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a year in recap

Talk about abandonment! It’s been just over one year since I’ve sat down, cozied up and shared on this little space. There are many reasons for not writing, but none of them are valid enough to break my intention of writing a blog. When I first started, I used this as a place to update family and friends on major (& not so major) life events but really, when the tough events started popping up, I backed away and closed up shop. As mentioned in one of my last posts, there is always so much to say, its just been a struggle to understand the “whys” and the “hows” of current happenings in an articulate manner. This space just didn’t feel like the right venue to hash out said events for my family.

2013-12-08 16.09.16While we are still hashing, there are many good (& some not so good) updates to share. So, in a nutshell — Evelyn turned last December – her birthday present was us announcing her sister (she’ll understand and thank us for that present later, right?)! In February we had caving ceilings so we moved in with my mother in law, repaired ceilings, renovated our bathroom (still in progress:: yes, 8 months later..pictures to come!), and celebrated the lives of two very important people in our lives: Sam’s grandmother MomMom and my grandfather, Jerry. Both celebrations of life were tough and beautiful.

Pregnant in Costa Rica

In April, Sam and I took a honeymoon to Costa Rica. It was beautiful! Being five months pregnant put a damper on some of our planned adventure activities and the all inclusive benefits (just for me) but the time away to reconnect was wonderful.

And to the biggest & BEST event of the past year: we welcomed our beautiful, healthy baby girl, Eleanor ‘Nora’ Dianne Weinstock to the world on July 30th.

Nora Dianne

Evelyn adjusted so well immediately to being a big sister. When she wakes up in the morning, she says, “Daddy? Wyatt? Baby?” meaning these are the first cuties I want to lay eyes on each beautiful morning. She gives Nora kisses, asks to hold her and bossily tells me where to place her when either she wants to push Nora in the swing or wants Mom to grab a snack from the kitchen. Luckily, Nora is such an easy baby, I have not felt as though Evelyn has been neglected due to feedings or the baby’s needs at all. It’s been a really healthy mix of attention to both girls, and if anything, I’ve felt guilty for not getting to sit and stare at Nora for endless hours as I did with Evy. My 100 pictures of Nora each day would counter my guilt. SO thankful for my beautiful smiling baby who sleeps 8-10 hours each night and my helpful, curious and brilliant toddler who keeps life exciting 🙂 I’m one lucky mama.

As for Papa Weinstock, he’s still doing well. He’s adjusted to life in Maryland. He loves where he lives and he even has time to partake in his passion of photography through teaching a small class. He’s recently been shown an incredible amount of support from previous co-workers and friends which has been such a blessing to our family. We are so very grateful for the support.

To wrap up a year in updates, there is one more final significant life event in the works: I’m re-entering the recreation field aka my passion. This change, while seemingly “just a career change”, is much more than that. Working a job in which you make a difference in people’s lives (even through the simplest thing of bringing a concert to their neighborhood) is something I’ve been missing for almost two years. It was a major void in my life and I didn’t realize how unhappy & settled I’d become. Since accepting this new job, I have my enthusiasm back and I am excited to start in just over a week. There will be updates on all of the above mentioned over the next months!

With that, it’s good to be back 🙂

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honey,.. there’s a stranger in our car

Last weekend, Sam and I had a little get away to one of my best friend’s wedding in Minnesota.  It was absolutely wonderful (more about that later).  Needless to say, coming down off a high from the weekend, while struggling to get back into the weekday grove left me in a bit of a fog.  Monday’s are my roll out of bed, shimmy to the car, autopilot all the way to work, wake up to coffee.  Tuesday’s however, I wake up early to shower, make a bottle, wake up miss e, change, dress, feed her – all before 6 (if I’m on time).  This Tuesday was different though, this Tuesday, I woke up much before my desired cup of coffee.

I was running on time, having completed my list of to-do’s all by 6 a.m.  With Evy in my arms, bags strung over my shoulder, and keys in my hand – I opened my front door about to load up and head out only to notice that my car’s dome light was on and there was a stranger sitting in my passenger seat, looking through my assortment of cds.  My first reaction was, ‘hm,.. I didn’t know anyone else had the same car as us on our block’… then shifted to,’ is that my car?’ … then the next move was, ‘let’s find out by locking my car’.  Sure enough, with the hit of the lock button, I locked the intruder into my car.  I think both he and I were in disbelief as he stared at me and I at him.  He locked in my car, Evelyn and I standing in the front door of my home.  Realizing safety in numbers, I finally alerted my sleeping husband: “honey,… there’s a stranger in our car!”  In my distracted efforts to wake him up, the stranger found the unlock button and ran out of my car.

Either I had startled him moments after his entry, or he’s not into our Rockabye Baby cd’s because he left the scene empty handed & our car in perfect condition.  Even so, I felt the obligatory, “I’ve already called the cops…” threat as he ran down the street was necessary.  The cops came, neighbors were alerted & our house is now a fortress of security.  Really though, we probably forgot to lock our car door as we carried groceries in the night before.  Not to say that anyone entering a vehicle (not their own) is permitted, but we welcomed the chances in our forgetfulness, rush & fog from the weekend’s prior activities.

Our beloved car

Evelyn was perfect through the entire morning ordeal.  For all I know she was probably waving to the man while I was holding her in my arms (that’s her new favorite thing).  It’s a bit funny to reflect as you can never predict how you’ll truly react in a situation such as this.  Never did I think I’d just stare at him, continually hitting the lock button to keep him in my car.  Or, never did I think I’d actually go outside and yell after him as he fled the scene.  And never did I think I’d be laughing about this just two days later.

Lesson learned here, folks – lock your car doors & if you can – buy a house with a garage!

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over laundry, really?

Those of you who have been following along, know that we had many considerations in choosing a neighborhood during our house hunt. We wanted to live in a great school district, in the county, in a safe neighborhood with promise of rising property values, near family. We found the perfect first home with all of those key, desired characteristics.
No more than 2 months living in our home, a community-shaking murder took place just three streets away from our new address. As I left for work one Wednesday morning, our neighborhood was swarmed with police and news cameras. Turns out that at 5:30 in the morning, a man was chased down and shot while he was driving his car, causing him to hit numerous cars on his street, flip his car and be found dead at the scene. This event was tragic.
During the week it took the police to solve the crime, there were many speculations, harsh accusations and disappointing actions/reactions that took place throughout our cozy community. It was identified that the man who was shot and killed was a resident in our neighborhood. He rented his home (this is the first WHO CARES). It was speculated that his rental was section 8 (this is the second WHO CARES). He and his family are African American (this is the third and largest WHO CARES). Other speculations played over the week such as: this was a drug deal gone bad, this was gang related, etc. These speculations were made based solely on the above three WHO CARES facts.
Turns out, the murderer was a friend of the victims’ girlfriends’ daughter. The murderer had stopped by their residence to drop off laundry for his friend to do for him. When the victim denied laundry service, he was chased down and shot. REALLY? OVER DIRTY SOCKS?
All I have to say is that I hope every single person of our community who speculated the reasons or circumstances of this tragic incident as a gang or drug related crime is ashamed. I also hope that every single person of our community who stated their opposition for allowing renters or section 8 properties into our community due to this isolated incident over dirty laundry feels horrible. Where was the compassion to one of our neighbors who lost their loved one? Regardless of the reason, where was the compassion? Drug related, gang related, dirty laundry related, it doesn’t matter… violence is never the answer and when tragedy strikes a community, we rally together not fall apart. His family needed our love, support and acceptance – not our accusations, speculations and shunning.
Our thoughts, love and prayers are with the victim’s family for his unfortunate, tragic death. Hopefully compassion will form out of ignorance and patience will come before blind assumptions in all future happenings.

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a perfect evening

Honestly, last night was my kind of perfect night.

Traffic was non existent on my drive home, the weather was perfect for sun roof open and windows down, the radio was cranked and the sun was shining.

I enter a cool home to a welcoming husband and a smiling baby.

I get to feed my baby, play with her, make her laugh and then all eat dinner together (eggplant parm- made by my husband).

Sam mows the lawn while Evy and I go for a run/walk.

afternoon jog in the bob

Evy falls asleep and I enjoy the scenery while finding a box of FREE books – what what?

sleepy evy

When we get home, I feed Evy a bottle while Sam sings/reads her a bedtime book which she LOVED (& so did I).

We put her down and then head to our patio where the sun is just about to set and enjoy a glass of white wine and plan our weekend (on a tuesday – heck yes to my ocd with planning).

patio wine

We decide a date night is essential. Yes, that’s right – essential so we check in with Neena (Sam’s mom) to make sure she can watch our little one, and then purchase tickets to PENTATONIX (the past showchoir/ “gleek” in me is insanely giddy) for this upcoming Sunday, then curl on the couch and watch a few of their a cappella videos on their youtube channel.

All that and can get into bed by 10 p.m.

Perfection.

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‘lil e’s room

evy's name

Since our close date of May 9th – we’ve been busy busy piecing together each room.  We are far from finished but focused on Evy’s room due to the fact that when she naps, we work on the rest of the house so having her room done and checked off the list first, seemed to make the most sense.  I have to admit, while I love it – I wish I would’ve slowed myself down a bit and incorporated the stripes from her room in Portland.

Regardless, her room has a calming feel which is great for the early mornings snuggling her.  My camera = my phone, hence the quality.  Her wall color is Benjamin Moore, Soft Iris.

window wallHer room gets the perfect amount of natural light during the day and luckily, there’s a window directly on the other side of the house from hers so the cross breeze during the day is nice.  We’re debating putting up a shade as well so that she’ll hopefully sleep a bit longer without being interrupted by sunrise but for now, we’re enjoying the natural light.  The light fixture that currently exists gives off a very yellow light so we rely on the natural light with the little lamp on the table. It makes for a cozy, natural, calming atmosphere.

While the space is small, it fits together fairly well.  When we’re ready to upgrade her to a big girl bed, taking out the chairchanging table and the changing table will give her more space.  On the wall, the canvas reads a quote from one of my favorite childhood books, I’ll love you forever by Robert Munsch so it reads, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.”

We’re pleased with the look and feel of miss e’s room.  We hope she enjoys it once she’s old enough to have a little bit of style all her own.  For now, all she cares about is the music flowing, the breeze, bright colors of her moving mobile and something she can put in her mouth and she’s a happy baby.

chairMore pictures of the rest of the house to come soon.  It’s sloooowwwwllyyy coming together.

For info on any of the room décor, feel free to shoot me a message.  Happy to replicate any of the décor pieces for your child’s room as well!

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Welcome home

WE’RE OFFICIALLY HOMEOWNERS! What a process buying a house is – my goodness! I have to admit that I’m really surprised at how quickly everything happened from us – deciding to buy a home – to actually owning a home.  The middle work (garbage) though, I could do without.  The aforementioned was why I couldn’t bring myself to write a post about our happenings as I didn’t want to scare any potential home buyers from our experience.

As most people who know me can attest, when I know what I want, my patience in waiting for it is fairly limited.  We placed our offer on a Friday afternoon and waited over the longest weekend of my life for it to be accepted (after a day of negotiations) on Sunday evening (April 7th).  Then came the home inspection – YIKES.  The inspector was snapping photos and documenting things left and right.  The house needed new plumbing, 4 slate shingles to be replaced, a caving ceiling to be secured, new sump pump, and many other tasks, including the removal of a dead squirrel from the attic.  I left the house thinking there was no way we’d end up here.  Our contract stipulated that we allow them to fix any issues we request and if they refuse, we can walk away.  We requested a laundry list of both big and small items.  After waiting their given 5 days, they came back saying that they would fix EVERYTHING!

With that, it all became so real, although I refused to believe it until we got to settlement.  When the last paper was signed and handshakes went around the table, I felt extremely grown up (..as well as terrified, thrilled, excited, depressed, giddy, anxious, etc).  We’re now officially homeowners, officially Maryland residents and officially starting to build our

family and the environment we’ll raise it within.

house

The next days/months/years will be spent with (a bajillion) projects around the house.

In the 3.5 short days that we’ve had access to our home, we’ve painted the three bedrooms, have them all unpacked and  even managed to get an electrician in to change a light fixture and some dated outlets.  The rest of the house is a disaster but at least we can put Evelyn down for her naps in her own room while we work.  Once the boxes are all out of sight, there will be plenty of pictures posted.

We’re excited to share the slow progress that will be making this house our home.  After 3 months of living out of a suitcase, it’s finally a relief to be able to say, “Welcome Home.”

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Charm City

Leaving Portland was especially difficult for me.  While Sam may have wished for a larger downtown, there were many hidden treasures that made Portland unlike any other city I’ve enjoyed.  As we settle into our recent move, we set out to discover some of Baltimore’s hidden and not so hidden gems.  Note: all of the findings at this point are the obvious-tourist-destinations but after last week’s quest, it’s safe to say, here’s the start to a love affair with our new city.

We spent last weekend exploring Fells Point.  Fells Point is a historic area laced with cobblestone roads, brick faced buildings and narrow streets all set along the harbor.  It’s beautiful.  We enjoyed the architecture while we made a list of restaurants we will eventually try (post house purchase).  I can’t tell you how excited I am to “Eat Bertha’s Mussels” as soon as the weather heats up!

Bertha           Cobbelstone Road     pretty building         Harbor           Homicide Building Door        natty boh

Anyone recognize that door (building) from a popular tv show??  We had a great time exploring little baby boutiques, home decor shops and smelling the delicious seafood dishes of all the local restaurants.  I have yet to try the local brew, Natty Boh so that may have to be on the list for this weekend (aka my b-day weekend!).

If anyone has any recommendations for cafes, shops, places to check out that are not so obvious, please send them our way!  We can’t wait to explore more and find our go-to’s.

So from Rose City to Charm City, I think we’ll like it here.