Good Friday

Today was a very good day!

I am 100% caught up with the correspondence. That is a relief!

Greg and I received something amazing that has alleviated all financial stress for the upcoming cruise, holidays, birthdays, and wedding. It’s a new credit card with a $5k limit. Yes, putting everything on the credit card isn’t the greatest idea; but it has a very low APR and we plan on transferring balances from our higher APR cards (and closing them out) onto the low APR in hopes of saving on payments and paying off debt sooner. Our plan of action is using the new credit card for the cruise (mainly) – we’re happy that we’re going to be able to really enjoy ourselves without worrying about going over our budget (which was going to be about $300 – including everything; excursions, tips, specialty restaurants, etc). After the cruise, we’re going to use our tax refund to pay off (or down) the credit card (which would also have the transferred balances from the higher APR cards). Also, Greg and I are planning out our paychecks and what we’re going to pay leading up to the cruise. If our calculations are correct, by the time we leave (which will also be a payday), we will have one whole check (well, 2 if you’re counting our individual employees) where we won’t have anything to pay (as everything for that month will already be paid for)! So, the money from the “free” paycheck is going to be our on-board credit (we’re going to put cash, about $300, on the account), anything we use over the initial deposit will go onto the new credit card. On paper, it looks like a good idea. We’ve given this a lot of though, let’s just hope it all works out.

Amelia has a cold. She’s hardly eating anything and what she does eat is cold; she will not eat anything warm (like oatmeal). Weird, but at least she does eat.

I can’t wait to go shopping. I am so looking forward to shopping, which is weird. But, what I am looking forward to is shopping for Greg’s new wardrobe! I love shopping for men’s clothes; I don’t know why because I hate shopping for myself.

Greg has started to hint about my Christmas  and Birthday gifts! As if the cruise isn’t enough to be excited about, he’s adding this! I don’t know how he could top last Christmas, after all he bought me my lovely lap top, in my favorite color, AND asked me to marry him!

I think I’ve been random enough on my good Friday.

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!*&$^@

Greg and I are having a heated debate over airfare.

We haven’t bought our tickets to Florida yet (for numerous reasons), but we’ve been following the prices – which are starting to come down, sorta – and Greg is telling me that I’ve been spoiled with my previous experiences with airfare, and that I need to come back to reality and accept that $600, round trip, for two people is cheap. $600, for anything related to traveling 5 states, isn’t cheap in my book.

Yes, Greg has a valid point that I’ve been incredibly lucky, fortunate, providential, etc. by paying less than $100, per person (excluding airport fees and taxes) for round trip tickets in my past (two round trip tickets to Rhode Island cost me $180, and the two round trip tickets to Michigan cost us $240)…

BUT!! I can NOT ACCEPT that it is going to cost us, if we’re lucky, at least $600 to fly out to Miami/Ft. Lauderdale!! I would rather DRIVE!

Which leads us into another debate!!

Greg feels that I will not survive the time in the car if we were to drive, given my extremely short attention span and lack of patience (when it comes to car rides). I’ve only had one bad-ish car experience with Greg and that was when we drove to Atlantic City, NJ to celebrate my 27th birthday and I had a very valid reason for being cranky: I was on my period – after not having a period for 6 months – so, it was an unwelcome surprise, to say the least

(PS. the following month is when I became pregnant)

Greg has taken a few roads trips in his past – the longest I believe was from Oregon to Alabama when he was a kid; so he’s used to long car rides. I grew up in DC where there were metro bus stops all over the place; no long car rides for me.

Greg is dead set on believing I will make this road trip a living nightmare. That I will not be a happy camper. That I will not make the best of it. That I will not like it.

I told him that he can not make such a decision/judgement about me, especially since I’ve never experienced a road trip of such magnitude, and that he’s basing his opinion on ONE BAD (and small) trip that we took together while I was… physically (I count being on my period as something physical) ill (and not to mention in a lot of pain). Plus, given the significance of this trip, that alone will give me the mental (and emotion will power) strength to do this.

Greg is just as stubborn as I am; so we’re both being… oh, how do you say…. jerks… about our opinions of the drive to Miami.

My compromise for the airfare was to find something that was less than $450 (total cost). I can, and will, accept that rate. So, tonight begun, yet another, great search for airfare…

yay.

And, I am disappointed to say that the cheapest rate we could find was $510 (through jetBlue), but we don’t even want that flight because of the layover in NY (in the winter. with a high probability of a long, long, delay), so the next best rate was $530 (I know, not that horrible), which would be a direct flight to Miami (oh, and from AirTran). Now, the only ‘issue’ with the direct flight, is that it’s leaving from an airport that is about 2 hours away from us, vs. the airport that is about 15 minutes from us. And, yes, there is a somewhat significant price difference between the two airports (more than $50 – and that is significant enough for me), and better yet… the flight leave at 6:10am; which would mean that we would have to check around 5am, at least. But, on the bright side, we would have an entire day to explore Miami (in Greg’s eyes).

So. This airfare nonesense is going to challenge me, speaking as politly as possible. I am going to be stalking every airliners website and search engine (travelocity, priceline, orbitz, etc) until I find a rate that I am satisfied with. I am going to be a bitch about my airfare. Greg should feel so lucky that this one issue is probably going to be the only issue that my inner bitch comes out (well, that’s not entirely true… the is one other ‘issue’, but it’s not worthy enough to write about on my weblog). My wrath will be felt, and heard, by someone somewhere. Consider yourself warned.

in other news…

Michele visited me for lunch yesterday and we spent the whole hour talking about her wedding. We looked through the invitation catalogs and picked out a few styles that she, and I, liked and how we could incorporate a theme into the wedding. Initially, she was feeling butterflies, but I’m not sure she is anymore.

Then we talked about wedding dresses (and she asked if I found/bought mine yet… and, well… we all know the answer to that question) and confirmed our plans for the 27th to meet at a bridal salon for our first dress trial. There’s going to be quite a few girls, about 5 I think, tagging along (and not counting Amelia. Greg will be tending to Amelia during this festivity). I’m excited though. This is going to be so much fun!

Also, on the 27th, we’re going to an O’s game! And, you wouldn’t believe how much the tickets cost (with the stupid surcharge from Ticketmaster)… $3!!! Awesome. And, the price includes a free tour of Camden Yards (during the off season)! Oh, and $1 hotdogs and drinks. But, I don’t like hotdogs, so that price doesn’t mean anything to me.

I was talking to my Mom earlier tonight and I suggested she call Grandma to start arguing over who is going to host Thanksgiving this year (Mom has a bigger house and is more ‘kid friendly’, but Grandma is old fashion and set in her ways about hosting such family gatherings). Can you believe that we’re rounding the final quarter of 2008?! This year has seriously flown by, in my opinion. On an odd note, I am so happy that Greg and I bought all out Christmas gifts for our families back in February, because that means the only shopping we’re going to do is for Amelia (we’re not going to exchange gifts this year due to cruise being 2.5 weeks after Christmas and 2.5 weeks before my 30th birthday – that and Amelia’s 2nd birthday in between), which is going to be so easy since she LOVES LOVES LOVES cows and baby dolls. At least for now.

Speaking of Amelia, she’s showing some interesting signs when it comes to music. She loves classical music. There is this one commercial that plays every now and then and as soon as she hears the music from this commercial, she will stop and drop anything and everything and go to the TV. Then there is this caterpillar toy that plays samples of popular classical songs and she will play those songs over and over and over. Then, there are her differences when it comes to playing with musical instruments (toy version of course). Recently, she fell in love with the harmonica and was really intrigued by it. Also, she enjoys playing with the quasi-toy piano at the babysitters; the babysitter has informed me that Amelia will actually touch the piano keys individually and in a manor as if she were actually playing from sheet music; rather than just pound on the keys as any other 20 month old would. I shared this information with my Mom and she was like “Oh!! You have to get Mimi a piano/keyboard!!!” I was like, no way because there is no room in our condo for a keyboard, muchless a piano. Yes, it would be nice to start playing again (I used to play the piano – not to any extent, but I did have a recital) as I miss playing some instrument (the trombone is still my favorite), but there is no space, muchless time, for such. Eventually, down the road, I would love to have Amelia take piano lessons (or any lesson for an musical instrument), and I really hope she has a musical talent/gift, and I really hope that I’m not hindering any remote possibilty of this talent/gift from developing, but we do not have the funds (and space) available to explore this interest – at least for now.

Ugh, I can’t believe I’ve stayed up this late (11:46pm)! Tomorrow is going to drag so much.

Updates

I’m disappointed to write that there was no 5am Battering Ram team. We don’t know what happen from when we talked to the cop around 1pm to when we came home around 5pm; evidentially something happened because our neighbor was no longer ‘in hiding’, or so it seemed.

As expected, the O’s lost yesterday. But, the game was enjoyable nonetheless. I really enjoy baseball as a sport; it’s exciting to watch and play. I don’t really follow the team members (other than Brandon Fahey, but I follow him because of his strong inner strength rather than his (in)ability to play short stop) or their stats. I enjoy going to a game and I honestly root for the O’s and what other team they’re playing; hey, if a good hit was made, a great double or triple play was done – I’m going to cheer for you regardless.

I did take some nice pictures of the game:

Buildings in Baltimore City

Detroit Tigers Bullpen

Picture of us enjoying the game

I usually don’t wear a baseball cap but it was very sunny and hot and I don’t own a pair of sunglasses, so I took one of Greg’s hats (the cleanest one). I used to wear this hat when I worked at Weis (when they made me wear a hat) and Greg says I somehow shrunk that hat – hmm… doubt that… I just think he doesn’t want to wear it anymore for other reasons. Either way, it’s a neat hat – UAF – University of Alaska Fairbanks. Greg spent a good chunk of his childhood in Alaska (Kodiak and Sitka) and then in Oregon before moving to MD for good (for now). Moving on…

View from our seats

The section we sat in was the “AYCE” seats. We had “free” supplies of drink and snacks. But, given how hot it was I had a very small appetite and mostly drink my $20 worth of lemonade and soda. But, I did enjoy a few (maybe 3) ice cream sandwiches.

And, Greg and I forgot to put on sunblock so we both got a decent sunburn (I was expecting worse). But, at the same time, we (or I) want to have some tanned skin for when we go to the Caribbean this winter (and we’ve actually talked about going to a tanning salon!!) Luckily, I can hold a tan for quite some time due to my quarter bit Native American Indian heritage (hence the reason Amelia was so dark when she was born and how she’s more tan than Greg!)

Speaking of Amelia, she’s having a grand time with my Mom and step-dad! She loves to play with Lucy (the horse) and run around the huge yard. Mom bought her a little swimming pool after hearing about how well she did at the birthday party from the other weekend. It’s so cute to talk to Amelia over the phone! She’ll tell Greg and me that she misses and “wuves” us (yes, she can’t say “L”s very well at this moment). It’s hearing her say “I wuve you too” that’s the sinker for Greg and me. Amelia just started saying I Love You about two weeks ago on her own. It’s so quiet without her and we miss her to bits, but at the same time we’re able to get so much done around the condo and have more freedom to do spontaneous things after work.

This past Saturday we spent the day at my Mom’s celebrating her 49th birthday. Sean and I bought a bushel of crabs for Mom:

and just hung around the house until 10:30pm. Greg walked around and took some amazing pictures again, and he got the chance to use the wide angle lens some more (which I am totally loving):

We also set off a few fireworks, but those pictures didn’t turn out so great.

While visiting, Greg and my step-dad were talking about camera and lenses and the sorts (Step-dad is also an avid photographer but more along the lines of semi-pro) and Greg was telling him something about a tripod and my step-dad offers one to Greg! Actually, he let Greg pick one of two that he could have (and my step-dad has many more). So, what does Greg do with his new tripod, he goes and takes a picture of the night sky and stars… and I’ll have to post one of those photos later because I am unable to network to Greg’s computer at the moment.

All in all it was a nice weekend. I wish I could say the same about today. Work was uber stressful and my level of patience has dropped dramatically this month, among other things (*ahem*blogging*ahem*). I just feel… done… with everything at the moment. As well as bored. I’m frustrated at work because I’m not allowed (yes, they are not allowing me) to complete the tasks that they keep assigning me. I actually have to get permission to work on other things! It’s ridiculous! And I’m one of those people that like to keep my inbox empty – which means I only leave items in there that I need to be completed and as of tonight, I have over 20 uncompleted tasks and it drives me crazy.

Also, today, I had my dental evaluation. I only made this appointment so I could get some antibiotics for my tooth; which, I might add, the office had no problems, whatsoever, prescribing me Lorazepam over the phone, but they had to see me, in person, to prescribe Amoxicillion. What’s wrong with this picture? Also, I’ve come to the conclusion the dentists practically GIVE out Lortab or Hydrocodone! They didn’t even ask if I was in pain today and prescribed me MORE pain meds (fortunately, I still have plenty from when I had my gall bladder removal – but even then I’ve only taken two pills since the tooth broke on July 6th). Good thing I’m not addicted to this stuff. Oh, and this extraction is going to set me back $310!!! And we’re going to have to dip into our savings to pay for it since we’re going to Ocean City the day after my extraction – which they told me wasn’t going to be an easy procedure (and probably worse than the last one) and that it was a good idea to suggest/accept the Lorazepam for sedation and anxiety – which, by the way, is the reason it’s going to cost me $310 (the sedation alone is $145). What a great way to start my mini-vacation.

Greg and I had a serious talk about the possibility of me being pregnant and how we feel about it. While the thought is exciting and we are embracing the possibility, we’re a little concerned about how we’re going to make it. Presently, we’re actually doing OK. We have a little bit of money in the savings account (not a lot, but some) and we’re current with all our bills; as well as been on time with all our bills (meaning no late charges and improving our credit). Basically, at this moment in our life everything is working out just right – not too much, not too little. Adding a baby is going to make things a little more challenging, financially. We’ve talked about cutting back our expenses (canceling cable, but keeping the Internet, eating out less, etc) and finding ways to bring in more income, such as me looking more into LiveOps and Greg selling his photos online (which we’re actually getting ready to set up; Greg just needs to pick out 5-10 of his best photos and edit them to his level of perfection). I used one of the online pregnancy calculators and it stated that if I am pregnant and conceived around the time of my last cycle (which, again, was just 2 days of spotting), that my estimated due date is April 10, 2009. That’s a little freaky. I really need to find a new doctor and get the answer.

Not Too Bad

The day wasn’t all that bad.

I’ll tell ya, though, I have some awesome friends and family! Lisa stopped by this morning with a vat of home-made chicken and rice soup, that Greg and Amelia devoured, and Sean ran to the grocery store and bought us a few needed items (milk, bread, and OJ) as well as some ‘goodies’ (salt and vinegar chips (my favorite), Boston Market mashed potatoes, lunch meat, and soda)! Oh, I feel so loved!

This morning I was up just before 7:30, due to Amelia. I was fearful, last night, that Amelia would be up all night due to her overly-stuffed nose; she only woke up once after I initially laid her in bed, and that was sometime around 11pm and I brought her into bed with me and let her lay on my bare chest, as i leaned against the cold wall, and hoped the warmth of my skin, steady breathing, and hearing my heart beat, would calm her down and help her fall back asleep (all the while, sitting up so the snot would drain out). It worked, and she slept for the rest of the night.

Greg didn’t sleep as well as I did. He was hot and cold all through out the night and sweated a river! The sheets, blanket, and pillow cases were literally soaking wet. I was so grossed out by the wetness of the bedding that I stripped the bed, pillows, and duvet cover and washed them.

I didn’t do any cleaning, other than the kitchen, and just watched TV with Greg and Amelia. I didn’t even dress Amelia, she stayed in her pajama’s all day. Amelia ate a decent amount of food today; she ate a whole egg, some soup and a whole grilled cheese sandwich, and just a little dinner. That doesn’t sound like a lot but lately her appetite has been almost non existent. So, needless to say, I was happy to see her eating so much.

And get this! Remember me writing about the state of MD ‘stealing’ a good chunk of my refund because, according to their records, I never filed my 1999 taxes? Well, today in the mail there was a $600 check from the state! Why? Well, from my understanding, according to their confusing reasons, it turns out that I over paid state taxes for 2006 (so I got the $147 that I paid to them last year back and what I should have received as a refund). Interesting. But, I’m not going to question it; after all – who doesn’t like receiving a $600 check from the government and who is going to question the government; and, as I was told – they don’t make mistakes! HA HA HA!

All Caught Up

It’s been a busy week.

I had a lot of ‘grunt’ work to do with the law and government; mostly government but the law bit makes it sound more exciting.

On Monday or Tuesday I spent my entire lunch hour on the phone with the state of MD and the IRS help line. Why? Because, according to the state, I never filled my 1999 taxes therefore the state decided to ‘guess’ how much I owed and took a good chunk of my return. So, I found all the forms on the IRS’s website to get a copy/transcript of my 1999 filing to use to file my 1999 state taxes. I was told that if I was due a refund in 1999 that I wouldn’t get it, but I would get the thousand plus dollars they ‘stole’ from me back. Yippee!

And, today, I had my second ‘date’ with the government and finally (crossing my fingers) have everything straightened out with the Socical Security Administration and applied for my passport. Although, while at the SSA, I was informed that due to today being a Leap Day, their computers were not recognizing the date as the computers were formatting the date to be March 1, so I was told that my change of birthdate will not be ‘added’ until Monday (the chick told me she’d do the paper work on Monday). Should I worry that she may, inconveniently, ‘forget’ do submit this crucial information; I did tell her that I am applying for a passport this afternoon and I don’t want there to be any ‘confusion’. She told me not to worry and that by Tuesday the system will show the correct date.

Now, I have the rest of the afternoon for me. I’ve been home since about 2pm; had a bowl of cereal for lunch and just caught up on the blogging world and message boards. My plan is for the next how to clean and vacuum the living roo, and then go get Amelia early and take her by my job (to show her off) and then come home for the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, Greg and I have no plans what-so-ever and it’s weird. We’ve talked about going to get the second carseat (for Greg’s car) and going to the mall to get Amelia another pair of shoes (her feet are growing so fast). We’re hoping to see Pat before he leaves but he’s so hard to reach while he’s home.

Also, earlier this week I emailed Tim about a plan of mine for Greg’s 30th birthday – everything is working out well, for the moment.

Oh! Greg’s passport just arrived in the mail today!!! It only took a week to receive it after we, I mean he, applied. Shoot, I could probably have mine by the 10th of March (assuming the paper work doesn’t go out until Monday, the 3rd).

Other than that, there really ins’t much to write about. Boring week for me.

Figures

… I don’t mean that in the physical sense…

… nor numerical sense…

but in the sense that when you are thinking/expecting one thing and you let your guard down; your expectations up – it would figure something would go wrong…

Greg and I had one of those moments tonight. But, through this moment one of us realized we were thinking in the wrong sense…

Greg has literally spoiled me these past someodd weeks; he has given me every thing I’ve been wanting – in the materialistic way – for years in just a span of 6 weeks. At the same time, he’s given me something I’ve never had before – an experience that I’ve never felt – and this something has no physical-ness or material identity, and that something is being in-love.

With the combination of the two, I have quickly adapted to a form of attention (so to speak) and let my guard down and allowed expectations to creep in. Generally, I don’t set expectations for myself or others. I would rather not feel let down or disappointed in something that I have no control over; and with this outlook I have probably missed out on a lot of opportunities in life.

I have a point to this, I promise.

I had let my emotional guard down (yes, I still keep some level of a guard up – old habits are hard to break) in regards to my expectations of Greg and our first anniversary (of being in a committed relationship together (which has been very emotionally trying, at times, for me)).

Last night Greg and I talked about our plans for this weekend and next weekend. It was decided, from my understanding, that we would celebrate my birthday more low key rather than what he was originally planning. I had no problems with this because we had agreed to celebrate my 30th birthday by going on a cruise together – which in my mind it didn’t make sense to go overboard (ha ha – pun intended) two birthdays in a row – and that we would focus more of our planning for our first anniversary. With that being said last night, my expectations of this anniversary and everything it means went up a couple of notches; and I let my protective guard (the one that prevents me from setting expectations) down.

Tonight Greg tells me that he’s having second thoughts about his plans for our anniversary; feeling that the amount of money that would be spent doesn’t justify the means. In so many words.

That started the emotional roller coast.

It upset me; it even hurt. I told him, after explaining that it’s not the amount of money spent, but what memories I am going to have about this event in our life (granted, not as big as our wedding but at this present moment in time – right here, right now – this is a big moment in my life with him) that it felt like he was placing a monetary value (as in what’s costing too much) on something that’s suppose to be memorable by the emotions we feel for each other and how we celebrate this milestone.

We talked, at length, about how we interpret milestones in life (birthdays, anniversaries, etc). To Greg, achieving those milestones, year after year, have none, if very little, significant value to him – he’s just happy to hear a ‘happy birthday’ on his birthday. Maybe this perspective is just a guy thing, I don’t know.  And, in all honesty, I usually feel the same to somedegree. I don’t expect a lot of attention or recognition on my birthday, or something I’ve achieved; i don’t expect to be treated like a princess or queen for a day or anything to that degree. But, when it comes to an anniversary – something very significant as the first anniversary, then yes – I do have a higher level of expectations; after the first anniversary my expectations revert back to the levels of a birthday (a card at least).

Greg did some serious thinking about my feelings of our relationship and why this anniversary means so much to me and realized what he’s been doing and how he sees things.

Greg’s epiphany, so to speak, was that he’s always thinking in the sense of ‘seeing’ when it comes to the emotions and meaning of a gift – meaning he relates the emotional gratitude of the gift by what the person physically has but not by the emotional memory/meaning of the gift; he relates a value by money rather than by memory. He’s ‘seeing’ things with the wrong perspective.

I am really trying to express my thoughts into something more accurate and easier to understand than what I’ve written. It’s frustrating, slightly, that I am unable to write what I feel. I am seriously considering a writing class so I can learn to express my thoughts in writing better.

When he realized all this, he realized why I was upset by what he said earlier. He realized that it isn’t the amount of money spent on the anniversary but the memories I (we) am going to have from our time together – the whole package of us celebrating this milestone.

How does this figure out?  Greg is going to try to think outside of the money box and more into what the meaning. This doesn’t mean we’re going to go balls out on things in the future – but he’s seeing the meaning of certain milestones in life rather than the cost to create those memories.

****   ****   ****   ****   ****

Greg and I are very similar in thinking when it comes to money; if there is extra money, we’ll treat is as something to hoard. It’s very hard for us to spend money on things that are unnecessary, such as a hotel 15 miles up the road, even though Greg and I are financially stable at this time – it’s still hard for us to let go of the money (and this extra money isn’t including the amount in our savings account – which is for the purpose of an emergency) – even though we acknowledge that we are not putting ourselves in jeopardy by spending this money; we’re not delaying any payments to anyone; we’re not depriving ourselves of something we need over something we want. This extra money is available for us to have fun – enjoy this once in a life time moment of being ‘free’ from financial stresses. All of this we know is safe to do, but we’re having such a hard time doing it.

Thinking like this has its benefits and downfalls. I feel that Greg and I have our financial priorities straight and we know when we can’t afford something. Yet, at the same time, we don’t allow ourselves to enjoy the moments when we have the ability to treat ourselves.

It’s a vicious circle, money that is.

a day

yeah, nothing really comes to mind for a proper title as I plan on writing about whatever is on my mind. also, i am going to try to use pictures and referring links (i think it’s neat to see what other people are talking about via links to their local places) for this entry. We’ll start the entry around 12:30…

the first item on our list for this weekend was to take Greg’s car to NTB for new tires and an alignment ($300 spent). i followed Greg in my car so we could do our other tasks while the car was being worked on. so, once the car was dropped off we headed to lunch

Lunch time!

i’ve lived in the glen burnie area for about four years and never ate at this little pizzeria until today. I remember when I first moved to this area with Adam that I wanted to try the place out but we never did.

feeding the baby

amelia liked the pizza…

hungry greg

greg liked the pizza. but not me, so much. it wasn’t fresh nor hot enough for my liking. the cheesecake on the other hand was delicious! it’s been a long time since i’ve had a slice of cheesecake and i now believe that cheesecake is my favorite dessert (the real cheesecake) and i prefer my cheesecake plain (no sauce and no fruit, unless it’s fresh fruit without sauce). amelia LOVED the cheesecake!

my cheesecake

she literally took the fork from me, stabbed a chunk of cheesecake, brought the chunk to her, took the chunk off the fork and shoved the chunk in her mouth! and i let her do it! she was being too cute to stop. after she took a few bites she decided to squish the cheesecake chunk in her hand and then rubbed the mess on my face, which you can sort of see in this picture:

cake in the face

but i find the expression on the lady’s face behind me more entertaining. the lady was nice and very chatty.

Once we were done with lunch we headed to the grocery store to do some much needed shopping (as it’s been a little over two weeks since we did any real shopping). yeesh, we spent $200 on groceries! i picked out a lot of meat (chicken, pork and beef) and have plenty of dinner ideas (a couple roasts for the crock-pot, chili, and plenty of chicken to experiment with) and new spices to try out. greg and i love to flavor our meats with exotic spices (just wish the spices were much cheaper) so it was a lot fun to look at all the spices and marinades and pick out some that we’ve been wanting to buy for a while. also, greg and i have begun to shop healthier (and have been doing so since we moved in together but we’re going to be more serious with our grocery selections); we’re buying all whole grains and wheat products (such as pasta, breads, rice, snacks) to aide in our goal of being healthier (and hopes of loosing some weight for 2008); and finally during our shopping, greg’s car was finish so it was nice to be able to stop by the car shop on the way home rather than having to go back out later in the day, as we were expecting.

amelia was being a little bit… unhappy at the store. she was difficult to keep happy and occupied. we knew she wasn’t hungry as we fed her before we left the house and she snacked on some pizza and cheesecake so we chocked it up to being sleepy and cranky. and, sure enough she fell asleep in a matter of minutes once she was in the car and remained asleep for a good hour and a half!

the rest of the day was uneventful. greg and i talked a little more about our plans with the money and about next weekend. My Mom is taking amelia for a week (she was practically begging me to bring amelia down for a week long visit) and the plan is to meet with Mom, my brother and my cousin April for lunch to celebrate my 29th birthday. I believe we’re meeting at Longhorn (the one in Waldorf); i’ve never been there before.

i don’t know what the plans are once we’ve dropped off amelia with my mom – it’s all going to be a surprise; originally we were planning an Ikea trip (the one in College Park) but I don’t know it that’s still going to happen. Also, the weekend of my birthday, there is a huge bridal expo at the Baltimore Convention Center that I’ve been thinking about attending (mainly because I have free passes). Greg doesn’t want to go because he thinks we’ll run into his ex there; i have my doubts since it’s a huge expo and it’s two days long (what are the chances?); as a compromise, greg suggested we visit the Maryland Science Center to see the Body Worldsexibit. We’ll see – after all, it’s only a week away!

moving on… 

this evening, for dinner, i cooked two steaks. i bought a family pack of NY strip steaks, which, by the way, are my all time favorite steakes and I was so happy to see that they were on sale (even though I had to buy large quantities).

sales ad

and the steakes were cut nice and thick! so i decided to try one of the new marinades/sauces that we bought (and i’ve been eyeing the bottle for a couple weeks now):

new marinade - front

new marinade detail

so i took out 2 (of the 5 steaks) and placed them in a ziplock bag with the above

bag o steakdetail of bag o meat

the sauce has loads of nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and other nuts) as well as a good amount of kick for spice ( and it’s a slow kick that you don’t feel right away). I let the steaks marinade in the bag for about 2 hours. Due to the thickness of the steaks, i decided to do a quick broil (about 15-20 minutes) and then bake.

ready for the ovenready for the oven - detail

while the steaks were broiling/baking, i fed amelia and then she was bathed. after amelia’s bath (and this has become routine) the three of us laid in bed (ours) and goofed off until amelia was on the brink of passing out (again), which usually takes about 15-20 minutes. Amelia is getting to be so funny! Right now, she’s mimicked me when I flap my tongue (kinda like going ‘la la la’ but really fast) on my lips but the way she does it and how it sounds cracks greg and me up! I am going to try and get a recording of her doing it tomorrow. oh! and amelia walked across the living room all by her self!  pretty soon she’ll be running all over the place.

once amelia was asleep, i started some more laundry (which, by the way, our washer/dryer is acting up! the dryer isn’t drying and the washer makes this horrible screeching noise when spinning – going to need to dins the warranty info on the item and call for service) and checking on the steaks. they’re ready!

yummy!

and they turned out perfect! they were well done and juicy as ever! to complete the meal, we had a spinach salad and garlic mashed potatoes. the marinade had a nice flavor but i was expecting more. when the steaks were cooking, it smelt like i was baking bread (probably due to all the nuts). I am going to use the marinade on chicken (with a few added spices) next and see how that turns out. In the meantime, I have a few more new spices to try as well:

be sure that there will be more pictures of my cooking experiments later.

for now, it’s after midnight and I am pooped. I’ve been ‘working’ on this for over three hours (with a lot of interruptions and distractions). I was hoping to finish this by 10 and play some Diablo II or do some internet shopping for new games, but that never happened.

Tomorrow is up the in air. I don’t really have anything planned as of now, but Greg has to go into work for a couple of hours (he’s meeting Tim around 5, i think, and they are going to try and catch-up from the nightmare of a day they had this past Friday). I don’t want greg to go and i might join him (along with Amelia) or do a little window shopping in Columbia while he and Tim work.

Also, I want to show the wedding dresses that i’ve found and are seriously considering but that’s going to have to wait. in the mean time, enjoy this teasing:

lovely