this is what 31 looks like

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it’s no secret that i love birthdays. not just mine (but mine the most) but all birthdays. i know that some people as they “age” they don’t like their birthday anymore. whelp, NOT ME! i will always love birthdays. and like i remind my friends who hate their birthdays because they find it a constant reminder as to their REAL age, which nobody really knows after awhile anyways, growing old is a privilege denied by many. enjoy the days the months the years. celebrate each new year of living, and whatever is in store for the next year. celebrate everything, that’s my motto. i love birthdays so much in fact that in my card today from my husband the PS said “365 days till your birthday” that made me giggle just a little, he knows me so well. better than i know myself sometimes. and he made my birthday wonderful this year, by surprising me with a WHOLE WEEKEND OFF. surprise weekends off don’t really exist around here. sometimes regularly scheduled weekends off turn into overtime and cancelled plans, so needless to say i was excited.

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he also ran the cupcake run with me this weekend and madison. it is a 5k they host in my honor (clearly) every year where you eat cupcakes at each mile marker. i enjoyed it, i think he wanted to puke. afterward the bar holds a bbq & you get a token for a free beer. i told him i would drink his beer & he quickly responded i will drink my own beer, hence i found out NO WORK. let the party weekend commence! he ran, ate cupcakes, got a cupcake temporary tattoo (that refuses to come off btw), took me to dinner & bought me some of my favorite beers. oh, and bought me a fabulous pair of sunnies too. sometimes he really knows how to make me feel special.

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and madison, oh sweet baby girl, you make every day better. her absolute ridiculouness & giggles make every day the best day ever, and my birthday was no different. however, after the 15 cupcakes she’s had this weekend she’s become the tazmanian devil. literally she was running in circles while twirling. circles in circles. and tackling brian with a football (she’s into football season now). note to self, do not give toddler a 15 cupcakes in 48 hours. but for me, it’s totally okay. i mean, i ran a 5k this weekend. cupcakes & mommy juice all around.

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then to round out the weekend today i was able to celebrate with some good friends for a little sunday funday. something we haven’t been able to do in quite awhile because of miss madison. baby in a bar really doesn’t work on sundays (we’ve tried / failed). & so thankful for my best girlfrens & that they deal with my birthday shenanigans (and having to return my gifts every year… but really, blame my mom).

i am so abundantly blessed. husband, daughter, family & friends. there is just simply nothing more i could ask for. thank you to absolutely everyone for the calls, texts, facebook posts, tweets (you name it) — i appreciated every single one. no really, thank you so much.

and guess what??? 365 DAYS TILL MY BIRTHDAY!!!!! xx

apple picking at masker orchards

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we spent our columbus day picking apples at masker orchard in warwick. it’s a 200 acre orchard in the hudson valley settled into the side of a mountain. needless to say the views are beautiful & the apples bountiful. madison was pretty sure she needed every apple she encountered especially those on the ground, but her favorite game was when brian threw apples into the tree & they all came falling down. she would scream with delight, run to collect them all for the bag then yell “GOOD JOB DADDY” at the top of her lungs. a few other pickers got a good kick out of her rather loud praises for him. and i’m pretty sure he also made a game of it by seeing how accurate his throws were. leave it to boys to turn even apple picking into a game of skill / competition. i on the other hand clearly enjoyed pulling apples from the tree and hovering between branches with madison. that ridiculous grin on my face (in every photo) shows which of the three of us had the most fun, but it was a tight race. madison decided that she loves apples - not just apple sauce & apple juice, although those are most certainly her favorites. this whole 21 month old thing is pretty great. she cracks us up daily. thanks for the laughs baby girl

ps – if anybody has any great recipes involving apples please send them my way because that’s all we will be eating for awhile

monday in micro fashion at the queens farm

i just want to take a minute here to thank the good Lord for making a world with october’s in it. not ONLY is it my birthday month (YAY it’s my birthday month), but it’s full of all the good things in life. like crisp mornings, oversized sweaters, spicy lattes, golden & amber leaves that make for wonderful jump piles, halloween (duh) and PUMPKINS (along with pumpkin carving & baking seeds, and pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin beers). the cool days are perfect for taking long walks & holding hands. because the fall to me is also just the most romantical time of year of ever. it provides you those mornings of extra snuggles when you both want to stay under the covers all day. madison is extra cuddly too, her warm hugs in the fall are everything. i am so lucky that my mom was able to get in some of these hugs this weekend too when she came to visit. how blessed are we that we can all jet around the world to see each other. i don’t take it for granted, ever. i am so grateful we were able to spend the weekend with grammy (or gramimi) and what better way to kick off the fall than with a visit to the pumpkin patch with her at the queens farm!!

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gap plaid dress // zara fur vest // gap bear tights // gap brown boots // claire’s hair clip

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and we found the easiest way to get madison to eat her veggies… straight out of the ground & as big as she is (and soaked in butter)

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and then we danced! OHHH did we dance! this honky tonk band was probably the highlight of her day. she kept grabbing our hands & demanding we dance with her. and as soon as one song ended she started yelling MORE MORE and was very angry about it. try explaining to a 20 month old that we have to wait in between songs (not like my iphone where she can play beyonce on repeat). the they’d start back up again & she’d hit the dance floor running. we had to drag her away from them so we could move on. but she has some pretty sweet moves… so did grammy

we followed that up with a hay ride which she was over the moon about & then some ponies. because who doesn’t like ponies? madison sure does. i wish they had pony rides and the day would have been just that much more magical.

wonderful day full of wonderful memories with grammy at the farm

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dumbo arts festival

yesterday we decided it was a perfect day (80 degrees, really september?!) to ride the ferry. madison loves the water so i told her we were going to ride ON the water. she seemed excited & confused at the same time. i wasn’t even exactly sure where we were going but i figured downtown, towards brooklyn. we ended up in dumbo for the day & low and behold there was an arts festival going on. what a great day for an adventure.

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everyday i’m sparklin’ t-shirt, glitter shoes (old, but here are similar ones), fedora

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we ate pizza & visited P.S. Bookshop. she was obsessed with buying Goodnight Denver. she must miss her aunt tracie. then we read stories under the brooklyn bridge

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and rode jane’s carousel on the waterfront. she saw it & just kept saying pony pony pony. of course as we started to move she was holding on as if her life was at risk saying, nice pony, nice pony. pure terror & excitement rolled up into one.

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princess madison… a day in the life

sunday city

old navy pink polka dot dress (on sale now!)

breakfast at starbucks, she loves the blueberries that are meant for the oatmeal but they sell them to us anyways. thanks goodness or she’d be screaming booberry booberry at them until they did. i settle for a vanilla macchiato. heaven.

took the ‘choo choo’ to the city. she insists on sitting by herself, even though she slides around like the seats are made of butter. i have to keep a protective arm around her without her noticing that i am helping her. because she doesn’t need any help, duh mom.

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then pre-church browsing at bloomies, she loves the colors at ted baker just as much as i do. she also spied a mini longchamp cosmetic bag she almost didn’t let me leave without. with the help of two sales ladies & a little brown bag we finally coaxed it out of her grubby hands (good luck to her future husband…)

then sunday school playtime with her friends. ‘mommy church’ for me as she calls it. the message on grace unbounded hit home, as it always does here. it’s my favorite church i have ever had the privilege of attending or being a member of. every message, every sunday, speaks to me. yesterday was all about grace & about Paul’s letters from prison on joy, hope & love (the beginning of our series on this).  we need to be more grateful for the things we have and less inclined to think we deserve more. our neediness often overpowers us, when we in actuality have everything we need right in front of us.

Here’s the thing we say in this sanctuary: whether you’ve been part of the faith family your whole life or a late arriving newbie, we stand equally naked before God in our neediness.  That sensibility permeates our life and our work.  That’s the sensibility we’re meant to learn in here and take back out into the world.  That’s the gospel that’s brimming with grace and generosity and drives us to live lives committed to growing closer and closer to God’s design specifications.  That’s the grace, the call and the responsibility.  It’s awesome, fantastic and the engine that can drive the world’s transformation.

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post-church cupcakes at sprinkles. madison is also apparently the cupcake atm gatekeeper. she seriously wouldn’t leave. she kept saying “more cheese” so i kept snapping her photo.

we then walked through 3 parades and danced in the streets together. twirling. whenever the music started she grabbed both my hands & that was my cue to dance like a monkey. nobody noticed us. we aren’t weirdos. just two girls having fun.

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and then this… fried chicken & biscuits for lunch. the whole shebang today.

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time square toys r us. enough said = chaos + bliss + lots of “no put that back” and of all the barbies in the barbie castle madison picked out entrepreneur barbie. that’s right baby girl, go change the world.

took the choo choo back home for a long long nap (for both of us). this is my perfect day lately. letting madison explore the world. she loves to be outside with people and i dread the long winter ahead of us. we are holding onto fall & have lots in store for the new few months.

xo from the big city

fall micro fashion

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zara puffer vest / h&m heart knit sweater / gap striped leggings / zara classic buckle boot

i couldn’t possibly purchase all the adorable fall clothes for madison that i would like to (unless i wanted to end up divorced & homeless) so i had to share as many of them as possible. hopefully your little will enjoy some fall fashion, and this is therapeutic. it helps me not feel like these are all going to waste. i hope you shop them, and then let us borrow, kidding (kind of). and i have also lately been picking out our someday second child’s clothing which brian and several friends have notified me is extremely weird. but i see stuff and i think “but if i have a son someday he’s definitely going to want to wear this.” i hope someday that’ll happen (and his wardrobe is going to be bangggggin’) one girl & one boy would be perfection to me. so here are a few styles for boys i’ve been in love with lately as well. some of which i may or may not have purchased already. i may or may not have a problem. jury’s still out. happy shopping!

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1. i just want to dance sweatshirt / 2. shine so bright dress / 3. tiny toms / 4. fur vest / 5. sparkle sweatshirt / 6. fur lined sneakers / 7. princess sweater / 8. star tulle skirt / 9. camo hooded anorak / 10. white moto vest / 11. pink boots / 12. pink puffer vest 13. checkered flannel dress / 14. snake print skinny cords / 15. new york sweatshirt / 16. metallic ankle boots / 17. sweetie sweatshirt / 18. funnel neck capelet sweater / 19. glitter leggings / 20. gold heart knit sweater
fall fashion / baby boy

1. mask hat / 2. boom splash leggings / 3. camo sweatshirt / 4. flannel shirt / 5. fleece jacket / 6. marled cardi / 7. fur lined high tops / 8. hello ladies sweatshirt / 9. legend in the making shirt / 10. fleece trapper hat / 11. flannel vest / 12. let’s blame the sugar shirt / 13. mixed fabric vest / 14. canvas pants / 15. checkered flannel shirt / 16. green trousers / 17. flannel plaid jacket / 18. bandit sweatshirt / 19. nautical plimsoll 

weekends sans baby

I rushed home after work Friday to find brian lounging on the couch watching sports. not bubble guppies. not wearing a pink foam crown coloring. not with obstacles blocking my way every three feet including baby strollers, books, Minnie mouse figurines, ball pit balls or stray mac & cheese noodles. I found brian being brian, and I got really super excited. like silly grin on my face excited. “what do you want to do tonight?” was thrown around and options starting flying. how do you fit in everything you’ve wanted to do for months into 48 hours? we settled on dinner (at bareburger) my favorite spot. we ate french fries without having to blow on them for 45 hours to feed Madison first. we ate them scalding hot & they burned my fingers & my throat and I loved it. I shoveled chipotle mayo into my mouth out in the open without fear of baby seeing what I was eating and protesting to have the same thing. I had a watermelon moonshine cocktail – I had MOONSHINE – knowing it would be okay to be a little hazy later when I got home. there would be no middle of night wake up call I would have to attend to. and we had a conversation that didn’t consist of “what does a bear say” and diapers and daycare. we sat an extra long time at the table just because we could. we didn’t have to get the check when the meal was sent out because once baby girl is done she is DONE and ready to go. we relaxed. and it was glorious. after dinner we had so many big ideas like the movies, because lets be honest it costs us $200 to go to the movies these days, or out for drinks or home…. should we go home? get a 6 pack & go home to watch a movie? SOLD! I tell you SOLD! we held hands… this was monumental. and we purchased craft beer we have been wanting to try and we cuddled up on the couch for a movie. it was the greatest night. Ohhhh, one more thing WE SLEPT INNNNNNNN. like past 9am, we actually got to the bagel store when it was packed with the hangover crowd. I liked being the crowded line. it was a glimpse into our former lives. just a peek back into the days where we were the only things that mattered in our world. and then we got all dressed up & headed to an engagement party for our two good friends Jackie & Anthony.

Anthony is Brian’s partner & Jackie is my old roommate. we hooked them up. it was like how about our two best friends be in love so we can all be best friends & have a big best friend party. and maybe our babies can be best friends, or get married… and well, you see where my mind goes. in any case – cha ching – we succeeded on our second match making attempt with a second wedding (the first being brian’s old partner pat & beth). pretty sure I should be getting paid for my services. and when Anthony gets promoted to Sgt. we will be taking applications for Brian’s new partner (email me for inquiries) but I guess seeing my friends incredibly happy is a gift enough. & I couldn’t be more excited for these two! the party was at a waterfront restaurant in jersey city called Battello. it was gorgeous and all my JC friends should check it out.

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Left: Lace top, Tulle skirt, Steve Madden shoes (similar),  bauble bar necklace / Right: Zara dress, Bissou Bissou shoes

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but when all was said & done, no matter how much I sometimes miss our old life & schedule I couldn’t go any more days without seeing this face…

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crown sweater, silver sparkle shoes

I missed this face. SO much. it was a wonderful weekend, but I wouldn’t trade 1 million of those for 1 more day with her. it’s funny how even after just a few hours of fun you start to think that you’d never want to go back. I love our longer, crazier days. I love having two little arms draped around my neck. she tethers me to reality and to a happiness I never would have thought was possible before I met her. a weekend is a very long time sans baby. it’s too long. but the hugs & kisses upon your return are the greatest moments. she ran to me, and she wrapped those little arms around me and said “i miss you” and just like that, the world became a little bit clearer. i looked up & silently thanked God for this tiny blessing, that has changed everything.

and an extra special thank you to brian’s family for taking care of madison this weekend! you guys are simply the best!

back flips, pumpkin spice lattes & fur lined coats

these chilly mornings have me all excited. like back flips & pumpkin lattes & fur excited. I can’t wait to unbox all my fall clothes and hold them in my arms. it’s possible i’ll even stroke a fur lined hood or two and of course…. i’ll probably need a new coat (new year new coat, right?) these are some of my favorites right now, and a few are on sale too “HOORAY”

favorite coats for fall/winter

1.) Zara fur vest with knit lining 2.) Zara down anorak 3.) Asos faux fur collar parka 4.) Piperlime sherling aviator jacket 5.) Asos trapeze coat 6.) Michael Kors houdstooth faux fur coat  7.) Barney’s hooded sweater coat 8.) H&M wool duffel coat

bubby’s wedding

she thought her mom looked like a queen, like the star of some fairy tale. not a princess – princesses are just pretty. her mother was beautiful.

i was sitting here thinking of my mom this morning & this quote couldn’t have described more perfectly how i feel about her. how we all do. i wish that even for one day she could see herself through our eyes, so she could understand. but the truth of the matter is it’s hard to age gracefully. i even struggle with it myself at 30. but we must all remember it’s a privilege denied to many. so let us be grateful for each waking day that we get to live. let us rejoice in our memories. let us pray that we get older & older so that we can create more. and let us remember that every line that forms on our face should merely indicate where the smiles have been. if there was one wish i could wish for my mom it would be this, and to know she is so very beautiful. 

this past weekend we had todd’s wedding & i think it started to hit her that her babies aren’t babies anymore. and she realized that time has passed by more quickly than she realized. that we all have our own families now. and he completed his saturday with ashley. who finally, FINALLY is officially my sissy. boy did it take him long enough (even longer than Brian, OY). but we couldn’t be happier for them. this face, says it all from my mom….

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and for me, i couldn’t be happier for my big brother. i have never seen him happier. ashley has loved todd even at times when he probably didn’t deserve it. she has stood by him over the years through a LOT, she has accepted his kids as if they were her own and she has loved all of them with a tenderness you can’t even imagine – i truly believe she is the best thing to happen to them, all of them. i love her for this. and we are very grateful for her & happy to welcome her into our family officially (because really she’s always been apart of it). so here’s to a lifetime of happiness for them and many more memories with our families to come.

i love you both & enjoy your honeymoon ((make a baby!!)) xx

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monday in micro fashion / urban princess

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aqua princess petti dress (multiple colors available & matching doll dresses too) / salt water sandals / hair bow is home made

this urban princess runs around a concrete jungle day in & day out. her daddy is her prince. but they are friends with dragons. she believes in fairy tales, and swears she always will. she loves to dance under the stars. she hosts tea parties and invites all her dolls & sometimes even the cookie monster. she picks flowers. and sometimes eats them. she twirls. she giggles. she gives herself kisses in windows and says “i madison.” she thinks the rain is funny. she sings songs and her smile melts my heart. she is fearless and curious and wild. i hope that all her dreams come true.

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