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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Put the Cushions Back on the Couch!

And this is why our next couch will have cushions that are ATTACHED.  I'm thinking dark leather.
"But it's so much fun Mom!"  
Daddy will be putting them in time out when he gets home because I am so sick of this trick.  
What are your kids continually doing to piss you off?

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Aidan's Family Tree.  Interesting.

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Queen of the Road T-Shirts Are Here!

The T-shirts have arrived and they're C.U.T.E.!  

Don't you want one?  Join our Chevy Queen of the Road Team this Sunday on the Esplanade at 8am and walk 5 miles for a cure with us!  Thank you so much to those who have already donated!  It means the world to a lot of women!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Toe Jam

God, I miss that baby face.  Aidan 10 months ago...

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fostering the Home-School Connection with Shared Writing

Shared Writing from Kindergarten
On Friday, Emily hopped off the bus and darted in the house with excitement and ripped open her backpack to pull out this large piece of chart paper with M words written all over it.  She was so happy to share it with me and read all the words on the list.  We love this!  Emily felt so special and it's a great way to cultivate the home-school connection.  We hung it up for everyone to see and she loves reading the list to everyone who comes through our kitchen!  Can't wait to see more shared writing come home from kindergarten!  Way to go Mrs. W!

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Swaddle Designs: Marquisette Swaddling Blanket Giveaway

Ok, ok, you've read my post about how important sleep is (for baby and momand how we do it in our house.

One way we got our babies to sleep well in this house was with a tight swaddle.  Chris is far better at swaddling than I am.  It takes lots of practice and a big, stretchy, square blanket!

So today, I am giving away a beautiful swaddling blanket from SwaddleDesigns, just because I can.  It's adorable.  It is made from premium openweave lightweight cotton and even has swaddling instructions sewn on to the blanket ~ how handy is that?  (Good reminders for sitters and grandparents!)

The Marquisette Swaddling Blanket can also be used for tummy time when baby is awake and as a privacy throw while nursing.  And  Swaddle Designs offers a guide to safe sleeping, which all moms should check out.  So if you would like to have this *NEW* swaddling blanket in Sea Crystal with Mocha Mod Circles from SwaddleDesigns, here is what you have to do:

Good luck!  Contest ends on October 1st at midnight (EST).  Winner will be picked using random.org.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

My Kid Won't Nap

I hear this crap a lot.  "Oh, you're so lucky.  My son stopped napping when he was two."  Or, "Mine never napped."  "Isn't she too old to be napping?"

Hell no, I'm 34 and I'm still napping once per week!

I'm a firm believer in following through and teaching your kids healthy sleep habits from the minute they get home from the hospital.  You need a tight swaddle (enter my giveaway for an adorable swaddling blanket here), the right temperature (hats help!) and a CRIB!  Get them into that crib as soon as you can!  They don't call it sleep training for nothing!  

Napping is a lot like bedtime, not always easy, right?  Is there a daily fight with my 3 year old at 1pm when I put him up for his nap?  You betcha.  But the minute I get him up those stairs, sidetrack him and get his Pull-Up on, he's all ready for a story and some tickles in his big boy bed.

My kindergartner will still give me 1-2 naps/week, usually on the weekend.  
My three-year old will take a 2 hour nap every day, sometimes longer.
My 15 month old will take two (2) hour naps  (sometimes it's one long 3-4 hour nap when we're on the go)

Honestly folks, I think it's harder to follow through and put the kid in for his nap some days.  It would be easier for me to give in and let him stay up and watch some television.  But he's a growing boy, a boy who needs his rest, a boy whose brain needs sleep in order to develop properly.

Good Sleep = Smart Kids with great working memories and more ability to learn and concentrate.

Who doesn't want that?  So please, don't skip out on the nap.  I know we're all busy moms, but our kids need their rest.   Create structure and a nap routine early because it pays off, big time.  Well rested kids are happy, intelligent kids.   When they miss a nap or have a crazy busy weekend, the crankiness is quite obvious.  And does napping hinder bedtime?  NO!  In fact, the more well-rested they are, the easier the bedtime is in this house. Napping improves their night sleep.  They still go to bed at a decent hour.  (Usually between 8 and 8:30)  Kids love routine and structure, especially around sleep.  Give them what they need and put them in for their naps. Don't just rely on cat naps and napping in the car.  They need so much more than that.  Please don't drag them all over town and expect them to be chipper and well behaved.

One of my favorite sleep resources to turn to is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.   It's definitely worth a read if you are looking for some sleep strategies for your kids.  The book delves deep into preventing and fixing sleep problems that can occur in babies, toddlers, school aged children and even adolescents.

What's your take?  Do your kids take naps?  Is it a learned behavior?  Do you think they're getting enough sleep? Or do you think that you may need to re-evaluate?

Good night.

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Walk With Me: "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer"

Chevy has been a part of life’s journeys for 100 years – even the detours. And when it comes to detours in life, a breast cancer diagnosis presents a monumental challenge not only for the patient, but for friends and family members, too. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women (excluding skin cancer). Chances are it’s touched the lives of someone you know.

That is why Chevrolet and the American Cancer Society are partnering to save lives and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays – by helping people stay well… helping people get well, by finding cures… and fighting back! Join your local Chevy dealers in support of the Making Strides Against breast cancer events throughout October.

On Sunday, October 2nd, Chevy Queen of the Road will be walking to support this amazing cause and we are looking for more members to add to the team. Now’s the time to get involved by signing up to walk or by giving a donation by clicking 
here.  No donation is too small and I need some walking buddies.  I plan on walking 5 miles, but you can choose 2 or 5!  Please join us.  You'll love our T-shirts!  

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

I ♥ CVS!

Something amazing happened today at CVS that you should all know about.  I went in for a quick run with about 8 minutes to spare.  I grabbed what I needed, went up to the super friendly cashier and told her I had a 25% off coupon in an email and asked if she would accept that coupon from my phone.  She replied, "Yes, I just need the digits to enter it."

So I quickly read the email and clicked on the button to retrieve the digits.  But get this, no digits needed.  CVS has made life so much simpler.  There was a red button on the email saying "Send to Card."  Really?  How easy is that?  The cashier had never heard of this method before and we were both very impressed.  It's NEW!  Sure enough, when she scanned my CVS Extra Care Card, the 25% off coupon appeared in the system and was activated!  How do you like that?  I really like that.  And to think it was all done from my phone.  Oh, the conveniences of modern technology!


Don't forget to create your online account to see savings and receive coupons from your local CVS store!  You can also manage your prescriptions with the click of a button!  This mommy thanks you, CVS!  Kudos for coming up with a method that saves time for us busy mommies!  Try it next time you visit!  

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My Little Readers

So I'm back at work and we're in full swing in grades K-4.  We're currently assessing our students in reading, as we do three times/year and I'm absolutely in love with the kids I am working with.  This year I am lucky enough to be working in two kindergarten classrooms, one first grade and one second grade.

So my kindergartners are precious.  We're not assessing them just yet.  But we are working hard in our language arts centers.  It's amazing to see what abilities they possess as they enter school.  Some are already reading and some still cannot write their names.  Some can sit still and listen, while some have never been to school before and are learning to keep their bodies in control and raise their hand to speak.  Let me tell ya though, they are all eager to learn and they are all so excited to read, sing and rhyme when I call them over to my center.  They are such amazing little people, and they're pretty darn cute too.  One little girl sang "Did you ever see a sheep in a jeep?" with such gusto and vibrato that I nearly fell off my little blue chair!  They are just darling and I love them all.  It's so nice to be with them in September and not be on maternity leave!

And then there are my first and second graders.  Again, I'm in love.  I get to see them one-on-one for a reading assessment and I just adore our conversations.  Yesterday I learned about one little boy who loves his cat so much that he snuck him into the car while the family was headed to Stop & Shop!  He said his mom was pretty mad when they got to the store!  Wow.  I complimented one little boy on his fabulous eyes and eyelashes and he told me, "God just made me this way, I just got ones that are betterer."  And a superstar reader in first grade who just moved into town blew my socks off with his reading abilities.  I asked him what brought him to Foxboro, and he told me "pods and moving trucks."  Duh, Mrs. Stow!  God, I love these kids.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm tired.  But it's my favorite time of year with these kids.  I'm getting to know so many new friends and getting lots of hugs from my old ones.  These are some pretty independent, funny, energetic, motivated souls and I'm so lucky to call myself their teacher.  Thanks for helping me LOVE MY JOB!  You are all superstars!  Let's READ!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dear Lurkers

I can see you.   I know you are out there reading my blog,  you lurky lurkers you.  But it's time to come out of the woodwork, introduce yourself, maybe reintroduce yourself, or just say hi.  Maybe we taught together somewhere, maybe I taught your kids, or even worse, maybe I taught you!  Maybe you waxed my eyebrows once or twice, or maybe you met me out at a bar.  Or maybe you've seen me from afar and never said hi.

It would be really cool if  all you L dogs could hit me up on Google Friend Connect and JOIN THIS SITE over there ---------------> on the sidebar.  I have 98 followers.  I want that number to be in the hundreds. Pretty please?

Honestly, thanks for coming here and reading and watching.  You have no idea how much it means to me.  Hopefully you are enjoying some of  the craziness and finding Stowed Stuff to be somewhat helpful, funny, and/or entertaining.  I promise:  some really cool contests are on the way!  Stay tuned!   And as always, thanks for reading.  Go ahead and leave a comment.  I dare ya.

Muah ♥
-Annie
xxxx
 

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One Hell of a Crock Pot Chili

Today was pretty damp and bleak.  Before I left work, I called up a couple of chili recipes to print out before heading to the grocery store.  I tweaked a recipe from About.com and just made it easier on myself by using a chili seasonings packet!  We'll see how it compares to the recipe I shared last year when I was really motivated! And sorry, no time for homemade bickies today.  Let's be real.


Crock Pot Chili with time-saving liner!
Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1 package of Ortega Chili Seasoning
  • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 14 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14 oz. can of of chili beans, undrained  (kidney or pink)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat. 
  2. Drain and transfer beef to the crock pot.  Add the remainder of the ingredients.
  3. Cook on high, 4-5 hours or low, 6-8 hours.
  4. Just before serving, check to see if it appears too watery.  If so, remove 1/2 cup liquid and stir in 1 tbsp. of cornstarch.  Cook until thickened, about 15 minutes.  
  5. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.  Serve with buttermilk or cornbread biscuits and chips!  YUM!

*I'm a big believer in Reynolds SlowCooker Liners!  If you don't have them, get them next time you are at the grocery store.  It will save you a lot of time on the clean up!  No soaking or scrubbing!  And this time,  just good ol' Stop & Shop Jumbo Buttermilk Biscuits!  Here's hoping the kids will eat it!

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Emily Cam: The Debut

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Two Brows

"Beware of those whose eyebrows meet
For in their heart, there is deceit."  
-words spoken to me by my mother my whole life

Brennan eyes, now getting old and tired, full of wrinkles and yes, if left unkempt, is ultimately one long unibrow.  (If you know a Brennan or a Connelley, please check for one or two brows.)  I've been getting them waxed since I was about 16 years old.  

So I make the call every 6 - 8 weeks.  But today I saw a "new" girl.  Marisa wasn't available, along with all my estheticians from yesteryear. 

She closed with these remarks..."Oh, these are my best yet."  I said, "Really?"  She said, "Oh, yes.  Your hair was made for waxing and don't let anyone mess with those arches."  Hmmm.  I'm thinking today could have been her first day on the job.  What d'ya reckon?  If you look closely, you can still see a few stragglers.  

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Friday, September 16, 2011

My First 5K is Just Around the Corner

So do you want to know what the best thing is about signing up for a 5K? You feel committed. Once you sign up, you have to start running. I tried to start running last spring, but only ran a few times over the summer months, mainly because it's too bloody hot to run! Chris kept telling me, you'll enjoy it more in the fall. It's so much easier.

And then, on September 16th, a fall blast of cool air arrived. And who's signed up to run her first 5K this Sunday morning? Yup, it's the day after tomorrow and I'm nervous! So earlier in the week, my amazing baby-sitter who I often boast about, tells me she bought a brand new pair of Reebok running shoes from the concept store (brand new items at half price for friends and family) that are super cute and in reality, are too small for her. They were so cute, that she thought she should buy them anyway and make them fit. That, along with another cute pair in the next size up. She brought them in, let me try them on, and told me I could keep them!  So not only is she the best sitter on the planet, she's now our personal shopper!  They looked big and I'm never a 9.5, but they do run small. How cute are these Reebok RealFlex? Pink and orange, yeah baby! But how will they actually work out as a running shoe?
Reebok RealFlex
I just went out for a test-run on Sunday's course.  I ran 2.5 miles (without stopping) and the new kicks are amazing.  No problems, no blisters, fit like a pair of socks, pliable, lightweight, AMAZING.  I love them.  They made running fun today.  That, along with this mighty fine weather that allowed me to wear pants...no bad shorts causing any chafing.  Ahhhh, running weather!

But what should I have for breakfast on race day?  How much water should I be drinking between now and race day? What if I have to go pee?  Or worse?  These are the things "running" through my head.

So it may seem silly, it is just a 5K afterall, but I'm proud of myself for coming this far.  I hope I have motivated or inspired some others out there to start something new and get fit ~ even if you're starting small like me. I'm already looking forward to signing up for my next one.  It's amazing what a $20 registration fee and an official date can do for the soul.  I know I can do this.  At least I'll have the cutest sneaks.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Stowe Cowboy!

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stowe Mountain Resort: Summer Attractions

After missing our carriage ride at Trapp Family Lodge, we decided to head over to Spruce Peak at Stowe to spend the day at their summer attractions, located at the base of Mount Mansfield.  We were glad that we had driven the Toll Road the day before because we felt like we couldn't have jammed it all into one afternoon.  The kids were having WAY too much fun!
Vermont's highest peak offers tons of fun.  First, we took the eight passenger gondola ride to the summit of Mount Mansfield.  I had never before been to the mountains in the summer, so I really enjoyed myself.  The views were spectacular.  You can pack a picnic or enjoy lunch on the summit at the Cliff House Restaurant.  


Alpine Slide!

I did manage to get on my first ever ride on the alpine slide!  Whew!  That was so much fun and Aidan and I went really fast.  He really enjoyed the ski lift ride up to the top too.  So different in the summer!  And boy was I envying all the beautiful couples dining on the veranda of The Cottage at Stowe Mountain Golf Club as we drove away at sunset.  I was ready to ditch the kids and get my cocktail on.  Absolutely breathtaking.  Next time, next time...


Happy Girl

We all know Emily loves to jump!  Her favorite attraction was the bungee trampolines.  You only have to be 20 lbs. to take advantage of the fun!  (Owen even could have bounced!)  Believe, me I was tempted to try it myself.  The inflatable obstacle course was really fun for Emily too!


So the resort was absolutely killer, with building and renovations still taking place in some of the residences.  I couldn't leave without checking out the place.  Yes, it's pricey.  High season (such as skiing on MLK weekend) in a room with a queen bed and pull out couch could could cost you up to $799/night!  During the summer, that same room goes for about $269/night.  But they did mention that they often have last minute deals online and rates can be super reasonable if you are able to escape mid-week.  Chris and I cannot wait to get the gang on skis. This might just be our winter.  They even have ski valet service ~ where your ski gear is never seen once you call it quits for the day!



King Bed with Soft, Organic Linens
Balcony View from Interior of Stowe Mountain Lodge

So if you are looking for a high end ski vacation that's just up the road (just 3.25 hours from Boston), I highly recommend Stowe Mountain Resort.  Oooooh, La La!   And if you have the chance next summer, it's so worth the trip!  
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Disclosure:  We were given an All Day Attraction Family Pass to facilitate this review.  Many thanks to GoStowe.com

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What Happened to My Jugs?

I don't know about you, but when it comes to orange juice, I am loyal to one and only, and that's Tropicana.  As a kid, I didn't particularly care for o.j.  I can remember starting to LOVE it, however, in high school.  I also remember all the other brands out there that some of my friends' moms bought, like Sunny D and Minute Maid. Bleh!  Nothing compares to Tropicana.

The new look of Tropicana Orange Juice
I also remember traveling outside the United States to Ireland and England as a kid and not having my Tropicana.  I drank whatever I was given, but heck, it was never as good as Tropicana.  And then I spent a semester in the beautiful country of Australia, and they didn't have Tropicana either.   Yes, I pulled through it somehow, but those were some rough mornings.  Tropicana was one of the things I missed most while studying abroad, and upon re-entry, I savored our mornings together.  Bad orange juice sucks.  You know, like the kind you get on an airplane in the clear plastic cup with the pull back foil lid.  Not good, right?  Not good at all.  

So, I was at Stop & Shop yesterday, looking to pick up my Tropicana Pure Premium, No Pulp with Vitamin D Added (that's how I like it.)  But I couldn't find ANY!  "Were they on an end cap, are they sold out?"  And then... I found them in their beautiful new clear bottles!!  Phew!  I think my juice looks so fresh and pretty with its new look!  I hope I look that good on Sunday after my first 5K.  Lord knows, I'll be needing my Tropicana Sunday morning.  Isn't it pretty?

So what's your favorite orange juice?  Or are you like me ~ absolutely hooked on Tropicana, and Tropicana only?  It's a Connelley/Stow staple. Don't mess with our orange juice.  Thanks mom, for buying the right kind all these years.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Dutch Pancake Cafe: Not Worth It.

The night before...
As you know, we recently went on an adventure to Stowe, VT and had a wonderful time -- except for an absolutely horrendous dining experience at The Dutch Pancake Cafe on Saturday morning.  The night before, we ate at their dinner restaurant, The Pub at the Grey Fox Inn, which was a good experience overall (delicious burgers and GREAT service), so we figured we had nothing to lose, right?  WRONG.

Here's what went wrong at The Dutch Pancake Cafe on a Saturday morning in August:

  • No greeting from a host when we walked in.  Had no idea who to see to put our name down.  We finally found a server, who took our name.  However, people who came in after us managed to get on the list before us because of major disorganization.  
  • A LONG wait (30 mins) standing in a hallway with nowhere to sit.
  • Finally seated at a 4 top with our family of 5 (not to mention, no buckle on the dirty high chair)
  • Kids' milks served in very tall glasses (no lids, no kiddie cups) with no straws which of course spilled.
  • Our kids were starving.  So, we put their order in as soon as the server came, hoping for the best with three hungry kids.
  • Kids' pancakes never arrived until just before the rest of our order.  UNBELIEVABLE.
  • We waited 45 mins for our pancakes.  Yes, that's right.  These are crepe style pancakes.  Server was nowhere to be found, no reasoning behind the long wait, no one checking in to see what the hold up was.  No refill on the coffee.  Just GOD-awful with a screaming child.  I had to get up and walk around with my poor, starving baby and still, no one batted an eyelash to check on us or our order. Still no food when I came back.  Daddy took a turn outside with the baby and STILL NO FOOD WHEN HE CAME BACK!  MINUS, MINUS, MINUS.  I really thought they went to the Netherlands to get the frying pans to make our pancakes.
  • After all the talk we'd heard about this place, it was a MAJOR let down.  Mostly due to the extremely poor service and out-of-this-world prices for fancy crepes.  I think our bill was over $80.00 for breakfast!!!!!  (coffee, 2 OJ's, 2 milks, 2 kid pancakes, 2 adult pancakes)
  • Worst part of all, was that we missed our carriage ride at the Trapp Family Lodge by just 15 minutes because breakfast at The Dutch Pancake Cafe took 2 hours!  I was so disappointed and so were my kids. Breakfast should certainly not be this stressful.  Don't worry, I made it up to them, like any good mom would.
The kids in a meadow at Trapp Family Lodge

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Emily's First Soccer Game


Adorable footage from today's big game.  No goalies, playing for fun and learning some skills from Coach B!  I'm so glad she's enjoying it.  

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Friday, September 09, 2011

5 Things I Learned This Week As the Parent of a Kindergartner

  1. The 1 o'clock poop is now the 3:40 poop.  The quicker that poop comes out of that Kindergartner, the better.  Those are some stinky farts.  
  2. Being on the other side of the school building is crazy.  I'm a parent of a school-aged child now and I am leaving my girl in the hands of others for 7 hours/day.  Yes, I'd love to be a fly on the wall, but I know she is in good hands.  Teachers are wonderful people.  
  3. It's an amazing feeling watching her step on and off that bus each day with a big smile.  I am so proud of her.  She's got the whole world waiting for her.  
  4. Kindergartners need a 2nd lunch after the 3:40 poop.
  5. Thank your child's teacher.  They work hard and they're dedicated.  If your child had a great start this week, I recommend taking a minute to thank him/her.  It's a rarity these days and it's much appreciated.   

We made it into our local newspaper, the Foxboro Reporter!  

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Chevy Traverse: Great on Gas!

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Night Before K

This kid is going to Kindergarten tomorrow.  Wow.
Brand New Emily Stow 11/27/05
And this kid is going to preschool tomorrow.  Wow.
Brand New Aidan Stow 7/13/08
And what could be more fitting than this?  I know I'm going to cry.  And I will cry again on Wednesday morning when the bus comes to pick her up for the first time.  But I am so excited for her.  My girl is growing up.  

The Night Before Kindergarten

‘Twas the night before kindergarten and as they prepared,
kids were excited and a little bit scared.

They tossed and they turned about in their beds,
while visions of school supplies danced in their heads.

Erasers and crayons and pencils galore
were stuffed in their backpacks and set by the door.

Outfits were hung in closets with care,
knowing that kindergarten soon would be there.

In the morning it came – school starts today!
Would the teacher be nice? Would they still get to play?

Faces were washed, and teeth were brushed white;
Kids posed for pictures with eyes sparkling bright.

Parents packed snacks and kids hopped in cars
As if they were boarding a spaceship to Mars.

Some kids brought blankets or their favorite stuffed bear;
in hopes they could nap like they did in day care.

Their parents exclaimed: “You’re big kids – WOW!
Let us hold your bears and blankies for now.”

The parents were worried their children would cry
if they left them at school with just a good-bye.

So they told their darlings, “If you want, we can stay
and make sure that everything will be A-okay”
The teacher then greeted each one with a smile,
and invited the students to stay for a while.

The room was all filled with toys, books, and maps,
but where were the beds for midmorning naps?

They colored and painted and played Simon Says,
then tumbled and skipped and stood on their heads.

They sang silly songs from beginning to end.
Within just a minute, each kid had a friend.

The children were happy. They loved Miss Sunrise
It was she who was in for a giant surprise.

When what to her wondering eyes should appear
but sad moms and dads who were holding back tears!

Their noses – so sniffly! Their eyes – red and wet!
This was the saddest good-bye Miss Sunrise had seen yet!

She gathered the grown-ups on the magical rug,
then sent them away after one final hug.

The children all waved from the door of the school.
“Don’t cry, Mom and Dad; kindergarten is cool!”


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Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Spa at Topnotch: Stowe, VT


I know I told you about our wonderful stay at Topnotch Resort & Spa a few weeks ago when we took the Traverse up to VT.  But what I haven't told you yet is how amazing their signature treatment, The Mount Mansfield Saucha is.  OMG, heaven.


I've had massages in the past, but I've never experienced anything quite like this before.  I was truly, purified and left feeling like a floppy noodle.  The Saucha starts out with a sea salt exfoliation with hot towels to remove tired skin and improve circulation.  Then I was wrapped in thick linen sheets steeped in a detoxifying blend of Vermont herbs and flowers.  It was hot, but it felt so good and it was so relaxing.  Then, the final stage of the Saucha includes a full body aromatherapy massage.  It was just what I needed. I highly recommend the Mount Mansfield Saucha.  My therapist, Courtney, was so friendly and made me feel so comfortable the entire time. Thanks so much, Courtney!


The spa itself is beautiful.  I felt like my husband and kids were on another planet.  And what's great is that Topnotch gives you access to the Ladies Lounge and all areas of the spa for the entire day of your treatment. Relaxing for sure.  Just don't forget to bring your bathing suit like I did.  I would have loved a few minutes in the whirlpool tub and a quick dip in the pool before going back to reality.

Next time you are up in Stowe, head directly to The Spa at Topnotch!  Comfort + Relaxation = One Happy Mom. I can't wait to go back!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Disclosure:  I was given a complimentary spa service from Topnotch to participate in this review.  All opinions are my own.

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Friday, September 02, 2011

This Pretty Much Sums It Up...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Irene Wins

During the storm, we jinxed ourselves.  Pretty badly.  I made fun of "Big I" and asked her if that was all she had for us.  We managed to drive through town, take pictures of the downed trees and wires, publish a blog post and feed and bathe the kids all before the power went out at 7pm on Sunday night ~ well after the storm had passed.

We then heard that power may not be restored for 3-5 days.  What?  My brother called and asked if that was a joke.

Apparently not.  I couldn't hack it with 3 kids who didn't understand why the t.v. wouldn't turn on.  We didn't last long in the land of no power.  Tillerman and Tillerwoman called bright and early on Monday morning while I was out on a "look at what Irene did" tour of our town.  Holy smokes.

I had to drive to the next town over to find a Dunks that was open.  Almost crashed the Traverse trying to finagle my way to the drive-thru!  We got the last chocolate munchkin and donuts were completely sold out.  It was a mad house.

We went back to the house to gather up some clothes for what we thought would be an overnight to Tiverton, RI.  Just kidding, you'll be sleeping there and commuting to work for the next 3 nights.

I tried to keep it positive.  At least it was summer and we didn't need heat.  We are so lucky to have relatives close by that we could rely on for good food and lots of light and stellar baby-sitting.  I was happy about the super close Dunks location and hot showers each day before work.  But boy, do I remember how much I hate commuting.

Work was fun.  But with each passing day without power, I became grumpier and grumpier.  I began to obsessively check the National Grid outage map for any clue as to when we might regain power.  Information was hard to come by.  When we heard Patriot Place was back up and running on Tuesday, we were hopeful.  The wait continued.

Today, I was hopeful.  I knew Dad was with me on all those drives on route 24 because I must have seen about 15 A. Duie Pyle trailer trucks on the road.  They always made dad laugh and remind me that he's watching out for me.  So power must be on its way.  For sure.

So after 3 nights and no promise of power, I gathered up our stuff and my 3 kids and took them back to the Land of No Power.  On the way, every house was lit up.  I pointed out the window screaming "LIGHTS ARE ON!"  to Emily and Aidan.  They were with me.  They believed.

As we pulled up to 4 Standish I was ready.  I stalled and got the mail out of the mailbox.  I pushed the garage door opener....but it only opened under its ssssslllllllllllloooooooooowwwwwww battery back-up.  Are you kidding me?  90 + hours and still nothing? All my other friends were getting it back, why not us?

I was getting depressed.  What if it's not until Saturday?  Why did we come home?  What was I thinking?  What about the milk that's getting warm?  I quickly got on Facebook and asked if anyone had any ice to spare.

Tick, tick, tick.  We played outside for a while and I put the baby to bed.  My mind wandered.  What if it's another few days?  "I hate National Grid!"

I went into the garage and stared at the overhead light connected to the garage door opener.  It's always on.  Just come on.  Please come on.  I started to stare at it and chant in my head, "Please come on NOW, please come on NOW, please come on NOW..."  And then I said to myself, this is ridiculous.  This is worse than watching paint dry. But just as I thought that...BINGO...on came that little garage light and all that wonderful basement noise!!!!  I went nuts and scared my five year old with all my screaming and hollering.  POWER!  Thank you Jesus!  After 94 hours, I was ready.

Yes, Irene, you got the last laugh.  It was rough.  94 hours is a long time.  I feel like throwing a Power Party.  I'm a happy girl tonight.  It's amazing what a little electricity can do for the soul.

My bare necessities.  My clean fridge.  Aidan keeps asking,  "What happened to our food?"


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