I’m 27 now!

So, a few weeks ago I turned 27, and my 27th year has already been so busy that I’ve haven’t been able to update forever. Regardless, I’m another year older and none the wiser. Or something like that. It was a pretty great birthday. Maybe the best I’ve had since the big 2-1. Since my birthday was a Tuesday, day-of celebrations were pretty tame, but still wonderful. Chris made me breakfast (extra impressive since it was 5:30 in the morning!), and the eat-razaganza continued for the rest of the day.

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My coworkers surprised me with mini cupcakes by setting up a fake meeting which I totally fell for (and actually panicked a bit about since  I wasn’t prepared #typeAproblems). Later, Chris took me out for Thai at the best Thai place in the county. Seriously, this place is legit. It’s in an old-school air-stream trailer, and the food is delicious. The only participant of the day who didn’t cooperate was the weather. It went from 70 and sunny to freezing rain throughout the day. It was pretty gross. Otherwise, I felt super loved and happy. My mom dropped off beautiful tulips (which the frost and my black thumb have already killed) and delicious cupcakes. I was also treated to about 20 cards. I love giving and getting cards, so this was a big deal!!

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27 definitely started with a bang and kept getting better. The following weekend, we went to Atlantic City to spend the night at Harrah’s with Debbie and Mike. Cameron and Rich (who live in South Jersey now!) met us for dinner at El Camino. The food was great, but the drinks were really excellent. I had a strawberry margarita with prosecco in it, and it was a real challenge not to gulp the whole thing down. After dinner, we all hit the casino floor for a little gambling, and everyone came out on top! I couldn’t believe it! I played a few hands of blackjack and doubled my money, and Chris hit a number in roulette! Casinos are definitely more fun when you’re winning.

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We wrapped up the weekend with Saturday morning brunch followed by our church’s Easter Vigil. It started after sundown and lasted longer than 3 hours which sounds awful but was actually beautiful. I can’t really describe it, but the combination of music, readings and celebration were so uplifting. Luckily, our church is in a college town, so when we came out starving after midnight, we were able to grab some great BBQ for dinner.

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The next morning was Easter which we hosted. Chris’ mom, dad, brother and uncle joined us along with my mom and sister. Chris’ mom brought their dog, and the two girls (plus the two cats) got along great! We had the food catered by a local company which was absolutely the right choice. We picked everything up the day before, so all I had to do the day off was re-heat. I got to spend so much more time with everyone than if I had been cooking, and the food was awesome.

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We ended the weekend happy and exhausted which is usually the sign of a great birthday!

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More updates than time

Obviously it’s been fun times in my little corner of the world lately, but I just haven’t had the time to record any of it yet. I hate to be one of those OMGSOBUSY people, but I’ve spent more of the past 72 hrs at work than at home. Yuck.

Otherwise, things are great! Layla is a wonderful fit for our family. She’s mostly a total couch potato, which makes me feel less guilty about not being able to take her on long walks on these cold spring days.

She’s actually not a big fan of being outside at all. She usually does her business and runs quickly back in the house. We are working to get her a little more comfortable outside (because I suspect her reluctance is actually fear from a bad experience), but she’s definitely on the mellow end of the spectrum and is happy just to chill out with us.

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Excuse the crazy eyes.

The cats are mostly adjusted. Miles actually likes her when he’s interested at all. Moshi isn’t so sure, but they do like the things that come with her presence. Like the new bed …

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Spring is here. I guess. It doesn’t feel much better than winter, but the sun is out a little bit later which makes the nights after work seem a little longer. I’ll take it.

We finalized our invitations which for some reason was the most stressful wedding task I’ve had so far. The company we went with was absolutely fabulous, but I was a nervous wreck. I was just so afraid of accidentally putting the wrong date or time or something (as if all those details haven’t been permanently etched in my brain). I’m glad we finally gave the go ahead to print, and I can’t wait to send them out! 113 days to go!

We also picked our wedding bands last week. We both tried on probably 12 rings. We were there for a couple hours. We finally picked a perfect pair. It was great. Then I woke up yesterday morning and immediately knew I made a mistake. I was between two rings, and I picked the wrong one.

Luckily, I haven’t really exhibited too much bridal crazy yet, so Chris and his mom (who works at the jewelry store… I know!) we’re happy to cancel the first order and place the new one. I felt so silly, but this was really the first time a decision hasn’t felt right, so I figured I should go with my gut. Hopefully this isn’t the beginning of a descent into wedding madness.

I would just like to note that it was so cool to see Chris in a wedding band. It’s beginning to feel so real!

I went to the witch doctor finally and got some good news on my stomach. Well, good news in that they figured out what they think is wrong (yeast overgrowth) and can get to work fixing it. I want to write some more about it because it’s so fascinating (maybe only to me), but in short in involves 6 pills (three different herbal supplements) a day and a low yeast diet. So far, I feel pretty much the same, but I’m optimistic for the first time in a very long time.

Conversely, I still have no answers on my hamstring. My primary care physician wants me to do 6-8 weeks of PT, and I’m sure he’s right because PT helped my IT band soooo much, but I just don’t have the time right now. I’m going to try and go at least once a week and hopefully supplement with stretching at home. I’m really starting to miss running pain free. I may have also impulsively signed up for a 10k in May, so I’d really like to run that.

We visited my grandparents in Florida. It was an incredibly quick trip. We flew in on Friday evening after work and home on Sunday night. I’ve been hoarding my vacation time for the wedding, and it was a little rough getting back into things on Monday morning, but I survived. The trip was the perfect relaxing break. The weather was warm and wonderful, and Chris and I even ran 3 pain-free miles on Saturday. Totally worth it.

I booked the trip before we adopted Layla, and I felt horrible leaving her, but she and the pet sitter got along great, and I think it helped her warm up a bit more to new people.

We narrowly avoided another snowstorm today, and I really hope even the threat of snow is behind us, but I know April in NJ better than that. Fingers crossed!

Layla

Big things are happening over here on our funny farm…

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Yesterday we picked up our newest family member, Layla. She is 3 years old, medium sized and sweet as can be. She had a pretty rotten life before she was rescued by the wonderful volunteers at Eleventh Hour Rescue. She’s a little shy and is still adjusting to her new home, but we’ve been waiting years for her, and we’ll wait as long as it takes for her to feel totally comfortable. Yay Layla! Welcome to the brood.

Warm weekend and one year

It is amazing how much the weather can effect your mood. As evidenced by my last post, this winter has put us all in a dark place. Luckily, just as everyone was rapidly approaching their Shining-sequel breaking points, we were treated to a weekend of 55* weather!! It was glorious. I took no pictures because everything is still covered in gross, dirty snow, but it was lovely, trust me.

Chris and I spent a rainy Friday night indoors with Deb and Mike eating pizza and pestering a new pair of cats. It was so fun. Going out is nice, but staying in is nicer these days.

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Saturday we had an appointment with the vet which got off to a rocky start when 15 minutes before our appointment, I realized we were short a cat carrier. After Moshi escaped his carrier 3 times in the car on the drive to the new house, I threw the thing out in a fit of rage convinced it would force me into buying a new one. Only I totally forgot, and Chris had to drive to the closest store and buy the only carrier they stocked, which is, of course, a crappier version of the one we threw out.

The appointment was tough because I feel so guilty stuffing the cats into their carriers. Miles hates it and freaks out and ended up ripping up two toenails which left him with bloody feet. Heartbreaking. The vet was as confused as I was as to why a rescue group would require indoor cats to receive booster shots, but he gave them some anyway, and we all headed home only slightly worse for the wear.

With two very drowsy cats intent on sleeping the day away, we shirked all our responsibilities again and just walked. We meant to run but everyone in Cranford was out enjoying that strange yellow orb in the sky (the likes of which we haven’t seen since November). Between the snow piles and puddles, everyone had to pass single file, and running was out of the question. So we walked. We walked all over the park and into town for some lunch. It was so nice.

We’ve been having some doubts as to whether buying our house was the right choice, and being stuck inside said house certainly does not help, so a day outside in a town which we do truly enjoy was a little boost. We’ve been having some serious conversations about the house. It was scary at first to admit all our doubts to each other, but if feels so good to be back on the same page after spending weeks putting on a brave face for each other. We have some decisions to make, but we’re gonna try and take our time this go around.

Saturday night was more fun times with Steve and Lindsey and so much delicious Mexican food! It was great to just get out and have fun this weekend.

Sunday morning I had Laura’s bridal shower in Pennsylvania. Steph was kind enough to keep my company on the 1.5 hour drive. The shower was beautiful, but a slideshow from days of yore treated me to some pictures (and videos) from Chris Pre-K (pre-Kate that is) days which was pretty hard for me to stomach. Let’s just say that Facebook stalking your beloved’s ex is a very different animal from being treated to a live action depiction of their happiest moments. But I didn’t throw up or cry (until I got home), so we’ll call it a toss.

We finally cashed in my Christmas present to Chris by going to see Bill Burr at NJPAC. It was not what I was expecting (probably I wasn’t in a laughing mood after that morning), but he was good for some laughs, and Chris really enjoyed it.

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We came home exhausted with none of our typical weekend chores completed, but that’s the sign of a great weekend, right?

Today is our “Engagement Anniversary” meaning he asked and I said yes a year ago today! It’s not easy to stomach 26* weather when I’m dreaming of a candlelit dinner on a beautiful Jamaican beach, but there’s nowhere I’d rather be right now. I remember when we picked a wedding date, and I thought 17 months seemed like forever to be engaged, but this last year has flown! It’s been fun and exhausting and wonderful. We’ve challenged ourselves and our relationship and it’s been so difficult and so strengthening. I really feel closer to Chris than ever, and there’s nothing we couldn’t face together. We’ve become more honest, more connected, more independent and yet also more reliant on each other’s love and support. It took some tough talks and big fights to get here, but it was all worth it. I’m so ready to marry the love of my life.

The Lion King

Such a fun weekend that it took me three days to post! The fun actually started on Wednesday with a work from home day for the two of us. Chris got some wonderful work news, so we had a little snowed in celebration.

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Once we were able to leave the house again, the celebrations just continued. We ventured to Edwards, a Jersey City steakhouse, on Thursday. It was so good! The atmosphere was cool and sleek, and the food was pretty great.

Friday night Deb and Mike wanted to keep the party going so we all went out to ATH in Cranford for some excellent local eats.

Saturday Chris and I met up with his parents and brother in the city to see The Lion King on Broadway. Chris’ brother Rob got us all tickets for Christmas, and it was a nice February surprise.

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The play was amazing! The artistry and talent of all the performers was breath taking. We really loved it. After the show, we headed to the UES for dinner at a little Italian wine bar near Rob’s apartment.

On Sunday we decided to keep the eating train rolling, so Chris got to work on his mom’s “Sunday Sauce” while I tried my hand at some homemade bread and pasta. The bread was from a kit, so it was crazy easy. The pasta wasn’t bad at all either. I definitely didn’t roll it out thin enough, so the noodles were kind of huge, but practice makes perfect I guess.

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The sauce was excellent! The marinara touch must run in the family!!

It was a great (and filling) weekend which was a nice break in between massive snow storms and other winter dreariness.

Bowled over

Yuck. Sorry for that title, but really how do you preface bowling?

This weekend was practically perfect save for a lack of sleep. I met up with some girlfriends for drinks on Friday night. The best part (other than the company obviously!) was that I didn’t even have to leave town! One lives in the neighboring town and the other is a native Cranfordian. Considering we met in college, I sorta love that we ended up living just blocks away from each other. Way to be, Union County!

It turns out that wine and 1/3 of a plate of nachos do not make for lasting energy, and my own raging hunger woke me up at 7:30. This is why I will never understand people who can skip meals. After feeding my face, Chris and I headed to Freehold to meet up with a potential florist. We loved all the guys there and are almost positive they’re the ones. We’re visiting another company next weekend just to compare. I never thought I’d be this excited about flowers, but I really am.

We spent the rest of our rainy (but much warmer!) Saturday shopping for some house stuff. Taking down that Christmas tree made everything feel so empty that we decided to bite the bullet and just pick up a few pieces for our dining room. I mean the table and chairs were free, so we felt ok showing the room a little love. I’ve been covering a rug for that room for months, but was really hoping to find a 7×9 for around $100. After scouring the Internet, a million home stores and a thrift store, I realized that was a bit unrealistic and went for the most affordable option I could find.

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cat toy squirrel is old; rug and potted trees are new

I’m already in love.

Back story: Around the end of November, Chris and I jointly came up with 5 date night ideas then individually wrote out 5 more each. We threw them all in a jar and now we take turns picking at random when we have some free time. I’ll admit that I thought this idea would be a little silly or might not gain traction, but it has been SO FUN! We’ve done four so far, and I’ll probably link to all the dates once we’ve exhausted our pile!

Our fourth date was bowling! It was Chris’ idea, and I loved it! We grabbed some delicious burgers beforehand since I had literally dreamt about burgers two nights last week.

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just look at that greasy deliciousness

Our first bowling alley was a total bust as they didn’t open to the public (ie not a private party) until 11:15. Sorry but I’m too old to be starting my night at 11. Luckily, the next option was still pretty close and ended up being a really fun place with lasers! And beer!

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Don’t let those stellar scores fool ya. That was by far the best game I played. I am the world’s most inconsistent bowler. After rolling two strikes at the end if game one, I went out to get 6 (!!) gutter-balls in a row! That’s three straight turns with no pins down. I scored a 33 for the game. I wish I could say I took it in stride, but I don’t like sucking at things, so after failing to break 50 twice, I was sort of over bowling.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a great night and an awesome date idea, but I think next time might involve more beers and less games.

Snow days

Oh man. This really is just the most wonderful time of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of stress rushing around and trying to get everything done in time for the big day. I’m currently writing this on my way to work after a whopping 4.5 hours of sleep. Yeah. Still, I’m having a blast. Here’s what’s been up.

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Snow! We’ve gotten two snow storms already, so I think we’re in for it this winter (although we did have record breaking heat in NJ yesterday (75* in NJ! In December! Kids in shorts! 3 days before Christmas! What are we? Southern California?) so what do I know?). Crazily, I didn’t hate the snow. I may have even called it “beautiful.” That’s astonishing coming from me because I usually cannot stand snow. It’s especially odd considering I had to shovel it for the first time in many years. Maybe it’s the burbs?

Maybe it’s the dates? I tend to turn into a bit of a hermit in the cold weather months, so in an effort to resist going underground until April, Chris and I both brainstormed a mess of date ideas. We came up with some together and thought up the rest on our own. We’ve been picking them at (semi) random, and it’s been a really fun way of avoiding the whole, “What do you want to do? I don’t know. What do you want to do?” thing.

Our first date (hehe) was at this slamming pizza place (Star Tavern) I used to go to as a kid. It was just as great as I remembered.

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Our next date was a walk around town admiring the Christmas lights and snow sculptures with spiked hot cocoa in hand. It ended up being the first of the unseasonably warm days, so it was nice out but there was still lots of snow on the ground to admire.

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This one was my date idea, and I’ll admit I was nervous if it would come together, but we ended up having an absolute blast. Definitely a new tradition.

Speaking of traditions, we attended our third annual Carol Sing at the beautiful Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. I can’t even express how wonderful and awesome (in the truest meanings of those overused (by me) words) it is. It absolutely just fills my heart and soul with the Christmas spirit. Love.

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I also got to celebrate Christmas a little early this week. Chris got me tickets to see the Nutcracker at the State Theater in New Brunswick.

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Gosh are they talented. The dancers, the musicians, everyone! It was such a fun show, and a perfect night. I love experience gifts. As an adult, I feel like I buy most of what I need throughout the year, but I love receiving gifts of things I wouldn’t normally do without someone else suggesting it. So fun.

Oh and side note: the theater was right across the street from our wedding venue. Guess what I learned Saturday… Wedding fever? I have that. Like whoa. It came out of nowhere, but I cannot stop thinking about July 12. SO CLOSE!

So that’s been on the horizon. It’s two days for Christmas, and I’m feeling very merry. Can’t wait for the big man to arrive!

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That’s right. In Cranford, Santa gets a police escort. He’s kinda a big deal.