Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking forward to the New Year

The chair rail is finally done...I finished painting yesterday with some help.  Thankfully no little ones were too interested in this project.  

Here is a before....

and then the after....not a huge difference.

The problem with our house is it is painted with builder grade paint.  So no handprints, scuff marks or base ball bat marks come off the walls (thank you Jackson) this will allow me to wash the lower part of the wall since the paint is much better...

We have kept Ryans parents busy busy while they have been here...tonight we head out to celebrate new years with some friends..HAPPY NEW YEAR

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Life gets in the a good way.  We have spent most of this week pjs, playing with new toys and enjoying the pleasant December weather.  We did not travel this holiday which was really awesome.  I do not think ANYTHING beats the joy in faces on Christmas morning.

This was Aly finding out that Santa had brought her an American Doll....and let me say that she has taken it everywhere so far.  Julie has not left her side...well worth the investment.

Jack got more noisy trucks and trains....and loves every minute of them

especially when he loses one between the refrigerator and the ovens...which took a vacuum to extricate it. 

Brianna has been loving the cars and trucks just like Jack.

I was able to get in a little home improvement project I had put on chair rail in the foyer...more pics to come.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Santa, Gingerbread and ....Jackson

This weekend Santa appeared by fire truck in our neighborhood.  Jack was in HEAVEN.  A truck and the ho, ho, he calls Santa.

On Sat night we had 15 of our closest friends under the age of 6 over for a little gingerbread decorating.  

We decorated lots of houses and had fun. I might be finding sugar and frosting in July....

Finally, I sent Ryan with the three kids to the grocery store on Sat morning before the party.  Simple must be gone more than 1.5 hours (so I can get the house ready) and PLEASE buy only what is on the list.  I should have known better.  A little birdie told me that he started the trip in the Ice Cream  Aisle...anyone that knows Ryan that will not come as any surprise.  Not only did he come home with  things not on the list HELLO 5 gallons of ice cream...he brought back cheese balls...apparently for the party and somehow they never made it out.

No worries though..Jackson has found them quite useful.

Time to turn on the door alarm!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

If I did not do triathlons.......

I would bake full time!  I like to cook but I LOVE baking...

This weekend is our annual gingerbread decorating party and I am SO excited.  Today we built the houses...complete with a snowman on each front yard.  It was so much fun...and in between I have been working on perfecting the whoopie pie.  I sent a bunch of gingerbread ones with cream cheese frosting to preschool this morning...with specific instructions...the frosting is just not right.    We made several dozen chocolate ones yesterday and I will fill them with peppermint, peanut butter, and some undecided flavor.   I can't seem to get the gingerbread filling right though.

All the while...the monkeys were home acting like this:

Jack thinks he is a dragon with the elephant on....he runs around the house roaring...while pushing the doll carriage.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Random Tidbits....

We have a studious bunch right?  This week has been filled with random funny moments.....

Jack is out of the crib..happily climbing out and excited that he has figured out how to do so.  The problem though is he wants to sleep in the crib and cannot figure out how to get back currently is bed of choice is the floor of his bedroom.

Brianna keeps telling me that she wants Santa to bring her a Cars bike.  I explained that Santa brought her a bike last year....the problem is i tis Tinkerbell not Cars.  She recently told me that she was going to write Santa a note and tell him to take the Tinkerbell one back and bring a Cars one...oh dear.

Aly had homework for girl scouts last week where she needed to draw a picture of a strong and courageous person.  When I asked her who she was going to draw she was not really sure.  Brianna piped in and said she should draw God since that is the person that sees you when you do bad things.  Then she stated that Aly just needed to draw the sky since he lived up there somewhere.  Somehow we ended up with Amelia Earheart.

Someone is a having a little identity crisis.....or so I thought until he threw the stroller across the room...nope he is ALL BOY!

Check out this HUGE bowl of ice cream my mom gave Jack!  She is here for the week while Ryan is in London....our house currently smells like COOKIES! YUM!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekend Fun

This morning, I headed out on a longer bike ride with a couple of friends.  It was a toasty 21 degrees out!  Two layers of pants, shirts, a neck warmer and mittens and we were pretty warm.  My toes were the only thing that got really cold, even with two pairs of socks on.  It certainly beat riding inside on the trainer though.

Lake Galena Boat Launching area in Peace Valley Park, Pennsylvania

We road out to Peace Valley Park and then headed up to Lake Nockamixon.  We did climb some hills and saw plenty of black ice out but no snow yet!

Ryan left for London last night and I was in NYC all day yesterday.  I was able to finish up my shopping and we saw Jersey Boys, which was really good.  We are spending the rest of the weekend wrapping, wrapping and more wrapping!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sugar, Sugar, everywhere

If we can't avoid it...lets partake!

We had lots of friends over this morning to make holiday sugar cookies....Of course more decorations on the floor and the table than on the cookies I think.

Jackson ate all the decorations that I gave him then the cookie and promptly signed more over and over and over!

We had a great time and dad was thankful when he got home from work!

Friday, December 2, 2011

So Proud

I often think with parenting there are not a whole lot of moments where you stop and think..I must be doing something right.  Too often our days are filled with please put away this or take your dishes here.  We talk a lot in our family about manners, being nice, and giving to people. 

Today was one of those moments where I was just so proud!  We had a fun day planned with a classmate of Aly's.  We were going to get haircuts, out to lunch and then to paint pottery.  A girls day out...well plus Jack!

Aly has never cut her hair.  Lots of people comment on how long it is or how pretty - she obviously did not get the blond from me  - ha.  The last few times were have been for a trim she has talked about cutting it short.  I really did not care but I wanted it to be her decision.  I will say I was DEATHLY afraid of the first cut and the tears if she did not like it.

This morning, she talked nonstop that she had agreed with Gianna that they were going to cut their hair.  Gianna has beautiful long curly hair as well.  Then Chrissy, Giannas mom told me that we can donate her hair if we cut more than 8 inches.  I explained to Aly what that meant and then we measured out her was plenty long enough! 

I'll be honest.. I was having a slight heart attack.  Not over the hair, honestly it will make my mornings so much easier.  I was worried if she decided she did not want it that short midway through...when it was too late.  I know that it is another life lesson but I was hoping for a meltdown free day and we had not had that this week.  She did great though..we talked a lot about who she was helping and what a nice gift it was.  Look how long...I will NOT miss the hours I spent braiding and brushing AT all!

Let the cutting begin!

In the end, she loved the cut and so did mom...we mailed off her hair this evening...a great lesson!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On the Move

Literally...we have not stopped this week.  It has been busy, busy, busy.  The kids are so EXCITED about Christmas they are talking about it nonstop, every day and all.the.time.

I LOVE IT!  and the Elf on the Shelf made it return to our house.  So far it has made it back from the North Pole every night....I caught Aly talking to it the first day...of course in Aly fashion she was telling the Elf how good she has been and how everyone else has done this or done that.

On the training front I am back in full swing...hoping the hip is going be okay.  Looking forward to a fun winter of training and getting ready for next spring.

Ryan is home this week...sick, sick, sick.  Of course he is still working hard and heads back out to London next week.  Hopefully he will be better by then.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Fun

It started so nice....decorating the tree....Ryan watching football.  The kids having fun.  Short lived happiness...I told Jackson's godmother not to be surprised if he arrived in a Fed Ex box for the holidays.

Jackson quickly found it was more fun to throw the ornaments...and attempt to hit them off the tree than to hang nicely.

Then he plowed over the nativity scene...with his train.  Literally Mary went flying....

He did stop in his tracks to yell touchdown when Ryan's team scored.....we sent the boys to do errands while the girls finished the tree.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hard at work....

We headed back to PA early...between the travel and some late nights..everyone was pretty beat,  Today was great all around.  The kids have been excited about getting a tree, so we did that this afternoon. After 7 loads of laundry and a trip to the grocery store...we were ready to tackle the tree...

Our first attempt at a picture...not so much.  We just put lights on and tomorrow we will attempt the ornaments.  We also broke out our Elf on the Shelf.  Hopefully that will lead to great behavior for the next 5 weeks.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So much to be thankful for...

Of course I am writing this attempting to stay awake so that we can hit some of the stores that open at midnight.....ahh my one late night a year!

We had a great Thanksgiving in NH.....full of family, food and fun!  The kids had a blast with their cousins and will certainly be disappointed when we head back to PA tomorrow.

Uncle Barry started a new tradition...the driveway was a hit...check out the start line

You might also notice...that he is conveniently out in front with his son...not that I am calling CHEATING by any stretch of the imagination...but it sure look suspicious.  No joke...he does not let kids win. 

Next year we will have race bibs and snacks at the end...and we might have to make an adult one of the kids can win (cough cough BARRY)...


Friday, November 18, 2011


It has been a whirlwind since I return....nothing like going from 0 to 90 with jetlag!  I returned to 3 healthy happy cherubs and plenty of Thanksgiving and preschool commitments to keep me running for most of the week.  I also began training again so that coupled with the jetlag has left me in bed with the kids most nights.

We did have some awesome weather earlier in the week!  I love fall and was super happy to be back outside running.  I missed most of the cooler fall weather.  Here are some pics from this week.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hong Kong Final Thoughts

We are in the lounge waiting for our flight home.  Ryan rocked and upgraded us both to business class!  Perks of traveling so much.  We went over to Kowloon to check out the good shopping.  We did not find too much.  You really have to know where to go, otherwise the bargains are not that great.

You really can't see but the Chinese Banyan trees are HUGE.  It provides great shade against the heat.  We met up with another couple that Ryan works with over here.  They took us out for our final night in Hong Kong.  They have spent most of their lives alternating between North America and Asia.  They currently live near Stanley, which is another popular expat community.  This was our view from dinner.

I found it fascinating to learn about their adventures in Asia.  They have two children and have lived in Singapore, Japan, and Hong well as Chicago and Toronto.  The shopping in Stanely was fantastic.  Ryan got a great winter coat, that I get to haul back to the US for a steal.

I am excited to see the kids...but greatful that I was able to have this experience and see Asia.  Onto the US!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Victoria Peak, Aberdeen and Triathlon!

We went to the top of Victoria was neat.  You can see the city and all of the surrounding islands below.  It has not been really warm here like I thought it would.  We have worn jeans and long sleeves most of the time.  This morning the sun came out for the first time since we arrived on Tuesday.

Ryan worked most of yesterday, so my mom and I took off in the morning to Aberdeen.  A smaller fishing village known for floating restaurants and more typical Hong Kong lifestyle than the hustle and bustle of the big city. She had been there 40 years ago and we interested in seeing the changes.

We ate at the SAME restaurant that they did when they were here.  It was neat to hear her describe the changes and all of the developments since then.  It sure has grown!  We ate dim sum, which is popular here, a combination of small appetizer dishes cantonese style. 

We headed back to the central district for the afternoon.  One thing I have also been trying to figure out is how people train for triathlons here.  It is very hilly and the roads are narrow, with little room for error driving let alone biking.  Jen had let me know that she coaches another athlete here.  I was able to connect with Michaela for coffee and to chat.  She did indeed confirm that there is limited biking routes but the scenery is beautiful.  There is outdoor swimming ALL YEAR ROUND, which would be a great change.  I was able to run outside this morning so I know that is an option almost anywhere.  The smog can be a problem so that would be a change as well.

It was great to hear another perspective from an expat. She said that there are some great races in Asia and the season really runs opposite the US.  We then met Ryan for dinner and I was done with asian food for a while.  We picked up slices of pizza and then walked around Lan Kwai Fong.  This is a young area that gets pretty busy with bars and restaurants.  We head to Kowloon tomorrow and then we are meeting uo with some of Ryans coworkers in the afternoon.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Repulse Bay and the Expats

Since we arrived we have spent most of our time in central Hong Kong.  Today my mom and I met some friends who used to live in the States and now live in Hong Kong.  Ryan and Brian work together now and they were recently relocated from Singapore to Hong Kong. 

It was great to be able to see Erika and hear a little about the expat community in HK.  They live about 20 minutes outside of the central city in Repulse Bay.  This was a view from their apartment.


The roads to get here were long and really narrow.  You ride right along the coastline and their seems to be little room for biking for sure.  We ate lunch at the American Club and then headed over to see her place.  They have three kids and it was interesting to hear about the day to day life here.  One challenge is that space is a premium and you live in much smaller spaces than the US.  In addition, it is normal to have live in help here.  So all apartments and houses come with accomodations for live in help.    Ryan would certainly have to cure his cereal and Mt. Dew habit though as cereal is over $10 a box and Mt. Dew is found no where.

Repulse Bay was beautiful.  There is a beach below their building where the kids can one was swimming here though since it is winter.  In the building, there is a grocery store, preschools, little shoppes, playground, and drs offices.  There seem to be a lot of expats within this community so it makes getting to know people much easier.  Public transportation is really good throughout the island so you are able to get to and from places easily,

There are a bunch of other little islands off of Hong Kong..this was taken from the American Club where we at lunch,  We are headed to Victoria Peak, which is the tallest peak in Hong Kong.   

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wan Chai, Victoria Harbor, and others

This is pretty cool.  We took a ferry this evening over to Kowloon, and watched the largest light and laser show.  We spent most of the day exploring Hong Kong central.  Navigating our way through the subway, tram and ferry system.

There is just a MASSIVE amount of people here.  It really does resemble NYC in a lot of ways.

This morning was rainy and overcast so we took the opportunity to see some inside shopping centers and and temples.  We saw the Man Mo temple where you can purchase incense and it can burn for 2 to 3 weeks depending on what you wish for.

We have eaten mostly at the hotel since Ryan is staying here so long it is included in our room.  They have a variety of traditional foods as well as some Western food.  Tomorrow we  are looking forward to exploring Aberdeen and possibly some other Hong Kong suburbs.