Summer is Almost Here!

I’ve decided that I really don’t like summer bucket lists. They are just far too stressful for someone like me. It gives me a serious case of “fear of missing out.” Also…I can never cross anything off of the list unless it is completed perfectly. Like perfectly perfectly. I don’t want to just have a playground day. It needs to be the most perfect playground day. I need to have the perfect weather and the most perfect packed lunch. It puts a lot of pressure on playground day….so, this summer…I am saying goodbye to bucket lists. I’m just trying to have days that are restful, fun, productive. Just worthwhile days.

So…on that note…we had our first almost summer day. One of our classes has finished for the school year, and so some of our day was freed up a bit. Summer fun day one: lunch at a friend’s house.

Friend has an elderly dog named Mia, and Mia would not let Kai out of her sight. She barely let me near him.

Our friends had such a nice surprise for us when we arrived at their house. They ordered pizza for us, and then about 20 minutes after we arrived, our favorite music teacher showed up to conduct a private lesson while we got to go chill on the couch. This was the best surprise…food and rest…I can ask for literally nothing more than this. By the way, when my kids get to do things like get a private music lesson…just for fun…I can’t help but think….what a completely different childhood they are getting from what I experienced. I always try to tell people I grew up poor…like cheese sandwich and food pantry poor…but they never get it.

More random things we did last week. Took very cute pictures of this boy. He has the curliest black hair recently.

He is beautiful.

Taking advantage of another short day we had, we decided to go feed the ducks at our park….except there are no more ducks…..where did the ducks go??

But we did see lots of turtles.

We decided to pack up our bird seed and cut our losses. Mia asked if we could go to the new playground in Binney Park, so off we went.

Jumping on toadstools.

Playing on the caterpillar. 

Thoughts on new playground….not that great. Just not that much going on. The girls played for about half an hour before we decided to head home and get some ice-cream. It was so incredibly humid out.

So, we got to have lunch with friends, a music lesson, and explored a new playground. Hits and misses, but it all counts as part of our summer fun.

Mother’s Day Weekend 2018

Well, it looks like the last time I visited this blog was 4 months ago! We now have a 2 month old baby boy in the family and have celebrated a 4th and a 6th birthday. Our days have been very full. I always feel guilty for not making perfect baby books and scrapbooks for the kids, so it forces me to come here and document a few things occasionally.

So, Mother’s Day weekend….Saturday, after back to back ballet lessons (Mia in Greenwich and then Emi in Port Chester), I dropped Mia and Kai off at home . Emi and I then headed to Chelsea Piers CT for a birthday party. It was a combination of bouncy houses, games, and gymnastics. Emi was so excited to be able to do a mini gymnastics class during the weekend.

Emi in the obstacle course. She probably spent 90% of the time playing on this. It was a constant…”mom, watch this.” I watched her slide down the slide a million different dangerous ways, and we both had a really good time.

I asked Emi to let me take a picture of her wearing the party hat, and this is what I got.

This party was a perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon, and oh man…the goody bag! It was a batman tumbler cup with each kid’s name put on it. So cool, and so useful. Gotta love that. We ended up giving the birthday boy a Golden Book about the Hulk and some Hulk smash gloves. Emi says that her friend Henry is very tough, so we hope you enjoy it tough Henry. When we got home, oh man, we were exhausted. I think we ended up grabbing some obento for dinner from our local Japanese grocery store.

On Sunday, we woke up and immediately got things moving along. We straightened up the house, and then Ten brought out such an awesome Mother’s Day gift for me. I didn’t snap a picture, but here they are. These are perfect, and he picked them out all on his own. I cannot wait to wear these at the beach. He followed this by making me breakfast. Such a treat, but honestly he is usually so good about doing this when we are actually home on the weekends.

Blueberry pancakes….I am a little addicted to pancakes.

Also, I took a few quick pics of Kai after getting him dressed for the day. He turned 2 months old, and it really is amazing all of the ways a baby changes and grows in those 2 months. He is so smiley and happy. He is also very demanding and wants to be held ALL of the time, which we happily do. Ten and I always joke about how my grandma would say that we are spoiling our kids by doing that. I say the more spoiled the better then.

So happy. Man, we sure do have cute babies.

After spending some time getting some housework finished, we loaded up and went once again to Fuji Mart to buy some snacks for our Mother’s Day outing. We decided at the very last minute that we would check out a cabaret performance of Sleeping Beauty at the Downtown Cabaret Theatre, which was new to us. Emi’s classmate’s parents told us about this place and highly recommended it, so we decided we would catch the last show of the season. We also ran into them there…I admit I did feel a little stalker-ish, but I think that they were excited we took their advice to try this place out.

A view of the tables. This place is BYOB and bring your own picnic. There were people strolling in with fried chicken, pizza boxes, gourmet picnics, McDonalds…just about everything for a proper lunch. We came with a few onigiri and a handful of snacks….kind of lame…but next time we will be more prepared!

The girls posing right before the show began. In the very, very back by the stairs…you can see the family of Emi’s friend.

For the next hour and a half, we watched a very campy production of Sleeping Beauty. Oh man, it was hilarious. The cast were constantly making fun of the audience and had great crowd participation. They also had some pretty modern music and parts of our current culture were incorporated into the scenes. We decided that next year, we are becoming members to catch all five of their performances. It was such a great afternoon out.

After, we snapped a few pics with the cast before making the hour long drive home.

Alexa and Siri, the good fairies. Every time one would ask the other a question, you would here Alexa or Siri (the AI versions) give an answer. Pretty funny.

Sleeping Beauty’s father, the King. By far, our favorite actor.

Chauncy and Sortia (Maleficent). Loved both of them.

Sleeping Beauty and the Prince. 

When we got home, we did a quick fridge clean up (had to throw out an avocado, some lettuce, boiled eggs, and a lemon….a lot of food when you type that out), and ran to the grocery store for the week. When I got home, we cooked a really quick dinner and got everyone ready for bed.

A very ugly picture of a not too bad dinner. Cheese ravioli with a vegetable melody. I just cut up yellow squash, green squash, some onion, and added corn. Cooked it all in a pan with olive oil and salt/pepper. Tossed in some tomato and avocado and served it up.

Mother’s Day was a big success! Now, we are getting ready for our last full week of school. We will definitely have to be thinking of something to do over the long weekend that we have coming up fairly soon. The girls have a lot of camp and practices coming up, but we also plan to squeeze in as much family time as possible too!

Weekend Update

We had a really productive weekend. It feels like our to do list is just forever growing….this must be especially true when you have kids! Here is an extremely quick rundown of our weekend.

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We loaded up the tree and took it to recycling at the beach. I hope you will serve the fish well or be turned into beautiful mulch.

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We made a trip to the library so that Mia could sign up for her very own library card! If you haven’t taken your kid to do this, go now! It was like a rite of passage and so exciting.

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We spent time making Valentine’s Day cards. Here is one that Mia made for her teachers. It is adorable. Next weekend, Emi will be making salt dough frames for her teacher.

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We got a moose head for the girls’ new room. I love this thing and can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

There it is….a very quick glance into our weekend.

P.S. Ten and I watched “Birth of the Dragon” after the girls went to bed. It was a good easy movie to watch, but nothing I would rewatch.

We Ventured Out

Fruday we we were still under wind advisories from the big storm, so schools were cancelled and Ten once again worked from home. I was quite happy to not have to make the half hour drive to and from school. However, we desperately needed to get out. So, me and the girls packed up and went to Emi’s gymnastics class around 12:30 pm. I received texts from friends saying they were staying inside, but we needed to go do something.

I’m happy to say even though the roads were still snow covered in areas, we made it safely to her class.

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Looks like Emi’s instructor couldn’t make it to class, so another had to fill in. Also, we decided to go with leggings and a shirt…just too cold for a leotard in my opinion.

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Mia wanted to take a selfie. Hello beautiful!

After Mia very patiently sat through Emi’s lesson, we went over to the playroom that they have for younger kids. There are a few slides, ball pit, trampoline, etc….so a perfect spot to burn off some energy.

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All smiles. The best of friends. Some much needed playtime.

The girls jumped and ran around for over an hour and a half and had a blast. They of course made a group of new friends to play with as well. It’s amazing how easy kids can make friends with each other. I in the meantime took turns watching them play, chatting with caregivers, and reading a book. The girls had such a nice time.

Next, we packed up and headed out for a late lunch/early dinner.

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Welcome to Dinosaur BBQ.

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The restaurant had some interesting artwork on the walls. Apparently, this place is a biker restaurant in NY, but CT has a more family feel.

This place smelled amazing and had the best fresh squeezed lemonade and sweet tea. Sooo good. We will definitely need to come back with Ten.

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My order was hand cut fries (Emi ate most of them), coleslaw, and a BLT (made with fried green tomatoes). Really good, but next I’m going with the BBQ

Of course, we weren’t out to eat alone. We had a whole table of friends to hang with. Adults on one side and kids on the other. This is the best group of little friends.

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…and getting ready to head back into the cold.

We had a very nice afternoon, and need to plan some more days out soon for our sanity!

 

Bomb Cyclone

So, here we are experiencing a bomb cyclone or whatever it’s called. From personal experience and without getting scientific (because not a scientist), it has felt like living in a snow globe. It was so incredibly windy and snowy that we honestly had no clue how much snow we got until just about half an hour ago…and it looks like a lot. Of course, all schools are closed tomorrow because no one can leave their homes, and it is so extremely cold out. We have plans with friends tomorrow, and I guess we will just have to wait and see.

We haven’t had weather above freezing since Christmas (and no end in sight), so we are getting stir crazy. It’s official…I couldn’t make it on the Alaskan Frontier as much as I’d like to think I could. I also couldn’t make it through an old-fashioned type of winter like “Little House in the Big Woods” which is what we are reading now.

So….today….we worked on taking down our Christmas tree, finished an entire book of Mad Libs, got an impressive amount of homeschooling finished, played Shopkins and dolls, did magnet books, and then I finally had to cave and allow some TV time. We ended up watching “Barbie: A Mermaid’s Tale,” the second Gruffalo movie, and “Fievel Goes West.”

Ten meanwhile very wisely decided to work from home. Some of his colleagues attempted to go to the city only to have to return a few hours later since the trains were shutting down. I’m never sure why people make such a big effort to go in on these kinds of days when virtually everyone can work from home (in their line of business). Our poor neighbor triumphantly made it to the train station this morning but couldn’t make it back home….boggles the mind.

Me…I actually got in quite a bit of reading today. I was also able to update this little blog and use a Royal Jelly face mask that I picked up in Japan. I also tried a new recipe: quinoa chicken enchilada casserole and made some pico de gallo to go with it. The girls were happy to stick with a cheese quesadilla with a side of olives and sliced avocado.

So, there we have it. Here is to hoping we can break out for a little while tomorrow, but things aren’t looking promising as it doesn’t look like the clouds are going to let the sun through.

Ringing in 2018

Goodbye 2017! We haven’t been up to much these past few days. The polar vortex is just so crippling cold and when mixed with snow means I don’t want to leave the house for anything. However, we decided a few days ago to go out and use our Christmas gift cards to go to Outback Steakhouse. I had seafood as I haven’t been in to red meat much.

We are also in the middle of what feels like a huge project…creating a really nice bedroom space for the girls. I love small spaces, so we are attempting to stay in our 1400 square foot house with 5 people for as long as humanly possible. It should be very doable, but I want to make sure that everyone is comfortable…so Ten has been working extremely hard to patch walls, paint rooms, and disassemble furniture. My goal is to have it all done this month so that February we can just relax before our baby boy will be here….btw…below are the bunk beds we bought.

 

So, to end 2017 today I went and had a pregnancy massage at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa (gift from Ten) and it was absolutely amazing….while Ten and the girls checked out a new play area inside of the Westchester Mall. Good times for everyone (but especially for me…I was in heaven). After, we came home and had some soba and did our annual fake countdown.

So, recap of 2017…it was an okay year. We got to go to Japan which was awesome. Emi started school. Mia really took off in her activities, and proved to us that delaying traditional school for a while isn’t that big of a deal. Also, our big surprise…pregnant with a boy! I love that our last baby is a baby boy. It took some time to get used to, but now I can’t wait to have a totally new experience.

On the other side of things, my grandma passed away. My absolute best friend. I don’t have any words to detail what that is like, but I will say her presence is everywhere. Every day something reminds me of her. Just today, I was reading “Little House in the Big Woods” to the girls when I got to the chapter where it talks about everyone going “visiting.” Oh my, my grandma loved to go visiting….and just about all of the weekends that I spent with her in high school and college were spent “visiting” different family members. She loved visiting. Anyway, just all of those small things.

So, 2018….I have a huge list of goals (not really resolutions) for the coming year as well as a semi-bucket list if you will.

For January, my main goal is to finish the girls bedroom and our bedroom (which will also work as a home office and nursery). My 3 more minor goals are to read 2 books (easy to do in theory, but recently I strugggle finishing books), get to bed by 10:30 most nights (maybe the hardest), and create a monthly budget.  I will update at the end of January with how all of this goes.

Anyway, here is to a happy and healthy 2018!

Merry Christmas 2017!

We had such a great Christmas this year. It was also our smallest Christmas to date, and we are going to keep working on reducing expectations. It made for a calmer, more appreciative morning…and then we were able to play with our gifts for the rest of the day. Even Mia made a comment about how much playing we got to do with her today, so the girls felt it.

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The girls woke up at the very reasonable time of 7:06. Yes! There were giant snowflakes falling outside, and we were in our matching PJs of course.

Ten usually hands out the gifts, but Mia hopped right in there and started passing things out, so we were happy to let her take over.

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Our presents this year were mainly things that you could make, but the real stars of the show were the costumes that the girls got. We had Wolverine and Anna roaming  the house for most of the day. I love that the girls like to use their imaginations. I will admit, several of Mia’s friends were getting handheld video games and electronics for their 5th Christmases, but I’m so happy we can still dress up and have the best time.

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We literally played board games and opened blind bags for most of the day…and after what felt like the 100th LOL doll (more like the 3rd)…Ten made our Christmas dinner. He makes the best hams (and pancakes). He always does it in the crockpot, and they are amazing….truly because I don’t even like ham. Even Emi ate her weight in ham which is saying something because she barely eats.

Dinner was followed by a few rounds of Guess Who?, baths, and stories….now if we could just get more snow…I would say the perfect Christmas.

 

A Day Full of Play

 

We needed to break out of the house yesterday. For the past four days we have all been battling a cold, so today was the day to get out and about. We got up in the morning and decided to head to the Westchester Children’s Museum in Rye, NY.  The reviews for this place are pretty so-so, but we needed a new adventure so we were willing to give it a try. Surprisingly the girls really enjoyed their morning here, and we only decided to leave because the girls were really hungry. It was a set up that was so simple and uncomplicated that it kept their attention for hours. It wasn’t the usual running around in 500 directions which made it well worth the entrance fee.

 

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Building and testing our own rollercoasters. Emi’s favorite area by far.

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Rolling around in these crazy chairs. I’ll have to give them a whirl when no longer pregnant.

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It wouldn’t be a New England play space without a proper lighthouse.

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Magnetic sculpture making.

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Free art area. Mia could spend an eternity doing free art.

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Playing very properly in the reading nook. They said look mom..just like our room…so messy you can’t get in. This is a sad truth at the moment.

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On our way out. A super quiet beach.

 

We were driving home and the girls were hungry. Like really hungry. I hadn’t planned on staying out that long, so we decided to detour to Wendy’s and grab a quick bite to eat. I hadn’t been to this place since my grandma came to visit us. Wendy’s was our “secret place” when I was a kid, so it was nice to relive that little memory of her.

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Last stop of the day was Byram Beach for a little playground action. The girls were wondering why no other kids was there….well 30 degrees by the ocean isn’t the most comfortable weather for parents….but kids don’t really care, do they?

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I’ve honestly really enjoyed this past week of no social obligations. Sometimes you need to take a step back away from all of the people that surround you to just breathe.

Christmas Happenings

Well, I again took a 6 month break from the blog. Partially due to a really jam packed trip to Japan. The returning jet lag really rocked our world, and to top it off I was feeling really exhausted and sick. Turns out I was just pregnant. Baby number 3 will be here in a few short months, so a blogging break was in order. I was in a rush to find a doctor in Greenwich, and I had no idea where to start. Add to that two kids starting school/activities and the holiday season. I couldn’t keep up. Big things happened though and we actually bought a computer! We haven’t owned a real life computer in SEVERAL years, and it just makes life easier for documenting the ordinary.

Quick rundown on the kids…Emi has entered the ballet academy this year and is loving it. She is also doing very well in gymnastics and music. Swimming and school she is pretty meh on, but that’s ok. We are actually thinking to keep her home next year.

Mia is five which means her activities are a bit more serious now. She was accepted into an invitation only swim program and has since advanced to the next level. She also performed two roles in The Nutrcrscker, and did an amazing job in her most recent piano workshop where she played “Angels We Have Heard on High.” From that she was invited to an invitation only recital in NYC to play music to live dancers. I have politely declined but Mia is having none of that and wants to do it all…good for her….but personally may not have the energy.

Ten is still at the gym almost every week night after the kids are in bed and getting bigger by the day. I have my suspicions that he wants to enter another bodybuilding contest…but we will see…such a commitment on his part. He’s good at it and loves it, but his work hours are just so long that it is hard for him to squeeze in.

Me…just trying to keep it all organized and together. I can’t do a whole lot since I am classified as a high risk pregnancy, so I’ve been spending quite a bit of time listening to audiobooks and maintaining the house. I’m also on day 6 of a 30 day minimalism challenge…doing awesome at it….and trying to convert everyone here to minimalism.

Anyway, here is a brief rundown of our most recent Wednesday. I had a doctor appointment in the morning (actually 2), and then ran by Whole Foods to grab this amazing watermelon juice and some things to make minestrone with tomorrow. Ten worked from home so was holding things down there. I got home and took maybe a 2 hour nap before Ten came in and asked everyone if we wanted to go get sushi. No one here is going to say no to that question. We packed up and headed out to a very crowded restaurant. We took zero pictures because we are almost regulars at this place and then came back home. I’ve had such a bad cold that I went back to bed for another two hours! Ten also came and slept for that long, while the girls watched some Christmas movies on Netflix. They were in heaven…binge watching TV while dad is home never happens.

We finally all pulled ourselves out of bed sometime after 4:00 and decorated Christmas cookies. They were the pre baked kind from a box, so they will end up in the trash but it was fun.

Ten then had the idea to go to the next town over (Stamford) to see the House of Lights. The girls had been cooped up all day and wanted to go do something.  Here are a few pics below.

A Greenwich firefighter does his house like this every year, and it was pretty magical. The girls loved it, and we loved it. It took us over a half an hour to get there even though it was less than five miles away….but so worth the holiday traffic.

So that was it. I so do admire those people that keep blogs going for years….so here we go again.