Mom Pictures

(or, I’m ready for my closeup!)

“Hey Dave, can you take a decent picture of me with the kiddos since we’re having such a nice time at the farm?”
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Never mind.

(And yes, we’re crouching next to a cow’s buttocks.  The picture was doomed from the get-go.)

Bathroom Renovation

I might have mentioned several times in my kitchen post how much more I love my kitchen now than when it was a dark, paneled dungeon.  Well.  Take that love and multiply it by a million and that’s how much I love my bathroom now.  I think you will too!

Of course, I don’t have very good before photos, so bear with me, please.  IMG_1269

First thing: Woody Woodpecker, more wood!  Also, sticky laminate tiles on the bathroom floor, like in the kitchen but not the same tiles.  Of course!IMG_3090

This picture is from when Dave put fan in the bathroom last September, a much needed fix.  The picture also displays the laminate tile in all it’s glory as well as my old shower curtain.  I do love that shower curtain.  McWomen have a genetic predisposition to loving toile, so I was and still am a big fan of that shower curtain, but it didn’t quite go with the final product and Dave (and any other male visitors to la casa) would make fun of it so… bye bye toile.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Awww. New kitchen, new Catholic Gus on his baptism day, but look behind my shoulder…

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That bathroom vanity was UGH. Let’s start at the top: that light fixture.  Need I say more about that? The cabinet was one of those awful 3-panel mirrors that makes you look thin if you stand between one pair of mirrors, but if you shimmy over between the other pair of mirrors, you’ve instantly put on 20 pounds.  THE WORST.  The cabinet was unusually high and wood of course and the top had very little counter space because the sink came up over the counter and sucked up half of it.

Like the kitchen, the bathroom was depressing to me because I would clean it and it wouldn’t look clean.  The biggest problem in there was lack of storage. We had to put things above the medicine cabinet and even the lights, as you can see in the picture.  It was always cluttered in there. All this was doubly depressing because it’s our only bathroom.  This is the bathroom our guests use and it’s our whole family’s every day, all-use bathroom.  It definitely needed a little TLC.

It took Dave a couple of weekends in October, and now the bathroom looks like this:
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Ahhhhhh. So much better, right?

Dave continued the same laminate sheet flooring from the kitchen into the bathroom. [Editorial note: Claire has informed me that it’s not laminate flooring, it’s vinyl, for what it’s worth.]  When we picked it out, I really tried to make sure the color and pattern of the flooring would work well both in the bathroom and the kitchen.  We painted the walls a soft gray and the trim bright white and I switched out my green and white Target wedding towels for dark gray towels from Costco.  I also switched out my beloved toile shower curtain for that funky number from Target.  I honestly don’t know what possessed me to buy that shower curtain.  I’m not ordinarily into psychedelic geometric patterns, however, the hexagon pattern did remind me of a beehive, and I have a thing for bees. (WHIMSY!) Also, I picked out the curtain after we painted and after I had decided on gray towels and white cabinets and gray countertop on the sink.  There was a lot of gray and white and the bathroom need a little sumpin’-sumpin’. So there you have it!

We bought two new medicine cabinets.  The one over the sink is from Ikea and it’s one whole mirror, fancy that! The one over the toilet we found on Amazon and we got that one because of the exposed shelf on the bottom.  It (usually) holds toilet paper rolls. Now we have more than enough cabinet space!

The shelves next to the sink were there, but Dave painted them white and I splurged on matching baskets for them at Target.  They don’t fit the shelves perfectly but they look good.  The biggest splurge for the bathroom was the sink and cabinet.  They’re from Lowes.  It’s actually a smaller sink than the one that was there before, but we can afford less storage below because of all the new cabinets above.  The light fixture above the medicine cabinet is also new, much better than that old marquee lighting situation before.

The other subtle change is all the new hardware.  The sink, tub fixtures, (not pictured) towel bars, cabinet knobs, toilet paper holder are all matching brushed nickel fixtures.  And speaking of things not pictured, (and I don’t know why it’s not pictured, there’s nothing wrong with it, I just don’t have my act together) in the tub, Dave re-caulked the corners of the shower and the seam on the bottom between the tub and the beginning of the tile where the grout really showed some wear and tear.  Actually, come to think of it, he had to scrape out the old grout because whoever did it before used the wrong kind of grout and he then re-grouted and caulked.  It was actually more of a project than he thought it would be.

All together, this is what we did to renovate the bathroom:

-Installed a bathroom fan

-New laminate sheet flooring

-Paint on trim and walls

-Caulk and grouting in tub and other seams in the bathroom

-New hardware and fixtures

-2 new medicine cabinets

-3 new baskets in shelves

-New light fixture

-New sink and cabinet

-New towels

-New shower curtain and bath mat

It’s a lot of things, but they’re all little things, so all together it didn’t take as much time as the kitchen renovation and not as much money either.  The end result is a bright, clean bathroom with enough storage space to put all the ugly odds and ends out of sight.

Quite simply, it’s my favorite room in the house. :)  That is, until we work on the living room!

Thanks for sticking with me.  I’m no home renovation blogger or expert for that matter.  Dave is the one that does all the work, I just make design choices.  But I wanted to share our little renovations just to encourage you to maybe try some little, inexpensive fixes in your own home.  They make such a big difference!

A Happy Easter & Birthday

Happy Easter, everybody!

We ended up staying home for Easter instead of traveling to New York to see the McFamily to avoid getting a stomach bug from certain cousins. I’m sure their Mommy will tell the harrowing tale of their Easter on the blog soon. ;) And speaking of this here blog, it got a bit of a facelift over Easter.  Looking good, huh? Rose painted the header and Dave did the computer stuff.  We’re still working on a new About Us page, but otherwise it’s done.  What do you think?

We were so disappointed to miss out on family time, but we used the long weekend at home to get started on the garden.  I can hardly believe that the snow is mostly gone.  I thought the winter would never end!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADave tilled up our plot and we picked 12309234987983458938457 rocks out of it and then Dave added his compost that he’s been working on since last year.  Hopes are high for the harvest this year!

On Easter Sunday we went to the 7 am Mass (!!!!!!) so that Gus could get his morning nap before we joined our friends for brunch.  Nothing beats holidays with family, but this came very close!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd yesterday the fun continued with our Sara Kate’s birthday.  Our sweet girl had a sweet day that started with balloons and pancakes…

IMG_4082 IMG_4087 IMG_4089(Sara loves Minnie Mouse, can you tell?)

The birthday girl requested a rainbow cake.  I briefly toyed with the idea of making one of those multi-layer cakes with each layer being another color of the rainbow, but then I came to my senses and decided to get one of those tie-dye cake mixes and just make a rainbow on the top.  It turned out really cute!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI can’t believe she’s 3.  I really try to avoid over-the-top mommy gushing about my kids, but since it’s her birthday I guess it’s okay, right? I never imagined in a million years that I would have such a sweet heart of a little girl.  She’s such a joy in our lives; we’re so grateful for our girlie!

And just like that, we’re back to normal around here.  Except that it’s still Easter!  We certainly have enough sugar around this house to keep up the celebrating. Happy Easter week to all of you, friends!

 

The Long-Awaited Kitchen Post

I’ve been promising this post for a very long time… Dave finished our kitchen face-lift back in June just before Gus arrived so at first I had a valid excuse for not getting a post up here.  But then I stalled because I have no proper before pictures to do it justice.  And then I stalled because I had misgivings over whether it was even share-worthy or not.  We live in a very HGTV and Pinterest-y world, don’t we? I love a good pie-in-the-sky renovation just like any other gal, but sometimes it breeds dissatisfaction with what we have and what little improvements we are able to make.  But you know what? I’m so proud of the hard work Dave has put into this place. It’s no diamond sunbursts or marble halls[countertops] but it’s a heck of an improvement and it makes me happy!  Time to share!

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The main thing you’ll notice in the inadequate before photos I have is how dark it is.  The whole bottom of the wall was dark paneling and all of the trim was dark so along with the cabinets it made for a dark, dingy looking kitchen.  I tried to brighten it up with some color but in retrospect it just added to the chaos. In the bottom picture you can see the old worn linoleum tiles.  You couldn’t tell when I had mopped, it was so gross.IMG_0173 IMG_2446

More paneling under the cabinets… The corner back there was always so dark; if I put my recipe books underneath when cooking dinner, I wasn’t able to read the directions. The paper towels were forever falling into whatever I was making.  And the dishes! I didn’t have a dishwasher so the dishes piled up fast on my minimal counter space, and even when they were washed, I had to use space on the counter for the drying rack.

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I confess, another reason I dragged my feet on getting this post up was because it’s rarely this clean.  I hosted a playdate this morning, though, so it was all spic and span for my friends.  Although, you’ll probably notice the top of my fridge is a disaster zone.  I used to have a junk drawer but then I actually needed the space in that drawer for non-junk.  Well, the junk has to go somewhere! Top of the fridge it is.  I’m not proud of this, and I’m working on figuring out a different solution.

So, you see the new floor? It’s a sheet of linoleum.  Yes, it’s the cheaper route, but it’s better that sticky linoleum tiles which is what was there before.  If this was our forever kitchen in our forever home we probably would have put down real tile or hardwood.  Maybe this will be our forever home or for a long while home; if that’s the case we have plans for a kitchen & downstairs bathroom overhaul complete with nicer finishes.  The point with this facelift was to make what was already here more livable and attractive.  So for now the linoleum sheet fit the bill. Personally, I love it.

So! What else?  The paneling is gone! It’s not actually gone though… Dave took the chair rail off and discovered that the paneling was flush with the plaster above it, so he just caulked up the seam (it took several goes) and sanded a lot. [You know what sanding results in? Dust! Everywhere! Renovations test a marriage, that’s all I’m saying.] After the sanding came the paint.  He painted the trim and the walls and the doors.  That alone made such a huge difference.  We also got a new kitchen table and chairs from Ikea.  Best purchase ever. Also from Ikea, we got the under cabinet pot lights.  Doesn’t it make such a huge difference? We also switched out the hardware on the cabinets.  Just little things! We debated painting the cabinets but Dave said it would have been such a huge project to do it correctly. He would have had to take all the fronts off and sand them down and then ideally spray paint them.  I’m glad we didn’t, I think the paint and new hardware really makes the cabinets pop in a good way.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ah! I have a dishwasher now! It meant losing precious cabinet space/drawer, but it was totally worth it.  And you know what? We haven’t really missed the cabinet space too much. (Ahem. Junk is now on top of fridge and not in a drawer.) Installing the dishwasher resulted in more counter space which is glorious!

Another little inexpensive thing that Dave did was he extended the plain white square tile backsplash under the cabinets and behind the stove.  There was backsplash just behind the sink, but you probably never noticed, did you?  Now you can’t miss it thanks to the under cabinet lights. The bottom picture displays a little set up that I’m proud of. No, not the wine! I put little hooks up for the pot holders and measuring spoons so they’re exactly where I need them! No rummaging through drawers! Also, I picked up that stainless steel canister thingy at Ikea for the big spoons, spatulas, and various sundry items that previously took up a whole drawer.  Now they’re right where I need them too!

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Oh! I almost forgot! We moved our microwave from the little butcher block island thingy to the pantry closet.  Dave just had to put a shelf in and drill a hole out so he could plug it in behind the fridge.  My pantry is clearly overstuffed and not organized.  But the door is usually closed. ;)

So, all together this is what we did:

Linoleum sheet flooring

Paint on trim, walls and doors

New fridge (this was unexpected, but when we did the floor we discovered our old fridge had been leaking into the subfloor)

Dishwasher

Extended backsplash

Under-cabinet pot lights

Cabinet hardware

New overhead light

New curtains (I made them!)

Altogether, we spent around $2000, the fridge being the biggest expense by far.

So, nothing super trendy or luxurious.  But the kitchen is such a happy place in our home now, which is wonderful because we spend so much time in there.  No granite, no stainless steel, no engineered soft-close cabinets. Those things are so nice and one day we hope to have a kitchen with all those trimmings, but for now I love the happy bright little kitchen that I have, white appliances, laminate floors and all. :)

And, a sneak peek at my next room-reveal post: the bathroom!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 

Winter Momdrobe

Just as sure as the seasons change (at least technically according to the calendar, not according to real life in Boston), Ellen is sure to pen a post or two about fashion.  Not because I’m some sort of expert.  HA! No, because I truly enjoy it, and in some ways I think I have finally figured out what works for me, at least what works for me right now. Right now = the season I’m in in my life & the weather season = in-between pregnancies/at my normal weight & winter.

The key for me has been acceptance.  Try and wish as I might, I have never and will never have long slim legs, a trim waist, a defined jawline and slim arms.  It’s no biggie! So why do I beat myself up for my perceived shortcomings? Dave has always loved how I look, and I take care of my body through exercise and a good diet, so why should I always be down on myself? So lately my goal with my momdrobe has been to accentuate me, not the imaginary, slim, fashionable me I wish to be.  I’ve sought out colors and cuts and styles that I think work for me and that make me feel confident and pulled together. Here’s what’s working for me right now:

Everyday

Looky who figured out how to make collages! I went a little crazy. So, here’s an example of a typical everyday outfit for me. Some of these items I specifically own (the bag and boots were my birthday and Christmas presents) and the other items are similar to what I own. I’ve found that dark skinnys are my jam, especially paired with tall boots of some sort. Together they kind of slim out my bottom half. Looser sweaters (but not too loose!) de-emphasize my midsection which has always been my trouble area, now even more so after the kiddos. And most days you’ll find me wearing my ancient Target pearl studs. They’re simple, they go with everything, and they don’t clash with my glasses.

Everyday Winter

Here’s another everyday example. Same skinnys because they go with everything! I only have 2 pairs of skinnys and a backup pair of bootcuts and that seems to work out. I have knock-off Sorel boots from Old Navy that are several years old; they look the part but they’re only slightly waterproof. I own the tan striped layering shirt from Loft and I wear it under a cream colored sweater and it’s cute and cozy! Don’t own the earrings, but I wish I did. :)

Church

 

Here’s an example of a church outfit, a What I Wore Sunday of sorts. ;) I have very similar items in my closet, down to the bee earrings. I love a subtle jolt of whimsy! Pencil skirts seem to accomplish the same thing as my skinny jeans + boot combo. You’ll notice that all three of these collages involve boots. Folks. I haven’t worn SHOES since the beginning of December! It’s just been too messy, snowy and cold to wear shoes. Oh, and I’ve tried booties, they do nothing for me, or maybe I haven’t found the right pair. Anyway, I don’t need booties when I have nice tall boots. I’m not complaining, it’s been freeing to wear boots every day and not think about it. But I’m ready to get back to my flats and sandals!

And sandals brings us to to where I leave you off till next time. I’m dreading summer because of the clothes. See, I know what works for me in winter wear. I’m all about the boots and the layers. Nobody has to see my arms! Summer dressing is a challenge for me. It takes a lot of creativity, trial and error, and even more acceptance. But, I’ll save that for the next momdrobe post!

7 Quick Takes – March Madness

When you run an Irish dance school, March Madness is all St. Patrick’s Day themed! We have squeezed a few other activities into this month so far, but do I have photos of them? I mostly do not.

1. St. Paddy’s Week-ish

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The little Catholic school that my kids and Claire’s kids attend was nice enough to let us have a St. Patrick’s Day party in their gym/auditorium. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun, with performances, ceili dancing, and even a live ceili band! This kicked off St. Paddy’s season for us, which also included a few nursing home performances and one last-minute gig at a Montessori School.

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Getting the beginners to do their dance is always like herding cats, which is why the audience was treated to my rear view through this whole dance, and still Claire had to be onstage herding them from the other side!

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We even made it into a small local paper after one of our nursing home performances.

2. Singing Sisters and pesky kids

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The mulit-talented Joanie has become quite good at the guitar, and she and Mary and I got to sing together at a couple of our performances. Occupational hazzard of performing and being a mom: getting asked to open a bag of chips mid-performance. Sigh, Margot…

3. Basketball and Broadway Babies

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After a lucky win in cousin Joe’s basketball pool (thanks, Aunt Jane!) Margot and I were able to get great tickets to see Annie in a REAL THEATER with a traveling Broadway cast. The adult actors were fantastic, the sets were very cool, and Margot had a great time, even if all the Depression/Hooverville/Roosevelt-in-his-wheelchair stuff went right over her head, not to mention the whole idea of orphans being a little foreign/scary to her. I don’t actually get the appeal of this show after the “Hard Knock Life” opening number, but whatever. The place was packed with little girls, and my little girl loved it. I do think she liked this part best though:

photo(4)Sharing the rare treat of a soda with Mommy!

4. Signs of Spring

So, right now it’s not even above freezing out, but we had enough days over 45 last week to make me feel like living again, and most of the snow has melted, and we got outside and stomped around in the mud in our new rubber boots. One day the girls made a “cake” of sticks and pinecones:

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And Petey found some mud.

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5. Lenten Fails

Let’s see: haven’t gotten to Confession or Stations of the Cross yet, have failed on my Lenten promises on a daily basis, haven’t done the daily readings or prayers that I meant to, but, hey, Petey’s giving alms:

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I have been keeping up with Fr. Barron’s Word on Fire, and even better, with Dynamic Catholic’s Best Lent Ever, and through my Lenten challenges have managed to get the dishes, laundry, and bed-making done every day by 9:30am, which feels good!

6. Kondo-izing

Speaking of laundry, I lightened my laundry load to the tune of 5 garbage bags worth of my own stuff after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Paul actually ordered it from the library for me, thinking it sounded like something I’d like, and I have to say, it was intriguing and inspiring, and quirky in such a sweet way. Plus, Rachel Balducci says you have to read it!

7. Quotable Kids

This could be its own post, but since I never post and I needed another quick take I’ll share one of the funny things my kids have been coming out with lately. I picked up Margot at school last Tuesday and reminded her as she got into the car that we had an Irish dance performance that afternoon at a nursing home.

“Oh yeah,” she said, “Molly’s really excited about it!” (Molly is a classmate who dances with Margot). “She said, ‘I can’t wait for our performance today.’ Then Justin (random boy in class) said, ‘What performance?’ and I said, ‘The one for the old people.’ Then he said, ‘Well, what kind of old people? Old people with grey hair, old people with white hair, old people in wheelchairs, or old people in hospitals?’ And I said, ‘Old people in hospitals, I think.'”

Yeah, you had to be there.

Thanks Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for hosting the only link-up that the McSisters get their act together for! 

7QT: Mommy Blog

 

 

Okay, 7 quick takes. Let’s do this! 

1. First, an obligatory weather take:

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It might as well say sunny skies and high of 75 for the next week!  I am so flipping excited that spring is finally on the way!

2. So, SK loves Mary Poppins, and I love Mary Poppins for all the obvious reasons, and also because it’s soooooo looooooong. SK does the typical toddler thing where she watches some scenes very intently, but she also plays through large swaths of the movie.  But during the dancing & singing scenes, she dances.  And she demands that we dance with her.  During the chimney sweep part, she grabs her electric toothbrush and demands that I do the same and come dance with her and today I finally got a picture of this craziness.  IMG_3897

3. She also loves to sing (and dance, and make us dance) Let’s Go Fly a Kite.  It’s terribly sweet, but also a little grating.  See, Sara has a very high-pitched sweety-sweet voice and when she sings, she somehow sings in an even higher pitch.  So when she’s belting out “Wets go fwy a kite up to the highest kite (sic)” her voice is literally up there with the highest kite in the highest heights.  It’s a good thing we don’t have a dog.

4. You want more SK sweetness? Okay! This week we got out of the house (!!!) and brought several boxes and bags of stuff to Savers and then shopped for a bit.  I picked up some much needed galoshes for Sara since we’ll have melting snow and mud till June at least.  When we checked out, my clearly cooped up girl starting chatting up the cashier.

SK: Hi! My name is Sara Kate! I’m number 2

Cashier: Hi, I’m Chris

SK: Hi Chris! This is my baby bruver, Baby Gus.  He’s so cute.  Want to say hi to him? It’s my birthday, but it’s not my birthday. My birthday is in April.  We going to Mimi and Baba’s house for my birthday… (and so on and so forth.  She wouldn’t let the cashier get a word in edgewise but she shocked us at the end when we were leaving.)

SK: Bye! Thank you, Chris!

5. Don’t worry, guys.  I have iphone pictures and anecdotes about Gus too.IMG_3860

Gus is 8 months old, such a mama’s boy, and absolutely huge. He also has the most ridiculous shock of white blonde fuzz on the top of his head, and it’s growing taller and taller every day.  We can’t wait to see how high it grows.

He hasn’t quite figured out how to get around which is mostly a relief to me, but it is annoying when he goes on a whining bender because he wants to move but he just can’t do it yet.

But what he can do is jump. He loves his Johnny Jumper. And he bellows as loud as his little lungs will allow while he’s doing it. They’re happy, but serious bellows.  He means business when he yells, I just don’t quite know what kind of business and why!  Anyway, between his jumper bellowing and Sara’s Let’s Go Fly a Kite, it has become much noisier in this house lately!

6. I haven’t been reading much on the ole’ interwebs lately.  I didn’t give it all up, obviously, but I did give up bloglovin for Lent and I’ve been keeping my computer closed until naptime. So my apologies to my blog friends if I’ve missed any fun posts of yours recently. ;)

But! I have been keeping up with Emily Stimpson’s food blog, The Catholic Table.  Not only does she have some great recipes, but I also really appreciate her insight on how our faith should inform our relationship with food.  Check it out!

7.  And finally, I’ve also really been enjoying all the 50th anniversary articles about and tributes to The Sound of Music, my favorite movie of all time.  I was absolutely dumbfounded by Lady Gaga’s Sound of Music tribute performance at the Oscars.  Flawless!  What the heck was NBC thinking when they cast Carrie Underwood as Maria last year?

50 years of solving a problem like Maria.

An interview with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.

The real Von Trapp Family.

Happy weekend, everyone! Good luck springing forward! And, of course, click back to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more Quick Takes!

The Chinook is Coming!

Sorry for the internet silence.  February was such a busy month, so much to do, running here there and everywhere  February was so darn depressing with the more than 100 inches of snow that fell, and I couldn’t bring myself to write about it.  I tried, I really did! I had these great ideas for lighthearted posts comparing Boston’s winter of 2015 to The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, but when I actually attempted to write said posts I would end up face-planting on my keyboard in utter despair.  It’s not the end of the world.  It’s a lot of snow, but unlike the Ingalls family, we have plenty of food and we aren’t forced to grind wheat in our coffee mill to make bread.

But I did make this crusty loaf in a very Little House-ish Dutch oven!

But I did make this crusty loaf in my Little House-ish Dutch oven!

There’s no need to twist hay into sticks to keep the fire going. We’re cozy and entertained in our little duplex in the Boston suburbs.

IMG_3774The (commuter) trains are still running, just not at all reliably. This has been the hardest thing about the past month.  No, we don’t depend on the train for food, but we do depend on the train to bring our Daddy home at a normal time every night.  Poor Dave usually misses seeing Gus and sometimes Sara too at night because trains are delayed or just cancelled and he’s left stranded at South Station till 8 or once even 9 at night. And poor Ellen… she loses her marbles.

IMG_3829It is an extraordinary amount of snow! The Long Winter was my favorite Little House book when I was little, mostly because it was such an amazing story! Sure they had these great hardships, but what a feat to live through a winter like that! But last month when I found myself in the midst of a similar winter, even with all of my modern comforts I was so whiney and cooped up! Good thing Lent came in the middle of the month to remind me to offer up the inconveniences and headaches caused by this winter.  Or that’s the idea, at least!

And now I can (almost) say that I have lived through a record breaking winter! True Bostonians like to tell harrowing stories about the winter of ’78; maybe after this winter I will be a true Bostonian at last.

Meanwhile, I wait in hope for the drippy, blowing chinook to bring spring to us.

 

 

7 Quick Take-Aways from No Sugar January

Well, I did it.  I can hardly believe it, but I did it! I went mostly sugar free for most of January! Of all the diets and health crazes I’ve tried, this has been the biggest success for me.  Maybe because it’s not a diet or health craze; it’s just common sense!  Here are my take-aways from my not-so-sweet experience.

1.  It wasn’t too difficult.  This was the most surprising take-away for me.  The first week I felt hungry most of the time, but I made sure I ate a lot to maintain my milk supply. I just didn’t eat sugary things.  Then suddenly, the hunger pangs went away, which just goes to show, I wasn’t hungry to begin with! My body told me I was hungry when it really just wanted sugar.  Sugar really messes with you!

2. Good begets good.  That one little effort of not eating sugar led to me changing my eating habits.  I ate more good fats to keep me full: avocados, full fat greek yogurt and eggs by the boatload.

I think I have a future in food photography, don't you agree? I mean, I make that paper plate and laminate countertop look good.

I think I have a future in food photography, don’t you agree? I mean, I make that paper plate and laminate countertop look good.

I also upped my vegetable intake, and (don’t tell them) the veggie intake of the whole family. Being mindful about what I wasn’t putting into my body and why made me more mindful about what I should be putting into my body and why.  Its not rocket science, I know, but it was a welcome development for me.  See, before I would attempt to make these changes but then I would feel defeated by my daily sugar cravings.  Without the sugar cravings distracting me, I could focus properly on eating healthfully.

3. I’m the boss of my diet.  When I first was researching sugar detoxes, I found all sorts of gimmicky programs.  It was really overwhelming and frustrating.  Wasn’t the idea to simply not eat sugar?  But sugar is technically in everything!  Some programs called for eliminating fruit, honey, maple sugar and carbs and anything with even trace amounts of sugar in them.  I’m such a goody-goody; I worried that if I didn’t do these programs to a T that it would all be a waste and my sugar cravings wouldn’t budge and inch.  I worried that if I had a little honey in my tea the heavens would open up and God would bellow “Fail!!”

Eventually I resolved to give it a shot anyway, but to do things my way.  And my way was to allow natural forms of sugar like fruit, honey and maple syrup.  I also would eat things that contained sugar, as long as it wasn’t a predominantly sugary food. I did get into reading labels more (which is so obnoxious, I know) but now I have better knowledge of what contains sugar.  Newsflash: a lot of things contain sugar!

Oh, and I drank wine and occasionally beer.  I ain’t crazy! Real sacrifice is for Lent!

4.  There was an end in sight.  The whole month I had the mouthwatering goal of my birthday cake to work towards. Not only was it the dangling carrot that I needed to keep me motivated, but just the thought of turning 30 and entering that new chapter of adulthood was enough to keep me focused on improving my health and striving for an adult relationship with food. It’s still a work in progress, but I feel like I made great strides this month.

Furthermore, it was good to take this break from sugar, knowing that it wasn’t for forever.  That’s always been my biggest hangup with diets.  You starve yourself to be skinny and then… you eat again and the dreaded cycle continues?  It’s so discouraging!  Like I said in my initial post, I love food.  I love sugar. I love to bake.  I’m not going to throw that away, it’s not a bad thing!  The bad thing was I was addicted to the sugar.  It’s a powerful, addicting substance and it’s not good for you in big daily quantities!  My goal was to kick my cravings and dependency so that I can enjoy the occasional treat without guilt.

5. I lost 5 pounds!  It doesn’t sound like much, but keeping in mind a. I did not cut down on my food intake at all and was constantly eating to make sure I had enough milk for Gus and b. I was already below my pre-pregnancy weight, I’m pretty stoked that I lost weight at all!

It would be a bald-faced lie to say I wasn’t trying to lose weight.  I’m your typical vain woman; I’m always looking for a way to lose a little weight and feel better about myself.  But I can honestly say that I’ve slowly let go of my obsession with those pesky numbers on the scale and on the tags of my clothes.  I’ve put too much stock in those numbers in the past.  I’ve let those numbers ruin my mood and shatter my resolve to be healthy.  It’s so discouraging to work hard and feel better physically but those numbers taunt you and tell you that you’re still a “fatty”.   It’s so unhealthy!  My worth is not in my pants size.  As much as it breaks my heart, I know my daughter will probably have these same struggles in her adolescence and young adulthood but that’s why it’s so important to me that I work to conquer these struggles in myself.

6.  My work is not done.  Going forward, I hope to mostly keep to my no sugar resolve.  I’m aiming for 70-80% no sugar as my norm. I think a key to staying on track is not making sugar a daily thing again.  I don’t know about you, but I used to be one of those people who needed a “little treat” pretty much daily and I didn’t see anything wrong with that.  I’m pretty sure that was my downfall.  I mean, I don’t even let my toddler have sugar every day.  She gets a “special donut treat” after Mass on Sunday and that’s her big sugar bomb of the week.  I need to hold myself to the same standards.

I know there are going to be seasons when I fall off the bandwagon completely.  Valentine’s Day…

Yes, please.

Yes, please.

Easter, Halloween, Christmas, parties, rough times… it’s just life!  But experiencing this success will help me in the future in getting back on track.  That’s just how I am.  I resist trying new and scary things.  I tried getting into running for years before I actually succeeded.  It was hard and I always gave up, but when I finally stuck with it after Sara was born, it was a huge boost to my self-esteem.  Getting back on that bandwagon after Gus was born was tough, but I had the memory of success in the past to motivate me.  And I finally got back into shape and ran a 5K this past December.

7. If I can do it, so can you?  Well, I honestly don’t know. But if I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that it’s worth a shot.  Maybe you don’t have a problem with sugar.  Maybe you already eat healthfully and exercise daily.  But maybe there’s another area of your life that you need to work on.  Maybe you’re scared to start because you’re afraid to fail.  Or you’re lazy.  I am both!  I’m just saying, it’s worth a shot.  Face your demons, take that first step, don’t get discouraged and try try again.

Well, that’s 7 things, so I’m going to call it a “Quick Takes” (SNORT!) and link up with Kelly and the other quicker takers at This Ain’t the Lyceum.  Happy Friday!

A Big Birthday Blizzard {phfr}


{pretty & funny}

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Look at my pretty snow baby!

Okay, okay, so I don’t have a proper snowsuit for my baby boy, but this one works just fine! Besides, it’s better for this comparison picture.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

10 month old Sara is on the left after the blizzard of February 2013 and 7 month old Gus is on the right after the blizzard of January 2015.  Now I have to hold onto this snowsuit for all my babies and their first blizzards!

{real & happy}

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Oy. It’s a lot of snow. But it made for a memorable 30th birthday for me!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADave lovingly made me this cake and to his frustration it went and cracked after he iced it! But crack or no crack, it was yummmmmy. I was quite spoiled yesterday.

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Can I get an AMEN from my fellow elderly peeps?

For more pretty happy funny realness, click back to Like Mother Like Daughter!