Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summertime, And the Living Isn't Easy

"This summer is going to be a nightmare."

---E-mail from my husband to me, today, on only the THIRD day of summer vacation for the boyz, as both of us, from work, were trying to figure out who was getting who to baseball, who was going to what party tonight, who was getting a ride with who, and maybe, just maybe, squeeze in dinner tonight? Like at some point, maybe we can eat?

They are now 15-1/2, 13 and (almost) 12. No need for a babysitter. Like we had with my mother for many, many summers.

We don't even need to pay someone to be a *body* anymore. Just to make sure they don't microwave aluminum foil or physically harm each other. They hopefully know better...and what I don't know while I'm at work is fine by me, as long as the house resembles a home and not a frat house when I return. They are aware that if there is an emergency to call their father 911.


And they certainly already know how to call Domino's Pizza, as evidenced by the empty pizza box on Tuesday. Apparently there was a lunchtime delivery. Paid for by Middle with birthday money. I'm not sure what the other 2 owe him for that, or how they convinced him to spend his money. I didn't ask.

Yes, there are still chore charts. (4 years and counting of them!) Obviously, the responsibilities on those charts have gotten a bit more involved, yet I still find myself writing down BRUSH YOUR TEETH as a task. (Does this ever end?)

But here's the difference that we're noticing this year. They are now teens and pre-teens with active social lives and activities. They are constantly connected to their friends via Snapchat, Facetime and texts.


On days 1 and 2 of summer vacation, I was already getting bombarded with requests to go all the places and do all the things. So today, I took the offensive and forewarned them:


I have a feeling that it is going to be a loooooong summer, you guys.




Thursday, June 01, 2017

What I'm Loving - June 2017

Hi there! Time sure does fly when you have 3 boys playing baseball...on FIVE different teams! Thankfully we're in the home stretch now. (I say that, but does it really ever end? Baseball goes into football which goes into basketball which goes into baseball...)

Anywho, here's some of my recent faves:
 These suckers are addictive! A little salty, a little sweet...they just started getting them at my work.(We have "hubs" on each floor of TripAdvisor filled with drinks and snacks for the taking...among all the other numerous perks!)


This Burberry primer is (a bit pricey but) so silky smooth! I received a sample of it from Sephora and was instantly hooked. I've been using it all spring as a compliment to my baseball tan. You will completely love how it makes you glow.


Another sample I received from Sephora was this Philosophy serum. I've been kinda obsessed with serums lately, and this one is the best I've found thus far. The smell is amazing and it really does make your face feel fabulous and smooth. I'm having a hard time with the price point though, so I haven't pulled the trigger and bought a full-size bottle...yet.


I knew I wouldn't be disappointed when I started binge-watching this. Is there anyone who doesn't like this show? However, Mr. Donovan and I need to break up for a bit, because I need to watch the new seasons of Bloodline, House of Cards, and OITNB first. But I will be back, Liev, don't you worry. (Does anyone else think he sort of looks like Jax from Vanderpump Rules?! Am I right?)



I'm trying to get back into running. It started with making a goal to run at least one race a month. In conjunction with the running, I needed some good running motivation. Enter the Spotify app, which I was unaware of until my 15yr old introduced it to me. After hours of searching for all types of good tunes, I made my own running playlist that I LOVE! It definitely helps so much when I venture out for a run.


How cute are these?! They're my new favorite shoes and will be worn LOTS this summer! They look so great with white capris and a black top.

As far as summer reading is concerned, I am always on the hunt for my next great read. Follow me on Goodreads to see what I'm reading and what I'm wanting to read next!

Happy summer everyone! Here's to not having to make school lunches!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

What I'm Loving - April 2017

Snow? Check.
Rain? Check.
Spring? Nope.

Here in New England at this time of the year, the weather is certainly not something to be loving. Safe to say, I think we're all pretty much over it.


Instead of focusing on the crap weather, let's instead turn to fun!things! to cheer us all up, ok?

~ I could spend hourrrrrrrrrrs in a Sephora store, just browsing. I'm always hesitant to buy because I feel like I apply makeup with the expertise of a toddler, but I'm *trying* to get better. In that respect, I enjoy finding new products that work for me and my schedule: I'm up at the ass crack of dawn to exercise, I shower at work, and then I hide at my desk and wait until I'm cooled down for a bit before I spackle some paint on my face.

That being said, these are 2 of my new favorite discoveries from Sephora. Laura Mercier's lip gloss (I got the bare pink color) and Benefit's Gimme Brow volumizer. (Your eyebrows are the focal point of your face, you know!)


~Stitchfix has been hit or miss for me over the years, so we have lately been on a break while I attempt to navigate shopping in REAL stores and TRYING THINGS ON. But I just got one, and it was winner winner chicken dinner! Instead of being depressed by the things that my stylist sent (too small, too tight, too NOT ME), my 5 pieces were curated by someone who "got" me! I kept a great top and a spectacular chunky silver bracelet, and am excited to try Stitchfix again. Word of advice: if you do sign up (the link I provided is an affiliate link), be VERY SPECIFIC on your style wants/needs/likes/dislikes!

~Binge-worthy (only 2 seasons thus far!):
Have you guys seen this?! It's an Amazon show that's hilariously irreverent about a couple who ends up together after a (more than) one night stand. I find myself laughing out loud throughout the episodes and am so glad I found this hidden gem! Anxiously awaiting Season 3...

~Ever heard of a HIIT workout? It stands for high intensity interval training and is an effective way of burning the most calories in the shortest amount of time. Enter Metafit. It's a new class/fitness craze that I decided to take on Monday nights. Holy sweat. And although the workouts are short (between 18-24 minutes), you feel like you want.to.die.


~ My friend introduced me to the Facebook page Living in Yellow, and oh man, you should see the contents of my Nordstrom cart these days...especially the shoes! Love love love her style and fashion finds. Unfortunately my wallet doesn't, so I will continue to add things to my cart and lovingly stare at them without purchasing. (That's not weird at all, right?)

~ Believe it or not, I stopped drinking Coke Zero at the beginning of 2017 and haven't really looked back. I've had an occasional Diet Coke here and there (maybe 5 total), but am trying to stay away. I don't drink tea or coffee, but I still wanted needed caffeine. Thankfully my work has this natural caffeine water that I've been living on.


~ Currently bingeing:

I read this YA book one summer, and was excited to find out that Netflix made it a series. Just started it, but can tell it's going to be good. But I highly recommend (always!) reading the book first.

~ Girls' Weekends. Recently just came back from a spectacular weekend away *in Vegas* with my 4 girlfriends. Really, it wouldn't have mattered where we were, because having that time away from our daily lives and routines and worries and work and families and stresses is always special and not to be taken for granted. But being in Vegas definitely made it all the more unique. It is such a comfort knowing that I have these priceless friendships, no matter what.


Now bring on spring!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pajama Days

You know what I miss about the boys' younger years?

I miss the Pajama Days.


The days when all 3 of them had coordinated pajama sets from Carters. Or Baby Gap. Or Children's Place.

(I was quite partial to those fleece one-piece footie pajamas. Umm..also? This is Middle standing up at 7 MONTHS OLD. And at this time, I was already 4 months pregnant with Youngest. OMG)

The days of little boy bare feet.


The days of blankies and thumbs.


When bedtime was a set-in-stone routine of baths, pajamas, and stories. When there were nighttime cuddles and I was able to sniff freshly shampooed hair.

I used to talk about sleep a LOT on this blog. As a matter of fact, as I was searching for pictures for this post, I found 153 (!) blog posts that reference "sleep"; 89 blog posts that talk about "naps"; and 49 blog posts with the word "crib". 

It used to be a big deal back in those days when I was sleep-deprived and frustrated and just wanting them to SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT and GROW UP ALREADY.

But now?

There are no coordinated pajamas. It's tee shirts and shorts worn to bed. 

Sadly, there are no more cuddles. No more bedtime stories. No more hair to sniff or cute little boy feet. (Instead there's big boy smelly feet with unkempt toenails and TOE HAIR. When did my babies get TOE HAIR?!)

No more blankets or thumbs. Instead it's a quick "g'night Mom" from all 3 with a quick peck on the cheek, and off they go. 


Yep, I sure do miss those Pajama Days.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Are You Victoria's Secret Bathing Suit Ready? The 2017 Edition!

How timely! While most of the Northeast is experiencing this March winter storm, we can thank our lucky stars for Victoria and her secrets! So get your wallets ready ladies, it's time to go bathing suit shopping...

First up, we have the g-string....except it's not on your butt. Because who doesn't want a thong tan line ON THEIR BACK?

*****

Somehow I feel like these bottoms wouldn't look the same on me. I mean, what with my thigh/hip fat bulging through that netting like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

*****

For those of you who are a bit more modest, may I offer you Victoria's Secret version of a mock turtleneck?

*****

This bathing suit brought to you by 1985, your curly permed hair, and a ball of yarn. (And for that extra special bonus, you get underboob tan lines!)


*****


Because sometimes you just gotta harness those tatas!

*****


The bigger your boobs, the harder those poor strings have to work.

*****


Victoria's Secret: The Miami Vice edition

*****



And finally, she sells seashells...by the boobshore.




Tuesday, March 07, 2017

How Meal Planning Sucked the Life Out of Me and How I Made It Better

When you're a family, the mealtime ritual slowly evolves and changes along with your children. You transition from breast or bottle to staring at all the little jars of baby food in the grocery aisle until you go cross-eyed wondering if Oh Precious One will enjoy peas or green beans more? You go from high chairs to booster seats. (How gross is cleaning a booster seat and finding petrified hot dog?) You go from teeny tiny chopped up food (choking hazards!) and Cheerios (oh, the Cheerios!) to developed little humans with actual tastes and preferences.

It is at this point that dinnertime becomes an actual Thing That You Do.

Every. Night.

Meal planning sucks, does it not?

You work a full day, come home and walk in the door to 3 expectant faces staring at you and asking, "So what's for dinner, Mom?"

It's the worst.


Confession: Yes, we do eat a lot of pasta.

[Sidebar: I've also found that it's so much easier to plan than to not plan. When I don't plan meals, I end up making 3 separate things, which is annoying and time-consuming. Or I rebel and they make their own meals. Which? Fine. Great, even. My boys are learning their way around the kitchen and are being self sufficient! Give me that parenting medal. But how long, exactly, can one live on cream cheese bagels, ramen noodles or spaghettiOs?]


But then, along came Pinterest. And with that, a whole new world of recipes opened up to me! Especially crockpot recipes for those busy weekday nights. (Ask anyone who knows me - I do enjoy singing the praises of a good crockpot meal.) Some have been keepers for sure, and I actually don't mind wasting time on Pinterest searching for uncomplicated dinner recipes.

Admittedly, there have also been some stinkers:


But yet, I forge on, in the hopes of answering the "what's for dinner?" question with a June Cleaver-worthy nutritious meal that the whole family will enjoy.


Hahahahahahahahahaha....nope.

Lately, though, I began to notice that the natives were becoming restless. It seemed like every meal I made was met with a grimace, a negative comment, or hell, even a blatant, "Ewwwww, why'd you make this?"

I finally reached my boiling point about a month ago. It was an unexpected snow day, and I had already planned to make a new slow cooker pork chop recipe. So I went ahead with that plan. Unfortunately, the end product wasn't great looking in presentation, and ended up being average tasting (at best). But hey, it was a new recipe and it's good to try new things, right? The rest of my family did not agree. There was a LOT of complaining. And with that, I was DONE. I was soooooooooo tired of planning weekly meals. Having to think about them, having to buy for them, having to negotiate our sports schedules in order to be able to cook them. DONE.


It was then that I had a breakdown and yelled at everyone for not being appreciative a new family rule was implemented. Starting from oldest (Hubby) to Youngest, each week was someone's responsibility to plan the meals for the week, from Sunday through Thursday. (Fridays and Saturdays we typically eat take-out or go to a restaurant.)

Now, meal-planning is no longer my responsibility. Yes, I still usually shop for the groceries. Yes, I still usually cook the meal. But I've now made the rest of my family actually think about dinner.

And it has been great so far! Hubby's week consisted of burgers, topsy turvy (breakfast for dinner) and some other family staples. Eldest requested baked haddock, which was something out of the ordinary, along with his favorite, chicken marsala. Middle's all-time favorite food is mashed potatoes, but since we wouldn't let that qualify as a meal, he relented to having meatloaf with it. And this week is Youngest's turn, consisting of pork bbq in the crockpot and also a balsamic chicken recipe.

I've found it interesting to see what everyone picks, along with finding it somewhat of a relief that they actually don't mind having the same things over and over. Here I was putting pressure on myself to come up with new and interesting dinner ideas, when in fact the rest of my household truly loves having Taco Tuesday each and every week!


Riddle me this:  How do you meal plan?

Monday, February 27, 2017

44 Things Learned in 44 Years

 

I'm no guru or life coach, but I feel confident that I've garnered quite a few bits of wisdom and life lessons in my ripe old 44 years. And so, in honor of my 44th birthday this month, here's 44 tips, from me to you:

44. Try your best to keep up with pop culture so you know what your kids are talking about!


43. Always teach your children, boys especially, to hold the doors open for others.

42. Put on your own oxygen mask first before you help others.

41. Buy the best washer and dryer you can afford, especially if you have children. My front-loaders are STILL my most valuable possessions, even after 10+ years.

40. Buy workout pants that fit. Otherwise you spend your entire cardio time hiking them up, over and over again.

39. Shop the clearance racks first.

38. This too shall pass. A new day makes everything better.

37. Yoga pants are acceptable. Short shirts with yoga pants are not acceptable.

36. You are right where you are meant to be. You may not realize it yet.

35. Everything happens for a reason.


34. PLEASE dress appropriately for your age. Mom jeans? NO! (Not yet anyway...) But dressing like a tween/teen at your age?  That's a hard no.

33. Black is slimming.

32. Your friendships will change and evolve depending on what stage of life you are in.

31. True friendships require zero to minimal effort. They are natural.

30. Staying in is soooo much easier, but sometimes it's worth it to throw on a pushup bra, get out of those comfy clothes, and go be social. You might be pleasantly surprised.


29. At the same time, if you're really not feeling it, then by all means, just say no and stay in. Sometimes we are just too old to risk that next-day hangover. And besides, you really won't miss anything besides some more of the same small-town gossip.


28. Eat the cookie. Life is too short.

27. Chocolate always makes things better.

26. But then again, so does a good workout.

25. Getting out of your comfort zone can be a great experience. (Examples: trying a new exercise class; conquering a ropes course; joining a committee.)

24. Match your belt to your shoes. (Or better yet, just leave the shirt untucked. You'll be much more comfortable.)

23. Don't compare your life/kids/spouse to Facebook. Everyone is guilty of sugarcoating on Facebook.

22. Let your children see you succeed. Also let them see you fail.

21. Set good relationship examples for your children. Let them see you disagree. Let them see you compromise. Let them see you resolve issues.

20. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to rewards and punishments for the kids.

19. Family nights are an effort to plan, but are worth it.

18. So are family vacations. Your kids will remember them. (Don't you still remember your family vacations from when you were a child?)


17. The older you get, the more important a good bra becomes. Get professionally fitted.

16. Buy the good sneakers.

15. Get to know the parents of your children's friends. This becomes more and more important the older your children get when you can no longer pick their friends for them.

14. Drink 2 bottles of water and take Advil before bed if you've been drinking.

13. Carve in some time alone for yourself. Solitude is restorative.

12. Pick your battles. But know that the battles will forever be changing when it comes to raising children.

11. Eat ice cream for dinner sometimes.

10. Tan fat looks better than white fat.

9. If you're dressed in workout clothes, but don't manage to get a workout in due to unforeseen circumstances, it still counts dammit.

8. Hugs are healing.

7. Find a signature scent, whether it's lotion or perfume.

6. If you find a shirt you like, buy it in at least 2 different colors.

5. Always give goodnight kisses.

4. Splurge for a massage or a facial.

3. A bathroom cleaned by someone other than yourself is the best.thing.ever.

2. Kids will make you laugh and cry. Often in the same day. Or hour. Or minute.

1. You are always and forevermore changing and evolving. Even when you're 44.



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