Merry Christmas Eve

I think it’s safe to say that we are having a very merry Christmas week over here; possibly the merriest one yet.

Yesterday, we were fortunate enough to see our handsome little boy via ultrasound and are happy to report that he has exactly ten fingers and ten toes, among other vital body parts.  It is crazy to see a tiny little human moving around just like a real live “outside” baby.

To celebrate, we spread the word as quickly as possible and headed to The Christmas Place, a holiday warehouse the next town over, to grab two new ornaments for the ol’ Xmas tree.

For me (and the baby), we grabbed a bear riding a blue bottle since their blue-bundle stork was out of stock.

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Ryan is obsessed with the Abominable so he got his very own to proudly display.abominable_edited-1

And after getting the best gift of all this morning, I think I won the Christmas Eve Eve jackpot when Ryan and I decided to open our gifts early; we never make it to Christmas day, but figured this was a special occasion.  Mama got a brand new digital camera!  A Canon Rebel EOS to be more specific and it has all the fancy lenses a girl could want- and even Photoshop.  We tried it out all night…tree_edited-1

You can see how much fun Salem has been having with the tree this year.  He has made it his mission to remove every low-lying ornament, ribbon, and garland, and has been doing quite an impressive job.  Here he is in his usual shadow stance, staring at his bestest friend in the whole wide world.  Welcome to our house.salem_edited-1

Ryan read the manual since he’s a rule follower and I am more of a rebel, har har.ryan reading_edited-1 ryan looking_edited-1

Marilyn was uninterested in the entire evening and refused to smile for the camera.marilyn not looking marilyn_edited-1 marilyn ryan tv edited

And there you have it! The merriest Christmas Eve Eve we have ever had.

In case you’re wondering, RyRy got a brand. new. garage door opener!  Oh the joy of being in your thirties…

We’re Back!

Oh goodness, it’s been quite some time since I’ve touched our little slice of the interwebs.  You see, we have many half-completed projects at the moment and it doesn’t look like much of them will be finished anytime soon.  I planned to wait until they were done, but it seems like that may be quite some time- approximately five more months to be exact. Probably nothing completed until early spring (by Ryan) or possibly summer (by me). Mostly because Ryan won’t let me life a finger around here.  Also because fetuses don’t like paint fumes.  Or caulk fumes.  Or lifting heavy objects.

So here is one of our three-quarters-of-the-way-completed projects, which I was super motivated to get started this August.  And I had naturally assumed that it would be finished in early September, but my womb had different plans ;) Oh the stars aligned.

And yes, I could get a fancy respirator/mask, but Ryan doesn’t want to risk it and I really can’t complain about spending so much time lounging on the couch.  Although I’ve never felt so useless in my life.<–not complaining.

My first big undertaking that took a solid two weeks of my back to school rush time was to recaulk and repaint all of the upper and lower trim in the entire house. I actually really enjoy caulking because it makes a massive difference but involves very little work.  And I was oh so proud to say that I completed caulking and repainting about three quarters of the house before I realized that I should take a few months off from the fumes.

The pictures aren’t much, but here is the dining room all re-caulked…

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and repainted. moulding after

I don’t have a before photo handy but the difference is huge.  Every upper and lower piece of trim in the house was sagging and pulling away from the wall in places. This is what teachers do during their summer vacation (when they don’t have small children).

Here is our middle bedroom upstairs, all recaulked and half repainted so you can see the “new” trim color.  I went with an ultra white flat finish because I learned the hard way that semi-gloss and fancy old trim don’t pair so nicely together.middle room

This last picture is our bedroom (taken at night), which I recaulked and repainted in just a few hours.  Next summer’s project (between nap time and feedings and other wonderful baby things) will be to recaulk and repaint all of the wainscoting since it could use a little freshening up. There are also about 386 other things on my to-do list but those can slowly take a backseat to the real world right about now.our room

So there. Nothing too exciting, but a small accomplishment that looks pretty big in real life.  Have you been up to anything fun since summer?

I C U P, or Looky Who’s Mooved into the Bathroom

Remember when you used to be in elementary school and the boys used to ask you to spell “icup?”  No?  Me neither.

So we used to have a space-filler fabric just sitting in a fancy frame over the loo.

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I liked it, but it seemed like there was just too much fabric sprinkled throughout the room.  I also thought there were too many floral pieces bombarding me in there.  Flowers aren’t really my thing yet I keep buying more floral things the longer we live in this house.  I can’t explain it.

A few months back, I found a cute little cow print on etsy.  I promptly pinned it and debated whether I really need to own it<–yes. The answer is yes I need to own it.  It is from Betsy McLellan Studio and I cannot explain why I love it so much.  At first, I thought maybe it should go in the kitchen.  You know, because I love to eat cows.  But we decided that it didn’t really “go” in there.  So I dropped it for a few weeks.  And trolling the interwebs one night, I thought it might be funny to hang it over the toilet.  Mostly because it would just always be staring at the men in the room.  I assumed Ryan would think that was a ridiculous idea, but surprisingly, he say “Sure!”

So here she is…staring at you…watching U P.

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Ain’t she a beaut?

I’d Like to Introduce You to Grandpa BFM, or How our Front Hallway Got a Whole Lot More Formal

Our front hallway just got a whole lot more formal up in here.  I’d like to introduce you to Admiral Bill Murray. <– although it’s way more entertaining to tell unsuspecting visitors that it’s my grandfather.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Bill Murray?  Or maybe follow the Chive?  Or both?

In our house, Ryan is super-obsessed with Bill Murray and everything Ghostbusters.  It’s kind of a problem. He even has a Slimer-green Jeep.

So when I had a hankering for a new vintage frame, I made sure that Ryan would approve.

Enter Society6. It’s a mecca for homemade and affordable graphic art.  I browse it a bit too often and knew exactly what would entice Ryan into decorating the front hallway with something a little more formal (although our original plan was to put him in the dining room).

So we ordered Bill Murray.


I must mention that I was disappointed by the white borders all around.  I thought he’d be bigger. ::giggity:: So then I had to figure out how to get him into a suitable frame; now he was oddly-sized.

To Joann’s I went and scored this frame for $5 (thanks to a $25 gift cards and a 40% off coupon).BFM2

I also snagged this glass for free (because of that awesome dealio).BFM3

I next had to figure out how to get Bill into the frame without chopping him all up.BFM1

So I traced and cut, BFM5

then added the glass and frame, staple-gunning some paper behind the portrait to keep it all in place.

May I welcome you to our new and improved front hallway?!BFM7

Why hello Mr. Murray.BFM6


It’s a happier place and now all of our quirky hallway items have finally come together. Hey, since people already think we’re a bit off, we’re just going to run with it from now on.

P.S. Our server was down for a few weeks, so I haven’t been around this ol’ blog for far too long.  Prepare to be updated on all sorts of minute details of our lives in the coming weeks.  You’re welcome.

Our Trip to N’Awlins, or How We Ate Our Way Through a New City

You may have heard the sound of crickets coming through your computer speakers if you’ve been hitting up this little ol’ blog over the past month.  It has been crazy busy over here, so I haven’t been up to my usual business around this here heezy.  I signed up for some curriculum work over the summer and took a class online, so my energy was completely spent during July.  We also spent three night away in N’Awlins, a few days down the Cape, and a few days in random places over the past few weeks.  For today, here’s a recap of what we did down south…

It was our first trip to New Orleans and honestly, the main reason we figured we’d check it out is because it. was. cheap.  yep.  No surprise here, but not many people are interested in flying south for the summer so our tickets were super ridiculously cheap.  We also like to wander aimlessly through towns/states we haven’t been to before, so New Orleans was right up our alley.

abita beer

As soon as we checked into the hotel, we wandered down Bourbon Street, which was every bit as smelly and disgusting as it was described to us.  We sat down for dinner at a little hole in the wall restaurant where I ordered some local beer.  The NOLA brand is Abitas and it’s pretty good, but surprisingly, is one of the few choices at every restaurant and bar we went to.  They weren’t too big on beer selection down there;  food selection, yes, very big!  I ordered my first po’boy and I was hooked!  It was a cajun grilled chicken sandwich, open-faced, with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, coleslaw, dressing, and remoulade sauce.  It should be noted that I ate four po’boys in four days and loved every bite of them.  I plan on perfecting a Massachusetts po’boy sometime this summer and will keep you posted.building

The next morning, we headed down to St. Peter’s Square to grab some beignets at Cafe du monde, which is a must if you’re in the area.  They’re these little french doughnuts that taste like perfection.  Here’s a picture for you to drool over.beignets

Ryan ended up going back to buy beignet mix so we can attempt to recreate them at home.  After breakfast, we headed to the aquarium, which was pretty impressive.  It was a decent-sized aquarium and had many animals and features that our local museum doesn’t have, so it was great to check out.  It has a tunnel for us to walk through, much like the Vegas casino aquarium.aquairum tank aquarium me aquarium stingray

And we saw a smiling stingray and a hoard of happy little penguins.

aquarium penguin

They also had a hurricane simulator that someone I know just had to try out.aquarium hurricane aquarium hurricane up close

He went in with wet hair and came out all fluffy and dry.aquarium virtual fishing

Ryan also went virtual fishing and caught some bass.  It was quite the productive morning.  We were trying to productively kill time before our afternoon swamp tour, so after the aquarium, off we headed…swamp tour

We took a shuttle about half an hour out of New Orleans to a local bayou.  We had some extra time before boarding, so we wandered around and learned about alligators, turtles, and nutria, which are cute little animals (that look like beavers) that are slowly destroying the bayous but eating away at all sorts of things.

Here’s our boat.

swamp boat swamp me gator water

We saw tons of alligators and learned a lot about them along the tour.  We didn’t think we’d see nearly as many as we did, but we saw at least  20 if not more and I highly recommend a swamp tour.  While on the boat, Ryan got to hold one of these little guys…baby gators 2 baby gators ryan holds alligator

I passed on holding him but did say hello.  After the tour, we wandered down to the “local” section of New Orleans, Frenchmen Street, which had lots of restaurants and bars and basically looked like Somerville plopped into downtown New Orleans.  We went to the Praline Connection for dinner and Ryan ate alligator sausage; I tried the jambalaya, which was pretty delicious, but it ain’t no po’boy.  Ryan let me munch on his po’boy since I gazed longingly at it.

While we were eating dinner, we heard a street performer playing a tuba outside.  A few minutes later, his friends came to join him, and about half an hour later, there were 15 street performers, playing some killer jazz together.  We went outside and watched for quite some time, before heading to two local bars.  Both bars also had live jazz bands and the night was awesome.  If ever you head to New Orleans, go to Frenchmen Street!  That’s my main recommendation.  OK, eat some po’boys and head to Frenchmen Street.

Since we loved the swamp tour so much, we decided to grab tickets for a live jazz boat cruise for the following night.  The riverwalk, which overlooks the Mississippi, reminded me of a southern version of the riverwalk at the Charles in Boston.  Except that the water was much muddier.  Imagine that!

walkway to ferry ferry ferry water wheel

Our boat was very old fashioned and beautiful.  It even had a wheel to push it through the mighty Mississippi.  We opted for just the cruise portion of the boat package; you could also buy tickets for a buffet dinner, which smelled delicious, but was about $35 more per person.  We mostly enjoyed the bar.  And the jazz, and the ambiance, of course.dixie band

The band is called the Dukes of Dixieland, and they are a Grammy-nominated jazz band. They were exceptional and played for most of the tour.  When they were on break, a tour guide gave us some information about the river and New and ryan

We spent time all over the boat and made sure to catch the sunset.  Ryan also made sure to catch the Red Sox score.ryan phone on ferry ryan phone 2

new orlean sunset

On our way back to the hotel (by trolley car), Ryan caught a glimpse of a coffee shop ad that had zombies.  The place is called Sacred Grinds, so we decided to go on a trip to the end of the world  city in search of the perfect cup of zombie coffee.  Turns out, it did taste delicious and was worth the half hour trolley ride to the outer part of the city.  Once we got there, we sat outside and enjoyed the views.  Here’s a funny thing about Louisiana: their graves are above ground and don’t look like the graveyards up here.  So we sat and enjoyed our coffee with a view of the dead.  Super creepy, but luckily it was coffee

And although we didn’t take tons and tons of pictures, we did do tons and tons of other awesome things.  We checked out the local casino, Harrah’s, had the most delicious cheeseburger and baked potato at Port of Call (a tiny dive bar), indulged in a true southern breakfast (twice!) at Mother’s Diner, tried the frozen iced coffee at Cafe du Monde, and did plenty of sightseeing and shopping along the way.  See, I told you we like to eat and drink our way through new cities!  And here’s a fun fact for you: you can take your delicious beverages to go and drink them on the street.  Just like Vegas, Key West, and Newcastle, England.  All in all, we’d recommend a trip at some point in your life.  We may even go back.  But for now, we’re still in detox mode and are sprawled out on the floor more like this…marilyn

Let’s Use Magic to Turn Three Tiny Plants into One Big One, or How I Used My Brain on Summer Vacation

So, it wasn’t really magic that I used on my very first day of summer vacation.  But after just a few hours of doing absolutely nothing productive, I decided that I needed to take on a little project to kick summer into high gear.  To Lowe’s I went…

I was on a window shopping spree because I have three or four small projects simmering in the back of my brain.  While I’m not ready to commit to any of those projects right this minute, I did think that I should start small.  So I started with a teeny tiny project that was super duper easy: fill my empty green pot that sits on our living room shelf.

view to front hall from dining

This is a really old picture from last summer, but it shows my three little pots sitting nicely on our shelf.  Over the course of the past year, I successfully (unsuccessfully?) killed off the middle plant; the two cacti, however, continue to thrive.

I was hoping to find the exact same plant at Lowe’s (what can I say, I’m not too keen on change over here), but only found some teeny tiny versions and one very large version, which surely would not fit in my pot.

After spending far too much time pondering what to do and what to buy instead, the light bulb finally went off!  I decided to buy three teeny tiny plants and merge them into one. <–surely other people have done this before me, but hey, it’s the little things in life.

So here’s how it went down.  Please use the tiny shovel as a size-reference point in the following photos.

tiny exotic plant before tiny exotic plant during tiny exotic plant after in hand tiny exotic plant after on shelf

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  Let’s file this under “why didn’t I think of this before?”

Where in the World…

have we been?  The short answer: everywhere.  The long answer: Plymouth, Milton, Sharon, Boston, the Cape, home, work, and about 15 places in between (all in or around Massachusetts).  It has been a crazy busy month around here and I lost my blogging mojo for quite some time.

Now that another year of school is officially in the books, I’m hoping to get online a little more often.  I’m also hoping to do some little projects in and around the house this summer.  Let’s kick off the summer with a little photo dump of some highlights from the past few weeks.

Ryan and I took quite the tour of Massachusetts over the past few weeks.  One of our very first stops was in Plymouth, one of my favorite towns to wander aimlessly through.  There are lots of nice thrift stores, antique stores, gift shops, and restaurants on the main road and you can easily walk down to the ocean.  Plymouth is also home to Plymouth Rock and Plimoth Plantation, neither of which we ventured into on this trip, but both of which are definitely worth seeing.

We ended up walking through some stores and stopping in Kkatie’s Burger Bar (nope, I didn’t misspell that name), which Ryan had googled and been salivating over for a few days.  I didn’t think the burgers could be that great, but I was wrong.  They were thick, juicy, and delicious.  And mine came with “green fries,” green beans cooked in olive oil and garlic.  They were to die for.  I may have also enjoyed a delicious beverage.  Hey, it was just about vacation time.

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That same weekend, we also ventured over to Blue Hills to check out the Trailside Museum, which was the site of our kindergarten field trip- I needed to scope out the area since I hadn’t been in the ol’ museum in roughly two decades.  You’ll be happy to know that it hasn’t changed a wink.

Here I am with my favorite exhibit:

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Yes, that owl is eating a mouse.  Yes, that is all taxidermied. Yes, it’s all probably older than I am.  The museum is hilarious.  It was quite the hit with the K crew, though, and turned out to be a perfect field trip.  When I went back with massive amounts of five year olds, we got to meet a skunk without his stinker and spent a solid two hours exploring the exhibits.  It is 100% worth the $3 admission fee and had the day been nicer, we would have even gone for a hike.

Here’s Ryan’s favorite part:

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He loves red-tailed hawks.  All his dreams came true.

We were on a nature kick for a while and decided to check out Borderland state park one morning after our Trailside adventure.  I had never been and Ryan hadn’t been since high school.  We originally planned to play some disk golf, but got there and realized that a disc tourney had the course closed for the day.  Undeterred, we decided to go for a hike, which was great.  The trails were quiet and completely flat.

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We took the swamp trail but ended up at a pretty nice pond.


I enjoyed the exercise while Ryan enjoyed the scenery.

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A few days later, we beat the heat in Boston.

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We also went to (yet another) Paint Nite, which turned out to be a fun time.  Ryan enjoyed a blueberry muffin while waiting for instructions.  He then painted the Zakim bridge while I went off the grid and tried my hand (unsuccessfully) at painting a sunset, because hey, why have two of the same paintings hang side by side?

Ryan’s work was much more successful than mine:

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Five hundred bonus points if you can see the picture within the (6)

And mine.

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womp womp.  I was not impressed.  But it was fun nonetheless.

And that, in a nutshell, is just a little bit of what we have been up to these past few weeks.

Now let’s cheer for summer…hip, hip hooray!

Lattice Show You Our Fence’s New Floral Arrangement

See what I did there?  No?  Then keep reading and it will all make sense…

The last time I showed you our brand new fence pieces, they looked like this:

new fence

Nothing too fancy going on back here, but they looked nice enough and served their purpose pretty well.  After all, this is where we started off when we moved in last year:old fence

Here’s the whole shebang in all her fence 2

Since we added the new fence a few weeks ago, we’ve done two easy, but big-impact, improvements on them.  After seeing the lattice work that our in-laws’ neighbor added to their fence a few months ago, Ryan and I decided that we should add some fancy (and inexpensive) lattice to our wooden fortress.  So, as has become our Saturday morning habit these days, to Lowe’s we went.

We grabbed four pieces of wooden lattice for about $8 a pop.

Ryan measured the fence, laid out the lattice in the garage,


measured twice, cut once, held up the lattice, screwed it in, and voila!  It was that easy.

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I documented the whole thing and was in charge of holding the lattice as it was being cut and holding it once more while it was being secured into the fence.  Ryan then screwed in three brackets we had laying around the garage and back to Lowe’s we went.  This time, to buy some fancy little fleurs to hang from our brand new fence.fence flowers2 flowerscloseup1 flowerscloseupgarden

Ah.  A much needed improvement.  And now we can’t see the neighbors at all.

P.S. I am all linked up to Serenity Now’s weekend blog link-up.


A Memorial Day Tour of the Islands, or Our Night at the Price is Right and a Weekend in Long Island

While a trip to some actual Caribbean islands would have been nice, we spent Memorial Day weekend in Rhode Island and Long Island (NY) and it was a blast!

We started off the weekend by meeting up with family in little Rhody for the Price is Right stage show.  It was a Friday night at Twin River Casino and it was definitely a fun experience.

We checked in and got our fancy little name tags, which were pretty entertaining in and of themselves.  Everywhere we walked, people would greet us by name and we did the same while thanking people for holding doors, etc.  I must say, if everyone in the world wore name tags all the time, I think the world would be a little better off.  It took some time  to get used to, but was hilarious as the night went on.

We ate dinner at one of the restaurants that my cousin and his wife frequent for trivia nights and the food (and beer) was delicious.  Here we are modeling our new name tags at dinner:

Also, please note that not only are the photos stolen from my mom (thanks mom!), but I didn’t want to post photos of other family and friends from the night, since I wasn’t quite sure if they wanted to be (unknowingly) immortalized on the world wide web.  I promise that there were other awesome people there as well…including a birthday boy!

Unfortunately, however, none of these awesome people got called up on stage for the show.  The show was very similar to the real TV version- minus Bob Barker of course.  Three people were called up to guess the price of random items and one made it to the game.  In total, about 20 people made it on stage for guesses and/or actual games and some of the prizes were pretty good.  One guy won a trip to Vegas, another woman won a stainless steel refrigerator (which I would have rolled my eyes at a few years ago, before I realized the true cost of home-ownership).  Those were the only two I remember, but there were other winners up there.  All in all, it was definitely worth seeing, though I probably wouldn’t go again.  It was a fun night, but been-there-done-that-checked-it-off-the-bucket-list.

After the show, we hung out at the Casino bars for a while and Ryan and I lost about $15 in the penny slots.  I know, huge gamblers over here.  Later, we drove to Providence and stayed at the Hilton (thanks to Ryan’s Hilton rewards card) for free.

The next morning, we drove to Long Island, NY to visit with my former college roommate and her husband, who recently bought a new house.  Another former college roommate and her fiance came too and the weekend was a blast!

Unfortunately, I didn’t whip out the camera and instead took two completely random photos on my phone.  Donna and her husband have the most magnificent backyard I have ever seen in real life and look what their neighbor has so nicely set up at the very back corner of their yard:

petting zoo

Yep, that’s a petting zoo.  The neighbor has goats, deer, turkeys, peacocks, and a few other random animals I forget the names of.  If you squint, you can see the puffed up turkey in the middle of the photo.  I can honestly say that I had never actually seen a turkey puffed up like that in real life.  It was pretty cool.  And much larger than I expected.

I also took a random photo of their pool liner because, let’s face it, it’s hilarious!  Look at the fish.  Another thing I’ve never seen before in real life.

fishy pool liner

They had a great Memorial Day party, where we hung out with friends and family- and played some volleyball.  We also met their new puppy, who’s fantastic, and spent many many hours just catching up and relaxing, which was exactly what we needed.