badly about someone, Something somewhere tells me not to.  I get "tugs" all the time to be better and to do better.  ITS SO friggen weird. I mean, Im not saying its God, it could be that I just grew a conscious! ha.  I have no idea, but the feelings are newish, and I wanted to write them down. And, the tugs dont ALWAYS stop me, but I do get guilty after!

Anyway, I KNOW I haven't really bitched on this blog in a while. I could find things of course, but by the time I get to sit down at my computer, I forget about them! Anika goes to bed at 8 and I should be in bed by 10, so that leaves little time for dishes, pack lunches, laundry, tv, internet, etc.
My marriage is good (it wasn't always) and I really do find myself thanking my daughter and Andrew's sickness for getting me to this place.  It took something wonderful and something really shitty for me to realize it. And, there are still bad things that happen sometimes, but I TRY SO HARD to remind myself, it will pass.  Or, when I start to get down, I think of the positives in my life and it really works.
Also, I know I have talked about it a million times before, but WORKING out regularly is great for the mood. Even though I have gained 15 pounds back, I still work out at least 4 days a week.  If not for the bod, then for the mind :) haha. Nutrition is important too. Good foods and supplements. I always eat good healthy foods, but with all these social events this summer, I have definitely been eating a fair share of garbage.

This might have come off as really cheesey, im publishing it without reviewing. ha.  I still have dishes to do and lunches to pack.

*also, in my last post I made a statement about bf'ing being easy. I didnt mean that. It IS Not easy in the early days. I meant how its easy now...it gets easy after a while.  Sometiems, I forget what a huge time suck it was in the early days! haha.

I hope to be back tomorrow to post about our weekend. Dont want to cram too much in one post :) Who, ME?
But, I cant do a post with no pictures!!

We decided to clean out the shoes. Her feet are growing! I am so happy we have so many hand me downs! 

Treats for Piri.

The treats are called Foxy Treats. My friend makes them. Even if Anika eats one, its fine :)

Sunday was grandparents day, so obviously we took photos.

 And, went to brunch :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rafting in nz and weekend review

So, last weekend was not my FIRST time White water rafting.
I actually went in New Zealand with my mom 7 years ago.  My parents came over to visit me while I was studying abroad.  We traveled up to the North Island. My dad fished. A lot.  My mom and I found things to do. The thing is, I DON'T REMEMBER it.  Yes, I was sober. I just don't actually remember doing it. But,  I did find some gross photos of me. Fatty face and all. 

dont know that girl.















I don't think I will forget doing it this time- from last weekend. Not with that hottie hippie. lol. And a great group of friends.  At least I hope I dont forget!  
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The rest of this post is randoms. Surprise, Surprise :)
Speaking of white water rafting, I left out something from last weekend.
one of you asked, and I figured some others might have wondered.
Yes, I was away from Anika for 40 hours and I was camping. I brought a hand pump. I did use that Saturday night but it hurt my hand a lot after a while. Sunday morning I hand expressed. Yes, I walked up into the woods a bit (just like we had to to go to the bathroom) and I just started expressing it out into the woods. At one point, Andrew came up to check on me.
I had accidentally squirted some milk on my face. When I walked back down, that probably looked bad.
oops.
That was pretty much all I did.  Once we got back into the swing of things back home, everything went back to normal. Breast feeding is Supply and Demand. A newborn demands a lot, so you make a lot. A toddler who just nurses nights and mornings (like mine) doesn't demand a lot. It is all pretty simple. Our bodies are pretty amazing. Any other questions about that?
Oh, one of my readers had her 2nd baby last week!  She has a baby a few months younger than A as well. I am over the moon- she is tandem nursing!  So proud of her. 

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 MCW shared a great pandora station, and I want to share too.  I don't actually have my own pandora account, but I do use Andrew's. I should just get my own. lol. I have only used it recently with the iphone. But, Pop and Hip Hop Power workout Radio is GREAT for working out! 
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I did turn my cable off and i miss it at nights. I am trying to get used to it. ONe day at a time.

Yesterday we were home almost ALL DAY. That NEVER happens.  We pretty much let Anika go diaper free at home. She does a really good job using the potty when diaper free. Well, not really good job- she does OK. haha. We don't pressure it, but we can tell when she has to go so we just say "Go to the potty" and she runs to the toilet and sits on it. Dont get me wrong- she also peed on the deck yesterday and a little on me! Yesterday, she ran into the bathroom one time. I let her be and went in a few minutes later. She stood up and there was a huge turd. Andrew was right outside the door in the garage, so I opened the door and I said "Go Tell daddy what you did?" all excited. (that bathroom is RIGHT next to door that leads to garage).  I turned around to dump the HUGE turd into big toilet, and it was GONE!
UM, wtf.  Oh, HELLO PIRI. YES, my SICK, SICK dog just ate her turd- just like that. I started to gag and almost vomited- ew.
By the way, we are using plastic trainer pants for her as well.  They are washable and super easy. This is actually what I GOT.
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Sometimes I think IM doing everything right. But, also Sometimes I get frustrated. Its true. Im not perfect- SURPRISE! :)  Andrew shows me  new ways to do things...sometimes I let him show me, sometimes I don't. ha. Last night was one of those times I listened and learned.
I was showering Anika.  She hates to have her face washed so she was screaming. Andrew came in the bathroom and asked what she was screaming about. I said I was trying to wash her face (there was food caked on it).  He saw me put the whole face cloth on her face. He asked for the cloth and said "how about this way?" And he GENTLY dabbed her little cheeks with the cloth and made cute little nosies as he got the food off, and she just smiled as he did it. WTF. I mean, it seems so obvious, but here I am- frustrated night after night washing her face as she screams. HE then took the face cloth and put it over my entire face and started scrubbing my face and I could barely breath through it! ha.  I guess I now know why she screams when I try to wash it my way.
I also have a lot of battles brushing her teeth.  I tried one of his tactics on that, and so far, We are having a much better go at that too.   He may not be here often, but when he is, he sure does pull his weight. Its also easy for me to write about how wonderful he is when he is not bothering me.  lol. He annoyed me saturday. I cant remember exactly why now, but he did.  
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This past weekend,

Anika plays with her flash cards daily.  She brings them to me. We go through them. Actually, looking at the heart reminds me- she says "hawt" and then taps her chest. Ugh. so cute.
Well, she never rips them or ruins them.  But She did RIP the cake one! lol. I thought that was ironic. She also took one of an ant and told me it was trash and put it in the trash. 
Speaking of food, Anika had hot dogs this weekend. Oh yes. If I think about what is in hot dogs, I want to vom- not as much as when i think about what my dog did. But, ya, we were at a cookout Sunday, and she MOWED a dog.  She also got into chips and MOWED them.  She kept going back and saying chips. ugh. I knew I couldn't keep the junk food away forever.  At least we don't have that stuff at home.

Saturday, we did a 4.2 mile charity run, but we walked it as a family of 4.  I started to run with Piri and Anika but then I knew Andrew was annoyed since I told him to come do it with us and I left him behind. ha. So, we waited and walked with him.
We had lunch on the lake with my Gram after.
Then we went to a 1st birthday party on the lake later that day. Andrew met a new Kiwi!

Sunday we went to the local river to meet up with friends.





We had a bbq after.  And, as I said before,  Monday we pretty much did stuff around the house.
It was nice to spend so much time together after Andrew and I were gone last weekend.
Anika is still sleeping on her floor. I got her a toddler bed rail but nope. Wants the floor. 
Summer is over. I hate how it gets dark earlier. BUT, on the plus- less summer social events means I can get back on track with food, maybe?