Wednesday, October 31, 2012

hurricane preparedness

"Ermahgerd! It's a Frenkunsterm!!"

This is a post about poop, a hurricane, and apple cake.

You're welcome! :-)

So you may have heard...we have this Hurricane named Sandy that decided to blow through this week.  We've been through a few hurricanes in our area, but this monster, nicknamed "Frankenstorm," was shaping up to hit up the East Coast in a major way.

Everyone started freaking out this weekend.  I chose not to worry about it, because I love weekends, and I'm not going to waste my weekend worrying about something out of my control.

(That's not the real reason, the real reason is because I'm a procrastinator.)


So my friend Kerri moved this weekend, and I had offered to watch Sean for her Friday night til Saturday whenever she was finished.  I was going to take the kids to their soccer game on Saturday morning, and then Lauren and Rene's Halloween Party in the afternoon.  It was going to be a great day!  Everything was going well, until...

...Sean woke up Saturday morning with...a runny poop problem.

(He's gonna kill me for this post one day.)

Like, he killed three pairs of undies in 20 minutes kind of a problem.

So let me walk you through this...

I'm dressing two kids for soccer.  It's colder weather now, so they have to wear an under layer too to keep them warm.  So we've got a long sleeved shirt, and leggings (for Sadie) and thermals (for Sean) on the bottom, soccer uniform over that, socks on feet, topped with shin guards, topped with black tube socks, with feet shoved into soccer cleats.

I get both of them dressed, and that's when Sean says, "Nassy...I think I pooped in my pants."

Shit. (Literally)

I didn't want him to feel bad, or embarrassed, so I tried to make light of it, "no problem buddy, let's go upstairs and change your clothes."

I'll spare you the details, but I sat him on the potty for as long as possible.  Then we get dressed again.

(And it happened again.)

Poor guy :-(

He said his tummy didn't hurt and he wasn't running a fever, so we tried again. Sit on that potty as long as possible. Finally he told me, "Nassy, my hiney's empty."


I asked the kids if they wanted to go to soccer or stay home, but they wanted to go.  I took a deep breath, threw some wet wipes and spare undies in my purse and off we went.

Miraculously we made it through soccer with no issues!

(I know you're probably wondering, "what in the world does this have to do with the storm?" Don't worry...we're getting there.)

So now soccer is over and I'm thinking we're in the clear!  Sean was feeling better, no poop problems, and everyone was in a good mood.  That's when I remembered, "Nasrene, you have no food in the house, two children to feed, and an impending storm on the way.  Perhaps you should hit up the grocery store before it becomes super crazy on Sunday."  So we swung though the Harris Teeter on the way home.  

That's when things got REAL.

So we're walking through the store, and I'm trying to think to myself, "what do I need to get to prepare for this hurricane?" and I've just managed to throw some bananas, apples, and oranges in the cart when Sean goes, "Nassy!! I gotta go potty!"

Crap! (Literally)

So I grabbed him by the hand and raced to the bathroom (practically leaving poor Sadie behind) where we made it...just in time. 


Alright, so it's time to try again.  We're meandering through the store, and I'm trying to make some sort of sense of what I should buy, but it's so HARD for me under than kind of pressure you know?  There's the whole milk/eggs/toilet paper thing, but I figured if the power went out the milk would just go bad.  We already had eggs in the house, and plenty of TP, but with the runny poop issue I grabbed a 12 pack anyway.

And a case of water, since it seemed like the thing to do.

The whole time we're walking around the store I'm saying things like, "Sean, how's your hiney?"  "Anything going on in your butt, Sean?"  "Hey Sean, do you wanna stop in the bathroom really quickly?"

He told me he was good.  On we went.

It's bad enough, me trying to stock the kitchen prior to a hurricane, but add to that the distraction of a potential kid diarrhea explosion, and I JUST. CAN'T. FOCUS!

I ended up with a cart full of fruit, water, toilet paper, US Weekly, trail mix, brownie mix, frozen waffles, yogurt, a mexican cheese blend and iced tea.  This is the best I could do.  (How this will prepare me for a hurricane I do not know.)

So we're in line to check out and all is going well when Sean says, "uh oh, Nassy...I gotta potty again!"

Shitty crap! (Literally)

So I push the cart to the side and race him to the bathroom, again stranding poor Sadira, and yelling, "come on Sades! Try to hold it in, Sean!"

And once again, by miraculous intervention, we made it to the restroom in time.


Now we're in the bathroom, and I happen to mention to Sean what a great job he did telling me he had to go potty, and what a big boy he is, and blah blah blah, and he's looking super proud of himself while he's sitting on the toilet, and that's when Sadie bursts into tears.

"Mommy, you're not paying any attention to me at all today!!!!!" while she's crying big alligator tears.

So just to recap, I'm comforting my crying daughter in the bathroom, as her best friend is pooping his guts out, while my groceries are out in the checkout line somewhere, and a hurricane's on the way.

My life is WAAAAAAY glamorous, y'all. 

We finally made it out of the grocery store with our (paid for) groceries, and headed home.  I stuffed Sean full of cheese sticks, and bananas, and peanut butter sandwich, and every other "binding food" I could think of, and it seemed to do the trick, so off to Lauren and Rene's Halloween party we went.

See? (Two Minnies and a poop-free Ninja!)

(And just in case you're curious, we had no more pooping problems.  Though his mother did tell me that much later that night after I had returned Sean to her and she was running one last errand they had to pull over to the side of the road so Sean could poop in a bucket.)

Her life is super glamorous too, y'all. ;-)

Okay, so the next day was Sunday (the day before the hurricane) and Sadira and I decided to do the next logical thing when a hurricane is on the way...we went shopping at the mall!

Monday inevitably came, and so did Sandy.  School was cancelled, work was cancelled, and as the rain started coming down more and more, we started cooking A LOT.  First baked ziti, then a pot of chili, then an apple cake and then brownies.

(That was my segue into the apple cake portion of this post, in case you were wondering). 

In my opinion, baking when a natural disaster is on the way, is just the obvious thing to do.  If your life and belongings are going to be at risk, you might as well use up what you've got and enjoy it in the process.  Not to mention is takes up times, and distracts you from the situation at hand.

I figured I'd share the apple cake recipe, since this is probably the only recipe you'll ever find on my blog, EVER.

So here we go, Jewish Apple Cake.  Thank you Jewish gave us Jesus, and this apple cake recipe apparently.  We owe you.

Actually I got this recipe from my mom.  She's not Jewish.  But Sadira is on occasion.

But I digress.


6 apples, (while Honeycrisp and Gala are my favorite, I usually use Red Delicious for this recipe)
2 tablespoons cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice, (or you can just squeeze two oranges of their juice, that's what I do)
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, (I always ALWAYS add more.  Maybe like double the amount? I love vanilla!)
4 eggs

 Also assemble your mixer and tube pan or bundt pan (or as Sadie calls it, "butt pan.")

Oh, and one cute baking assistant:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease up your pan.  Set that aside.

Core, peel, and slice your apples like this:

Stir together the 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 5 tablespoons sugar, then use this mixture to coat the apples.

(Sadira photobomb.)

Next, stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time.

(Adding a little extra vanilla...sneaky sneaky..)

Once all of the ingredients are incorporated, assembled all of your parts again.  To recap, you should have a bowl of cinnamon sugar apples, a greased cake pan, and the batter:

Next, pour half of the batter into pan. Spread half of the apples over it.

Sneak eat a few pieces of apple when you think your Mommy's not paying attention, tsk tsk...

Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top.

Bake for 90 minutes.  Your house will smell amazing.

The finished product:

Seriously y'all, OMG, this cake is so delicious.

You need to let it cool FOR-EV-ER, so just heads up.  But the good thing is, since there are half a dozen apples in this bad boy, you can fool yourself into thinking it can count as a breakfast food.

Which is exactly what we did this morning, in Day Two of Hurricane Sandy:

All in all, we were exceptionally lucky during this hurricane.  Our power only flickered on and off a few times, and we had no flooding or structural damage.  Others in our area and north of us obviously didn't fare as well.

And that concludes my post on hurricane preparedness, poop, and apple cake. ;-)

Happy Halloween everyone!
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

phursday phavorite photo: punkin pile

I don't think I'll ever be able to take enough pictures of my fall baby in a pile of pumpkins.  Probably one of my favorite seasonal pics we take every single year.

Love this pumpkin pie.  Thirteen days til she turns five!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

new job! new job! new job!

Four months ago I got an email.

It was about a possible new job.

I couldn't think about a new job, even though I was unhappy at my current job.

There was just too much on my plate.

Too much to take care of.
Too many things that needed to be finished yesterday.
Too many things I was bringing home with me to work on.

I wasn't happy.
But I wasn't MISERABLE.
I didn't like where I was, but the hole just to get on top of everything seemed impossible to surmount.

Looking for a new job, or considering a new position seemed like one more thing on the "to do" list.

I didn't respond to the email.

Weeks went by.

Months went by.

And I started getting REALLY unhappy in my current job.

I re-read one of my old blog posts one night.  This one, actually.  And this line--(my own freakin' line, how nuts is that?)--resonated with me:

"Surely no one was ever offered the job of the dreams or found the love of their life by sitting home and staring at their floorboards."

Opportunities don't just fall into your have to make them happen.

And then I remembered the email that I never responded to.

I felt badly that I hadn't acknowledged it.

I wrote back.

The position had been filled.

But there was another position... that was even MORE of a match for what I'd like to do.

And so I submitted my information.

And waited.



And then...a response!

"We'd like to call you for a phone screen, are you available?"


Phone screen happened.  Just 20 minutes long, but a conversation that totally changed my mind on the position.

Suddenly I REALLY wanted this job.

It was more of a match for me than I originally thought.  It would be an increase.  A step up.  Much closer to home.

(The precise location I didn't know, I just knew it was downtown.)

Within minutes of hanging up from the phone screen, the phone rang again.  "We'd like for you to come in for an in-person interview."


"Can you come in early next week?  We are very interested and looking to make a decision on this position quickly."


"Oh, and do you know where we are located? We are in the Warehouse at Camden Yards."



Suddenly this email that I had blown off months ago had turned into my dream job overnight.


The weekend came...

...Sadira and went on a tour of Camden Yards and I couldn't stop staring at the Warehouse.

At the end of the tour we were given a souvenir.

This was it.

It's a keychain.

But it doesn't have the Orioles' logo on it.  It doesn't have the Oriole Bird on it.  It doesn't have a baseball diamond on it.  Hell, it doesn't even have a baseball on it.

It's got the Warehouse on it.

(Of course it does.)

Monday came and went.

And then Tuesday came...

...and I woke up dressed

...and prepared for my interview.

This was my view at lunch.

And my interview lasted FIVE HOURS!  With SEVEN PEOPLE!

I left feeling confident.
I left feeling exhilarated.
I left feeling EXHAUSTED.

And over the course of the next week, I ended up going to not one, not two but THREE baseball games.

Yes, this type of frequency is unusual, but the Orioles were playing inspired baseball!  The season was almost over and they were securing a playoff spot for the first time in 14 years!

And although I was thrilled for my baseball team, every time I went to a game all I could see was...


Glaring at me haughtily like it knew a secret I couldn't be privy to just yet.

See it?

How about now?

And all this time I was waiting.



Waiting for an answer. 

And the few friends who knew I had gone on this interview would ask how it went, and I would be scared to answer.

It was like going out on a first date with a guy that you really really really like.  And YOU feel like it went well, but you're not sure.  And you're waiting to hear back.




(And you don't want to talk about it, because you're scared of jinxing it.)

(But you want to talk about it, because you're SO EXCITED!)

And all this time my super sucktastic September was going on.  I said to a friend, "I swear, if I end up getting this job, it will end up being worth all the crap I went through this month!"

And still I waited.

So it seemed only appropos that I had to wait until October 1st to get my actual offer. :-)

I GOT THE JOB!!!!!!!!!

I started yesterday. :-)

And this is not only good news because it's in the Warehouse (which of course is fabulous).  It's MUCH closer to home (Less than 7 miles away), which is closer to Sadie's school, less gas mileage, don't have to go through the tunnel every day...

...not to mention it's a FANTASTIC move for me professionally.  I was feeling stagnant and uninspired, and now I feel motivated and excited.  I've actually gotten up EARLIER than necessary the past two days in anticipation.

My boss is fantastic.  He actually said today in conversation, "well, you're a lot like me...we seem to be very similar in our philosophies,"  and he's RIGHT.  I was thinking the same thing.  There's just a really great energy there.

And while I have a lot to learn still, I feel motivated and excited.  Inspired and supported.  I feel ridiculous saying this so early, but I really really love my job.  And I don't even know what all it entails just yet.  I just know it's where I'm supposed to be.

And working in this gorgeous building isn't so shabby either. ;-)

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

oh what a difference a year makes

This was my expert pumpkin picker last year.

This is my expert pumpkin picker this year:

 What a difference a year makes!

Sometimes it feels like life before Sadira was here was AGES ago...and then other times it feels like she went from baby... toddler...

to kid... the blink of an eye!

Four years ago she looked like this:

Yet four DAYS ago she looked like this:

But wait there's more...

Four years ago:

Three years ago:

 Two years ago:

 Last year:

This year:

 Crazy, right?!?!

What's that you say? Do that one more time?

Okay, here we go...

First fall:

 Second fall:

Third fall:

 Fourth fall:

 Fifth fall:

The weird thing is, I no longer get sad about her getting older.  In a very strange way, I'm actually looking forward and excited for this birthday.

I've even slipped up twice and referred to her as "my five year old," which prompts a quick response of, "Mooooom, I'm not five YET...."

It's so weird to me because I had SUCH a hard time with her turning one.  I cried all day, everytime someone said "Happy Birthday!" I'd burst into tears.  I couldn't explain it, but I dreaded her getting bigger.  Babyhood happened so quickly.

When she turned two and three I wasn't AS emotional, but I still found myself avoiding pictures of her when she was younger.  I didn't even ENJOY looking at her baby pictures, it was sad and depressing in an almost macabre kind of way.  As if that baby no longer existed, and this child is what remains in her place.

Weird, right?
Even as recent as last year I had a mini-freak out about her getting yet another year older.

This year is so different.

I guess I've just accepted that the passage of time is unavoidable.  I don't mourn for my younger years when I turn another year older...I celebrate it, and talk about it, and annoy all of my co-workers with my incessant commentary about why on earth should I mourn my daughter getting older?

I'm just not going to.

Instead of mourning the baby and toddler that I used to have...

 I'd rather celebrate the amazing child that I have now.

I can't wait for her to turn five. :-)

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Friday, October 12, 2012

friday flashback: lady tata!

2. Complete the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk - DONE!

Part 1

It's October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  In honor of that, and my dear friend Blanca who fought her own battle and WON (now several years in remission) my Friday Flashback posts are going to tell the story of how Alix and I tackled the Susan G. Komen 3 Day walk.

Two years ago this month I had the opportunity to Race for the Cure with Blanca and her team of breast cancer survivors.  It was exhilarating and inspiring, and at the end of that post, I mentioned my plan to do the Susan G. Komen 3 Day.

For those of you unfamiliar with this event, it's three days of walking, approximately 20 miles each day for a total of 60 miles.

Yes, that's correct, SIXTY miles.

I became so set on doing this walk, that my friend Alix (who just happens to be Blanca's daughter and my dear friend) and I registered and made a plan to complete the walk together.

When we first planned it, we were so excited!  We were nine months out, plenty of time to train, fund raise and prepare.

We picked a team name: Lady Tata!

We excitedly talked about our options of where we'd walk.  Somewhere on the west coast where the weather is more cooperative?  Somewhere on the east coast where'd we be able to see cool landmarks throughout our walk?  Somewhere neither of us had ever been to before?

As we discussed this, making spreadsheets of options, considering airfare and time away from work, it suddenly hit me..."Alix, don't you want to see your mom at the finish line at the end of the walk?"

And that was it. Obviously we wanted to celebrate this feat with Blanca, so it was decided that we would walk in Washington D.C.  Close to home base, and most importantly, close to Blanca.

And as the months went on, and Sadira accompanied me on training walk after training walk, I became more and more focused on making sure I'd be able to complete the 60 mile walk.  I had never walked that long of a distance in that time span EVER, so I wanted to make sure I was physically prepared. 

And so we walked.

And walked.

And walked.

Until finally it was end of the summer and the walk was less than a month away and I realized that I had forgotten to equally commit myself to the OTHER major challenge of the 3 Day---the fundraising.

And I found myself two weeks away and $1400 short of my $2300 commitment. 

Which meant if I couldn't raise the funds I would have to pay for them myself. 


So I sprung into gear and wrote the following letter.  Posted all over Facebook and begged my friends to share share share:

One year ago today, with your help, I rappelled 23 stories down the side of Silo Point and raised over $2300 for Gaudenzia’s women and children’s program.  This year I’ve decided to take part in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure and walk 60 miles in Washington D.C. over three days.
I’m writing today to once again ask for your support. 
In order to walk I must, once again, raise $2300.  As of today I’m about $1400 short of my goal, with less than two weeks to go.  I’m asking that if you can, to please consider a donation of any amount to the Susan G. Komen foundation.  To donate, please visit my page at:
 I know many of you are familiar with this organization and the good work that they do, but I’d like to give you an example.  Recently I was able to meet a woman in a local support group whose chemotherapy and radiation treatment has been funded by the Komen foundation.  Her health insurance only covered a small portion of her expenses and she has three small children.  She was actually pregnant with her third when she was diagnosed.  With the help of the Komen Foundation, she is on the road to beating breast cancer.
More specifically, I am walking in honor of Blanca Wisner, a dear family friend and breast cancer survivor.  You can read more about her here:
If you cannot donate monetarily at this time, please consider forwarding this email to anyone who may want to, or post the link on your Facebook.  Every little bit helps!
I sincerely appreciate any support you can provide.  It was with your assistance last year that I was able to do the impossible and rappel 23 stories down the side of a building!  I know with your support I will be able to make it 60 miles.
Thank you,

With only two weeks to go I was not hopeful, but I figured my plea would make up SOME of the difference.

And like it always does in times of need, something amazing happened.

My friends came through like renegades, and gave when they could, passed on my pea when they couldn't.  I started getting emails with the five words every 3 Day walker LOVES to see in the subject line:

"You're received a new donation."

And soon these new donations were attached to names I'd never ever seen before.  People who had heard what we were participating in and decided to give because their mom had had breast cancer...or their grandmom...or their aunt. 

Or just cause we asked.

My friend Kerri's company, True Citrus, provided an extremely generous donation, and next thing I knew I had not only met my goal, but I had exceeded just nine days.

I was ASTONISHED, to say the least.

Fueled by this new excitement I couldn't wait to get started.  So when Alix's flight landed in Baltimore shortly before the walk, we eagerly discussed what we were packing, what we were wearing, our team shirts, our decorations, EVERYTHING.   

We were AMPED and READY.

We made our plan...that Alix and her parents Richard and Blanca would pick me up bright and early at 4:30am the morning of the walk so we could make it to DC in time for Opening Ceremonies and start our trek.

We were tired, but giddy with excitement on the drive down, with our carefully packed bags (which contained all of our clothes and necessities for the next three days, all individually wrapped in trash bags to protect from the elements and carefully labelled), along with our water packs, extra socks, bandages, blister care, and lots and lots of pink accessories in tow.

And as we approached Nationals Stadium, the sea of pink got bigger and bigger.  We deposited our belongings on a truck, knowing that we wouldn't see them again until we completed the first leg of our 60 miles. 

Soon Opening Ceremonies began.

Richard and Blanca were there to see us off

And just as Opening Ceremonies concluded, the sun began to come up.

We hugged and kissed the gal who inspired us to do this crazy walk in the first place...

...and hit the road!

We were excited!

We were full of energy!

We were ready!

We had NO IDEA what we were in for.

(Next Friday, Part Two: how we walked 40 miles in the rain...uphill...both ways.)

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