Sean’s 10 Year Law School Reunion

Sean’s law school class celebrated it’s 10 year reunion the other weekend.  We dropped Wes off with my mom and dad and we headed to Cornell to be with his 2007 classmates.

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Cornell and Ithaca are really special to Sean.  He worked full time and attended school full time in undergrad, so he didn’t have the carefree experience most people I know had as undergraduates.  But law school was much more fun for him.  It wasn’t entirely carefree, but he bonded with classmates, traveled to some fantastic places, tried some new foods, and just generally enjoyed himself.  Ithaca is so special to him that we’ve actually been twice before.

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Not everyone Sean would have liked to catch up with came to this reunion.  We ended up talking and really enjoying the company of some of his classmates that he knew but not well.  While he wished he had the opportunity to see some of the people that didn’t come, he told me the weekend exceeded his expectations.  So that’s a real win!

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Cornell’s law school is all within one building, and they had plenty of activities to keep you busy the whole weekend.  We were able to pick and choose what to attend, which was perfect for us.  While it was no Switzerland or France, this weekend counts as our child-free vacation for the summer.  We were really happy to be able to spend some time enjoying the law school and Sean’s classmates, but also having dinners and doing activities just the two of us.  Some amount of child-free time each summer is becoming a tradition we really love.  It’s really nice to recharge our relationship batteries and have time to provide the other with undivided attention.  Even if it was only 3-ish days this time, it was a great refresh.

We may have checked the box on law school reunions, but we’ll be back to Ithaca.  Some of Sean’s classmates found lake houses that included fire pits and kayaks.  I think there’s a lake house visit with Wes and BA2 in our future so we can enjoy Ithaca, Cornell, and the surrounding areas as a family.  I’m already looking forward to it!

Birthday dinner

I didn’t take many pictures of my birthday dinner date with Sean, so I almost didn’t write about it.  But I never write about dates anymore and this one was so a good one!

We went to Tosca, which is sort of a DC establishment.  It’s not trendy or hip.  People barely write about it anymore.  But I love Tosca so much.  This was only second dinner there, but both times the waiters were so friendly and great and the food is so consistently good.

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When Sean and I eat multiple courses we decide on a winner for each course.  Sean usually wins.  But at Tosca we tied for our first two courses!  I won the last one…which was not just Sean being nice on my birthday.  I legitimately won!  ⇓

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I broke some pregnancy dining rules by getting seared sea scallops to start and having a few sips of Champagne and white wine.  I don’t regret any of it, and I think it added to some of the fun of the evening.  It’s funny what becomes the rebellious thing when you’re 34 and pregnant.

Then we just had some great discussions about our relationship and our family and life generally.  It made me really happy.  One of my top birthday celebrations of all time.  Thanks for a great birthday, Favorite!

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Birthday Cake!

IMG_1572June 2nd was my birthday.  I’m 34 this year.  At some point in my childhood my mom started to make me Lady Diana’s birthday cake for my birthday.  I must have already declared a love for strawberries and she must have found the recipe in a magazine and decided to give it a try and a tradition was born!

Happy Birthday!

From my count, this is me on my 10th birthday.  This birthday party was very memorable to me.  It was just maybe three or four of my friends and we had a tea party with ginger ale as tea, grenadine as cream, and cherries as sugar.  My mom is so clever!  I remember making the invitations with her using lace as a stencil for one side.  I also really loved this outfit (that skirt was perfect for twirling), and I think this was my last birthday in this house.

I haven’t had this cake in a really long time.  I tried to make it last year during a naptime.  It seems pretty obvious when reading the instructions, but I missed that I should have used the whisk attachment instead of the paddle attachment for the cake part and totally messed this cake up.  I must have had a long week or just really wanted to eat this cake because I remember being very, very devastated that it didn’t work out.  But I tried again this year.  I was worried to let Wes help me because I didn’t want another year to go by without this cake, but we did it together.

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Sometimes baking with Wes is more successful than other times.  He dropped a whole egg on the floor this time.  This was still a successful baking session overall, and while cleaning up an egg in the grand scheme of life is such a small thing, it doesn’t take away from the frustration in that moment.  But the cake turned out this year!

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This was the first time in Wes’s lifetime that I made a whole cake for a birthday.  So I got to introduce him to the joy that is cake for breakfast!  I love birthday cake for breakfast.  It’s definitely one of the best things about a birthday.

Lady Diana’s birthday is July 1 and she would have turned 56 this year.  I’m not sure you need an excuse to make this cake, but if you’re looking for one that’s as good as any.

Easter Weekend

Easter was so fun this year.  Like Christmas, it’s so much more fun now that Wes has a better understanding of these holidays and can get excited about presents and bunnies and eggs.  On Saturday we got together with the families of some of our yoga friends for a little egg hunt.  It was so great!  Erin, our host, the yoga studio owner, and a former teacher, is so clever and creative.  She  assigned an egg color to each child.  I’m putting that one in my back pocket for the future.  We had to talk through that some initially, but everyone caught on quickly and did a great job of finding just their own colors.  And the little prizes were so great, especially the stamps!  So simple and yet such a hit.

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Then Easter morning the bunny came to see us!  The bunny respected the fact that Wes’s mother grew up with hidden plastic eggs with candy inside and Wes’s father grew up with hidden hard-boiled eggs.  Wes’s parents were so confused by the others tradition, but wasn’t it so nice of the bunny to accommodate both?

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So many people are trying to be conscious of the amount of candy consumed at Easter.  Non-candy baskets feel like a big trendy thing people are doing.  I respect it.  I get it.  I attempted to go with a non-candy basket with that Play-Doh and that Roll & Play game.  But the candy is the best part!  I love Easter candy so much!  So I caved.  Cadbury Mini Eggs are too good and too seasonal to by-pass.

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We also did a little yard work and Wes’s face so cute and so happy that I wanted to include those of those photos too.

Hope you had a happy Easter!

 

 

Anniversary Celebration!

Last Friday the 14th was Sean and my 5th wedding anniversary!  I remember thinking that five seemed like such a long time when we got married.  Now that we’ve made it to five it’s fun to reflect all that’s happened in that short time, but it is a short time.  It has been a really great run so far. Not without it’s ups and downs, but I feel so lucky to get to walk through life with Sean.  He never disappoints me.

We had a sitter lined up for Saturday but when Sean realized he could make it home early we went on a spontaneous date with Wes.  We went to one of our Old Town Alexandria favorites, Brabo.  (We’ve been there so, so, so many times  including two Father’s Days and this was our second time there this pregnancy even.)

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I was a little nervous about how it would go.  We go to restaurants with Wes pretty much weekly, but not to ones with table clothes and kids menus that can’t be colored.  Plenty of grilled cheese and french fries were consumed by Wes, but he tried some of Sean’s sweet breads!  And liked them!  (He thought it was cheese…)  So that felt like a victory.  He also was very well behaved even if he pretended the bread plate was a hat once or twice.

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I love Sean’s face in this picture so much!  Some very nice people offered to take our picture for us and it turned out to be their anniversary too!  They were celebrating nine years.  We haven’t had a family picture since Christmas, and I’m so happy to have this one.

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We went out on Saturday too and had a fantastic meal and a fun walk through memory lane (we played pool at the same place we played pool on our second date), but I really enjoyed celebrating as a family.  Date nights are so important to us so I will never tell you that a date night isn’t fun or worth it, but I’m glad we celebrated both with and without Wes this year.

Happy anniversary, Favorite!  Here’s to many more!

Christmas

Christmas with my mom’s  family is a big time.  She has three other siblings that join us for our Cozy Christmas.  They have seven adult children, and now there’s Sean, two littles, and an extra grandmother that join in.  It’s quite a crowd.  There’s always something going on.  It’s lots of fun.

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Oh my gosh, this game was so fun.  Cover us up, Nana!  And then we’ll pop up like you all thought we really weren’t there and it was just Beanie Babies.  By the way, isn’t this one of the biggest Beanie Baby collections?  I had forgotten all about them.

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The aunts and uncles watched the littles while the adult cousins when on a Saranac Brewery Tour.  Their regular root beer is delicious!  Maggie got one on tap which was so great.  They also made a spiked root beer which was also great.

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I’m trying not to repeat myself while also recognizing that some of you can’t remember all the details of my family.  My mom’s sister, Aunt Annie, leaves two doors down from my mom’s brother, Uncle Mark.  Aunt Annie hosts the Christmas Eve festivities and Uncle Mark hosts Christmas Day.  So here we are with Christmas Eve.

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I put my mom in charge of the cousin picture at first.  I have dozens and dozens of pictures documenting the talking, arranging, moving of furniture, moving around of people, etc. to make these pictures happen.  It’s fascinating but took forever to find the best ones.

Oh!  We had a Czech exchange student join us this year!  I totally forgot about that until I saw this picture.  Silvie made the best cookies.

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It was so fun to play Santa this year!  It was so fun to watch Wes start to figure it out!  I already liked Christmas but I’m so excited for the Santa phase!

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Halfmoons for breakfast!

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Sean was happy to get a butchering lesson.

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And then Aunt Ginger and Alexis lead us through the most amazing reindeer games.  A series of minute to win it games.  We were in four teams of four and it was so much fun!  That coming from the person who is not a game person.

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It was hard to resist snapping the oldest and youngest in our group sharing the couch.

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I love this picture so much!  I didn’t want to hug Sean around the waist because then all of the balloons would fall out.  But he was so enthusiastic about being a snow man (he did push-ups!) that I had to hug him.  And laugh.

Thanks, Aunt Ginger & Alexis!  It was so fun!  Sean and I were on Team 3 together, but I guess Team 4 did a really good job of promoting their team and shouting “Team 4” because Wes still randomly shouts “Team 4! Team 4!”  He also says “Aunt Joanne’s house.  Do again.”  So we had a great time.  Hope your Christmas was merry!

 

A Day of Favorites!

For Wes’s 2nd birthday, we celebrated just us three with all of Wes’s favorite things!  Staring with pancakes for breakfast.  I assure you, he was much, much happier with this than he looks in this picture.

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Then we headed back to Frying Pan Farm Park for a morning with the animals.  Wes is very into roosters right now.  I think it’s all because there’s a rooster that cock-a-doodle-dos about every hour in the produce section of Wegmans.  It’s a really big deal.  We spent most of our time with the chickens and the small tractors, but if you asked him about what he did at the farm he’ll tell you we saw cows.  The mind of a child is such a curious thing.

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These are tiny, brand new piggies!

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“Hi Roosters!”  “Hi Chickens!”img_6170

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“Daddy here!”  “Daddy closer!”

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Then we came home, lunched, napped, had a chocolate chip pumpkin cookie snack, and opened gifts!

For dinner we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant because Wes loves chips and quesadillas.

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Also limes, it’s kind of weird.

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Rounded out with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

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And if ice cream weren’t enough we quickly ducked into our neighbor’s house after dinner for a little pumpkin pie and another candle picture.

It was a fantastic day and a great celebration!  I’m still not sure I believe I have a two year old though.  The first year of life crawled by, but this second year flew.  Thanks for all the joy you bring, Wes.  Happy birthday!

PS – Last year’s celebrations recapped here.

Happy Birthday, Favorite!

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Happy birthday, Sean!  We love you!  We appreciate your example and your patience and your cooking and your love.  And I think I say this every time I write something about you but it it’s always true, thanks for working so hard for us.

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We love you no matter what we call you and the volume with which we use to say it.