Thursday, September 30, 2021

Our Favorite Books for Halloween

October eve calls for a switch to all things Halloween, including all of our books on our bookshelves in lieu of our favorites for fall. We have each of the books below and I can highly recommend them all. Added bonus? They display so nicely and really serve as d├ęcor as well. Books, plus a few fun throw pillows, really change the boys' rooms and set the tone for the few months ahead.

1. Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories: I got this for Oskar this year and am so darn excited to read it with him. Roald Dahl plus spooky stories...yes yes YES.

2. The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt: A sweet story about a ghost who is a quilt instead of a sheet, teaching us that it's ok--and good!--to be different.

3: The Scariest Book Ever: A funny book narrated by a melodramatic ghost narrator, who is out to prove that this is, in fact, the SCARIEST book ever.

4. The Little Witch: I started reading this with Oskar and he loves it. Classics never die, as proven by this 60th anniversary edition of a lifelong favorite for many.

5. Creepy Carrots: Not to be outdone by it's sister book Creepy Pair of Underwear, both boys always reach for this quirky Caldecott Honor winning picture book.

6. Gilbert The Ghost:A perfect book on being shy, and finding the bravery to be yourself. I love this one for August.

7. The Dark: A story of overcoming a fear of the dark, written in an eerie yet beautiful way. 

8. Triangle: A pair of practical jokesters, leaving the reader wondering who started it. One of August's very favorites.

9. They All Saw a Cat: One of our very favorites for years and years. A Caldecott medalist for its vivid and creative illustrations showing the different ways animals view and see a cat.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Life Lately

Friends, I miss you, and I miss this space. Summer was such a full and busy few months and I stepped away from social media for good chunks of time, but I wanted to jot down what's been going on with all of us, because it really does feel like a lot!

1. Starting off a few months ago. August became an amazing, jump-off-the-diving-board, swim entire lengths of the pool swimmer, which was just in time for me to juggle 3:1 around the water. His proud half smiles are my very favorite and engrained in my mind forever.

2. My sister visited for an entire month in July, and we were able to do so many things. Kennywood and trampoline parks and professional picnics and birthday celebrations and a night of pure bachelorette party night debauchery on a floating tiki hut cruising down the rivers of Pittsburgh. Turns out I'm not 18 anymore.

3. We took the kids to Presque Isle for a weekend--a super easy drive for us, and their first time to a beach. They played in the sand and swam in the lake, and then we re-grouped at a pretty hotel overlooking the bay. The perfect mini get-away.

4. Matt and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary in Nantucket, which, as promised, was pure and utter magic. A blog post coming on all of my favorite things there, but if you have any questions before I get that put together, please let me know. The beaches and seals and food and lighthouses--it was all like out of a movie.

5. Everyone went back to school at the end of August, and I guess I didn't know how much stress and tension I had built up, but it all felt like a huge release once we were back on a schedule and I finally was able to focus on one thing at a time again. Maren is in full day daycare, where she is thriving (AND SLEEPING), August is in full day Kindergarten, where he's winning over teachers and new friends left and right, and Oskar is in 1st grade. A few stories about the boys.

August was nervous to start at a new school. I checked in with his teacher after a few days to see how he was doing, to which she said, "He's doing great. Participating, raising his hand. But, I just have to tell you, every time he talks he crosses his eyes at us." A trick he learned from his brother. Yep.

He has also gotten into a routine (a REALLY prolonged joke) of pretending to faint every time I pick him up from school. I then have to drag his corpse to the car in front of all of the other parents, because he does not break character no matter how much yelling through my gritted teeth I do.

Then there's Oskar. We found out at the end of the academic year last year that he was tested, and qualified, to skip a grade in math. In addition, he's in a small enrichment group for his advanced reading. So really, he's thriving and also so darn proud of himself. He has 2nd grade friends, and 1st grade friends, and friends from soccer, and friends from truly feels like going out on the town with the Mayor when we go anywhere because there is always, always somebody that he knows.

6. Maren is 18 months old now, an amazingly fun and also difficult age. So many opinions and already protesting for equal rights. She's talking so, so much and stringing 2 and even 3 words together. We all love her endlessly, though, and she really is everybody's baby. Her favorite thing is getting her brother off the bus, and squeals and screams when she sees it coming.

7. Fall is here, and so is soccer, with both boys playing with practices or games often at the very same time. Convenient. Oskar broke his wrist one week into the season and had to take a brief hiatus, but is back at it now that his pain has subsided. A right of passage in this house--first x-rays, first cast. We survived.

8. A commonly asked question--Maren still sleeps like garbage, with wake ups between 5:30-6am no matter what we try. Following in her brothers' footsteps, so its really nothing new for us. She's also a terrible napper when she's at home, but sleeps for 2 hours at school, no problem. This morning she woke up at 5:35 and tried out a new sentence on me: "Where's your robe". And, on the topic of sleep, the tooth-fairy has been a frequent visitor, with August losing a tooth and Oskar losing his 5th.

9. We're hoping to take the kids to Finland for Christmas but this COVID surge is putting a bit of a wrench in things and figuring out whether its truly safe to travel with a toddler. When this world will return to normal, I just don't know, but it's hard not to get frustrated and sad this many months out. Matt's hospital is now on a "Treatment Delay Advisory", both due to increased patient load AND staffing issues due to burn-out. 

10. And finally, some things Matt and I have really been enjoying lately. Long bike rides on a trail near by (whenever we have the chance), finishing Breaking Bad (I had never seen it), Peloton-ing, and concert going (Green Day/Weezer + Alanis Morissette). Life is busy, but it is good, and I really am trying to make this "The Year of YES" after hunkering down for so long. 

Hoping to be back soon with some of my favorite things lately--recipes and fall plans and tips and tricks for easier mornings. Thanks, as always, for reading along!

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Oskar turns SEVEN

 Dear Oskar,

You’re seven years old today. A tall, long-legged boy missing his front two teeth—exactly what you’d picture a seven-year-old to be. A boy growing into his lanky body. There has been so much change for you this year and we can’t even begin to tell you how proud we are of you. The most beautiful, smart, kind-hearted, and empathetic little soul.


You spent almost your entire kindergarten year at home, learning on a laptop and working so independently, making your way through your required curriculum but also begging and pleading to skip ahead, diving into 1st and 2nd grade workbooks when given the chance. We finally felt comfortable sending you to in-person school for your 4th quarter and held our breath, hoping that what you learned at home was enough to make it through. Oskar, you thrived. You made friends immediately when most of the kids had already spent the entire academic year together. You know, and say hi, to every single person you pass on your way in the door and spend most of your days alongside two little boys, an inseparable trio. We received feedback at every drop off or notes written home, with just one representative example being the following:

I also just wanted to take a moment to let you know how much we truly love having Oskar in our K-plus program.  He has joined right in like he has been here all year.   He also is very intelligent, and I would highly suggest that he is tested for advanced math if his kindergarten teacher hasn't already suggested it.  He is also such a polite and respectful little boy and I wanted to let you know that you have done an unbelievable job in raising him. Thank you so much for allowing him to be a part of our program.  

My heart exploded reading that, and it does every. single. time. Kind and polite most importantly, always, but also just so smart. You did sit for that advanced math test they talked about and qualified to skip an entire grade. You’ll be starting second grade math in the fall. It’s not an exaggeration that it was YOU who did this, always wanting to know more, learn more, and to work ahead on your own. You’re so curious and so driven, and truly do not give up until you get whatever you put your mind to. 


You’ve also grown into such a good big brother. August and you are as close as ever and fight just as much as ever. The way brothers just 21 months apart are bound to be. August still idolizes you and loves nothing more than playing with you, whether it be LEGOs or Nintendo or Star Wars, your three favorite things. When you two fight it drives me insane, with me forcing apologies and time outs, but you’re always both over whatever it was that happened approximately 5 seconds later, like you have no idea what I’m even talking about anymore. Then its back to whatever it was that you were playing in the first place.

You’ve also had a special connection with Maren from the very beginning and watching you two grow up together is something really amazing. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting glimpses of what you two will be like as adults and I imagine you calling each other or hanging out on a weekend.  You’re always watching out for her and will always jump to help me when I need it. She makes you giggle all the time, and she’s just now starting to try to say “Oskar” (which really sounds like AW-K) and you eat it up. Your favorite game together is hide and seek, and you always hide in places where she can find you so she’ll give you her biggest smiles. Her favorite thing in life is going to the bus stop to pick you up, and screams, “BUS! BUS!” when she sees it coming, knowing her big brother is coming home.

As far as routine goes, you’ll ALWAYS be Oskar, I just know it. Up at 6am (or before), every day. School really does wipe you out, and on the days you still have soccer practice or a game to go to afterwards, you can hardly keep it together at 8pm and are fast asleep shortly thereafter. You still love and take care of 8 little stuffed animal bunnies, your “Hoppies”, that you line up methodically in the same order on your pillow where you sleep every night. You really believe in their magic and that they come alive every night, some of the last true bits of childhood innocence and wonder.  You still go to karate every week, your longest lasting activity (going on 4 years now) and tested into a yellow belt earlier this year. You were so proud of yourself. You love to read, and we made our way through the whole Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Dogman series (again), Bad Guys Club series, and are now starting the Goosebumps series, which you just can’t get enough of. One of my favorite things in the world is sitting outside under our awning reading with you.

The biggest change from last year in you is that I’m starting to feel the slow and subtle shift of your needs, changing from physical to emotional. You don’t need me to pick you up or to cuddle you that much anymore, but instead we have talks about how it feels to play on a soccer team that loses a lot, or how nervous trying something new makes you, or your friends at school, or how weird and hard COVID has been. I knew this would happen, eventually, but it really feels like a huge leap into being a big kid. 

Overall, we’re just so thankful that life is slowly shifting back to some normalcy, with school, friends, and trips in our future. I’m so thankful we’ve all stayed healthy and you’ve still thrived beyond our wildest dreams. Oskar, we are so, so, lucky you are ours. You’re truly an amazing and resilient little human.

Part of me can’t believe you’re seven, but the other part knows you’ve been an old soul all along. What we wouldn’t give for another year like this one: a happy, healthy, beautiful, curious, and kind little boy who loves his friends and loves his family and does pretty darn well with all the other stuff too. 

Happy seventh birthday, Oskar. We love you more than you’ll ever know.







Thursday, April 22, 2021

Mothers Day Gift Guide 2021

Hi! Here with a quick list of some of the things I'm loving lately, which can double as a list of fun gift ideas for Mothers Day. Hoping for a sunny, beautiful day spent outside with my people, and maybe that cooler bag to match :)

1. Birkenstocks: my spring/summer must have shoes.

2. Button Front Jeans: my new absolute favorite pair of jeans that I got in a Trunk Club try-on. They fit me like a glove.

3. Paper Clip Chain: affordable and adorable.

4. Avocado Tree Growing Kit: this little cutie has been sitting in my shopping cart for a long time. I've been wanting to grow a few avocado trees to pot around the house when bigger.

5. Cooler Bag: Such a beautiful cooler/tote to take to the pool or on picnics.

6. Wrap Sweatshirt: my favorite sweatshirt that I just ordered in this pretty color for spring.

7. Drunk Elephant Day Cream: this makes my skin feel incredible.

8. Bra: my favorite bra ever.

9. Electric Milk Frother: if you're not frothing your milk with your coffee, you're not living.

10. Raffia Handbag: a splurge, but goodness, what a beautiful bag.

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