July 28, 2014

Newport and the Month of Fun...

Entering July, we realized we had really fun plans for every single weekend, so we entitled it the "Month of Fun".  And it was!  We had a wonderful week at the lake, a visit to the Cape, a fun weekend in Maine with family, and we capped it all off with a weekend in Newport!  Whew - that's a lot of driving! 

Newport was a lot of fun.  I have to remind myself that my boys are 5 and 7 - not quite old enough to want to sit still for long periods of time to listen to music.  I came prepared with lots of diversions, but we also spent a lot of time in the family tent, which is thoughtfully full of crafts and snacks and even included a couple sets of corn hole.  We played games and did crafts while still getting to enjoy fabulous music on the main stage.  I did also make it to one of the smaller stages to see The Oh Hellos, which was my favorite show of the day.  Aaron stayed with me and agreed they were a ton of fun.  All in all, despite a few sprinkles in the middle of the afternoon, it was a beautiful day full of beautiful music.  

If you like that sort of thing, you could listen to a few of the shows we saw.  NPR has several of the main stage concerts online, including Nickel Creek, Aoife O'Donovan, and Shovels & Rope.  They were all really good.

So our month of fun is over, and we haven't even gone on our big trip yet!  Only 12 days until Spain and Amsterdam!  Wow I'm spoiled.  

July 25, 2014

Newport Folk Festival Preview

photo via theBERRY

It's Newport time again!  We are making our 3rd annual visit to the Newport Folk Festival tomorrow, and I can't wait!  It is seriously one of my favorite days of the year.  One of these years we will make it a whole weekend, but for now, one glorious Saturday a year works.  

I've been strategizing over the show schedule for a couple weeks now, and I think I'm settled on our plan.  It wasn't quite as grueling as it has been in years past, although I truly want to see everyone!  

Here's the plan.  Aoife O'Donovan starts us out in the morning on the Fort (main) stage.  Should be a lovely way to start the day.  Fingers crossed for warm sunshine and cool breezes.

We will then head to the smaller Quad stage to check out The Oh Hello's.  I am really excited to hear these guys live.  Should be fun.

On to the Harbor stage to see J. Roddy Walston and The Business.  Awesome.  Aaron promised he will dance with me when they play "Marigold".  I expect a rock-out session, with lots of dancing and singing along.

It killed me that we missed Shovels & Rope last year, so I was ridiculously excited that they are back again.  And playing the Fort stage!  I might have to go up front to the dancing section for this show.  

And this song.....it's from their new album, out next month.  I keep playing it over and over...turning it up real loud and singing along.  It's infectious.  

We're going to hang around in front of the Fort stage for the rest of the afternoon, because really, there's no reason to move when they keep putting on great music.  Deer Tick will be fun to watch.  I've been going back to their latest album a lot in anticipation.

Then Nickel Creek!  I've been enjoying their latest album - their first in many years - so I'm excited to hear them play live.

And how's Jack White for a headliner!?  I seriously love his latest album.  He is going to kick ass, and I can't wait to see it.  Hopefully the boys will still be going strong at this point.  Jack will be loud and crazy and awesome and a perfect way to end a fabulous day of music.

July 23, 2014

A Few Things...

Just a few things I've run across lately...

Have you watched Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee yet?  It's a web series by Jerry Seinfeld - basically he takes a famous friend out for coffee, and the show is their conversation.  It's very entertaining.  I loved the most recent episode, with Jon Stewart.  I also really enjoyed Sarah Jessica Parker.  And Tina Fey.  And Ricky Gervais.  And Louis CK.  Oh my gosh Alec Baldwin cracked me up.  So many good ones.  You get to see a little of their real personalities, which can be fascinating when you only know them as their characters.

I love Eddie Vedder.

Every now and then, Kevin will throw out a comment about Harvard into a conversation, and my reaction is always "our kids are not going to Harvard".  Of course you can get a good education at Harvard, but something about it - and the rest of the Ivy League - has always made me uncomfortable.  I think this article helps articulate what it is.   I want more for my kids.

Here's another trick for getting your kids to try new vegetables.

Tina Fey and Jason Bateman are awesome.  Here's yet another movie I want to see.

Being informed and fashionable is natural for women.  I liked this opinion piece in the Washington Post.

I am going to Amsterdam in just a few weeks!  I loved reading Simone's post about her recent visit.

Holy wow this is an amazing transformation.

Born in the USA turns 30 this year, and there is a tribute album.  Must check it out.

I think about how good my kids have it all the time.  We are lucky to be able to provide so much for them, and yet I worry about spoiling them.  How do we ensure they understand?  This article is good and in line with our way of thinking.

I like reading inspiring parenting posts, and I've run across a few good ones lately.  Sometimes they are too short to be well-balanced, but they often provide good reminders.
This one reminded me to slow down.
This one made me stop and think about the questions I ask them at the end of the day.
This one made me feel good about our full bookshelves.
This one made me smile and think of my two awesome boys, who never stop, get pee everywhere, and love their Mom.

July 22, 2014

What's Going On...

I love that we live near the coast.  I really don't think I could ever live too far away from the ocean.  To be honest, we don't go very often, but I like knowing it's there, and we do make it to the beach at least a few times during the summer.  In fact, we've spent the last two weekends on the beach.  The first was a beautiful weekend with friends on Cape Cod, and this past weekend we were in Maine.  

We have visited the same town in Maine every summer for five years now, and I think it is a pretty solid family tradition at this point.  It's a perfect long weekend trip (actually we could easily spend an entire summer here!) - not too far away, great hotel with indoor and outdoor pools, walking distance to everything, lots of good restaurants to choose from, beautiful beaches, harbors, shops, etc.  It's great.  

What else is going on?  Well, my job search continues.  The boys started camp last week, and it was perfect timing, since I had interviews every day!  I have two good possibilities at this point, and I'm encouraged by the fact that I've made progress so quickly.  Both jobs have pros and cons, of course, and although I've been trying to soak in the family vacation moments, I must confess that I find myself thinking about my future employment pretty much all the time.  In addition to thinking about what our new schedule will look like, I've been contemplating after-school care for the boys and managing their activities.  It's intimidating to say the least.  Overall, though, I feel optimistic and positive about the whole venture.  

When I'm not interviewing or job searching or emailing contacts, I'm exercising and tackling house cleaning/organizing tasks.  Today I started cleaning out the fridge.  Ick.  But oh it will feel so good when I'm done.  I want to be as organized as possible when my return to work begins.  I also want to appreciate my last weeks at home.  I'm thinking I need to do something a bit decadent next week...   

As I was taking pictures of the boys running into the (very cold!) ocean in Maine, I realized that I always take the same picture.  Every year, the same beach.  It is already fun to look back and see the boys growing.  My, how the time flies...

July 11, 2014

Outdoor Living...

Family gathering around the bonfire...photo by my cousin Lynne.

We had a beautiful week in New York, on Lake Ontario.

Glorious sunsets every night.  It's so hard not to try to take a picture of every one, but I did manage to sit still and just watch for a while.

Bedtimes have been pushed (way) back, mornings have been lazy.  

Dirty feet from being barefoot all day.

We picked cherries, which I realized I had never done before.  Trees bursting with ruby-colored fruit, we could pick them by the handful.  So sweet.  We ate and ate and ate.

Sticky popsicle faces.

We enjoyed a day at the amusement park.  The boys had their first ride on a roller coaster, which was big enough to make me squeal with laughter too.  We spent time in the water park, riding in pairs down the big water slide.  I felt like a kid.

Suitcases exploded in the tent, and yet I loved the outdoor living.  Sleeping outside in the fresh air, reading by the light of the lantern, early morning yoga while the boys slept in.

Dinner for 50.  It was an impressive gathering of family.  I loved catching up, and it was fun to see my boys play with cousins (actually mostly second cousins) they just met.

We had one morning of fun with the boat.  The boys and I rode the Gladiator, and Aaron got to go out riding and swimming with the big kids.

Singing around the bonfire.  Aaron sang a couple songs with me as I played on my guitar, and it made my heart swell.

Burnt marshmallows.  The best kind.

Awe-inspiring starry night skies.   I looked up until I saw a shooting star.  And then I looked some more.

I came home feeling refreshed, full of fresh air and love.  It's no wonder this is one of my favorite places in the world.

July 10, 2014


My baby is five.  We celebrated with a Hotwheels party at home.  Racetracks, an obstacle course, a piƱata, and ice cream cake.  A few things about my sweet and beautiful boy...

1.  His favorite color changes by the day, but most often it's still blue.
2.  He still loves pasta, but he chooses grilled cheese or pizza most often now.  He will eat some meat, but only selected kinds.  He does really well with most veggies.  
3.  Cereal for breakfast, although he'd have waffles or pancakes every day if I made them for him.
4.  His favorite TV show is Wild Kratts.  It's basically the only one he watches.  It's pretty remarkable how much he has learned about animals as well as geography from watching this show.
5.  He loves legos.  He plays with his mini figures all the time.
6.  He's done with preschool, and he's excited to be in the same school with his big brother in the Fall.
7.  He still turns everything into a gun, a sword, or a bat.  I'm eagerly waiting for this phase to end.
8.  He plays on his own quite a bit, and he creates little worlds for himself and his toys.  It's so cool to watch.  
9.  His artistic flair points to large, dramatic scribbles, but he has added some recognizable objects.  These include people - including belly buttons!, rainbows, houses, grass and trees...
10.  He loves riding his two-wheel bike, but his scooter is still his favorite.  
11.  He loves baseball.  Having batting practice in the back field, playing catch, running the bases...
12.  Every night at bedtime, we read a couple stories, and he then asks for a couple toys to play with in bed.  A couple superheroes, a bunch of mini figures, a few hot wheels cars...  
13.  He still has his blonde hair.  I hope it stays - it's beautiful with his dark chocolate-brown eyes.
14.  He is getting stingier with his hugs and kisses, but I still get one every morning and every night.  I steal more when I can.  

Update:  I forgot to mention this and I don't want to ever forget it.  About a week before his birthday, I told Nathan that I wanted him to stay 4 forever.  Four is so sweet, and snuggly, and fun, and awesome.  He said, "Mom, I can't stay 4.  I have to turn 5, and then 6, and then 7..."  I said, "But why?"  His response?  "I don't know, Mom, that's just the way life works.  But 5 will be awesome too."  Oh my goodness I just adore this kid.


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