Christmastime is Exhausting!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I won't bore you with all of the details of my Christmas vacation from work, but it was a busy one full of shuffling back and forth from Scranton to Mechanicsburg and from family to family. It was lots of fun and I was very depressed to head back to work today. 5:45 AM has never felt so early!

Here are some pictures that my Dad took of the church all decorated for Christmas. This is also what it will look like for the wedding:

post signature

The 12 Days of Christmas

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This is hilarious:

post signature

Let's Play the Name Game!

I always think that names are very interesting. You're stuck with your first name for the rest of your life! And if you're a boy, you're stuck with your last name too. I mean who wants a crappy last name like Cianfichi for the rest of their life (just kidding!)?

I personally already have the names picked out for my future son and daughter, but I found the Top 10 Boys and Girls Names for 2008, from, so I thought I would share:

10. Lily
9. Hailey
8. Addison
7. Madeline
6. Ava
5. Olivia
4. Isabella
3. Madison
2. Sophia
1. Emma

10. Matthew
9. Logan
8. Jack
7. Noah
6. Jackson
5. Caden
4. Jacob
3. Ethan
2. Jayden
1. Aiden

I thought this paragraph of the article was also interesting:
"Among the hottest trends is a return to traditional names after several years of unique and unexpected choices climbing the list. Some of the fastest climbers were more classic choices, including Nathaniel (up 11 slots), Samuel (up 11 slots) and Oliver (up 13 spots) for boys. Traditional girls' names climbing the list include Victoria (up six spots), Charlotte (up 10 spots) and Sophie (up 15 spots)."

Sorry Carrie, I guess lots of other parents liked the name Charlotte too!

Rachel is still in the top 100, at #88! And Adam is #73.

What's your favorite name and why?

post signature

Wrap it Up!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yesterday I went to the mall and finished my Christmas shopping! Yes, this will be the first year in many years that I will not be venturing out on Christmas Eve to buy a stray gift card or Bath and Body Works sampler. I AM DONE (the proof is my bank account!).

Last night, I decided that I would put on my Christmas IPOD mix, turn the Steelers vs. Ravens game on sans sound to see if Adam would make his TV debut (he went to the game) and wrap all of the presents that Adam and I bought for everyone.

I had just torn open my tube of cheerful ornament wrapping paper and had begun wrapping his parent's presents when I realized that I am a HORRIBLE wrapper. I know it's what's inside the package and who gives it to you that count, but I really wish my wrapped packages could have perfectly crisp corners and folds and adorable handmade bows. After a stressful hour and a half of wrapping, and trying to control the dog (who I discovered loves to eat wrapping paper, ribbon and price tags) I was fed up and shoved the last two presents into some random gift bags!

So, if you receive a package from me this year, please proceed to rip it open as fast as humanly possible and ignore the bulging corners, ragged scissor lines and awful end folds. I tried my best!

post signature

Deck the Halls! (Or the 1 Bedroom Apartment)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This year I made an attempt to "deck the halls" (or hall) in my little place in Baltimore with some Christmas decorations. Mom gave me a tree and a mini nativity scene and I created my holiday centerpiece and bought an inexpensive wreath for my door (because in Baltimore, it's dumb to spend too much money on something that will be hanging for all to see (and snatch!!)). Adam bought me two gorgeous poinsettias and I was all set.

After getting all of my Christmas paraphernalia situated and creating a Christmas playlist on my IPod, I realized that decorating and listening to seasonal music can really help with the Christmas spirit! Last year at this time, I was frantically studying for finals, job hunting and worrying about graduation. Now, it's crazy to look back on just how much has happened since then (but I'll save all that stuff for a New Year post). Here are some pictures of my newly-decorated place:

So put on some Manheim Steamroller or some Trans Siberian Orchestra and enjoy the holidays!

post signature

365 Days!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Everyone mark your calenders! The wedding is only 1 year away, and I can't WAIT!

post signature

Looking for a Christmas Gift for that Someone Special?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

So I saw this on the news this evening and thought that the United States has hit an all-time low.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Planned Parenthood offering gift certificates

Anti-abortion groups condemn their sale

December 3, 2008

What do you get the person who has everything—except adequate health insurance? If you live in Indiana, consider this offering from the state's Planned Parenthood affiliate: gift certificates in $25 increments.

The vouchers, available online and at 35 clinics statewide, can be used for health services or contraceptives. And yes, they can be used to pay for abortions.

Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, characterizes the response to the gift certificates as "pretty robust, and generally very favorable."

She estimates that "about a dozen" certificates have sold since they became available Nov. 25. Planned Parenthood of Illinois plans to sell similar gift certificates starting Monday.

PPIN's move has enraged various anti-abortion organizations—Indiana Right to Life and the Indiana Family Institute among them. Jim Sedlak, vice president of the American Life League and executive director of Stop Planned Parenthood, an anti-abortion group based in Stafford, Va., condemns the certificates as a continuation of Planned Parenthood's "annual attacks on the Christian community at Christmastime."

"We are talking about what can be done," Sedlak said. "Look, they [Planned Parenthood] could easily have said, 'these certificates are not to be used for abortions.' But they intentionally chose not to do that."

Those who criticize the gift certificates, said PPIN's Cockrum, are missing the forest for the trees. "We see 92,000 patients each year at Planned Parenthood of Indiana, and 5,000 of them opt for abortions," Cockrum said. "Ninety-five percent of what we do is provide basic health care."

post signature

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving weekend was busy and full of both my family and Adam's family. Thursday, we had lunch Thanksgiving at Adam's, and dinner Thanksgiving at my house with everyone. It was fun, and this picture proves how big our family is becoming:

On Saturday night, the Cianfichi's and I headed over to Hershey so they could see the wedding reception site. I had hoped that it would be decorated for Christmas, but no such luck! We went to dinner and then walked around Hershey Park's Candy Lane:
Sunday we headed back to Baltimore, and yesterday it was back to the grind. Now, the countdown begins to Christmas!

On a completely unrelated note, what is the deal with rolling backpacks/briefcases? Today, I almost killed myself when a lady on the metro rolled her rolling briefcase right into my path. My mother has even told me that kindergartners have them....why does a 5-year-old even need any backpack period? Seriously, I think they should all be destroyed.

post signature

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday! I, for one, have many, many things to be thankful for!

post signature


Saturday, November 22, 2008

This weekend I have been channeling my inner housewife, which by the way, is not in preparation for tying the knot in just a little over a year, sometimes I just feel like decorating and baking!

Last night (Friday) I met my Mom in York, PA for the York Folk Art and Craft Show, even though I had to drive through a blizzard to get there. It was fun walking around and checking out all of the various crafts, most of which were beautiful (and a little bit out of my price range). In the end, I bought a candle and some potpourri to create my first-ever Christmas centerpiece for my dining room table. Here it is....

After finishing up at the craft show, I started to head home even though it was pretty snowy and icy. The hour long trip ended up taking me 3 hours!

Today, I baked a pumpkin pie to go with the delicious dinner Adam and I have been planning (pork tenderloin, sourkraut, and mashed potatoes). Sometimes on a freezing cold night, it's nice to sit and eat a homemade meal and enjoy a beautiful centerpiece. Doesn't it look scrumptious?

Have a good weekend, and STAY WARM!

post signature

Guest Blogger!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

For those of you who are interested, you can check out my guest column on! You can also read the other guest blogger's entries by clicking on their names to the right. It should be a fun way to share my wedding ideas and learn about other people's ideas as well.

The guest bloggers were encouraged to write about anything and everything having to do with our big days, including the budget. At first, I thought I would be up against girls with unlimited budgets and big ideas, but after reading the other introductions, I realized that the other guest columnists have the same budgeting concerns that I have, so I can't wait to see how they use their allotted funding to make their day special and unique.

On another note, last night, my Delta Gamma little, Missy, headed down to Baltimore to hang out for the night! I made dinner for a group of people and then we headed into downtown. We had an amazing time and it was wonderful hanging out with Missy and my old roommate Michele.

post signature

The Broken Washing Machine

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

For those of you who don't know, I always take my laundry over to Adam's apartment because he has a washing machine, and I don't. In exchange for using his washing machine for free, I usually do his laundry as well.

All college students and recent college graduates know, that when you are short on money to do your laundry at school, you attempt to squeeze as much as possible into the miniscule washers and dryers...I mean the $2.50 that I would have to pay to not overload the washer could be an extra beer at Grottos! I guess I didn't drop the habit now that I'm done with school.

On Saturday evening I was busy doing laundry at Adam's (while he was throwing things across the living room because he was so angry at the Penn State game) when I realized that the washing machine would not go into the spin cycle and the water would not drain from the bottom. I took the clothes out and dried them while Adam called the maitenance people at his apartment complex (thank goodness for renting)!

Yesterday (Tuesday) we stopped by his apartment to see if the problem had been fixed and we found a note that read:

Dear Tenant:
Problem Fixed.
Underwear pulled from pump.

Laying on the washing machine was an old crusty pair of my underwear! Oops! I guess I learned my lesson!

post signature

Barney Gets Territorial

Friday, November 7, 2008

I came across this news article today and thought it was pretty funny, I also thought my Mom would appreciate it:

From the Washington Post:

Not everyone in the White House is taking the news of Barack Obama's victory with aplomb.
Reuters television White House correspondent Jon Decker reports that President Bush's dog Barney, going on a walk this morning on the North Lawn, let his reaction to the news show.
He "bit my right index finger this morning -- as I reached down to pet him," Decker said. The bite broke skin and the wound was bleeding enough to prompt White House physician Dr. Richard Tubb to treat Decker with antibiotics. He will also be getting a tetanus shot.
President Bush, speaking to staff and reporters today, called portions of the South Lawn "Barney's Playground."Barney may be just protecting his turf from intruders, thinking about the coming intrusion from the promised Obama pooch.

post signature


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hope everyone voted today without too much trouble. I walked in and walked back out again in about 10 minutes, and that included the 5 minutes I spent helping the 85 year-old woman next to me who couldn't figure out how to use the touch-screen, computerized voting system.

Even though the candidate I support probably won't walk away victorious, it is still special to be a part of this historic election.

post signature

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

In honor of Halloween tomorrow, I went out and bought Tobey his first costume. I decided on the devil, because most of the time, he is a little devil! I also couldn't resist buying him a matching puffy vest to go along with mine (for only $2.00!). We are supposed to be dressing up for work, however I avoided buying a costume and will be dressing up as a stressed out and disgruntled VA Emoloyee (complete with red VA Polo Shirt)! I wonder if I'll win the prize...

Tomorrow I am looking forward to seeing my adorable niece, Charlotte, in her first costume, and maybe even Trick or Treating with her. Rest assured that those pictures will be much cuter.

post signature

This Morning Sucked...Period.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sorry I couldn't think of a more creative or thought-provoking title for my post, but that title pretty much sums up my feelings so far today...AND IT'S ONLY 8:00 AM!

I honestly think that when the temperature is below 50 degrees, and it's should be on a two hour delay. I mean, they do it with snow, why not rain?

So far this morning, I have:
- Debated taking a "Personal Health Day" today at least 6 times.
- Gotten out of my amazingly warm and comfortable bed to come to work.
- Realized that working 6:45-3:15 is going to be really hard throughout the winter months
- Dealt with a dog that refuses to go out in the rain
- Sat in my freezing cold car on the way to the metro station
- Bought expired yogurt at the 7-11 (Guess I'll just be hungry for the next 6 hours until lunch!)
- Fallen down the steps at the metro station after some lady pushed me, "accidently"
- Had no one help me up when I fell down the steps at the metro station after some lady pushed me, "accidently"
- Ridden on an extremely crowded, smelly train, with someone who seemed to think there was nothing wrong with letting their child scream until they "got it our of their system".
- Had a wonderful woman whack me in the head with her oversized golf umbrella, that she insisted on opening on the escalator, even though the escalators are completely covered.
- Arrived at work to find an email that today will be my "quality review day", meaning that everything I do today must be checked over for my boss to judge my work quality...what a wonderful day for them to evaluate how positive I am about my work environment!

Seriously...I REALLY should have taken a "Personal Health Day" today.

post signature

I've Been Tagged...

Friday, October 24, 2008

My lovely sister tagged me... so here are 7 little-known facts about me!

1. I am the best sleeper on the planet...period. I can literally fall asleep within 2 seconds of getting into bed, I do it on a nightly basis.
2. I love listening to Delilah on the radio at night. I especially like listening to her late at night if I'm driving in my car.
3. I REALLY wish that I had a nice camera and could take nice pictures, but I don't have the money for a nice camera, and that makes the taking really nice pictures part hard.
4. I hated football until I started dating Adam, and I really don't want to admit this, but today, I actually checked to see what the predictions were for this weekend's Penn State vs. Ohio State game. I still hate NFL football though.
5. I really can't stand beer. My favorite alcoholic beverages include Lambrusco (ultra cheap wine), Amaretto Sours (my signature drink), Mimosas, and Adam's Dad's margaritas.
6. I use the same mascara for more than 6 weeks! Oh the Horror! Now you know what to buy me for Christmas!
7. I am addicted to Chap Stick. Without fail, I have a tube of Chapstick in every purse, on my bedside table, on both my desk in my apartment and at work, in my car, and on the coffee table.

I Tag:
1. Toni
2. Nicole
3. Michele
4. Adam
5. My Mother
6. My Father (Although I doubt he'll ever do it)
7. Anyone else who reads my blog

*If you don't have a blog...leave a comment with your 7 things

post signature

Life in Numbers

Monday, October 20, 2008

5:45 : Time the alarm clock goes off in the morning
26: Number of minutes it takes me to get ready
7: Metro stops between my stop and work
5: Days of the week that I wish were Saturday
510: Minutes I spend at work each day
40: Credits stand between me and a master's degree
411: Days until the wedding
7: Diamonds on my beautiful ring
6: States that I have called my home
1: Cute little puppy sitting at my feet
799: Dollars per month spent on rent
30: Miles to a very expensive gallon of gas
10: Episodes of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy Adam and I watch each week
7: Other countries I have visited
2: Older sisters
10: Months since finishing college
2: Amazing parents
7: Members of my family
22: Years old
1: Perfectly adorable niece
5: Average number of veterans I help each day
8: Games Penn State has won this season
5: Number of games Delaware has lost

What does your life look like, in numbers?

post signature

I'm Voting Democrat Because...

Friday, October 17, 2008

post signature

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yesterday I was cruising the internet when I came across an interesting article entitled:

"Jobs & Birth Order. Oldest, Middle, Youngest: Who's More Successful?"

My question for you all these descriptions fit you?

Blame it on social class, education -- even luck, but according to Dalton Conley, New York University professor of sociology and public policy, inequality begins at home. In his book 'The Pecking Order: Which Siblings Succeed and Why,' Conley says that 75 percent of the income inequality between individuals in the United States occurs between siblings in the same families. He points to the diverse fortunes of Bill and Roger Clinton, and Jimmy and Billy Carter as examples.
Research shows that first-borns (and onlys) lead the pack in terms of educational attainment, occupational prestige, income and net worth. Conversely middle children in large families tend to fare the worst. (Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!)

"A child's position in the family impacts his personality, his behavior, his learning and ultimately his earning power," states Michael Grose, author of 'Why First-Born Rule the World and Last-borns Want to Change It.' "Most people have an intuitive knowledge that birth order somehow has an impact on development, but they underestimate how far-reaching and just how significant that impact really is.

Conley concedes that birth order is significant in shaping individual success, but only for children of large families -- four or more siblings -- and in families where finances and parental time are constrained. (In wealthy families, like the Bushes and Kennedys, it has less effect.)

Here's a look at what impact your birth order may have on you:

More conscientious, ambitious and aggressive than their younger siblings, first-borns are over-represented at Harvard and Yale as well as disciplines requiring higher education such as medicine, engineering or law. Every astronaut to go into space has been either the oldest child in his or her family or the eldest boy. And throughout history -- even when large families were the norm -- more than half of all Nobel Prize winners and U.S. presidents have been first-born.

Famous eldest children include: Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Richard Branson, J.K. Rowling and Winston Churchill. And macho movie stars are First-Born, too, including Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and all the actors who have played James Bond.

Middle children are more easy going and peer-oriented. Since they can get lost in the shuffle of their own families, they learn to build bridges to other sources of support and therefore tend to have excellent people skills. Middle children often take on the role of mediator and peacemaker.

Famous middle children include: Bill Gates, J.F.K., Madonna and Princess Diana.

The youngest child tends to be the most creative and can be very charming -- even manipulative. Because they often identify with the underdog, they tend to champion egalitarian causes. (Youngest siblings were the earliest backers of the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment.)

Successful in journalism, advertising, sales and the arts, famous youngest children include Cameron Diaz, Jim Carrey, Drew Carey, Rosie O'Donnell, Eddie Murphy and Billy Crystal.

Only Children:
Only children have similar characteristics to first-borns and are frequently burdened with high parental expectations. Research shows they are more confident, articulate and likely to use their imagination than other children. They also expect a lot from others, hate criticism, can be inflexible and are likely to be perfectionists. Well-known only children include Rudy Guiliani, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Alan Greenspan, Tiger Woods, tennis' teen queen Maria Sharapova and Leonardo Da Vinci.

Because they hold equal status and are treated so similarly, twins turn out similarly in most cases. Consider advice columnists "Dear Abby" and "Ann Landers" (Abigail and Esther Friedman), and Harold and Bernard Shapiro, who became presidents of Princeton University and Canada's McGill University respectively.

Dr. Frank Sulloway, a behavioral scientist and visiting professor at the Institute of Personality and Social Research at University of California, Berkeley and author of the book, 'Born To Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics and Creative Lives,' says first-borns are more similar in personality to first-borns in other families than they are to their own younger siblings. He adds that youngest children are often more similar to the youngest child in another family than his or her own elder siblings. He says this is because the family is not as much a "shared environment" as a set of niches that provide siblings with different outlooks.

Conley agrees, but stresses that these are just general trends -- and that the whole birth-order theory can be turned on its head depending on the child's personality, the age gap between siblings and the family circumstances each child experiences during his or her formative years.

post signature

Dun Dun Duuuunnnnn

Thursday, October 9, 2008

So tomorrow is Tobey's big day, the big doggyhood surgery (I think you all should know what I mean). I just checked my email and found this thoughtful message:

Subject: Tobey

Be Strong! they are about to steal your manhood!
Remember to whine a lot when you get home - work the guilt angle!
If you need refuge, you can stay at Grandpa's.
Grandpa Bob (Adam's Father)

If anyone else would like to leave their well-wishes for Tobey as he faces the operating room tomorrow...feel free to comment.

post signature

CRIBS...Rachel Achuff

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Since I am not venturing anywhere over the weekends in October, I was struggling to think of something to blog about. Since many of the people that read my blog (if there are any of you) have never been to my apartment, I thought I would take you on a virtual tour of the little space that I am proud to call my own. Of course, it looks way better in person, so if you would like to come visit, feel free!

My bedroom

Dining Room Table

Kitchen Table

Living Room & Desk

My Two Favorite Boys

post signature


Monday, September 29, 2008

This weekend, Adam and I hit the road yet again, this time to go to our first session of premarital counseling and then to head up to State College to attend the Penn State vs. Illinois game and celebrate Adam's sister Cara's 20th Birthday!

We dropped Tobey off for the first time at the kennel around 9:00AM on Saturday morning, and headed toward Mechanicsburg in the pouring rain. After a successful premarital counseling session with Dr. Melton, we set out for State College.

Adam and I arrived at State College around 2:00PM and somehow found our way through the maze of RV's, to his grandparents RV. We hung out there for a while, grilled some steaks for dinner, and sang "Happy Birthday" to Cara.

Around 7:00PM, we headed over for the 8:00PM game. This was the first "white-out" and night game I have ever been to, and it was really neat. The ENTIRE stadium was full of fans in their white Penn State gear. It was a really good, and exciting game and to top it off, Penn State won!

By the time we got out of the stadium and back to the RV it was after midnight and I was exhausted. We waited for the traffic to die down a little bit before Adam, Cara and I headed back to Cara's apartment for the night. Because Cara has no visitor parking in her apartment complex, we decided to park in the Giant parking lot, accross the street from the apartment.

We finally got to bed around 2:00AM and after a rough night on an air mattress on Cara's bathroom floor, got up around 10:00AM on Sunday morning. We were planning on going over to get Adam's car and then heading back to Baltimore to pick up the dog and relax for the afternoon. However, when we walked over to the parking lot, Adam's car was nowhere to be found. We discovered that Giant tows cars that are left in the parking lot on football weekends. The towing company actually sends someone in an unmarked car to watch for people parking there. They watched us get out of the car, get our bags, and walk over to the apartment.

After rescuing Adam's car from the impound lot, we were finally able to drive home. We picked up Tobey (who was equally as exhausted as we were) and relaxed for the rest of the evening. After two busy months (August and September), I am looking forward to spending most of October in Baltimore, relaxing and saving money!

We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So this morning, I was reading the news on CNN and was pretty surprised to come across this article: "PETA Urges Ben & Jerry's To Use Human Milk". OK, so I'm all about preventing cruelty to animals and standing up for animal rights...but this might be taking it a little too far.

Here is the letter that the PETA wrote to the owners of Ben and Jerry's, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield:

September 23, 2008

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Cofounders

Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.

Dear Mr. Cohen and Mr. Greenfield,

On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I'd like to bring your attention to an innovative new idea from Switzerland that would bring a unique twist to Ben and Jerry's.

Storchen restaurant is set to unveil a menu that includes soups, stews, and sauces made with at least 75 percent breast milk procured from human donors who are paid in exchange for their milk. If Ben and Jerry's replaced the cow's milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers-and cows-would reap the benefits.

Using cow's milk for your ice cream is a hazard to your customer's health. Dairy products have been linked to juvenile diabetes, allergies, constipation, obesity, and prostate and ovarian cancer. The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, America's leading authority on child care, spoke out against feeding cow's milk to children, saying it may play a role in anemia, allergies, and juvenile diabetes and in the long term, will set kids up for obesity and heart disease-America's number one cause of death.

Animals will also benefit from the switch to breast milk. Like all mammals, cows only produce milk during and after pregnancy, so to be able to constantly milk them, cows are forcefully impregnated every nine months. After several years of living in filthy conditions and being forced to produce 10 times more milk than they would naturally, their exhausted bodies are turned into hamburgers or ground up for soup.

And of course, the veal industry could not survive without the dairy industry. Because male calves can't produce milk, dairy farmers take them from their mothers immediately after birth and sell them to veal farms, where they endure 14 to17 weeks of torment chained inside a crate so small that they can't even turn around.

The breast is best! Won't you give cows and their babies a break and our health a boost by switching from cow's milk to breast milk in Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Thank you for your consideration.


Tracy Reiman

Executive Vice President

Who wants some Chunky Monkey?


Monday, September 22, 2008

This weekend, Adam and I traveled up to Scranton, Pennsylvania to pick up a bedroom set that belonged to his grandparents. The whole set is cherry and it is both beautiful and in amazing condition. We're excited that this will be one less thing for us to buy when we eventually move in together.

For those of you who know me well, you'll know that I am extremely attached to my bed. In fact, when I was growing up and people would come and visit (even my grandparents), I used to throw a fit if I would have to surrender my bed to someone else. Well, I am still in love with my bed, and crawling under my covers, turning on the TV and unwinding in bed at night is one of my favorite times of the day.

I thought that since this blog is about beds and sleeping, I would fill you in on some of the "40 Facts About Sleep You Probably Didn't Know (Or were too tired to think about....)":

- Anything less than five minutes to fall asleep at night means you're sleep deprived. The ideal is between 10 and 15 minutes, meaning you're still tired enough to sleep deeply, but not so exhausted you feel sleepy by day.

- A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year (I left this fact in here specifically for my sister)

- No-one knows for sure if other species dream but some do have sleep cycles similar to humans.

- Dreams may not serve any purpose at all but be merely a meaningless byproduct of two evolutionary adaptations - sleep and consciousness.

- Scientists have not been able to explain a 1998 study showing a bright light shone on the backs of human knees can reset the brain's sleep-wake clock.

- The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the Challenger space shuttle disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear accident have all been attributed to human errors in which sleep-deprivation played a role.

- Exposure to noise at night can suppress immune function even if the sleeper doesn’t wake. Unfamiliar noise, and noise during the first and last two hours of sleep, has the greatest disruptive effect on the sleep cycle.

- The "natural alarm clock" which enables some people to wake up more or less when they want to is caused by a burst of the stress hormone adrenocorticotropin. Researchers say this reflects an unconscious anticipation of the stress of waking up.

- Tiny luminous rays from a digital alarm clock can be enough to disrupt the sleep cycle even if you do not fully wake. The light turns off a "neural switch" in the brain, causing levels of a key sleep chemical to decline within minutes.

- To drop off we must cool off; body temperature and the brain's sleep-wake cycle are closely linked. That's why hot summer nights can cause a restless sleep. The blood flow mechanism that transfers core body heat to the skin works best between 18 and 30 degrees. But later in life, the comfort zone shrinks to between 23 and 25 degrees - one reason why older people have more sleep disorders.

- After five nights of partial sleep deprivation, three drinks will have the same effect on your body as six would when you've slept enough.

- Humans sleep on average around three hours less than other primates like chimps, rhesus monkeys, squirrel monkeys and baboons, all of whom sleep for 10 hours.

- Ducks at risk of attack by predators are able to balance the need for sleep and survival, keeping one half of the brain awake while the other slips into sleep mode.

- Ten per cent of snorers have sleep apnoea, a disorder which causes sufferers to stop breathing up to 300 times a night and significantly increases the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke

- Teenagers need as much sleep as small children (about 10 hrs) while those over 65 need the least of all (about six hours). For the average adult aged 25-55, eight hours is considered optimal

- Some studies suggest women need up to an hour's extra sleep a night compared to men, and not getting it may be one reason women are much more susceptible to depression than men.

- Feeling tired can feel normal after a short time. Those deliberately deprived of sleep for research initially noticed greatly the effects on their alertness, mood and physical performance, but the awareness dropped off after the first few days.

- Diaries from the pre-electric-light-globe Victorian era show adults slept nine to 10 hours a night with periods of rest changing with the seasons in line with sunrise and sunsets.

- Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet

Happy Birthday Adam!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Yesterday was Adam's birthday, he turned the big 23! Last night, we went out to an amazing tapas restaurant, Pazo in Baltimore. I would recommend it to anyone! The atmosphere was laid-back and lounge-like, the service was good and the food was unique, healthy and amazing. We had a fun night out, and even got 2 free glasses of champagne to make a birthday toast.

Today, Adam's parents came down for dinner to celebrate his birthday yet again. With a little help from Rachael Ray, I made chicken parmigiana sandwiches. Of course, I also made the cake! Chocolate cake with peanut butter icing (Adam's favorite).

Tobey turned 6 months old today, and to celebrate, he got a new bed and a new rag bone.

Here are some pictures of our celebrations:


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Today was a beautiful day, so Adam and I decided to head down to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. It was crowded, but we had a good time walking around and seeing all of the various shows. Adam enjoyed the "Ye Olde Ale" and we both enjoyed juggling, jousting and sword swallowing. Here are some pictures from our day:

Morning Coffee

Friday, August 22, 2008

This morning, I got up and drove to the metro station as usual to go to work. For those of you who know me, usually I have metro stories that include people who smell, people who almost sit on top of you trying to squeeze into the small seat next to you, people pushing, shoving and hitting to get out at certain stations and people crammed in like sardines when the train is late. Well, today was a breath of fresh, I have a positive metro story.

I got onto the train this morning, and, per usual, looked for the least threatening person to sit next to, which today, happened to be an old man, who I would estimate was about 90. I was kind of surprised to see someone so elderly on the Baltimore Metro. I went over, sat down, and proceeded to gaze intently out the window, counting down the minutes until I could escape into the outside world again. The man must have seen my Department of Veterans' Affairs badge, because he started talking to me:
Man: "So you work for the VA?"
Me: "Yes, that's where I'm headed right now. Where are you headed?"
Man: "Everyday, I get on this train and come down to Baltimore to visit my wife"
Me: "Oh yeah? where is your wife?"
Man: "She's been in the hospital for 6 months now, I come down every morning around 7:00 and leave every afternoon around 3:30"
Me: "Wow, you must be a very devoted husband"
Man: "After 65 years of being married to someone, I can't imagine having my morning coffee by myself, so I come down here every morning to have my coffee with her"

We continued to talk for the rest of the ride, then I got off at my stop, and he continued on the train.

The whole conversation made me think about something my mom wrote to me in an email the other day:

"It's funny how things come down to those wedding vows you take when you are very young-"For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, til death do us part." When you are young and healthy and everything is looking great, you don't think about that pledge you make. They are just words. But, when you are with someone for 25 or 30 years-they are actions and thoughts and sticking with someone because you promised."

These are the things that I will think about alot over the next year and 3 months...I hope in 65 years, Adam will love me enough to travel every morning to drink his morning cup of coffee with me, no matter where I am....on second thought, Adam doesn't even like coffee.

Back to work

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This week has been spent recovering from vacation, getting caught up on work and just getting back into the swing of things. Nothing too exciting going on...but I thought I would share some pictures of Savannah, and Paula Deen's restaurant, Lady and Sons.

I was kind of disappointed, I guess I was expecting Paula to pop out with a huge pad of butter and some homemade biscuits, but really there was just a big buffet and some mediocre peach cobbler. Oh well. I absolutely LOVED Savannah, even though it poured rain the entire time we were there. I hope someday I can go back for a weekend just to wander around and check out all of the amazing old houses.

Savannah's City Hall:

I took this picture after rushing to the restaurant so we could be in line by 9:00 AM to get a reservation:

I made Adam take a picture of the buffet, which really looks like pretty much every other buffet:

Sorry there aren't too many pictures, but as I was pouring the whole time we were there.

In Tobey news, after his week away from us, he has returned and I think he still remembers Adam and me.

In wedding news, Adam, My Mom and I are going to look at the Hershey Country Club this Saturday....keeping my fingers crossed that it is the perfect reception location.