Family

Bundle of joy

Bundle of joy 9

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Scott and I are thrilled to announce that our happy little family is soon to be expanding!

pregnant

Translation? I’m not preggo. (I am however slowly working my way towards a guest appearance on Confessions: Animal Hoarding.)

I’m know, I know…that was a mean trick to play. (Extra big apology to you, Mom.) Would you believe me if it I told you it was all Scott’s idea? Because it totally was. (Plus, I’ve always wanted to publicly share one of those “pregnancy reveal” photos…and as someone who may or may not ever have children, this may very well be my only shot!)

More details on Jolie’s furry little sibling on Monday. In the mean time, be prepared that we’re probably not adopting what you think we are…

While you ponder that little riddle, I’m off to prepare the birth announcements!

Uh…I mean…get some work done.

(P.S. We’re registered at Target if anyone wants to…I don’t know…throw us a pet shower or something.)

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Home

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Late last night, my brother returned home from an eight month tour in the Middle East.

The knowledge that he had arrived safely in the states was extremely cathartic. I felt gratitude, joy, pride, and most of all, relief. Out of my entire family, I took his recent deployment the worst. Truth be told, the stress I experienced after he left (among other warning signs) led me to discover that I suffer from an Anxiety Disorder. I’ve since received help (more on this later) and have noticed a huge difference in the way I function on a day-to-day basis. Still — having a younger sibling stationed on the other side of the world certainly isn’t easy, even if you don’t have a problem with Anxiety.

I haven’t yet had the chance to speak with my brother, but am so looking forward to our first conversation — I haven’t heard his voice since last September. I’ve missed him.

My brother is the first member of our family to join the military. Until I was directly affected, I never truly understood the difficult sacrifices made by the members of our Armed Services, as well as their loved ones. Each time I see a man or woman in uniform, I have a newfound respect and understanding of the beautiful commitment they have made to their country. Thank you to all of you who have, or currently are serving.

And thank you to everyone who sent kind words and prayers. I feel so blessed to have my brother in my life, extremely grateful that he returned home safely, and truly thankful that you all supported me while I was going through the stress of his deployment. It meant the world to me

Welcome home, bud. We love you and are so incredibly proud of you!

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Life of the party

Life of the party 1

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When Scott’s Saturday turkey hunt in Nebraska was postponed due to weather, we quickly adjusted our weekend plans. The cold, rainy day was a perfect opportunity to visit his sister and her family, who live just one hour south of where we were staying. The catch? Scott had forgotten to actually tell his sister we were coming to Nebraska–you can imagine her husband’s surprise when I called the house that morning.

“Hey!” I chirped energetically. “We’re in town! What are you guys up to today?”

And then it was my turn to be surprised.

Apparently, it was our niece’s fourth birthday party. (Cue the forgetful Aunt and Uncle of the year award!)

claire

We rushed to Target and bought the frilliest, sparkliest gift we could find before rolling into the four-year-old fiesta just in the nick of time. The look on our nieces’ and nephew’s faces when we made our surprise debut was priceless. I was so glad we had been able to attend the gymnasium-themed party, and was really looking forward to spending the afternoon catching up with everyone.

I turned to express my excitement to Scott, but he was long gone. Apparently, a gym full of toys = his kind of party.

But the fun didn’t stop with Scott’s scooter antics. Moments later, I found him hula hooping with his new BFF.

scott-facebook

The two were later spotted coloring in the cake room.

A bromance with a slightly inappropriate age gap.

A bromance with a slightly inappropriate age gap.

Much to my surprise, Scott is quite the coloring book prodigy. Although I suppose his art could be considered a little bit “dark”.

This could be worth a pretty penny someday.

Just go back to sleep, Aurora.

In a twist of irony, Scott had his own mentally unstable Disney princess moment at dinner later that night. Lipstick and all. In an attempt to fill the awkward silence with some laughter, he grabbed my new tube of MAC Ruby Woo and hastily started applying.

No offense honey, but that's not really your best color.

No offense honey, but I think you’d look better in “Candy Yum Yum”

The good news? His impromptu makeover broke the ice and put everyone in high spirits.

The bad news?

I’m married to the 30-year-old equivalent of a toddler with gender issues.

(But at least dinner’s always interesting.)

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Brunhilda

Brunhilda 4

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One of the best things about spending time in Seattle is getting to visit my younger sister, Hayley.

Being a mere two years apart, Hayley and I are extremely close, despite the fact that we are essentially polar opposites. While I spend my mornings applying Crest White Strips and a set of false eyelashes, she’s brushing her teeth with organic toothpaste that tastes like clay and slathering her lashes with an all-natural eyelash tint made from edible dye.Yet in spite of our striking differences, we share a bond stronger than the pungent taste of her terrible–yet apparently effective–toothpaste.

sisters

I hadn’t seen Hayley in person since December. When I arrived at her doorstep last week, I instantly knew something was different.

“Whoa…turn around!” I exclaimed. She slowly circled once as I took in her recent update in all of its stunning glory.  “Oh my gosh,” I cooed, “It’s amazing!”

“Thanks! I just cut it a few weeks ago.” she chirped. Suddenly, I realized my sister had lost approximately eight inches of length from her hair. It looked adorable, but that hadn’t been the change I was referring to.

“It’s totally cute! But…uh…I wasn’t talking about your hair. I was talking about your booty.”

Somebody had to say it. There was no denying the voluptuous bubble butt that was clearly the focal point of her floral print leggings. (And honestly, her entire appearance. Let’s just say homegirl is giving Beyoncé a serious run for her money.)

“You noticed!” she exclaimed with glee. “I’ve gained twenty pounds since you saw me last!”

Hayley’s recent weight gain certainly isn’t something she’s ashamed of. The first thing you should know is that my sister is an elite athlete. Not only is she a competitive rower who logs nearly two hours on the lake most mornings, she’s also very involved in a local running club, and is an up and comer on the Seattle triathlon scene. And Hayley doesn’t just compete in triathalons…she actually wins them. Needless to say, my little sis hadn’t gained twenty pounds as a result of too many hot mess burgers or lack of activity. She’s a physical specimen, gaining muscle and power as a result of some seriously intense training.

My sister’s rigorous physical activity requires that she eats several calories a day to maintain her energy level and fuel her metabolism. Basically, she’s one of those people who can eat whatever she wants and still be cellulite-free. Clearly, I hate her for this. (In the most loving way possible, of course.)

Take last Thursday for example. The weather in Seattle was absolutely gorgeous. We decided to meet my brother and his girlfriend for a sunset picnic at one of our favorite spots in the city, Gasworks Park. We stopped at Subway where I picked up a six-inch turkey breast on wheat. No mayo, no cheese, just lots of vegetables. I have a pair of lace shorts to fit in to, after all.

Naturally, Hayley ordered a foot-long sub filled with bacon, cheese, mayo, and all the good stuff I chose to deny my taste buds. She also topped it with every single vegetable offered…but all I could think about was that tasty, melty cheese. As we sat at the park, enjoying our meal, she noticed the longing gazes I kept directing towards her calorie-laden sandwich.

“Jealous?” she asked with a smirk.

“A little.” I confessed. “But some of us don’t work out three hours a day, and have to watch our diet as a result.”

“Sorry,” she shrugged, “I can’t help it if I have to feed the beast.”

Please tell me you have not named your butt ‘the beast’?” I pleaded.

“You got a better suggestion?” she asked between bites of bacon-infused goodness.

“Umm…Brunhilda?”

And that’s how my sister’s arse got its name.

The following day, Brunhilda was on display for all to see as Hayley and I spend the day at my very favorite naked spa. (More on this tomorrow.) I stood in awe, watching her parade around the facilities with a rump that appeared to be sculpted out of smooth, white marble. And no…I don’t think it’s strange to write publicly about my sister’s behind in such a manner — if you’d been there you’d also recognize that it’s a freaking work of art.

Meanwhile, I kept my self-conscious saddlebags safely concealed in the whirlpool. (And how come I’m the one with saddlebags? I didn’t even EAT any of that bacon sub sandwich!)

While I’m certainly envious of the mighty Brunhilda, the thing I admire most about my sister is her confidence and self-love. Sure, it’s easy to feel comfortable in your body when you’re in pristine physical condition and in the midst of your athletic peak. But Hayley’s had her fair share of awkward phases, and certainly won’t be rocking the white marble booty forever. I’m certain that one day, when those foot-long sandwiches finally catch up to her, she’ll love herself just as much as she did last weekend at the spa. Hayley’s realized that it’s more important to focus on health and happiness as opposed to jean-size or an inner-thigh gap. She sees food as a source of joy and nourishment, not as a dangerous temptation or something she needs to restrict. My sister doesn’t have time to worry about counting calories or calculating the fat count in a strip of bacon — she’s too busy having fun and living her life to the fullest.

She enjoys the moment.

And the bacon sandwich.

I think we (and by we, I mean I) certainly have a lot to learn from Hayley.

And Brunhilda.

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