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Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday madness

Since I've had the little man, Monday's never used to be anything too exciting, just the first day of the week where we say farewell to the hubby at the doorstep. This all changed when I started working Monday evenings from 4:15 - 7:30 at the fabulous Purebarre. As I do love working, granted for only three hour stretches at a time and as long as Carter is being watched by a family member,  it does throw a wrench into our daily routine. Luckily, my sister and I have come up with a perfect child-watching compromise! Here is what our Monday's look like nowadays:

1) After the regular morning activities, I put Carter down at 10:30 (which is now a little bit too early for him, but works with the rest of our day).
2) I clean the house like a mad woman, considering coming home to a dirty house is comparable to a trip to the dump.
3) I pray that Carter wakes up by 1:00, but if he doesn't, I wake him up so we can head down to Mission Viejo (I always feel so bad!).
4) The brother-in-law heads off to work and I watch Tessa (the precious niece) until Mama Gina comes home from work.
5) At 3:30 Gina and I switch off watching the kiddos, and I head off to teach for a few hours.
6) I ski-daddle out of the studio by 7:45 to pick up the little man, we make the 15 minute drive home and it's the beginning of the four B's: Bath, Book, Bottle and Bed!
7) . . . At which point I take a shower and relax on the couch, and now since school has started again, wait for Chadly to return. 

And that's my one hectic day of the week. Luckily it's not too hectic, but every Sunday night I always feel like I'm gearing up for a full on eight hour work day! It's a weird feeling, and I'm pretty sure I only feel that way because it involves Carter's babysitting schedule, but once our Monday's are over and done with, I always breathe a big sigh of relief and look forward to a relaxing (albeit laundry-filled) Tuesday!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Major update time

Wow, it has been a LONG time since I have explored these parts! I have to say, I missed my daily routine of checking out everyone's lives while my little guys sleeps! Hopefully never again will there come such a huge gap between updates!

Anyway, here is what we have been up to in the Cisneros household:

1) I caught a major cold. And I mean major. I don't think I've ever been hit this hard with a cold so quickly. One day I was fine, the next day I was an a crustacean on the couch. There was literally no moving me. Thank goodness Chad was home to take care of business, otherwise, we would have been lost.

2) My birthday recently passed! Chad surprised me with a one night trip to Vegas, just the two of us :) We left around 10:30 Saturday morning and returned on Sunday, my big twenty-third, around 2:30. Chad had planned a delicious sushi dinner (the restaurant was located in the Mirage, where we stayed), and then we saw O by Cirque du Soleil. It was absolutely amazing and HUGE! After the inevitably awful trek back from Vegas, the little man was waiting for us at the Paplia's abode, where we enjoyed a fabulous Italian dinner complete with wine and birthday cake. It was an awesome couple of days, and I love my husband for being the planner that he is!

3) A few of the fabulous presents I got for my birthday were two cook books from Mama Paplia. So far Giada (Chad's imaginary girlfriend), has done me well! Somehow, through the fog of this ridiculous cold, I have managed to make a few notable favorites: chicken tetrazzinni, and last night, Italian breaded pork chops. These pork chops were out-of-control delicious. Have you ever heard of spritzing your pork chops with lemon juice? I sure as heck hadn't, and to be honest that made me a little weary of this new recipe, but they literally are the best pork chops I've ever had to date. We recently watched Julie and Julia and it's taking all my control not to apply Julie's method to Giada! Seriously, just amazing.

4) Carter is a full-on walker now! No more wall treading for my little guy! It's full speed ahead for him and it's never been more adorable just to watch him meander around the room! He holds my hand (which melts my heart), and we take on the hallway, bedrooms and kitchen together! It's so fun, I can not get enough of this age! Again, it's just amazing :)

5) I made Martha Stewarts Lemon Meringue cupcakes and they are fabulous. In the same baking session I made banana nut bread, but we won't crack that out of it's aluminum shell until next Thursday, because the longer you wait, the better it is (we found this out by packaging a few banana nut breads during Christmas for hostess presents, and when we couldn't make it to one of the family get togethers last minute, we decided we might as well eat the bread. Oh. My. Gosh. It was heavenly! So now waiting a week is our plan from here on out when it comes to the banana nut bread)! In order to get us through the week wait for our bread, I had to make some sort of dessert to get us by. We are healthy, eh?

Those are a few updates. It feels good to get them out!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Child care buddies

Okay, back to the real world. My honeymoon posts will make guest appearances, but time to snap back to reality!

Today was the first church day I decided to drop Carter off in child care for the duration of mass! Usually Chad and I will sit in the little glass-plated room with a million other rowdy children, but today I took a leap of faith! Driving to church I kept getting nervous, thinking crazy thoughts like, "what if he gets hungry?" "What if he has some massacre-level poop situation?" Ahh! I was going nuts.

Of course, these thoughts were exactly that: nuts! When I brought him in the room full of kids and toys, he reached out to the little group of toddlers, which basically means he wants me to put him the heck down. I said, "okay, Carter, bye-bye, Mommy will be back!" He waved like a good boy and made a bee-line to a tractor truck. Like any mother, it made me a bit sad that he wasn't having a break down because I was leaving him, but then I decided to count my blessings and be happy that my little man was being brave! Lucky me, lucky me!

After church, I was the one making a bee-line: straight to the child care room! I heard him laugh, which made me laugh, and the person in charge of child care (someone I've known my entire life, and who's mom led our girl scout group), told me he did great and didn't cry the entire time. Success!

We have now found our new Sunday routine!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

So are we speaking French, or are we speaking German here?

In the spirit of further chronicling our honeymoon, and keeping with my brief vacation from the everyday, next topic on the love list: Brugge!
Brugge's nickname: Little Venice, due to all the canals that run through the city.

So far, my posts have been wildly out of order, as this was our last major activity on the old 'moon. After five days in Paris, we hopped on a train and headed to Brussels, where Chad's coworker insisted we take yet another train out of the city to visit the romantic town of Brugge.

A little history on our destination: It's one of the oldest cities in Europe, and in order to maintain the novelty of the village, no buses or major transportation unit is allowed within the city limits. Battles from WWII were fought within the city walls, and in order to facilitate those crazy snipers, architects fashioned buildings with tiny windows toward the top floors so that they can shoot whoever was coming down the canals. Morbid, eh? Onto happier aspects!

Since I knew this was one of the oldest cities in all of Europe, I felt it was appropriate to wear a happy, sunny dress, which, looking back, may or may not have been channeling Maria Von Trapp . . .
As soon as I looked as if I could burst into song with "The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music," I was set. The city was so darn cute, it made me want to skip through the streets. It still blows me away how old everything is in Europe. The cobblestone had been laid over 400 years ago! While we were there, for some reason, nobody was out on the streets. We were literally the only two outdoors. The city was insanely quiet, so it felt a little bit like we were trespassing on some holy ground or something. While quietly making our way through the streets, we were attempting to navigate our way to St. Catherine's Cathedral, which houses Michael Angelo's Madonna and Child in white marble (my dad is an artist on the side, so I know a thing our two about the masterpieces!). The steeple towered over everything, so one would think it would be easy to find, but we somehow got lost and ended up walking through a few back allies. Anywhere else in Europe, that would have freaked me out, but Brugge looked so pleasant, there was no way something bad could have happened! Anyway, us getting lost was actually a great thing because it brought us to the city's main square.
As you can see, it looked like Disneyland. In fact, the locals say that it feels as if they live in Disneyland. While Chad and I took in the sights, checked out the outrageously expensive menus for the restaurants surrounding the square, and balked at the 100 euro horse-drawn carriage tour, we decided it was time to fully take in the culture and chow down. We read somewhere prior to our trip that the restauranteurs of the city served various shell fish straight from the canals, so after walking out of the main square, we found a restaurant to take a seat at. We ordered a couple of beers and started discussing which language these Brugge-folk spoke on a normal basis. I was certain they spoke German, but Chad was dead set that they spoke French. We couldn't figure it out, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. "Don't worry," I told Chad, "I'll just ask our waiter." Big mistake. Take it from me, if you are ever not certain which language is spoken within any given country, google it, rent a library book, do anything but ask a native.

"Hi, the people here speak German, right?" Now, I'm sure there were a million other more graceful ways to ask that question, but I was positive they spoke German! Oh, man. He whipped his head towards me and, quite angrily, semi-yelled, "Well! If you would like to speak to a German man, go to Germany!" His eyes were piercing into my soul. I felt my face heat up, and, attempting to back pedal, said, "Oh, that's right."

So my question was never answered. To this day I have no idea what the heck language is spoken in that city. Chad laughed at me, and I learned how important it is to brush up on your facts while travelling the world. Lesson learned.

The rest of the day went off without a hitch, and we had a great time. We sat by the Lake of Eternal Vows, saw Madonna and Child, ate Belgium chocolate like fiends, and saw a black swan. I definitely recommend any future honeymooners to make Brugge a priority, as it a) encompasses old Europe, b) provides you with many a photo-opp, and c) allows the unsuspecting young bride to look like an idiot and offend even the calmest of locals.

Here is the only picture we got with the two of us, and yes, my eyes are shut. At least my Parisian purse and Von Trapp outfit looked glorious!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer . . .

Since my mind has been hovering somewhere over Europe lately, I decided it is only fitting to share more fun adventures from our honeymoon. Today's topic: the outrageously amazing alcoholic beverages over there across the pond.

Now the extent of my "sophisticated drinking" does not span too far back. Like any undergrad, the old days of college drinking consisted more of Coors Light, versus a nice Chardonnay. As a result of this, I am not too familiar with the finer points in the realm of leisure drinking. The same goes for Chad, but in Europe, he was determined to turn this fact around. He was OBSESSED with finding a reputable place to go wine tasting. Of course I was on board, but I wasn't going to jump out of the plane on the way home if we couldn't find a good place.

So Chad was able to find a great little wine store that held tastings in the evenings in the lovely neighborhood right next to the Eiffel Tower. Now here I am, this American, who thought that if one was to go wine tasting in PARIS, one should look presentable. Better than presentable, actually, but rather quite dressed to the nines. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to wear this:
Looking snazzy, right? So we left our hotel around 5:30, giving us more than enough time to take the metro to the correct part of town and walk around a bit before we took our seats to learn about Parisian wines. Well let me tell you, apparently I looked like a hooker or something! People were literally pointing and laughing at me. After awhile I started thinking something was on my butt or something. To make matters even weirder than they already were, we couldn't find the place! I asked these two teenagers how to get where we needed to be, and they laughed after we left! Chad and I just started laughing because it seemed so bizarre! The experience taught me that even though those Parisians are pretty dang fashionable, if you look like you're trying to be fashionable, you will look stupid. Anyway, after searching around town for over an hour, we accepted the inevitability that we were not going to be able to find out destination. Back to the hotel we went, with no definite plans other than getting me out of that ridiculous outfit and cracking open a bottle of champagne before we lit out for Paris at large!
So here I was after a few glasses of champagne. It took us about twenty minutes to walk from our hotel to the Tower, and we were giggling literally the entire way. It had been so long since I had had an opportunity to relax and let the bubbly flow, I couldn't get a hold of myself! Everything was hilarious to me! It was probably the best buzz of my life! Chad and I were speaking in the "French accent" we had somehow conjured up on the plane ride over, which I'm sure any French citizen would have been offended by if we had actually spoken that way to anyone. Back to the Tower. Our plan was to ride to the top, but unfortunately it was shut down due to overcrowding (which was how it was the entire time we were in town). So we decided to take a seat at one of the cafes in the area and have a little dinner. Our festive mood brought us more champagne. More wine. More beer. And even more champagne. Oh my goodness, we were having a good time.
The great part was that at no point did either one of us feel that we over did it. It must be something about Paris. Here I am with one of the practically-gallon sized beers I inhaled that night. Chad was having a hay-day because I hadn't been that silly in Lord knows how long. We met some Americano's who ended up sitting with us until closing time, which was surprisingly early at 12:00. We said farewell to our new friends, after they told us which areas of the Louvre to check out first, and we caught a cab back to the hotel. For a brief moment I had a vision of this cab driver selling us into some sex slavery circle because I thought he said he had to take a "detour" to our hotel, but Chad told me all was well and we arrived safely home.

Well, apparently a hang over in the states was the same over in Europe. NEVER had my head hurt so bad, and I mean NEVER. Here we were, in lovely France, and I had a headache?! No! I took some Advil and headed off to the Louvre (story to come!). Luckily, that night we found our lost wine tasting class and had a wonderful time. I learned that I love red wine, and that French wine is quite possibly the best of all time!
And that's the happy ending to our wine/beer/champagne extravaganza for the first few days of our trip!

Good thing that all happened in the beginning, because it gave me the courage to order red wine and experiment the whole rest of the trip! Good times with the hubby, good times!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Versaille? Oui!

Okay, so as I've mentioned before, Chad and I officially tied the knot in 2009, but had our fabulous wedding on June 19, 2010. For a wedding present, the Cisneros's gave us the option to spend over a week anywhere in the world, which obviously blew me away. Due to my lifelong obsession with Western Europe, I BEGGED Chad to pick a country in that area. I just HAD to go there! I didn't even care which country he picked. At first he wanted to go to Aruba, but after much prodding and poking from good old me, we decided to return to the homeland! First we were going to attempt to do this elaborate country-hop between Italy, Germany and France, but once we realized we literally would get no sleep, we decided to scale it down. Little did I know that "scaling it down" meant PARIS and BRUSSELS! 

Anyway, the entire honeymoon story can wait for another time. I just HAVE to talk about one of the highlights of the trip for me, and that was the PALAIS DE VERSAILLE! I literally think about this insane palace every single day. I am definitely going to return on another trip to Europe. It was just so princess-y and beautiful! Definitely a great honeymoon activity for all you lovers out there! Here is how our day went on our little expedition outside the big city of Paris!

After the train ride through the Parisian burbs, we were in the city of Versaille! True to form, I quickly mounted a trusty steed before heading off to the day's excitement! The little city of Versaille (I actually have no idea if it's a "little" city, but it seemed quaint in comparison to Paris), was great because everyone was so nice! Most people, I would imagine, were tourists like us, but it still was great to meet some cool people. Chad was looking dapper and we were set to take in some culture! So we grabbed a quick baguette sandwich and off we went!
 After a quick stroll, this is what you find! It was absolutely massive. I wish the picture quality was better, but that's okay. The entire palace actually spanned further than my camera could take in! If you are like how I was prior to my visit to this insanity, here is a little history: this is where the Louis' 14th, 15th and 16th lived with their wives and all the servants. One of the most exciting points is that Marie Antoinette ("Let them eat cake!") was the last of the queens to live here. She was occupying the palace during the French Revolution when she had to scurry out the back door!
Anyway, after surpassing the MASSIVE line outside, (when we landed at Charles de Gaulle we bought ourselves some nifty two day museum passes), we got ourselves some audio guides and made our first stop at the Palace Cathedral. This is one of the newer attachments, so it was in excellant shape. The detail was just mind blowing. I took multiple pictures of the individual aspects of the building such as the floor, the paintings on the ceilings, the gold organ pipes, etc., but this picture gives you the amazingness in it's entirety! There just so happened to be a field trip of kids sitting on the floor learning about it's history. Can you imagine being a little French kid who's average field trip consists of visits to the Palais de Versaille and the Louvre?! As a kid I visited the stupid rock mines in Trabuco Canyon! Ridiculous!
As we walked on, we found a hallway filled with sculptures of men who helped to make France what it was pre-revolution. There were descriptions at each of their feet, but us being our mature selves, we decided it was of grave importance to emulate their actions! Here is Chadly directing the troops in war! (Okay, you are welcome to punch me in the face anytime my uproariously hilarious jokes become too much for you). A little side note here: as we walked through the roped-off sections of the palace with the rest of the brigade of sight-see-ers, I couldn't help but wonder what the heck was behind the twenty million other doors that were shut off to the public! The palace was already HUGE to me, but there were parts of it we weren't even able to see!
In the interest of not making this post the longest of all time, I'm going to skip straight to one of my favorite rooms of the entire place: THE HALL OF MIRRORS! Oh my gosh, I could not believe the grandeur of this room! It's where the kings and queens would hold court, various balls, and anything else that was high and elegant. Those windows on the right looked out to the expansive gardens, and those chandeliers went all the way down the room! It was just amazing. If I ever have a daughter, the main theme of her room WILL be the Hall of Mirrors! No choices in my household!
After walking through the old bedrooms, we rented a few bikes out in the gardens and took to a little cycling! This was my favorite part of the day. It was so beautiful out, and the grounds were so huge we could have cycled for hours! If you've ever seen Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley, and if you remember the seen at Pemberly (where Mr. Darcy - my boyfriend - lives), when she was looking out the window and his property stretched to the horizon, this was exactly like that. We cycled left, we cycled right, we cycled through the well-manicured maze, we cycled to the fresh orange juice stand, we cycled to Marie Antoinette's little house, we cycled EVERYWHERE! My leggings were the perfect thing to wear on this expedition and Chad was doing a great job with the camera!
This is a great representation of how basically all of Europe was to Chad: too small! He is probably three times the size of the average European, and Marie's chateau was no different!

Anyway, after Marie's humble abode, we handed our bikes in and walked back up the steps to the palace. That night we attempted to go wine tasting, but, once again, that's a story for another day!

I hope you enjoyed my indulgence! Woo!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Record breaking laziness

First of all, I know my blog looks all crazy. I have no idea how the heck to fix it, so if anyone out there has any suggestions, shoot them at me!

Anyway, yesterday I experienced new levels of laziness. It was so extreme, I thought I had to of had a fever or something, even though I felt completely fine. Just out of control. This picture basically sums up my entire day:

Except minus the beer, and minus that awkward left paw position.

Here is how my day went:

  1. Woke up around 8:30
  2. Fed Carter, made Chad's lunch (about the only productive thing I did), and ate some breakfast
  3. Chad left, I assumed my position on the couch
  4. Carter went down for a nap around 11:30, I reassumed my position on the couch
  5. Picked Carter up out of his crib around 1:45, I shut my bedroom door so he wouldn't go anywhere, and yep, I laid in bed (low point of the day)
  6. Went on a 15 minute walk around 2:30, then quickly reassumed couch position
  7. Waited for Chad to get home so I could go to sleep
  8. Put Carter down at 7:30, laid back on the couch
  9. Bed by 10:30
Sad, I know. I'm still in shock even 24 hours later. 

Oh yeah, and today I took a three hour nap. Man, oh, man. At least I'm energized now and my hubby took care of business around the old household! What a great guy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


We Cisneros's love Disneyland. Love, love, love, love, love it. Chad and I have had passes for basically our entire relationship, but took a break from good old D-Land when the little man was born. We had this idea that it would be a bad idea to take him when he was so young because it would take away from the excitement when he was old enough to know what was going on. That theory lasted for about six months. After agreeing that we needed something to do that would satisfy both us and our little one on Chad's days off, it was time we ventured back into frontier land to join our friends at the haunted mansion. So we got ourselves some Deluxe passes and back we were!

After I got off work at 10:30 am (woohoo for teaching two classes and getting a workout in!), we hauled off after Carter's nap! We stayed later than we've stayed in a long time, but for some reason I stopped taking pictures early in the day. Enjoy!

On his trusty steed! He was so excited to go on the carousel, it was so cute!

My boys :)

Oh yeah, and instead of being an excited parent by my child's side, Chad convinced me to hop on!

It was quite a fun date with my boys. Disneyland always delivers!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm following suit!

In my daily reading of all the blogs I follow, I think it's time for me to follow suit and announce my goals for 2011. Yes, I said goals, because I'm afraid that if I say "resolutions" I will not execute, much like the word "diet." I'm a super "goal-y" type person, so I'm finally taking note of that and tailoring my New Year's list to myself! Here goes!

1) Become a better morning peson. It is SO DIFFICULT for me to get up in the morning, it's as if getting out of bed is equivalent to setting my hair on fire. For a few months I thought I was getting better at the whole am thing, but recent research has shown that I'm the same old Nicole: a big lug any time before 10:30am. I feel bad about this because Carter is obviously a morning person at this stage in his perfect little life, but I'm still lagging behind! It's horrible! So that is #1 on my list.

2) Become a better cook/home manager. I know this sounds completely lame. I mean, the words "home," and "manager" put together sounds completely un-feministic (again, is that a word?), but I definitely think this is something I need to strive for. I go through these lulls of being really on top of my game for a few weeks, then I slink into this hole of over-relaxation. I dread putting meals together because I was born without intuition in the kitchen, but this is the year I am changing these horrible facts! I already have conquered my style revolution (as mentioned sometime in November or December), but it's on to the household at large!

3) Go to the snow/visit Hearst Castle. The snow needs to be seen at some point this year. I don't care if it's before this winter is over that we are in right now, or we have to wait until December of this year. It just HAS to happen. As far as Hearst Castle goes, I just really want to go see that insane house that was occupied by that insane family. My American Studies major is shining through here!

4) Become more consistent with my correspondences. If you are my friend, you are one of the unfortunates who know just how terrible I am at a) calling you back, b) texting you back, c) carrying on messages/comments via Facebook, and any other sort of communication connection. I am not proud of this, so let me tell you all right now, I'M SORRY FOR THE PAST ALMOST-23 YEARS OF BAD CORRESPONDENCE! I'm changing this ASAP!

5) Run a marathon. (Or at least a 1/2 marathon). This may seem insane, but I don't care if it happens on December 31, 2011, it's happening. That's all I have to say about that one. 

So here I come, 2011, it's going to be a great year!

Monday, January 3, 2011

All I have to say is . . .

Yep, I may have a small obsession. That's all!
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