Stitch Therapy

Discovering me … one stitch at a time

Category: travel (Page 1 of 5)

A visit from the Christmas Chicken

Can you believe that it’s really 2017? Do you remember when the year 2000 seemed so futuristic and far away and here we are 17 years later!

How was your holiday? I never totally got rid of the grumps, but did manage to put on a happy face and hide them well enough as not to be a Debbie Downer.

Anyhoo, here’s what we did…

There is a story that gets told over and over about how when Tom and his brothers and cousins were younger, a giant costumed chicken would show up at various family functions. This year, Tom thought it would be funny if a chicken showed up on Christmas Eve instead of Santa.

Guess who he thought should be the chicken?

That would be none other than yours truly.

Thankfully, one of his brothers stepped in at the last minute and made a great Christmas chicken.

Santa showed up too. It was mayhem.

The boys pretty much got everything their little hearts desired on Christmas morning. So much for minimalism and simplicity.

I was off from work the week between Christmas and New Years. It was nice to hunker down and be lazy. We spent our time…

Coloring

Taking a long hike



Creating animations

I checked out two biographies from the library, one on Julia Child and the other on Catherine the Great. Culinary History Royal Nerd heaven!

We went to the beach house on Thursday and stayed through the New Year. Biggest was excited to test out the crab trap that he designed and built.

He caught 11 crabs and we made a delicious crab bisque!

We went to the Melting Pot for dinner one night which has inspired us to up our at-home fondue game in 2017. I can already tell that my diet is not going to go well.

We visited the cat rescue and pretty much wanted to take every cat home with us.

I was particularly fond of the three black cats on the windowsill. How cute are they?!

And worked on a big puzzle.

I say “we”, but really it was “me” who kinda got obsessed with it.

I spent New Years Eve in my jammies reading about Catherine the Great, which was GREAT. Some of us didn’t make it till midnight.

Happy 2017, Friends!

Mountain Girl

Hi Blog!

Last weekend was amazing! The boys had off from school on Monday, so I figured that we’d take advantage of the long weekend and go to the beach house. Unfortunately, there was a date mix up and Tom told someone else that they could use the house! Of course, I sulked and carried on for a good few hours because that’s what I do.

Things turned around quickly though because Sweetie McSweet-Tom surprised us with a getaway to the mountains instead. We had so much fun!!!

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We rented a beautiful house. It was very private and quiet on 12 acres of land.

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The house was kid (and adult friendly) with a trampoline and ping pong table and foozeball and, perhaps the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, swings hanging by the rafters in the basement.

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We were all big fans of the hot tub.

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The boys had fun exploring and doing boy things.

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On Saturday, we went on a 15 mile bike ride in the mountains! The best part is that they drive you to the top of the mountain and you just bike DOWNHILL. That is brilliant if you ask me.

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This was us at the beginning when we were still fresh and cheery.

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The sights were pretty glorious.

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We took a lot of breaks.

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Here is my artistic shot of Tom at the opening of an old railroad bridge. Littlest thought that it looked like a dinosaur eye!

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Tom and Biggest did a lot of fishing, which meant that Biggest was in Heaven.

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I was in Heaven too, stitching while admiring this scenery.

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I moved every once in awhile to find a shady spot.

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The boys did not catch a lot, but they were very proud.

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They insisted on learning how to clean the fish (Thanks a lot, YouTube) and preparing it for dinner.

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We had enough to make a very small appetizer. It was delicious.

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The next day, we found a quiet beach at the lake.

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I love him.

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In the evenings, we played board games and some very exciting Blackjack.

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On Monday, Tom and Biggest went out early for more fishing.

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Littlest and I played a few competitive rounds of Don’t Break the Ice. My baby, age 10 with bedhead.

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I have always thought of myself as a Beach Girl, but this weekend has me thinking that Mountain Girl has a pretty nice ring to it.

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Might be time to reconsider.

 

Shopping Adventures!

Hi Blog!

What?! Monday again?!

On Friday, Tom and I went to dinner and a comedy show with some friends. We saw those guys from that old improv TV show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” It was hilarious.

Stephanie and I went shopping on Saturday and I bought this old blanket chest. I love it.

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I guess I never finished telling you about our cross stitching adventures in Paris. I looked up some stitching shops to visit before the trip, but we didn’t manage to go to any of them!

One day though, we were out strolling near the hotel and spotted what looked like a fabric store. We stopped in and, lo and behold, it turned out to be a fabric, knitting, and CROSS STITCH store!!! Quelle surprise! They had a whole floor dedicated to cross stitch stuff! In a terrible moment of irony, my phone battery chose that exact time to die. Luckily, Tom was there to snap some photos.

I almost couldn’t focus. There was so much to see!

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Evenweave and linen in every color…

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They had a ton of pre-finished items just ready to be embellished with some cross stitching. Cute pouches of every shape and size!

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And pretty kitchen towels!

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There were soft stitchable bath towels in lovely colors…

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And a whole wall full of embroidery books!

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I had never seen the Rico design books in the US before and promptly fell in love. It was reaaaaallly heard to pick just a few items to buy.

I ended up getting two books, filled with the most gorgeous designs.

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So tasteful…

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And modern…

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Le sigh…

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I also bought a pre-finished runner and a tablecloth that was made specifically for stitching some of the designs from the books. I love the pretty texture on the tan one and … swooooon… white swiss dots! Who doesn’t love swiss dots?!!

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Can you tell how excited I was to find this store?

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The rest of the trip, I carried my stitching stuff around Paris in hopes of working on it during any down time. There ended up not being any until our final day at the Luxembourg Gardens.

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There were a lot of people milling about reading and sketching and relaxing. Can you imagine a dreamier place to stitch?

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I worked on last year’s 12 Days of Christmas stitch-a-long because it is small and portable and not too confusing, especially amidst so many distractions.

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Oh… is someone selling baguettes? Oh… do I smell crepes? Oh… should we walk over there for a quick Cafe au Lait? You know, distractions.

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I also stitched on the flight home and managed to complete Days 1-6. Quick aside, can I say what a treat it is to sit on your butt for 7 hours while watching movies (of your choice) and cross stitching while people bring you booze and food? Other people think that flying is a pain, but this tired working mama says “Bring it on!”

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I think I’m calling this project done for now and try to do a little finish work so that they are ready for Christmas. It only took two years to complete 6 days. I guess I’m not so good at stitch-a-longs.

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Anyhoo, that wraps up the Paris recaps. You’re probably tired of reading about the trip by now, so this week I’ll move onto more exciting things like Soccer practice and Chili making. Haha. Until then!

Louvre Love

Dear Diary,

For our Summer vacation, we visited the Louvre. It was big and breathtaking.

We saw the Mona Lisa.

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We read a crazy statistic that 80% of people who go to the Louvre just look at the Mona Lisa and then leave. That seems like such a waste because there was so much more to see.

Those of you who have read my blog for awhile know that I love history and have a mild obsession with Henry VIII of England. Well, you can imagine how much I nerded out when I spotted this painting!

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Do you know who this is? It’s Anne of Cleves! Henry the VIII’s fourth wife! Back in the day, you couldn’t just ask someone to send a selfie when you were checking them out to be your 4th wife, so Henry dispatched Hans Holbein to paint Anne’s portrait. Henry liked the portrait enough to commit to marrying her, but when she arrived in England he was not pleased with her looks at all!!! So, what’s an obnoxious spoiled King to do but marry her anyway then annul the marriage in 6 months in order to take up with that trollop, Katherine Howard. What a jerky diss! But the best part is that Anne won out in the end. She got a nice settlement from Henry and they actually ended up becoming friends and confidants. She outlived him and all of this wives. Go Anne of Cleves!

Anyhoo, this is the ACTUAL PORTRAIT of her painted by Hans Holbein that started all of this drama. I just about died standing next to it!!!

Speaking of disses. I had to take a picture of this painting. It’s nice enough, right?

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Until you see the title which is “Portrait of an OLD LADY at 44 years old”. This 44 year old was not pleased.

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Tom liked this one. I wonder why? (insert eye roll) But look at the lady in the background embroidering. That’s redeeming.

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This has always been a favorite of mine.

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And this. Swoooon.

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I can’t imagine what it would be like to paint something so huge.

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Some of the halls were truly over the top.

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You can definitely picture this guy galavanting around in these rooms.

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You can’t tell from my sucky photo, but these colors were so rich.

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And, of course, Rembrandt.

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And check out the size and detail of this tapestry. Perhaps inspiration for my next project? Ha!

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Next up… Parisian cross stitching adventures…

Until then, hope you’re having a great weekend!

Ooh la la

Hi Blog.

Sometimes when I have a lot to write about, I get overwhelmed and avoid writing altogether. Actually, that applies to pretty much every area in my life, not just writing.

But today I’ve decided to JUST DO IT, so here goes…

Our trip to Paris was pretty great. I won’t bore you with all of the details, but here are some of my favorite memories.

I KonMaried my suitcase. Don’t ask how it looked on the way home. Let’s just say that KonMari would not have been impressed.

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On the first day, we went to Sacré-Cœur and Montmartre. Sacré-Cœur creeped me out a little. I don’t know why, maybe just the thought of all the stories held within those walls.

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I insisted that we walk to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. I took the same photo when I was there in January, but this one is better because Tom’s feet are in it too. Everything is more fun with my partner in crime.

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Notre Dame is pretty impressive. I couldn’t get over how old it is (construction began in 1163!!!). Can you imagine carving all of this by hand! With no electricity!

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I am ashamed to admit that I may have checked Pokemon Go while at Notre Dame (I know… I know) but Pikachu FINALLY showed up! And the worst part is that I was so busy taking pictures of him to send to Littlest at home that he GOT AWAY!

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One of many random stately buildings.

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Le sigh. So charming.

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We enjoyed strolling on the quais along the Seine. They had set up a little “Paris Beach” on one of the quais which was kinda weird and hilarious. Here is Tom mid- “Bonjour!”

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We ate and ate and ate… bone marrow and escargot and fois gras and Tartare de Filet de Boeuf (i.e. RAW STEAK) and more baguettes than I could count (needless to say, I fell off the gluten free diet).

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I was particularly fond of the super indulgent flower-shaped gelatos.

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When we go out to dinner in the US, I always try to convince Tom to same-side-sit with me and he refuses, but in France, EVERYONE same-side-sits! In fact, they MAKE you same-side-sit even if you don’t want to!

We spent a full day at the Louvre and LOVED it (sorry for the excessive capitalization) but that deserves an entire post of its own because it was AMAZING (there I go again). The gardens! The artwork! The history! MON DIEU!

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Yeah, the Eiffel Tower. So cliche, but what can you do?

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And! You better believe that I had some cross stitching adventures! More coming on that too!!! Here’s a teaser.

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Le OMG! French cross stitch patterns! I died and went to heaven!

En Français

Bonjour mes amies! Where to even begin?

Tom and I just got back from Paris! It was très incroyable. Originally he was going to join me for a few days only, but changed his plans and ended up staying for a full 9 days! Wheeee!!!

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We had a lot of adventures. There was sight seeing! And snail eating! And cross-stitch goody buying! And art admiring! And French language botching! And people watching! And walking! So much walking! I logged 145,883 steps on my Fitbit. Crazy!

There are a gajillion photos to wade through, but that will have to wait for another day while I catch up on work, and hear about the boys’ first days at school, and give Charlie some extra tummy rubs. Il n’y a pas de place comme à la maison!

I hope that you had a great week too!

The Scoop

Hi Blog!

It is a busy time around here. We are getting ready to end Summer with a bang! My parents arrive this week for a long visit, we are gearing up for Littlest’s 10th (OMG!) birthday festivities, and Tom and I are preparing to leave for a trip to Paris! All fun things, but lots of prep involved for each. You know the drill!

Around here:

I have now been gluten free for over 3 months! Yay! Last week, I attempted making gluten free pizza at home. It got the thumbs up!

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Instead of party planning and packing and all of the other stuff that needs to be done, I’ve been obsessively KonMari-ing the house. Have any of you tried the KonMari Method? It is strangely satisfying to fold underwear into cute little rectangles. Sometimes I open drawers just to admire them.

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In stitching related news, I’ll be in the September issue of CrossStitcher magazine. It will hit newsstands this Friday! It’s been really fun to write these little articles.

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That’s the scoop. What’s new with you?

Hola!

Hola Blog! Did you miss me? We just returned from a nice long family vacation to Mexico. It was so much fun!

My goals were to:

  • eat guacamole at every meal
  • ride a zip-line
  • relax and spend time with my family

I am happy to say that I achieved my goals! (*There was one night at an Asian restaurant where there was no guacamole, but I’m still going to count that goal as 99% met.)

Of course I took a million trip photos because that’s what I do.

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I thought that I was really original to wear a straw hat to Mexico. HA! So did everyone else. The boys made a game out of “count how many people are wearing the same hat as Mommy.” We counted 9 before we even got on the plane.

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This is where we stayed. It was so beautiful, I almost couldn’t stand it.

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We spent most of our time at the pool. It’s hard to leave when they kept walking by offering fresh guacamole and drinks.

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Littlest really embraced the good life.

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We did get off of our butts long enough to have a few adventures, like zip-lining,

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(That little blue dot is Biggest high in the trees!)

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ATV riding,

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swimming in a cenote (Tom was the only one of us brave enough to jump in),

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watching lots of cool shows,

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and getting fish pedicures! (They tickled!)

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Speaking of fish, we went to a little fishing village called Puerto Morelos.

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They are known for their leaning tower.

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The beach where we stayed was so clear and warm and white, a far cry from our familiar Jersey Shore.

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Biggest spent his time building and demolishing sand castles.

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Littlest spent his time following the ultra cool Entertainment staff guys around.

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I spent my time applying sunscreen (obligatory pool selfie) and looking for coral.

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Tom spent his time drinking cerveza and reading about Benjamin Franklin. (Seriously, didn’t I say that we are two peas in a pod?)

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It was a great vacation and just what we needed after a very busy year of school and work.

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I am so thankful that we were able to take the time and spend it together. Yay Mexico!

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Memorial Day at the Beach (in pictures)

Hi Blog!

We just returned from a lovely 5 days at the beach. It was very relaxing.

Biggest has developed a real passion for fishing, so there was plenty of that.

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Fishing is just my kind of activity. How can you go wrong with sitting around looking at the water and eating corn chips?

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We also gave crabbing a go. Don’t ask me why I felt the need to point at the crabs in every picture.

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We are lucky to live on the bay, so Biggest could run back and forth to check the traps. He was very dedicated and even went in the early morning drizzles. He caught 17 crabs!

We rode our bikes a lot, which I loved. This is the best picture I could get without crashing.

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The beach was pretty cold, but people still got in. Those people did not include me.

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Look how tall he’s getting!

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We went to the old fashioned 5&10 store and I found a fanny pack! Why did these things ever fall out of fashion? I was so excited and texted this photo to Stephanie. She called it my granny pack. Thanks Steph.

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We ate a ton of yummy beach food.

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And visited the cats at the cat rescue. They had over 90 cats! It was like a real life version of Neko Atsume. We would’ve brought home a few if Tom hadn’t put his foot down. I guess it’s good that someone in our family can exercise restraint when it comes to cats.

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Of course, there was lots of cross stitching on the porch.

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Hello distinguished gentleman!

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Sammy kept me company with his loud snores.

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I love the beach!

This and That

Hi Blog!

Here we are winding down another week already. This was a busy one, with a lot of commuting back and forth to NYC. The best part: I skipped my evening event last night and got home early. The worst part: The train was sooooo bumpy and sooooo crowded, I couldn’t cross stitch at all!

We started off the week with SNOW! Can you even believe that crazy business?

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Tom surprised me with new rugs for the basement to replace the ones that got flooded last year. Charlie approves!

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We got passport photos taken for the boys! Fun Summer trip booked!

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I’ve had the worst insomnia lately. Some nights I roam the house looking for a place to lull me to sleep. Good old Charlie follows me around. He has no trouble falling asleep no matter where we end up. Is it normal to be jealous of a cat?

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David Beckham embroidering. Insert all the heart eyes…

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And this cracked me up. Raise your hands if you can relate.

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Happy Thursday!

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