my cookie swap

saturday i invited everyone over for my second annual cookie swap. i’m excited to have this new tradition for my family and hopefully all of my friends’ families to look forward to each holiday season.
party hosting is an acquired skill. i get a little better each time and more importantly, feel a little less stressed now that i have a few sessions under my belt. i didn’t have a place for coats. i forgot napkins entirely. dane ate 17 ritz crackers for dinner. but all in all, the night went really well and everyone seemed to have a nice time. how could you not when you are under the same roof as a table that looks like this:
some people made simple cookies and some people made amazing creations such as these kahlua pudding shots in edible dark chocolate cups (whaT.). amazing.
a highlight for me (and naturally the most photographed element of the night) was the four little toddlers running around. all between 18 and 22 months. 
mine is the beefcake in the middle of course.
they even got the chance to make some cookies of their own.

dane and chase were really into it. they worked tirelessly until every last sprinkle was emptied from the shakers.

i was so impressed with dane’s attention span and understanding of the concept. he patted the dough with the fork and pushed the chocolate chips in with his chubby little fingers.. and shockingly didn’t eat a thing! (ok, so clearly he may not have realized it was food).
these three little guys seriously MELT MY HEART.

we also had a big old yankee swap. there was some good stuff.

and some silly stuff.

as the night went on the kids went home and my photography got progressively blurry. 
holiday vests

and inevitably, the grown ups began to play with the kids’ toys.

and that’s what i have to show for my cookie swap party. great friends. great fun.

side note: soda water (or in my case, flavored seltzer) really works for spills & stains. there were a few big spots of chocolate ground into the rug in the aftermath, but the fizzy seltzer lifted them right up. small victories people.

riley turns two

i can’t believe i posted about our stupid hutch painting before talking about this past weekend. something really huge happened…

riley turned t w o !!!

two years ago, me, my mom, and my little sis emily stood outside of a hospital room and heard this little human cry for the first time. and then we cried. he was a tricky baby, but has become the coolest, smartest toddler i’ve ever known. just when i thought i couldn’t love him any more, dane started saying his name (over and over) and insisting to facetime him. riley is pretty much his hero. during our stay in martha’s vineyard, dane would wake up in the morning and the first thing he would say is “ya ya? ya ya?” (that’s how he says riley). these two melt my heart.


(kittty balloons were a big hit)

yes, that is drool

happy birthday riley! we love you!!


this rocks

i already hate myself for this post title. but this is a rocking chair and it does in fact rock.
i got it for free two long years ago in brewster the day after a local thrift store had a yard sale and put a big free sign out for everything left behind. i attempted to make it over the following spring, but somehow it totally fell off my radar and has been sitting in the garage collecting dust ever since.
here it is way back when i initially sanded it.

and here it is after a coat or two of yucky grey spray paint. this is how it looked last week when i dug it out of the garage. i am hopeless with spray paint.  i find it impossible to work with. its drippy and bubbly and never covers well. i’m clearly doing something fundamentally wrong.

so i grabbed the leftover grey (wickham grey by benjamin moore) that we painted the tv room with and  started over. on the bottom i used plain old white that we use for trim. it took two coats. i chipped away over the course of 3 or 4 nights after dane went to bed. i had to sand the top a bit after the first coat because the spray paint underneath had bubbled and it was noticeably bumpy. other than that, it was a really easy job.

dane test drove it. it went well.

and speaking of that kid, he officially hit the 18 month mark last week. he’s huge.

he’s so fun & happy. he is just killing us lately. he gets everything. when he does something funny that makes us laugh, he’ll keep doing it. he is picking up new words every day.. though he still favors “ball” and “more”. those two words get him pretty far! sometimes he’ll just randomly say a bunch of words together like “mumma dadda up down”. so funny. he is also doing this hilarious thing where he runs around in circles and makes himself dizzy. i don’t know where he learned that but its unbearably cute.

he wants to play outside even after it gets dark. its been a perfect fall with him, we are so lucky. i dread the day the sun sets before we get home from work.. sadly, i don’t think its far!

cape cod vaca number 3

this was our third summer spending the week of the 4th at our cape house in brewster. and the three vacations couldn’t have been more different. the first year we held a bonanza of sorts. we had a handful of friends stay over in different shifts throughout the week. drinking games, water balloons, slip & slide, festive decorations.. i planned the festivities for months. lots of silly fun… dane was (ah hem) born 9 months later…
pictures courtesy of lizzy
last summer dane was 3 months old and it was my last week before returning to work after maternity leave. it was bittersweet. a low key week with a few friends and family. it was a good week… but to be perfectly honest, i was still feeling too chubby to really embrace the beach!
and now. this. can you believe this can happen in one short year?

he. is. huge.

this vacation was the best. one to remember for a number of reasons. such as dane’s first kiss:
we were having lunch at scargo cafe in dennis. just minding our own business. when this little girl came over and started flirting with dane.. so hard… batting her eyelashes, twirling her hair.. so before we left, dane was nice enough to give the girl a kiss for her efforts… she was four. cougar.
the week was a perfect balance of friends, family, and alone time. sometimes its hard to really relax when you are hosting. even when its just family. i cherished the quiet mornings we had just the four of us (i also cherished the nights we were able to leave dane behind with family and sneak out for some fun!).
these pictures are from cahoon hollow beach in wellfleet. its absolutely beautiful. and there is nothing like the beachcomber for cold drinks and oysters.
the first few days were rainy and overcast. so we played inside and went to some shops and restaurants.

then the second half of the week was nothing but sun. dane became quite the beach babe.

cousin riley came for the 4th. here they are hammering some pouches together.
and some more priceless beach moments -

we fit in a cape cod league baseball game. dane was a little more interested in the playground than the game, but its a great summer tradition. we’ve been to games in brewster, orleans, and this year, chatham, which was by far the best scene of the three. i think we’ll be back here next year.

finally.. f i r e w o r k s ! ok, fireworks not pictured, but they didn’t disappoint. they were awesome and the amazing sunset was a bonus. half way through the fireworks,  dane was fast asleep in the stroller with his noise-blockers on. this kid is the best.

before it was time to pack up and say goodbye to brewster for the summer, we went to the friday night concert in chatham. it was a really cool scene – balloons for the kids and hundreds of people. dane was determined to walk around, wave to everyone and push random strollers (he is really into wheels and pushing things) so it was a tad stressful and we didn’t last very long. when dane is older, we will be back for sure.

no pictures of shakespeare on my camera! i can’t believe it. shame on me. i had to take this one off my iphone. poor pups had a tough time with the heat. here he is trying to cool down after a walk. summer can be hard on bulldogs!
so now all we can do is hope and pray that our renters are good to our house. its really nerve-racking spending so much time away, not knowing what is going on in there. i can’t wait for the summer when we can keep the house to ourselves and spend every weekend there.. that time will come! in the meantime we are finding plenty of activities and beaches to fill the balance of the summer.

a very vineyard weekend

on friday we drove to falmouth in the pouring rain. p o u r i n g. me, my mom, dane, and shakey. having family that live on an island (namely: my two sisters who live on martha’s vineyard) is a blessing and a curse. its an island… so you have to take a boat. with a baby and a moody bulldog its almost impossible to go without bringing your car over which requires reservations and dollar bills. on the other hand.. well, its an island… so picnic dinners on menemsha beach where crowds applaud the sunset is a standard saturday night. things like this make it all worth it.

also, there’s this kid…

we did very vinyardy things over the weekend. saturday, we went to a farmers market, then the playground, then straight to squibnocket beach to watch uncle al surf (the waves were huge.. for new england standards..), then later, the picnic dinner.

i took some pictures of my sister’s “homemade” house. its pretty amazing what they have created. alec pretty much built this house with his own two hands. the furnishing and fixtures inside are about 98% salvaged / thrifted / second hand and 2% otherwise. its so cozy, tasteful and true to their simple, organic style.

this is the main floor which is a big, open kitchen/dining/living area –


shakey wasn’t allowed on the couch. but we didn’t think it would count if we put a sheet down.. (some house guests we are!)

this is the master bedroom -

this dresser is to-die-for. its like when people paint and distress a dresser to give it a vintage feel, except this is 100% genuine vintage and naturally distressed! it was given to them for free.

a short wagon ride across the way is the original house on their property (the one they bought with the land before building the bigger house), which, conveniently, is being rented by little sis, emily!


its just one big room, a bathroom, a bedroom, and loft where emily sleeps. this is the view from the loft -
how cute is this? are you seeing the little hotair balloon light? emily is a million times more crafty than me.. this little house is oozing with her quirky personality.


(we ate this)

the shower is a really cool cave-like area made of pretty stones.

i’ll be sure to get an update later in the summer, because they are making so much progress finishing the basement of the big house and pulling everything together now that the big stuff is mostly complete.


our work in brewster is done for now but we have yet to have a normal weekend at the homestead (and this coming weekend will be no exception). last weekend mike and dane headed back down to brewster to finish the never ending deck project. the stairs were the last piece of the puzzle and they apparently took a full day to finish. mike’s parents went down to help with dane while mike worked on the stairs with the guys…

finally complete. i hope all the renters appreciate the fresh, splinter-free deck!

me and shakey stayed behind. saturday was allison’s bridal shower. i, of course, waited until the last minute to pull together the favors, but they seemed to go over well. i made “s’more kits” in mason jars… a hershey bar, grahams, marshmallows and a little matchbox that i covered with pretty card stock & labeled “9*21*13” (the wedding date). basically, anything in a mason jar makes a great favor… candy, recipe ingredients (cookies, cakes, breads), jams, cupcakes, goldfish… the snack food.. not the real thing…


you can buy the jars by the dozen just about anywhere these days (like walmart). if you plan ahead, you can also probably collect some for free. due to the last minute nature of this project, i don’t have many good pictures – but they looked cute on display at the shower.

does this fabric look familiar?

alli’s shower was awesome. i ate two of these cupcakes. they were out-of-this-world…

here she is with a couple very color-coordinated bridesmaids.. such a natural beauty. its going to be waterworks when i see this girl in a wedding gown.

and of course me being awkward and unbecoming was captured on camera… that’s par for the course.

finally, sunday morning, i headed out to plymouth with a couple friends for a 10k. mike was supposed to meet me there and run it also, but he got stuck in brewster doing clean-up and prepping the house for our first renters. i felt really deflated when he told me he didn’t think he was going to make it. things are just more fun when we do them together. 
it was hot. but i felt ok with my run and my time. i gave it my best effort so i could gauge where i’m at and use it as a baseline for my marathon training… yes, that is happening, i am running the nyc marathon in november and boy do i have my work cut out for me.


Old Sandwich 5K/10K/HALF MARATHON Road Races


Place No. Spec Name G Ag Div/Tot Div City Di Gun Pace
===== ===== ==== ==================== = == ======== ===== ================= ======= =====
1 1060 10K JIM GARCIA M 54 1/4 M5059 39:30 6:23
2 1065 10K MIKE SAWYER M 51 2/4 M5059 41:05 6:38
3 39 10K Courtney Testa F 23 1/25 F2029 hopkinton MA 42:18 6:50
4 750 10K Janet Holmes F 54 1/1 F5059 Abington MA 44:30 7:11
5 197 10K Erin Brown F 35 1/24 F3039 Bridgewater MA 44:48 7:14
6 454 10K Scott Milner M 41 1/8 M4049 Plymouth MA 46:43 7:32
7 1061 10K PAM ROBINSON F 37 2/24 F3039 47:10 7:37
8 272 10K John Mitchell M 35 1/11 M3039 Hanover MA 48:05 7:46
9 408 10K Allyson Stoyle F 24 2/25 F2029 Franklin MA 49:34 8:00
10 130 10K Deb Powers F 32 3/24 F3039 Charlestown MA 50:09 8:06
11 255 10K Daniel Finch M 32 2/11 M3039 Millville MA 51:30 8:19
12 500 10K Travis Wenkalman M 35 3/11 M3039 Abington MA 51:34 8:19
13 30 10K Neil Veilleux M 33 4/11 M3039 Boston MA 52:31 8:29
14 767 10K Laurie Enos F 42 1/10 F4049 Plymouth MA 52:34 8:29
15 1059 10K MEGAN DELANEY F 28 3/25 F2029 53:13 8:35
16 464 10K John McMahon M 43 2/8 M4049 Cohasset MA 53:31 8:38
17 261 10K Mika Burke F 24 4/25 F2029 Brighton MA 53:38 8:39
18 77 10K stephanie fatzinger F 31 4/24 F3039 weymouth MA 53:39 8:40

it was probably the smallest race i’ve ever been in… i got 18th out of 90 runners. sounds much more impressive than it was as you can see from my time!

either way i’ll be doing much more running this summer than ever before in my life… SMART running… injury free running…


You Have Been Accepted Into 
2013 ING New York City Marathon

Visit Upcoming Races for more information

so that is what’s going lately. this coming weekend mike is off to the outer banks for a bachelor party and i’m headed to martha’s vineyard to see my big and littles (sisters) and baby riley!! i can’t wait to see dane and riley play together. they are getting so big so fast.

i’m hoping riley can help expand dane’s vocabulary beyond “ball”. probably not.

our st. martin vacation

we’ve unpacked- meaning emptied the luggage.. but nothing has been put away. last week was one of those stretches where i didn’t even pretend to care about standard housekeeping duties. we went to work, dropped-off, picked-up, executed the lunch packing, bottle cleaning, bathing… with a little outside play-time before dinner and that’s about it. and that’s fine. our house is in rare form, but i’ll catch-up eventually.

then last weekend was a sun-up to sun-down work-a-thon in brewster to finish the deck and the kitchen and get the house back in shape (i use the term “finish” loosely).

i’m disappointed i didn’t sit down and write about our trip while it was freshest in my mind. it was our first family adventure and i never want to forget what i was like to spend a week with baby dane in the caribbean. when things slow down we will definitely make a little mixbook memory book (like the one we made as a gift for our friends who planned most of the trip).

in the meantime here are some pics from our trip (90% of which are dane in the pool, dane at the beach, and dane eating.. haha)

beach stop

just some pictures from our trip to the beach yesterday because its not even about the house really.. its about this.  if i had it my way, we would visit this beach every time we are in brewster. even when there is snow on the ground.

after a hectic day in our construction zone of a house, the beach stop was so refreshing. 
dane took his first beach steps…
he is still figuring out the concept of uneven ground so there was a lot of toppling forward. so much of his life has been spent indoors that the natural slope of a landscape is completely foreign to him. its so amazing watching him discover the world. he was so fascinated by the sand on his hands (and face and in his mouth).

a little follow-the-leader…

shakey, on the other hand, is an old beach pro. this might be his favorite place on earth. we have a lot in common. it makes me SO HAPPY to see shakey so happy and free. i love him so much. 

all things ‘one’ – one poor baby

i guess its a thing that kids tend to get sick on their birthdays….

after being a total joy friday evening at dinner with the family, falling asleep in the car, and being peacefully transferred to his crib, dane woke up screaming in the middle of the night (which is rare) and felt really warm. i was somewhat in denial but began fearing exactly what was in store. he was sick. i rocked him, gave him some tylenol and put him back down. he slept fine through the rest of the night and took 2 perfectly timed naps saturday, the morning of his party. i thought we might be ok. he woke up right as guests were arriving. i brought him downstairs and the tears started. unfortunately there would be no shortage of tears for the remainder of the festivities. this picture makes me want to reach through my computer, scoop him up, and squeeze him tight … not a happy camper.


he still felt a little warm saturday afternoon, but i didn’t take his temp until the next morning. i guess i just didn’t want the thermometer to tell me he had a fever. what a terrible mom. i was just waiting for him to snap out of it and start romping around with the other babies like his normal, happy self. it didn’t happen. he didn’t play, he didn’t eat. the baby who will eat anything wouldn’t even touch the cake we sat him in front of and urged him to smash.

i suppose the lesson here is that some things are simply out of your control. while i am struggling with the disappointment and guilt of dane not being able to enjoy the birthday toys, treats, and party atmosphere, everything else went great. the weather was gorgeous. my house was filled with people i love and who love dane… lots of family and friends that i have known for 20+ years… some with babies just a few months younger than dane. it was a really special weekend. and i’d be lying if i said i didn’t enjoy the extra clingy and cuddly dane even if it was because he was feeling crumby.

there were a few smiles and moments of calm that i will try to keep with me when i look back on this party…

sunday morning i took his temp when he woke up.. 101. but after a laid back easter with my family and a fairly content baby, we thought we were out of the woods.

enter sunday night. dane woke up crying around 11pm and was crying and fussing on and off for the rest of the night. it was a horrible night. the worst since his newborn days…

monday i dragged myself to work and felt borderline incapable of functioning. i made him a dr. apt and left work around lunch time. i forgot what a truly sleepless night can do to you. i was a physical and emotional wreck. i felt so overwhelmed and defeated. baby is sick and i dont know what to do to help him. house is a mess and no energy to even begin to get it back together. my camera is dead and i can’t find the charger anywhere. (these pics are a combo of lizzy and iphone).

dane’s ears were “perfect” and the doctor wasn’t able to shed any light on what might be wrong. monday night dane slept ok, but was still off most of the day tuesday. during bath time we noticed a rash all over his body – nothing too severe – but faint little red spots all over his back and belly. he has been really irritable, lots of fussing and crying. food allergy? virus? there is something wrong, i just don’t know how to fix it.

last night he was hard to put down. he would arch his back and scream as i rocked him. the next day would be his official birthday. one full year of this bedtime routine.. 364 mornings of lifting him out of his crib (he spent one night at grandma’s).  i was sad for both of us that his birthday eve was an unpleasant  one. when he finally started to give-in, i put him in his crib then climbed in with him. he put his forehead against mine and his hand on my face and we fell asleep just as we did for the last time exactly one year ago. together.