Did you know?

The other night, Tom asked me to write down a list of things I want to do in my life (kinda like a Bucket List, but I hate that phrase). It occurred to me that almost everything I wrote had to do with “be at home, make stuff for my family, find inner peace, slow down” and my current life is mostly “work, run to a million activities, juggle and do.”

Something’s not quite right about that. I guess it has to do with my season in life; busy career, active school-aged children, blah blah blah… but it’s got me thinking about things and wondering how I can go about slowing down.

Remember that herbal studies program that I’ve been doing (halfheartedly, as of late)? Our reading last week was about finding and recognizing the simple moments of joy during the day. Timely, right? Someone must be trying to tell me something.

So on that note, I am going to try to be more present and notice those moments. Anyone want to try it with me?

A few simple joys from the past few days include:

  • Listening to that sound that the waves make when they lap up against the shore.
  • Washing the dishes (Am I the only one who LOVES washing the dishes and having a clean kitchen as a result?).
  • Enjoying a GIANT latte every morning. Such an indulgence but sooooo worth it.
  • Running into many familiar faces at Back-to-School night. I love that the boys are growing up in a close-knit community.
  • The cooler weather. Fall is coming!
  • Chatting with my funny guys at dinner.
  • New pants that fit just right!

That wasn’t so hard!

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Home Sweet Home.

Hi! Remember me? It has been so long. I feel like I have a ton to write about, but at the same time, really nothing at all.

Paris was great, work wise. I got tons of inspiration for new projects. As usual, I was jet lagged and homesick. Clearly I was not made for the jet setting lifestyle.

I had fun buying little goodies for my gang; French comic books and cars for the boys, these cool stress reducing coloring books for me and Tom,

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and well.. I might have gotten myself a goodie too… (Seriously, how could I resist?!) you know, to help combat my home sickness.

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It was sooooo good to come home though and see my bunch of sillies. I guess I’m just a homebody because I would trade Paris any day for…

Trips to the diner…

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Watching little boys, who suddenly look so grown up, walking to the bus stop…

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But being glad that they’re still little enough to squeeze into their toddler sized rocking chair…

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Or steal a spot on the dog bed…

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Finding the best kind of secret notes…

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Catching face making contests…

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Watching the first soccer game of the season…

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Introducing the boys to my secret beach…

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And getting reacquainted with my lovely lady…

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It’s sure good to be home.

See you in September.

Here we are in September already. We had a nice visit with my parents and are now trying to get back into the swing of things and into our Fall schedule.

Coal waiting for Tom to get home. Those two are best friends for sure.

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Then boys started school yesterday. It’s amazing how fast the years go by. Here they are yucking it up at the bus stop with their little buddy.

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It’s nice to have the house back to ourselves, but part of me misses having everyone around. My parents and I have had a difficult relationship over the years, but I think age and health have softened us all a bit. Whenever they leave, I always wish that I had been just a bit nicer or spent a little more time with them while they were here.

The night before they left, we had a big dinner at our house. I tried grilling salmon on a cedar plank for the first time and it was delish. The real hit of the party, though, were my Mom’s cha gio. They are my most favorite food ever, hands down.

Biggest organized a bingo game. The competition was fierce and we had a blast. I loved looking around and seeing our families (dysfunctional as they are) laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It does a soul good.

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Tomorrow I leave for Paris and I am equal parts excited (It’s Paris!) and dreading (There’s so much to do at home and at work and it’s the first week of school and I’ll miss my family! AAAK!), but I will try to be in the moment and make the best of it.

Have a great week, friends!

J’ai besoin d’un béret.

Hi Peoples.

This week has been rough, but we are mustering through. Last night I FINALLY got a good night’s sleep. Isn’t it amazing how good sleep makes all the difference?

This morning my boss was talking about the Paris trip next week and I was like, “OMG! It’s next week?!” >Gulp< I feel so unprepared. I don’t even have my red beret yet.

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Haha! A cat in a red beret. Did you laugh? Look at his crazy eyes!

Speaking of which, I have been obsessed with getting a cat lately. I’ve always been a cat person, whilst Tom is a dog person and I’ve missed having a cat around the house. I especially like the big fat lazy kind and even went so far as to look on Petfinder the other day. It is totally a bad idea to look on Petfinder unless you’re perfectly sure that you’re ready for a new pet, because it’s hard not to fall in love with every pet that you see. Anyhoo, I talked myself out of it after thinking about litter boxes and shedding fur and having another little creature to worry about, so it probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

Last night my Mom taught me to make Bun Rieu, which is a Vietnamese noodle soup. Here’s a picture stolen off the Internet of what it looks like.

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My guys LOVE noodle soups, so this is a good one to add to our repertoire. Biggest rated it #7 on his list of Top 10 Noodle Soups. I think it’s funny that he even has a list of Top 10 Noodle Soups. I think that Tom may have rated it a 3, but I don’t remember the exact number. I was too busy eating.

On Saturday, we had Littlest’s birthday party. We were planning a campout in the back yard, but the weather was touch and go, so the boys slept inside instead. We still went outside for s’mores and scary stories (which is, in my opinion, the best part of a campout anyway), so the boys didn’t seem to mind. I can’t believe that my Littlest Guy turns 8 this week! Whaaaaa!

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Saturday was also a big day because teacher assignments came in the mail. This is a major event in the life of a suburban mom. There were texts flying through the neighborhood of who got what teacher. We got the ones that we wanted so YAY!

My parents are currently visiting and will be with us for 10 days. It is nice to see them, but houseguests stress me out big time.  Disruption to routines + people around all the time = frazzled me.

Last week, I took out my completed cross stitch projects with the intention of framing them (finally) in the frames that I’ve been collecting. I quickly realized that it was a bigger project than I wanted to take on, so off they went to the framing shop. Framing is so crazy expensive, even when you supply the frames! What a racket… but I cant wait to see the results!

How cute is this picture of Sammy?

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He might just be the cutest dog in the world, especially when he snores with his eyes OPEN. He’s a little weirdo but we love him. I think that he looks like a puppy, but he is actually 12 years old! I wish that I knew his secrets for a youthful appearance.

This project is going OK.

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I’ve mentally recovered from my fabric cutting snafu, but my thread is tangling A LOT on this one and it’s really annoying. Does anyone have any tips? It’s driving me crazy.

Blergh.

I know that I have a tendency towards melodrama sometimes… but this deserves it!

I was chugging along nicely with this…

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When I realized that thing weren’t matching up. It took me forever to figure out the problem.

The heart was off center (ironically, the very first thing that I stitched!).

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So I frogged the heart and the section to the right of it.

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In the process, I accidentally cut some of the threads of my FABRIC! Right next to the start of my new heart!

Whaaaaaaaaa!!!

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My eyes keep going to that spot now.

I’m so annoyed.

Ooh la la.

Bonjour! Are you wondering why I’m speaking French? Why… because I’m going to France of course! In 3 weeks! For work!

At first I was excited about it, but then I realized that it would be whirlwind and that Tom couldn’t join me and I was less excited. The last time I went to Paris for work, I only got to see the Eiffel Tower from the car. Boo. I don’t mean to sound thankless though, because Paris is still Paris. Bien sur, mes amies!

I can’t believe that Summer is winding down already. The boys only have 2 more weeks of camp. Then we have a week with my parents visiting. Then school starts. Yikes. I will be Mom to a 2nd and 4th grader! Say what?!

When we were on the cruise, we read aloud from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory every night before bed. Now that we’re home, we have moved on to Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. We’ve only just started, but so far it’s not as good. This seems often to be the case with sequels.

I took no pictures yesterday, so will end this rambly blog post today with this:

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My first quilt!

On Friday, I decided that I wanted to make a quilt. I stopped at a cute sewing store on the way home from work and bought some stuff. Then I went home and laid it all out. I am notoriously bad at math, so I didn’t have enough squares and no extra fabric. So what did I do? I cut up an old shirt! How’s that for improvising?

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I tried to make the pattern random which was surprisingly hard to do. I kept accidentally putting similar fabrics next to each other. The other thing that was surprisingly hard to do was keeping the dogs off of my work. They were obsessed with walking right over my quilt. I really wanted to get sewing, but had to clean up and go to a Mom’s Happy Hour. My life is so hard.

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I started sewing right away on Saturday morning. The corners don’t line up perfectly, but besides that, it was super easy and fast to do.

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Then it was time to add the batting! Tom had borrowed my car so I had to take his stick-shift Jeep to the fabric store. It was HOT and BUMPY and I am NOT GOOD at driving a stick shift, but nothing can stop a woman on a quilt making mission. I was DETERMINED!

By the way, I spotted this book while at the store. How funny!

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And did I just out myself as a nerd? Although who am I kidding, you’ve all figured out that I’m a nerd by now.

I finally got home safely (but sweaty and annoyed) and proceeded to sew on the batting.

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The thing is that I didn’t really “plan” how to make a quilt before I set out to make a quilt. I was just following along to a Martha tutorial without really thinking too much ahead. Martha said to sew on the batting first, then add the backing, then sew bias tape around the edges without mitering the corners. I guess that her instructions are for a more rustic looking quilt which is great and all, but I kinda wish that I had looked at other methods before diving into this one. Oh well… live and learn.

At this point, I got too tired to deal with the edging and backing so I abandoned my quilt for dinner and some relaxing.

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On Sunday, we went to a christening. Tom was the godfather, which was crazy for so many reasons! The baby was super cute though (as was the godfather). We visited and ate and went home.

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And so ended another wild weekend around here.

Around here.

Hi Blog! Another week is flying by.

The boys are in Minecraft camp this week and, man, are they excited. My idea of camp is being outside and running and swimming and playing. Most of their Summer has been spent in active camps, so we are indulging them with one week of playing video games. Seriously, kids are so spoiled these days!

I have had such a busy month. Work! Work! Work! All the time! Tom is working on a new business venture, so I’ve been helping him with designing the collateral materials. He is a terrible client and is always changing things on me. Haha… just kidding, Q-T!

So in light of my demanding “client” and work and all that nonsense, I haven’t had any time to sew or cross stitch! Not to mention that the house is a mess, there’s laundry to be folded, and we ate grilled cheese sandwiches and pickles(!) for dinner last night! Huh? What can I say… I am tired and lazy!

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Blah blah blah…

It is unusually chilly this Summer. I’m not complaining. I’ll take chilly over brutally hot any day!

We had a pretty nice weekend. Tom and I went to see a Billy Joel concert on Saturday. He was really good! I was not particularly a fan before the concert so I looked up his Wikipedia page (what ever did we do before Wikipedia?). I know all about him now and could probably win a Billy Joel trivia contest.

Look at all those people!

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Gavin Degraw was the opener. He was pretty good too. And Boys II Men made a surprise appearance. We decided that if Billy Joel asks you to make a surprise appearance at his concert, you pretty much have to do it.

We noticed that EVERYONE around us was taking selfies, so we did too. I had trouble getting us to fit on the screen. This is the best that we could do. Awkward…

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Sunday was a home day (Yay!). I made 12 quarts of pickles! By the end of the process, I smelled like a pickle. That was not pleasant. I didn’t feel like cooking after all that pickling, so we went out for Vietnamese. Yum. I made a pig of myself, but really, it’s not my fault when Vietnamese food is placed in front of me.