Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter Day 2016

After a very busy day in DC on Saturday, we woke up refreshed & ready to celebrate Easter! I had to set up the basket hunt in the basement because Ella woke up before me & I'd forgotten to do it the night before. #momfail It worked out great though, because I was able to set up a trail of eggs all the way down the stairs & Ella thought that was the coolest! 

She found her basket from the Easter bunny first (aka the one from Eric & I) and ripped right into that! 

Aunt Britt helped Livy find her basket! All she wanted to do was play with the eggs :) 

As Livy chewed on her eggs, Ella went through all of her loot. She got a new M&M fan, a spring outfit, peeps, Sofia the First stickers, and jelly beans! 

After she finished with her first basket, Ella had to find her present from Grammy & Gramps! 

blurry pic because she moves quick!
The best part of Grammy's present was a "gift card" to the Disney Store! And more jelly beans, because Ella loves jelly beans. 

After we found our baskets, we had a light breakfast & got ready for brunch at my parent's new country club. The club was very cute & the brunch was absolutely delicious. Ella loved that they had coloring pages & crayons out for all the kids. I personally loved the bacon. 

After brunch, we headed outside for the egg hunt! Ella was just a little excited! 

And just so you can all have some perspective on what the visit from the Easter Bunny looked like... 

We all died laughing when we saw this poor rabbit. The girl in the costume was very sweet though & had a really cute British accent. It was just not what we expected at all! 

The course is so green & beautiful, so we took the opportunity to take some pictures in our Easter outfits! 

And because one egg hunt isn't enough, we had another set up just for Ella when we got to mom & dad's! This time, we face timed in Eric's family in New York so that they could see Ella go to town. These eggs had change in them too, so that made her extra excited! 

The rest of our Easter was spent lounging around, eating Bunny Tracks, and cheering on Cuse in the Elite 8! 
Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spring Break Road Trip - Part 1

Hey Everyone - I'm back from our little road trip & am so excited to share our adventures with you! If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (bribliss) - you know that we were on the go non-stop. So I'm definitely tired, but so happy that I got to spend time with my family. Livy was an angel last night though & slept 11 hours through the night, in her own crib - so I feel like a new woman today! 


I had Good Friday off from work, but my sister & Matt had to work, so we left Rochester around 4:30 that afternoon. We're pretty familiar with most of the route because it's the same way we go to Myrtle Beach every summer, so we knew we'd stop at Sheetz for a quick dinner & keep moving!  It was about an 8 hour trip & the kids were awesome. Ella watched Frozen & The Little Mermaid then fell asleep around 9:30. I snoozed for about an hour, but I felt bad sleeping while Britt & Matt were driving after working all day, so I napped from 10 to 11 then helped navigate the part of the trip that was unfamiliar for us. 

We arrived at the new house at 12:30, unloaded the car & got as much sleep as we could, since the plan was to get on the road for DC by 7:30. Well by the time we all got up, ate breakfast, showered, and saw the house in daylight... it ended up being 8:30 by the time we hit the road, but thankfully there was no traffic! 

We drove to the metro station in Vienna, then road the metro into DC for the day. It was a straight shot to The National Mall & very affordable. 

Livy loved the metro! But not as much as Ella who kept telling me, "I just love trains." 

We got off the metro & saw this pretty sight straight ahead! And people everywhere... the cherry blossoms were at peak bloom this weekend & it was packed! Once we got away from the Washington  Monument it got better, but still between the crowds & everything that just happened in Brussels, I was on high alert all day. 

The cherry blossoms were spectacular though. I can see why people come to see them each year. They make The Mall magical. 

A little fact about me - The Lincoln Memorial is my favorite of all the monuments. It's just so majestic and I have such tremendous respect for Abraham Lincoln. Nobody wanted to climb up to see Abe with me though, and Ella was sleeping so I couldn't use her as my excuse to go to the top. #nexttime

We saw the sites on the National Mall then set off to find lunch. The restaurant we wanted to eat at had a 2 1/2 hour wait, so we ended up eating at TGI Fridays. Not our normal choice, but they had bathrooms &  food, so we went with it. 

After lunch, we headed for Pennsylvania Avenue to see the White House. 

They were setting up for the Easter Egg Roll, so you couldn't get very close, but I just love The White House & had been trying to explain it to Ella all week long, so we got as close as we could! 

After The White House, we intended to go to The Smithsonian Museum of American History  to see the Wegmans Wonderplace & First Ladies exhibits. The line to get in was absolutely insane though & everyone was getting tired, so we opted to head back to the metro instead. 

We got home around 5 & had no desire to go out again for dinner. My parents didn't have anything to cook though, since they'd just moved in on Wednesday. Britt & I were dying for some Chick-fil-a, so that's what we ran out to get! 

#givemeallthenuggets #wafflefriestoo

And I think everyone was in bed at 8 pm because we were so tired! Total party animals here. Check back tomorrow for our Easter recap & then on Friday for the second half of our road trip! 
Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

Wishing you a Happy Easter from my parents' new home in Virginia! We made it in late Friday night, running on Starbucks & Sheetz. I'm so in love with my mom & dad's house. It is absolutely beautiful here! 

We're headed to my parents' country club for brunch with the Easter bunny & an egg hunt. It's absolutely beautiful outside (especially compared to New York) and the girls are so excited! Be sure to check out my SnapChat (bribliss) to follow along with our Easter adventures! 

"He is not here, for he is RISEN as He said."  - Matthew 28:6
Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday Favorites

There is currently a lot going on in my house. Suitcases & laundry are all over. Livy is going nuts in her exersaucer. Ella is impatiently waiting for the new episode of Sofia to come on. Charlie (our dog) is freaking out because he can see the suitcases & knows what that means. So I'm doing the logical thing & sitting down in the midst of it all to blog - because sometimes you just need to block it all out. So today, I'm linking up with Andrea for Friday Favorites! 

friday favorites

I was kind of dreading this week because every teacher knows that the week leading up to Spring Break is chaotic. And it was, but at least that made the time pass quickly. Speaking of teaching, I mentioned this sign to my friend Jackquelyn the other night when we were prepping for Honor Society Induction...

from Teaching in High Heels Insta

Well I discovered yesterday  that she was sweet enough to order it for me! She told me about it because I'm helping out picking up her mail & packages while she's gone to Tennessee next week, so she said if it arrives, I should just take it home. LOL. She's a great friend :)

In other news... the crowning achievement of my week has been Ella's sidebraid into a ponytail! The first victory is that I got her to sit still. The second is that I actually managed to complete a side braid! I'm personally pretty no muss, no fuss with my own hair - so being a girl mom can be tough! 

A huge favorite this week was the tortellini meatball skillet that I made! I just dumped cooked cheese tortellini in with meatballs and sauce, then covered it with fresh mozzarella. Then I baked it for about 30 minutes. It was SO good. A huge part of the goodness was the homemade meatballs & sauce my husband makes & keeps in the freezer though, so I can't take all the credit.

Ella's favorite part of the week was the Easter basket hunt at Miss Jennie's house. I have to say, those kids are spoiled! Her basket was full of fun stuff & we've been having a blast playing with the play dough together. 

My favorite helper got right down to business in the kitchen this morning & we whipped up some purple chocolate chip pancakes! She was pretty impressed that I managed to make them purple, because apparently only Miss Jennie is capable of putting food coloring in pancake batter. She added the chocolate chips herself & was super proud of herself that she'd helped out! 

And while we were cooking breakfast, Livy hung out with her favorite friend - Spike! Please know that about 5 seconds after this picture was taken, I found her half way across the living room. She is definitely on the move these days! 

Happy Friday & Have a Wonderful Easter! 
Thursday, March 24, 2016

Prepping for Our Trip

I'm bustling around at school this morning, finishing up the last of my to-do list before we leave for Spring Break tomorrow. And in the midst of crossing school items off that list, I'm simultaneously building my to-do list for tomorrow - which is a day full of prep for our trip to Virginia. 

As I was writing out my list, I started laughing to myself about how much things have changed over the past few years & how differently our road trips look now than they used to. 

Old To - Do List: 
  • fill up car with gas
  • update playlist 
  • finish up load of laundry
  • pack clothes for the week
  • buy a magazine to read in the car  
New To - Do List: 
  • fill up car with gas
  • charge & update iPad 
  • download new episodes of Sofia the First & Goldie and Bear 
  • pack cooler with juice boxes & snacks
  • pack bottles/formula/puffs/baby food 
  • pack bag of Livy's toys
  • pack Ella's car bag (see separate list) 
  • finish up 3 loads of laundry 
  • pack Ella's suitcase
  • pack Livy's suitcase
  • pack own suitcase
  • download new books on Kindle 
  • charge iPhone/pack chargers 
So yeah... it's a lot more work. We're really excited about the trip though! My parents are officially moved in & they gave us a FaceTime tour last night. Ella was pumped to see where we'll be sleeping & happy to know that the DirecTV installation is scheduled for today :) I will say that I just love their house, but it is HUGE compared to anything they've ever lived in before! I have no idea how they're going to fill it up with just the two of them. I guess we'll just have to spend a lot of time down there visiting them :) 

Now I need to get back to work, those to-do lists aren't going to complete themselves! 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What We're Wearing for Easter...

Easter for our family is normally a laid back dinner with Eric's mom. It's super low key & not the type of event that you dress up for. I normally wear a pastel top with jeans & (weather permitting) wedges. This year though, we'll be having brunch at my parents' new country club, so I spent a good chunk of my weekend scurrying to plan our Easter outfits! 

The weather is supposed to be in the mid-60's, so I am hoping that everyone will be warm enough during the egg hunt! Other than that, we'll be mainly indoors so we should be good to go! 

for Ella: sweater // dress // sandals
for Olivia: sweater // dress // sandals
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Show & Tell - Soundtrack of My Life

Music has always been a huge part of my life. I love to belt it out in the car & always have music playing while I'm cleaning the house or working in my classroom. There are songs that I love, but then there are others that come on & immediately transport me to a period of my life. The latter is what I'm going to share with you today... 

1 & 2 - Always Be My Baby by Mariah Carey & Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion

I can't tell you which of these was my first CD, because I received them both for Christmas when I was in third grade. I still love both songs & they remind me of all the concerts I put on with my cousin Megan. 

3 - Hold My Hand by Hootie and the Blowfish

Oh Hootie. The man (yes I know Hootie is a band, but Darius Rucker will always be Hootie to me) has a special place in my heart. I absolutely loved the album Cracked Rearview Mirror all through elementary school & Hootie's Greatest Hits is one of the most played albums on my iTunes account. Eric & I have seen Hootie live twice and their songs are our among our favorites for road tripping. 

4 - Anything Hanson

Hanson was my first real love. I was obsessed. I had t-shirts, calendars, the Christmas album. Mmmbop still makes my heart happy. This Christmas, I downloaded the Christmas album again & started teaching Ella about the joys of Hanson :) 

5 - I Want It That Way by Backstreet Boys 

So I loved Hanson, but my cousin Megan loved Backstreet Boys. Because she loved them so much, I grew to love them too. In fact, they were our first concert & I can still remember how much fun we had that night at Darien Lake. I love just about all BSB songs, but I Want It That Way is my fave. I remember watching TRL (anybody else love TRL?) and seeing how packed Times Square was when they released that album. It was mayhem & totally deserved. 

6 - Swing Swing by All - American Rejects

Oh my "rocker" phase....  Actually, my whole high school went punk rock for a few years & I still love to sing along with these songs. Blink 182, All American Rejects, New Found Glory, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan & Yellowcard - so many memories in my first car on the back roads belting it out to these bands. 

7 - Say My Name by Destiny's Child

Again, anything by Destiny's Child would fit the bill, but I just love this song! This was a staple at our high school dances & I can still vividly see the video playing in my mind too - because again, TRL was my world in high school. (I'll always heart Carson Daly.) 

8 - Moth's Wings by Passion Pit 

So this song isn't main stream, but it comes on & I immediately want to funnel a few beers! It was the party anthem at Eric's house in college and the memories that I associate with it make me smile every time. His roommates are some of the wildest people I know & there was never a dull moment in that house. We definitely don't party like we used to, but we can still dance it out to this one. 

9 - We Are Never (Getting Back Together) by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is my homegirl. I can put all of her albums on shuffle and sing along to every. single. song. Of all her songs though, We Are Never is my all time favorite. Every road trip always involves some T.Swift & I wouldn't have it any other way. She is the one concert that I would still pay substantial money to go see. 

10 - Lonely Boy by The Black Keys

This song makes the list because it's my all time favorite running song. The opening notes pump me up & I just love to pound the pavement to it. Bonus points because it's one of Eric's favorite songs too & quite honestly, we don't have a ton of those in common. 

Honorable Mention: 
  • Pontoon by Little Big Town - which is our Myrtle Beach anthem.
  • Anything Dave Matthew's Band because it reminds me of nights spent with Eric.
  • Bad Romance by Lady Gaga - just another all time fave that makes me dance! 
  • The Frozen Soundtrack because I know all the words & nothing makes Ella happier.
  • Big Poppa by Notorious BIG - again, college nights. 
  • Party in the USA - I may have a choreographed dance routine to this. 
  • Anything N'Sync or Justin Timberlake because he will forever be my love. 
Sunday, March 20, 2016

Life Lately...

It's been a hot minute since I blogged & I hate it when I fall off the face of the earth like that. It's never intended, but sometimes life just gets crazy! Here's what we've been up to since we last chatted...

Last Saturday, Ella got her first hair cut! I know, it's crazy... she's 3 1/2 and this is the first time I've cut her hair. It took her FOREVER to get any hair though, and I just love her little curls. My friend Anne took off about an inch & then curled it up all pretty for the day. Ella loved the salon & keeps telling me, "I think I need to go see Anne for another hair cut." 

Speaking of last Saturday, it was gorgeous. We were home for my mother-in-law's birthday & Eric's hometown St. Patrick's Day festivities. We spent as much of the day as possible outside and had a great time. 

I'll be sharing our St. Patrick's Day recap later this week, but here is a shot of our little family before we headed out to to the parade! 

We had to head back to Rochester early on Sunday morning so that I could attend our cheer banquet. It was horrible timing because of the time change & everyone was absolutely exhausted from all of the weekend's festivities. It made for a rough start to the week, but I feel like everyone was in the same boat with us. We even skipped dance on Monday so that Ella could get some extra rest. 

On Tuesday, we had to run some errands at Costco & these two were loving riding next to each other in the cart. They were wearing their matching outfits from Grammy Nancy too! 

On Wednesday night, I fulfilled my duties as National Junior Honor Society adviser! We inducted 93 students into our chapter & the ceremony went really well. Between this ceremony & spring break next week - I can already start to feel the school year winding down. 

On Thursday, the girls wore their St. Patrick's Day gear to Miss Jennie's for a fun filled day. They had green pancakes for breakfast & made these cute little "suckers" too. She said she found the idea on pinterest, but they're really simple - just three pretzels, a rolo, and a green M&M melted onto a candy stick! 

On Friday, I got this SnapChat from Miss Jennie! Little Miss Olivia is starting to pull herself up! She's also all about "reverse crawling" right now. I'm sure she'll be on the go in no time. 

Friday night, Eric was at a March Madness party, so I just hung out with my girls at home. We played & played & played. Then Ella asked to make some popcorn & snuggle. No objections here! Sounds like a great plan to me! 

We had big plans for Saturday with Aunt Britt! We had to finish getting our Easter outfits for next weekend's big trip to Virginia - plus make a few returns. We made a day of it by having lunch & sipping Starbucks too. I never get tired of days like that with my sister. I'm so lucky to have her & I hope these two feel the same way when they grow up. 

We donated to the Golisano Children's Hospital & the girls got these adorable little bunny hats. Ella hated hers, but Livy was totally into it & wore it all afternoon! 
Thursday, March 10, 2016

This is Embarrassing, but...

Lately, I've had a whole lot of embarrassing moments that are just too funny to keep to myself. So have yourself a good laugh at my expense today... 

  • I eat Easy Mac regularly. I know many people think that's disgusting, but I just love the orange stuff. As if that isn't embarrassing in itself, I somehow lost my sauce packet yesterday, forcing me to run out to the grocery store & find something else to eat. I found a ton of Panera Soups on sale & thought oh that's perfect. I picked up 5 because they were buy 2 get 3 free. Well, in the process of trying to carry a stack of 5 soups, my keys, wallet, and phone - I dropped two things of soup in the middle of the main aisle. They of course exploded, forcing me to go & find a custodian to clean up my mess. A huge debacle for a little mac & cheese. 
  • My house currently looks like a tornado went through it. We've essentially shoveled a path so that we can get through the living room to the stairs & kitchen, but other than that, it's a total disaster. Laundry has been hanging on the drying rack since Sunday afternoon. I've just ignored it because of the warm weather outside, but tonight I'll be forced to reckon with it as I pack us up for a weekend away. 
  • This morning my Dunkin' Donuts was out of large sized cups. I grudgingly ordered a medium & pouted like my three year old the rest of the way to school. 
  • Ella really should have had a bath last night, but we got home some late from my meeting I completely ignored it. Sorry if she's a little grubby today Miss Jennie. 

Oh well, life happens! What embarrassing moments have you found yourself in lately? 
Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Break in the Weather...

After weeks & weeks in the 30's and 40's, we had a rare break in the weather yesterday and it feels like spring. Now, let me just remind you, I live in Rochester, NY - so my spring & your spring might feel quite different. But in Rochester... 

Seriously, yesterday was 63 degrees & people were outside grilling. We soak up every bit of warmth we can get around here! 

Since it was 63 yesterday & is going to be 67 today, I took the opportunity to break out my sandals again! (And yes I'm wearing the same pair two days in a row because they're my favorites & the ones I missed the most this winter.) 

I wore spring colors...

And we spent the afternoon at the playground! 

I had a meeting after school, so we didn't get to the playground until close to 5, so our time was limited. But we definitely made the most of it! 

I cannot believe how much Ella has grown up over the winter. I was blown away by how much her motor skills have improved (sorry, special ed teacher observation) and how confident she was as she ran around the playground. Nothing intimidated her & she fit right in with the other kids playing there. She didn't look like a toddler there with her mom, she could have passed for a kindergartner & that just blows my mind! 

Livy absolutely loved our trip to the park too & tried out the swing for the first time! She just loved it & I anticipate that we will be spending a lot of time here in the coming months. 

I'm looking forward to another lovely day today! I don't have any meetings, so I'm going to get a run in before I pick up the kids, then sweep them off to a playground on my own campus before we have a cheer meeting tonight. It's going to be so nice out that I couldn't justify spending an extra hour in the car to run them home, so hopefully nobody minds that they're tagging along! 
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