and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.

Harriet Ann Jacobs

Day 2 of my ode to May 2013. Riveting, no? As I am quite sure you have been glued to your computers in eager anticipation of this followup, I will get right to it.

So much ivy. I like to pretend I attend Harvard. The ivy-covered brick depicted in New England-filmed movies is totally accurate. // Corn bread with maple butter. Get. In. Mah. Belly. // A quick nail-in-the-tire repair left this oops on my car. Thanks, Sears Auto of Burlington, Mass. // Lobster pants. Need I say more? // I've only had sushi once this month. What's wrong with me?! My doctor assures me it isn't serious. // Soup and salad. Sometimes it does the soul good. // Watermelon season is officially underway and we've had two delish melons in a row. Mario talks about it constantly. It takes like honey, Sarah! It's blowing my mind!

Sephora sells a Sun Safety kit. This girl can't resist sample sizes. And seeing as I have a genetic propensity to look like a California Raisin if left unprotected, I'm all over this bag 'o fun. // So much rain. I love a good cloudy day. // Kiddo is obsessed with Star Trek books. Read away, Little Man. // Up. Where my feet were after a CrossFit workout. I've seen 90 year old women move faster than I did in the 3 days following my first WOD. // Take 'n bake pizza is one of life's pleasures. That's code for if I bake it myself it counts as "making dinner". // My skin has been overly sensitive lately and my hands have been painfully red and irritated, leading me to ditch anything flavored. Goodbye beautifully scented lotions and soaps. You are going to live with Aunt Jessica. She will love you and appreciate you. Don't be sad. It's not your fault you gave mama a rash. // More blooms. I can't help myself.

May is going out with a bang. Less than a week ago it was near freezing and rainy. Some areas saw snow. And now... a heat wave. Well played, May. Well played. I'm suffering from serious wardrobe confusion.

The beautiful spring came;

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yesterday, while attempting to find a small notebook to use as food journal (I found 3 abandoned ones, in case you were wondering... apparently a pretty notebook can't make one commit to such things), I stumbled across a bucket list of sorts. A things I really want to accomplish in life list. Towards the top? Graduate from college. Check. I'm not sure exactly when I composed this list, but I'm sure it was within the last 5-6 years. And I've already crossed something off. Something big. I had a moment of emotion at this realization.

May has been a big month. 2013, thus far, has brought a lot of life and perspective changes, actually. May has been no exception. I have taken a lot of photos over the past 29 days, and think perhaps it was an unconscious attempt to document said changes. A way to go back and look through my eyes as they currently see the world around me. I assure you the photos themselves won't reveal life's unanswered questions; but they'll give you a peek into what life has been like in my neck of the woods as of late. The rest of this week (and month, really) will be dedicated to this momentous chunk of days.

Blooms. I'm obsessed with capturing them. // "Will someone pleeeeasse switch forks with me?" "Why?" "Three tines is not a fork. Three tines is a trident. Forks are for eating, tridents are for ruling the seven seas." An actual conversation with Jared. I mean Sheldon. If you feel like you're missing something, start watching The Big Bang Theory. Or google the clip. ASAP. // I must have been Jewish in a past life. I could eat a bagel and lox. Every. Single. Day. I love me some schmear. // Just when I thought I'd get a break from scientific journal articles. Oh no silly Sarah. // What's for dinner? Clean out the basement freezer and see what you find, that's what.

I tried a new smoothie at the co-op (I'm smitten)... and it blew my socks off. Holy moly fresh ginger! // Kiddo left me a lovely present on the hood of my car. Even dandelions have a certain beauty. // I'm desperately trying to cut back (even more) on dairy, but can't resist froyo with bursting bobas. Because I'm a 13 year old girl. // My favorite property is on the market. Too bad we aren't buying. I love this house and have since the moment I first laid eyes on it five years ago. // The ivy is taking over. I just adore these tiny pink leaves.

What potent blood hath modest May.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

  are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.
 L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

This last weekend was a full one.

Saturday was cold and wet and I was still regaining muscle function in my legs after my first CrossFit experience. Thank goodness I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel toward the evening hours. On Friday, I actually walked down three flights of stairs backward because of my painful Jello legs. 

For the reasons stated above, our day looked like this:

Sunday brought us to a Memorial Day potluck and barbeque at our friend Angy's house.


Her property is divine and, as always, we had an amazing time.

It is so nice to spend an evening with some really great people.

Memorial Day was so productive. We usually start out with the best intentions, but I never feel like we get enough accomplished. This was not the case yesterday. 

We started with breakfast at a local diner. The Eggs Benedict and Biscuits and Gravy were calling to me.  They wanted inside my belly real bad. But I said no to gravy-coated carbs and yes to eggs, ham and wheat toast. It was just as yummy. Not.

We got home and I started working on these beasts. I scooped them up from a neighbor's curb last fall and have been patiently waiting for furniture refinishing weather. I have been wanting to tackle a fun furniture project and thought these would be just the ticket. 

Lesson #1: Furniture refinishing is no joke. The "spray on" stripper didn't spray. So I painted it on. Instead of bubbling up and scraping off, the finish (stain? varnish?) turned into a gummy mess. I knew it would be work, but it was far less pretty than I imagined. There was sweat, bug bites, glove-melting chemicals, and fume-burned nose hairs. And 1.5 stripped chairs to show for it. Any advice for the other 4.5 chairs?

Meanwhile, Mario decided to explore the ever-growing bump in our driveway. Holy boulder, Batman! Lots of pensive moments and even more digging... and they got it fixed. The spot is flat and all we have left to do is patch the asphalt. Have I ever mentioned how resourceful my husband is? I suppose that comes with growing up on a ranch, but he can fix anything

There were also Tang slushies, beautiful landscape, and a happy frog-chasing pup.

We got a burn permit to deal with some lingering branches and lit an evening bonfire. Kiddo got his own little campfire to roast hot dogs. After we sent him in to shower, Mario and I had a little hot dog date of our own. It was so romantic.

We were exhausted, but went to bed with a great sense of accomplishment. Spending the day tending to our yard also made the fact that we will be selling it soon very real. We have an amazing, unique property that will hopefully attract a lovely new family when the time comes to list it. I only hope they will appreciate it as much as we do. 

I hope you had a Memorial Day to remember... in the best of ways.

I believe the nicest and sweetest days...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We have two evergreens on either side of our front walkway. Every year a mama robin raises her sweet little ones in a permanent nest in one of those trees. She was a little late this year... I was so happy to see her return recently. We try not to disturb her, and she gets pretty used to us walking past. It's a great little relationship we develop over spring.

In the next few weeks, we will start to hear the tiny chirps from her hungry babes. I'm excited!

Her nest is made mostly from organic matter, but there are a couple of fun additions... see the Easter grass on the right?

Robin's egg blue.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

1// Mr. Vista is back to his old self. I wasn't home much over finals, so he didn't receive the level of attention he is used to, and graduation brought a lot of strange people to the house. He didn't like it one bit. He was nipping a lot and carried a scowl everywhere he went. He is the biggest sweetheart, and I felt terrible that he was unhappy... and that family got the impression he is a curmudgeon. I adore that furry little man.
2// Beautiful sunsets never cease to amaze me. While heading home from a day out with the boys, we were gifted with this sight. My retinas probably have holes, but I couldn't stop staring.
3// The blooms aren't the only the only sign that spring is officially underway. It has been a rainy week that was kicked off by one of the loudest thunder and lightning storms I have ever heard. It was beautiful. This weekend brings more rain and cold temperatures.
4// I did it. I tried CrossFit for the first time yesterday. It was awful and wonderful. At one point I had to admit that I was about to throw up... and she assured me there were buckets nearby for that very reason. Yet I plan to come back for more. I will be doing a few personal training sessions so I can catch up to the normal classes and I'm terrified. Today, I'm hobbling around like an old lady. I have never been this sore! I have to mentally psyche myself up to get out of the car, sit down to pee, or pick something up off the ground. I wanted a shakeup... and I got one.
5// I have a husband who randomly brings a box of Starbucks to the lab. Just because. I was the hero of the biology department. No one wants to be working during their summer break, so a strong cup of coffee is greatly appreciated. Mario is amazing when it comes to surprising me with little (and big) "happies", as we call them. He's good people.

This rainy weekend will be spent sorting clothes for consignment, attending a Memorial Day potluck, and (finally!) hanging the second gallery wall in our room. It's the perfect weather for curling up in front of the television with the boys. And sleeping in.

We pulled the trigger and bought our plane tickets for our July vacation. And enrolled Kiddo in a Puget Sound-area camp for a week. Nearly a month will be spent with family in Montana, exploring the Pacific Northwest, and checking out grad schools in Idaho, Oregon, and perhaps Denver if time permits. My goal is not dip into savings for the trip, which means my paychecks will be devoted to funding our vacation. Consigning old clothes is another strategy, as is eating out less and spending smarter. Saving for something special is actually quite exciting. How do you save for something like this?

Happy Friday!

High Five for Friday: Hobbling in the Rain

Friday, May 24, 2013

to smell the roses.

Although spring is well underway here in New England, each morning brings new blooms and a greener landscape. To think that a mere month ago our front yard still bore snow.

The last couple of days I have taken the time to walk around our property and really appreciate how lucky we are to be surrounded by such beauty. A year from now we will be bidding it adieu. Saying goodbye to three beautiful acres of forest. Saying goodbye to our pond and its amazing little ecosystem. Although it is time to start thinking ahead to where our next dwelling will be, I want to soak up what our current home has to offer.

I will miss the quiet solitude that living in the country provides. I will miss being sung to sleep by our froggy friends. But I look forward to having neighbors and kiddos nearby Jared can play with. I look forward to the cultural and social exploration that comes with moving to a new region.

This morning Mario and I went out to breakfast, laptop in hand, and went state by state evaluating potential grad schools. Portland, OR... Savannah, GA... Pocatello, ID... Salt Lake City, UT... Denver, CO... and the list goes on. I was rooting for Austin, Texas, but alas.

Things will be different, sure, but any place has the potential to be home. The opportunity to advance my career, and having the boys by my side, makes where seems a little less important. Letting go of now, which is safe and comfortable, is a necessary task. One I shouldn't look upon with sadness and trepidation. A new chapter is being written.

Taking a little time...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's been a while since I have written a truly random post. There are always bits of this and that I think would be fun to blog about... but individually they hardly warrant and entire blog post (and perhaps still do not). So when they begin to accumulate in my filled-to-the-brim brain, these kinds of posts result.

Still there? Oh, good.

Remember how Carrie Bradshaw wore Aidan's underwear? And somehow managed to look chic doing it? Well, there's something to stealing your man's underpants. Holy comfortable drawers, Batman.

Now Hanes makes them for the ladies. I've never been more pleased. TMI? It had to be done. Consider this a public service announcement.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

I've been needing a body shake-up for a long time now. Recently a CrossFit studio opened up in our town. They require that participants take an introductory class, plus attend a month-long "training" session before attending regular classes. I like that they ease people into it, as I hear it is quite intense, but making all the classes will be tough with Mario's work schedule (the intro classes are from 7-8a or 6:30-7:30p... not convenient with a kiddo to get to school and put to bed).

So I'm considering two weeks of private training to expedite the process and allow for more suitable workout times. Any experienced (or beginner) CrossFit participants with a word of advice? Now that school is over, there is simply no excuse not to focus on my needs. A significant lifestyle change is long overdue. While the bloody knees and blistering palms terrify intimidate me, I've heard CrossFit can be life changing.

Back in March, during my spring break, I took a solo getaway to Cape Cod. One night, while relaxing in my hotel room, I unexpectedly found myself completely enthralled with a QVC segment featuring this self tanner. Then something unexpected happened: I ordered it. From a hotel room over takeout sushi. The girls were so golden and the sight of my pasty legs drove me to do it. I was no longer a home shopping virgin.

I should start by saying that, historically, I have been quite terrified of self tanners. I always imagine I am going to resemble Lindsay Lohan once it develops. Or have strange orange sweat streaks running down my leg a la Christina Aguilera. Oompa Loompa is not a good look on me.

Can I just tell you how amazing this stuff is? Which is good because I bought a Costco-worthy bottle. It's a mousse that you apply with a mitt. It blends in seamlessly and imparts a lovely, natural glow. My gams no longer look like they belong to a corpse! I first tried it before graduation just over a week ago and couldn't believe how easy it was to use. It. Is. Awesome. I must remind myself that not everything on QVC will be this great, however. Resist the kitten sweater, Sarah. You are not 85 years old.

In other news, post-honors convocation dinner and drinks with the family at my favorite local martini bar reignited my love for their pickle juice martini. Sure, I have cankles and my wedding ring leaves a dent in my marshmallow finger, but boy does mama love these. Husband recreates this drink really well. I feel very "1950s housewife" carrying it around the house.

Under where?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I'd have no identifiable personality whatsoever.

David Letterman

As I write this, I realize I have spent considerable time discussing my rather sordid relationship with a certain brew. 

Coffee. Boy do I love it. 

There's something unexplainable about hours spent studying at a great coffee joint. The caffeine, the environment, my innate ability to focus on the task at hand. After I get done catching up on my favorite blogs, of course. 

 Last Tuesday morning I was crazy restless. I had no plans, but not enough time to warrant going back home. I also had several journal articles to read in preparation for my new research position... but not a shred of motivation to actually read them.

So I headed to my new favorite haunt. I sat. I thought. I caffeinated. I had lunch. I read two papers. Life seemed a little less bleak.

Here's to finding that perfect place... when you need it most. 

If it weren't for the coffee,

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The inevitable post-semester, post-graduation bubble burst. Big time. Family left, Kiddo is still in school, and Mario has been out of town all week. My serious lack of sleep caught up with me and, for the first time in months, I had no idea what to do with myself. Mentally or physically. I found this is a common epidemic, as my favorite professor expressed the same woes, verbatim, as I did when I caught up with her yesterday.

So when the professor I'm doing research with this summer told me I could take a few more days off before starting, I was tempted to take her up on her offer. But I didn't. Instead, I focused on sleeping well and eating healthy; working to ease myself into the limbo I'll be in for the next 10-12 months until we decide to put our house on the market (and more importantly, sell it) and my grad school plans are solidified.

It would be easy to get caught up in the exhaustion and what now? feelings, but I refuse. There is too much to be happy about. The landscape has come alive. I have amazing family that rallies around me. I can call myself a college graduate.

I'm joining Lauren for one of my favorite link-ups: High Five for Friday. Participating every week reminds me to photograph (and really, truly embrace) the lovely things around me. To stop and take notice of even the little moments that make life so good. Because it is. I just have to get out of my head and look at the big picture.

1// My brother-in-law and his girlfriend gave me this candle from Anthropologie for graduation. Hands down this is the best candle I've ever smelled. The glass jar is my favorite color and will definitely get upcycled. I haven't lit it yet and my whole living room smells divine.
2// I'm getting paid to do research! I'm totally in awe. First up? Finding the counter tops. In just a few hours yesterday, I made a huge dent in the mess. If only I could apply those organizational skills to my own home.
3//  I live with two boys which means I see a lot of action films. For once I may actually be more excited to see this film than they are. Can't. Wait.
4// Could I love this kid more? Impossible. And now that my evenings are free, I can take him to swim lessons and actually stay to watch.
5// A graduation present from my sister-in-law. She saw these yellow crochet Toms in one of my blog posts and got them for me. They are beyond cute. Love, love, love.

Happy Friday!!

I hate to burst your bubble...

Friday, May 17, 2013

All things seem possible in May.

Edwin Way Teale

Have you ever been to a New England May Day celebration? Upon moving here a few years ago, we became acquainted with said festivities and their accompanying maypole dance for the first time. Do other regions of the U.S. do this?

Our local community farm has a maypole that symbolizes the spring planting season and stays up all summer.

Last week, Kiddo's school had their annual May Day concert. They sang spring-themed songs. Afterward, we gathered outside and watched a little maypole celebration. It really is something special.

I wish I could give you the what's what on this tradition, but the historical origins seemed to be debated. Still, it's a lovely way to connect with nature, embrace the changing season, and see the kiddos perform.

Afterward, the families gathered for some sweet treats.

Including this darling maypole cake complete with edible flowers. Our resident supermom, Angy, whipped this up. You know that one special mom who seems to balance anything and everything beautifully? That's her. And she has two more kiddos than I do. Amazing.

The world’s favorite season is the spring.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Shopping for anything but food and tp simply hasn't happened much this semester. My cup runneth over at Christmastime, so I wanted for nothing, then things got busy. I also resolved to lighten our load in the "things" department.

I simply couldn't resist, however, when Manda was offering a shop special. I ordered one of her wrap bracelets and a single bracelet (the yellow one). They arrived on Friday, just hours before my honors convocation. It was love at first sight and I wore them to the ceremony. I have man wrists (i.e. thick), so I was a bit concerned, but they fit perfectly and relaxed a bit with subsequent wearings. These will be my go-to accessories for summer.

Note: I ordered and paid for these on my own. Manda didn't even know I had a blog until I asked if I could feature them. I simply love her jewelry. And her blog. I've read it since I started this here blog.

Last Thursday, my aunts, grandma and I hit up a great new outlet mall. My lovely Aunt Pam bought me a Fossil watch (my favorite!) but thought it was too similar to my current watch. Instead, she gave me some graduation money and told me to buy something fun and just for me. I believe it sounded something like "no buying groceries with this!". She's awesome.

I sprung for this bag which instantly caught my eye. It was marked at $98, but on a sale rack (I'm way too frugal for full price Fossil bags)... and it rang up at $30. Score! It has that shiny finish on the outside that keeps the material from staining and the cross-body strap makes it perfect for this summer's travels.

Aunt Pam did gift me with this watch . I'm a big fan of Bungalow 360 and other eco friendly accessory companies, but had never heard of iSprout. Darling! I've worn it every day since.

Mario's family was still in town on Monday, so I suggested we take them out for a bit of shopping. I had a Sephora gift card burning a hole in my pocket courtesy of my lovely friend Molly, so the trip was a bit self serving.

I received a deluxe sample of this powder foundation with a Sephora order a couple months ago and finally got around to trying it. I love it! I have fairly light skin and was so surprised that the sample color matched my skin tone perfectly. I have never been one for powder-based products, but this is the exception. It has physical sunscreens (a MUST for me), glides over my base products (serum, sunscreen) without balling up, and lasts all day. My skin looks natural and retains moisture like crazy. It literally takes seconds to apply to my whole face. Good stuff.

Although I love Anthropologie and want to live in their stores, I don't get there often. I decided to stop in and scored some sweet swag. I'm a fan of this type of super soft headband and had to scoop up these pretty colors. They are the perfect shades for me... and they won't dent my fine hair.

I also couldn't walk away from this bronze owl doorstop. Our bedroom has a sliding glass door which creates a cross-breeze that  leads to loud door slams as our bedroom door is blown shut. This little (but heavy) guy is the perfect remedy.

If I'm honest, I have no idea where to put this rabbit hook. Jared saw it and was instantly smitten (as he is with most animal-themed things) and the $7 price tag convinced me to take it home. He was just too funky and cute to pass up. I'm sure we will find the perfect place for him.

I received so many sweet gifts from family. Although I'm certainly not a traditional college student, they rallied around me and showed so much love. All those wonderful treasures were unexpected but appreciated. So much.

My other aunt, Cindy, is an amazing photographer. She and my grandma gave me a tripod and remote system for my camera. I can't wait to put them to use!

The most profound gift, perhaps, was this:

A brand new stethoscope. I hadn't even thought about the fact that I will need one for PA school and it reminded me how close I am to my dream career. It is an acknowledgement of the hard work I've done. In the moment I opened that box, I realized how much the people around me believe in me. Mario's mom, dad, and grandma came together to give this to me. My eyes well up just thinking about it. I have so much to be grateful for!

Now it's back to frugality until our month-long summer vacation. I am fortunate to have been sought out for summer research. Not only is it exciting, and will look great on my grad school applications, but it will keep me busy during the post-semester period that usually leaves me prone to restlessness. And it's paid. I will have my own paycheck for the first time in years! It won't cover our mortgage, sure, but isn't intended to. It's about the feeling that comes from doing. Plus, the few extra nickels will leave us feeling less squeezed come vacation time.

Update (3/17/14): It bums me out to do this, but I can no longer, in good conscience, recommend the above jewelry shop. While I still love those bracelets, and will continue to wear them, I had a terrible experience with my second order; an ordeal that dragged on for over 8 months and resulted in no product. (I'm still disappointed, after everything, that I didn't get them. I'm hoping to find another person that makes a similar style. I'll let you know if I do.) You can read my account here. I would never want anyone else to go through that, and based on my experience, I'm guessing others have.

Pretty Little Things

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Do not desire to be famous; be loved. Do not take pride in being expected; be palpable, unmistakable.

C. JoyBell C.

I have felt really disconnected from the blogging world as of late. I tried to keep up with my blog roll, and favorite bloggers, but wasn't feeling inspired anymore. Today I let myself roam. From one blog to the next, I got blissfully lost in the blogosphere.

In the process, I discovered so many beautiful blogs. They were different. Their content. Their photography. It felt different. In finding these lovely people and their beautifully written perspectives, I felt a renewed sense of self... in the blogging sense. I was smitten. And blissfully reminded of what I love so much about this rather random way of life.

There was one thing most of these bloggers had in common: on their sites, GFC was nowhere to be found. And I was once again reminded why I do this. So many times on this relatively short journey, I have suffered an identity crisis:

Who am I without readers? 
If no one reads what I write, why am I doing this?
What am I doing wrong?
Why doesn't anyone like me? [insert teenage angst]

Once I regain my composure (and polish off a pint of Pfish Food while watching The Notebook), I am reminded why I got myself into this in the first place: to write. I know, I know. Everyone says that. But I can say with certainty that I will never make money blogging. I have a different career path. Unfortunately, personal expression is, for the most part, lacking in my chosen discipline. Just because I have a passion for one thing doesn't mean I have to abandon my love of another. Hence this blog.

I admire those who channel their blog into a business. Or a way to advertise and support their true business. I admire their dedication, talent, and the innate ability to attract so many readers with their words, fashion sense, graphic design, and/or photographs.

So why do I get caught up in the numbers game? Pageviews, followers, comments... it can be all encompassing. And not in a good way. I imagine I can chalk it up to the fact that I am a human who has a visceral need for validation. Don't we all, really?

When I venture over to a beautiful blog, I want to stay a while. To explore. To see life through their eyes. And when I go to follow them, and find nary a widget, I admire them even more. Because they blog for them. For the self expression. For the beauty of it. In not getting lost in the vortex that can be the blogging world, they have freed themselves. Unabashed blogging.

Perhaps they, too, get sucked into the numbers game. I can't presume to know. But my admiration is unwavering. Because they write and express and do. Period. They don't write for the masses... they write for themselves. Readers seem to be a happy side effect.

I know I should be saying "See the button on the right?! Join me on Bloglovin'!" or sponsoring other blogs. Sometimes I want to. But in the end that won't bring happiness. Or fulfillment. Writing in the best, most authentic way I know how is the key to success... whatever that may look like.

At the end of the day, what is the point of having 1000+ followers if there is no interaction? No connection? An inability to relate to others and them to you? I suppose 1000 followers doesn't necessarily equate to 1000 readers.

So although I occasionally become sidetracked by the numbers, and allow myself to get discouraged, eating a lot of carbs a reality check usually puts things back into perspective.

Not every post will be my opus.
Not every photo will be the most beautiful.
Not every post will make my fellow blogger feel something.
I will probably bore you daily from time to time.

The beauty in doing something for myself, and not for others, is that personal satisfaction requires only one person to be content: me.

As of now, my widget GFC stands. As does my rather silly blog name. Both may change in the near future. I will be at peace with that. Like my perspective, this little corner must evolve.

And since I'm writing about relationships of the blogging variety, I want to give a shout out to a few that make nearly every day brighter. They leave thoughtful, sweet, and funny comments, and often have encouraging words. Just because. Jen, Nicki, and Natalie: thank you.

Do not yearn to be popular; be exquisite.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What a whirlwind the last couple weeks have been. The year thus far, really. I look back and see a big fuzzy ball of stress, excitement, anticipation and a whole lot of go, go, go. For the first time in many years, I can stop living solely in the now and start looking forward to what's next. 

With that comes a lot of unknowns: When do we put our house on the market? When do I take the GREs? Which programs should I apply to this fall? What else can make my applications stand out? But I'm not letting all the what ifs monopolize my time or cloud the excitement and pride I currently feel.

Although last week blew by, there were some moments of serenity and joy. My aunts came for my graduation, and my grandma surprised me. I walked into the house to see her perched on our couch. My awesome husband kept it a secret for months. I don't know how he did it. They wanted me to have family there. To feel celebrated. It meant everything. Mario's mom, sister, brother, and our niece also came. It was lovely.

This weekend also marked Kiddo's 13th birthday. I am so proud of the young man he is becoming. He is smart, sweet, funny, and has such a kind heart. What more could a mother could ask for? Not a thing, in my opinion.

We delayed his party by one day so everyone could be there. After graduation we had a big barbeque (ribs... Kiddo's choice) and finished off the evening with presents and cake. 

He really wanted an Almond Joy cake, so I invented one. Two layers of almond-flavored white cake sandwiching a chocolate layer, topped with coconut frosting. Winning.

Three guesses as to what he's obsessed with right now.

There was also a day trip around Vermont, photography, and some awesome and unexpected graduation gifts. I went shopping for non-necessities for the first time in months and scored some great finds (including a new foundation I'm gaga over). Tomorrow shall be the day of sharing.

As of late.

This gal has not been around much lately, 
but I am back, able, and ready to invest more time and real thought into this wee blog. 
Aside from a few weeks of paid research (whaaa?), 
this summer is my oyster.

It will be spent traveling with family, 
scoping out grad schools, 
and enjoying my relationships. 
Neglected projects around the house will be completed. 
My first foray into furniture refinishing is going down.

I can't wait.

I'm also coming back to you as a bona fide college grad. 
A husband, a kiddo and four long years... 
some days I wondered if it would ever happen.

It did.

May 11, 2013.
 Speech after speech.
Diploma after diploma.
Chilled to the bone.
Happier than ever.

I did it.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder...

Sunday, May 12, 2013