First Mother’s Day Weekend Recap

Aloha, everyone! I hope you all had an awesome weekend, whether you were celebrating Mother’s Day or just enjoying some time to yourself. Mine flew by, as is typical, in a total whirlwind — there was a bit of car drama, time with other mamas, and, of course, a supermegaton of Penelope!

I’m actually going to back up to Thursday, since that’s really where our weekend story begins…

THURSDAY: Spontaneous Failure to Start

Penny goes to daycare on Tuesdays and Thursday, so bright and early Thursday morning, I packed her up into the car and got ready to go. I actually had intended on capturing my day on Thursday for another “Day in the Life” post, so I’d already made a point to take photos of all her daycare stuff, of the pups, and of our morning in general as we went through it.

No sooner had I snapped the above image and climbed into the driver’s seat, however, my car wouldn’t turn on. I have a push-button start car, and the “low key battery” indicator had been flashing for a couple of weeks, so I thought that it might be the key fob itself causing an issue.

With an increasingly impatient Penny still strapped into her carseat, I started the painstaking process of breaking my nails to remove the battery from my key fob… only to continue to have nothing happen when I pushed the start button again. Guffffff. I was about ready to give up when, suddenly, without me doing anything new, my car suddenly started! Hoorah! Off to daycare we went, with me thinking it must have been the key battery thing and it must have just taken a second to start working.

Weeeeeell, turns out that wasn’t the case at all. We go to daycare, I drop off a happy little Penny poo, get back in my car aaaaaand…

Yup. Dead car. And this time, it doesn’t randomly turn back on after trying a few times. The radio and AC work, but the engine just doesn’t seem to be connecting at all. No clicking, no turnover, no nothing. Le sigh. So I spend the next two hours creepily hanging out in my daycare’s parking lot while roadside assistance first sends out someone to try jumping my car (doesn’t do anything), and then finally a tow truck.

I have it towed to the dealer, who informs me that there’s a known issue with the make and model of my car concerning one of its engine parts. One of the symptoms? Spontaneous failure to start. Bright side? It’ll be covered by an extended warranty on the affected part, as will a rental car! Downside? Their transmission guy can’t look at it to confirm that’s the issue until tomorrow morning anyway, which means I’m car-less in the meantime. Womp womp.

And man, if I thought that it was inconvenient to be without a car BEFORE I had a kid? Yeeeeesh. Thankfully, I have an awesome and accommodating mom who drove out to help me pick up Penny later in the afternoon so that Sean wouldn’t have to leave work early.

FRIDAY: Housebound but Happy

Enter Friday, where I get to spend the morning at the house with my little love who is in the absolute BEST mood. I don’t know if it’s because we’re dogsitting my brother’s pup, and she is super into Pixel, or if it’s because she’s finally (finally!) feeling 100% better after being sick for so long, but she is all smiles and giggles and it’s just the BEST!

Her being such a happy, content little princess definitely helps with the continued car drama, as I don’t receive an update on the status of my car until the afternoon, and while it is the covered issue (phew!), they won’t have a rental car available until the NEXT morning (ughhhhh.)

Fortunately, I don’t have too much on my plate today other than getting some work done on my computer and getting the mongrels groomed. And doubly fortunately, we use a mobile groomer that comes to our house!

It’s a beautiful day, as well, so Penny and I get to spend a little bit of time enjoying the fresh air while the pups are getting groomed. Despite being stuck at home, we’re successfully able to stave off the cabin fever!

When Sean gets home after work, I do have to snag his car and head over to my mom’s to help her with a few errands before she goes out of town. It’s nice to spend some time with her before she leaves, too, since she’ll be gone on actual Mother’s Day (we celebrated early with a dinner last week as well.)

SATURDAY: Mama’s Night Out

Penny’s great mood yesterday comes at a cost, apparently, as she has a bad night sleep-wise (uncharacteristic for her lately!). After fighting going to bed for a good 45 minutes in the beginning of the night, she wakes up at 4:30 AM! I thought she might be hungry since her last nursing sesh the night before was kinda early, so I feed her… but instead of returning to sleep, she’s simply wiiiiiide awake and super chatty for the next full hour. It’s both absolutely adorable and incredible annoying, hahaha.

She finally falls back asleep around 6, sleeps for 45 minutes, and then poops herself awake, lololol. Soooo I change her diaper and then she finally falls back asleep from 7 – 10 AM! Super weird, super irregular for me, it gets us started on our day pretty late. But luckily, by the time we were up and about, the car rental place is ready with a car for me, so Sean drives us over to go pick it up.

We have lunch and hang out for the rest of the day, and after putting Penny to bed, I get dolled up because I’ve got a lady date to get to!

I head out to Trio Grill in Merrifield to meet up with my fellow hot mamas Lara and Anne. Lara’s daughter is 15 months old, and Anne’s babe is almost 6 months, so even though we’re trying taking time to celebrate ourselves (an early Happy Mother’s Day celebration!), we’ve still got babies on the brain, hehe. We do our best to talk about things other than our littles, but the conversation is still mostly babies, bedtime routines, and breastfeeding, lol. Hey, you can only expect so much of us!

The drinks, apps, and noshes are damn good though! We share a bunch of stuff, including tuna tartare and oysters as appetizers.

And I get an awesome shaved asparagus salad and an Asian-inspired salmon entree.

Not pictured: my faaaabulous cocktail, the Blackberry Beret. Gin-based, crisp, sweet, and delicious. Yum!

SUNDAY: My First Mother’s Day

Penny sleeps better — she still wakes up earlier than normal at 6:30 AM, but I’m not complaining too much since I want to be able to soak in every minute with her today. It’s officially Mother’s Day!

She and I lounge around in bed for a bit, nursing and getting some happy, chatty cuddles in, while I hear Sean puttering around in the kitchen. We emerge to find he’s made waffles for breakfast! Both Penny and I eagerly scarf ours down — she eats almost an entire half-waffle by herself!

We have a lovely, lazy Sunday morning all together as a family before heading out to a late Mother’s Day lunch. When I open the car door, there’s a gift waiting for me in the passenger seat! A lovely card and this even lovelier figurine commemorating this very special time in our lives.

Sean takes us out for Mother’s Day lunch at Fogo de Chao, which is fabulous (aside from me accidentally knocking over and totally SHATTERING a pepper shaker to keep it out of Penny’s grasp — whoops) and puts me in a serious food coma.

As the most wonderful Mother’s Day gift, Penny behaves AMAZINGLY the entire time. She’s so happy watching all the gaucho chefs toting their meat popsicles around, and enjoys eating bits and pieces of our meal (big fan of the mashed potatoes, jury’s still out on the green beans, lol.)

All things considered, a pretty perfect way to spend Mother’s Day weekend! Well, it would have truly been perfect if I didn’t have all the stuff happen with my car, of course, but hey, you gotta take the bad to get the good, right? And Sean says I’ve still got a gift on the way, which means the good’s just gonna keep on comin’, hehe.

Okay, okay, I swear, I’ll stop gushing now. I just can’t get enough of my awesome little family! Must be that obsessive personality thing I have going on… but hey, I can think of worse things to be obsessed with. 😉

Have an awesome day!

Early Anniversary

Happy (or, well, whatever emotion it is you feel today) Monday, everybody! I hope you all had restful and relaxing weekends. I had a particularly great one! Friday night kicked off with an epic hangout with my good friend Lara, her friend (who is now also my friend, heh) Sabrina. In involved a delicious recipe for LASAGNA SOUP (it was amazing), some homemade ice cream with my new ice cream maker, and a glorious re-watching of Pitch Perfect, which is seriously so hilarious it actively hurts (aca-SCUSE ME?!).




So, yeah. Pretty awesome weekend kickoff, if I say so myself. Saturday Sean took me out for a surprise mystery date. He’d been hinting all week that we were going somewhere Saturday night, but wouldn’t give me any hints or clues as to where. Weeeell, it turns out the sneaky guy is kind of amazing, because he took me back to Nostos, the fantastic Greek restaurant where we had our first date!

And UNLIKE on our first date, where I was on my very best behavior, this time I didn’t feel ashamed to take a zillion pictures, hehe.

We even ended up at the same table, though that was due entirely to coincidence and not to Sean’s planning skillz, hahaha. Our anniversary technically isn’t for another few weeks, so I was totally caught off guard. It turns out there was a very specific reason for the early celebration, but I’ll get to that in a minute. First, FOOD!

Tzatziki and pita

Nostos offers both regular-sized entrees and a selection of mezze, or small plates. Being the food sharer that I am, of course I opted for the mezze! I did this on our first date, too, and was very pleasantly surprised to find out that Sean is A-OK with food sharing. That gave him a definite check in the “Pros” column that night, hee. Of course, had I KNOWN we were going to this place, I would have brought my REAL camera with me, and had actual, good photos to share. But I’m pretty sure that me leaving the DSLR at home was part of Sean’s plan all along, haha.

An eggplant tomato dish

Dolmades – rice and beef stuffed grape leaves

Filet skewers (these were AMAZING)

Yes, that is flaming cheese.

Which naturally turned into ooey-gooey, melty, delicious cheese.

We got almost all different things than we got the last time we were here, so it was really nice to sample more of the menu. I kinda missed the octopus though, no kidding! Back when Sean set up our first date, I looked up Nostos on Yelp and saw that everyone recommended the grilled octopus. I asked Sean if we could get it, and he complied (oh, the willingness that we all have to do things we don’t want to do when we first start out dating someone, hahaha) but it turned out to be ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. If anyone in the area goes to Nostos, the things I absolutely, 100% recommend are the tzatziki, the flaming cheese, and the octopus.

For dessert, we shared a creme caramel which was drenched in orange liquor sauce. Mmmm.

As if dinner wasn’t enough, Sean also had tickets to the Ari Hest show at the Barns at Wolf Trap, which is exactly what we did on our first date, too. So yeah, he recreated that entire evening, except this time there was far less nervousness and a lot more casual handholding. 😀


If you like folksy, acoustic-y music, by the way, you totally need to give Ari Hest a listen. He’s like Joshua Radin (my loooove!) but a little bit deeper, a little more rhythm… and he is just the BEST performer. Seriously. I’d never heard of him before Sean took me to see him on our first date, and I’m usually not someone who likes to go to concerts of artists I don’t know. But I LOVED him. Right down my alley, and such an entertaining performer. My favorites songs are Dead End Driving, The Weight, and Business in America, if you need a place to start. <3 The weekend had a pretty anticlimactic ending, with the Redskins losing their playoff game to the Seattle Seahawks. (Yes, I watched the game, and yes, I actually paid attention to most of it. WHO AM I?!?) But the rest of it more than made up for the slightly melancholy ending. Are you an anniversary celebrator? I used to go a little bit overboard and insist that every relatively long length of time needed to be celebrated — 3 months, 6 months, first dates, first kiss, etc, etc. But I think I’m pretty good with the single annual thing now. I’m sure we’ll still be doing a little second celebration (probably just a gift exchange or something) on our actual day (January 26th), but this was really the perfect way to ring in a year with my love.

Okay, stopping the cheesiness here. Except, you know, I’ll never stop the cheese-y-ness. Especially the flaming kind.

Early Birthday

Birthday Man

Happy almost-birthday to my papa!

Aren’t my parents adorable?

After all, when did it ever hurt to be a bit early?


Our family celebrated his “29th” birthday last night at Clyde’s in Tysons Corner, since both my parents and I will be in Ottawa on his actual birthday later this week.


The food was good, though the decor was a little awkward (see the statue above) and the service was unfortunately super slow. We were seated right next to two other big parties, and there was only one server covering all three tables. It didn’t end up being too big of a deal since we weren’t in a rush or anything, but just a word to the wise that Sunday nights might not be the best time to schedule a big group dinner there.


But back to that whole food thing…

Vino GrigioBreaded

We started with some wine (pinot grigio, my favorite!) and the non-oyster selections from the oyster menu. My dad’s allergic to oysters, and I’ve never even had a raw one (though I had Oysters Rockefeller at the beach wedding I went to last month – delicious!) Shrimp and crab claws, on the other hand…

Mad shrimp cocktail love.

Herro Friend
Herro friend.

For my starter, I got a salad with apples, goat cheese, pancetta, and walnuts. It originally came with arugula but I haven’t been vibing that particular green lately (who says stuff like that?) so I asked them to substitute romaine instead. It was a great decision. The salad also came with a crostini with even MORE goat cheese smeared on top!

Would you like some salad with that goat cheese?
Goat cheese HEAVEN.

My entree was the pumpernickel crusted salmon, served with potatoes and this AWESOME pickled red cabbage. The cabbage was so, so good — I must find a recipe. I also pilfered some broccoli from my bro-in-law’s plate for some green (which was clearly cooked in butter, but we all have to make sacrifices. Ahahaha.) I practiced some highly uncharacteristic self-restraint and actually only ate half my plate! Needless to say, I’m looking forward to lunch tomorrow.

Rock Lobstah!
One guess as to what my mom ordered, haha.

In between our starters and entrees, my dad opened up his presents which is obviously the best part of any b-day celebration! (Does it come as any surprise that I can’t wait for my own birthday?)

Birthday GiftsBirthday Onlooker

I got him the Game of Thrones book set — does anyone watch the HBO show? I’ve only heard vague (but good!) things about it, so I’m wondering if it’s worth getting into. Maybe after reading the books, my dad can give me some insight?


Naturally, we couldn’t leave the restaurant without cake!

Chocolate Birthday

My mom picked up a small pumpkin mousse cake (yes, as awesome as it sounds) from Natalia’s, a local Falls Church bakery.

Candles & Cake
Make a Wish!

It was light, fluffy, pumpkin-y, and delicious! And for my second uncharacteristic food-act of the night, I didn’t even go for the remaining piece. Well, I did make a move for some of the extra chocolate shavings on top. I’m only human, after all.

Pumpkin Cake

It was a fantastic way to cap off the weekend!

Other weekend POPIs (Points of Potential Interest): I did, in fact, make it to just short of 4 miles with my pops Saturday morning. Race training forges ahead! I also FINALLY got around to donating four full trashbags of too-big clothing to a thrift store, and I took Daxter to check out Shirlington Dog Park as well. It was great! It’s long and fairly narrow, with lots of trees and TONS of dogs, including lots of small ones for Daxy to play with. The only thing is that it’s relatively far away compared to the dog park I usually go to (which is walkable from my house) so I hope that I can motivate myself to drive my crazy pups out there more often.

What’s your favorite kind of cake? For your birthday or otherwise? I really dug the pumpkin mousse cake that we had for its lightness, and I’m a lover of strawberry as a flavor. But what really takes the cake (ZING!) is the almond-pistachio cake that I had at Icebox Cafe in Miami. Seriously. That cake. Changed. My life.