Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Situation Rectified

Today I:
  • Stayed in my PJs until 11 AM (granted, I was calling places about life and rental insurance, but still!);
  • Baked chocolate chip cookies in my spacious, sunny kitchen;
  • Returned some wedding gifts (that's right --- wedding gifts! three years later!) and came away with $300 to spend without guilt at Crate & Barrel;
  • Talked to Melissa for a good long time;
  • Took a nap; and
  • Went to the gym!
I had a wonderful day, made enjoyable not only by the events of the day but by the people with whom I was able to spend time. I talked to Melissa, who is one of the most amazing people ever, and then enjoyed Christine's strength training class at the gym. Both of these ladies just lift my spirits and make me a happier person. Now I'm just so excited to see my hubby and enjoy a healthy, delicious dinner at home.


27-week Baby Bulge!

It's just too funny!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The past six weeks have been some of the most stressful Michael and I have faced. But that's a reoccurring theme here. What I'm wondering is when I am going to let myself calm down. Today was madness - and my list of chores for tomorrow remains dauntingly long. I didn't read. I didn't go to the gym. I didn't cook anything. I didn't talk to Melissa or Austen. I just ran around the Upper West Side, scarfing down a hot dog and some water for lunch.

And this is me on VACATION.

I think tonight I'm going to let someone else cook Michael and I dinner (hopefully with a vegetable or two somewhere in sight). I just took a bath for the first time in God knows how long. And I'm listening to one of my favorite classical CDs (Horowitz in Hamburg: The Last Concert) to calm my nerves from the long day. Michael will be home soon, and we'll just curl up in front of the TV, order in some dinner and relax. I've earned this... right?

Getting it Done

Joyously, I don't have to work today. Or at all this week! I took the whole week of to focus on chores around the house, to help us get settled into our new apartment. I'm so grateful to have the time, and amazed by the growing list of things to do... I don't know how relaxing the next few days will be, but at least I don't have to spend my Saturdays and Sundays for the next two months doing them.

Today's list includes a visit to the doctor, to Best Buy to recycle some old computers, to Bed, Bath & Beyond to return a shoe rack that is too big for my shoes, to Apple to get my iPhone fixed, and then cleaning up the kitchen pantry.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

Today Michael and I celebrated our first Christmas in New York. Between his parents' move to Austin, our move to the new apartment, the pregnancy and my brother's trip to Armenia, it didn't make much sense for us to travel this holiday weekend. While it was sad to be without extended family, I loved celebrating this Christmas in our new home!

Michael and I picked up a our tree last night and decorated it with lights and about 14 ornaments while listening to Christmas music. Most of our celebrating has focused on food: lasagna for dinner last night, popovers for breakfast today, and beef brisket for our Christmas dinner. We also made it to church, and to the movies. Overall, the focus has been on enjoying some relaxing time in this empty city of ours.

I love my husband and this family we are creating.

Michael hiding behind out tree:

My first attempt at popovers:

A delicious Christmas dinner of beef brisket, mashed potatoes, asparagus and salad:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My New Morning View

Sitting in our beautiful guest room to enjoy my first cup of tea.

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Hope work days are short and travel nightmares few. Love to all!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The View

I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to get to work, but one option is to catch the 1 train at 125th. Here was the view from the above-ground tracks this morning:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Weekend in Pictures

Starting on Friday morning...

Friday Night...

Saturday morning...

Saturday night...

Sunday Night...

Oh, and I heard it snowed this weekend!?


Michael and I moved into Barrow Street four years ago. We were engaged, though not yet married, and this made both of us a little uncomfortable. We were nervous about moving in together, having heard from many friends that the transition from dating to being roommates was a rough one. And we were making it harder by moving into a tiny studio in the West Village.

And two weeks after moving in, we looked at each other and said, "Isn't this fun?!" We spent our first New Years dancing in our new place, celebrating with champagne and Mariah Carey.

And then we got married, and had the Honeymoon from Hell, and worked through graduate school, and found jobs, and faced our first marital hurdles. We found regular walking routes, and made friends at the book store and at the gym and at Chipotle and at the dry cleaner and at the laundry. We got to know our neighbors.

In short, we made a home on Barrow Street.

Leaving this weekend was emotional and difficult. But I look to the future, remembering that (God willing) Michael and I will bring our first child into this new home. We will find new routes and make new friends. Our marriage will grow here, mature here, continue to thrive here. We will celebrate new milestones and savor this home as well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Messiah: Year 10

Tonight, I attended Handel's Messiah with my dear friend Jordana. This is the tenth year I've seen this concert - twice in Charlottesville, once in Madrid, and seven times in New York. It holds special meaning to me now, having become an integral part of my Christmas celebrations.

I managed to record the last few minutes of tonight's performance. While the Hallelujah chorus, by all accounts, should be my favorite number of the night, I actually far prefer the Amen at the very end of the night. I love its simplicity, and the way it always feels like a prayer of thanksgiving for a beautiful evening.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Tonight is the night. We have to start packing. The movers arrive at 8 AM on Saturday morning, and we have to be at least a little ready.

And yet, I'm sitting here on the couch, utterly overwhelmed at the thought of packing up this glorious little apartment that has served us so well. I think this entire week will be devoted to soaking up every last minute in our place, in our neighborhood.

On my walk home from the office yesterday (which I will miss so, so dearly), I walked by a party for wholesale rose sellers! The party was held inside a dark, comfortable, neighborly bar just around the corner from our apartment. It's the perfect spot for the winter - warm and cozy. And yesterday, it was covered in roses! Lovely! This was the best I could do as far as photos:

25-Week Baby Bulge

This Just In

The most recent production from my office, in an attempt to discourage too much soda consumption:

Oh, and 30 Rock is filming on our street right now!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Michael and I spent this weekend painting. It was exhausting, but I think it turned out very nicely!

What do you think?

Pink in the Baby's Room

Yellow for Our Bedroom & the Guest Room

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekly Inspirations

I listened to Obama's Nobel remarks on Friday, and thought I'd share my favorite lines:
So even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal. We will bear witness to the quiet dignity of reformers like Aung Sang Suu Kyi; to the bravery of Zimbabweans who cast their ballots in the face of beatings; to the hundreds of thousands who have marched silently through the streets of Iran. It is telling that the leaders of these governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation. And it is the responsibility of all free people and free nations to make clear that these movements -- these movements of hope and history -- they have us on their side.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Plans Change

This week has been a long one. I spent four of the five work days visiting elementary school classrooms all over the city. This has required many early mornings, despite late nights, and I'm pooped! Visiting kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade classrooms was mildly terrifying - and at times rather sad. Teachers continue to earn my total respect. I don't know that I could ever work in such chaos. But I'm also amazed at how negative school environments can be. Every day at lunch I heard a new group of teachers complaining about their students, fellow faculty, principals, administrators, testing, etc. etc. etc. It's tiring passing day in and day out in that kind of workplace.

In addition to my crazy schedule, Michael has put in very late hours this week. Wednesday was his office's Christmas party, so we enjoyed an evening together. But he got home at 9 or later every other night (including an arrival around 1:40 AM this morning) and now will be working over the weekend.

I'm leaving for my grandmother's funeral alone... I don't think this weekend will be quite as rejuvenating as I had hoped. But perhaps the time with family will help heal some of the sadness.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Things I Should Be Doing Right Now

  1. Going to the gym
  2. Figuring out what to cook for dinner
  3. Shopping for more maternity clothes
  4. Writing a thank you note
  5. Calling the host of friends I miss talking with
  6. Christmas shopping
  7. Walking around the neighborhood
  8. Needle pointing
And instead I am lying on the couch, listening to Christmas music and debating my next moves. And wondering if The Biggest Loser will still be on, despite President Obama's address on Afghanistan...

This is not a high point for me, is it? :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Michael and I are all over the place right now.

Here are the transitions that we're in the midst of:
  • Moving from the home where we've started off our loving marriage, into the home where we will begin to raise our family;

  • Supporting Michael's parents as they courageously leave McLean for Austin, Texas, and yet grieving a bit as we lose our home base in Northern Virginia;

  • Relinquishing our independent, 20-something selves to become 30-something parents to our beautiful baby girl;

  • Saying goodbye to my grandmother; and

  • Saying goodbye (temporarily) to the petite - and generally speaking comfortable - body I've maintained in order to become very happy parents.
There's obviously much more joy in here than sorrow. But we are in the difficult phase - thinking about many of these transitions before they actually occur. Stressing about movers and paint colors and sleep deprivation before enjoying new routines and loving smiles and three bedrooms. Michael and I are eager to see the comfort we've established in January, and even more thrilled for our little girl to join our lives.

There's lots floating around in my mind about all of these things, but I seem too overwhelmed to really put those down on paper (or computer screen). We'd appreciate prayers for peace and patience!

Monday, November 16, 2009


My grandmother passed away tonight. She was 91 years old and had lived a full, rich life. Together with my grandfather, my grandmother raised 5 children and 10 grandchildren. She traveled the world when it wasn't exactly fashionable for people - let alone women - to do so. She was born in India and inspired her grandkids with stories of road trips from London to India, cruises on sail boats from California to Peru, and car rides through Afghanistan.

That said, I think the element of my grandmother's life that left me most in awe was the profound love she shared with my grandfather. Anyone lucky enough to be in a room with the two of them quickly discovered that they were with kindred spirits. True, their relationship began in a different era, when divorce and separation were unheard of. But my grandparents' love for one another went beyond the comforts of sharing stories and raising children. They genuinely enjoyed one another's company. They kept each other laughing, served one another, honored one another, amused one another, even after death. My grandfather passed away in 2002, but I don't think I heard my grandmother say more than three sentences without bringing him up. Being with my grandmother meant spending time with my grandfather, and vice versa. The two of them were uniquely paired, clearly divinely created for one another.

When my grandmother died tonight, I was cooking dinner for my husband. I was imagining how happy my grandfather would be to have my grandmother with him again. I was thinking about their treasured memories that none of us will ever know - the times they shared, like Michael and I share now, that aren't recorded by children or friends or neighbors. Times that passed between the two of them that nobody else could alter.

I cherish those moments that I share with my husband now, and feel like my marriage is the greatest way of honoring my grandparents' memories. I think if they could see the ways my husband and I are with one another now, when it is just the two of us, before we become ever-expanding units with children, then grandchildren, then greats, they would be pleased. They would recognize these times are tributes to them, and be proud of the legacy they have left behind.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Upside Down

What a week!

First, we found out that our little boy is actually a little GIRL! For weeks, we've been imaging our new family with a baby boy at its center, as our family unit dominated by males. We've been rubbing my belly, asking him what names he likes, talking about raising a little man. And now we're back to square one! We're rethinking this future, now with a baby girl at its heart. It's amazing and exciting and daunting all the same. For some reason, a boy seems... easier to me. A girl is scary! Wish us luck! Here's a picture of her beautiful profile:

Second, Michael and I found a new home! Our new apartment is a gorgeous, large 3-bedroom just north of Columbia. It's about three times the size of our current place and will be a lovely place to build our family. We even have room to host family and friends!

Michael's & My Bedroom

The Study/Guest Bedroom

Our Little GIRL's Room

Our Living Room

The Kitchen

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009

Today is Veterans Day. It's the second year I've marked the occasion since beginning my blog (last year's post is here), and I must admit that my feelings on the matter haven't changed much.

It comes as no surprise that I wholeheartedly adore President Obama. I think he is the best there is, and that I am not likely to know any better during my lifetime. That said, I still long for calls to sacrifice on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of families effected by the two wars we're currently fighting. I find myself fairly insulated from the realities of war. My husband and I live together. I don't worry for his safety on a daily basis. We don't have to raise children using Skype. I don't worry about post traumatic stress or the psychological impacts of combat.

I'm grateful to live free of these burdens. But is it fair that I can continue to do so, sheltered from these realities? I don't know how to solve this problem, but I do know that I am so beyond grateful to those men and women who agree to leave friends and family behind to go serve our country, regardless of their feelings about the wars that separate them.

What will I tell my son about war, and service to our country?

Donations on behalf of families who lost loved ones in service can be made here:
Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


At 8 PM last night, Michael and I returned to reality. We spent the most glorious three days in Miami, living in some dream world. It was utterly delicious.

The trip was meant to be our last vacation requiring plane travel before the baby arrives. So we did it up! We stayed at the Trump International Beach Resort, and never left its warm embrace. We dined in our rooms, down by the pool, at the resort restaurants. We played in the pool for hours, read for pleasure, and even splurged for massages.

This was the first vacation Michael and I have had without beloved family or friends since Asia, and it felt wonderful to be alone (with our little boy, of course). This was a particularly sinful type of getaway - one where you didn't let yourself feel guilty about laying around and doing nothing, about not visiting downtown Miami or about spending too much money. We just spent time together, and enjoyed the peace and quiet. We even managed to keep our cell phones locked away for much of the trip - truly a special occasion.

Throughout we discussed our little developing family - our excitement for this little boy to join us, for the children that will follow. We talked about the challenges of being parents, and the names we might give our kids. The resort was bizarrely international. We were two of only a handful of Americans there - most were European families. It was reassuring to see them playing in the pool together, traveling with extended networks of families and friends, to see parents having fun playing with their children and seeing kids just LOVING the pool.

Boarding the plane last night, we both remarked on how this might be the last of the easy passes through security. Next time, we'll be the ones with babies and strollers and diaper bags and all the goodness that goes along with it. Pretty exciting!!

My Delicious Virgin Pina Colada

Michael's Delicious and Very Non-Virgin Pina Colada

Monday, November 2, 2009

In the Meantime

Tomorrow, a more detailed post about our amazing getaway. But for now...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


It's that lovely time of year - when it feels good to be in the kitchen again.

I've missed cooking. Between the nausea and exhaustion of my first trimester, I spent little time in the kitchen this summer. But now that the weather has cooled, the evenings are darker, and my second trimester energy is here, I've been happily back, cooking away! We've been eating comfort foods like stuffed shells and lasagna, beef brisket and tacos, quesadillas and baked chicken. It's been lovely! I've also been really missing baking, and managed to produce a couple of apple pies and plenty of chocolate chip cookies.

It's an inspiring time of year to be in the kitchen, and I'm excited for some new recipes! If you have any favorites, feel free to pass them along!

Oh, and if anyone has a good recipe for butternut squash, I'd love to see it!!

18 Week Baby Bump!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Weekend that Wasn't

Well, the best laid plans...

Michael and I had a weekend that... well, didn't go quite as we had hoped. The weekend started off well, with a relaxing dinner on Friday night at Michael's and my favorite new pizza place, Spunto. The restaurant is a few blocks from our apartment, filled with warm yellow light and neighborhood charm. We enjoyed a couple of types of pizza and settled into a Friday evening.

We woke on Saturday, excited for a fun day with John, Anna and Naomi. For months, Anna and I have been talking about taking a tour of small, quaint towns nestled in the Hudson Valley during peak foliage season. So John booked us a Zip Car and we picked out 3 towns to check out. The day started with an early alarm and no hot water. Logistical irritations, sure, but the other kicker? Rain. Lots and lots of rain. Because we'd been discussing this trip for months, we made our best effort. We packed up a car with Naomi and all of her goodies, and headed north up the river. Try as we might, we couldn't find quaint New York!! We tried Tarrytown, then Sleepy Hollow, to no avail. We started seeing signs of cute in Ossining, just as Naomi started to tire of her car seat. Finally, we found charm in Croton-on-Hudson. But by that point Naomi was crying unabashedly and we were tired of being wet and in the car. Thankfully John and Anna are the kind of people that find humor in ridiculous situations, so the harder Naomi cried, the harder Anna and I laughed at the absurdity of our travels.

Sunday we hoped for better luck. Once again we woke to an alarm, which was not ideal. We had hot water, which was thrilling, but we didn't have our Sunday paper. Michael headed over to our gym for his first class, and I planned on meeting him there. But unfortunately our gym teacher never showed! So we both attempted to get a good workout in on our own, which was far less successful... Our afternoons were packed, with a lovely dimsum lunch in Chinatown with girlfriends from grad school and then tea with my former roommate and wonderful friend Jordana.

The weekend wasn't a complete loss - we spent some quality time with good friends, took a nice long walk in the fall sunshine, and had a delicious dinner of stuffed shells tonight. But we definitely don't feel as relaxed as we usually do at the end of a Sunday evening.

Thankfully we're off to Miami next weekend! Hooray!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Turning Points

First, if you haven't done so already, please share your most peaceful moments here (ahem Jenny, Dad, Henry, Ruthie). I've been LOVING all your thoughts, and find immediate relaxation while reading them. And you know what's interesting? How many people find peace in moments with warm drinks in their hands. Something I'll have to remember when I'm stressed at work!

Second, Michael and I have started casually looking for new apartments, and it is making me so sad! For the past few months, I've been the excited one, telling Michael how much fun it will be to find and build a new home, one with actual DOORS, and room for a baby. But now that it's becoming more of a reality, it's less thrilling. Michael and I have enjoyed our first three years of marriage in this lovely little apartment. We've made friends with our neighbors, gym teachers, book sellers, laundry folks. We know our neighborhood and can now actually afford to enjoy it a bit more. Anyway, I think this move is going to be very hard for us both.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Okay, so I thought I might try something new on this little blog of mine. Something that is sure to garner a little mocking from my husband and my brother, but let's give it a go...

On Sunday, I flipped through this month's Real Simple magazine to find a whole section where people wrote about their most peaceful time of day. I found it very pleasureable to hear what others say! Since I've shared mine (early morning tea just can't be beat), I was wondering if you would be willing to share yours?? I'd love to hear what part of the day calms you the most!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

17 Week Baby Bump!


Tonight I made one of my mom's greatest hits: beef brisket! It was delicious!!

Yesterday, Michael and I took the plunge and made our first meat purchase from the farmers market. We bought a nice, fatty Angus Beef Brisket from a husband and wife couple whose kids were back at the farm, tending to the animals. We marinated the beef last night and then let it cook at a low heat for 3 hours this afternoon. Our entire apartment smells delicious! Here are some pictures:

Yummy Beef

Beef, String Beans from the market
and my first attempt at Mashed Cauliflower
(also from the market, and not very successful)