The Tale of Two Elsa Dresses

IMG_4213Once upon a time there were 8 million little girls was a little girl who wanted to be Elsa for Halloween. Despite her mother suggesting she dress as Anna or Olaf, she wanted to dress as her beloved Elsa.  They searched the land in September for a dress that would be suitable for the little girl but had great difficulty.  It turns out that affordable size 6 dresses with a train that look like a “real” Elsa dress were hard to come by.

Then they entered a magical kingdom called Etsy.  An affordable dress just like the little girl wanted could be handmade in the Philippines and sent to the little girl in America by the middle of the September!  The mother placed her order and the little girl jumped up and down with glee.

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About a week before the dress was supposed to arrive, the mother checked in on the order and the shop had DISAPPEARED! What type of magic was this?  No more shop….No more money!  The kingdoms of Etsy and Paypal would do nothing until the ship date and so another week went by.  After this week the shop was still missing and the kingdoms of Etsy and Paypal said there was NOTHING they could do!  The shop had disappeared in both kingdoms!!! So with no money and no dress….what was this mother to do??

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The mother found a suitable dress in the Kingdom of Amazon and had the new dress within two days.  Now she had spent FAR more than she wanted on this Elsa dress and so she went to a higher authority and tried to stop the payment on her credit card for the first dress.  In time the payment was reversed, the little girl was happy with her new dress (though it didn’t have the long train) and all was right with the world.

Then three weeks later, what should arrive in the mail!?!?!?  You guessed it….the original handmade Elsa dress!  A beautiful crafted work of art with a detachable train.  The mother and little girl could not BELIEVE that the shop had reappeared!  No note, no explaination….just a beautiful dress for Halloween.

Mother called the higher authority and had the charges “reversed” once again.  She then looked down at the two Elsa dresses and wondered, “What do I do???” Just then her “fairy godmother” and good friend from down the street offered to buy the dress from the kingdom of Amazon for her little girl.  The mother was overjoyed and so grateful to her “fairy godmother” and so the dress was sold.

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The little girl LOVED her Elsa dress so much and was looking forward to freezing on Halloween night with all of the other little Elsa’s in the Northeast.  Her brother Sir Penguin would at least be warm in his costume!

The End

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The Gift of Time and Space

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This weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to attend my third Mosaic of Faith weekend retreat in the beautiful town of Duxbury. Each retreat has been so special for me and I have taken away something different with each one.

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This year’s retreat was unique in that the four women attending, each presented one of the of the four sessions over the weekend.  Usually my dear friend Claire, the founder of Mosaic of Faith, is our fearless leader and host for the entire weekend.  This year we all took turns preparing meals, we all helped to set up the space, all led sessions and all got to enjoy all of the moments of the beautiful weekend.  It was so nice to see Claire so relaxed rather than running around making sure that every detail was perfect and that all were enjoying themselves.

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You cannot help but relax and reflect when you are on these retreats.  The indoor space is cozy and the outdoor space is ABSOLUTE magic.  Between the beach along the bay, the sprawling lawn, the natural labyrinth, the wooded path down to the beach or the bridge that crosses the marsh….it is filled with wildlife and wonder.

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This years sessions were as unique as the beautiful presenters presenting them. We had such a great experience learning and growing together.  I feel so grateful to Claire for bringing us all together and to the other two women for sharing so much of themselves this weekend.  I am also VERY grateful to my in-laws for taking such great care of my children and to Scott for always making time for this weekend to happen.

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This weekend was a gift, a gift of time and space to reflect, learn and grow.  I am so grateful to all that made it happen.  Thank you!

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Friday Finds….The Race to Nowhere in Youth Sports

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An interesting read for all but especially those of us with youth playing sports.  Click Here to read the article by John Sullivan.

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My Baby is FIVE!!!

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I know they say Time Flies..but FIVE?!?!  Where did my sweet little baby go? Lil’C has been very sweet this birthday with extra hugs and encouraging words for me.  “It’s okay mama, I am five now, it’s okay.  I am still your little girl but I need to be five.”

She is right, she does need to be five but I still want permission to take a step back today and say, “WOW!  When did that little 6 pound baby that shot into this world (literally) turn into such an amazing little person?”

IMG_4444Lil’C is a person who is not afraid to show her emotions.  When she is happy, the whole world is happy along with her.  When she is upset or mad…WATCH OUT….her screams and “tears” can be hear round the globe!!  Lil’C is an enthusiastic and creative little being who brings so much joy to our family and this world.  She loves hard and we are so blessed to have her in our lives.

Happy Birthday Lil’C!!!

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Friday Finds….Non-Toy Ideas for the Holidays

IMG_3301Hello all!  It has been a long time since I have done a Friday Finds and I decided to start up again by sharing this great old blog post about Non-Toy Ideas for the holidays.

I don’t know about you but I get easily overwhelmed by all of the gifts given to my kids for the holidays.  Some of my favorite gifts are those that are practical, educational or experiences that the kids can do at a later time.  My kids have been given Theater Tix, Sporting Event Tix, money towards their music classes, coupon books for adventures, sleeping bags, magazine subscriptions and Scott and I always give them a museum membership every holiday.  These gifts don’t take up much space (if any) and create memories that last beyond the holidays.

So click here to find 100 ideas for non-toy gifts for this holiday season.

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The Winter Visitors

IMG_6437As we packed up the lake yesterday, I was reminded of one of our favorite books by Karel Hayes….The Winter Visitors.  In this book the Summer Visitors (another favorite book from Karel Hayes) pack up their lake house and head home for the winter.  The Winter Visitors, a family of bears, move into the house and enjoy a wonderful winter.  The bear family moves out just before the Summer Visitors return in the spring.

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As I stripped the beds, packed the linens in plastic bags, covered all of the dishes and small appliances and moved the porch furniture into the house…..I thought about the Winter Visitors coming to stay at our house over the next six months.  It is much more fun to imagine a family of bears moving in and enjoying our space rather than picturing the mice and squirrels who will actually take up residence there.

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October is always a bitter sweet time at the lake.  It is great to see our lake family and spend time together but it is also sad to watch everyone pack up and get ready to leave.  It will be six long months before we see each other again and set eyes on that beautiful mountain view.  Through the teary good bye, my heart was filled with so much gratitude.  We are so blessed to have such a magical place to visit and even more blessed to have such special friendships as a result of that place.

IMG_6454The kids and I went to say “good-bye” and “thank you” to the lake before we left.  This is a ritual that we do each and every time we leave, even if we are only leaving for a few days.  As we sat on the end of the dock, I told them to take a photograph with their minds.  At first they looked at me strangely and asked what I meant.  I told them to freeze the lake view in their minds so they could have it to think about during the cold winter months ahead.  They loved this idea and closed their eyes tight to take their own mental photo of the beautiful foliage and mountains.

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I hope the Winter Visitors enjoy their time at the lake.  We will be back in the spring to open up again and look forward to another wonderful season at the lake.

Some photos from our weekend…..

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Last trip to the Country Store

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Girls Trip to the Loon Center

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Family Hike (Can you spot Scott and Lil’C?)

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Cousin Time

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Hiking the Tower

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Two Little Miracles

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Just about a week and a half ago, these two beautiful babies joined our family.  My youngest sister Kristen and her husband were blessed with twins!!  Baby boy P and baby girl E are the final additions to our family on my side.

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The twins came into the world 5 weeks early and thus had to spend over a week in the NICU.  They are now home and everyone is slowly settling in to their new life and routines.  It was love at first sight with these two, aren’t they the cutest?!?!?   Lil’C and Z are so excited to meet their cousins and should have a chance to this week.

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I am so happy for my sister and brother in-law.  I can’t wait to spend some more time with these sweet babies.  Congrats K and M….We love you so much!

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Work Weekend

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This past weekend was a work weekend for the family.  We all gathered at the lake to make cement for two pilings going underneath one of the houses.  We started work at 8am on Saturday morning to try to avoid the rain that was forecasted for later in the day.  Being a homeschool mom, there is not much I do at 8 in the morning other than sip coffee in my jammies.  I got up a bit late, wolfed down my breakfast, skipped the coffee and made it to the worksite at 8:02!  Not too bad….photo 3

We were surprisingly quick with the making of the cement and finished the job in under two hours!  It was really fun to work together and we each ended up with a specific role.  I was the “Switch Girl” and would turn the machine on (not off, that was not my job) and then I would go and open a new bag of cement and then go and get my shovel to help pour it into the bucket.  It really was fun to do something so different and work with my family.

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The rest of the day was spent on various projects and prepping for a little birthday party for Mr. Z and Lil’C.  Grammy J came for the night with her dog Koda (one of Caroline’s favorite friends) and we had a nice visit with her.

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Despite the rainy Saturday, we had a great weekend. Lil’C and I had a Mama/Daughter kayak ride on Friday which was very sweet.  We got up close and personal with a cormorant which was fun.

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On Sunday the weather was perfect for leaf catching.  With the wind blowing, those colorful leaves were ripe for falling.  We had folks of all ages running around like idiots and laughing while they tried to catch the falling leaves.  It was so much fun and the perfect end to a great weekend!

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The Gift of Indian Summer…..

photo 1Our plans got changed at the last minute on Sunday afternoon and with the sun shining and temps in the 80’s…..we took that trip to the beach that we had wanted to take for weeks.

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Our trips to the beach are always pretty simple….two chairs, a bag of sand toys, a few towels and some snacks.  We always get there after 3pm and stay until dinner.  The beach is quieter at that time, there is still plenty of time to play and it is just enough time for us to relax and soak in that salt air.

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There was no swimming this trip, though many others were in the water.  We filled our time with sandcastles, football fun, racing waves and we played one last game of shadow tag for the year.

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We headed to dinner after a few hours of play and then out for one final outdoor ice cream cone.  We left feeling refreshed, content and renewed.

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Sunday was a gift.  The warm weather, the unexpected change in plans so we could head to the beach and the time with family to play and be together.  It was a wonderful treat for all of us.

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Celebrating the 8th Trip Around the Sun!

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Happy Birthday Z!  We love you so much and are so excited for all the adventures in store for you this year as you take your 9th journey around the sun.  It is hard to believe that 8 years ago today, you could fit so snuggly into our arms.  We are so proud of the young man you are becoming.  Your energy and enthusiasm for life is contagious and we love to watch you create and build new inventions and LEGO creations.

We hope you enjoy this special birthday weekend!

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