Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November!

I am fully aware that there is one epic Disneyland post owed to this blog to round out my summer travel documentary but it has been since August and so what is another week (or month) in the grand scheme of things?

One November I took the time to blog every single day about something I was thankful for and today I am slow clapping at how I ever managed to pull that off. Sometimes I have to think for at least a minute or five on the train to work about whether or not I brushed my teeth that morning (so far I have not missed a day) so how I blogged daily is a mystery to me. Not to say that I wouldn't love to though because putting words down makes me happy, even if they are sporadic, but sadly not happening until someone reads my letter and gets on that extra three hours in a day.

But hey November is here! As a New Englander this is just about my favorite time of year aside from the first beach days of summer. The crisp air, the crunchy leaves and the colors everywhere are enough to make you forget that winter is coming and the ability to feel extremities is almost gone.

November also means that the big kid is having a birthday and is going to be FIVE which is insane to me because she was just born yesterday. I have to say that I do love this age so much - she is independent but still a little cuddle bug and just about the funniest and most imaginative person I have ever met. I have never been the mom that gets sad as her kids grow because I kind of knew that would happen when I had them and keep finding things to appreciate as they grow (like Maddie's ability to ride a plane to and from DC without a single issue - iPad, snacks, coloring, good to go!). Four has been increasingly awesome and I am looking forward to the adventures the next year bring us.

Meanwhile, Annie is rounding the bend to the 20 month mark and is single-handedly trying to bring me, the house, and everything she can get her hands on down into a pile of rubble. The good news is that she will make a great rugby player someday. And she was going to be our easy one....

But I just wanted to come here and say that even though I won't be posting it every day I have SO MUCH to be thankful for. Life is so good right now. It is messy, tiring, a bit in transition and not without chaos but my goodness how lucky I am to be living it.

I posted a lot on Instagram about our trip to DC and Halloween but wanted to share some of my favorite candid shots here because life, man, good stuff.

Oh, your best friend doesn't work across the park from the White House? Mine does!

Just cheesing outside of Obama's digs.

Matt ran 26.2 miles and Maddie was there to comfort him and steal his bread sticks immediately after.

Halloween cheesing. Love these faces so much. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Summer Recap Part Two: Wells, Maine

If there is one thing I love about vacations, it is going on them with my AIL. Something about having another adult who also happens to be an amazing cook and one of the most awesome people in the world makes vacations with all of us extra fun. For a whole week we all got to be in Wells, Maine at the Cottages at Summer Village, which were kind of the perfect place for us with these two ages of kiddos right now.

There were pools, fun activities, playgrounds and a super cute cottage with wild blueberries to pick and put in our pancakes. We had a grill to cook on and Adirondacks to sit in and a path around the cottages that became me and Annie's afternoon nap routine. And when we wanted to leave the cottages we could hike, go to the beach, or head to Portland, which is one of my favorite New England towns, and ended up being a great way to spend the one rained out day.

It was awesome to have two pools to choose from because both girls are total fish and just want to be in the water, which is fine by me! Maddie usually goes off to find friends to play with and Annie just wants to bob around in the water with anyone that will hang with her and both can hang for hours and be totally happy. Since last summer Maddie's swimming skills have gone from good to awesome and she is confident but also smart about her limitations and makes sure to check in with us and ask before running and doing a belly flop (yep, something she totally loves to do). And Annie, well thanks to her nanny she is already a little powerhouse in the water and gets around like a shark!

Passed out from a long day at the pool.
Walking and snacking, that is what we do.

Hello cute cottage!
When we woke up early in the morning (oh good God did it take days for Annie to stop waking up at 4am) we would hit the playground for a bit and wait for the coffee to kick in and the pool to open and, although I do miss sleeping in, it was pretty great to just be outside and in the sunshine with my girls day after day. One morning we took a short drive to Mount Agamenticus for a little hike that had the most amazing views of tree lines and ocean, something this former west coast girl still finds so amazing.
Ocean in the distance!
These two are hiking buddies for life.
When sleep is no longer an option, we play.
Waiting for the trolley with my Maddie.
On the one rainy day (well, really it lasted less than half a day) we drove into Portland to check out their children's museum and grab lunch at one of their awesome restaurants. The museum was so cute and both girls loved the turtle area, where Maddie even caught a special turtle presentation. By the time we ate lunch and headed back the sun was coming back out and we snuck in a couple of hours at the pool.

Baby in an Adirondack! 
She makes firefighting look even cooler. 

Of course no trip to Maine would be complete without a trip to the beach, which we got to do with friends who came up and took the trolley over with us (so easy!). And of course, we had to get lobster in, which came from a little spot on the beach and could not have been more delicious. On our last night I took my big girl to an outdoor movie thinking she would fall asleep or get bored, but she hung for the whole thing and at the end, as we waited for the trolley to take us back we ended up seeing a meteor shower. Standing there under that big Maine sky, snuggling my kiddo who smelled like suntan lotion and beach I could not have felt more lucky to have this awesome gang of mine to experience the world with.

At the York Zoo on our first day.
Annie loved the butterfly garden.
This kid LOVES her some coasters.
Movie, popcorn, no bedtime...what's better?

Next up, The O'Sheas take California and DISNEYLAND!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Summer Recap Part One: Mystic, CT

I did a terrible job of keeping up with all our summer travels over here because I was really busy enjoying every (well, almost every) moment of them! I was flipping through my Instagram last night and it is literally three months of adventure! I feel so lucky to be able to do these things with my kiddos and to have a husband that is always willing to let me create these crazy memories together.

At the beginning of the summer we created a summer bucket list and on that was a trip to Mystic. CT. Matt and I had been briefly when we first started dating to sight-see with my grandparents while they were visiting from the West Coast but it was an ill-fated trip (I ended up in the hospital the next day with a kidney infection) and we only saw a little of it. This time around, we had big plans!

We drove down on a Saturday morning and headed to The Dinosaur Place, which is just a few minutes from Mystic. I had no idea what to expect and had gotten Maddie pretty excited about it, so was really hoping it was as good as their website was claiming it to be. Good news: it was awesome. There were nature trails to walk that had HUGE dinosaurs throughout and fun facts posted that we talked about as we looked at them (the dinos were really well done, too!).
It was a little cloudy and rain was in the forecast but that meant more room on their huge playground in between a picnic lunch and chasing Annabel around since the crowds were super light. And before the storm actually rolled in the girls put on their suits and hit up the splash pad, which was really awesome for both kids (and both would've turned purple and stayed all day if we let them). On our way out Maddie and Daddy took a run through the maze and Maddie did a romp in the Jurassic Moon Bounce before we picked one thing out of the shop (a dinosaur transformer for Maddie, the victory of not spending more than $10 for Mommy and Daddy). I really hope Maddie continues her goal of becoming a paleontologist or at least humors Annie someday because we would love to come back!

Maddiesaurus Rex
That face :)


Annie LOVES water!


After we had our dino fill we checked into our hotel to relax for a bit. If we don't rent a house we absolutely must get a suite so that there is a living room area and separate bedroom, which is always worth the extra money to us. Once the girls go to sleep we can watch a movie together in bed and not worry about waking anyone up to use the bathroom. We also like to have the fridge and microwave to save money on food for the girls, especially microwave popcorn, which is Maddie's jam on vacation (popcorn and a movie on the pullout bed!). Once we were good and relaxed and had hit the pool (another must when travelling with the girls) we went to Mystic Pizza because when in Rome....! I really liked the pizza, Matt really liked the wings and Maddie and Annie enjoyed the pasta, so everyone got what they needed. After that it was back to the hotel for popcorn in bed and an early night so we could get to the Mystic Aquarium bright and early the next morning.
Hotel room cuddles!
They love posing for me.

A lady at the pool told us to get to the aquarium early so we could beat the crowds and that is exactly what we did. We were probably the second family in and Maddie walked right up to the beluga whales to be greeted by a big ol' beluga smile! It was amazing! After having just seen Finding Dory she could not have been more thrilled!
We are lucky to get to go to the New England Aquarium quite but this was a totally different experience. It was really spread out and had a lot of different animals (like even more sharks!) and everyone liked it (especially Annie, once she woke up from her nap). We had a chance to see everything before the crowds picked up and both the girls had enough so we headed back towards Boston. Even though it felt like we were miles away from home, it took us just a couple of hours (with a stop for lunch in Rhode Island), which makes it a really easy weekend getaway.
A submarine, get it?!


These two are peas in the best pod ever. 
Annabel could watch the fishies all day.
Beluga smiles!

Thanks, Connecticut, maybe you are more than a pit stop on the way to New York after all!

Next up....our week in Wells, Maine!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Running: Why I Quit the App

I haven't blogged since July and I clicked over here just to remind myself that no one really reads it anyways and saw that I have had a lot of visitor's and, more importantly, so many adventures that I want to share and keep in this space of mine! So far this summer we have been to Maine, Southern California, Cape Cod, and all over our lovely city doing all sorts of fun stuff. I have literally thrown in the towel on anything that doesn't involve getting every last drop of summertime in, which is saying a lot since I have a very comprehensive list of house projects to work on. I am going to overshare the hell out of some Disneyland pics soon, so please bear with me.

But, for now, let's talk about how I broke up with my Nike Plus Running app and have gone rogue.

I use a Garmin when I run most of the time because I like to know my pace and really like to know my distance (I have no sense of direction at all and will keep running if my watch doesn't tell me when to turn around). More and more lately on my Saturday runs with my run club I just wear my Apple Watch because I care more about socializing than I do my pace, and I cannot help but look at my Garmin if I have it on and know how rude it seems to do that when someone is talking! I never want people to think that I care about my time over my company, plus the Apple Watch means I can see any text message SOS' from home (aka get iced coffee, or check out the kids being cute) without having to dig my phone out. And, until last week, I always had my Nike Plus on as a back up. I liked that it has been tracking my miles since the beginning of my running journey and it is cool to see the thousands of miles add up BUT I feel like it causes a pressure that I am not willing to entertain anymore, including against myself.
The average pace of my running career is just not helpful or motivating to see. I have run when I was a new mom, new runner, leaky mess who just wanted to get thru a half a mile without stopping. I have run when I was just out with friends going as slow as I needed to get back into it after my second baby. I have run three marathons with it. I have run my fastest miles, which I never thought I could do. I have done so much that I no longer feel like I want some electronic counter of what I have accomplished because, really, I know by looking in the mirror. I know by the medals in my closet (yep, just hanging on a hanger next to my new dress I can't wait to wear on my wedding anniversary). I know, most importantly, by the number of friends in this crazy awesome community that I have because of 7am runs on Saturday mornings.

So, I deleted it. The update sucked and I decided to kick it old school and start journaling my miles on good ol' pen and paper. Instead of just pace and route I want to note who I ran with, if they told me about their birthday coming up so I remember to get them a card, if we went down a new street that I had not run or saw a new place to get dinner later, if I like the underwear I was wearing or if they bunched. You know, the important stuff. And of course I will have my distance and my pace but sometimes that isn't going to matter to me, and sometimes it is (like when I try to PR my last PR!).

And now, I feel kind of free, which is silly that it was having such an affect on me, but really I don't need other people to know when I run or how many miles each month, because sometimes I run over 100 in a month and sometimes I eke out 30 because SUMMER and KIDS and LIFE. And sometimes I DO want to share what  bad ass I was and I will (trust me, I will) but maybe I will just take a picture of my journal now :)

Also, this whole epiphany came just in time because I had the WORST run I have had in ages this weekend (do not EVER eat an apple and then start running) but as I walked and ran and stopped and puked I was pleased with the fact that it was back to basics and just me, my run and whatever pace or mileage I had going on in that moment.

So, here's to paper and pen and bringing it back to basics.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

On Current Events

It takes a lot to rattle me. Blame the career path, working in a prison doing therapy face-to-face with convicted sex offenders right out of grad school to helping federal inmates get their lives together after long incarcerations, not to mention the part-time stint with the coroner's office. Blame the childhood of drug and alcohol use around me, the death of my father, the millions of people in and out, the moving here and there. Blame the punk rock scene I grew up in, always aware of racism, sexism and classism and always looking for a way to smash the systems that made the world less awesome. I would say that there is not much to make me sit down and say holy shit, but today, I did. I had bile come up into my throat as though something terrible was happening to me (because something terrible was happening to the world). Yet I forced myself to watch every second of the video showing a man being shot dead with his girlfriend and child in the car because I can't just look away and also holy shit. Did that really happen?

I am so rattled that I am actually turning here just to put my thoughts down and hope that someday I can look back on this and be grateful that things got better. I want to look back on this and be glad that changes finally happened, whether you like guns or, like myself, find no purpose for them. Whether you are a cop, like friends and family of mine, or a convicted felon, like friends and family of mine. Whether you have a mental health issue or help to treat people with them. Whether you are black or white or some color in between. I want to say that all those people decided that the bullshit was enough and worked together to make some sort of change they could all agree on. We are smart and evolved and inclined to do good, so that is what should happen. It is in our genetic makeup to avoid danger and seek out happiness and love, so we should do that.

This is what I will tell my children when they ask me what they can do when things are not good. This is what I will tell myself when I wonder what to do. I will continue to wake up and anticipate the best out of people and know that bad decisions are made that create bad situations at all levels and I will try and change them every single day in the smallest of ways and the biggest of ways.

Be the change you wish to see in the world, right?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Over the Weekend

This weekend was a quintessential summer in New England kind of weekend. Fun you can only find when you live in an amazing city with all the things to do for kiddos and yet are just a quick drive to some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast.beach. Add in good morning run weather, BBQ with friends, and you've got all the good things.

The girls and I visited the Kite Festival at Ronan Park Saturday, which I cannot believe we were at with a tiny new Annie just last year. Maddie flew her kite like a champ after some help from the kite expert/volunteer who was gracious and led me back from a crisis when I could not figure out how to get the kite in the air. Maddie got that kite allllll the way up until the string ran out.
We slid down the grassy hill on potato sacks, had a hot dog care of our local police station and indulged in a little self-face painting with Dot Art. We are already looking forward to next year's!




Sunday morning we set our alarm for 5:30 so we could be the first ones in the lot at Old Silver Beach, which is quickly becoming my favorite spot to beach it up. Probably has a lot to do with the water being just warm enough that I can actually swim, or the bathroom and showers being right there for afterwards, but also, so pretty. Maddie couldn't help getting some of her own pictures too. 
Also, might I point out how smart my AIL is for bringing a baby pool to fill with seawater. Annie got to splash around and stay cool all while under both and umbrella and our watchful eye. Genius.


This week has been busy, lots of good stuff going on at work and lots of good stuff going on in the evenings working on some great events with my run club. In between I just say yes to quick trips to the park before dinner and a little extra time watching Star Wars before bed because SUMMER.

Maddie is at an acting camp this week and proclaims every night "it was SO GREAT" before promptly passing out exactly two minutes into any before-bed movie. Annie looks like she has lightened her hair about ten shades and has taken to bringing me her flip flops and pointing to the door because even she knows we have to soak it all in while we can.

Happy Wednesday, y'all. Godspeed to the long weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer Reading

On Maddie's last day of school she brought home a summer reading list, and while many would recoil at another thing to get done, and over the summer no less, I jumped with joy that Maddie and I had another reason for our favorite date: going to our local library. 

The ladies and I try and go once or twice a month to stock up on new books, see what programs are going on and let Annie throw someone else's board books all over the ground, but since it is summer and dinnertimes and bedtimes aren't such a huge deal I wanted to try and make it a weekly event that just Maddie and I do together for a little one-on-one time while Annie gets some floor play and cuddles from Daddy. 

So last night Maddie put on her unicorn helmet, grabbed her scooter and off we went, stopping to say hi to some friends in the neighborhood, gawk at the ice cream truck that I wasn't prepared/stocked with cash to indulge in and chat about the life and times of my favorite four year old. We knew we wanted a book about jaguars, some poetry and a fairy tale, so it was to both of our delights when we got in and Ms. Meghan, the children's librarian extraordinaire, was in the library. Without wasting anytime she had picked out two different jaguar books for Maddie, an awesome new picture book on unicorns and not one but two poetry books ABOUT DINOSAURS. Does Ms. Meghan know her patrons or what?

We also found out that Boston Public Library is also running a summer reading program called On Your Mark, Get Set...Read that has incentives and fun activities around getting kiddos to read (or read to). We are signed up and super excited to participate and hit our goal of 5 books a week. 
As we were on our way out Maddie said thank you to Ms. Meghan and then quickly turned around, ran back and exclaimed "we love you, Ms. Meghan" and my heart burst in a million pieces because all I ever wanted was my child to have a true first love that will never break her heart. We love you, library and we cannot wait to spend lots of time with you this summer! Now, we just need to keep Maddie from conking out on the couch before story time so we can get caught up for the week!

Happy summer reading, all!
PS. I am currently trying to finish up All the Light We Cannot see (SO good) before beginning my travelling book club and the five selections I will be getting mailed to me.

All of the sudden she can ride a scooter like a pro!

That face, even if she does drive me crazy, I sure love her. 

So excited to get home and show Daddy her new books!