2017 Recap in photos

Hey Everyone

🍾 Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a great New Year’s Eve celebrating with all your loved ones and that you are all prosperous for a happy, healthy 2018! xoxox

For my first post of 2018, I thought to review 2017 with a year-end recap like I used to do, and because right now I am rushing to get my whole family dressed to go to my parents for our first dinner of 2018 together it is an easier option than typing out a recap  haha.

Eating the first dinner of the year together is a tradition. Lots of traditions in this family, but my favorite is eating lentils together on January 1. I am Italian, so of course, if you are also Italian, you know that this is a big tradition as we believe lentils bring luck.

img_9968

January 1, 2017- We had the first dinner at our house

That is the first photo of the recap, so let me keep going.  I chose the photos for this recap, but am having WordPress put them in random sizes and order because that is how I roll. Ok so here we gooooOOOOoooo!

Photo Recap of 2017

Came out super cute!!  Great job WordPress!

So I gotta go eat some lentils!

TTYL!

Enjoy!

xoxoxo

Tokyo Day 3- Shibuya and Shinjuku Gyoen Garden

Helloooo there!

And we are onto day three in Japan!  Which was my day alone in Tokyo.

I forgot to mention that the entire week we had lucked out with nice weather, around 65F and sunny (with wind) every day.  We were told this night that we brought the sunshine with us because up till we landed the weather had been quite horrible.  🙂  Which made me smile.

Ok day 3…

Day 3- Shibuya and Shinjuku

My husband had to head off to an all day work meeting bright and early in Roppongi (about thirty min away), so it was my day to venture out in Tokyo on my own.  I was real nervous about this day, being alone in a huge city without knowing the language beyond a hello, thank you or the word toilet  haha. So, I just picked a few things from one of our books that I really wanted to see. Grabbed that free mobile phone for google maps and went on my way.

WHAT A FUN DAY!!

The first thing I did was put on my sneakers because another day of walking 20K steps would feel a lot better in those puppies.  Started off going to a Starbucks I noticed near the Shinjuku station, and it was PACKED.  I was there about 10AM, and it must’ve been rush hour for coffee breaks or something because it was just crazy busy.  I sat outside for a bit (since I didn’t see anyone walking with drinks in the city at all), planned out where things were to walk to and made my way.

My first stop was to a department store, YES shopping!  I smelled a fragrance the day before I really liked, so I was going to treat myself to it as a souvenir.  This department store was in the Takashimaya Times Square building, located right across from the Shinjuku station. I think it is bordering Shibuya.

Can I say wow?  I did, so lemme say it again…WOW!  This is not as large as the department store from the day before, but I saw more intricate jewelry and accessories I didn’t see at the others.  There was one jewelry counter set up that I couldn’t stop looking at because it was designs using precious stones and diamonds but the jewelry used resin to make macarons and donuts; it was so beautiful yet I couldn’t help but think what a waste!!  It is a pretty large store at 8 floors, but the best part of it was it shared the same corridor/bank of escalators with Tokyu Hands!!  A store I read about, was dying to see.

The best way for me to describe Tokyu Hands is if Target had a baby with Ikea that took steroids. The place was HUGE and stocked full all eight floors.  Each floor was unique to the categories they housed, and the items on each floor were just spectacular. I ended up going through each floor and buying a few unique souvenirs for the girls.

After walking through the stores for a couple of hours, I decided to grab some food from the basement level bizarre at the Times Sq building then head out to see the Gyoen National Garden nearby (fifteen min walk).  Admission to the garden is 200Yen, about $1.80USD.  Once you enter the gate, it opens up to two paths that surround a few acre  span of grassy park.  I chose to take a right to check out the tea house.  The garden once belonged to a rich family back when Tokyo was called Edo, which they refer to as the Edo period.

The garden was beautiful, and felt so much like back home in New England. Actually, a lot of Tokyo felt so familiar like home.  The garden grounds were starting to turn for fall-time, just like at home, and it just felt so good to be there. I took my time walking around all the gardens.  They had a traditional Japanese garden, an English garden and a French garden. When I was about to leave I noticed that they had setups where people were crowding around, and it was their Chrysanthemum exhibition.  It was pretty impressive.

After that I decided to sit on a bench to snack and hydrate, soak in the sun and people around me.  Lots of couples, small families and elderly walking around.  It was quite surreal at that moment.  Realizing how far away you are from those you love.  There was a 14 hour difference, so when you guys were waking up, we were going to bed.

I was missing home, my kids, and it was the first time in weeks that I was alone with just myself, my thoughts, no work, no housework, no distractions.  It was probably the most perfect moment I spent in peace this 2017.   Life sometimes gets complicated, or I allow it to at least, so centering myself on this day was just what I needed to refocus.  I felt real good after I reflected upon myself.

 

Ok, so after I spent a few hours at the park, I grabbed a coffee (of course) and grabbed some food to make my way back to the hotel.  I wasn’t planning on seeing my husband till real late, so I was setting myself up to eat in the hotel for the night till he got back.  BUT, when I got back to the hotel he messaged me saying that I was invited out to dinner with the folks he met with for work. …and they INSISTED that I meet up with them.

I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, especially my husband, so I jumped to get ready and hailed a cab to Roppongi.  Alone in a taxi in Tokyo was a fun experience. haha  My driver didn’t speak English, I didn’t speak that much Japanese, but THANK THE LORD I read body language and can decipher some gestures.  And that my husband texted me the full address on purpose!  haha

The dinner was at the Gonpachi Nishiazabu.  What a gorgeous place from the outside to the inside.  My favorite part of the aesthetic, being that it was an old building or at least drafted after one, the front door was very tiny.  I had to crouch down to walk in!  They had a cool room reserved on the third floor for this dinner. As I was led upstairs we had to walk through the second floor dining area, and the view was so pretty and dreamy to the space below.  I later learned that the Gonpachi is the place they shot those major fight scenes in Kill Bill.  When I realized that all of a sudden it became clear where I was sitting! Such a cool place and such great food.

The group of people were pretty great, too.  I can’t explain who they all were in the most precise details w names but it was the President of the Museum with his gf (whom I know), the President of the Japanese company  working with the museum to acquire a newly built The Science Behind Pixar exhibit (the exhibit my husband designed), a few of this Presidents partners, one of the guys from the exhibit build company out of NJ and a translator…then me :).

The President of the Japanese company hosted this dinner, and he was so kind and FUNNY.  One of the best parts of the night, aside from the dinner itself, was the game he had us play at the end.  He handed out sheets of paper that outlined a question, three multiple choice answers, and another outline for up to 13 responses.  Each person had to come up with one ‘hard’ multiple choice question w fun answers about any of these topics: Boston, Tokyo or about Pixar.   Each person then went around the table with their question and answers, and you would mark your paper with the corresponding answers to the person that had that number.  Then at the end you’d hand off your note to the person to your right to grade them. Anyone with the highest number of right answers wins.

Some of the questions I can remember now are:

  • What actor makes an appearance with a voice in every Pixar movie?
    • 1. Bill Pullman, 2. John Ratzenberger, 3. Bill Murray
  • Which is the most popular animal themed cafe in Harajuku?
    • 1. Cat Cafe, 2. Owl Cafe, 3. Hedgehog Cafe
  • Who has the best food in the city?
    • 1. the eel restaurant under the bridge, 2. the scallops restaurant in the hotel, 3. the noodles restaurant in the alley

There were questions about Manga, Godzilla, more on Pixar and even BU and MIT!  My number in the group was two, and my question was:

  • Boston’s Italian district is in which ward? (easy enough right?)
    • 1. South, 2. West, 3. North.

Needless to say, Mike and I tied for first place!  haha I even guessed on some of the complicated Tokyo based ones, but phew!  The top five winners got prizes, which I was surprised about, then everyone received a gift of candy.  It was so sweet and such a great way to end the dinner.

After we taxied away from there, we headed back to our hotel to chill in the lounge and enjoy the views.  We were the only ones in the lounge for a good fifteen minutes or so, which was perfect :).  Then we headed to bed…because we had another full day in Tokyo to experience!

Day 4 up next!

Halloween 2017

Hey Everyone! 
Happy Halloween!  Hope you all had a fun night filled with lots of laughter and candy!!! 
Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year. Since I can remember, I have love love loved to dress up, and now that I am older, I enjoy seeing all the kids in their costumes scattering around in excitement going door to door for candies.  It’s so cute!, and it’s really a magical night.   
This year, we had planned to have the crew back up here to trick o’treat.  Halloween used to always be at our house but when our town started with strict hours as the kids were growing, 5PM-7PM, our family and friends were sorta bummed and we started to go in my sister’s town -the last two years. It has been great fun, and we can be out later, BUT, because last year the four of us had stayed up here as our kids were ill with stomach bugs, we allowed them to go a few houses, they loved being in their neighborhood seeing friends and faces to the houses nearby.  So this year, the girls really wanted to have everyone back up here like it used to be to celebrate together, but the universe had other plans!  We ended up back down in my sister’s town!  Haha  
Our town had to postpone Halloween due to the storm on Sunday night. A large portion of the town, about 80%, has been without power and with loose wires, giant trees/debris down and just  big mess. We were spared this storm, luckily, but, the town has been on shut down since Sunday, and the kids have been out of school…today being day three in a row. Oh boy!  They are big time bummed because of all the school activities, but I am sure hanging with me is better….  YES  IT  IS> hahah
We had a busy Halloween season, yes, this is a season!  🙂  The kids had three costume parties, we pumpkined, face painted, birthdayed, Andi Macked, cob webbed, Fall fested and Halloweened…all real words.  Through the month we had the kids dressed up as a sugar skull cat, a sugar skull, Louise Belcher, a grand-mom,and a voodoo doll.  I avoided a Sugar Skull Louise, because she wants to sugar skull everything. This particular Halloween night we had Louise and Bob Belcher, a Voodoo Doll and a Living Dolly.  🙂     Everyone looked great.  I wasn’t all that impressed with how I came out, but I had a lot of fun wearing 28″ hair ponytail extensions!!
Here are some pics of the season’s fun…

 

Fun month overall..  I LOVE HALLOWEEN TIME!! 
We don’t have a solid date for our town’s make up Halloween night yet, probably will hear something today.  I invited the crew back up for it, so we will be doing this all over again (at least for a little bit) on that night.  🙂  HALLOWEEN TWICE!! Woo!!  (that just made my day!)  Probably won’t blog about the second Halloween, but I have some fun things coming up that I will be blogging about… like ….JAPAN! 
Yes! JAPAN! I haven’t told many people, like outside my family two people know..so now you know. In six days from today I will be on my way to Japan with my husband.  We went in 2004, when I tagged along on a big work trip, and this year he has to go for five days for work and he convinced me to come with.  So after a couple of weeks debating with myself on the pros and cons about going, I decided that I was going!  How many other times will I have this opportunity again??  I never thought I would be going back but here I am with a ticket, new clothes, all the Japanese travel books and it’s happening!   I am nervous, electrified with excited, nervous, looking forward to seeing Tokyo again, nervous, happy to eat sushi in the land of sushi, nervous, eager to shop, nervous, thrilled to be going …and just nervous.  haha  Did I mention I am nervous?  I have never been this far away from my children before, or taken a direct flight over the country and Pacific(14 hours or so), and it just strikes a fearful nerve I have never experienced much before.  I just hope to sleep on the plane and it goes by fast.  PLEASE LET IT GO FAST!    
And, I haven’t decided if I will daily blog like I had in the past posting it when I get back or just lump this trip into one post, but I will figure it out.  We have so much to do before Tuesday!!  🙂 
Ok, so this WAS a Halloween blog not Japan.. sorrrRRRry! BUT … Hope you all had a blast last night, too!  xoxo

What a Fun Weekend!

Hey Everyone!

What a fun weekend!  So much fun!  Started off Friday evening with a fantastic date night; which was like a part 2 of our anniversary celebration.  As I mentioned last time, my husband got tickets to see Arcade Fire for our anniversary, but he also made surprise reservations for dinner beforehand, so we set up a sleep over for the kids with my parents and hit the town.  It was stormy when we left my parents, but it was looking promising as we drove down the highway, and then it soon looked worse.  But weather was not bringing us down. He took me to the Tip Tap Room by Beacon Hill, which was super fun and sooooOooo good…and a few minute walk from the concert venue.  The place was a buzz, super busy, but we had great service.  And great apps and dinner …and four drinks later, we walked down to the Garden. The rain magically stopped for us, which was great in my outfit and shoes haha, and we made it in time to see friends there.

As soon as we got caught up, which was super fast, we heard the band was starting to come out on stage.  WHAT A SHOW> so we saw them in 2014 when they were touring Reflekktor..and this show just blew that away, and that was pretty amazing to beat.  They played all the best tracks from Everything Now, peppered with Neon Bible (best album ever), The Suburbs and The Funeral.  When Regine sang Electric Blue the place blew up.  She is such a talent.  I love her. BUT the best was their encore of Wake Up.  It just blew me away and the whole place was a blaze during it.  SUCH A GREAT TIME, and I danced my behind off the whole time.  Sorry to the couple behind me! haha

 

^this is what I recorded of Wake Up.

Yesterday started as a crazy mess of picking up the kids, grabbing my car and getting who to dance and what to the recycling event in our town, all before having to go to our bffs son’s first birthday party. It was such a great time.  I can’t believe he is already one.  This year went by way too fast.   The crew had such a great time that I invited them over afterwards for drinks.  They brought a super fun game about memes, we never laughed so hard.  It was a pretty great Saturday..

Now today..I am trying to squeeze in some time for slime creating, caramel apple making and house deep cleaning because the girls’ big birthday bash is next weekend!  WOO!  Birthday party time..my fav time :).  I have a big week ahead of prepping!

Well, I am sad this weekend is already coming to an end, but I am super excited for next weekend.

Hope you are having a great weekend!
xoxoxoxxo

Mommy Chronicles.. Middle School already?

Hey everyone!

Well, I thought turning forty was my embarkation into my older self but…it isn’t. I actually love how I feel at this age. Forty rocks! (at this moment at least haha). But, it isn’t my age, it’s having a child starting middle school!!

Yep, middle school.

Ugh. This town starts Middle School at 6th grade.  Isn’t that too young!??  Hah

Whether I am ready for this or not, it is happening. Last month, as Summer was winding down, I was explaining the school year changes to my youngest daughter.  Where they were moving up in school. Basically about her sister’s big adventure ahead going off to middle school, a new school further away as she will be going onto fourth grade…so without her.

As I was talking through the situation, I started bawling my eyes out. Idk why either, I am so happy to see her growing up, and how she is growing, but the thought of her moving up to middle school so far away without her sister just made me feel how much she is actually …growing.  Up. She is growing up. 😦

I can’t believe my bubbly blue-eyed baby who once needed me to show her how to spell is now a blooming young lady. I can’t believe this FOR REAL.  How?  When? Where did all this time go?

Do my parent friends remember when they were knee deep in diaper changes, feedings, splashy baths, crazy defiant bedtimes and running after them thinking like that was the longest day of your life!?!  Now, blink an eye and they’re asking about interpreting dreams and growing out their hair.  0.0

So, here I am, forty, with a middle schooler who turns 12yrs in a few weeks and her baby sister who recently turned 10yrs. Which means I will have tweens by the end of the month.  The fact that she is a super bright, beautiful, wonderfully sweet, kind girl makes the thought of her growing up hurt less, but it hurts nonetheless. This is the first step of her moving into her own self, her first bits of her identity start now. It’s beautiful because it is pivotal in her preteen life to step further step by step, and  though watching her grow over these years have been some of the best moments in my life, it’s somewhat sad too. I just didn’t think the years would be passing by this fast.   I guess I just wish I could make time slow down.

But I can’t. 😦

Ok ok, no more moping over this.  I have a lot to look forward to…like tween GIRLS.

God help me!

Thanks for reading!

xoxoxox

Recital and Mother’s Day 2017

Hey Everyone!

Wow, I can’t believe how fast this weekend flew.  I mean, it was just Friday!

So what a great weekend; started off with our kids’ dance recital.  What a great time.  The girls skipped dance last year, and were eager to get back to it this school year. I missed it slightly too.  (I don’t miss the hectic end of year schedule, but I missed them dancing)

All their hard work paid off because this year’s recital was the best we ever went to by far..not just the girls’ dances, but the whole show.  Our youngest had two dances, ballet and tumble jazz, and our oldest had one dance, hip hop.  Hip hop was new to her, and she was the youngest in the class.  The year started off bumpy for her, she was not sure she could handle this new way of dancing, but she really did so well and made me tear up a little watching her up on the stage.  So cute.  Our youngest is a real life prima donna.  She is graceful, while loving the movements of dance.  She is so cute. I just love her face to pieces.

After recital, we did what we always do, we treated everyone who came to the show out to eat (pizza n sangria).  It was a lot of fun, but man oh man, I was spent by the time we got food. The girls had so much fun with their cousin, whom they rarely get to hang out with alone. After everyone left, we went home to watch a movie (Fantastic Beasts) and hang out.  It was my fav part of the day.  :)~

 

Saturday, May 13- The Dancing School’s recital, Legends

Then Sunday was Mother’s Day!  Yay!  I have to say that I got entirely too spoiled this year; is that even a thing?  I got to sleep in super late (well late for me is anytime past 7:30AM!), and got woken up with my favorite breakfast foods…roasted asparagus, cinnamon donuts, Nutella on Italian bread toasted (Nutella- I won’t buy normally cause I will eat the whole jar!), black raspberries and a latte.  It made my day!

The kids showered me with cards and activities… a “mom” scavenger hunt, a song written by my oldest, and a special “bob’s burgers mad-libs”  haha.  My husband also showered me with gifts and lots of love, he is real good like that.  I am happy to share that I now have a fancy new chair for my bedroom’s makeup table…something I have always needed, and desperately wanted! haha

After we hung out relaxing over coffee and chatter, I was taken to lunch.  The girls got ready for me without a squeak…that is a big deal, people!!  The clan took me to The Blue Ox, which is in Lynn, one of my fav spots, but it doesn’t feel like it’s in Lynn.  It’s a beautiful hideaway from the craziness with great food and drinks.  Believe me, go check it out, then tell me you love it, too.   We ate (some amazing dishes), drank (some amazing drinks), laughed and had a real wonderful time together. We always do, but I really did feel special Sunday.  The girls were just so sweet about it being Mother’s Day this year.

After we left the restaurant, we swung by my in-laws, then ran home to change to head to my parents.  Did I ever mention how much I love my parents?  I love my family just so much.  We got to their house late, but we spent a fun evening together laughing, exchanging stories, and gifts.  I love the moms in my family and so happy to celebrate each year with them.

I really appreciated all of the extra love and attention Sunday. It is overwhelming at times for me to think about how much they care for me, because I don’t expect much, but they always go beyond anything I could imagine.  I am real lucky and I am grateful.

*You guys make me feel so good, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the thoughtfulness and love. xoxoxoxoxoxox  

Mother’s Day!- May 14, 2017

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend, too.  Especially, all the moms on this Earth who work so hard to give their families love and everything they need the best way they know how.

 

Much love to all of you.

xoxoxox

Easter 2017!

Hey guys n gals!

Right now, we are in Washington DC!  We got here earlier tonight. What a cool city.  Just wow.   This trip, I can feel, is going to be a good one!

Though I am here, this post is just a quick rundown of Easter yesterday.

Easter Sunday was a wonderful day for my family and I.  Woke up, at a decent time, to the girls shouting excitedly over their full baskets…and an extra basket of more bunny related snacks for our trip!


This might be my last big Easter Bunny super secret basket reveal, our little one started asking me some ‘is he real’ questions the other day…and added in Santa, too.  Ugh. My heart.  I hated going through this with our oldest last year, she broke my heart, it made me feel horrible the way it happened too!  We were watching Big Fish, and the son makes some off cuff comment to his father about his stories being as fake as Santa and the Easter Bunny.  Ugh eff. Noooo!   Our oldest squirmed in her seat and I saw tears streaming down her face.  My heart!!!  The movie ended and we had the talk.   She wanted to ask us about it anyways, but didn’t want to find out the truth.  Explaining how lucky she is because of the magic we created her whole life was actually a great conversation.  That magic never ends.  That’s our greatest gift!   They always say we are greatparents  but that particular conversation made our daughter  understand a different level of how awesome.

I am real lucky to have her, well, both of them!!

Ok focus… this Easter!  After baskets, we got dolled up then headed to the 11:30AM mass.  It was a full house, we got in our seats just in time!  Then we raced home to grab our niece and nephews’ baskets… and a few holiday pictures together. Haha. Gotta get them in somewhere!!


Ok enough selfies!   It’s dinner with my family!!  We made reservations for the Tuscan Kitchen in Salem, NH, one of my fav spots.  We wined and dined, and had a real nice time.  The new Sicilian Spritzer was tdf.  Gah soooooooooooO delicious. My dinner too; I got tuna crudo and then the tagliata …and couldn’t of been happier!


After that we hung out at my older sisters for more drinks and cake, very sweet.  The kids opened their gifts; overjoyed with all the new toys.

Beautiful day with my some of my fav people. 🙂

Happy Easter to you!!