thank you nana…

When I was little I thought my mom had magic hands. I never told her because I didn’t want to ruin the magic. I can remember, if I had a stomachache, I would ask her to “rub my tummy,” and the minute she did, I instantly felt better.

Thirty some years later, the magic still exists. As I came out of my c-section surgery 3 weeks ago, she was there to hold my hand, and once again, I instantly felt better.

Throughout my hospital recovery she never left my side. She was there helping me brush my hair, wash my face or talking me through the pain. When my mom is around I always feel safe and loved.

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My mom flew across the country, not just because she wanted to meet her new grandson, but because she is a MOTHER, and being a mother is a job that never ends. Caring for me (and my husband) 3000 miles away from her family and friends is really how she spent the last month of her life. She rarely got to pick up the baby as she was busy walking our dog, cooking us food, running to the grocery store, tending to my pain, cleaning the house, doing the laundry and taking out the trash.

With a healthy baby in my arms and a successful c section recovery… it was time for her to head back to Pittsburgh to take care of her other grand kids, daughters, husband and friends… She left on Saturday morning. Devin took her to airport early in the morning, and when I woke up and saw her bags where out of the bathroom and the living room, I felt an overwhelming sense of emptiness.

Devin and I seem to be finding our stride to the best of our ability without her here, and we are adjusting to not having the extra hands in the house. We have also tried to adjust to not having the extra love, support and kindness she brought into our house, however, we have been less successful at that.  In fact, there are moments of quiet in the apartment, and we both will recognize how much we miss her and needed her.

We both miss her terribly… And I KNOW Cash misses her too.

Mom – Thank you for selflessly giving more than a month of your life to take care of us. I know it wasn’t the glamorous trip to California that I promised. We are forever grateful to you and miss you… and your obsession with Pittsburgh, your need to play board games and “Words With Friends” all the time, your ability to talk through every movie and TV SHOW, your fascination with burping the baby and your need to have food made “your way”… But most of all, we miss your cooking :) and your positive outlook on our progress as parents and your ability to make everyone in the house (even the cat and dog) feel so LOVED! Thank you for teaching us so many valuable lessons! We love and miss you.

 

My mom is an amazing cook!  She spent a month cooking us dinners and lunches… so I thought it is only fitting to include one of her specialty recipes in this post!

Nana’s Chicken Piccata

2-4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tbsp grate parmesan cheese

1/3 cup of flour

salt and pepper

4 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp of butter

1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine

3 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup of capers

1/4 cup of fresh parsley

put chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with meat hammer to 1/4″ thickness

mix flour, salt, petter and parmesan. rinse the chicken in water and then dredge them thoroughly in the flour mixture until coated.

heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet on medium.  add half of the chicken, do not crowd the pan. brown well on each side (at least 3 min. per side). remove the chicken from the pan and then repeat with other chicken breasts. cover with foil to keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

add the chicken stock (or white wine), lemon juice, and capers to pan. use spatula to scrape up the browned bits. reduce the sauce by half, whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. plate the chicken and serve with sauce poured over the chicken. sprinkle with parsley

*** when my mom makes it, she serves it over angel hair… ENJOY

our son, Cash…

On September 25th, 2014 at 10:34 a.m. our son Preston Cash Hanna was born!

During week 38 of my pregnancy Cash started to make his way “down and out”… however our busy little boy got a little turned around (he obviously gets his sense of direction from his dad) and ended up in the breech position by week 39.  Since we were towards the end of the pregnancy our doctor set us up for a scheduled cesarian.

So on September 25th we entered the hospital at 8:00 a.m. and four days later we walked out of the hospital with a gift from God.

Our lives are now changed forever, and for the better.

We would like for you to meet Cash.

Cash was born in San Francisco, CA at CPMC

It was an amazing experience and we are grateful to the doctors, nursers and staff for all their help, insight and care.

Bringing Cash home from the hospital was so exciting (and scary).

Thank God Nana (my mom) who was visiting from Pittsburgh, PA didn’t get a return plane ticket…

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We are so grateful to have her here with us… to help us… to cook for us… to clean for us… but most importantly to love on our little man.  Cash loves Nana

Everyday we learn from our son.

Everyday we are humbled by this blessing.

And everyday we get a little more sleep.

Psalm 127:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

I am so in love!

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our baby picnic…

The Party

 After spending the last 6 months either in LA for auditions or on the road for work, Devin and I met in Pittsburgh to finally celebrate the blessing of this pregnancy with some of our closest friends and family.

My mom and sisters helped me to throw an amazing baby picnic… while my husband smiled and shook his head every time I asked if we could add to the “budget” (he is convinced I don’t know what that word means).  I have the most supportive family in the world, and Devin and I are constantly amazed and humbled by their selflessness and desire to help us, travel to celebrate with us and support us…

This party was no exception… from making lemonade, to picking up cupcakes and lawn games my ideal “baby party” was realized.

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(click on the photos to view slide show or to enlarge)

Thank you to our amazing family and friends for your love, support and generosity.

Some of our favorite people were there… from childhood and high school besties to our amazing and supportive familys.  Not to mention some of our best friends from New York made the trip to Pittsburgh for this special party.

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The day was filled with gorgeous weather, lawn games, kid activities and much more…

While visiting with my Uncle Joe during the party he said “I have one bone to pick with you about your blog… you build your husband up so much he makes all of us other husbands look bad.”

Sorry Uncle Joe he really is that great!

I thank God everyday for Devin (and not just because he is so stinking cute) but he makes life so much better… so much easier… so much more fun… and he puts up with me.

Devin, I am so excited to start our family! I love you!

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special thanks to Patty & Jim Yeschenko, Gene & Laurie Suprano, Dave & Debbie Hanna, Michael & Jennifer Callahan and Jenine Suprano and Chris for their help and/or contributions.

8 months pregnant…

As we anxiously await the arrival of our first baby… I’m introduced to a whole new world… and I’m not talking about diapers and breast feeding… I’ve got 8 weeks before I need to think about that…

I’m talking about…

Swollen ankles, the frequent trips to the bathroom, the need to eat ALL THE TIME, a short fuse (my poor husband), hot flashes and bras that don’t fit (among many OTHER things).

Being pregnant is kind of like “Fight Club”… My friends (with kids) have no problem telling me what they had for dinner yesterday but neglected to tell me of some of the less critical yet extremely gross and lets be honest “weird” changes that happen when one becomes pregnant. I’ll spare you all of the disgusting details, but in short… finding a bra and underwear that fit would be great– the amount of money I have spent on clothes and undergarments is ridiculous (just ask my husband). Also, my thighs touch… my right thigh and left thigh are officially best friends… yesterday I cried for 35 minutes just because I was hungry … and don’t get me started on the “do’s and don’ts of pregnancy“… everyone wants to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do or what you should and shouldn’t eat… body lotions, fruits, meat, juice, milk… they are all on some sort of a list… And thats just the physical aspect of my pregnancy… now that i’m getting closer to my due date… there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t research a stroller, car seat, or breast pump… it’s all so confusing that It’s quite comical… why aren’t there more movies and television shows about this?!? (note to self… write a movie about pregnancy and don’t leave out any details).

All that being said…

When I crawl in to bed at night- to sleep on my LEFT side as “What To Expect When You Are Expecting” suggests- there is nothing more magical, more reassuring and more beautiful than feeling our baby boy move, kick and stretch. He and I are connected at all times and I know that wont last forever… so for nine months I’ll gladly take ankles the size of my knees, a hardy appetite, large and in charge thighs, hot flashes, and emotions that I can’t control or understand.

I love our little man… and can’t wait to meet him!

what are your intentions?

What are your motivations?

Are you adding love and positivity into the world or drama and conflict?

If there is anything I’ve learned through the years, it’s that expectations, intentions and motivations can break relationships and hearts.

When I was growing up and was grounded or disciplined, it was usually deserved… back talking, a bad test score, etc… typical disciplinarian actions. I would take the grounding (that normally didn’t last too long), pout about it for a day or so, and then bounce back knowing that what I did was “wrong” and that the grounding was necessary.  However, there was another “disciplinarian action” that took place in my house that wasn’t so easy to bounce back from… this was when my parents sat me down to let me know their “disappointment” in me and my actions. These conversations always hit me hard.  Hearing my dad (or coach or teacher) say he or she was “disappointed in me” always shook me to my core. So it’s no surprise that as I get older and friends or family members disappoint me with their intentions, motivations or lack of concern and care, I once again get shaken to the core. It often gets to the point where I take things too personally.

It makes me question these relationships, and if they are even worth having.

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At the end of the day, shouldn’t it be as simple as what our parent, guardian or kindergarten teacher taught us when we were  kids… “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

Of course as we get older I understand it’s not always so black and white and this elementary lesson becomes more complex and may be interpreted as: If you aren’t adding positivity or support to a situation, take yourself out of it.

And while honesty is key to self-improvement, especially with a spouse, best friend or family member, it should be addressed in a mature conversation.  Don’t use the eye for an eye method, revenge, social media or other tactics to ask questions, get results or inspire others to be better. Have a good old fashion conversation.

We should all strongly consider the relationships in our life. If you find yourself stirring up trouble, drama or wanting to see pain or failure or cause conflict in a situation that does or doesn’t involve you, it may be time to reevaluate your actions. Does that person or situation remind you of something you dislike in yourself (i.e. Carl Jung’s “Shadow” theory… look it up… it’s fascinating)?  Are you unhappy, and therefore, want to cause unhappiness? Do you believe in an eye for an eye mentality, and if so, where does that get you? Are you jealous of the other persons happiness or success?

Look, we are all human, and if I’m being completely honest, I can tell you that at one time or another in my life I have felt all of those things. However, now that I am finding more and more peace within my life, and who I am and what I have to offer… IF I find myself feeling one of those things towards someone or a situation I walk away and do nothing… While the ultimate goal is to not even have those feelings, I understand that I am flesh and blood, and sometimes I fail… but I am not going to let my lack of personal progress cause drama in someone else’s life.  I’m not going to pry, get involved, stir up trouble or nudge someone else to fail either. The trick it to not cause anyone else pain, drama or anger while I’m working on myself. I take myself out of the situation, bite my tongue, pray, let go, move on, have a non confrontational conversation… whatever it takes.  While it’s not always easy, it does make it easier to rest my head on my pillow at night, knowing my intentions and motivations are pure and full of love.

So I ask you again… what are your intentions and motivations behind your actions?

babymoon…

Maui Photographer

I remember the first time I heard that word… I was so confused.

When my friend, Rachel, brought it up in a conversation about friends having babies, I was totally lost… A baby what?? She sensed my confusion and quickly explained what a “Babymoon” is. To be completely honest, I found the idea a bit pretentious… Babymoon: Your last solo vacation without kids as husband and wife.

I remember thinking: (a) I’m going to travel with my kids, so who needs one last “hurrah?” and (b) I hope I marry someone that wants to continue to date me and travel with me — with or without our kids. What’s the point?!?

Cut to four years later… I married the man of my dreams, and we are pregnant with our first baby. The first thing we did… was plan our babymoon. In fact, we started planning our babymoon on our honeymoon, and we weren’t even expecting yet.

While the word is silly, and let’s face it… a bit pretentious, I totally get it. It’s not about being selfish. It’s not about “alone” time. It’s not about lavish or extravagant trips. It’s not about one last “hurrah.” It’s about disconnecting from reality for a moment, so that you and your spouse can reconnect and communicate about the changes, expectations and preparations for your upcoming bundle of joy.

We recently returned from our babymoon, and I now understand the “word” and concept more than ever. My husband will look for any reason to plan a vacation so it’s safe to say he too embraced the word and the R&R.

We went to Maui on our “babymoon,” and it was breathtaking and perfect. It reminded me how lucky I am to be married to Devin and how blessed we are to be able to start a family!

Every time I look at the photos from the trip I am filled with instant happiness. I have a full heart, not just because I spent a week in Hawaii, but because it was a celebration of what’s to come… The blessing of starting our own family.

 

Here is to our Babymoon, our baby and the celebration of life!

 

Some highlights from the trip:

The amazing Andaz Resort!

http://maui.andaz.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

The food was incredible EVERYWHERE we went (and so were the non-alcoholic drinks)

Our Hawaii trip included many “firsts”… from surfing lessons to a traditional Hawaiian luau

As I get older… it seems like things get harder…

Maui Photographer

Remember when you were a kid and the toughest decision you would face all month was who you would sit by at lunch or what movie you and your friends would chose to see over the weekend or what prom dress you “had to have?” I remember “Adults” telling me my early years were the best years of my life and that “being an adult was hard.” However, being the “know-it-all” that I was/am, I never believed those people. I just fixed my eyes on how one day when I was an adult, I would be able to eat as much cereal as I wanted whenever I wanted, and that I would be able to stay up as late as I wanted during week days.

Now that I am an “adult,” the truth is… eating cereal causes me to instantly gain weight and feel bad about myself and staying up late just one night causes me to be tired for an entire week. I think it’s safe to say I wish I could go back to the days of worrying about prom dates, homework and arguing with my sisters…

Being an adult can be a bit overwhelming… In fact, my capacity to worry is at an all time high.

I’m a fan of taking ownership. One of my pet peeves is when people blame others for their problems or don’t take ownership for their mistakes or short-comings, so even though I’m pregnant and everyone keeps telling me I’m feeling “emotional” because of my hormones, I’d like to take ownership of my feelings and believe that pregnancy hasn’t messed with my brain and emotions too much. However, I will admit everything seems to be hitting me so hard lately. Everything seems to make me worry; getting on a plane, leaving Nemo (world’s greatest dog) as I go on yet another work trip, leaving Devin (world’s greatest husband) as I set up shop on the east coast to avoid cross country travel at 29 weeks pregnant… I worry about being far from my parents, far from my sisters, far from my nephews. I worry about ordering the wrong thing on the menu, or saying something to one of my students or friends that could hurt their feelings or upset them… I worry that I’m not talking to my unborn son enough or focusing on preparing for his arrival. I worry about the swelling of my ankles, sleeping too much or sleeping too little, what car seat to buy, what laundry detergent is safest… it’s all so overwhelming… where did the worry come from?

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Today is particularly a hard day for me. I’ve been traveling since the day I found out I was pregnant. Shortly before that we got married, moved across the country and changed everything we knew about our day to day lives. The truth is, I’m tired… I’m tired of being away from my husband and my family who, coincidentally, are on separate coasts of our country. I’m tired of worrying. I’m tired of the unknown, and I’m tired of my lack of strength right now…

If my sisters or friends called me with these worries or woes, I would tell them to pray about everything and to try and change their thought. I would say “acknowledge how you are feeling, but remind yourself what the truth is…” I.E. yes, I’m tired and I miss my husband, but I love my job, my circumstances are only temporary and I’ll be home before I know it… I would remind my friends and sisters that ultimately we are out of control, and therefore, it’s best to enjoy every moment you have. It all seems so logical and obvious that this is the way we should live our lives, but right now I can’t wrap my brain around those thoughts… so instead I called my mom and complained a bit… prayed a bit… cried a bit… stayed in bed a little longer than I should have… yelled at my husband over the phone at 7am his time… and ate an entire box of cereal. You know, all very logical and responsible things to do. Then I wrote this post hoping that it will provide a little release… a little ease… and a little sanity.

My sister Jennifer…

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Today is my sister Jennifer’s wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary to her and my amazing brother-in-law, Mike!

She has been married for 16 years!!!

It seems like just yesterday I sang at her wedding in my slate grey, cowl neck bridesmaid dress with pearl chocker, matching elbow length gloves and French twist up-do… (it was the 90’s so it worked). In any case, she looked radiant that day in her form fitting, white, beaded, high neck, open back mermaid gown and big billowing wedding veil… absolutely stunning!

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My oldest sister, Jennifer, is a force to reckoned with. She was the first born, and therefore, she had it tougher than me (the youngest) and Jenine (the middle). Her curfew was at 10pm, verses Jenine’s 11pm curfew and my… well “what curfew.” She had to get straight A’s.  She had to be active, respectful and succefful.  She had to be someone her younger sisters could look up to.  She had to do everything first and set the example and pave the road for Jenine and I.  She had four years with my parents all to herself. My mom tells me stories of how much time the first born gets… how much attention to detail. Not that my parents didn’t love Jenine and I as much as they loved Jen or pay as much attention to us…it’s just she was thier “first” and that meant she was an only child for four years. They were delicate with her. They spent every day teaching her and learning from her, and they groomed herfor great things… and boy did she deliver.

 

There was never a day that I was not proud of my big sister, Jen. Almost
ten years older than me, she was more of a second mother than a sister. In
fact, I can’t recall a single fight we had growing up, but I can recall her
doing my set of chores so I didn’t cry, giving up the bigger better piece
of ice cream cake, slipping me twenty dollar bills every chance she had,
sticking up for me during family fights, letting me be a part of any pool
party she had out back, and smiling at everything I did or “attempted” to
do. She was a wonderful big sister and set quite the example for me and Jenine.

Jennifer was born on September 28th. My mom’s first born came into this
beautiful world on September 28th. When the doctor told me that my first
baby was due on September 28th, the first person I thought of was my big
sister Jennifer. Joy filled my heart as I thought about my sister and her
tenacity, love, determination, perfectionism, morals, values and not to
mention, the gorgeous life she created. She has an amazing husband and is
raising two perfect boys.

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I pray that my first born will follow in the footsteps of my
mothers first born. Here is to the countdown to September 28th. Here is to
my sister Jennifer, the first born. Here is to the first born. May God
bless him with Jennifer’s drive, intelligence, determination and
sensitivity.

my new york…

The pulse of the city often makes people tense.

The number of people that can surround you at any given moment can make people claustrophobic.

The never ending noises and honking of yellow chariots often gives people a headache.

But in my New York… I long for and love all of those things…

It was a blessed visit in the Big Apple. I picked up right where I left off… visiting with friends, taking in a Broadway show, auditioning, a class or two at Juilliard, teaching my students, amazing brunches, lunches, and dinners… and the best part of all… telling my friends in person that I was pregnant!

dear new york… i love you… and thank you for loving me back…

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I can never resist a meal at The Smith, so when Rachel suggested a breakfast there as soon as my plane landed… I happily agreed.

http://www.thesmithnyc.com

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Reunited with my amazing students at Broadway Workshop. I am constantly inspired by them and their fearlessness!

http://thebroadwayworkshop.com

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As Meg celebrates her new downton apartment… we celebrate with brunch at Chez Sardine.

Don’t skimp… order one of everything on the brunch menu… especially the Strawberry salad, Chocalate Banana Bread, Egg Sandwich and Fedora Burger.

http://chezsardine.com/#/home

Juilliard Drama Division Alumni event

There is something so magical, mysteries and inspiring about being back in that building and in the drama wing. I’ll forever be grateful to everyone at Juilliard!

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My old stand by… and no, I’m not talking about my roommate of 8 years, Matt, or one of my dearest friends, Michelle… I’m talking about Blockheads… burrito heaven…

http://www.blockheads.com

Nothing like starting your day off right… my favorite…  a NYC bagal with cream cheese and cumber!

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Finally getting to meet the little man… my sweet friend Lauren’s sweet baby boy, Jesse Feldman… aka my sons future best friend.

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Watching my friend Sutton Foster do what she does best… BROADWAY! Go see her in Violet!

http://ppc.broadway.com/shows/violet/

Dinner with the bestie… she always knows how to pick a resteraunt… ABC Cocina!

http://www.jean-georges.com/restaurants/united-states/new-york/abc-cocina/

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new chapter…

i have not met you… yet i love you.

i do not know your name… yet i know you are a miracle.

you have not yet opened your eyes or developed all of your senses… yet i know you will be strong and courageous.

i haven’t even held you… yet i promise i will never let you go.

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dear son,

thank you for being our biggest blessing..

thank you for teaching us about faith…

and thank you for making our life, love, and family fuller, bigger, and better!

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