Monday, August 13, 2018

Cruise To Canada ~ part 2

Current - right now my head is swarming with classroom library ideas and bulletin board ideas. Abigail (my super classroom helper) and I have been starting to pop in each day for about 3 hours but even when I'm home I'm list making and online searching, and talking through everything with my principal husband. It's a good good, grateful feeling. Exciting and exhilarating but consuming.  Really mind consuming. It's hard for me to concentrate on looking back on my summer here on the blog. But I want to, to remember. And so if you'll bear with me I need to go bit by bit, day by day with this vacation. Manageable chunks is how my life is for the next two weeks before school starts.  

Day One: Aboard the Ship in Boston

We rented a car at home and headed to Boston (a little under 2 hours) in the morning. When we got to the crusise turminal Scott drove the car and dropped it off and walked back to where we were waiting. We got all checked in and boarded the ship. Easy as can be. And then after dropping all of our bags in our cabin we explored the ship!






It was pretty cool to see Boston off in distance! And we were so so excited to be on the first day of our family summer vacation!




...and pretty exciting when we started moving! The boats in the harbor and the tug boats that led us out to sea!



Nights were the coolest out on deck. Sometimes a bit windy but so awesome to see all that sky!



We spent the first evening at dinner (oh that dining room and oh getting served those special meals each night) and just exploring. We got all cozy in our bed kind of early since the next day was going to be our first fun stop! I loved all sleeping in the same cabin, all tucked in and cozy together. We were rocked to sleep and dreaming of adventures ahead.

Friday, August 10, 2018


"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, by in having new eyes." ~ Marcel Proust

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I am excited to start looking through the photos from our family vacation. As always it comes at a time when looking through photos is a gift as we are on the eve of change. In less than three weeks it is the first day of school. And that always comes with such mixed feelings as you all know. Feelings of excitement, feelings of newness, feelings of worry, feelings of anticipation, even feelings of panic. They come each and every end of August - it doesn't matter if I am the stay at home mama to a baby and a kindergartner or a teacher myself - I find that the feelings are the same. I don't want it to end. I want summer looooong mornings and nothing days. I want my girls with the all day long. I want the open space in my head to have a place to think and dream and plan and relax.

But each season brings blessings of its own and the end of August that is so quickly approaching is one such time. I am grateful for these days stretched out in front of me still - for it is still not the first day of school. And looking through 11 days of photos {of us together} is just what I need.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

How I Plan Our Meals

Dinner planning can be daunting sometimes. I know deep down that if I don't plan our food ahead of time nothing goes well. Scott is a great cook! He can 'wing it' by stopping at the grocery store, picking up a few things, and come home to make a fabulous, flavorful dinner. I can't do that. Never have been able to. I need a plan, a recipe right in front of me.

There are several ways I've planned in the past. When I was home full time I had more opportunities to go to the store so I didn't need to worry as much. But now that I'm teaching again and life is full with these growing daughters of mine I plan out all of the dinners for the week: Monday through Friday. (usually on the weekend we have a bit of a different plan going on)

Keep in mind that all of our dinners need to be allergy safe for Abigail, so we eat DAIRY free, SOY free, PEANUT free, TREE NUT free, FISH free, SHELLFISH free in our home.

Most of the recipes in any cookbook or online aren't tailored to meet our allergy needs so when I read recipe I 'keep it':
  • if I think it can be altered (if it calls for milk, I use Hemp milk) 
  • if I can make it for us and then make a substitute for Abigail (I don't like to cook with her allergy safe 'cheese' so sometimes if a recipe is heavy on cheese I'll make it for us and make a separate mini one for Abigail with her 'cheese'
Having allergy safe dinners might seem overwhelming (it did to me 10 years ago) but now I automatically read a recipe and see if I can adjust it so we can all eat the same thing or if I should make it and then make a whole separate one safe for her. And a lot of recipes just 'don't work' for us because of allergies so I ditch those and move on. I'm so used to it now that it's simple as can be! 

So back to how I plan dinners! This is not rocket science. It's a simple plan that works for me. Here's what I do to make sure we have dinner in our home:

  1. I read cookbooks for fun. I love all kinds. I used the internet too but I like a cookbook in my hand most of all. I like to read cookbooks when I'm not planning meals. I just like skimming through them. It's not a task, it's just one kind of book I like to read. My favorite ones are seasonal (gooseberry patch, susan branch, etc) 
  2. I put a little sticky flag on a recipe that might work for us as I go along
  3. I stack these up in a little pile on the dining room table right next to where I keep my planner ready to go
  4. Now it's dinner planning/gotta grocery shop time - and all of the 'work' is already done!  I simple open up a few of the cookbooks (or printed online recipes) I have right there and plan them in my planner, write out the ingredients, and done! 


Some home/family 'chores' are just no fun at all. I find that when I take time to make something pretty, and do a bit of the 'work' ahead of time, it makes making that list and planning those meals so much easier and more enjoyable.

If you don't like planning out all of your meals one of the biggest tips I can give you is to 'read' cookbooks (or if you're an online recipe person, search online and bookmark or print out) ahead of time. Ahead of when you actually need to be planning. Trust me, it is so much more enjoyable that way! And it can actually be fun and exciting to finally cook those meals you read about! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


We were away for 11 days. It was wonderful to be unplugged and with my family day after day. But it's not all roses. Going away from home with a daughter who can barely eat anything with her allergies is so so hard. And traveling with Anna's sensory issues is even harder. (just to give you a glimpse into the measures she takes to protect herself from things that feel dirty to her... she sometimes wears latex gloves on her hands in public so she doesn't have to touch anything, yup, she does) Scott and I have our moments of frustration and our moments of worry for our precious little family (like all parents worry about their kids) but then we have our laughs too and we are grateful for the memories that come with going away.

I came home and rolled out a pie crust, tucked it on top of little mini chicken pot pies. I started the laundry and was amazed at how much the contractor got done while we were gone. And then we had a flash flood and it flooded our basement. But it's all okay.

I can't wait to share pictures from our travels.

We are still in the thick of summer. I know that across the country this second week of August kids are starting to go back to school. We don't start until August 29th but this 4th grade teacher has to head back to set up her classroom soon.

Hope you're all having a wonderful August!

Monday, July 30, 2018

A French Restaurant

Scott and I scooted out of the house for an early dinner at a French Restaurant at the Center.

We had lovely food and lovely conversation. As usual we chatted about the girls the whole time with a bit of teacher/principal chat in there too.

It was perfect for us.

scott anniversay

Friday, July 27, 2018

Weddings (and our 22nd Anniversary is tomorrow)

I was thinking back the other day to July 28, 1996, our Wedding Day. It was the most romantic day I'd ever lived. I dreamed of that day forever. Picture perfect weather. Sunny and 75. No humidity. I remember my Mom asking me if I wanted the air-conditioner turned on in the house. And I said no, didn't need it. The happiest things I remember about my wedding day

*** my Mom woke me up just like she did every day. She put up the shade, came over to the bed just as calm as sweet as she always was all 23 years I woke up in that bedroom. I can still hear her saying, "good morning. Time to get up. You're getting married." It was the most wonderful feeling in the world.

*** I opened my eyes to see my Wedding gown hanging against my closet door. My Mom's wedding gown.

*** The same hairdresser that cuts my hair, Anna's hair, and Abigail's hair came to the house and did my hair.

*** After I slipped into my gown and my Mom buttoned it up I walked down the stairs and my brother Trent looked at me and said, "wow". I think he didn't realize that I was really getting married until that moment.

*** I remember feeling incredibly calm and peaceful. Floating on a cloud. Not concerned anymore about details. Just floating through the day.

*** I remember the ride to the church. The same church I received all of my Sacraments in as a child. I remember the family of 5 together one last time.

*** I remember waiting in the car until it was ***time*** to walk down the aisle.

*** I remember my Daddy walking me up the church steps. I remember the doors closed and him squeezing my hand. I remember the trumpet and the doors opening. I remember telling Dad to walk slow. And we did. Slowly down the aisle. I saw faces. I saw the children in my classroom all seated together. I concentrated on my family, my Mom, my brothers (both best men). I concentrated on my Grandma and Grandpa.
And I saw Scott. He and we were ready. Only 22 and 23 but ready since we were 15.

*** I remember crying through the vows. I was so in that moment that I wasn't even aware of anyone in the church. It was just Scott and I and God in that moment.

*** Our Wedding was tender and emotional. And perfect. Because it was us. And the Sacrament of Marriage.

*** I remember communion to the song We Are One Body (from a World Youth Day trip ... Pope John Paul II) which was a very very special song to us.

*** Our Wedding ceremony was such a blessing; I still feel like it is blessing us to this day.

*** I remember our reception and the dancing. Mostly the dance with my Dad.

*** I remember that we changed and danced one last time in our honeymoon clothes. I Will Be Here (Steven Curtis Chapman) and then it was time to go. Off. I didn't want to. Not because the Wedding day was over but because all of a sudden I felt a little bit scared. If I could have brought my Mom and Dad with me to Hawaii I would have. I remember the hug at the car. I remember crying. And being thrilled and being scared all at once. I had never lived with Scott, woken up with him; I'd never been that far from my parents before. I knew it was the right time, the right moment. But change is hard for me. And this was the biggest change I'd ever had in my life. I watched my Mom and Dad out the car window until they were out of sight.

*** Scott took my hand. And we drove to the airport that night. I felt protected. And intensely loved.

*** I remember staying at the beautiful airport hotel that night for our flight for Hawaii would be leaving at 6:00 in the morning. I remember the bell boy giving us the keys to our room. And pulling the luggage u for us. I remember him opening the door and I thought, "is he really going to just let us in like this? Does he need to see a piece of paper that we are married? Maybe I should show him our rings". It was already really really late. And I was suddenly tired.

*** I remember every single detail of that night. I remember the beautiful penior set my Mom gave me at my Wedding shower. It was long, to the floor and it had the most elegant robe. It was perfect. Sometimes I still take it out and look at it (yes, I still have it after 22 years)

I worry about weddings these day. Or maybe I'm just thankful that I got married before pinterest. Yes, there were bride magazines. I'd rip out ideas and put them in a binder. But it was so simple in 1996. Book the church, book the reception, pick a band or DJ, choose a cake flavor. And then we let God to the rest. Today it's so complicated and overdone. I've been to a few weddings like that. The ceremony is 6 1/2 minutes long and the reception always seems to have a 'theme' these days.

I tell my girls all the time that the 'theme' of their wedding is love. And that what matters is their daddy squeezing their hand before they walk down the aisle. And the look their husband gives them right before he slips a ring on their finger. And the moment they drive off and start God's awesome plan for their lives. What matters are the reading and the music. And the love. Just the love.

I was blessed. My Wedding Day was a classic, traditional, fairytale. Just the way I always dreamed it would be. My wedding was beautiful because it revolved around the union of Scott and I. And the beautiful Sacrament of Marriage.

I wore my Mom's dress, and the pearls my Grandma had given me for my 8th grade graduation. I carried the same type of flowers my other Grandma had carried on her wedding day. Perfection. Most importantly, I remember how Scott and I looked at each other. I can still see it. His look made me feel like I was the most important woman in the whole world. Our love ran deep in our eyes.

I would not change one second of that day. Not one.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Talking Turtle

I'm quite certain that he's looking right at her and I'm quite certain that she has the biggest smile on her face. I think she speaks turtle and I think he's saying, "hey there Abigail, come on in, the water is fine!"


Spent the day at Mystic Aquarium (again) yesterday because it's so fun!
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