It’s been a whirl-wind week around here, and I’m just now starting to feel caught up! Memorial weekend is a pretty busy one for most people, and our family has kicked it up a notch. Both my anniversary and my nephew Calvin’s birthday fall on May 28th, so we were having a blast with him on Saturday opening presents and getting his first sugar buzz!

Sunday was another big milestone for us: Nora stayed the night at her Grandma Frantz’s house so Brandon and I could get some time to ourselves to celebrate our anniversary. We dropped her off on Sunday evening and I managed to hold back the tears thanks in a big part to this app that allows parents and caregivers to record and track all your daily activities including feeding, diaper changes, sleep, play time, and tons more. At the risk of sounding like an info-mercial, I’m completely obsessed with it! I highly recommend it to any new mom.

After we dropped Nora off, Brandon and I headed out for a casual dinner and then back home. After some world-class fooling around (sorry, TMI) we called it an early bedtime, delighted to have our bed back to ourselves. (Nora is usually between us in her co-sleeper.) Monday I woke up entirely too early, my mind wandering back to Warsaw, wondering how Nora was doing, even though I could see that she slept a whopping SEVEN hours. Eventually Brandon got up as well and we decided to take a motorcycle ride up to the Auburn Cord Deusenberg museum where we got married. It was a hot day, and the ride was perfect. We meandered around the museum for a while, looking at all the different cars, taking a sentimental stroll down the staircase, and imagining some day when Nora would be old enough to enjoy visits to such a neat place. After we headed home, we got a lazy lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. The owner, who is always around, asked us where Nora was, and after we told her she was at Grandma’s while we celebrated, sent over a delicious dessert! Then we hopped in the car for a nice long drive down to the farm where my brother has worked for the past couple of years. We took a nice hot walk around, nibbling on the growing veggies, petting the kittens and chasing a chicken or two, and late that evening we finally got home for another quiet evening to ourselves.

I woke up Tuesday morning pretty desperate to get back to my baby, and when we arrived, she seemed pretty excited to see us as well. I’d also swear she grew an inch and a couple of pounds, since that’s how babies can be when you’re not looking!

The rest of Tuesday and Wednesday disappeared in a blur of cleaning house, trying to get Nora back on schedule, and working out in the yard. Thursday rolled around and Brandon finally had to go back to work, which seemed to make Nora even more needy, and I spent the rest of the week getting little done besides holding her and some one-handed work on my computer.

Saturday & Sunday were another blink of a weekend, spent outside doing more yard work, running errands, and heading to Brandon’s parents to have a birthday cookout for his brother. It wasn’t entirely relaxing since Nora spent Friday night waking up every couple of hours with apparent gas/constipation (yeah, more TMI) and around 6am Saturday morning when she finally got her business done, I was beyond exhausted and never got caught up on sleep.

Which brings us back to now… we spent today sleeping in, going for a coffee run, getting a little work done, and generally being lazy; and there’s more of the same on tap for tomorrow. Wednesday we go back down to Indianapolis to see Nora’s orthopedic specialist and find out some more details about her hip dysplasia and how long she’ll be wearing her brace. I’m desperately hoping for some good news, so keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Les Images Diverses (Miscellaneous Pictures)

Let me first say I’m not a yard work person. I’m more than willing to dig in when there’s a huge project that needs done, but the day to day upkeep is best left to someone else. In my opinion, at least. So while Brandon finishes mowing the yard, I decided that I should finally upload the pictures on my camera & post an update on some of the stuff we’ve been up to. In reverse chronological order, otherwise I’m bound to get confused.
I’ll start with this morning. I got up, made my coffee, and decided wholeheartedly against a bowl of cereal. Since Brandon and I vary rarely like to eat the same thing, cooking is always a little bit of a challenge and compromise. Also our fridge and pantry are usually at their most depleted state on Sunday mornings. What to do? I was going to take a shot and assume we had the proper ingredients to at least make some pancakes.
Well, sort of.
I had been keeping this basic pancake recipe in the back of my mind for some time now. She calls for all kinds of things that I never keep in the house, like buttermilk, but after doing some reading on what to substitute for my lack of baking soda, I realized that most of those high-fat ingredients just serve to balance out the soda flavor. I’m sure there’s also a richness factor that maybe my pancakes missed out on, but I was going for a sweet, wheat-y flavor anyway.
So I took her recipe and mutilated it with: half wheat flour, half all purpose; egg beaters instead of egg; 2.5tsp baking powder instead of powder & soda; skim milk; margarine (melted & cooled, still); no salt, 1/2tsp vanilla extract & a hefty sprinkle of cinnamon.
And then topped them with some home made strawberry jam from Brandon’s parents.

Almost all of my pancakes turned out like footballs because I used a small-ish pan that distributes heat more evenly. But they were pretty awesome. I was actually surprised how well they turned out considering how much I botched the original recipe, but I was gloat central at my victory.
Now back to last weekend. The highlight was definitely getting to visit my sister at their new house. And while I managed to not take a single picture of it, my sister did manage to steal my camera while I was in the bathroom & take a picture of herself. Isn’t she cute?

A couple days prior, we went to a Thirsty Thursday Tincaps baseball game with some of Brandon’s coworkers. I don’t really care for baseball at all, but I enjoy drinking a few beers and it was a beautiful night.

I also thought it would be a good idea to get a photo of Brandon and I at the game. Yeah. Unfortunately the woman I handed my camera to had no idea how to use it. So here we are: blurry.

Oh well. Must remember to try to take good self-pictures from now on.
So now we’re back two weekends ago to the 21st. We went to Chicago for the afternoon because Brandon and his friend Shannon wanted to see the new eyeball sculpture. (You might remember my semi-drunken photo from a few weeks ago the last time I was in Chicago.)
In real life it looks more like this:

It’s pretty freaky & gross if you look at it too long. The back side is super vein-y and blood shot looking. Weird.
We also went to visit the “Bean” (actually named Cloud Gate, but I can’t really tell why).

It’s really neat to walk around & under… until you get really close to where a lot of people have obviously leaned all over it. It’s pretty smudgy and disgusting to think about. So no close up shots for me.
The only other major anything is Brandon’s obsession with this new car just released from Honda about a month ago. We were driving by the dealership one night and saw this sparkling blue thing calling to him.
The Honda CRZ:

He, of course, knew that they were due to come out very soon, and is thoroughly obsessed with the idea of a manual hybrid car. Ever since the day we decided to get the Insight, he’s articulated this. And now, here it is. Except we don’t need another car. At all.
But that hasn’t stopped him from contemplating going to test drive one. Or figuring out what it would do to our budget if we traded in the truck for it.

So far, the only CRZs to come to Fort Wayne have been automatics, which I think is the number one reason we don’t have one sitting in our garage yet. He did stop by and talk to the salesman on Friday to see when they expect a manual (6-speed!) to come in. “Just to test drive it.”
Yeah, if you say so.
I hope that actually is the case, but I already told him that if he wants to trade in the truck for a blue one like this, I won’t mind. Or be remotely surprised.
Also, in my purely female, non-car-junky mentality, I decided it looks like a shark. Which is awesome.

I’m sure eventuallywe’ll have one. It’s just a matter of when.

In transit

So as I was preparing dinner last night for Dad & Kathy, I mentioned that I had gotten the pasta from Jessie in Brooklyn. They nodded in acknowledgment and appreciation for apparently fresh made pasta, but didn’t really comment on the New York part.
Later as we were sitting around eating, Dad asked me if I had been out of town recently. “Um yeah, in New York.”
Ohhhhh. Lights came on. Pasta, Brooklyn, Jessie. It made sense now.
And before that was Chicago, with Christie and some other Fort Wayne & Teach for America people.
Way too much fun on both trips, if I say so myself.
Chicago was an adventure in remembering my age. Most of the people doing TFA are around 22 and fresh out of college. I, of course, am not. I’m domesticated and fully integrated into the 9 to 5 routine. However, this doesn’t mean I don’t like to go out, have some drinks and be social. Coming to bed around 5a.m. though, two nights in a row: holy crap. I made it home just fine, but on Monday I slipped into a coma right after work.

This picture was taken walking home from a night of drinks and dancing on Saturday. My camera says I took it at 4:49a.m. Seriously folks, I’m not 22 anymore. Thankfully, Brandon and I are planning a day trip back to Chicago in a few weeks to go back and look at this giant eyeball, since it’s new.
So Monday was coma day, Tuesday & Wednesday were spent doing laundry and packing, and Thursday morning at 6a.m. we got on the road to get to NYC.
The drive was pretty perfect and we were settled in Jessie’s apartment in Brooklyn by 7:30 that evening. We went out for a slice of pizza and then went into the city to check out Times Square. Pretty cool, even if it is mega tourist-y.
Jessie took this great picture while my mouth was hanging agape.

Next morning we headed out again loaded with a map and our umbrellas. First stop was the Staten Island Ferry, to get a skyline of Manhattan and check out the Statue of Liberty.

It drizzled on for most of the afternoon as we walked around. We saw the 9-11 site, Wall Street, Trinity Church, Tiffany & Co. and a dozen other things. We walked through the neighborhood were his friend Travis used to live, where he had his first NYC experience. As the afternoon wore on and we dried off, we went into a tiny part of Central Park. I can appreciate the need for having the park there, but it kind of reminded me of a zoo, for people. It was a very manufactured kind of nature, which provided some nice shade and recreation, but made me a little sad.
After the park we met up with Jessie and Marc for a little piece of heaven. Steaks and seafood at Smith & Wollensky. The food was divine: we had calamari appetizer, Brandon had filet and I had crab cakes, and Brandon had cheesecake while I ate pecan pie for dessert. Every morsel was fantastic. And because it was restaurant week, and we had their specials, we walked out for less than $100 including tip and wine!

Saturday was forecasted to be 100 degrees, and feel like 110 with humidity. We decided to stay mostly indoors and check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was spectacular, to say the least. We lingered around the Modern Art wing most of the day. I got to see almost all my favorites:

Van Gogh

And of course…


We also saw works by Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Renoir and many many others. It was such a great day! (And Brandon didn’t hate it either!)
After the MET, we went back on the ferry to relax and give our feet a break, and then back to Jessie’s for dinner. They ordered Peruvian style chicken with mojito sauce, and tajadas, which are fried plantains. Seriously, New York, your food rocks!!
We chilled for a bit and decided we needed to visit Coney Island before our early bedtime. It really was just a mega carnival. We watched someone try to “Shoot the Freak” (paintballs at a guy with some protective gear & a shield), rode the Wonder Wheel, on the swinging cars of course, and had a great time.

We headed back pretty early, after stopping for some pistachio ice cream for Jessie. (Again with the amazing food.) They gifted us with some fresh pasta and cookies that they picked up while we were out exploring, and said our goodnights & goodbyes. And 6:30 Sunday morning we were headed back home.
So three days later I think I’m starting to feel like myself again. I did gain 5lbs from the past two decadent weekends, but they were utterly worth it. I feel so lucky to be able to have such great friends and be able to travel with Brandon to these cool places. Hopefully we’ll be back soon!

Staring at a blank screen

I’m in awe of people who muster up something witty to say every day, often with pictures. A few weeks ago I convinced myself that I needed a camera because A) I was going on vacation shortly and B) I was going to magically transform myself into one of those people.

Thus far I’ve accomplished: taking vacation pictures, and not blogging since several days before my vacation. In my defense, vacation was awesome, but exhausting. It took me at least a week to start to feel rested again. I’m not remotely used to spending several hours a day on the back of a motorcycle in all kinds of weather. Most car trips beyond an hour or so, you’ll find me dozed off in the passenger seat (and some less than an hour too!). Obviously, this is not an option on a motorcycle. Sleepy or not, I had a great time. It was just beautiful & a very fun ride on the bike. Brandon is already planning our next trip up there.
I have to also add, I’m very impressed with myself for getting a picture of us. It was towards the end of day one, as evidenced by slightly wind burnt cheeks and helmet hair. We’re out on the peninsula, just North of Traverse City.
Our day two consisted of a venture up to Charlevoix, Petoskey, and Macinac City.
I am not kidding about this: we stopped before the bridge & looked around for awhile, stretched, took pictures, got out the toll for going across & back, rode over the bridge, turned around and rode back. I couldn’t tell you what’s on the other side, only that according to Brandon’s odometer, the “Five Mile” bridge is only four miles. We ate really great food in Charlevoix. On the way up we stopped at the Oyster Bar (funny because there’s a place with the same name in Fort Wayne). He had a turkey wrap with salsa & I had chicken salad on croissants. On the way back we stopped at the Weather Vane, where he had salmon and risotto and I had crab crusted white fish with roasted veggies.
Day 3 was kind of gross & kind of beautiful.
It started out with us leaving sans breakfast because we had to get ahead of the storm that showed up early. I was more than a little annoyed with my first rainy motorcycle experience, annoyed with my lack of coffee & proper food, annoyed with the cold, and the fact that I was apparently wearing a non-waterproof riding jacket.
After a while we got some sun and relatively decent food, and I started to accept that the day would be filled with dampness and then drying off. Until we got about an hour away from home. We stopped to stretch, and Brandon mentioned he was craving ice cream. I was just getting cocky about how we hadn’t seen any rain in a while, and then we started to get hit with drops. We decided to take off in hopes of getting ahead of the rain again, and also on a quest for the mystical ice cream. Down the road a ways we see death clouds and finally decide that maybe we should just stop and wait for this to pass. We came to the Oak Tree Family restaurant and dashed inside just as it began to pour. Awesome little Greek place, they were very generous with food and even towels to help us dry off our seats before we headed out. We sat for probably half an hour watching it alternate between steady rain and open floodgates. We were so close to home that eventually as the rain lessened, we headed out & hoped for the best. The best didn’t happen, we got soaked.
We did, however, make it home safely. And all of our stuff stayed perfectly dry. You can imagine my hesitation to take another bike trip when there could be rain in the area.
Regardless, I’m sure there will be many more bike adventures in our future. Perhaps very soon. But not too soon.

If you want me

Revision to my ‘blank’ summer schedule: between now & August 16th, you can find me at the gym. Or when the fall session of classes at FWDC starts, I’ll be there once a week.
Ok fine.
Last Friday there was an announcement that my work was going to have a “Beat the Boss” weight loss challenge, a la Biggest Loser. We weighed in Monday & will weigh ‘out’ in August. To whomever can lose a greater % of weight than our president & CEO, he will give them $200. And for the top loser, $500! I will admit to more than a little splurging this past weekend in order to gain a couple pounds back that I had lost already. (Money will make people do crazy things!) Maybe I really am crazy, but I honestly think I have a shot at winning the grand prize. If I can lose 25lbs, that would be almost 15% which I can’t see too many other people doing. So yes, you can find me at the gym.
Or come July, you should be able to find me in a leotard at the Fort Wayne Dance Collective. I know I complained about whether or not I should do this months ago, but a lot has happened to me since then. I’ve gotten so much stronger, apparently skinnier, and I’m done making excuses. I might hurt myself, but I’ve dealt with that already and I’m no stranger to braces and ice packs. As long as the schedule works out for their next session of classes, I’m totally in.
Also, I’m pretty sure you can scratch autocrossing off my list. Brandon decided that instead of a new car to race, he wanted a bigger motorcycle that we can take on long trips. It’s really nice, with it’s built-in saddle bags & even a trunk that should arrive in the next couple days.

I would guess we’ve already put 150 miles on the bike since Saturday. I already invested in a nice pair of riding boots & when finances allow, there will probably be chaps in my future.
I guess pretty much what all this means is, don’t ask me if I’ve seen any good TV this summer. Except the new Jillian Michael’s show, of course!