Surprise Baby: Jonathan Matthew

The title of this post should really be "In Which My 8 Year Old Cousin Punk'd His Entire Family".

But before we go any further, I think this picture is a good introduction to what the rest of this post will be (sorry, Alyssa).

On Saturday morning, Alyssa and I woke up to a very messy house (Olympics party Friday night) when my Mom called me to say that my Uncle Lenny wanted to know if we wanted to come over for dinner. Pssh yeah we do, we love going places for dinner! So we laid around the house until 3:00 watching the Olympics and then we got in the car and off we went to New Jersey thinking of delicious dinner.

We thought that dinner was only going to be us and my Aunts but when we got to the house there were a ton of cars. I thought the people across the street were having a party, but when we got to the front door my Aunt Cristina's sister, Laura, answered the door. "What are you doing here?" I wanted to say...but that would have been rude and totally NOT what I actually meant...I was just surprised to see her. I was even more surprised when we walked into the kitchen and my Aunt's entire family was there. And we all just kind of stared at each other...confused.

My cousin Alexander ran into the kitchen from the living room (where it looked like a serious game of NBA Jam was going on) and hugged us hello. "You may be wondering where my parents are," he said "they are out running errands!".

Actually, Alexander now that you mention it I didn't even realize your parents weren't here. And do you really know what errands are?

And there we sat. Two whole families. Waiting for something, yet not quite sure what.

My parents arrived and were just as confused as we were...what do you mean they aren't here? Why are we all here? I thought we were eating dinner? Alexander, what do you mean Aunt Lau and Aunt Lyd took you for dim sum this afternoon? Why did they come early and take you out and more importantly WHY did you eat dim sum without us?

About an hour later my Aunt Lau told Alexander to go into the garage and out he ran. And a few minutes later, in they came.

Not a family of three.

But a family of four.

My Uncle (new Dad!), Aunt Lau, and my Mom hogging the baby! 

And we cried. Have you ever seen two whole families weep simultaneously? Geeze is it an impressive sight.

Alexander knew the entire time. My Aunts picked him up on Saturday morning and not only took him for dim sum, but went to the Party Store and another restaurant to order dinner for all of us and literally planned an entire party in under eight hours...balloons and all. And Alexander told no one. Not me or my sister, not any of his other cousins that were there, not his aunts and uncles or even his grandmother.

He knew he was getting a baby brother and he played video games and talked to us like nothing out of the ordinary was happening. He Punk'd us.

Welcome to the family, Jonathan Matthew...we've been waiting for you.

This is a full 60 minutes after he got home and I am still sobbing. 

Friday's Letters

Dear Dilly, my new Tom's Ballet Flats are not meant for sleeping.

Also, sorry you ran out of food on Wednesday morning and whoops I gave you treats for breakfast. Also, also showers are for privacy, Dil. For serious how did you even open the door to the bathroom and sneak in while I was washing my hair? I don't understand, but color me impressed.

Dear Park Slope, I am loving you and the fact that I can walk to dinner with Fiance after I have to work late on Tuesdays.

Dear F Train, you were a silly bitch on Wednesday and I had to wait a long time for you with all these other people.

But I did get to see this treat...points if you can spot it!

Dear Pary Goers, this is happening tonight. You're welcome.

Find other Friday's Letters here!

Embrace the Camera

I'm BACK with Embracing the Camera this week! We went to a wedding last weekend and these are just a few pictures of me, my little sister goofing around! Happy THURSDAY (almost Olympics time!) to you and you and you.

Wednesday Wonderings

Wednesday Wonderings:

Is this an arm party?

Am I too old to have an arm party?

Who came up with the term "arm party"?

I have gotten some questions about "what the hell" an arm party even is. When you Google "arm party" this is what comes up. Please judge the picture above accordingly.


The End of My Book Moratorium

Reading 100 books in 365 days is a lot of work. When you decide you're going to attempt such a feat (and announce it to your loyal blog followers) you think its a great idea!

You think to yourself "I love to read AND I have a Kindle AND I love that I have no homework because I am no longer in grad school (will this ever get old?) AND I have to read all the books I want to read now before I am in grad school again (anxiety, doctorate say what?) THIS IS THE BEST IDEA I'VE EVER HAD!"

But then you get to book #25 and you hit a wall. A wall that involves a window seat on the Long Island Railroad and a running routine four nights a week at 8:00PM, you tend to fall asleep on the train. And you are asleep at 10:00PM? Meaning that your reading time is cut to zero and then its five weeks later and you have read NOTHING but are plenty caught up on all of your podcasts, television shows, blogs and current national and pop news, NONE of which has anything to do with your New Years Resolution to read 100 books.

BUT THEN you take a week off for your 25th birthday (best idea ever) and your Fiance gets you a brand spanking new Kindle Fire! And you're at your parents' house (which has a patio) and then your Aunts' house (which has a pool) and before you know it, you are back in your reading grove! So bloggy friends, without further ado I present to you: The End of My Book Moratorium, Books #26-30. 

Read this book! Recommendation courtesy of my bloggy friend, Lauren and holy goodness she was so right! Read it right now, it will make you wonder why you've spent so many years not pretending to be a Rockefeller. 

Domestic Violets was meh. Its about this guy who works at a company he hates during the 2008 financial crash...his Dad is a famous author, he wants to be an get the idea. It was kind of whiny BUT my friend Jimmy, who works in advertising (who also read this book), taught me a lot of extra advertising jargon that the protagonist in this book could have used. Like "net, net", which I use all the time now. For instance "This post is a summary of a lot of books I read NET NET you should not read this one because it wasn't great." See? I am a natural. 

The Darlings was also about the financial crisis but was about a family behind a ponzi scheme and not the little guy in Domestic Violets. Its getting an extra star because its set in Manhattan which is my absolute favorite but I spent the whole book waiting for something big to happen and it never did, so three stars it is. 

Obviously the new Joan Rivers book is hilarious. I love her and I highly recommend I Hate Everyone unless you are easily offended.

How Can I Talk If My Lips Don't Move was really an incredible book. As someone who works in Teacher Education I think the book should be mandatory reading for all aspiring teachers but I think that its totally a valuable read for everyone. There is something so incredible to me about that fact that Tito can't speak verbally but that his words reach thousands of people through his books. Read it, read it, read it!

So there you have it, folks. Books #26-30. I'm thinking 100 books isn't totally realistic by December but I'll be keeping you posted on my progress!

In Which Dilly Wants to Be A Runaway

Just some pictures from our very first barbeque yesterday!

Shannon is basically a professional chef. Please note those skewers! 

Fiance learned how to make delicious mojitos! I don't even like mojitos and these were so tasty! Also when you send Becca, Stephanie and Fiance to the supermarket you inevitably get potato chips and onion dip (please see photo evidence of previous vacations to Puerto Rico). 

Our grill masters for the evening...

Becca had too many mojitos. This is my impression of Becca's "too many drinks" face. 

Dinner! And a very glamorous Stephanie! 

WHOOPS! Becca dropped her dinner on the ground. 

ALSO Dilly loves to be outside, specifically she likes to eat leaves? Like a lot. I was nervous that she was going to throw up but after eating a lot of leaves, she didn't even gag! She is a BAMF but if she thinks she is going to be a runway, she is sorely mistaken.

An Ode to My New Running Shoes

I got some kick-ass new running shoes from my Aunts for my birthday. They are a million bright colors. AND parts of them glow in the dark AND they weigh basically nothing compared to the non-running sneakers I was running in previously.

But you guys WHY is it so hot? Is feels like the humidity is 100% at all times in NYC and it might be making me homicidal. Not to mention a really grouchy/inefficient runner. 

I was pounding out almost three and a half miles before work two weeks ago and now I'm lucky if I'm swinging half of that because the air feels like soup. I am a sweaty mess. I feel a little nauseous? Not even Carly Rae or Kelly Clarkson can pull me out of my grouchy running funk! I am a mess. 

But sometimes I feel almost as accomplished as when I run the three and a half miles because it is before work and I am this sweaty and not still asleep! But other times I feel like a running failure? Because WHY is the weather sabotaging me and is it actually the weather or were those weeks of three plus runs a fluke?

I am unsure. However at least I am doing potentially awesome potentially sub-par running in style. NYC summer weather please get it together because I am running a 5k in a month and I would like to not embarrass myself, thank you.

I Am Too Short to Grocery Shop in Brooklyn

This post is pretty self explanatory.

Last night, Fiance and I had date night at the grocery store. Guys I know HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS WE ARE SO EXCITING. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that my grocery store is made for tall people.

See that Crystal Lite up there? That is what I needed! Do people in Brooklyn not drink Crystal Lite? It was even too tall for Fiance to get and we had to ask an employee with a ladder to get it for us.

 I understand that space is at a premium over here Key Food, but seriously.

Also, our grocery store has those carts that Whole Foods has! I don't like them at all, but Fiance isn't opposed to wheeling them around the store, so I guess it all works out. I think the picture below really illustrates the shelf height but in case it doesn't, you should know that Fiance is six feet tall. Which means those shelves are too high for almost all people!

Let's think of some more romantic Monday night dates for me and Fiance, OK? Suggestions greatly appreciated, thanks!

Bloggy Realness: Being an Adult is Time Consuming!

Guys, seriously you are all lovely and wonderful. Thank you so, so much for the Gchats/texts/phone calls/emails after my last post. They were all much appreciated and made the past few days a little brighter.

Continuing with the theme of last week of bloggy realness, I would like to tell you that being an adult is very time consuming! Specifically, lunch preparation for the week, specifically cutting melons.

My Mom can cut a cantaloupe and put perfectly uniform pieces in a tupperware in three minutes flat. Slice, scoop, slice, slice, slice, DONE! Perfectly cut melon for you to take to graduate school for lunch.

My parents came to Brooklyn yesterday and stopped at a farm stand in New Jersey on the way (because what else would you do on the way to the hospital, guys?). My Mom bought two cantaloupes and two honeydew melons. One of each for me and Fiance, and one one of each for her and my Dad and sister. She is the BEST except whoops, seriously I have never cut a melon before.

Sure, Fiance and I bought one once last year, but it definitely sat in my fruit bowl until it went rotten because I literally could not work up the courage to face it (in my previous kitchen that literally had no counter room for melon cutting). But last night, I looked those melons in the eye, stood at my gigantic counter with the wood cutting board (which came with my house, thank you very much) and I murdered those melons.

Guys, it took me thirty minutes to cut two melons. And seriously, I was covered and there were melon remnants all over my counter. But I think I made one giant step toward adulthood (we'll ignore the fact that I didn't actually buy the melons).

Thanks, Mom! 

We Can Do Hard Things

Don't get me wrong, I love blogs. But sometimes I think that the blogs I read have authors who never have anything bad happen to them. That all they have are cute fat babies and beautiful homes and nice husbands and families with one million siblings and sunny lives. But I know that can't be true, and I don't want you all to think that I have the sunniest of lives (because apparently strangers read this thing, which still blows my mind).

So instead, I'm giving you all a bit of blog reality today.

This week sucked the big one.

This week, I hoped to regale you with tales of my Staycation. And my new running shoes. And my new birthday Kindle that Fiance got me that I love. And I was going to try my new Jillian Michael's DVD and tell you how bad I was at it (because I know I'll be bad).

But that's not in the cards this week. Because this is what my week, and my family's week has looked like.

Not to go into details, my family hasn't had much luck with hospitals in the past few years. But if this week taught us anything, its that there is at least one other corridor filled with families just like ours.

During our first intimate (and prolonged) hospital experience two summers ago, my Mom said something to me and my sister that I think about all the time in situations like we find ourselves in this week.

"We're a strong family. We can do hard things." 

And so we are.

Might be a little quiet here for the next few days and we all sure could use some good thoughts sent to Brooklyn. Also, how sexy does my baby sister look in a sterile gown? She should totally be a surgeon but refuses to go to medical school, geeze.

Birthday Chicken and Waffles

Remember yesterday when I said that birthdays stress me out because I think they are a lot of pressure? My friends know that about me, so instead of going out dancing and drinking to celebrate my 25th, we went to brunch!

They are the best and holy goodness the restaurant was great AND it was around the corner from our house! Have you been to Talde? No? You should definitely go and you should tell me when you do because I will meet you there and then you can come over!

I was so, so, so happy that everyone was able to come. I got the loveliest birthday cards (with cat drawings, love, love, love) and a fun new tiny Polaroid camera from Ale and Neil (see hipster-y photo of me below).

Our waitress recommended that we get one of everything because the plates are small. We decided to divide into dining teams instead (because I love nothing more than forcing my birthday guests to feel like it is a sixth grade dodge ball game) and ordered that way. I think it worked pretty well but my goodness were there a lot of bowls and plates!

Have I mentioned my love of Korean fried chicken? I also love waffles, in case you were unaware so clearly Fiance and I ordered this!

And our waitress was beyond lovely and gave us two orders of Halo Halo, a traditional Filipino dessert with a little flare. Do we think I could serve a shaved iced Filipino dessert at our wedding? Sorry guests, no wedding cake but please enjoy this shaved ice with tapioca, Cap'n Crunch and coconut!

And gosh, there were candles in it which prompted our entire table to sing Happy Birthday, much to the cringing of our table neighbors.

But seriously, dining friends. The screaming children you were alright with and the baby with the giant head behind us throwing pad thai around/at his parents was fine but Happy Birthday is unacceptable? Please re-evaluate and perhaps loosen up, thanks!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who sure know how to make a girl feel special!

In Which I Disappeared for One Week & Turned 25, Too!

I realized that in my last post I never mentioned that I wouldn't be blogging on my staycation last week. Sorry to have abandoned you and thanks to everyone who asked where I was (ya'll are too nice to me)!

Last Saturday June 30th, I turned 25 guys! Geeze that feels old when I see it in writing but NOT as old as Fiance's 27 looks (woof). I'm not really a big fan of birthdays because I feel like there is a lot of pressure for them to be memorable, but I have to say this one was really great!

First of all, I got a delivery at work on the day before my birthday. Which has never happened to me before! Have you guys ever gotten a delivery at work? Flowers would have been pretty cool but let me tell you how cool my twin, Tammy is...she sent me cupcakes. I didn't even know who they were from until I called the number on the box and she answered...boy was I surprised. And geeze was I super popular in the office.

Except with my work friend Amanda because she also got me a cake from Carlo's Bakery! Like the TLC show Cake Boss' Carlo's Bakery! AND I got a tour book on Iceland (which I sorely needed because I am a poor trip planner) and a travel journal " case I can't blog while I'm over there," AND A PACK OF GEL PENS. Ugh, she knows me so well!
(Please note that this was what Amanda and I call a "bad food day" in the office)

On Friday night Fiance, Dilly and I drove to my parents' house in Pennsylvania where birthday festivities continued! But first, I got a birthday delivery from my mother-in-law who is SERIOUSLY the best shipper of gifts in America. That box came from Albany, you guys! And was impeccably wrapped in brown paper which kept the integrity of the bow. I'm constantly in awe AND there was a tote bag inside, so clearly I was thrilled!

On the morning of my birthday, I got a beautiful Bride bathrobe and card from my sister. Like I almost cried beautiful, but it freaks her out when I cry so I didn't. But seriously, Alyssa nice work. Also, I'd like to take this time to say that long engagements are awesome. There is simultaneously ZERO pressure but also you receive wedding themed gifts at miscellaneous times. Love it.

My Aunts came for the day and we opened presents and generally sat around the kitchen table and laughed all day. Which is my total favorite.

Some presents I got are...

Headgear! Running headbands (clearly how they are meant to be worn) and a head light for dark emergencies in Iceland (who wants to tell my Aunts that I will most likely use this is the hotel to scare Fiance?)

Too many dollars (in a card, see photo above) AND Tom's Ballet Flats from my parents (which I can not show you pictures of because UPS may be holding them hostage?).

A backpack for Iceland (which I tried out this weekend and it works!)

Also running shoes AND running socks that I will tell you about this week as I am taking them for a spin tomorrow morning!

Alyssa made us delicious veggie wraps for lunch on special Happy Birthday plates!

And Fiance watched her!

We had a barbeque for dinner! And my Mom made corn on the cob which is basically my most favorite thing ever. Also, turkey burgers because I stopped eating hamburgers (sad, I know). She is the best (or as my sister would say...the bees' knees).

AND Alyssa made me Funfetti cake. Which, I know I keep saying everything is my favorite but seriously Funfetti cake is my favorite, favorite, favorite.

Please ignore the candles on the cake I am neither 16 or 56 whoops!

And then we took our trademark birthday photo! I printed about a million of these at Target the next day because I think it is our best yet! (Please note our newest puppy addition)

Stay tuned for further bloggy installments of more birthday celebrations (mmm, brunch!) and Staycation 2012!