Tuesday, July 31, 2012

our love story: part one...

"it's a love story baby just say yes..."
I just quoted Taylor Swift.
After over two years of having this blog and sharing the "cliff notes" version of my relationship with DJ, how it came to be, and our "story." I think it's time to give you the whole thirteen year saga from our "meet cute" to our elopement and everything in between!  I know that 95% of the people reading this don't really know how our relationship came to be - including those that know me pretty well. To say that our marriage was a shock to most people, if not all the people in our lives, is an understatement.

So here's how it came to be... what makes this even better? DJ has agreed to give his version of our story as well - that's right, you get the he said along with the she said. We'll be writing our stories separately so sometimes you might get the same story twice. BUT, for the record - when our stories don't match up, MINE is always the accurate one!

Anyways, to quote the lovely Maria [Julie Andrews] from Sound of Music... let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start... [yes, I went there]

the very beginning, aka 1996-1999

he said:
High School (9th -11th grade)

Before we take this 96’ Honda Civic down memory lane and reminisce of Annahita’s early years with the geeky, chubby high school version of myself, I must preface this chapter with three very important facts that will help get this narrative on its way:
  1. Annahita is my soul mate and my best friend.  On the romance scale of 0 to 10, we are a 9, with the Notebook being a 7.  Today, our love for each other is magnificent, however, it wasn’t always like this.  In fact, in high school, I think we would have made Steve Carell and Ricky Lake look romantic.  The truth is I was a dork and Annahita had a funny name. 
  2. The brevity of this chapter is by no means an indication of the lack of early experiences between Hita and I.  It is more of the fact that I simply can’t remember much after I started eating Ramen Noodles (see the college chapter).
  3. Hita and I went to special high school for special people.  Not short buses, just short on social skills.   

Freshman Year
Confused. Pretty much sums up my freshman year.  The conversion from middle school boy to high school, um, man introduced polarizing forces that threw me and my bowl cut in to a tizzy.  I was Gangster’s Paradise on the outside yet Macarena-ing on the inside.  I was awkward, but gaining confidence. And my mind was telling me no, but my body, my body was telling me yes.  Unfortunately, in all of this confusion, I can’t recall the exact moment I met Annahita.  

We did, however, have Gym class together, but I think she was interested in boys with sketchier mustaches than mine.  Here is a picture from freshman year.
Freshman year on the bus. Have no clue where we are going. I am the awkward twit in the sexy, puffy blue Adidas jacket.  And where is Annahita?  She is in the back of the bus with the cool kids rolling dice and drinking booze out of a brown bag.

Sophomore Year
Annahita was finally on my radar. Although she was dating the ‘older’, cooler guys with their driving permits, I began to take note of how beautiful she really was.  We were spending a significant amount of time together after school for drama (yes, we were fabulous) and I started to see the beginnings of what I would later fall head over heals for – Annahita was wonderful and sincere. And her name wasn’t so weird anymore.  

Below is a picture that Annahita took of us as bad ass thespians.
Notice how much of a tool I am.  What am I doing with my hands? The Franken-robot? I suck. As you can see, I was photo bombing back when it wasn’t cool.

Junior Year
I don’t remember much of Junior year, except that this was the year that solidified my friendship with Annahita. In between 10th and 11th grade I lost 30 lbs. and all of sudden girls liked me.  Hita and I were both dating/seeing other people (side note – Hita was still dating older dudes) which made hanging out with each other comfortable and void of weird sexual tension.

Junior year laid an important foundation for Annahita and I.  We were real, we were friends, we were ourselves.  And this is something that hasn’t changed since.

she said:
It was 1996. I had frizzy hair, he was chubby... The rest, as they say was history.

DJ and I met our freshman year of high school. We both chose to forgo our "home" high schools and attend BA [Boyd Anderson] for the International Baccalaureate magnet program [aka, we're both major nerds].

[our freshman year of high school - I'm on the right in the grandpa sweater looking like I'm going to tip over -- DJ isn't in this picture... BUT his first girlfriend/kiss is - and it's not me, haha]

I know we had a plethora of classes together over the years. but honestly, only two stick out in my mind -- one our freshman year [PE] and one our senior year [TOK, but we'll get to that later]. so, we met in Coach Ingram's PE class and really became friends through Danny's best friend Donny [yup, same Donny who was the best man in our wedding]. We all bonded over being chastised by Coach Ingram and omitting the push-up exercise... Oh yeah, DJ taught our teacher what the word omit meant. special.

Our magnet program didn't really have cliques, so DJ and I ran in the same circles throughout the years. We were both in drama club together [yup, super cool] and were both involved in every play that our high school put on in some aspect [tech or acting]. So throughout the years, we became better friends, had more classes together and spent a fair amount of time together outside of school through drama and just hanging out.
[Little Shop of Horrors our sophomore year, DJ and I were both tech for this show, I'm on the right hand side with the awesome bangs]

So remember that chubby boy from PE class in the orange shirt and black shorts? Yeah, somewhere between sophomore and junior year he lost his baby fat and got kinda cute [okay, really cute]... But, I had two pretty serious [serious, hah - you know, "high school serious" aka not really that serious at all in retrospect] boyfriends throughout high school [one freshman and sophomore year, one junior and the beginning of senior year]. Well, neither of them were Danny J -- DJ and I were just friends through it all... he was off trying to date girls from "normal" high schools [aka, not nerdy girls like me].

At the end of our junior year my ex-boyfriend [you know, the one from freshman and sophomore year] convinced DJ to run against me for drama club president, so he did [he lost by the way]. That really has nothing to do with our relationship but I'm proud of the fact that I beat him out for it [I like to think it was by a landslide, hah].

So that was the first three years of high school, the foundation of a great friendship [which would one day turn into a great relationship]. At this point though, we had just been strictly platonic friends... Then, at the beginning of my senior year - my current boyfriend who was a year older headed off to college at MIT [clearly he was an idiot]. So, we did long distance for a bit and it just wasn't working for either of us so we decided to just be friends and I was ready to enjoy my senior year...

senior year aka part two.... 
coming soon [aka next week].

Monday, July 30, 2012

If you really knew DJ...

so, last week I wrote a blog post "If you really knew me..." all about my little quirks, unknown facts and some things that you probably didn't know.

well, I thought I'd share a little more about my better half. DJ [along with Ollie and now, Penny] is frequently posted about here and I thought I'd give you a little more insight into my sweet soulmate...
{can you guess what we were for halloween that year?}

If you really knew DJ, you would know... 
DJ spent six months teaching english in South America [specifically, Peru].

DJ was on the debate team in high school, he's quite the debater - I am not. This makes for fun "disagreements" that usually escalate with me yelling saying "I don't want to debate with you!" FUN. [I hate whoever told him to join the debate team {sorry, back to him, oops}].

DJ does NOT like mayonnaise and he has a slight obsession with mustard [he eats it on EVERYTHING].

DJ wanted to be a marine biologist when he was growing up and he loves dolphins, a lot.

DJ was president of his fraternity [SAE] at the University of Florida, it was during his SAE days that he earned his college nickname "jigga" - special.

DJ enjoyed college so much he stayed for an extra year and a half [5.5 years total], he has a B.S. in Journalism and two minors in Anthropology and Business.

DJ is an extremely talented graphic and web-designer and loves all things design oriented.

DJ moved out to Wyoming after college without a job to be a ski bum. He ended up living in Jackson Hole for a year and spent the last three months out there living out of his truck.

DJ does not believe in deodorant [because of the aluminum], since we've been married I've told him he smells so often that he's caved and he's tried several natural deodorants - yup, I'm married to the stinky kid.

DJ is OBSESSED with reading the news.... it's the last thing he does before he goes to bed and the first thing he does when he wakes up in the morning. He probably spends over 2 hours a day reading the news.

DJ is quite possibly the most liberal person out there - we used to have a huge canvas painting of Obama hanging in our living room.

DJ spent summers when we were in high school in the Berkshires cooking for his uncles catering company; he has excellent knife skills. DJ later moved back to the Berkshires as an adult to open two cafes for the same company he worked for as a teenager.

DJ rarely does anything without listening to music [work, cook, drive, relax, run, etc.] -- always jamming out.

DJ has run numerous 5Ks, 10Ks, one half-marathon and completed a triathlon!

There are few things DJ loves more than beer and hockey - combine the two, he's in heaven.

DJ once ate a live lizard for $5.00. Yes, alcohol was involved. [barf?!]

Lastly, if you really knew DJ you'd know no one ever calls him DJ -- he's Danny to family and friends pre-college, Dan or Jigga to his college friends and Dan to everyone after college - to me, he'll always be my danny j.

that's my special boy.
learn something new
I bet you did.
[I did - he ate a live lizard?! gross]

also, get excited...
DJ & I have finally started writing the story of us 
...and I'll be posting the first installment tomorrow

what are some quirky facts about your significant other?
[don't have one? talk shit about your ex - hah, no seriously]

Saturday, July 28, 2012

moms on call: an update

So, after my blog post earlier this week about Moms on Call and the whole online training not having the 8+week schedule and having to buy the book fiasco [basically, me complaining about having to buy two things because I'm cheap]. I got an email from Laura Hunter one of the founders of Moms on Call who stumbled upon my blog --

From there - we emailed back and forth and I was truly impressed by her genuine care and dedication to what she does!

I felt like a bit of an ass because I realized that the lack of 8 week schedule was not intentional and just an oversight. Also, like I said before - I would buy the book and the online training again without a doubt, because  in the grand scheme of things $55 is well-worth it for the amount of sleep I'm getting and the fact that my baby is well-rested and slept 11 hours last night...

I'll be honest, I was unsure if I was going to buy the 3-12 month online class in two weeks when Penelope turns 3 months. But now - I have no doubt. Even though Laura is sending me book 2 for free I'm still going to buy the online class... Not only because I think I'll get valuable information but because I want to support a company who truly cares about their customers.

Moms on Call also sent me [for FREE] their updated books (two of them!), a PDF of their second book, and a swaddling blanket -- so nice!

Also, on a completely UNRELATED note - I've started swaddling Penny loosely without her arms wrapped in and this is how I find her almost every time I check on her....
I know, I know...
so freaking cute.

I was not compensated for this post by Moms on Call - just truly impressed and wanted to share.

Friday, July 27, 2012

bulldog baby... the next chapter!

that's right...
the dynamic duo are back again.
just when you thought they couldn't get any cuter...

I know, I know... 
my babies are adorable!
[...and you're super jealous of the mint green leather sofa we're sitting on...faaaancy]

check out more baby-bulldog-love posts!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

If you really knew me...

I've seen a handful of these posts on various blogs I follow [Stephanie, Megan, Anna and Kristen most recently] and I've loved reading them so I thought I'd share some random bits of me -- 
If you really knew me, you'd know...

I'm left-handed and smudge everything when I write, I'm allergic to cinnamon, and I don't just have one baby - I have two. I truly do consider Oliver my baby. I love him, don't judge.

I don't wash my hair everyday... usually two or three days pass between washings -- let's be real, four days happens quite often too.

I was born in Qatar and raised in Cyprus - I had a British accent until I was eight.  I hate when people ask me "what are you?" my response is usually "excuse me? I don't understand." If people ask me where I'm from, I usually respond Florida.  For the record - if you want to know my ethnicity - I'm half Iranian, a quarter Norwegian and a quarter Irish.

I'm an introvert and I get really uncomfortable in social situations where I don't know people well. I'm really shy, which sometimes comes off as indifferent or bitchy. But yes, sometimes I'm just bitchy.

I read ridiculously fast and I love logic puzzles.  I still balance my checkbook (pretty much daily), like with a ledger and pen -- old school, I know. 

One of the first things I do when I get home for the day is change into sweatpants -- if I don't have anywhere to go that day, I'm likely not changing out of sweatpants the next morning.

I'm 29 and I still consider my sorority a huge part of my life and joining ZTA one of the best decisions I ever made. It lead me to some of my best friends, my passion and ultimately in a round-about-way my career.

I did not want to have kids until around four years ago -- I made my mother cry when I was in high school because I told her she was never going to be a grandma. [I know, total bitch move]

Losing my father was the most difficult thing I've ever been through - I still have days where I would do anything to talk to him. I don't think I will ever fully get over his death.

I had braces when I was a kid but didn't wear my retainer - so my bottom teeth are all sorts of crooked and I'm super self-conscious about it.

I slept with a stuffed bunny until I got married.  I like being the big spoon [hence I swapped out the bunny for a husband].

I love my husband like no other but we bicker a LOT, we're honestly probably really annoying to be around. We squabble daily, but I truly think we have one of the strongest marriages I've ever encountered.

I am not religious - I consider myself agnostic. My father was Episcopalian, my mother is Muslim and I'm married to a Jew.

I am a crybaby. Like - super, super crybaby.

that's me.
what's something I'd only know about you if I really knew you?
those that really know me - what did I leave off?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

what I'm loving wednesday...

happy wednesday. I'm excited to get out of the house for a bit today - we're heading to buy buy baby to buy Penelope's stroller, hooray! this week has been quite relaxing and I'm excited for a low-key weekend too... though with a 2 month old pretty much all our weekends have been low-key lately, hah. so, here are all the fun things I've been loving this week...

I'm loving... that we've been juicing again.

I'm loving... that we got to see two of our sweet friends over the past two weeks! Hooray for Penny meeting Aunt Lindi and Uncle Brian! (and for us getting to spend time with them)

I'm loving... that Emily picked Jef! It's sad how invested I am in reality TV.

I'm loving... that I had my first bellini in almost a year this past weekend. I LOVE me some bellinis, yum.

I'm loving... that we're spending Friday night with DJ's younger brother Mat and our sister-in-law Summer celebrating Summer's birthday (and of course our adorable nephews)!

I'm loving... that DJ and I are writing "the story of us" to share on the blog and to share with Penny one day. I'm posting the first chapter next week, get excited! :)

I'm loving... my smiley baby girl.

I'm loving... my cuddlebugs [wasn't he a cute little smushedface pup?!]

...and as always, I'm loving my amazing husband... who as it ends up is the world's best daddy too.

happy wednesday!
what are you loving on this sunny summer wednesday?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

me & my fan.

I had a moment the other day... 
...with a fan.

no. not this kind of fan...
...though I am a belieber.

this kind of fan...

see. I had just worked out [aka huffed and puffed for a mile on the treadmill and then started feeling sorry for myself for how out of shape I was] and came downstairs to take a shower. I gave Penny to DJ and they headed upstairs to have some coffee [just DJ, don't worry, hah]. so I decided to take advantage of a little "me time" and I laid on the floor in Penny's nursery to do some crunches.

I laid down.
and just started watching the fan.
I kinda got lost in it.
I don't know what it was about watching the lights and blades that put me in a daze of sorts.
so there I am,
laying on the floor of my daughters bedroom [crib-room?]... 

I think I was emotional because I was reading about the shooting in Aurora [or maybe I'm just emotional, hah - yeah that's probably it]. I started crying at first because I was just sad that we live in a world that something like that can be a reality... then honestly, I started having a pity party - there are a few things that aren't quite going as planned/our way currently...blech. not fun.

then. I kinda snapped out if and was crying out of disbelief for lack of a better word -- I had a get over yourself moment and was crying because for all the things that aren't going right - there are so many more important things that ARE going right and I'm pretty freaking lucky... I get to spend the rest of my life with my soulmate [as freaking annoying as he is sometimes, I love him and I'll keep him] and then I can't even get started on Penelope. She's this perfect little ball of joy -- I get lost just looking at her. the love and bond that I feel for her transcends anything I have ever felt [met only by the love I feel for her daddy]. DJ and I created her -- she is us. that still just gets me at the core.  I could write for pages on the love I feel for our sweet p but I'll just say this - I realize how lucky I am that we have a healthy baby, a sweet, happy, giggly beautiful little girl and she makes my heart melt. we have a roof over our heads [granted, still in the basement - but hey, it could be so much worse], we have health insurance, we have love, we have a sweet smelly bulldog [who needs a bath], we do not go hungry, we have nice things.  

I'll be honest, sometimes I get so lost in what isn't right or what we don't have that I just need moments like this to snap me out of it and just come back to earth and realize that yes, while my life isn't perfect it still is pretty fucking great. 

almost always [seriously ALWAYS] when DJ and I fight he brings up the "p" word... perspective.  it's like the DJ version of the following hashtag/twitter phrase #firstworldproblems in my face [it's so annoying, especially because he's usually right, ugh - hate it]. I suppose this time, I gave myself a little perspective and it was just what I needed.

...and then Oliver came and drooled on my face and I snapped out of it and did some crunches... and by some crunches I did 25 and was over it and took a shower.
nothing like bulldog drool to bring you back to reality.

so yeah.
what a rollercoaster.
high highs, low lows.
I just plan to keep on keepin' on and enjoy the ride.
have you had a good cry lately?

Monday, July 23, 2012

moms on call... a rave & rant.

remember that time my baby started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks?
I do.
It's amazing and glorious.
Penny is currently sleeping 10-11 hour stretches at night [!?!?]
hell to the yes.

I would like to credit my amaaaaazing parenting skills...
 but really I think it's [a small] part routine (moms on call)* 
....and [a big] part dumb luck (I'll take it)**

so let's start at the beginning - melissa mentioned moms on call on her blog back when her daughter Blaire was itty-bitty and I took note (basically, melissa is really smart and I want to be just like her). we emailed about it a bit and when Penny was two weeks old I bought moms on call's 0-3 month online training class and was VERY happy with the information, routine and the results I had gotten. We currently follow the daytime schedule loosely and the nighttime/bedtime routine pretty precisely. Penny was sleeping 3-4 hour stretches from 2-6 weeks and from 6 weeks on (minus a few off nights) she's slept through the night (just in time for me to start working from home - what a sweet girl, so good to her momma).

so, I've been singing moms on call's praises all over the interweb (twitter, blog, etc) and it seems some other moms are having great success from it too! which makes me happy. I wholeheartedly recommend it if you like sleep - if you have specific questions about the system/our take on it feel free to ask. clearly, it's probably not for everyone - but it works great for us!

now, I'm not going to lie - I was a little annoyed with moms on call a week or so ago -- so Penny turned 8 weeks... so I turned to my 0-3 months online training course and... wait?! what?? the 8+ week routine/example schedule is not included?! now, I know this is a business but I was frustrated. It should have been called 0-2 month online training - so I had to spend another $25 for a book (which has pretty much all the same information I already got from the online training sans 4 pages of schedules that I actually needed/wanted.....). I guess I just figured the same information would be offered in the book and in the online training - just in different ways for peoples different styles of learning, etc. but I'm disappointed to find out there are things in the video NOT in the book and things in the book NOT in the video. ugh.

I know... 
I'm being a baby 
(and cheap)
...but I just feel like I got one pulled over on me. 

now, could I have figured it out/done my own thing... yes. but let's be real - I'm a control freak. I like routine, systems and checklists (which moms on call provides me). I like having a framework to go  off of. I guess, the way I look at it is for the next baby I have the book to reference and I won't need to buy the online training course again so it really isn't money lost. oh well.

one last thing --
as cheap as I am...
I can't lie
it's SO worth it.
girlfriend is sleeping great!
and mommy?
mommy LOVES her sleep too!

now the question is -- do I buy the 6-12 month book or the 3-12 month online training session - I really do NOT want to buy both of them. I know, I'm being a baby (and cheap) and a little bitter. Judge away.

has anyone else used moms on call?
if so, where do you think I should go from here?
do you recommend doing the online training course or getting the book?
...or neither?

and of course, what you've all been waiting for -- pictures of our sweet sleeping babe...

*I was not compensated by moms on call for this blog post - just sharing my opinion -- though I wouldn't turn down a free book. seriously. hook a complainer up.
**I know, I know -- she will likely regress and she will have bad nights and in a few months she could go back to getting up once or twice a night - don't pee on my parade. I'm happy and my baby is sleeping and I'll take it!

Friday, July 20, 2012

nail files fun: pink, pink, pink!

hey all. 
in honor of penelope's love for pink [or her momma's love for dressing her in pink] I have some uber-triple-pink nails this week... AND I'm linking up with Tara for the nail files... heck yes.

the inspiration...

the nails...

the polish(es):
from l-r: OPI-Suzi Sells Sushi by the Seashore * OPI: PRINCESSES RULE! * essie luxe effects: a cut above [from my birchbox a few months back!] one coat of the two OPIs on all nails and one coat of essie on my ring fingers!

so there you have it! 
and because you can never have too many pictures of sweet baby girls (especailly when they're extra smiley on friday mornings)....

wishes for a wonderful weekend from ms. penny and me!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

what I'm loving wednesday...

happy wednesday! this week is just flying by -- I think because I had "stuff" to do the past two days (lunch date Monday, PJ's doctors appointment Tuesday) but now it's just relaxing and working for the next few days before our friend Brian comes to visit this weekend! Yes, that's right - fun visitors two weekends in a row! Anyways, here's what I'm loving this week...

I'm loving... Penny's new glasses. I mean - can it get any cuter?! [yup. she's wearing pink, pink and more pink!]

I'm loving... that I went shopping on Monday and got some new tops! I got some "boob bar" friendly tops aka larger shirts that are a little looser [so I can wear them over a nursing tank top and just pull it up to nurse/pump] -- clearly Ollie loved my new clothes too because he jumped up on the bed [?!?!... we didn't know he could do this...] and laid on them - DJ walked in our bedroom and found him like this... silly dog.

I'm loving... this ruffle-trim top [I bought the blue and red polka-dot ones] so cute!

I'm loving... the sales at Banana Republic this week - I got five tops for $60 [including this adorable and soft/comfy one] -- can't beat that!

I'm loving... these Pierre Dumas Lorna sandals [and for $19.99 I think I need them... DJ, thoughts?? ha. seriously.]

I'm loving... that Brian [aka my little brother] is coming to visit us this weekend and finally meet Ms. Penny! Here's Brian [in the middle] doing a reading at our wedding... 

I'm loving... Mott's Fruitsations 100% Juice Ice Bars -- 40 calories each and they are AMAZING! They were sampling these at Costco last week and after trying them they were immediately placed in our cart.  I've been having one [or two] a night as a guilt-free snack. LOVE.
...and as always, I'm loving my sweet, sweet Penelope...

...my adorable and loving [and kissable] husband...

...and sweet, sweet pup...
happy wednesday friends!
what are YOU loving?

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