Again with the not updating… or how I am getting a lot out of my work these days

So, look at me – here I am sucking at blogging again. And really, I’ve been sucking at doing anything but working these days. I got to the glorious weekend last Friday, and I was down for the entire time – caught something from the kids. Slept all weekend, felt better but did very little that I wanted to do.

Wanted to reminisce a little about my time in DC. It’s been a while for actual musings and while I realize that not every one appreciates them, I feel like I need to do them for my own personal benefit. The glory days of constant blogging and commenting are over for me, but I do like keeping up with my bloggy buddies every once in a while. Even the ones that live literally 10 minutes from me and I’ve only seen once *cough, cough* Ihatesomuch.

ANYWAY, I haven’t updated on my blog lately so I haven’t updated the fact that I’ve changed jobs. Not fields, but locations. I used to nanny for a family in VA, but it was hard to commute and honestly, it wasn’t paying enough. Started searching and less than a month later, an awesome family landed right in my lap. They are in DC, so the commute is less stressful and the pay is right on point for what we currently need. Couple that with the fact that the family is great and I think we’ve got a recipe for success. It’s been hard adjusting to the nanny lifestyle as opposed to the teacher lifestyle, but I’m learning and I’m getting the hang of it (or I will one day). 

The hardest part, so far, has been the long hours. It won’t stay like this but the kids haven’t started school yet, and the hours have been long. At least I’m not doing hard labor and we have fun. Some days have been harder than others, but that’s just what happens when you work with kids – especially when you’re getting to know them at first. And you’re with them for 11-12 hours of their day. 

Being a nanny is tough at first, though, because you aren’t a parent and you aren’t a teacher figure, so the kids test you out at first to see where your boundaries are. I am pretty strict because I feel like kids thrive off of discipline and structure. But then, you have to be willing and flexible to bend a little on off-days and make room for long snuggles (totally off-limits for teachers these days) and extra TV time and some candy or sodas or late bedtimes and many other things. 

It’s helping me see where parents come from when their kid comes in half asleep and can’t keep their heads up during the reading lesson. It’s helping me see why a kid is acting out at a certain time of day every day. It’s helping me forgive when a child acts rashly and says or does something that hurts beyond the flesh (though, balls to the head don’t feel so great).

But it’s also helping me see when I should and shouldn’t indulge and when I need to lay down the law. When zero tolerance is the way to go and when to institute martial law. 

I did build up a wall when I was teaching. I built up a wall that meant that every year, I would get new students, and that was OK. It was OK that I would get kind of attached to my kids because the next year, I would have to do the same thing with the next group of awesome kids. 

My wall is starting to come down a bit. It started last year with a precious little girl who is full of energy and love. It’s continuing this year with two boys who need someone to pitch better (UGH I’m awful at pitching) and lots of cuddle time and discussions.

It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve gotta say – it’s been good for me. And now that Matthew and I (and Peteykins) will very soon be more financially solvent, great things are on the horizon. 

It really did stink having to nanny and office work, pet sit, walk dogs and stay overnights just to make ends meet. And then fail at that. It’s great to have one job and one responsibility and devote all of my time to making that better… instead of working 100 mph not doing such a great job at any of the 50 jobs I was trying to do all at once.

Anyway, God has been so good to us and we are excited for the many lovely things to come our way in the not so distant future. Until the next time I have free time during a nap. . .

Intentions

I always have the best of intentions. I’m not so great at follow-up, however, because I am the master of distraction. Well, I am mastered by distraction if that is the same thing, but I’m thinking that it’s not. I have also become more and more slack with my writing skills, and as I write something and then go back over it a few days later, I cringe. I think, “Wow, what doofus wrote that?” And then I realize that the doofus writing fragmented sentences and too many exclamations was me and I think I need to cut back on the writing.

Meh, the main reason I blog is for myself, and if I’m completely honest with myself, I don’t take out enough time to do things that help me or encourage me or feed me. Well, I actually do feed myself quite a bit which would explain how I’ve been feeling lately, but that’s another story.

I’m going to try to use this sleepy blog as a place that I can showcase the things I do for myself to myself. Hmmm, that sounds extremely selfish and vain. Let’s just say that I’m going to try to work on myself a bit and in the meantime, keep track of it here. If no one reads it, then no one reads it. I’m at a place in my life that I don’t actually care anymore. Who needs to read this narcissistic drivel anyway?

Here’s a cute picture to make the post a little better…

IMG_2178Petey is one of the best things in my life right now. I love her. :)

 

 

Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza – GF Review

 

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Name: Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza

Location(s): Clarendon: 3017 Clarendon Blvd., Columbia Heights: 1400 Irving St. NW, Friendship Heights: 4940 Wisconsin Ave. NW *note* I have only utilized the Columbia Heights location.

Hours: 11AM-10PM Sunday-Thursday, 11AM-11PM Friday-Saturday; delivery starts at 5PM weekdays and 11AM weekends

Thoughts: Pete’s is the best GF pizza I’ve found in the area so far. They have a homemade crust called Kyra’s Pie that they make in-house daily. Texture-wise, it is not too thin or cornbready, as I’ve found most other pizza places’ pies to be. The sauce is nice and not too overpowering, and my husband raves that it doesn’t give him indigestion or heartburn, which is what most chains are likely to do. Their toppings are more traditional, and they don’t have things like bacon or hamburger. Instead, they have hot sausage and mushrooms and chicken and roasted garlic.

I usually get the 12″ Kyra’s Pie with pepperoni and extra cheese. With the 14″ with pepperoni and hot sausage that my husband gets, it ends up being around $30+tax. Add on delivery and it’s about $35, which isn’t that bad for a tasty GF pizza delivered right to my door. My Southern heart rejoices and then gorges on yummy noms. In the month that we’ve been here, we’ve ordered from them more times than I care to admit (though, at this point, I can’t honestly remember. It’s definitely more than 5 or 6.).  We will most certainly be back again soon!

Website: http://petesapizza.com/

*go to their website and read their story!*

Not the greatest picture of my first pizza from Pete’s, but it was tasty nonetheless.

 

on adjusting

So far, the move hasn’t actually been that bad for me. I like our new place, the neighborhood and overall living situation. I don’t love the financial responsibilities that come with moving, though, and this past week has really taken a toll on me in that regard.

When I get stressed out, all I want to do is sit and eat. I’ve been doing a lot of sitting and reading and sitting and watching Breaking Bad and sitting and eating. And more eating. But due to the substantial amount of walking I’ve been doing, the eating hasn’t been had terrible negative repercussions. At least, not yet.

There’s nothing like finding out the financial plan you’ve made for the month isn’t going to work because the government doesn’t want to send us the check they’re supposed to send.

Nothing like finding out the surgery meant to help your dog see is actually making her worse. Making appointments at expensive veterinarian opthamologists (who knew they even existed?) are not fun.

Anyway, enough with the rants. I could go on all day about the rants.

The reality of it is that I worry too much and that no matter what season we’ve lived through during our marriage, our finances have always worked out one way or the other. 

I do seem to recall a terrible, horrible, no good, VERY bad February while we were living in the possum occupied, moldy, leaky house in SC. That was one cold month with no heat, hardly any food and a poor Petey shivering on our bed.

And if the past has taught me anything, I certainly appreciate every blessing that I have today, no matter how big or small.

PS If any of my readers (do I even have readers? ha) live in the DC area and want to hang out, I will be more than willing to take you up on that. I don’t start working fulltime until Oct 1 and introverted though I may be, I still need interaction with people other than a 4 year old and my husband and dog. :)

Udi’s pizza crusts – GF review

So, I’ve noticed that I’d rather do a review of something that I actually like rather than one that I didn’t. I promise I’ll get to the ones that I don’t like, but since moving to D.C., I’ve focused most of my energies on getting situating and only spending extra money on the things that I know I’ll like. It’ll be soon, though. I promise to get out there and try new things soon.

Moving on to something that I DID like.

source

Brand: Udi’s

Location: MOM’s in Alexandria, but I’ve found it at the local produce shops in SC, and Udi’s is slowly but surely gaining more widespread availability (yay!)

Thoughts: This is by far my favorite frozen pizza crust. Also, at a very affordable price (usually between $5-8) for 2 crusts, this makes it perfect for the nights that I really want my pizza fix but don’t want to spend the $20 delivery fee. You can put whatever toppings you want on it and in less than 10 minutes, your pizza is done! I seriously love it.

Websitehttp://udisglutenfree.com/

Happy Tarts – Alexandria, VA

There are many GF products swirling around in my head. I have a few restaurant experiences that I want to write about, but since this is the most recent (of about an hour and a half ago), I though that I’d write about the GF bakery that I just had the pleasure of “discovering”.

Happy Tarts is a bakery in Alexandria, VA and it is too close to the family I nanny for. I’ll need to start working out more in order to indulge more often, but after today, I think that I’ll be a regular customer. Emma Cech, a French pastry chef, found out about her gluten intolerance and vowed to make French pastries available to the gluten free crowd. And not only that, she wanted to make them taste amazing. Well, she got what she worked so hard for, and everyone I’ve talked to so far in the area, GF or not, has raved about her bakery and how great everything is. Her good reputation around town certainly reveals her hard work and talent!

I got a lemon tartlette, salted caramel vanilla cupcake, baguette and a chocolate raspberry petit four. I ate the lemon tartlette quickly and I’m saving the rest for Matthew to try, which is too bad because lemon is his favorite. I also had a big bite of the baguette (I couldn’t wait until I got home!) and it was as delicious as it looked. (not pictured)

Restaurant Name: Happy Tarts Bakery

Location: 2307A Mt. Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA

Hours: Tue – Thu: 11:00 am-7:00 pm, Fri: 11:00 am-8:00 pm, Sat: 8:00 am-8:00 pm, Sun:10:00 am-4:00 pm

Thoughts: I can’t think over the eating. Everything was so amazing! The lemon tartlette was definitely my favorite, as the crust of the pastry was excellent. The frosting on the salted caramel frosting was very rich, but good, and crumb was pretty tender and it was not too sweet. They complimented each other. I should have gotten the chocolate cupcake The bread was excellent as well. very very good overall!

Website: http://happytartbakery.com/

If you’re ever in the area, definitely do stop by!

Heartland Pasta – gluten free review

I’m going to do myself a favor and write about the gluten free products that I’ve tried and then write up a short synopsis of what I thought about it. This is for my own good, and others should realize that I’m fairly picky with how I view GF products compared to “normal” glutenized products. I don’t think I should have to give up taste to be gluten free.

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Quick note on my going gluten free: I first gave up gluten after a friend had given up wheat with good results. I had been having stomach issues, headaches, soreness, rashes, nausea, and other horrible things I don’t want to bring up. I also had a really hard time staying awake all day. I’d come home from school and take a nap. I’d wake up in time for dinner (about 3 hours later) and then fall asleep as soon as I hit the pillow. Then I’d wake up about 9 or 10 hours later and feel terrible the next morning and do it all over again. I also wasn’t a great person to be around. After getting some medical advice, I decided to make a food journal and I then did an elimination diet. After giving it all up and then adding it back again, I saw that wheat was the one factor causing literally every single one of my symptoms. I’ve been gluten free since Jan 2011, and I am enjoying my days more. Plus, not having to deal with stomach issues and horrible horrible rashes is always a good thing :) One day, I’ll get formally tested, but for now I am happy feeling better by giving up gluten.

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First up:

Source

Brand: Heartland Pasta

Location: I bought mine at Walmart in S.C., and according to their website, you can only find it in Walmarts up here near D.C., as well.

Thoughts: Good! This is actually the best brand I’ve found in the grocery aisle. It tastes the most like “real” spaghetti and it is my pasta brand of choice.  It has a nice texture and it’s the corn that makes it not too mushy. I can even eat it plain and it doesn’t taste terrible.

On Moving

I won’t lie and say that the last few months have been easy. I will say, though, that they have been productive and well thought out. That’s almost as good, right?

Anyway, the past week or so has brought much packing and moving and driving and walking and then unpacking, and I am proud to say that we made it to D.C. unscathed and most of our things were in one piece.

We are living in a nice apartment in a pretty good part of town. We are near many places. I only have to use the car to drive to work in the mornings and then home again in the evenings. Things are good so far.

I don’t want to speak too prematurely when I say this, but I have to admit, I like living in the city much better than Abbeville. Whew. Glad I got that off my chest.

Anyway, more will come once we finish unpacking and organizing. But I’ll leave you with this video of Petey coming upstairs after just waking up and walking a few miles the previous day. I would show her going back down, but she . . . can’t.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQaDlPasvv8&feature=youtu.be

Productive

I’ve gotta say: I’m pretty proud of my usually lazy morning self. I’ve already run, clean the kitchen and cleared out my google reader and email. All before 9AM. Go me.

Now that that’s done, I’m going to fill my blog with some fluffs. Oh, and maybe take a shower.

Currently liking: cool(ish) mornings, A/C (and that we can pay for it), pocket planes, getting personal references that  make me cry, clearing out things I’ll never use (hello snowman shaped cake pan… anyone want? I’ll mail it for free along with a Christmas tree shaped one.), sticking a dryer sheet out of the back of my dress and not getting bitten by any mosquitoes (HUGE deal), good friends, Petey snuggles, that vacation is a week and a half away, reading Game of Thrones (yes, still) and a clean kitchen

Currently disliking: the loud bird honking out my window, getting personal references that make me cry, not being able to navigate through the house, getting the power bill in the mail this month (what.), drying laundry on the line, and smelling something good only to discover it was pasta salad I spilled in the bottom of the fridge

A while

Ok, ok, it’s been a while. But I’m finally starting to feel motivated to do things since I’m not working 12-15 hour days anymore. It’s finally summer; I’m not teaching music lessons; and the weather’s been unseasonably cool (at least for this area). 

I have a few goals, because I’m kind of apathetic about things unless I have something in mind to work for. And who am I kidding? I’m not even really goal oriented. I just have to care about what I’m working toward. So, here are a few things that I’d like to get back into doing. Because what’s a personal blog if I can’t come back and type things that only I want to read? (I don’t particularly care about reading other people’s running experiences, so I don’t assume that you will either – assuming there is an actual “you” reading this anymore.)

1. I’ve been tutoring in the AM, so that means that I’m waking up around 7. I want to run 7-7:30, then get ready and go.

2. I’m running a Couch to 5K which is super uber popular right now, but I have no interest in running a 5K. The last 5K I ran was in high school, and I have no desire to relive that experience. I just run when I can and ache and moan about my terrible knee to myself (and my husband). I’m not an extrovert, so I don’t need a lot of external motivation. I just, like I said before, have to care myself. I just finished Day 1. Very easy program, I’m happy to say, and I don’t think this should be a horrendous experience. Plus, the app I used was so nice. I could listen to my own playlist and it’ll just say things like “start running” and that was super helpful.

3. Cooking more. Before, I worked so much that I barely had time for cooking, now I want to make sure that I’m always GF and not getting sick and not skimping by eating string cheese and sandwich meat for 3 meals in a row. Plus, cheese makes my stomach hurt. Ugh. I have such weak genes. Also, I feel bad for my poor husband who had to come up with his own meals and I don’t know. I’m pretty sure he started eating the things again that he used to eat when he was single.

4. Blogging more. Obviously.

5. Packing up some things at least once a day. I’ve got a ton of boxes that are just sitting in the back of the car and some big tupperware containers that are taking up space in the living room. Oh, right, I don’t think that I’ve said on this blog, but we (my husband, Petey and I) are moving to D.C. in August so that he can do some more schoolin’. I hope that I have a job lined up, but I’m not 100% sure. Either way, we’re going and we’re hoping that it’s going to be an easy transition. God knows it’s going to be different.

6. Reading more. I made ambitious plans, and so far, I’m doing pretty well. I’m in the middle of 3 books at the moment and 1 graphic novel. And let’s just be honest. I know people who just fly through YA novels, and I don’t think that YA novels are beneath me (I mean, I blew through the entire Gossip Girl series a couple of years ago… I don’t judge), I just don’t classify them into this category of reading. I am in the middle of A Storm of Swords (I’ve been lazy) by George R. R. Martin, A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan (Because who can get enough of swords? Apparently not me! – also laziness because I’ve been in this series for AGES, it feels. This is book 7. There are 12.) and Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott (which could be considered YA, so again, I’m not judging). I’m also reading Poe right now, and it’s very good. My Goodreads pages is getting a workout these past couple of weeks. I just wish I had more time to read more consistently. I lurve it so.

7. Doing an evening workout. I did the 1000 calorie workout thing for the first time the other day and oh dear god. It about killed me. Oh, and I only did 3 of the sets, so yeah. Failure. I’m going to work my way up, though, and see if it can actually be done (by me, that is). Also been doing Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred and I just do it to keep up with actually working out on a semi-regular basis. 

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This thing. I die.

Ok, so that’s the first update lately that I’ve given this blog that means anything to me, and I’m going to do my best to please myself with my performance. I am not one to feel pressured by having an online presence. It’s an either/or kind of existence for me. Either I have a “real life” presence or I have an online presence. I’m pretty sure I can have both at this juncture.