Summer Wrap-Up

It’s officially fall now. The calendar tells me so, and the frost warning issued for tonight nails it home. Fine. Whatever. I’m still holding onto my awesome summer, and since I was too busy having fun to stop and tell you about it then, why don’t we all relive those warm-weather days and have a late summer wrap-up?

Look! I’m wearing shorts! Remember those days? Long-time family friends of ours bought a house on a private lake in Hubbardston. MA and we go up each summer for a day of barbecue, catching up, and hanging out by the water.

It’s lovely there. Sigh… I discovered, though, that I am not cut out for fishing anymore. I used to love to fish with my dad and have so many great memories of our time in the canoe, but this time fishing was frustrating beyond all measure and something I’ll leave to Luke. He swears that fishing is the most relaxing activity. NONSENSE!

According to my photo record, nothing at all happened in August. Until that, you know, hurricane. But we’ve already beaten that one to death here.

We celebrated our anniversary this year by doing something I wanted to do all summer: get together with friends and go to a Friday night concert at Cassidy Hill Vineyard in Coventry. This picture is actually from the following week when Luke and I went back, just the two of us, to enjoy the evening all over again.

What a gorgeous place.  Everyone brings picnics and camps in the grass by the grape vines. Live music plays from the deck of the tasting room/store while the sun sets over the hill.  Just perfect. I can’t wait for next summer so we can go again.

The next weekend we went to an epic birthday party at our neighbor’s house. This is me and Tiffiny at the party. Miss Tiffiny is approximately 100 months pregnant and hopefully she’s currently in labor as I type this.

Now how many birthday parties have you been to that featured a hot air balloon AND a bouncy house?  I told you it was epic. Unfortunately the balloon ran out of fuel before Luke and I had our chance to take a ride, but I managed to laugh myself into a set of sore abs jumping around in the bounce house instead.

Up next on another sunny, gorgeous summer weekend was the Crusin’ on Main Street car show in Manchester. They close down a section of Main Street for this car show every summer and holy cats, I have never seen this many people in Manchester at one time before.

Perfect weather, beautiful old cars, and we even managed to run into my dad who was there showing off his very own hot rod.

This is my dad’s car here. Funny story: Although Dad finished restoring his Model-A around the time I graduated high school (and let me tell you, that was not a short time ago) I have still never ridden in this car.  My mom, my sister, my sister’s boys, my parent’s dog… everyone has ridden in Dad’s hot rod but me.  I guess I’m just never in the right place at the right time.

And that pretty much catches you up to speed. After the car show, Autumn swooped in and I’ve been inappropriately dressed ever since. Other than taking away summer, that’s the real reason I don’t like fall.  I never know how to dress. The mornings are in the 40s, by lunchtime it’s in the 70s, and by the time I get home from work it’s back down to the 50s.  Add to that the fact that my office leaves the air conditioning on until it’s cold enough outside to turn on the heat, and I’m either sweating or layering on multiple scarves and cardigans over my lightweight dresses.  Sigh… I’m sorry, I promise that this is the last time I’ll complain about fall. This year.

So what have you all been up to? Do you miss summer, too?

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Happy Birthday/Holiday Weekend

Was this an early birthday celebration for me? Sadly, no. It was a retirement party we had last weekend for my mother-in-law (DIY Compliment Bunting courtesy of How About Orange) but it’s a perfect picture for the start to this beautiful, long, holiday/birthday weekend.  I hope you all have a great weekend and I hope that you shipped my gifts already since the mail isn’t being delivered on Sunday. Enjoy your weekend!

April/May

Wow, it’s been so long that I actually need to give you a month-long recap.  Sheesh! I do need to get here more often, don’t I? Without further ado, what the heck have I been up to?

Well the beginning of April wasn’t much more than a blur of workworkworkworkwork, but it ended on a high note with two weekends of parties.  The first, being Alex’s 6th birthday (SIX! How can these kids be getting so old?), and the second, Easter brunch at my aunt’s house.

The weather was beautiful and my Grandma even came out to visit, so it was a perfect day.

The following weekend was Luke’s annual canoe trip down the Wilimantic River with Roland.  They lucked out and got another perfect day of beautiful weather.

Here’s the whole crowd of crazies before they headed out.  Very manly, wouldn’t you say?  After they left I headed home and napped and watched the chickens hang out with the cat.  It’s a strange flock I have.

Right after I took this picture I caught two of them standing on the deck next to the cat while she lay there in the sun.  I think it was these two. They just look like troublemakers, don’t they?

In the afternoon I went to pick up Luke and Roland at the landing spot where we all have a celebratory barbecue, happy in the fact that everyone made it down the river in one piece.

There were three adorable, young dogs there who wanted to play with Molly, but my old lady just kept gnoring them and giving me the “Come on, I’m tired. Let’s go home.” look.  Kind of like this:

The weekend after that, Alex finally got his wish.  For, hmm…let me think…FOREVER, Alex has been asking whenever he sees me “Auntie Lisa, when can we sleep over and see your chickens and get their eggs?”  So Cameron and Alex had their first overnight at my house.  It was fun, although I think a little underwhelming for them.  After all the buildup, they were kind of like, oh. Eggs. Big deal. But still, a sleepover is always fun and it was followed by a gorgeous day for Saturday morning baseball.

(And Angry Birds.)

And the most awesome, couldn’t have cast him better myself, retired drill sergeant, turned gruff but caring pee-wee baseball coach.

He told the kids that they all needed to drink water and wear sunscreen to baseball, and that they all had to behave because tomorrow wasn’t just Sunday, it was Mother’s Day.  He was the best.

We left practice and started our super-cheap Groupon afternoon.  I had a Groupon for Moe’s, so the boys and I headed there for lunch (which cost me a whopping $0.50) then headed out to the Elmwood Pastry Shop to redeem my Groupon for a dozen of the best cupcakes on the planet.  We ran next door to Rita’s to use the restroom and I considered making it a three-Groupon day since I had one for Rita’s, but I checked and it wasn’t valid at that location.  Shucks.  We headed home from there to watch a movie and get the house ready for the next day, which, to quote a wise man, wasn’t just Sunday, it was Mother’s Day.

The moms all came over and I made a delicious ham dinner which I really can’t take credit for because someone else smoked it, I just heated it up.  But still, yum.  Look at how cute my mom and sister are.  Seriously.  I’m sorry I look half-naked in this picture – it was hot in the kitchen and I think I may have been starting to catch a spring cold.

And I think that about catches up up to the present.  The chickens are doing well, exploring the yard every day and eating plenty of bugs.  They suddenly remembered that they loved the taste of Hosta and ate every one of mine down to the ground, but the hummingbirds returned last weekend and my little Magnolia tree is blooming, so all is right with the world.

This weekend I have no plans, although I think I may need to take a trip to the garden center to find some chicken-proof replacements for the Hosta-shaped holes in the landscaping.   Monday I’m taking the day off to go shopping in Westport with my mom and sister, so far May is looking pretty good.  So tell me, what have you been up to?

Weekend Wrap-Up

Let’s see, how can I possibly catch up?  How about some more pictures with short captions instead of proper stories to go with them.  Yes, that sounds like a plan.

Friday was Cameron’s birthday party.  There was a rockin’ bouncy castle with a basketball hoop and a slide.

I made a cake shaped like a castle with a blue frosting moat and graham cracker drawbridge.

It was lovely.  And then it rained.  AGAIN.

This made Bella sad. (Bella is my cousin Mandi’s daughter. She’s so cute it hurts to look at her.)

Presents were opened while the rain fell and it made me so happy that he yelled “Mommy! SCIENCE!” when he opened the microscope we gave him.  He also didn’t want to go back outside after that.  He wanted to stay in and “do science”.  How cool is that?

Saturday we went to Amanda and Greg’s for their annual 4th of July Party and Fireworks Extravaganza.

We ate red velvet cupcakes and visited with friends.

Then we played with sparklers…

And sampled some of Target’s finest fireworks.

(Filler photo, unrelated to the next story)  Sunday I took my sister and the boys to the farmers’ market for their first visit.  It was a beautiful day and the market was crowded and lively.  I didn’t bring my camera, figuring we were just going to the market. Boy, was that the wrong choice.  We had bought all of our goodies and were standing in line for the Italian ice when a man tapped my sister on the shoulder and asked her very nicely if she knew there was a frog in her bag of lettuce.  Now that’s fresh!  There was indeed a good-sized frog trapped in her bag, trying to figure out how it got there.  We released it into the shady ferns and laughed all the way home.

(More filler photos.) Sunday afternoon we headed to our final party of the week and although I brought my camera along, I didn’t take it out.  I was exhausted, and decided to put strawberry shortcake in my hands instead of the camera.  It was a beautiful afternoon in the always gorgeous South Glastonbury.  We visited and chatted until I was so tired I didn’t think I could possibly make it home.  It was truly a beautiful, fun, amazing weekend.

So there you go, now we’re all caught up.

Fit For a Princess

This weekend we had a combination Father’s Day/Andrea’s Birthday celebration at my mom’s house.  My sister (who was turning 35, I might add) requested a princess cake.  What, might you ask, is a princess cake.  Good question.  After making Alex’s birthday cake in the shape of a dinosaur, I thought that maybe I should make Andrea’s cake in the shape of a princess, just for fun, but in the end I opted on this design, fit for a princess.

The cake is Dunkin Hines chocolate fudge (Shocker, I know! But they were on sale and they turn out so well when you really beat the batter and get it all fluffy!) and the frosting is this creamy chocolate recipe.  The center is this amazingly delicious fluffy peanut butter frosting recipe.  The sparkly stars matched the princess’s tiara and it was so good I had to leave the leftovers behind at my mom’s otherwise I would have eaten it for breakfast.  And lunch.  Yum.

Happy birthday Andrea! I hope that your princess cake was everything you wished for.

Young at Heart

Although the calendar tells me that I’ll be a whole year older in less than two weeks, lately I’ve been wondering if I’ve grown up at all.

I’ve been lazily hunting for Vera Wang scents after following a woman around the TJ Maxx to ask her what perfume she was wearing because she smelled so nice.  She didn’t know the exact scent, but knew it was Vera Wang.  I haven’t actually gone to a perfume counter – that would be too easy –  but anytime I see a Vera Wang perfume ad in a magazine, I sniff it, hoping to find the right scent.  I was at the TJ Maxx again last week and happened upon a Vera Wang Princess body lotion, and based on the box’s description, thought this might be the right scent.  I bought it, tried it out and, although I don’t think it’s the right one, I think I’m close.  I think maybe it’s Rock Princess I want.

So I trot on over to Amazon to look for both of them and find that what Amazon recommends to purchase along with Princess and Rock Princess is the Jonas Borthers’ CD and High School Musical 3. Hmm…  Then I find that there’s a Princess website which is pink and animated and way too teeny-bopper for me to be poking about on.  Rock Princess isn’t any better with the hearts and stars and the “You Rock” slogan everywhere.  And now I’m thinking that I picked out a teen fragrance as my new favorite.  And also I’m thinking what teenager has $45 for an ounce of perfume?

Then Luke and I went out to get new cell phones. (Can you call them “cell” phones anymore?  That’s sounds very old-fashioned.  Saying “mobile” phone makes more sense but also makes it seem like I’ve been reading too may British novels lately.  Maybe only if I pronounce it MO-bile instead of mo-bul.)  Anyhow… I wanted to downsize from my brick of a Treo to something small and flippy but still with a QWERTY keyboard because I don’t think I can go back to texting on a number keypad.  The phone I found that I fell in love with was the LG Lotus, which – hey guess what – is a teenage girl’s phone.

So what does this say about me?  33 is the age at which I turn into a teenage girl?  Will I now start texting at the dinner table and hanging out at Abercrombie?  God, I hope not.  At least I got the black phone, and maybe it’s the more grown up Truly Pink fragrance I’m looking for.  That one comes with an Amazon recommendation to also buy the Benjamin Button DVD and a Steve Winwood CD.  Now that’s more like it.

Happy Earth Day/Birthday

There are two reasons to celebrate today.  It is not only Earth Day, it is also the day, four years ago, that this happened:

FOUR YEARS!?  I can’t get over that.  He was a just little nugget, and now look at him, he’s a superhero:

Happy Birthday Alex! And Happy Earth Day to everyone.  Do something good for the earth today.  It’s not hard. I, for instance, planted a dwarf lime tree so I will never run out of limes for my gin and tonics.  See?  Plant a tree and celebrate Earth Day.  I’ll drink to that.