Role Model

With all of the news about the Ashley Madison hack, Josh Duggar, and Jared from Subway, it makes me feel so sad that so many men are unfaithful partners.  It is so incredibly scary to me that websites such as Ashley Madison even exist, and are allowed.  I have experienced some pretty bad men in my life, both in dating, and in my own family.  I dated the wrong guys in general for a lot of years.  I feel lucky that I am married to such a great man now, and I hope that our future and life together will be happy.

My own father is not in my life, and is in no way a good example of what a husband and father should be.  However, I am lucky that I had a very strong role model of what a husband and father should be like when I was growing up.  My grandfather, who we called Pap, was a true gentleman.  He was kind, good mannered, and always treated my grandma and his children and grandchildren so well.  My grandpa was 100% Greek, and grew up during the depression in Boston.  He served in World War II, and then married my grandma after graduating from Boston University.  He went on to have 8 children, and then 20 grandchildren.  Some of the qualities that my grandpa possessed that I looked for in a husband came from seeing how my grandpa was as a father and husband.

Gentle and patient

Papa never lost his temper, and was so mild mannered and gentle with us.  He always had time to play with us, and would spend hours drawing incredible pictures, making elaborate sand castles, and playing hide and seek.

Good mannered

Papa had impeccable manners.  He never swore, never talked about other women, and always held the door for ladies.  He never said anything inappropriate or off color.


Papa never over ate or over drank.  He would eat until he was satisfied, and had one glass of red wine a day.  He modeled this for my family, and I still try to live by his rules for healthy living.  He enjoyed treats- desserts and McDonalds occasionally.  He enjoyed red wine.  But he never over-indulged.  This showed me how to eat and drink.

Put My Grandma First

Papa loved my nana unconditionally.  He put her above himself, and always made sure she was happy. He treated her so well he was kind and loving to her until her very last day.

Self Effacing 

Papa never talked about himself much.  He could have constantly spouted his knowledge about his experiences in World War II, or complained about this or that.  Instead, he preferred to know about us, and talk about sports and current events.

I try to model my behavior after these qualities, and I hope that Jim and I can be good partners and parents and be kind, patient, good mannered, self effacing, and put each other and our family first.  I think that if we do these things, we will have a happy life, and be good role models for our own children.

Friday Peaks of the Week #2

Saying goodbye to summer!

It’s been a busy week getting ready for school! I can’t believe summer is over and school is starting! I went into my classroom a few times this week, and also tried to enjoy my last few days of summer, and my last few days off EVER where I only had to worry about myself and could nap and read a book in bed if I wanted! I watched my fill of HGTV, The Real Housewives, online shopped, and read a lot of good books this summer. While I will miss it, I am excited to get back into a routine, and meet my new kids!

Listening to my body

I have been super hungry this week and yesterday was so hungry at 10:30 that I ate either a second breakfast, or an early lunch of peanut butter and honey on toast. It has been pretty fun to not worry about counting calories or if this was in my “plan” for the day. I have always been good about listening to my body, even before pregnancy, but have been even better about it now. If I’m hungry, it is for a reason, and I need to eat! I have been eating very healthy, and always make sure I have lots of fruits and veggies and dairy in my diet. I have also let myself indulge in a daily dessert- a few pieces of dark chocolate, gelato, or sometimes a more decadent dessert out at a restaurant. I don’t feel guilty at all about this because I eat well and stay active so I know I’m doing everything I can to help the baby grow and be healthy!  Earlier this week I had been forcing myself to get up at 5 and stop taking a nap to try to get ready for my school schedule. I was doing a million things and was super tired. Coupled with restless sleep at night, I ended up with a huge headache on Thursday. I took this as a cue to chill out and relax. In a few days I won’t have a choice and will have to power through my days, but for now, I should listen to my body and sleep when I’m tired, and take it easy when I have the chance!

Cuddly cat

The weather was quite fall-like in Chicago this week, which meant my cat Penny was super cuddly. Even when I was trying to type on the computer or needed to get up, she wanted to still be on my lap. I’ll take all the cuddles I can get!

Easiest dinner in the world

I whipped up a super fast and healthy dinner this week for us. I got a pound of cooked shrimp from the grocery store and stir fried it with a bag of frozen stir fry veggies and a bit of soy sauce. I served it over brown rice- the Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice. It came together in a flash, and was tasty and healthy!

Pottery Barn Baby 

Somehow I got this catalogue in the mail without signing up for it. I normal would be annoyed and toss this type of mail, but I LOVE Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids, so I was super excited to look at all of the beautiful things and start thinking about our nursery!

Pregnancy Update Week 17

Week 17

Baby is the size of an orange.  It weighs about 5 oz, and is about 5.1 inches crown to rump. For some reason when I take pictures, I don’t look like I’m pregnant at all!  I swear in person it looks more like I am pregnant.  I also chopped my hair off this week, and was in my pjs in this picture :)

Weight Gained

Total gained so far:  6 pounds

Week 17- 1 pound


I have felt pretty good this week!  I have been doing a lot of prenatal yoga, and that has helped a lot with my back pain, and I think it has helped with round ligament pain too, because of all the stretching.


Prenatal yoga, modified T25, and walking

I’ve been making sure to include a lot of core work (in the form of planks) because I really want my back to feel good.

Food Aversions

I still don’t love chicken and choose to avoid it.

Food Cravings

Nothing–except sweets.  And I miss having a glass of wine on the weekends :)

Baby-related purchases

We brought my brother back to Iowa for his junior year of college and we went to a consignment shop to look for some furniture for his apartment.  It turned out they had a TON of maternity clothes there.  I bought a few things that were in great condition.  I guess most maternity clothes are in good condition, because they are only worn for a few months!  I was excited to find some fall and winter tops for less than $10 each!  I also bought a pair of leggings and two cute tops from Target.  My pants are fitting me less and less, and I am going to definitely have to switch to maternity pants soon I think!

Week 17 Milestones

We cleaned out our second bedroom!  We both had a lot of old clothes and stuff stored in there, and I had A LOT of random old things, such as all of my old IDs from college and grad school, lots of old pictures, and tons of old clothes.  I donated all of the clothes, and am storing all of the old pictures.  It was fun to clean it out, because it is for a good reason!  Right now we just have it set up as a spare bedroom.

Looking forward to:

I feel like I look a little more pregnant, and I am looking forward to being able to fit into maternity clothes.  Right now all of the pants I have tried on are too big, but my own pants are getting too small.  I am wearing the belly band so I can unzip my pants, but it’s not very comfy.  I am also SOO excited about finding out the gender next Friday.  I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it! I also found out a few weeks ago that my friend is pregnant, and due a month after me, so I am excited to go to dinner with her this weekend and plan out how our babies will be BFFs. :)

Fun Stories

I started going back to school this week to set up my classroom, and it was fun to see everyone and have them notice my little tiny bump!  When I was cleaning out our second bedroom, I found the exact outfit that I wore the first time I met Jim!  That is probably a sign that I need to go through my things more often!

Cape Cod

I have been going to Cape Cod almost every summer of my life. This was Jim’s first trip, and I was really hoping he would enjoy it, and fall in love with it. I think he liked it, and we are planning on returning next year with our baby in tow! Our trip was such a blast, and I figured I would share the rest of my pictures here! I can’t wait to go back next year. My mom, brother, and I rented a townhouse in Chatham and it was right on the water. It was amazing to wake up and see the ocean every morning.  

As soon as we got to Chatham we went straight to the beach!

  Brunch at Chatham Bars.
Chatham As baseball  
Huge bird nest   
Shark madness everywhere!      

 Chatham light  
  Monomoy Island   
  Breakfast at Chatham Cookware  

Until next year, Cape Cod!

Friday Peaks of the Week

In my first grade class, my students all have a journal, and on Friday afternoons we journal about our “peaks of the week”.  All the good things that happened in school throughout the week.  I thought it would be fun for ME to do the same thing here on the blog!  Here are my Peaks of the Week this week.

Summer dinners

I am loving grilled dinners.  The flavors are so plentiful, and everything tastes so fresh in the summer.

Here is one of our dinners- salmon, baked potato, and corn on the cob- all on the grill.

Another night we had burgers on the grill with carmelized onions.  Mine was a mini version of Jim’s. :)

 Time with family

We went on a little trip with Jim’s family last weekend and it was really fun to hang out with everyone, and play with the boys!



On our trip last weekend Jim and I snuck out to get some coffee and breakfast before everyone was awake.  I love lattes from coffee shops and bakeries.  I wish I could recreate them at home, and have the same delicious taste.  I think it also has something to do with the fact that someone else makes the latte, and we are usually having fun on the weekend, that makes lattes taste so good!

 Cubs game

I wrote about this a little bit in my What I Ate Wednesday post, but we went to the Cubs game with my family this week.  We went to celebrate my brother’s last week here before he heads back to college.  The weather wasn’t very cooperative, but it was still really fun!


My back was really bothering me last week, and the week before we were on vacation, so I was happy to get back to some good workouts this week. I have learned I need to slow down and listen to my body more than I had before.  I have been doing lots of prenatal yoga, Piyo, and a little T25 for some cardio.  I am planning on writing a full post about prenatal yoga soon, because it has been amazing so far!

Summer Candles

I bought a coconut Yankee Candle at TJ Maxx earlier this summer, but never lit it until this week.  I have been burning it nonstop this week!  It smells SO good, and I want to fully enjoy my summer smells before it is time to move on to my beloved pumpkin for the fall!

Date Night at Chatham Bars Inn

When we were on vacation, my mom treated us to a gift card to the Chatham Bars Inn for our anniversary! Chatham Bars Inn is a resort hotel in Chatham.  

 It is stately, and beautiful! It was built in 1914 and represents old Cape Cod. With it’s traditional coastal decor and timeless feel, it is a must-see. We usually go every year for brunch, and we did again this year. I have never been for dinner so I was excited to try it. We opted to eat outside, either at their Veranda dining room, a dining area on the front porch of the Inn, or at The Beach House, a bar/restaurant down by the ocean and pool. We put our names in at the Veranda, and headed down by the beach for some drinks. 


The beach bar and the beach area are beautiful and fun! There was live music, people everywhere enjoying food and drinks, and it was a fun, vacation vibe.  There are fire pits, cabanas, and everything you need for a beach day. We walked around and enjoyed the gorgeous views.  Then it was time for our meal, so we headed back up to the Inn. 

   The Veranda overlooks the ocean, and serves small plates and light fare.  Since we wanted to eat outside, we knew this was a good choice.   



 The views were breathtaking- the sun was setting, so the whole sky was pink.  We decided to order calamari, and a lobster pizza flatbread.  Both were outstanding!  



  It was such a nice, laid back way to celebrate our anniversary, and enjoy a night out on the Cape.  There are many other dining options at the Chatham Bars, and I can’t wait to go back next year! 


What I Ate Wednesday

Here is everything I ate yesterday! Some healthy, some not so healthy. It’s all about moderation!

Breakfast- Kashi Heart to Heart cereal with blueberries

Snack- honey roasted nuts-so good!! 
Lunch- spinach and tomato salad, and two quesadillas with cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips with salsa 
  Snack- unpictured watermelon
Dinner- we went to the Cubs game and I scarfed down a hot dog before remembering to take a picture. There was a crazy storm and the rain delay was so long that we ended up leaving. When I got home I had a little ice cream- I just had to get all my calcium 😉 but again forgot to take a picture. Next week I am going to definitely be better about taking pictures of all of my food!

To see more posts like these go to

Pregnancy Weeks 14, 15, and 16

Week 14

Baby is the size of a peach- about 3.4 inches crown to rump (forgot to take a picture)

Week 15

Baby is the size of a pear- about 3.9 inches crown to rump

 Week 16

Baby is the size of an avocado- about 4.5 inches crown to rump (forgot again to take a picture!)

Weight Gained

Total gained so far:  5 pounds

Week 14- 1 pounds

Week 15- 1 pound

Week 16- 1 pound


Week 14- Still tired but feeling much less tired than before!  Still the same tummy troubles.  Still the some headaches. But overall feeling much more like myself! I have a lot of zits and my skin is irritated.  I never had any skin problems before, so this is something I am getting used to.

Week 15- Much less tired.  We went on vacation this week, and one day we went to Nantucket, which was a very long day, and I felt totally dead with a horrible headache at the end of the day.  I think I my body was telling me to slow down!  I had headaches during our drive to and from Cape Cod at the end of the day. Same skin issues.

Week 16- I started having a weird cramping feeling in the bottom of my uterus and on the left side. I casually mentioned it to my doctor, and she said to call if it continued.  It did, so I went in two days later for another checkup. The nurse practitioner did a cervical exam to check to see if I was having a miscarriage.  Not fun, and so so scary!!  She concluded that it was just from doing too much and being on the go too much, so she said I need to tone it down, and get off my feet more.  I was spotting for days after, and was pretty freaked out.  But I am feeling better now, and listening to my body more! I also had a lot of back pain this week.  I have always had back problems from an injury in high school so I’m not surprised about this.


Week 14- 21 Day Fix Extreme, walking, yoga

Week 15- not much!  I was on vacation, and usually run everyday on the Cape, but since running isn’t in the cards for me right now, I walked a lot, and did yoga on the beach one day.

Week 16- not much- a little prenatal yoga and some walking

Food Aversions

Pretty much nothing!  One day eggs grossed me out, but overall, I can eat everything.  Still leery of plain chicken, but if it is mixed in with something, I can eat it.

Food Cravings

Nothing, but in week 16 I am feeling much more hungry and thirsty! I have to eat as soon as I wake up because I am STARVING!

Baby-related purchases

Week 14-Nothing!

Week 15- On vacation my mom, Jim and I got really excited about all of the cute, nautical themed items.  I wished we knew if it were a boy or girl, but we still bought plenty of gender neutral things.  Lots of cute onesies and a really cozy mint-colored blanket, and a stuffed lobster that Jim picked out. :)

 Week 16-Nothing

Week 14-16 Milestones

In week 14 we made it Facebook official! It was really fun to share the news with everyone who didn’t know yet!  I also told my coworkers and boss, and it felt good to get the news out in public. Vacation was so fun, and it was really fun to talk incessantly about what our trip next year will be like with the baby in tow! I loved buying things for the baby on vacation.  I can’t wait to set up the nursery and register this fall! Reaching 4 months feels great!  I feel like I am finally over the hump of extreme nervousness and anxiety, fatigue, and tummy issues, and can hopefully enjoy my pregnancy fully now! I also am starting to clean out our second bedroom in preparation of transforming it from a junk storage/guest room into a nursery.

Looking forward to:

I can’t wait to have a real baby bump and transition into maternity clothes.  I still  just feel like I look like I went let myself go this summer :) I can’t wait until I actually look pregnant.  I am in a weird phases with clothes where I can still fit into most things, but I don’t feel comfortable with tight shirts and have to unbutton my jeans.  I am looking forward to buying new cute maternity clothes.

I am really really excited to find out the gender in 4 weeks.  I cannot wait to know!  We found out the date of our ultrasound, and are starting to plan a gender reveal party with our families!

Fun Stories

Vacation was so fun!  I had purchased some tankinis because I wasn’t sure how comfortable I would feel in a bikini.  I ended up getting my nerve up to wear my bikini a few days! Buying so many cute things for the baby on vacation was very fun.  I had a virgin mojito on vacation, and it tasted pretty good.  Still trying to find a good mocktail that is more fun than just soda water with a lemon.

 Jim snapped a pic of me driving home from vacation, and I think it is the first time I have looked pregnant in a picture!

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

On our drive to Cape Cod, we stopped overnight in Syracuse, NY.  After a long 10 hour day of driving, we were more than ready to get out and stretch our legs.  We ate at Dionosaur Bar B Que in Syracuse.   

 This was the original location, and there are now multiple locations in New York, and now in Chicago! I was so hungry, and it was packed there!  We had to wait for a few minutes at the bar, and then finally got our table.  This was a fun place for families and young couples alike.  It seemed like everyone was ordering mojitos and margaritas at the bar, and they looked delicious! When we sat down I ordered a root beer to feel a bit more festive. Please excuse the tired face and messy hair– it was a long day! 

     I went with a pulled pork platter- pulled pork, mac and cheese, tomato and cucumber salad, and corn bread. 

   Jim had a combination platter, and had ribs, brisket, fries, salad, and corn bread.  

 The portions were enormous!  I ate so much that I was absolutely stuffed, but it barely looked like I put a dent in it!  We loved the food and the vibe and will definitely be back next year on our drive!  Afterwards we walked around Syracuse.  It is a really cool small city with tons of restaurants and bars and outdoor spaces to eat. 


Pregnancy Weeks 11-13

Baby Size

I wasn’t good about taking pictures because we were so busy these weeks!

Week 11- Baby is the size of a fig

Week 12- Baby is the size of a plum

Week 13- Baby is the size of a peach.  Definitely noticing some physical changes!  Starting to need to unbutton my pants.  :)

Weight Gained

Total gained so far:  2 pounds

Week 11- 0 pounds

Week 12- 1 pound

Week 13- 0 pounds


Week 11- Pretty much the same symptoms I have been having all along.  I am super tired, but have the luxury of getting enough sleep so I don’t feel completely miserable.  I have still been having headaches a lot.  Still have a super duper sensitive stomach.  I feel like I can’t eat anything even remotely “exotic”.  Peanut butter and I are not friends right now at all :-(

Week 12- Same as Week 11.  Headaches and upset tummy a lot, but could also be due to A LOT of stress in my personal life.

Week 13- Same as before, but I haven’t had as many headaches.  My stomach is still really off.  Maybe feeling little less tired?  I hope!!  Heartburn is returning with a vengeance.  I am definitely feeling thicker around the middle and if I feel around my tummy area I can feel my uterus which is as hard as a rock.  To me, I look super pregnant, but I know nobody else can tell. :)


Week 11- Piyo, T25, walking, and yoga

Week 12- 21 Day Fix Extreme (modified), walking, yoga

Week 13- 21 Day Fix Extreme, walking

Food Aversions

My meat aversions have calmed down a little.  I even ate a pulled pork sandwich, and had some chicken!  I still can’t fathom eating a plain chicken breast on its own or chopped up in a salad.

Food Cravings

I have been loving summer fruit like watermelon and cherries, but I don’t really consider this a craving.  I still have a massive sweet tooth, but that is not pregnancy-related!

Baby-related purchases

Week 11-Nothing!

Week 12- Nothing, but we did receive our first gift- an adorable onesie from Denmark!

Week 13- Nothing

Week 11-13 Milestones

I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat twice!! I went in during week 10 because of a UTI and was surprised because the nurse practitioner told me we could listen to it. It was AMAZING!  Then during week 11 I had my monthly checkup and my mom came along to hear it too.  Hearing the heartbeat was the first time I realized that there truly is a living baby in me!

We had so many people in town for my brother’s wedding, and they all knew I was pregnant and it was so fun to share our excitement with everyone!

I started telling the rest of my friends I am pregnant during week 13, and it is always to fun to let people in on my excitement!

Looking forward to:

I am finally starting to relax and enjoy my pregnancy now that I am further along.  I started reading more books, and am getting excited about having a baby bump and planning our nursery in the future.

I am also really looking forward to feeling better.  I can’t wait for that to start…any day now!

I can’t wait to publicly announce my pregnancy to the world, and to my colleagues.  It will be nice to be out of hiding and to be able to be able to talk and write about it!

Fun Stories

As silly as this sounds, receiving the onesie from my brother’s family in Denmark was so exciting to me.  Nobody had given me anything since I announced my pregnancy, and I just couldn’t stop looking at it!  It is still so surreal to me that there will be a real baby wearing that soon!  It made me so excited for what is to come.

We had 4 late nights in a row because of all of the out of town guests.  The first night, the party was at our house.  I managed to entertain and stay up until midnight–the latest I have stayed up this pregnancy.  I was very proud!  At my brother’s wedding, I danced and had fun (even without wine ;)) and stayed until 11 pm.  I considered this a major accomplishment since I had been up since 6, and was getting ready with the bridesmaids all day.

At my brother’s wedding, Jim was dancing with me and kept touching my “bump” and saying hi to the baby.  It was so cute and so fun to see him starting to get excited about everything.