trick or treat

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Happy Halloween! I had big dreams of sewing incredible costumes for us, but I was so beat from school that it just didn’t happen. We bought the chef jackets and Charlie’s lobster costume off of Amazon, and I bought the hats from Hobby Lobby.

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I was hoping my sling looked like a “pot” when I was wearing him ūüôā

Also, did you notice our Jack O’Lantern bottles? I wish I had gotten a good photo of them when it got dark and the candles were lit, but I just painted old wine bottles (I tried spray paint, but a few coats of acrylic worked much better), and my sister and I painted on the faces. I melted the bottom of the candles with a lighter until some of the wax dripped off, and then jammed them inside. I loved them!

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the happiness jar 004

IMG_0909¬†I have to go into work two days this week, and then I start full-time next Tuesday. As my (glorious, extended) maternity leave comes to an end, I am feeling very, very sad. The only way to describe it to my non-mama friends is to say that I feel like I am going through the worst break-up. I¬†know Charlie will be okay, and is in wonderful hands, but I’m so heartbroken about how little time we’ll be spending together in comparison. On that note, the happiness jar is even more important this week because I know how much there is for me to be thankful.

  1. Sewing projects, especially with my brand-new sewing scissors.
  2. Chai tea dates with my mama and sister, Charlie in tow.
  3. When my amazing husband takes Charlie in the morning to let me sleep for an extra hour, and then my mom takes him so I can shower and blow-dry (!) my hair.
  4. Family nights around the fire pit.
  5. Fresh flowers at Trader Joe’s (they’re always so cheap, pretty and fresh!)
  6. Brand new Sharpies. Actually all school supply shopping for my classroom. This year, I need a laminator, velcro dots, new Mr. Sketch markers and a new¬†Hoberman sphere that I use as a “breathing ball” for my kids.
  7. When Whole Foods has the perfect¬†African-made bolga basket that I’ve been¬†searching for.
  8. Remembering our honeymoon (the photo above is from a cafe in Marrakech), and being grateful for the perfect timing of my pregnancy with Charlie. As sad as I am that my leave is coming to the end, I know how lucky I am to have had maternity leave and then summer vacation.
  9. A husband who always thinks about me, even if it’s just to bring me home command hooks he knew I needed (without my asking).
  10. Our first successful night out leaving Charlie with my parents (with whom he calmly took a bottle and fell asleep!) while we enjoyed a delicious gluten-free (well, for me anyway) dinner at a new to us restaurant.

summer bucket list

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Charlie and I on a beach in Marshfield (not quite the Cape, but close enough for this year (; )

I have one week left of extended maternity leave before the school year starts for teachers, which is making me feel all sorts of things. When WC and I first moved up to Massachusetts, we made a list of things we wanted to do. I was feeling a little restless? uneasy? with the prospect of so much wide open time, and I thought writing down experiences we wanted to have would make us more apt to savor every moment, making the summer seem longer. Would you like to see our list?

  1. Take Charlie to the ocean.
  2. Find a nearby vineyard.
  3. Hike Mount Tom.
  4. Explore a New Hampshire/Vermont town.
  5. Take a day trip to Boston.
  6. Go fishing.
  7. Visit Cape Cod.
  8. Bring Craig to his first Big E.
  9. Start a college fund for Charlie.
  10. Visit Great Barrington (and find that gluten-free breakfast place)!
  11. Find a flea market.

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Mama cuddles after the ocean, since it was so cold and scary!

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It was so dark in the tasting room at Black Birch Vineyard, but I wanted so badly to take a photo of the space because I loved all of the art from their visiting artist, Dawn Allen.

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We found Main Street Cafe in Stockbridge when we went to Great Barrington in December to celebrate our anniversary, and they had gluten-free French toast, so we knew we wanted to go back!

We decided to table most of the day trips, especially exploring towns, since it’s been so hot, and it’s probably not a great idea to force a 5-month-old to be in the heat most of the day, but we’ve also explored some fantastic new restaurants, enjoyed many nights around the fire pit, and picked up new hobbies (WC has been wood-burning; I have been sewing). While I don’t think either of us intended to start¬†a tradition, I’ve already started writing a fall list to give us things we can look forward to when we start our new jobs.

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(Photo of my sister and I from July 2014)

It’s been a busy weekend, and there are a few things happening this week about which I’m not so excited, so it will be a good exercise today to remember the things making me happy.

  1. Baby sisters who live 5 minutes away (especially after 10 years of being hours away!)
  2. Impromptu gifts of fruit tea and this bracelet from above-mentioned sister.
  3. Receiving fluff mail — especially when it’s our new favorite sling.
  4. Fresh local blueberries from our crop share.
  5. Driving an hour to meet an old friend and her family for dinner AND a baby who did not cry. the. entire. car ride.
  6. Babies with ticklish thighs. More specifically how my baby laughs when we tickle his thighs.
  7. When Trader Joe’s has their gluten-free grain sandwich bread AND gluten-free chocolate cupcakes in stock.
  8. Target trips when Charlie falls asleep in the sling while my mama and I are ogling baby clothes.
  9. Burnt hotdogs from the grill (just a little bit black; not totally charred).
  10. Shih tzu snuggles.

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an imaginary itinerary: Washington, D.C.

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There needs to be a word in the English language that means¬†homesick, but for missing a place that¬†isn’t home, but became home for a short time. I was missing DC a lot this past weekend. Don’t get me wrong; I wanted to come back to Massachusetts for a long time, and I’m very happy we’re back, but there are certainly things I miss about¬†the district. Like throwing Charlie in the sling and walking down the street to Brookville to buy groceries (no carseat required!) or picnicking in the front lawn with our neighbors. We have no trips to DC in the near future, but if we were going to DC next weekend, this is what I would do, assuming of course we could stay in our old stomping ground, Cleveland Park.

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Friday:

I’m assuming we would fly in on a Friday afternoon, which is slightly unrealistic because JetBlue only offers flights from Hartford twice a day, in the morning and late afternoon, but since this is an imaginary itinerary anyway, we can make it work ūüôā

As soon as we got in, we’d head over to Cleveland Park and¬†settle in for a bit. I always feel like I need a nap after flying!

We’d pack up a big bag with a blanket, cheese, gluten-free crackers, a small cutting board and knife, grab some cash at the ATM and take the Metro down¬†to the Sculpture Garden for Jazz in the Park. I’d want to be there by 4 p.m. to make sure we got a spot in the shade for Charlie, preferably behind the fountain on the side of the park near the Archives. We’d buy a pitcher of sangria, and I bet Charlie would love the music.

We could walk to the Red Line through Chinatown/Gallery Place, although our options for dinner would be limited with Charlie in tow. Without him, WC and I¬†could sit at the bar at Oyamel and get some small plates and margaritas for dinner, but since we brought the little guy, we may want to just take the Metro home (after stopping at Red Velvet Bakery for a gluten free cupcake) and bring some Pho home.¬†It’s been a long day anyway.

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Saturday:

I hate how when you’re actually living your life day-to-day you don’t think to take photos of the seemingly mundane things, and then when they’re not there anymore, you wish you had them. DC has this chain of coffee shops called Firehook, and their flagship location is on Connecticut Ave in Cleveland Park. In the back of the shop (which is very tiny inside; definitely leave your stroller out front), there is an amazing courtyard with grape vines, adirondack chairs, metal tables, and a big fountain in the middle. Anyway, the backdoor to the courtyard was in the alley where our trash dumpster was, so we went there literaly hundreds of times. And I never took a picture. So first thing Saturday morning we would go to Firehook so I could get a large soy spiced chai latte and we would sit in the courtyard and read the Washington Post and I would not forget to take a picture.

I’d want to go to Mon Ami Gabi in Bethesda for lunch because they have the most delicious sandwich specials and decent gluten free bread, which is hard to find anywhere, especially here. ¬†Afterwards we’d go to Georgetown Cupcakes to get a dozen gluten free cupcakes to bring back because, even on a Saturday, the line will be much shorter at the Bethesda shop.

If we could get the baby to sleep in the car (ha!), I’d want to drive out to Chrysalis vineyard in Virginia (our favorite!). I’d want to stock up on Rubiana and Sarah’s Patio Red, buy a cheddar ball and sit out on their patio with Charlie.

We would definitely need a nap before dinner, but once we woke up, I’d want to head over to Coppi’s Organic on Connecticut for a delicious plate of gluten-free pasta. Yum!

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Sunday:

I miss Sundays in D.C. the most. We would wake up Sunday morning, throw Charlie in a sling, and walk down to the Dupont Farmer’s Market, stopping at Firehook on the way. I would need to remember to pack a cooler to use on the plane, because I would definitely want to bring home some of Chris’ Marketplace gluten free crab cakes and Everona Dairy cheese.

Afterwards, we’d head over to Medium Rare for their bottomless brunch with steak and eggs. They have the most amazing “secret sauce” for their steak, and WC and I also loved their salad dressing. The service is great, but pre-Charlie we loved to sit at the bar ūüôā

We would have to go take a nap after brunch, and *maybe* then take a quick walk to the zoo. When we lived there, I pretty much swore off visiting the zoo on weekends (when the lines to get into the panda house are insane!), but as tourists we don’t have the luxury of that choice.

For dinner, if we had time before our flight, I’d want to go to St. Arnolds for their delicious mussels and fries (and aioli!).

Thanks so much for letting me share all of my favorite places (and old instagram memories from) around DC. Can you tell how much we love to go out to eat?! I’m sure we’ll be back soon to visit our amazing family and friends there, and hopefully we’ll have new memories to add. xo

lazy afternoon at the pool

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We have been trying so hard to get Charlie to enjoy the water. My mom bought him a float off Amazon, Craig brings him in to dip him in the afternoons, we play with him under the big umbrella in his exersaucer next to the pool, nothing. He¬†loves the bath, but something about the pool wasn’t working for him.¬†Until today. Of¬†course¬†he would love the pool in a water ring sling. Wearing him in a ring sling¬†makes everything better.

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  1. Good friends who drive far to visit and spend the afternoon chatting and telling funny stories by the pool.
  2. Friendly’s Reeses Pieces sundaes being on sale for $1 at Big Y.
  3. When you buy 4 pots of sunflowers, 4 pots of black-eyed susans and a hanging patio tomato plant at a huge flower sale with your mama and the total comes to $24.98.
  4. New earrings¬†bought from Nordstrom’s sale.
  5. The best iced chai tea I’ve ever had from Sylvester’s in Northampton.
  6. Getting a few minutes at night to crochet the blanket I’ve been working on (I’ve never finished an afghan, although I’ve started approximately 11).
  7. The look on Charlie’s face when I come into a room.
  8. Being able to breastfeed my baby.
  9. When the really wonderful attendant at the small town post office spends 10 minutes helping me repackage my sling so that it fits in a flat rate envelope and will not get wet.
  10. Instagram. I’m not sure why specifically; I just really like instagram lately.