Tuesday, December 18, 2012

16 weeks

I am still working toward going to physical therapy school, but it's such a long process. I've been doing well with my shadowing. I go to two different places almost every week. Im learning a lot that way. I make the mistake of signing up for an online GRE class and forgot that in the beginning of pregnancy I barely have enough energy to get out of bed and definitely not enough brain power to sit through a 3 hour class once a week. Ooops! I am going to try to go through the recordings now that Im feeling much better and hope that it wasn't a complete waste of money. Today I signed up for a precalculus class, but made sure to find one that is self-directed. I still have to take Physics, Anatomy and Physiology and Exercise Science. Ugh. One step at at time!

I went to the doctor yesterday for my monthly checkup. Im 16 weeks now and everything is going well so far. My blood pressure dropped to 100/60. I hope it can stay down this time. By the time Finley was born it was up to 140/80, which is really dangerous. We found out that the baby has a 1/10,000 chance of having Trisomy 18 or Down Syndrome. That means that its such a low chance that it's not detectable. Next test we find out about is for Spina Bifida. Oh and I only gained 2 lbs since the last appointment. My goal is to weigh less than I did when Finley was born! Our next appointment will be the ultrasound that will look at the babies anatomy and make sure everything is normal and we will find out boy/girl. Fin already has a name picked out - Rudolph. Pronounced by her "Rudoss".

I will try to take photos on our vacation to Vermont and post while I am there. We are so excited!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Much Needed Fun Weekend

We started out Saturday morning going over to our flyball friends Kris & Carrie's house for a delicious breakfast of sweet potato pancakes and bacon. Then we trained our dogs for a little while and took them all on a nice long hike. We had 7 dogs total and they all got along really well. It was surprisingly relaxing. Then we came home and Finley had a long nap because she was so tried after getting up at the early hour of 8:30 am. Ben and I got some work done around the house and then we relaxed around the house. When Finley got up she Skyped with her Gran and Pop, we ordered some takeout and watched Elf. We rarely sit around and watch a movie all together, so that was really nice. Finley is just now old enough to sit through a whole movie.

Today we took Pax, Spy (our whippet puppy) and Finley to Cambridge. We went to the Museum of Natural History. We didn't get to stay as long as we would have liked, but Fin was actually interested in looking at a lot of the animals. We also got some desserts at a bakery, some Indian food to go for dinner tonight and bagels and cream cheese to eat in the car on the way home. We were also able to walk the whippets around and socialize the puppy with all sorts of scary things. She wasn't actually scared of anything..very brave puppy! We came home at around four and watched some TV and relaxed around the house. It was just the weekend we needed. The only downside is that I didn't get any photos and I still need to learn how to use my complicated new camera!

Some things Finley has said in the last few days...

- someone asked how Finley's pop was doing and she said "he only has 1 hip" (because he is in the process of a hip replacement)
- she's been asking for us to leave her bedroom door open a crack when she goes to bed. It's very cute
- She's just about able to count to 10, but mostly says the numbers out of order.
- She asks one of us to do something and then if we do it, she says "good jobbie", which she got from our flyball friends rewarding their dogs
-Last night she asked Ben if he wanted to hear a joke and he said OK and she said "Goose" and then another one was "Pax". Very cute!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I have not been good about posting regularly. We have a lot going on and have been busy, but at the same time not as much going on as we would like. The biggest news is that Im pregnant! 16 weeks right now. I spent the last several months feeling sick and staying in bed. So incredibly tired and nauseated. Now Im feeling better, but it's harder to handle typical life stress. I still don't know what I am doing about work and school. I want to go back to school, but there is so much to do to make that happen! Im hoping to take a Calculus class this semester and have gotten on a regular schedule of shadowing at two different Physical Therapy places. My nutrition job search is on hold at least until the new baby is 6 months old.

The other HUGE stress in our lives is the house hunting. We've looked at a ton of houses and nothing even comes close to working for us. It's so frustrating and disappointing. It feels like we will never find something that works. We need a bigger house before this kid is born! And then on top of that, I don't even love the area that we are in. I think I will be happier if we ever get to Sturbridge, but I hate the town that we are in now.

It has gotten a bit better since the last time I did a post like this. Finley started a gym class that she loves. I started taking yoga classes and we found a good dog training facility near Sturbridge for taking classes with the dogs. I got a new amazing camera and have been looking into taking a photography class to learn how to use it. So we are adjusting and getting involved in the community, but I still can't help but feel disappointed.

With all the stress we have, Finley is the light of our lives. She is a wonderful, empathetic, sweet and thoughtful little girl. She is talking up a storm and has tons of questions about everything. She loves Thomas the Train and is excited to get some trains for the Holidays. She also wants bandaids! Haha. She does not like getting up early and still loves to eat, but is a little more opinionated and picky.

The three of us and our 4 dogs are heading to Vermont for Christmas for some relaxation, snowshoeing and skiing. I cannot wait to get away from our tiny little house.

Finley absolutely LOVED the Polar Express Movie so we had to go take a ride on the train with her! She loved it..especially getting a little gift from Santa and the hot cocoa and cookies!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

house hunting

We are enjoying the cooler temperatures here. It really doesn't get any better than early fall in New England. The air is dry and cool; the sun is shining. There are less bugs , which makes hiking so much more enjoyable. It's very festive with all the fall/halloween decorations and of course the leaves are starting to change. We went apple picking a few weeks ago, which we all loved.  It makes me realize that I made the right decision to move here...

Speaking of moving here, we went to go look at two houses in Sturbridge yesterday. The first one is on a great road. It's close to town and has lots of old beautiful farm houses. This particular house was smaller than others in the neighborhood. It had tons of 1930's charm and was well taken care of. The layout was the opposite of an open floor plan - typical for that time period. I guess it would be considered a colonial. It had lots of nice features, but the land would not have worked. It's on a steep hill and there is no where to exercise the dogs or park our trailer. This is a deal breaker for us. Also it needed some updated in terms of plumbing and electric. The 2nd house was definitely not going to work. It was huge..like over 4000 square feet. It was almost too big and I hated the style. It was very 1980's fake lake house. It was trying to be high end, but hasn't been updated in a long time and it's  a short sale so the current owners have let it go. We are definitely sticking with this town, but need to find the right house!

This weekend we are going to Cape Cod for our final trip with our trailer for the year. I'm very excited!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Finley & I

Ben just got home from a camping trip with "the guys". They had fun even though it rained quite and bit and he is extremely stressed about Vet school. My parents came up from NJ to watch Finley on Saturday, so I could go whippet racing with Pax. I had a lovely day with just one dog and no one else to worry about. I got very little sleep the night before though, so I was not feeling great when I got home and the other dogs and Finley were full of energy. We went out to an Italian restaurant called Dinos and I got my standard eggplant dish and shared it with Finley.

Today Finley and I went to the Sterling fair. It was weird to be there without Ben, but we better get used to that. He is going to be spending the next 4 years buried in books. Anyway, it was a cute little fair with all the standard stuff. Fin decided recently that she doesn't love horses, goats or sheep anymore..Now it's all about the cows and cars/trucks and other modes of transportation. Sooo...we checked out the helicopters and of course Fin loved nothing more than the ride that spins around and she gets to sit in a car. Speaking of that she has a new obsession with getting in the drivers seat when we get home. She says "drive car" and she wants to sit out there and pretend she is going food shopping or to the lake. She is always sure to bring me good stuff from the grocery store..usually PB&J, bread or butter.

Lets see more updates on Finley...well for food, she has been really into PB&J and even named her toy spider after it. She also still loves hummus, grapes, pasta/noodles, cheese, broccoli, hotdogs, french fries, rice, soup, burritos, ranch dressing, juice, peaches, mac and cheese, grilled cheese..but she'll eat pretty much anything we offer. She still sleeps wonderfully..in fact she's going on 2 hours for her nap right now.

This morning she woke up at 8:15 and I woke up for a second..waited 2 minutes and didn't hear anything else and she went back to bed until 10 am..thats my girl! She's gotten a lot taller, which I only know because I got her onto a ride that required her to be 36" and she was just about there. She loves to sit in her room and read books by herself, play with the dogs, go to the playground and swing, play with other kids. Fin still loves to help by cleaning, carrying stuff, pushing the stroller, holding the dogs leash, feeding the dogs. She is in a climbing phase, in which she carries around a stool to get up to higher places. The biggest thing is her talking! Finley doesn't repeat us really anymore..she actually responds to questions and remembers things she did. She even said a full sentence today (it was completely out of context but thats beside the point). She said "Rachel and Teddy have a dog named Odie". I was so proud and am amazed everyday at the things she says. She really is an awesome kid and Im proud to be her Mama

Monday, August 27, 2012

Looking Up

My first freak out moment was in the first two weeks we moved in to this house and there was stuff everywhere and no where to put it. Last night we made our last trip to our storage unit and everything we don't absolutely need is safely, neatly packed away there. The simple lack of clutter has a big positive effect on me. Yeah I havent seen some of my beloved cooking supplies, paintings, decorations, books and who knows what else for 5 months now with no end in sight..but at least Im not stepping over boxes.

The basement is now finished, I guess. There is a new shitty vinyl floor on top of the stinky concrete and the wall are still the same. Just as gross as ever. The root of the stench is in the boiler room, which is still in full effect. Sadly the basement will always be unusable since the landlord decided not to gut it, but at least the smell doesn't come upstairs anymore and I only smell it when I go downstairs to do laundry. The upstairs is set up as much as it's going to be. We have our couches, a place to cook and eat and basic neccesitities on our bedrooms.

I am also feeling better in some ways about the house search. We decided to stick with a town called Sturbridge, MA, which is about 30 minutes southwest of Tufts, rather than where we were looking before...30 minutes east toward Boston. Sturbridge is almost 1/2 the price for houses in some cases. This will help a lot and we really do like the area, although now I'll be looking at UCONN and two schools in Springfield for physical therapy school instead of UMASS. The main problem with this otherwise perfect solution is that there are only 10 houses for sale at the moment that meet our basic criteria and we easily crossed them off because they are either in a subdivision, on a very busy road, extremely ugly or need a lot of work. So the plan is to look daily and hope something comes up soon!

Ben started school today, so until I get a job I'm watching Finley. I need to find a gym class or something fun for us to do together. She will still be going to school 2 days a week so that I have time to search for jobs. I have a full day of working on my computer ahead of me at Panera tomorrow.

Finley with her Owl 28 months

Right now Ben is outside with Finley and the dogs and I am enjoying some quiet time.  We're having A jambalaya type of soup with locally made sausage for dinner!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Not Good

I rarely post negative things because I try not to dwell on them. It doesn't help anything. But I don't have much positive to say right now. Ben, Finley, the dogs and I are all fine, but things are awful right now. It feels like we hit road blocks over and over again and the stress is building up. The stress of selling our house, packing up our stuff and moving to a place we've never really been was enough. But then we couldn't find a place to live and had to invade our friends house for 3 months. That was all challenging but tolerable. Then we finally get this rental house we've been waiting for and it is a dump. I am not the type of person that can handle lots of clutter, but it's very hard to fit everything in 1/2 the house because the other half is unusable. Last week, I couldn't take stepping over stuff anymore and went and got a storage unit. So now we are paying for a house that we can't use AND we have to pay for a storage unit. Only 2 burners on the stove work, the house is dirty and there is tons of garbage in the yard from previous tenants. Its such a huge step down from our house and lifestyle in Seattle. And then you'd think that the plan to buy a house would help the situation, but that isn't going well either. When we originally planned to move, we thought we could get a much bigger house with a bigger yard. That was the primary reason we moved. Now prices are going up and the specific area that works the best for us in terms of location happens to be more expensive than we can afford. So it's looking like we probably won't be able to get a house that is any better than the one we had in Seattle and maybe a slightly bigger yard if we are lucky. This is not a good feeling after this kind of move. I'm not done yet. Since we don't know where we will be living, I can't really apply for jobs and that doesn't help our financial situation at all and the idea into physical therapy school is just making things more complicated. Add this situation to all the typical stresses of moving to a new place and it's too much to handle! Things can only get better I hope!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

next step

We moved into our own house this week. It feels good to have all of our possessions back and sleep in our own bed for the first time in 4 months, but it also feels like just the next step. The house is in a good location for Ben to get to school and the neighborhood actually reminds me of ours in Seattle with less traffic and more dead end roads. It's mostly 1950's-1960's ranches on 1/4 acre or less lots. The house is smaller than our last house and has only 1 bathroom and isn't the nicest. The front stairs are falling apart, it's not especially clean and the entire downstairs was unusable when we got there because of the smell of cat urine. Apparently the previous tenants cat used the downstairs of the house as a litter box. I can't really even go down there without gagging. Anyway, I immediately called the landlord and told her that we will be looking for a new place to live unless the smell goes away. She was really helpful and arranged for a company to come in and detoxify the basement, put in new floors and paint the walls. We are hoping it works!

We are still plugging away at house shopping. It's easier now that we are closer to where we are looking. And now that I've seen our rental house..I am even more motivated to find a new house. I've been applying for jobs a lot. I had one interview, but they "decided not to fill the position". Finley is doing great! She is talking more and more. She puts together funny sentences and makes good observations about the world. Last weekend we went to an Italian food festival and stayed in a hotel so we could be closer a race even for Pax. They had no crib or pack n play so she slept in the bed next to us. She reminded me of a kid at a sleepover party...laughing, saying "watch this watch this" and jumping on the bed. She seems to understand that we don't live with Sue and Joe anymore and that we have our own house. Fin is at daycare today so I have some time to look for jobs. We are going to pick her up and then head over to Framingham to take the dogs for a hike, chiropractor for all three and then we'll go out to dinner after.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

summer trip

Before we left for vacation Sue made this amazing dessert. Strawberry Rhubarb and Apple Pie

We went to the Brockton fair and had so much fun! We ate greasy fair food, saw a demolition derby (which is so weird to me) and Ben & Fin both got wristbands. The train was Finleys favorite ride because she could ride it alone

 We took Finley for her 3rd haircut ever. It was a cute place that specializes in kids haircuts. She looks very cute with her short bangs :)

We just got home from Cape Cod, which in my opinion is the perfect vacation spot. I absolutely love it there. It sort of reminds me of Italy for some reason, but mainly it's everything that summer vacation should be. We picked a house to rent in Brewster, which turned out to be in a great location. The house had the perfect set up for the dogs. They spent most of their time in the breezeway with the door to outside open. With 6 acres and a private road..we weren't worried about them going anywhere.

We did a few scenic drives to different parts of the Cape stopping along the way to check out toy stores, bakeries, little markets and general stores. We went to the Heritage Gardens in Sandwich to ride an antique carousel, see an amazing hydrangea display, antique cars and a Norman Rockwell exhibit. Ben and I went kayaking on the Bass River while Finley stayed at the house with Gran & Pop. I don't know why we don't go more often because it's so much fun! We paddled to some salt marsh areas and saw lots of birds and enjoyed the quiet.

Somehow I randomly picked the town of Brewster for our home base and the beaches there happened to be perfect. Ben was happy to be able to ride his bike there every day. We went one day in the morning and the tide was out very far, but we were able to  walk and find some pools that were the perfect depth for Fin to sit and play. We went several times at around 6 pm when the tide was in and did some swimming. I found it to be very pleasant, but Ben wasn't impressed with the grass in the water! Our house was walking distance to a little Seafood/Ice cream shack called Kates and one evening we walked Goose, Pax and Finley there for some ice cream. We ate out for most dinners or sometimes I skipped dinner and just ate ice cream. Once night we went to the Oyster Company for happy hour and had 2 dozen. Finley even ate one! We also enjoyed the Sesuit Cafe, Seafood Sams, Cobies and the Red Nun in Chatham.

I could definitely live in a place like this. I love everything about it. We plan to go back in the fall and winter to see if we could handle it year round.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

experiencing summer

Gran & Pop arrived last night and we had an early 4th of July dinner with Sue and Joe. We had BBQ chicken, steak, roasted peppers, onions and zucchini, grilled corn and italian bread with butter. For dessert we had two amazing pies that Sue made from scratch. Apple and strawberry rhubarb with vanilla ice cream of course. I tried my apple with some sharp cheddar. It was actually pretty good!

Gran & Pop are staying at a nice B&B in Sutton, which is basically the closest accommodation to Sue & Joes house we could find. Hopefully tonight we will go to the fair to see fireworks, go on some rides and see some farm animals.

Finley started daycare last week. She will be going two days a week. It's a little weird because it's in a home setting, but there are some perks that aren't available at commercial places. We pay by the day and are allowed to change the day or cancel anytime. It's very flexible. It's not as structured as her previous daycare. They do arts & crafts other fun activities, but it's more like being at a baby sitter. I plan to put her in pre-school when she is closer to 3 and she is safe and has fun, so I'm not too worried. Also she is around some older kids that are very good with her, which makes me happy. Her favorite friend there is Lucas. She loves the cat, the baby dolls and unfortunately Barney. Of course they are quite surprised with the quantity she eats and so far the only time she's cried is when they ran out of food! She's a big eater!

We are having fun experiencing summer in New England. It's very different because it's so hot out! We spent a few days just swimming in the pool, Barbequing, going to scoop shops at night and last weekend we went to the Millbury carnival. It was just like the carnivals I went to when I was a kid. We had fun riding the ferris wheel and Finley even went on a few rides by herself.

Still no luck finding a house to buy or even anything promising. I really want a place with a pool and a mother-in-law, at least 1 acre and 3 bedrooms. I'm willing to be flexible on the location and age of the house..although the house has to be visually appealing. I have yet to find one that meets my criteria even with lowering my original hopes for an old house with at least 5 acres.

Natural Pet store in Gloucster

 The beach in Rockport from a few weeks ago

 Ben made us an amazing dinner of beer can chicken in fried string beans

The food festival In Worcester

Sue and Joes lovely house
 We went to the Beef Barn the other night which specializes in roast beef sandwiches. I had a steak sandwich with swiss and mushrooms and a piece of peanut butter pie for dessert. It was very good and very inexpensive. We need to go there for breakfast soon!

 Sue's pies from last night

Fried String Beans

by The Neelys


  • Peanut oil, for frying
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed


Preheat oil to 375 degrees F.
Whisk the beer, flour, salt and pepper until smooth.
Dip green beans into batter to coat, letting excess drip off. Fry in the peanut oil in batches, until they are golden and crisp. Remove from oil with a spider strainer to a paper towel lined sheet tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.