Monday, July 31, 2017

Weekend Recap

Thankfully, we’re all feeling better and made it through the weekend with no one puking.  #winning

Friday was a busy day for us.  I worked from home since I was still not feeling great.  The boys got to see their favorite recycle truck driver in the morning and gave him treats, but we were so disappointed to learn that he’s moving to Texas and we’ll only see him two more times before he moves.  He’s such a nice guy and we’ll definitely miss seeing him every Friday.

That evening, we headed out to Touch a Truck.  We went to a similar event last year and the boys loved it so I thought this would be a hit.  The first truck we saw was a garbage truck and the boys were excited… annnnd then they saw a bouncy house and were very excited about that.  Sigh.  I reminded them that we were there to see trucks, but after visiting the garbage truck and school bus, they were anxious to jump in the bouncy house.  I told myself that it was ok, we were really there to have fun, but in all honesty, I hate those damn bouncy houses.  So after S was nearly trampled multiple times, we headed back to the trucks.  Naturally, both boys wanted to visit the garbage truck again and I began talking to the driver.  I explained that the boys were obsessed with all things garbage/recycling and often waited for our recycle man every Friday.  He seemed to be familiar with the boys and asked where we lived.  I explained and mentioned that our driver, Willie, was moving to Texas and the man told us he was taking over for Willie!!  I couldn’t believe it.  So we know our new recycle guy and he seems just as nice as Willie. J  Yay!!

W usually hates photos, but every now and then, I get lucky... he'll tell me to take one because he's doing something cute. :)

From there, we had to drop off the townhouse keys with our new tenants.  Happy the townhouse is sort of ready (still need to fix broken windows) and we have new tenants!  The boys got to bed really late and I had a feeling they’d be cranky the next day.  I try so hard to get them to bed on time because I know they’re not themselves when they’re tired and it makes for a challenging next day.

Sure enough, they were cranky and difficult all day Saturday.  It felt like we were taking two steps forward, one step backward all day long.  One example… the play room was a complete disaster.  After telling the boys they needed to put away toys countless times, I had had it.  I told them every toy I picked up was mine and they could earn it back by doing a chore.  I thought my plan was genius!!  They actually seemed excited about doing chores?!?  Go me!!  Annnnd then they started fighting over the Windex spray bottle (never mind that I had countless other spray bottles and places to clean) and W smacked S on the head.  So much for my brilliant idea.  After time outs for all, things settled down and I actually had a relatively clean downstairs.  The boys’ chores consisted of wiping windows and tables, sweeping, and feeding Addie.  They managed to earn back all of their toys.  But the rest of the day was much like that – arguments, time outs, defiance, and complaining.  One thing I have to note – A has discovered the awesomeness that is Pinterest and it is the best thing ever!!  He pins recipes AND makes them.  We’ve been in such a dinner rut lately and we’ve always been really bad at meal planning.  I think we get into a better groove during the school year.  Anyway.  On Saturday, A made pineapple chicken in a marinade along with grilled veggies.  So good!!  Of course, W refused to try it while S asked for 3 helpings.  At least they balance each other out?

Sunday was much better.  We started the day with church, we sat outside at Starbucks, and went to the mall.  The boys were great at the mall.  They tried on sunglasses while I returned a sweater and helped me smell every candle until we found our favorites to send to Aunt Lori.  We headed home and the boys played in their little pool and on the deck for the remainder of the afternoon.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Thoughts

Let me give you a little recap of yesterday.  It was really awesome.  Except, no it wasn't.

I had to wake up at 4:45am for a meeting and as I was running down the stairs, I stepped in dog poop.  With my bare feet!!  Luckily, I was working from home because I'm still sick and my colleague actually asked my boss to tell me to stay home.  A and I realized we were supposed to have paperwork notarized so he ran to the bank while I worked.  And then he texted me to say that since my name was on the paperwork, I needed to be there too.  Sigh.  I quickly dashed out of the house.  When we returned, Addie had pooped in the house AGAIN.  By afternoon, I had a terrible headache and could barely function, but still tried to get some work done.  W broke a picture frame.  Fast forward to bed time.  I was finally feeling a little better, but as A was putting S to bed, I heard him knock on the wall to get my attention.  I immediately knew what happened.  You see, any time S gets a cold, he vomits.  I walked in to find A covered in puke.  We spent the next 30 minutes or so cleaning up vomit and when that was done, I walked out of S's room to find that Addie had peed on the carpet.  WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?

So things could've been worse, BUT definitely not a fun day.  S already puked this morning so I'm hoping for a reprieve for the rest of the day.  And poor A now has the cold. :(

Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Vacation Recap - Maryland 2017

As if returning from vacation wasn’t depressing enough, I’m heading back to work with a cold.  Who gets a cold in the middle of summer?!?!  I guess I should just be thankful it waited until after vacation to make me miserable.  Anyway.  We had a really great trip.  The boys couldn’t get enough of the pool and were in it nearly every day.  S is a crazy daredevil and often attempted to swim on his own and jump in before A and I were nearby to catch him.  He’d go under water, emerge coughing, and be ready to do it all again.  At one point, A jumped off the diving board and S yelled, “I do it!”.  And he did.  Two years old.  In all honesty, he scares me and I envision a future of extreme sports and broken bones.  Yikes.

In addition to the pool, there were several other highlights from our trip.  On Sunday, A, S, and myself headed off to Camden Yards to watch the Cubs take on the Orioles.  We purchased a ticket for W, but he insisted that baseball was “too long and too loud” and didn’t want to attend.  We didn’t want to force him to participate in an activity he wasn’t interested in (and knew he’d just complain if we made him come with us) so he stayed with my mom.  We had so much fun at the game.  As always, A found great seats for us and we got to see Quintana’s debut as starting pitcher for the Cubs.  Our section even had an area where you could go inside and cool off while watching the game on tv.  Very neat.  S was wonderful and seemed to enjoy the game and solo time with mom and dad.  My mom told me that W was awesome and really enjoyed hanging out with the adults.

On Tuesday, the four of us headed out on a little road trip to Bethany Beach, DE.  I chose this spot for a few reasons.  W mentioned wanting to go to the beach awhile ago and this was rated as a great family beach.  I’ve also never been to Delaware and was excited to check it off the list (I’d love to spend time in all 50 states at some point).  The area happened to have a great little boardwalk/downtown area with shops and restaurants.  I absolutely loved it.  Our hotel was beautiful and our room overlooked the beach.  We could open the sliding door and literally walk out onto the beach.  It was perfect.  I was a little nervous about how all of us would sleep in the hotel room, but we did just fine.  We spent all of Wednesday on the beach and walked around the boardwalk a bit in the evening.  A even ventured out and found a funnel cake sundae for dessert one night.  The weather was beautiful and this was the highlight of the trip for me.

We headed back to Maryland on Thursday and the boys were absolutely perfect in the car.  The roadtrip we attempted last year was a complete disaster, but this one could not have gone better.  What a difference a year makes!

Friday, A and I headed to a One Republic concert in VA.  They are my favorite group and the concert made me love them even more.  It was wonderful to have a date night with A and we really enjoyed each other’s company.

In between our adventures and pool time, we enjoyed my uncle’s amazing cooking, played bags, looked at the stars one night, walked around my aunt’s giant house/property, and the boys enjoyed playing on the porch.  It was a really great trip, and as is the case every year, I’m sad it’s over.  Also worth noting, the boys were perfect on the airplane.  So thankful for opportunities to travel.  I hardly went on vacation as a child so I really appreciate these experiences with my little family and the boys really seem to enjoy these adventures too.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Stitch Fix #16

Wanted to do a quick Stitch Fix review since I’m already way behind with this one.  Kate has been styling me for quite awhile and I continue to request her because I feel like she just gets me.  Once again, Kate did an amazing job.  This Fix certainly did not disappoint and I ended up taking two of the items to Europe with me.

First up was the Makai Halter Swing Knit Tank Top.  I had my doubts about this one, but only because I was concerned about fit.  I had seen a photo of this (or something very similar) on another Stitch Fix subscriber and it seemed more fitted and short.  Maybe that person ordered a smaller size or has a different body type.  Regardless, I loved this when I put it on.  I think everyone knows I’m a sucker for a floral print and this was loose and so so comfortable.  Definitely a winner.  And I love it with the cardigan for work.  KEPT

Next, was the Daniel Rainn Vivienne Floral Print Sleeveless Blouse.  I love Daniel Rainn tops and my stylists frequently send them because they know I’m a fan.  Daniel Rainn tops are usually not too fitted, a bit dressier, and perfect for looking more put together at work.  This top threw me because of the fit.  I loved the color and overall look, but it was tighter than I expected.  I was also not a fan of the camisole that came with it.  I actually looked to see if I could exchange this for a larger size, but there wasn’t another top available.  I ultimately decided to keep this for the discount.  A few days later, it dawned on me… remove the existing cami (which was attached by a few threads) and replace it with one of my own.  As soon as I did that, I was much more comfortable and ended up wearing this under a blazer while I worked in Europe.  KEPT

Then it was time for the Katelynn dress.  I had this pinned and loved the bright colors in it.  I wasn’t sure this was super flattering (I think the waist could be a little higher maybe), but I really liked it nonetheless.  As my mom suggested, I think this would look really cute with a jean jacket.  All in all, very comfortable and great for work or even errands with the boys.  I tend to live in dresses during the summer since I don’t wear shorts.  KEPT

I requested a pair of distressed jeans because I think they look great on others and I wanted to give them a try.  I’ve never worn distressed denim and was a little worried about looking sloppy.  I loved that these Hope Distressed Fray Hem Skinny jeans were not too holey and I really like this entire outfit.  I try to keep my outfits balanced so I think I’ll wear these jeans with nicer tops to avoid looking too ragged (if that makes sense).  I did exchange these for the next size up because I was a bit nervous about them being too tight (especially with the holes) and I didn’t know how they’d hold up in the wash (though I’ve never had any issues with my SF jeans shrinking).  As a side note, I think A is weirded out whenever I wear these because I don’t seem like the “distressed jeans type”.  KEPT

Finally, one of my favorite SF items to date.  I absolutely love this Cristen Shirt Dress.  I love the pattern and overall style.  My only complaint is that it can be short when I sit – being a shirt dress, there isn’t any stretch or flare and it doesn’t button all the way down, which makes complete sense.  And if it wasn’t a shirt dress, it would lose some of its charm.  All of this rambling to say, this dress is amazing, but I have to sit like a lady, which is not a problem (thus far).  I brought this to Europe and wore it around Paris so it will always have a special place in my heart.  I should note that A mentioned he loves this dress and I was asked by a stranger wear I got it so major win!!

This fix was one of my favorites to date and I’ll definitely get lots of wear out of each of these pieces.  Another winner!!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Weekend Recap

Not a lot to report on this weekend.  It was low key, which was very much needed.

We let W choose where to get pizza from on Friday and he selected one of our favorite places.  S was a bit cranky and wanted to sit with me during dinner.  Of course W was feeling left out and came to cuddle with me too.  A snapped these pictures, which perfectly sum up the dinner outing (and the majority of our dinner outings for that matter).  Ha.  I love their expressions... these boys love their mommy and I love them so much.  I'm so incredibly thankful for them.

Saturday consisted of a couple errands.  I had to go to the bank and W asked if we could go to the branch near Grandma’s house.  That led to asking if we could stop by Grandma’s house, drive past Grandma’s house, drive through Grandma’s neighborhood, and so on.  The boys had a haircut scheduled for 12:45 so I called my mom and asked if we could stop by afterwards.  Thankfully, she obliged.  The haircut went well and the boys had a great time per usual at Grandma’s house.  We ended up spending the majority of our visit outside.  The weather was beautiful.  S fell asleep on the way home and slept 12 hours.  W slept nearly 12 hours as well, which was great!  Maybe we need to visit my mom more often. ;)

Sunday was our usual.  A cleaned out the car, we rearranged S’s room to better fit his new bed, I packed suitcases for our upcoming trip – it was a very productive day.  So far, S is doing really well with his new bed and we’re hoping this continues.  Look how proud he is... :)  And if you want a before look...

Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday Thoughts

This is the first time in my life that I have 4 weeks of vacation time and I am taking full advantage.  We leave for our annual Maryland trip next Friday and the boys are really excited for pool time.  It occurred to me that I will not work a full week in July and that is just about the best thing ever.  Love time spent with family!

S is definitely going through a terrible twos phase.  He’s been a lot more defiant and vocal lately, but he’s also cracking us up with his expressions.  When he wakes up in the morning, he’ll usually lay in bed and sing songs.  When he decides he’s ready to get up, he’ll yell, “Get me out!!  Get me out!!”  If he hears his name come up in conversation, he’ll excitedly yell, “That’s me!!”   Recently, W was crying/whining about something and I was ignoring him.  Often, if one of the boys falls down or gets hurt, I’ll hug them, pat them on the back, and tell them they’re ok.  Well, upon hearing W fake cry and whine, S very sternly pointed his finger and yelled, “You’s ok!  You’s ok!!”  So funny.

S hasn’t been a baby for awhile, but there are still reminders that he’s not a big boy yet… his crib, diapers (he’s not potty trained), and he’s still rear facing in his car seat to name a few.  We recently ordered a big boy bed because S was showing signs of being done with the crib.  He often climbs into W’s bed and loves to lay in it (especially at bed time).  S is also a pretty big guy and we’d often hear him kicking the sides of the crib as he rolled over in the night.  A assembled his new bed while I was at work (which was probably a good thing), but I’m so sad to say goodbye to the crib.  There’s been a crib in my house for the past five years. L  And if our transfer in December had worked, that crib would be waiting for someone else.  L L  On the bright side, two nights in his big boy bed and he’s doing great.  Here’s hoping that continues.  If you need me, I’ll be moping around wondering how my boys are growing up so fast…

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Adventures in Europe Continued

Thursday morning was spent working.  Because my colleague and I spent so much time on site on Wednesday, we thought our efforts would be better spent working from the hotel.  That way, we weren’t wasting time driving and we had Wifi connection, which wasn’t available at the site (actually, it was available, but we were unable to connect).  We worked from the little café, eating croissants and enjoying the breeze from the open windows, which looked out over the beach.  If you have to work, this is the way to do it. 

After working through the morning, we headed to Brussels.  A and I would spend a couple nights in Brussels and my colleague was planning to head out from Brussels and meet up with a friend in Germany.  Brussels was insanely busy.  So many people, so much traffic.  It was a bit overwhelming at first.  We stayed at a hotel that my boss recommend and Holy. Moly.  I should have taken photos, but it was the fanciest hotel I had ever seen.  Imagine an opulent building, sculptures, and Audis and Mercedes parked out front.  I was honestly intimidated walking in.  Even President Clinton had stayed there during NATO.  Anyway, after getting settled in, A and I headed to Grand Place, which is the main square in Brussels.  It was very impressive.  After walking around Grand Place for a bit, we headed out in search of a restaurant for lunch.  I should mention that restaurants were challenging.  Many times menus weren’t in English.  People speak French in the southern part of Belgium and Flemmish in the north.  Most spoke English, but the menus did not reflect that.  We found a great little café and were able to sit outside once again.  I absolutely loved all the outside seating and I think America is severely lacking in this department.

After lunch, we found the Mannekin Pis, a famous peeing sculpture – ha!  We walked down a few more streets, bought Belgian chocolate and a Belgian waffle, and then headed back to the hotel.  One other thing to note – it stayed light until 10:30pm so we were able to take advantage of the long days and stay out later.

On Friday, A and I took the high speed train to Amsterdam.  I’ve never seen so many bicycles in my life and each street had a designated bicycle lane.  The city was bustling and I found the culture really interesting.  The people seemed very friendly.  The trend among teens and young adults was very “punk” - think dyed hair, tattoos, skinny jeans and t-shirts.  I had fun people watching.  We started with a canal tour.  It was a great way to see the city and relax.  After that, we stopped for lunch.  We ate outside again (of course!) and then made our way to the Ice Bar.  A and I had a lot of fun drinking beer in glasses made of ice and hanging out at the bar, which was also made of ice (go figure).  Afterwards,  we walked, and walked, and walked some more.  I don’t think I’ve ever walked so much in my life.  Once we got away from the extremely busy area near the train station, I enjoyed the city much more.  The canals, bridges, and architecture were really pretty.  We eventually made our way to the Van Gogh museum.  I really liked studying Van Gogh in an art history class and I find his life fascinating.  I loved seeing so many of his paintings.  We also stopped for frozen yogurt and walked past the Anne Frank house.  Then, it was time to catch our train back to Brussels.   I have to say, A was amazing at following the map and getting us from place to place.  With all the canals and signs in Dutch, he did an amazing job and we had so much fun navigating the city together.

Saturday morning, we said goodbye to Brussels and took the high speed train to Paris.  Paris had me completely awestruck.  I’ve never seen a more beautiful city.  Unfortunately, the people were not very friendly (at least to us).  The hotel clerk told us she didn’t know when our room would be ready and directed us to the wrong spot for our tour bus.  We attempted to ask a lady working at what appeared to be an information booth if she knew where the tour bus pick up was and she just shook her head.  It was incredibly frustrating to say the least.  We eventually just walked toward the Eiffel Tower and were so excited to arrive.  There, we were finally able to board our tour bus.  Traffic was insane and after the fourth stop on the tour, A and I decided to hop off the bus and try to find a place to eat.  Everything seemed too pricey or it wasn’t what we were looking for (or we couldn’t read the French menu) so we decided we’d get back on the bus and hop off at a different spot.  Only problem was we got on the wrong bus.  The yellow line was a different route and didn’t stop at the main sights like the green line did.  We were still able to enjoy the beautiful city even if we weren’t seeing the most famous parts.  After riding the yellow line for over an hour, we eventually got back on the correct bus only to get stuck in horrendous traffic.  We drove past the Louvre and we eventually made it to Notre Dame, which was amazing to see.  Both because I’m Catholic and  because the architecture was stunning.  We walked along the Seine and then boarded the bus for the next stop, which took over an hour again thanks to traffic.  We hopped off at the Concorde and walked along Champs de Eliasse (which I cannot pronounce no matter how many times I try).  We stopped for chocolate crepes during our walk and they were delicious.  We also picked up a couple souvenirs for the boys along the way.  We eventually made it to the Arc de Triumph – which I later found out you can actually climb and get an incredible view of the city… darn it!!  After that, it was back to the Eiffel Tower to get one more viewing.  Paris was simply incredible and I really hope I can return some day and spend more time exploring the city.  We finished the day eating pizza at a café and watching the Eiffel Tower illuminate.

It was an incredible trip and an amazing opportunity.  I’m so thankful I was able to experience Europe with A.  I did miss the boys incredibly and being away any longer would have been really tough, but we knew they were in good hands and received daily updates, which definitely helped.  Very, very grateful for our parents taking such good care of our little guys.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Weekend Recap - Happy 4th!!

We had such a fun long weekend!!  I can’t believe we’re already into July, though!!  This summer is really flying by!

Friday afternoon included taking a long walk with the boys and heading out to a local pizza restaurant for dinner.

Saturday was pretty low key.  We decided to go out for lunch and let W choose the place.  He chose our favorite chicken restaurant in A’s hometown.  I really love going there and the boys seem to enjoy too.  We always sit in front of the large open windows and the boys love to comment on the cars they see and the passersby.  W knows the make of every car and S is catching on too so it makes me laugh to watch them point out each car as it goes by.  The food is also delicious.  So fun!

Sunday was church, Starbucks, and then it was off to the local parade.  I mentioned previously that A is not a fan of parades and didn’t want to walk in it last year.  My mom walked with us to keep me company and help with the boys.  She volunteered to walk with us again this year and A decided to join us too!!  It ended up being great, albeit warm.  We were walking with the boys’ preschool and the kids were all so cute in their red, white, and blue attire.  The parade finishes at a park and the boys didn’t waste any time hopping out of their wagon and heading for the splash pad area.  W was soaked and I didn’t bring a change of clothes.  Oops.  I was super hungry so we finally convinced the boys it was time to leave and found an outdoor restaurant at the harbor overlooking Lake Michigan.  We sat at a table with a little fire pit in the middle and listened to a band play while eating a late lunch.  I absolutely loved it!  Such a fun day!  And happy A decided to join us this year.

Monday, A headed out to see a movie with one of our friends.  I was supposed to grab lunch with friends later in the day, but it ended up being cancelled.  It rained a bit in the morning and when it stopped, I suggested that we pick up McDonalds and head to a park for a picnic.  The boys were on board and I texted A to let him know what we were doing in case he wanted to join us when the movie was over.  So happy he came to the park because we ended up staying for 2.5 hours!!  And the boys wanted to stay longer, but I’d had enough.  And the thing is, when your kiddos are still little, you can’t just sit on a bench and watch.  They need lots of help navigating the playground equipment (or at least mine do)… going to the park turns into a little workout!

Tuesday, A and I decided to have a little cookout at home.  The boys are too young to stay up for fireworks and with all of our outdoor time, they need their sleep.  So A cooked brats, burgers, hotdogs, and corn on the cob while I made a cucumber and dill salad, mac and cheese, and fruit salad.  We ate outside and everything was delicious.  We bought poppers for the boys (those little white things that you throw on the ground) and they thought those were the best thing ever.  S cracked up every time one of them popped.  A great day and an awesome weekend!