Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Currently: End of Summer Edition

I cannot believe that Labor Day weekend is just a few days away! So much has happened this Summer since my last Currently post and I can honestly say this has been a Summer for the books! Here is what we are up to as the summer rolls out and pumpkin everything  Fall comes in behind it.

Reading: I am a couple hundred pages away from completing Allegiant, which is the final book in a trilogy by Veronica Roth, and it is due back at the library tomorrow so I better hurry! Most of my friends had a decline in their enjoyment of the books as the trilogy went on, and while I do agree that the first one was the best, I am actually still into the second and third. As with a lot of YA books, I do get a little annoyed at the brooding, poor decision, boy-crazy female protagonist, but it made for some good summer reading.

Eating: I am trying to get in all the yummy summer fruits before they are gone, and have been incorporating lots of random berries into my morning smoothies. Also, I started prepping them in freezer bags after seeing this hack and it has made my mornings so much smoother (ha! get it?). I am going to be asking Santa for a smoothie blender for Christmas to replace our regular ol' one; any suggestions on what to ask for?

Thinking About: Fall! I do love the summer, but Fall in New England is the cat's pajamas. Cooler weather, my favorite fashion season, pumpkin everything, and less chaotic weekends; yes, please. I feel like things are going to be SO fun with Maddie this year: apple picking, Halloween, leaf peeping, all those things Matty and I love to do but through the eyes of our little adventurer. I am loving the warm weather this week, but I am definitely eyeballing those boots in my closet.

Listening: Maddie has the best party trick in which she sings the chorus to Knock on Wood (in the vein of Otis Redding); is is by far the cutest thing I have ever seen, so I play it a lot to get her to do it. That led to more Otis, and then some James Brown, and before I knew it my Amazon Prime was like Soul Train. No complaints here though, if she wants to get down to Papa's Got a Brand New Bag over any new popular music I will gladly indulge her.

Watching: It turns out that not having cable has been a really minor change, mostly because we still have access to Showtime and HBO, thanks to some friends' accounts, so I have been playing catch up with Nurse Jackie. I have also started to watch Six Feet Under on Amazon because I never finished the series after starting to watch it in that year I took off between undergrad and graduate school. Man, that show was good!
I will admit that I am a little sad to be missing out on Son's of Anarchy and some terrible E! shows, but maybe someone will give me access to their Verizon account? Any takers? ;)

Loving: Having my Mom here! Gramma is here for a week to watch Maddie while her nanny is getting wedding ready and Matty and I work, and it is just so awesome to have her here. Maddie adores her Gramma and I think that this time they get to spend together one-on-one is so wonderful and invaluable for the both of them. I am also really loving how easy my nights have been after work since all Maddie wants to do is play with Gramma! We will be so sad to see her go home on Saturday but looking forward to our next visit together already!

Well, that's it folks, happy Wednesday! Hope you get a beach day in before this weather is gone!

Picture credit to Gramma on Old Silver Beach.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On Street Harrassment

This was on everything I owned as a young woman and is still a favorite picture.
Kathleen Hanna circa 1992 (I was ten).
I have a memory in my late teens of eating at a local pizza place in Reno with my Mom when two men sat down next to us and started staring, leering and uttering that oh-so-charming "pssssttt" at us. As a feminist (riot grrl identified, thankyouverymuch) it made every sense in the world to me to look them directly in the eye and tell them to FUCK OFF, Kathleen Hanna style. My Mom was equal parts impressed but also worried; what if they retaliated? What if they got physical? My thoughts: let them try. Hell, bring it on, assholes; I will be happy to take you on or get you arrested for assaulting two women just trying to have a mother daughter lunch together.

Many years and one move to one of the country's most progressive cities and I am steal dealing with the same shit, and I am still as pissed off as ever. Actually, I am even more pissed because I have to wonder if I am going to be out to lunch with my own daughter in fifteen years and have to have the same scenario played out.

Today I had to make a run from my office over to one of the sites that I manage. I like to cut through an area by the local news station and as I was doing so I saw a local anchor, over whom my husband and I have an inside joke (he did the same tri as Matty and Matty beat his running time so we like to call him out on it). As I pulled out my phone to text Matty a young guy (definitely younger than me) walked by me and said "yo, whassup", which I just ignored because I was trying to text my husband. He got a little farther past me and stopped, turned around and yelled, "hey, girl, whassup?". This time I stopped, turned to face him and said in a very neutral tone "please stop. I do not like being harassed.". His response: "harassed? Bitch, please".

Right, because I am the bitch for making someone feel uncomfortable, threatened and overall bummed out.

I was livid. I still am livid. And as I walked back to my office next the the police station that is also right there, I almost lost my shit when another man, this time much older, yelled at me, did the "pssst" and then waved when I finally looked up. He got the middle finger wave right back, as I was too shocked to have this happen AGAIN in just a fifteen minute span.

I am a prime target for street harassment. I am tall, noticeably tattooed and a runner, which is like wearing a sign that says "please, honk at me and scare me and make me fear that I am going to be raped in the pre-dawn hours because I choose to train for marathons while my toddler is still asleep in her bed". My tattoos give people an excuse to talk about my body and assume that I had these put on to welcome unwelcome stares and comments. Being a tall woman means my long legs are visible when I wear dresses and skirts, which obviously makes me a slut for showing so much skin. THIS ENRAGES ME.

I try and be active against this behavior; I am quick to respond to men who behave like this with a middle finger or a shout to "please don't harass me". Sometimes I even let them know that I don't like to feel like a rape target in my own neighborhood, or that I am hurrying down the street because I am excited to get home to my husband and toddler and do they have a daughter or a wife?
I have yet to have anyone apologize and am usually just called a bitch for advocating for myself, but I will keep doing it. I will tell men over and over and over that just by virtue of me being outside of the house I am not a willing participant in their bullshit. I will SCREAM it from the rooftop that my running in a tank top down a busy street is not for their enjoyment but because I do not want to sweat to death as I knock off as many miles as I can before going to work, taking care of my kiddo, or spending time with my husband.

This is two thousand fucking fourteen and it was time to stop this shit A LONG TIME AGO.

Please, men and women alike, if you see someone being street harassed, do something. There is a wonderful organization out there called Hollaback that has these awesome tips for bystanders, as well as tips for when you are being harassed yourself (men or women, as I am very aware both genders are victims).

This is a very real problem that affects every woman you know, whether you think it does or not.

Please, please put this into your conscious and help.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Summer's Last Hurrah

Well folks, this is it, the final breaths of summer.

I can feel it in my heart, in the long sleeve t shirt I have on and the not-so-sad feeling I have over pumpkin spice lattes coming back. I haven't been here a lot because I have been trying to take in every single last bit of the summer that I can. I just want to be outside, to wear sandals, to opt for ice cream before dinner. Of course now that we have gotten used to having our air conditioner off the weather says it will be in the 80s next week, so down the windows come and on that sweet AC goes, but I have a feeling this will be it. The last warm hurrah.

This summer has been good to us, even if it was incredibly, terribly, awfully stressful as we worked towards getting our house. I mean, we got the house, and we still managed to spend some quality weekends on the beach, so it wasn't all bad.

My Mom will come today to spend the week with Madeleine while our beloved nanny preps for her wedding, then we will drop my Mom off on our way to spend the long weekend at said wedding. We rented a house through Air BnB that is on a farm. where we will get to pick our own fresh eggs for breakfast and see baby goats. We come home the day after Labor Day and Matt starts classes that night while Maddie and I start our new routine of just us ladies two nights a week. I plan to do on-line yoga classes and early bed time for both of us those nights. 

But this weekend and the week after, this will be our hurrah before that weekend. Time to play tourist with Gramma and show off our new home, to make one more trip to the beach and eat one more lobster roll. To say goodbye to summer with all our love and wishes for a quick return. 

Thanks summer, you were a real treat. Now lets have a good send-off.

Maddie got a Sox hat and a Bambi, and they play well together.
She was CRACKING up about putting the hat on Bambi. 
This kid, such a silly one. 

New decals over her big girl bed!

We went bowling and the tiny shoes made my heart explode. 

As did this sweet teaching scene.

Hooray for bowling!

My buzzy bee baby.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back to "Normal"

Whelp, now that we did that whole buying a house thing, we finally get to settle in and get back to our regularly scheduled know, the mundane, regular ol' life we have. 


Not that I would ever want to describe life like that, but y'all know this life we are living is anything but boring!

Last weekend Matty did not have class for the first time in months, so he was the best and took Maddie to gymnastics class while I got a little manicure/pedicure and some quiet, alone time with a Starbucks. Then we all went to our friend's birthday party who happens to also be the mama of Maddie's very best friend. We had a blast swimming in the pool, watching the girls play and getting down and dirty with an ice cream cake. On the way home Maddie passed right out, leaving us time to run some errands and pick up my packet for the tri on Sunday. 

Speaking of the is how that went:
We were up bright and early to get to Southie so I could get my transition area set up and mentally prepare myself for how far those buoys looked sitting in the ocean. Let me tell you, they looked really far and seemed to only get farther as we waited an extra half an  hour for the tide to come in. Swimming was the one thing I was worried about, and obviously was the first part, so I signed up for the novice wave (read: dead last and full of guppies). It was definitely not the best choice; I am not a strong swimmer, but these folks had some serious issues not keeping their arms and legs from going bananas and right into everyone around them! In lieu of getting kicked in the face I decided to hang back and let them go, which added time to my overall but gave me the space I needed to find my pace and, dare I say, enjoy myself! Once I went passed the second (of four) buoys I knew I had it nailed and my confidence totally went up. I had a rough transition (wetsuit to bike clothes = really challenging) but my friend hung back and we did the whole bike part together, which was so much fun. We probably could have pushed and gone faster, but we were chatting and taking in the experience and getting a bit of a rest before the run. 
Oh, the run. My legs and body were pretty tired by this point, but let me tell you something about having run a marathon: you can run even when you think you are absolutely going to DIE because you have been running for four hours straight, so running 4.4 miles at the end of a swim and bike was NBD. Was I fast? Not at all, I was at least a minute over my normal race pace. Was I smiling and feeling good? Absolutely. Was I last? ALMOST! But not quite :)

So, I did a tri and it was actually a lot of fun. Hell, I think I want to do another one! But not now; now I am excited to start half-marathon training (four days in) and to get back to long runs and the ten pounds ago of my last marathon finish. 

I thought I would be ridiculously pooped as soon as we got home, but I actually had the energy to take Maddie to the park down the street from our house and then made sure to fall asleep just as Matty started tackling our first home improvement project of putting shelving in the kitchen. This is the after, and I just love it. It added some much needed space for our cookbooks and just looks so good. That hubs of mine sure is handy!

So aside from tris and playing and making our new house awesome, we are just trying to enjoy every last minute of summer. My morning run had a crispness in the air that I haven't felt in a long time, and although it feels great, I know that this means that summer is on its way out. Luckily we have a lot left to do: my Mom is coming for a week, our beloved nanny is getting married and there are a lot of walks to the park in our future. 
You've been a good one, summer, but we aren't quite finished with you yet!

My Target buddy and I contemplating a mirror purchase. 
Dr. Maddie and our sweet new sectional.
Hanging out at our local park, because we can!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

We Moved!

Hooray! After months that felt like years and more money than I can even wrap my head around, we are officially home owners! We closed on Thursday morning and had the last of our things out of our old apartment Friday morning (on our way to Newport Jazz Fest because, obviously we like to keep things interesting way too busy).

Although it is all a little overwhelming, it is also incredibly amazing to have reached this goal that we have been working on for so long and to focus on the next chapter of our lives...and painting; I cannot wait to paint! We moved into a pretty nicely renovated condo, but there are a lot of little things that we need to do and we have started a book of the bigger things that we want to do over time. It is so fun to know that we can do whatever we want to our home and make it perfect for us. I will definitely be taking some photos for a little tour around the new place and document everything that we do. I see a lot of Home Depot time in my future, especially since I have been there at least three times this month already!

Maddie is transitioning amazingly well into her new space, which I think has a lot to do with her awesome new bed and dinosaur sheets! The first few nights she slept through the night without a peep and has been napping well. I am trying to make her a part of everything and had her pick out some paint swatches that she liked and might even let her help us out when we do her room....maybe.

Honestly I just feel like life can continue when it felt so much like it was in limbo - not know when and if we would move, not able to make a budget, and dealing with the back and forth stress of everything. I was a little too happy to get into work Tuesday and just dive into my projects and normal routine because I am craving a sense of normalcy so bad right now.

I feel incredibly grateful for all of our friends and family who supported us and helped us get to this place and I cannot wait to have everyone over for some well deserved fun!

Here are a few pics of our moving weekend and a little glimpse into Maddie's new room!

Having secret Shake Shack while Maddie snoozes in her car seat. We are awesome parents.

Maddie and I had a little fun in between Home Depot runs.

New room! This rug is so cute, right?

Giving me her best teenager impression over lunch in our new kitchen.

Pretending to sleep in her new bed our first night in the new house!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Almost Moving Day!

On the crazy train!
After what was surely the craziest (and most expensive) roller coaster ride of our lives, we are finally closing on our new house! We are scheduled to close at 9am on Thursday and then the movers come at noon! I cannot believe that we only have two nights sleeping in our current house left! It is crazy to think back on how much has changed since we moved in; there wasn't even a Maddie yet, well, at least not outside of my belly, and now she is ripping up and down the very same stairs that we first brought her up from the hospital.

Look at that tiny little Maddie!
We are all very excited to move; it is a better neighborhood, a nicer space and it is OURS, which is pretty fantastic. There is definitely going to be an impact to our budget and we will have a lot less play money for a while, but for the first time ever I am not panicking. First, it is temporary, as all money matters are and second, it is because we are putting our money into something so awesome, that will be in our family for as long as we want, and that makes it all worth it. Sure, it is going to be a little difficult to adjust to and we are going to be making some sacrifices, but I am so very excited to spend time at home, having people over for dinner and drinks on our deck and doing some fun DIY projects to make our home really reflect who we are.

Since we found out on Thursday that we were cleared to close we have been packing, cleaning and trying to get as organized as we can. This is the first time that we have hired movers, which we did given the small window of time we have to move our stuff, and I think it is holding us really accountable to get our shit together. We don't want the movers to think we suck at packing!

Honestly though, between packing, cleaning, work, tri training (2 weeks away!) and still trying to sneak some fun in on the weekends I am exhausted, but we are almost there, and every time I get overwhelmed I just pull up pictures of the new place and let my decorating daydreams go wild!

It is still summer though, and there is still fun to be had, and here is proof that we have managed to have some in the past few days, in case you were concerned:
Beach day with my AIL on Saturday!

Dada made a bow for backyard hunting purposes.
Tubbie time shenanigans. 

This is what happens when someone watches Maddie and lets us loose. Thanks, Jane!

Same face as the previous pic! O'Shea genes run deep!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

5 Things to Do in Boston this Summer

To me, summer in Boston is so wonderful because there has to be something to wipe away the memories of what February is like (aka the month when I think we need to move to an island in the tropics). New England has so much to offer in the summer, but you can really do a ton of fun things without ever leaving city limits (or having to get in a car)! I narrowed it down and these are the five things that I think everyone, tourist and local alike, need to do during the summer months in my fair city:

Get a lobster roll. Bonus points for eating it outside with a local beer. We like Yankee Lobster for convenience and deliciousness, but you really can't go wrong with your choice when in New England whether you're a cold with mayo or hot with buttered bun type of person.

Hit the beach. Since this is about what to do in Boston, I suggest going to Carson Beach in Southie. For a long time I thought it was probably pretty dirty with its view of a water treatment facility and proximity to the city, but it actually has an incredibly high rated water quality (thanks, gentrification of Southie!). After you swim around make sure to continue down the Harborwalk to Castle Island to watch the planes and get fries and ice cream at Sullivan's. And don't forget the playground, which is one of our favorites.

Take advantage of all of the free things going on. From yoga in Post Office Square to Shakespeare on the Common, there are things to do literally every night during the summer. Movies on the Esplanande (or the waterfront), Red Sox viewings, Free Fun Fridays, the Landmarks Orchestra: you could fill your calendar for three months just trying to hit up all these events.

Stroll down the Greenway. Every day there are food trucks parked from Haymarket to South Station and there is just something so awesome about strolling among the lush green trees, sandwich in hand, knowing that you are on what used to be a highway, and is one of the longest construction projects ever. Extra fun to be had if you linger around Faneuil Hall and watch some of the tourists try to navigate the madness that is Boston traffic.

Give back. If you are lucky enough to have time off in the summer, or even if you have a full schedule, there are organizations here that make it really easy to volunteer. Boston Cares has tons of different projects in all sorts of impact areas (kids, the environment, the elderly) and you can pick projects around your schedule via their on-line system. It is seriously SO easy and such a fantastic organization that is involved in so many great projects.
If you are an early riser like me, I also suggest checking out Back on My Feet, which is another organization I am proud to be a part of. Volunteers run with individuals experiencing homelessness at a number of shelters around the city. 45 minutes of running or walking is what most people do for their daily workout, so why change some lives and have a blast while you are at it?

Happy summer, y'all!