recognizing success

7.24.2014

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Recently, my husband officially became a partner at the firm he works for after 10 years of working there. And by officially, I mean that we had to take out a loan larger than our mortgage to do this, purchase our own health + dental insurance, and purchase an insurance policy so no one sues us. Funny how that works, huh? To mark the occasion, I threw him a small surprise party to celebrate his success and to thank those people that have helped get him there, those who have supported us along this journey, and those who have helped ensured my sanity these past 10 years.

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I tried to keep it as simple as possible, given that I was incredibly busy. I took a gamble and held the party at The Landing, an outdoor beer garden at our pool. I wasn’t able to reserve it, but it opened at 3pm and I had Alyson meet me there a bit after 2 to set up, so I was hoping we’d be good. And we were. And t saved me from the stress of cleaning my house. Having it there gave me built in kid-entertainment – the pool, the playground, a volleyball court, hiking trails, and live music.

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Alyson decorated my mason jars for me and we sent the kids off to pick flowers + weeds from the woods for them. To keep the food simple, from a local caterer, I ordered these bourbon BBQ meatball sliders served with carolina slaw on a pretzel roll. I supplemented with fruits, veggies that Norah and I picked out at the farmers market that morning, some cheeses and meats, and some giant pretzels from The Landing. I also picked up a few dozen macarons from the local French bakery and, per Norah’s request, a cookie cake for the kids (because macarons are small and $1 each and we had 45 people!) And of course, drinks…I provided open bar at The Landing to all our guests. Kinda nice that I didn’t have to worry about buying alcohol.

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Who knew that when these girls met years ago on a brief visit, they’d end up being besties.

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Trying to take a decent photo of us is next to impossible.

 

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The main reason for me holding the party when I did was so that I could include my in-laws from CA who were here for a visit.

 

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Proud of him. Proud of us. Thanks to everyone who came and who have supported us. And to my parents, who didn’t make it, but who have always helped out with my kids when I needed another set of hands because of Chris’s travel schedule.

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summertime…and the living is easy

7.14.2014

We recently returned from a little 5 day stint in some part of Michigan (what part, I do not exactly know. Mid-Eastern to North-Eastern, perhaps?)
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I call this ‘smoke on the water’. I am witty.

Buck the Destroyer got to experience a lake for the first time in his (almost) 2 years. He was not quite sure what to think of it. It took a lot of coaxing.
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I will tell you that he immensely enjoyed the freedom he had to roam. He is a bit of a pet-whore of sorts, and he was getting love from neighbors on both sides. And was being loved by one of the neighbor dogs quite often.
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The kids – my goodness – they had a blast. My kids got to try lots of new things, including karaoke (at a bar and at home) and go-karting on trails, and a long 5 hr canoe trip. Elliott took me for a spin – he’s a crazy (but surprisingly good) little driver!
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Mostly, it was just a lot of maxin’ and relaxin’ and plowing through books in the sun. What vacation is really about. Its great for the soul. I feel really lucky that we not only have good friends who will invite us to spend time with them and their families, but also that we have the opportunity to take the time to go on several little trips over the (oh-too-brief) summer break. I’ve always felt that its so important for kids to see their parents in a relaxed, chill, more carefree setting. Its a whole different family dynamic.

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How about you? Does your family do vacations or stay-cations? Little or big? Close or far?

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Moderation vs. Deprivation

7.11.2014


Let’s talk about these 2 little words:
cheat
bad

I posted this photo in my IG feed a week ago


I had gone out for ice cream at a local creamery with my kids. And ohmygod…this was seriously the best ice cream ever to touch my lips. So creamy. The tart of the lemon balanced perfectly with the perfume and slight sweet yet savory flavor of the cardamom. I am not a huge sweets person (salty is my thang), but if I was denying myself, I’d have missed this lovely experience.

After years of denying myself food and years of sugar-free, fat-free, meat-free, I’d rebound by going apeshit crazy and eating everything. And then I’d take control again and so goes the cycle. I’ve been everywhere from 92lbs to 140lbs. It took a toll on my muscles, my metabolism, and my heart, to name a few. It took many years and the birth of three children, but I have come to understand what it takes to truly be healthy. To truly have a beautiful relationship with food. To love the skin I am in.

Food should never be seen as the enemy, nor should any food completely be restricted (unless for medical reasons, of course). Sure, there are some foods that are better choices than others. But honestly…everything in moderation is the phrase to remember.

Like old Italian grandmothers, I love cooking for people – its my love language. I am not an emotional eater, but for me, food is something that, yes, is fuel, but should also be wonderful and beautiful and enjoyed….like a party in your mouth. I love to gather with my family or friends over a dinner table for hours with good food (and wine).

Food is fuel. When I eat whole, clean foods, I feel good. I have energy. But does that mean that I can’t indulge? Or that I should only indulge on Sundays? No…that’s just silly. As the years have taught me, that’s just setting myself up for failure. If I want a piece of chocolate, I will eat a small piece and get it out of my system and move on versus obsessing about it, dreaming about it, and ultimately binging on it. I take my kids out for ice cream, I will order some- regardless if I indulged in sweets or fries earlier in the week- because I want to model healthy behaviors…show them that I eat very healthy and make healthy meals, but that I also indulge in moderation at times, too. I don’t believe in “cheat” days. Moderation. Its all about moderation. Not deprivation. So eat the damn cookie.

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Overloaded

7.02.2014

I saw this on Pinterest and I thought to myself, “no. not at all.”

A few years back, I reassessed everything on my plate and I came to the conclusion that this was more my motto

So I stepped back and slowed down and became more purposeful. But somehow, this summer, I am finding myself back Queen Busy Bee. I have all these ideas I want to blog about, but I’ve barely a second to sit at a computer, much less make sense of my thoughts and words.

We started off the summer with a bang – an 8 day trip to Florida that included a gymnastics competition at ESPN Wide World of Sports and 5 days at Disney and as soon as we returned, I moved into full-speed-ahead with my part in organizing our leg of a statewide amateur and pro bike race. And taking over officially as PTA President for my son’s middle school, which included working 2 days of forms + fees and a budgeting meeting. All while being a (mostly) single parent, because my husband has been traveling every week.

So needless to say, I am looking forward to our next 5 days at our friend’s lake house in Michigan, where I will focus on relaxing. Before I come back and jump into planning the next community event and dig into all the fun PTA duties and hopefully make a big dent in our summertime list, as well.

And just hopefully, I’ll fit some time in for blogging. A girl can dream.

Thanks for getting through that blather.

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the weekend at a glimpse

6.09.2014

This weekend was the opening weekend for our town’s seasonal farmer’s market. My crew was ready and willing to head out with me at 8am when I promised them fresh apple cider donuts from one of the farmers that is there each year.

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We perused all the booths, drooling over the gorgeous produce, the kids sampling lots of meats from the farms and baked goods from the bakeries.
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I had an eye opening moment when I tried a cold brew from a new local roaster. I didn’t even need cream or sweetner (first time ever!). It was amazing. Blew my mind amazing.
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Once a month, the farmer’s market hosts a Maker’s Market, where local handmade vendors get to come and sell their things. The kids gravitated toward the funny, while I picked up some soy wax melts and soaps and checked out some jewelry and whatnot.
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From local foods and wares to local foods of a different sort… I joined some friends for dinner at a restaurant downtown that grows their own herbs on site and then has a several acre farm off-site where they grow the rest of their produce. Its kind of a family style, where they recommend each person to choose 2 dishes and you share them. We chose some amazing dishes, including a roasted mushroom bruschetta, with shallot, chive, brussels sprout kraut, + truffle oil, an asparagus, mozzarella, guanciale, parmesan, + basil pizza topped with a slow-poached egg, wood roasted asparagus with smoked tomato coulis + spiced millet, and house-made chicken sausage, foraged ramps, spring onion, wild mushroom, cedar grove willi cheese among the dishes. There are things in there I ate that I would normally not touch with a 10 ft pole. But I was encouraged to have a bite and be adventurous by my dining companions. And you know what? I loved all of it. WHAT??
I wish I had taken photos of the delicious dishes. But I was with people who would have thought I was extremely odd (given the look I got when I took a photo of my cocktail). But before I went out, I got my child to take a photo of my outfit. Because…new white jeans! They fit! Props to the Loft for having them 40% off.

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top: Anthropologie | jeans: Loft

Are you adventurous when it comes to trying foods out of your comfort zone? If you do, is the outcome usually positive?

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