Tuesday, December 14, 2010

...to thank my dad

The kids had a great time.

The house was more put together than I usually have it.

And...they even made homemade Christmas cookies.



Thanks Dad.

Monday, December 13, 2010

...to reminisce about our weekend

...What a great weekend!

Thanks to my dad, Mark and I got to go away to Philadelphia for the Army/Navy football game.

The football game was just a reasonable excuse to go on a getaway sans children.   Besides the outcome, if you are an Army fan, was incredibly disappointing.

As for our trip, as the saying goes, "What happens in Philadelphia stays in Philadelphia" goes for our weekend there...but I can say it did involve lots of great food, fun conversations, lots of alcohol, good friends, and something called "Rally shorts".

We stayed at a beautiful hotel and enjoyed one of our favorite restaurants.

Some happy photos from the weekend:
A candid of Mark and I
Meghan and Sean

Before the game, Meghan and I



I told Mark...It is weekends like this that will give me strength and happy thoughts as he and I go through the next year.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

...to cheer on Army

Here is a great article that Mark shared with me about the Army/Navy football tradition.

The weather is supposed to be beautiful (for December).  Sunny and 44 degrees!

Army is already going to a bowl game.  This is their best season in our three years at West Point.

We are with our best friends...

Now hopefully Army will win!

GO ARMY BEAT NAVY! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

...to wish my dad good luck

My dad is like no other.

He has come all the way from Michigan to babysit our four children.

For the whole weekend.

By himself.

Maybe he is a bit crazy for offering.  Others might claim he is clearly off-his-rocker.

No matter what you might call him, Mark and I are so thankful.

And we hope that Abbey and Audrey don't win.  Get your game on Dad!

Don't they look all cute and sweet??

Thursday, December 9, 2010

...to take a picture of my beautiful porch!

Accomplished!

About the time we both started decorating for the holidays I enlisted my best friend Meghan's help in decorating my porch.  She gathered a few ideas and came over a few days later with supplies in hand.  My porch looks adorable!  Now if only it would snow for a few photo ops!

I am embarrassed to admit that it has been well over a week since Meghan decorated my porch for me...in the pouring down rain and I am just now getting around to getting the photos taken.

There are various reasons it took me so long; but I typically have my van parked parallel to my porch so it would be in the way of a picture.  Without further ado....

Before:
Mark hung the lights...and the 'out of place' stocking.

After:
The three wreaths on the door is my favorite touch!
 Thank you Meghan for an awesome job!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

...to stay away from the holiday cookies

Truffles.

Fudge.

Snickerdoodles.

Buckeyes.

Macaroons.

The tray from the cookie exchange I attended the other evening didn't even look appetizing to me this morning.  And I vowed them off.  I had already had enough of the holidays sweets. 

Then I came home after working all day.

Raspberry thumbprints

I couldn't resist.

And they were delicious!

I love Kayla.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

...to take a family walk

So we have an Advent calendar that the kids LOVE.  It is a long wooden box type piece with 25 doors in which I am supposed to put something clever in, each day.

Well, last year I realized that with four children, there was no way we could fill our box with the traditional candies, chocolates or prizes each day.  Four pieces wouldn't fit and if I only put one thing in, it would be a fight each day to determine who got to open the door..you see where the saga is going.

So I decided that we were going to do something for each day of Advent.  Some days have been more simple than others (candy canes by the fire) others a little more elaborate (a trip to a bakery) but they all have a common theme...something that we can do together.

I do allow myself the flexibility to come up with each task in the morning of each day.  This way, I am not likely to put something in the box that we simply can't accomplish (although I wouldn't recommended putting 'make truffles' in after working a full day!).

So today's fun well really not so fun (as my children reminded me constantly on the walk) idea was that we'd take a family walk, in the dark, to look at the neighbor's Christmas lights. 

Only three of thirty houses had any lights (one of them was ours).

Breezy and 28 degrees.  Along the river on a hill.

Comments from the gallery:  "How far is it that we have to walk?"  "Do we really have to walk the whole way?" "How come Abbey and Audrey get to ride in the wagon?"

Not the vision of a Norman Rockwell family evening walk that I had imagined.

But it did beat walking Timber by myself at 10:00 this evening!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

...to check out a local bakery

What a great family outing for our Advent Calendar activity! 

We went to Rockland bakery (in Rockland County...who knew?) down in Nanuet.  If you love bread like we do, this would be the place to visit.

This place was incredibly busy and I have never seen such vast amounts of fresh bread in one place. 

When we walked in we each had to put on a pair of gloves and you walked right into the factory-type area where the bread was moving on the assembly line.  The bagels were dropping into bins, loaves of sandwich bread were zooming along to be packaged; and the smells ~ amazing.

There were racks and racks of bread (I wish I had brought my camera to take photos).  Everything from Foccacia bread to Challah bread, rye, french bread, bagels (several kinds) and fresh (HOT!) pretzels that literally melted in your mouth.

We brought home many different options since we let each of our munchkins pick out something they wanted to try and we were pleased with all of our choices!

This would be a great stop to make if you were planning a dinner party and needed some specialty breads to serve!.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

...to send my holiday card off to the printer


I have made a list and I have checked it several times....

Make:

1) Christmas Cards
2) Truffles
3) Teacher's Soap
4) Wrap packages
5) I could go on...

So the spoiler is here...don't peak if you don't want to see my choice!



Giving Squares Heifer Holiday 5x7 folded card
Shop hundreds of holiday photo cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

...to make dinner without choas


I have heard about people who are prepared enough to fend off chaos.  That are clever enough to create, wonderfully engaging activities for their children while they have time to prepare their evening's five-course meals.  I have always wanted to try to achieve that peace.  Here is my scenario:

Husband walked in this afternoon from work to...

Dinner being prepared...his favorite: tacos, guacomole, rice and beans
His wife having a glass of wine.
AND
Four children painting peacefully at the kitchen table...without a mess!






Do you remember paint with water books?  I have been looking all over for them for the little girls for several months.  Turns out I cannot find them in any store but good 'ole Amazon carries them and with Amazon Prime shipping!  And the perfect theme for the month...
$3.99 + Free Shipping with Amazon Prime
The kids loved the activity and I had no mess to clean up.  Not even hands to wash!

Success.

Monday, November 29, 2010

...to make my Christmas cards

So I am beginning to panic just a bit.  One might think there is quite a bit of time until the holidays are here; but when I began to think about them in terms on weekends I began to panic.  Especially since one of the weekends will be consumed by Army/Navy festivities.

Well the list writing has begun...a few things I need to accomplish include:
  • Make Christmas cards
  • Make Christmas calendars
  • Make teacher gifts (Isabella wants to make snowball soap again and I want to make them truffles)
  • Buy community appreciation gifts (a clever, politically correct phrase I am coining) for those whose services I appreciate (e.g., the postman, garbage man, cleaning crew, office staff etc...)
More on the latter two items later.

I wanted to begin today with the first two items on my list.  Luckily I have heard about this awesome give-away on Shutterfly.  They are giving 50 free cards to those who blog just to promote their site.   Crazy!  This site seems to sell their products on their merit alone. 

But since I love their products AND I was going to order from them anyhow....

There are several styles of cards that I LOVE.  Here are a few that I can't seem to choose from:



I love the simplicity of just one photo...but how can I capture our life, with four children, in a whole year, with only one photo?  Thus, I tend to favor the photo cards with several places for my cherubs beaming grins.

You'll have to endure the suspense until you receive the photo of my choosing....

They also have really great gifts that seemingly would not need such promotion.  Like this mug...I know Fred and Ellen will love to enjoy their morning cup-o-joe with these sweet mugs.  And I REALLY LOVE that you can put more than one photo on this cup!

Anyhow, I digress.  Again. 

I have picked out my holiday card

AND I have also began the arduous process of putting together,  been working on, completed my annual Crow family calendars (with ONLY a few different key photos) that the grandparents love to receive every year.  At least they certainly pretend to!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

...to sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

What a great day for our little #3.  She was able to share her special day with her Aunt Titi and Uncle Kyle, her cousin Eva, her friend's Paddy, Ms. Meghan, and Mr. Sean and of course her family. 

What a treat to have so many loved ones here at West Point to celebrate with us.  Thank you to each of you for making her day so special!

Happy Birthday Princess Abigail!

Friday, November 26, 2010

...to begin decorating for the holidays

So I have a ways to go but thanks to the help of my adoring husband and my awesome sister-in-law and my little brother we got a magnificent start!

Inspired by my best friend, Taylor and I went out this evening on a stealth mission...to pilfer an abundance of holiday foliage to add to my holiday decor.  So armed with a mag light, a pair of pruning shears, and of course, the dogs, we set on our mission.

Poor Roxy...she was a bit of a casualty this evening!

"Seriously people...get this bough out of my a...!"

But the mission was definitely successful!


MORE TO COME!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

...to enjoy the day

Mark suggested we simplify this year.  Not create a gigantic mess.  Enjoy the day.  Relax.

This is what our table looked like at the club for dinner....


I have mentioned before I cook in a similar manner to the Swedish Chef from the Muppets.  Well even still today...my kitchen looked liked this after clean up (Round 1) and all I made were a few appetizers and dessert....

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Abbey, Mark, Krissy, Audrey, Eva, Taylor, Kyle, Will, and Isabella

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

...to have more patience

I really need some work here.

I have several areas of my life I need to focus on but I am just going to list a few...

1) I need to have more patience with my dog.  I love our mutt...but I can't handle it when I walk her in the cold November evenings and she needs to find her inner 'Detective Dawg'.  A friend recently told me that a dog sniffing while they walk is much like a human reading the newspaper daily.  Many times the information is similar, but we read it nonetheless.

2) I need to have more patience with my children.  I have to remember that my oldest is only 7.  Not seventeen.  It is reasonable to have to tell her more than once, even several times, that she needs to put her clothes in the hamper.

3)   I need to have more patience while driving.  Not everyone tries to cram every minute of their day with appointments and commitments.  I need to respect this and then enjoy the views in the process.  After all, I am usually moving around one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.

4) I need to have more patience with the Army.  If I hear yet another new scenario for what my life is going to be like (in terms of when/where Mark is going to deploy) in the next three-six months I think I am going to look for the nearest bridge!  However, this is what the Army is like.  IT is not nearly as efficient as I think it should be.  But, as Mark has been known to say, "It is what it is."

Finally...

5) I need to have more patience with myself.  I have to remember NOT to judge how successful my day was by the items I have checked  off my list.  Some days there are many other things people that are more important.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

...to see just how many events I can cram into a few hours

In case you are wondering..the answer is too many.

I think after Mark came home this evening and we were between events his words went something like, "I am no longer going to be a part of this 'ridiculousness'. If you want to carry on with this mayhem next week, you will have to do it without me!"

To back up a bit, my darling first born decided on a whim last week that she wanted to play hockey with her brother.  How can one deny her this?  Hockey is at 6:15 on Thursday evenings.

The problem was/is she has dance (tap/jazz) on Thursday afternoons at 4:00 and these classes last until 5:30.  Or so I thought.  Apparently they technically don't finish until 5:45.

Mark says, "She needs to quit dance."

The thing is, I love that she is in dance.  Simply because I am a horrible dancer and I don't want her to be.

To continue my story...Hockey gear takes at least twenty minutes to put on and the events aren't immediately next door and oh by the way it is the dinner hour....

Things were a little crazy at our house this evening.

Maybe I'll see if she can do dance on Tuesdays!

First practice!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

....order my Christmas photos/cards

But I started looking and I don't even know where to begin.  There are so many sites: kodak gallery, snap fish, shutterfly, mac...

Then there are several different types of cards: bi-fold, postcard, letter inside, photo-card...

Which photo to use:  each kid in their own frame, the family shot, a shot of the kids alone...

Then there is the questions of what type of photo:  One where they are all dressed to match, a candid, a picture where they are all silly, caught off guard???

Do I write a letter, a note, just sign the card...

I think all of these variables are the reason why I can barely get my cards out each year!

The good news is I still have another month to waste several hours searching my photos and the sites for the perfect combination!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

...to remember way back when

So when I met my husband he was a music buff.  He loved music.  All kinds of music.  He still loves music; all types.

I just listened to the radio.  Even now I am content to obliviously listen to repeated versions of the Itsy Bity Spider play while I am driving my swagger wagon.

Mark certainly tried to woo me with his musical interests and would send me tape after tape of mixes that he would make up for me.   And I listened to them.  I loved them.  Because he made them for me.

So this evening I was cursing him because it happened to be my turn to walk the dog.  In the pouring rain.  I am so thankful for this walk, because as I was walking my mind started to spin and I started to think about November and how it could be snowing but it was actually pouring down rain and then I was able to remember November Rain.  This song, by Guns & Roses, was released a few months before we began dating in 1992.

So with a smile on my face, and sweet memories in my mind I finished walking the dog with this picture in my mind...my very own Slash (The resemblance is striking; the real Slash plays two solos in this song) and our charmers.


I am gonna miss this guy when he leaves in January.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

...to drink more water

Ridiculous that I think about this?

Sometimes my goals for a day are silly...but this is one I have thought a lot about.  For a while.  I know that I don't drink enough (water).  Partly because I often find myself thirsty.  Partly because I know I drink too much coffee.  And too much soda if I am close to a fountain pop!  Partly because MAYBE if I drank more water I would find myself snacking less (and lose my last ten pounds).

So today, I wanted to make sure I drank eight several more water than I usually drink.  I would feel better.  Water has tons of benefits right?  I even looked up what is recommended...but this gets way too scientific for me.

So, my plan of 'more'....it didn't work.  

Thus, tomorrow I have a more tangible plan for drinking 'more'.  I have my watch set for two hour intervals, at this point I'll consume a glass of water.  Sounds easy.  Except for the fact I have to work tomorrow.  Which means I'll have to plan my pit stops accordingly!  :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

...to remember some of the goodbyes and the HELLOS!

Happy Veteran's Day!


Myself, Mark, and Isabella just before he left for Iraq

Meeting Will on R & R
At the Airport at the end of R & R
Home!!

Mark and Will

Monday, November 8, 2010

....to be prepared for the day to begin!

I was pretty accomplished this morning!  By 7:30 this morning I had accomplished my goal...

YEA!

The lunches were made.
The backpacks were set.
My materials for work were set by the door ready to go.
The coffee was made.
My water bottle was filled.
I was showered, dressed, and my contacts were in.
The little girls warm outdoor clothes were set out for Ms. Martha.
I had my keys AND my ID.
My phone (well) I haven't been able to locate the charger.....

I was all ready and for once not racing out the door.  Thank goodness for Martha.  I love that my kiddos don't have to be shoved out the door in a mad race to get everyone to their designated places by 8:20 am.

She is great and the girls LOVE her!

Friday, November 5, 2010

...take my daughter to the Isabella Gardner Museum

Isabella Gardner Museum

My dearest friend, Meghan and her husband Sean just recently moved from Boston here to West Point.  This museum was her FAVORITE!  She had really wanted to take my Isabella to this museum on one of our visits up to Boston and it just never fit into our timeline.

One of the neat things about this museum is that all Isabella's have a lifetime free membership to this museum as per Isabella Steward Gardner's wishes.

Isabella and I took a special trip to Boston this weekend, just the two of us, so that we could attend her cousin-to-be's baby shower.  I took this perfect opportunity, to spend a lovely day with her in my most favorite city in the states.

A bit of interesting trivia about Mrs. Gardner...her very favorite letter was Y.  Because this was the first initial of the spanish for of her name

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

...to make breakfast for dinner

Just because I can.  Breakfast is healthy (full of protein), quick, easy, and all but my cherished first born loves eggs!  She is not so easy to please.

To come clean though, I usually RESORT to breakfast for dinner.  This is not a meal I plan into my menu. 

This is the meal I resort to when: 
     We need groceries (I almost always have eggs)
     I have been working all day (as I was today)
     Mark is out-of-town (on an occassion such as this I usually will opt for pancakes).

Growing up this was one of my favorite nights!  I loved having breakfast for dinner. 
If I were more ambitious I might have made pumpkin waffles or something else equally fall festive. 

Instead, on this evening's menu was:

Scrambled eggs
Fried eggs
Bacon
OJ
Toast

Yummy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

...to do too many things

I could make a list of all of the things I wanted to accomplish.  I didn't even touch the surface...

Upon reflection of what maybe I should have prioritized here is what I have come up with:

TAKE MY QUIZ FOR THINGS I SHOULD HAVE DONE....

1) Made reservations for our stay in NYC in three weeks or else we will
    a) be sleeping on the streets
    b) training it back to WP here with Meghan and Sean after a 7pm game in the city
    c) neither option is a good one so this is at the top of the list for tomorrow
 
2)  Brushed my teeth this morning (One would think this doesn't have to go on a list.)
     a) So that my pearly whites stay pearly
     b) So that I didn't have that feeling that my teeth needed to be scraped all day!  Aagh!

3) Completed at least the ONE load of laundry I tossed in machine (at 5:30 this morning) so that:
    a) Will wouldn't have had to wear wet undies at football practice (he only has one pair for his cup).
    b ) Mark wouldn't have had to put them in the MICROWAVE to dry them so Will didn't have to wear wet undies at practice.

In case the answers aren't transparent they are c, b, and b.  Yes, Mark really did put Will's Tighty Whitey's in the microwave.  What a Dad!

Monday, November 1, 2010

...to upload some Halloween photos!

Happy Halloween!

Queen Audrey

Pippi Longstocking, A Butterfly, & A Black Power Ranger

and Dad, as Slash!






 

Friday, October 29, 2010

...to turn the kiddos over to my husband

so I could take the night off and take tour of WP and the cemetery.

Let me be clear...I love my children.  And I certainly love my husband.  But having just had the week on my own, I was ready to take the night off.

No particular bad behaviors are remembered.  There were no trips to the ER.  There weren't even any middle-of-the-night stomach bugs to report.  I only changed one set of wet sheets, got up to three different nightmares, and intervened in a handful of disputes. 

Nonetheless, this week seemed particularly eventful with two trips to the city, a visit from my mom, and several after-school activities.

This is the part though where I can't say no.  The kids had a Halloween fest to attend.  Mark was surviving on adrenaline (given he had been awake since about 3:30 am our time en-route back here to the states from Egypt).  And I couldn't, in good faith, make him take the kiddos alone.  So, I chose the Halloween festival.

In the end, I missed the tour.  But I did enjoy watching: Isabella win the cake walk, Audrey in her daddy's arms, Will play all of the games he could, and Abbey dance around.  Family time is great too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

...to be a guest audience member at the Rachel Ray Show

What fun it was hanging out in the city with a few friends!  Starbucks, Rachel Ray, and Chipotle it was an awesome day!  We were 'pumped up' and dressed in our jewel tones.

"Jazz", April, The Jolly Green Giant, & Allison

Who knew it was the 25th anniversary year of Back to the Future!  Now we all do...and as audience members today we were treated to Huey Lewis playing a short gig on the harmonica (promoting his new CD) and discussing his hit song on Back to the Future (Power of Love and Back in Time).

We were lucky enough to be given the Trilogy of Back to the Future and a few copies of her magazine.

It was a fun experience!

And my day was topped off by a trip to one of my favorite eateries EVER...Chippotle!  Thank goodness for the Chipotle ap!

Monday, October 25, 2010

...to take some great fall photos

I didn't really capture the amazing fall colors like I wanted to; but I really captured a few great memories!

Audrey, Abbey, and Mimi


I loved the colors of the berries.
Look at those eyes!

Memories to cherish.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

...to go to the American Girl Store

Isabella, Mimi, and Abbey

 What a great day in the city with my beautiful mom, and my two of my sweet daughters on an amazing fall day.

You can see how excited my little one is!

The hair salon was especially fun!

for both of them...


 While they might not remember all of the little details of days like today...sometimes its about creating memories for myself.