December 30, 2014

Family Time...

I'm so happy to report that I have been able to log some couch time. I've also managed a couple mornings of sleeping in, and I feel so much better. We also have a line on a new sitter for the remainder of the school year. It's all coming together.

We enjoyed a lovely holiday, with the highlight for me being Christmas Eve. We attended the Boston Pops' Holiday concert, as we do every year. We went out to lunch, and then we snuggled on the couch to watch 'Home Alone'. Kevin made his traditional lobster mac 'n cheese for dinner. Kevin and Aaron walked up to the family service at our neighborhood church while Nathan and I worked on a puzzle. Perfect. Just a wonderful day all around. 

We spent a couple days with family, and the boys were overloaded with toys. Despite our efforts to keep it simple, gifts from extended family overrule, and certainly the boys don't mind. They got a lot of really great and fun and even some practical gifts. After a couple days, Nathan couldn't wait to get home to play with them all, and Aaron has been heads-down on his Santa gift - a Chima lego set - since we arrived.

And now we're preparing for a few days of skiing to welcome in the new year. It will be great, but I admit that my thoughts will be on my family as well. We lost an uncle, and they will be celebrating his life this week. I'm sad that I won't be able to join them, but I will be sending love from afar. It certainly puts everything into perspective. Family and friends. There's nothing more important.

December 23, 2014

All I Want For Christmas... some time on the couch. Truly. I've been trying to soak in as much of the season as possible, decorating the tree, and sending/receiving cards, and watching the Grinch, and making cookies, and wrapping presents... But when the day finally arrives, what I'm really looking forward to most is snuggling with all my boys on the couch and watching a movie. I'm looking forward to a little rest. 

The holiday season has seemed especially short and fast this year, and after three months back at work, I'm officially back to reactive, struggling-to-keep-up mode. This bums me out. I had such high hopes for being able to stay organized and adjusting to the new schedule in a way that would allow me to stay on top of things. Alas. I will admit that it is easier than it was a couple years ago, but it's still pretty darn hard. 

In acknowledging how quickly the holiday season flies by, I've recognized that we are in prime Christmas years with the boys. They are both still avid Santa believers, making their lists and getting excited for Christmas morning. Nathan refuses to mail his list to Santa, needing to add "just one more thing" almost every day. Their lists are full of really fun items, and I expect to spend a good amount of time building lego sets during the break. They love helping me make and decorate cookies, and they get excited to go to the Holiday Pops concert at Symphony Hall - we're going tomorrow, and I can't wait! 

I know that in just a few short years, they won't play the Santa game any more, and their excitement will be more about spending time with friends and going to the movies. They may not want to make cookies with me, or go to the Pops concert. When that happens, I will probably write about it here, as Lou recently did.  It's okay, and it's all part of the phases of life. In the meantime, I want to make sure that I am fully present during this wonderfully exciting time that is right now.

picture by Jenna at sweet fine day

December 16, 2014


My sweet boy is eight. I want to take the hands of the clock and hold them still, but I sigh and celebrate the passing of time instead. Having a blog is fun for many reasons, but one reason is being able to look back at posts like this and this and this. Some people have scrapbooks and baby albums. I have a blog. As the years have passed, I've shared a little less of my boys, and I suspect that trend will continue as they get older. But I'm happy I've been able to capture some of the highlights here. I do create family photo albums, but here is where I capture some of the details. Such as...

This year Aaron requested a lego-themed party, and he loved helping me come up with the activities. We had "guess how many legos in the jar", a bean bag toss, pin the head on the lego guy, a memory game, a scavenger hunt, and Emmet piƱata of course. In-between activities the kids enjoyed ice cream sundaes, which has become his tradition as well. He invited three girls and three boys - a perfect-sized group of great kids getting together to celebrate one fabulous boy.  

December 15, 2014

Ups and Downs and Looking Forward...

The holiday season is always a busy one, and it's especially full this year. I've had to say no to some of our usual activities, including homemade gifts and presents to my siblings, and we'll probably only fit in one day of cookie-making. That's okay, of course, but I admit that it's been difficult. I feel like the season is rushing by, and I haven't been able to stop long enough to fully appreciate it. It's not over yet, though, and I plan to get my fill. 

Kevin and I attended my office holiday party last week. It was at Fenway Park, and the above photo shows our view. It was a ton of fun, and it only reinforced my decision to join such a great group of people. The people make all the difference. 

In other happy news, I'm happy that Nathan has requested "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" for his bedtime story for the past few nights. It's my favorite. I'm happy that the grocery store had the good egg nog this week. I'm happy that my mom got to see "Elf" for the first time when she was here. 

Things are going well overall, but I admit that our weekends are more full of errands than I'd like, and due to more sitter issues, it's been a particularly stressful week. The arrangement works great when it works, but when things get thrown off balance, everything gets really hard. 

In other words, we are all ready for the Christmas break. We are planning on attending the Holiday Pops concert on Christmas Eve, spending a quiet night at home with just the four of us. I can't wait to watch the first Harry Potter movie with Aaron. I am going to thoroughly enjoy cookies and Kevin's lobster mac 'n cheese. I am eager to see the boys' excitement on Christmas morning. In the meantime, I'm going to listen to lots of Christmas music and take it one day at a time.

December 11, 2014

My Favorite Music of 2014

I know I haven't been posting much lately, but I still wanted to document my favorite music of the year.  It's always fun to go through my playlist to come up with my list of favorites. My boys are starting to be exposed to more mainstream pop music (gasp!), as well as some of my old-school favorites (we had an awesome dance party to James Brown a few weeks ago), so they only had a few new songs that really got them going on this list. I don't know what that says, but there it is. I was really happy we got to see a few of these performed live this year - Noah Gundersen, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Jack White, First Aid Kit, and Shovels & Rope. And without further adieu...

Noah Gundersen - Ledges
Hurray for the Riff Raff - Small Town Heroes
Wye Oak - Shriek
Nikki Lane - All Or Nothin'

Conor Oberst - Upside Down Mountain
Jack White - Lazaretto
Field Report - Marigolden
First Aid Kit - Stay Gold

The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream
Ages & Ages - Divisionary
Hozier - Hozier
Trampled by Turtles - Wild Animals

Jenny Lewis - The Voyager
Shovels & Rope - Swimmin' Time
Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams
Delta Spirit - Into the Wide

The Black Keys - Turn Blue
The Apache Relay - Apache Relay
The Orwells - Disgraceland
Real Estate - Atlas

Honorable Mentions:  St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Parquet Courts, Lake Street Dive, Nickel Creek, Beck, St. Vincent, Spoon.

December 1, 2014

And So It Begins...

It's December, and I'm a little stunned by this fact. Thanksgiving is behind us, and the holiday season has officially begun.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, with a little exhaustion and stress mixed in.  I guess that just goes with the territory when you cram a house full of family. My low point came about 5 minutes before the big meal, when my kids started whining about not wanting to sit at the kids' table. That in and of itself wouldn't have bothered me so much, but those crucial minutes when you're trying to get everything on the table - and preferably warm - at the same time are stressful enough without listening to whining on top of it. So I did what I sometimes do - I yelled. And this is how our Thanksgiving celebration began, I'm ashamed to admit.

Thankfully, I regained my composure a couple minutes later, and we pulled stools up to the table and crowded everybody around.  I read the feathers on our soup can turkey, on which everyone listed things for which they are grateful. That's a nice way to start a meal. Largely due to the little-kid factor, the meal itself seemed to last about 10 minutes.  I'm looking forward to the day when we are able to leisurely enjoy conversation around a big table. But of course when that day comes, I bet I'll look back fondly at the chaotic holidays with little kids. That's the way it goes...

Overall, we enjoyed several fun days together. We played in the snow, went sledding, watched movies, played games, and we even got a kid-free night out at a Bruins hockey game in the city. It flew by, and now the house feels a little too empty, too quiet.

What seems too quickly, we turn our attention towards the remainder of the holiday season.  We decorated the tree, watched Elf and Charlie Brown, we discussed lists and presents and New Year's plans.  We went back to work today, with a full long weekend behind us, a beautiful month in front of us, and memories with us forever.

There's not much more exciting than getting the sled out for the first time.

Football in the snow.  That's an awfully cute huddle.

The annual soup can turkey.  So much to be thankful for.


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