Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Zoo, Celebrating Father's Day and Other Stuff

How's that for a title?  I've been a bad blogger!  How do y'all do it?  I can't seem to keep up w/ everything - work, blogging, family, life. . . I've just been so tired lately and the last thing I feel like doing after work is writing.  So that is why my blog has been quiet.  Hoping to get things back to a more normal schedule soon.  I was trying to think of some other/new things to write about.  This is where YOU come in.  What would you like to hear from me?  More about MS?  Adoption?  Ask the Clinical Social Worker?  Mentoring?  Volunteering?  My Past Travel Experiences?  More pictures of my nieces (don't answer that b/c you are getting them no matter what!  Ha!)?  So leave a comment and let me know.  I need some inspiration!

Ok now onto the zoo!  Last Saturday I went to the zoo in Boston, the Franklin Park Zoo, for the first time ever.  Not sure why I've never been there but glad I finally got to check it out.  It is actually a pretty nice zoo. It is smaller than other zoos I've been to but it has some great exhibits, was very clean and easy to get around. I took Peyton and Ella and we met up w/ my friend Joana and her son Carter (my surrogate nephew).  The girls and Carter have met before and they always have fun together so today was no different!  The pictures should speak for themselves.






As you can see we had a lot of fun!  The weather had been rainy all week and it was overcast that day.  The good things about that is that it wasn't crowded and it wasn't hot!  The only bad part was that the giraffes weren't out and the petting zoo wasn't open "due to the weather."  Still not sure what that was all about!

On Sunday my family celebrated Father's Day.  We went to Kimball Farm for food, fun and ice cream (of course)!  My parent's have been going here since they were kids w/ their parents and my brothers and I have gone since we were kids.  Now Peyton and Ella are a part of the tradition (they've been several times already)!  Of course they love it as much as we all do.

Ella (on right) decided to stick out her tongue for the picture and she thought she was pretty funny.  So of course Peyton had to do it too!  Monkey see monkey do!!

Lots of ice cream!  Kimball's is famous for their banana splits.  It is tradition to get one!  Mine is the one in the bottom left corner.  Don't worry I didn't eat it all!  As you can see we all enjoyed our ice cream!

Ella decided to eat my ice cream after eating her own!  I had "purple" ice cream (black raspberry) which she likes.  After me she moved on to Scott's ice cream to help him too.  I think she got enough!

We also had time for some golf (the boys), the batting cages (the boys again) and a pony ride (Ella).  It was a great afternoon with beautiful weather (for once)!

Woo I'm done!  I think I would be able to blog more often if I didn't use so many pics.  It takes forever to put all the pics in.  And while I was doing this blogger "told" me that I need more photo storage space b/c I've reached my limit so need to figure that out.  Blogger has been annoying me (and many others) lately and I'm not happy about the limitations w/ uploading pics right now.  Hope they fix that! 

Oh and WELCOME to my new followers!  Glad you stopped by and hope you like my blog.  Maybe when I reach 100 followers I'll do my first ever give away!?

As usual I have not proof read this post so if there are typos then there are typos!  I did enough proof reading in college and grad school.  My blog can by imperfect!  Ha!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer? Where are you?

Peyton and Ella want to play.  Rain rain go away!
Summer where are you?  I do not see you.  I do not feel you.
These little fans want the Red Sox to play but not in the rain so rain go away.  Sun please come and stay!
 These little fans will do a summer dance - twirling and spinning for sun to shine on their faces.
 Raining flower petals is fun.  Raining rain drops is not.  So rain please go away.
These little fans want summer to come so they can eat ice cream and play outside all day long! 



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SUMMER IS HERE!

It is summer and I'm so grumpy happy!  Well I'm trying to be happy but to be honest I feel like crap.  Not so sure what it is specifically.  I've just come to accept that with MS comes feeling "crappy."  It is hard to describe exactly what I'm feeling it just isn't normal so therefore I refer to it as crappy.  Trying to stay active but also get plenty of rest and hoping that will help.  Funny story - my friend Noelle and I have been walking 2 nights a week.  We motivate each other and it has been great.  Tonight I was laying in bed moments before needing to leave to meet her contemplating canceling on her b/c I had the WORST headache.  But I dragged myself to the car and on my way to the meeting spot she called and said she had the WORST day and had to cancel.  So much for us motivating each other.  I guess we both just needed a night off.  So in honor of the first day of summer I had strawberry shortcake for dinner and it was delicious!

In all honesty I am excited for summer.  I love summer and it always goes by way too fast.  I'm looking forward to a lot of time outside enjoying the beautiful weather and sun.  I need to make my summer bucket list so that I accomplish a lot of fun things!  What are you most looking forward to this summer? 

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Weekend Filled With Outside Activities

On Saturday while everyone else in Massachusetts was doing this. . .
I was doing this. . .
I took Peyton and Ella strawberry picking.  We met up w/ one of my oldest friends, Kendall and her daughter, Riley (and baby brother who will be here in September)!  We got there as soon as they opened and glad we did b/c it very quickly got hot and crowded!  We had a great time.  Here is a recap of our day in mostly pictures. . . 

PICKING STRAWBERRIES
    

EATING STRAWBERRIES
Once Ella and Riley learned they could actually eat the strawberries that is ALL they did.  Pick and eat, pick and eat.  Needless to say their baskets remained empty until Kendall and I helped.  Oh and noticed that Peyton is not eating strawberries. . . she doesn't like them but has her own snack bag!
  
HAVING FUN

FEEDING THE GOATS AND SHEEP
My favorite picture from the day is the one in the center of Peyton with the "baby" goat (her favorite).  I was w/ Ella and the sheep and I look over and Peyton is having a conversation w/ the goat and petting him or her.  She is such an animal lover.  It was sweet!  A few minutes later she told me she wanted to bring an "animal" home.  I told her she already has one - a dog and she said she wants a sheep.  I told her to ask her parents.  Ha!  Ella on the other hand did not like the goats but loved the baby sheep.  It was sweet to watch her feeding the baby.  

WAGON RIDES AND SANDBOX PLAYING
I love that these three "girly" girls who love to dance and play w/ dolls can get down and dirty in the sandbox.  They would have played there for hours.  Too cute!

Such a great day!  The girls were very dirty which is a sure sign of a fun time.  I'm still enjoying the strawberries we picked which are delicious!  We are looking forward to another playdate with Kendall and Riley soon.

SUNDAY FUNDAY WITH TAYLOR! 
 It is June and that means Taylor and I have been mentor/mentee (aka friends) for 4 years!  We are celebrating our 4th anniversary!  Tay has been through a lot in the past 4 years and I'm so glad I've been able to be a mentor and a friend to her during it all.  It has been so amazing to watch her grow up and turn into a teenager.  When I met her she was only 10 and so young!  She has really matured over the years and I have such a fun time hanging out w/ her.  We celebrated yesterday by doing one of our favorite things-going to the Public Gardens and riding the Swan Boats!!!

I know you are super jealous of our balloon hats.  We were stylin' in those and got a lot of looks from people passing by (I'm sure it was b/c they were envious and not b/c they thought we were crazy)!  Ha!

We had fun walking around the city and seeing all the Bruins signs!

We had lunch and dessert at PF Changs.  I told Taylor this would be the only shot I would buy her until she is 21!  Since these desserts were so small we also had to get an ice cream at JP Licks.  Taylor likes to eat which is great b/c so do I so we always have fun eating out.

Just acting like tourists in front of the John Hancock Building (which is mirrored for those of you who don't live in Boston)!

We had such a great day!  Happy 4th Anniversary to us!  Mentoring is AWESOME!  If you are looking for a great volunteer opportunity check out mentoring in your area.

Now check out Tay and I through the years at the Public Gardens!
An sadly we didn't make it to our favorite spot last year.  We were talking about it yesterday and neither of us could remember why.  Oh well! 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day Dad!  
Thank you for everything you do for me.  I really appreciate all of it.  Looking forward to celebrating next weekend!

  Happy Father's Day Timmy!
You are a wonderful father to Peyton and Ella and it is pretty obvious that they absolutely adore you!  Thank you always for bringing these children into my life and making me an aunt.


P.S.  My family will be celebrating Father's Day next weekend.  Today Timmy, Jenn and the girls will go to the Red Sox game and my dad and Allan will also go!  Here's hoping for a win.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Painting With The Moms

I have a lot going on this weekend so instead of trying to do one big weekend recap post on Sunday night I thought I would start now.  Tonight I went to The Paint Bar with my mom, my sister-in-law Jenn, her sister Meghan and their mom Ann.  We bought this for our moms as a Mother's Day gift knowing that it would be a fun night out and we were right!

You may remember that Jenn and I have been to The Paint Bar before.  We celebrated my birthday there in March and had a great time.  Also I won a coupon for a free class so I didn't have to pay for my class tonight.  
Tonight we painted the Boston skyline at night.  Many of you may be wondering how this all works so I took pictures of the process.  The "teacher" takes us through each step and tells us what to do.  You can follow her exactly or you can take some creative freedom and add your own style.  So before you say, "I could never do that" believe me you could!  It is so much fun and I love how everyone's comes out a bit different.  So this is mine.  What do you think????

We had a lot of fun and I think all of our paintings came out beautiful.  I love that my family gets along so well with Jenn's family.  Our families are from the same towns so we've know each other for a long time.  Jenn was two years behind me in school but we had played soccer together as younger kids and went to the same church so we always knew each other.  Many years after high school when she started dating my brother we were all pretty surprised that it was someone we "knew."  Glad he picked a good one to marry!  Haha!

We were joking tonight that Peyton and Ella should get a kick out of the fact that their mother, two aunts and both  grandmothers will all have this painting hanging in our houses.  Whenever they see Jenn's other painting they tell her how beautiful it is so I hope they approve of this one too!  I think they are our biggest fans!

For my local friends I highly recommend The Paint Bar.  The owners Jill and Jackie our wonderful and Jackie is an amazing teacher who keeps things fun all night long.  She plays music and keeps everyone going.  Oh and did I mention that the word "bar" in The Paint Bar refers to an actual bar - like a bar that serves alcoholic beverages.  Yes a little wine or beer definitely helps to make your painting look even better. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

English Holiday-Part 4

DAY 7-FRIDAY
Wow I feel like my vacation was months ago!  I really can't believe it has taken me this long to finish blogging about it.  I guess life has been busy!  I have noticed that work has been busier for me than usual which means I emotionally drained and exhausted by the end of the day and don't always feel like blogging at night.  I've also been dealing w/ some MS fatigue for the last week so that isn't helping.  On a positive note my friend, Noelle and I are walking twice a week.  She has MS too and we are motivating each other to be healthy and active.  It is great b/c there is no way I would do it on my own but since I know I have to meet her it makes me go.  I feel great and more energized afterwards!  Anyways what you really want to hear about is. . . London right!?  Here goes. . .

Have you heard of Primrose Hill?  It is a large park which is a part of Regents Park.  It is also a spot where you can see Central London!  Of course the day we were there was the one day it wasn't sunny!  We could see St. Paul's, the London Eye and a bunch of other things that I can't remember.  It was cool and also a place I had not been to when I lived in London so exciting for me to do something new.  Oh and yes I was out of breath by the time we climbed to the top of the hill - out of shape?  Nah.  It was a really steep hill. Ha!

We then walked around that area a little bit and had lunch at a cafe.  It was nice b/c we could sit outside.  Our next destination was Little Venice (aka - area where I use to live) so it made sense to walk through Regent Park to then get to a tube stop that was just one stop away from the one we needed.  We ended up spending a lot of time in the park.  We both like parks a lot and even though it wasn't a sunny day it was nice.  First thing we come across - 100s of little children dressed in white. . .what is the point of this game and are they having fun?  After watching for at least 10 minutes I still had no clue what was going on! 

We were almost to the roses when IT happen. . . Stacy spotted not one, not two, but three Cocker Spaniels.  Well let me explain.  Stacy had a Cocker (still does I guess but he lives in Boston and she lives in London).  Stacy is obsessed with Wallace and misses him very much.  So you can only imagine her excitement when she saw these dogs.  She about attacked the owner!  Ha!  She even offered to dog sit (he told her he works from home and was with the dogs all the time which translates to - who is the crazy dog lady that I just met that wants to come to my house and watch my dogs?!)  No he was very nice and I'm happy Stacy got her "fix" for the day!  But we had to keep going b/c gardens w/ many flowers were in our sight!

Who doesn't love roses?  There is just something breath taking about being in the middle of 1000s of roses.  I just can't help but smile when I look in every direction and see roses and all different colors.  I took so many pictures just trying to soak it all in and capture how beautiful is was/is.  I just couldn't stop every time I saw another "pretty one" I had to click away!  It reminded me of the rose garden at the park across from USC in Southern California which I also loved.  I wish Boston had a huge rose garden!  Anyways I digress.  Needless to say I liked it there and we had a nice time looking at all the flowers and hanging out.

Stacy and I both regret not taking off are dark jackets for the pictures!  It was a cool day but we could have been fine w/o them for the pics.  Oh well!  In additional to the roses there were so many other picturesque spots.  This was the point in the trip when my camera told me "low battery."  I wonder why?  Maybe a few to many rose pictures!?

The good thing about being there on a weekday afternoon is that it wasn't very crowded.  I love when you can have the whole place to yourself! 

Stacy and I in a sea of roses.  This time we remembered to take off our jackets!!

And then we FINALLY made it to my old neighborhood (a bit later than planned due to extended stay at Regents Park).  We walked down my old street, past my old flat and into "my" old pub, Robert Browning.  It looked the same mostly - new furniture which made it a little nice.  Still had the same neighborhood charm.  Stacy went to the loo and I ordered drinks and then the craziness started.  Let me back up and say that in general people in England don't chat w/ you in pubs and the men definitely don't buy you a drink.  It is not like Irish pubs where everything is friendly and chats your ear off and it is not like the USA where all you have to do is smile at a guy and you've got yourself a drink.  It is not like that at all.  But today, in my old neighborhood pub, while Stacy is in the loo, it happen.  An older gentleman talked to me, grabbed my hand and insisted I come closer and proceeded to tell me how lovely I was.  "Ok Stacy please pee faster and come rescue me from this man."  I'm forced to sit down.  Introductions are made.  They are friendly but an interesting crew.  Stacy returns.  More introductions.  We chat.  Stacy reads the paper.  New English friends think Stacy is "unfriendly" which gives us a good laugh.  They buy another round (for themselves).  We get a 2nd drink (really the only way we are going to survive this conversation/interaction).  The man tells us about his son serving in Afghanistan and then they start talking about politics, the war and Obama (who just so happen to be there and all over their media).  Conversation became more interesting.  We meet a woman in another group.  She is Irish.  Came to England to "start over" and is going to school.  Yes a friendly normal Irish person.  Haha!  Almost time for Billy Elliot.  Stacy and I start to plan our exit.  Man comes over and tells us for the 100th time how beautiful we are (good for a confidence boost if nothing else) and then tells us he is "pissed" which for those of you who don't know that means drunk!  Thankfully he wasn't driving home but he did plan to take the bus.  Scary!  Moments later Stacy and I head out as well.  I just laugh to myself and remember my college days when "the American students" would hang out there and all the locals would chat w/ us.  We loved it.  Some things never change. 

We didn't leave much time for walking around my old 'hood but we did walk back to the Tube via the canals.  They look just like I remember!  The blue houseboat w/ all the plants is still there.  I have a similar pic from 1995!  So many good memories brought back to me as we made our way to the Tube. 

Short on time we run into the little Italian restaurant next to the theatre.  Thankfully they are quick.  We eat some pasta and made our way to Billy Elliot.  I really don't want to re-live this next moment but quickly this is what happen.  I bought the tickets online prior to trip.  Somehow bought they for the wrong night.  Find this out when trying to pick up tickets at window.  Oh shit.  Tickets were not cheap.  Not only did the date that I had bought for happen the week earlier but we had no tickets for tonight.  Go home or buy new tickets?  Ugh!  I had to suck it up and buy us new tickets.  You only live once right?  I had come to London w/ plans to see this show and I knew I would regret it if I let money be the reason I didn't see it (especially since I had made such a careless mistake).  Stacy and I were not impressed that even though the show had started (like 5 minutes prior) the guy at the box office would offer us no deals.  He didn't feel bad for us at all even thought I was about to cry.  AND there were a ton of seats still available!  There was no way there were going to sell out so why not give us a deal on better seats?  Not going to happen so bought tix in the balcony and in we went.  It was a great show.  Somewhat depressing story line but awesome dancing.  The kid who played Billy was awesome.  Oh and during the show there was some kind of "technical difficulties" so there was an unplanned intermission which was rather long.  Stacy and I decide to look for better seats.  We walk down back stairs and ooops emergency exit only.  There was no way to get to the main floor of the theatre.  I guess they are prepared for the likes of us.  Ha!  So back up to our seats (which actually were good) we go.  We stopped and got a drink at the bar and they had a 50 pound minimum to use a credit card.  Really?  Do you really think someone is going to spend that much on drinks at the theatre?  I had no cash but thankfully Stacy has just enough for 2 drinks.  We needed them by then! 

All in all it was a great day and great night.  Oh and this night was the latest Stacy and I stayed up my whole vacation.




DAY 8-SATURDAY
We hadn't planned much for my last day.  The only thing on the agenda was a blog friend meet up!  This was the first time I met someone in real life that I only knew from blogging.  Nat lives in London.  She has MS too and I found her blog soon after I starting blogging.  Stacy and I met her for lunch and it was nice to learn more about her.  We talked about London, the Red Sox (unfortunately she is a Yankees fan but her smart finance is a Sox fan), MS, life, work and anything and everything.  It was nice.  Nat is a great girl with such a positive attitude despite having to deal w/ some of the struggles MS puts on our lives.  She faces it head on and doesn't let it slow her down!  Thanks Nat for treating us to lunch.  It was so nice to meet you in real life and if you are ever in Boston I'll take you out (and to a Sox game)!! 

That afternoon Stacy and I were low key.  We walked around a bit, went to a book store, a coffee shop (I had to have one last pastry) and then back to her flat to just hang.  We did venture back out that night for dinner in her neighborhood which was fun. 

As they say all good things must come to an end.  I couldn't believe that my vacation had gone so fast!  I did so much while I was in England and had such a nice time w/ Stacy.  

So that is the last of it!  Did you make it through this entire post.  I think I rambled more than usual.  I'm tired.  And distracted by Game 7.  By the way the Bruins are winning 3 to 0!  Yay!

So make sure you check out my other vacation posts b/c we did a lot more in England and you don't want to miss out! 

Oh and I didn't proof read this (not that I ever do) but this time I have a feeling there are more typos than usual.  Too bad!  Lol.

Game 7 - Go Bruins!!!


In honor of the Boston Bruins playing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight I thought I would repost the blog post I wrote after meeting two of the team members at work!

Reposted from November 1, 2010. . .

 The hospital that I work at is the official healthcare partner of the Boston Bruins. Today 2 of the players, Brad Marchand and Andrew Ference, came to visit some patients and staff. I got autographs from both of them but there wasn't time for me to pose for a picture w/ them so this one will have to do. They were both friendly (and super cute in case you can't tell from the pic). Work has some tickets available so hopefully I will get picked in the raffle (still have to buy them but you have to get chosen b/c there is a limited amount).

Oh and Blades came too!

The question is will I be able to stay awake tonight to watch the entire game?  I have not made it through any of the other games (but to be honest I haven't really tried).  I may or may not stay awake for Game 7 - it will depend on the score. . . I know I know die hard fans will yell at me but just keeping it real.  If it was Game 7 for the Red Sox in the World Series that would be a whole other story b/c y'all know I'd be wide awake watching!!!!

One good thing about 7 games is that we have received free cupcakes at work 7 times!  They are yummy and I guess that is a perk of being the "official healthcare sponsor."

Oh and the MWH babies born this week are sporting Bruins hats.  Check them out!

 Boston fans are really getting into the spirit of it all!!



LET'S GO BRUINS!!!!