The Great Road Trip of 2019: Part 2 (off the road)

So I’ve already blogged about the two days we spent in NYC as well as the fun we had getting to Virginia. But most of our trip was actually IN Virginia and we did a lot there, so I need to post about that now!

So uh let’s see. We arrived in Virginia Thursday night and were all pretty exhausted. Dinner. Wine. Sleep.

Friday we walked to Chipotle for lunch. Then we got ready to go our first professional soccer game. The boys were very excited. We went to Audi Field to watch DC United play New England something. I can’t remember. The boys got free scarves! The sunset from the stadium was gorgeous. Anyway, ultimately the game ended in 2-2 but we didn’t mind because it was exciting.

Saturday, the boys and I drove to my sister’s in Clifton. It’s about half an hour from Kiki’s, and it’s a pretty drive if you take the shorter (I think) route but it’s also windy and hilly so I prefer to take the boring highway route. I know, it’s bad but what can I say?

I’m going to put the rest of this behind this link. There’s a lot.

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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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Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor…

…well you know the thing they say about the USPS. The same could be said of the boys and soccer.

Their tournament this weekend in Alexandria (a smallish town 3 hours from NOLA) was cancelled at the last minute, but me being the cheapo that I am, booked our hotel room via hotels.com instead of the team travel agency. And of course it was non refundable. So we decided to make a road trip of it!

And so I find myself sitting in the car while the boys play in the rain (only a mist right now, but it had better get worse later since they ended the season early for this, breaking little hearts all over the state) at a park that Ren found for us. THANKS RENNY!

The exciting part of the trip for me comes tomorrow when we head an hour north to Natchitoches, the small town where I went to boarding school for nerds (LSMSA) for two years. I am hoping it will spark an interest in the boys, like when my sixth grade science teacher told me about it. (Thanks Mrs. Schucker!)

We’ll be getting a tour of the school on Monday morning but tomorrow we’ll wander around town and I’ll tell them about all some of the hijinks we got up to. And we’ll eat meat pies and get drive through daiquiris, just like the old days. Well, maybe Sonic slushes for the boys.

Well that was a weekend

Lots of things going on.

Let’s see, Saturday started out early with an hour plus drive in dense fog to Houma, a small town with a vicious soccer team. The boys played well, but alas, their team lost. It was only their third loss (the first was a friendly, so that doesn’t really count, right? and the second was in a tournament that they ultimately won so I don’t count that either, heh.) Anyway, whatever. Onward!

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Once we got home, I got to rest for about half an hour before I had to head across town to the girls’ tournament to be a field marshall, to fulfil my volunteer requirement since we get financial aid. And I got a sunburn. Ugh.

Sunday was better. We went to the World War II museum for the first time (well, it was George’s and my first time. The boys had been with camp a few years ago.) I probably should be somewhat ashamed to admit how much I learned – it helped me understand a lot about the different parts of the war and how it all happened in various parts of the world.

And I got to launch some torpedos, which is always fun.

We didn’t get to see it all, but hopefully we can go back before too long. We got a free pass from the library, which was invaluable – the tickets for everything we saw would have cost us nearly $200 if we’d had to pay. Yikes.

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After that, Terry and I took the kids to get crawfish. Yum! We somehow missed eating crawfish last year completely, which is a travesty, and I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. We took them to a restaurant that was lined with taxidermied animals. And not just any animals. There was a lion. And a monkey. It was creepy and weird and I won’t be going back there, that’s for sure. Eeek. But the crawfish was good, at least.

Yesterday was also the 15th anniversary of owning our house, which is crazy! 15 years! I know I complain about it being too small (I mean, to be fair, we weren’t expecting to stuff it with boys when we bought it.) but I hope we stay in it long enough for the boys to bring their kids one day. 😀

It’s times like this I’m glad I’ve been blogging forever. Here’s my post about our super fun closing!

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Ziggy, meanwhile, is obsessed with this squeaky ball that lights up that we caught at Mardi Gras. He very carefully carries it around in his mouth, and GOD FORBID it squeaks. And don’t try to take it from him. If you even go near it when he doesn’t have it, he’ll grab it so you can’t get it. It definitely seems like a love/hate relationship. It’s the cutest thing.

 

Back to reality

I’ve been at work for a week now, and I’m starting to remember how to do it. Ha! Things changed a lot while I was gone, and also I’m very forgetful so yeah. It took me the whole first week just to get reacclimated. Thankfully I have very kind teammates who have already taken their sabbaticals so they know what it’s like.

And then, of course, soccer has filled in all the gaps. The boys had their first tournament of the spring season this weekend, and it was in Gulfport, Mississippi. ROAD TRIP! I mean, tiny road trip. It’s only a little over an hour away. Closer than Baton Rouge, even. But it sure was nice to take in the new car! Even though she got muddy on the outside and dirty on the inside. Sniff, sniff. (Don’t worry, she’s all clean now.)

They had a game late Saturday morning, so we left bright and early. It was chilly. I took pictures. They won the first game, hurrah!

The second game should have been an easy win – the team they played had lost their previous game something like 8-1. But alas, they must have been tired and sluggish from lunch because it was a 1-1 tie.

We went to the hotel after that and rested for a bit, then met up with their friend Joseph and his family for dinner at a restaurant on the water. After that, even though I was exhausted (and surely so were they) I let them run around a park nearby for a little while.

Then we slept and woke up early, ate breakfast, met up with Joseph and his mom and sister at a school playground and they kicked a ball around for a little while, then headed to game #3. If they won this game, they’d win the tournament.

And they did! It was a nail-biter, but our goalie kicked the ball all the way across the field and scored a goal in the final minutes of the game. That was exciting!

I got a bit artsy with the pics from this game.

On the way home, we listened to a podcast about soccer, and I think I finally understand offsides now. Though I probably still won’t be able to identify it during a game. We’ll see.

This week should be fairly quiet. A couple of soccer practices, followed by a game this weekend and finally a visit to the World War II museum (scored a pass from the library!)

Wrapping up my sabbatical

The last time I wrote about what I was up to was in late January, at the mid-point of my sabbatical. Oops. Today is actually a bonus day off – I have thought for the entire three months that I was going back to work today, but I’m actually going back tomorrow. My last day off is today. Score! I sure was smart way back when I requested my time off. I was pretty bummed when I realized I was going to be going back to work right after Mardi Gras break, with no down time from the boys being home from school for a week and a half. So it’s nice to have some quiet time today to straighten up the house and get some things done and just to chill.

SO. What have we been up to?

A lot, actually.

Let’s see if I can remember it all.

First, I want to say that I really thought my sabbatical would fly by. I guess to everyone else it has, but to me, it really hasn’t. It felt like three months. It felt like a nice long stretch of time. Mid-December feels like a long time ago. I think maybe it’s because I didn’t try to fill it with too much stuff. I really did relax and laze around a bunch. 😀 Continue reading

Mid-sabbatical update

(Is is the middle of my sabbatical? The exact middle? I don’t know. I don’t want to know. If it’s more than halfway done, I’ll be sad. Okay, I don’t think it is. But it’s close. That’s okay! As long as it’s not actually halfway over. It’s not. Whew.)

I want to open with this really exciting work thing – I know, I’m not even working! But I haven’t been able to talk about it until this month. Ages ago, I mentioned to our marketing team that sewists use WordPress.com for blogging about sewing a lot. And they paid attention, particularly my friend Michelle, who is on the editorial team and is one of the most amazing and funny and coolest people I know. We chatted a bunch about it at a lunch at the GM, and then she brought it up at one of their meetings. And things led to things and I told her about The Sewcialists website, and then they created this really amazing list called the Anything is Possible list, and look, I don’t want to take too much credit, but I mean, I want to take a little credit, but who ended up on the list but The Sewcialists! And check out this video, which gets me choked up every.single.time!

 

On the other hand, yesterday was a horrible, terrible, not good, very bad day. The van has been not wanting to start sometimes for a while, but it always would start after a little while with some prodding. (I feel bad now that I never named it.) Yesterday, it just wouldn’t. After some coaxing and sweet talking and banging on some parts, and trying to jumpstart it, I finally gave in and had it towed to the mechanic. Fingers crossed it’s not too expensive. I’d just like one more year out of it. At least. George’s car only has one more payment, and it sure would be nice to have no payments for a while, eh?

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When I came home from bringing the boys to the bus stop (where it died, which was not convenient) I found that Ziggy had snuck into my bedroom and was curled up on my bed, which was cute. But the puddle of pee on my bedskirt, where he has peed a few times now, was most decidedly NOT CUTE. Taking the bedskirt off a king bed to wash is not fun, but I’m looking forward to putting it back on even less. Argh.

One positive part of the day was taking the ferry across the river to the aquarium to see Linus giving a presentation with a group of his classmates on the Gulf of Mexico. Thank goodness we got in for free again. The aquarium costs THIRTY DOLLARS if you don’t have a membership. Ridiculous.

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Anyway, while I was at the aquarium, the school nurse called. Of course. Because Miles’s asthma was flaring up. Of course. Fortunately, she was able to get it under control. But I stressed hard about that for the next several hours.

But that’s enough about yesterday. Today I’m stuck at home so I’m going to tackle the reorganization of the upstairs bathroom. Time to throw out the makeup from my wedding, finally. Ha ha! I kid! Um yeah! For sure, totally kidding!

What else has happened? Well, the Saints game. I’m not even going to talk about that. I made some scarves with pockets and sold them to neighborhood moms and, well, I guess I won’t be selling any more until next fall. But they are super cute. I’m going to try some Mardi Gras prints next. The pockets are super handy!

Also.

Linus had a disgusting bump on his arm and we had to get it…dealt with. (Any other words I could use in conjunction with that are too gross.)

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Soccer started back up for the spring.

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gotta tackle the dining room next. eek

We went to visit Granny and Grandpa, and the boys are very very very close to being as tall as them.img_1803

My kitchen is still clean from Kiki’s visit! And yes, I have cooked!!! (and yes, that is clean!)

I ordered new glasses.

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Okay, no more procrastinating via blog post. Gotta go tackle the bathroom!

Soccer tournament #2 – Pensacola

I really need to make more time for blogging. You shouldn’t have to look at a picture of my desk for this long. (Though it is still neat, I’m proud to say.) (I say this like my blog is something people just “drop by” to see if I’ve written anything new.)

I think part of it is that I have all these pictures from the soccer tournament earlier this month that I need to finish editing to upload, but I’m just kind of blah. Here, how about just a few?

Quick (yeah right) recap of the tournament weekend.

I flew home from Orlando. Linus was sick, got him to the doctor, he wasn’t contagious, but by the time we got his prescription filled, it was 6pm, and there was traffic, and we didn’t get to our hotel until close to 11. And I hurt my back getting frantically packed.

First game Saturday morning, a win! Linus didn’t play, he spectated instead. I think he got really annoyed with me for asking so many questions, so he decided he felt well enough to play the later game. Which they also won!

Game 1: 4-1 win!

Game 2: 4-2 win! (A lot of pics, but the light was just so beautiful at that time of day)

Saturday night, the kids swam a bit in the hotel pool while the parents watched and partook in an adult beverage if they wished, and then we all ate pizza and went to bed. Sunday morning was another game! Which…they won! Which also meant that we’d be staying later for the finals. Remember, I’d been gone for the whole week prior, so all I wanted was to go home and sleep in my own bed.

Game 3: 6-2 victory!

Of course, I was proud they were heading to the finals of their second tournament. But I was also tired. So tired.

Anyway, the fourth game rolls around. It’s hot. And this game was hard fought. It was a nail-biter. No one was scoring. Both teams were really great! And so after overtime (or whatever they call it) the score was still 0-0! ACK!

So it went to penalty kicks! Eek, this is like World Cup level stuff, right? (I dunno, I didn’t watch it.) The deal is, whichever team gets to 3 penalty kicks wins.

The other team kicks…and misses!

Our team kicks…and gets it in!

They kick…and miss!

We kick…and get it in!

They kick…our goalie stops it!

We kick…it goes in!

Eeeeeeee! It was very exciting. All the kids went nuts, and let’s be honest, so did the parents. It was awesome!

Champs again!

 

Soccer champs!

The boys’ team (with the catchy name 07B Louisiana Fire WB Red or something – you try yelling that while cheering them on) had their first tournament last weekend, and I guess I spoiled it in the title, but they won!

(Their division, I mean, which consisted of four teams.)

It was only their third, fourth, fifth, and sixth games as a team, because so many other games were rained out, so that makes their victory especially sweet.

We had to get their early Saturday for the first game. It was hot. They won! Yay! Warning: Lots and lots of photos to follow…

(Linus is 90, Miles is 91, Oliver is 92)

The second game wasn’t until late in the afternoon, so we went home and I took a little nap and they rested and ate. If I thought it was hot for the first game, that was nothing compared to the second game. It was scorching. George and I sat there sweating while the boys sat on the bench.
Continue reading

Soccer and sewing (again)

Two things taking over my life right now – soccer and sewing.

Let’s start with soccer. I took a lot of pictures at Saturday’s game, but don’t worry, I won’t do this at every game. But it was their first, after all, and they even won! (Can’t say the same about the game on Sunday, though.)

Some of my favorite pics from the game:

Miles usually was playing closest to where I was sitting, so I got more pictures of him, but for the next game I’m borrowing a 300mm lens from a friend (this one only zooms to 105mm) so hopefully I’ll get better pics of all three. (Linus is 90, Miles is 91, and Oliver is 92.) I mean, if someone wants to buy me this, I won’t say no…

In sewing news, you know that Upton dress I made the other day? Well, I wasn’t super thrilled with the fit, so I made some adjustments and was able to squeeze the dress out of less than 3 yards of fabric I had lying around. And this time, it’s much better!

Observe:

The fit on the right is more like how it should be. I also raised the waistband an inch (well, I lowered it 3″ the first time I made it, but only 2″ the second time) and went down a size in the bodice, but up a cup size (Cashmerette patterns have different bust sizes, which is awesome.)

 

Also, I got a zipper foot for my sewing machine, so I was able to get my invisible zipper slightly less visible:

Couple more pics. Note to self: the waistband pieces should be cut upside down if they’re directional, because I have a little bird peeping down from the waist. Hee!

Next time, I think I might try the box pleated skirt version. Or add sleeves. Who knows?!!?

 

First game!

Today the boys have their first soccer game with their competitive team! Ok it hasn’t started yet, so I’m blogging these from my phone as I roast while they “warm up.”

Here’s to hoping no one gets heat stroke.

But don’t they look handsome?!?!?

Numbers!

Summer of sewing and soccer

Don’t you just love an alliterative title?

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Fancy soccer training jacket

I haven’t blogged much this summer. Mostly because we just haven’t done that much. I feel bad for the boys – they keep asking if we’re going to go somewhere. And then I keep reminding them that they’re playing soccer, remember? And soccer is very expensive. (Guilt trip much? I learned from the best!)

But don’t feel too bad for them. We are going on another big ol’ family cruise at Thanksgiving, and thanks to soccer, we’ll have a few small trips to soccer tournaments throughout the year. In fact, the first one is already on the calendar.

Unfortunately for me, it’s also the weekend I’m supposed to come back from this year’s Grand Meetup for work, so I had to get permission from work to leave a day early. Get this: the GM is in Orlando this year. So I’ll fly home Friday afternoon, load everyone in the van and drive BACK to Florida that very same evening for the tournament. Ha! At least the tournament isn’t also in Orlando – it’s in Pensacola which is just a few hours away.

So what have we been up to this summer? The boys went to camp for about six weeks. They didn’t love having to go to camp, but it got them out of the house at least. And they went to a few days here and there of soccer camp as well, which they enjoyed. Of course, nothing was close to home so I feel like I spent the entire summer in my van, and not in a fun road-trip kind of way.

They also participated in summer soccer, which was two evenings a week for seven weeks. I think it was good for them – it was their first experience playing “elite” soccer, not just recreational. At first, they were kind of disheartened, but as the weeks went on, they enjoyed it more. It was mostly drills and scrimmages, so they learned a lot. Of course, thanks to our summer afternoon thunderstorms, there weren’t seven weeks worth of soccer, but whatever.

Another highlight was Aunt Jenny and Emily and Andrew and Uncle Rob coming to Baton Rouge to visit. We spent a few days at Grandee’s hanging out, visiting with my cousin Sara’s baby, and as a bonus, the boys got a haircut, which was sorely needed.

There were also playdates and me breaking a tooth and having to get it pulled (so now I have two gaps in my mouth which makes me extra classy) and hanging out with coworkers in town with their family, and saving the world, and going to visit a giant mural of a French soccer star.

I’ve been sewing a lot when I haven’t been working. I took a class at a local sewing store (blog post to come) which was amazing, but have been mostly working on sewing up household goods to sell to help pay for soccer. It’s a win-win – sewing relaxes me and hopefully, it’ll ease the stress of the endless costs of competitive soccer. (If you’re interested, you can check those out here and here.)