Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Adult Getaway to New York

Well I worked on this post for about an hour before I realized it wasn't saving and when I shut it down everything vanished! So here's the abbreviated version of the trip to NY that Sean and I took in November.

Sean was in NY for work and I joined him at the tail end. We had less than 48 hours there together but made the most of every minute! It was my first night away since Harrison was born but I managed just fine. :) The boys were in the excellent care of my parents so I know they hardly missed us!

Upon arrival we met at the hotel to freshen up and then headed out for drinks at the Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel. It is a warm and elegant bar with live piano jazz and we will definitely visit again. Then we walked to our favorite restaurant in the city, Elio's, a small, always crowded, local and delicious authentic Italian restaurant. We made the mistake of stopping at one more bar on our way home, The Penrose, which was a really great place, but we didn't need any more drinks at that point and regretted the decision in the morning...

Bemelmans Bar is named after Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the Madeline children's books, and he drew the murals covering the walls of the bar.

I wish I could transport us back to Elio's right now!

The next morning came really early, but a shower and coffee were all we needed to get moving for the LIVE with Kelly & Michael show! We had to stand in the cold for about two hours before being shuffled into the studio, but it was really cool to see and we got to stay for a special Earth, Wind, & Fire Christmas performance that was being pre-taped after the show.

Braving the cold in line for Kelly & Michael. Sean is such a trooper for doing this with me!
I'm so happy we got to see their show! 
They oversold the seats so we chose to take balcony seats to make sure we'd have a spot (and so we could get out of the cold!)
One of the guests that day, Anna Camp

Earth, Wind, & Fire with Kelly & Michael in Christmas sweater onesies

We grabbed brunch at the yummy, homestyle Sarabeth's, then walked through Central Park on our way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's a huge museum (the largest art museum in the US, in fact), and there was no way we could see it all in one day, so we picked a couple of areas to really focus our time in. Then we walked around the city and popped in a pleasant little Turkish restaurant to refuel. We both love finding random spots to eat like that and were very pleased with our experience!

Beautiful day in Central Park

Outside the MET

Dinner that night was at a trendy, unique restaurant hidden at the end of an alley in the Lower East Side called Freemans. Our only complaint here was that we couldn't stay longer to enjoy the atmosphere and creative drinks because we had to high tail it to the theater district to catch our show in time! We saw This Is Our Youth, a play that follows 48 hours in the lives of three troubled young adults. It was not your typical broadway show with set changes, music, song, and dance - it was one set and three actors with no music, light, or costume changes. The actors were incredible and Sean did theater in college so I know he really appreciated their talent. It was intimate and entertaining and we both really enjoyed it. After the show we grabbed cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery and walked around Rockefeller Plaza before grabbing a nightcap at the hotel and calling it a night.

The entrance to Freemans at the end of an alley

I loved the cozy and rustic feel of Freemans and we would frequent it if it were in Dallas!

I was so impressed with the talent of all three actors! Michael Cera was great to see in that setting, Kieran Culkin (Macaulay's brother) blew me away with his acting, and Tavi Gevinson is at the beginning of what I'm sure will be a huge career in that business!
We had an afternoon flight out on Saturday so we decided to spend our morning shopping and dining in SoHo. Breakfast was at another favorite of ours, Balthazar, which is a delicious french bistro with a great energy to it. Then we popped in some shops and markets and tried to grab lunch at Gramercy Tavern but the wait was too long for us to safely make our flight on time so instead we had a quick lunch at Beecher's. The cheese lover in me was just fine with this change in plans! I insisted we then take the time to see Carrie Bradshaw's apartment from Sex and the City and this little adventure nearly caused us to miss our flight. We were both quite stressed and nervous but once we safely made our flight I could say that I'm glad we took the time to do it!

Breakfast at Balthazar

Carrie Bradshaw's apartment!

It was a quick, fun getaway and we were so excited to see our boys when we got home. Thank you BeBe and Papa for taking such great care of them (and Hazel, too!) so we could enjoy ourselves! We didn't have to worry about a thing while we were gone and we really appreciate it!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Family Pictures 2014

After three weeks of the internet not working at our house, we're finally up and running again! Thanks to my brother Doug for spending the time today and coming to the rescue. Since I've last posted, Mason has turned 4, Harrison is 15 months and walking, Sean and I took a quick adult trip to NY, and of course, Christmas has come and gone! While I work on posts surrounding those events, here are some shots from our family photo session this year with my friend and wonderful photographer, Ashli at ArtsyMagnet.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pumpkins & Halloween

October is one of my favorite months. The weather finally starts to turn cooler, there are pumpkin patches, carnivals, and parties a plenty, and it's our anniversary month (8 years!)! This year was as fun as ever with two active boys to enjoy it all with. Here are some pictures from our adventures!

Preston Royal Pumpkin Patch

A church near our house has a cute pumpkin patch that we visit every year.

Love these two goofballs

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

This has all the makings of a perfect fall family outing, but the weekend crowd was INSANE. The boys enjoyed themselves, but Sean and I were constantly losing each other in the crowds and weren't able to relax. There was a pretty legit hay maze that Mason went through and humored us when he thought nobody was watching and relieved himself in a private corner of the maze. Adults weren't allowed in the maze so we couldn't get in there to stop him! We took a hayride, snapped some pictures, and spent some time in the bounce houses and then we just couldn't take the crowds anymore and called it a day. If we go back next year it will have to be on a weekday!

I guess it really was Harrison's first pumpkin patch because we didn't take him to one last year when he was a newborn. Mason had to get a picture with Jake of course, and he enjoyed the 2-5 year old hay maze more than the 4-12 year old one he got lost in!

Mason had fun checking out the playground of large vehicles, and you can see the strained smile on Sean's face during the hayride - we'd had enough at this point!

Dallas Arboretum

The boys and I met my mom at the Dallas Arboretum Pumpkin Village for another beautiful display of pumpkins. The arboretum never disappoints! We had a quick lunch and visited the children's garden while we were there before hurrying home for afternoon naps.

My handsome big boy

All smiles despite mommy putting him in a sweater on a hot day! 
My pumpkins!

The struggle to snap a picture of them both looking at the camera is REAL.


It's pretty crazy how many Halloween parties pop up on our calendar with a busy almost 4-year old in our family. Mason has known since last November that he wanted to be Jake from the Neverland Pirates for Halloween this year and he loved wearing his costume over and over! Harrison was a pirate for most of the parties (didn't get many pictures of this), but Halloween night was a little chilly so he wore a lobster costume that night and was SO proud of himself in it. He had a grin on his face all night! We had two neighborhood parties on Halloween and had a blast trick-or-treating in our 'hood with all the neighbor kids.

Mason's class party
Snapping some pics with the pirate while waiting for Harrison to wake up from his nap!

Jake the Pirate (Sean always carves a pumpkin that coordinates with the costumes!)

The cutest little lobster I ever did see!
Mason made me laugh because he kept playing with Harrison's antennae's!

Mason with his best neighborhood bud, Harper, and Harrison with his neighborhood birthday twin, Finley

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This & That

Before I move into our Fall adventures, there are a couple more things that needed mentioning!

Pre-K 3 

Mason started his third year of Pre-K in September! He now goes three days a week (T/Th/F), and in addition to his usual days of music, art, playground, and reading, he now also has Spanish, cooking, chapel, and library! We just love his teacher, Mrs. Nicole, and he continues to really enjoy and look forward to school.

At almost four years old, he is really becoming an independent little person. He's our buddy and is so fun to hang out with. His personality continues to develop and I love seeing who he is becoming. He actually helps around the house, in the yard, and in the garage (Sean's territory), and enjoys doing so. He likes to be productive and his wheels are constantly turning. He is full of questions and asks things or notices things that I've never thought twice about. We try to fill his mind with all the information he craves, but it can get exhausting. I've had to institute a rule during story times that he has to wait until the end of each page to ask his questions. Not the end of the book, the end of the page! He just wants to learn, learn, learn!

Here are some pictures from his first day!

His teacher, Mrs. Nicole, on the bottom right

Family drop-off!

Handmade Hideaway

Our big summer project was building an outdoor playhouse for the boys. Sean did all the planning and heavy lifting, but Mason and I helped where we could! We were also fortunate to have some assistance from both grandpas when they visited.

We've wanted a playhouse for a while, but just couldn't find one that had everything we were looking for and was within a reasonable price range. So Sean decided to take on his biggest project to date and do it himself! We used some plans Sean found online as a guide, but made tweaks to build it to our liking. While there are still a few punch list items we want to get to, it's pretty much complete and we're very satisfied with how it turned out (plus it took care of a place in the yard that we just couldn't get grass to grow!).

What's most important is that Mason loves it (Harrison does too, but Mason obviously uses it more at his age). We've had several parties/play dates over here since and it's a hit with kids of all ages. I'm so happy we took this on and proud of Sean's accomplishment. This will be used for many, many years to come!

Mason helping!

It was a family effort
End of the first weekend
Walls are up
A couple of coats of stain are on and half the roof is up

Coming together: walls painted, stairs, railing, and rock wall are built, and the slide is added. Notice the H & M in the railing? I love that touch!
So close! Sandbox and sand, mulch and rocks, and furniture added

And we're done! This is how it looks now, three months later. Curtains and binoculars have been added, and countless of hours of play have been logged.
As I mentioned, there are still some things we want to add like shutters for the windows, shelves for the walls, a flag, possibly lighting, some built in seats in the sandbox corners, and installing a telescope that we have, but haven't put on yet. But the boys don't know any different and if it stays this way forever, it would be fine! Thanks, Sean, for all of your hard work on this! It's perfect!

Orange Crush

Mason started his first season of soccer in September. His team name is Orange Crush and a lot of his friends, neighbors, and classmates are on the team. Sean and I both played growing up (and we met while playing adult co-ed soccer!), so it's super fun for us to watch him. We're both just a tad bit competitive, a trait that was definitely passed down to Mason. All he wants to do is score. He'll take it from his own teammates to do so and gets upset when anyone else scores, even if they're on his team. We're working with him on his team spirit but are proud of his determination. The games are madness with half the kids swarming the ball, some kids wandering the field, and others showing no interest at all. It's cute and comical and so entertaining to watch. We hope he continues to show interest and we're looking forward to watching in the seasons to come!

I couldn't get the videos to load but here are some pics!

Mason and his best bud, Travis
Go #4!
Top picture: warming up with the opposing team and covering his ears from the whistle! Bottom L: trying to take the ball from the other team (preferred), Bottom R: trying to take the ball from his team (not preferred)
His biggest fans! Papa and Harrison have made every game - thanks for cheering him on you two!