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Walter Jacob

August 29, 2017
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Walter, my dear baby boy, oh how I love you. Elijah saved my life; but you, you complete my heart.

The rest of what happens, that’s just icing on the cake.

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Elijah Charles

October 11, 2015
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Motherhood.

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The greatest journey I’ve ever been on and will ever be on.

Pregnancy.

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Absolutely lovely for the most part. Difficult to move and tiring at the end. Favorite part was feeling him squirm around. Ever since I took that positive pregnancy test my life has been brighter, happier, and full of love, hope, serenity, and joy. Watching him/my stomach grow was a miracle in the making.

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Belly shots with Brock.

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The evening before I went to the hospital. Love those puppies.

Labor.

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Granddaddy’s holding him.

September 28th, 2015 at 1:03 AM Elijah Charles came into the world at 10 lbs and 11 oz, 22.25 inches long. The nurse gave me cervidil at 7 PM, said I would maybe be ready for the pitocin at 7 AM – that’s not what happened. By 12 AM I was having intense, painful contractions, I was given a pain killer that worked wonders for a half an hour, then it wore off. The nurse checked my cervix – I was 8 centimeters dilated! Too late for the epidural, I was pushing (and screaming) within 15 minutes from then and 10 to 15 minutes later it was 1:03 AM and my baby was here. I had third degree tears and 24 stitches. The pain was immediately gone once he was out, and him laying on my chest, well I’ve never felt anything like it. Pure love.

Magic.

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Daddy ❤ Love them.

Everyday since Elijah was born has been magical.

And took him to his first Hot Rod Show! We'll go again in the Spring.

One week and some days old and took him to his first Hot Rod Show! We’ll go again in the Spring. Plus, hasn’t missed a Sunday Mass yet.

After one week and a day of giving birth.

After one week and a day of giving birth.

“Handsome like Daddy.”

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Naky baby.

Naky baby.

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Mommy loves you.

Express Yourself

May 19, 2014
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There’s so much that I want to say!

Seeing Kierney in Denver, Colorado was long overdue. Here we are: she’s 8&½ months pregnant.

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Jeff and I almost died on the road in Utah. He mentioned it in his post, but not as bluntly. We fish tailed a few times and spun out- talk about intense. I was holding back laughter as he was holding back tears and possibly vomit.

Vegas! This was the highlight of the trip for me. Imagine that? It’s a huge adult amusement park. Also, I got real with Jeff in Paris: had a breakdown over how much I miss and love Jessica. Sounds fun huh- crying at the bar? If you’ve never done it, you’ve gotta try it. You’re missing out big time.

Luckily I got to spend time with Megan, one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet, the next day. We went on our usual Chipotle date and I got to hold her newborn baby. So precious.

Megan and I at the top. Holding her baby in the middle. Jeff with a beer at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill in Caesars Palace; the beet and goat cheese salad I ate there was memorable. I recommend you order that if you ever find yourself there.

The bottom left corner is a shot from our hotel room at the Aria. When we walked in I felt I was in the future: the TV turned on, music started playing, and the curtain opened. Neato mosquito.

Next- I felt inspired to take a picture of the moon right there due to thoughts of my Uncle Lori. “I see the moon and the moon sees me and the moon sees somebody I love”.

That selfie is from the spa- Jeff and I did a couples a massage (they kept calling me Mrs. Czerniak- made me chuckle). And speaking of this horrible self portrait, Jeff introduced me to my new favorite band: Lake Street Dive. Here’s a video of them and all their glory:

San Diego was the next stop. Shout out to Anne! Thank you for your hospitality. After seeing more of southern California and now some of northern California, my vote is that I like the southern part better. But maybe I’m just tired of traveling and miss home. I’d def give northern Cali another chance.

Here are some visuals of the west coast:

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Driving on the PCH, seafood dinner a pier, Santa Cruz beach, my usual doodle in the sand, the Golden Gate Bridge, Monterey Bay Aquarium (jellyfish fascinate me), a pretty photograph of the Pacific Ocean, and our view from the Giants game we attended. The San Francisco Bay is magnificent. What a baseball stadium. Highly  impressed.

I got my flight moved up to tonight because I miss my heart. The following are photographs of my life and the words I live by:

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Kim and her pregnant self with her puppy, Sparkles, giving me kisses. The best roommate ever and I at a Nats game. Go Nats! Maria and I illin. Britt, my sister, and I hiking Old Rage- 11 miles! Couldn’t have done it without you, BO.

Abby <3 a little bundle of joy.

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Oh how I love coloring and creating crafts with Mr. Dylan in the playroom at Jazzercise. So precious in his pjs with his Valentine's Day Doggie.

Oh how I love coloring and creating crafts with Mr. Dylan in the playroom at Jazzercise. So precious in his pjs with his Valentine’s Day Doggie.

Daww. True love right there, nig.

Daww. True love right there, nig.

I look at this often.

I look at this often.

This is it.

This is it.

& Secrets bury the soul.

& Secrets bury the soul.

Aesthetics.

Aesthetics.

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Jessica.

Jessica.

Jessica.

Be in the know.

Be in the know.

Arriving in San Jose

May 15, 2014
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trip routeHey there, Jeff here writing a guest post.  The trip so far has been great.  We’re in California now, arrived in San Jose.  Here’s some highlights since Anna last posted-

  • Anna appears to be immune to Nebraska.  I’ve never seen anyone not be bored with that drive.  It’s gotta be her super power.
  • We had to call an audible to head further west than Denver after leaving Iowa to avoid getting caught in a snow storm in the mountains.   Night drives thr0ugh rainy mountains can be intense.
  • Apparently we didn’t make it far enough as Utah wanted to get in on the fun, with murderous intent.  Luckily (or skillfully thanks to my snow driving prowess?) we made it through unscathed.
  • We stopped at an amazing family diner in Beaver, UT. If you’re passing through, you can do much worse than the Crazy Cow Cafe. The snow stopped while we were there as well.
  • Vegas was it’s usual self, full of shenanigans, alcoholism, gambling losses, and excess.
  • Anna rode a mechanical bull.  I see a future career here… Vid to follow.
  • Driving on the PCH between San Luis and Monterrey is fun in a sports car.
  • Now enjoy the images.  Time to find a place to live.

high roller artMe enjoying some art at the High Roller, in Vegas.

 

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Cruising on the PCH. Really fun to drive that one.

 

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Catching a view of the Bellagio fountains from the top of the High Roller, a giant ferris wheel that just opened.

 

On The Road Again

May 10, 2014
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Around 13ish hour drive from home to Chicago. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be. It actually flew by and I highly enjoyed it. I slept for the most part when Jeff was driving and he was subjected to me belting it out to my favorite thing to listen to ever: Once More With Feeling- the Buffy soundtrack to the musical episode. We’ve actually listened to it twice so far (from home to Chicago and from Chicago to Iowa). I’m sure I’ll be singing to it again.

We drove past downtown Chicago and it was quite the eyeopener. I was hypnotized for that part of the drive. The buildings and the lights. To know of all the commotion that was going on there- all the shenanigans (as Jeff would say). I met his parents and younger sister, and some friends for happy hour. All lovely people. The Chicago accent is a hoot. And his younger sister reminds me of Daria. You know, the MTV classic. Oh and I love how his mother is into indie alternative rock- she’s quite the hipster. I dig it. And what a tasty chef- dank breakfasts were made both mornings. My stomach is grateful.

The drive up to Wisconsin was unexpected. Another state can be checked off my list of places that I’ve been. We went to Chili’s. One noteworthy fact is that our waitress had a small tattoo on her right forearm saying “out there”. Might be the best tattoo I’ve ever seen.

After spending the day in Chicago Jeff and I headed to Des Moines, Iowa.  Watched the Wizards until they started failing and same goes for the Blackhawks game. Shucks. We’ll get’em next time.

Here are some collages because I know how everyone likes to look at pictures over reading.

Pictures of the state signs, duck eggs in Jeff’s parent’s front yard, his house, me driving to Chicago and the two of us watching the Blackhawks game.

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This other collage is the Nats game that got rained out before we left (had never seen that before- it was neat. They put the Wizards game on once the game got delayed). Jeff and his roommate, Charles. Jeff driving to Chicago, Maryland state line, Chicago skyline, Melanie in my lap a few days before the trip (I miss my Tamtam and Melmel), Mom, Z&S at the Sheep and Wool festival a couple days before we left (Jeff got there just in time for the most interesting part of the festival= sheep shearing. Chick was ripped). Pennsylvania state sign and last but not least, Maria and Dylan. My main lady and my main little man. I suppose I’m feeling nostalgic.

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.. What can I say, I’m living the dream.. On our way to Denver, Colorado tomorrow. I can’t wait to see Kierney.

Haha also, Jeff told his grandma that my name was Andre and I’m a big black man. I don’t see that as too far off.

They Say I’m Caught Up in a Dream

May 5, 2014
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Hello people on the internet. Happy Cinco de Mayo and happy belated Star Wars day. Hope you enjoy this time as you stare into the bright white abyss that is your screen. Matt has given me permission to use this lostandbroke site for more of my traveling adventures! Without him (womp womp), but instead with a new and improved man friend- Jeff Czerniak. He has a kind soul, much unlike Matt. Ha. Anyways, that’s enough for introductions.

The trip will go as follows: Fairfax, Virginia, Chicago, Illinois, Des Moines, Iowa, Denver, Colorado, Vegas, Nevada, San Diego, California, all the way up the Pacific Coast Highway to the spectacular San Jose (or so I hear). I couldn’t be more excited!!!!!!

We have planned to meet people on every stop of the way; his family and friends on the first two stops, my family and friends on the second two stops, another friend of his, and maybe we can swing seeing a girlfriend of mine who lives in Long Beach.

For now, just packing, planning, and enjoying every second of the ride.

And here’s a picture of Jeff and I (beer fest at the Nationals Stadium- Go Nats!)

There's no place like home.

There’s no place like home.

Open seas and the San Blas Islands

March 7, 2012
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A few hours before we were scheduled to leave, Silvia had somehow arranged to find 2 more people to come on the trip with us.  Better yet, they were both girls.  Up until now, it was 2 couples and then me and Fletch.  Fletch and I thought it was going to be kind of strange traveling travelling on a boat full of couples so this was a nice relief.

The first couple we met earlier in the week and they had been waiting at our hostel.  Anna and Mauricio were from Uruguay and they had traveled the entire world studying architecture.  They both speak English pretty well and since they are from Uruguay I can understand their accent a bit easier.  Anna is really funny because if I don’t understand a word that should be simple, she’ll yell at me like “Don’t you know Yoghurt!!?”.

The other couple is Shane and Rachel.  Rachel is from Ohio and Shane is from England.  From what I can tell Shane is on the run from Mexico for trying to extort money out of the last school he worked at and Rachel left with him.  They work at schools for English speakers in other countries.  So, if you were a US citizen living in Mexico, you would send your kids to these schools.  From what I gather, he was fired from his last job but then he tried to extort extra severance from the school.  I won’t go into the rest because it was pretty weird.

Around 10pm (we were supposed to leave at 6pm) we left for the dock to take a dinghy out to the sailboat.  There we met with the other 2 girls.  Pretty much instantly Fletcher and I realized that we were now on a boat with 3 couples.  The couple was from Northern California and had spent the last few years doing borderline illegal stuff to save up for traveling.  I actually didn’t learn anything about them until about 2 days into the trip because the girls only left their cabin for meals and to puke.  When they did come out to talk they would go on about spirituality, unicorns, the joys of not shaving your legs, and so on.

An awkward sleeping arrangement.

When we arrived on the ship the captain showed us to our beds.  He told me mine was in the back of the boat with the girls.  I went to the back of the ship and found the door locked.  I knocked and told the girls inside that my bed was in there but they told me that there wasn’t room and I would have to sleep somewhere else.  The bed in the back of the boat is the master cabin so it’s really big.  Larger than a king size bed.  Juan Carlos, who is the first mate, goes back to talk to the girls but ends up having them come up top to speak with the captain.

If sleeping with a lesbian couple wasn’t awkward enough, I now had to listen to them discuss in Spanish why it was unsafe for me to sleep in the same bed as them.  To be honest, by this time I hadn’t shaved in 4 days so I probably did look a little creepy.  The captain explained to them that I was a “healthy boy” and that if I was bad they would throw me overboard.  Anyone that could understand Spanish got to listen in on a pretty weird conversation.  I wanted to explain to them that I was from DC so sleeping with lesbians was nothing new for me, but I decided to not bring that up.

The captain said I would take his bed for the first 2 nights and he would sleep up on the seats up top.  Sleeping in Captain Israel’s bed is a pain because Captain Israel is really short.  He makes the joke to me in Spanish “little captain, little bed”.  The bed ends up being so uncomfortable that I can only sleep about 3 hours a night.  After everyone wakes up I hot rack and sleep in one of their beds.

Heading to the Islands

Part of the trip is going to the San Blas islands.  Three are about 3000 tiny little islands throughout the Carribean that have pristine beaches and coral reefs.  The next day we’re awoken by a rooster at about 6am.

You may be wondering why we have a rooster on the boat.  I honestly assumed he was there for dinner but it turns out that Captain Israel trains roosters to fight and this rooster is his newest trainee.  It must have taken me over an hour to figure out that he wasn’t joking.  He even showed us these spikes that they glue onto the roosters feet to help them kill the other rooster.  He treats the rooster like a baby and often you will see him coddling it or talking to it sweetly.  I think if the boat went down, the coast guard would be rescuing 10 people and one rooster.

Getting to the San Blas only takes about 8 hours or so and we’re passing through relatively calm seas.  I assume since I was in the Navy for 6 years that I won’t be getting sick on this trip at all.  Nope.  There I am puking up my peanut butter and toast breakfast just like everyone else.

We  pull into the first island and it’s like a little town.  It’s nice but there’s not really a pristine beach.  Then the captain tells us that we’re here for immigration.  There’s a police station on this island and we’ll be getting our passports stamped here.  Once we stop Juan Carlos buys a huge fish from a fisherman that drives up to the boat.  This is dinner and man can Juan Carlos cook.  That meal was just about the best ever. 

Over the next 2 days we visit a couple of other Islands.  Apparently, it’s pretty hard to navigate around here and the captain points out sunken ships as we’re passing through reefs and sandbars.  The second island has one of those perfect beaches that you see in Corona commercials.  There are a ton of starfish up next to the shore and you have to actively look around so that you don’t step on them.

The next island is for snorkeling around a reef.  Captain Israel gives us some snorkeling gear, but unfortunately the snorkels look like they have mold in them.  I spend the first 5 minutes in the water cleaning out my snorkel but then I head for the reef.

Open water to Cartagena

The next two days we would travel over open water making a straight line to Cartagena.  The seas are supposed to be rough but actually aren’t bad.  No one gets sick for the rest of the trip.  It’s possible that this is because I broke out a bunch of Dramamine and gave it to everyone but we’ll just assume that everyone has a strong stomach at this point.

We do watches when we’re underway going across open water.  I’m now sleeping in the bed with the girls at this point and Juan Carlos comes to wake me up so I can stand the watch with Fletch.  He makes fun of me for being huddled into the corner of the bed when I’m sleeping.  He hasn’t quite figured out what’s different about the couple and tells me that I’m living his dream, sleeping with 2 girls.

Fletch and I take the watch and it’s kind of like the ones in the Navy.  You just sit there and chat for a couple hours and then go back to sleep.  When the captain explained the watch to us, he said just look for lights.  It’s really doubtful, but we might see a boat out here somewhere and we don’t want to hit it of course.

After a couple of days at sea we pull into Cartagena late at night.  We pull in just late enough so that we can’t get off the boat (though we can hear a Carnaval party going on the shore).  Israel and Juan Carlos jump onto the dinghy and leave for shore.  Someone has the bright idea of breaking into Israel’s stash of Oreo cookies and eventually we all go to sleep.  The next day we’ll be unloading the bikes and staying on land again in Cartagena.