Friday, September 28, 2012

Hail to Pitt!!!! Happy 225th Anniversary!

I talk often about how my heart still belongs in Oakland.  Of all the places we've lived, it's still my favorite and I get chills just driving off the highway and onto Forbes Avenue, with the straight view of the Cathedral of Learning (pictured above), which is the second tallest educational building in the world (second only to a building at the University of Moscow).  Maybe it has something to do with fact that I was born on Forbes Avenue (within viewing distance of the Cathedral) in Magee Women's Hospital (which now belongs to the university), maybe it's because my family has an almost 100 year history of being educated there (I was the 4th generation to attend), or maybe it's because we were married on campus and Brady was also born at Magee (he was the 4th generation to be born there).  Whatever the reason, I love Pitt and Oakland with all my heart and hope that someday one of my children will go there and follow in our family's proud history.  Maybe on of them will even get married at Heinz Chapel, who knows?

I was in the band for four years as a part of the color guard, so I went to every home game and several away games each year (including an amazing win at Notre Dame my freshman year).  The crowning achievement was the trip to the Fiesta Bowl in 2005.  We didn't win, but I will never have to put attend a BCS bowl game on my bucket list.  Not only did I attend, I performed!  That was my only bowl game however.  The next three years were pretty bleak, but sometimes you have to sit down and weather the storm.  Once I graduated and Andy started grad school, we bought season tickets.  We kept them even when we moved to Michigan in the summer of 2010.  Moving to South Carolina made it very difficult to keep them because it was impossible to drive home for a weekend (the drive one way was 10 hours on a good day).  We gave them up with intentions to renew them this year as we planned on returning to Michigan.  With Pitt's upcoming move to the ACC (next fall), the home schedule was very weak (with the exception of one game), so we decided to hold off until next year, when we are guaranteed quality opponents at home.  My parents have kept their season tickets through all of this, so we have had opportunities to attend games in the last two seasons.

The big game I wanted to attend was the Virginia Tech game that took place two weeks ago.  My parents were headed to Columbus to see my brother (Cal was playing at Ohio State).  This was perfect, as we just used their tickets.  A few weeks before the season started, Brady started to say, "Go Pitt!"  Nothing could make me happier and now he equates all football to Pitt. 

 He's so happy to be there!

 Screaming, "Go Pitt!!!"

 Brady didn't want to sit still while waiting for the parade, so it was hard for me and Andy to hold him down long enough to get a pic.

 Watching for the parade to start.

 Seated and scarfing down a Primanti's sandwich.  It seems like it should be illegal for other places around the country to not put fries on sandwiches and salads.

Pitt started the season looking pretty pathetic and starting 0-2.  With Virginia Tech highly ranked and going to a BCS bowl every year, things didn't look good for us heading into the game.  Well guess what?  Pitt actually came together as a team and killed Virginia Tech 35-17, forcing four turnovers, and effectively knocking VT out of the rankings altogether.  VT will be on our side of the ACC, so starting next year we will play them every year and they are the main competition to reach the ACC championship, so it's a great feeling to know that we can hold our own against them, when so many other teams can't.

Brady hit naptime around halftime but without Puppy it was impossible to get him to sleep.  Andy took him out of the stands and under the shade of the concession stands and that's where they remained the rest of the game.  It was supposed to be a chilly day, but turned out quite warm and none of us was wearing sunscreen.  We all got sunburned, but Andy and I got the brunt of it.  I was worse than Andy and my burn took a week to fade.

Brady has been going to Pitt games since before he was born (same with the new baby), and for the most part he loves it.  It was certainly easier before he was mobile, but he still has a lot of fun.  The next set of pictures will show him in seasons past.

 2011 (Pitt vs. Utah)

 2011 (watching pregame)

 2011 (Brady and Dubby)

 2010 (Brady's first Pitt season)

 2010 (hanging with Roc)

 2010 (waiting for the parade)

 2010 (asleep in the stands)

This is a very special year for Pitt.  It's the 225th anniversary of it's founding in 1787.  It's an amazing feeling to know that Pitt was the first institution of higher learning west of the Allegheny Mountains and is older than most universities (and states) in this country.  I've never been so proud to be a 4th generation graduate.  My mom's side of the family has been attending Pitt for almost 100 years and my dad's side of the family has only been in this country for the last 67 years, so that's kinda crazy to think about.  There was never any doubt in my mind that I wanted to go Pitt since I was a child.  My dad graduated from Pitt with his Ph. D in 1985 and in 1987, Pitt celebrated their bicentennial.  I was younger than Brady is now and it's so cool to know I was there (since it's highly unlikely I'll make it to the tricentinnial at 101 years old).

Above is me at 1, already celebrating Pitt's proud history.  Regardless of the fact that I would be a 4th generation legacy, my mom didn't want to let me apply to Pitt.  She didn't enjoy the city living, but I've always known that I do.  It took almost a year of lobbying before I even got her to agree to let me apply.  They were the only school I applied to and I was accepted.  I wouldn't trade my four years of undergrad and one year of post-grad for anything in the world.  I am proud that I was one of the lucky few who not only could be married at Heinz Chapel, but that I was married there.  Happy anniversary Pitt!  Can't wait to celebrate 250 years!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Family Portraits 2012

It's that time of year!  During the summer is when we go for our annual family portrait.  If you haven't noticed by now, I'm that mom who likes to match everyone up for pictures (if you can't tell from the family pics on the left side of posts).  I just love how it looks.  I don't go into a year planning out what we'll wear and usually something jumps out at me in a store or online.  It's always an outfit for Brady and then I spend some time figuring out or buying what Andy and I will wear.  I noticed the outfit Brady is wearing in this year's portraits, while doing some last minute shopping at Target before we left the country in January.  It was too perfect to pass up!  The colors were great and I knew they'd also look good on Andy and myself.

A week after we got home from Germany we found out we were expecting baby #2, so we decided to do our portraits in July instead of June so that the clothes I'd bought for myself would still fit.  I don't mind being pregnant in a family portrait (which I'm sure will happen at some point), but I knew I wouldn't have a belly until fall and I was happy with the outfits I'd purchased.

We'd already been through the ordeal with Brady at the first lederhosen session, so we weren't exactly surprised when he decided he wouldn't cooperate for us.  We are hoping he'll be better by the time it comes for Christmas portraits.  We did manage to get two very good portraits, so we left happy. 

This is probably my favorite of the two.  We're leaning because Andy was working hard to keep Brady still.  We have the mentality that if we keep smiling and looking at the camera, the photographer will get Brady in a good shot and we won't ruin it.  This one definitely shows off his crazy personality.  Below are a few where you can see us trying very hard to wrangle Brady in.

Believe it or not, I already have found an outfit for Brady for next year's family portrait.  I got a great deal on an after-Easter sale and took full advantage. We weren't pregnant at that point, so I had no idea if we'd have another baby by next summer.  The week we found out we were pregnant, I got the same outfit for another boy and for a girl it'll be easy to find something in similar colors during Easter this year.  We'll probably wait until September like we did when Brady was a baby so that the new baby can sit up on their own in the portraits.  It's a year away, but I'm already so excited for it!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lederhosen Portraits

My German and Austrian heritage is very strong, so knowing we were headed to live in Germany, I knew I wouldn't be leaving without a pair of lederhosen for Brady.  My grandparents were Austrian immigrants, and although my Oma is going strong at 92, I know that it's going to fall on my shoulders to keep the culture alive and strong for my kids (it doesn't hurt that Brady is sucker for schnitzel and strudel like his mom, must be genetic).  I found the perfect pair of lederhosen in Munich this past April and haven't seen any that are this nice in any of the stores in other cities.  I wanted to get him a pair for when he's older, but the ones in Stuttgart just weren't up to my standards.  When Andy has to make a trip to Germany someday for work, I intend to travel with him, and take the short train ride to Munich and stock up!

Most of you know I'm big on pictures and getting Brady's portraits done.  He hasn't had any portraits taken since Christmas and now that he's getting older, we will only be doing Christmas and summer (family portraits not included).  I was thrilled to take him in his lederhosen.  He's been a rock star when it comes to portraits, so I was totally taken aback when he wouldn't cooperate at all!  I thought the portraits were terrible and only ordered a handful, scheduling a second sitting, hoping we'd get better shots.  Well, the second sitting went no better, and looking back on it now, the portraits from the first sitting turned out better and I didn't eve realize it in the moment.  The top portraits was from the original sitting and is probably the best of the bunch.  I had to order an 8x10 in hindsight because it turned out better than all the others.

We couldn't leave Germany without a beer stein.  My dad has one from when he traveled to Oktoberfest in Munich (the largest in Germany) when I was about Brady's age.  We also had authentic nutcrackers and Hummels, but they were outrageously expensive in Germany (and that was before the exchange rate kills you).  The nutcrackers are on the list for when we go back, but I can get the same Hummels here in the States for half the price.

 A decent full body shot.

I didn't initially order this one and I have no idea why because he's genuinely smiling and holding the stein showing the front.  Don't worry, I went online and ordered some.

 For those of you who normally receive our Halloween cards, these wallets will be coming your way in early October.  I have wallets of all five shots shown above, so if you have a favorite, let me know!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First Trimester - Izzie B

We've officially reached the second trimester with Trap baby #2, so I thought I'd write a post about the first trimester.  I'm so glad I'll get to record more about this baby than with Brady because I was limited to Facebook back then.  Who says the first baby gets everything?  Not us!  We plan to record the same type of things (3d/4d ultrasounds and belly pics) that we did with Brady for all of our kids.  I'm an avid scrapbooker, so it would literally kill me not to have any pictures to put in them, so there will certainly be just as many pictures of this baby as there was with Brady.  Especially, when they change so much every day in the beginning.

There is some debate on when the first trimester ends, with some sources saying 12, 13, or even 14 weeks being the end.  I figure if you break each trimester equally, they'd be a little over 13 weeks apiece, so I feel the first trimester ends at 13 weeks.  Most say the first trimester is the roughest because most suffer from morning sickness, plus the risk of miscarriage is at its highest.  I was very fortunate to never be sick with Brady, and the only difference this time is that I had no appetite.  That turned out to be a double edged sword, because I am normally oversensitive to an empty stomach.  That meant every time my stomach got very empty, I started to feel pretty yucky.  The moment I ate something, I was back to normal.  Fortunately, my appetite has returned, so it's not a hardship to eat something to keep from feeling yucky.  There are times when I go too long without eating, like when I'm out shopping or running errands, and I have to stop what I'm doing and find something to eat.

The lack of appetite has been helpful in terms of weight control.  With Brady, I gained a total of 52lbs and have no intention of coming anywhere close to that this time.  My goal is 30lbs (recommended is between 25-35lbs), which would keep me under 200lbs.  With Brady, I gained 4lbs in the first trimester and this time have only gained 2lbs.  I get weighed again at the end of the month at my next appointment.  I had planned on starting this pregnancy about 15lbs lighter than where I started with Brady, but living in Germany killed that, so I started 5lbs heavier, which is why it's all the more important I don't gain as much weight (it took me 16 months to drop all of Brady's baby weight).

An exciting thing is that second time moms tend to feel their babies move sooner than their first because they know what to look out for.  Last night, I felt this baby move for the first time.  From the ultrasound, I could tell it's just as wiggly and energetic as Brady was (and still is).  I was 14.5 weeks last night when I felt it and with Brady, I was exactly 16 weeks (although not consistently until 19 weeks).

One of the things I did while pregnant with Brady was take belly shots throughout.  I think it will be fun to compare this pregnancy's belly with Brady's.  They say you show sooner with second, third, fourth, etc pregnancies and I feel like that's true with me.  Most women show by the end of their first trimester and with Brady I didn't really show until 24 weeks, and even after that people wouldn't recognize I was pregnant.  I have had to start wearing a few items of maternity clothes (which has been difficult since most are still in storage).  I'm in that "in-between" stage of showing and not showing.  I call it the "fat" stage.  It's a hump I am very eager to get over.  I definitely look more pregnant than fat when wearing maternity clothes, so that helps.

Most people choose not to bare their bellies when they take belly shots.  I feel that you get a more accurate progression without clothes in the way since you'd have to wear skin-tight shirts to get a good bump.  Below are the belly pics from the first trimester.

9 weeks

13 weeks
 (compared to Brady, I looked this big between 14 and 20 weeks, so definitely getting bigger faster this time)

 A progression picture from 9 to 13 weeks

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Brady Goes Fishing - Virginia Beach

One day at the beach, it was kinda overcast with a high chance of rain, so it wasn't a good beach day.  Andy and I decided to catch a movie (The Dark Knight Rises, even though we really wanted to see it in Pittsburgh since a good bit of it was filmed there).  Alex and Lauren were nice enough to offer to keep an eye on Brady for us, since going to the movies is one of the things we did most before we had kids.

We put Brady down for his nap before we left, and knew that he'd be asleep for at least three hours.  When he woke up, we were still gone, so Alex and Lauren decided to take Brady fishing on the dock behind the house.  Brady's kind of wild and they took Kiro too, so that only winds him up even more.  Brady didn't end up in the water, but Kiro did, thus leading to his abundance of ticks the next day.  They said he did really well and now every time he sees Alex, he gets excited, saying, "Kiro fishy!"  Some of the pictures Lauren took are just priceless and I'm so glad she thought to take some for me.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Brady's 2 1/2 Birthday - Beach Style

Most people don't celebrate a half birthday, but since we were away from family on Brady's 2nd birthday, we decided we'd celebrate at the beach with everyone there (minus Dubby).  His half birthday was August 19 and we were at the beach the first full week of August, so it's been a while since we had our celebration, but we've been so busy with the new house and moving in (in fact the movers are here right now, giving me a chance to write a blog in somewhat peace, while Brady's being watched at a friend's house).

The plan was to get a cake (as you can see above) and sing (which didn't really happen).  I had my heart set on a Cars cake since we didn't have the opportunity to get an American birthday cake in Germany to go along with his Cars theme this year.  The cake booklet at Walmart was so huge that I must've missed it, but I did come up with the perfect cake.  Brady has loved trains ever since Germany, and has been watching Chuggington (a train show on Disney Junior) since he was a baby.  He's gotten way more into it now that he's been on so many trains, and about a week or two before vacation, he started singing the Chuggington theme song.  We all thought it was really cute, so when my eyes landed on the Chuggington cake, I knew it would make him so happy.  It even had a real Wilson (the red train) that he could play with later.

Look at that smile!  He was so happy and said "Chuggington" right away.

Time to taste some icing.

He wanted to play with Wilson and did a number on the icing when he tried to push him through the tunnel.

I love this picture because he has an icing goatee.

Finally getting to play with the toys the right way.

We were so glad that Brady got to celebrate somewhat of a birthday with family.  I've been saying since we first moved away when he was a baby that his third birthday was going to be a blowout.  That's still the plan, but now to come up with a theme!