8.31.2010

Home


I saw this post on Lou, Boos, and Shoes and thought it would be interesting to do the same.  Take pictures of favorite little corners of my house to see if I could capture the overall feel of our home.  
Our house is old by US standards (1852), but it hasn't had too many owners.  The original family owned it for more than the first 100 years, giving it its name.  I love houses that have a history, and I love thinking about the lives of people who pass through houses.  
The house is a work in progress.  The original house was small, and it has been expanded through the years.  Unfortunately, it wasn't always done with the highest quality.  We are in the process of redoing a lot of it, and we are trying to keep the original spirit of the house in tact.  So far we've done the upstairs and the entire original part of the house.  Down the road we'll get to the kitchen and living room.  We've been here five years, and it's really starting to feel like a home now.  
Looking at the above collage feels like home to me.  I guess I was successful.

row 1
our front porch
this tile and green paint are my favorite parts of the guest bath
stairs
Turkish bowl, on display on our buffet
row 2
firetruck in the big boy's room
my tub
historical sign next to the front door
stone wall and view of the baseball field in the back yard
row 3
rug and original wood plank floors
wooden doors with latches
dining room bay window through chair
quilt in the little boy's room
row 4
tea kettle and blue olive oil bottle from Vermont
shelves in the big boy's room
corner of my bed
fireplace mantle

8.30.2010

A Special Place - Five Senses Weekend

I am not sure how to adequately describe my love of this place.  My family has owned cottages on Lake Ontario for 50 years.  Our family history here, therefore, is long.  I spent a lot of my childhood summers here, playing and swimming and singing and eating and playing some more.  We had big family reunions.  My uncle taught me to waterski.  I watched fireflies and shooting stars.  I sang songs around bonfires.  I listened to my uncles tell scary and funny stories around those bonfires.  Mostly, I was completely surrounded by family, and my family loves.  I mentioned to my sister that this place has always felt so far removed from the rest of the world - it exists in its own universe.  I will admit that this place has also seen sadness, but even in times of sadness, the love always wins.  

The best part of this weekend was watching my boys run and play in the same spots where I did as a child.  Finding the same joy that I did in throwing rocks into the water.  Experiencing first boat rides.  Most importantly, of course, meeting and getting to know aunts and uncles and cousins.  

That doesn't do it justice, but it'll have to do.  I thought I'd capture this most recent visit in "five senses" format.  

See
- The big boy attempting to skip rocks on the water
- Two gorgeous lake sunsets and an awesome red moon, rising up over the lake
- A very cool slide show, containing pictures from the past 50 years of family
Hear
- The big boy squeal with delight as my uncle sped up in the boat
- Some of the same songs sung around the campfire that we've been singing for 20 years; some new ones too
Touch
- The grass and tiny pebbles of the lane
- The smooth wood of the canoe oar, as we took the big boy out for a ride
- The feel of the water ski on my foot as I attempted to pull myself up (It took me two tries, but I did!)
- Hugs.  Lots and lots of hugs
Smell
- Bonfire
- Dinner cooking on the grill
- Sunscreen
- Super sweet peaches
Taste
- The sweetest corn on the cob
- My cousin's awesome rice and bean salad
- Fresh tomatoes from the garden
- S'mores of course
- Dad's macaroni salad






8.27.2010

The Lake


This is where I'll be this weekend.  I'm taking my boys to Lake Ontario, where my family owns a few cottages.  This is where I spent a lot of my childhood summers, and I haven't been back in several years.  I'm looking forward to visiting with extended family and watching my boys experience a place that is so close to my heart.  There is a lot of love here. 

Kristin Hersh - Mississippi Kite


I've been a fan of Kristin Hersh since college, when I discovered Throwing Muses (thank goodness for college radio).  Kristin and her stepsister, Tanya Donelly, went on to perform in other bands as well as put out solo albums, and I've followed both of them through the years.  However, I'll admit that it had been a while since I had listened to Kristin.  Then I picked up her new album, Crooked.  It is awesome.  I should perhaps mention that her voice is an acquired taste - gravely and harsh at times, but it's pure and it's honest.  The guitar on this new album is also really cool, and I find myself listening to songs over and over again just to hear the guitar.

The above video shows Kristin playing a song from Crooked.  And here is an interview with Kristin that I found really interesting.  I love and agree with the interviewer's intro:  It’s a joy when a person whose  work you appreciate turns out, at least within the context of whatever exposure you have to them, to be congruent to the highest ideals and possibilities of that work. ... The artist’s life in her instance turns out to be…. just life. Family, work, artistic pursuits, creating community, this has all become part of a somewhat seamless process of living a very full and “observed life”, truly the only kind worth living, in a mindful, creative and inclusive manner. 


8.26.2010

Pins of the Week


Here are a few things I've spotted and loved this week (clockwise from top left):

*Cucumber-Feta Toasts - Saving this for next weekend, when we can pick up the necessary baguette and cucumber at the farmer's market to make this yummy-looking side.
*Rain - This is what it has looked like all week here in Boston.  We needed the rain, but now I'm ready for those blue September skies!
*Daydreaming - I plan to do some of this at the lake this weekend.  Sitting on a dock, dangling my feet in the water.  Bliss. 
*Dudes - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid came on the other night.  I didn't have the time to watch it then, but I recorded it.  Such a classic. 
*Music Makes the World a Better Place - The big guy asked me to play a song for him on my guitar the other night.  I was able to pound out enough chords for some easy kid classics, and we had a good time singing and dancing.  Music definitely does make my world a better place.
*More Kitchen Inspiration - I love this little shelf.  When I get my new kitchen, I am looking forward to putting some pretty cookbooks and pots on display. 

These are just a few of the photos I've recently pinned on my pinboards at PinterestMary Loves

Our Attempts at Gardening

Since moving into a house, I've been trying to learn a little about gardening.  With moderate success.  I definitely know more than I did a few years ago.  I also know that our neighborhood supports plenty of wildlife that loves to eat almost all the things I've learned how to grow.  Deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, chipmunks, and especially rabbits.  Who knows what else?  So until we commit to building a raised bed with a fence around it, we're going to have to keep our garden activities pretty small.  That doesn't mean we have to stop completely, though.

This year, we planted quite a few things, most of which were devoured.  The animals even got greedy and dug up all of my tulip and daffodil bulbs!  Sigh.  But what survived....a few gorgeous zinnia plants, with lots of bright pink and yellow flowers.  I adore zinnias and am happy that even I can grow them.  I will probably plant them every year from now on.  We also had a couple pumpkin plants that survived and seem to be thriving.  The pumpkins are still pretty small, so we'll have to see if we get any that are big and orange enough for Halloween, but we'll keep our fingers crossed.  An herb barrel, which has provided a nice supply of basil and cilantro all summer.  And a couple pots of carrots.  The animals ate all the ones we planted in the ground, so I planted some in pots, and they've done pretty well.  Relatively small, but I got impatient.  Baby carrots are yummy too!  The big boy and I decided we were tired of waiting, so we picked most of them last weekend and dipped them in ranch dressing for dinner. 

Although my gardening attempts have met some challenges along the way, I still think it's a worthwhile endeavor.  The boys love helping me plant and water, and I love that they know what a carrot looks like when it comes straight from the ground. 

8.25.2010

Thoughts of the Day

 

Kitchen Inspiration


Simple but beautiful kitchen.  The floors really make it stand out.  Crisp, clean, white.  Lovely.  

8.24.2010

Weekend Recap

I asked Kevin what we were going to do this weekend, and he started rattling off stuff he needed to get done.  I stopped him and said, "Yeah, but what are we going to do for fun?"  I have been extremely focused on maximizing our family-time and the amount of fun we're having this summer.  We should always do this, right?  So we got a little ambitous this weekend.

First up:  a trip into the city.  The little guy is still, well, a little guy, so it can be challenging to plan activities around his schedule.  But we managed.  We let him take a good morning nap, and then off we went!  We drove to the Boston Common, and the big guy got to experience his first carousel ride.  We walked to find a place for lunch, finding a restaurant we like just as they were opening for lunch...perfect.  The boys were well-behaved, and we all ate a good lunch. 


Afterwards, we ventured to the Public Garden to visit the pond where Mr. and Mrs. Mallard live.  We rode the swan boats, something I had never done.  You need a 3-year-old to fully appreciate it I think.  We went back for a couple more spins on the carousel, soaking up the sunshine and appreciating the blue skies.  We then headed home - I drove, and although it's not a long ride, my three boys all enjoyed a little nap. 
We attempted a camp-at-home night.  The big guy was excited about the prospect of sleeping in a tent in the yard with Dad.  However, when all the s'mores were eaten, the stories were read, and it was time to go to sleep, he decided he'd rather be in his bed.  Can't say I blame him, and we didn't want to force it, so at 9PM, we gave in.  He kept saying he wanted me and his brother to sleep with them, so perhaps we'll be more successful when we can do it as a family. 
Sunday was gross.  Dreary, rainy, and dark.  I decided it was the perfect day to take the big guy to the movie theater for the first time.  We went to see Toy Story 3, and he was perfect.  He loved it, and so did I.  It was fun to have a little afternoon date with my boy. 

Wow, that was a full weekend!

8.23.2010

Let the Great World Spin


I recently finished "Let the Great World Spin", by Colum McCann.  It is wonderful.  Set in New York City in 1974, on the day that a tightrope walker balanced on a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center.  It's not about that event, but it serves as a focal point in the narrative.  The chapters are told from various viewpoints, each story being told from the perspective of a different character.  It amazes me when authors are able to do this effectively, as this author most assuredly is.  The story revolves around that one event, but the stories are weaved around it and linked together, like a web.  The writing is compelling and beautiful.  My favorite line:  "Her eyes were the bluest blue, like tiny drops of September sky."

Here's a link to the review in the NY Times, if you're interested in reading more.

Sleeping Boys, Cool Breezes, and Apples


This week's Three Beautiful Things:
1.  My sleeping boys.  I love going in their rooms at night.  Making sure they're tucked in, that all the books and toys are out of their way.  They look so peaceful.  I wonder what they dream about?

2.  The brisk breeze coming through the bedroom window, keeping me cool at night.

3.   The sweet crunch of a Ginger Gold apple.  I'm excited to be entering apple season.  Time to get my apple recipes out!


8.20.2010

Photos of the Day

Photos taken at an end-of-summer carnival last night.  Bouncy house, face-painting, bean-bag toss and other games, crafts, and standard barbecue eats.  A good time for a Thursday night.

How cute is he?!?  Ah!  He literally makes my heart melt with every look, every smile...


I haven't taken many pictures of the little guy lately, because he is in the "bruised and battered" phase of early walking.  Being a little brother, who knows when it will end?  So I took some pictures of him anyway.  Here's a nice green forehead bruise on display...


This picture cracks me up!  Big tough guy with a rainbow (his request!) painted on his face...

Ah, that's more like it...

Mumford & Sons - The Cave


If you've read my blog for any length of time, or if you know me at all, you know I love a good banjo.  Have you listened to Mumford & Sons yet?  You've probably heard a song or two on the radio at this point. Hopefully.  Their latest album is called Sigh No More.  It's awesome.

Happy Friday!

8.19.2010

Pins of the Week


A few things I spotted and loved this week (clockwise from top left):

*I can't get this picture of Greece out of my head.  It's stunning.  Do people really get to live there?
*Isn't this simple dress cute?  Not expensive either.  And apparently you can custom order items from this site.  So if you want a different neckline, or different sleeves, or a shorter length....you can tailor it to be perfect for you.  I am so interested to try this!
*Do you love Tina Fey like I do?  She's smart and funny, and I just know we'd be friends if we ever met.  I watched "Date Night" last weekend.  It was silly and cute and, as a tired mom, I found her character totally relatable.
* I love this little corner.  I really love the desk, but we don't need one of those.  I also like that lamp.  And the chair.  I'm thinking something like that would work well in our office.
*It is time to start thinking about how we want to decorate the little guy's room when he transitions from baby to big boy.  Probably not for another year or so, but it can't hurt to start gathering some ideas.  I love the music theme of this print.  Not a huge fan of the colors, though - too much pink.  But it is super cute.  Maybe a music theme?  Not that a room needs a theme, but I love that idea.
*Cute picture.  I am loving the book I'm reading right now.  Expect a post on it soon.


These are just a few of the pictures I've posted on my pinboards on Pinterest this week:  Mary Loves

8.18.2010

Things I've Learned


As I mentioned, I plan to do a post like this every now and then with things I've learned.  Some serious.  Some not.  Think it may be fun to look at all of them once I get a good list.  
  1. Your kids are always watching you.  If you want them to do/not do something, then do it/don't do it yourself.
  2. There are too many wonderful books to waste your time on a bad one.  It's okay to put it down, unfinished.  Just make sure you at least gave it a chance, and then return/freecycle/swaptree/donate it.  Someone else may love it.
  3. Everyone deserves respect.  Even that nasty man at the grocery store that jumped you in line and scowled at you like you were nothing.  Maybe he was having an awful day and was rushed to be somewhere, maybe he has a family member that's really sick, maybe he's normally a fabulous person.  You never know.
  4. Having quiet time with nothing to do is a blessing.  Savor it. 
  5. Wear facial moisturizer with SPF every day.  Moisturize at night too (esp. the eyes) when you're over 30.
  6. There's nothing wrong with eating ice cream every. single. day.  In fact, I encourage it.  
  7. If you have kids, keep a box of new batteries (all sizes) in an easily accessible place.  You'll say you won't buy toys that require batteries, but somehow you will still go through a ton of them.  
  8. Date nights are really important, and the kids will be fine with a babysitter. 
  9. That other mom you know - the one you think is perfect - makes mistakes and has doubts and moments of guilt too. 
  10. Nobody likes spending time with someone who complains a lot.

8.17.2010

Come Live With Me - a Poem


I used to love getting a cup of coffee and cozying up in a corner of a bookstore or library.  I often picked the poetry section, especially in the summer for some reason.  Probably just because I had more time for such luxury in the summer.  I don't make much time for poetry these days.  The NY Times ran a few poems last month, Poems for Summer.  Here is one I liked:

COME LIVE WITH ME
Heat exists as energy in transit,
something spontaneous, volatile, elementary,
“something which may be transferred from one body
to another” (James Clerk Maxwell, “Theory of Heat”).
Notice how it moves from an object with a high
temperature to an object with a lower one,
a process of thermal contact, the sun
burning through the coldest morning sky.
Heat increases and flows across boundaries.
It is ancient, fluctuating, vibrational,
like these summer days that are so combustible
and these nights when stars enlighten the skies.
I remember the time you touched me near the stove
and the flames sparked in my body, love.
— EDWARD HIRSCH, author
of “The Living Fire: New and
Selected Poems

I Know What I Want for my Birthday


Well, it's expensive, so maybe an anniversary.  A big anniversary.  What is it, you ask?  

A song, by Juliana Hatfield, written just for me.  

Juliana is offering songs-to-order right now via her blog.  You pay the money, and then send her a note with whatever you want her to know about you.  She'll use that information as inspiration to write a song for you.  It won't be released or put on an album.  It would be just for you.  $1000 is a lot of money, sure, but we're talking about having Juliana write a song for you and about you.  How awesome is that?  Totally worth a grand.  

I'm not sure I can justify spending the cash just because I want to, but if anybody wants to get together and make it happen, I sure would think it's the coolest. gift. ever.  

8.16.2010

A Weekend of Gratitude



I had an awesome weekend.  I was home alone with my boys, and I am utterly exhausted; but we had a great time.  You know those moments you have sometimes when you get overwhelmed with gratitude for all the love and beauty you have in your life?  If you're like me, you may not have those moments as often as you'd like.  You have to stop yourself to look around, and that can be hard to do sometimes.  Well, this weekend was one long grateful moment. 

Beautiful, happy, healthy boys.  Fabulous weather.  And time to play.  What did we do?  Here's an incomplete list:
  • chased bubbles
  • rode bikes (well, the big boy did anyway)
  • swings, slides, and other playground stuff
  • climbed a hay pyramid
  • made blueberry pancakes
  • visited the farmer's market
  • had a picnic in front of a couple guitar players
  • read books
  • ate tiny red and orange cherry tomatoes so sweet they tasted like candy
  • kicked balls in the grass
  • played 'Memory'
  • rode a train through the orchard
  • listened to a kid's musician
  • ate lots and lots of fruit
  • built towers and knocked them down
  • played with the neighbor's kids
  • ate corn on the cob
  • painted big boxes
  • built a fort
  • watched a movie
  • ate strawberry gelato
  • looked at the big pumpkins at the farm (and the little pumpkins we have growing at home)
  • chased each other in the yard
  • and after all of that....we slept!
I don't have a single picture to show for it, since I was focused on enjoying the moments instead of capturing them.  But you can imagine it...beautiful boys and their mama, all with big smiles on their faces.

Rubicon


AMC has a new original series, called 'Rubicon'.  If you watch Mad Men, you've no doubt seen the promos.  Rubicon airs right before Mad Men on Sunday nights.  Since Summer has such a void of original programming, and there aren't too many shows I like right now anyway, I decided to give it a shot.

I've seen the first couple episodes at this point, and I'm already hooked.  It's a conspiracy show, so it's one of those shows that you watch only if you're the kind of person who can be comfortable not knowing what's going on.  I like that it's set in NY, I like the characters, especially the lead (Will Travers), and although it's dark, I love these kinds of thriller/intrigue shows.  I don't need to know what's going on.  And when they finally reveal it to me at the end of the series, I won't be disappointed by the outcome, as long as I was entertained along the way.  I've been entertained so far, and I'm curious to say where they go with it.  The show has great potential, and I hope it takes off.

8.13.2010

It's Flying By!

source unknown


I woke up cold last week.  Shivering and wrapping the blankets around me.  The pumpkin plants are thriving.  Corn is still here, but the blueberries are gone and are being replaced with apples.  And this morning, I saw mums in front of the grocery store.  Mums!  Where does the Summer go?

It's been a wonderful Summer so far.  We've marked almost everything off our list.  Just a few more things I want to do.  We haven't gone into Boston to ride the carousel and swan boats.  And although it's not on the list, I think we'll add having a camp-at-home night.  Our weekend trip to the lake to play with cousins is coming up in a couple weeks.  So there, that makes me feel better already.  Still plenty of time to play and have fun in the sun.

This weekend, I am alone with the kiddos, and I don't have a plan.  I'm thinking.....walks, farmer's market, eating outside, playground, naps, new board game, bubbles, and a trip to the farm.  Oh, and a bottle of wine and a movie for me once the little guys go to sleep.

Me and my two favorite little dudes.  Sounds perfect.

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs


The new Arcade Fire album just came out, entitled The Suburbs.  Play the above to hear the title track.  I can tell already that it's going to be a classic. 
Happy Friday!

8.12.2010

Pins of the Week


Some things I've spotted and loved this week (clockwise from top left):

*These fun prints.  I often find such cute prints, and of course I don't own any.  They're fun to look at though.
*I loved this post on Oh Hello Friend, containing images of maps and globes.  I adore maps.  Again, I don't own any.  I definitely want to get a globe and a map for the house.  Do you have one?  Where'd you get it?
*Bonfire.  The big boy has been talking about all things camping and outdoors this week at school.  It has put us in a camping frame of mind, and K and I are now starting to plan for the days when we can take the boys camping.  First step:  buy a sleeping bag for the big boy, and arrange a camp-at-home night with Dad.
*Gorgeous photos by local aerial photographer Alex Maclean.
*I was listening to some music using last.fm, and when this picture of Eddie came up, I had to pin it.  I will always love him.
*My sister-in-law and mother-in-law are in Paris and Barcelona this week.  I'm jealous.  So in their honor, I've been eating pain au chocolat for breakfast.  Really.  It's their fault.  This wonderful croissant pic was found at DressDesignDecor.


These are just a few of the items I've pinned this week on my pinboards at Pinterest - Mary Loves.

Another Bathroom Before and After

The upstairs guest/kid's bathroom.  I love this one too, although I have probably learned some lessons on this one.  We completed this renovation before we had kids.  If I had known then what I know now, I probably would've made some different choices.  The size/height of the sink and toilet, most notably.  That said, the kids will grow up eventually, and it is a cute little bathroom that is a vast improvement over the original.

Again, hard to show a true before shot, since the space was totally reconfigured, but here's the best I can do.  


And here's a glimpse of the after.  Oh, it really is nice to think about how far we've come.  


8.11.2010

Summer Picnic



We are continuing to work our way through the list of summer fun.  This weekend, we checked off 'take a picnic' and 'visit the Elm Bank'.  The horticultural society had a big marketplace festival, including kid-friendly fun like a bouncy house, hay ride, and face painting.  The weather was perfect - again - and we ate a picnic lunch in the kid's garden in a nice shady spot of grass next to a fish pond.  


We enjoyed the tractor ride through the grounds...


The little guy loves being outside, and he loves feeding himself now, so blueberries in the grass is as good as it gets...


The big guy seems to be losing some of his shyness.  There was a band, and he couldn't restrain himself from getting his groove on.  He even pulled me up front to dance with him!


The little guy going after the camera while we enjoy our ice cream... 
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