The surprise attack

Typically, I trudge through my birthdays as one would a murky pond- carefully and cautiously stepping through the day, just trying to make it to the other side without a bite or an encounter with some unidentifiable monster. And every year when April 6th arrives, I feel a huge wave of relief. Aging isn’t the issue. I still feel young and every year I grow wiser, happier- so, no, age does not bother me (yet).

I myself couldn’t quite put a finger on why I dreaded the big day so much until last year when Seth asked me, “Why do you hate them so much?” He looked genuinely concerned after having watched me closely avoid emotional land mines all day.

No one had ever really asked me why. But, immediately, I knew the answer and tears flew through my eyes, soaking my cheeks instantly.

“I hate my birthdays because he’s not here.”

My father, his voice, his hug and his grand birthday enthusiasm. But I also missed the family that had existed before he died. After his death everyone scattered in their grief and there was no one to pull us back together again. Now 14 years later we remain divided, entire states and years of emotional wounds set between us.

But this year, Seth had a plan, He was bound and determined to beat my birthday demons.

The day started out as my birthdays usually do. No plans, home from work and treating myself to my own schedule of “whatever I feel like.” After dinner, a homemade lemon cake from Seth

Lemon cake

and a round of kid and Seth presents I could see the finish line. Bedtime was just 45 minutes away for the kids… and not long after my own.

But then I spotted a woman walking down the side walk with a present in her hands. When she came into focus i realized it was my best friend Monica. Read More…

Mr. Stork

We have been keeping this a secret for the past four months. But now my little 17 week old is too big to hide.

We are ecstatic… And yes, it was planned (that seems to be the first question everyone has). Yes, planned. Although Lily’s wish for a little sister on Christmas Eve could have done the trick.

Here is my bump and the handsome culprit.

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Expect a flurry of posts now that the cat is out of the bag. I find it very hard to blog when I am keeping something from you.

xoxo,

Alaina

My little boy.

Benjamin turned seven last weekend.

Seven. 

The years haven’t flown by. I don’t feel that way at all. I look back on the past seven years as a long, long road to where we are today. There was no flying involved. We just took it day by day, keeping ourselves busy with adventures, big and small. And through it all, we were together.

Fortunately for me, he still lets me squeeze him hug him and kiss him up, just like I did when he was a little guy.

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Thank goodness, because Read More…

What do you do with family photos?

Printed photos are a rarity for me. Lily & Cohen’s baby pictures aren’t in one of those frilly family photo albums. Well, a few of them are. And there are some in frames. But most of the pictures are on my phone and computer… and backed up on two separate external hard drives… and various online photo services. But printing them always seemed like such a hassle. Have to crop them, upload them to some wobbly local photo shop website (or through iPhoto, Flickr, Picasa, etc), select print sizes, glossy or matte finish, and on and on.  And, usually, you have to do that all from a computer.

Now, though, we have lots of pictures. A Ms. Single Mama/Beauty and the Biker reader, Julie, told us about an awesome photo app she’s been working on called Groovebook: a photo app for busy families. Groovebook prints a keepsake booklet of up to 100 pictures from your iOS (iPhone, iPod, etc) or Android device each month, sends it to you, and all they charge is $2.99 for shipping/handling. Seriously. So, when Julie asked if we wanted to try out this photo app for free (in exchange for sharing our thoughts about it), we said sure!

You can download Groovebook for free from the iTunes App Store or Google Play. Then, create a free account, and select the pictures you want this month. The pics go from your phone to your door with a few taps.

The kids love these little photo books. Each page is perforated, and tells the date, time, and location of each picture.

Lily tore out a bunch and put them on the pin board in her room.

groovebook photos on a pinboard Read More…

A surprise

He may have anticipated that one day he could love again. But I don’t think he ever expected to fall in love with her dog, too.

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They’re made for each other, these two. Just another piece of our serendipity falling into place.

Xoxo,

Alaina

I love…

How he leaves the fluffy towel for me and takes the stiff one for himself.

How he never, ever complains about all of the cleaning and housework and general maintenance and upkeep of a family of five.

How he listens to every detail of my day and then offers constructive, positive advice.

How he looks at me in the morning.

How he holds me in the morning (and at night).

How he tells me he loves me every single day, over and over again. Just because.

How it still feels like we just met.

How he loves my son as much as his own.

How I would still marry him in a heartbeat if the opportunity came again.

How I have zero regrets when I am with him, there is no doubt that we are meant to be.

How I dreamt of him before I even knew him.

How I knew, in my heart, I would be happy single unless I found him.

How I refused to settle for anything less.

xoxo,

Alaina

Spring

We can smell spring on the horizon, in spite of the four inches on the ground when we woke up to this morning.

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Spring is there, on the horizon, waiting to begin.

Thanks to Seth, I sleep in now more often than not. On one such morning I woke up feeling Read More…

Sunday cleaning

We are cleaning.

This weekend it is the basement’s turn. There are piles of toys in need of purging. Last weekend, with the kids all at grandparent’s houses, Seth and I worked around the clock and made major progress on our room and the main level.

We live in a 1600 square foot house.

That is being generous and including the basement. While it was a mansion to Benjamin and I, it is a bit of a squeeze for the five of us (and one Archer). But, thanks to Ikea, Seth’s design sense and some serious purging (two trucks full), the house feels better than it ever has.

We are impatiently awaiting Spring and its warm breezes, sandals, fire pits and back yard grilling.

Here is a shot of our redecorated living room.

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And now, I am off to the basement.

Any others have advice on blending households?

xoxo,

Alaina

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