A Plan Free Weekend, At Last

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I feel ya, babes.

Friends, I’m pooped. Thank goodness it’s Friday. I’m not sure why I’m so incredibly tired, it has been a really good week, and an exceptionally good day, but man I’m just feelin’ it this afternoon.

Today really has been marvelous. Think 2.5 hours at our favorite park this morning, with a glorious breeze and sunshine, followed by lunch at one of my favorite restaurants with Kate (hooray!!!!) while the babies snoozed peacefully, then a trip to a different park, a peaceful walk home, and now the babies are snoozing again. Well, Chicken is snoozing, Chickadee is having quiet time in her crib–she requires much less sleep than he does.

This weekend is going to be a good one. I’m taking it off. And by off I mean I’m not making a lot of plans, I’m cutting myself lots of slack, and I’m going to enjoy every second of it. Tonight is going to consist of a run, leftovers for dinner, and finishing up my picture wall in the living room. All while watching my new favorite show, Newsroom. Tomorrow will start with a run, then a trip to the grocery store (on my bicycle!), cleaning and laundry during the day, and then baby-sitting for Kate’s former nanny family at night. Then I will #letitbesunday with morning church, Eastern Market lunch, a little homework, and the Panthers game.

It sounds busy when I type it all out but compared to every other weekend in my life, it’s going to be a slow one.

I hope your weekend is fast or slow, full or empty, whatever it is you’re craving right now. Have a good one, chickies, I’ll see you Monday!

Bossypants // Book Review

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Short and sweet today, chickies.

Last summer, I read Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and I nearly peed my pants laughing throughout the entire thing. I’ve since read it twice and to say I’m excited about her new book would be an understatement. So, I decided if I loved Kaling’s book so much, I better jump on it and read Tina Fey’s book–it’s only been out for……almost two years.

I originally bought this book to balance out the devastation caused by Me Before You but ended up reading it before that one because I needed a pep in my step. And I got one! Fey writes about her career and her personal life and manages to make almost every paragraph funny. While I didn’t love this book as much as I loved Kaling’s, it was a quick and funny read that I would definitely recommend!

The Stroller Diaries // 35

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A few weeks ago, after meeting Taylor downtown for breakfast, Chicken and I stumbled upon the downtown library. We don’t go in libraries very often, actually, we never go to libraries. Not because I don’t want to foster a love of reading in these babes, I do, trust me, we read all the books all the time. No, we don’t go in because I have this fear of the chaos that will erupt inside. I picture babies screaming, throwing books, ripping pages, hitting each other, hitting other kids, and scary librarians glaring down at us. So, we don’t go.

However, this day I was feeling brave. We walked in to find that this library has an entire children’s FLOOR complete with a play room, a huge book selection, and a special story time room. This particular day we arrived a little late for story time, but after confirming that it was for toddlers 12-24 months, I made a plan to go back the next week.

So, go back we did. I was confident that it would go well. We would be surrounded by other kids our age, the librarian would be expecting toddler behavior. It was going to be good, I just knew it. It needed to be good because I’m trying to stock pile winter time activities and right now our stock pile is completely empty.

We strapped into our stroller, hopped on the metro where both babies yelled weeeeee and choooo chooooo over and over again, and went to Cosi for a breakfast treat. And it was great! The babies sat nicely and ate their muffin together, I had a smoothie and a bagel, the staff was very kind about the mess we made, I was so pumped for this day!!!

And then we went to the library. We arrived a few minutes early to find that all the other babies waiting were just that, babies. I know I still call Chicken and Chickadee babies but lets face it, they are toddlers. Straight up, toddlers. They were running circles around, babbling over, and generally making these other babies look like they had just popped out of their mamas. No worries, it was still going to be fine, there must be some other kids around our age coming.

The sweet librarian ushered us into the room where we were instructed to sit on the rainbow mat. Chicken and Chickadee both screamed hysterically when we had to leave the playroom to go to story time, so I’m sure the sight of me dragging them both in promising that this is going to be FUN was not a welcome sight to our fellow story mates. But I was still feeling good.

We sat our little bums down on the rainbow mat and the librarian started to explain the guidelines. The babies are not expected to sit still but she asked that if they were to touch the felt board (at this exact moment Chicken pulled all the felt off the felt board), walk behind her (he then proceeded to run behind her), or grab the books off the shelf (thanks Chickadee for rounding that out) then to please come get the child. I grab them both, sit down to listen to the story, and they scream about being constrained.

But wait! Now we are going to sing a song! What a great distraction. And it was, until Chicken became frightened of the large group singing and came running into my arms. Oh yes, what a sweet hug, I thought. And then he sank his teeth, all ten of them, into my neck. I did my best to hide my agonized expression and grab Chickadee, who was running away again. The next thing I knew, the song was over, Chicken was running laps around the room, and the sweet librarian was repeating the rules again and encouraging anyone who needed to to step out of the room. Mind you, Chicken and Chickadee were the only ones not sitting on that rainbow mat.

As you can imagine, we stepped out of the room. We lasted a whopping 12 minutes. But don’t fret, we need this story time to survive the winter months so we will be back week after week, until we can last the entire 30 minutes without being asked to leave. I wonder how long until I stop referring to the librarian as sweet.”

Oi.

Real Reads Round Up

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There are a lot of really hard things going on in the world right now. I’ve written about them before, in between my posts about babies growing up and how much I love to travel. Sometimes, I think that the hard things are all I should write about. All I want to write about. Because I don’t really know how to think about the frivolous things the internet throws at us when there are people still dying of Ebola, brave journalists being beheaded, entire ethnic groups being prosecuted for simply being themselves. I know there is still a place for the frivolous, for the happy, for smiling–because otherwise the hard things win.

But today I want to take a minute to round-up some of the important, real life things I’ve read recently. Not all hard things, some motivational and uplifting, but none focused on recipes or DIYs or babies.

First there is this piece, The Falling Man, from Esquire. Written in 2003 about the controversy surrounding a photograph of a man jumping from the Twin Towers, this piece was rereleased with a new foreword in the wake of James Foley’s murder. Esquire is asking that you donate to the James Foley Memorial Fund before reading the piece, every dollar helps to keep Foley’s memory alive and pave the way for more brave journalists like him.

A Cup of Jo posted a fantastic round up of quotes from smart women today, Tina Fey is always killin’ it and I love Ariana Huffington’s quote as well.

The next two are stories I had never heard regarding 9/11. The first, an interview with the first female F-16 fighter pilot who was tasked with taking the fourth flight down on 9/11 (before they knew it had crashed in PA). It’s the tale of an incredibly brave and selfless patriot.

The second is a video, narrated by Tom Hanks, about the evacuation of people from lower Manhattan, by boat, after the towers fell. It had me ugly crying about how beautiful humanity really can be.

And that’s all for today, friends. If you want more round ups of honest, real stories like these–Joy the Baker always has the best links on her Let It Be Sunday posts.

Chickens Take Boston

Oh boy, happy Monday, friends! What a good weekend it was, don’t you think? I was lucky enough to fly away to Boston for two days to visit two people I love dearly with one of my best girls. And it was good, so good. And it wasn’t so good just because Jacqui and Jake are incredible hosts, or because we ate and drank all the best things in the town, or because Boston is stunning and chock full of history. No, all those things made it wonderful but the best part was just getting to spend time with my people. I was telling my mom a while ago that I have trouble making friends because I don’t often meet people who I think are my people. I’m talkative and blunt and weirdly passionate about most things, I’m a strange bird (in the mostly good way, I think) but I can tell when I meet people if they just don’t…..get it. Anywho, this isn’t making much sense. Just know that Jacqui and Jake and Leah are some of my people, and some of my favorite people at that.

And with that, our trip in pictures. Brace yourself, I couldn’t pick my favorites.

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I woke up earlier than I would have liked to on Friday, but it totally paid off to arrive to the airport with this as my view. Flying is my favorite. Like really, my favorite. And I haven’t been able to fly in over a year so this was a very exciting trip.

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Hey Boston! I’m comin’ at ya! And I’m in a cute dress! #airportbathroomselfie

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HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE FLYING?!

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We arrived in Boston right before lunch time and went straight into eating and drinking, as you do. First, there was a beautiful sushi lunch overlooking the water (I don’t have pictures from this, shockingly). And yeah, you read that right, I ate sushi. No big deal. JUST KIDDING HUGE DEAL. Then we headed to Harpoon Brewery which will now be referred to as my favorite place ever. Leah and I shared this flight (spoiler alert, we loved them all) and there were also giant pretzels that we ate too quickly to photograph.

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Aside from the great beer and pretzels, I loved this place because the natural light was unreal, thus, my new favorite picture. I may or may not have cropped Jake and James out to make it the background on my phone. #sorrynotsorry boys.

The rest of Friday was spent wandering Boston, having drinks at the oldest bar in the country. IN THE COUNTRY, GUYS. It is older than our country. I cannot wrap my head around that, but if you know me at all you know I was geeking out hardcore.

At this point things took a turn with Leah developing the migraine to end all migraines, but she was a trooper and we all enjoyed a delicious Italian dinner before heading home for the night.

It was supposed to rain on Saturday but! We were lucky enough to get out early enough to see literally all of Boston before the rain started.

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Here is a shot from what will go down as the worst brunch of all brunches. The food was terrible, the service was worse, it was bad. We literally ran people off that were attempting to come in after us. But, it was a good story!

Next Jacqui and Jake took us down Newbury Street, where Leah picked out new frames! I  WISH I NEEDED GLASSES.

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We took a bathroom break in the most beautiful Restoration Hardware ever, ever. Walked some more, went to the graveyard where Sam Adams is buried. Ben Franklin’s parents are also there, try and wrap your head around how old that place is. Boston was so spectacular, I just loved every bit of it.

After going home to rest and freshen up we headed out to dinner and went to a great Asian place with huge bowls of rum, Scorpion Bowls they call them.

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Then out to the bars around Fenway we went, and it was so much fun.

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It was so good to be back with this girl, it had been too long since we last squeezed each other.

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And I flew home early Sunday, the flight wasn’t quite as wonderful as my flight there due to having had a bit too much fun the night before, but it was worth it.

All in all, a great weekend. Let’s hope the memories of it help me push through my first 50 hour work week with both babies in the last two months. It’s gonna be a doozy.

A Moment

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There’s an eery quiet over the city today. Every park we’ve entered has been empty, every corner we turn is full of nothing but chirping birds and the occasional whir of a car engine. It’s almost as if the city knows that today is a day when we should all just take a moment, breathe deep, and appreciate all we’ve been given. The clouds are floating delicately through the sky with the lightest breeze pushing them along. The sun is bearing down on what is most likely one of the last scorchers of the year. And as I looked around on our morning stroll, I just felt so grateful and thankful for this neighborhood, this city, this country. Today, more so than every other day, I hope we all take a moment to pause, remember those lost, those who sacrifice their lives for our freedom and our peace, and all the loved ones who are missing them today.

And if you’d like, here is the piece I wrote last year in honor of this day. 

The Stroller Diaries // 34

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It’s just me and this cool kid hanging out here this week. Chickadee is at the beach and my little man keeps wandering around the house calling her name and kissing a video that her mom sent to us. It’s adorable.

We have gone to the museum, a special breakfast, two different parks, and walked miles and miles this week. Now that he knows the word “walk” it is all I can do to keep him in the stroller. There is a constant rotation of wa wa (snack), wa (water), and bink (pacifier). Over and over again, handing me each one when he is finished and waiting (not so patiently) for the next to be handed down to him. After about five minutes of this he screams to get out, I let him down, and we very slowly, and sometimes very quickly, walk around our neighborhood. Earlier this week I taught him to say fast feet and to run in place really fast when he does. It is just as cute as it sounds.

Tomorrow is our last solo day together, we are going back to our special breakfast place and then are going to attempt to make it through story time at the library. Wish us luck, we may or may not have been kicked out last week (that story to come next time).

I Just Really Love the Internet

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This picture is so unrelated to this post but I was just sorting through old stuff and found this and had to share. Who are those babies?!!? They are so small!!!!!

Let me tell you folks a story about this little thing called the Internet and about the crazy places it can lead you.

I’ve been following Lara Casey on social media for years and through her I found Jess Connolly and the Naptime Diaries. I love their shop (I bought Leah and Austen something from there for Christmas!) and subscribe to their newsletter.

I had one of their newsletters sitting in my inbox for a while and finally clicked on it a few days ago. In it, they mentioned one of the women on their staff, Jacey, and her new podcast. So, duh, I clicked over to her new podcast.

Around the Table, conversations between Jacey and Maggie, is pretty good. Similar to most other chatty best friend podcasts. But the best part was when Jacey asked Maggie what the last thing they listened to/watched/read that really made them cry was. And she responded that it was another podcast in which a restaurant owner discussed customer service. She briefly told a story about a woman dying of cancer who flew her six daughters in for a literal ‘last supper’ at the best fine dining restaurant in Seattle.

I clicked through to that podcast and stumbled upon The Fizzle. Episode 66 to be exact, entitled. And it was the best podcast I’ve ever heard (and I’ve heard, and love a lot). Mark Canlis, the third generation owner of Canlis, the previously mentioned fine dining restaurant in Seattle, spends the interview discussing the importance of true customer service.

It was moving and relevant and deep and all the adjectives all at once. I cried. I laughed. My jaw hung open in awe of the passion and love this man, and this restaurant, put into their work.

GO. LISTEN TO IT. NOW. It’s amazing.

And that is why I love the internet. Following a wedding magazine editor on Instagram in 2010 led me to the website of the fanciest restaurant in Seattle in 2014. What’re the odds.

Currently // September

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looking forward to the cooler weather this week, hooray for jeans that don’t stick to your body.

appreciating the one-on-one time Chicken and I get this week, although we miss Chickadee already!

eating popcorn in all forms.

watching Daniel the Tiger….which the babies think is called Elmo…oops.

loving having Taylor and Justin so close by!

planning all the things I’m going to pack for this weekend in Boston.

walking to the metro way more than I thought I would, go me.

enjoying the spectacular sunrises and sunsets I’ve seen in the past few weeks. #iseeyouskyiseeyou

ordering a bundle of Honest Co products, I’m getting addicted.

reading Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin.

drinking a Cosi smoothie with little dude.

working on homework for class tonight.

listening to new podcasts, and LOVING them.

celebrating Justin’s birthday today, the start of football season, and the beginning of fall.

grateful for really amazing friends.

 

Labor Day Weekend Recap

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This past weekend I took my fourth and final trip of the season to West Jefferson, North Carolina. My aunt and uncle own two properties in this lovely mountain region and almost every Labor Day they invite friends and family to come spend the long weekend with them! This is a view of the New River from their land.

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And this is the camper my parents have had for over 20 years. Some of my favorite childhood memories took place in or around this old thing. Aside from the lack of toilet, it rocks.

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Since we didn’t have any water access, and my dad would die if he had to have dirty hair, this was how the shampooing went down each morning. There was lots of yelping to accompany the cold water.

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As you saw in Tuesday’s post, I got a new bike! My old one was stolen during the moving process, so thank you for replacing it Mom and Dad! It is much appreciated.

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And, best part ever, Taylor and Justin came!!!! Aunt Terri fell madly in love with Justin, so much so that she is probably going to bump one of the cousins so he can have a spot in our family. Hopefully this means they will attend all future Labor Day festivities, and fingers crossed Leah and Austen can come in the future, too!

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Good thing Justin and I already have a sibling-like relationship. Cannot wait until you’re officially part of our unofficial family in almost a year!

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I also took it upon myself to take Taylor and Justin’s engagement pictures.

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JUST KIDDING. But there are some good ones in that bunch.

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OR THIS ONE. #oscarselfie

Basically, it was a great weekend.

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Following these pictures my camera died, but you should know that there was peach moonshine (most of which was consumed by yours truly), a poker tournament that I took third in, a river trip, and two rounds of Hollywood Game Night.

It was AWESOME and I’m already ready for next year.