Friday, February 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes about Mom Fashion and New Clothes

From early in 2009 until the middle of 2013, I was continually pregnant or breastfeeding.  That's over 4 years of sharing my body with babies!  During that time I bought very few clothes because my body was constantly changing shapes and sizes.  In that entire four years, I bought a week's worth of maternity clothes, a couple nursing tops, a few dresses for weddings and baptisms, and maybe a couple sweaters and jeans.  Not much at all.  So now that I have emerged (not the same shape as I started), I have nothing to wear!  I fell into this trap of just wearing tee-shirts and long sleeved tee-shirts that I had acquired through high school and college.  I finally realized that this was taking a toll on my confidence.  I needed some clothes worth of a 31 year old!

On Saturday morning I was stressing about what I would wear for a swing dance we were going to that evening.  John told me that I should go shopping.  Instead of turning down the offer like I usually do, I accepted.  I headed to my favorite shop, Ann Taylor Loft and went straight for the clearance and final sale items.  Let's look at some quick takes of my finds!

1.  So first things first, I needed an outfit for that evenings festivities.  I was looking for a dress, but ended up with a pair of coral skinny jeans ($15) and a navy lace top ($5).

Ignore all the kid smudges on my mirror!
And I paired the new outfit with some brown suede heals that I used to wear to work (back when I was really young and could wear heals all day!)

2.  Next up, I needed some basic fitted shirts that I could wear instead of my tees.  I found four, three of which were $7 each and one for $9.  

Black, Royal Blue, White, and Cream

3.  A few of my facebook friends had recently shared a blog post about dressing for the stay-at-home mom.  The post encourages SAHM's to use the "rule of 3" to look more pulled together.  I.e. you want to be wearing at least three things - shirt, pants and something else, like a chunky necklace, vest or scarf.  I don't do jewelry and I'd already been pairing vests with my tee-shirts without success, so I needed some scarfs!  A friend of a friend sells homemade stuff on instagram, so I ordered this infinity scarf ($10) from her.

New scarf with new shirt!

It also goes well with purple!

4.  And the last thing I looked at before leaving Loft was the scarfs.  I found this beauty for only $5!

New scarf, new shirt, new pants!

Works with black, too!
5.  Upon returning home I also dug out a pretty pink scarf that I have had for a while!

6.  I may have $65 less now, but a whole lot more confidence :-)   I still need to get a pair of well fitting jeans, so I'll probably head back to Loft in March with the $25 off of $50 coupon that they gave me at checkout!

7.  Oh, and I got one more fun addition that hasn't arrived yet... a flannel infinity scarf from an Etsy shop I discovered on Instagram, Eclectic Joy!

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Finn's Birth Story

As part of the 7 Posts in 7 Days Challenge, I'm writing up the birth stories for each of my kids.  You can read Blaise's here.  It's worth reading that one before this one so things make more sense.  My birth stories aren't really the "feel good" kind, but they are my reality and I think it's helpful for me at least to write them down.

Given the struggle with my last delivery, my OB and I were a bit more cautious this time around.  I had the nurse at the school where I was teaching take my blood pressure every day from about week 28 onward.  It was never high there, but almost always high at the doctors, probably due to my anxiety from last time!

Similar to my first pregnancy, I had no problems and not even a fake (or real) contraction the whole time.  In the evenings, John would often like to press his head into my belly and listen to the baby's heartbeat.  (John has really good hearing, so if you try this at home don't stress if you don't hear anything!)  Sometime after the start of week 40, John started to notice that Finn's heartbeat was often quite high.  We were a bit concerned, but typically after listening for 5 minutes or so it would slow.

At my 41 week appointment on June 1, I was scheduled for a sonagram to check the baby's development given that I was so far along.  During the sonagram, his heartbeat was in the 200's.  This concerned the tech slightly, so when it was finished, I was hooked up to a machine to continuously monitor Finn's heartbeat.

When my OB came into see me, we immediately began to discuss our induction plans, which would be scheduled on June 3 (41.5 weeks).  Given my challenging induction with Blaise, she said that a scheduled c-section would certainly be a good option to consider.  She thought that if I went into labor on my own, or if Finn was not sunny side up like Blaise that things could be different, but there was no guarantee.  It could just be that my pelvic bone is on the smallish side.

Before we could even finish the discussion and make a decision, Finn made it for us.  His heart rate had been over 200 for the entire 30 minutes I was being monitored and it was continuing to climb.  My OB pulled out her cell phone and made a call to the hospital to prep an OR for us immediately.  She said they would try to wait for John to arrive, but he needed to get there ASAP.

We were all assuming an induction on the 3rd, so my parents were only halfway to Kansas at the time.  Our plan for Blaise was that he would go to a friend's house, but they lived 15 minutes away, in the opposite direction of the hospital.  So he walked Blaise to a neighbor's house and asked if Blaise could stay there until my parents arrived, probably around midnight.  These were neighbors who we had only known a short time, but who also had a little girl around Blaise's age.  They were very gracious and happily agreed to watch Blaise.  John made it to the hospital in time to see me for just a few minutes before I was taken into the OR.  He got dressed in scrubs and was able to be with me for the surgery.

Everyone in the OR was quiet and worked quickly.  My OB and another doctor did the surgery together.  They had Finn out and whisked him away quickly, but there was no need for concern - he was perfectly healthy!  They never were able to determine a reason for the high heartbeat.  From the time I walked into the office for the sonagram to Finn's birth was a very short and whirlwind 2 hours!

While sewing me up, I started to freak out.  I just kept repeating how I wanted to go home.  So they pushed some more drugs and knocked me out completely!  I woke up an hour or so later in the recovery room.  Surprisingly, the recovery from c-section was far easier than my first delivery and I went home from the hospital the next day.

Enjoy some pictures from Finn's first day and I'll be back with Lucy's story on Saturday!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WWRW: How to Talk and Siblings Without Rivalry

When I was reading the Happiness Project, one of the books Gretchen Rubin referenced was
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk.  She tried some of the techniques and found that they did indeed help to diffuse situations in her house.  With three fussy, whiny toddlers in my house, I could use a new method of communicating, so I requested the book from the library!  I also saw that the same authors (Faber and Mazlish) had a book called Siblings Without Rivary, so I requested that as well.


I had recently read (and loved) Grace Based Parenting, so I was hoping that these books would fit in with his philosophy, and they did.  Grace Based Parenting gives the big picture for what successful parenting looks like in God's eyes, while Faber and Mazlish's books give you the step by step methods for dealing with countless situations that occur in our daily lives.

I love how detail oriented these books were.  They give you the exact words to say to your child(ren).  The underlying principle of their methods is that children will behave best if we acknowledge, rather than dismiss their feelings and treat them with respect.  While that seems like a simple idea, it can be difficult to put in to practice, which is why I loved the detail in the books of showing how conversations might progress.  They use written dialogues and cartoons to illustrate the concepts.

I'm still learning to put all the methods into practice, but the picture above is from the book and shows one of the skills that I mastered very quickly because it was so helpful with my kids - "Give a child his wishes in fantasy".  I just love how simple and practical these books are, and how they are working for my kids!  I recommend highly!  I never buy books, but will be buying my own copies of each of these.  

Amazon has a lengthy preview of the book (by clicking the "look inside") which will give you a much better feel for the books than I can explain here.

And it's been funny, the underlying concept of respectful speech is actually helping my husband and I communicate with one another better :-)  

Be sure to check out more great books @  Housewifespice!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blaise's Birth Story

I've always enjoyed reading women's birth stories, but have never attempted to write up my own.  I think my hesitancy in writing them is because of my disappointment in my birth experiences.  I know, I have three beautiful and healthy children, and for that I am extremely grateful.  Yet there is still a part of me, even four years after Blaise's birth, that morns for the natural birth experience I never had.  But in keeping with the spirit of the 7 Posts in 7 Days Challenge, it's time to get these stories written!

I always imagined that I would have a completely natural birth.  We'd labor as long as possible at home and then check into the hospital and use one of the jacuzzi suites for the remainder of the labor.  When it came time to push, I wanted to do so in a squatting position.  I was not to be offered medication under any circumstances.  We had a simple and well written birth plan and I'd filled out all the forms stating our preferences for the hospital staff.  I knew many people who raved about the benefits of natural child birth and being very medicine-adverse myself, knew this was the best approach for me.

I had no reason to doubt that my plan would work.  My mother had been able to birth me naturally even though I was breech!  Some of my friends and family had delivered enormous babies naturally.  My pregnancy had been completely uneventful.  I was certain that this was a mind over body feat that I could master.  I had even told my friends that I was going to deliver him on January 29th.  I may have been a bit over-confident in my mind's ability!

At my 39 week appointment on January 22nd, my blood pressure was high.  This prompted my OB to do an ultrasound.  The ultrasound showed that all was normal, but my fluid levels were at the very low end of the normal range.  My blood pressure remained elevated, so she admitted me to the hospital for observation.  I was hooked up to a machine that took my blood pressure every 15 minutes.  This lasted for 3 hours and never once was my blood pressure high, so they sent me home.

My next appointment was January 27th.  This would include a scheduled ultrasound to check my fluid levels and the baby's progress.  Again my blood pressure was elevated.  My fluid levels were even lower, though still technically in the normal range.  But what ultimately convinced the doctor to induce was a shadow.  The ultrasound tech thought my placenta looked different from the sonagram done 5 days earlier.  My OB didn't give me a choice.  I needed to go over to the hospital immediately for an induction.  It just wasn't worth the risk when I was already full term.  She even apologized to me that I wouldn't get my January 29th birthday!  She assured me that we would have a baby by dinner time on the 28th.

The evening of the 27th, in the hospital, I was allowed to have my last meal.  I choose a chicken caesar salad, which was a big mistake.  It tasted terrible and I barely ate any of it.  Oh how I wish I would have chosen a burger!  That night was fairly uneventful.  I got Cervidil to start the induction and was told to sleep, which was hard to do!

The morning of the 28th I was hungry, but was told I was not allowed to eat.  They checked me and said I was at 1cm.  They started the Pitocin and the contractions started right up.  So much more painful than I could have ever imagined.  And I was confined to the bed.  I was required to be hooked up to my monitors continuously.  It was miserable.  By noon I was exhausted, starving, and only at 3cm.  My OB gave me an option - I could stop right now, go home, and come back the next day to try the induction again or she could break my water.  We didn't know what to choose, so she went ahead and broke my water.  That made the contractions right on top of each other and unbearably painful.  By 3pm I was only dilated to 4cm and I didn't think I could take anymore.  And it was clear I wasn't going to have a baby by dinner time!  I very reluctantly accepted the epidural.

After the epidural, I drifted in and out of sleep for a while.  Around midnight was when they told me I was fully dilated and needed to start pushing.  Blaise would be born on the 29th after all!  I was so thankful that I was nearly done.  Except, I wasn't nearly done.  I was so exhausted and hungry.  I tried to push when they told me to, but I couldn't feel anything.  After 2 hours of pushing, Blaise hadn't moved down at all.  He was sunny side up and stuck.  The on-call doctor mentioned considering a c-section.  I was completely opposed.  I had already given up my desires for a natural birth, I certainly didn't want a surgical birth!

He gave me another hour to try pushing.  Still nothing.  He opted for vacuum extraction.  It took not one, but two tries and Blaise was out.  I sustained a 4th degree tear.  (That's the worst you can have - don't google it!).  He spent the next hour putting in hundreds and hundreds of stitches in me.  This was not anything like the birth I had imagined and planned for, but at least I was able to hold my baby right away.

Usually when people share birth stories they are happy.  And I guess this one is too, because my beautiful little Blaise was born.  Though my body let me down in the delivery, it provided excellently in both pregnancy and breastfeeding.  And for that I am thankful.  Enjoy some picture of my first born and I'll be back later this week with my equally uninspiring birth stories for Finn and Lucy!

Our first family picture - as we are leaving the hospital

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: Chicken Noodle Soup

As John and I sat down to do the meal plan this weekend, we realized that it would make the most sense to plan the entire way through Ash Wednesday.  Since we'll be going vegetarian for lent, we wanted to fit in all of our favorite meat meals before then!  Here's what we have planned:

Monday 24th: Chicken Noodle Soup (recipe below)
Tuesday 25th: Leftover soup
Wednesday 26th: Slow cooker meatballs
Thursday 27th: Leftover meatballs
Friday 28th: Veggie Stir Fry
Saturday 1st: Eggs & Bacon
Sunday 2nd: Putanesca Pasta
Monday 3rd: Red Beans & Rice
Tuesday 4th: Leftover Red Beans
Wednesday 5th: Fasting / Black Beans & Rice
Thursday 6th: Black Beans & Rice
Friday 7th: Baked Potatoes

This chicken noodle soup recipe is from my grandma.  We used to have it quite frequently at her house, so it brings back really great memories for me.  John finds it really bland, but that's how I remember it, so that is how I like it!  I'm sure it could taste "better" if you threw in some yummy herbs.  I also think this recipe tastes better the second day or even after being frozen because the egg noodles continue to soak up liquid.

1 whole chicken
2 onions diced
6-8 carrots diced
6-8 celery stalks diced
1 pound medium egg noodles

1.  Put chicken and onions into a large pot.  Cover with water.  Bring to a boil. Then cover, reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for about 2 hours.
2.  When the meat pulls off the bones easily, remove the chicken from the pot and shred the meat.
3.  If you want to make less soup than the broth you currently have in the pot, remove some broth.  It can easily be frozen to use in future recipes.
4.  Add as much of the shredded meat as you like.  Again, you can freeze what you don't want to use now.
5.  Add the carrots, celery, and salt.  At this point you could also add any additional spices that you might like.  Simmer covered until the veggies are soft, about 20 minutes.
6.  Add the egg noodles.  Simmer uncovered until the noodles are done, about 5-10 minutes.

Note:  If you want to make extra broth, after removing the meat you can add the bones and skin to another pot, cover with water and simmer another 2 hours or so.  This broth will be a little more fatty and sweet.  You could also add diced onions for a little more flavor.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

7 Posts in 7 Days!

7 day blog challenge Aw, what the heck

Over the next week, I'm taking Jen's challenge to write 7 posts in 7 days!  I'll still have my usual Meal Plan Monday, What We're Reading Wednesday, and Quick Takes Friday, but the rest of the days I'm going to finish off some of the posts that have been sitting half written in my drafts for far too long!  Here's hoping I'm up to the challenge!

Friday, February 21, 2014

7 Quick Takes About Lent

1.  Growing up I never understood about Catholics giving stuff up for Lent.  The Catholics I was friends with just complained about it and when I asked them to explain the reasoning, they couldn't.  I even remember a time in college when I asked a friend about why she didn't eat meat on Fridays and she said she didn't know, but that's just what you were supposed to do.  All of this left me with quite the distaste for Catholics because they all seemed to just be blindly following rules, thinking that somehow it made them closer with God.

2.  At my first teaching job after college at St. Martin de Porres, I finally met a whole bunch of strong Christians who also happened to be Catholic!  I started to see the reasoning and the value behind the traditions.  Lent would be a time for joining in Christ's suffering and for drawing closer in our relationship with God.  At St. Martins it was easy to make some change for Lent because typically the priest there would make some suggestion.  I particularly enjoyed the year he offered to meet with us individually to lead us through some spiritual exercises.

3.  Since I'm married to a Catholic, we have often tried to do things together for Lent.  Once we gave up caffeine, which was much harder for my coffee drinking husband than for my tea-loving self!  Last year we gave up TV, which proved challenging, but freed us up immensely to focus on our relationship with one another and with God.

4.  My primary goal for Lent this year will be to pray the rosary daily.  Before yesterday I had never ever prayed the rosary.  But I gave it a shot during nap time, and I think it's definitely something that would bring some peace and focus to my day.  It also gives me a time to remember all those I have promised to pray for, especially the children that my heart aches for.

I'm also motivated because I recently bought a beautiful handmade rosary!  Cari @ Clan Donaldson had done a series on artists during advent and that is where I was introduced to Allison's work.  I followed her on instagram, where she shows her latest creations, and pounced when I saw this rosary!

5.  I also think that I'd like to set a bedtime for myself and stick to it.  With the Olympics I've been staying up much to late each day and it is definitely affecting my moods during the day!  Unfortunately I'm one of those people who functions  best on 9+ hours of uninterrupted sleep, which is just such a nuisance when you have kids!  So I'm thinking I need to enforce a 10 pm bedtime for myself during Lent!

6.  Finally, I think we'll be going vegetarian for all of Lent, just like we did for Advent.  It's good to simplify!

7.  For other ideas on what to give up or include for Lent, Kendra @ Catholic All Year had a great post  full of ideas. 

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

How I met my husband

I met my husband through a series of coincidences that I believe God orchestrated.  I've shared the story many times in person, but I'd love to be able to have it all written down.  This is the part of our story that leads up to our first meeting.  To see what happens after our first meeting, you can read my Valentine's Day post.

To understand fully, you need to go back to my sophomore year at MIT.  After floundering a bit my freshman year with my new found freedom, I was starting to get my act together.  I joined the Christian a capella group and one day after practice I was sitting on the student center steps when I started to sing a song that I hadn't heard in quite some time.
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You

I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And Step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days
This song immediately took me back to my days at summer camp and I realized that I wanted to go back there.  After a little researching, I applied to be a camp counselor and was accepted.  Around this time is also when I realized that mechanical engineering really wasn't for me and began to consider teaching.

At the start of the summer we had a week of training and during that time I got to know one of the male counselors.  I was smitten.  Here was a strong man of God, who had a passion for working with kids.  What a change from the shallow men I seemed to attract at MIT!  And how romantic to meet at summer camp!  So very many happily married couples had met this way before us.  From the start my parents had a distaste for him, but we dated long-distance through the rest of my time at MIT.

I graduated from MIT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a teaching certification in high school physics.  I had two job offers, one from a nice, public, middle-class high school in a Boston suburb, and one from a start-up school for low-income students in inner-city Cleveland (where my boyfriend lived).  Obviously my parents wanted me to pick Boston, but I went to Cleveland.  My relationship started to deteriorate shortly after moving there, but my job was a perfect fit for me.

Teaching at St. Martin de Porres really opened my eyes to the world around me.  I worked with a small group of teachers and administrators who were passionate about social justice.  And the students were just incredible.  Through working there I came into my own.  I discovered my passions and how God could use those.  My relationship officially ended a little over a year after I moved to Cleveland.  It was for the best, and although difficult, I bounced back rather quickly.

Immediately after the breakup, all of the teachers were sent on a professional development trip to visit various Cristo Rey schools around the country.  (St. Martin, where I worked, is also a Cristo Rey school).  Despite my knowledge of Boston, for some reason I was assigned to Chicago.  The two other teachers who went with me to Chicago had connections to people there, so we extended our trip through the weekend in order to have a little downtime.  For the weekend, I went with my co-worker Andy, and stayed with his friend Steve.  9 months later, Steve would introduce me to John, my now-husband, at Andy's rehearsal dinner.

In the interim, a few more things had to fall into place to make that meeting possible.  First, I needed to move on from my relationship and get a better understanding of what I was looking for in a spouse.  So I signed up for eHarmony and started dating!  I met some wonderful Christian guys, built up my confidence, understood more how I should be treated in a relationship, and got a sense of the type of person that would make a good match for me.

Secondly, God needed to get me to California to Andy's wedding to meet John.  Initially, I was supposed to be going on a family vacation to Hawaii at that time.  For my high school graduation, 6 years prior, my family went to Hawaii and we had always said that we would do it again for my brother's graduation.  But as we sat down to plan it over the holidays, it just didn't seem as alluring the second time around.  My mom pulled out a book she had about the ten best domestic travel destinations, or something like that.  We settled on Northern California.  Only then did I realize that we could weave Andy's wedding into the vacation plans.

I was nervous to go to the rehearsal dinner as I only knew a handful of people, other than the groom, and I only knew them from that weekend visit to Chicago.  For dinner, I sat down next to Steve and John sat on the other side of him.  We all talked over dinner, and then after the meal Steve left and John and I continued to talk.  There was such a ease to our conversation.  I had butterflies in my stomach the whole night and couldn't wait to see more of him the next day!

John was doing music for the wedding and then we were seated at different tables for the reception, so I didn't get to see much of him.  Although we did spend some time talking and dancing, which is where this picture of us comes from.

After the reception, lots of the guests were staying at the same hotel, so there was a bit of an "after party" in the pool.  John and I have very different memories of that party... I felt like I was giving him tons of signals that I was interested, but he remembers thinking that I wasn't interested at all!  I was so excited when he asked for my email address, but he remembers thinking that I gave it reluctantly!  

Early the next morning it was time for my family to head to our next destination.  I was really hoping to run into John at the hotel breakfast, but I didn't.  I was already thinking that he very well could be the man I married :-)

I feel so blessed looking back at just how many things had to fall into place for me to meet John.  Neither John nor I like the concept of "soul mates" or "the one", but we can't deny that our meeting has God's fingerprints all over it!   


The rest of the story can be found here if you haven't already read it!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WWRW - Orphans of the Living and On Their Own

This past week I tackled two books that were difficult to read: Orphans of the Living: Stories of America's Children in Foster Care and On Their Own: What Happens to Kids When They Age Out of the Foster Care System.


Both books are similar in that they tell the stories of children who grew up in foster care.  Orphans of the Living looks at 5 children and On their Own looks at 10 children.  On Their Own focuses more on the aging out process and how children were (or likely were not) prepared for to enter adulthood on their own.  Both books are depressing, but only one is worth reading, in my opinion.  Orphans of the Living is just too dark.  Don't read it.  I sort of wish I hadn't.  

On Their Own does a much better job of offering a balanced approach.  Still depressing, but well written and includes steps for how we as individuals and as a country should move forward and better prepare foster children.  It helped me to see how so many foster children become jobless and homeless, but how others, who grew up in similar situations, but with a few key differences, could become well-adjusted, successful adults.  If you can stomach depressing true stories, this book is a worthwhile read!

Be sure to check out more great books @  Housewifespice!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Meal Plan Monday - Lemon Feta Chicken

After not just one, but two weeks of floundering through meals with no major grocery trip and no plan, we hit the ground running on Saturday and didn't look back!  John and I figured out a meal plan and then while the littles napped, John took Blaise to Target, Whole Foods, and Kroger.  Target was mainly for diapers, and Whole Foods was only for oatmeal.  They sell it super cheaply in bulk and it is by far the best tasting oatmeal.  John bought 13 pounds on this trip :-)

So as for the plan... John has been wanting to try a baked macaroni and cheese for a while now, so that was what we ate for the entire weekend.  It was quite yummy, but it made sooooo much!  Here's what the rest of the week looks like:

Monday: homemade pizza
Tuesday: Salmon Patties
Wednesday: Lemon Feta Chicken
Thursday: Quiche
Friday: Black Beans and Rice

This week I'll be sharing my recipe for lemon feta chicken.  I got this recipe off of the a container of feta cheese years and years ago, although theirs was a little bit more complex - I think it included some spices and sun-dried tomatoes.  Mine is pretty bare bones, but is our favorite way of eating chicken!

4-6 ounces of crumbled feta (I like to buy the block and crumble myself because it is cheaper)
1/4-1/2 cup lemon juice
1.5-2 pounds chicken breasts (I use the pre-frozen ones sold in the giant bag)

1.  Line a 9x13 baking pan with aluminum foil
2.  Arrange your chicken breasts in the pan so they are not overlapping
3.  In a bowl, mix your feta cheese with 1/4 cup lemon juice using your fingers.  Spread onto the top of the chicken.  If it seems dry, pour some additional lemon juice over the top.
4.  Bake at 375 until cooked through.  (I use frozen chicken, and usually forget to preheat the oven, so it takes about 1 hour.  Non-frozen, or with a preheated oven will take as little as 20-30 minutes)

Friday, February 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes about my Valentine!

1.  John and I met at a mutual friend's wedding in California.  Here is the only picture of us together when we met!

2.  At the time, he was living in Texas and I was in Cleveland.  We emailed back and forth for a while, then started calling, and ultimately started visiting.  Here are some pictures from way back :-)

3.  For our first Valentine's Day together, John flew to Cleveland to see me.  He surprised me a couple days early and then proceeded to break up with me!  We had an awkward 5 day visit that included a trip to Notre Dame, many movies, and some bowling.  After he left, we didn't talk again for 6 weeks.

4.  Thankfully after "giving me up for lent" as we now joke, he came to his senses and we got back together.  To celebrate our renewed relationship, I took John skydiving!  (I can't seem to locate a picture of John, but trust me, he looked hot in that jumpsuit!  Ha!)

5.  That summer I met his family, he met my extended family and we got engaged!

6.  We were married a year later in the summer of 2008 and finally moved to the same city!

7. And now live happily ever after :-)

 Happy Valentine's Day, John!

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