End of October Daybook

Thinking: Of what to name our baby BOY!

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Sara came up with the name Norvis and is dead set on it. Luckily we have 20 more weeks to really figure it out. ūüėČ

Reading: Just finished All the Light We Cannot See for my Well Read Mom’s book club. ¬†It was as good as everyone says it is! And since I’m a Fountains of Carrots groupie, The Awakening of Miss Prim is waiting for me at the library. ¬†I also picked up Four Seasons in Rome, Anthony Doerr’s memoir of the year he spent in Rome. ¬†Christy said it’s really good and I always listen to her. ¬†ūüôā

Watching: Dave and I are watching Veep and it’s really helping our election depression. ¬†It’s an HBO show so the language is like, woah. ¬†But! No scenes, if you know what I mean. ¬†I’m also itching to watch the PBS Hamilton special, probably all on my own because Dave has exactly zero interest. ¬†And! Less than a week till The Crown!

Praying: For the election. For my Grandma. For my oldest, bestest friend’s brother who is battling cancer for the second time in his young (15 years) life. ¬†He’s undergoing surgery on Monday; will you please say a prayer for him too?

Eating: Making Alton Brown’s shepherd’s pie recipe tonight! Thanks for the recommendation, Bonnie!

Trying not to eat the mini Snickers on top of the fridge… and failing.

Wearing: My fall/winter maternity uniform: leggings, sweatshirt tunic, cozy socks and slippers. ¬†I ordered these using some super cash earlier in the week and I’m DYING to get my hands on them and up my cozy leggings game!

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Action shot of my gestating perch and daily uniform.

Thankful: For the extremely kind and loving comments I received on my last post about my miscarriage. ¬†As I mentioned in the comments, I’ve been feeling the hole in my family more, probably because it’s October and both of these littlest babies of mine’s stories are intertwined. As my pregnancy becomes more obvious (especially this week when we found out we are having a little boy) I feel the need to talk about the baby I lost because if I hadn’t lost that baby, I wouldn’t be pregnant with this little guy right now. ¬†Anyway, thank you again, everyone.

Looking Forward To: Halloween! All Saint’s Day! Thanksgiving! ¬†All the pounds gained!

First Baby’s 4th Birthday

I once knew someone who, when talking about her daughter’s birthdays and birthday parties, would proudly say it was “my day too.” ¬†That always irritated me at the time, and I still think it’s a ridiculous thing to say, but now I understand why she would say such a thing.

The days that my children were born were monumental days in my life. ¬†I understand why a mother would feel ownership over her children’s birthdays, especially their first child’s birthdays. ¬†My own firstborn gave me such a hard time coming out that I’ll never forget the pain and the fear and the blessed relief when it was all over. ¬†But even so, I can’t claim that it’s my day. ¬†Isn’t that one of the ultimate lessons of parenthood? This is not about me.

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How embarrassing is this picture??? That was one of the most difficult days of my life and now, each year, it is the most joyful day of my life.

Today is Sara Kate’s 4th birthday. ¬†It seems like such a big number, but I know I’ll blink and she’ll be 10. ¬†I feel so grateful and humbled that she’s our little girl. ¬†April 6th (and 5th) 4 years ago was one of the most difficult days of my life, but I’d do it again gladly. ¬†She is so worth it. ¬†IMG_5531

7 (or 9) QT: Spring & Summer Bucket List

Dave and I are extremely boring people.  This will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows us.  We are not the adventurous, fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants types.  I guess we used to be more spontaneous before we had kids, but when SK joined our crew almost 4 years ago we very willingly hunkered down and embraced our true identities: homebodies with iron-clad naptimes and bedtimes.

Don’t feel sorry for us, people. ¬†We are very happy being this way! But there’s something about the arrival of spring that makes me feel the itch to explore and do all the things. ¬†And we live in a pretty awesome corner of the country with lots of things to see and do. ¬†So we decided to compile a bucket list of things to do and see this around Boston in the spring and summer. ¬†We committed it to paper and put it on the fridge which doesn’t make it official of course, but it does mean that it will taunt us as the sunny days full of promise roll in. ¬†And since there are around 7 items on the list (okay, 9), I’m making it a Quick Takes and linking with Kelly. ūüôā

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  1. Roger William’s Zoo. ¬†We’ve already been there, but it was when Gus was an infant. ¬†Now he’s an almost 2 year old who becomes absolutely giddy when he encounters any animal, so another zoo visit is in store. ¬†There is a zoo that is closer but we’ve never been there because everyone tells us its not that great. ¬†So we’ll stick with what we know. ¬†Do-ability level: medium-high.
  2. Castle Island. ¬†Our neighbor is always telling us to go here because it’s a great place to watch the airplanes take off and land. ¬†Apparently, there’s more to it than that. ¬†Personally, I’m always romantically drawn to islands, so I’m game no matter what. ¬†ūüôā Do-ability level: medium
  3. Wellesley Park & Houghton Pond. ¬†Okay, these are two things but the same idea. ¬†A friend of ours works for Wellesley parks and rec and is always telling us to come to Morses Pond so we’re going to check it out. ¬†Houghton Pond is really close by to us and part of the Blue Hills Reservation and it’s free, so we always love going there to swim and picnic in the summer. Do-ability level: high
  4. Crane Beach on a weekday. ¬†Dave and I went to Crane Beach way back before we had kids, and while it’s a really nice beach for ¬†New England, it was crazy packed. ¬†He doesn’t remember it fondly. ¬†I think we need to give it another shot though on a weekday. ¬†To be completely honest, there are tons of beaches within an hour and a half of us, and we just need to explore a little more. ¬†Hence, the bucket list. ¬†Do-ability level: medium
  5. Esplanade Concert. ¬†Egads! This one intimidates me. ¬†Which is ridiculous because it’s one of the classic Boston things to do in the summer. ¬†I think Dave and I might try this for a date night, because I’m still (forever?) a big bedtime stickler. ¬†Do-ability level: low/intimidating.
  6. Storyland. ¬†This is a little kids’ amusement park in New Hampshire. ¬†I’ve been holding out on a trip there because the kids are so young, but I think with Sara turning 4 she’s the perfect age. ¬†Except, she and Gus are prone to motion sickness so between the car ride and the ride-rides, this might be a fail. ¬†Do-ability level: low-medium.
  7. Strawberry and/or blueberry picking. ¬†I have no place in mind, I just think this would be fun. ūüôā Do-ability level: medium (should probably research farms).
  8. Stony Brook & Blue Hills Hikes. ¬†There are tons of places around us to hike. ¬†Stony Brook Reservation is literally less than 5 minutes from our house and we’ve never checked it out and I want that to change, dang it! Do-ability level: high-very high.
  9. Arnold Arboretum picnics: We don’t live very far from the Arboretum and we usually end up there sometime in May for a Mother’s Day picnic because it’s gorgeous. ¬†I’d like to go to the Arboretum more often though, maybe on a weekday with friends. ¬†Again, it’s not far away at all so it’s ridiculous that we don’t get there more often. ¬†Do-ability level: high.

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    At the Arboretum last year. Look at that baby! Sob!

So there’s what we have so far. ¬†Any other suggestions for us from my fellow New Englanders? ¬†I mean, we need help, we’re super lame.

And make sure you check out the other quick takes!  

What’s Saving My Life This Winter

I love the discussion going on at Modern Mrs. Darcy about what’s saving us this winter. ¬†It’s so true that it’s easy to be glum and to complain to each other about the drudgeries of winter, but isn’t it nice to think about the things that are helping us survive and even enjoy this season? I think so! I really wanted to link up with her last winter, but I chickened out because it seemed like all of my things were vapid little vanities. ¬†But you know what? Pretty little things make me happy. ¬†So! Here are my silly and more serious things that are saving me this winter.

  1. ¬†Pretty nails:¬† I have a deep weakness for the Essie display at CVS. ¬†I picked up their color¬†¬†Stones n’ Roses¬†yesterday and it’s just perfect. ¬†It’s a soft peachy-pink that is just a whisper of spring. ¬†Sara and I are both wearing it!IMG_5454
  2. Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara:¬† This was the one and only mascara I would buy back when I first started wearing mascara, because it never clumps and never gave me spider eyes. ¬†But somewhere along the line, I fell into that line of thinking that my eyelashes needed to be full! plump! look fake! and I bought all the trendy mascaras that we supposed to achieve those looks. ¬†So, last month after I got pink eye, I needed to buy new mascara and I thought, “hmm, maybe I’ll go back to my old Clinique Naturally Glossy.” Best decision ever! ¬†It’s just as good as I remember it, and it was a reminder to me that I don’t like clumpy, volumizing mascara, I just want something to emphasize my natural lashes. ¬†
  3. Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Sweet Violet:¬† Speaking of emphasizing my natural features, I finally found a lip gloss that does that! ¬†I think there was a Small Things Blog post a long time ago that talked about finding a lip color that’s like your lips but better, and I’ve been obsessed with the idea ever since then. ¬†I’m not a lip stick gal, at least not yet, so I was thrilled to stumble upon Burts Bees Tinted lip balm a little while ago. ¬†Sweet Violet is that perfect purply-pink that plays up my lips’ natural color.
  4. ¬†My birthday! Every year just when I think January is going to get the best of me, my birthday rolls around at the tail end. ¬†It saves the month every time. ¬†I feel bad for all of you who don’t have a winter birthday to break up the drudgery, I really do!
  5. Books:¬†I’ve been eating up the non-fiction like whoa lately. ¬†Earlier in January, I read the Rule of St. Benedict for my book club, which was a nice reminder for me of the need for structure, order and self-discipline in the home. ¬†Then there was Secrets from the Eating Lab by Traci Mann, which I took some lessons from (more on that later) and now I’m finishing up These Beautiful Bones by Emily Stimpson of the awesome blog The Catholic Table. ¬†I’m really loving this book. ¬†I love her take on the broader lessons of Theology of the Body, and how it branches into hospitality, manners, how to dress and take care of one’s home and the sacredness of food. ¬†I can’t recommend it enough!
  6. Lent is coming soon: ¬†I know this sounds odd and maybe seems a little ¬†masochistic, not to mention probably my most famous of last words, but I’m really pumped for Lent this year. ¬†This is my first Lent in 5 years that I haven’t been pregnant or nursing, so I feel like I have no excuse not to really work on self-denial. ¬†Plus, knowing that Lent is coming so soon means I’m relishing my birthday cheesecake and evening wine while I can! I still haven’t completely decided whether I’m going to do a Whole 30, but for sure, I’m going to give up sweets and alcohol and attempt a 40 Bags in 40 Days. ¬†But, (reeling myself in) in this last week before Lent, I’m going to really be praying for Him to tell me what I need to work on this Lent.¬†

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    I also relished these bacon wrapped, goat cheese filled dates on my birthday. All of them. By myself.

  7. Exercise:¬†The beginning of January really stunk, (and then I got pink eye) but then when I was reading ¬†Secrets from the Eating Lab, the chapter about the necessity of being physically active really jumped out at me. ¬†I’d fallen off the bandwagon with exercise. ¬†I was still getting a run or a DVD in once or twice a week, but not most days like I had been last summer. ¬†No wonder I felt so blah! ¬†Traci Mann writes in her book, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults should get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week, which boils down to about 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week. ¬†Ugh, I make so many excuses! Sometimes I’ll have a good run on Saturday or Sunday and then do nothing the rest of the week. ¬†That once a week run isn’t really doing anything for me the rest of the week, mood wise or health wise! No more excuses, I’m aiming on getting my 150 minutes in because it’s the bare minimum of what I should be doing to be healthy, and I know I’m much less grumpy and anxious when I’m exercising regularly.
  8. Dave:¬† Gosh. ¬†I married up. ¬†He’s just such a good, patient and fun Dad and such a self-sacrificing spouse. ¬†I don’t know what I would do without him, no matter what time of year it is!

7QT: Terrorists, Dentists and Better Homes and Gardens

Linking up with This Ain’t the Lyceum and Clan Donaldson so I can dump all my thoughts and fears and pictures into one big post. You’re welcome!

1. ¬†It’s been a crazy week. ¬†I’m generally a pretty upbeat person, but everything going on in the world lately has me feeling a little depressed. ¬†The Duggars (I liked Laura’s take that whole thing), Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, and then to top it all off, on Tuesday morning, the Boston police along with the FBI killed a terrorist wielding a giant knife which he was intending to use to behead someone, 2 miles from my house. ¬†That last one literally hit too close to home for me. ¬†Pray, pray, pray.

2. I’ve also been in the process of getting a crown.¬†

This actually has not been as traumatic as I thought it would be. ¬†I’ve needed this crown for years, but I’ve been putting it off because $$$ and *scared*. ¬†But now it seems like it’s the perfect time for me to get extensive dental work done. ¬†For starters, after having 2 kids nothing much scares me anymore when it comes to medical things (famous last words). ¬†But also, it’s been really nice to have little breaks from the kids. ¬†My babysitter is back from college and Sara has been loving having her over to play. ¬†It’s a win-win. And I get a crown. ūüėČ

3. ¬†Poor Gus has been having teeth issues too, so we’ve not been getting much sleep lately. ¬†At 11 months, he still only has his bottom two teeth and from the way he’s been carrying on, you’d think he was about to pop another 10 teeth any minute. ¬†I hope that’s what happens! ¬†But in reality, it’ll probably be a couple more weeks of misery and then he’ll pop one measly tooth. ¬†Gah! ¬†I feel for the dude, I really do.

4. ¬†I really shouldn’t be complaining because Dave and I both had a nice little break from the monsters this past Sunday. ¬†Our wonderful babysitter came over mid-morning and we got to go out for brunch (best meal of the day!) and then we did the historical homes tour in our town. ¬†More like, Better Homes and Gardens tour! ¬†These houses were amazing! I guess I was expecting historical homes, you know, old and charming, but with sloping floors and maybe a little chipping paint? No, these houses were magazine perfect. ¬†Every inch of each of the 5 houses was flawlessly updated and their yards and gardens were meticulous. ¬†It was really fun, albeit a little overwhelming. ¬†We felt like such schlumps! If only these people knew what part of town we live in!IMG_4348 IMG_4350

5. I didn’t take too many pictures because I thought that would be a little creepy, but one of the houses is for sale, in case you’re in the market and have 1.8 million dollars burning a hole in your pocket.

6. But wait, do you want lots of pictures? I thought since Cari started a link-up, I’d share some pictures of our garden so far. ¬†We are the worst at weeding, which is why we mulch like crazy, but there’s still grass and weeds poking up. ¬†Just keepin’ it real.¬†OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe big net thing in the back is our trellis for the cantaloup, cucumbers and green beans. ¬†Hopefully it holds up! We have two rows of broccoli there on the left side of the garden.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s squash in the middle there, and under the mesh canopy, there are peppers and basil. ¬†Every year our basil and peppers are eaten by beetles in July, so Dave got this canopy. ¬†But, we’re thinking we need to take it off soon so the peppers can be pollinated. ¬†We’ll see what happens with this set-up.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are two tomato plants in the back there and then rows of onions, carrots and lettuce. ¬†Clearly we need to be eating more salads!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the far right side of the garden is our strawberry patch.  We have them covered with netting and that seems to be keeping many of the pests away.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey’re doing really well so far! We’ve been getting about 5-10 strawberries a day since Monday. ¬†Sara loves it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, we have these monster snap peas in the front. ¬†They’ve grown way taller than the fence but they’re finally started blossoming, so peas should come soon!

7. ¬†We have a fun weekend ahead of us! My sisters Mary and Joanie are coming in tomorrow and on Sunday, Mary and I are running a 5K. ¬†And guys! It’s Donut Day, so when Gus wakes up from his morning nap, we’re walking to the neighborhood Dunkies for our free donuts. If you walk there and back, the calories don’t count, right? Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

{PFHR} Spring has sprung!

Anyone who used to watch Sesame Street in the 80’s might remember this one:

(That’s about the screen quality I saw it in at the time, too.) Anyway, that song has been in my head all week as we finally have been doing some earth-turning, week pulling, worm-finding, and seed-planting!

PRETTY

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Not garden-related, but spring-themed: Look at my pretty door! I’ve been scowling at my ugly storm door all winter and now it’s off and I can see my nice shiny black door and forsythia wreath. And my hubby got me that hanging basket of petunias.

FUNNY

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Petey is fun to watch outside in his very element, with so many new things to poke around in. He NEVER wants to come back inside these days.

HAPPY

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I’m very happy to be out in the garden again and getting onions, peas, broccoli, and lettuce into the ground!

This also makes me happy — how adorable is my Paul’s hand-drawn garden plan, composed back in January? We’ll have to compare and contrast his efforts to Dave’s spreadsheets I’ve heard about!

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REAL

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For real, people, those are tiny strawberries. Already! Hooray!

Other not-so-hot “real” things: Allergies¬† hitting big time for me and the kids, ugh; deer eating my tulips; and bunnies eating my parsley and squirrels attacking the bird feeder. Oh well, it’s all part of spring, and I welcome it!

Head over to Like Mother Like Daughter to check out some more captured contentment!

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!¬†

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.

 

 

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!

iPhunny

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[Ok, to set this story up, I have to explain (and attempt to not be braggy in the process) that Dave is a very handy guy. ¬†He can basically fix anything that’s broken. ¬†Now, our 2 year old knows this and is very proud of him and confident that he will fix any problem and/or broken thing in her little world.]

Yesterday, I shattered my iPhone screen. ¬†It just figures as our contract is up in less than 2 weeks so we were due for new phones anyway! So today, Sara discovered the fact that my phone was broken when she went to move it for some reason and I jumped and said “Don’t touch it honey, it’s broken!”

SK: “Oh no! Your phone is broken? Daddy can fix it. ¬†Daddy!!”

She runs to find him.

“Daddy! Mommy’s phone is broken! Come see! You hava fix it. Get your tools, Daddy.”

Dave: “Daddy can’t fix it with his tools, baby. ¬†He’ll fix it with his wallet.”