#BostonStrong – Cape Cod Trip

We left for Cape Cod Monday afternoon. It all started off pretty great. Got to The Cape in record timing. The girls were angels the whole ride down. The sun was shining, and the sky looked like it was painted by Raphael with those perfect wispy clouds.

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Our hotel for this visit was the Irish Village in South Yarmouth. It is set on Rt. 28, amongst a ton of attractions and other resorts. Everyone that works at this hotel is from Ireland. Except the waitstaff in the restaurant. Which gives its name some authenticity. heh. It is a family run hotel, and its location is great for traveling around The Cape. We were real pleased with the hotel. Our room was decent in size and clean; and we had the pool side view. Which doesn’t mean much when it’s 50 degrees out, but during our stay, we were talking about going back again to check it out in the Summer. The girls had their own space with a TV and pull out bed, which they thought was so awesome. They rarely sleep together and do not have TVs in their bedrooms at home. Overall, the hotel, to sleep in, was decent. Needed some maintenance/love, but I would stay there again for day tripping around.

The hotel has a fairly large restaurant/bar, indoor and outdoor pool, and what I saw, a mini gym. The restaurant serves your typical Irish / American pub style food. The gentleman that runs that part of the hotel is real nice, a great host and his accent was perfection. He treated us real well. And always enthusiastic seeing us. They had entertainment the entire day long in the restaurant, for kids and later for adults. It, too, was decent. The food we ate was good, fresh fish; and the kids enjoyed everything. Only thing is, it could use a sharper eye for painting/maintenance.

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The first place we hit up, after unloading our bags in the room, was the Cape Cod Creamery. The best ice cream in South Yarmouth..I swear to you. Their flavors are all namesakes of The Cape, and fun combinations. Last time we were in this part of The Cape we went to a lot of places, and they all were mediocre by comparison. We have talked about this place all year long! One of our favorite flavors, that is nut free, is the Tisbury Twix ice cream. Just the best. *drool*

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Then. Right after this outing, we headed back to the hotel, where we found out about the Marathon bombing. I am still shocked. We were changing to go swimming. Turned on the TV and saw the news. When they said there was a bombing at the Marathon, we were all in disbelief. My heart sank for all those people, who were there just having fun rooting for their family and friends running. Innocent lives. The images were so terrifying, and unimaginable that they were from Boston..on Boylston Street! MY CITY!

For some reason, the hotel didn’t have great wifi reception anywhere. So, even though my family and friends from around the globe were messaging me, I wasn’t getting a thing. Neither ipad got reception, and even our cells seemed sluggish. Times like this, I hate being without technology.

What the hell is going on in this world, really? I just can’t fathom why someone would do such a horrific thing. What sense, or, what does this accomplish for them? Especially with young people and children around. Ugh. Those three young, beautiful people lost their lives!! So many people lost limbs, got badly injured other ways, and many more mentally damaged, too. *heartache* So enraging. Confusing. Heartbreaking. Saddening. And fear invoking.

Then you see or hear about the amazing support that is out there. People helping people. banding together in love. Some people are just amazing. Like those that took shirts of their backs to use as tourniquets to stop the bleeding on some that lost limbs, or, those that comforted strangers as they lay practically lifeless on the ground, or, someone like that surgeon who just ran the 26.2 miles, only to get back on his feet to run an extra 2 more miles to work on those affected by the blasts in surgery.

… I care deeply about Boston. This is my home. I work here. I play here. It’s MY CITY. The moments that followed finding out the news were awkward for me. Boston IS my city. Even though The Cape is less than a couple hours away, I felt like I was on the other side of the world. Like I said, no internet, so it was a weird disconnection from what I am used to with information. Sort of isolating. The rest of our trip was fun, but with regards to this news, we spent it secretly getting information while the kids were busy.

That next morning, I decided to take the girls to Starbucks a few miles away for a good coffee, read news and to get messages. Thank God for that place. I want to say that I appreciate every single message I got the night before on text, and, the emails and fb messages I found that morning. EVERY SINGLE ONE. I am super lucky to be loved by so many.

Back to our trip.

My girls LOOOOVE to swim. And they love pools. They both started swim lessons at 3 yrs old through their preK program, fantastic program. The past year, our youngest has been taking an actual instruction class not part of her preK program, which is where she learned the back stroke and other fun swimming techniques that she loves to show off. So, they are naturals in the water. Me, I love to wear bathing suits sunning on the beach; I am only a fan of cold water when it’s hot outside. My kids had a blast swimming with their Daddy. They are a lot of fun to watch, and I enjoy that I don’t have to be in the water so much. hah

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The next day, we headed off to Pirate’s Cove mini golf course after a late breakfast. It was literally a minute down the road. I wanted to go last year, but the girls were not old enough…but they were this year! YES! This place is fun, just like I thought it would be! We went down the Captain’s Course, and the girls had so much fun golfing through caves, walking over a ton of bridges and seeing pirates in every nook and corner. It was a bit chilly and windy out, but the sun was strong enough to keep us warmed up. The girls played a good game, too! BUT, who was the winner? My husband and I tied! Doh!!

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On our last day, I took the girls on a shopping trip after grabbing a coffee, then spent the day at the hotel doing all the activities they wanted. The hotel had a lot going on for the children during school vacation week which was great. So, we took them to make 3 crafts, get their face painted, balloons, see the clown, and of course more …SWIMMING!

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All in all, this trip was a perfect break from the monotony of working and regular life stupidity. Throughout the bombing was on my mind, it was still great not to have to clean/cook for three days, and we made some great memories.

Arrested Development is Back!

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Woke up to great TV news!
Arrested Development finally got a date out on when the new shows will finally air! I am totally psyched for May 26!
I have missed The Bluth’s something terrible. And second to Seinfeld, Arrested Development is my most quoted show. Hope these 15 episodes are something amazing… And they wrap it up with insane hilarity.
Who am I kidding? They’re going to be awesome!!

T’was a Good Day. Easter 2013 – in photos

Had a great Easter Sunday!

It was a perfect day spent with my family.  With the sun shining. The kids behaving during mass; and a great family dinner with fun conversation.

Hope those of you that celebrated had a great day too!

Photos:

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Me and my big girl

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Sisters!

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Grandma and our oldest at church.

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Some of the cousins

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Some more cousins!

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Everyone rubbing the baby belly!

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Me with my two girls.

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My parents with their grandkids!

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Mimosas? Sure thaaaang!

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The clan

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With my cute mom

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My husband and I

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My sis made cupcakes

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my mom’s bolognese sauce. YUMMMMMY

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My mom made a veal roast stuffed with a frittata.. super good.

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Cannoli, the best dessert ever.

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My niece and I

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And Uncle Jason passed out= a good family holiday together.

A Cake Boss Themed Birthday

Visiting Cake Boss in 2012

Visiting Cake Boss

My daughters have been obsessed with the TLC network’s show, Cake Boss, for the past three years. Everything about it. So much so, that the girls, in 2011, wanted a Cake Boss themed birthday. There was no budging, these girls were adamant. So we took on the challenge!

*Photo above is from last year. On our way to Philadelphia, we surprised the girls with a stop in Hoboken, NJ,.to visit Carlo’s Bakery!

A Cake Boss Themed Birthday Party
The decor.  With the Cake Boss theme given to me, at first, I was stumped at trying to keep it youthful, feminine and cake related.  For some inspiration, I started going through my stash of party supplies.  Years ago, I had bought some paper tablecloths from Pier 1, that struck me as perfect for the girls’ party.  I always buy things on sale if I like them cause you just never know when you’ll need them! These tablecloths were bright pink, white, and lime green floral; very shabby chic. These tablecloths gave me the color scheme for the party; bright pink and lime green.  To coordinate, I had bought lime green colored tablecloths for the food table, and bright pink matching tableware for lunch, and, lime green for dessert.   To add the cake inspired whimsy, I made two types of garland; one from white doilies and another from multi-colored cupcake liners. The doilies were strung side by side to make a wide, chic garland for above the drink table. Then for the other garland, I strung a few left over doilies along with cupcake liners in a pattern, all different pastel colors and the aluminum ones, too, through the centers to create a ruffled effect. These were strung along the doors and inside the kitchen. Both were so darling.  Then I made paper flowers for the tables. Shaped cupcake liners with my fingers to appear like flower petals.  Some were flattened open, some were crinkled, and some were glued in a folded patter to simulate a flower’s center. Then poked pipe cleaners through the centers, and fashioned them as flowers in glass milk containers scattered around the tables. Super cute!

The cupcake liner flowers

The cupcake liner flowers

Another one

Another one- on top of a Pier 1 tablecloth

To add more color, I grabbed bright pink, lime green and white lanterns, and strung them across the branches of the giant pine tree that hangs over part of our patio, where the tables were sitting.   Then placed pink and white latex balloons, along with cupcake and birthday related mylar balloons, scattered all around the yard. It was vibrant and pretty.

The Invitation. Brainstorming invitation ideas is the best part of planning a party, for me. Anyone can go to the store to buy a box of invites, but we like to use our creativity to make something uniquely branded for our children (as a keepsake). My husband and I have collaborated and designed every invitation, and announcement, since our oldest daughter was born. It’s our way of making something special for our child(ren), and it allows us to use our creativity on what we want/how we want.

Since we nailed down the theme by this point, my thoughts for the invitation were to keep it focused on the girls and the theme. With the shortest conversation ever about an invitation,  all I mentioned was that it should look vintage with the girls at a bakery, my husband created below.

Invitation, created by www.seemikedraw.com, for The Cake Boss themed birthday

Invitation, created by http://www.seemikedraw.com, for The Cake Boss themed birthday.

Still amazes me after all these years that he can take a snippet of my thoughts and create exactly what I was imagining.  I know, I am lucky to have an artist at my fingertips., especially an intuitive one, which I know most people don’t have. BUT, if you have ideas.. a computer, access to a printer, photos of your children, and fonts..well, you can create fun invitations, too! I’ve done it on my own many times, and they were always appreciated.  Also, there are so many creative people who are amazing at designing invitations. Unfortunately, my husband isn’t technically for hire, so if you need a reputable graphic designer, comment/message me below!

The girls outfits. The girls wore matching vintage inspired apron dresses. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any dresses in the theme colors at this time, but the ones I found were perfect and comfortable for them to wear. Which is the most important thing. The base of the dress was white with printed blue and pink cakes and cupcakes all around. Then it had light blue gingham straps with buttons, and matching tie backs. The shape of these dresses were a-line. Super cute, and a score at TJ Maxx for under $16 each!!

My daughter, cute dress right?

My daughter, cute dress right?

The food. We decided, for the second year in a row, to have the girls’ party catered with BBQ from Blue Ribbon out of Arlington, MA.  I highly recommend them! We supplied a ton of beverages and a  generous salad along with the catering.  We had everything you could imagine.. pulled pork, pulled chicken, brisket, corn bread, mac n’cheese, mashed potatoes and an insanely delicious black-eyed peas n bacon dish. Blue Ribbon also supplied the buns for sandwiches, three types of BBQ sauce and their pickles, so good.

Now, I want BBQ.

The food table set up with the BBQ catering from Blue Ribbon

The food table set up with the BBQ catering from Blue Ribbon

The crafts (which were also the goodies to take home).  We worked on three crafts with the children this afternoon.  The first two: Each child was given a colorful goody bag on top of a chef’s toque (tall chef’s hat) and an apron. Within the goody bag, each child was given a special felt animal sticker and the letters to spell their names out in peel n’stick foam stickers. These were to be used on their hats, or, on their aprons, if they chose.

The chef’s toques were child-sized, and made of paper. Very easy to size on each child’s head. Then each table was topped with a bowl of pom poms, Halloween themed foam stickers, doilies, glue sticks, glitter glue and other stick on decorations for the kids to decorate. The aprons; I had bought them at our local dollar store and came in a variety of colors. The only issue was they had cartoon animals/bugs on them, like frogs and ladybugs, as they were being sold for bug capturing. So, to fix that issue, I had created and affixed a themed pink and green sticker across the chest that read: I am the Cake Boss. Unfortunately, the kids peeled them off to reveal the cartoons cause they loved them more, it was still cute, but I wasn’t able to take photos of them in the aprons with the stickers.

Here is the image I made of the sticker:

Cake Boss

Cake Boss stickers made for the aprons

Working on their chef tokes and aprons

Working on their chef toques and aprons.  You can see one of the garlands in the background above the drink corner (behind the bonsai trees).

The crafts table

The crafts table

After lunch, and running around the yard, the kids were gathered around their table for their third craft. They were given a homemade cupcake of their flavor choice, either chocolate or vanilla cake, wrapped in a cake themed liner. Then they were given a bowl of our white buttercream frosting along with a plastic spoon and knife. Then each table was supplied with sprinkles, marshmallows, white chocolate and milk chocolate chips, candy corns in traditional shapes and pumpkin shapes, and gel tubes of icing. The kids were also given a paper plate to place the cupcake, to sprinkle and draw on, but none of the kids wanted to use them.  I don’t know why. But. The kids had a lot of fun piling their toppings sky high.

The crafts were great for all ages. This party had 15 children under the age of 6, and one child was 9!  They all enjoyed making a mess and creating something special, and yummy.

My youngest showing us her Cake Boss style

My youngest showing us her Cake Boss style

Working diligently.

Working diligently.

The cake.  Figuring the children would be hyped up on sugar from the cupcakes, the cake was a simple strawberry shortcake in a whipped cream frosting; my children’s choice.  Decorated with the girls names and a few strawberries around.  We went to our local bakery in North Andover, Tripoli Bakery, for this delightful cake. We served all types of berries on the side, and other fruits. It was a HUGE hit, cause it was real light, delicious and a perfect end to the day!

The cake! super delicious from Tripoli Bakery in North Andover.

The cake! super delicious from Tripoli Bakery in North Andover.

Some of the kids together in their hats and aprons

Some of the kids together in their hats and aprons

More photos of our day:

A cute blonde chef

A cute blonde chef

A little guy chef

A little guy chef

More creativity

More creativity

Working on her hat

Working on her hat

My nephew the chef!

My nephew the chef!

My niece, the chef

My niece, the chef

My oldest daughter and I

My oldest daughter and I

Two cute party goers!

Two cute party goers!

My husband surprised the whole party with a New Orleans style band.  Very cool!

My husband surprised the whole party with the Hot Tamales from Fenway Park! a brass band – They played 5 songs. The kids had a blast dancing and it was a lot of fun. Very cool!

Happy 12/12/12! Two more days people!

Yes, it’s December 12, 2012!   Two more days to go!

Why am I always giddy about my birthday?  But I am.  I am smiling at this screen right now.

It’s not like I am looking forward to the aging process to really kick in; cause between you and me, I’d rather of stayed in my 20’s.  Did I mention I was pretty back then?  Boy, cause I fucking really was! And stupid me, hated myself every minute of it.  Now I’d die to be 26yr old me.

The upcoming wrinkles and slower metabolism in my future is definitely as frightening as the white hair I see coming. Oh Brother!  Me with white hair?  I shudder at the thought of losing my black hair; which is natural!  My stylist is sweet and says the greys she sees are silver ones, which are ‘the attractive white’ greys.  Even she knows what to say to make me laugh and keep sane.

But I love to celebrate my day, nonetheless.  My day is so close to the holidays and everyone’s bustling around all focused on that.. that I steer the focus where it belongs. Ahem, on me.  Can you tell I am the youngest sibling and a Sagittarius?  Also, as far back as I can remember, it has never failed that something out of my control would happen to kill it.  One story that I will share eventually that is actually real sad and unfortunate. But we will keep it light today.  So, the out of control ruiner even happened one year when I postponed my birthday out with friends to New Year’s Eve night!!

It was a snowy night, but nothing was going to stop me!  I got all dolled up that night; I went to Esprit and bought this swag silver mini dress.  It was super short and it had these turquoise swatches peeking through. So pretty, and I still own it for my children to have.   My friends and I got invited to dinner with my family at this Chinese restaurant my parents loved in Cambridge on Mass Ave.  My parents had another friend with their family there too.  All I remember the whole time was I just wanted to get to Axis on Lansdowne as fast as I possibly could. As soon as we put forks down and I got the nod to leave from my Mom, we piled into my powder blue, 1987 Nissan SX, and started making our way in the fluffy snow towards Kenmore Sq.  (I was a very young girl when I started getting into clubs. So friends were made to let me in.)   We didn’t even make it 15 minutes before the car blew out two tires!  TWO!  There was a snow pile on a tiny median strip that had a snowdrift ahead of it that I thought was just snow. It wasn’t.  There was three inches of pavement. So, needless to say I went over it around the corner and blammo.

Poor Jorge was trying to be the man amongst the car of girls, and offered to get at least one of the tires changed.. but it was a loss. Also, he was useless being 100lbs.  And this was during a time of none of us owning a cell phone. HOLY CRAP how did we survive?  After about 40 minutes, an older couple stopped to ask if we needed help, and they had a cell phone. Helped us call AAA.  We ended up getting towed back to Jorge’s parents’ house cause they lived in the Lechmere area of Cambridge.  Ended up spending a few hours there.. eating sandwiches.  The worst part was having to call my father after 1AM for a ride home.  My dad’s awesome though and we had a connection in silence. Sounds weird, but it is what it is.   He drove all the way to Cambridge in the snow in the middle of the night for me.  He was wearing his pajamas, and it broke my heart.  He either saw that I was full from eating sandwiches or just defeated. That the car ride home was fairly silent, with the exception that we talked about what we’d do with the car. And he had a guy he called already that could help tow it and with the tires.  My dad’s a real good guy. 🙂

….And there was another time when I was 15.. well my parents don’t know this story cause they were away in NY. But I invited a dozen or so of my closest girlfriends from Girls Catholic, where I was a hostage at school. Oye, me in an all girls school.  The one thing I didn’t mention to my parents was that I had also invited the hot, blonde boy I had a crush on to stay over, too.  Wink wink. Nudge nudge.  Ignore that, cause I was way to naive in that dept to have winked or nudged about anything.

Well, the plan was that I was to have a fun slumber party with friends, and MAYBE make out with the boy that I liked. The night started off great.  Everyone was there having fun; the laughing is still ringing in my ears from my friend Ro.  The amount of laughing tears we shed from joking around in the kitchen could have filled a mason jar.  My sisters were doing their own things with their own boyfriends, so they willingly left us alone. Some friends that I hadn’t invited, but were close friends from my pre-all girls school days, surprised me later in the evening by coming in through the living room window with guitars and singing all kinds of songs for and to me. (Aww that was real sweet wasnt it!? Why didn’t one of those cute guys like me!?).  Everything was going so well.  …  Uhm…..Until the boy I invited, who was really into me, or so I thought, started getting a bit too flirty with this girl I invited. Where did that come from?  It was so annoying that HE PAID ATTENTION TO HER!   I just never had to compete for someone’s attention before, and even though I tried it was just too much for me. What a deflating moment.  Nothing ever happened with them that night.  He and I hung out talking the whole night through snuggling and stuff, but I just couldn’t get myself out of that thought that he was at my house, for my day and wanted another girl.  Why the heck didn’t I send him home?   Ugh.  What a shitty thing to do to a 15yr old girl.   A 15 yr old who, even though had the balls to pull off an awesome night like this behind her parents back, sorry guys, was so self conscious that she started in on a lifetime of thinking she wasn’t pretty enough.  Fucking jerk.

Well, needless to say, he and I had this heated relationship off and on, for what felt like forever in my mid to late teens.  We did end up making out, like a lot, but looking back it.. it was horrible. YES, Jonathan, it was horrible.  I never liked kissing him back.  And, not just at 15 but throughout. I deserved to have someone like me that wasn’t a tool.  Am I wrong? No.

So, yea, my birthday.

Thankfully, the crazy drama that surrounding my birthday subsided a lot after I met my husband in 1996.  He knows that I think my birthday is cursed. He is a real good guy and does his best to make my day special.  From time to time there are issues that are out of our control, but he goes out of his way to make sure it happens.  Even through a freak snowstorm when I turned 24. I appreciate that so much.  And I can’t wait for this weekend.

Nothing is going to keep this girl down on her day, ever!  🙂

Happy twelve twelve twelve.

T'is me.  In a hat.

It’s hat day today 12/12/12!   Which means I showered and was too lazy to dry my hair. 🙂   Happy pre pre Birthday Eve to MEEEEEE!