Monday, May 16, 2016

Outdoor Play on Mother's Day

 Mother's Day 2010
 Mother's Day 2016

I didn't have any expectations for this yearly "holiday", which basically means I try not to do anything on that Sunday, and then spend the rest of the week paying for it.

Baseball was cancelled, so we had a (rare) day with no plans. But it was raining, and I was pretty sure there was no last-minute brunch reservation to be had in all of New England.

Homemade cards from the boyz were offered and read and laughed over. (These are by far my most favorite part of Mother's Day.)

The crockpot with the programmable timer (that I ordered for myself) from Amazon arrived. (Not that I planning on using it on Mother's Day, mind you!)

Hubby had made dinner reservations at a new restaurant in Rhode Island for the five of us, but when I looked at the menu, it seemed a little fancy expensive for 3 steak-eating boys who refuse to eat off the kids menu anymore.

Luckily, Hubby was able to find us something else at a friend's family's Italian restaurant at 4pm. Perfect!

On our drive there, the sun came out (for the first time in what felt like MONTHS!) We celebrated Mother's Day with calamari, mozz sticks, pasta, seafood and wine.

And then, while driving home, the poor sunshine-deprived boys asked if they could go to the ball field (because we're not there enough, apparently) to play. Now, normally, this wouldn't be my first eighth choice of what to do on a Sunday evening. But it was sunny! I'd had some wine! We were together as a family!

So go to the ball field, we did. All five of us, plus the dog, who was free to run around within the confines of the fenced-in field.

Two of Eldest's buddies were already there, hitting around.

Friends of ours arrived at the same time, with their three kids and their dog. Fortuitous timing without even planning it!

As the other mom and I stood in the outfield, with the dogs running around at our feet, it was so nice to see the kids being kids.  From 10 years old to college-age. Trash talk, laughter, encouragement...all without the use of any electronic devices whatsoever. No phones, no video games...just living in the moment. Playing old school pickup baseball.

I had flashbacks to my own childhood, when my siblings and I were allllllllways outside. (Until we heard mom's piercing whistle or the streetlights came on, whichever came first.) What the hell did we do without electronics?  WE PLAYED.

Needless to say, we were there for quite a while on that Mother's Day Sunday night.

And it was perfect.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

A Different Busy

Sometimes it's fun to dive back into my blog archives to see what I was complaining about doing back in 2006 or know, juggling 3 little boys and a full-time job. Oh, the guilt.

Back then, the days were BUSY. But certainly a different busy than they are now. Gone are the sippy cups. Goodbye to the days of buckling and unbuckling carseats. There are no more bedtime snuggles and stories to read ad nauseum. (I'm looking at you, Eric Carle and everything you ever wrote ever). No diapers to change; no squirming boys to dress or undress.

Now, I'm juggling 3 big boys and a full-time job. In place of sippy cups are (usually empty) Gatorade bottles (littering my Trenches). No carseats, but lots of arguing about who "called" the front seat first. No bedtime stories to be read, but monitoring the myriad of social media outlets and devices they are (constantly) on. No diapers to change, but always socks to sort.

It's constant.

Now, those of you who know me in real life, know that I'm pretty much a homebody. Bra off, feet up at the end of my day. Especially during the week.

It all started last night during a (rare) family dinner. Middle and Youngest had Student Council after school, and it seems this week is Teacher Appreciation Week. Which warrants (much-deserved) celebrations and treats for our hard-working teachers. Both boys announced over dinner that they had volunteered items (for me) to donate. Therefore, a trip to Walmart was imperative before Thursday. I decided to bite the bullet and go right then, violating all my personal rules about not leaving the house on a weeknight unless I absolutely have to.

Fast forward to today, and a morning that I had perfectly planned out (in my mind), but just needed to execute. I was up and out of bed earlier than normal. I had plans, dammit! A crockpot meal that needed to be prepped. School lunches to be made. All while wearing workout clothes, because I wanted to drop the boys off at school, get gas for my car, and head in to the office to run on the treadmill before work...
The boys' provisions for Teacher Appreciation were rightfully secured in their respective Walmart bags and clutched in their hands.

We got alllllllllllll the way to the drop-off line before Middle realized he had forgotten his backpack. Seems that carrying those Walmart bags distracted him. (He's soooo airheaded like that.) So I dropped the other two off, and headed BACK HOME (running on fumes in my car) so he could grab his bag and we could once again trek to school (it was too late for me to rightfully punish him by making him take the bus by this time, unfortunately). THEN I had to fill my car. THEN I had to navigate my loooooong morning commute (over an hour) and THEN hit the gym.
It was one of those mornings where you feel like you've had a full day before your day actually starts.
That's pretty much how it has been lately, except all the time.

I actually had to make myself not hyperventilate as I wrote out our family calendar for May and into June--basically until school ends. Between baseball (town ball for Youngest and Middle with Hubby helping to coach them; middle school ball and travel team ball for Eldest), orthodontia, school projects, school functions, school trips, birthdays and parties and lionsandtigersandbearsohmy...

Hubby and I usually go away for a weekend in April every.single.year to celebrate our anniversary. Needless to say, that did not happen this year, for the first time in 17 years. He's been having some medical issues that necessitated 2 hospitalizations between February and April, and now a related surgery is on the agenda for late summer/early fall.

So no, there's no more fighting about naptimes. There are no potty accidents. Or (many) spills. Or temper tantrums.

There's homework. There are sports injuries. There's the constant mess that 1 teenager and 2 pre-teens make. There's negotiation about screen time and video game time. There are school projects. There are the social pressures.

You guys, I remember years and years ago when wiser women would see me with my three monkeys and casually remark to me, with a gleam in their eyes, "Enjoy this time. Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems."

I see it.

Although, I'm pretty sure we're in the "Medium kids, medium problems" phase of life right now.




Thursday, March 10, 2016

Kitchen Renovation Reveal!

For any of you who know me in person and have stepped foot into our chaotic Trenches at one time or another, you already know that we live in a typical New England colonial-style home. When we bought the house back in 2001 (when I was 4 months pregnant with Eldest), it definitely had room for improvement, but Hubby and I were sold on the neighborhood and the 4-season sunroom. At that time, we didn't even really CARE about the kitchen. It wasn't a priority.

(Linoleum flooring, cheap cabinets, laminate countertops with NO space.)

Slowly, over time and while raising 3 children, improvements were made to the Trenches. We (and by we, I mean Hubby's father) finished the basement for us. (We now have 3 separate rooms down there: currently Eldest's bedroom, a main kid hangout room with the NEW XBox, and another smaller room with the OLD Xbox.) (Ridiculous, I know.) We put on a new roof. Hubby's dad built us a bigger backyard deck. The old playroom was converted into an office once the boys no longer played with toys (*sob*) We have painted, inside and out, multiple times. Yet, over all the years, our poor galley kitchen remained the same. Narrow, cheap-ass, inefficient, and severely lacking counter space.

By the fall of 2015, we decided that we reallllllly needed to redesign the kitchen. That it was (beyond) time.  And so, the process began. We used a designer at our local hardware store to come and assess what we had to work with (answer: not much). He spent 4 hours with his laptop and a laser, measuring and designing to come up with a new floorplan, which would involve moving our back door from the current kitchen into the current dining room (which was done between the week of Christmas and New Years), among many other things.

Let me just stop here before going any further to say that we are BEYOND LUCKY. Hubby's father is a phenomenal carpenter. He acted as general contractor and did EVERYTHING on this renovation except for the plumbing, electricity, painting and tiling, which we contracted out. But it wasn't just the kitchen. He also put up crown moulding throughout the entire first floor and completely rebuilt our fireplace mantle from scratch! AND he installed new acacia hardwood floors on the first floor. His work is absolutely meticulous. Here, let me show you:

(Old view from dining room into kitchen)
(Like our fake dog? Poor Snowflake looks taxidermied here!)
(All appliances are GE Profile in slate color.)

(Old view from living room into kitchen - that was our old back door into garage.)

(I think the fridge and stove in the living room added a nice decorative touch.)
(Counter chairs are from Jordan's Furniture.)

(Backsplash is slate tile. I got the idea from Pinterest.)

(Old view from kitchen into living room - you can see a corner of the old fireplace mantle)

(All Most hands on deck!)
(Look at that gorgeous mantle and the new floor!)
(Floors are acacia wood from Lumber Liquidators.)
 (Other side of living room.)

(Entire living room view from kitchen.)
(View of office as dumping ground for all the things.)
(Desk and bookcase from IKEA.)
So we are finally...almost...done!
[Still to come - I have a dining room chandelier and a kitchen island light fixture that need to be hung by our electrician. I just ordered this hall tree for the back door entrance. And I still need to pick out window treatments for the office and dining room windows - but my least favorite task in the world is curtain shopping...] 
Are you renovating a kitchen? Got any questions? Hit me up for my tips and tricks for what I've learned over the past few months of living with a refrigerator in the living room and moving everything from room to room in order to put down hardwood floors. Been there, done that, and couldn't be happier with the results!!!!

After all, this renovation was almost FIFTEEN YEARS (OMG) in the making! Whew.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Are You Victoria's Secret Bathing Suit Ready? The 2016 Edition!

It's that time of year again, ladies!  Time to slough off the dead skin, unbraid the armpit hair, paint the toesies, and do a complete shavedown...and don't forget to razor swipe those rogue nipple hairs!

Because when it comes to keeping you beachwear ready, Vicky and her Secrets won't let you down! 

Let's take a gander, shall we?

When you want to show off that bellybutton piercing, this monokini fits the bill nicely!
Are the sunglasses on her head or on her chest?
Sorry, the deformed coconut ball suggestively placed via awkward wrist angle is not included with this bikini.
This child can't possibly be over the age of 13.
A mashup of the 1970's all in one suit: hideous floral and macramĂ©!
Victoria's Secret cover-ups: The Ma Ingalls Nightgown Edition

Victoria's Secret cover-ups: The Early 80's Romper Edition (tassel tanline included!)
Look what Granny crocheted for you in the nursing home! 

The My Little Pony Suit

The Edward Scissorhands Suit

The SpongeBob Suit

Oh Vicky, you're soooo punny!

Because Mommy always poses like this when she's on her knees helping you build sandcastles...

Along with needing a ponytail holder, Sally also needed to pick her wedgie.

Until next year, ladies!


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

What I'm Loving - February 2016

It has been awhile, I know. I find myself struggling with whether to shut this old girl (blog) down or keep her up and running.  As it has always been, though, I come up with my best post ideas...and trust me, I wouldn't be shutting down for lack of ideas...while I'm blowdrying my hair. Weird, I know.

Here's what I'm loving so far in 2016:

1.  This book. It has been some time since I read a book that I couldn't put down. This did that for me. Finished it in about 6 days, which, when you also watch a LOT of tv (hey, those Real Housewives aren't gonna watch themselves, you know) is saying something.  (PS - follow me on Goodreads!)

2.  The Amelia Flat shoes from J.Crew Factory. They run big, so order 1/2 size down. J.Crew Factory is ALWAYS running a sale with a coupon code and free shipping. (I have both these cute pairs!)

3. This blog post helped me take the plunge to update my makeup bag. I'm one of those people who steps into Sephora and FREEZES. I don't know where to look, what to buy, or how to use half the shit in there! Basically, I need someone to just TELL me what to do. I now swear by the NARS tinted moisturizer, the Too Faced mascara, and the Shu Uemara eyelash curler, all from that blog post.

4. Speaking of makeup, my co-worker Tina is extremely knowledgeable about all things makeup. I had never used liquid eyeliner before, and Tina recommended this to me. SOLD. Where have you been all my life, Eyeko? I feel like such a big girl now...only took me about 43 years.

5. My Mom happened to leave this at my house after a visit and I've stolen it. It's perfect for my dry skin in this New England winter.

6.  My Middle has watched the entire series. My Eldest is currently halfway through bingeing on it. They have been BEGGING me to watch.  I finally succumbed.  (That is, after Making a Murderer). I'm still on Season 1, but am definitely already sucked in to the trials and tribulations of Coach Taylor, Tim Riggins, Lyla Garrity and Matt Saracen.

7.  Kitchen/house renovation is in full swing! Currently, we are kitchenless. And diningroomless. And livingroomless. But it's temporary. And I have been waiting almost FIFTEEN YEARS for a new kitchen. I'm currently LOVING the new hardwood floors we chose:

This new flooring will be throughout the entire downstairs, except for our 4-season sunroom which we are keeping carpeted for warmth.

Next up: New kitchen cabinet installation!

8. Needless to say, there hasn't been much cooking going on. But if there were? I would still be making this recipe (crockpot balsamic chicken) once a week in the crockpot. It was a recently new discovery that was a huDge hit with my fam.

9. Totally teeny-bopperish of me, but I love the "My Story" feature on Snapchat. I'm hooked on following other people (including my children) and seeing what they post on their story. Follow me on Snapchat? My user name is sarahviz.

10. I couldn't just quit at #9. So #10 will be a confession. My current favorite song:

C'mon, fess up. You know you like it too...

Until next time!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Gym People

The Types of People You Encounter At Your Fitness Center:
1.  That guy you end up next to 2 days in a row on the treadmill.  You know, the one whose body odor smells like sharp raw onion.  That guy.

2. The dude who isn't yet actually using the only bike left, but puts his water and towel on the bike to save it...for a half hour while he does something else.

3.  The super pretty, skinny gal who prances in, runs mayyyyybe 20 minutes on the treadmill without breaking a sweat, and then is done (because she probably doesn't even need to work out in the first place), and meanwhile I'm on the treadmill next to her like this:

4.  The GRUNTER. Enough said.

5.  Even though there are signs that say "No Cellphone Usage" plastered all over the gym, there's always that one super special important person who thinks the rules don't apply, and proceeds to have a loud conversation via cell phone. That you can hear through your headphones. And it makes me want to do take the cell phone and do this...

...and then everyone else in the gym would clap.

6.  That girl who is blowdrying her hair before you get in the shower, who is still blowdrying her hair after you are done with your shower and are getting dressed, and is frigging STILL using the blowdryer when you need it. Tell me, who blowdries their hair for more than 15 minutes?! (Besides BeyoncĂ©).

7.  I am not working out at 7am (or earlier) to make friends. It's awkward when we are both in skimpy towels, and you want to make conversation with me. I don't know you. I'm not sure if I want to get to know you. Let me get back to you on that when I have my clothes on.


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