Thursday, December 20, 2018


Well, 2018 was not the best year of blogging, but I love this questions recap that Lisa and Amber did, so I'm going to join in!

1. What did you do on your birthday?
I had a great birthday this year. On the day of my sister babysat Jack for a bit while I went and browsed at a local bookstore and then bought myself a cake :) I celebrated that night with family and then the next morning we went to the Cape. We ended up with beautiful weather and went over on a boat to Martha's Vineyard for the day. At night, my parents babysit where Eric and I went to the restaurant we had our rehearsal dinner. It was such a great few day celebration and probably more than I deserved for 34 ;)

2. What are your strongest memories from this year, and why?
So many great memories from this year! We had a goal to do 1 Eric and Kelly date and 1 "family date" per month- a lot of these stand out in my mind as happy memories, especially more than one family walk around Walden Pond. I also have mostly good memories of spending days with the boys, especially our fun Spanish class we took. Max doesn't remember much but Jack still says "adios!" when saying "bye" to toys or other things (we say "adios shower!" when it's time to get out). I loved doing jogging stroller runs with Jack, chatting on Marco Polo, somehow attempting to have my kids not kill each other on the days they were both home (well, maybe those aren't happy memories). In the summer, we enjoyed Caroline's wedding- both kids made it down the aisle which was a major accomplishment and I survived giving a speech. Eric and I took an amazing trip to Bermuda that was the best "last hurrah" ever before I went back to work. I have strong memories of the transition back to work- it was great to feel productive again and see my work friends. It was hard to leave Jack and transition him to school. The second half of the year was more of a blur, but it was fun to see both boys enjoying school. We had a fun trip to New Hampshire and Santa's Village. We loved seeing Santa come by fire truck, getting our tree etc. The boys got a new cousin in September. It was fun to see their reactions to a new baby in the family. Jack loves him so much as long as his mummy is not holding him LOL. 

There were some hard times too. Toddler tantrums. Preschool attitude. Just being dang exhausted of children sometimes. Of logistics and being in charge of everything. But, like most times, these don't stand out as much when I look back on the year. 

3. What did you do this year that you’d never done before?
I think I'm going to beat my previous number of books read. That counts, right? I went to Bermuda, never been there before. In Bermuda I rode on the back of a motorcycle and went scuba diving. I've done both before but not in years. I survived working full time with 2 children. I also survived my entire family getting the stomach bug at once, that had never happened before... hope it never does again, lol. 

4. What did you want and get?
I wanted lots of time with my little family this year, I got that for sure. I wanted more time with just Eric and I, I got that. I wanted to work out consistently and I did that, though it was still far less than before I had kids. I wanted to make time for reading this year and I did. 

5. What did you want and not get?
Relaxation? Lol... I know, hopeless. 

6. What would you like to have next year that you didn’t have this year?
I'd like more time to myself and more time with friends. We shall see if I can make this happen. 

7.  Did you make new year’s resolutions, and did you keep them? Will you make more for next year?
Yes, I resolved to do a monthy date with Eric and a monthly family date. I wasn't perfect at keeping track but I'm pretty sure we met this goal! I'm still thinking on what my goals will be for next year but I think they will have something to do with my answer to question 6. I also plan to maintain the monthly dates. 

8.  What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Survival? I really need to step it up next year on the achievement part...
Actually, here's another one, between last year and this year I think I've *finally* reached the point where cooking can be an enjoyable process. It used to be that when I cooked I was chained to the recipe, measuring everything, failing half the time in the end and then getting really frustrated. Now, most of the things I make actually turn out good and dare I say, sometimes I even enjoy cooking. I feel like I have some basic knowledge now of what will work, what my family will like etc. That's probably not a big accomplishment to others but I basically have no home related skills so, now I have maybe half of one, still not a gourmet chef. 

9.  What was your biggest lesson?
The first is that it really benefits me when I have a schedule/plan. This isn't that surprising but at the same time I've always prided myself on being a flexible person. That said, I've noticed it helps me to have a routine. For example, it really helped me to plan monthly dates for Eric and I. Having that plan made it happen, and it helped me whenever I felt like Eric and I never have any quality time together, because I could remind myself it had never really be much longer than a month since at least SOME quality time was had. I also started doing monthly meal plans this year with a weekly check in and grocery list. This worked really well too and eliminated the decision fatigue of figuring out wtf to eat every single week. 
The second thing I learned was how to balance our weekends. I have found that if I divide the weekend into 4 parts (Sat morning, Sat afternoon, Sun morning, Sun afternoon) we should have plans for no more than 2 of these parts in order for all 4 of us to be happy. We really enjoyed some lazy Saturday mornings. We are not Saturday morning kid activity people, at least for now! 

10. What did you rely on when you were overwhelmed?
Talking to Eric. Talking to friends on Marco Polo or texting. Reading. Maybe too much internet scrolling. To do lists. 

This was fun to fill out. Please play along or answer some questions in the comments! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Summer Bucket List: Swan Boats and Strawberry Picking

It's not even "official" summer and the boys and I have already done a couple of our Summer Bucket List items. The first was reading Make Way for Ducklings and then going into Boston to visit the swan boats and the duckling statues. Max was at the perfect age for this- he was super into the book when we read it and excited to see the ducklings.

We had a beautiful day to visit Boston, and my original plan was to park and take the train in because I thought that would be the most fun for the kids, but the train station parking was full so we regrouped and just kept driving. I used it as an opportunity to talk to Max about the word "flexible" in the car, ha. Once at the Boston Common, we headed straight for the swan boats. Max had been on the swan boats when he was much younger but didn't remember it. I was happy and impressed that both boys sat down on the boat and thought it was fun to look at all the buildings around and the islands in the pond. There were a few ducks around so Max thought they might be Quack, Ouack, Jack and MaX (we may have told him that Mac = Max since Jack had his own duck in the book- he will figure out that's not true soon enough because he knows how to read his name). After the swan boats, we rode the carousel which was a little rickety, but the kids didn't mind. Then we headed over to find the ducklings. Max said that was his favorite part of the day and even though this happened a few weeks ago he was talking earlier today about "remember when we ate a little snack next to the ducklings?" 

On the way home, we were talking about what we saw and the books and Max referred to Mr. and Mrs. Mallard as "the teachers." After a bit of questioning, I realized that he thought they were the teachers because they are called "Mr. and Mrs." and the only people he refers to this way are teachers. I love child mix ups. 

This morning we crossed off another item on our list: strawberry picking. I've been meaning to do this for literally YEARS but berry picking season is so short and it's during one of my busiest times of the year at work so it never actually happens. The boys got a little taste of it when we picked up our CSA last week because we got to pick a small container of strawberries there. They enjoyed it so I decided to take them to a small farm in town called Meadow Mist Farm. It's so small you have to call ahead, but they were very friendly when I called. When we arrived, they gave us a couple of containers and showed us how to remove the blankets from the strawberry patches (they are there to keep the animals from eating the yummy strawberries). Max enjoyed that the farmer told us looking for red strawberries is like a "treasure hunt." Jack really wanted to eat the strawberries but settled for squishing them when I told him we weren't supposed to eat until we pay ;) 

After we picked our strawberries- which by the way is the type of activity with a 1 year old that's fun for less than 10 minutes and then you frantically grab as many as possible before he squishes them all- we headed over to check out some of the animals. We got to see a lot of chickens, some sheep and even some baby cows. Max thought it was pretty funny that even baby cows are bigger than him! 

Another great thing about the farm is they have special education students on some of their school days. I'm not sure exactly how the program works- I think that the kids are helping to work and also learning at the same time. As a result we got a very sweet high school girl who showed us to the baby cows. Definitely the type of place I like to support! 

I'm excited for Eric to start joining us on our summer adventures next week when school gets out for him! Hopefully I'll be back to report how we are doing :) I'm starting to think I might want to add a few extra things to the list ha ha. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Summer Bucket List 2018 and First Wedding of the Year!

Last week on the podcast, Caroline and I discussed "summer bucket lists"- why we make them, and a few things on our list for this year. My two main reasons for making a bucket list are:
1. So I will actually do fun stuff
2. So I will not ask the question every day, "what should we do today?" 
I am not the type of person who has to cross everything off, it's more like a list of things that would be fun to do and hopefully I'll get to ask many as possible.

So here it is!

Summer Bucket List 2018

Go to a Red Sox Game
Read "Make Way for Ducklings," then go see the ducklings and ride the swan boats
Davis Farmland
Strawberry Picking
Enjoy a CSA- already signed up!
Swim- in the ocean, in Walden Pond, in a lake
Go to a concert- not sure if this will be an outdoor concert with kids, or a nighttime one
Stay at a hotel
Run before the kids wake up
Visit Barnstable Brewing Company
Read a book that takes place at the beach
Visit Titcomb Books on 6A
Roast marshmallows with Max
Visit a splash park
Go on an all-outdoor date
Eat at Riverview Cafe in Sandwich (visit Jam Kitchen, fish hatchery or Heritage Gardens at the same time)
Walk out to the beach at Brewster Natural History Museum
Ice Cube Painting Outside
See an author speak

I'll also try to avoid an epic August breakdown, but that's probably not likely since I usually have one after just a few months off!

Technically it's a few more days until Memorial Day but this past weekend felt summer-esque, beginning with a fun day trip on Thursday to see my friends Alli and Chris and their super cute baby Aaron.

We met up in Newburyport, which is a super cute North Shore town. I've spent some time in Newburyport on Plum Island but I didn't even realize I don't think I had ever been to the downtown area. I will definitely be back with Eric and both kids!
Friday was my cousin's wedding. They had a BEAUTIFUL night, and gorgeous sunset. It was also fun to see the whole family and do some dancing. But I am definitely old because after a few beers and staying up waayyy past my bedtime on Saturday I was feeling blah, ha ha. Luckily kids make you move anyway, so we went over to Eric's parents to pick up the boys and go out to a hibachi restaurant. The food was just okay but the entertainment for both boys was definitely worth it, ha ha.

Sunday was spent playing with our new water table and having neighborhood friends over for dinner. All in all a good weekend.

I'm in a good workout grove right now, so I'd like to keep that up this week. I also have to keep up my reading because I have several books from the library right now. I noticed I haven't been reading to the boys as much because we've been outside a lot (they always get books at bedtime so it's not that it's none, just less). I'm going to try to fit in a couple of extra books a day with Jack- it only takes about 1 minute to read him a book, so it's still doable even with a lot of outside time. I also want to plan a few fun things to do on the upcoming long weekend- it looks like we are going to get a lot of rain so I don't want to sit around and sulk, ha ha.

How was your weekend? 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Happy Mother's Day 2018

Sunday was Mother's Day :) We had a good day and I was reminded, as I often am, how much happier Sundays are when they are busy and filled with plans instead of another day of getting things done and worrying about the week ahead. Yes, I still have the Sunday blues even though I "stay home" these days. In the morning we visited Eric's mom and his Nana. His Nana cracks me up- when we came in she's like "its not my birthday for another month! Oh yea, Mother's Day!" She's almost 93 and she really loves birthdays! (Maybe others more than her own)

In the afternoon we had lunch-dinner with my family and then went over to my parents after lunch for some photos and hanging out. Caroline got a lot of good ones!

This is my new favorite picture of me and Max. I can't believe that soon he will be too big for me to pick up! I actually really love his age now- though I've been known to say that a lot about different ages with him, so hopefully even more fun is yet to come!

I showed you guys on Friday the cards we (and I really mean WE) made for Eric's grandmothers. I also did little books (I think they were $15 each) for Eric's mom and my mom from Max and Jack. The books are from Pinhole Press and have space for 10 photos. Then, inside there are lots of prompts. Max is at a perfect age for this activity because a lot of his answers are funny, or just will be fun to look back on in a few years. I think this is something I'll probably do for the next few years- and soon Jack will be able to answer himself, this year I just made up his answers ;)

This week ends with my cousins wedding on Friday, but in the meantime I have a lot of little "to dos." I want to continue my 4 weekly workouts (two walk/runs and two lifting sessions) and this week I need to read A LOT. I'm finally into my book and I have about 4 that came to my Kindle from the library, so I need to prioritize reading for a few weeks. I'm also hoping to finalize my summer bucket list and post about it as well. If you missed it, Caroline and I discussed bucket lists on our podcast last week.

What have you got on the agenda this week?

Friday, May 11, 2018

Small Moments, Week of May 11th

Thanks to everyone who told me my photos weren't working in the last couple of posts. It's because I was trying to take the easy way and cut and paste from Google Photos. Sadly, that was showing up for me but no one else. Hopefully they are working now that I'm downloading them first. Let me know if that's not the case! 

It was a pretty good week- BEAUTIFUL weather. I was able to get in my workouts. I have not yet completed my summer bucket list but I'm hoping that will be done by the end of the weekend. For some weird reason I felt like I was playing catch up all this week, but maybe that's just the state of mind I'm destined to live in right now ha ha. 

A few fun small moments this week: 
*After dinner on Thursday nights, Eric's mom likes to take the boys to a ramp and stairs they love to play on. They delight in running up and down it and sometimes when Eric and his brother join, being thrown up and down as well. 

*When I was a kid my Dad traveled a lot for work and he always used to send us postcards from wherever he was. I loved to collect those postcards and credit them (and my Dad in general) for getting me interested in geography and traveling. This Spring my parents have been traveling a lot and now Max is getting the postcards from my Dad. He loves to get mail and hear what they say, and we decided it would be fun to put them up on his wall.

*Our Wednesday adventure this week was the Stoneham Zoo. Both boys enjoyed looking at the animals. Anytime we couldn't see an animal, Max would declare, "that's because it's camouflaged mommy!" Thank you Usborne Secrets of Animal Camouflage Book ;) 

*Multiple trips to the park this week- once to our neighborhood park with friends and also to another local park with friends. It was the perfect weather for playing outside and both boys are at good ages for independent (ish- in Jack's case) play at the park. It's hard to imagine back in the fall when we were visiting parks that Jack couldn't walk yet so it was hard for him to do really anything without me. They have also been loving our swing set in the backyard, which has been so nice to have for shorter outside play times or just meeting up with the neighbors in the after school hours. 

*Mother's Day is on Sunday and I always try to do a card from the boys to their great-grandmothers (Eric's grandmothers), usually I aim to be very low key since they are happy with anything but this year I stupidly decided to consult Pinterest. In my kindergarten class I have firm rules that the kids have to do more work than me when it comes to art projects and this was definitely not the case here. Both boys enjoyed painting with Duplos, but after that I had to do all the printing, cutting, gluing etc. Oh well, at least they turned out cute!

We didn't something small for the grandmothers too, but I'll share that after Mother's Day. We usually see them on Mother's Day so I don't always do something but I found something too cute to pass up this year. Especially because Max is becoming old enough that the things he says are funny :)

How was your week? Any happy moments to share? 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Weekend and Week Ahead, May 7 2018

The weather is PERFECTION right now. It doesn't happen often so I have to document it.

If you were on the edge of your seat wondering how work went last week- the answer is good. The logistics were a little crazy, as I find is the case for any "working parents" (or maybe that's just me). But, it was a lot of fun to do something different with my day and get to see all my work friends. It gave me a pretty accurate picture of what the adjustment is going to look like in September, and I'd say it's going to be big but I will get used to it... probably by October ha ha. 

Also, I had that lovely feeling by the weekend that I was excited for it to come and really deserved to relax, which was a nice feeling! We had a great weekend. Friday, we celebrated my sister in law becoming a citizen :) Saturday, a quick walk/run in the morning, a party at Max's school, some relaxing during nap time and then a trip into Boston to ride the merry go round and eat in the North End at Pellinos. We stumbled upon this restaurant last time we were there and they were SO nice in there. Plus the food is good. 

Sunday, we mostly just got house stuff done and then we got to go on a date at Gustazos, a Cuban restaurant. I have no idea if it's authentic Cuban food, but if it is- I need to go to Cuba because it is SO good. 

Last week my goals were to do 3 workouts (I did 4, woo), read more (check- I read the book The Dry by Jane Harper, perfect for reminding me to read because it's hard to put down) and to eat less chips (I did eat less chips but I ate more desserts so...)

Early last week I also listened to the audiobook I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam. She talks a lot about planning for the things you want to do first, making sure those things happen and then filling in the chores etc during the extra time left, instead of the other way around. I did that last week and I hope to continue that going forward. Also being interested in a book helps me be on Facebook less, which is important. 

This week I'm aiming for 4 workouts (2 strength, 2 walks or walk/runs), continue reading a lot and make a list of things I want to do this spring/summer and also a shorter list of activities to do with the boys on Wednesdays when I have them both home but no regular activities scheduled. I'll share those lists later this week. I'd also love if Jack would sleep a little better this week but I suppose I can't control that...

What do you have on tap for this week? Are you having beautiful weather where you are? 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Small Moments, Week of May 4th

It was a lovely and balanced week. Three days spent mostly with the boys. Two days at work meeting next year's kindergarten kids. Some really cute ones! Hopefully they will help me get back into the grove in a few months. Not the best week of sleep, but we are focusing on the positive here ;)

A few lovely moments I want to remember from this week:

*watching Max grab Jack's hand to go down the double slide together at the park

*the boys riding the seesaw together at the park near Caroline's house

*Max: I drew a picture of all of us at school. You were really grumpy.
Me: Why was I grumpy?
Max: Because Jack and Dada and I were upside down

*discovering that going for ice cream would be a lot more fun and less messy if I just get both boys a chocolate shake ha ha

*the number of times that Max said he "miss-ed" Jack on Thursday night while Jack was having a sleepover

*getting to see all my work friends Thursday and Friday, and basically hang out with them all day Thursday and Friday- hanging out with fun adults is really the best

*seeing old students smiling faces in the hallways

*spending time with family to celebrate my sister in law becoming a citizen! (see also: 4th of July pics done, ha ha)

What were some of your best moments of the week?