running through my mind

I woke up this morning with bags under my eyes so big, that if I wanted to get on a plane, I would have had to check them. Teething, damn you, damn you to the bowels of hell.

Gwen is a whirlwind. She's getting so big right before my eyes. She's been putting two-work phrases together for a while now, but recently I've noticed her doing it a lot. And in more unexpected ways (pointing to my glass of milk, "mama milk!"... pointing to her sippy of water, "my water! my water!"... waving to the neighbor, "hi Joe!"... and no, the exclamation points aren't excessive here, girl often speaks in exclamations!).

Those teeth though are killing us, because she's waking more at night and is therefore more cranky during the day; when she had been sleeping so so wonderfully. Following all the craziness of the end of summer, I wanted to give her time to settle-in before re-visiting the idea of night weaning. Well she settled in so nicely that for a while she was going to bed and sleeping straight until 5 when she would come to bed with us! It was wonderful, and I was so happy that she did it on her own. Now, teeth. Urgh.

And the crankiness because of it, sheesh. Girl comes home and instead of my excited, "Mama!" ::runs to me, hugs and kisses::  Now she sees me, bursts into tears and wails "MaaaaaaaaaaMaaaaaaaaaaaa" until I pick her up and comfort her. Its all just too much for her at the moment. We have been trying to get her to bed a little earlier, but the crankiness means everything takes longer too... rinse and repeat.

I would really love for something to give. The completely emotional, non-logical side of me says, "do less of that work thing;" but obviously that's not realistic. I think life with a toddler kid is always a little overwhelming though, right? Now its because of early bedtimes, budding independence making everything a drawn out process, and things like teething. Next it will be more independence struggles, extra activities; then homework and playdates and more extracurricular activities; etc etc. I guess there is always something that will make it seem like their aren't enough hours in the day. I just have to figure out what I can do a little less of right now, so that I can do more of that cuddling my baby thing.

She really is so dang cute.

I guess I really just want to do all those average parent things, in an extraordinary way... and not feel like I'm half-assing everything. Though I keep reminding myself that Gwen doesn't expect me to be perfect, she just wants me to be there, act like a kid with her, playing on the floor and reading to her and having fun together. (Read a great article about this somewhere, and wish I could find it to and to. It mentioned having a mom with similar views around to talk to and be your motivator to find your balance... man do I wish that E lived closer, she's totally my Momsperation!)

House stuff is going well... we're moving along so nicely. I keep meaning to take some pictures to show you a before and after, but see the above for why I keep forgetting! Pictures aren't up on the walls yet, but once those are there I hope to do a "house tour." Definitely by the 22nd, since that's when we're having some people over.

Next weekend we scheduled a "don't plan anything" weekend... so we can have time together as a family, time to work on the house, and time to relax. Thank goodness.

I still have so much to write... but its time to get back to work and this is certainly long enough. Much more soon.


celts in kilts and babes in the ER!

Today I'm feeling off... a little sorry for myself, a little sad, a little "abandoned" (for lack of a better word). Its silly, but I can't quite shake it. I haven't gotten the responses I thought I would to an invite I sent out, and I'm trying not to be stupid about it... but that combine with the reaction of some people to the story I'm going to share below, well it just combine to make me feel a little bit alone today. I'll get over it, but I guess I needed to get it out first.

So, the weekend... what an eventful one it was.

Saturday was the Celtic Classic. Oh how I LOVE the CC!! Gwen got decked out in her Irish best:

Me too!

My brother had come on Friday night, and we all made the drive up to Bethlehem, where we met my mom and dad.

We had a great time walking around and looking at vendors, eating good food, enjoying a beer or Jamisons, listening to music, and watching games.

I love my family!

Gwen loved seeing her Nonnie and Papa.

And enjoyed walking them around.

My silly girl...

We had a great time.

About 4:30 or so, about a half hour before we were going to leave anyway... Gwen was running in circles, holding her Daddy's hand, when she tripped and her arm got pulled. Poor girl was in pain afterwards, and cried every time she used the arm. We hoped in the car, headed home (thankfully she fell asleep on the way down), and called our pedi to ask what we should do. She sent us to C.H.O.P.

Ahh, baby's first ER visit!
(As an aside, CHOP is a-may-zing! If you are in the Philly area, and ever have to take your children to the emergency room, go to CHOP. They made our ER visit as good as one can be.)

I had already guessed what was wrong, since a girl I know had something similar happen with her son: Nursemaid's Elbow. My suspicions were confirmed, and thankfully it was a super easy fix, and only about 5 -10 minutes later Gwen was using her arm like normal.

It really sucked though, seeing my baby in pain, not able to fix it. I hated it, and now I'm so paranoid that it will happen again. We are being super careful ourselves, we warned daycare, and that's all we can do.

The rest of our weekend was thankfully uneventful and low-key.

As for today, I have to work late, so Trav is taking baby-duty through bedtime. Hopefully it goes well for him!

And that's all I have for now.

Ps. Just for fun... riding her horsey:


food, glorious food...

A post all things food related.
First, breakfast. I've completely revamped my breakfast. Most days its greek yogurt, sometimes a greek yogurt smoothy with frozen fruit. Sometimes eggs with fresh basil and goat cheese. As it gets colder, I'll probably do some more oatmeal (definitely trying it with pumpkin stirred in like Jen suggested! Yum!), maybe some of those Kashi waffles that you're all recommending. A huge thanks for all your recommendations... they were great and got me much more pumped about changing my morning fuel.

I definitely notice the difference. Less urge for munching my way through the day, and when I start out well, I feel more inclined to "keep it going" and have a healthier lunch, etc. We've been eating a salad before dinner most nights, and I'm doing my best to eat a bigger portion of veggies then of carbs. I'm pleased and am going to work on keeping this going, and getting even better.

Now, my tasty tuesday recipes (multiple)... and boy were these tasty!!

My inspiration came from the fact that my basil plant was MORE then thriving! It was attempting to become a basil bush in my kitchen window! So I wanted dishes that would take advantage of that fresh basil. Plus its getting to be so beautifully autumn out, that I wanted to do something that fit the season.

First up:

Basil, Prosciutto, and Provolone Stuffed Chicken Breast
(my own design)

Take 4 chicken breasts and cut into breast to create a "pocket". Take two good sized basil leaves and lay on top of a half-slice of provolone cheese. Wrap the basil and provolone with a strip of prosciutto, and stuff into chicken. Place in baking pan, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, and add a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Tear up a few more basil leaves and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350* for 30ish minutes (until chicken is done/juices run clear).

On the side:

Basil Pesto (recipe here, though I really have no idea how "right" it is since I never ever measure! and for this one I did both almonds and peanuts)... with all fresh basil... Mmmmm.

And last, but DEFINITELY not least:
These Baked Apples, Stuffed with Raisins, Pecans, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon.


Everything turned out so well, and honestly... it wasn't too much work! I'll definitely do these recipes again. 


weekend revive

Travis had a baseball game to attend on Friday with work. So it was just the babe, the pup, and I on Friday night. It was actually wonderful. We ate leftover, so dinner was quick and easy; then we relaxed and played, and I was able to start the bedtime routine a little early, and Gwen was asleep by 8:10. It was such a beautiful, autumn night that I couldn't not take advantage. I pulled one our outdoor chairs from the back yard, plopped it on the front porch, and made myself cozy with a glass of wine and the puppy. Ahh... cool, quiet evenings are such balm. Especially when they are much needed ME time.

Saturday I got up with the babe, tied her up on my back, and we set to work making some french toast for breakfast. Eggs, a touch of milk, a splash of vanilla, two sprinkles of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, and a pinch of ground clove... dip, dip, dip; into the pan, golden and delish on one side, golden and delish on the other. Plain, cut in strips for the babe; drizzle of real maple syrup for me. Mmmmm....

The whole day was low-key. We played, we relaxed, I sorted clothes and made really good headway in our room while the babe napped. Trav hung the rest of the blinds. We had to make a stop at Target, so we ran there in the late afternoon, before going to the Old Country Buffet for dinner. Now, I know, I know... OCB is no fancy, elegant meal. Maybe the food isn't exactly gourmet or low-fat. But let me tell you, no exaggeration, that was the single most relax meal out that we have had with Gwen ever. No wait for food. People getting up and down provided nice distractions for her. Great variety so that we could all have what we wanted, as much as we wanted. It was really, really nice.

Sunday we had a baby shower to go to in the afternoon... but it was picnic style, outside at Ridley Creek State Park (love that place). So that morning was relaxed as well. After lunch, we headed over. The mama-to-be is family, so we visited with Trav's relatives, and Gwen got to play on the swings and slide that were right next to the pavilion where everything was set up.

Gwen also enjoyed getting into my slice of cake.

The company was good, the weather was beautiful, and we were able to pass on a lot of Gwen's old clothes to someone who will get good use out of them. Good for her, good for us!

Gwen fell asleep in the car on the way home, and I let her keep sleeping there for a bit once we got home, while Trav went inside to start dinner. It was a peaceful end to a really nice day.

This weekend was just what I needed. Just what Trav and I needed. Hopefully this relaxed and happy, better communicating vibe sticks around!


I keep opening the new post box and the x-ing out of it because I have nothing to say, and too much to say, and no idea where to begin. Life is chugging along both so slowly (gah, this week felt like three!) and so quickly (um, middle of September already!) and I'm finding it difficult to stay centered and find my direction.

We're plugging along on the house stuff; the last of the repairs to paint, etc should be done as of today, and I believe we're going to do a walk-through Monday to sign off on it all. Thank goodness. Then its just finding the time to actually get stuff done around the house.

Plugging along at work as well... I think I'm finally mostly caught up after our vacations and month of distracted lack of productivity. I had a few really good bursts this week and got a ton done... but now I'm flagging again. Hopefully Monday I'll "burst" anew. Though of course, we're entering that time of year, when yet again I find myself wishing for something different. If we won the lotto, I'd be giving my notice and going back to school post haste.

Life is plugging along. Gwen is so fun and such a joy; but also so trying! She wants to be doing so much, but her desire to do is a bit ahead of her ability to do, so that leads to some cranky times. There are also amazingly fun times though, and one of my favorite things is when she does something that makes me laugh - genuinely laugh - and she just loves that so much that she leans against me and giggles giggles giggles.  ::contented sigh::

Travis and I have been off lately, and I can't figure out why or what to do about it. This could be a whole post in and of itself, but to try to make a lot of feelings and events into a easily manageable paragraph: I'm sure its all the recent stresses, but its frustrating and just makes life more stressful overall - which I guess makes it a vicious cycle. We just seem to be at each others throats a lot; agreeing less and arguing more; with the relaxed happy times being more of the exception then the rule. All of this leads me to be more annoyed with him more of the time, which means that littler things bother me more, and I've completely lost any patience for some stuff - also a vicious cycle. Its no good. The internal reactions I've been having to some of these fights is completely big and blown out of proportion. When I look at them later I always wonder what the hell is up with me, who reacts that strongly to a fight about [whatever stupid insignificant in the long run thing]?! But then it bothers me more because who has the fight about [whatever stupid insignificant in the long run thing] to begin with? I want to talk to him about it, but I don't know how to bring it up or what to say.

So that's all that. There is a lot of stuff making me happy lately (fall, Gwen, Trav in our relaxed moments), I have a lot of stuff I'm looking forward to (Celtic Classic with the fam in a week - including my brother, getting the house all put back together); but I also have plenty of stuff that's been wearing on me (work irritations, fighting with Trav, crankiness from Gwen, then house stuff going so slowly). I'm noticing that while in general I'm holding onto my optimistic outlook, in day-to-day specific events I'm having more pessimistic, woe-is-me moments. I don't like it, and somethings got to give.

That said, the day is almost done and I have a whole weekend ahead of me to make the most of. Lets see what I can do with that.



Its in the low 80s today... but by Friday, mid-60s!! We have a picnic/BBQ baby shower to go to this weekend, and its going to be so lovely and fall-like.

Other lovely, fall-like things...


Gwen attended her first college football game on Saturday! The first of a 3-game pack that we bought. It was a good introduction because it wasn't a super crowded game, or a too competitive game!

We attended a school sponsored tailgates beforehand, where we ran into my friend Stella, whom I hadn't seen it ages! It was nice to catch up a bit.

We also ended up with two extra tickets, so we gave my parents a call.

My dad wasn't feel well, but my mom came by which was great. Gwen loved playing with her Nonnie, and climbing all over the bleachers.

Unfortunately she ended up taking a tumble on them and got a bump on her forehead...

But that didn't ruin her day!!

Sunday was more low-key... we relaxed at home and tried to get some cleaning and organizing done.

Trav had put up the blinds, so I finished putting upthe curtains in the living room: 

and dining room:

(colors are a little off... the curtains are the same color as the ones in the living room)
We're really pleased with how they turned out.

I also recycled some old walkmans at the local Best Buy, donated some old glasses, and picked up some craft stuff from Mich.ael's, so I could make this for our front door:

(its not really this shiny...)

I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

So much left to do around the house, but we're getting there! Another free day on Saturday, so hopefully we can get a ton more done. 

For now though... super busy at work, so I'm back to it.



Ten years ago, an event happened that changed our country.
Five years ago, I wrote about it... about my remembrances of the day, and about one man in particular who was lost. I would like to repost that now.


Today is 5 years since 9-11. It seems like a lifetime, and yet it has gone by in the blink of an eye. There are so many people to remember, so many families for whom this will no longer just be a day... it will always be the anniversary of the day they lost their husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, friend, brother... it will always be the day that changed everything.

Today I am recognizing Noel Foster, who was 40 years of age when he died in the twin towers. He had a wife, of ten years, and two daughters (8 & 5 at the time). He graduated from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa... not far from where I attended college.

Noel was the vice president of Aon Corp, and the only reason he was in Tower Two that day was as a favor to a friend who had broken a leg. He was still helping that friend down the stairs when the towers collapsed. He didn't leave him. People said that he was just like that... always helpful, always with a smile. He liked red cars and always had a project going. He was one room away from having upgraded every room in his house.

Noel was a real person, with real hopes and dreams... and they were all extinguished, in the blink of an eye, 5 years ago. His girls, now 13 & 10, have only old memories of their father. They will never have their father walk them down the aisle. Their mother, Noel's wife, lost the man that she planned to grow old with...

From last year... my 9/11 story:
For some reason the TV was on that morning... normally it never was that early in the day. We would sleep as late as possible, then dash off to our first class, so morning TV didn't happen. But that day it was on, and as I came out of Trav's personal room I saw the smoke pouring out of the first tower hit. At that point it was still confusion about what had really happened... was this a mistake? I called to Jon that there had been a plane crash, and he gave some sleepy reply.

Soon all was clarified however, as I stood there, the second plane hit. I remember just being completely shocked. It was a weird feeling, like watching a movie. Something like that just didn't feel real.

I called out to Jon, who was still in his personal room that he had to come see this, that he would never believe what was happening. He didn't until they replayed the second hit.

I just sat there, unable to look away. Travis came back at that point, all the classes in progress were being dismissed, the rest (for the day) cancelled. He sat down to watch too... and then we remembered George.

One of Travis' fraternity brothers and friends, George, had a brother who worked in the city. Who we thought (but hoped not) might actually work in one of the towers.

Then the towers starting collapsing.

We went down the hall to George's room, and one look at his face was enough. He was frantic, trying to reach his parents, his siblings, anyone who could tell him anything about James. We tried to calm him down, and eventually we had to turn off his TV for him. He didn't want to watch, but he couldn't stop.

The rest of the day was a blur. No one could talk about anything else, think about anything else. Lehigh gets students from all over, but a majority from PA, NJ, and NY. A good number of those students have parents, siblings, or friends that work in NY. Numerous students lost people that day, or knew people that lost people. Too many (a good handfull) lost both parents.

Another large contingent of Lehigh students are International... and while our big draw is Asia, we also have a large number of Middle Eastern students. They were afraid to leave their rooms, afraid of how people would react... they were just as innocent as the rest of us, but no one was thinking clearly at that point.

As days went by you found that life continued, and that you just had to go on doing your thing, because the world does not stop turning for grief. Eventually the dynamic of school life returned to a semi-normal state. But for many students, many people across the country, their lives were forever altered. About a week later, George had to face one of the hardest realities of his life: James Andrew Gadiel was one of the thousands of people killed on 9/11, not making it out of the towers.

So, I wanted to write this post... while now we have new victims to think about (those homeless and abandoned by Katrina, those lost in Iraq, etc), the 9/11 victims are not forgotten 4 years later. They will not be forgotten 20 years later.

We will always remember. I hope you will take a moment for that today.
It's so easy to forget how fragile life is, and how it can end at the blink of an eye... but those with people killed on 9/11 will never forget that lesson. And neither will I.

Donations may be sent to the Megan and Nicole Foster Educational Fund, P.O. Box 181, Martinsville, NJ 08836.


Even 10 years later, I still remember the details of that day clearly. Today my thoughts are with all the family and friends of people who died on that day. And for the people who have fought for us bravely since then.


iPhone photo dump!

Work is hectic... so, some photos from the past few weeks:

Kilts - Gwen's in front, mine in back - for the Celtic Classic on the 24th.

Coming home finally.

Fun with Histomatic.

Who wakes up with bruises like this and has no idea where they came from?! (Oh right, me.)

Beautiful skies in AZ.

Sitting on her Uncle David.

With Willy, my IL's one pup.

Being silly with Pop-Pop.

Frank Lloyd Wright monument.

Scenes from AZ.

Quack, quack! Ready for Halloween!

Raining, raining, raining here. We're doing fine with it... but hope everyone else is weathering the storm okay.