June 29, 2012

Good Old War - Loud Love

This is a fun and sweet song I'm banging out on my guitar today.  This is the one I wish I could play, though.  Beautiful song and gorgeous guitar.  I watch his fingers in jealous admiration.  

I adore their latest album, Come Back As Rain, and it's only $5.99 on Amazon.  Check it out!

A Few Links...

Pictures like this blow my freakin' mind.   Sentences like this do too:  "This means that the light we're seeing in this image left the Pinwheel Galaxy about 21 million years ago - many millions of years before humans ever walked the Earth."  Ooh, here's another good one too.  Awesome. 

I haven't listened to Fiona Apple in years, but after reading this article, I think I may have to give her a spin. 

Watch this video of a recreation of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" using dominos.  Pretty cool.  The things people have the patience to do...

Have you ever illegally downloaded music?  I know plenty of people who have (and do), but I've never done it myself.  Always felt wrong.  I love music, and so I love musicians and want to support them so they can keep playing music.  That said, I will admit that I sometimes make music mixes for my sisters and friends.  I justify this by the fact that I am typically introducing them to new bands, ones that they wouldn't be spending money on anyway.  This blog post in response to this NPR Music article is interesting, and a good reminder that musicians deserve to be paid for their work. 

Did you watch The Electric Company when you were a kid?  I did, and it was nothing like the current version.  I so clearly remember Bill Cosby and Morgan Freeman and the very best part of all...Spiderman.  It was awesome.  If you did watch it, check out this article for a trip down memory lane.

Why are American kids so spoiled?  Interesting article about current parenting methods and their sad implications.  I think we're doing pretty well so far, although this makes me want to buckle down even more.

Okay, I had to add one more in:  This will crack you up and leave you smiling.  I promise!

June 27, 2012

Laughing Boys, Exiting the Baby Years, and Sunny Rain

This week's Three Beautiful Things:

1.  I love waking up to the sun streaming through the window and the sound of little boys laughing.  My boys are getting better about entertaining themselves for a bit before coming into our room in the morning.

2.  Today was my first day in a very long time that I didn't have to change a diaper/pull-up/dirty underwear (five and a half years...I suppose some people do it for longer but that is plenty long enough for me).  I am very happy about this.

3.  I looked outside this morning and saw the sun shining through white puffy clouds, and sparkly raindrops falling on the grass.  Only a rainbow could've made it more perfect.

And here are a few more beautiful things...

June 25, 2012

Weekend Recap

Another awesome weekend.  Summer is grand.  As I mentioned, Kevin was heads-down studying all weekend, so the boys and I mostly had fun on our own.  I dove into the Summer Fun List.  Here are the highlights:

*When we woke up Saturday morning, it was still raining and very wet outside, so I suggested a movie.  I took the boys to see Madagascar 3 - it was Nathan's first movie in the theater, and although the movie was about 30 minutes too long for him, they both had a great time.  We got our popcorn and raisinettes and giggled at the movie. 
*I blew up a new little pool for the yard.  The boys spent the rest of the afternoon jumping in and out of the pool and generally getting extremely dirty. 
*Sunday morning, the boys woke up happy with the sun, so we packed up and headed out early.
*Pancakes and playtime at a friend's house.  She was also entertaining two little boys on her own this weekend.
*We took all four boys to Walden Pond.  The weather was perfect, the water was warm, and the boys had a blast.  They alternated between playing in the water and playing in the sand.  They had fun, and I got to soak up the sunshine and catch up with a friend.  Winners all around. 

I think my goals are similar to last week's - surviving the renovation, drinking lots of water, appreciating life's little pleasures, planning meals, and picking out paint colors (I at least identified a few contenders on this one!).   

Have a great week!

June 22, 2012

House Update

No, the house above is not mine.  Sadly.  I do love it, though.  I just find it soothing to start these "house update" posts with a pretty picture, rather than the boring or flat-out ugly "in-process" shots of my own.

The renovation continues.  Unfortunately, it seems to have slowed down a bit, and we remain behind schedule.  Progress does continue, though.  They are almost done with the exterior trim and clapboards, and the big event this week was the flooring.  They installed the wood, although they haven't stained it yet.  (Who knew how difficult it would be to match the stain of our existing hardwood floors?)  Next week they will work on the interior trim, which means I really do have to pick out the paint colors, because that's what's up next!

Oh my goodness I can almost see the light at the end of this tunnel.

A sunny view of the little league field from the playroom/guest bedroom 
(a.k.a. "The Alvarez Suite")

This little bump-out is new, and inside is our kitchen seating area. 

A Few Links...

Hiding from the sun on this hot, hot day

I thought I'd share just a few links as you head into your weekend.  We don't have too much planned.  Kevin will mostly be studying, so I will get serious quality time with my little boys.  I plan to dive into our Summer Fun List!

A cover of Simon and Garfunkel's 'The Boxer' by Jerry Douglas and Mumford & Sons - It's wonderful.  I just keep hitting 'play'.

A refreshingly honest article about working mothers, entitled "Why Women Still Can't Have It All".

This is a video of my cousin's son and his friends doing trick frisbee shots.  Random, yes, but somehow it's a bit mesmerizing to watch.

Eclectic and fun summer music mix.

Alicia Bock is having a Summer Solstice sale - through 6/26.  I've been wanting to buy one (or several) of her photographs forever.  I think the reason I haven't is because I simply can't decide which one to buy or where to put it!

Did I tell you we're finally actually going to the Newport Folk Festival this year?  It's at the end of July, and I am beyond excited. We are taking the boys with us (crazy, perhaps, but we'll see how it goes), and we're only going on Saturday.  Still - I can't wait!  Check out the lineup and tell me you're not jealous.  (Just please, pretty please, don't let there be rain.)

June 19, 2012

Summer Fun List - 2012

Of course ice cream is on the list!

I'm a little late in creating our annual list of fun things to do this summer, and since I'm still working, our window of opportunity for fun-making is limited to weekends at the moment.  I am looking forward to a wide-open August, though, and I plan to pack as much in as possible.

  • Swim in Walden Pond
  • Have a playdate with Teddy and Michael
  • Spend a day in Boston
  • Go to the beach
  • Throw rocks into Lake Ontario
  • Watch a sunset
  • Foods to eat in abundance:  Dad's macaroni salad, watermelon, tomatoes from our garden, zucchini, corn on the cob, and ice cream
  • Make homemade lemonade
  • Take a walk at the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Nathan's 3rd birthday!
  • Write and send letters to family members
  • Go fruit picking - peaches, plums, and/or early apples
  • Fly kites
  • Play in a new kiddie pool
  • Take a picnic
  • Buy canvases for the boys to make masterpieces to hang on our new walls
  • Make homemade popsicles and smoothies
  • Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Make our own puzzles (afterwards, these make great travel items!)
  • Go to a music festival
  • Write our own books
  • Keep the TV off
  • Start a new book series with Aaron
  • Go canoeing
  • Blow bubbles
  • Pick an animal day - choose an animal and learn everything we can about it, draw pictures of it
  • Family backyard campout (this is the third year in a row on this list...let's make it happen this year!)
  • Ride bikes at the Elm Bank
  • Watch a movie and eat popcorn on a rainy day
  • Run through the sprinkler
  • Visit the animals at the farm

Oh I just love making these lists!  Such fun stuff!  Now I want to get started immediately.  What's on your list?

June 18, 2012

Weekend Recap

This weekend is what summer is all about.  We spent the weekend in New York with our great friends.  They have kids of similar ages, and they all have a lot of fun playing together, which is awesome.  I left work early on Friday so I could drive down with the boys and enable us to have a full weekend.  It made it feel like we had a long weekend, and I kept saying that we were on vacation even though it was really just a regular weekend.  My thinking, though, was this:  If I'm sitting on a beach with my friends, enjoying a fruity cocktail, and looking out at sailboats and a clear blue sky.....that's a vacation.  Here are the highlights:

*Dinner at their beach club on Friday night.  The kids ran around in the grass while we enjoyed our meal.  (I'm starting to think all restaurants should have a grassy area outside for the kids.)
*We spent all day Saturday at the beach.  We watched the kids dig holes and jump in the water.  We spent some time at the pool, which was my little guy's favorite part.  Six inches of water and I swear he's in heaven.  We could not have asked for better weather too. 
*Saturday night dinner - we fed the kids, got them bathed and in pajamas, and set up a movie.  While they watched, the adults were able to enjoy a fabulous meal with actual conversation!
*I think we might need to invest in an outdoor heat lamp.  Our friends have one, and it enables us to stay outside under the stars comfortably on cool evenings.
*Sunday brunch - pancakes, berries and mimosas.  The perfect start to a Sunday. 
*Take-out dinner from a great Italian restaurant Sunday night.  I included an order of mussels, and Aaron proceeded to eat 90% of them himself.  I love that he loves seafood. 

Goals for the week:
1.  Paint colors - I didn't get to it last week.
2.  Survive another week of the house renovation without wanting to strangle someone. 
3.  Make this year's Summer Fun List - I'm a little late on this as well
4.  Water!
5.  Plan this week's meals.  This whole "living without a kitchen" thing is getting old, and I am running out of ideas.  I need to remotivate myself to plan some different options. 

June 15, 2012

The Wedding Band - Thumper

The Wedding Band is a side project of Mumford & Sons, and this is a toe-tapping song for your Friday.  Happy Weekend!

June 13, 2012

Tomatoes, Awesome Lunches, and Playing Outside

This week's Three Beautiful Things:

1.  I walked out to our little garden bed to water the tomato and pepper plants.  I adjusted some of the tomato branches, and as I walked away, I smelled my fingers.  That irresistable smell of summer.

2.  My mother-in-law left a message on our answering machine.  She called just to let us know she got home okay.  "Thanks again for lunch...we need to go back there again!  It was awesome."  I listened, and smiled.  It absolutely was an awesome lunch.

3.  Aaron asked if they could play outside.  I said of course and asked him what he wanted to do.  He replied, "I don't know, Mom...I'm going to make something up!"  The best. answer. ever.

June 12, 2012

A Few Links...


You're Not Special.  An awesome commencement speech given at a local high school.  You really must read this. 

Summer Guilt.  I feel exactly the same way.  I am so excited to be able to give my boys the gift of a fun and lazy August this year, and I'm looking forward to a long and hopefully sometimes boring summer of 2013. 

The Consequences of Caring.  I am fairly certain that very few of my blog readers will appreciate this one, but it's my blog and I love it.  Even if you don't have an appreciation for sports, perhaps you can appreciate the writing.  It's wonderful.

Audiobooks That'll Make The Family Road Trip Fly By.  My boys are too young for any of these selections, but this article reminded me of the long road trips we have planned this summer.  Purchasing a couple audiobooks is probably a good idea.  I am thinking Roald Dahl would make an excellent road companion.

June 11, 2012

Weekend Recap

It was a glorious weekend - warm, sunny days, filled with lots of time to play.  Here are a few highlights:

*My mother-in-law visited on Saturday.  The boys loved seeing her.  We went out to lunch, and we sat outside and enjoyed white sangria and the most delicious lobster cobb salad. 
*We spent the afternoon at a playground, topped with a visit to the ice cream shop. 
*We ate another "snack tray" dinner outside on the front porch.  Actually, now that I think about it, we ate all our meals outside this weekend.  Food just tastes better outside in the fresh air, doesn't it?
*We attended a birthday party, and I noticed that my little Nathan went from an interested observer to an active participant this time, sitting with the group and following instructions and dancing and...  He's growing up.  Let's just leave it at that. 
*We wrapped up the weekend by spending Sunday evening at a friend's house.  The kids wore themselves out on a bouncy house and swings, and the parents got to relax and catch up.  We all enjoyed an awesome dinner off the grill.  We brought the kids home and got them to bed, and I am pretty sure Aaron was asleep before I left his room. 

Goals for the week:
1.  Yoga.  I hurt my back last week, picking up Nathan from his bed.  I could barely walk for two days.  I did some yoga on Friday, not knowing if it would help or hurt.  Thankfully, it helped quite a bit, and I was able to move again.  I am still sore, but I'm on the road to recovery.  I'm thinking this week's exercise routine needs to consist primarily of yoga and restorative poses for my back.
2.  Paint colors.  We've picked out and/or purchased almost everything for the renovation at this point, but we're not done yet.  We need paint colors!  I mostly stay pretty boring for interior walls- it'll be some light neutral color for the family room - but we also have to choose colors for a bathroom and playroom/bedroom and pantry.  Oh how I wish I had a friend who happened to be an interior designer.  This is so not my strength. 
3.  Books.  I am almost done with the current pile on my nightstand, and summer is already upon us.  The TV season has ended (well, after tonight when I watch the finale of Mad Men), and I will be reading more every night.  It's time to stock up.  Do you have any recommendations for me?

June 8, 2012

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Man on Fire

Watch this video and tell me it doesn't make you want to get up and dance.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Their latest album, Here, is out now.

June 7, 2012

Kitchen Inspiration and House Update

photo via Midwest Living

Don't you just love how bright and cheerful this kitchen is?  Pretty soon, I will be done looking at pictures of kitchens.  Once I have my own new kitchen, I won't want to look at anybody else's, because I don't want to think, "Oooh I wish I had...", or "Oh I wish I could've done...".  Who wants to do that?  All the kitchen admiring I've done over the past few years was a fun way of dreaming about my own.  Once I get it, that'll be it. 

The renovation is coming along, albeit more slowly and with significantly more stress than I'd like.  I wake up in the middle of the night, dreaming about stove vents and wood flooring and cabinet layouts.  But we have windows, and doors, and insulated walls with wires and pipes in them.  Next week we'll close up the walls, and the following week we'll start putting down the floors.  Then it'll really start to get exciting. 

side entrance to new family room

kitchen windows

June 6, 2012

Who I Am...

Baseball fan
New Englander
Mother of boys

print via society6

Wanna-be guitar player
Dancer (in kitchens or at weddings, but that counts, right?)

I'm in the middle, holding my baby sister

Loyal sister and friend
Quietly opinionated
Lover of words
Ice cream connoisseur
Shopping hater

Graying brunette (shhhh!)
Tar Heel
Sufferer of TMJ pain, bad knees, and hives (I am literally allergic to running)

photo by rebecca bast at the daily muse

Beach drifter
Calm in a crisis
Music enthusiast

*Inspired by this post

June 4, 2012

New Nephews!

This is what my sister looked like over the weekend - enormously pregnant (yet still glowing with a smile on her face).  I just received the news that she delivered two healthy gorgeous boys this morning, and I am so proud and excited.  If only they didn't live so far away! 


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