Posts Tagged ‘books’

My Week(157) in iPhone Photos

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

It really might as well be week one million. It feels like week one million.


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I hung out with the cutest, chillest baby ever at the Community Baby Shower

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My teeny little table showing off my work

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Don’t worry, I pulled over before I took this picture out the car window of the regatta in the river


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I took this picture AND threw that ball. Impressed????

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School makes him tired.

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Princess Sadface was sad, so we had lots of extra cuddles


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I bought ALL THE GROCERIES. I also broke my crock pot (the second one!) so I can’t make half the stuff I planned.

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I like this spot.

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Evan likes this spot too.


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Saying good morning to Fred, the giant fake Halloween spider

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Face painting at school. She meowed all afternoon.

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Reading on the front porch


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All the RescueBots HAVE to come outside to wait for the bus with Evan.

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Mr. Incredible from Enterprise. They’re office of superheroes was the best part of my day.

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Trick or treating at the fancy houses

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They actually liked handing out candy more than collecting it


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It wasn’t actually raining, but the gingers do not care. Umbrellas make them look jaunty.

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WTF Target, it’s only NOVEMBER FIRST.

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I wasted fancy hair and spanx on a lousy event for E’s work.


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My assistant at the morning photo shoot got a liiiiitle dirty

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We have too many couches right now, but at least it means they can watch iPad OVER THERE and leave me alone.

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Yes, she is wearing her costume AGAIN. At least it was at a costume party.

E’s submarine was commission on Saturday, which means they’re one step closer to being a fully functioning boat that goes to sea. That is both good news (no more shipyard!) and bad news (deployments) but it also means he’s going to be working even more over the next couple of weeks. Since this is still the busy season for pictures too, I suspect there will be a lot of late nights for the next month. Although it hardly matters now, since it’s 4:55 pm and PITCH BLACK outside. Thanks for nothing, daylight savings time.

In blog news: I’m about 3 meals into a brand new round of What’s For Dinner – which I haven’t done in a crazy long time – and it’s nice to be cooking new stuff again. I can only handle taco salad and spaghetti so many times before I give up and let my family eat pop tarts and grapes for dinner. So watch for that sometime next week!

The Book Of Strange Coincidences

Friday, November 1st, 2013

One of the things I love about my iPhone is the ability to buy and ready instant eBooks. I read myself to sleep at night, sometimes for 2 minutes, sometimes for an hour.  I like long books or series so I don’t have to keep remembering new characters (which is hard, when I fall asleep in the middle of every chapter). I read all the Anne of Green Gables books (free!) and all the Sherlock Holmes books (also free!) plus all the Game of Thrones books and all the Stephanie Plum novels and a bunch of young adult appocolyptic end of the world type stuff. I don’t really have a TYPE, just a general rule that I don’t read anything that requires more than 10% of my brain at any given time.

This week I finished my end-of-the-world-secret-Nazi-plot-wormhole-through-time-and-space book (it was called The Atlantis Gene, it wasn’t terrible but the rest of the series isn’t written yet so no real ending) and I started skimming the Kindle lists for a new book. I stumbled across a book called Lowcountry Boil, and since a) lowcountry boil is delicious and b) it was 99 cents I bought it. I like books set in the south and the description said it was a mystery which is one of the genres I almost always enjoy.

So I started reading the book. I can’t spoil it for you, because I am only a couple chapters into it, but I NEED TO TELL YOU ABOUT WHY IT IS FREAKING ME OUT.

It started with normal coincidence stuff. The main character is 31 years old and I am 31 years old! (Unimpressive, lots of people are 31 years old.)

The main character’s childhood best friend – who returns as a ghost – is named Colleen and MY childhood best friend is named Colleen! (Still not impressed, since it’s a fairly common name and also real-life Colleen is very much alive and I think even reads here sometimes so maybe she can confirm she really existed.)

The main character starts in Greenville, South Carolina but goes home to an island off Charleston and visits lots of Charleston places. I went to college in Charleston and recognize a lot of her locations! (Eh, lots of people like Charleston. And I bought the book knowing “lowcountry” was in the title, so I shouldn’t be surprised.)

The main character is named Elizabeth (which is not my name) but her middle name is Suzanne (which IS my name). OK, that was the point where I messaged Amy and said “THIS BOOK WAS MEANT FOR ME! IT’S BOOK FATE!”

And then I read one more chapter, in which the Elizabeth Suzanne (who is a private investigator) starts investigating things. She’s looking into the town council and the mayor, who is named Lincoln. Lincoln is my grandfather’s name! Not a super common name, but not unheard of. AND THEN she mentions the mayor’s wife is named Mildred. Which is my grandmother’s name. The one married to Lincoln, in my real actual life. Those are my real actual grandparents, Lincoln and Mildred and also two of her supporting characters in a book about a 31-year old named (Liz) Suzanne in South Carolina with a childhood best friend named Colleen.

TOO MUCH! I mean, no, it isn’t. It’s not like ANY of the story applies to my life in any way. It’s just the framework is full of random coincidences that makes me feel like this book ending up on my kindle IS fate.

I Googled the author and she went to my college (at this point, I’m not surprised) but not at the same time as I did. I think I’m going to social media stalk her a little, just out of curiosity. Maybe she’s somehow related to me on my mother’s side? Or we rode on an airplane together?? I’m going to keep reading, since it’s a really good book so far, but at this point I have to stop looking for MORE similarities. OMG, the main character likes coffee and I like coffee! She finds the ocean relaxing and I find the ocean relaxing!!!! She walks on two feet and I walk on two feet!!!!!!!!

I’ll definitely let you know if she ends up married to a guy named Evan and with two ginger children. Then I might get suspicious.

(This random is brought to you by not enough sleep and way too much Halloween candy.)

My Week(150) in iPhone Photos

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

I actually saw my husband this week! On more than one occasion! It was actually the best week we’ve had in a really long time, even if the kids were so exhausted by Sunday they both passed out at 5 pm.


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Early morning photo session at the arboretum


Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream at Taste of Mystic


More perfect weather. Well done, Connecticut.


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Playing SO NICELY together before school

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Daddy met the bus for the first time ever





Still wicked happy to get on the bus for school every day


Twirling is her favorite

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Squeaky clean


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NOW we are at the beach. He spent 2 hours in the (cold) water.

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Imaginary hopscotch

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Basically all my pictures are waiting for a bus these days.

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Eat this with cream cheese and/or honey.

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I can’t help it, this might be my favorite set of photos ever (also, Evan took this, he was like “TAKE A PICTURE OF THE PRINCESS!!!”)


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“Daddy made yummy pancakes!” he says in the pancake restaurant.

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Fairy Princess Caroline reads to Candy Crush Dragon Daddy

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And Daddy reads to the gingers

I had forgotten how nice it was to have someone to help with bedtimes or go out to dinner with or help wrangle the kids at the apple orchard. I know I’m not a single parent – NOT EVEN CLOSE – but doing all the parenting on a day to day basis was really starting to wear me down. But a week of school and TWO meals out (not to mention a beach day where the kids built sand castles while I read a magazine) plus seeing my husband enough times that our conversation didn’t go like this: “HiIhavetobebackatworkinsixhoursbutIneededtotellyouIamoutofdeoderantandalso

I don’t have a lot of hope the next week will be as nice, but I have two super fun things coming up (a Saturday in NYC with the kids and THREE DAYS in Atlanta without the kids) that are going to make September just totally fly by.

Get Those Photos Out Of Your Computer With Shutterfly Photo Story {Giveaway!}

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

This is a sponsored post from Shutterfly and Global Influence, but all opinions and photos are my own. 

Hello September! There are already a few leaves in my yard, we turned off the a/c and I bought two new throw blankets today. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still 75 degrees out, but I’m totally ready for fall (just like every other blogger, right? Why are we all so obsessed with fall?) To mark the end of summer, I put together a photo book with Shutterfly’s new Photo Story iPad app.

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They have lots of cute designs and themes to choose from for almost any occasion


A Western Massachusetts Fairy Tale (With An Appearance by Mo Willems)

Monday, July 15th, 2013

I love people. I don’t often feel that way – and the news from the last few weeks has made it more of an act of willpower than an easy truth – but after our experience on Saturday my faith is restored. There are plenty of people who are good and kind and willing to go above and beyond to help others, and it was sheer luck those are the people who I ran into at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

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Giant hallway art

We are huge, huge Mo Willems fans in our house. It wasn’t love at first sight (I was a little baffled by Knuffle Bunny the first time I read it and also super annoyed no one could tell me if the “K” was silent*) but once Evan and then Caroline were old enough to help choose our bedtime reading selections Mo quickly became a favorite. We have all three Knuffle Bunnies and several Pigeon books at home, and almost always include at least one Mo Willems in our library picks. When I heard he was going to be at the Eric Carle Museum on one of our rare weekends home (we missed the last one) I knew we had to make the drive.

E was working, as usual, so I packed up and we made the 90 minute drive early Saturday, getting to the museum seconds before they opened the doors at 10 am. Right as we hit the ticket counter I realized my wallet wasn’t in my bag. It was one of those moments where you can literally feel the universe split into two separate paths – one where I was smart and double-checked my bag before I left home or stopped for gas in town or went through the drive thru for a coffee 10 minutes from home and realized my mistake, and one where I was and idiot there in Massachusetts, without my money or credit cards or debit card or driver’s license or military ID or anything. I didn’t have anything. Idiot.

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Can you believe this idiot?!

The woman greeting people at the door saw me rummaging frantically through my bag and asked if I was OK. I told her my wallet wasn’t in my camera bag but I might have it in the car. I grabbed the kids and we ran back out, even though I knew it was pointless. I knew exactly where my wallet was: on the end table next to my laptop where I left it after I used my credit card online the night before. Standing next to the car with two kids staring at me I made another universe-splitting decision. Instead of calling the day a wash and heading for home, I headed back into the museum.

I didn’t have much of a plan at that point. I vaguely thought maybe they would accept a business card and an IOU for the admission fee (which wasn’t very much but was more than the nothing I had) and we could just forgo buying the big pile of books I had promised the kids from the gift shop. We had one book from home, so at least we could still get SOMETHING signed. Or maybe they could just give me one of the line passes they were handing out – I could make it home and back in 3 hours, which was still in time for the 2 pm signing but I was worried they would run out of tickets. But before I could even offer one of those as an option, the lady who had asked if I was OK was standing next to me, giving my kids pigeon tattoos and reassuring me we could figure something out.

I used to be the kid who cried in class any time a teacher even LOOKED at me harshly, so it’s not surprising I cried while I explained we were far from our house and I didn’t know anyone in Massachusetts and my husband was working and I just didn’t want to let the kids down so…. The lady, Rebecca, said they would be happy to take a credit card over the phone if there was someone I could call. Thank God my mother picked up on the 5th ring and said of COURSE she’d cover my admission. Rebecca suggested they write down the number and she would put it in a safe place so I could use it later in the gift shop to buy our books and my mom agreed. Mom asked if I was going to be able to get home without money – did I have enough gas? – and I assured her I could make it home (and I did, with 1/8th of a tank left). So lucky.

After handling everything for me smoothly and calmly and in the very kindest way possible, Rebecca handed me two free lunch coupons, good for one item from the food truck outside and said if I needed drinks she would buy us some. She explained now that I was inside all the events and crafts were free and she would be there all day and I should feel free to come find her if I needed anything, so I was just supposed to go and have a good time. And we did. We had an amazing time.

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Pigeon tattoo! I have one too.

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When I went to the book store to buy our books, I was nervous about explaining my credit-card-on-a-piece-of-paper-somewhere-behind-the-counter to the cashier, but as soon as I opened my mouth and said “I, uh…” she knew who I was and rang it up no problem (Mom, I’m paying you back ASAP). While the kids and I were playing, another staffer came up and asked if I had gotten everything worked out, then offered me cash for the drive home, since if she was traveling with kids she’d be nervous in my situation (I declined, but it was an amazing offer). When I went to get our 2 free lunch items, the girl in the truck gave us hot dogs and chips and drinks. Everyone else we talked to the entire day was kind and helpful and friendly and just…amazing. I don’t know if Rebecca got the entire staff together at some point and said “See that woman with the two ginger kids? She’s kind of an idiot, so be extra nice to her” or if everyone in Amherst, Massachusetts is just inherently a good person, but it felt like we were getting extra special treatment. I mean, we WERE getting special treatment. Everyone else had to bring their monies to get in.

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After we spent 4 hours enjoying the yard and crafts and movies and pigeon wall and chalk and library and story time and the museum galleries, we stood in the very first general admission line to get our book(sssss) signed.  It went quickly and was beautifully organized but the kids were kind of at the end of their ropes (Evan: I want to go HOOOOME. Caroline: I don’ wanna go HOOOOOOOME.) and I had used up all my threats and bribes and promises and was just hoping to get out without embarrassing myself even more than I already had. But we got up to where we could see Mo and the kids first perked up and then totally flipped out that he was RIGHT THERE! He looks like the dad from Knuffle Bunny! Mo! It’s MO! My friend MO! When it was our turn, someone took my camera to snap pictures, Rebecca opened all our books to the best signing page, and Mo drew a little picture in every one of our books. The kids watched him draw and shouted “Dinosaur!” or “Piggie!” and finally “PIGEON! IT’S THE PIGEON!!” I just stood there grinning like an idiot. It was great.

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All these are a little out of focus (the camera was on auto because I handed it to someone else and it focused on the sculpture in the background) but the kids look so happy I don’t even care.

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As we were leaving, I stopped by to thank Rebecca (who I think might be the Director of Development based on some website stalking, but I can’t be sure – I never got her last name) for being so helpful and saving our day. You know what she said to me? “You’re such a good mom.” The person who forgot her wallet, cried at the ticket booth, couldn’t stop her children from running and being loud, hissed at and threatened them in line, and was now a big, sweaty, exhausted mess. A good mom. Then she hugged me.

I cried in the car on the way home, but not because I was an idiot but because my faith in humanity had been renewed. It was a really awesome day.

I’m going to write a more concise, less rambling version of this and send it to the email addresses listed on The Carle’s website, since I’m not sure who to thank. And when I get my pennies from last month’s blog advertising I’m going to be buying a membership to show my support (the museum is a non-profit who relies on memberships and donations). Plus I’ll be buying the next year’s worth of birthday and Christmas gifts for everyone I know from their gift shop. It’s one of those instances when Pay It Forward doesn’t seem like enough, but I’m sure going to try.

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*In the cute little animated film version, it was pronounced “Nuffle”, which made me very happy.

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