8/2/15

our arrival in milan, italy!



we made it.  we made it and all our baggage made it too.  i'm calling it a success so far!

where do i even begin?  i feel like i have enough stories for ten blog posts so far but i'm going to try to sum it up.  the flight over was fabulous.  we flew direct from jfk to milan.  my least favorite part of all the many, many hours of it was probably the traffic in brooklyn when we were within an hour of jfk.  anders was over it.  and honestly so was parker.  in the stop and go traffic, the poor kid started to feel sick (carsickness is not new with him) and before we knew it he had thrown up right on himself.  saddest.  i had gotten him and anders matching pajamas for the flight over and they were already in them.  his first words after he threw up, "but my pajamas were the same as anders!"  it broke my heart.  we cleaned him up, had a change of clothes--a whole suitcase full of clothes, actually--and proceeded.  but, it wasn't the best start.  once at jfk, it was pretty smooth sailing (flying) until our destination.  anders and parker both slept most of the way, while the rest of us caught a few moments here and there (the many movie options were too enticing for william or lindsey to close their eyes for too long!).  it was a 10:20 pm flight.

so, there we were in milan, at noon their time but feeling like we were in some weird time-warp-middle-of-the-night thing.  parker knew we were in italy and anders thought we just woke up in a place that looks and sounds a little different from home.  we tried to be the tough and resourceful travelers and we began walking to our hotel--mind you, our phones weren't working yet--without any real sense of where it was.  steve says he knew, but between you and me, i'm not so sure. there we were, asking questions and hauling way too much luggage (we actually did okay luggage wise, but will be doing even better when we can drop some off at our home base).  so, luggage is rolling, and we are hot and tired, and i'm cursing steve for buying that stupid $70 luggage at marshalls that does not look like it's going to hold up for much more of this.  anders is off and on crying and so i'm off and on nursing while we're off and on walking.  "200 meters that way!"  the italians who helped us were so kind, but do you really have a sense of what meters are?  i don't.  gimme the "it will take you and these three hundred pounds of luggage approximately sixty two minutes to walk there so call a taxi now."  that's what i want to know.  

(side note: i hate going to other countries and forcing them to speak my language.)

we made it so far, we got so close, when anders was just over it.  i really hate to push him past his breaking point just because he's so nice about it.  his threshold is really high, so you feel like a real jerk taking advantage of him.  the kid had traveled for what felt like days already.  let him get in a real bed!

so we grabbed a taxi.  and the man laughed because... we were like 1 1/2 minutes from our hotel.  okay, maybe 2 with our luggage.

did we still want that taxi?  yes we still wanted that taxi.

steve basically ran-walked beside the taxi with the stroller and still beat us maybe?

was it worth the 10 euros?  it was worth the 10 euros!

so there we were at our hotel and happy to be there.  

and now we're in tremezzo and i'm going to share more later because that's enough for now and it's 3 am and i can't sleep but really should be trying to sleep.

ciao!

7/28/15

family pictures 2015!!





the sweetest mama bear necklace c/o rebekah gough.  i LOVE it.

it's a miracle!  i wrangled everyone together last minute before we all head in different directions, called on my fabulous friend jenny who's also great with a camera, and asked her to take some shots of my people at this stage in our life.  i'm obsessed with pictures and i'd love to do family pictures more often (our last ones!  ages ago!  and in that post i say i'm going to do it every year.  i lied real bad.) than we do.  it's just hard with all the different ages and stages in life to get everyone the same place at the same time but it's so worth it.  i love these people and i love these pictures.  mark my words, everyone... we are doing this again before 2020!

thank you so much to my friend jenny for capturing these moments for us!!!

7/27/15

Parker's fourth birthday or the day when we flashed four fingers many, many times.

Per Hunt tradition, we started the day with breakfast in bed!  This is Parker's first time having breakfast in bed because last year we had just moved... and did we even have his big boy bed set up?  I'm not sure.  But, I know it didn't happen.  And the year before, well, he was just two and probably up before the roosters, and, you get it!  His fourth birthday was officially his first breakfast in bed.  He requested yogurt pancakes (he says it correctly now but for a long time it was "wogurt" pancakes which I sort of miss) and the strawberries and OJ were my addition.  He stayed in bed and read a book with Steve while I was in the kitchen making it.  Then we brought it all up with a candle, and ten balloons, and sang to him which made him all sorts of shy and even as I did it I said, "Now I know you're not into being sung to, buddy, but can we just sing to you this one time?"  He was okay with it.
He'd been waiting for his birthday all week long.  I wasn't making too big of a deal about it but it definitely got mention, and anticipation is hard for these little people, so when, on Sunday night, he asked me, "Is it my birthday when I wake up?" I decided to make him a little calendar and put it on his windowsill.  "Not tomorrow morning, not the next morning, not the next morning, but the next one!!"  I put a box for each day, and labeled it MWF and so on and that helped.  
We gave him his firefighter costume right away and he wore it all day long.  And it was hot.  That costume came off briefly at lunch (he requested burgers out - but then ended up getting chicken fingers.  Go figure.) but otherwise, was pretty much on his person no matter what.  To the playground, to dinner, the backyard, downtown.  When he has it on he sort of has this shy smile where you know he really wants everyone to take notice but he's also a little bit nervous about it at the same time.  It is so cute.  Everywhere we went people commented, and I added, "A four year old fireman!"  You'll notice he's doing a three and a seven in that picture with Steve.  I think he wasn't ready to fully make the jump to four.
That night once everyone got home we had his dinner choice, spaghetti and meat sauce, and he opened a few more presents.  A remote control car, some Legos, and a forklift from his siblings!  Then, vanilla ice cream (nilla! says Parker) and some raspberries on top.  He didn't want cake.  It was a perfect birthday celebrating this boy's sweet life.  We love him so much.

7/24/15

weekend links.

We had a great day celebrating Parker's birthday.  I'll share more pictures next week.  This weekend we're seeing a few friends before we take off on our trip.  And then doing all the last minute things on our list!  

I really want this book on the Amalfi Coast - written by a gal who lived there for 18 years!

Tell-tale signs of the modern day yuppie.

This costume was what we gave Parker for his birthday and he couldn't have been happier.  

People take their eyes off the road for 5 seconds to read the average text.  At highway speeds, that's the length of a football field.  Momastery's Facebook status about texting while driving.

I want this shirt in every color.  It passes for fit, length, and price.

Jon Snow is alive.  (Thanks Ahnika.)

"The fast-track kids didn't turn out OK."  Cool at 13, Adrift at 23.  I sent this to William and Lindsey and she was like, "What are you suggesting, Mom?  That I'm not cool?"  It was funny.

Double spacing after a period is out.  I cannot be expected to adapt after 30 years of the double space!

My friend Caroline makes the greatest pies.  She uses Julia Childs' pie crust recipe if I'm not mistaken.  Here's a list of top ten all-time favorite pies.

Have a good weekend!

7/23/15

happy 4th birthday parker!!!

i held parker yesterday, cradling him like i did when he was a baby, and told him that's how i used to hold him.  he totally let me hold him like this, even though it was ridiculous and unnatural for me to be cradling his big body, because he knew i needed it.  i told him that four years ago he changed my life and that i was so glad he was my boy.   i had tears in my eyes but i was sure to tell him it's because i was happy.  i asked him, "why can't you stay little?!"  "i can't!  babies get big!"  ain't that the truth.  

parker was born at 8:05 pm on july 23, 2011 and man... that rush, that love, that intensity i felt when i first laid eyes on him, well, it's out of this world.  it was then, and it still is when i think back on it.  he's my buddy, he's my guy, he's one of my favorite people in this whole world.  i love him more than words could possibly say.  

a few parker facts before i get too sappy (too late for that?):
- his favorite color is blue.  not green!
- he's completely obsessed with dress-ups right now.  he'll point out things to us: "see that hat?  see that headphone?  see that badge?  i want that."
- he gets especially chatty at bedtime.  you'll hear everything that's going on in that little head of his and then some.
- he is timid and shy around people he doesn't know.
- he often goes out of his way to say thank you for something, unprompted.  (for example, his speech therapist pulled up the other day and he runs to the window to yell, "thank you for all you do!!!")
- whenever his siblings leave for the day, "i will miss you!!!"
- recently he was not into eating his oatmeal for breakfast and i explained how he needed it to be strong to help in the backyard (we had a huge pile of mulch to move and had a few boys coming over to help).  he gave a heavy sigh, said okay, and then ate.
- he's always getting into things.  recently i was looking out the window at him trekking back towards the house from the garage.  rain boots on, goggles on, and a toolbox in each hand.  
- he takes on this sort of proud strut when he thinks he's done something impressive.  shoulders back, hands resting behind his hips, and this sort of proud smile.  it is so cute.
- when he has a milk mustache, or smoothie mustache (or, basically, food on his face), he likes to give me kisses so i get some too.
- steve took him and anders for a walk recently without me.  i finished what i needed to do and sat on the stoop waiting for them.  they came round the bend with parker in one toms, one flip flop, a rash guard, bathing suit bottom, and a helmet.  "you went to the playground like that?"  steve didn't even notice.
- he looooves making us laugh.

happy birthday parker.  we love you so much.  we're so glad you're ours!!!


7/20/15

Versatile clothes for a long trip.


With this upcoming trip we're taking (leaving next week!), I'm being ever-so-vain and thinking really hard about... clothes.

It's a legit concern but when I read it in writing like that, I'm like, "Bridget.  Pick up a newspaper and read about the world instead."

Back to the clothes.

I'm very interested in packing my suitcase full of clothes that are really functional and that I can wear day after day, every which way without people knowing that I'm wearing them day after day, every which way.  Easier said than done.  

The outfits I imagine in my head are easy jeans with basic shirts--think greys, blacks.  Earth-shattering.  I'd add white here but I can't stand getting a spot on white and having to wear that stain around for any length of time.  With little kids, the stains are ahhhh-plenty.  This doesn't mean I'm bringing no white, but I'm definitely limiting it.  (And, whatever white comes along, must be easily laundered!  No silly hand wash or dry clean nonsense.  Sorry, linen.  Move aside.)  I'm also thinking dresses!  So many dresses.  Dresses are great because it's one piece so you really don't have to think hard.  The only things I want to think hard about while there are, "What'll it be today?  One cappuccino or two?  Wine or limoncello?"

You hate me?  You should hate me.  (What is much more accurate is various Hunt family members  haggard and hungry missing train stops and getting lost.  Wailing and gnashing of teeth?  Maybe.  I promise to Instagram those plentiful moments too.)

Oh!  And when I think about these things I'm also taking nursing into account (I still have not done a bottle with Anders, but let's be serious, I probably won't at this point.).  Which isn't ideal when it comes to most dresses.  So if you see me sitting on some little stoop in Rome with a dress hiked up to my chest smuggling a small child-attachment underneath, would you kindly just look the other way?  I never got the function over form thing down.

So, here's a few things I'm bringing along, or a few things similar to things I'm bringing along.  Or, perhaps, a few things that I wish I was bringing along but am not spending the money on to do so.  Moving forward!


| 1 |
Treggings. Was something wrong with the word jeggings?  Better yet, is there something wrong with... jeans?  I had to google treggings before I pushed purchase on these babies because I had no idea what it meant.  But I think it was trouser leggings?  Which is different from jeggings how?  Anyway, these are so soft, like jean-sweats.  Jea-wets.  Can be dressed up or down and I really like the color too.  I'll be wearing them a lot.

| 2 | 
Chambray romper.  I really, really wanted this because chambray, romper, and buttons (nursing) but twas not meant to be as it was sold out in my size.  It's totally my fault because I neglected to check Old Navy for months (sometimes I'm meh about them, other times I'm YES! about them) and it was snatched up in the meantime.  Right now is a YES! time about them though so don't make the same mistake that I did.  They're looking pretty good these days.  Plus, check out the price!  It cannot be beat.  (Another Old Navy fave right now: this dress - a little Ace + Jig like but you get to keep the majority of your money!  I'm wearing it here.)

| 3 |
A black dress.  Plus, it's jersey.  Plus, it can be pulled down for nursing.  Plus, it's ruched.  Plus, it can be easily dressed up or down.  Plus, the price is (pretty) right.  

| 4 | 
Scarves.  Scarves!  Scrunch 'em up, throw 'em on.  Since I plan on bringing a lot of wear-several-times kind of pieces, a couple scarves will be making the trip so I can fool everyone into thinking my outfit is changing when, in fact, it's staying the same.  Scarves double as a great nursing cover, spit up rag (oh yeah), or impromptu diaper changing station when you've forgotten yours.  You probably don't want to borrow one of my scarves now, do you?

| 5 |
Maxi skirts.  So easy, breezy (cover girl!).  They're also great (except perhaps this one?) for visiting some of Europe's holy sites.  Who wants to be caught at the Vatican looking like they're ready for clubbing?  I own this one and love it.  (Seen here!)  This is another good one (with a great price too).

| 6 |
Jean jacket.  Not just any jean jacket but this jean jacket.  I've blogged about it before because it's that fabulous (and because I searched for the right jean jacket for longer than I care to admit.  So many are stiff or don't fit right, but not this one, ladies.  NOT THIS ONE, NOT THIS TIME.).  Cool summer nights, or cooler fall days, it's going with me to Europe for sure.

| 7 |
Leggings.  And not just any leggings but these leggings (!!).  Now, I promise I will not be like 99% of American girls right now and hang out in Lululemon-like clothing all the live-long day (there's so much alliteration happening there!) but some situations call for leggings.  They practically demand it.  Now I don't know what even one of those situations is, aside from an actual exercise class that I will most likely not be partaking in, but please don't press me further.  Also, they're on sale.  I own and love.

| 8 |
Sneakers.  I remember people being like, "Omg, French women like do not wear sneakers, so don't be an asshat and wear sneakers over there or you'll be like such an American."  (Meant to be in a Valley-girl voice.)  And I want to slap those people because you try walking all over a hot cobblestoned city in heels all day?  But then I read somewhere else something like, "Wear sneakers, everyone does it, just not gross old ones."  Bingo!  That I can do.  I own these and love 'em.  Just bought Steve a pair too because I'm nice (and because I don't want my husband to look like a tool).

| 9 |
A hat.  For bad hair days!  Also on sale.  ($18!)

Alright, since there's about a billion things I've probably overlooked, I'd happily take your versatile-clothes-for-a-long-trip advice!

P.S. Noticing that a lot of the things I linked to are now sold out (the trouble of putting together a collage a week before you actually post it!).  My apologies.

7/17/15

weekend reading.


Man.  You guys.  I'm listening to Sufjan's newest and feeling all the feels about my readers and blogging and community and my post yesterday and the comments and emails that came in and... thank you!  Thank you so much.  Your kindness and love means so much, and I don't take it for granted.

Now, for lesser important things... weekend reading!

"But the minute I caught sight of myself in the Jumbotron, I knew something was very wrong."  Lena's quotes here are cracking me up.

This scarf is adorable.

A hundred years of fashion in under three minutes.

Free Wilco album!

I have looked at a lot (a lot) of airbnb's over the last few months.  If I were going to Amsterdam (I'm not!) this place would be at the top of my list.

Shit Progressive Christians Say.  (Still does not top Shit Yogis Say.)

Six summer beers to try.  I'm not that daring, pass the Leinenkugel!

Courtney (of Babyccino) on taking a gap year with her family.

The next children's book that I will undoubtedly weep through.

Have a good weekend, friends!


7/16/15

On the subject of blog surveys, privacy of children, and mean comments.


Last month when I took a survey, I got over 450 responses (thank you!).  I hesitated doing it at all but, ultimately, I absolutely loved reading your answers and was really glad I did it.  These days, a lot of the time anyway, I hit publish and it's just crickets.  I miss the days when the commenting thread became a conversation--or, at the very least, a place for some feedback for the blogger.  Even though commenting on blogs has all but died, you're still reading, and I'm really, really grateful.  

Now, for the feedback: some of you hate the fashion, some of you love the fashion, some of you don't cook so you want me to skip the food, while others of you have had great success with my recipes.  One of you thinks I'm too classy for the Target posts (I assure you, I'm not!), but most of you think they're really fun.  

Basically, the responses were all over the place.  

But by far the majority of you say, "Keep doing what you're doing!"  

Thanks to those people and to the ones who had more critical feedback.  I asked the questions and I was looking for answers and you gave them.  And seriously, you were all really nice.  Critical feedback or not.

One comment addressed what I sort of consider the "elephant in the room."  It sticks out in my mind because it made so much sense, and it's something that I think about a lot.  It communicated understanding about why the older kids aren't on the blog as much as they used to be, but gave a really good analogy at the same time.  The reader said something along the lines of (I'm paraphrasing!), "It's like a good sitcom you've been watching for years, and the old characters occasionally make cameos, but only here and there and you sort of miss them and wonder what they're up to."  

I not only understood what she meant but fully agreed with her, and can see how a lot of you, whether you say so or not, have the same sentiments about my older kids and the amount at which they're on (or not on, as the case may be) my blog these days.  

Steve and I regularly talk about this, even including William and Lindsey in the discussion at times.  As for Nathaniel and Jordan, they're very much adults now, and are often working outside the home or are away at school, so it's natural for them to be featured less in both pictures and words.  Not only that, but their privacy is important to us and to them, so brief updates here and there will remain the norm.  Anyway, together we usually come to the conclusion that it's the right amount and in the right way too,  or as close as we can get, and we move on.

This doesn't mean I don't still worry about it, and usually my worry is more centered on, "But what are my readers thinking?"  I know that I love them like my own, I know that I am fully committed to them, to our lives together.  They know this too.

But do you?

And, as an aside, don't most bloggers feature their kids less as they grow up?  (And, if they don't, shouldn't they?)

In my five-plus years as a blogger, I've miraculously escaped a lot of the meanness that having a public blog can bring.  I'm a little worried to even put that sentence out into the world for fear I'm asking for it, but the case remains.  However, about a month ago, I got a really, really awful comment.  It was on Instagram and it alluded to the fact that this reader felt so awful for my stepchildren because she knows that I'll never fully love them.  

I was floored, sad, angry.

I wonder if she'd have felt compelled to leave that comment were they all my biological children.  I suspect she wouldn't have.  I'm really protective of us, of them.  While all the kids require different things from me and I spend way more of my time with Parker and Anders, of course, I am here for each one of them.  Where Nathaniel and Jordan call me "Bridget" (or usually just "Bridge"), William and Lindsey just call me "Mom." With them in particular the word stepmom or step kid isn't even part of our vocabulary.  So you can imagine how I felt like I'd been punched in the gut when I read this comment.

Parenting has been so unique for me and there's virtually no one who fully understands it.  It's one foot in front of the other, figuring it out as I go.  Sometimes I'm really pissed at my kids (all of them!) and other times I'm madly in love with them (all of them!).  I'm always questioning myself, "Is the way I'm disciplining William right now the way I'd also discipline Parker if he does the same thing in ten years?  Will I be just as pissed at Anders for doing xyz one day as I am at Lindsey for doing xyz right now?"  I do not have all the answers and I am in a constant state of self-evaluation.  I married young, I've been a parent for almost nine years, and yet I'm a new(er) parent all at the same time.  It's confusing and strange and beautiful all at once.  

Back to social media.  It is a really funny thing.  We see some pictures, some smiles, some fancy shoes or an expensive trip, and we sort of connect these dots in our own head and, with a broad sweeping brush, think we've painted the whole picture.  And somehow, a lot of us, are really certain that we got it right.  It's not only irresponsible but I'd also argue that it's wrong.  A blog is a narrative, but it's not the whole story.  It's not a life.

So, while I fully understand that sitcom analogy I got in my survey, I don't think there's a way around it.  Simply put, I'm not comfortable sharing a lot about my older kids.  And so, a picture in which I'm professing my love for Anders does not take away from the love I have for any of my other kids.  I know it doesn't, they know it doesn't.  The love I have for each will change over time, I know it will.  My love for Parker already has changed.  Not lessened, but it's not as hormonally charged, it's not tinged with as much you're-changing-before-my-very-eyes heartbreak.  My love for all the kids has changed in the nine years I've been in their lives.

And so, I am going to continue as I have. I long ago discovered there was no pleasing everyone when I received a comment that I was exploiting my stepchildren (the reader's words) by having them on the blog at all.  There is no winning.  So I'm bailing on that race.

But I do want each and every one of you to know that I am invested in our life, in each of my kids' lives.  While I'm far from perfect, day in and day out, I am here.  They know it, I know it.  I wish that commenter had known it too.

photo credit

7/14/15

Raspberry picking!

We arrived at Cider Hill farm to the smell of cider donuts cooking so instead of heading right out for the fields, we took a quick detour to some warm donuts.  They did not disappoint.  Pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but cider donuts must be tossed in that fine sugar, not be plain.  Cider Hill meets this criteria, thank goodness.  A cider donut without the sugar coating is no cider donut at all.  Other farms, get in line!  After we ate one, we bought a few more for the folks at home.  A good start.  We got up to the cashier for our pick-your-own container and she held two different ones asking, "Blueberries or raspberries?"  Parker loves both, but I think favors raspberries.  To the raspberry bushes we went!  Would you believe it was my first time ever picking raspberries?  Believe it, I'm telling you the truth.


I was wearing Anders and he started fussing, so I began nursing him.  He fell asleep so I held him while we walked through the fields, having the whole place to ourselves.  It was so quiet, just me and Parker and a sleeping Anders, and rows and rows of raspberry bushes for us to pick from.  He'd start talking to me, "Member when Lux and me went in that forest with the cave?"  He puts one on his finger, "Wook, Mom!  Raspberry hat!"  "This is not a good one," as he twists the raspberry around to reveal some unripened sides.  I respond with my own little stories and shared memories, like the last time we went berry picking!  "Anders was in my belly, remember that buddy?"  He did.

At one point he looks up to me munching and he says, "What is in woo mouth?"  "A raspberry."  "You have to wait till we get home!"  Such a rule-follower.  We took turns holding the carton of raspberries.  Once Anders fell asleep, I was one-handed so, if the stem came off with the picked raspberry, he'd help me pull it off before I put it in the carton.  Sweet teamwork.  As we walked back to the farm to pay for our raspberries, he told me he had a good day.  He loved the one on one.  I did too.  He's such a little buddy.

7/13/15

a breezy summer dress.




{dress: c/o garnet hill}
{hat: c/o garnet hill}
{shoes: amazon}
{turquoise ring: c/o nashelle}

this is one of the easiest dresses to throw on during these hot summer days.  to the park, to the beach, to the boardwalk!  bonus--it's that crinkly type fabric that makes it perfect to also throw in luggage and bring on a trip... wrinkles?  it's supposed to have them.  it's an iron-hater's (me!) dream.

that is all.  have a great monday.

7/10/15

weekend reading.

He's totally reading the nutrition facts trying to sucker me into buying those pretzels (it worked) despite the fact that our 18 jars of peanut butter were taking up most of the room in his cart.  

And now for some weekend reading...

I just stocked up on this for our trip.  I do not want to be abroad and sick (heck, I don't want to be anywhere and sick).

Handmade at Amazon.  Is this going to give Etsy some serious competition?

This is kind of awesome.  Watch Jaws while hanging out in the water.  Could you?  (We watched it with William and Lindsey while we were... at the beach in New Jersey.  Bad parents?  Neither were phased and they swam in the ocean all week long.  #Brave)

I'm obsessed with this romper.  That's sold out in like every size.  (And, while we're at it, this swim cover up.  Nicely done, J. Crew.  Nicely done.)

Surprise surprise.  Screen addiction taking a toll on our children.  (I have a hard time imagining a teenager on a media device 11 HOURS IN ONE DAY.  Really??)

Throwback: Parker at 7 months, which is what Anders is now.  Resemblance?

My sister and brother in law did an extended backpacking-Europe trip years back and we got to talking about it when we were down in NJ.  She told me about the surfing in the middle of Munich and naturally I had to look it up.  (Reminds me just a little of the Aare River Steve and I jumped into in Bern that carries you downstream and you have to grab a railing along the way to get out!)

Back stories of the OITNB characters.

I don't know if I "do" rompers (despite the fact that this is my second mention of them in this one post) but if I did decide to "do" them, this would be the one.

If this works/is safe, it's a game-changer for all those car-seat-hating babies!

Have a good weekend!