What We’re Doing/Reading/Watching

 

IMG_6422

So I realized this week that I had let my word of the year, “balance,” escape me this spring, but I think I am living it out right now. After a very busy spring with amazing travel and lots of activities, we’ve decided to make this a low-key summer. We have a few getaways here and there to make it fun, but we’re not going to be keeping up the hectic pace we’ve become familiar with in recent months and years. I couldn’t be more excited!

A low-key summer for me means lots of reading, watching movies, hanging at the park and pool, and letting some boredom even enter the picture. The kids seem really receptive to a slower pace, and I am welcoming it too. I haven’t had a poky summer in some time, so it almost feels like a novelty.

We did enjoy a quick trip to New York City a few weekends ago on a VERY humid day. Steve and I looked forward to spending some time together when the kids went to the Frozen musical with their grandma, but a leisurely stroll in Central Park was not going to happen. We popped into the Morgan Library to enjoy a quiet atmosphere and some central air. I’d been there before, but it was still fun to see J. P. Morgan’s old book collection again and check out the exhibit of Wayne Theibaud (pictures of cakes and pies are always a treat to look at in my opinion!).

What We’re Doing

  • Wrapping up the school year, ballet year, piano year, and soccer and baseball seasons
  • Swimming at the pool (a bit–it’s still open only on weekends until school lets out June 15)
  • Playing tennis
  • Sewing some 12 Days ornaments
  • Enjoying our farm share (lots of greens right now!)
  • Cutting out some American Girl Molly paper dolls
  • Hanging with friends at the park
  • Going axe throwing (just the adults!)
  • Playing a new Lego Marvel video game

What We’re Reading

  • The Molly American Girl Doll series
  • Ivy and Bean
  • Captain Underpants (so much CU!)
  • Dragonfly in Amber (just finished the second Outlander book)
  • Mo Willems books
  • Dr. Suess books

What We’re Watching

  • Outlander (just subscribed to Starz via Amazon)
  • Lady Bird
  • I, Tonya
  • Black Panther
  • The Phantom Thread
  • Kit Kittridge movie
  • Gnomeo and Juliet

 

Advertisements

What We’re Doing/Reading/Watching

IMG_6371
Yes, my Anglophile self was very excited about the royal wedding.

How April and May have flown by! We expected the craziness, of course, when we signed both kids up for team sports earlier in the year, but actually going through the motions always presents some surprises in stamina. Yesterday I passed out at 4 p.m. from sheer exhaustion — I was so tired even though the rain cancelled several things we had lined up last week and the schedule had been lighter than expected. Nonetheless, we’re having a lot of fun this spring.

One personal milestone I am marking this month is my five-year anniversary of changing things up in the professional realm to be home more with the kids. Looking back, that’s definitely the best decision I ever made. I have had such a great ride with them in their early childhood, and I have built a home-based freelancing business up to the equivalent of true part-time work. It’s a struggle to manage it all in the summer, but overall this life is definitely for me. I would encourage anyone struggling with work-life balance to be brave enough to make some serious life changes. It will work out in the end, I promise.

As a side note, I’ve debated whether I want to keep updating this ten-year-old blog at this point but decided I’ll try to check in once in a blue moon as it’s one of the only places I have right now for documenting my life with kids. I am going to do less and less in the picture realm only because I’ve had a load of spam subscriptions lately and want to avoid overexposing the kiddos.

What We’re Doing

  • Either playing or watching baseball and soccer
  • Playing at the park
  • Attending the Fun Fair (a neighborhood old-timey fair held for two weeks in early May)
  • Participating in neighborhood and school activities like the art show, local fun run, and more
  • Training to be a Brownie leader (I am psyched!)
  • Serving on some different committees and boards in our community
  • Celebrating the royal wedding with friends
  • Hosting my parents (did that for a week in early May)
  • Going to the Barnes Museum in downtown Philadelphia
  • Trying to get around to making photo books of early spring adventures to Disney World and New Orleans
  • Getting the calendar and my brain ready for summer (it’s only a month away!)

What We’re Reading

  • The Outlander series (first and second books–such fun!)
  • The Dr. Kitty Cat, Owl Diaries, Miss Maisy series for the first-grade reader
  • The Captain Underpants series for the kindergarten reader
  • Comic books

What We’re Watching

  • Little Women miniseries on PBS
  • YouTube videos of Chloe’s American Girl doll channel
  • The Greatest Showman
  • The Simpsons
  • Doc McStuffins (having a resurgence in the house since we signed up for Hulu)

We’ll keep things rolling along in the next few weeks with a quick day trip to NYC, a dance recital, a piano recital, and time at the pool, which opens this weekend.

What We’re Doing/Reading/Watching

 

IMG_5196
The beautiful fireplace from my weekend getaway.

I am back with another March snow day update. We’re getting pummeled in the Northeast with snowy weather this month, and the kids are off for yet another day of school. *Sigh.* Lucky for us, we have a vacation in sunny Florida to look forward to.

Though the month has been long, there have been some highlights. I made it down to Cape May for a weekend. We celebrated St. Paddy’s Day with friends. The kids have had some fun playdates with lifelong buddies as well as emerging friends. We’ve had some great family time playing games. It hasn’t all been bad and frustrating and snowy (well, some of the month, at least).

I’ve been on a mission for the last few weeks to accumulate some new books for the kids’ libraries. The first grader and kindergartener are emerging readers on different levels, and I realized that I needed to infuse the bedroom libraries with books they can’t wait to read. The process has been really fun, actually, though I have invested some dollars into it. While I love the library and we use it often, having a collection of chapter books and readers on hand is also valuable.

What We’re Doing

  • Playing Exploding Kittens
  • Celebrating some family milestones (New baby cousin! An upcoming wedding!)
  • Attending activities like piano, ballet, soccer, and Lego Club
  • Watching snow fall from the sky
  • Exercising (Trying to fight off the snow day calorie binges!)

What We’re Reading

  • Beartown (just finished this)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (just started this)
  • Owl Diaries
  • Dr. KittyKat
  • Captain Underpants
  • Who Would Win? book series

What We’re Watching

  • Coco (again and again and again)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (watching today, actually!)
  • Wolf Hall
  • Pinkalicious
  • Chloe’s American Girl Doll Channel (on YouTube)

That’s it for now. I really hope I don’t post another update that involves snow until 2019!

 

What We’re Doing/Reading/Watching

IMG_5141

We’re having a very March-y weekend. It’s cold and biting, so going outside is still not an option, unless it’s to run to the car. We survived a blizzard/hurricane thing here on Friday night and were lucky not to lose power. Our town was ravaged and so many trees and power lines are down. So we’re hunkered inside and making the best of these last few weeks of winter.

I can’t say that January, February, or March have been too terribly exciting, but we’re still kept things interesting. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

 

What We’re Doing

  • Making lots of origami
  • Using Model Magic to make American Girl Doll food
  • Playing Zingo (both math and word versions) and Boggle Jr.
  • Cleaning out (that spring cleaning vibe is here)
  • Ice skating
  • Cheering on the Eagles (football), Sixers (basketball), and Flyers (hockey)
  • Making Twelve Days of Christmas ornaments (I am determined to wrap up mine this year)
  • Recovering from flu (it was a LONG February!)

What We’re Reading

  • Beartown
  • Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
  • The Little Book of Hygge
  • Berenstein Bears books
  • The dinosaur sports series by Lisa Wheeler (Dino-Baseball, Dino-Boarding, Dino-Basketball, etc.)

What We’re Watching

  • Mozart in the Jungle (I am obsessed)
  • Victoria on Masterpiece
  • Michael Keaton movies
  • The Olympics (as of a week ago)
  • The new Pinkalicious series on PBS
  • Wild Kratts (there has been a renewed interest in this show in the house)
  • Coco

Life will get a little crazier in a few weeks, so it’s good to enjoy a few more quiet weeks. Not only do spring sports like baseball and soccer start in early April, but our family has a few back-to-back trips booked at the end of March and beginning of April. Looking forward to getting to the more action-oriented time of year.

 

Cookies and Crafts

Hi there! As we count down the hours for the Eagles game to start, I wanted to write a little about how we’re spending our time these days.

 

This week kicked off the Girl Scout cookie season. My little gal is a Daisy and is having her first experience selling cookies. So far, it’s so much fun! We’ve done a cookie booth with the troop, created a video to share on Facebook and Instagram, and sold cookies to the neighbors.

We’re also crafting quite a bit these days too, which was evident when Miss N headed to school last week on the first day of cookie sales. She not only wore her Daisy vest, she rocked the skirt we made with Riley Blake Girl Scout fabric as well as a bow featuring some favorite Girl Scout cookies, also designed by Riley Blake.

We’ve been creating bows in more than just cookie fabric too. Nora and I have been making many of them with her friends and for her friends. The pattern is pretty simple–you just need three rectangles of fabric, an iron, a glue gun, a needle and thread, and a hair clip. We’ve even made some for the American Girl doggies we have at home on hairbands. Just glue the bow directly on the band and the dog can wear it by her ear or around her neck.

This girl is so much fun, and I have to say I think very highly of first grade. We’re having a great year.

What We’re Doing/Reading/Watching

slimeOne thing I’ve noticed in the last year is that I am able to do a lot more in the REAL world. What I mean by this statement is that I am no longer drowning in baby, toddler, and preschool stuff, content, etc. The kids are much more interested in things I like to do, read, and watch. This doesn’t mean that we’re only partaking in adult activities and content, though. I am perfectly happy doing kid stuff too.

In an attempt to keep track of our favorite interests, I’ll try to share a doing/reading/watching post a few times a year. We’re fully engaged in this stuff right now, as temps are crazy frigid and the kids have had two days off from school (after just two days of school since winter break!). When we’re more into our school and activity routine, I am sure we’ll be engaging in content together less, so now is the perfect time to capture what we’ve been doing through winter break and into early January.

What We’re Doing

  • Playing Just Dance on our Nintendo Switch
  • Making slime with Elmer’s glitter glue
  • Practicing origami
  • Putting together puzzles
  • Playing Uno, Clue Jr., and Mario Monopoly
  • Sewing on Girl Scout patches, teaching Nora how to use the sewing machine, and making hair bows
  • Building Legos and Lincoln Logs

What We’re Reading

  • Julie Albright’s Beforever novel: The Big Break (American Girl)
  • Soccer on Sunday (Merlin Mission book from The Magic Treehouse series)
  • Mo Willems and Mo Willems-endorsed books
  • Pete the Cat readers
  • The Crown: The Official Companion (Vol. 1) by Robert Lacey
  • Night Film by Marisha Pessl (given to me but Steve is reading it)

What We’re Watching

  • The Crown
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Zak Storm
  • The Barbie cartoon on Netflix
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  • The new My Little Pony movie (watching it tonight to beat the winter blues)
  • The Last Jedi
  • Ferdinand

So that’s just a snapshot of what we’re into right now. Hoping you have found some content to keep you occupied during these dark winter months.

 

Holiday Update

winter-houseWe are in the midst of a mid-December snowstorm this afternoon, and I am happily inside working on my to-do list. I am really trying to embrace the coziness (the hygge, if you will) of this chilly and dark time of year. Tonight, I’m making a yummy veggie soup for dinner and plan on snuggling with the kids with a holiday movie until Steve gets home from work (whenever that will be!).

Here are a few of my favorite cozy additions to our holiday decor this year:

twelve-days-tree

I am excited to have added a second Christmas tree to our house, though it’s just tabletop sized. I love getting a little corner of light in the dining room, and it’s a treat to have a place to display my twelve days of Christmas ornaments. While my hands have not been able to handle making too many of these ornaments this year (boo joint stiffness!), I am hoping to finish the swan a swimming this weekend so I can add one more to the tree in 2017 (leaving the people-themed ornaments for 2018).

xmastray

Nora and I enjoyed putting together a little tray featuring some Christmas elements on the coffee table in the living room. I picked up this cute hammered silver tray from the Hearth and Hand collection at Target in November thinking we could turn it into something fun and festive. We’re enjoying the easy access to the candy canes this season and love the smell of this locally made Christmas Tree soy candle (I’m also diffusing pine regularly since my dream of getting a real tree this year fell off the must-do list).

We’re relishing our cozy time at home particularly right now because this year has been so full of fun adventures. In November, we took a weekend trip to New York City as well as the Jersey shore. I fulfilled a dream of seeing the Rockettes when we were in New York (such an entertaining show!) and got to visit the brand-new American Girl doll store too. I am totally maximizing these doll years with the kids (hard to believe this was my third visit to the NYC AG store with Nora this year!).

Margate-holiday

We happened upon a beautiful light display in Margate, New Jersey, when we visited over Thanksgiving weekend. The best part of the light display was that it was completely empty of people when we toured it. Shore towns are not exactly hopping during this time of year!

Nutcrackertix

Another highlight this holiday season was watching Nora in her first Nutcracker. She wanted to dance this year specifically to be in the Nutcracker, and I have a feeling we’ll have the chance to watch her dance in it again. She was not at all nervous to be on stage, which Steve and I agreed wouldn’t have been the case with us at seven.

homemadegift

Finally, we are having fun making some gifts this year. Both kids picked out a project for gift making and giving. I’ll reveal more after the holidays so I don’t spoil the surprise for those receiving these items.

I know I’ve been short on blog posts this year. It’s due in part to the kids growing up and me wanting to keep their lives more private and also because my day job is keeping me pretty busy. I’d love to continue to document life in 2018, and maybe I’ll find some newfound time to write here once the year of fun frenzy winds down in a few weeks.

Happy holidays, dear readers!

 

October Air

IMG_3959

Today is a beautiful fall day here. The sun is shining and the afternoon feels warm, but the mornings and evenings are crisp. We’ve all been lingering in bed in the morning with these cooler temperatures. It may also be due to our fall schedule, which is pretty darn tiring.

I can’t complain about the pace of life these days though. Everyone is really happy, thriving, and putting time and energy into what gives them joy, or at least purpose!

The first grader loves the full day of school and is applying herself at many after-school activities, including soccer, ballet, and Girl Scouts. She loves to be busy and among the people, so being on the go is truly what brings her joy.

The kindergartner has adjusted to his new school routine finally and is making new friends. He amazes me with his abilities at soccer, and he is excited to be learning to play the piano.

I am trying to keep up with these kids and continue to dig myself out of a big editing pile (I project that I’ll be done with it this Friday!). I hope that October brings a little more balance in my schedule, as long work days make me a little crazy. I am like my daughter — one who likes to be with the people — so balancing my solitary editing and writing work (which also recharges me) with some volunteering, exercising, and socializing will boost my happiness for sure.

We are excited to celebrate fall in many ways this season. We’re headed to a “pumpkin days” celebration next weekend and will travel to the Finger Lakes for my 35th birthday. We’ve also signed up for a Trunk or Treat at the school and have several other Halloween events planned. Yay for October and all its festivity!

I would be remiss if I neglected to mention that my heart aches for several tragedies and natural disasters in the news as of late. I am also disheartened by the low levels of rhetoric we are stooping to in our country. Raising children in this world is not easy, folks. I hope that the efforts we are putting into their lives as parents are going to give them the confidence to lead this world into a much better place.

Back to School and Everything Else

IMG_3607

It’s amazing to me how the last days of summer seem so long as we await the beginning of the school year. Last weekend we were literally counting hours of days. The weather wasn’t great and the kids were tired. We’d done everything on our summer to-do list and we were ready for a change.

And then Tuesday, the first day of school, happened. And we haven’t stopped moving since! My oldest started her first year as a full-day student and my son started half-day kindergarten as well as an enrichment program in the afternoon. Piano started up again, as did soccer. And more is slated for next week!

I absolutely adore this time of year, and we’re off to a cool start weather wise that is helping with earlier bedtimes and a change of schedule. So happy the kids are enjoying this first week — it helps that there hasn’t been homework!

What a Summer!

Today is the last day of kid summer. Tomorrow, the bus rolls up our street every weekday through June. And this year, both kids are hopping on that bus. There is a mix of excitement, anticipation, and nervousness in our house today, but we most forge ahead.

This summer was pretty amazing when I think about the scope of what we did. There was a killer West Coast vacation, a camping trip, a few beach trips, a girls’ visit to New York City, and lots of visits to local museums and theater performances. The kids did several weeks of camp, swam at our pool, and got plenty of bike riding in. We even painted their rooms!

We closed out summer with several fun activities, including watching the solar eclipse at our local park with friends, going to the Reading Public Museum to see the Ninja Turtles exhibit, and wandering through the attractions of our own city — Philadelphia. I finally got the kids to the Liberty Bell! Summer bucket list completed!

As the mama bear to these cubs, I have mixed feelings sending them off tomorrow. I am thrilled to establish a new routine in the house, but I’ll miss the excitement that summer brings. I should keep in mind that we’re already planning Halloween costumes and holiday happenings, so there is plenty going on this fall.