We spent much of yesterday at the Cape, measuring walls and windows and cabinets in the new house while my parents helped us tremendously by taking the babes for a mystery ride. After dinner at Brax Landing, we headed back to the city with a plan (and a healthy to do list) and some sand in my favorite peace moccasins.
The sun is shining in South Boston and baby Nick slept for nearly 6 hours in a row (it’s been a struggle to get more than a couple hours of sleep lately; please reference the dark circles under my eyes and/or my lack of patience for more information). The morning is aglow with possibility. And piles of laundry.
You know how I preach getting your Sunday things done on Saturday? I have a feeling, this week, they’re getting done on Tuesday or next Thursday. Or two weeks from tomorrow. There’s something to be said for taking it easy when you can.
An embarrassing number of toddler development books… I mostly have no idea what I am doing… except I believe you’re not supposed to laugh when your toddler’s being fresh. Even when her response to “Why are you standing on the table?” is “Because I’m being a freshie.”
To Kill a Mockingbird (again)
Foo Fighters on Spotify + noise-canceling headphones (this is how I survived getting a crown at the dentist last weekend)
Season 2 of Serial – I keep thinking I am done (I’m still not sure how I feel about this season), but then I get hooked. That Sarah Koenig, man.
The St. Patrick’s Day decorations go up around the neighborhood
We just caught up on Homeland and now I’m morbidly depressed (I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, so I will just say this, I think you-know-who is still alive… which makes me think his or her life is going to be even more miserable going forward. Also, post-partum hormones are real. And TV characters are not. But whatever.)
Election coverage… and now I’m morbidly depressed. And we have months and months and months of this crap to endure.
Baby wearing – I had forgotten how good it feels (and how it magically soothes a little one)
Grace’s newfound love for telling “jokes” (a recent favorite: “Grandpa is your sister! It’s a joke!”)
Extra productive and creative on some days, and like a nearly-expired sloth on others.
An itch to sign up for a race or two or six. Blame the 50 degree weather and a fresh pair of sneaks.
Alright, I’m off to make the most of Leap Day… or as I think of it, an additional 24 hours for everyone to plan an extravagant birthday surprise for me. Just kidding. Also, I kind of hate surprises. Toodles!
Paper to Petal: 75 Whimsical Flower Ideas to Craft By Hand by Rebecca Thuss // I’m not crafting anything whimsical by hand at the moment… but this book is a great visual reference for a painting class I am taking (Pam Garrison’s Painting Petals class)
Cat Says Meow and Other Animalopoea by Michael Arndt // This book is incredibly clever.
Fabulous Fishes by Susan Stockdale // Grace really likes the illustrations in this one, and I like the little reference guide at the back. Apparently the real, common name for pufferfish is… pufferfish. And they’re poisonous.
The Plant Recipe Book by Baylor Chapman // I own the Flower Recipe Book (and love it), so I thought I’d borrow the plant version from the library. I like this one mostly because I am pretending that a. It’s not winter, and b. I can keep plants alive for more than a week. Like Paper to Petal, this is a great reference for painting.
Anything in the Peas series by Keith Baker // Grace’s cousins got her one of these books for Christmas and we’ve been hooked on the whole series. Just last week I caught Grace “reading” to Clark, “We are peas! Alphabet peas! We work and play in the A-B-Cs!”
I stumbled upon an entire child development section in the children’s library at our local branch in Southie. It’s skewed a bit older than our children, but I could see it being really helpful in the future (there were a lot of books about helping your children succeed in school, etc.).
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee // I tried to finish Go Set a Watchman, but I just couldn’t hang. And I sort of feel like maybe it shouldn’t have been published, especially if it wasn’t intended to be published. Starting it made me want to re-read To Kill A Mockingbird (one of the very few books I can stand to re-read), though. So, so good.
Cleary I don’t read much in the way of normal and grown-up books anymore… but hey. I know a tiny bit more about pufferfish. So, there’s that.
Take it from your friendly neighborhood not-a-meteorologist: It is hot as blazes today. I slowed things down a bit at bootcamp this morning, but I’m not sure it made much of a difference. By the time Grace and I got home, we were both ridiculously sweaty and in need of an extra nutritious lazy summer lunch: Popsicles, raspberries and lots of water.
Now that I’m feeling rehydrated and somewhat normal, let’s revisit the weekend according to Instagram.
There is no point to this photo, except that I am obsessed with my dog. Clark has been extra patient and playful with Grace lately, and I think he’s finally back to his usual self after a not-so-usual winter. The poor little guy had emergency spinal surgery at the end of February, was on bedrest for six weeks and is still waiting for most of his back fur to regrow. It’s sort of like built-in air conditioning, but looks… weird nonetheless. Nick recently found the breeder’s new website (she was sort of MIA for a while, which fits the bill)– the last thing we need right now is a puppy, but there were three that looked so much like baby Clark that I almost tried to convince Nick this was a good idea. ‘Tis not.
I know I need to get over myself (and I mostly did this weekend), but as long as we’ve lived in Southie (and in the past two years, right on the water), I couldn’t bring myself to swim at Carson Beach. Supposedly the beaches in Southie are cleaner than Miami Beach, but… what does that even mean? Long story short: We all went swimming on Sunday. And it was actually kind of nice. So that’s that.
Sunday was National Ice Cream Day. I don’t know where this crap comes from, but I am happy to celebrate anything that involves sprinkles.
This poodle is one of Grace’s new best friends. As previously mentioned, she is a miniature dog whisperer. They flock to her (when she is not chasing them).
We went for a nice, long walk with my sister in Charlestown on Sunday (which is where we encountered the poodle), strolling through Paul Revere Park and through the Navy Yard.
My first Google Express delivery arrived on Saturday afternoon. We each received a gift code at last Tuesday’s dinner at Serafina to try out the service, and I’ve got to say, I’m impressed. I’ve got a gift code to share with you (please see below), too. The hardest part for me was deciding what to order. I originally planned to go with diapers (boring, but necessary), but Grace’s size wasn’t available… which was just the motivation I needed to order a few fun things instead. I love that you can purchase from multiple retailers in the same order. I ordered some moisturizer and my favorite eye shadow from Ulta, and Go Set a Watchman and a grown-up coloring book from Barnes + Noble. Everything was delivered the next day (in adorable packaging) during the delivery window I reserved. I can see this service being perfect for last minute gifts or entertaining (in addition to household staples) and would love to hear if you have or planned to order from Google Express.
And a leftover from Thursday: Why bring a teddy bear to a teddy bear picnic when you can bring a sloth? Exactly.
Here are the details for Google Express:
Now through August 2nd, use the code EXPRESSBOSTON to receive $25 off your first purchase with Google Express (limited to the first 2,500 users; please note it is stated in your cart when paying that Google Express may need to authorize payment method for the total amount of your order without the promotional credit, but the promotional credit will be reflected in the amount actually charged to your payment method.
I can’t help but think this beautiful stretch of weather we’re having in Boston is reward for the winter that nearly did us all in. We certainly earned our beach days this year. Here’s how we spent some of that sunshine this weekend.
The Weekend According to Instagram 34
Technically… this was from this morning. Also true: The days sort of blend together now that I’m at home. Bootcamp was canceled this morning, so Grace and I logged a few miles at Castle Island. Boats, puppies and old people are our jam.
We’ve been living out of a beach bag lately. I’ll share a few of our essentials later this week, but I wanted to be sure to share a little offer from the lovely folks at Block Island Organics. Use the code ‘elizabeth’ to save 15% on their site this week. With so many options available for sunscreen and sunblock, I’ve been making an extra effort this summer to make better choices for me and our family. To learn more about sun safety and how to choose the best sunscreen for you, I recommend checking out their Smart Suncare section. [P.S. I can’t type “Block Island Organics” without singing the Sail away on the Block Island Ferry jingle…]
Fresh mozzarella + summer tomatoes + basil from the deck = Every, single meal.
Nick has been giving our usual green juice a summer kick by topping each jar off with coconut water. It’s really, really good (go do it).
Speaking of drinks, I was super excited (and yes… this is the kind of thing that excites me these days) to find Crescent Ridge milk at Whole Foods Market in the South End this weekend. Growing up, we had Crescent Ridge delivered to our house each week. The milk man would leave the same glass bottles in a refrigerator box outside our house. Oh and for the record: I am 33, not 103… and grew up in a suburb outside the city, not in a little house on the prairie. I promise this sort of thing really did (and still does, I think?) happen. Regardless, I had my Sunday morning chai latte with a little Crescent Ridge and a trip down memory lane. Also: I love those glass bottles.
This little lady is my heart in a hat.
My younger brother (and one of Grace’s four favorite uncles) celebrated his birthday this weekend. We love you, little buddy!
You can see the full (3 second) video on Instagram, but essentially… this is dog jumping into a pool at a competition across the street from our house. After seeing the tents and stands set up on Friday for the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge, I knew we needed to check it out. It was super entertaining… and sort of like Best in Show IRL.
Our deck herb plants are officially out of control. We’ve got Italian basil, purple basil, spicy basil, chives, rosemary and lemon thyme to put to good use this week. I’m starting with a little green goddess dressing and roasted potatoes with thyme.
A little nap time project in the works. I didn’t get much drawing or painting done this week, but have been sneaking in little bouts of creativity when the mood (and 10 minutes) strikes.
Same goes for most animals (real or not, in our neighborhood or not). Grace loves just about anything with four legs, especially all the friendly farm animals at Drumlin Farm. I swear our Audubon membership was some of the best money I’ve spent.
Clearly someone was excited to get her hands on a summer tomato.
We ended up checking off quite a few items from our shopping list:
a pint of grape tomatoes, a head of speckled romaine lettuce, a pint of strawberries and a bunch of asparagus from Freitas Farm
a bunch of kale and a half dozen or so tomatoes from Wenger Farm in Bellingham
After walking back home and unloading our haul (minus the tomato that Grace ate like an apple on the way home, and the half pint of strawberries we shared as soon as we got in the door), we finished up our shopping at Whole Foods Market in the South End.
Dairy: organic whole milk yogurt for Grace, shredded mozzarella cheese,pepper jack cheese
Produce: raspberries, blueberries, English cucumber, green apples, garlic, red onion, bananas, carrots, celery, ginger root, grapes, watermelon
Staples: quinoa, pearled couscous, canned whole tomatoes, black beans, chickpeas
Non-vegetarian things for my non-vegetarian husband: two spicy Italian sausages (basically, this is how I buy meat: I go to the butcher’s counter, have a mild panic attack, point to something and say a random number… in this case, two)
Impulse purchase: Caprese salad from the antipasto bar
After the longest… winter… ever…. during which we ordered more…. pizza… thanweshouldhave… we’ve been making a concerted effort to clean up our meals. Being home and having more flexibility and time to shop, prep and cook has certainly helped, but I think our efforts (and all that sunshine) are definitely paying off. I’ve been sleeping better, have more energy, and look less zombie-ish (I think). I’ve kicked my Diet Coke habit (though I did sneak a few sips at my brother and sister-in-law’s cookout after Sunday’s 5k), have fewer sugar cravings, and generally just feel… less like someone who ate too much pizza.
I recently had the chance to check out the new freshii location that opened in the Back Bay this spring. Freshii generously offered me a gift card for my first visit, and I’ve been back several times (both to the Back Bay and Fort Point locations) since. It’s so nice to have a convenient and affordable place nearby to stop in for a quick, healthy meal or pick-me-up. Their juices and salads, in particular, are really fantastic and I love freshii’s commitment to sustainability and their “Mission Green.”
Oh, and their frozen yogurt? It’s the perfect compliment to all those fruits and vegetables.
And just like that, May is over and June has arrived. Time flies when you’re having fun. Or attempting to clean out your closets. Or making a fresh start. Or maybe just some fresh juice.
It’s been a week now since I’ve been office-less, business card-less, commute-less and fax machine-less. I hesitate to call myself (or anyone else, for that matter) a “stay at home mom” because, like… we’ve been out of the house quite a bit since I left my job.
It currently feels less like a life change and more like a vacation, but I think we’re all settling into this new way of being quite well. I’m resisting the urge to over-schedule and fill up our days, but I also don’t want us to become weird shut-ins. It’s all a careful balance (I think. Who knows?).
Either way, here’s what I’ve been up to…
Currently | June 2015
Per usual, I’m late to the party, but I’m nearly finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. There are parts that were so funny (made even funnier by the fact that they were intended to be serious) that I cried. Overall, though, I think it’s worth a read.
When my mom asked for reading recommendations, I came up empty. Because I can’t remember the last non-how-to-clean-your-house-book I read. Not good. Meanwhile, I was attempting to work some life-changing magic on our bookshelves when I came across an unread copy of J. Courtney Sullivan’s The Engagements. I loved her first two books and am excited to get started on this. Magic, indeed!
Oh, and magazines. They’re like books… for lazy people like me.
Lots of sunrises… because Grace has taken to getting up at 4:30 AM for the day, regardless of how early or late she has gone to bed. The upside? We suddenly have an extra hour or two to our day (or something). Our pediatrician recommended we check out this toddler alarm clock. At first I thought she was kidding… but she hasn’t steered us wrong yet, so into the Amazon cart it goes!
Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” It was playing in the Birmingham airport and I have been blasting it in the car ever since. One of my first tapes was Whitney — I think I need to go Spotify the entire album.
We’re spoiled with Whole Foods just over the bridge in the South End, and a farmers market just around the corner (which opened for the season today!). I can’t get enough of the early summer produce available — watermelons, berries, corn and tomatoes!
Lots of “hers and hers” meals. Grace shares my love of snacking and enjoys a bit of variety at lunch and dinner. I saw these adorable stainless steel divided bus plates on Peas and Crayons (thanks, Jenn!) and ordered a set for Grace. They are perfect for plating toddler-sized portions of whatever I happen to be snacking on.
Progress on my “stuff to do around the house” list (how domestic, I know). I’ve been adding to that list since we moved, but barely but a dent into it until this week. So far, I’ve cleaned out my closet (three bags of clothes went to the Red Cross, and fourth went to ThredUp — we shall see how that goes), hung up our new artwork from Minted, packed up Grace’s 6 and 9 month clothes, cleaned out the super-cluttered, super-dangerous (mandolins! knives!) kitchen utensil drawer, and purged most of our kitchen cabinets. Next on the list: Change our wifi network name to Hillary Clinternet (this is a major priority), recycle every single scrap of paper in the house, find a new rug for the living room, make order out of the chaos that is our bathroom cabinet, and wrangle all those books and toys.