Today is my husband’s birthday. He hates having extra attention lavished on him so I figured I’d better write a blog post about it, right? Last year his birthday was just one day in a very long list of days that we were thousands of miles apart, so simply being together this year is a great gift for both of us.
Although he’s off spending his birthday at work, we did kick start the morning with cards, a little gift from me and the hippo (although really, isn’t the hippo gift enough?!), and breakfast at our local cupcake bakery where the owner treated B to his chocolate cake donut and coffee. Yum. Tonight a dinner surprise awaits him and in a few days we will continue the celebration over buttery croissants and other delicacies while enjoying our babymoon in Quebec.
In our day to day lives, it’s often difficult to take the time and really appreciate the most precious people in our lives. This morning I have to say that I couldn’t ask to be spending my life — and making a new life — with a more loyal, loving, and considerate man. Happiest of birthday darling!
This picture may be a repeat from last year’s birthday post, but it’s just too cute! Hubby is, of course, the shirtless one sticking his hand in the cake…
Here are the highlights from what will no doubt be the most relaxing, quietest mother’s day weekend I experience for quite awhile:
• Saturday I took a great prenatal yoga class with lots of other mamas-to-be. It was a wonderful practice and afterward I found myself relaxed and more in tune with the hippo.
• Bright and early yesterday morning my hubby gave me this sweet card (note the birds are made of actual feathers — it’s super cute) and my mom and dad had sent me a card too. It made my morning!
• The baby has apparently launched a VIP rave in utero. He’s been dancing around in there the past few nights in the wee hours of the morning (we can neither confirm nor deny that there are glow sticks involved…). Since I am awake anyway, it’s fun to feel him kick, punch, wiggle or whatever the heck he’s doing! He’s been so active the past two nights that my husband has really been able to feel him moving which was a fun Mother’s Day treat for both of us.
• We picked our first three strawberries yesterday. Whatever will I do with such a haul?!
• After church we strolled over to the local bakery and indulged — a coffee milkshake for my honey and an apple poptart and decaf iced mocha for me.
• Post-treat I took a nap and may have even gotten a little sleep! Yay!
• As a bonus treat, my husband gave me his free birthday drink at Dunkin Donuts, so I headed over there bright and early this morning to get a decaf iced mocha and a maple donut. The trek home surely burned off all the calories, right? At the very least, it helped lessen my case of the Mondays!
Being self-employed means I am responsible for everything involved in my business life. Not only do I need to make sure I complete my actual projects in a timely fashion (which is pretty important), but I am also my own IT department and responsible for taking care of all the mundane tasks involved in keeping a business afloat like invoicing, tracking expenses, filing my taxes, etc. You know, the really fun stuff.
So when I was reminded that today is administrative assistant day, I thought I’d better let myself know I am appreciated! I’m enjoying working from our new breakfast room this morning with my sweet treat thanks to my awesome boss — a peanut butter chocolate cupcake (totally good for the baby, think of all the iron and protein in the peanut butter!) and a (decaf) iced mocha. Also, I managed to get “I Am My Own Best Friend” from Chicago stuck in my head this morning. Of course, I am belting out “I am my own administrative assistant!” to myself which doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
Happy administrative assistant day!
Okay, my headline might be a teensy bit misleading, but honestly I am running out of ways to title posts about this furlough nonsense. There are no “facts” in this post and probably not a whole lot of “fun.” As we approach the middle of week three of the government shutdown, finding the bright side has gotten a little tougher — When will my husband be going back to work? Will he receive back pay? If so, how long we will have to wait for that? But as I started to make this list, I see that there are a number of positive outcomes due to this unexpected three week “vacation.” Here’s what we have been up to the past few days:
• We are finally approaching the start of our long talked about home renovation project, so my hubby spent yesterday and this morning clearing out our lower back porch so it is ready to be demolished. And he didn’t just throw the stuff that was back there all over the rest of the house, he nicely organized it in the kitchen and basement. I am so glad that after months of planning, permitting, and reaching out to contractors we are nearly ready to knock things down and get this renovation started!
• I baked tiny little brioche bites from scratch on Monday. They were absolutely delicious, particularly when topped with bacon jam (which I keep trying to convince my hubby to post about…)
• It finally stopped raining so we’ve been able to sit outside a few mornings this week and catch up with folks over our usual iced mocha and chai.
• Despite our plan to not spend any money, we tried out the pretzel place (that has been open for at least a year) and frequented the new cupcake/coffee shop that is in its soft opening phase since both are only a few blocks from the house. Gotta support our local neighborhood businesses! And I got a free mocha out of the latter.
• Our garbage and recycling is still getting picked up. Definitely happy about that!
• My husband has continued cooking up a storm and if he doesn’t go back to work soon I am going to be furlough fat — while I love having home cooked meals for lunch AND dinner, I think my pants would be happier with just one big meal per day. My fingers are crossed that I fit into the dress I bought for my friend’s wedding this weekend!
• Last (and definitely least) I had a dream that we spent $400 buying cheese ($120 of which was tax!) last night. Needless to say I was a little stressed out about this decision since the government was also shutdown in my dream. I love cheese as much as the next girl, but I was very glad to wake up and discover that we had not purchased a lifetime supply of cheese!
As we enter Day 5 of the shutdown (or Day 7 if you count the weekend), I continue to embrace the positive side of this unplanned (perhaps unpaid) vacation my hubby has been forced to take. Here’s why: it’s been almost a year since he left to spend 8 months working in Afghanistan and apart from two weeks in Dec/Jan and our fabulous Turkey/Greece trip in April we spent about 7 of those 8 months apart.
While we both survived the distance, we learned that seven months is a very long time.
When he came back to DC this summer, he arrived on Friday morning and on Monday returned to his usual routine — heading to rowing practice at 4:45 am and work after that. So in the midst of this government turmoil at least we have the opportunity to spend time (a lot of time) together. And because he was home nearly all of last week to do projects around the house, we spent the weekend just hanging out — playing board games, watching Netflix, and eating too many desserts. While not as grand as sipping cappuccinos in Samos, Greece, like we did during our lazy spring days together, we had a wonderful weekend.
So on one hand we are both anxious for the furlough to end so he can get back to work — he was supposed to travel to Germany yesterday for meetings and that, of course, didn’t happen. Combine that with our upcoming major house renovations and the thought that he may not be paid for weeks on end isn’t exactly appealing. But I realize that worrying about it won’t change the outcome, so this morning I’m raising my iced mocha to toast this chance for togetherness.
It seemed like a busy weekend, but looking ahead we can’t count on enjoying a lazy weekend at home until November, so I suppose Saturday and Sunday weren’t anywhere near as hectic as the upcoming weekends are going to be! The highlight of the past weekend was attending a college friend’s wedding on Saturday evening. The setting was beautiful, the food was delicious and, most importantly, the bride and groom were head over heels in love from start to finish.
But a new week is underway and I appear to be battling the onset of a summer cold. My plan for fighting it is mostly just to ignore it and get a lot of sleep. We’ll see how that goes. So this morning instead of thinking about my scratchy throat, I’m trying to focus on the things that are making me smile and the list is long:
• My husband made blueberry pancakes for breakfast — yum! (I ate them too fast to snap a picture.)
• While I was out running my errands I took advantage of a “free iced coffee every Monday for 6 weeks” deal at Dunkin Donuts and, even more exciting, discovered that the pumpkin donuts are already back.
• We are trying to be frugal this fall because of our upcoming home renovations, but while I was at Trader Joe’s I couldn’t stop myself from spending $7 on this mixed bouquet and these Gerber Daisies. They went so well together and are brightening up the living room as I type!
• Speaking of the living room, we re-arranged the space a bit yesterday and rolled up the boring and stained rug we bought when we moved in to put down a carpet that my husband brought home from Afghanistan. We also replaced the hand-me-down runner in our entry hall with an Afghan piece. I’m trying to get used to walking on them because I’m nervous I might ruin them, but what’s the point of having a memento if you can’t enjoy it?
• And last, but not least, our fall garden seems to be coming along nicely. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we will have as abundant of a haul of cucumbers and sugar snap peas as we did in the spring/summer. I’m also trying green beans (again) because they were a total flop this summer. Speaking of the summer, our tomato plants all appear to be getting a second wind which is exciting. I brought in a small bowl of cherry tomatoes this morning and each of the larger plants have a new batch of green fruit on the vines. Here’s hoping that when they start to turn we can get to them before the birds/squirrels do!
Is that you don’t have to pretend to be busy all day. My job, like every job, has hectic times and quiet times, but when you are in an office with a boss you don’t want it to look like you are “wasting time” checking your personal email or catching up on facebook. It’s not that you aren’t doing your job, there just may not be anything to do at that moment, but no one wants to look like a slacker. So you try to get ahead on projects, check your work email a million times, review your calendar… and want to bang your head against the desk when you realize that only 5 minutes has passed and you still have nothing work related to keep you occupied.
This is why I love working from home (and for myself) — when I have work, I do it. When I don’t have work or am waiting for edits, there are plenty of other things to do — laundry or running errands or learning a new jazzercise routine or meeting a friend for coffee. For me, these other outlets are key to the idea that I am working to live, not living to work. I love my clients and I pride myself on doing every project on or ahead of schedule, but there is a lot more to life than working and by being my own boss I don’t have to spend a part of each day proving to someone else that I am doing my job.
Usually I’ll just have a quiet day here or there, but this week with Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah every day has been fairly low key. I’m so glad that this morning I could enjoy the cooler, breezy weather over an iced mocha with a friend, her son, and my newest doggie intern, Bella. Now, with Bella’s assistance, it’s time to see what I can get accomplished during this mellow Thursday afternoon.