Thursday, September 11, 2014

A long overdue update


I thought that once I finished schoil I'd have all this time and I would get back to blogging and maybe even wake up my long forgotten baking blog.

Turns out working full-time, getting home at 9 pm daily, having a dog and planning a wedding doesn't leave much time for that.

But one day I will. Eric wants to get into food photography, so if I dust off the baking blog it will at least have better pictures.

So what is new?

Well let's see. Wedding wise I am in a good place. We have the venue, food, DJ photography and videographer picked.  This past weekend I found cake stands and figured out the look of the cakes. I found my dress a few weeks ago.

Mom and I had two appointmenst one Saturday.  I was dreading dress shopping. I was worried about how I would look, nervous I wouldn't love anything. Mom really wanted to go to this place about an hour away in PA. I wasn't sure what the obsession was but I made the appointment. I am so glad I did. The girl helping me was amazing.  I found my dress, I tired on 7 but ended up with dress #2. I was so excited. I wanted to show everyone, but I finally had to stop because I wanted some pepole to be surprised come May. The best part is my mom's wedding veil works perfectly (once I get the funky hat thing taken off and a nice comb added)

I am working on flowers right now, I have an appointment with a local florist to see about them making my bouquet, the table flowers and other decorations are so simple we just need the flowers ordered.

Eric and I need to spend some time building the corn hole games for the yard at the venue.  That will be a weekend project really soon.

Aubrey is coming up in October so hopefully we pick the bridesmaid dresses then.

It's all coming along I'm getting so so excited.

In non wedding news Eric and I have almost finished our bedroom makeover. I plan on doing a post about this and go room by room, something along the lines of from bachelor pad to beautiful home. I still need to get some artwork, and our bedding (which is on the registry so I am waiting until after the wedding to get that) but our room looks amazing and I love the color we chose.

Enzo is great walking off leash now, being such a good dog. I'm so happy I have him. I love him so.


Monday, June 2, 2014

In memory of Mike McCoy

I wrote this driving home from work (VIA – 4 talk to text memos, with a lot of spelling and word choice errors) it has been sitting on my phone waiting to be edited and posted. Today is the1 year anniversary of the passing of a man who spent the majority of my middle and high school years, and continued after I left, making a difference in the lives of youth in Frederick, MD. Mike McCoy spent a week of his vacation every year on mission trips with our youth group, spent Sunday mornings with his wife teaching Sunday school and many many other hours hanging out, caring and loving on kids. We will never understand why God called him home before WE were ready, but God must have needed some comic relief in heaven because he called home his number one jokester. We love you and miss you Mike. Thanks for spending your life making a difference. Elisa, Em, Patrick, Munchie, Elizabeth and Austen, Thank you for sharing your dad with the world!!!

Right now each of us has a chance to make a difference in our community through the life of a young person. Every day I work with children many who live in single parent households, whose parents work full time can barely make ends meet, who are lost and wandering looking for direction. Every day I also work with special individuals to give up their personal time to come and spend a few hours with our kids. Some people often come from far away traveling over an hour to spend 2 maybe 3 hours with our kids. Sometimes our kids are not fun, sometimes their behaviors are frustrating and will make you absolutely angry; however we make a difference for the kids. It's one person who will take the time to look at their homework and help them complete it, it’s one person who will play a game on the computer with them, it's one person who will play a game of tag or basketball. The volunteers that come don't realize the impact they're making our kids. No they're not paid to be there the kids know I'm paid to be there but the volunteer and the tutors come because they want to be there.  Investing a few hours of your time in the life of a young person can make a world of difference. Our young people are looking for help, they're looking for someone to care, they're looking for their place and they don't know where to find it. The volunteers who give their time are making a difference. The kids are exposed to people in a different area of life, a different community, their exposed to people in college who are furthering their education. Our kids are maybe getting to slowly see firsthand ways of life more than the community that outside their front door. You wouldn't think it but many of our youth haven't even left their neighborhood. Last summer kids went with us to the Smithsonian on the mall, and a couple of them had never even been to that area of Washington DC. Yep they have lived in DC their whole life.If you have an afternoon that's free reach out to a school, reach out to a program, and reach out to a church. Donate a few hours of your time to a life of a child. The children are our future and sometimes that's a scary thought, when you look at what's in front of you. It's just a little bit of TLC needed for our kids who are rough around the edges and putting on a hard front because that's all they know and that's their survival instinct that can really change the world and it all starts with an older person. If you just care a little bit or even a person who cares a lot change make a difference. One of our kids left the program but has stayed in touch because she's reaching and searching for someone who cares in her life, she's searching for someone who wants to know what her report card looks like. This young lady is searching for her place,  she is not in our program she doesn't have to give us a report card but we still get it from her every quarter because she want someone who cares she want someone to say I know you can do better than that F, what happened? let's work on it. Her brother has no one and won't reach out to anyone and I'm terrified for him I know he could do big things in his life but he's getting lost in the shuffle and I am praying that someone would just reach out and take him under their wing and show them they care. The struggle of our inner city kids real, the struggle of all kids is real. Our lives are much more busy than they used to be, our parents are working multiple jobs just to put food on the table, spending long hours at work just to keep the house over their head. The struggle is real, I get it, I know we can't let our kids get lost in the shuffle. It's not always just because their parent doesn't care or is lazy, sometimes it’s that they're just doing what they can to provide and it's our responsibility to help pick up the slack to keep that child from falling through the cracks and ending up in the system or worse. If you don't have time donate I get that, take care of your own, put down the phone and iPad, turn off the shows and  show an interest. Make it known you care about their grades, make it known you care about what they're doing with our lives in the future, talk about the future even if they are young talk about school, college, jobs, what are you dreaming for and then support their dreams and show them that you support by being there to begin working on their dreams. Have fun with your kids just spend time with them, a lot of our kid’s behavior problems are there  because they want attention and will take it any way they can get it even if it's negative.

 I'm guilty of being distracted, Eric and I will sit at the dinner table with our phones in our hands not even talking, we've got to reconnect with each other and we have to connect with our kids(when we have them)  or we will lose them to this world. The world is a scary place, imagine how scary it will be without a generation of kids who have had no positive influence in their life. My job is to work with kids, to support their families and it's something I've become passionate about. If I had more time to give to other places, I would, but I don't right now, so all I can do is what I'm doing now one day I'll do more. I know I will, I want to make a difference in this world and I'm starting with our kids.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Offically a graduate!!


3.5 years ago, I decided that I wanted to go back to school and get my Master’s degree.  I started looking at local places, but quickly realized that working fulltime, trying to find a program that fit into my work schedule would be really difficult. I put it off for a little bit, and then decided to look into some online programs.

The University of Maryland University College had a master’s degree in management of nonprofits and associations. I have always known I wanted to work for nonprofits but I wasn’t sure how or doing what. I decided I would apply for this degree. While applying I read about the dual degree program, for another 18 credits (or a year) I could get my MBA upon completion of the Masters of Science in Management of nonprofits and association. I applied, and a soon after got my acceptance letter.

At that time in my life, things were in flux, while I didn’t know it right then, my 5 year relationship would be ending, but I knew things weren’t great. I wanted to do more with my life than be a nanny and I wasn’t sure how. This was the first step, it was scary.

My parents and grandparents and family were exceptionally supportive. They were so excited when I said I would be going back to school. There was much support given, cheerleading and checking in. My mom and dad, and my grandparents were always there to listen to my stresses, cheer me on, rejoice in the good grades and were understanding when school came before family get togethers and wedding planning. Also to my little brother, who is my constant comic relief in life and who is currently kicking ASS (sorry grandparent’s) in his first year of undergraduate with 3 A’s and a B in his classes!! I couldn’t be more proud.





 


In the middle of the first semester my world was flipped upside down. I left a relationship and moved and somehow managed to not fail the classes. I had a lot of people supporting me and I didn’t want to let anyone down. I also dug deep and found the strength to focus on me. I put my head down and worked hard on school and focused on that and running only. Probably the way I healed the most.
I met Eric during my 2nd semester; however, I don’t really remember it. I went over to Jess and Travis’ house to watch football… except my nose was in a business statistics book the whole time and I was struggling with a question. He tried to help me, but quickly retreated and said he had no idea (neither did I and I ended up turning the assignment in with that one blank) I remember him being there, but I wasn’t much fun, and I didn’t really talk to people much so I don’t really count it as meeting him.
Eric met me at the beginning of Grad school and dated me throughout the whole time, 2 years of long distance and only seeing each other on weekends, with many of those weekends with me behind the screen of a laptop. I tried really hard to balance school and dating, but sometimes school had to win. There were many times when I was so stressed and grumpy, many weekends where I ignored him all day, which were really hard. Times when I wanted to spontaneously go and do something, but we couldn’t. Beautiful days spent inside because school calls. However, he never complained and always supported me in my schooling.  I am not sure he will ever know how much it meant to me that he was supportive of me during that time. Thank you babe for the patience and understand you showed the past 2.5 years, WE made it!!! Now let’s go on some dates! :-D

To my friends, thank you for not being offended when I spent many Friday and Saturday nights not hanging out. I have answered no I can’t to many a text message requesting my presence at someone’s house, or downtown, yet they still asked and never took offense. Trips were planned around my syllabus. Many a night I spent at friend’s house with my laptop in my lap “hanging out”. BEST FRIENDS EVER. I am back!!! Let’s hang out!!
Graduation day was great; I didn’t walk with the first degree because it didn’t feel like it was over. This degree, I walked and it was the final stamp on the hard work I did.
Funny story about this pic - see how big my smile is...well, that yellow card in my hand has my name on it, and is how I get my name announced to walk across the stage - that is my 2nd one... I left the original on my seat!!! I got in line over there and realized when I set my program and phone on the chair I left the card! I may have freaked for a second, but they are smarter then we are, and had people with blank ones walking up and down the line for people like me :-D I got a new card, and the guy behind me made a joke about it, and all was well!


 

 
3 years of hard work, countless hours of reading and writing but I am finished. I have 2 master’s degrees and I am ready to change the world.

 

My Aunt hosted us all back at her house after the ceremony for some YUMMY food, and family time, and a fantastic cookie cake (my only dessert request!)

 
 
 
** All pictures from the talented Eric Mendelson Photography

 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Addition

I have a new alarm clock. It wakes me up around 7:00- 7:30am everyday. It doesn’t have a snooze button and can get quiet loud.

Its name is Enzo.

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Eric and I have been looking at dogs for a while now ( ok I have been) and the consensus was we would get a dog after I finished Grad school.

Last Saturday we went to Pet smart for a $12 fish tank item.

I jokingly said, we are going to get a puppy, even double checked with Dani, our roommate, to make sure she wouldn’t kill us if we brought a dog home. Though I was still mostly joking.

We get to pet smart and there was the most beautiful black dog. He looked like a lab, upon asking, he is a lab and black and tan coonhound mix.

He looks so pretty, mostly black, but his fur is showing a lot of brown.

They said he was 11 months, and was already house trained, knows some basic commands and is working on behaving on a leash.

He was perfect, exactly what we wanted – an older dog, but not so old that he has unbreakable bad habits.

We walked around the store with him, and decided we would fill out the application, only one weekend early.

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She spoke to one of our references, and was ready to give him to us. ( I personally believe she recognized us, as we go to pet smart on Saturdays, at least once a month, if not more, to look at puppies) He was perfect for us.

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We did the paper work, and then went on a shopping spree. YIKES. Buying a dog on impulse means I didn’t get to scour craigslist for a cheap used crate, but our little boy now has a forever home, and we are forever hooked.

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The first week was an adjustment for all, Enzo was used to living in a house with 7 other dogs, which provide constant entertainment. We weren’t cutting in, especially when we tired to do other things, like eat dinner, or do work. However, he is doing much better entertaining himself.

Taking long walks every night has been nice (until the rain came!) and it will be good for Eric and I too.

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The first couple nights he slept locked in his bed, but then he did so well, we decided to try leaving the door open at night (I have some guilt about him being crated a few hours a day) he starts our laying by the bed, but always ends up sleeping in his crate.

Enzo had a great first vet visit, he was instantly everyone buddy there. Yesterday, we went to pet smart to get him food, and as we were leaving one of the employees there said “Is that Enzo?” They knew him and everyone liked him.

Enzo loves destroying his toys (must only purchase hard plastic toys now)

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Watching life out the window

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Playing in grandma and grandpa’s back yard- though Kobi (his uncle) hates him.

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and snoozing.

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We are in love.

Daddy left for work and we were sad

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Enzo thinks he is a lap dog

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Watch this and try not to cry




I failed...


My mom seriously is the best, she has always done anything and everything for us, always putting herself last.


I love you mom.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The last class


They say the final class is always the hardest, and boy is that ever true this time around.

The class itself is extremely demanding, with it basically being one large group project, as well as a lot of individual projects due as well.

This semester I have less free time, I spend 10-12 hours a week in my car driving, compared to the 5-6 hours before.

I worked at my new job last semester, so I am used to having less time during the day to work, but I am still getting used to the routine of working and getting school work finished.

I have more distractions, when I come home I want to hang out with Eric, I want to see how his day was and I want to go to bed at the same time he does. Before, I would take a break and talk to him on face time and then when he went to bed, back to work I went. I saved a lot of my work for the weekends as well. That doesn’t work now as I have to have my sections to my team by Thursday evenings.

I want to plan my wedding. As much as I said I wouldn’t be worrying about the wedding until May that is a lie. I can’t help it.

I am over school, I have been doing this school thing for 3 years, and I am tired of having no free time, tired of not getting to watch my shows, tired of having to say no to friends because school work needs to be done. I am tired of writing and researching.

This last semester, when it is finished, will allow me to feel a real sense of relief and accomplishment. I am pretty sure I will cry tears of joy when I submit that last assignment.

I can’t wait to READ a book, catch up on my DVR that is filling up, paint my bedroom and decorate it, spend an entire weekend with Eric and not worry about when I am going to get my assignments complete. 

I can’t wait to hang that piece of paper on my wall.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Have you set a date?

You get engaged, and the first thing people ask is “have you set a date?!”

Seriously? I JUST got engaged, no. I know I want a spring 2015 wedding, I have plenty of time.

But then you lay in bed making guest lists, and researching venues/caterer/DJs and realizing that 1- there is a lot to do 2-it costs a small fortune to get married (yes dad, I know the church is free, but I am not diggin’ the basketball court feel)

Then I started looking at venues more closely, since I knew that would be the first thing we had to decide.

I couldn’t believe it but May 2015 dates were already filling up.

I called and booked a tour the next day with our first choice in venue.

Eric and I drove out to Walkersville, my hometown, the weekend after we got engaged on Sunday afternoon. Driving out there I made the comment that I have never been super emotionally attached to Walkersville, I moved away pretty easily, but there is something about getting married where I grew up, just a mile or so from home, and right across the street from my middle school that is pretty cool; when we saw the place, all that didn’t even matter anyway.

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It was beautiful, and perfect for the vision I had created in my head of my wedding. I didn’t want formal and fancy. That isn’t me. I wanted casual and fun. The guys aren’t wearing tuxes, and we just might serve BBQ as part of the dinner menu.

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The venue allows for lawn games like corn hole and horseshoes and there is a fire pit in the yard for late night s’mores post dancing.

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Another plus is you get the place until midnight and if it gets cold, then they will put the sides on the tent and heat it for us, for free. Amazing.

We left there a little bummed because we loved the place, but the price for a Saturday was over half what we wanted to spend on the wedding total! We threw around the idea of a Sunday wedding, as it offered some more savings, bringing it to a manageable price. Eric’s mom called us later with an idea that since we were thinking about Sunday, what about Monday, Memorial Day, it would offer much more savings and allow me to use that money for something else, putting us back on track budget wise.

I wasn’t 100% on board with the Monday wedding. So the next day Eric took his parents to show them the venue, and put a hold on the date while we look around at other venues. But once I knew we had a date at that venue, I got super excited and it didn’t matter anymore that it was a Monday.

It will be perfect.

Now I can’t stop researching other aspects of the wedding, reaching out to caterers and DJs.

Once school starts back up I will have to chill, but I am so excited, 2015 seems so far away! But I know it will be here before we know it.

****all pictures are taken from the venue’s facebook page , they aren’t mine, and not of my wedding Open-mouthed smile ****