Thanksgiving 2014

This wasn’t even a food coma. It was my pre-game warm-up.


We went up into the mountains to spend Thanksgiving with our friend Stacey and Company. They live up in the mountains of Northern Virginia, and their whole neighborhood was covered in a few inches of snow, which made for a beautiful scenic drive up there.  Her husband Bryan and five daughters prepared an amazing dinner, as well as cookies, pumpkin bread, and other treats. We brought along pecan bars, applesauce pie, and green bean casserole, and a few bottles of red wine.

We stayed overnight, which was awesome because it meant the kids got to play in the snow, on the trampoline, inside the giant blanket-pillow fort, wherever they wanted until they literally collapsed from exhaustion. Martin and I slept in the next morning, too, and the kids never disturbed us because they were off playing again as soon as they woke up.

Stacey, her cousin, and I ventured out for some wine tasting and lunch at some of the local vineyards. I ate so much that by the time we got home, I immediately pulled out my yoga mat to stretch out and jump-start my recovery.

It still took a few days. Oomph.



Doesn’t this look like a painting? Gorgeous.


I honestly believe that my oldest daughter’s bedroom is the hardest one to pack. To her credit, it’s pretty organized, but why do they make stuff for tweens so small?? Hair stuff. Book stuff. Craft stuff. Jewelry stuff. School stuff. What-the-hell-does-this-belong-to stuff?!?!?

Santa Knows Germany

When the girls told Santa we were moving to Stuttgart, he started listing some of the villages we will be near.

Then he explained that it is a little known secret that he actually met Mrs. Claus at a place called Robinson Barracks in Germany. According to Santa, Mrs Claus was a teacher at one of the schools which is how he knew she’d be good with kids! Continue reading

TBT: Thanksgiving

Today’s #TBT pic is from Thanksgiving 1985. I was four years old and loving my paper pilgrim hat and collar. This was at my Aunt Mary Ann and Uncle Jim’s house where I enjoyed MANY a Thanksgiving feast over the years. Great memories!!

New Frames

Today is the first day I’m wearing magnifying reading glasses … with my contacts. Over the weekend, I went in for an eye exam and learned I need to wear them when working on the computer.

I find this hysterical and fascinating. I don’t entirely understand why I get such a kick out of this. I’ve been wearing prescription eyeglasses ever since the fourth grade. I began wearing contacts when I turned 18. To this day, I alternate between the two, deciding to wear my glasses or my contact lenses based sometimes on fashion, but mostly on how willing I am to poke my eyeballs in the morning. Continue reading

Party Time

[dropcap style=”color: #9b9b9b;”]W[/dropcap]e hosted a birthday party for Lola over the weekend. There was only one thing that Lola requested and that was simply a “Frozen” party. When I asked for specifics, she simply offered up, “You know, with Anna, Elsa, and Olaf.”

So I consulted to that almighty party resource of the Internets: Pinterest. It was crazy. There are about one million ways to throw a Frozen party, and most require at least a month of planning and crafting. We only had a few days. Nevertheless, I did find some clever ideas, and Martin and I ran with it. Lola loved all of it and we had a very sweet time with her friends.

Lola and a few of her classmates enjoyed the following:

– A game of “Pin the Carrot on Olaf.” Martin drew Olaf by hand based on photos he found on the Internet. He’s always been really good at that. While Martin drew on paper from our big paper roll, I cut carrots from orange scrapbook paper.

– “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman” craft with marshmallows, chocolate chips, candy corn, and pretzel rods. The kids ate him when completed.

– I bought light blue Gatorade and peeled off the labels. They were then referred to as melted as Elsa Water. Bottled water was Melted Olaf.

– Frozen strawberries with drizzled white chocolate were “Hans Frozen Hearts.”

– Carrots and pretzels as Olaf parts.

– Hershey kisses as Anna’s chocolate


Thanks to Pinterest for all the inspiration!

Pizza Challenge

Martin and I just challenged each other to find the better pizza deal. Normally, our pizza bill for a family of five is $25, but with Miss C at a sleepover, we wanted a smaller order. Clacking away on our laptops, I looked up and saw him furrowing his brow which made me optimistic that my clever idea was totally going to win.

My total for a large with three toppings (one side pepperoni, one side bacon/pineapple) and dessert cakes for the kids = $19.44.

His total for two mediums (one pepperoni, one b/p) and dessert cakes for the kids = $19.43.

I should know better.


I was in the middle of this yesterday…literally. It was a lock-down of a few federal buildings due to threats made against the government. My two coworkers and I were walking out of the building to lunch when we were suddenly swarmed by police cars and police personnel coming from every direction.

The photo here looks to be taken some time after the incident. That corner was PACKED with police vans, vehicles, and cops. We were waved across the street and onward to our lunch destination, where we received the “shelter in place” text updates on our phones. So after reporting our whereabouts, we stayed at the Native American Museum enjoying hot chocolate and Tres Leche Cake for dessert until the “all clear.”

Just another day in DC.


TBT: Cousins

Today’s #TBT picture is from May 2005 just months before we left Europe for my next assignment in DC. That’s me giving a squeeze to Miss C and my niece NieNie when my brother-in-law and his family visited us in Italy. Those two are almost exactly one year apart.

They are now nearly teenagers.

I know what trouble they got into together as toddlers. Looking forward with excitement (and a little trepidation) at what trouble they’ll get into together in the coming years.

Mustache Men

I found these photos on my laptop the other day, and they made me laugh, laugh, laugh. I think it was my mother who brought the fake mustaches as part of gift bags for the kids. Good to see them put to use and not ending up on one of the pets. (Though that would have been equally delightful…)

I love catching these glimpses of what these two do during the day. On the days I work from home, one of the things I enjoy most of all is listening to them interact in the other room. Playing with cars. Reading books. Preparing lunch together. It makes me smile every time. Continue reading