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!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Our First Summer Vacation

The best part of Maddie starting preschool last fall is definitely the love that she now has for school, added to her already instilled love to learn and socialize that seems to have developed immediately out of the womb but the second best part? Summer vacay, y'all!

No dragging the kid out of bed at 6:00! No more rushing to get everyone dressed, fed, teeth brushed, packed, and out the door at exactly 7:15. Not that the grown ups get to stop doing that but to take away the stress of doing it for the kiddo for a few months...hell to the yes.
When you have a baby up at 4:55, one grown up running,  and one 4 year old who literally has to be dragged out of bed in the mornings, things can be, well chaotic. Couple that with my need to make sure beds are made and toys are picked up (I cannot leave a messy house, it will haunt me all day), I get in about 3 miles of walking around the house before I actually walk to the train for the day.

But not after next  week, suckers! Sorry, I am a little excited. 

I am definitely going to miss our walks to school and hearing all about the fun Maddie has all day over the dinner table, but it will be back in the fall and I am sure she will have some great stories from the camps she is attending and the fun she gets to have with her nanny and sister.

So how does one fill the summer without overdoing it? My parenting philosophy is that kids should not be bored, but also that their calendars should give them plenty of time to be a kid - run around outside, color on the porch, watch a movie - the good stuff about being little and not having a million commitments. So, we have a little variety for them over the next few months.
Maddie had her last dance class Saturday and has her recital this weekend and then her ballet shoes are up on the shelf until fall, but she started track through YES this week and is already loving it (and I am loving the social time with our parent friends and getting to go for an extra run). It's a little much with her still being in school because we are not getting home until about 15 minutes after her usual bedtime, but I think she (we) can hang for a couple weeks.

After school ends Maddie will get a week at home with her nanny and sister to relax and decompress from school and then she has a week long acting camp (gah, going to be so cute)! Then it is another week off to enjoy the 4th of July and prepare for two weeks of the Vacation Bible School that she attended last year. I am really excited for this because that is how we got used to the idea of sending her to school and she had such a blast, and this year there will be lots of kids and grown ups she knows. Also, the amount of tired she is after those days is definitely going to go well with my plans to sit outside after kiddo bedtimes with a cocktail and my mister.

Then we are off to Maine for a week of family vacationing at the end of July (really, really cannot wait for this)!!! So that brings us to August, which is currently a blank slate but I am hoping to put in a couple of weeks of art camp for my budding painter. I also JUST booked a week at a resort in Southern California which means Gramma, LegoLand and Disneyland mid-August! I can't even process how happy that makes me right now.

And how about that sweet chubby baby? I do have a little bit of guilt for not getting her into any structured activities yet, but then I remember that Maddie was pushing 2 before we put her in her first music class and her nanny does an extraordinary job of taking her to every fun and educational baby event in the city during the week, so she is definitely not missing out there. I think when the fall rolls around it will be a perfect time to start seeing what kind of fun we can have with her, but I really don't want to have any weekend commitments over the summer because BEACH.

So that is their summer. Oh, and what about me? I am keeping up my 4 day a week running schedule and hoping to add back a night of yoga and am looking for a bike trailer so we can take some family rides and (despite the massive snake I saw last time) I want to get back into the Blue Hills for some hiking on the cooler days. Maybe looking at a couple of date nights with my dude that involve patios, oysters and drinks and definitely going to make that happen at home as much as we can. Also BEACH. Did I mention how much I am looking forward to the beach?

Happy last couple of weeks of school (and some pics from Maddie's first track night)!

Monday, June 6, 2016

On Productivity

Hey guys! I feel like I am getting into the swing of things lately with work being a little less hectic and making it a priority to spend a little time in the evening after the girls go to bed doing something a little productive (like blogging or finally finishing up Annie's baby book!).  Usually I just want to fall into a heap onto the couch while browsing Instagram and half watching Netflix when really I should be doing some PT stretches and exercises, putting out clothes for the morning and maybe even moving allll the way to the husband's side of the couch for some uninterrupted snuggling. This week, though, I need to make it a point to get up and go to bed before I fall asleep on the couch. Not sure if this will help me feel less exhausted but I am willing to try anything because the tired struggle is real. I am in a pretty bad pattern of always falling asleep on the couch because it just seems so much easier than getting up and moving into my bed. So awful, I know, but at least I made it a whole week with washing my makeup off before bed after setting that big goal. Other people live like this, right? Or just the crazy people who love to have a million and a half things on their plate at all times?

I feel like such a more productive person when I lay out things for the morning, but especially my running clothes. There is legit no excuse when that alarm sounds to get up when clothes are out, coffee is automatically brewing and the sun is getting ready to rise. I am only running two weekday mornings right now since it is Matt's turn to marathon train so I really have NO excuse, and so far I have been getting out there, spending one day doing a tempo run by myself and the other doing hill repeats with friends at 5am. Once Maddie starts her summer track program tonight Matt and I will switch off getting in an evening run since she will be there two nights a week and we will be close to one of my favorite run routes. Nothing better than a setting sun, the ocean and the idea of grabbing a hot dog at Sullivan's during a run, am I right? Also hoping that extra run will help me kick the five pounds I gained after the marathon because I am still eating like I am running 30 miles a week...

I am also a huge fan of meal prep; we follow a meal plan for the week with dinners identified and grocery shopped for on Sunday mornings. This morning I made the dinner that we will bring to the track and eat on the way home since it ends at 7:30, which is usually Maddie's bedtime and half an hour after we normally put Annie down, Luckily there is only a two week overlap with school and hopefully means we won't be wearing out the kiddos too bad. Maybe Annie will actually sleep past 5:03 in the morning too (that would be a truly welcome change). I am also embracing the salad thing at work lately after picking up this Sriracha ranch dressing and deciding that leftover cous cous and other random things in the fridge make for really good toppings.

Other keys to keeping it all together: shared iCals with all my stuff, Matt's stuff, the girl's stuff and our nanny's schedule; a weekly schedule that hangs on the fridge with who goes to work first, who gets home first, who runs, what we have going on regularly with Maddie's activities and who is in charge of the night's dinner.

What do you do to keep it all together (or at least some semblance of it)? I have such a love of organization and running a tight ship so that we CAN do all the things we do so I don't feel like we are living in chaos, just nicely controlled chaos :)

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. Ours was fantastic and I am already planning a Dot Day 2016 blog recap.

Here's a few cute pics from over the last couple of weeks!

We love the Christmas Tree Shop.

Between rain showers on Memorial Day.

This is her sign for more (food). She does it most of her waking hours.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Our Summer Bucket List

Even though this weekend went from bare legs outside on Saturday to an extra couple of layers this morning, I am completely dreaming of summertime. We got a few new pieces of furniture pieces for the back porch and took the entire grill and lounge set up for a test drive this weekend and I want MORE.

The other night I thought it would be fun to go around the dinner table and let everyone choose a couple of items for our summer bucket list since I am usually the one who makes/hijacks all the planning fun. Here is what we came up with:
Maddie chose the roller coaster park (Six Flags, which my uncle awesomely got us season passes to so this will be happening quite a few times) and water slides (also something that Six Flags has, so two birds - one stone!).
Matt wants beach, beach and more beach which will be fulfilled by a week in Maine with my AIL at The Cottages near Wells and hopefully many weekend trips to our local favorite beaches.
Mama chose a weekend in Mystic, CT to go to The Dinosaur Place and the Mystic Aquarium which we have never been to (already booked!) and I wanted to go to Thomas Land at Edaville since I really miss that damn train, but Matt suggested we wait a few more months until Annie can really appreciate it, so I want to check out the Whaling Museum in New Bedford.
Annabel seems to be excited about being outside, splashing in water and eating food - so we think that she will be pleased as punch with our family selections.

June will mark the end of Maddie's first year in school and I finally get why parents get a little excited because not having to drag her out of bed and get her ready while trying to get ourselves ready and keep to our respective running schedules and also taking care of the baby who loves to walk around the house making huge messes is going to be AWESOME. We have Maddie signed up for a couple of different summer camps as well as the YES Track program so she will be busy but not so much that we can't wake up early on any given Saturday morning and escape to the beach, which is going to be lovely. Poor Annie needs to get a good summer activity in too, so I think I will look into enrolling her in the music or gymnastics program that Maddie did as a tiny one so that I can avoid the unfairness that happens to the second child!

Here is to warm summer evenings and babies in bathing suits, even if I do have a fleece on!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

April, May, Here We Are!

You guys. A LOT has happened since we last spoke. Some good, some great, some awful, but we made it. Seems pretty obvious to still be standing but there have been a few times in the past three weeks where I had to just pat myself on the back for the lack of laying down and giving up.
It has been insanity, but cheers to the sunshine outside and the summer vacation request on my desk and all that exciting stuff to come. However, let's give it up for the last few weeks, shall we?

I ran the marathon. Excuse me, the Marathon. As in Boston. And it was a PR and I raised over $7,500 for Boston Cares. It was amazing and fun and inspiring and I am still thinking about what a blur it was after all those months of training. I am beyond honored to have done it and so proud of all my friends and strangers who chased the unicorn that day.

Then, my Mom was here, so we got to hang out with her, which is always awesome, especially for those girls of mine who think that Gramma is just the cat's pajamas (they're right, she is). We ate, we shopped, we touristed and she was gone much too fast, as always.

We didn't even get much time to be sad because the day she left the four of us got on a plane and headed to DC for a little touristing before I had a work conference for a few days in Maryland. Matt and I played a very skilled game of parenting and tried to switch off and tire out and not cry and I must say we did a pretty great job, mostly because that man is Superdad. It was Annabel's first vacation after transitioning out of our bed and she did a great job in her crib, even when we put her in crib in a closet in a shared hotel room. Maddie was a little maddening, but apparently that is what happens when you're four (right? parents? please tell me they are all a little/lot crazy?).

Then we came home, on a 7am plane, which was a miracle unto itself that all four of us managed to get up at the crack of dawn and get ourselves across Maryland and home in one piece. We came home to devastating news in the neighborhood and spent the rest of the week trying to be as helpful as possible and doing a lot of praying and hugging the ones we love.

Then Maddie got a stomach bug for the weekend, which was fine because it gave us all a chance to relax and chill out and recover. Then I turned 34 at Fenway Park with the love of my life sitting next to me in the pouring rain and things could not have been more perfect.
Then I got the bug. Then Matt. Then our nanny and then it was like the g'damn Oregon trail where everyone gets dysentery and the ox goes feet up because HOLY MOLY I cannot believe how fast that puppy spread. The good news is that I was already planning a post-marathon no sugar/no alcohol cleanse but the bad news is I expected to at least be able to drink water. UGH.
But we recovered. Well, now my AIL has it but I blame the fact that the entire city seems to have it, even if Maddie may or may not be patient zero.

After we could all eat again (thank GOD) it was Mother's Day, which I spent relaxing and eating homemade meals from my AIL and hubs and being very thankful to get to be a mama to these two little ladies.

And now here we are.

Feeling better, planning our summer (bucket list post to come) and getting ready for Matt's graduation this weekend (yay, Matt!).

Phew. Ok, glad we could spend this time catching up.

Ready for a photo binge?

Start line dance party.
Heartbreak Hill.
Vacation means popcorn and the Disney Channel in the big bed.

Heart eye emoji at Dada.
My peas in a pod at the zoo in DC.
Maddie and her new aviating family. 
Straight touristing.
Annie liked DC, especially the lunch part.
All the museums!
Still not entirely sure who lives there but she liked his lawn.
Mama's day love.
Park time before the Mother's Day deluge.
My favorite flower bouquet.