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a year in recap

Talk about abandonment! It’s been just over one year since I’ve sat down, cozied up and shared on this little space. There are many reasons for not writing, but none of them are valid enough to break my intention of writing a blog. When I first started, I used this as a place to update family and friends on major (& not so major) life events but really, when the tough events started popping up, I backed away and closed up shop. As mentioned in one of my last posts, there is always so much to say, its just been a struggle to understand the “whys” and the “hows” of current happenings in an articulate manner. This space just didn’t feel like the right venue to hash out said events for my family.

2013-12-08 16.09.16While we are still hashing, there are many good (& some not so good) updates to share. So, in a nutshell — Evelyn turned last December – her birthday present was us announcing her sister (she’ll understand and thank us for that present later, right?)! In February we had caving ceilings so we moved in with my mother in law, repaired ceilings, renovated our bathroom (still in progress:: yes, 8 months later..pictures to come!), and celebrated the lives of two very important people in our lives: Sam’s grandmother MomMom and my grandfather, Jerry. Both celebrations of life were tough and beautiful.

Pregnant in Costa Rica

In April, Sam and I took a honeymoon to Costa Rica. It was beautiful! Being five months pregnant put a damper on some of our planned adventure activities and the all inclusive benefits (just for me) but the time away to reconnect was wonderful.

And to the biggest & BEST event of the past year: we welcomed our beautiful, healthy baby girl, Eleanor ‘Nora’ Dianne Weinstock to the world on July 30th.

Nora Dianne

Evelyn adjusted so well immediately to being a big sister. When she wakes up in the morning, she says, “Daddy? Wyatt? Baby?” meaning these are the first cuties I want to lay eyes on each beautiful morning. She gives Nora kisses, asks to hold her and bossily tells me where to place her when either she wants to push Nora in the swing or wants Mom to grab a snack from the kitchen. Luckily, Nora is such an easy baby, I have not felt as though Evelyn has been neglected due to feedings or the baby’s needs at all. It’s been a really healthy mix of attention to both girls, and if anything, I’ve felt guilty for not getting to sit and stare at Nora for endless hours as I did with Evy. My 100 pictures of Nora each day would counter my guilt. SO thankful for my beautiful smiling baby who sleeps 8-10 hours each night and my helpful, curious and brilliant toddler who keeps life exciting 🙂 I’m one lucky mama.

As for Papa Weinstock, he’s still doing well. He’s adjusted to life in Maryland. He loves where he lives and he even has time to partake in his passion of photography through teaching a small class. He’s recently been shown an incredible amount of support from previous co-workers and friends which has been such a blessing to our family. We are so very grateful for the support.

To wrap up a year in updates, there is one more final significant life event in the works: I’m re-entering the recreation field aka my passion. This change, while seemingly “just a career change”, is much more than that. Working a job in which you make a difference in people’s lives (even through the simplest thing of bringing a concert to their neighborhood) is something I’ve been missing for almost two years. It was a major void in my life and I didn’t realize how unhappy & settled I’d become. Since accepting this new job, I have my enthusiasm back and I am excited to start in just over a week. There will be updates on all of the above mentioned over the next months!

With that, it’s good to be back 🙂

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thoughtful celebrations

This year, for all (or most) gift-giving holidays, Sam and I will need to get creative with showing love in ways other than through monetary gifts. For his birthday, I enlisted the help of most of his closest friends & family members to write him a little note. To assist in the flow, I wrote a few prompt sentences such as:

• I’ve never laughed so hard as when….
• The first time I met Sammy, I thought…
• Something I’d like to do with Sam in the future would be…
• Remember when…

Some stuck to those prompts while others chose song lyrics, personal messages, or single phrases with the “he’ll know what this means” tag to it.

I gave everyone a deadline which most met – way to go, team!- and then accumulated all of the little notes, printed them, pasted them to colorful paper and inserted them into fun little envelopes that were mis-shaped, patterned and obviously hand-made.

sams bday
Before leaving for work on his birthday, I tapped the envelopes to our dining room wall in the shape of his birthday year – 28. (thank you, oh happy day for this great idea!)  There was no prompt for him other than the birthday banner hanging around the display. He was free to open them all at once or periodically throughout the day (being that there were close to 60 notes!) Of course, he decided to open them all at once like a little kid tearing open his Christmas presents in a mad dash. He absolutely loved this. He said he wish he could feel this special and this loved every day – looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me!

I also loved reading all of the little notes as I put this little gift together. It’s pretty incredible to be married to someone who is so highly regarded by so many people. Everyone had multiple stories to share or things they’d love to do with Sammy in the future. The overall theme of the future plans focused on traveling and sports so looks like we’ll have to get something in the works – renting a beach house with as many of our friends we can fit & reserving a section (we’d need it) at a red sox or O’s game are both in the near future.

The beauty of this gift is it only took thought, love and time, yet Sam appreciated this gift way more than he would’ve gotten out of anything material. Sure, a speaker set would’ve been exciting for the first couple of months, maybe – but then the next newer set would come out and these would be old news. This gift made him feel special & loved, and celebrated him. I know that whenever he thinks back to walking down the stairs and feeling excitement in seeing the ‘28’ envelope tribute, to feeling special to the numerous notes from his closest friends & family to feeling loved from the content of those notes – he’ll never forget those feelings.

I’m on the search for ideas to replicate moments like these for future gift-giving moments. How do you celebrate your loved ones?

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happy happy

Birthdays have always been a momentous occasion in my life. Growing up, a few of my cousins and my step brother all held birthdays in the month of April so my earliest memories were joint birthday parties filled with rooms of wrapping paper balls, shiny birthday balloons, battery operated toys running aimlessly into one another and the best part – a cake for each of us. My favorite birthday cake was when I was 4 years old. The cake was in the shape of a 4, had chocolate frosting and was covered in M&M’s. It was perfect.

I can tell you what I did for every one of my birthdays – that’s how special the people in my life have made them for me. From joint skating parties at “Skate Town” to a friend taking me rollerblading at sunrise with hot cocoa and muffins, to a group of friends surprising me with a trip to go see Maroon Five, to more current birthdays of mimosa’s, baseball and crabs. At 26, I can tell you that my expectation for birthdays has decreased but the key figures in my life keep topping the charts.

This year, was no exception. Here are some highlights from my birthday WEEKEND! I am truly surrounded by the finest people who share nothing but generosity, love and selflessness. I love them.

My mother and I are very close so the distance is always hard – especially around special occasions. She always knows what to do to make it feel like she’s right there though. She sent me a large floral bouquet, a happy birthday balloon and a BOX OF CHOCOLATES! – yum. Because I am so fond of birthdays and will use it as an excuse to celebrate with everyone I can, I had also brought Starbucks cakepops to work with me on Friday so needless to say, everyone was on a sugar high all day.

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Saturday was spent by Sam first allowing me to sleep in until 11- WHOA! I haven’t had that much sleep since pre-pregnancy days. It was divine. After my luxury snooze, we went to a French bakery to get lunch, to the mall to get me a new dress and then met friends at Boordy’s Vineyard for an afternoon of wine, a delicious spread (thanks to Jen) and great company. The sun was out and it was a great day. The evening was spent cuddled on the sofa watching Audrey Hepburn flicks and tacos.

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Sunday was my birthday which started with an actual date! Evy was sleeping so we took advantage and left her with Neena (Sam’s mom) and we got out by ourselves. What a weird feeling but it was fantastic. We had breakfast at a little French bistro where we were seated in a cozy corner booth. Our table was overtaken by our endless drinks (water+coffee+mimosas x2). After breakfast we went to walk around a tulip garden. It was a beautiful day. Sam also spoiled me with a watch that I’ve had my eye on for some time. The night ended with a large newspaper covered table filled with crabs and surrounded by some lovely company. There’s nothing like crabs covered in old bay, washed down with a beer and then followed by my favorite, carrot cake. I went to bed stuffed and completely satisfied by all of the birthday lovin’.

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image (11)My best friend, Em sent me a little present that got commandeered by my little miss – such a cute little gift. Needless to say, it was a great weekend and I felt the love. This will also be one of the most memorable birthdays as we are inching closer to owning a HOME!

I’ve been hush-hush about the house situation but I have updates that I’ll be sharing later this week.

Now.. to start planning Sammy’s birthday which is just about a month away. I’ve got some big shoes to fill this year.