Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mount Auburn Cemetery

One of the easiest things to do with a newborn around involves going out for walks and mini hikes. We've done many laps around our neighborhood, but we've also gone to the Arnold Arboretum, the Charles River Reservation, Crystal Lake, and the Cove in Auburndale.

Last week, we went to check out the lovely Mount Auburn Cemetery. There's ample free parking (it's a cemetery, after all, so people need to be able to come visit the sites of loved ones easily). The grounds are very large, and there are beautiful paths to take that lead through gardens, thick trees, and little lakes.

On the way home, I popped into Sofra for some of their fancy hummus. I'd heard so many wonderful things about it! I'm excited to go back for lunch sometime soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stairs Re-do

This little re-do took a while to reach it's final (ish) stage. The weird cloth "curtain" came down as soon as we moved in; a few months ago, I stripped the stripped wall paper and the walls got painted; and then this spring the carpet came up. In the last few weeks, I painted the stairs, ledge, and installed the runner.

Hooray for a normal, non-scary stairway!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

It's been great

I'm in the final days of my twenties, and I've been thinking about what a wonderful decade it's been. It started and ended with a bang. A few months after I turned 20, I hopped on a plane to study abroad in Italy, which made me feel like every day life can be a little adventure, and definitely fostered an interest in food and cooking that's grown and grown over the years. A few months before turning 30, I got to meet my sweet Elisabeth Mae, which was just about the most fun ever.

And in between - oh my, the in between. I went to Namibia, interned at the Treasury Department, met and fell in love with Peter, got my first grown up job in D.C., moved to Manhattan, survived a crazy job in book publicity (barely), moved to Brooklyn, made wonderful new friends, kept in touch with wonderful old friends, got engaged, went to Brazil, planned our wedding, went on our honeymoon, moved to Boston, bought our house, started working in higher ed, began grad school, and just generally tried to enjoy my days with lots of reading and a little bit of gin drinking and many made-up celebrations with Peter.

It's been great. 

And now, I am beyond excited to begin an incredible new set of adventures in this next decade. I will get to see friends and family celebrate their marriages and expamding families, continue creating a loving, lovely home with Peter, take new leaps professionally, exercise my creative muscles every now and again, and have a front row seat for watching Lizzy grow up.

It's going to be great. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Happy Days

We are back from a not quite vacation/not quite staycation in the Berkshires. It was glorious! The week started on a serious high note. The first Saturday we were there was my sister's birthday, and she and her boyfriend were coming up to go to Tanglewood to celebrate. As soon as they walked in the door, she flashed us her sparkly new diamond ring. Hooray!

Joel has been around nearly as long as Peter has, so he's been regarded as a member of our family for ages. I adore my sister, of course, but I love Joel almost as much, and am so happy he'll become my official brother-in-law. I am so excited for a wonderful family wedding to celebrate these two next year! (Lizzy's mesmerized by Sarah's new ring above...)

On our anniversary, we took Lizzy to the Mount. It was super hot (very strange for the Berkshires!), but it was so lovely to walk around the grounds. They have a new set of sculptures up on the grounds. The one above was my favorite - it's called Kimonos. I thought butterflies, but you know, kimonos works, too.

That night we left Lizzy with my parents while we went out to dinner at Prairie Whale, which was recently included in the New York Times 36 Hours in the Berkshires. We loved it! Delicious cocktails, yummy food, and a very cute, casual dining room. And we only sent one probing text to my parents while we were out (which they didn't even respond to because they were both fawning over her during bath time, ha!).

The Fourth was a rainy disaster there, so we all went out for sushi at Bizen - another new-to-us spot that we really enjoyed. No fireworks, though, which is sort of tragic. Peter's going to be on the look-out for other ones this summer that we could see.

The next day we took a drive to Ashintully Gardens. There are gardens at the bottom that have a sort of back-to-the-wild look about them, and you can do a short hike up to the ruins of an old mansion - sadly, all that remains after a fire are those columns above, but the view of the Berkshires hills is lovely. 

All in all, it was a fantastic week. We've been going to the Berkshires for years, but my parent's new house is in south county (instead of north, where their condo was), and it feels like a whole new world for us to discover down there. Hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Appliance Year

Do we trust this woman that the modern four year anniversary gift is appliances? I'm going to go with it, because we bought appliances out the wazoo this year, and I can honestly say that our new stove, dishwasher, and new-to-us fridge and microwave, have improved our marriage.

We are in the Berkshires this week, and have plans to take Lizzy Bean over to the Mount to show her where her parents got married. I'm sure she'll be super into it :)

I looked through my wedding pictures to find the one above for this post, and counted all the babies our guests have had since then - ten, not counting Lizzy, with another two on the way. Love just grows and grows.

Peter, I'm so happy that I get to walk (and cook!) beside you. Happy anniversary, my dear.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Nursery

For obvious reasons, we referred to this bedroom as the "scary doll room" until it became Lizzy's cute nursery. Those dolls were haunting!

The first week we owned the house, we went over to strip the crazy blue wall paper, gave the walls a coat of white paint, and pulled up that nasty pink carpet. That made it livable for us for the almost year that we used this as our bedroom. This spring, once we finally decided to make it the nursery, it got painted a very pale grey, the closet door got painted white, and we added a real door instead of that crazy piece of folded paneling. Icky. 

Now this is one of my favorite rooms in our house. Her crib is the DaVinci Jenny Lind from Target, but I found it on Craigslist for a song. (The woman selling it bought it a few months earlier, and claimed her daughter refused to sleep in it?!) That Ikea chair was in our living room for years, but now happily lives upstairs. The curtains were a fantastic find from the Pine Cone Hill Outlet that my mom picked up. They were made for a Nordstrom's window display and were then sent back, and I think she got them for $15 a panel! They were picked up after she was born and we knew she was a girl :) The light was another great find from my Mom - I think it was $10 at a consignment shop, and Peter installed it for me.

I painted our Expedit duck egg in Annie Sloan chalk paint, and we attached her changing pad to that (inspired by Young House Love and Pinterest). I put a serving piece on her table to store burp clothes and swaddle blankets, wipes, and diaper cream, which is also an idea I saw on Pinterest. It's nice having all those things so handy.

That little corner of a quilt is from Peter's grandmother. I believe it was a blanket that was made for her when she was a baby! She gave it to us years ago, and I'm so happy that it now gets to live in our sweet daughter's room.

Lizzy has officially moved out of our room and into her crib, and the transition was an easy one - easier for her than for me, I think! For me it felt like her first little step toward independence...and for her, I think it just meant sleeping in a bigger, more comfy bed. Ooh parenthood!

Friday, June 27, 2014

In the Midst of Living

I've been thinking about this post for months now, but I couldn't seem to figure out how to write it without seeming completely over the top in the cheesy/sentimental/sappy department. I thought you might attribute my behavior to pregnancy hormones, and perhaps this is still a worry with postpartum hormones, but I'm sharing anyway :)

My Dad is always declaring things to be "game changers," like really good apples, or a super soft new sweater. We make fun of him for this, but a few months ago, I read an article in Real Simple that was sort of a game changer for me! (Of course, I can't locate it for the life of me. If you know the one I mean and find the link, please let me know!). 

The gist - which we've all heard many, many times - is that we are not great at living in the present. I know, right? Some us dwell on the past, some romanticize the future. I tend toward the future. Too much time is spent waiting for things to come. A beautiful day, vacation, dinner, time and resources to work on projects around the house, a new milestone for the baby. 

The writer of the article said that she started saying, "I am in the midst of living" at different times to herself. It sounds so silly, I know! Weeks will go by and I forget all about it, but then it will pop into my head again, and I'll spend a moment thinking that right that second, I am in the midst of living my life. I find that the more mundane the activity, the more poignant it is.

Driving home from running errands, waiting in line at the grocery store, feeding a growing baby on the couch, stealing away to the back porch to read a bit when the sun is starting to set, drying the dinner dishes. All moments that make up my at times boring, happy, frustrating, funny, sweet life. I always feel remarkably lucky when I realize those things about my life right as they're happening. How extraordinary to be given so many ordinary moments. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Swordfish with Grilled Nectarines and Avocado Salsa

This is one of those dead simple dishes that is so good. Peter grilled swordfish, Nantucket-style (basically, drenched in mayo :). We also put a halved firm nectarine on the grill, which had been brushed with some olive oil.

When those were finished, I cut cup an avocado, the grilled nectarine, and mixed them both with the juice of half a lime. This would work equally well with peaches and plums.

Happy summer grilling and eating to all!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Master Bedroom Re-do

Oooh goodness. It hurts me to even look at these photos! We used this bedroom as our guestroom for almost the first year in the house, and then - after much deliberation - decided to make this our bedroom and the room across the hall the baby's room.

Our hesitation was mostly because this room is super narrow, and there isn't a great place for our Queen sized bed to live. AND you might have noticed that it had a horrendous wall covering. That, my friends, is paneling covered in contact paper.

At first, I wanted to take down the paneling, but this super fancy paneling was put on with special seams that tightly gripped it to the wall - you can kind of see them in the top two photos. Also the ceiling, which is in decent shape, was redone after the paneling was installed, meaning that if the panels were removed, there would be a gap around the perimeter of the room. Ugh!

So, covering it up was the best near-term solution. I found six rolls of thick grass cloth wallpaper for sale on Craigslist for $30 (total!), and my Mom came up one weekend to hang them all. We went right over the contact paper and crazy seams, which you can obviously still see a bit through the paper. The trim got painted white, and my Mom made those pretty floral curtains for me. I picked up new shams at West Elm, lamps at Target, and called it day :)

This isn't my ideal bedroom in any way - the shape is still tough to arrange furniture in, and the walls are still wonky. But it is so much better. I didn't think it was possible for me to feel even remotely positive about this room, and now I really like it. Thank goodness for forgiving grass cloth and handy mothers!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Glorious Summer

Peter requested lunch at Publick House on Father's Day, and it seemed like all kinds of young parents had the same idea. It was babies and beers galore!

It was such a beautiful afternoon that we went over to Crystal Lake afterwards for a little walk. It smelled a bit swampy, but there were tons of people swimming. Hearty New Englanders!

I said this last year, but I can't suppress the urge to say it again - summer, glorious summer, is here. I could not be more excited for school to officially get out, trips to the beach and Tanglewood, and putting all house-related tasks on hold for a few months. (Well, mostly - don't get too excited, Peter.)

This weekend, my parents are moving to their new house in the Berkshires. They sold their old condo in January, we've been missing our visits there so much. We're going to be busy getting it all set up for the next few days so that we can thoroughly enjoy it for the rest of the summer :)

Happy June weekend to all!
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