12.26.2011

Joy!

I'm quite certain I am filled with joy today, surrounded by family.  Even with the lack of snow, I'm sure we will have fun enjoying each other's company, eating good food, playing games, and relaxing.  I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday week as well!  

I probably won't be checking in here until next week.  I have many cookies to eat and games to play.  I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

Have a joyful New Year!

12.23.2011

She & Him - Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree


This week's music pick comes from my latest addition to the holiday music collection - A Very She & Him Christmas.  Happy Christmas!

12.21.2011

Neighbors, Lunch Dates, and Bath Oils


This week's Three Beautiful Things:

1.  Attending a cookie swap with my neighbors.  Just a handful of women, eating dinner, drinking wine, and getting to know each other a little better.  So nice.

2.  A lunch date with my five-year-old.  He is a sweet, well-mannered, and very cool little boy.  I genuinely love spending time with him.  It was fun to get some one-on-one time.

3.  I decided to use my lemon-almond bath oil on my skin after showering.   It smells fabulous and is helping my incredibly dry skin.  It's hard to find time for a bath, but that doesn't mean my bath oil should go to waste!

photo from you are my fave

12.19.2011

Weekend Recap


We went to the Boston Pops' Holiday concert this weekend.  It is one of our family's holiday traditions - I have gone every year since I moved to Boston, with one exception of a couple years ago when a blizzard kept me away.  I love it.  Symphony Hall is one of the best places in the world to hear music, and it's gorgeous to look at as well.  I love being able to expose my son to this type of music too.  They have late morning concerts that are specifically geared towards families, so while they play some songs in the adult classical variety, they also perform "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and have a Christmas carol sing-along.  It's a great balance.  My big boy was so excited to go, and he couldn't wait for Santa to make an appearance.  I think maybe next year we'll bring the little guy too. 

The other highlight of the weekend was a cookie swap I went to on Sunday evening.  I spent the morning baking, and then walked over to a neighbor's house for dinner and wine and cookies.  It was a really nice time, and perhaps the start of another annual tradition! 

Only six days to go.  On my list to do this week...

*Big boy's doctor appointment.  Not a fun way to start the week, but what are you going to do?
*Picking up skis for me and the big boy.  Definitely way more fun than the doctor.  Did I mention we're going to start ski lessons in a couple weeks?  Woohoo!
*Trips to Costco, the grocery store, the liquor store, the seafood store, and the cheese shop.  We will be filling our house with goodies in preparation for family arriving on Christmas Eve.
*Cooking!  I will be making a few dishes in advance to try to make Christmas Day a little lower-maintenance, especially since my usual cooking partner (my sister) will be jet-lagged. 
*Have fun!  I am working through Wednesday, but then I'm going to enjoy some much-needed time off. 

Now if only it would snow!

12.16.2011

Caitlin Rose - Shanghai Cigarettes


Sometimes you actually do discover somebody you might've otherwise missed in those end of year "best of" lists.  Caitlin Rose is one of mine for this year.  Check her out.

Here's another video that I really liked, but you have to go to YouTube to watch.

12.14.2011

Five


A few things I want to remember about my ridiculously awesome five-year-old boy:

1.  His favorite color is red.
2.  His favorite foods are macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, and green beans.  (Just kidding about the green beans, but they are currently his favorite vegetable.) 
3.  His favorite fruit is all of them.  He has tried every fruit I can lay my hands on.  Mango is the only one he scowled at.
4.  He likes oatmeal for breakfast.  With a little cinnamon and brown sugar sprinkled on top.
5.  His favorite TV show is Wordgirl. 
6.  His favorite outfit consists of a pair of gray corduroys and a long-sleeved t-shirt.  Red, of course.
7.  He loves playing 'bingo' and 'simon says' at school.  He is excellent at listening and paying attention, so he often wins. 
8.  He has become okay with not winning all the time, though.
9.  His favorite music this year included:  The Black Keys, Foster the People ('Pumped Up Kicks'), The Decemberists ('Down by the Water'), and amazingly, Gillian Welch.
10.  We are currently reading James and the Giant Peach.  Again. 
11.  His favorite things to do outside are running/chasing, riding his bike, sledding, throwing a frisbee, kicking a ball, flying a kite...actually he loves doing just about anything outside.
12.  He asks amazing questions and challenges us all the time.  Recent ones include:  What is a soul?  Why does the wind blow?  Why doesn't Santa bring toys to homeless kids?  And why are there kids without homes?  Why does the Earth only have one moon?
13.  He still sleeps with his stuffed penguin, Ernesto.
14.  His favorite things to draw are houses, rocket ships, rainbows, and Princess Mommy.  (That last one is my favorite.)
15.  He wants to be a chef when he grows up.

12.13.2011

Melancholia


We watched "Melancholia" last weekend.  I'm trying to figure out what to say about it.  I'm not sure it is a movie I can recommend to everyone, because surely there will be many people who will hate it.  It is almost indescribably sad, and it is slow, and bizarre, and painful to watch at times.  And yet I am very happy that I saw it.  It is a movie that will stay with you for days after watching.  It is beautiful and fascinating, and the acting is wonderful. 

Have you heard of Melancholia?  Have you seen it, or do you have any interest in seeing it? 


12.12.2011

Birthday Celebrations


Whew!  We had a very fun weekend celebrating my son's 5th birthday.  On Saturday we hosted a party with his friends at home.  Eleven kids plus parents made for a very crowded house, but everyone had a good time.  Hide-and-seek, a wooden racecar craft, pin the tail on the donkey, pizza/cake/ice cream, and a red racecar pinata full of goodies.  My big boy had a blast!  It was such a stark contrast to last year's party, when everyone seemed to cling to their mom's legs, and my son almost cried when everyone sang 'Happy Birthday' to him.  This time, they were off and running the moment they hit the door.  He smiled when we sang, and he blew out his candles with one try. 

On Sunday, we had a house full of family.  We ate lunch, enjoyed the second half of the cake, and opened more (!) presents.  We spent the rest of the day playing with his new toys.  He had many favorites, although the marble run (shown above) was especially fun.  I actually had a lot of fun playing with it too! 

His actual birthday is on Wednesday.  A mid-week birthday calls for an extended celebration, so that's what he's getting.  On the actual day, he'll get rice krispie treats to bring to school for his friends, and he'll get to choose what we have for dinner. 

Wow that is a lot of celebrating!  But hey, he'll only turn five once.



12.08.2011

The Holiday Season


Part of the reason I started the season feeling unorganized and scatterbrained is because I failed to make a list.  Lists are wonderful things.  They are so easy to do, and they never fail to highlight what's really important.  Writing this post last year helped me focus on what I wanted to get out of the holiday season, so although the list is nearly identical (this time of year is full of family traditions), I needed to do it again.  I am doing this a bit late, so some of these are already complete or underway. 

When I think about what I want to do as a family this holiday season, here's what makes the list:

- Make a paper chain for the Christmas tree with the big boy (he doesn't need help this year, so although we still work together, it's even more fun)
- Watch Rudolph while we decorate the tree (with colored lights!)
- Bake something yummy to bring to the neighbors
- Send holiday cards
- Cut paper snowflakes with the big boy to decorate the house (he did these all by himself this year!)
- Attend the Holiday Pops concert at Symphony Hall. (Last year was the big boy's first year attending, and he is so excited to go again.)
- Purchase gifts for a child living in poverty (buying presents for someone you don't know is wonderful, and it initiated a cool conversation with my son about Santa and homeless kids and how fortunate we are to have so much)
- Celebrate St. Nicholas' Day (Dec. 6th - they each got a train in their shoes, and they almost fell down the stairs to get them)
- Games - Beat my mom at Scrabble (one of life's little pleasures, especially since it's rare), play Apples to Apples with family, Hi-Ho Cherry-o with the boys.
- Watch "It's a Wonderful Life" and cry at the end like I always do.  I am in such a mood to watch "Little Women" too.  That may happen tonight.
- Cookies, cookies, cookies - Some to enjoy on the spot, some to decorate, some to bring to a cookie swap, some to freeze so we can replenish our supply as needed.
- Allow my kids to open a present on Christmas Eve - a new set of pajamas.
- Chocolate fondue and champagne on New Year's Eve.

What's on your list?  What are the highlights of your holiday season?

12.07.2011

It's a Wonderful Life, Evening Yoga, and Winter Stars

A good reminder for this (or any) time of year

This week's Three Beautiful Things:

1.  I had such a nice night, addressing holiday cards and watching "It's a Wonderful Life".  I'm looking forward to my gift-wrapping night, too.  "Miracle on 34th Street" or "Little Women", perhaps?

2.  An evening yoga session.  I rarely do them, but I never regret it when I do.  The boys fell asleep at a reasonable hour, so I took advantage of the quiet time and enjoyed a full hour.  I feel limber and graceful and a bit sore in all the right places.

3. A clear night sky.  My boys get so excited to see the bright moon, but even more excited when they get to see stars.  They don't see them at all in the summer, with its long days, so seeing stars is a bonus saved for these dark winter days.


BONUS:  I wrote a guest post over at Contented Me.  I finish ten sentences, and you could learn a little more about me.  Check it out!

12.06.2011

My Favorite Music of 2011


2011 was a good year for music.  This list does not attempt to be a "best of" list, nor do I even understand how anyone can determine what makes one song better than another.  This is simply a list of the music I listened to a lot this year.  The songs that touched me, made me cry, made me jump up and dance, made me play air drums/guitar, made me sing at the top of my lungs, or just made me happy.

In no particular order...

The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
Blind Pilot - We Are the Tide
The Decemberists - The King is Dead
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

Wild Flag - Wild Flag
Feist - Metals
Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
The Black Keys - El Camino

Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know
Foster the People - Torches
David Wax Museum - Everything is Saved
Gillian Welch - The Harrow & The Harvest

Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Sarah Jarosz - Follow Me Down
Blitzen Trapper - American Goldwing
Alela Diane - Alela Diane & Wild Divine

Wye Oak - Civilian
The Head and the Heart - The Head and the Heart
Sera Cahoone - Only As the Day Is Long
Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo

My Favorite Music of 2011, part 2


I just couldn't limit my favorites to a single post this year.  I got back into my music groove and got to know a lot of really great bands this year.  So here is part two of this year's favorites, and I still feel like I'm leaving some good ones out.  If you have similar taste and feel like I missed somebody great, let me know!  I always love getting to know new artists.

Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire
Other Lives - Tamer Animals
Good Old War - Good Old War
Amelia Curran - Hunter, Hunter

Bright Eyes - The People's Key
Dawes - Nothing is Wrong
Trent Dabbs - Southerner
Amos Lee - Mission Bell

The Dodos - No Color
The Milk Carton Kids - Prologue (*free download!)
Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean
Fitz and the Tantrums - Pickin' Up The Pieces

Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
The Mountain Goats - All Eternals Deck
The Naked and Famous - Passive Me, Aggressive You
Ivan & Alyosha - Fathers Be King

Adele - 21
The Middle Brother - The Middle Brother
Josh Bray - Whisky & Wool
The Wooden Sky - If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone
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