December 17, 2015


My baby is nine. I am blown away by that fact. I want to capture a few things about my awesome boy at age nine that I want to remember.

1.  His best friends are the same girl friends he has had since kindergarten. For his "party" this year, he invited the two of them over to hang out, eat pizza and ice cream sundaes, play, and watch a movie. Perfect.
2.  His favorite color is still green.  Just like me.
3.  He likes a pretty wide variety of foods at this point. He is definitely a meat-eater; he loves cheeseburgers and steak and chicken...but he also does really well with fruits and veggies.  For his birthday dinner, he requested "breakfast dinner":  eggs, bacon, fruit salad, and english muffins.
4.  He still hates carrots with a vengeance. 
5.  His favorite TV shows are:  MasterChef Junior, The Voice, and NOVA. He still loves Wild Kratts too.
6.  He sticks with comfortable clothes, mostly athletic pants/shorts and t-shirts. He wears a hooded sweatshirt every day.
7.  He still thankfully loves school and is loving third grade.  Science is his favorite, and he's in an extra "Harry Potter Science" class after school.
8.  His piano playing is amazing. He's in his third year now, and he has definitely surpassed my skills. He gets frustrated with each new song, but once he has it learned, he plays nonstop. I love listening to him play.
9.  He still stays up way too late, and he's crabby in the mornings. I don't think this will ever change. 
10.  He fights with his brother all day long. There's friendship there, too, and it's so great when they play nicely together. But it rarely lasts long.  
11.  He reads a ton. His biggest obsession this year has been the Percy Jackson series. He powered through all of them as well as the next series by the same author. He is now extremely fascinated by greek mythology. 
12.  He is getting more into sports, led by his little brother. He tried soccer this year and loved it. And he loves watching basketball and football. Baseball is still his favorite to play. He's also starting to enjoy running. He ran three races this year, and he participates in a before-school program where he gets to play games and run.
13.  He still hugs me every day - good morning hugs, school drop-off hugs, hello hugs in the evening, good-night hugs... He's not stingy with the hugs, and I love it.
14.  He's not sure what he wants to be when he grows up. Maybe a baseball player. Maybe a teacher. Maybe a scientist. 

December 10, 2015

My Favorite Music of 2015

Okay, before I start with 2015 music, I have to say that it is appalling that Sturgill Simpson hasn't made an appearance on the blog yet. I think it took an opportunity to see him live to make me love him, but oh how I do now. There used to be a time when I'd say I didn't like country music. That is so not true. I hate country radio music, but I love true country music.

Now, on to this year's batch of favorites. As always, this is a list of the albums that I played the most this year. Jason Isbell continues to be a favorite - 'Speed Trap Town' is sad and beautiful.  'Wilder Mind' is my favorite Mumford and Sons album, and that's saying something. Sleater-Kinney and Veruca Salt make me feel like a teenager again. Brandi Carlile is awesome to belt out. Glen Hansard is such a beautiful songwriter. Good Old War is a toe-tapper. Brown Bird makes me cry.  Kurt Vile is what I listen to when I want to feel cool.

And who did we see live this year?  At Newport we saw The Suffers, The Barr Brothers, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Joe Pug, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Brandi Carlile, The Decemberists, and James Taylor.  We also saw Frank Turner, who puts on such a fun live show.  A weeknight show with Chris Cornell, whose voice is one of my favorites of all-time. Oh, and Foo Fighters in Fenway!  Who could forget that?

Without further adieu...the list:

Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free
Mumford and Sons - Wilder Mind
My Morning Jacket - The Waterfall
Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love
Josh Ritter - Sermon on the Rocks

Brandi Carlile - The Firewatcher's Daughter
Kurt Vile - B'lieve I'm Goin Down
Glen Hansard - Didn't He Ramble
Langhorne Slim & The Law - The Spirit Moves
Haunt the House - Jack Rabbit Jones

Dawes - All Your Favorite Bands
Noah Gundersen - Carry the Ghost
Wilco - Star Wars
Veruca Salt - Ghost Notes
Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell

Good Old War - Broken into Better Shape
Brown Bird - Axis Mundi
The Staves - If I Was
Lord Huron - Strange Trails
Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear

Honorable Mentions:
Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color
Laura Marling - Short Movie
Chris Cornell - Higher Truth

December 1, 2015

Little Things...

Crossword puzzles with my mom. Homemade art masterpieces. Spicy bloody marys. Conversations in front of a warm fireplace. The smell of frost in the morning. Extra whipped cream on pumpkin pie. Library books. Passing strangers with smiles. Feeding pumpkins to pigs. Rewarding kindness. Hugs. Movie nights. Pinot noir. Sore abs. Chance encounters. Laughs that devolve into snorts. A full house. Brisk walks. Cousins. A working washing-machine. Piano recitals. Sleeping in. Scrabble.

November 30, 2015

A Few Things...

picture from here

Thanksgiving was wonderful, as always. It remains my favorite holiday of the year, with its focus on food, family, and gratitude. What's not to love? The day after, the mood shifted and the Christmas holiday season began. Our tree is decorated, the stockings are up, and the carols are playing nonstop on the radio. I haven't begun any shopping yet, and yet somehow I'm not stressed about it. More motivation to keep it simple.

While I attempt to work off the tremendous amount of awesome food I ate last week, I thought I'd share a few things I've come across recently...

One highlight from this year's Thanksgiving feast was this recipe:  Roasted Butternut Squash and Pears. Yum.

Bill Simmons Interview with President Obama. I appreciated this interview, because Bill asks a lot of the questions I imagine a lot of us would ask if we got a chance to sit down with the President.

I think I'd like this clutch. Sometimes I hate having to bring my whole big purse somewhere. It'd be nice to have a little clutch to carry the essentials.

The Secret to Enjoying a Long Winter.  During this darkest time of the year, it's hard to imagine a place that's even darker. What's cool is that the people there have embraced it.

Think Better.  I fully admit that I struggle with this. I work in an office setting, where it has become commonplace to be sitting in a meeting, writing an email, and getting an instant message simultaneously. It's crazy. I don't like it, and I'm trying to figure out how to influence the environment to the extent that I can. One person can't change culture, though, so I'm mostly interested in how to change my own approach to working (and living) wherever I can.

Where Syrian Children Sleep.  These pictures, and the stories that accompany them, will make you cry. They will make you feel frustrated and powerless. But it's still important to look and acknowledge them.

Carrie Brownstein Doesn't Want to be Famous.  Carrie Brownstein has led an interesting and creative life, and I find her fascinating. Her book is on my wish-list too.

Sweden Introduces Six Hour Work Days.  Love it!

Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett and Six More Top Actresses on Pay Gap, Sex Scenes and the Price of Speaking Frankly: "There Is Always a Backlash". I loved this conversation with eight fabulous actresses.

And to wrap up this round-up:  Parenting Comics That Are Almost Too Real.  The comic below is just one of many excellent examples. So spot on they are awesome.

November 17, 2015



This weekend, after hearing us talk about the events in Paris, Aaron interrupted to ask what a terrorist is. It's a difficult concept to explain, especially to a not-quite-nine-year-old. There are bad people in the world, doing terrible things for unfathomable reasons. I did my best to explain, but he seemed unsatisfied with my response. I am unsatisfied as well; I can't understand the reasons behind such acts, and so they are impossible to explain.

On the other hand, the responses to tragedies such as these are always uplifting and inspiring. The globe has draped itself in the French flag, and we are all citizens of the world, at least for a moment. We attended a Boston Bruins hockey game on Saturday night, and amidst the increased security, there was a tremendous comfort in being in a large and happy crowd of people. They lit the ice up in blue, red, and white, played the French national anthem, and observed a moment of silence. In those moments, we are reminded of what connects us.

And then we are all challenged to ask ourselves:  What about Beirut? What about those Syrian refugees? What about the numerous places around the world where people are forced to live in states of such horrendous violence every day? Is it that we've become used to the idea of violent places existing in the world, and only when that violence spills over into the "peaceful" areas that we become scared and outraged? And is that right? Difficult questions, to be sure. 

My heart remains heavy for the people of the world who have been impacted by such vicious acts of violence, in Paris and elsewhere, and yet I am still hopeful. On Saturday, we spent the morning cheering on our boys as they played their last soccer game of the season. It felt good to be out in the cool air, surrounded by friendly and supportive parents watching their children. We spent a few hours afterwards with friends, discussing the big things and the little things. I am so grateful to be a part of a community with such genuinely good and thoughtful people. It reminds me, as I was reminded after this terrible day as well...there are more of us than there are of them.

November 16, 2015

Recently Read

Sick in the Head:  Conversations about Life and Comedy, by Judd Apatow.
I enjoyed most of this book a lot. It's a collection of interviews, some of which come from Judd's high school years, working as a host of a school radio show. And some of them are more recent. Some of them are a little boring, especially when I wasn't familiar with the subject; and some of them were a little repetitive, since they sometimes talk about similar topics (how Judd started out in comedy, who his favorites are, etc). But the good ones are great. It was a lot of fun to hear comedians talk about their work - it's too easy to think that comedy isn't as much work as it is, but I can appreciate the effort that must go into crafting a good joke, or putting together enough material for an hour-long special, or having to come up with new material constantly (especially in this age of social media). The interview subjects are fabulous: Jerry Seinfeld, James Brooks, Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Ben Stiller and Jim Carrey...  It's not written to be funny, although it sometimes is. It's written to give you an idea of what it's like to be a comedian. Or at least, what it's like to have a conversation with one.

Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff.
"Marriage is made of lies: kind ones, mostly. Omissions. If you give voice to the things you think every day about your spouse, you'd crush them to paste. She never lied, just never said."
This is a fascinating book, and it's one you'll continue to think about long after it ends. It's the story of a marriage, written from different perspectives. The characters are fully-developed, and although it took a little while for me to get into it, I was enthralled by the end.

Dad is Fat, by Jim Gaffigan.
Sometimes you just want a laugh. I got this book for Kevin, because I thought he'd get a kick out of it. After hearing him giggle every night while he was reading it, I picked it up. Jim Gaffigan has five young kids, and he lives in a two-bedroom apartment in New York City. (That last sentence stresses me out just to write.) The book has a lot of silly parenting stories, and it is also a love letter to his wife, who he praises throughout. It's a fun, fast, easy read.

November 13, 2015

Josh Ritter - Where The Night Goes

One of my recent favorites. Josh Ritter's new album, Sermon on the Rocks.  Get it and put it on repeat. 

November 12, 2015

Round and Round...

Someone mentioned to me today that Thanksgiving is in two weeks. What?!? I feel like it was summer and then I looked down for a minute and now it's the holiday season. What happened to Fall? I did notice the spectacular trees - it was a gorgeous year for foliage - but I didn't walk in them enough. I need to look up more. 

That's where the blog comes in. Its primary purpose has been to keep me focused on the stuff of life, and not just the big trips and events, but all the ordinary everyday things as well. I need to get back to that. It's funny how difficult it can be to get back to the blog when you step away for a bit. It becomes intimidating somehow, as though I need to wait for something to be worthy enough to write about. 

The house painting is finally done. Since most of the colors were the same, it doesn't look dramatically different, just clean. Now if I could get the rest of the house clean enough to match. My boys are old enough to clean toilets and mop the floors, so that helps. Last weekend, we actually had a full day at home with no plans. Lots of errands to be run, of course, but then we actually got some cleaning done. It felt good. 

I've been feeling old lately. Along with a few new wrinkles, a nice big sunspot has appeared out of nowhere under my left eye. Grr.  Also - not enough sleep and not enough yoga. I got up early yesterday morning and spent 40 minutes doing yoga, and I was amazed at the difference in made in my day. I don't know why it should amaze me, and I don't know why it has to be so hard to make it happen more consistently. But you know what helps? Writing about it and telling someone else. I am going to do more there.

I'm trying to wrap my head around the impending holidays. I adore the holiday season, but only when I'm prepared for it. I am adding events to the calendar, but I've done nothing yet to get ready. I need to determine the Thanksgiving menu - and not just the day, the entire week. I want to start giving thought to presents, cookie recipes, and time to sit on the couch and watch movies.

I decided on a dress. Actually, since I have two holiday parties to attend this year, I got two dresses. This one and this one. And I didn't even step in the mall! And they both fit great and are so cute! Hooray!

The days are getting shorter and shorter, and with the time change, it's now dark on my ride home from work. Although I know this isn't the case, it can make it feel like there's less time to get things done. I haven't talked to my sisters in weeks. That's not balance. It's calming down a bit at work now, though, so I hope to swing the pendulum back towards home/family/friends. Oh, and me.

November 4, 2015

Halloween 2015

The boys are in their prime Halloween ages right now. Add to that the fact that my company has a family Halloween party, and the fact that the boys decided they should both be Star Wars characters (Luke and Anakin Skywalker)....those facts led to our decision to go big this year. 

Kevin and I rarely dress up. (This was a huge exception.)  There aren't too many female characters in Star Wars, so Leia was an easy choice. Kevin didn't hesitate in deciding to be a stormtrooper, spending hours researching costume options (and more $$ than I care to know about). We were all impressed with his commitment, especially seeing how uncomfortable that suit must be! I think it was worth it, though. I know I'll never forget it.  (Especially since he'll probably wear it every year from now on!)

October 19, 2015

Menu of the Week

Lemon-Pepper Shrimp Scampi, Rice, Broccoli - An easy weeknight meal that my boys love. 

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Corn Chowder - As always, blogland is a source of great meal inspiration. I found this one via The Bottom of the Ironing Basket, and it's a keeper. Both boys whined and moaned when I told them what we were having for dinner, and both of them cleaned their bowls. I love soup weather - it's a great way for me to fit in a meatless and veggie-heavy meal option. The use of coconut oil and cinnamon in this recipe make it a little sweet, and I used the blender a bit more than called for so that the kale was broken up into small pieces - this made it easier for the boys. (Personally, I would've loved to keep it chunky.)

Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage and Green Beans - I was about a week too late and lost about half of my basil to frost (winter's coming!), but I still managed to make a good-sized batch of walnut-basil pesto this weekend. I am going to use the first portion to make this orecchiette. I leave the sausage out for me and Nathan, and sausage it up for Kevin and Aaron - I love meals where it's easy to keep the meat separate.  

Other nights: Kevin and I are going out (weeknight date night! crazy!), so Aaron is going to make grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Friday nights with soccer practice have mostly become pizza nights.

October 15, 2015

Dresses, dresses, dresses...

Help! I want to get a new dress for this year's holiday parties. I've been getting by with old wedding/bridesmaids dresses for a while, and I think it's time I add an actual party dress to my wardrobe. The problem is...I hate shopping.  I will probably have to go to the mall (ick) eventually, but maybe I can narrow down my search before I go.

I did some looking online, and the above pictures represent the dresses I saved. I like the cute cocktail dresses, but then I have to remind myself that it will be December in Boston - when I remember that, I start to appreciate the long sleeved options. The main goal is to be cute and comfortable, though.

Do you have any opinions?  Please share!

Top row (left to right):  #1 , #2, #3
Middle row:  #4, #5, #6
Bottom row:  #7, #8, #9

October 14, 2015

Weekend Recap and Goals

It's beautiful Fall in New England. I say it every year, because every year it's true - there's nowhere better. I almost pulled over to the side of the road on my way to work a few days ago, because the color of the trees was so breathtaking. I was driving through a sea of orange, and it was gorgeous. 

On Saturday, we took the opportunity to have a friend take family pictures for us. It was a spectacular day, and we walked around the lake at Wellesley College. It was a good long walk, and the boys mostly cooperated. I haven't seen the results yet, but I'm hopeful that there is a holiday card shot in the bunch. 

On Sunday, we went to watch Kevin finish his half-marathon. His only goal was to beat his time from last year, which he did, so he was happy. I'm happy that my boys got to see their dad achieve his goal. 

The best part about the weekend, though?  On Saturday afternoon, I was busy putting everything back into our pantry (I probably haven't mentioned, since I haven't been here much lately, but we're painting the interior of our house. It's chaos.), and Kevin took the boys outside to play football. All of a sudden, the house was quiet, and I got tired. Like, 'had to sit down and close my eyes immediately' tired. So I got on the couch and closed my eyes. For over an hour.  It was amazing. I haven't taken a true nap in forever and ever, and I absolutely needed it.  

Goals for the week:

I know, I haven't done these in forever, and it's already the middle of the week, but making goals is a good thing anytime, right? 

1. Write another blog post.  I miss this space. Gotta get my groove back.
2. Get at least two more workouts in.
3. No alcohol. I'm taking a booze break. I'm busy and tired, and I need good sleep. Which leads to...
4. Go to bed earlier. Lights out by 10? Is that even possible? Let's see.
5. Start putting the house back together. It's stressing me out.

September 29, 2015

Dawes - All Your Favorite Bands

This video makes me so happy.

September 23, 2015

Recently Read...

The Celebrant, by Eric Rolfe Greenberg.  I try to read a baseball book every summer, and this year, I decided to re-read my favorite of all time. It was as wonderful as I remembered.

Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll.  I read a bunch of great reviews about this one - "the next "Gone Girl" and blahblahblah... so I gave it a shot. It is an easy read; and it's tightly woven, bouncing back and forth between the main character at 14 and then again in her 20s. I hated her. She's easy to hate - she's terrible, and if you read it, you'll hate her too. However, by the end, your feelings towards her...well, they may not change, but they will be complicated. It would be a good book for a book club, because it's sure to generate a discussion.

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. I finally read this one, after having it on my to-read list for so long. It's sweet, and I'd compare it to a warm bath in a candlelit room. Comfortable, easy, and thoughtful.

September 17, 2015

San Francisco...

Last month, Kevin and I were looking at the calendar, working to arrange after-school care and make plans. September is full of holidays and half-days, and as we're transitioning into a new school year, it can be a difficult month to manage. Rosh Hashana meant two days off of school for the boys, and Kevin mentioned that he would be in San Francisco that week. "Why don't you bring the boys out for a long weekend?" he suggested. I did not hesitate. 

My boys are spoiled. I never made it out of the East Coast time zone until I was 25 and in a position to pay for my own trip. My boys, on the other hand, have already visited many places in the US and the Caribbean, in addition to Spain, Italy, France, and the Netherlands. They already do not view it as a big deal to fly, and they have a pretty good grasp of geography, as well as a perspective on different languages and cultures. I do often wonder if I'm giving them a global perspective or if we're spoiling them and leaving them unable to appreciate how fortunate they are to be able to have such experiences. I think the answer is probably both. 

There are also times on every trip when I question my sanity in traveling with kids. Traveling is hard, but exponentially so when you're dealing with tired and bickering and whining kids. But then I find myself walking the streets of San Francisco, playing I Spy and pointing out cool and beautiful buildings, noticing them appreciate the sights of the city (the trolleys, the bridges, Lombard Street...), and I know that it's worth it. 

And if I'm being honest, the primary reason that I travel with my kids is that I love to travel. I want to see new places, and I also want to spend time with my family. 

We had a wonderful time in San Francisco. It's a very special city to Kevin and me, since it's where we began dating. It was fun to be able to celebrate our anniversary (13!) there, and it was also fun to be able to show the boys Kevin's old apartment and take them to some of our favorite restaurants. It was a long trip for just a few nights, but the boys are getting easier and easier to travel with, and it was absolutely worthwhile.

Some of the things we did...
  • Burgers and shakes at Moe's
  • Walking a ton! 
  • Dinner with Kevin's aunt and uncle
  • Football at the Yerba Buena Gardens
  • A Giants baseball game on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon - so many trips down the slides!
  • Playing in the hotel pool/hot tub
  • Aquarium
  • Arcade games
  • Running on the beach
  • Ice cream sundaes at Ghirardelli
  • A trolley ride through the city
  • Dinner at North Beach pizza

September 16, 2015

A Fun Diversion...

Sydney and Vaughn

I forgot to mention one other thing I've been doing this past month:  watching Alias. It's one of my most favorite TV shows, and I discovered that it was available on Netflix. I started putting it on in the background as I worked in the evenings, and I found myself hooked on it just as I was 14 years ago when it started.  The first two seasons are sooooo good, and even though it goes downhill from there, I am still having fun watching it all over again.

I'm Still Here.

I haven't forgotten about the blog. I've been really missing it. Writing, checking in, focusing on the good stuff. Alas, life has gotten in the way. But I'm here, and I know I will get back into a rhythm once we settle into our school year routine.

What have I been up to? Well...
  • Working (too much)
  • Being sick (strange illness that seemed to go on forever - I'm fine now though thankfully)
  • Soaking up the last bits of summer
  • Visiting family
  • Buying back-to-school clothes
  • Getting together with friends
  • Ordering Halloween costumes (we're going big this year)
  • Getting the boys started with 1st and 3rd grades
  • Attending first soccer practices for the boys (holy cow do they love it - so fun)
  • Not exercising much (see first two bullets)
  • Enjoying a trip to San Francisco (just got back last night - another post coming soon)

I'm going to get my blog groove back soon.  In the meantime:  Hi!  I've missed you.

August 12, 2015

Family Time on Lake Ontario

Rock-throwing. An endless fascination.

Dead end at the lake. It's farm country.

Another summer, another beautiful visit to Lake Ontario.

Every time we go, I feel like I'm giving a gift to my kids. They only put on shoes to go in the water. They ride bikes, they play with cousins, they fly kites and play soccer and swim and eat fresh fruit and corn on the cob. They stay up late and sleep in. They never ask to watch TV, and we all feel completely removed from our normal home routines. It's a beautiful thing.

We only had one day on the boat this time, which was a bummer, but at least the kids got a boat ride. There was lots of time for swimming, which was great.

The weather was mostly spectacular. We had some rainstorms during our largest family gathering that caused us to have to eat dinner inside. However, the rain stopped - and the sky lit up with color - in time for us to build a bonfire.

Blueberry picking. They are so good, and I've been eating them by the bowlful. I also made this tart, which is amazing.

We visited a tiny old-fashioned amusement park with the kids - 25 cents a ride. Aaron just barely made it under the height limit, so he could still ride the rides - he was excited to watch over his cousins. A carousel, a tiny ferris wheel, a few round-and-round rides, and an ice cream shop. A great afternoon outing.

Nathan pulled out his joke book at the bonfire, and the group enjoyed his comedy act. It was awesome. 

I enjoyed a few morning yoga sessions by the lake while my boys slept late. What a fabulous way to start the day.

Every year, I feel pulled in many directions while I'm there. I want to "hurry up and relax!" I want to spend time with each of my family members and be with all of them at the same time. It's difficult to catch up while in a group, and it's difficult to pull away for fear of missing out. I also always feel like there's something to do - meals to be planned and made, items to be found, areas to clean, kids to be watched... It can be hard to chill. I did manage, but I could do better. 

Waiting so patiently.

If you're thinking that water looks a little too rough for water-skiing, you'd be correct. 
It was fun but very tough.

The rain was worth it to see this on our way to the bonfire.

Messi, my "master blueberry picker".

A trip to the lake isn't complete without a gorgeous sunset pic.

July 28, 2015

Newport - 2015

The Newport Folk Festival is always a highlight of the year. A large, happy gathering of people to sit in the sunshine and listen to good music. Is there anything more beautiful than that?

This year, we got to hear The Suffers, The Barr Brothers, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Joe Pug, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Brandi Carlile, The Decemberists, and James Taylor.

JT was a surprise guest in the middle of the afternoon. Although I confess that he felt very old-school in the midst of all these younger artists, it was a nice tribute. The last time he played Newport, his set was cut short because Neil Armstrong had just stepped out onto the moon! I had heard he was coming the night before, and when I told Kevin, the boys heard and asked, "Who is James Taylor?" I felt that it was my obligation to introduce them to his music, so we spent Friday's dinnertime listening to his classics. Aaron was excited that he played many of those same songs the following day, including "Carolina in my Mind", which I had told them was played pretty much nonstop during my freshman orientation at the University of North Carolina. 

It was a really nice day, with a few annoyances as well. I forgot to set my own expectations for spending a day like this with two still relatively little boys. We had many nice moments, listening to music, doing crafts in the family tent, playing corn hole, eating lunch.  And we had some terribly frustrating moments, including the first couple songs of Jason Isbell's set, when the boys whined and moaned about being bored and hot and having to pee. Later in the evening, they got tired and restless and proceeded to run around like wild animals, fighting and yelling. I love them so much, but it must be said:  kids suck sometimes. 

We splurged on a night in a Newport hotel, with visions of spending Sunday by the very nice pool. Unfortunately, the weather didn't agree with our plan, so after a quick and chilly dip, we walked around town with two whiny boys, had lunch, and headed home.  

Although it didn't quite end up as I had hoped, it was still a worthwhile endeavor, and I'm already looking forward to doing it again next year. It's a family tradition I want to continue, and one day the boys will think back to the time they saw James Taylor in concert.

July 24, 2015

Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free

I love The Newport Folk Festival so much. It's one of my favorite weekends of the year, and the lineup never disappoints.  The highlight of this year's festival lineup for me is Jason Isbell. He was my favorite performance in 2013. He just released a new album, and he's playing the main stage this year. I can't wait.

This is our fourth year!  Check out 2012, 2013, and 2014.  Let's see how long we can keep it going...

July 15, 2015

Little Things...

Little boys playing baseball on a warm summer evening. Aaron's playing in our backyard! Finally!

Bright and sunny mornings, which make it so much easier to get up and make time for a morning workout.

Yoga. I've been alternating between interval training and yoga. It feels like a good balance, and I adore mixing in more bouts of yoga during the week. It's such a beautiful way to start the day.

Travel plans. (Next week - Newport! And a new addition to the travel calendar - San Francisco in September!)

Walking barefoot in the grass.

Playing catch.

Eating lunch outside with colleagues. I am by far the oldest, but we manage to find common ground.

Kale salad. Caprese salad. Cranberry couscous. Grilled vegetables. Raspberries! 

Harry Potter. The boys and I are listening to The Sorcerer's Stone audiobook, and it's wonderful.

Fresh air coming in through open windows.

July 10, 2015

A Few Things...

Inside Out is wonderful. Have you seen it yet? I keep thinking about it. It's really more of an older kid and adult movie, although my kids enjoyed it. It's very thought-provoking and incredibly imaginative and wonderfully done. Please go see it.

Gun Control And The Need For It. Wonderful post and accompanying videos.

Working moms have more successful daughters and more caring sons.  I think perhaps it's more about having moms who are pursuing personal goals, whether they are making money or not. It's also about having parents who are true partners, both contributing to the home.

My cousin Krista wrote another great post for Huffington Post.  This one made me tear up a bit.

Another frustrating but important article about parenting.  "Affluent parenting can deprive a child of fundamental life skills."  I especially liked the end of the article, comparing our kids childhoods with our own, and thinking about the experiences that we had growing up that our children won't get to have. I will admit that it does make me sad sometimes. I don't want to be as poor as my family was growing up, but I do want to make sure that those same values that I was raised with - responsibility, frugality, empathy... - are passed on.

Interesting article about how optimistic people are always late.  I'm never late. It's probably my biggest pet peeve. I am also a pessimist, so I suppose that fits. I have many optimistic-and-always-running-late friends, though, including the one who shared this article. It's interesting to think about how their minds work.

Free personality test.  It's a quick, 10-minute test. I am a sucker for doing one of these every year or two. They always say the same thing, so I don't know why I'm compelled to take them. My personality is pretty set in stone at this point.  I'm an ISTJ, through and through. These descriptions of strengths and weaknesses are pretty spot on.

This is very random, but I'm thinking I'd like a pair of cute, casual shoes like these Vans.  I'm not sure if I'll think they are comfortable enough, though. What do you think?

Well, this is a not surprising find: Screen addition isn't good for children.  My oldest (Aaron) is 8 and a half, and he already has friends who have their own smart phones. So many of them have been playing Xbox for years, and they've had tablets since they were toddlers. And let's not even mention TV! Just the other day, Aaron made a comment about when he'll be " the 5th grade and I'll have a phone...".  I guess he heard that a few of his friends were getting phones then and assumed that he would as well. I had to correct him on that. We'll see how it goes, but I'm going to keep all the screens to a minimum for as long as possible. One day they'll thank me. Or not. I don't care.

I had such fun sharing the Women's World Cup experience with my boys. They love watching soccer, and I love that there is a women's sport that is so awesome to watch.  I think it's important that my boys get to see women being amazing in sports.  I loved this article containing reactions from the 1999 team on this year's World Cup win.

July 9, 2015

Recently Read

Essentialism, by Greg McKeown.  This is a thought-provoking book. In general, I think I have already learned many of these principles through my work experience, but I could do better; and applying them to the personal side of life is a whole different ballgame. Basically, the idea is that we should all do less. Figure out what truly matters, and focus only on that. If you have too many priorities, it becomes too difficult to manage them and move any of them forward.
     There's a man I currently work with who fits this "Essentialist" model pretty well. At first, he drove me crazy, because he constantly declines meetings. He is not easy to engage. But after attending a couple meetings with him, I realized that he is a very active participant in the meetings he deems valuable and necessary for him to attend. He probably wasn't needed for all the others, and he saved himself time. I now respect him even more. Now I'm working to apply these concepts to my own life. What matters? And why am I spending time doing anything else?

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler.  This book was recommended to me by several people who loved it. It's very good - the structure is captivating, the language is beautiful, the characters are rich. I have to admit, though...I didn't love it. Sometimes a book can be really good and still not make a connection with the reader.

Girl in a Band, by Kim Gordon. Much like this reviewer from the NY Times, I find myself in a "sweet spot" of being able to fully appreciate this memoir. I know of Kim Gordon and Sonic Youth and its place in musical history. I know of Kim Gordon the artist as well. And I'm always fascinated to learn more about the personality - the personal history - behind music and art. This book did not disappoint. Kim talks about her love of New York City, her move to western Massachusetts, her early days before the band, meeting Thurston Moore (her husband of 27 years, now divorced), her daughter and family life, connections made along the way...  I especially enjoyed glimpses of what it must have been like to be a mother and a rock star. Traveling the world on tour with your band, along with a daughter. Crazy for this traditional suburban mom to consider, but not crazy enough for me not to be able to appreciate it. Highly recommend.

July 8, 2015

Cape Cod

This picture seemed so beautiful and calm to me until I learned that they tagged a 13-foot great white shark off this very coast a few days ago. Yikes!

We hadn't been to Chatham in many years, opting for long weekends in Maine instead. It wasn't technically a full vacation for me, since I was working several of the days; but we had wonderful family time on the Cape last week. My sister-in-law found us an amazing house, just a block from the ocean and big enough for all of us with plenty of room to spare. It gave us so much flexibility, to be able to walk down to the beach for a while, walk back for lunch, bring my 18-month old niece back for her nap, etc. It was wonderful.

The weather was iffy overall, but we managed beautifully. In addition to beach time, we watched Star Wars IV, played lots of corn hole and badminton and other yard games, went out for ice cream, visited batting cages, rode bumper boats and go-carts, attended a Cape League baseball game, and went to an inflatable water slide park. Oh, and the adults played cards most evenings after the kids went to bed. Why is it that we only play cards when on vacation? 

It was a beautiful week. I'm happy we were able to be together as a family, that we got to celebrate Nathan's 6th birthday in such a fabulous place, that we got to enjoy so much great ice cream, and that we got to share more of the Cape with the boys. Time at the beach is a summertime must.


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