Wednesday, June 25, 2014

March for Babies 2014!

It's that time of year again! The March for Babies walk! This year, we switched our name up a bit to honor not only KRJ, but our niece Lillian, who was born 13 weeks early, as well. I came up with the design for our t-shirts and I couldn't have been more pleased with how they came out. I decided on boxing gloves to represent Lillian, who has fought her way through all of the obstacles and struggles of being born so prematurely, and the angel wings to represent KRJ. 

When we got there, they had free bagels and coffee. Score! Their Area of Remembrance offered free white ribbons to those who have lost a baby, as well as river stones to write their names. I left this one there, and Aubrey wrote "KRJ" on a rock that has taken up residency on my desk at work :)

We had some photo ops before the walk began while we were waiting for a couple members of our team. Love this photo of me and Keith!

K+L's Mamas!

Me and my bestie!

The wagon got stuck on this turn of the ramp for about 2 minutes. Instead of anyone helping me, they decided to take photos and videos. My family rocks!

Crossing the finish line!

"I did it!"

Miss Lillian!

After the walk, we stayed for some bounce house, clown, and balloon animal fun!

We had an amazing turn out and raised over $700 to support the March of Dimes. See you next year, Team K+L Warriors!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day

Ever since I was 13, Father's Day didn't excite me. It meant another trip to the cemetery, more tears, and more missing my dad. 

On Saturday, my mom & I got up early and went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. When my dad was sick and in the hospital, our neighbor took us there for the first time just to get us out of the house, and since then, it's our favorite place to go together. It's comforting to us. 

After breakfast, we stopped and got some flowers and then headed to the cemetery. This was my first time in years going without any kids, so I was really able to get down and dirty. I can see why so many people like gardening. It's really relaxing and therapeutic!

The girls made these handprint stepping stones and I think they came out great! 

It wasn't until Father's Day of 2010, when Aubrey was 11 months old, did it finally start meaning something positive to me again.

He is such an amazing daddy to our girls. I think part of that is because he is just a big kid himself. He loves to get down on the floor and chase them around the house, and they never smile so big as when they are getting a piggy back ride. 

On Sunday, we got up and cooked him his favorite breakfast: french toast, bacon, hashbrowns and corned beef hash. And then, instead of spending the day relaxing, he suggested going to Build-a-Bear to take advantage of the My Little Pony sale. Seriously, what a guy.

I had to work later that night, so we couldn't really do anything fancy for dinner. Keith ended up going to his dad's house for a cookout with the girls. 

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Big Apple Ponycon!

We made it back in one piece from New Jersey! I nearly had a mental breakdown on the way home while we fought through NYC traffic to make it back up to New Hampshire, but otherwise we had a great time!

Our trip started out super early. And I mean... super freaking early. I ended up leaving work early on Thursday because I had the mother of all migraines. I came home and slept, waking up at 11 still feeling like crap. Keith made me some rice so I could have something in my stomach to take some medicine. I forced about 10 bites down, took my meds, and passed out for another couple hours til I woke up at 1 feeling like a new woman. Our costumes still weren't finished, so I got up, put on the new Michael Jackson album (which I love!), and got to sewing.

{spoiler alert.. can anyone guess what our two outfits for Saturday are?}

I finished around 4. I loaded up the car and got ready and then woke Aubrey up. She was groggy for a few minutes until she realized what day it was..

All set and ready to go!

But not before stopping for breakfast! I love Cracker Barrel. Aubs managed to find a My Little Pony display (if there is one anywhere, she will find it), so I let her choose a beanie baby. 

With full bellies, we were off! This one didn't last too long..

We got to our hotel around 11 and checked our bags. Our room wasn't going to be ready until 3, so we just went into the bathroom off the lobby and took over for a half hour while we got ready. Our outfits for the day were Rainbow Dash and Applejack! See those cutiemarks? All stitched with love, baby. I used chalk to color Aubrey's hair and it was super easy. Everyone loved that extra touch and complimented her hair all day. Ignore my pasty legs. They've been hiding all winter, which lasted until April in New England. 

 They had a lot of these adorable cut outs of some of the more popular ponies. Note to self: please start using your camera over your phone. Even though it's not the best quality, it's so much better than grainy iPhone pics.

Arts and crafts time! Aubrey made a rainbow necklace to go with her cosplay costume.

Aubrey got her face painted with Rainbow Dash's cutie mark. I love this photo because it shows off so much of her costume.

We decided to step out a bit and get some fresh air and lunch. Being so close to New York, we had to get "New York style" pizza.. which I honestly wasn't too impressed with and think the pizza I can find back home in NH is better. Maybe I just chose the wrong place. Maybe my hopes were set too high. Either way, it was good, we both ate for about 5 bucks, and the pizza was about as big as our heads so I can't complain. 

One of the highlights of our trip was meeting Bonnie Zecherle, who is the creator of My Little Pony. We got an autographed print of her original ponies and got to pose for a picture and chat for a bit. Then she gave Aubrey some My Little Pony fruit snacks, which obviously completely won her over.

 We explored the convention a bit more, bought some merch from the vendors (mostly small pony figurines that she collects, as well as some more cards for her My Little Pony binder) and went back to the hotel for baths and relaxing. Saturday was going to be another early morning!

Our sweet view from our hotel room, which was on the 13th floor. Aubrey loved going up and down the elevator (which was way too many times because I kept remembering things that I forgot in the car). 

Saturday morning came really fast. We got up around 5:30 to go grab some breakfast. We went to Brownstone's Pancake Factory. It was on Diners, Drives & Dive-Ins and had great reviews on Yelp. Again, I had high hopes. I think a big downfall was the service. We had a waitress that spoke very little English, simply pointing at the "Pancakes" page when I asked her what was good. Plus a few other things, but whatever. The food was pretty good. I think my potato pancakes were probably made in-house at one point but then got frozen. Or maybe they are purchased frozen. I don't know, but their shape seemed too "perfect" and uniform. Anyhow. Aubrey got a chocolate chip pancake and it came out shaped as Mickey Mouse with a happy face, so she was loving that!

After breakfast, we went to a place that did NOT disappoint... Carlo's Bakery from TLC's show, Cake Boss! I have been a long-time fan and was so excited when I saw that our hotel was about 15 minutes away from it! I had to ask 3 people to take our picture in front of the bakery. The first two said no. Could have been that I was rocking my Red Sox zip up. I don't think our kind are welcome down there. Jersey goes hand-in-hand with New York and they are our biggest rival in baseball. Oh well. I found a really nice man who was willing to take our picture and he got most of the sign in the background and didn't get a picture of one of us mid blink, so I was satisfied.

Speaking of satisfied, holy shit. I. Love. Carlo's. Bakery. The employees were super nice (could have been that we were there at 7:30 and one of only two families in the restaurant, so we beat the rush). No Buddy sightings, but I think we may have seen one of his sisters. She was wearing sunglasses so it was hard to tell, but it sounded like her. The guy helping us out was super patient as I paced back and forth and made some clearly life-altering decisions. We ended up with a box of Italian cookies, a couple cannolis, a cupcake for Aubrey for later because she was cranky and "didn't want anything" (but how could I not get her *something*? I knew a cupcake would suffice when she was feeling up to it), and a lobster tail, from which what I have seen on the show are one of their most popular items. 

We went back to the hotel room to hang out for a bit before getting ready for Day 2 of the convention. The lobby had a mini Starbucks in it so I grabbed a caramel macchiato (which the barista mixed up before giving to me, which I thought was strange because at any other Starbucks they give it to you with the milk on the bottom and espresso on top, but I always mix it anyway so I didn't pay too much mind to it). I decided to have Second Breakfast and pulled out my lobster tail. My assumption that it was going to be soft all the way through, like a danish. The inside was, but the outside was a crispy layer which was delicious, but I had no plates in the hotel room so it kind of made a mess. But oh lord, it was so delicious. 

Check out my new coffee mug!

I was debating on posting this photo because I hate how I look, but then I remembered what this blog is for. It's something I hope to have around for a long time to let the girls look back on and read. They aren't going to care if I had a few extra rolls (but I am working on getting rid of them, so yay for that). 

Our costumes for the day were Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle! 

We were running a little late by the time we got there, but thankfully we made it just in time to hear Storytime with Nicole Oliver, who voices Princess Celestia on the show. It was really neat and she pulled Aubrey up on stage to listen to the story! After the story, she gave all of the small kids in attendance a free book. Aubrey ended up with the one that Nicole read, which she thought was so amazing. Nicole was so great with the kids, talked to each of them individually and took the time to ask all of their names (granted, there weren't a huge amount. 90% of the convention attendees were Bronies).

After the story session, we walked around for a few minutes and then went back to the auditorium for a My Little Pony sing-along! They played all of Aubrey's favorites, so she was ecstatic.

We also saw a performance by Lady Aria, who sang a few pony songs, as well as Let It Go from Frozen and Part of your World from the Little Mermaid, and a few opera songs. She is crazy talented!

After the sing-along and concert, it was time for the costume contest! Literally seconds before Aubrey was about to go on stage, she exclaims she has to go to the bathroom "really bad". I panic because they have to go in a certain order. I ask her if she can hold it for 2 minutes while she goes on stage and she said she could. So she went and did her thing and my heart nearly stopped when I saw her start to crouch down. I thought she was going to have an accident right there on stage. But she was just acting like Pinkie Pie! The crowd loved it, and clearly the judges did toom because...

{don't mind the proud mom "woo!"ing in the background... that was just me ;) and don't mind the crappy video. Blogger destroyed the quality when I uploaded it.}

She won!

After she got her prizes for winning (a goodie bag filled with fun stuff!) it was time for the long drive home. We got stuck on the George Washington bridge for a little over an hour. Our GPS ended up losing signal on a rotary and I ended up taking a wrong turn and getting stuck in Manhattan traffic for another half hour. I distinctly remember putting our address in to get us home, but for some reason it decided to direct us to Boston instead, adding another 45 minutes to our trip home. We finally parked the car about 15 minutes before midnight. 

Would I do it again? Absolutely. It might be a few years, because it was a pretty expensive getaway and we need to save for our upcoming Disney trip in February 2016. But the memories we took home with us are priceless.