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My Week Through Instagram

This was the longest week everrrr. No, really.

Samantha was knocked out with a mystery illness that started last Monday. When she was still running a high fever on Wednesday, I took her to the doctor where they could find nothing wrong with her aside from the fever.

Listening to their instructions, we headed back into the office on Friday (that’s us and her new polar bear in the waiting room) for blood work since the fevers hadn’t let up. Still unsure what was up, they tested her for a bunch of things including Lyme disease and West Nile virus.

Cue a weekend-long waiting game. On Saturday they told us her white blood cell count was good and they thought it was a virus. Slight breath of relief.

Since my girl couldn’t do much of anything we spent most of the week playing games. Zingo is one of her favorites (she likes to tell everyone that it’s “Bingo with a zing!”). We had to rapidly throw any chips we couldn’t use at Ellie to make sure little Godzilla didn’t tear our boards apart. She wanted to play so badly!

Come Monday my poor girl was no better. We headed back to the doctor for a physical and a follow up. This time, we saw her actual pediatrician who immediately asked me if she had been coughing when he listened to her lungs. Babycakes has pneumonia.

I never thought I’d be glad to hear that, but it was so nice to know what was going on and what we could do to make her feel better. We picked up her prescription and headed home for more games.

Side note for anyone who doesn’t have children: if you ever decide to have any, they are the perfect excuse to start playing your favorite childhood games again. We’re playing Old Maid here.

When we got bored of games, we turned to coloring. Samantha got a couple of huge coloring books for Christmas and they really came in handy this week. We both worked on this one–with a few stray scribbles from the Ellie monster.

And lest you think my little bean was all subdued and well behaved because she knew her big sister wasn’t feeling well, think again. Miss Elyssa loved having more opportunity for trouble. “Oh, momma is taking Sammie’s temperature? Perfect time to hop in the sink!”

Ellie also seriously enjoyed her first tastes of chocolate pudding. Believe me, I don’t start out with the intention of letting her get filthy. On the contrary, I really tried to feed her myself. But this girl is stubborn. When she wants something she will make a big stink until she gets it. And you know what? Pudding doesn’t cause any harm. I let her go crazy.

As wild as my little one can be, she’s also the sweetest most cuddly little thing. Shots like this are why she’ll continue to get away with murder!

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My Week Through Instagram


Last week was the first of three weeks before going back to school where Samantha has no activities. We have some things to cross off of our summer bucket list, but otherwise we have no schedule.

Let’s just say Miss Samantha works better with a schedule. She constantly needs something to keep her occupied. It’s just her personality. This shot was taken after I threw some sheets at her and told her to make a tent while I ran downstairs to do some laundry.

Ellie took her first train ride this week! She loved it. As soon as it started moving she yelled “Weeeeeee!” The rest of the ride into Manhattan was spent playing tic-tac-toe with Sam while Ellie climbed up and down off the seats like they were the best jungle gym ever invented.

We were going into the city to meet Tim’s parents at the Museum of Natural History (one of the items on our summer bucket list). The girls absolutely loved it. In fact, there are hardly any pictures of them from our visit that aren’t just a big blur from them running from one thing to the next.

The picture above is from the African mask exhibit, which is pretty awesome.

This shot is not from Instagram but from my mother-in-law’s phone. I had to share it for a few reasons. First, I needed to show proof that at times I carried my chunky little monkey around in what I couldn’t stop referring to as a papoose. Second, that I actually got her to take a nap while walking around the museum (thanks to the darkened bioluminescence exhibit). And last, to show off my little fashionista’s style. Please note her two sparkly purple headbands and her watch. The only thing missing from this shot is her sparkly sneakers.

You know a trip was successful when Samantha declares that she thinks she might take a nap (she never naps). She got comfy on the train using her new stuffed polar bear as a pillow.

The next day, my husband had a rare Friday off so we packed up the chickadees and headed to the pool. Samantha was thrilled to show off her swimming skills to Daddy while he was thrilled to splash me with the freezing water. Brat.

The quality of this picture is especially terrible, but I had to show it. It’s my mom’s driver’s license from the 80s, when she was my age now. The resemblance is a little freaky!

Last but not least, here is my monster caught in the act yet again. There was a bag of chips left over from a game night we had with friends that was tucked away on the side of the counter. Of course Ellie found it and dug right in. This is her trying to share a chip with me when she knew she was busted. That chip was in her mouth before the photo even registered.

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My Week Through Instagram

Last week was Sam’s last at camp for the summer. And I have to tell you, Ellie showed off the drama lessons she’s taken from her sister. On more than one occasion I found her looking at pictures of her sister and pouting (this one doesn’t really count because she’s going through an album of Sam’s baby pictures, but still). On one particular occasion she pouted before cooing at the photo and kissing her sister. The cuteness factor was just about unbearable.

When she wasn’t being equal parts cute and dramatic, she was terrorizing me. She learned that she can push chairs around this week (sidenote: the girl is strong. She was leisurely wandering around the house with my five-pound weight ball the other day, calling me to make sure I saw). Her new favorite activity is pushing the chair up against the counter and breaking into the massive pretzel container we keep there. She likes to take a bite out of one and then put it back in and look for one that might taste better. She also likes to stash them in the KitchenAid mixer that sits on the counter.

We got some cousin time in on Saturday. This is one of the few times these two were smiling. I swear, they’re like brother and sister. They miss the crap out of each other when they’re not together but they are at each other’s throats when they’re reunited.

Side note: I love the little devil plotting her next move in the background.

Sams had a birthday party this weekend. She’s very much into creating her own wrapping paper, which is fine by me! Boredom fighting activity + inexpensive supplies = fabulous in my book.

Speaking of cheap boredom busters, I put together a little Pinterest-inspired boredom jar on Sam’s last day of camp. That morning, all I heard was how bored she was and how there was nothing to dooooo. I had visions of hearing nothing but that phrase for the next three weeks, so I had to do something about it. Thus, my little jar of boredom busters was born.

We had planned on going to the pool yesterday, but it was all dreary and rainy so we had to turn to The Jar. It’s filled with little popsicle sticks that have fun little activities on them (more on this soon, I promise). She picked one that said “design your own t-shirt” and was absolutely dumbfounded. She could do such a thing?!

I pulled out an over-sized white t-shirt and some fabric markers and let her go to town. I’ll post a photo of her finished product soon!

Last but not least, here’s my little bean out cold–presumably dreaming of ways to make us laugh and scare the pants off her poor mother.

For more shots of our week, follow me @atouchoflovely!

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My Week Through Instagram

On Friday night, my brother Tommy had a show at a local coffeehouse. It’s been awhile since he had one and I have to say, he rocked it.

It was sort of a running joke (if you can call it that?) that I would end up crying at every one of his shows while pregnant with Ellie. I joked with my mom early on in the show that we could be sure that I’m not pregnant (don’t worry, I’m not) if I didn’t cry.

Well. I cried. Like a baby. He played a song about our dad that I had never heard before and it was heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time. For those that don’t know, my dad died from brain cancer when I was 14 and Tommy (my youngest sibling) was 8. But that’s a story for another day.

In case you can’t tell, I can’t get enough of this messy face! My friend Janine was telling me this morning that when she showed her husband this picture after I posted it on Instagram, he thought he had already seen it. He hadn’t. She’s just that messy and I just post that many pictures of her messiness. The culprit this time was a blueberry smoothie. She loved it, of course!

My husband worked on Saturday, so the girls and I decided to take a walk that morning before it got too hot. Apparently, leaving our house before 9 wasn’t early enough.

We started out with lots of enthusiasm. Sam brought her binoculars to look for birds. She even jogged a bit. But then we hit a wall. A sweaty, cranky, breathless wall. I ended up carrying her on my back for awhile. She was, however, thrilled to do a little “balance beam” action on a fence we passed. Gymnastics is her favorite Olympic sport, with diving coming in just behind it.

Later that day, we met our buddies at the riverfront for a little festival that was going on. We sweat some more, wandered through booths, had an unsuccessful experience with the bouncy slide (it was way too hot!), and found a craft table. The girls made sculptures while Ben tried to make a little print, which would have been more successful if the ladies running that station were more kid friendly. Still, the kids had a blast. We capped it off by stopping in the delicious bakery that was right by where we found parking. Ellie had (and thoroughly enjoyed) her first linzer tart.

Somewhere in our travels, the girls went headband crazy. Sam started giggling wildly when she put on one of Ellie’s headbands and then we all lost it when Ellie put on this headband, which is oversized on adults (I made it for our bohemian Bijou shoot). Ellie will do just about anything for a laugh–especially one from her big sister!

Last but not least, this one was from yesterday. We decided to go back-to-school shopping at Target after picking Sam up from camp (they’re having crazy good sales this week!). Seems she couldn’t keep those little eyes open after gymnastics and ping pong and bouncy castle jumping and whatever else she did at camp.

Follow along all week @atouchoflovely.

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My Week Through Instagram

I feel like a couple of weeks have been packed into this last one. We did so much! Let’s start with a typical morning…

Samantha generally gets up with the sun. She just can’t fathom opening her eyes, seeing that the sun is out and going back to sleep. For her that’s just ridiculous. Luckily, she’s finally at an age where she doesn’t (always) wake me up the second she gets up. Instead, she’s been making incredibly detailed drawings. One of my favorites is this mermaid she made this week (she’s still in sea creature mode from our trip to the aquarium). It’s currently framed and sitting on top of our bookshelf.

Then there’s Ellie. I like it when she finds herself in places like this. At least she’s contained…

When she’s not contained, she’s in places like this. We can no longer keep chairs around any of our tables when she’s loose. If you turn your back for a second, she pulls out a chair and stands on the table with a devilish grin.

On Friday, we went to Jumpin’ Jeepers (which is more or less a big indoor playground) with our friends. The kids had a blast. This is Ellie with her buddy Caroline.

And here she is going for a ride with her future boyfriend, Benny. The big girls were too busy running around like maniacs to get a picture.

Later that night we went to our friends’ house for a game night to celebrate Chris’ birthday. How awesome is this cake Janine’s coworker made for Chris?!

On Saturday the girls and I went to lunch with my mom. Since I usually show pictures of the mess Miss Elyssa makes of herself, I thought I’d show a shot of the mess she makes of me. This is her tomato sauce hand print on my jeans.

On Sunday, the girls and I headed out to Long Island for the first stop on our mini-getaway: my in-law’s house. This is Samantha getting serious with her bubble wand while ready for spying action with a new pair of old binoculars from her Papa.

She also got to play cards and get some cuddle time with her Uncle Colin (though their last game of Old Maid was highly contested).

The next morning we headed out to East Hampton, where my husband’s aunts have an amazing house. I have way too few pictures of the fun we had there, but that’s mostly because I spent a lot of  my time making sure my little animal was safe. Samantha did a lot of swimming (and blowing water out of pool noodles) while Ellie enjoyed throwing things into the pool for her sister to fetch.

We also wandered around town and through Sag Harbor. Samantha’s absolute favorite stop (aside from the ice cream place in East Hampton) was a sea shell store in Sag Harbor. She could have spent all day in there.

We also fell in love with this wall of vintage handkerchiefs in the house’s master bedroom. This shot does it absolutely no justice. The entire wall is filled with framed handkerchiefs that Eileen picked out. It is seriously amazing and has me and Samantha thinking of similar things we can do in our own house.

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My Week Through Instagram

Why not start off with the obligatory face stuffing photo? This shot is of my favorite little piglet thoroughly enjoying some homemade pizza that Samantha and Tim made the other day.

On Saturday, we headed over to my mom’s (for some more pizza!) for a lunch date with my sister and my fat-cheeked niece, Olivia. This little munchkin was a few weeks early, but you’d never know it. Her briefly skinny little thighs are now big and fat–and those delicious cheeks speak for themselves!

Here’s a little look at Ellie loving on her cousin. She was madly in love–a little bit too in love, with lots of grabbing and belly patting and grabbing for eyelashes. It’s so amazing to see a nurturing, maternal instinct kick in at such a young age.

Speaking of maternal instincts, Samantha has loved to take on a mommy role for as long as I can remember. I love the look on her face as she’s staring at her sleeping cousin. She decided Olivia is the cutest baby in the world–even cuter than her sister! She doesn’t give that award out often!

Because I can’t get enough of these ladies, I had to include another shot. My nephew wasn’t around for this play date, but we’ll get him in there on Saturday when we invade my sister’s house (with Ellie in tow, any visit is an invasion).

This one isn’t the best quality, but it’s my little babycakes out cold after a long day. She looks just like her big sister here.

Once our crazy girls were asleep, my husband and I were on a bit of a board game streak this week. This shot is from the most brutal game of Trivial Pursuit ever. We played for about an hour and probably answered five questions correctly–combined. We stopped after I got a piece of cheese which means I’m the superior player, right?

Yesterday was Samantha’s first day of summer camp and Ellie and I were at a bit of a loss of what to do with ourselves. She’s trying to be a crafty little artist like her big sister here while mommy tries to get some work done. Gotta love Color Wonder markers! She can draw all over herself without leaving a mark–and believe me, she will draw all over herself.

This shot is of one of the sweetest/saddest moments of the week. Ellie escaped from my clutches for a minute while I was cleaning up and this is how I found her: tucked in to her sister’s bed with the book we’ve been reading at bedtime this week with a sad little look on her face. What you can’t exactly see is that she fished a pair of her sister’s underwear out of her closet and put them around her neck before climbing up.

Follow along with my crazy Instagram adventures @atouchoflovely!

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My Week Through Instagram: Getaway Edition

So we finally took that little getaway I’ve been hoping for! It was just a short 3-hour car ride and a one-night stay in Mystic, Connecticut, but it was just what the doctor ordered. We had a blast.

We loaded everything into the car–including tons of activities for the perenially bored Samantha (who is recently obsessed with the Frankly, Frannie book series)–and were on the road by 7:30 on Tuesday morning. While we finished packing up Sam ran around the house singing “Vacation’s all I ever wanted, vacation time to get away” all morning (thank you, Chipwrecked).

There was no sleeping during the car ride but the ladies were all smiles (score!).

After Sam told us a bunch of facts about dolphins from a new book she got, Ellie decided to check things out for herself. Apparently she’s reeeeeally talented at reading upside down.

Our first stop was Mystic Aquarium, where Samantha’s excitement was contagious. This is her touching the glass as a beluga whale swims by. She thought it was pretty much the coolest thing ever.

We also saw everything from penguins (which she’s checking out here) and jelly fish to sharks and a sea lion show. The sea lions “competed” against each other, doing tricks like seeing who could bark the loudest and who could retrieve items from the pool the fastest. Samantha loved every second of it. Ellie was pretty amazed too.

After we saw everything at the aquarium, we headed to lunch at Friendly’s (Sam swears they make the best grilled cheese in the world) and then to our hotel. We hung out there for awhile, exploring, and swimming in the pool. Ellie even took a little nap (those are her toes!) before we headed out to dinner.

We decided on a place in town called Voodoo Grill. It was soooo good. We got alligator bites as an appetizer and somehow got our pickiest eater (that would be Sam) to try them. OK, so we bribed her with $4, but still. She tried them and she liked them!Elyssa loved them too–shocker, right?

I got their chicken wrap and Tim got the gumbo. It was all so delicious! Afterwards, we took a walk through town where we window shopped, listened to a band play on the water, and got some ice cream. It was an absolutely perfect day.

On Wednesday we woke up, had breakfast at the hotel and did a little swimming before heading over to Mystic Seaport. It was brutally hot out (even at 10am), but we still checked out the Children’s Museum (that’s Samantha doing laundry there), saw a show at the (airconditioned!) planetarium, and checked out a ship from the 1800s. Sam also printed a book cover at their little Art Spot and dipped candles.

When we were hot, tired, and had exhausted most of our options, we headed towards town to find some lunch. After making a couple of stops and not finding any food on the menu that Samantha would eat, we decided on Bravo, Bravo. The food was great and Ellie did a little happy dance with every bite of Sam’s pizza she ate.

We had a great time and I’m already itching to plan our next getaway. Any suggestions?

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My Week Through Instagram

We started this week off the same as last week: lots of pool time. My Ellie Bean likes to take a second to relax in her little chair, stuff some food into her chipmunk cheeks, and collect ideas for mischief making from the big kids in the pool.

There was so much pool fun last week that on more than one occasion one or both of the ladies fell asleep in the car on the way home. On this particular day, we had to make a quick stop at BJs. Ellie stayed asleep through a diaper and outfit change and (much to her big sister’s delight) slept on Samantha’s lap for most of our shopping trip.

This weekend we headed down to Long Island to visit Tim’s parents and get the girls to the beach. My little neat freak went wild and was so covered in sand that she left a huge pile of sand not only on the floor outside of the bathroom when we got back to the house but she also could have built a castle with what came off her in the tub (this was after rinsing off at the little shower at the beach, mind you).

While she went wild building a sand castle and an incredibly long road to it (which included a lot of shouting orders at her dad and grandpa), my usually messy monster refused to put a toe in the sand. I held the  stubborn little thing just about the whole time,  sure that she would eventually relent because she wanted to get in on the action. She never did!

It was hot, hot, hot on Saturday, so when we got back to the house, we got out the kiddie pool for the girls to cool off in. I had no more swim diapers (do they even work?!) and regular diapers get so huge and waterlogged (not to mention the mess if they burst), so we put Ellie in a pair of Samantha’s underwear to run around in. We couldn’t stop laughing at the sight of her tiny tush.

We left on Sunday afternoon (after Tim took care of an eyeglass emergency) and the girls slept the whole way home while my husband and I continually cooed about how cute they are.

On Mondays we always go to story hour. After listening to the story and doing the crown craft afterwards, my little princess decided we absolutely had to go to DSW and try on shoes before heading home. So we did. And she posed like a superstar.

She (of course) absolutely had to try on the most glitterific pair in the place. I’m not sure how she does it, but she finds the most sparkly pair every time.

OK, so this shot isn’t the best quality but I had to include it. Samantha has been wanting to do a sneak attack pedicure on my husband for at least a week now. We (not-so) secretly decided that if he passed out on the couch watching TV, we would paint his toes. When I looked up from my work at about 11:30 on Monday night and saw him out cold, I knew I had to wake her up. So I did. She was ecstatic. We painted his toes with a hot pink strawberry-scented polish. As Sam said, mission accomplished.

Last but not least, my buddy tried out a pottery wheel she got for her birthday while the babe napped yesterday. She absolutely loved it and I’m hoping to find a pottery class somewhere nearby for her to do next year. Can you guess what everyone’s gifts from Sam will be come the holidays?

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My Week Through Instagram (Mini Edition)

You know it’s been a busy busy week when there are little to no pictures to show for it, the floors of your house are sticky, and the girls are both sound asleep before seven. That’s what last night was like in our house.

These three shots sum up our week better than I ever could. We’ve spent most of our time at the town pool where Sam is taking swimming lessons and Ellie is getting way too comfortable with the water. The girls have been loving it, which makes it nearly impossible for me to decide to drag them home.

When we do leave, it’s usually with promises of heading to the park (which is where the shot of Ellie with melted chocolate all over her face came from. That’s what happens to chocolate covered strawberries in 90+ degree heat!).

The rest of this week will be made up of more of the same, with swimming lessons ending on Friday and a slightly more free schedule to adapt to come Monday. What have you been up to?

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My Week Through Instagram

There was so much action jammed into the last half of last week alone, I don’t even know where to begin! I guess I’ll start with Friday, which was Samantha’s birthday and her last day of school. She only went in for an hour so we saw Brave and went to lunch at Friendlys with our friends. Here are all of the (adorable) ladies lined up after the movie (which they loved):

Next up, we had a weekend full of birthday parties for Miss Samantha. On Saturday our family came over and showered her with kisses and presents.

Ellie was just glad there was cake.

On Sunday we had a spa party with a bunch of her school friends. Three of my (most awesome) friends came over to help paint nails, apply Hello Kitty tattoos and cucumbers on their eyes, and supervise a craft project (DIY details on that to come!) and ice cream sundae making.  There was lots of dancing and hilarious conversation. Here’s a sneak peek at how I made the sleep masks the girls decorated:

After we came down from our birthday/party mania we’ve just been trying to ease into a summer schedule. Samantha started (outdoor) swimming lessons on Monday and somehow it’s suddenly freezing here in NY (at least it is at 10am when it’s cloudy and breezy).

We planned on spending some time at the pool this morning but it was just too cold. Instead, we came home and snuggled up to watch Thumbelina with some popcorn and hot chocolate.

Later on (when cabin fever started to set in(, we headed out to a playground on the river. Sam loved being able to look out at the water while she played.

She also loved the “rock climbing” wall they had. I was shocked at how good she’s gotten at climbing this year and how little fear she has of it suddenly.

This is totally unrelated, but Ellie has been packing purses with random things before we go anywhere lately. She definitely has seen her sister and I load up and she wants to get in on the action.

The other day we ran out to run errands and found that she had grabbed an old book from the college years off our bookshelf and stuck it in there. I couldn’t help but laugh.

Last but not least, these posts are never complete without the obligatory filthy-faced Ellie shot. Here she is after enjoying a single Oreo.

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