More to come

Lots has happened since I last posted. In October: a quick visit from my sister, Bobby’s benefit, my birthday, and Halloween. In November: a 5 day trip to NYC, finishing the term, a two-week visit from my parents, Thanksgiving, and the end of fall and early arrival of winter. In December: the start of the Christmas season.

We definitely packed-in a lot in those two months. And hopefully, the next month will also be very productive, as well as fun. We are leaving for Miami next Monday, and we will be there for the better part of 3 weeks. I still have a lot of work to do; some I hope to finish before I go, but some will be done there, since I won’t be able to finish everything in the next 5 days (including the weekend).

I do plan to blog some while there, maybe recap some of the events I mentioned above, share some photos we took, and also post some new ones from the Miami trip. The holidays are always good times to reflect, and think about what is to come, so I might be doing some of that too. I’ll post as much I can. I want to recover this site and for the new year, I am making a conscious effort to find time to exercise and write, two activities that are both much needed and good for me. So more to come, hopefully soon.

Happy October!

Happy October everyone! September has been such a great month, I’m almost sad to see it go. Especially, because it’s getting chillier now, and we can just feel in these parts… it’s coming… winter is, unfortunately, coming. But lets not get ahead of ourselves, Fall isn’t even here yet, at least not in full blown. Leaves are starting to fall and seem to be everywhere these days, and the temperature has dropped 10 to 20 degrees, but today, the first day of October, it’s sunny and bright, and you could even break out a sweat if you went for a jog.

September was a great month for so many reasons. The first one being that ever since we got back from vacation and then got engaged, Mike and I have been truly enjoying our cohabitation. Mike moved-in mid June, but he worked in the suburbs until the first week of July. So the commuting to and fro didn’t leave us with much f2f time during the week; it actually felt as if we were still only seeing each other on the weekends. When Mike’s time at his old job came to an end (by choice), we spent 3 weeks in July sort of on a stay-cation. School had ended for me, so I was working on-and-off from home, and we would mainly run errands together and spend a lot of time sorting things out around our condo.

On Mikes birthday, the 31st of July, we headed down South for a 4 week vacation, which was a great time spent with family and friends. But it wasn’t until we got back, the last week of August and in September that we got a sense of what it truly feels like living together, in the day-to-day routine: me working full-time, teaching and going into the office mainly everyday, and Mike doing day-trading from home. And I have to say, we have never been happier. So much so, my friend Andrea called me up yesterday to ask what was going on with us, because apparently in every photo we share on FB we look like we have fairy dust sprinkled on top of us, we look so happy… which I guess makes us look pretty too.

People at work have noticed as well. The other day someone told me I looked Zen, and now he knew where to go when feeling stressed, because I exuded this aura of calm and “everything will be well with the world”. I’ve always been a pretty composed, happy person, but I know where he’s coming from, because right now I am smiley and happy, without any effort on my part. I am enjoying everything I do, living it up, seeing the positives, and just overall being happy. I shared this with Mike the other day, and he agreed, he feels happy too. I think he was afraid my OCD-ness would not be able to tolerate his messiness, and he feared that once we started living together all hell would break loose. Not the case. Quiet the opposite, in fact. We are loving it!

Another great thing, maybe a side-effect of the happy feeling, is that I have kept on track with my dieting-losing weight goal. I have now lost a total of 10 lbs, and I’m feeling really good about it. I had gone up to a size 10, people! Can you even believe it? And now I am back in a size 6. I am doing a happy dance now in my chair! I fit into most of my old clothes, some 6, some 4, especially skirts and dresses; I could do a size 4 in dresses now, but still not in pants. My goal is to lose 10 more lbs, that would put me back at my ideal weight and where I was when I moved from NY. But I am starting to realize that I need to do something drastic to accomplish that. I’m thinking South Beach diet is actually more so in my closer future, than I thought. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

The other area in which things are just swimming along nicely, is at work. I always come back renewed and energized after the summer break, but this September has been a bit different. I am loving teaching, and even though both courses I am teaching this term are a lot of work (one I’m teaching for the first time, and the second I have completely redesigned), I seem to not mind. I’m not stressed about it, and I’m enjoying all of it: the prepping, the actual teaching, and the grading. Life changing, I tell you.

I’m also full of neat new project ideas I want to pursue, as I also complete two papers I need to get out to journals (the goal is to do this by December). I’m loving it, I tell you. Loving it all. As you can see September really was a great, fulfilling month, and I expect no less from October, which is also my birthday month, so there’s always that. Although, be warned, Mercury goes retrograde the 4th of October, and will be so until the 25th. Be cautious, be careful, be clear, be patient, but still for the love of God, be happy! Happy October!

Engaged!

If you are a friend of ours on FB, you already know about our latest news. But I thought I’d share it here too. Mike and I got engaged!!!

We had been talking about it since the spring, and in June we started looking at rings and figuring out what I wanted (there are so many beauties out there, and I do love jewelry). In the summer, when we visited my parents, Mike had a talk with my dad and both my parents gave us their blessing.

So, a couple weeks after we got back from vacation, Mike popped the question in the South gardens of the Art Institute. It was sweet and with such a pretty backdrop, it was romantic and me tear up. Although, if you know me (the older version of me), I still am not an easy crier, but a great tearer-upper.

There were a few wedding parties in the gardens while we were there (a good omen?) and one of the brides maids took this photo of us:

2014-09-13 15.23.34

And then of course, we took some selfies, and shared them with the world.

2014-09-13 15.26.13-1

We went to the museum afterward, to see the Magritte exhibit. If you are into Surrealism, I highly recommend it, it’s pretty good. And while we roamed the Impressionist gallery (my favorite) and then waited in line for the Magritte show, I took some photos of the ring, because everyone wants to see the ring, right? :)

2014-09-13 15.45.21 2014-09-13 16.01.19

We are both very happy about the whole deal, and we are looking forward to all the wedding prep that awaits us… hope it goes smoothly!

On losing weight

As you might have noticed from yesterday’s post, I am fat! And I’m not saying it to talk shop about myself, I am actually the fattest I have even been in my life, at least the heaviest. So I have made it my mission to lose this weight and get back into shape.

Part of this is my own fault, because truly, for the past two-three years I have literally eaten whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted (I feel totally guilty when I see the photos from Africa, #HONY has been posting lately). But also, there have been some thyroid issues, which helped put me over the edge weight-wise.

My primary physician prescribed Levothyroxine back in October of 2013, when I discovered through a blood test at the DP Health Fair, that I had Hypothyroidism. It’s been almost a year now, and I think finally we honed in the right dose, and my thyroid is slowly getting back to normal. I say this because I had decided to diet and control my weight-gain before, to no avail. I could have starved myself (I tried) and would lose no weight at all. Sometimes I even gained weight, which was strange and very frustrating.

But ever since we got back from vacation, it has been out for daily walks and jogs, and dieting. And I have lost 5 lbs in 6 days. Which is what my body used to do before, every time I started controlling what I ate. I’m not actually dieting, but I have cut out all sweets (only fruit and sugar-free gum are allowed) and have stopped eating between meals (this was actually killing me… I was over-eating out of anxiety and stress). My meals now consist of a small breakfast (usually a homemade smoothie), a regular meal for lunch (a sandwich, rice and chicken, maybe hotdogs, some fruit , etc), and then a small dinner (Cesar salad with chicken, crackers, cheese and cold cuts, fruit, nuts, and the sort). No potato chips, doritos, or peanuts mid-afternoon. No mini donuts, tequeños, pancakes or cinnamon buns for breakfast. No kit kats, twixs, double bubble, toblerone, or jaw breakers for snack. Nothing. Done.

I asked my sister to lend me her South Beach Diet book, because I intend to do it again. I’ve only done it once and it was hard, but it is effective in helping to lose the weight. Keeping it off is another story, because you can’t realistically South Beach it for life, at least I can’t. But I am determined to lose this weight, and so far, I am off to a great start.

I made an appointment with an endocrinologist and will be seeing him in October. My primary physician recommended a doctor, but when I looked her up it turned out she is only 36 years old, and I don’t know if this is just my bias, but I am not going to put my health in the hands of someone younger than me, at least not at this point in my life. So, I looked for a guy with over 30 years of experience and booked an appointment. I’ll let you know how that goes. Here’s to losing weight and getting back into shape!

#RoadTrip2014 Recap

Happy September! And Happy Labor Day! We have it off here and are enjoying a day of staying in, doing some work (work-work and housework) since the weather is crappy and the forecast is rain all day. We did manage to get a walk/jog in by the lake, before the rain, so there’s that.

We are back from our #RoadTrip2014. I thought I would post and share some of the adventures from our vacation time, while on the road, but it never happened. I did take my computer because I had some work to finish, mostly class prepping. But towards the end, my computer started acting up and I couldn’t use it for the last couple weeks. Anyhow, blogging wasn’t on my mind, I guess, because I bypassed it completely.

I’ve been thinking about blogging this week, but have been playing catch-up at work,  running errands, getting the condo in order, and getting all doctor appointments in before the trimester starts. So, I thought I’d share a recap of our summer trip first, and then in future posts, share what’s been circulating within my mind lately. Game? Good!

We left on July 31st, Mike’s birthday, and headed toward Louisville, Kentucky. There, we stayed with Mike’s dad and step-mom for a couple days. We had been to visit them before, a couple times actually, but this time we did some of the touristy stuff there is to do in Louisville, aside for the Derby, which we went to a few years ago.

This time we ate out a couple times and visited the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. There, we saw The Babe and the Jeter! Take a look:

At Bonefish Grill

2014-07-31 21.48.01

At Momma’s Mustard Pickles and BBQ

2014-08-01 13.44.31_Cropped

At the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

2014-08-01 14.31.24 2014-08-01 15.09.11 2014-08-01 15.10.28 2014-08-01 15.17.07

After a few days in Louisville, we loaded the boys back into the car and on the road we went again, this time to Atlanta, Georgia. There, we stayed at Mike’s friends’ place.  We spent time with them, walking the boys and exploring their very high-end dog parks. We also went out for dinner to Buca di Beppo, but unfortunately I forgot to take photos of that.

Here’s Charlie having fun with the water at The Heavenly Dog Park.

2014-08-03 14.57.10

Then it was back in the car and off to Miami! The boys were really good in the car, except for some bouts of panic from Charlie when it rained. They were especially happy in Miami at my parents’ place. I think it was because both families we stayed with on the road had dogs, and now in Miami they were the kings of the backyard, with no one to put them in their place. They loved it!

In Miami we did what all people do when they go to a warm place for vacation, we relaxed. We lounged by the pool, went to the beach, went on a boat ride in Bayside Bay, went to Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, went shopping to the awesome Miami malls (well, that was mostly me) and played golf to our hearts content (that was mostly Mike). Oh, and how could I forget, the main activity of the trip, reason why I gained 6 lbs, we ate, oh how well and how much we ate! We went to El Arepazo, Bahamas Breeze, El Parador, il Forno Ristorante, and The Fish House. We also did some home cooking and ordered takeout a couple times, because pizza and Chinese food are always well received by all.

Us at Hollywood Beach, we went there twice. Once we rented jet skies.

2014-08-09 12.49.11 2014-08-09 12.49.33 2014-08-09 12.18.062014-08-09 12.32.172014-08-09 12.52.032014-08-20 13.51.462014-08-20 15.07.402014-08-20 15.10.262014-08-20 15.06.39

Sophie practiced putting with us once, and once my dad and I went with Mike on one of his multiple golf runs.

2014-08-11 20.00.34-12014-08-13 12.18.342014-08-13 12.44.47-12014-09-01 11.53.252014-09-01 11.53.492014-08-13 12.44.03

This is us at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, a really lovely place, but if you go take water, the heat is something else!

2014-08-18 13.11.45 2014-08-18 13.12.01 2014-08-18 13.54.30 2014-08-18 14.25.50 2014-08-18 14.31.59 2014-08-18 14.39.39

This is us at Bayside Bay, where my dad rented a boat for the day. He misses his Konsentida from Venezuela, so this was a real treat!

2014-08-22 14.11.392014-08-22 14.13.432014-08-22 14.12.312014-08-22 14.14.17 2014-08-22 14.28.34 2014-08-22 14.28.37 2014-08-22 14.29.03 2014-08-22 14.29.12 2014-08-22 14.29.23 2014-08-22 14.28.192014-08-22 17.46.16

The day was a success, the whole stay in Miami was wonderful. When at home we lounged by my parents’ beautiful pool and Sophie swam as much as she could, in the hopes that her dream of being a mermaid would come true. I think, in her mind, it did. Even Maxy misses the pool now.

2014-08-18 13.01.12

But our days in Miami came to an end, and on the road we went again. The boys were really good on the way back, even though I could tell they missed Miami and all its wonderful people. On our way back we stopped in Tallahassee for the night, and the next day we went through Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and drove around the University of Alabama’s campus, Mike’s alma mater. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of the beautiful campus since I was told we would go back after lunch and roam around, and we never did (I’m looking at you, Mike!). After Alabama we drove through Memphis and stayed the night in a little town in northern Tennessee.

IMG_6547 IMG_6548 IMG_6550

We arrived last Wednesday night in Chicago and it received us with great cool, summery weather. This is Lake Michigan, in Loyola Beach, where I went for a jog Thursday morning. Pretty, right?

IMG_6551

So we are back home, back in the grind, getting ready for the beginning of the term which starts on the 10th. But the memories of the great #RoadTrip2014 are still lingering, and we still miss tons the people we left behind. Thank you all for such a great vacation!

Happy Birthday, Mike!!

Mike turns 48 today!

Happy Birthday Mike!!!!!

2013-04-18 03.20.31

We love you, honey. More than words can express. I hope you enjoy your day. It promises to be busy, but hopefully it will be fun too.

Love you… Love you tons!

Summer

IMG_6125

Summer time is always anniversary time in these parts. I wrote about it a few years ago here. It’s a time when I also have some down time to think about what I have accomplished, where I am, and where I want to be. I think because I’ve always been living under the “academic schedule”, summer is the time during my year when I get the breathing time to do some reflecting, and unavoidably, every year, it happens.

This summer, it’s been 4 years since I moved to Chicago from NY. Four years working at DePaul and working toward tenure. It’s been 3.5 years since Mike and I met and started our relationship, and now it’s been a month since we began living together. Parenthesis – I live with boys now, people!!!! – I just needed to get that off my chest, but I’ll come back to that later.

It’s been 3 years since I adopted Max, and it’s been about a month since he turned 6. Max is 6 years old! Charlie’s birthday is in February, so we don’t celebrate that in the summer. Old Charlie is a whopping 10 years old, can you believe?

But speaking of birthdays, Mike is having a birthday tomorrow!! I’m excited. I’m always excited about birthdays. And I’m prepared too, with gifts and cards in tow.

Tomorrow is also the beginning of our summer road trip vacation. We are heading out south tomorrow morning, and probably not getting back into Chicago until the last week of August.

So, enjoy while we are gone. We will be doing a whole lot of this while we are away, because the boys are coming with, and we all know how much they love their morning walks! I’ll keep in touch from the road. Cheers to summer!

IMG_6130

 

Our 4th of July weekend

Well, Happy 4th of July! I know, I’m late to the party, but I truly hope you all had a wonderful celebration of independence.

We had been wanting to go for a day at the beach, ever since it started getting warm. Well, at least I have been wanting to go; Mike is not much of a beach person. So on Friday, we planned to go to Loyola Beach (the closest Lake Michigan beach to us… it’s literally just a few blocks away, and it’s where we walk the dogs every other day) and spend some time in the sun.

Th weather was perfect. It had been raining earlier in the week, but on Friday it was around 70 degrees and sunny. Perfect! Not too hot, not too cold, just right!

This was our set up.

2014-07-04 10.54.30 2014-07-04 10.59.17 2014-07-04 11.00.52 2014-07-04 11.01.10 2014-07-04 11.03.17

The photos are deceiving, there were many more people there, but since we got there early (around 11am) we had premium sand real estate to choose from.

Later that morning, around noon, Meg and some of her friends joined us. I forgot to take photos, so I have no evidence of them, but they were there. And we had a great time.

On Saturday, our new couch was delivered. We had to disassemble the old sleeper couch, and carry it down to the basement of our building. I’m not sure we will end up actually keeping it there, or throwing it out, since we did do some damage to it while carrying it down the narrow staircase. Even taking out the back door to get it through was hardy enough space… it’s a big couch.

The new couch is slightly smaller. Or I should say, since it’s a sectional, it comes in pieces, which are easier to move around, carry, and fit through doors and staircases. Anyway, this is our new, very comfy, couch!

2014-07-05 11.48.49

And this is how it looks with the new cushions I went out and got on Sunday, while Mike and Meg played golf. If you are in the market for cushions, I got these at Pier 1, and they were all on sale.

2014-07-06 15.25.59 2014-07-06 15.50.53

Everyone loves the new couch, the plush cushions, and the new soft throws. The dogs love it especially. Which is why we got some thick throws to cover the seats, thinking if the dogs stain those, we can always easily wash them, and also take them off when we have company.

Another pretty development of our weekend were these.

2014-07-03 09.23.02

They finally opened up and aren’t they the prettiest flowers you have ever seen. They are sitting on my nightstand, right next to my side of the bed, looking pretty and smelling delicious :)

So there you have it, some highlights of our 4th of July weekend. How was yours?

First Week

We survived our first week of co-habiting, or as Mike jokingly calls it “living in sin”. Well, we barely survived it. Things have happened this week. Lots. Of. Things.

Mike moved in on Saturday, dropping off his unwanted furniture anywhere they would take it: at his sister’s, at a church, and finally up in Wisconsin at his mom’s. He ended up getting back home, after retuning the truck, his keys, and picking up his car, around 10:30 pm, having started the day off at 8 am.

Sunday was an early rise to organize everything. The storage area was a mess; Mike had left everything out in the hall, in the hopes to save some time on Saturday. So we desperately needed to get all things settled in the storage room, and out of people’s way. We were at it for hours, but made it back home in time to watch the US game, while organizing kitchen stuff.

We now have SO. MUCH. STUFF.  I mean, literally, every surface has something on it, big or small. Every closet is filled, every drawer is packed, every cabinet has been used. If we ever get or buy anything else, we will have to get rid of something to be able to fit it in… or move to a bigger place… but let’s leave that up to the unforeseen future, shall we? For now, I really don’t want to think about moving again anytime soon.

Monday was the start of Mike’s first of two long commute weeks. He’s still working out in Channahon, until July 3rd. So the poor guy takes almost 2 hours to get there, and then similar time to drive back, every day. Not fun. But at least it’s not for long. But that first Monday, he came back home sneezing and in a haze. I gave him some Claritin and off to bed he went, only to wake up the next day with the flu. He had a full blown cold: runny nose, sneezes, headache, and a fever. He called in sick and spent all day in bed.

By Wednesday morning he was feeling better and went off to work. But by Wednesday night I was now starting to feel my throat itch in that not desirable way, and by the time Thursday rolled by I was sneezing like a pro and in a total haze. I had a packed agenda day on Thursday, with errands (how many times can a girl donate things to the Salvation Army? Apparently over a thousand!) and work meetings, so I headed out, but once I got back home around 8pm I was full blown sick. Thank you, Mike. We’re not sure where he got it from, but I sure do know where I did! (and, thank you for the flowers too, they are beautiful).

I had to cancel everything I had set for Friday and stayed in bed all day. Of course this was the only day of the week with no fútbol. Murphy, why do you always have to be right? But I slept and drank water, and took Advil and antihistamines, and went through boxes of tissues. Saturday looked pretty much like more of the same for me. I stayed in all day, changing from one set of PJs to the next, but not really getting too far from my bed. This time there was fútbol on TV, so that helped.

Mike was very industrious and spent some hours down in the storage unit labeling everything and reorganizing, to see if we could fit in some more lingering things that just couldn’t fit upstairs. While I rested and lounged around with the boys, who of course kept me company all through the duration of my cold. They are suckers for accompanied bed time.

On Sunday, I started feeling better. We had been invited for arepas brunch at some friends’, but had to canceled. I did not want to bring my germs and this nasty cold as a hostess gift to these guys. I was barely out of it, and knew how nasty it felt, and really didn’t want to give it to them. But I did feel better, and took advantage of that, so I went with the boys for a walk. It felt good to be out of the condo and to breathe clean air. It was nice to walk along the lake again. When we got back, I made breakfast at home. Mike was bummed we had missed out on arepas, so I made some for us to compensate.

We lounged around and then went out for lunch, some errand and to see Godzilla. Mike had been wanting to see it in the theater for ever, and we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss seeing it on the big screen. We came back and walked the boys again, and I was feeling much better. So much so, I decided to retire the Kleenex box to it’s original spot in the bathroom, and return leftover cough drops and Advil to the medicine cabinet.

I still have a cough, but I feel so much better. No fever in the last 24 hours or more, no runny nose, and no head cold. Just a cough, which I’m hoping will go away soon enough.

But… last night, it rained. No, it didn’t just rain, it thunderstormed. And we all know Charlie does not do well with those. At 3 am, we were all up. Trying to calm Charlie, and quiet Max. When it rains, Charlie turns into a wuss and Max into a bully. For some reason, Max can’t stand Charlie’s fear, and he lashed out at him, only making it worse. So you can just imagine how fun it is for us. Especially, at freaking-three in the morning!

So this morning when Mike got up to take the boys for a walk, I decided to stumble out of bed and help him get them ready. I figured we both had had a terrible night’s sleep, and he had to go into work, while I could go back to bed and sleep a little longer, before starting my day. Little did I know, this was not my hottest idea. As I held Charlie so Mike could put his harness on him (Charlie was still afraid of the rain at 6 am), Mike dropped the retractable leash on my foot, and it landed square on my right pinky toe. %^&*$#@!

It’s supposed to rain today, all day. I have a meeting close to my office, which I was planning to walk to, and now I’m not only limping, but it hurts if I wear enclosed shoes. My pinky toe is throbbing. Mike, dear, next time you drop something in my proximity, a heads up to move out of the way will be highly appreciated!

So yeah, first week? We survived. Barely. (cough, cough, limp, limp)

My book is out!

I heard from my publisher last week, and my book is out! Well, it is out in pre-sale; the hardcopy version is set to be available in July. The digital version is already available in Amazon, and you can find it here. If you are interested in ordering the hardcopy on pre-sale, the information is below.