Gingerbread houses, lights, polar express, puppies, elf on the shelf ... These are a few of our favorite December things!
What a jam packed weekend! We enjoyed an intimate Thanskgiving dinner with Leslie. The meal was amazing and I am proud to say I cooked the entire thing - even had all the dishes ready at the same time. Go Charlet! We had a long Skype phone call with much of our Utah family. It was awesome to catch up.
Chris took me black Friday shopping on Friday morning (nothing was open Thursday in MA). I was worried it would be super crazy shopping here but it was a much milder experience here than in Utah. We found every deal we went looking for and then some. That's a first. It was a bargain and worth the effort.
We switched the Prius rental car for a bigger car for the trek to TN to pick up the puppy. Chris, Abby and Renetta braved the 32 plus hour drive. I opted out at the last minute to hang with Leslie and the kids, do a little work (I am busy right now) and decorate the house for Christmas.
Chris, Abby and Renetta finally made it home this morning around 3 am. They were tired and the three puppies were full of energy. Ben was the only kiddo who stayed up to great them. Lucy was unsure and barked, which scared the puppies. After a bit all seemed to adjust. Nic woke up this morning beyond excited to meet Scout and see the puppies. The 3 dogs quickly overwhelmed him. He has never been around a rambunctious dog before. Lucy is so mellow. After a short time he became more comfortable and has not left Scout alone since. Fast friends.
We have much to be Thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving!
This weekend Nic and I took a short trip up to NH and ME to visit Leslie, stop by a stamp & stack and attend a puppy shower for Abby's new puppy Gracie. Gracie is a litter mate of our new puppy. This shower was so cute and would totally rival any baby shower I have ever attended. They went all out. Puns galore. We were included in the shower as well. Such a surprise and a treat! We left with fabulous gifts for our new puppy, Scout. THANK YOU!
I used the Paw Parade design I created for MDS to make a cute tag for Gracie's present.
Scout you say? Nicholas finally landed on a puppy name that all of us could agree on. We are thinking Scout! ... unless this name makes no sense after we meet him. Lol.
The stamp and stack was a great time and I made a few nice cards. The true joy was visiting with family and friends and catching up with Leslie's demonstrator who I met in 2006 at SU convention. I picked up a few tricks - check out how she lined her ink pads with the label color. Genius!
Nic had an awesome time hanging out with cousins Nina and Billy. Billy is such a pal and basically plays whatever Nic wants. A true friend.
Chris took the older boys into the city to catch a NEU Hockey game and to get haircuts at a super swanky barker. The boys look awesome and had a good time.
Tonight Chris is taking Andrew to see the Patriots! Neither of them have ever seen an NFL game before. They should have a great time but I bet it will be COLD! Chris was gifted the tickets by a nice fellow at work.
The blog has been a little lacking on the personal stuff lately. Sorry about that dear family and friends. Not sure why that is but here are a few updates ... the good, bad and boring.
1. The topcoat on our driveway finally happened. After MONTHS of followup and nagging our builder the final topcoat was laid on our driveway. Just in time for snow.
2. Leaves. When you live in the woods ... HA! Boy, we never had to deal with leaves like this before. We purchased a super fancy leaf blower and now Chris looks like a ghostbuster when doing yard work.
3. PUPPY! Yes, we are adding to our family. All of us are so exciting to meet our new little golden retriever puppy. We have yet to name him as our little family of 5 cannot come to a consensus. All I know is the dog will not be named 'drakus dark soul' (courtesy of Ben?!). He is 6 weeks old.
4. Anyone want to send a nagging text to Andrew? He needs to take the test to get his leaners permit. In MA he cannot get his license until 6 months after is permit is issued. Go ahead, permission to nag.
5. Nicholas got a haircut and now has short hair. He decided on a shorter haircut and looks so grown up!
6. Nicholas is also breaking a few house rules with scissors and pencils. Lots of things are being cut and written on that should not be. Punk!
7. This weekend Ben finished the soccer season for both of his outdoor teams. Good thing. Yesterday's game was beyond cold. Soccer with a wind chill of 20 degrees? No thanks. Nic also finished his soccer season.
8. The Mackelmore song "downtown" is a current favorite and Nicholas channels Eric Nally very well.
9. Chris is steadily working on chapter 4 of his dissertation. So close.
10. Christmas card. We did not send a card last year with all of the changes. Too hectic. We will be sending one this year. I am working on it now. I may need a current address for many of you. Drop me an email if you have a new address and want a card.
11. Andrew is joining the ski team. Conditioning starts this coming week.
12. Ben is participating in a few clubs at school; speech and, model U.N. He is currently into watching chick flicks? Lol, send him suggestions.
13. I'm taking a class (now my 2nd) at the MFA in Boston. It's nice to have a weekly assignment. Keeps me motivated.
14. The Armada is in the repair shop for all of that hail damage it received back in August. It's on week 2 of 3 - they will have to repaint the entire car. Might take longer. We have a rental car in the interim, a red Prius.
15. Chris refinished our coffee table. Looks fabulous and brand new.
16. The house... I thought I would share a few more recent pictures. And I'm not sure I ever showed you the swing sweet and shed.
Thanks for reading, lurking and otherwise stopping by. Enjoy your week!
How can 16 years have passed so quickly?! Happy 16th Birthday to our sweet Andrew. You are a handsome and strong young man with a persevering spirit! You constantly amaze us with your talents, humor and brains. We are proud of you and all of your accomplishments.
This lucky kid happened to have his birthday off from school. The day was spent doing whatever he wanted. We started with a family breakfast out, a quick shopping trip, an afternoon of gaming, an in home movie and pizza for dinner. Not a bad birthday!
Normally I put a little more effort into Halloween. This year we skated by and now, after the fact, I'm feeling a little bad about it. I did decorate the inside of the house, but we didn't even carve pumpkins. Next year. I gotta step up my game.
This year Nicholas was spiderman. Another costume recycled from when Andrew was spiderman. Yeah! I knew we saved those costumes for a reason. Nic really enjoyed Halloween. We attended the Fall Festival held at his school. It was awesome! He was excited to walk in the school costume parade (only K and 1st grade). Halloween night we went to a pizza party and trick-or-treating with a few new friends.
Ben got on the bus as Donald Trump (did his hair, wore a suit coat, slacks, dress shirt and red tie) but got off the bus as Ben Mallett. Somewhere along the route he decided not enough kids were dressed up. Instead his costume throughout the day changed from, business casual, puffy pirate, Trump and Mickey Mouse.
Andrew & Ben opted out of Halloween night festivities and decided to stay home and greet any trick-or-treaters we might get. NOT A ONE. :) I even purchased BIG candy bars for those brave souls who would trek up the hill. Instead they watched movies and chilled.
We missed spending time with the Utah family but luckily got to see cool pics of some of the cousins in costume. Nice work cousins!
This area has a ton of Halloween eye candy. I took numerous trips to various cemetery's to snap pictures.
We had a super fun weekend spent in Maine and New Hampshire. We attended the Fryeburg fair. Nicholas enjoyed the kiddie rides and all the livestock. Andrew and Benjamin and Chris really had a great time at the horse races and I enjoyed some cool exhibits. We went to breakfast with Leslie at the Stairway Cafe and then we spent all of Sunday driving around New Hampshire country and basically just checking out the gorgeous leaves that are changing color. Nice family weekend.
30 second synopsis: Early October has been very busy for the Malletts. We've gone apple picking. I'm taking a class every week at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. We stopped by the Acton firehouse and Nic played a few games. The scenery around here is becoming more and more amazing each day!!! Happy October.
This past weekend was packed with fun! We enjoyed a rare chance to catch up with Tom & Joellyn (MT). They had just finished a week long trip for the Farmer's Union to DC and decided to fly up our way to say hello and do a little sight seeing. How lucky are we? Nice meals, walking tours in Boston and Concord, and we finally went on a duck tour. We loved it ... thanks for visiting us. Come back soon!
We wrapped up a nice weekend. We attended the cutest housewarming party for Sam and Abby (Chris' cousin) and had a great time catching up with family in New Hampshire. Abby decorated her new home for the party with tons of burlap, chalkboard and wood. Super cute!
Ben had soccer games all weekend one in downtown Boston, one in Lincoln. The weather was enjoyable. Sports affords us reasons to stop in new places. A quick trip to the farmers market in Concord was beautiful and fun to snap a few pictures. I purchased a couple of HUGE mums for only 6$. Bargain! Nic participated in a vegetable derby race and won his heat. He built a car out of a large green pepper. The cars name is Pepperman.
We stopped at a coffee shop called HAUTE coffee and had a nice breakfast. Ben ordered cinnamon toast. The toast was literally two inches thick. Mom, you have competition.
Today was a holiday (Rosh Hashanah) and the kids were out of school. More holidays are celebrated and recognized here than in Utah. I cleaned and worked. Andrew had a dr. appointment to look into his elbow pain (overuse), we now have a referral to a sports medicine guy in Lexington in October.
Four hours is not enough! I spent a good chunk of yesterday exploring the Brimfield Flea market and barely scratched the surface. Booth upon booth of random goodness. Tis place is worth a thousand visits. I will be back.
I did hunt a few small goodies. Nothing too big since I went by myself and had to carry everything I purchased. Old stamps, letterpress blocks, random spools, flower frogs, maps and metal letters. I'm most excited about the mini antique iron I found.
It's here ... the first day of school for the older boys. Andrew is in 10th grade and Benjamin is in 8th grade.
We will all enjoy a long holiday weekend and then all of the boys will be in full day school starting September 8.
Say what?! How can five years have passed so quickly? Nicholas started his first day of kindergarten today (full day at that). He was beyond excited and all ready to go to school with his Batman lunchbox and Pokémon backpack. Yes, we are fully acculturated with the licensed gear.
Chris and I dropped him off at school and will see him later this afternoon. So strange to be without him. Andrew and Ben will keep me company today. They start school tomorrow.
It's so fun to receive HAPPY MAIL. A surprise in the mail is always welcome. We know so many folks moving to new addresses I decided to create a few return address stamps. I think these make great house warming gifts and it is fun to personalize the design for the person I am giving it to.
I created the DEPOT design for us. I liked this look so much and created another version for my parents. My parents just moved into a fabulous new home so I thought they should have two stamps. The second design is shown at the bottom.
Chris' cousin Abby just purchased her first home and here the stamp I made for her and her boyfriend.
As you know, I love to stamp and really all things stamp related. Creating my own designs for stamps that others can use is WAY cool. In the samples to the left I designed/typeset the art and then sent them off for someone else do the dirty work of producing. I may need to invest in my own little stamp maker ... hmm. a MINT might be in my future.
You like and want? I can make a custom stamp for you too! Contact me for details and pricing.
Summer is ending and it's hard to believe it is the last day of August. This past week was full and we enjoyed our last bits of summer. We took a day trip to Mattapoisett to pick up Ben (Ben was invited to stay a few days with a friend). Nic and I really enjoyed our visit. We spent a few hours on the beach and toured around the amazing town with new friends. So peaceful and a summer highlight.
While Ben was away I headed up to Nashua, New Hampshire for an afternoon with Andrew and Nic for some back to school shopping. It was a quick trip (Nashua is about 40 minutes away). Nashua has a ton of the big name shopping stores (and a Costco) with the benefit of NH tax free shopping.
We love playing tourists. Saturday we headed to the city to continue sight-seeing and walk a bit more of the Freedom trail. This trip took us to Faneuil Hall and the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence was read from the balcony in 1776. We toured the Museum and brushed up on Revolutionary War facts. We even visited the "Historic" 1980 Beacon Hill Cheers Bar location and ate some grub at a Cheers replica.
We snuck in a play set just before the end of Summer. Nic is beyond happy. He loves his new clubhouse and slide. The weather has been perfect here for the last week and it's made being outdoors really enjoyable. The humidity is giving us a break.
The playhouse is huge but luckily we have the space. This would have never fit in our Sandy backyard. It makes our yard feel much more homey. The playhouse has an area for a sandbox. I plan to add sand underneath the play house one bag at the time of the next while. We'll see how that goes ...
Other highlights from last week; kindergarten orientation - Nic is beyond excited!!!, a visit from Leslie, visit from Abby and Sam, yard work—the hillside is free of weeds, bike rides, crafting, a new countertop area for my craft space, and lastly a bunch of work. Yeah for work!
Can I also just note how much I LOVE full weeks? LOVE. THEM.
A few updates from August:
Getting back into life and routine here in Mass. The weather has been hot and muggy. Some say usually muggy. We are finally enjoying a yard and continuing on yard work/improvements. Weeding is never ending in the woods.
This kids are great and enjoying the last bits of summer. Nicholas lost his first tooth! Andrew started Drivers Ed and recovering from a a sore elbow from tendonitis (we think). Ben is ramping up with soccer again and is working on his unpacking and organizing his bedroom (he finally got that loft bed he was promised). They all start school here in early September.
We've packed in a few city trips and have tried to act like tourists to become more familiar with our area. Boston is a great city, we need to "visit" more often.
I've been working, freelance, side projects and a bit of craft stuff. I'm still unpacking and organizing the house, if you can believe it?! We have so much stuff to get rid of. I need a DI drop off. Funny what you miss. Chris is head down and working hard. Loves his job. Life is good.
The summer fun continues ... I took the boys up to New Hampshire and Maine this weekend to visit Leslie (Grammy), Nina and Billy. We needed to pick up Lucy so we decided to make a fun event of it. We started the weekend off with dinner at Delani's Hole in the wall. Leslie, Ben and Billy tried sushi for the first time. They are not fans.
We stayed over at Grammy's house with the cousins where the older kids slept very little. Andrew pulled an all-nighter which contributed to his great mood the next day. The next morning we headed off to Storyland for a full day of Nursery Rhyme fun and rides. Nicholas was totally into it and really enjoying it and the older kids tolerated it until we found the coasters and water rides.
Here are a few more pictures from our Utah trip that I wanted to post. These were on my phone and I had planned to post last week but couldn't because I left my phone in Utah. Doh. Now that I've been reunited with my gadget I thought I'd post the last few fun filled days in Utah. We had a blast and miss everyone so much already. Until next time!
We returned to Boston late last night, got to our home around 1:30. Chris picked us up at the airport and we were all very excited to see him. Our flight was turbulent but the plane we traveled on was amazing. We flew Delta, which we always do, but this was the first time we've ever been on this type of plane. USB and 110 power outlets in every seat. Seemed like way more leg room (we were row 44 all the way in the back). I'm not a plane geek but this sure was awesome. The kids dug it too.
The house faired well without occupants for the few weeks while we are gone. The yard, not so well. Crab grass has taken over the new lawn. Lots of mail and bills to pay. Three weeks is a long time. The house feels empty and not the same without Lucy. We will drive up to Leslie's home in Maine and pick her up later this week. We are so excited to see her.
We missed the great Boston hail storm that happened on Tuesday but our car did not. Read this article and you'll see why we need to get some bodywork done. The Nissan got pelted really hard, 20-30 little dents all over it.
We are cramming it in! Visits with friends, pool, park, lagoon, card club, cousins, sleepovers, movies, bowling ... you name it we are going to try and fit it in. Enjoying our summer vacay!!!