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.

 

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Adios, 2017!

This year, New Year’s Eve is not going to be too crazy. Our plan is to snuggle up under blankets and watch movies and football games (and maybe an episode or two of The Crown when the kids go to bed), eat up holiday leftovers, and go to bed whenever we feel like it. After all, it’s been a hectic winter break full of many, many highs. We just said goodbye to our last holiday guests today and are ready to put the period at the end of 2017.

It’s been a great, FUN year. We traveled a lot, saw a lot of friends and family, were very active, and got into our groove for the elementary-school years.

What will next year bring, I wonder. We’re starting out on a good note with several exciting trips booked. I have plenty of paid work in January, and I am looking forward to the kids getting back into their routines in just a few days. I am hopeful we’ll be healthy and happy in 2018 — pretty basic stuff. As for my word for 2018 (you know much about the 2017 word — fun), I’ve decided to go with the rather simple “prioritize.” Not sure exactly what this means yet, but I will let you know as I go along this year. I am hopeful it means weighing my commitments (both volunteer and work ones), being present, and giving myself room to grow as a mother and as an individual. We’ll see how it unfolds as the calendar months go by.

No matter your plans for ringing in 2018, I wish you a happy new year!

 

 

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:

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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).

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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!).

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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!

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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.

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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!

 

The March of Time

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Yesterday, I wore my FitBit overnight. It was not intentional, and I am not sure I’ve done it before. Nonetheless, when I woke up, I was eager to see how much sleep I logged. I couldn’t believe the figure when I saw it — 9 hours! I went to bed a little bit earlier than usual and fell asleep more quickly than normal.

My, how things change over time. Just a few years ago, that kind of uninterrupted sleep would have been impossible (I should thank the hubby now for his mid-sleep relocation to our youngest’s bed last night). It’s hard to believe that we spent YEARS sleeping with our oldest (who we had to wake up a half hour before the bus this morning!).

There are more signs in our house this month that time is marching on. I registered our four-year-old for kindergarten next year. I deleted the email about preschool registration as soon as it came through my inbox. I spent a great deal of time planning summer camps, knowing from last year that both kids desire some autonomy and time with peers throughout that long season.

We traveled to New York City a few weeks ago to celebrate Steve’s birthday. The kids saw their first Broadway show (School of Rock) and we enjoyed shopping at both the American Girl and Nintendo stores. Both kids were very grown up in the big city, enjoying a fancy lunch, a night in a hotel, and more.

Last weekend we finished our 2016 taxes, and it was a reminder that I’ve really jumped back into the workforce with a vengeance and will likely keep up this pace of work in the future. Thankfully, my gig is fairly flexible so it doesn’t require the amount of child care that we needed almost four years ago, but I am very much engaged with my business, both in nurturing it in its current state and growing it for the future. These kids morphing into elementary schoolers will affect my life quite a bit, and I need to remind myself that the often-frazzled feeling of being overworked may feel like a godsend in a few years when the house is quiet from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.

So time marches on in our house. In all honesty, I’ve been a little too scheduled lately to dig into the sentimental “where has the time gone” feeling, but there have been a few times in recent days where a wave of sentiment has washed over me. It’s generally related to the cute little boy who arrived in our lives five years ago this July. I know as preschool graduation approaches in late spring that I’ll be a mess. Until then though, I hope I can just enjoy this last sliver of the preschool years.

Clean Slate

Did the first week of January seem like a long week to you? I feel like I put a lot of energy into getting back to “normal” after so many weeks of fun holiday stuff. And you know what’s so hard about doing that, I realized? We are so dang tired from the holiday hullabaloo that really JUST ended. It was only Monday that we packed away the Christmas decorations. Then Tuesday through Friday were a blur of getting back to the school routines. And then the hubby worked early mornings both weekend days. Now we’re here on Sunday evening, and I am just getting caught up. Taking deep breaths. Relaxing by the fire.

But even though last week was tiring, it felt so good. It was awesome to embody the clean slate that comes with a new year. I immediately started thinking of travel plans ahead, new work challenges, and upcoming transitions for the kids. I am getting used to a new one right now. My son started five-day preschool last week, and for the first time since I left full-time work in 2013, I have every morning to myself. However, I quickly realized last week that it’s still not a lot of time. It will take a bit to find a new balance with the schedule to manage work, fun, exercise, and more into those five two-or-so-hour days.

This week should feel even more routine. The kids are in school all five days. Nora starts a few new activities this week, including Daisies (yay!). Steve and I started watching The Crown last week and will continue chipping away at it. And I am thisclose to getting caught up with This Is Us. And my neighbor just loaned me a new book that I can’t wait to begin.

Here’s to bleak, cold, and refreshing January.

Festive Festivities

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The final week of 2016. Wow, what a year! It’s been a packed one, full of highs and lows and those in-between days.

Our house has been bopping this holiday season, hosting many family and friends for festivities and overnight stays. We’ve celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah and are reveling in winter break from school (which seems like a holiday in itself!). Earlier this week, we scored last-minute tickets to Disney on Ice, which felt like a great cap for the kids to a very fun and festive season.

I am happily brainstorming more exciting times in 2017. Now that we’re three years into our house and just one and a half years away from having the kids in full-time free school (yay!), I am starting to want more of our money to go to fun (rather than home repairs and tuition). Trips, tickets, amusements, you name it. I am challenging myself to come up with plenty of fun and not-too-outrageous plans for the year ahead!

Happy new year (almost)!

2016 Blizzard

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I am moments away from tackling the snow piled up in front of my house. The kids are begging to go play outside again, but I need just a few more sips of coffee before I get going.

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As most of you know, the East Coast got walloped by a big snowstorm yesterday. True to form, Steve had to get out and drive in the ridiculous weather to put TV shows into your homes. With the football championship games on today, I would like to think more people than usual are tuned in for his live show this morning. A TV spouse can hope, right?!

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The kids and I got to enjoy being snowed in though, and we walked through the neighborhood last night after a friend invited us over for dinner (such a kind offer!). It was so peaceful to walk through the winter wonderland, even if it means we have to deal with the blizzard’s messy aftermath in the days to come.

Okay, time to dig out!

A Fresh Start in 2016

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Happy New Year, all!

We rung in 2016 in a low-key style, which was just perfect. Our last week of holiday break included Star Wars, Legos, playdates, and more. I loved leisurely mornings and some late(ish) nights. It felt so good to be relaxed and unaware of the days of the week. Holiday break was just right.

But now it’s January.

We’re finally experiencing some cold weather on the East Coast, and Steve’s and my work calendars are a little on the insane side. It could be trouble for my outlook, but I am instead choosing to view this month with a positive perspective.

It feels so nice to be done with the holidays, to have the calendar free and full of possibility. We are already planning a West Coast vacation, a pool membership, and house projects for this spring and summer. Steve and I are binge watching Parks and Recreation. My friends and I are plotting some craft projects for the year. And the kids and I have plenty of new toys and gadgets to paw through in the next few months.

Here’s to large cups of hot tea, adult coloring books, and sweatpants for the remainder of the month!

 

Fall to Winter; Thanksgiving to Christmas

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I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was stuffed full of family and delicious eats.

This four-day weekend is always packed. It’s a transition time, with the harvest-celebrating days ending with the arrival of Santa in the Thanksgiving Day parade and the last piece of pumpkin pie. The day after Turkey Day is Black Friday, of course, where there are deals to snatch up and decorations to dig out of the basement.

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We sure maximized this week. We bought and wrapped many of our gifts. We hung lights outside. We decked the halls, though we’ll hold off on the tree for another weekend. We even started some Christmas crafts and listened to vintage Elvis Christmas vinyl that I snagged from my parents’ house back in August. Oh, and we already fit in my favorite holiday movie: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

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Now that we’re just two sleeps away from beginning our advent calendar, I feel ready. I am ready to get back to work on several freelance projects that recently came my way without stressing about everything that needs to get done (I’ve already done so much of it!). I am excited to enjoy the season and what it brings on my own terms. And this year, that means getting things done early.

I wish you the best of luck as you prepare for your holiday, no matter how you want to do it.

 

Early Taste of Spring

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How does one prepare for spring when the ground is covered in snow and the temperatures are not even flirting with the freezing mark? Well, if you are in Philadelphia, you travel to the Flower Show for an instant pick-me-up!

This more than hundred-year tradition is one of the best-timed events. In our area, the seasons stick to the calendar for the most part. This means that it snows in March (still winter) and is blazing hot in September (still summer). As much as we’re ready to move into the next season during these transitional months, Mother Nature insists we wait it out until those equinoxes arrive!

This year’s Flower Show focused on the movies, which was a perfect them for a four-year-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old. We enjoyed the beautiful displays while trying to guess the movies.

Here are some of the highlights:

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What magnificent floral displays!

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Themed after Cinderella’s wedding.

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Here’s Elsa’s castle.

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From Ratatouille. (Love the tomatoes in the floral basket!)

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Peter Pan.

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An Up doghouse.

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Winnie-the-Pooh, of course!

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Merida’s archery skills displayed.

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And some other beautiful displays!