Thursday, November 26, 2015

This attitude that we call gratitude

Well hello there!

I realize I haven't been on here in what seems like a century. Time is flying by and I feel busy all the time... and when I'm not busy I'm exhausted and the last thing I do is get on the computer and think about blogging.

But today A. is getting some daddy-son bonding time in before little man and I leave for the rest of the weekend, so I'm taking some time out to list some things I'm thankful for.

1. I am thankful for my beautiful, happy, healthy son.
    It's hard to imagine what life was like before him.
    There are two local kids here that are facing such incredible medical struggles- one is a third grader at one of my schools and another is the young son of a woman I work with. I pray for them and think of them often, and every time they post about another medical hurdle on Facebook I thank my lucky stars and count my blessings.
     And I see so many awful things happening to babies in the news, and it breaks my heart, and I count my blessings again.

2. I'm thankful for my wonderful husband who still seems to love me despite our constant state of exhaustion, my acquired lack of interest in my appearance, and my stress over school. 
     We make a good team.
      I love him a lot.

3. I'm thankful for our loving, supportive families and how they would drop anything in an instant to help us.
     When A. was suddenly hospitalized in April, right after little man was born, our families came to the rescue. My brother-in-law came right over to watch little man while A. was loaded into the ambulance in our driveway. My sister-in-law came home from school to help watch little man. My parents immediately took off work and drove the two hours here to babysit so I could be in the hospital with A. My in-laws drove me to the hospital and waited in the ER with us all day and then helped out while A. was recovering. That's just one example of a time when everyone helped us out this year. 
      We are so lucky.

4. I am thankful for the relatively good health of our families.
     There have been some rocky spots this year, but overall we're doing okay. 

5. I am thankful for our house, our vehicles, and most importantly, our jobs.
     My new job is stressful for now until I get things figured out, but I love it.
     And I am super grateful A. still has a job, as 80% of the employees at his company were recently laid off.

There are so many more things I could list... it would just keep going. Our friends, our food, our Disney trip in February, music, the fact that we live in relative safety. 

Be sure to tell someone you love them today. : )

Friday, October 9, 2015

The world keeps spinning round and round

Welllllllllllllll hello!

Yes, I'm still alive.

The last two months since I last posted (on August 9th! So two months exactly) have been crazy. It's no joke, going back to work and coming home to a baby. My brother-in-law has been watching my little guy along with my 3yo nephew while my 5yo nephew is at kindergarten. Things might change a bit this spring when my *new* nephew arrives in February, but I'm so excited for my SIL and BIL and my nephews as their family expands. : )

Also, I changed jobs. I used to teach high school band, high school orchestra, and elementary orchestra. Now I teach elementary general music and elementary band on a four-day rotating schedule between two schools, so I constantly feel like I am treading water and one breath away from sinking. That feeling intensified the last two days because I got sick and so did little man. I think my problem is a combination of something I picked up from a student and the strain of singing and teaching all day, every day, for two months, which my voice isn't used to yet. Little man has been teething, and constipated, and occasionally feverish, so we both had a sick day yesterday.

Little man is going to be six months old this week, which just seems impossible. I can't believe time has gone so fast. It's been challenging but it is the best. His little laughs and coos and smiles when I see him after coming home at the end of the day are the best. And it is seriously hard to remember the labor and all of that at this point. I mean, I remember it and it wasn't super. But it just seems so far away now. I am getting so excited for his first big holidays coming up. For the first time since I was a kid myself I am actually excited for Halloween. WHAT.

A. and I both have Disney fever right now and we have to accept it's just not going to happen for a while. In the meantime I am designing fake vacations for us. LOL.

Anyway, while I had a second I wanted to check in with whoever reads this and just keep track of some things that go on in my life. : )

Take it easy, world, and like Ellen says, take care of each other-

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Reality Check

These moms that have "baby blogs" and find time to blog in the middle of figuring out how to parent a child... I don't know how they do it. Mom bloggers, kudos to you.

The past few months have been a whirlwind, and the next several are also bound to be interesting as I face going to back to work and a change in what I'm teaching on top of that. I'm anxious about figuring out pumping at work and being away from my son so much.

But anyway...

In March I made a little list of things that I was looking forward to once little guy was born. It looked like this:

- Wearing normal shoes again
- Sleeping on my tummy without a giant nest of pillows taking over the bed!
- Wrapping a towel around myself - the whole way! -  after showering
- Having coffee/a drink once in a while... this hasn't been a huge sacrifice for me but looking forward to it anyway
- Bending over easily to pick something up
- Flipping over in bed without it taking ten minutes and having it sound like I've just run a marathon
- Wearing normal pants with a belt... don't get me wrong, maternity pants with their elastic waistbands are awesome, but inevitably they stretch and start falling down - and that big elastic support makes it difficult to adjust yourself subtly!
- Walking without feeling like a Barbie doll that someone has snapped the legs off of

Well, after a few months post-partum, here is the reality check on all of those things:

- Wearing normal shoes again... and normal shoes now means anything with memory foam. I've got more variety back again but I don't think I'll be wearing heels again for a while. 
- Sleeping on my tummy without a giant nest of pillows taking over the bed!... nope... breastfeeding means that my chest balloons during the night and tummy sleeping is still super uncomfortable. I'll get there someday. 
- Wrapping a towel around myself - the whole way! -  after showering... getting there!
- Having coffee/a drink once in a while... this hasn't been a huge sacrifice for me but looking forward to it anyway... this is a nice perk. Drinking still seems like such a waste though while I'm breastfeeding. I hate having one drink and then having to "pump and dump." What's the point, really? : )
- Bending over easily to pick something up... Well... carrying a baby around and trying to pick something up is incredibly difficult. But sans baby it is much easier than it was a few months ago : )
- Flipping over in bed without it taking ten minutes and having it sound like I've just run a marathon .... this is pretty nice. I definitely appreciate this.
- Wearing normal pants with a belt... Yeah.... overrated.
- Walking without feeling like a Barbie doll that someone has snapped the legs off of... This I can do again! Even though my muscles always feel sore these days... at least I can walk without waddling!

Also, teething is crazy and the four-month sleep regression is REAL.

K., out! : )

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Take a look, it's in a book...

WHOA two blog posts in a month after a blog drought! (There is certainly not a drought outside right now... it's totally pouring today, and both my guys are asleep on the couch next to me, so I'm taking a minute to get a blog entry in.)

Becky recently did a post about books, which reminded me that I hadn't done one since Christmastime... and I have read lots of new books, some of them good, since then! I've also re-read a few old favorites, including Where the Heart Is, The Help, and The Night Circus (reading now).

Here we go!

I started the year by reading the books I got for Christmas - two by Brandon Mull, who you will remember I love from his Fablehaven series. The first one was The Candy Shop War, and the second was the first book in the Five Kingdoms series, Sky Raiders.

The Candy Shop War is a good YA novel about a group of kids who accidentally get involved in a kind of wizard's battle in their town. They sample different kinds of candies and sweets that allow them to have magic powers for a short period of time. I gave this five stars... the writing is just great and the story sucked me in.


I don't know how Brandon comes up with these extensive, fictional fantasy worlds for his book series and how he keeps them all straight, but I wasn't disappointed by the first book in the Five Kingdoms series. The main character gets transported to the land of the Five Kingdoms on Halloween after many of his friends are kidnapped by the king's henchmen. Many adventures ensue... another five star book for me.

I am a fan of Jodi Picoult's books so I wanted to check out the book she co-wrote with her daughter, Between the Lines. In this book a teenage girl becomes a little obsessed with a children's fairy tale book she finds in the library, and she begins communicating with the bored main character of the book, who is a prince. I was a little disappointed because I felt like this book had more potential but by the end I was reading it mostly to finish it rather than because I was intrigued by the story. Three stars.

The librarian at my school has been wonderful with keeping me inundated with new books to read... it was kind of a bummer when I went on maternity leave and lost my library access for the remainder of the school year. I mean, clearly I managed, but let me reiterate that I enjoy my school library and librarian. : ) Anyway, she met this author and recommended I read this book - The Scorpio Races. I think I can safely say it's not one I would have picked on my own, and there were a few times I was like WHAT is going on?! but by the end I wanted to know what was going to happen. Who was going to win?

Basically the story centers around Sean and Puck, two teens who have everything to lose when they enter in these deadly horse races known as the Scorpio Races. I wanted both of them to win, which is why by the middle of the book I was racing to the end to find out the result. I gave it four stars, just because at times it is a bit gory and I don't think I'd re-read it.

I was looking for a free book from the Kindle lending library when I found the next book, Maude. It is a memoir written about a woman who was born right before the turn of the twentieth century. This woman had a fascinating life not because she was famous or important, necessarily, but the stories recounted from her youth, through things like the Depression and the births of all her children, were really interesting the read. The only thing I disliked about this book was that I wished an editor would have combed it a little better for simple syntax errors. I gave it four stars. 

The next five were all recommended by my awesome school librarian, beginning with:

Counting By 7s is the story of a very gifted and somewhat precocious middle school girl who loses both of her parents in an accident. It mostly deals with how this girl copes with the aftermath and the people she surrounds herself with, which is a very hodgepodge crew. I gave it four stars because it is good but I dislike reading about inept teachers... pet peeve, sorry.

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone (which is fiction) reads like a series of magazine interviews. Addison is a bright up-and-coming artist who dies suddenly and mysteriously, and the interviews are with her friends and family left behind trying to put the pieces together. I gave this one three stars, just because it seemed to drag a bit for me and I disliked the format after a while. The pictures and concept are interesting.

I got this book after I told the librarian I needed a break from books that dealt with death as a principal theme (I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, after all). So she grabbed The Geography of You and Me, which was a super cute and fast read. A boy and a girl meet in an elevator in the middle of a power outage, and (predictably) wind up falling for each other. However, their potential relationship is complicated by the fact that they both live mobile lives. I gave this five stars because I thought it was well written and a refreshing read.

I Was Here was written by Gayle Foreman, the author of "If I Stay," which is a very popular (albeit depressing) book that was also made into a movie. The librarian and assistant librarian wanted me to read this before it went on the shelves to get my opinion on it. I felt cool in a really nerdy way. The reason they were cautious about this book is because it deals with suicide. I didn't give it a rating on Goodreads because I felt it was kind of gauche to rate it due to its themes. I can't really call it a "good read" because it was troubling, but it was a worthwhile read. 

The Lies We Told dealt with some pretty complex relationships. The three main characters are all doctors- two sisters, Maya and Rebecca, and Maya's husband Adam. Adam and Rebecca go to help with relief efforts following a hurricane but Maya is hesitant because of her troubled past. In the end she agrees to go help only to be the sole survivor of a helicopter crash, isolated on an island with no communication to let Rebecca and Adam know she's okay. Rebecca and Adam end up finding solace in each other, because they think Maya is dead. So... AWKWARD when she shows up alive. But in the end everyone is okay with all of this. I gave it three stars because there is a redeeming sub-plot with a girl named Simmie that kept me involved. 

Room was given to me by a friend and it was absolutely captivating. It's told from the perspective of a five-year-old boy (Jack) who has been raised entirely in a small shed with his mother, who was kidnapped and trapped in the shed by a man while she was a college student. Jack's mother (Ma) does an admirable job raising him under such circumstances, and I think what really makes this story work is the fact that it's all told from his perspective. I gave it five stars. This is one you should absolutely check out if you're looking for something new and different to read. 

This was my latest free read on my Kindle from the lending library... it was number one on the LL list so I figured it must be worth a shot. (I try to avoid series when I'm looking on the LL each month for my new free book.) Trail of Broken Wings is about an Indian family, parents and three daughters, who are hiding a devastating secret from the outside world. When the father falls into a mysterious coma, the women are left to deal with each other and the secret. I found this book very interesting because of the cultural information- I know the basics about Indian culture, but I feel like I learned more from this book. The story is very captivating. I gave it four stars.

And finally, my BFF C. lent me Royal Wedding, the latest book in the Princess Diaries series released by Meg Cabot. I loved these books when I was growing up - they are actually fairly different from the movies, especially the second one. They were always fun reads. This book was no different. It was a good adult sequel to the original series, which were written for teenagers. It reminded me of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series - there was the original series, and then a sort of epilogue book written more for women who grew up reading the books that had more mature themes. I gave it four stars. 

I didn't think that I'd have much time to read when I had a baby, but it turns out it's much easier to pick up a book or my Kindle when I have a second (also, I do a lot of reading while using my breast pump to help the time pass) than it is to get on the computer. 

ANYWAY, so those are the books I've gotten in since the beginning of this year... we're halfway to Christmas so there's plenty of time to get more in before the end of the year! : ) Do you have any recommendations for me? I'm game!

Also, A's cousin built me a new bookshelf to condense my collection, so I've re-discovered some of my older books that I haven't read in a while. Maybe I'll re-read some of those and do reviews of them sometime in the future. We'll see!

Until then,

Friday, June 19, 2015

A little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a little bit of love

WOW. So, it's been a while. Thank you, faithful reader out there, for sticking with me.

Right now we're toward the end of naptime so I don't know how much time I have to write... it's like a ticking timebomb!

Little Baby Z is two months old! (Almost 10 weeks.) I can't believe how fast time has gone. He grows and changes every day, which is amazing to watch.

Being a mom is...


I have a very gassy baby, and I feel like half the time I'm sitting in a giant fart cloud. : )

I no longer have many qualms about bodily functions. (Including my own.)

The worst is when he's crying and I can't figure out why, or I know why and nothing I can do is helping. (This week has been challenging because he had his two-month shots on Tuesday... which has made him very fussy and tired.)

My favorite is when he falls asleep on my chest or tummy and I can just look down, kiss his beautiful little head, and watch him sleep.

I have a great mommy group on Facebook where we can all ask each other questions and go for support. My own mommy has been great to call for support, and when I visit home, my parents are wonderful grandparents and give me room to breathe a bit. My in-laws (parents and sister) have been fantastic. And I have some friends that have been super helpful, especially one in particular that has been my "Mary Poppins." She showed up yesterday morning after I sent her an early-morning plea... when she arrived I was sweaty, covered in spit up, still had morning breath, hadn't eaten breakfast or gone to the bathroom, was still wearing my glasses, and had my hair in a bedhead bun... at 11 AM. She swooped in to the rescue, and I could get a shower, run laundry, empty the dishwasher, pump out a bottle and SLEEP. It was wonderful.

One of the things I have appreciated most has been the food that people brought us. It has been spread out and/or freezable, so I haven't had to cook much since we brought Baby Z home. Which is awesome because the last thing I want to do when A gets home is cook, and though we have pizza and Chinese nearby, they get old very fast.

His little smiles and laughs are the best. 

The best things we have:
* Swing
* Bouncer
* Pack n play with bassinet
* Playmat with toys and mirror
* A million burp cloths... with our little guy they get dirty so fast and I can't do laundry every day
* my SIL's Baby Bjorn carrier... I registered for and received a Boba Wrap and an Infantino Carrier, but I kind of hate them both (and so did Baby Z). The Baby Bjorn has been the best so far. I may get an Ergo carrier when we have a few extra sheckles in the bank account.
* My breast pump, which is a Medela I got through Aeroflow. Aeroflow is the best. They take care of everything - insurance, doctor, ordering the pump - for you. 
* My nursing pajamas. My mom told me I needed them. I was like, nahhhhh. She bought me a pair. She was right. I just ordered another. 

I'm going to wrap this up while I'm ahead, but I swear I'll try to be back soon. We are starting to have more of a predictable schedule now. : )

Take care!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

He's here!

After months of waiting... Baby Z is finally here!

Right now he is taking a nap. Hallelujah!

Baby Z was due on April 6, but that date came and went without any excitement. I started timing contractions on Friday the 10th, went to the hospital around 11:00 pm, and was sent back home at 2:30 am to wait for things to get more "powerful." On Sunday morning the 12th, I thought my water broke (yes - it is possible for you not to be sure if your water has broken, trust me) and was back in the hospital at 1:30 pm. Annnnnnnd then sent home again at 4:30 pm. On Monday the 13th I went in to be induced at 7 am and finally things got rolling - although after having early labor for three days already, I was advanced enough that I did not have to have much Pitocin rolling through my system (also fortunate from what I've heard). We were all like OKAY DUDE, YOU'RE COMING OUT TODAY WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.

If you know someone who is pregnant, especially if they are pregnant for the first time, I will tell you right now- do NOT bother them if they are close to their due date and baby hasn't arrived yet, or even worse, if they are overdue. Trust me. They know they are overdue. They feel miserable and impatient and frustrated and whale-like. It is not helpful when you say things like "Any baby yet?" "So are you having this baby or not?" and "Did you have this baby already and not tell anyone?" I can't tell you how short my temper was and how many times I just sat and cried when I got messages like that. I wanted Baby Z out just as much - if not more - than everyone else. But there wasn't much I could do about it. Unsolicited advice about kick starting labor was not helpful, either. Believe me, I was on every article about naturally inducing labor and tried everything short of castor oil (nope nope nope). None of it worked.

One of the days I was just sitting at home getting bombarded with messages - texts, facebook - feeling frustrated and awful, and I got on Pinterest and searched "postdue pregnancy humor." I was not disappointed. If anyone else out there is going through the same thing, I highly recommend it. 

ANYWAY. So after going in and out of the hospital (my brother joked I should get a punch card, and I said not unless the final prize was a baby) so many times, I got into my room and I was not leaving until that baby was born. All of my IVs were started (I tested positive for Group B strep, so I had an IV for that, plus the Pitocin). And then I got to experience what real contractions were after a weekend of early labor. Those contractions were no joke. I set a goal that I was not going to ask for my epidural until after 9. At 9:30 I told the nurse she better get things in motion, and I made it to 10 before they came to do the epidural. It was no treat, because I kept having these God-awful contractions while they were trying to position a needle in my spine. But let me tell you... once that thing was in, it was magic. Suddenly it felt like I was laying on an electric blanket and my legs got that "falling asleep" feeling, and all of the contractions just felt like pressure instead of like my insides were being wrung out through an old-fashioned washing machine. I actually  fell asleep and took a nap after the epidural. Yes. In the middle of my labor. It was awesome.

Then suddenly at about 2, the midwife came back to check on me and said, "Okay, we're good to start pushing now. You ready?" And I was like, "Oh! Alright. Let's go."

So me, the midwife, the nurse, A., and my mom got down to trying to get Baby Z OUT. And after two hours (ahhh!) of pushing, it finally worked. 

**TMI alert, so skip ahead if you're squeamish** In the middle of my pushing, the midwife got called away in an emergency to another room because some other poor woman passed out due to blood loss. Yikes! I'm not sure if it would have mattered or not- A. and my mom swear it would have been better- but I feel like if she would have been there the whole time, I might have gotten an episiotomy and been spared a whole lot of future pain. Because this child of mine tore everything he could on the way out. Every. Thing. Second degree tears. It took an hour to get stitched up afterwards... which was no treat. Trust me. And it still feels pretty miserable. **

We had lots of really great nurses throughout our hospital stay, and after filling out loads of paperwork and watching some videos, we were able to come home with little guy. While it was scary to leave the nurses and doctors and safety of the hospital, it was nice to come to our home comforts. We're figuring it out, day by day, which is all any first-time parents can really do. We've had a lot of help from A's parents and sister and my mom - she came down last weekend and pretty much did all of our household chores, since we are exhausted and I'm not allowed to lift anything heavy or drive until next week. 

Anyway, there's the "Baby Story" of Baby Z... blogs will probably be scarce in the near future because this one took three days and multiple naptimes to get out. 

Take care!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Kids say the darnedest things

In honor of April Fool's Day (which, for the record, is my least favorite "holiday" - topping the list with Halloween not too far behind) I thought I'd post here a collection of some of my favorite student quotes. Things that are actually funny, as opposed to a lot of the nonsense that you will see on the internet today! : )

I'm a music teacher and my job primarily puts me in contact with high school students and 4th and 5th grade beginning musicians. While occasionally the high school students will come up with some gems, my favorite quotes usually come from the elementary kids.


Quotes Related to my Pregnancy

4th grader: "So when are you having your baby?"
Me: "In two weeks, but technically it could be any time now."
4th grader: "So it could be in three seconds from now! Three... Two... One..."
(Six fourth graders are in the room and they all stop what they are doing to stare at my belly)
Me: "....Well, that didn't work, but I certainly appreciate your positivity!"

4th grader: "Mrs ***, I can't remember anymore what you looked like when you were skinny."

Other teacher to me: "Whoa! Where'd the big belly come from?"
4th Grader: "She's PREGNANT."

Quotes about Life in General

5th Grade Student: "Wait, you like Harry Potter?"
Me: "Absolutely! I grew up with Harry Potter." 
Student: "No way."
Me: "It's true... The first book came out in 1999."
Student: "So wait, if I look up Harry Potter online, it will say that you were one of his friends?"
(In hindsight, I should have said "Yeah, except they changed my name to Hermione for the stories.")

4th grader: "My dad is good at science because he's a farmer."
Me: "My dad is good at science too, he is a chemist."
4th Grader #2: "Well, my dad is a construction worker so he's good at Minecraft."

Me: "I won't be here for orchestra on Tuesday but there should be a substitute."
4th grader: "Why aren't you going to be here?"
Me: "That's my business."
4th grader, whispering loudly to another student: "I bet she's going to the dentist."

Student 1 to student 2: "Is your mom having another baby?"
Student 2: "No, her stomach is just always GINORMOUS."
(A week later, Student 2 was telling everyone about her new baby sister.)

Scene: elementary orchestra students packing up after lessons. Lots of giggling.
4th grade boy: "I'm out of here. I'm tired."
Me: "Why are you so tired?"
Boy: "There are too many girls around here."

4th Grader: "I brought $46 for the book fair today."
Me: "Wow! You can get a lot of books with that." 
4th Grader: "Yeah, and I want to spend it all, even though my mom doesn't want me to!" 
Me: "Well, maybe you should listen to your mom and save it for something big that you want." 
4th Grader: "Like a tank?" 
Me: "........A tank?" 
4th Grader: "Yeah, for when I take over the world." 

Have a good week! : )

Sunday, March 22, 2015

There's nothing like a show on Broadway, nothing like a Broadway show!

I am a huge fan of Broadway music. One of my kids was doing a survey for his English class a few months ago and asked me what kind of music I listen to most often - I think most of his answers were pop, rock, country, rap, etc... and I answer "Broadway showtunes and Disney soundtracks."

Don't judge me. : )

Yesterday I decided to make a giant iTunes playlist of all (well, most) of my favorite Broadway songs. I don't have soundtracks for all of the musicals I like, but I do have a lot... and I wound up with 65 songs.

Here they are!

The Gods Love Nubia

Aladdin the Musical
Friend Like Me
Somebody's Got Your Back

Avenue Q
I Wish I Could Go Back to College

Bombshell (from the TV Show "Smash")
Don't Say Yes Until I Finish Talking
Cut, Print, Moving On
Don't Forget Me

Book of Mormon
Two by Two
I Believe


First Date
Something that Will Last
In Love With You

Mama Says
Footloose (Finale)

Funny Girl
Don't Rain on My Parade

Guys and Dolls
Runyonland Music/Fugue for Tin Horns
Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat

The Walter Bobbie version is my favorite. (Nathan Lane <3)

The Nicest Kids in Town
Ladies' Choice
You can't Stop the Beat

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Brotherhood of Man

The NBC version of Brotherhood of Man is WINNING.

Jersey Boys
Can't Take My Eyes off of You

Jesus Christ Superstar
King Herod's Song

The King and I
Getting to Know You

Kiss Me Kate
Another Openin', Another Show
Always True to You (In My Fashion)
Where is the Life that Late I Led?
Brush Up Your Shakespeare

The Last Five Years
I Can Do Better than That
A Summer in Ohio

Les Miserables
Master of the House
A Little Fall of Rain
One Day More!

True story, person who made this image... the 10th Anniversary concert is my favorite version of Les Mis. 

The Music Man
Ya Got Trouble/76 Trombones

People Will Say We're in Love

Consider Yourself

Once Upon a Mattress
Happily Ever After

The Phantom of the Opera

The Pirates of Penzance
When a Felon's Not Engaged in his Employment

The Producers
I Wanna Be a Producer

The Great Nathan Lane... I love him!

La Vie Boheme A&B
I'll Cover You (Reprise)

Shrek: The Musical
Don't Let Me Go
I Know It's Today

Singin' in the Rain

The Sound of Music
I Have Confidence

South Pacific
I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair
There is Nothin' like a Dame

Monks Chant/He Is Not Dead Yet
The Song that Goes Like This
Find Your Grail
Diva's Lament

Thoroughly Modern Millie
Forget About the Boy

Run, Freedom, Run!
We're Not Sorry

From my turn in "White Christmas"... I love a piano!

White Christmas
Happy Holiday/Let Yourself Go
I Love a Piano

Dancing Through Life
For Good

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
My New Philosophy

I also have the opening that Neil Patrick Harris did for the 67th Tony Awards... not technically from a show, but it's definitely Broadway (and definitely awesome!)

Am I missing any of your favorite show tunes (or shows)? : )

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Close to my heart, never to part, baby of mine

We're in Week 37 of Baby Z.

It's the home stretch!

Literally - everything is stretching. I really didn't notice any stretch  marks before the last two weeks. (My skin must be extra flexible?) But now... they're on my legs, my hips, and my belly. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a little depressing. Because you know stretch marks don't really go away. I'm trying to tell myself they are like my pregnancy battle scars. And we would like another kid in a few years, so it'll just re-stretch (or maybe stretch more).

Everything is still going well with Baby Z, and I can tell he's taking up a lot of room in there. There's not so much kicking any more as there are giant, crazy movements that make it look like I have an alien movie happening in my abdomen. I'm effacing, I'm dilating, all that good stuff... so it could be a matter of days or weeks before he decides to make an appearance.

The nursery is almost ready - we have most of it set up, the big important things anyway. I've been working on washing clothes and removing tags on toys and making room in the bathroom and kitchen for the baby stuff. We have also been trying to clean up other things around the house, and I think even A has been "nesting" a bit - he's been intent on getting his workspace in the garage put together, putting up new lighting where we wanted to do it - just lots of little home improvement projects. We've been giving Lowe's a lot of money haha.

Penny has been helping to assemble the nursery, which is Finding Nemo themed. : )

My feet have still been swelling to epic proportions... lately they have also started swelling upward as well as outward, leaving me very few shoe options... mostly flip flops and my giant wide sneakers.

I have a list of things that I'm looking forward to once Baby Z is out. I think they are realistic expectations - for example, I know I'm still going to be exhausted all the time, so I don't expect that to disappear suddenly! 

- Wearing normal shoes again
- Sleeping on my tummy without a giant nest of pillows taking over the bed!
- Wrapping a towel around myself - the whole way! -  after showering
- Having coffee/a drink once in a while... this hasn't been a huge sacrifice for me but looking forward to it anyway
- Bending over easily to pick something up
- Flipping over in bed without it taking ten minutes and having it sound like I've just run a marathon
- Wearing normal pants with a belt... don't get me wrong, maternity pants with their elastic waistbands are awesome, but inevitably they stretch and start falling down - and that big elastic support makes it difficult to adjust yourself subtly!
- Walking without feeling like a Barbie doll that someone has snapped the legs off of

Etc, etc, etc.

The mood swings at this point are also extreme. Everything annoys me because I am cranky pretty much all the time... I try to keep myself in check but I can tell you, especially some of these days at school, it's rough. I officially have five more school days before my maternity leave begins. Wahoo!

Anyway, that's the latest and greatest on Baby Z and me... I'll keep you posted! Maybe by this time this week he'll be here already! : )


Sunday, March 1, 2015

WDW February 2015: Table Service Meals

I'm back!

As promised, here is my review of our table-service meals that we got to experience on our latest trip to Disney World in February. (I already talked about our quick-service meals in this post.)

My original plan for reservations was a lot different than what we wound up with... but since we didn't have our resort reservations made by 180 days before our trip, I had to make our reservations one by one. It's soooooooo much easier if you have your resort reservation first, because you can make your dining reservations for ten days of your trip at a time from the day you are to arrive. (For example, if you're arriving on February 1st, you can make your reservations 180 days in advance for the whole week of February 1st if you have your resort confirmation number. If you don't have a resort confirmation number yet, you can only make your advance reservations 180 days before February 1st, and then you have to get back on the next day and make your reservations for February 2nd, etc.)

ANYWAY... Our original plan involved going to Tutta Italia in EPCOT, Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom, Fulton's Crab House in Downtown Disney, the Hoop de Doo Revue at the Wilderness resort, and breakfast at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. The first three we wanted to go back to after we ate there on our honeymoon, and I was interested in both reserving a breakfast and a dinner show.

The only one from that plan I got into was Tutta Italia. And you know what, it still turned out okay! I was excited to try some new places, and we really enjoyed all of them... which goes to show that it's totally okay if things don't go according to plan! (By the way... the website is a wonderful place to research menus if you are planning a Disney trip. I relied on it while planning ours!)

We did go to Tutta Italia the first night of our trip... it is such a great way to start the week.

I went to take a picture of everyone at our table, and our waiter appeared from nowhere and said "No no, I take the picture! You sit down." So we got a really nice group shot the first night there. I especially appreciate the photobomb by the guy who is painted on the wall in the background. (Facebook wanted me to tag him haha.)

Anyway, the service was amazing as usual, and our food was also fantastic. Even though appetizers weren't included in our meal plan, we still got calimari... it's A's favorite, and Tutta's is hard to beat (although Fulton's was good on our last trip!) 

As far as the entrees went, A. talked both of our moms and my dad into trying the gnochetti, which he had last trip and really enjoyed. I had the sole again, which was delicious and also GIANT. Seriously, the filet I got touched both ends of my plate. It was delicious and a little different than the original one I had - which involved asparagus and capers - this one had more spinach, but that is excellent pregnancy fare. : ) A's dad got the lasagna and my brother got the salmon, which they both thoroughly enjoyed. 

For dessert, I went way off the beaten track. If you've been reading this blog, you know that all this baby wants is slushies and ice and things like that. Plus, I was super full after trying to finish that giant piece of fish! So I decided to try the lemon sorbetti. It was a FANTASTIC decision. It came in a tall glass with chocolate garnishes, and was perfectly light after my meal. Was it the most exciting dessert I ever had? No... but it was really, really tasty. If I remember correctly, pretty much everyone else at the table went for the cheesecake except for my mom, who got the Torta di Nutella. She let me try some of it, and it had an interesting texture, but was good. (I don't think I could have eaten a whole plate of it though.)

Our second night, we went to Hollywood and Vine, the buffet restaurant at Hollywood Studios. We got the Fantasmic package, which was totally worth it. The food there was good but I think I'd try something different next time. It's difficult to do a buffet when you're a group of 7 because you have to juggle getting in and out of the table when everyone is ready to get more food... and the atmosphere of the restaurant wasn't the best compared to other Disney restaurants we've eaten at. A. and I were racking our brains trying to remember if any of the dishes really stood out and we didn't really come up with much. I did enjoy the chocolate-dipped pineapple for dessert... I should have just eaten plates and plates of that. The best part was that when we went to Fantasmic, we just walked right in 15 minutes before the show and sat down in the reserved section. Our seats were good and we didn't get wet. : )

Some of my pictures from the show. : ) 

On Wednesday we had lunch at the Coral Reef Restaurant in EPCOT. The atmosphere of the restaurant was neat but for some reason I had pictured this big aquarium in the middle of the restaurant with the seating around it. Instead the aquarium makes up one whole "wall" of the restaurant, and all of the seating is on tiered levels facing the aquarium. We were on the very top tier, so far away from the aquarium, but there wasn't seating near the front for a group of seven. It was okay anyway because we could still see the fish, sharks, and stingrays just fine!

We got the creamy crap dip as an appetizer (even though it wasn't included in the dining plan) and that was a great way to start the meal. A. and I both had the manicotti with lobster tail... yum! My brother had the pork belly, my mom got the salmon, A's dad got the steak, and both my dad and A's mom got the mahi mahi. Again, we were all really happy with our choices. But what I really remember from this meal were the desserts!

A's Turtle Cheesecake with Caramel. See how it's shaped like a turtle!? Plus it was really delicious! The blue on top was blown sugar... edible, but I don't think A. ate it haha. 

A's mom got the Coconut-Mango Chiffon Tart. So pretty! She let me have a corner of the cake and it was very fruity and light. 

This was my dessert... the Chocolate Wave. I really enjoyed the balance of the raspberry with the chocolate cake. 

My brother also had the Bailey's and Jack Daniels Mousse... obviously didn't try that but he said it was good. I have a hard time imagining what it would taste like.

Thursday's dinner was our "signature dining" for the week and took two of our table service credits. We went to Narcoossee's at the Grand Floridian Resort. Half the fun for me was going to the resort and walking around... visiting the resort lobby and checking out some of the landscaping. That place is so gorgeous and I swear I'll stay there someday even if it's only for a night!

Narcoossee's is right off the boat dock at the edge of the resort and easy to find. Our reservation was for 7:30 pm and when we arrived it was kind of noisy, but as the night went on the crowd cleared a bit and the atmosphere calmed. Before we talk food, the view was really nice... there were windows around the outside wall of the restaurant and you could see the Magic Kingdom and the other resorts from the table. When it came time for the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, the lights in the restaurant dimmed and they piped in the music from the park so you could enjoy the whole fireworks experience right from the restaurant! That was super cool. We could also see the Electric Water Pageant travel around the lake as we finished our desserts. That aspect of dinner alone was super awesome.

Now... the food.

We didn't get appetizers here. I really wanted to have enough room for all of my meal and my dessert. They did bring out bread and butter while we were waiting for our entrees... and like I said, the atmosphere of the restaurant (and the company) was nice enough that any wait we had didn't seem like a wait at all. I had the "Pan seared Georges Bank Day Boy Scallops" (say that ten times fast, right?) which came with trofie pasta (never heard of it), raisins, almonds, string beans, arugula, and several other accoutrements. This is what it looked like:

And it was AWESOME. 

I wasn't sure what it would be like with all of those extras thrown in - I was especially skeptical about the raisins - but I figured the chefs put all of those flavors together for a reason. I really like scallops and this was super delicious.

The popular choices at our table were the surf and turf (steak and lobster tail) and the steamed lobster. My mom and A's mom both asked if they could substitute scallops for lobster in the surf and turf and it wasn't a problem at all. 

I took a picture of the dessert menu to send to my friend C. I knew which dessert I was getting before I even got to the restaurant because of all of my previous research... but see which you would pick:

C. (and my dad and brother) picked the coconut and chocolate creme brulee, but the rest of us went with the cheesecake. It's one of the top-rated desserts in all of the Walt Disney World Resort.

So fancy! And very, very good. As far as cheesecakes go, this one was pretty sweet (meaning sugary).

Finally, on Friday, we had brunch at the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom. My aunt, who lives in Orlando, met up with us for the day and joined us for brunch. Not only did we get some pictures taken with characters from Winnie the Pooh, we also had delicious breakfast food in a beautiful restaurant. (Although again, it was also loud and crowded.)

Piglet was super excited about the Baby Z bump... and you can see my happy FIL off to the side haha : )

I got an omelet at the made to order station and that was very good. But I have to say my favorite thing out of all the food there was to offer, was the stuffed french toast that was in the "kids" buffet station. I wound up eating more of that than anything else! It was also nice to get some fresh fruit from the buffet after not feeling like I ate enough fruits or vegetables all week. 

So, sorry for the marathon post, but there you have it... our table service meals for our week at Disney this year! Thanks for sticking with me. : ) Now go eat something yummy!


Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Typical Day in the Life of My Unborn Son least how I imagine things are going in there:

3:20 AM - I've been sleeping for a while, but now seems like a good time to roll around. Mom already shifted from her right to left side about three times trying to get comfortable and she seems to have found a good spot. This means it's my turn to get comfy now.

3:23 AM - It seems I have disturbed Mom, because now she's up and moving around. I might have accidentally rolled on her bladder, again. I can't help it. It just keeps getting in my way!

4:45 AM - So I went back to sleep for a little bit but that got old pretty fast. I'm hungry I'm hungry I'm hungry I'm hungry I'm hungry MOM WAKE UP AND EAT SOMETHING.

5:00 AM - That breakfast was so satisfying that now I will do a victory lap with some Rockette kicks while Mom tries to get one last hour of sleep in before work.

7:15 AM - Sweet! Second breakfast.

9:45 AM - Mom has been working pretty hard for about two hours now, so it's a good time for me to remind her that I'm still in here. ATTENTION PLEASE. Time for some break dancing!

10:50 AM - One of my favorite times of the day. Mom is trying to teach her class, and I really want to give some instructions too. I can hear her talking loudly to the class, so I will give an extra push in here to help her out. Oops... that seems to have been counterproductive. Now she's breathing extra hard. I must have pushed on her lungs accidentally.

12:20 PM - Lunch time! I love this meal. Eating is the best. It always makes me want to dance around.

12:50 PM - Mom's folding herself up to get in the car again. I hate this. It's basically the worst. I try to tell her this every time by giving her a good kick in the ribs... but she never seems to get the point. Now she has to sit here and get her breath again. Of course. Come on, Mom. Just quit climbing into the car and we can move past this little routine.

2:00 PM - I can tell Mom is starting to get uncomfortable from being on her feet for so long. This is when she usually tries to sit down for a little bit and maybe put her feet up. I don't mean to make them so swollen, I swear...

3:45 PM - Time for more food! This is the best. Usually Mom tries to go for something healthy like an apple and cheese. Sometimes she will get ice cream, instead... it's no slushy, but that's pretty good too.

4:00 PM - It seems like I have worn Mom out. Time for a nap! For some reason when this happens I get this feeling of something pressing on me, sometimes. I usually kick back. I swear, someday I'm going to find out what's trying to climb all over me and I will get back at it. I bet it's a dog.

5:45 PM - Annnnnnnnnd we're awake and eating again. This is the best. I loooooooove food.

6:30 PM - Mom is finally chilling out and putting her feet up, so it's time for some kickboxing. One time Dad decided to rest his head on top of me around this time, so I kicked him in the face. He totally deserved it! I'm trying to get a workout in, okay?

8:00 PM - Things are starting to get warm, so that must mean Mom is getting another bubble bath. She seems to like those, I guess because I am so heavy that I make her back hurt. Oops. I am looking forward to seeing what a real bath is like someday, because right now no matter how much I move around, I don't really get to experience it. Bummer.

8:45 PM - It seems pretty early to me, but Mom has decided it's time for bed. She's laying on her left side right now, but I'm not psyched about this position. Gotta let her know.

8:50 PM - It took Mom a whole five minutes (GOSH) but finally she turned over to her right side. More comfortable now.

9:00 PM - Just kidding. I liked the left side better.

9:45 PM - MOM YOU ARE ON YOUR BACK, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? This is the worst. I have to let her know. Time to kick the old lungs again.

10:45 PM - Okay, it seems we have found a happy place for now... see ya in the morning, Mom!

See ya soon, Baby boy. : )