Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My best friend...

For the past two years I have had a best friend (besides my husband, of course) and he is 3 years old. Yup, you heard me right. You may think that me claiming a 3 year old as my best friend is silly, but it's the truth. You see...

A best friend is always there for you. Sean has always been there for me. We have spent every day together for the past year and a half. He was there to have good, productive days with and there to have lazy days with. He was there to comfort me and there to make me laugh.

A best friend listens to you. I could tell Sean anything. If I was having a bad day, he often reminded me, "But Caityin, it's a beautiful, sunny day outside." He always listened to me and offered his advice. While shopping at Target and looking at shirts, he sometimes turned to me and said, "I'm not sure you like that one." He was the best listener...

A best friend takes care of you. When my toes were cold and blue (which was very often), Sean would cover them up with his "bumpy blanky" (his very favorite lovey) to warm them up. He would check their heartbeat by "doctoring" them, as he called it. When my belly hurt, he would tell me, "Caityin, the bathroom is right in the other room, go use it please." He constantly comorted me and encouraged me. His is on of the most compassionate and empathetic people I know, and yes, he is only three years old.

A best friend makes you laugh. Sean made me laugh daily! By saying huge vocabulary words such as accordingly, actually, avocado and crescent. By asking me to say the word "mummy" and when I pronounced it wrong saying, "It's ok, that's a hard word for you Caityin." By telling me that my sister should name her baby boy "Monster Truckey." By singing "Moves like Jagger" and "Life is a Highway" at the top of his lungs to me. By walking into our house and seeing a pillow completely destroyed by our pup and saying "Uh-oh, Ollie did something very naughty." By simply laughing-his belly laugh is contagious.

A best friend teaches you. Sean has taught me more about myself than most people in my life (including highly educated people such as professors, pastors, friends, etc.) He has taught me the simplicity of life, and that is ok to "roar" like a monster truck in the middle of Panera Bread or Dunkin Donuts (our favorite morning date spots). He has helped me learn the meaning of selflessness. Sean has taught me the true meaning of love...

Sean may never really know or understand the things he has taught me, but I think that is the biggest reason why he is my best friend. A true friend does the above things without even knowing it. They do them because they love you.

I will miss my little buddy and best friend more than I can even imagine right now (considering I am typing his as he is napping and we haven't even officially said our goodbye yet). And although he may not remember me in years down the road, he will forever hold a special place in my heart and I will always be grateful for him-for teaching me how to one day care for and love a child of my own...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Leftover Thanksgiving Paninis

We spent Thanksgiving with Jeff's family this year. All of his siblings weren't able to make it so it felt very different to celebrate without them. Much quieter which was sad yet relaxing at the same time :) With just a small amount of people, we were really able to spend quality time together. Thanksgiving day consisted of staying in our sweats, playing games, writing down and sharing what we are thankful for and of course stuffing our faces :) On Friday we made the trip to PA to be with my family and celebrate Jeff's 25th birthday! We spent the day shopping for furniture for our new apartment, went on a Panera coffee date, had dinner at Bonefish Grill with my parents and enjoyed dessert at my sister's house after. I would have loved to celebrate my birthday that way and I think Jeff did too!

On Sunday evening we had a quiet dinner with my parents before heading back to NY. My mom had the greatest idea to make paninis with Thanksgiving leftovers.

-Whole wheat bread (fresh baked, thick is best)
-Stuffing (my mom makes the BEST with sausage in it)
-Cheddar cheese
-Cranberry Sauce

Simply put all of your ingredients together and grill on a George Foreman for a few minutes to melt the cheese and toast the bread!

Hi Mom! Hi Jeff!

We enjoyed our sandwiches with a bowl of sausage & lentil soup.

We have been busy organizing and packing for our move to PA this month. Jeff and I have had a lot of fun picking out new furniture and decorations for our new place. The furniture we have now we actually picked up off the side of the road one day. It is pretty nice, but we have always wanted to upgrade. That time is finally here! I have an exciting coffee table project that we have been working on and can't wait to share with you. It involves an antique trunk :)

Did you do any Black Friday shopping? I hate supporting Black Friday but Cyber Monday did convince us to make a big purchase. An imac :) Jeff will be like a little kid on Christmas morning when it comes next week. We have needed a new computer for a while and this will help so much with all of our photography editing.

I'll leave you with two pictures that are on our Christmas card this year...

Off to roast a chicken before the hubs gets home from class! Enjoy your night...I'll be spending mine drinking vanilla & cinnamon black tea while watching Top Chef :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Philadelphia Marathon Re-Cap

Well, we've had one day to rest our legs and I'm sad to say that they are even more sore today than yesterday. We expected it, but I still hoped it wouldn't be true. My toes are worse than my legs-with Raynauds and MAJOR blisters I can barely walk. It was all worth the pain though! Where do I start with this re-cap? I guess I'll start the day before the race. You're in for a long post so hang in there with me ;)

Jeff and I headed into the city Saturday afternoon to visit the Expo and pick up our race packet. Things were a bit hectic in the city but we were settled into our hotel by 4 pm and waited for our friends, Kimberly and Joe to arrive. I picked up two bumper stickers at the Expo, one that obviously said 26.2 (because if I was running a whole marathon and, of course, was going to tell anyone driving behind me about it) and the other said this...

We had a few hours to relax before heading to dinner to get as much energy and calories before the race in the morning. Jeff and I ate a pasta dinner at our apartment together Friday night so we wouldn't overdo it the night before the race. The last thing you want is a sick stomach the night before or morning of! We were asleep by 10 pm and up around 4 am (only because we couldn't sleep). We had all of our alarms set for 5 am but at 4 I heard Jeff and Joe stirring in their beds because were were all so anxious and excited! We dressed, ate our oatmeal (Joe's race breakfast choice) and peanut butter and banana sandwich for Jeff and I and were on our way to the Art Museum for the start.

Our adrenaline kicked in right away-there were 30,000 runners and the anticipation of the start was so exciting. The ONLY complaint I have about the race was the bathroom situation-it was pure chaos. There were tons of porta potties but the lines were so unorganized that several people were unable to use the bathroom and just ended up going on the grass nearby. Thankfully Jeff, Joe and myself made it to one before the beginning of the race.

Around 7:15 our corral (grey) started to run. It was really happening! I have run the Philly half marathon so I knew what to expect but Jeff and Joe had not. We were all smiling at all of the many fans and bands around us. It was hard to keep a slow pace in the beginning because of adrenaline. But, we knew that we had to. With my Garmin watch we kept a steady 10 minute mile pace. So many people started off so quickly and we knew we would end up passing them towards the middle/end of the race. Sure enough, we did.

Mile 1-6 felt great. We knew our fans (My parents, Jeff's parents and Kimberly) were waiting for us around mile 6 which kept us going strong. When we saw them I threw off my headband (I was WAY too hot) and we also grabbed some GU chomps that my mom held onto for us. It was just what we needed to keep us going. There were SO many dogs the first half of the marathon and Jeff and I loved seeing them. It kept our spirits up.

The first 13 miles were actually pretty easy. There were two hills around mile 8 and 10 which were rough, but I had run them for my half and expected them. Our fans were waiting for us again at mile 13. This would be the last time we saw them until the finish since there was no way they could have seen us again and made it to the finish in time. We knew the second half of the race would be harder, not only because we were tired but also because we had no fans and knew that more than half of the runners were finished at the 13.1 mile marker. It was harder than we thought, though. We were no longer running in the downtown part of the city and although the roads were pretty, they weren't lined with any fans and were quite boring. You don't realize how helpful fans are until you don't have them anymore!

At mile 14, Jeff and I unfortunately lost Joe because we stopped to pee. We both felt the urge and knew we still had 12.2 miles to go. No one wants to feel uncomfortable for that long! We tried to catch up to Joe but didn't want to kill ourselves running too fast. We did, however, see him in several parts of the race when we had to run up and back, therefore passing the other runners on the way back. We gave him high fives twice! He did awesome.

Around mile 17 I started to struggle. There were a few gradual hills, my energy was low and I started feeling major pain in my feet, specifically my right big toe. A few times I said to Jeff, "My toe might be broken." He assured me it wasn't and told me to keep running :) The first time we walked was around mile 17/18 through the water station. It was super hard to run and drink at the same time without it going up our noses and we knew we needed all the hydration we could get to be able to finish strong.

Mile 18-20 were my least favorite. We went up into Manyunk and back. I HATE going up and back because you can see the runners coming back and you aren't. We couldn't really see where the turn around was and it felt way more than 2 miles. Once we made it around the turn though, we knew we were on our way back to the finish with only 6 miles to go! At this point our legs were done. We were in pain and exhausted but we knew how close we were. It was so encouraging to hear other runners cheering each other on. You really did feel like you were all in it together. I knew I wasn't the only one in pain and if the 70 year old man next to me could do it, so could I!

Once we saw mile 24, we picked up our pace a bit. We were SO close. We started searching for our family because we weren't exactly sure where they would be at the finish. Mile 25 felt like FOREVER. But then, I saw my brother-in-law and immediately knew my sister had surprised us! We didn't think she would be able to make it since Wyatt is a newborn, but it was such a beautiful, warm day that they decided to drive in to see us finish. With an 1/8 of a mile left I saw Laur running towards us...she was going to run into the finish with us! We both started crying-the only time I cried the entire race. I was overwhelmed with happiness and pain at the same time and my emotions got the best of me :)

We did it. My Garmin says we finished around 4:45 but our official race time said 4:52. Our goal was simply to finish, and we did. We saw the 4:30 pace group a few minutes ahead of the entire time and staying somewhat close behind them helped. We grabbed our medals and immediately hugged our amazing fans who woke up super early and dealt with the craziness of the city to cheer us on!

The aftermath...

So, will we be running another marathon? HECK no. My 4'11 body was not made to be a runner. As much as I want it to love running, it hates it...and hated me for putting it through 26.2 long miles. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm sure labor/child birth is harder, but since I haven't experienced that yet...this most definitely was. I don't regret it at all. Running a marathon is one of the best things I have ever accomplished in my life...and doing it with my best friend and hubby by my side made it that much better :) I was saddened to hear that two runners collapsed after the marathon and died of heart attacks. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not push yourself beyond your ability if you are running a marathon-it is not worth it. I heard the news once we got home and broke down into tears. My heart hurts and goes out to the families who lost loved ones yesterday morning...

We are Marathon Runners...26.2!!!

We did it! We ran 26.2 miles and completed the Philadelphia Marathon. More pictures and details to come tomorrow, but right now we are enjoying resting our legs and feet while watching some football with our amazing family that supported us all day :) Thanks for all of your support the past few months!

Running alongside my best friend was the best part of it all...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

3 days...


Hi friends! I figured it was time for an update since it has been a few days since I have been on here :) As always, life is busy. Jeff and I have been traveling to PA almost every weekend for photography shoots, job interviews and family events. Along with all of this we have continued our marathon training. We cannot wait until we are settled in PA and life calms down a bit. I received a job offer today which I am thrilled about and last weekend we found an apartment to live in starting in January. Even more exciting, the apartment is in the bottom of my sister's house! We are all so happy. With my new job I have off most Fridays and plan on spending all day with my sister and Wyatt :) Everything is falling into place and we couldn't be more thankful.

I'll share with you a pinterest project Jeff and I have been working on-a new bed for Ollie! We've been searching for the perfect antique suitcase for this project. A few weeks ago we found one on Ebay and made the purchase. I found an adorable throw blanket at Marshall's (with whales on it) to put inside. Jeff added the legs on the bottom with some wooden candlesticks we found at Michael's.

We wish it was a bigger, but Ollie still loves it. We find him laying in it, all curled up, every night :) We're going to start looking for one that's a bit bigger because for some reason we thought Ollie was smaller than he is. Of course there is a little toy in there for him, too.

I can't write a post without a few pictures of Wyatt, can I? Here's happy Wyatt and happy Aunt Cait...

And mad Wyatt and mad Aunt Cait...

My sister is the best mama in the whole world (besides our own mama of course). I have loved watching her love her little peanut...

Oh hello, there...

It doesn't get any cuter, people. He is simply amazing.

As you saw in the beginning of the post, we are THREE days away from running the Philadelphia Marathon! Jeff and I are running our last run before the race (2 short miles) this afternoon. I can hardly believe it is here. I might be more excited for the race to be over than it to start. Kidding (kind of). I am just excited for the day to be here and to accomplish something that has always been of dream of mine. More importantly, I get to accomplish it with my husband by my side. We are heading into Philly Saturday afternoon to visit the race Expo and staying the night so we are well rested for the beginning of the race at 7 am on Sunday! I'll be posting a race recap on Sunday evening or Monday (depending on how exhausted I am) so stay tuned.

One last picture that HAS to make you smile! Jeff has been wanting to take this picture for a long time. Last Sunday we finally got it! It took 3 people (1 driver, 1 photographer and 1 person to make sure Ollie didn't jump out the window) but we finally captured our pup in his glory...

Hope you are all doing well, thanks for always reading commenting :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Linguine with Sausage & Spinach

Do you read A Full Measure of Happiness? If not, you should. If you do, then the title of this post might look a little familiar. The author of the above blog is a dear friend of mine. Jeff and I went for a run and since Lauren lives about 2.2 miles from us, we stopped in to say hi one night. While there, Lauren was making a dish that looked amazingly appetizing. I decided to go home and try something similar! I didn't have any broccoli rabe on hand, but did have some spinach. Both green-both taste great with pasta.

-1 box of linguine (or some kind of pasta)
-1 package of Italian sausage
-1 can of diced tomatoes (with basil)
-1-2 cups of frozen spinach

Begin by cooking the sausage. Once the sausage is almost fully cooked, add the spinach and tomatoes to the pot. On a separate burner, cook the pasta while the sausage is cooking! Add the pasta with the rest and you have yourself and incredibly quick and easy dinner :) This can easily be made gluten-free with some gluten-free pasta.

Lauren and Fritz also dropped off an early Christmas present for me a few nights ago and it might be my favorite present EVER. I know, bold. They got me these bad boys...

What are they, you ask? Slippers. Microwavable slippers. Lauren and Fritz were in Bed Bath & Beyond and saw these and immediately thought of my and my blue (raynauds) toes. I am wearing them as I type this-they're wonderful! If you have cold toes, I highly suggest investing.

11 days until our marathon! AHH! We have 1 more "long" run (6 miles) on Friday and then a 3 miler and a 2 miler then 26.2. We are so ready...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saturday morning....

Jeff and I have been so busy with our photography business! As much as I want to complain some days because of how busy we are and how we find ourselves with just about zero down time to relax, we are so so thankful that our business has taken off so quickly. This weekend we had 3 shoots-1 wedding, 1 family and 1 newborn triplet shoot! We have found that photography is not as easy as we thought it would be! It is surprisingly very stressful-weddings in particular.

As a photographer, you are not only in charge of capturing pictures and memories of the day, but also the time line in some cases (and that's a very important job on such a structured day!) If there is not a wedding coordinator, it is the photographer's job to know when the bride needs to be done certain pictures and on to the next event. So, we always spend a lot of time preparing the night and morning before heading to the wedding. We have to be ready to bring our "A" game! Saturday morning we started out with a great breakfast-eggs, spinach, sausage and cheese scramble. We needed something filling that would last us until our first break...this did the job!

I always spend time carefully picking out my outfit and getting ready-although you aren't in the spotlight at all the day of a wedding, you are always seen. Meaning, there are always possible clients watching you :)

We had some fun with Ollie while we gathered up our props for the photo booth we set up during receptions...

Ollie wishes he could be our assistant. He promised to even dress up with his top hat if we brought him along...

Oh, and...HAPPY Halloween! Sorry, are we a few days late? I guess that proves to you how crazy our week has been :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pork & Zucchini

For Christmas last year, my mom made my sister and I a book of family recipes. It was probably the best present I have ever received. Not only is it super practical, but also very special. She e-mailed several family members to get their "famous" recipes and wrote a little story to go with each one. For this recipe my mom wrote,"Growing up, this was my favorite recipe and the one meal I always requested that Dad make for my birthday dinner. I've change the recipe to an easier version but it is definitely one of my favorites!" Since it is my mom's favorite, it's mine too! If you need a quick and delicious dinner, this is for you...

  • 6-8 pork fingers (I used boneless pork chops but like pork fingers even better)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (with garlic, basil and oregano)
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 can green salsa
  • 1 can corn
Brown the pork in frying pan (I skipped this step to make this dinner even quicker). In a crock pot place in this order: pork first, cover with tomatoes, add 1/2 can of salsa. Cook on medium for 4 hours or until meat is cooked through. About one hour before it is done, add the sliced zucchini and corn.

I also made some pumpkin spice cookies while waiting for Jeff to get home from class. I hate Wednesday nights because he gets home so late. But I know it's a long day for him so I always try to have a good dinner and small dessert waiting for him when he arrives home :)

I surprisingly haven't eaten as much pumpkin as usual this fall. Jeff and I had a very busy weekend this past weekend. Ready to hear about it? It started with a 4 hour drive home Friday night. We woke up Saturday morning at 6 am and did our last long run-20 miles! It honestly wasn't too bad. Our legs were definitely sore at about mile 16, but we ended with no tears. After our run, we saw my nephew for a few hours before heading to an engagement shoot. After the shoot we drove 3 hours to Annapolis, MD where we stayed with some college friends before shooting a wedding in Maryland on Sunday. By the end of Sunday we were exhausted! Too bad we still had to drive 7 hours home (and get a speeding ticket in between). The weekend was so worth it though! Here are a few pictures of our stay in Annapolis...

Meet the Kupfer's and their little peanut! Bess and Morgan have been good friends of ours for many years. I played lacrosse with Bess in college. They are expecting their first baby in April and we could not be more excited for them :)

And I'll leave you with a photo that Jeff took of me at the engagement shoot Saturday night...

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