Tuesday, February 26, 2013

macarons and shaving cream

Good morning, friends.  How are you?  I am good.  I have an unexpected day to myself so even though I didn't want to, I am working.  Nicky was at his sitter's house yesterday and she leaves for vacation tonight so I thought that was it for a week or so.  When I picked him up yesterday afternoon she offered to take him today so I said, "Why not?"  I was so lazy this morning but got quite a bit done already so I'm feeling good.

My Ebay sales seem pretty normal again for the most part...slowly rolling in, which has been nice.  (people must be getting their refunds!)  I've had 15 sales the last 10 days and all of them but 2 have been items I've listed since we've been back from Paris.  I started a bunch of auctions on Sunday night to try and get rid of some of my old inventory...I hope it works!

Remember that stuff I bought and I was going to show you how I did?  I didn't get most of it listed before I left but it's all listed now.  Here's an update:

Large Plush Horse - paid $7 - would like to make $50  Made $55
Tongue Tie - paid $1.29, found stain after I paid.  sigh.  MUST BE MORE CAREFUL.  Am going to wash and see.  would like to make $15  (stain out, still listed)
Polo Duffle Bag - paid $4 (kind of a gamble) - would love to make $30 Made $40
REI Belt - paid $1 - bought for Patrick, too big - would love to make $10 (not likely) (not even listed...where is that thing??)
Dansko lace ups - paid $4 - would like to make $40 (still listed)
Wolky sandals - paid $4- would like to make $40+  (just listed)
Jambu sandals - paid $4 - still hoping feet might shrink so they fit?! - sigh...hope to make $40-50  (still listed)
2 pairs earth shoes - paid $4 ea - both fit me but OMgosh, I don't need any more cute shoooooooes (or do I?) - hope to make $35+ each (both still listed)
Wolky boots - paid $6 - see Jambu sandals above, tooooo small  boo, hope to make $40+ (still listed)

I paid $55 for all of that stuff that day, kept a lot of it for us, and have made $95 so far.  I know the shoes will sell eventually so it seems my gamble paid off, although not as quickly as I would have liked.  Those shoes would have sold much faster in Oct-Nov, I think.  I couldn't believe someone actually paid me $70 for that horse.  (I paid shipping from that amount.)  He loved it, too!  :)

Here are a few pictures:

This was the night we got home from Paris.  Patrick and Ruby fell asleep on the couch.  It was so sweet.  I had been the most worried about Nicky missing us while we were gone but he was FINE.  James and Ruby really missed us, though.  They were so happy to have us home and have stuff "back to normal."  (They LOVE my mom & Annie & Ronan...they just didn't like their little lives changed that much.)  :)
 I forgot to show you our little macarons.  They have never sounded that appealing to me but I figured I should try them at least.  They were really good!  The vanilla and caramel ones were our favorite.  I would still always select a pastry, though.  :)

 Above are some pictures of the welcome home banner the kids made with Annie & Ronan for us.  It was so sweet and so fun to come in and see it.  It's still up.  :)

I let them play with some shaving cream last Friday.  I bought a bunch at the dollar store last summer for our outdoor shaving cream pit and had a bottle left over.  It kept them busy for a good 20 minutes and Nicky "cleaned up" for another 30 so it was a success.  It looks pretty tidy in the photo, doesn't it?  I should have taken a picture after they were done.  :)

Time to get back to work.  xoxoxo

Friday, February 22, 2013

keep calm and carry on

Okay, okay. I know I'm late to the "keep calm and carry on" party but when you shop at Goodwill you sometimes lag a bit behind the crowd.

I've always appreciated the look/slogan but never enough to actually buy any of it.  For .25, how could I resist?  Especially in February.  On an in-service day.  :)
Here is a happy picture of Ruby and I from last summer.  I am a bit pudgier right now but am finally back on track.  I didn't gain any weight in Paris but have gained some since I got back!!  Oh well.  That's what winter is for, I suppose.  But only until your jeans feel snug and you want to wear sweats all day.  Then it's time to face reality and stop eating candy bars.
Here is my little tiny James after his first (and only) really bad skin reaction as a baby.  Poor little buddy.  We didn't know what the heck triggered it (something in the Burt's Bees Apricot Baby Wash) and it took a lot of trying (and finally some steroids) to get him cleared up.  The top of his head was especially gross.  Poor little baby.  ANYWAYS.  Poor kid.  Glad it was a one off.

Speaking of Goodwill!  (I know it was a couple paragraphs ago...bear with me...it's an in-service day)  Remember in Paris when I saw those dolls and fell in love with them but they were so pricey?  Well, I found one of the EXACT ones that I saw in Paris at Goodwill the other day.  The price? .99!!!  I was so happy.  I got to bring her home and give her to Ruby and it was so fun.  I couldn't believe it.  (Well, actually I could because I seem to find lots of stuff I love at thrift stores and it's NO ACCIDENT, let me tell you.  :)  )

((That reminds me of my cousin Sarah pulling a plastic gnome (or something) out of the bin at the dig and raising it up and saying, "Praise God!!".  Totally mocking me.  :)  Hahaha, love her.  Miss my cousins.  Summer is coming!!!))

Okay, here's the doll.  I didn't photograph our actual doll because I am too lazy to go up to Ruby's room and get her.  I will sometime though because this picture is so bright...you can hardly see the darling freckles that remind me of Ruby's own.  Her name is Louison.  She is less than a foot tall and retails for $45.  (what???)

This morning Nicky came into our room as he does most mornings when he wakes up first.  He stands by my side of the bed and says, "Me come up, Mom?"  Of course I say yes.  Nicky is a Class A cuddler.  This morning he was deep in the throes of cuddling when he said, "Me yove you."  It was so sweet.  He said it so sincerely.  I am in wonder watching another little person learn so much about life and communication just through osmosis.  It's pretty incredible and I feel so blessed to be experiencing it a third time.  Poopy diapers and all.  (He just now communicated to me that he is pooping.)

We are having a no TV morning.  Ruby is upstairs playing with her dolls.  James is working on his second duct tape wallet and I just told you what Nicky is doing.  Yesterday I found some patterned Duck Tape at Target and the kids love it.  I kinda do, too.  I got myself a tie dye roll.  :)

Aside from our trip to Target yesterday (with a quick pop in at Goodwill) it was kind of a boring day.  So good, though.  I needed a bit of boring.  The kids got out of school after lunch and James went to the library for Lego Club.  Ruby, Nicky and I came home and when Nicky took his nap, Ruby and I painted.  Later on I did some ebay listings and  made a big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner, so everyone ate without complaining (!!!), and then Ruby and I went to girl scouts.  It was a mad house (we had a third grade troop there, too) but it was over in an hour, praise God. 

What else was I going to tell you??  Oh yeah!  Annie and I bought Ana White's book and are planning on building a bunch of furniture together.  Woo hoo!  Love it!  She came over for lunch the other day and we decided on our first project.  Naturally it involves a trip to Anthropologie.  :)  (Ha, I say naturally but actually I rarely go there and when I do I never buy anything.  This time I'm going to!)

Happy Weekend to you!  :)


Thursday, February 21, 2013

no more volunteering for you, sir

Hello friends.

I had a dream about Paris last night and I woke up feeling kind of sad.  The feeling didn't linger, thank God.  I've been feeling down enough lately and seem to FINALLY be shaking it.  Who knows?!  Another weekend with my kids could push me over again.  ;)  I know I need to be exercising and just hanging in there.  Spring is right around the corner!!  It's hitting me hard this year, spring fever.

Ebay sales have been super slow these last two weeks but it's not just my stuff that's not selling so that helps me feel better.  I'm just hanging in there and have been working really hard building up my store, doing some research and making some changes.  When people feel like buying again, I'll be ready.  In the meantime, I am cutting back on my own spending (on stuff to sell) and that feels good.  My store is up to 120 items, a new high, so that is awesome!  :)  Luckily, I have had a couple of really good sales this week to kind of keep me inspired.

I decided that I am not doing any regular classroom volunteering next year.  I've done it for 3 years now, 2 years in both rooms, and I just need a break.  I will probably help out for a field trip or party each but that is it.  I am also not leading Girl Scouts again.  These last 3 weeks have been super busy with stuff, stuff, stuff and I am just sick of it.  Of course I feel guilty thinking about not volunteering because I am a stay at home mom but, too bad.  I will get over it.  Also, I work now!  These are the kinds of things that can pile up and make your life feel like it's not your own anymore.  I'm not going to let that happen.  I also have to say...I ALWAYS enjoy volunteering once I am there but I am just sick of all the time commitments.  Also, once word gets out that you are "helpful" then the requests start coming in, you know?  I need to change that reputation that I have.  :)  (just kidding but I definitely do need to modify it.)  Nicky will be in school in a couple of years and I can do more again then.  I want to volunteer at church again, too.  (but not in children's ministry which also feels wrong because I have children but it's just not for me.  I will find something else...)

I guess I just thought you all needed to know that.  :)  Sorry, boring mom rant.

Patrick and Ronan are building James a bedroom in our mythical lower level!  Do you remember the mythical lower level?  Well, not much has happened down there since the paint and carpet 3 years ago.  Now there is a new wall and Patrick is diligently sanding a bit every night and Ronan was here to help him get it all up and will come again this weekend if there is anything for them to do.  I want the ceiling in but Patrick says it's not time yet.  Maybe in another 8 years it will be time?????  :)  Love him. 

Speaking of Ronan...he and my seester bought a house!!  They bought a darling house right down the road in the next town.  A mere 8 miles away!!!  Too awesome.  We are so excited!!!!!!!  Practically neighbors!!

Okay, here are some pictures now:

I almost left the house like this one day but James told me.  That magnetic closure is pretty strong.  :)  (that is my food processor blade, btw.)

 I did our now traditional VDay breakfast for the kiddos.  Patrick got up and helped me this year.  They loved it.  Ruby moaned a little as she ate her hand pie.  :)

James was pissed there was no strawberry milk but he got over it.  ;)

That night we did chocolate fondue.  It was yummy and messy and Ruby went a little nuts afterwards and I'm not exaggerating.  She got covered in chocolate and went crazy laughing then crazy crying and I put her in the shower to calm her down.  It was pretty funny but also a little frightening.  :)

 James was VIP at school last week and Andrea & Ronan & children came with us to be interviewed by his class.  Then we all went out to recess and had a yummy cafeteria lunch.  It was really cute and James loved it.  :)

Nicky just looked at me incredulously and said, "You just called me punkin? (sigh.)" 

((I should be recording everything he says right now.  He is always sighing and rolling his eyes at us and saying, "Fine."  He says "yo elcome" in the cutest way.))


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

catching up

I've got the mid-winter blahs. Do you?? Ugh. I hate it. After a week of jet lag (I was pretty tired the whole first week we got home, went to bed by 8pm every night) and a week of PMS (sensitive and tired), I finally feel normal and have noticed that our house is trashed. Crap piled every where I look! Ahhhhh! Must purge. The hall closet has been bugging me for a LONG time and that is on my list for today.

Instead of going on and on like I'd like to, I will share some pictures.  :)  You're welcome.

I make them do this together a lot now and it works out really well.  (usually.)
The DS brings families together, don't you know?

All 3 kids cuddled up with Patrick while watching Hotel Transylvania last weekend.  (cute movie.  I LOVED the scene with the mama wolf in bed.  hahahhahahaha!  She was covered in wild babies while her husband wolf slept peacefully next to her.  so funny.  :)  )
I got Patrick a Keurig for Christmas and was happy to find this KCup holder at Goodwill.  What a racket, this Keurig business!  Good coffee, though.
My new peacock feather wreath.  Bet you can't guess where I got it? 
A grocery shopping trip with James on a particularly crappy day.  It was fun.
Ruby, after school one day.  We just had conferences last night and it was a good reminder how both of our kids are SO GOOD at school.  They both keep it together so well all day, do such good work, are generally very nice to others...they are bound to be exhausted after all of that hard work.  I need to remember this.  They need to get the crazy out somewhere because the Lord knows they have it in them! 

Little Elijah on a walk last week in the jogger Susan lent me.  (Thanks Susan!  I am itching to get Nicky in that thing for a run!)  (well, fast walk???)

We went to Picnic Point and it was fun and funny in the way that a walk with lots of children is:

Nicky is not so outdoorsy:

Playdoh making last week:

I am off to clean my closet now and dream about gutting our whole house.  :)  No biggie.


Friday, February 08, 2013

le dernier jour::the last day

So here we are.  The final day.

As much as I've said about this trip, I feel like I could add volumes more.  I didn't feel like I spent a lot of time deep in thought or anything but the experience was deeply important to me.  As bummed as I was that Patrick had to work such long hours, I'm also selfishly grateful for it in a way.

I have always enjoyed time by myself.  Whether heading out for a couple hours or for the whole day...I enjoy that quiet time in my own head.  That being said, as a wife/mother/sister/daughter, I never would have taken a week long vacation in France all by myself at this point in our lives.  I've always known I would enjoy it but when I only have such a small amount of vacation time, I would always choose to spend it with my husband and/or family.  (For instance...I adore our family vacations to Duluth in August and am already excited about this year!)  So the way this trip worked out, I ended up with what I never would have given myself.  And it was actually the best of both worlds because I still got to start and end every day with Patrick.  Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE a real vacation with Patrick but I am also so thankful for this one.  It was really good for me.  It also felt challenging (especially at first) so there was a certain sense of satisfaction as I figured things out. (please see note at bottom...)

All of that being said, I was so so so happy it was Sunday and he didn't have to work!  We planned on sleeping in but ended up waking up early and ate breakfast at the hotel before we left.  We had saved going up the Tower to do together on this day and decided that would be our first stop.We stepped outside into the worst weather of the week so far.  It was super windy (like umbrella-blowing-inside-out windy) and pouring rain.  We gave each other our special smile (the one that says, omg, are you effing kidding me?) and headed out.

The top of the tower was closed due to the weather but we could still go up to the second floor.  We decided to take the elevator up due to the rain/wind/cold and bought our tickets.
There were some amazing views:

 And the cafe was practically empty so it was easy to find a spot to warm up a bit:
 Ah, Paris:
On the second floor there is a small museum and gallery with Tower inspired pieces of art.  There was no one else in there and we enjoyed the warmth and quiet while we looked:

 Right off the gallery is a little nook with a window where we stood for quite a while, just looking down:  (and feeling quite smug while we looked at those below us standing in the wind/cold)  :)

 One of the elevators going up:
We decided to walk down.  It was really cool:
The rain had let up a little by the time we got down but someone in our party was a little grumpy.  I mean, I get it.  It was his ONLY day (well, except for the first day when we were so jet lagged that we couldn't move for 4 hours) and the weather was absolute crap.  sigh.  Poor bunny.  We decided to try the Catacombs (an underground burial site) next so we headed for the Metro.

This amazing lion met us as we came up out of the Metro tunnel.  It took us a while to find the Catacombs, especially with the throngs of gay marriage supporters everywhere, and once we did it was closed.  double sigh!  We gave each other that smile again and I felt a little nervous.  Then I had an idea.

 We got back on the Metro and I took him to that creperie I had been to the other day.  We got a cozy little table for two (all the tables in Paris are cozy...aka...small) (not complaining, just stating) tucked in a corner and ordered some coffees.  A funny thing happened while we ate...the SUN STARTED COMING OUT.  The actual SUN!!!  For the first time all week!  Yay!!!!  Thank you, Lord!  Our moods definitely improved as the sky grew brighter and the desert crepes didn't hurt.  :)

We spent the rest of the day walking in the sunshine.  Perfect.  As much as I loved gloomy Paris?  Sunny Paris made me a little nervous, as I considered how much I could love it.
 Me standing by Point Zero:

 Patrick loved the river so we spent a long time walking along its cobblestone banks:
 As we walked we came upon the famous Lover's Bridge, where 1000s have left a padlock clipped on the bridge to stand for their undying love.  (The locks can be purchased at the foot of the bridge for 5 euros if you forgot your own.)  I had read two different takes on the bridge, this one and this one, and can see both sides.  Right away Patrick commented on how that was a lot of additional weight for the bridge to support.  :)
 Honestly, it felt kind of cheesy to me so we did not leave a lock.  (also, for 5 euro we could have another delicous coffee and they cut them off anyways!) but it was really neat to see.

When I looked behind us I saw the little spot that jutted out into the Seine, as seen below.  I knew in my heart we had to stand there or I would regret it.

Patrick suddenly recognized something so we veered away from the river into a wonderful gallery area that turned out to be where his hotel was on his last visit, 8 years ago.  The galleries were mostly closed but it was so cool to peek in the windows as we strolled by.

 This was amazing...all done in tiles.  It reminded me of my Dad.  :)

 We wound our way back towards the river and came out right by the famous bridge, Pont Neuf, that would let us down to that little island in the water!  Yay!

This picture was taken on the bridge near the stairs going down to the island:

There is a beautiful park down there and inside the park, this little booth.  I'm not sure what they use it for but it is so cute. 

 We sat on a bench and imagined what it would be like to be there in the spring, sitting on the grass with a bottle of wine.  Or to camp there.  Or just to take a nap under that bush over there.  (we were tired by this time.)  :)
The bench was this amazing faux bois design, done in concrete:
 After resting, we made our way to the tip.
 There were lots of people basking in the sunshine on the other side:
 We basked a little ourselves:

 oh yeah!  I can take panoramic pictures!  duh.

And that was my last picture of Paris.

As it got darker, we headed back to the hotel.  We napped, packed and had dinner.  Our day had started out kind of creepy but ended up being the most beautiful day of the trip.  I am SO thankful that Patrick got to enjoy that sunny afternoon.  He loves Paris and I hope and pray that we can go back someday for a proper vacation for both of us.  Also?  I would love to take our kids.  I think Paris in the spring would be irresistible and I would love to spend another week there taking our kids to see and run around all the amazing fountains and gardens everywhere.

I have a few more pictures to share from the airport (macarons!) and our arrival home.  Maybe tomorrow.  Right now let's just have a moment of silence for Paris.



p.s.  After writing this post, all I could think about was how much I wished Patrick and I could have had every day together like this one.  What I wrote at the beginning, I meant, of course, but if I could have had my choice...it would have been he & I exploring that amazing city together.  Since this was a work trip for him, I feel incredibly grateful that I got to go along. 

Want to read all about Paris?  :)  Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four part One, Day Four Part Two, Day Five, Day Six Part One, Day Six Part Two, Day Seven, Day Eight, Day Nine


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