A Mild Winter?

2.01.2016

In just one more day, it will be Groundhog Day--time to see if we're having an early spring or another six weeks of winter.  Last year, Connecticut's groundhog, Chuckles, predicted six more weeks of winter, and he couldn't have been more accurate.  February and even some of March were a snowy abyss.  We were buried in feet of snow, and it felt as if we had a 'snow day' from school and work every other day.

This year, the tide may have turned.  December was rather warm with some 40, 50, and even 60 degree days.  January has been equally warmer than usual.  We had a snowstorm, part of the January 2016 Blizzard, which crippled many Southern states including South Carolina, Arkansas, Delaware, Maryland, etc.  However, amazingly, our little state was spared.  In comparison to last year's feet of snow, getting seven inches last weekend felt like nothing. 

In all honesty, it was my kind of snowstorm.  The snow started on a Saturday (allowing us to stay indoors all day without having to drive anywhere), and it ended on Saturday evening.  On Sunday, we woke up to a beautiful batch of pure white fluffy snow, glistening under a warm sun.  Shoveling snow was easy, and then we were off to some good old fashioned sledding, again having the joy of feeling tingly and warm from the sun.

Lewie helping us shovel!  He was quite the helper this year!

Our street after the snow storm.

Looking down on our house from the street. (My mom lives on one side, and we live on the other.)




Lewie trying out his new snow tube from Santa.

Today, I'm beginning the month of February wondering what other snow adventures (or non-snow adventures) we have ahead.  I'm planning on taking some days off to be with my little boy, so we can get ready for Valentine's Day and plan our little surprises for RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) Week.  There will be lots of yummy baking in our future.  Can't wait!

Happy February!

Our First Pinewood Derby

1.26.2016

Lewie joined the Cub Scouts this fall, and so we've already had a lot of firsts...

- First time Scouting for Food
- First Raingutter Regata
- First hike with the Tigers
- First Pack Meeting and Den Meeting

and then...the first Pinewood Derby race!!  We didn't know what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised.  Little Lewie and Daddy worked on their car for close to 6 hours--first in carving it out of wood, then in painting it, and then in adding weights to the car...  Their outcome looked like this.


All the boys from the pack enjoyed the race, and honestly, I think the adults enjoyed it a tad bit more.  There were 30 cars in all--cars made by the Tigers, the Bears, the Wolves, and the Webelos.  It was a highly competitive race,  but in the end, the "best car" (or at least the fastest) won.  Some cars won certificates for honors such as "Most Creative," "Best Paint Job," and "Funniest;"  some cars won competitions within their own ranks, and three cars won slots for First, Second, and Third Place.

I have to brag that Lewie didn't do half bad either.  He won as the fastest Tiger, and he came in 5th out of the 30 cars.  He may not have taken home any trophies, but he earned a Pinewood Derby badge.  He also made it to  the last few races, which means we had the benefit of watching him race over and over again; he was not eliminated until the very end.

The 30 cars in the race!



Look at the detail on some of these cars!






Flashing his "prize" badge and car!  (Can you tell he's a little upset about not winning?!)



Lewie, fighting back tears, was a little sad he wasn't the grand champion, but we reminded him the event was all about having fun--not winning.  (A hard lesson to teach a child...let alone an adult.)

I had fun watching the races and seeing all the colorful cars--we had a Bat Mobile, a camouflage car, a Muppets car, a car shaped like a block, etc. etc.  Some of the cars that I thought would be the fastest were eliminated rather quickly while other cars I thought would perform poorly stayed in the race for a long time!  I don't know if there is a true method to building the fastest car, but if there is, I'm certain little Lewie and Daddy will research it for next year!

(By the way, my husband has been having such a great time with the Cub Scouts, he's officially decided to go through training to become the next Scout Master.)  I must say I'm rather proud of my two boys.  May we have many, many more memories of scouting together...

A Wedding to Remember...

1.17.2016

Last Saturday, we were invited to my cousin's wedding.  Since Lew and I both have small families, wedding invitations are rare for us.  All of our friends are married--in fact, some are already celebrating 15 and 20 year anniversaries.  (This year, Lew and I will be celebrating 10 years.)

So, needless to say, I went all out for this wedding!  I took a half day off from work and found myself a new dress, new shoes, and undergarments (since it was a backless dress).  Then, I had false eyelashes put on; my husband didn't recognize the eyelashes at first; instead, he thought I did something different with my hair!

The happy couple!

Waiting for the outside wedding ceremony (in January...BRRR!)


Dancing!

My mom and her two sisters!




Overall the night was fun.  We dropped Little Lewie off at my in-law's house, and then we left for our "date night."  It felt like old times when it was just the two of us dreaming about our future.  We laughed during the car ride, enjoyed watching the wedding ceremony, ate good food, and danced the night away.  My mom and family were at our table, so we enjoyed catching up with them too.

At the end of the night, I was a little sad.  First, I didn't know when there would be another occasion for us to go to a wedding again.  Second, a part of me yearns to get the "newness" of my own relationship back.  Dorrie and Chris were over the moon excited.  If they weren't dancing, toasting, or kissing, then they were talking about their exciting ten-day trip to Europe for their honeymoon.  (They've been sending posts via Instagram daily.)

The happy couple eating in Paris!
Of course I am excited for them, but once upon a time, this used to be us.  A lot has changed in ten years.  Long hour days at work, followed by Lewie's homework, and passing out on the couch doesn't exactly compare to whirlwind visits to London, Paris, and Rome.  I know that we all (including Chris and Dorrie) must return to a  mundane routine, but part of me still yearns for the spontaneous...the days when we could just GO and live with abandon. 

This wedding has got me thinking... I know we can't bring back our youth or change our responsibilities, but we can change our mindset.  We might not be able visit Ibiza, Spain again anytime soon, but I know there are other day, weekend, or mini trips we can take either with Lewie or without...  It's worth investigating, and it's worth brining back the spontaneity.  I want to feel ALIVE again...

If anyone has any tips on restoring the "newness" and excitement of your marriage, please share!

One Last Trip before 2016

1.07.2016

Since Lewie was off from school (and we had a few days off from work), we decided to take one last minute trip before the New Year.  Last year at Thanksgiving, we took a short trip to the Cape Codder in, you guessed it, Cape Cod.  The hotel had this incredible indoor wave pool and plenty of kid friendly activities (like making yummy s'mores over a campfire).  Well, the property management company of the Cape Codder also owns another kid friendly hotel called the John Carver Inn in Plymouth, MA.

When I looked up the John Carver Inn right after Christmas, I knew this would be our next perfect getaway.  For one, the John Carver Inn has this incredible water slide that's attached to a ship that looks just like the May Flower (it's in Plymouth after all).  And secondly, they had a Festival of Lights package, which meant the stay would include tickets to the Edaville Railroad where we could see "more than seven million twinkling holiday lights spread throughout a scenic train ride."  (My little boy still LOVES trains.)

Finally, there was one last benefit to staying at the John Carver Inn.  Seeing that the hotel itself is only 40 minutes outside of Boston, we decided to visit the city and go to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center (a bold move since it was crowded in the city and especially at the center).

The trip did not disappoint.  We drove up on Tuesday night, enjoyed the pool and got a good night's sleep, and on Wednesday, we were off to see LEGOLAND in the afternoon and take the Edaville Train Ride in the evening.  It was a full day but so worth it. 





At first, the mobs of people waiting to get into LEGOLAND, was a little intimidating.  A few hundred people, it seemed, were standing in line with their prepayed tickets waiting to get inside.  Fortunately, after a 20 minute wait and being escorted to the second floor, the feeling of being like a packed sardine lifted.  We were quickly brought to the LEGO Factory Tour, which led to the Kingdom Quest Ride.  After that, we were free to explore the center on our own, which felt much bigger and roomier than the downstairs entrance.  We grabbed a short bite to eat at their CafĂ© and then proceeded to see all three of their 4D movies; they were fun and even got us a little wet as snow and rain fell on us.  (Talk about it feeling like we were right there in the movie!)  Lewie had a chance to try and build a skyscraper on one of the Earth Quake Tables, and then we explored MINILAND, which boasted a replica of Boston and Boston Harbor--all in LEGOS, of course.



Waiting in line.

Waiting in line some more.

Ready to Go!

The Kingdom Quest Ride. 

Lunch!


MINILAND - Boston Harbor Tea Party



Faneuil Hall

Boston skyline


Lego Fans....Love it!


To the movies...AGAIN



After a full day at LEGOLAND, we ventured back to the hotel and then to the Edaville Railroad.  We soon learned that the Edaville Railroad is all part of Edaville, U.S.A., a children's amusement park, full of rides and gift shops.  I didn't know the rides would be running during a chilly 35 degree night, but they were and people were in line to go on them!  Unfortunately, we are less hardy folk, so we skipped the outside rides and went straight for the toasty warm train ride (hey it was 65 degrees on Christmas, so we weren't quite adjusted to this sudden dip to 30 degree weather).

Enjoying a gingerbread man before the train ride.





Edaville's lights made it a truly magical place.

Aboard the train.




Of course, my son chooses a toy train instead of candy...
Our trip was short, but it was memorable.  Whenever we reminisce about Christmas 2015, LEGOLAND and the Edaville Festival of Lights will certainly come to mind.  Lewie asked if we could go on the train ride again the following week.  I have to agree that viewing the millions of lights from the train certainly was a magical experience.