Super Bowl and Super Babies!

In summary, we had a very social weekend and then I got sick. Boo.

But let’s rewind.

On Friday, my Biggest boy turned 11 years old. He was born the day before the Eagles played in the Super Bowl. I could care less about football, but if you live in Philadelphia, it was a big deal. All the babies in the nursery were dressed in Eagles green onesies and hats.  I am known for growing gigantuan babies, so my guy looked like a linebacker next to all of the other petite babies. I have to admit, he was pretty cute.

And now he’s 11! Unbelievable.

All of the family came over on Friday and we had a taco feast (his request). Per tradition, I was unable to take a decent photo to document the event.

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On Saturday, he had a sleepover party with his little buddies. They are getting to that age now where they just “hang out.” It seems so boring. I’m constantly like “don’t you want to play a game?” “Don’t you want to do an activity?” “Should we have silly string battle now?” I know I’m being an uncool mom, but that’s my job.

On Sunday, I started to feel really run down and sick, but there were things to do!

Like trying a new dish detergent recipe…

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And making split pea soup (in our house, we call it “Ham” soup because, god forbid, they realize that they are eating peas!) and a big pot of spaghetti sauce for the week…

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Then we worked on our state project on Alabama. How do you think he really feels about working on his state project?

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As the day progressed, my cold got worse and worse. By the time the Super Bowl came on, I was a tired snotty mess, so while everyone else was partying with beer and wings, I had NyQuil and was tucked into bed before the half time show came on. Thumbs up!

Happy Tuesday!

Crazy Cat Lady

Hi Blog!

I’ve been trying to post more on Instagram so if you follow me there, some of these pics are a repeat, so sorry! I can’t wrap my head around what to post where. #oldladyproblems

I’m not quite recovered from traveling and am still getting up in the wee hours of the morning. It’s annoying to be falling asleep by 8pm, but I do enjoy those quiet early morning hours alone in the kitchen.

On Saturday, I made Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), which is a favorite for Tom and Biggest. The recipe starts with grinding and roasting spices which is such a satisfying task.

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The only problem is that the spices smell so good as they are roasting that it makes me hungry and, at that point, the broth is still many hours from being finished. It’s a process.

By mid morning, the boys were going a little stir crazy, so we decided to venture out in search of a sledding hill that still had some snow, not an easy feat! The hill at the school was a slushy muddy mess. Then Biggest suggested that we try the seminary near our house. It was still pristine and snowy! I guess the seminary folks aren’t big on sledding.

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Sunday was chore day. I’m pretty much a weirdo who enjoys doing things like cleaning out the Tupperware cabinet and lining up the canned goods in the pantry. So satisfying. Anyone else with me on that one? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Charlie kept climbing into my shopping bags as I was trying to fill them with decluttered junk. It would have been really annoying if he wasn’t the cutest cat on Earth.

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Speaking of cute cats, I have been addicted to an app called Neko Atsume. It’s a game where you try to attract cats to your yard by leaving out toys and beds and food. Then you can take pictures of them and buy more stuff for them. Basically, it’s pointless, but I am obsessed.

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OMG! Aren’t you dying at how cute the cats are? I keep texting pics of my screen to Tom and Stephanie. I know that they are rolling their eyes at me, but they humor me because they are the BEST! Evolution to crazy cat lady… LEVEL: COMPLETE.

And finally, Pinewood Derby time! Biggest won “Best in Show”. Yay!

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How was your weekend? Can you believe it’s FEBRUARY?!!

Bonjour mes amis!

Hi Friends!

I am back from Paris! I have so much to tell you!

The Northeast was hit with a big blizzard while I was away.

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Part of me was happy to avoid it, but the other part was sad to get pics from home and know that I was missing the excitement and sledding and cozying up indoors that blizzards bring. Shoveling – no. Hot cocoa by the fire – yes.

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As much as I was dreading the trip, I ended up (kinda) enjoying it. For once, we ended up with some free time for a little sightseeing.

I bought a selfie stick at the Eiffel Tower. So américaine of me! It was worth the 5 euros for the amount of laughs we got. Here is a photo of me saying “How the heck do you work this thing?” while it was snapping away at us. Most of the pictures were some variation on this theme.

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The sightseeing was whirlwind.

Of course, there was the Eiffel Tower…

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And a million pretty buildings…

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And statues…

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And the Seine…

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We took a stroll down the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe and huffed and puffed all the way to the top.

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I thought I would die, but OH MAN(!), it was worth it! The sun was setting when we reached the top and it was nothing short of spectacular.

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There’s that tower again…

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Everything lit up after the sun set. It was breathtaking. They don’t call it the City of Lights for nothing.

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View from the top (gulp… that’s a lot of stairs).

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We walked and walked and walked… over the river and past the palaces and down the quais. It was quite an unexpected adventure for a country mouse like me.

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I logged 29,469 steps on my fitness tracker in one day, which has to be some kind of record! It made up for all of the cheese and wine and crepes. Maybe.

As fun as it was, it is sooooooo great to finally be home. Yay HOME! My bed! My cat! My boys! My Tom! My strange routines!

By the way, someone got a hold of my selfie stick and it’s his new favorite thing. As you can see, our technique still leaves some room for improvement.

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Cupcakes, Cats, & Cross stitch

Hi Blog.

I leave for Paris tomorrow. I realize it’s totally obnoxious to say, but I am dreading this trip big time. I get very anxious about traveling and being away from my family. It’s the worst.

We had such a great few days though. I will write a post and read it when I am homesick.

I have been keeping up with the Couch to 5K training, even though it’s not quite as fun anymore. On Saturday, the boys wanted to go to the playground, so I ran around the school while they played. It is much harder to run outside vs. on a treadmill!

Littlest practiced skateboarding while I ran. He has been determined to get good enough to go to the skatepark with the older kids. I admire his determination!

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It was a busy few days with indoor soccer and playdates and work. We were happy to stay home for a game night. Bingo!

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Of course, you know who got into the action.

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In other news, we finally got our first little bit of snow!

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Littlest got a snowboard for Christmas. He is dying to use it and has been trying all kinds of tricks to make it snow; including the snow dance (point your forefingers up like you’re saying #1 and dance), sleeping with a spoon under your pillow, and putting your clothes in the bathtub at night. Unfortunately, the snow wasn’t enough for actual snow boarding but the forecast is calling for a possible blizzard this weekend. His techniques may be working!

The boys have really been into that show “Cupcake Wars” on Netflix. On Monday we decided to have our own Cupcake War. I baked up a batch of cupcakes and they worked to develop flavors and decoration.

It was so much fun and I couldn’t believe how focused and creative they were.

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We had flavors such as S’mores, Peanut Butter & Banana, Apple & Maple, and Tropical Coconut.

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I thought that the results were quite beautiful.

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Biggest’s work:

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And Littlest’s:

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Of course, they deserted me when it was time to clean up the kitchen (but it was worth it).

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After the exhausting Cupcake Wars, we enjoyed some down time on the couch watching YouTube videos and cross stitching. I just noticed that we were watching cat videos while our cat was watching us!

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Someday I will learn to take better photos, but that someday isn’t today.

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Happy Wednesday, Friends!

Jackpot

Hi Blog.

Today I found 2 grey hairs. They seem to be appearing with greater frequency. Is this the beginning of the end? Is 2016 the year? Sigh.

Life is going by so fast.  Yesterday I paid bills, and did expense reports, and filed old papers… those boring jobs that usually get put off week after week, month after month, until you realize that 6 months has passed, then a year.

I am going to Paris at the end of this month for work. It will be whirlwind as usual, but maybe I’ll get to wave to the Eiffel Tower when we drive past in a car. Last time, the driver was kind enough to slow down so I could take a blurry picture out the window, but I’m sure that he rolled his eyes at me and thought “annoying person”.

Tonight is the big Powerball lottery. We’ve never played before but it’s hard to resist taking a chance when the jackpot is for a bajillion dollars. We had a hilarious discussion at dinner the other night about what we would do if we won. Littlest said that he’d get a different limo for each day of the week. The Friday limo would have a hot tub in it and he’d invite his friends to ride around with him. I said that if he and his friends were riding around in the Friday limo, then I’d probably want to be in the Wednesday limo with my stitching and Charlie even if it was on a Friday. Biggest said that he’d put some money away for college and buy a penthouse next to Central Park. Tom and I agreed that we’d take everyone on a long vacation, then buy a little farm house and live a quiet life. Tom would probably still wear his 20 year old raggedy “Life is Good” tshirt and I’m OK with that. It doesn’t take too much to make us happy.

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Tuesday Thoughts

I’m enjoying this routine of blogging each day. Maybe it is obvious to you as the reader, but I never really have a plan about what to write. Usually I look through phone pictures from the last few days and a theme emerges. Today there is no such theme, so brace yourself for some randomness.

I am now on Week 2 of Couch to 5K. It’s still fun even though I wasn’t really feeling it yesterday. My knee started hurting so I bought myself a snazzy new knee brace. I felt like an official runner talking about my “knee injury.” Then I got to the gym and the girl on the treadmill next to me was running SOOOOO FAST, like lightning fast! Then I stopped feeling like an official runner and more like the middle aged out-of-shape mom with a knee brace listening to the 80s station on Pandora that I am. Le blergh.

I’m glad to be stitching again. I started the cat, who is currently looking like a zombie cat with creepy eyes. I kinda wish that I had changed him to grey to look like Charlie, but that would have required thinking and planning.

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One of the things that I most appreciate about my family is that we are always laughing. What a silly bunch! The other day, I asked Tom to fold some laundry. This is how I found him when I walked by later. I guess it’s hard to resist warm laundry from the dryer.

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I know that I’m his mom and therefore biased, but isn’t he such a good artist? 9 years old!

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Happy Tuesday, Friends!

Wandering + Wondering

Hi Blog!

It was a busy weekend for little old me.

Tom and I went out for a lovely dinner date on Friday. A new restaurant opened near our house and it is delish. I had the duck. I love duck, but never prepare it at home because it seems like a lot of work. When it’s on a menu, I go for it!

On Saturday, Stephanie and I ventured into the city for a weaving workshop held at the studio of a former classmate of mine.

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We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but it was so fun and inspiring! It was not so much about the technical art of weaving but rather about the intuitive and meditative art of weaving. It was so against my usual regimented perfectionistic (hello… cross stitch!) tendencies that it was quite freeing and enjoyable. I think this might become a new hobby because, you know, I need another one.

Sunday was sloooow but productive at the same time. I woke up at 6 and was the first customer at Target at 8am sharp. What is better than having an entire Target practically to yourself? It was like some sort of dream sequence.

But the day wasn’t all dreamy wandering around Target, I went grocery shopping, cooked a ton in preparation for the week ahead, cleaned (Pinterest test of vinegar + Dawn dish soap to clean a shower. It worked!), played piano, read Wonder to the boys (Oh! That book! Have any of you read that book?! My heart hurts! I need to talk about it with someone!),

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Watched these two watching football,

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And squeezed in between two boys on the couch to do a little stitching. No pics, I was too tired by then to get up and find my phone.

All in all, a good weekend. What’s new with you?

Simplify

Yay! Friday is here! We survived the first week back at work and school!

On Monday, I started a Couch to 5K training program. The 2 completely bizarre things about this is that 1) I absolutely hate running but 2) I am enjoying it so far. 2016 is so weird.

Last night was Biggest’s Winter Orchestra concert. Last Spring, the Orchestra concert did not go well at all, due to a terrible bout of stage fright. We were a bit worried going into this one, but HE DID IT! I am so happy for him. Doesn’t it feel sometimes like being a Mom is a constant emotional roller coaster based on the ups and downs of your kids?

So, being a new year and all, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my theme for this year. 2015 was Believe. 2014 was Connect.

I declare 2016 the year to Simplify.

To me, Simplify means:

Getting down to the basics

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Enjoying the day to day tasks that make up life

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Appreciating what is really important in the grand scheme

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Eliminating the things and feelings and people that no longer work

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Being honest and kind in all things

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Not overcomplicating matters

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What’s your theme for 2016?

Back at it!

I was super cranky and wanted to stay in for New Year’s Eve but Tom wanted to go out, so I did my makeup and put on pleather pants and we went to a friend’s house. Don’t say that I never take one for the team.

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On New Year’s Day, we headed to the beach house. The quiet and solitude was perfect after the busyness and overstimulation of the holidays and the city.

Sammy in the car. That dog knows how to work a scarf!

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Tom likes to get up super early and watch the sunrise. The boys and I prefer to stay in the warm comfort of our beds so he takes pictures of the sunrise to show us. It’s a win-win.

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The beach was relaxing. We went to the arcade, ate junk food, and did A LOT of walking. Good thing I got a new fitness tracker for Christmas, otherwise all of that walking would have been wasted! It doesn’t count unless you have proof.

Biggest took these terrific photos. I love the sun shining in the sky. If you believe in Spirit and the Universe and God and that stuff, that’s what it reminds me of.

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At long last, we finally went home… HOME(!)… i.e. the best place on Earth. I jumped right into a fit of domesticity, making elderberry syrup…

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And deodorant bars (I know… same boring mold shape for EVERYTHING. Snore.)

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Littlest decided that he wanted to write his life story. He worked really hard on it.

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My favorite is Chapter 2.

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There were sad parts too.

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But overall it’s been a pretty good 9 years.

And finally, in unbelievable stitching news, this one came back out!

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It feels good to be stitching again. Here’s to more stitching in 2016!

A Trip to the Big City

Hi Blog!

After Christmas, we packed up and went to New York City for a few days. I go there all the time for work, but the boys haven’t been since they were wee babies. It was fun to experience the city through their eyes. Everything is so big and busy and exciting.

We stayed at a hotel right in Times Square, so it was pretty much sensory overload all the time. We did as many touristy New Yorky things as we could manage, including:

Looking at the holiday window displays at Macy’s

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Seeing their cute mugs on the HUGE SCREENS in Times Square

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Visiting Rockefeller Center and getting our picture taken in front of the tree

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Eating SO … MUCH … FOOD, including wood fired pizza in an old church

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And Romantic Sushi for Two

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Funny aside… Tom and Biggest ordered the “Sushi for Two” at dinner one night and it ended up being a ROMANTIC sushi for two with dramatic lighting effects. Biggest was mortified. We were dying and now crack up and refer to everything as “Romantic (insert food item) for Two” such as,

Romantic milkshake for two

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We spent a day in Central Park. It was cold and dreary, but we had fun anyway.

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I wanted to ride the carriage being pulled by the horse wearing purple plumes because he looked the fanciest, but wouldn’t you know it that we didn’t get a single photo of the horse and his fancy plumes?! You’ll just have to imagine him.

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The highlight for Biggest was going into the Ferrari showroom on Park Ave. You can’t tell from his expression in this photo, but he was thrilled and bought a Ferrari model there with his very own money.

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We were walking by as they were testing the ball for New Years Eve. OMG 2016! 2015, where did you go?!

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We took the train, so I brought along my project and managed a few stitches. Hanging my head in shame that I only made it to Day 5 of the stitch-a-long…

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But how can you concentrate on stitching when you’re sitting next to this funny boy who waved at every single person we passed at every single station?

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Next up… The BEACH!