The great road trip of 2019, part 1

I already blogged our road-trip-within-a-road-trip, and now it’s time to post about the rest of it. I’d better start with Part 1: Getting to Virginia.

Kristina flew down Sunday night, and we spent Monday getting ready for the trip. Packing, laundry, making sure we had a plan for our roadside attractions. Oh, and eating delicious meals at Picnic Provisions & Whiskey and Molly’s Rise and Shine. Highly recommend both. Also visiting Terry and taking the boys to Dollar Tree to pick out road trip snacks (I gave them each a $5 budget.)

Monday morning, we hit the road with my new cargo bag on the roof. First stop, the giant catfish in Slidell! (Huge thanks to the website Roadside America for all of our stop ideas.)

A couple saw us pulling off to take a picture with the fish, and thought it was hilarious, so pulled over as well and offered to take a picture for us. Thanks anonymous Slidell couple!

Lots more road trip adventures inside!
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We ❤️ NY

I’m blogging this from the back seat of Kiki and Mike’s car as we head back to Virginia. We left New York City a couple of hours ago, and while I’ve been terrible about blogging our trip so far (I mean the one to Virginia) at least I can get this one down now, while it’s still fresh.

We arrived yesterday (Sunday) a bit after noon (it’s about 4 hours from their house and we left bright and early.) Got the car parked and dropped our bags off at the hotel (a Courtyard by Marriott that we got for an absolute steal) and headed out to explore.

We decided to walk to Rockefeller Center since it wasn’t too far away, and one of our ideas was to go to the top.

The east coast was going through a nightmarish heat wave this weekend, so we didn’t want to do anything that involved being outside much. But when you are in a city where you walk everywhere, it’s an impossible goal. But at least we could duck into air conditioning as often as possible.

So far, Linus approves.
In front of Rockefeller Center
At the Top of the Rock
Group selfie!

After we baked on top of a skyscraper, we headed to the Nintendo store.

Oh and we ate pizza before going up, and the boys were not happy that it was square instead of traditional NY pizza. It was delicious though. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Afterwards, we walked around Rockefeller Center a bunch because there was ice cream and air conditioning. And then went back to the hotel so we could check in. We rested for a while in our rooms, then headed back out for “real” pizza and to see Times Square.

Went to John’s Pizza for dinner. Was delicious but hot. Like, my shirt was soaked with sweat. 🔥 But the pizza was fantastic. The boys were thrilled to have “foldable” pizza.

It was getting dark by the time we left, so it was time to see the lights of Times Square in all of their glory. The boys loved it.

My favorite part was the group of Sri Lankan men who asked me to take their photo. And then wanted everyone in the picture. 😀 They were adorable and pointed out a few times that they were politicians back home. I had to get a picture with my phone as well, of course.

Next, we went back to Rockefeller Center to make use of its facilities and got some dessert for the boys. We were all exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel and I slept like a rock. (I have said “rock” a lot in this post.)

This morning, we woke up and went to stand in line for bagels at Ess-a-Bagel, which was handily right by our hotel. I was nervous about ordering, but I did okay and didn’t get yelled at. The boys loved the bagels (they got butter, I got lox spread.) They were totally worth the wait.

After eating, we walked up to Central Park and we all climbed on rocks. The temperature was much lower today, thank goodness.

Ahhhh!

Our next stop was a cookie dough shop that Oliver had been dying to go to ever since we decided to make this trip. We took the subway down to Chelsea, and when we got there, it was closed! 🤬 Poor kid was heartbroken. There was another cookie dough shop around the corner, but it took a while for him to recover. (As an aside, as fond as I am of sampling cookie dough when I make it, these places where they scoop it out to eat raw – it’s egg-free so safe – make me want to retch and I honestly couldn’t even look at it. But I’m weird.)

The next stop was the one I was most excited about….MOOD!!!!!! You know, the fabric store from Project Runway?

No one else was excited, though. 😆 So I very thoughtfully made my choices as quickly as I could. But I mean there are 3 stories of fabric! I had a list of patterns I want to make dresses with and the amount of fabric I needed, and tried to decide fast. It was actually good for me because otherwise that place would have sent me into a tailspin of indecision. I ended up getting a few yards of cotton voile (a light woven cotton) for a dress:

And then went to search for swim fabrics, because I wasn’t thrilled with what I’d bought at Joann’s. And I hit the jackpot! I found these (the blue is for contrast):

And I love it, but after it was cut out, I saw this, and was all 😍😍😍 so got some of it as well.

Dreamy, right? And the blue will work with it as well.

The people at Mood were so nice, but sadly we did not see Swatch the dog. 😢

This was happy Pam:

It was time to head back to get the car and go back to Virginia to beat a bad storm that was coming. But first, more pizza! The boys wanted to try 99 cent slices, and the cheapskate in me was happy to oblige! They said they liked it best of all. Of course.

We made it back to the car just before the sky opened up, and that is the end of our New York adventure! I’m happy that writing this post has taken up a good part of the journey back to Kiki’s. Woo hoo!

11 years + 7 months

We were at our friend Heather’s house for her birthday party/Fourth of July party, so I got this month’s pic in the hallway. I usually use my DSLR for the monthly pic, but it was too hot to go home and grab it (and too hot to contemplate doing it outside earlier in the day.)

(This isn’t the first time we’ve done the July monthly pic in Heather’s hallway…)

What’s that sound??!?!

The silence is deafening. There’s no sound of a soccer ball being kicked around the kitchen, banging into cabinets, making me cringe every time I hear it hit the dishwasher or the oven. I don’t hear YouTube videos about some soccer game or how to solve a Rubik’s cube or how to bake the perfect snickerdoodles. I don’t hear FIFA ’19 being played while an 11 year-old commentates in a bad British accent.

All I hear is the air conditioner, sometimes a car driving by, maybe Ziggy barking at a UPS truck.

It’s blissful, and it’s the only week of the summer I’m going to get this peace. The boys are at camp at Jean Lafitte National Park, and the best part is, it’s not far from George’s work, so he’s even driving them! Heaven.

The quiet is especially welcome because it’s been a busy week. Terry’s daughter’s quinceañera was Saturday night, and I was feverishly sewing shirts for the males in the house, and finished them just in time.

Here is a pic of the boys in their shirts:

And a family pic at the quinceañera, but you can’t see that the colors in their shirts perfectly coordinate with the Upton dress I made last summer. That was not even on purpose! A happy coincidence.

(No, I couldn’t get a picture of George not making a goofy face.)

A few more pics from that night:

So beautiful!

And then on Monday, Oliver and Miles were in the background of a tv show that’s coming up. We had to be at the zoo at 5:30am, which was not fun. Linus went to camp by himself that day.

Meanwhile, I can’t even really work out much because I have tendonitis in my right shoulder, which suuuucks. It means I can’t do more than half of the exercises at Orangetheory – no rowing, no upper body anything, nothing that requires a plank position, nothing that uses my shoulder. Blah. At least it’s not something worse. Shoulders scare me. But it means my arms are going to turn from fierce guns to blobs of goo.

On a happier note, in just two weeks, Kiki gets here and we start our road trip to Virginia! So exciting!

Halfway through June

How did it get to be the middle of June? And also, it’s only the middle of June?

Random things….

Soccer started up again! Rec league from here on out, which is nice because it’s low key and only on weeknights. My weekends are mine again! They’ve had two games so far, and the first was dominated by boys – Miles got three and Linus got one. Woot! In the second game, Miles got one, and they lost, but, you know, whatever.

Of course I took pics… (Miles was on the white side for the first half of the game.)

And this video of one of the goals from the first game. I love the display of brotherly love at the end.

We also took a trip to Baton Rouge for a few days to spend some time with Grandee and Larry. We went swimming, and my mom tried to get me drunk on vodka slushies (best pool snack bar ever, right?), and we had steak for dinner one night and homemade pizza the other night, and Grandee took the boys to a movie while I worked, and I brought my sewing machine to work on some linen shirts I’m making for the boys, and overall it was pretty relaxing.

Oh, and I saw this dress hanging in the closet.

I loved that dress so much when I was a kid. I feel like I should re-make it. I don’t know why, it’s not like it’d be flattering. Maybe I can be Pam 35 Years Ago for Halloween. Hm. I can’t find any pictures of me wearing it, though. But I did find a bunch of other “cute” ones.

Classic.

We have a couple of exciting weeks coming up…some TV background filming for Miles and Oliver (Linus wasn’t interested) and other fun things like that. Terry’s older daughter’s quinceañera is a week from tomorrow (and the reason I’m sewing linen shirts like crazy.) And boys have their one week of camp in about 10 days (YAY), and then a couple of weeks after that, Kiki flies down and we are heading on our road trip! So excited!

What else?

I have a new NOMB post out today – it’s like the other “meme” posts I’ve done. (Mom problems, kid problems, dad problems, Mardi Gras problems…)

Check it out – NOLA Summer Problems

One of my favorites is this one:

Summer so far

Okay, well, it’s only been a few days, but so far it’s going better than expected.

Between them, they boys can now cook fried and scrambled eggs and ramen, so I don’t have to think about feeding them too much.

Oliver about to enjoy the fried egg he made.

Speaking of food, I made smoothies and they finally drank them! So now I just have to slowly work towards adding some spinach or something to them.

Friday I worked while the boys played Laser Tag…

And afterwards, I took them to Five Guys for lunch. Miles and Linus had never been, and it was a hit. 😀

We’ve also been playing board games, including an entire game of Monopoly. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to finally go bankrupt.

We also played Life, and while Linus ended up with a singleton, two sets of twins, and triplets, Miles was genuinely sad not to get any kids at all. (I got one girl, FINALLY!) Again, Oliver won. Hmm.

The boys are also feeding the neighbor’s cats for some money, and I got a lot of sewing done, including a dress that I’ll post about later. Tomorrow they start soccer (just low-key rec soccer, thank goodness) and until the end of the month when they have one week of camp, we don’t have a lot going on other than board games and teaching them how to cook more things.

Fingers crossed things continue to go well and they don’t drive me insane with their fake British accents!

Last day of elementary school!

Can you believe it? Today is the boys’ last day of elementary school. Sniff, sniff. Not that they’ll be changing schools or anything, but they’ll be in sixth grade, and things will change a little bit. They’ll be switching classes (though staying with the same classmates all day.) They’ll have lockers. They’ll start learning Spanish (along with continuing French, of course.) They’ll be able to join clubs! Pretty cool.

As usual, I’m gonna get all nostalgic and stuff. And I’m going to post this picture from the first day they started at their school, in August 2011.

And a picture from this morning, the last day of fifth grade:

To compare, a picture from the first day of fifth grade:

Geez, it looks like they were more excited about starting school than it ending. Hmm. Maybe I should look into summer school?

It’s been too long

What’s up? Why haven’t I been blogging? Is it that life is boring? Maybe a little. I mean, not that that’s a bad thing. Or maybe it’s been busy? Or maybe I just don’t want to sit in front of my computer when I’m not working? Maybe all of those things all at once?

(I started this post two days ago. What is wrong with me?)

Okay, here’s some random stuff we’ve been doing:

I chaperoned a field trip to the swamp and we saw lots of gators! Yay! Finally!

I finally sent Kiki the skirt we bought the fabric for in January. Egads. Look at the frogs and the flies!

The boys and I did a 5K! Oliver and Linus ran the whole thing (!) and finished in about 34 minutes. Miles and I walked with Jen and Ethan and took about twice that. It was fun. Oh, and it was the Pink Bra Run to raise money for breast cancer research, hence the…bra on the outside of my clothes.

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The boys had an end-of-season soccer party. It was kind of sad, but also cemented all of the reasons in my head we decided not to do competitive soccer again next year. I mean, we may go back one day, but probably not to the same club. Anyway, the coach had shirts made for all the boys, which was so sweet.

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George and Rob celebrated their birthday and I made them a cake. (Chocolate stout.) Aren’t they cute?

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For Mother’s Day, I got cards from the boys (and breakfast from Chef Ollie!). Later I had poke for lunch (yum) and went to see a movie with Steph and Terry (our Mother’s Day tradition.) It was pretty nice.

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Look at this beauty! My aunt passed on to me my grandmother’s old sewing machine! Isn’t she beautiful? I’m still working on getting it sewing, but I am stuck on bobbins. I’ll figure it out. I also need a table to put it in. I found the one its sitting on, but it was made for a different machine, so I need the table to be modified so this machine will fit in it. Anyway. Soon, I hope to be sewing with it! It’s pretty incredible. It’s from 1950.

As far as Me Made May goes, it’s been a success in some ways, and a fail in others. A success in that I have worn something I’ve sewn every day. A fail because I haven’t taken pictures every day. But just picture this cardigan, which I absolutely adore, worn over everything, all the time, every day. It’s the Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan in this lemon knit I got at Joann’s. I’m obsessed. (Need to get a better pic, though.)

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Me Made May 2019 – week 1!

Just like last year, I’m participating in Me Made May, which is a very flexible sewing challenge because you can make up your own parameters. Mine are that I wear at least one item of clothing every day that I made, and that I post it on Instagram. That’s it. I don’t have to make anything new, and it doesn’t have to be something different every day.

So here’s what I wore for the first seven days of May…

After the first day, I tried using a prop to have something to do with my hands in the hopes of taking photos of myself somewhat less awkward. It helped a little bit, but on day 3 I decided I would make the boys take them instead (or at least someone else.) So you’ll see a lot of pictures in the boys’ messy room since I might not remember until bedtime. And a prop can also be a human. 😀

I’m excited about week 2 – I made something new that you can get a sneak peek of if you follow me on Instagram. 🍋

A visit to LSMSA

I honestly can’t believe how long it’s been since I last posted. I’m ashamed. I have no excuse. I really need to post about the trip we made to Natchitoches because it was pretty great. So I’ll start there.

Well, my last post was about being in Alexandria, which ended up being fine. We spent most of it in the hotel because the weather was horrific. We were in IHOP having lunch when a tornado warning went off on everyone’s phone, and I thought, “we’re not dying in an IHOP,” so after checking the radar and being reassured there was no tornado near us, we drove the five minutes down the road back to the hotel. (And there wasn’t a tornado anywhere near the town, thank goodness.)

So we got to Natchitoches the next morning, and went to the hotel, but couldn’t check in yet. We sat in the lobby so the boys could watch a Premier League soccer game (you know, British soccer) and funnily enough, the guy at the front desk was also watching it. After that, we walked around downtown a little bit and got some lunch at Merci Beaucoup. The boys had meat pies for the first time. They liked them. Yay!

Since it was Sunday, not much was open, so we didn’t get to go to Lasyone’s, so had to settle for mini meat pies, but better than nothing!

After lunch, we headed to the school campus to wander around. I couldn’t wait to show the boys around! First, we went to Texaco (where we used to spend hours eating fried food, but now the fried food and food booths are gone – probably for the best), and then I made them take a picture in front of the high school building.

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Then we narrowly escaped a pack of kids doing an Easter Egg hunt (you can see some of the eggs in the picture above) and just wandered around the buildings, then onto the Northwestern State University campus (which Louisiana School is on). They really wanted to see the football stadium for some reason. I may have mentioned that we sneaked into the stadium once or twice. 😇

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Afterwards, we went to a park off campus so they could, what else, kick a soccer ball around. Later, we grabbed some pizza for dinner and I introduced them to yet another bit of Natchitoches culture, Maggio’s drive-through liquor (just a daiquiri for me, obvs.)

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Bright and early the next morning, we met up with a student at the high school for a tour! It was pretty great. The boys got bags of swag, and I got a nice walk down memory lane. So much of the school hasn’t changed (the high school building is largely the same), and so much is vastly improved (the other new buildings like the art/music building, the cafeteria and new student center.) I want to go back! Can I go back? I wish I’d taken more pictures. They can even play soccer, whew!

The boys were pretty fascinated, and dare I say, maybe a little excited about the possibility of attending? The tricky part is keeping them interested for the next few years until they can apply for 10th grade. Fortunately, next summer (in a year), they can attend a week-long residential camp, so I’m hopeful we can send them to that.

Before we left, we wandered around the general store on Front Street, which was my dad’s favorite place. I got Larry an Easter present there, and then we headed home.

And I now know I haven’t really blogged about Louisiana School, and I’m going to have to do that. (Not now, don’t worry.)