What to Write, What to Write….

I have been in a bit of blog funk lately, in case you haven’t noticed by my silence. Work was crazy for a while, so I lacked the time to write and participate with blogging groups and brands as much as I wished. Then, well, life just got away from me.

But I am here. I thought I would return today with a stream-of-consciousness post just reviewing the past few months and looking forward to what is to come.

We traveled a ton this summer, and it was amazing. 15 days on the road to Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and back home. An entire week in New Hampshire with family. Work insanity before and after the trips. Then, finally, in September, work has settled down and I am ready to refocus and start some new routines.

Then our cat got very ill very quickly, as I have posted about his passing last week. The kids have been having a hard time dealing with the loss of their furry friend, so there have been more tears and slightly more cranky moments than we’ve been used to. We’ve shared our bed with the kids a lot more in the past week, and that’s just fine with us. Hopefully they will keep feeling better with each passing week.

I changed my running goals, and am working toward getting back out on the road more often this week. Mr. Acorns is home this week before starting his new job next Monday, so we’re also getting a lot of things done around the house that we couldn’t do amid the chaos of moving. We’re officially a stroller-free household now, and we’re purging a lot of stuff from the basement. It feels great.

I hope to be on here more regularly, and I will definitely be sharing some of my new favorite things!!

Mr. Ned & His 9,000 Lives

If you’re a personal friend of mine, then you may have heard that we had to say goodbye to our elderly cat, Mr. Ned, today.

He didn’t start off as Mr. Ned, though.

In January 2001, while shopping for a new collar for our other cat, Zoey, we happened upon some adorable rescue kittens at our local pet store (they used to host several nearby county cat and dog rescues, it was great). Of course, there was this one beautiful, all-white cat who just was so friendly. He kept meowing and wanted to be scratched and loved.

As we approached the counter, we then paid for our collar, adoption fee, and a few more cat supplies, because we took that adorable little white cat home. His rescue name was Ned, so we just stuck with it. Who has ever heard of a cat named Ned? We hadn’t either.

That first night, Ned slept snuggled up in my arms. I awoke covered in hives and sneezing my brains out. You see, I hadn’t had any allergy problems with Zoey, so I thought maybe my cat allergy was gone. Boy was I wrong. I would spend the next 13+ years taking daily allergy meds, nasal sprays, eye drops, you name it – so that I could continue those snuggles with little Ned.

Ned was born with a heart murmur and cardiomyopathy. He had his own cardiologist in Oradell, NJ for a long time. He’s been on a tiny little dose of a med called atenolol since he was about 2 years old, and he surpassed his expected survival age of 4 years old by a long shot.

Ned was always the troublemaker. Jumping to the top of the fridge to steal the loaf of bread. Peeing in your suitcases upon return from vacation because you didn’t take him with you. And oh the puke. Dear lord, that cat had the most ridiculously sensitive stomach.

He became Mr. Ned once the kids got big enough to talk. I’m not sure which kid started it, but it stuck. And so for about 4 years now, he’s been Mr. Ned. He’s been known by many names — Ned, Nedward, Mr. Ned, white piece of shit, pain in my ass ….. lots of names.

Two years ago he was diagnosed with kidney failure, which is very common in older cats. We prepared to lose him, but, yet again, Mr. Ned proved that he just is not going to do anything anyone tells him to do. He’s had a rough 2 years – ups and downs, medication adjustments, and the like. But he was still very happy.

It was with a very heavy heart that we realized this past weekend that he had taken a very drastic turn for the worse. He wouldn’t eat for almost 3 days. He barely drank. He was hiding from us. We knew it was time. But knowing it is time does not make it easier. It was with a very sad heart and eyes filled with tears that we said goodbye to Mr. Ned this morning after 14 wonderful years. He’s been with us almost as long as we’ve been together, Mr. Acorns and I. He’s lived in 8 apartments/houses with us, survived September 11, lived a decade longer than any vet thought he would, and he has showered us with so many snuggles and loves that we are the ones who are lucky to have shared in his life.

Rest now, Mr. Ned. No more pain. Endless fresh food and comfy laps await you. Say hello to Zoey for us. But beware, because I’m sure she’s been waiting to bite your tail again. xoxoxo

ned pictures

Time Passes, But We Never Forget

Every year, when September rolls around, I am filled with so many emotions. Time has changed some of them, but so many are still very raw.

Excitement – the school year is starting, the weather is cooling.

Joy – my baby boy, the little one who made me a mama, has his birthday this month.

Anxiety – because I know the day is coming. I know that the anniversary is almost here.

Sadness – remembering that day, the lives lost, the incredible bravery and selflessness of those who ran in when everyone else was running out.

I am just typing this today – no editing, no polishing, no reviewing. It’s just my stream of consciousness on this anniversary I wish did not exist. A friend messaged me with a very simple heart this morning, because she knows that today is just not easy for me. It never has been and never will be the same.

But time does go on. Seven years after that tragic day, we welcomed out beautiful, healthy baby boy into this world on September 10. His arrival forever changed this anniversary for me. I remember waking up (not that I had really slept) the day after Mr. B was born, and turning the television to watch the reading of the names. I am sure that the nurses in the labor and delivery wing were puzzled (we were then living in MN), but I had to watch. What is on my television as I type this? The reading of the names at the WTC. I must listen. Every year.

The swing of emotions that I experience from September 1-15 is insane. I am so excited, counting down the days to my big boy’s birthday. He knows nothing of September 11th, only through pictures on our walls that show the gleaming silver towers and then show their absence. I work so hard to be incredibly happy for his birthday, and then my emotions swallow me up when I am finally alone on September 11th each year.

Today, I got in the car after daycare/kindergarten drop off, and turned to my favorite country station. Where I was hit with “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” by Alan Jackson. I let it wash over me. I listened. I cried. I remembered.

I came home and turned on the reading of the names. I paused when the bell tolled to remember the second plane hitting the south tower when it happened. Goose bumps. With each toll of that bell I could feel, I could remember the exact moment that plane hit. I remember the shaking of the building I was in, the windows seeming to buckle. I remember the realization that washed over all of us in that little conference room, realizing this was no accident. Realizing that life had changed forever, in that instant.

I have posted my story before. I won’t do it again today. But I have to remember. I have to remember my experience, and I have to remember the incredible losses suffered that day by so many. For all of those lives lost that day – whether in the Towers, on planes, in the Pentagon, or the brave first responders who gave their lives to help others – I remember.

never forget september 11

My New Love Affair: The Stick

Get your minds out of the damn gutter people.

I’m talking about The Stick – a self-massage stick (I mean it, think clean thoughts people) that is great for runners, walkers, and any athletes or folks with muscle tightness.

I went out and got new running shoes last Friday, and finally managed to get my ass off the couch today and actually try them out. While I was in the store testing out shoes, having my gait analyzed, and all that fun stuff, I spotted The Stick. Several of my friends have raved about this device, so I decided to check it out.

One roll down my calf and I was hooked. As I told my friend today, I would marry this damn stick if it weren’t an inanimate object and therefore couldn’t love me back and/or work to help pay bills. But I digress.

My first run in my new kicks:


I came home, did some work while I cooled down, then grabbed my Stick as I felt my muscles get a little tight from all the sitting.

O.M.G. It seriously hurts so good. I was actually groaning with happiness at the release in my muscles from targeting those myofacial knots and trigger points.

There are various styles of The Stick – so if you like it hard, or a bit softer, there is one to suit your needs.

And now, remove your mind from the gutter, AGAIN, and go out and get one of these things!!!!

***Absolutely not a paid or sponsored post, just a new found love that I had to share with all of you. 

Soccer, Ballet, Homework – OH MY!

I know, I vanished from the blog. AGAIN.

Hey. It happens. Life gets busy, and while I love to write and share my stories and adventures with you all (because I know you can’t get enough cute kid pics or stupid random thoughts), sometimes I just have to step away.

With the school year starting up again, I feel renewed and refreshed and ready to get back to business. We had an INCREDIBLE summer – 2 week road trip to the upper midwest, 7 days in the mountains of New Hampshire enjoying theme parks and hiking, lots of weekends spent grilling yummy food while kids played in the kiddie pool instead of taking a bath.

Yep. It was a damn good summer.

And now it’s back to business. As I have been blogging over at Perfectly Imperfect Mamas, I am back to running and I am very happy. I didn’t quite make my goals for this fall, but I’m still running, which is better than sitting on the couch.

My oldest, Mr. B, started Kindergarten this year and while he’s still in the same building as his daycare, the rules are different for the Big K and he’s loving it. He woke up today and said “mama, this is my 5th day of Kindergarten!” Yes, he’s counting. And yes, he’s loving every single day. I wonder if he’ll feel the same when the homework starts in a few weeks? He also started soccer last Saturday, and he’s loving that too!

My youngest, Miss M., started Pre-K this year and she is also very excited. She’s (finally) learning to write her letters, her art is looking just awesome, and she loves learning classroom rules and being a good listener. WOOHOO! Plus she starts ballet lessons at a great dance school this week, so she’s beyond ecstatic.

So I’m back. Well, most of the time. Hopefully you’ll forgive my occasional stretches of silence and just know that I am here, just busy. And I hope you’ll still stick around and join me on the adventures of the Acorns family. Because we always manage to have a good time!

acorn dodging acorn blog

Finding My Summer Lawyer Style

In the winter, being a lawyer who has to wear a suit or other business attire is fairly easy. Throw on a suit, pants and a jacket, pants with a nice sweater, or dress and a jacket. It’s easy. But finding your summer lawyer style? That is more of a challenge.

When it’s 90 degrees outside, the last thing I want to do is put on a suit jacket with a polyester lining that will have me sweating like I have run a marathon just walking from my car to the office. If I have to go to court, I surrender to the melting and put on my suit. But for meetings and depositions, I am finally finding a solution for the summer that is professionally acceptable but also more comfortable and cool.

While I am not proud of it, I needed a few more work pieces to fit my larger frame that I have returned to over the past year. I looked on Dress Barn’s website and was about to order a few dresses, when I happened to spot a very cute, simple, and versatile dress at Target. And it was on clearance. Music to my ears. So I grabbed the dress in black, then turned around and found these great cocoon sweaters hanging right behind me!

dress necklance sweater

I added one of my fav statement necklaces that I bought on Zulily, along with my amazingly comfortable, bright pink Born sandals I got last summer and VOILA – I was professional yet comfortable for a day that started off very humid.

Of course, today, I’m in ripped jeans and gladiator sandals, but that’s the perk of working from home. I also picked up another dress at target and I have one or two others in my closet that should fit if I cold lose this annoying 5 pounds I have tacked on. Look at me go – from pant suits and boring old lady sweater shirts in multiple colors, to stylish and fun.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks???

 

Getting to the Root of My Allergies With Rootology

This post contains a disclosure level of 1. I was provided the Rootology product to try. All comments, reviews, and statements contained herein are my own.

This post took me a while to finally write, but I wanted to truly use the product first before making any claims about how well it worked. I can safely say that, without a doubt, Rootology definitely helped me with my allergies this spring/early summer.

I have had seasonal allergies since I was about 16 or 17 years old. I used to get hives, and my doctors never figured out the cause. I have also suffered from angioedema, or the random swelling of my finger, eye, lip, or anything else really. Knock on wood, the angioedema seems to have resolved itself as long as I stay on some kind of allergy medicine year round. And Zyrtec or Claritin do help me with my allergies all year long, but come spring time, it just feels like nothing can make me feel better.

Enter Rootology.

Rootology is a proprietary blend of herbs and flowers, mixed together to give you natural, fast-acting, and non-drowsy allergy relief from many allergens, including pollen, dust, animal dander, mold, and chemicals.

I took the Rootology Breathe Free capsules as directed, starting with 2 capsules a day and I increased it to 4 capsules a day. At 4 capsules a day, I found real relief. The combination of my over the counter medication plus the herbal extract blend in the Rootology helped me feel much better at a time when I am normally suffering.

I was too afraid, given my history of hives and edema, not to mention allergy-induced asthma, to take Rootology alone (without the Zyrtec or Claritin), but I may just try it this fall because it worked so well!

Check out Rootology – if you are an allergy sufferer like me, I think you will find great relief using this product. It’s a definitely thumbs-up from me.

Rootology  Breathe Free

Annual Road Trip – Successes & Failures #acornsgowest2014

We did it again! We are home from a successful (well, mostly, more on that later) road trip from New Jersey to Minnesota and back, with many stops along the way, much laughter and lots of family visits. The kids did not want to leave the cabin, although they were happy to see their friends today and tell them all about our trip.

Our first stop was Chesterton, Indiana, up by Indiana Dunes State Park, where we visited with family from Mr. Acorns’ dad’s side of the family that we had not seen in 8+ years. Cousins, aunts, more cousins, more aunts ….. lots of pool swimming, fireworks viewing, and overall fun was had. We dipped our toes in Lake Michigan, got to see cows and pigs be born at Fair Oaks Farm, and just had an overall great time visiting.

toes lake michigan

Next up: family Christmas with Mr. Acorns’ mom’s side of the family! Yes, we do family holidays in the summer because that’s when we’re all together. We had a few scheduling issues this summer so we were all together only for one night, but we made it a fun one. Great gifts were exchanged, more swimming for the kids, and lots of wine and laughs for the adults.

Then it was off to the cabin!!!!!!!!!

lower mckenzie lake cabin

lake happy serene

Seriously. I was so ready to be there this year. The insanity of work this spring, the stress of moving. I was very ready to sit, put my feet up, and read a book while the kids fished and breeze blew. And I did just that, at least a little. I swear every time I sat down one of the kids needed something, but they had a blast, I finished one book and started another, and just had a very, very relaxing time.

On our last full day at the cabin we headed up to Bayfield, WI to see Lake Superior. We also took the ferry over to Madeline Island, and my daughter did not want to leave “her” island at the end of the day. It was very sweet. It was Miss M’s first ferry ride, and although we were there during the summer polar vortex we made the best of it and still suck our feet in the ridiculously cold lake!

acorns family selfie

toes lake superior great lake

We headed down to Eau Claire for 2 more days of visiting with the family, including croquet contests, digging in the mud, and the children’s museum for the little ones. Then, sadly, it was time for us to pack up and hit the road home. Our first day’s drive took us to Perrysburg, OH, just outside of Toledo. Which meant we had an opportunity to visit yet another Great Lake, and we did just that with a drive up to Maumee Bay State Park. Yes, that’s 3 Great Lakes in one trip!!!!

lake erie

It was a fabulous vacation despite some interesting  challenges. I learned that the Essentia Health Clinic at Spooner Hospital is staffed with really nice people when we had to take Miss M in for an ear infection. We got lucky with some credit card fraud that was targeted at our old NY bank account, and fortunately not the bank account we were traveling on. And, well, we may have returned without our car, but we got home eventually.

car sparkplug radiator stranded

What’s that you say? Oh yes – we returned home without our car. It’s in Western Pennsylvania in a town called West Middlesex with two nice men named Vince and Bill. Where it isn’t running. Just 4 miles over the PA border on Friday, wham – a bad noise, warning lights, etc. We were near an exit, got off, found a service station, and then leaned that apparently one of the head gaskets blew/cracked, the spark plug flew out straight through the radiator, and, well, she was not going any further that day. A rental car and a new game of tetris to re-pack our stuff later( you can fit the contents of a packed Pilot into an Equinox, just FYI), and we made it home late Friday night. I will be sure to update you on the car saga as it continues, but for now we have the CR-V and we’ll figure it all out.

I’m choosing to focus on the great parts of our vacation, because, despite its ending, we had a wonderful trip. We discovered that Miss M has quite a love of ballet, showing us her moves every chance she had. Mr. B learned to put his head underwater when he’s swimming. Miss M is quite a fisherman, and I still refuse to bait my own hook. We got a million bug bites but had a wonderful, memorable trip. Neither of the kids wanted to leave the cabin, and we cannot wait for our visit again next summer.

The Acorns are home.

house

Wardrobe Wednesday – Chevron and Lace Outfits

I thought a fun post to share on the occasional Wednesday would be to show you some of my favorite ensembles or pieces I have been loving lately.

Business Casual

This look was perfect for running to the courthouse to file something. I was not there in my attorney capacity, but I never go into a courthouse in jeans or shorts. So this was my choice:

wardrobe wednesday

Navy and white chevron top with dark red ankle pants (Target). Comfy and appropriate. The shoes are ancient flats I got at Target like 4 years ago.

Casual Friday

Last FridayI threw on my FAV pair of skinny jeans (from Coldwater Creek – skinny jeans with a faux leather tuxedo stripe. LOVE) and then went looking for a comfy top. I ended up with this cute little number I had ordered on Jane.com a while back:

hi lo lace tunic jeans coldwater creek

The sandals I got for $17 from Amazon last year and they are crazy comfy!! The top of the shirt is just black scoopneck. I layered a black tank underneath but will add some color next time with a brighter tank. Perfect outfit for running errands (even lifting heavy things at IKEA).

There you have it, two of my favorite outfits from the past week. What are you loving now??? Share with me!

m4s0n501

The Great Landscaping Project of 2014

Gardening and landscaping. These are not things that I normally think of with great pleasure or excitement. Our last rental house in Rockland County had a terrible yard in terms of landscaping. Old, vine-like trees and shrubs that captured leaves, very shaded lawn that was more moss than grass. But we moved into a fabulously quaint (read: small) home in New Jersey and while the inside was pretty well updated, the outside hadn’t been kept up (more than mowing) in several years.

So we decided to change that. Weed & feed for the lawn (which worked GREAT, by the way). New bird feeders (couldn’t have those in Rockland because of the bears!). And then countless trips to the local nursery and Home Depot to spend way too much money on flowers, plants, seeds, mulch, pots and planters.

Yes, we’re only renters.

But, you see, our little rental home as just that – our home. The landlord has given us basically carte blanche when it comes to the yard and landscaping, so we had a LOT of fun getting it all set up. Without further ado, here’s a tour of our gardening adventures this spring!

First up – the haul from the various stops:

before planting

Front of the house

You may remember this picture from several weeks ago, showing the before and during.

Before and during pics flowers

 

Well, here are the after pictures!

landscaping front

I pulled out some of the old landscape cloth, weeded, laid new cloth, planted, then we put down about 30 bags of black rubber mulch. It won’t fade as fast, and given that it’s not an organic material it also won’t contribute to weeds growing. Plus it uses up those old tires that otherwise sit and rot. And when it’s done, we can recycle it! Plus it looks pretty.

Veggies & Herbs

We have a great spot in the backyard, next to the cellar doors, that we turned into the main part of the veggie garden this year. This is Mr. Acorns’ territory – I do flowers, he does veggies. He planted 9 different tomato plants between the fenced garden and the large pots, 2 hot peppers, lots of beans, spring onions, spinach, arugula and some cucumbers (the smaller ones are in the pots you can see in the pics). For herbs we planted LOTS of basil, chives, oregano, parsley, and dill. YUM.

veggies and herbs

Butterfly Garden a/k/a Kids’ Garden

The final project was to create a butterfly garden — a garden filled with plants that would attract butterflies, because my kids insisted we needed this. And if my kids are showing interest in gardening with me, then we’re going to do what we can to encourage that!

With the help of Mr. Acorns and Mr. D, we dug up a section of the lawn by the fence so we could get planting. We went with mostly perennials, so that they will be ready to come up next year with a lot less work, but also seeded in some annuals like Cosmos (Thank you to my awesome friend KW for those seeds!) and planted Miss M’s blue Chinese Forget-Me-Not that she seeded at daycare before we moved. The rest of the plants include bee balm, black eyed susan, catchfly, lantana, purple coneflower (though they are not doing well and I just added a tickseed to the garden in case the coneflowers don’t make it), phlox, cosmos, and a dwarf sunflower that Master B just needed to have. So I have a mix of annuals, perennials and biannuals. We put a little fence around it to discourage the rabbits and groundhogs from bothering the plants (thank you Christmas Tree Shop for great, economical fencing options).

butterfly kids garden

And we put together a few hanging plants for the deck as well, since we have a roof on the deck we have lots of places to put up hooks and hang fun things!

flowers deck hanging

And that, my friends, is our landscaping of our new home! It takes about 10 minutes to water everything at night, and then I usually just pull weeds here and there on weekends. The front beds just need weeding on the edges so it’s fast, thankfully.

I will post updates so y’all can see how everything looks as it comes into bloom!!!!!