Meet the Sullivans: 2017

April 24, 2017

10 in 10 : April 2017

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month! 

{Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!}
ten on ten button
 
A couple weeks ago I tried to document our day by snapping ten photos to show what we were up to. This is Monday, April 10th, 2017!
Last week was an absolute nightmare. It all started Monday night when I got sick with a stomach bug, a couple days later Keith did too, and then Luke got another ear infection which resulted in a trip to urgent care and then the ER. We thought we were in the clear by Saturday, but then Owen got sick overnight. Luckily, he didn't seem too worse for wear on Easter, but we still stayed home because we all needed to recuperate.  We're finally all back to normal! Here's what things were like on Monday before it all went to hell. 

Luke slept really badly the night before. We were up on the couch from 3:30 to 5:30 when he finally fell asleep. I had tried unsuccessfully to put him back in his crib, so I brought him to our bed instead. He slept on my chest until close to 7am when Owen woke up too.

We dropped Owen off at school and then walked across the street to Safeway for some things. One thing I will really miss about Owen's school (besides the amazing school itself!) is how close the post office, library, park, grocery store, bank and tons of restaurants and shops are to the school.

PS> Those Outshine Fruit & veggie bars are a new favorite of mine!

Luke and I headed home for a bit, and I made him his favorites: scrambled eggs, avocado and red grapes. He inhaled the whole plate!

I realized Luke had barely worn his cute little Easter tee, and Easter was only a few days. How cute is he? I'm always bummed when holidays are over and I can't quite put the boys in their holiday clothes.

When we got home from picking Owen up I made lunch for us all. Owen had leftover tritip, berries and cheese. He ate it all -- my boys were hungry this day!

I had tritip too, but in a salad. It was fantastic! Most weekdays I don't really make myself lunch and just eat a little bit of this or that that I'm making for the boys. I'd love to make something like this each day, but it's just not realistic these days with my busy guys.

Also, have you tried Spindrift sparkling waters? We got them at Costco and they're really good. They have a lot more flavor than most fruit infused flavored waters.

After lunch we played in the yard until it was nap time for Owen. The weather has still been pretty overcast and cool here and we're just dying for some sunshine, because these boys love to be outside!

While Luke napped Owen and I listened to a couple Stories Podcasts. We LOVE this podcast! They share a new (free!) story each week and they have a lot of classics like The Little Red Hen etc. We also shared some jelly beans! I love this quiet downtime with my sweet big boy!

After nap time we took off to gymnastics! Owen was so reluctant to take the class, but after the first day he was totally hooked! He has a lot of fun and loves that his class is full of other boys like him. Luke is a complete handful during the class alternating from trying to get out on the mats and running for the parking lot.

I'm short one photo for this month, but it's better than skipping it altogether like I did last month!

So, that was our day!

April 5, 2017

Weekend: The Easter Bunny Edition

I hope you had a great weekend! As usually, ours went by way too quickly! Saturday morning we ventured down to Milpitas to the Great Mall to see the Easter Bunny.

Owen has always loved to seeing the Easter Bunny, but we weren't too sure about how Luke would act this year. He's pretty shy with strangers and is very attached to me lately. He wasn't even into taking a photo with daddy behind the camera. I was sure he would freak out and we'd end up with one of those screaming baby photos people love so much.

This is Owen's attempt at "helping" Luke practice his smile. Poor Luke. I don't know exactly why, but something about this photo reminds me of Heath Ledger as the Joker.

The photographers were really helpful and instructed us to stand back and let Owen get settled with TEB (The Easter Bunny) while they put their camera set up for us, and then right before they started to snap a photo we popped Luke onto his lap. What a great idea, because it really worked!

I think the photos turned out pretty cute! Owen obviously knows just how to sit and smile for a photo. After all, I have given him tons of practice over the years! Luke though, was not convinced. He didn't shed a tear or let out a whimper, but he was just not thrilled or willing to smile. I think he was probably confused! That is a classic Luke face!

The Easter Bunny will be at the Great Mall now through Saturday, April 15th. You can get the exact dates and hours of operation here. And next weekend (Saturday, April 8th from 1pm-3pm) they're having a really fun Dora and Diego Hop into Spring event to kick off the arrival of spring. There will be fun activities, arts and crafts, face painting, and photo opportunities with the characters and of course the Easter Bunny!

Afterward Luke was full of sweet smiles, of course!


We shopped at some of our favorite outlets afterward; J. Crew, Banana Republic and GAP Kids. We all got a few basics (stocked up on t-shirts and shorts for the boys) and I got a pair of Slim Boyfriend jeans at J. Crew for myself. I have a hard time finding jeans and these were at must-buy from the moment I put them on. Luke of course, wouldn't let me put him down even in the dressing room, so trying them on was a little challenging.

We stopped for lunch, and then on the way home, since the boys were both asleep in the car, I got to look around Living Spaces by myself while Keith stayed in the car with them. The store is huge! It took the place of a Kohl's that was there and it takes up the entire space -- all three levels.

A few things I'm considering after my short 20 minute stroll through the store... 

The Everette dresser for the master bedroom. I love the color of this dresser. I also kind of like the rug under it too.

This Marisa rug is so soft and really plush! I'm not quite sure we want something this dark, although it would definitely hide any stains and wear, but I love how comfortable it is.

I was really looking forward to seeing the Sinclair pieces in person having only seen them online. I'm pretty positive we'll be buying the Sinclair media chest in gray, but I'm not sure I love the dresser since the drawers don't seem to be on runners and didn't pull out with ease.

Anyway, I can't wait to go back again on a less busy day and look around a bit more.


The rest of the afternoon we hung out in the yard and watched the boys play with water and with the vegetable garden. I just love these long, warm days! 

How was your weekend?

March 31, 2017

No Damsels in Destress

I grew up in a family that was totally girl-centric. With no brothers, uncles or cousins to speak of, everything in our family centered around the interests of my sister and I, like ballet, American Girl dolls, boy bands and shopping.

In school the things the boys liked to do always seemed sort of foreign to me, weird and strange even, probably because I just didn't understand them. They played rough, teased each other relentlessly and they were usually loud. Fast forward 30 years and I find my self on the other side of the fence, immersed daily in all those things that boys do. My days are filled with bugs, trucks, Nerf gun battles and Star Wars characters. There isn't a flash of pink among our toys or in our laundry baskets. But what's different now is that I understand these boys a whole lot more!

I want this understanding for my sons too. I want them to know that girls aren't all about dollies, tea parties and pink -- they might actually even be interested in a lot of the same things if they try and find that common interest. They don't have a sister, but they are lucky to have lots of aunts and cousins, two wonderful grandmas, and ME. Above all else I am probably their best example of what a girl can be, although I know they think of me as mommy, and not necessarily a girl. I get the great pleasure and privilege of being their first example of what a girl really is, beyond the princesses they see in most shows. I get to show them that I can be both a lover of pink and also very strong, physically and emotionally.


Children's shows on television sure have changed in the way they depict girls. The female characters on the shows I watched as a young girl were often damsels in distress, cheerleaders and girly girls. The characters in the shows and movies I've listed below

Here are some of Owen's favorite shows and with strong female main characters!

Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh

Doc McStuffins

Trollhunters 

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The Justice League
  The Lego Movie

Dragons: Race to the Edge


What are your kids favorite shows and movies to watch on Netflix? 

Disclosure: As a part of the the Netflix #StreamTeam I receive perks as part of my membership, but all opinions are my own.

Five : S-Stown, Charcoal Masks and Brotherly Love

Hello and HAPPY Friday, my friends! Another week is behind us and the fun of the weekend awaits, so let's get on with it. Here's my five...


jeans (similar) | sandals | tee (similar) | necklace | bracelette

| O N E | I bought these double-strap sandals at Old Navy last week because 1. they are cute 2. they're so comfortable, and 3. they ridiculously inexpensive at around $12. They're a nice alternative to my typical summer go-to of Rainbow flip-flops.


| T W O | Are you into podcasts? Our whole family is, well except for Luke, really. Keith, Owen and I all have our own favorites. The creators of Serial aired S-Town this week and so far I'm hooked. It's about a small town (possible) murder in Alabama. I love the story and the mystery, but the accents are so fun to hear too.

| T H R E E | Living Spaces opens in Milbrae today and I am so excited! I have been eyeing a few of pieces of furniture for months and I can't wait to finally see some of it in person this weekend. They couldn't have opened up at a more convenient time for us too with our move coming up. I've got my eye on THIS and THIS!

| F O U R | The charcoal face mask I ordered on Amazon finally arrived this week! I was excited (and a little afraid) to give it a try, but it was totally painless, and quite effective. I did a medium size layer on my nose and chin to test it out first. I had heard that these can really stick and be kind of painful to remove, but that wasn't my experience at all. Mine peeled off nicely and did a better job that the biore strips I've used before. Of course it didn't completely clear my pores, but it did a good enough job and smoothed my skin. I'll definitely give it another try, but next time I might go a little thicker. 

| F I V E | Yesterday I was washing dishes in the kitchen while the boys were playing quietly in the living room. Well, if you're a mom you know that quiet is nice, but also suspicious, so I peeked in to see what they were up to.... and Owen was holding Luke very similarly to what you see in the picture above and was spinning in (slow) circles. Both kids were smiling and there was some laughing so I watched them for a minute! I love watching their little relationship grow!

How was your week? What's on your agenda for the weekend? Owen is off next week for Spring Break, so I'll be brain storming some ideas to fill our extra time up with some fun activities and adventures.

You can see where I'm linking up HERE!

March 28, 2017

The Weekend and Our Menu

How's your week going so far? With Keith off on Tuesdays now the week always feels really choppy to me. It's almost like having two Mondays, with the second one is really the middle of the week, and it throws of my planning etc. Anyway, I'd like to think this is why I don't usually get around to writing about the weekend until half way through the week.

On Friday Owen's basketball team photos came in the mail. I just giggle (to myself) whenever I look at this photo of him. He's just such a cutie with the way he's standing, holding the ball and that forced smile. I remember as a kid trying so hard to make my smile look genuine for posed photos, but it's really difficult. Anyway, we'll treasure these forever!

I think I talked a while back about how we were unsure about keeping Owen on his basketball team at first. At the first practice and game we really felt like he was so young compared to the rest of the team. He had just turned 5 and all the other kids were mostly turning 7 -- the league starts at 5 years-old. We decided that since he didn't seems to care, and was having fun, that we would let him continue, and I'm glad we did. He really learned a lot about trying his hardest and the game of basketball. AND he can shoot a basket in a big "daddy size" hoop now!

I often feel like I want to protect him from the world, whether it's other kids being mean, feeling like he failed or being scared, and I think this was a good lesson for me too. We let him get out there and try even though he is younger and smaller, and everything ended up working out okay.

Friday afternoon we went to a birthday party at a trampoline park for one of Owen's classmates. Friday afternoon is my new favorite time for a birthday party. We have no school on Fridays, so I'm always looking for something to fill the day -- from 7am when Keith leaves to 6:30pm when he gets home usually -- it can be a long day at the end of a long week, so this was a great and fun way to spend the afternoon.

And also a fun excuse to use my Erin Condren gift labels! I love that we don't really have to buy birthday cards because the label does all that for us and they make the gift look extra festive too. AND can I also add that I love buying birthday gifts at Five Little Monkeys, not only because they're local (yeah, Amazon is probably cheaper...) but they also wrap your gift up super cute for FREE!

Saturday morning I finished my final HIIT workout in the March HIIT Challenge I was doing. I completed all 20 workouts, plus a few of my own in the month of March. That's more workouts I've done in a month since before Keith and I were married! I definitely feel stronger and my ability to do things like push-ups, burpies and hold planks has greatly improved, but I didn't lose any weight, which is probably because I haven't been as disciplined with my eating. I love this so much I've already put my name in to participate for April!

Saturday was a great day overall. I got a nap, we played at home and finished the day off with a BBQ and margaritas! If you're looking for a great, all-natural margarita mix that doesn't actually taste like a mix you should pick up this one! I bought this bottle at Safeway, but I have also seen it at Target. We really like it!



Sunday morning was a little cold and drizzly, with a forecast of rain in the afternoon, so we got out to the park first thing in the morning. Luke wanted to spend most of his time in the swing and Owen wanted to play tag the entire time. We ended up doing a little exploring in the creek near the park in search of a frog we could hear. This is totally Owen's jam! He would spend all day in the creek or exploring a forest, if we let him. I can't wait for Luke to be a tad older so he can join in the fun too. Also, the creek was super clear and rushing from all the rain we've had this year!

After the park I took off to see Beauty and the Beast with my mom and sister. The Disney cartoon version is one of my favorite movies from when I was little, and Belle has always been my favorite "princess". I've always liked that she's brave, loves books and can stand up for herself and the people she loves. This new version was fantastic! I love everything they did with it and that they stayed true to the original while expanding on the characters just a bit. While I was tempted to buy this magazine and read all about the making of both the cartoon and the new movies, I decided not to-- but I will definitely be buying the movie when it comes out on DVD. 

Here's what's on my dinner menu for the week: 


I used a similar recipe to the one I linked above except I add sliced mushrooms and spinach to my bolognese and I topped ours with a little parm.

Tuesday -  BBQ Chicken Salad

Wednesday - Pesto Chicken Buddha Bowl

I'll share about this if it turns out good!


Friday - take out!

So that was out weekend! How was yours?

March 24, 2017

Five on Friday

Hey there, and happy Friday!

1. We started Owen in gymnastics this week! A few days before the class I told him I had signed him up, and he was really mad. He said it would be all girls and that he didn't want to and wouldn't do it. I thought he would be excited, but hoped he would change his mind by Monday, but he didn't. I had to bribe him with a promise of Star Wars gummies to get him in the car to go. Well, turns out he LOVES gymnastics and has asked to go back everyday this week! Moral of the story is mommy knows best!


2. Keith and I got to take a Frame Walk of our house earlier this week! The picture above is me standing in the kitchen looking out toward the dining area. We were so excited when they emailed to say it was time for us to see the house. This is something Shea Homes does for their buyers to help include us in the building process. It was kind of neat to see all the behind the scenes stuff that I would otherwise take for granted, like double walls between us and our neighbors to drown out sound, and an automatic hot water button to help expedite hot water to the third floor. This was also the very first time we got to step foot in our actual home and not just the model of it!

The front end contractor showed us around because his job with our home is nearly finished. The water pipe inspection was taking place that day and then installation of the drywall will happen next. The next time we get to do a walk through will be one week before we get our keys!

3. Do you have any recommendations for toilet locks? Luke is very interested in lifting the toilet seats and attempts to either put his hand in the water or throw something in it. We didn't have this issue with Owen, but that's probably because he didn't have a big brother who was always running to the bathroom. Whatever we end up using needs to be something Owen could open himself too. My life is so very glamorous these days, isn't it!

4. These two were a dream earlier this week in Home Depot. They let me browse the refrigerators, washers and dryers and even the flowers. I'd like to say it's all because they're angels, but I also think it had a little to do with the awesome shopping cart we used. I think Luke thought he was on an amusement ride or something.

5. We have nothing planned this weekend, except for getting our taxes done, so I'm hoping to find a little time for some spring cleaning, meal planning and some blogging.

What's on your agenda this weekend?

You can see where I'm linking up HERE!

March 22, 2017

St. Patrick's Day + Our Weekly Menu

Hello there! I hope you had a nice weekend. As I'm writing this I'm already starting to feel like it was forever ago, which it pretty much was because it's already Wednesday afternoon.

On Saturday we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with family! It's always been a tradition in Keith's family to have a big party of the holiday and now my mom and sister join us too. Everyone has a fun time hanging out, playing games and enjoying each others company, and maybe an Irish Car Bomb or two. ;)


I had the boys dressed in matching shamrock t-shirts (thanks, Old Navy!), but completely forgot to get a picture of them together -- they were both too busy having fun with everyone. We only managed to get Owen to stop playing basketball for a split second to take this picture before he ran back over to play again.

Owen was really into the whole idea of making a leprechaun trap this year, so in the week or two leading up to the day he and I worked on making his creation. I let him take the lead completely on deciding how he wanted to whole thing come together and just helped him execute it with the tape and collecting the supplies, etc.

Luke enjoyed his first taste of corned beef and ate two servings! He's a great eater and it's such a relief.

We got a nice family photo! We've taken one each year for at least the last 5 years and I'm always to happy to have them to look back on. The kids have all grown so much!

Traditional St. Patrick's Day food has really grown on me over the years. I definitely don't cook it through the year, but I always enjoy it on the holiday. I made Irish Soda bread again this year and it was fantastic!

Speaking of food... here is what's on our dinner menu for the week. Nothing too fun or interesting. I bought pretty much everything at Costco, which means there is little to no prep work all week -- hooray!

Monday - Italian Meatballs, Pesto Tortellini and Green Beans
Tuesday - Rotisserie Chicken, Cesar Salad and Brown Rice
Wednesday - Salmon, Asian Salad and Brown Rice
Thursday - Pioneer Woman's Pot Roast over Cauliflower Rice
Friday - pizza!

Hope you're having a great week so far! 

March 15, 2017

Weekend Fun & Our Menu

It's Wednesday morning and I'm so missing the weekend, still. It was a really great couple days with a lot of sunshine, fresh air and time spent with family and great friends.


Saturday morning we hung out at home until heading to Owen's basketball game at noon. Luke napped, Owen played a little Minecraft, and Keith and I took turns getting our workouts in.

My mom, sister and Keith's mom met us at the gym to watch Owen's game. I'm so glad we signed him up and kept him on the team, because he has made some great improvements in his skills and confidence on the court. After the game we grabbed lunch at Whole Foods and went to the park.


A standard Sunday morning scene... coffee and trying to read the Target ad while Luke tries to dive head first into my coffee. This kid is crazy for coffee mugs, and letting him peek into my cup always gets a huge smile!

 
After coffee and breakfast we packed up for the beach. We met our friends at Redondo beach in Half Moon Bay for some tide pool exploring and mimosas. The tide was way higher than I've seen it before and the water from the waves was making it really far up the beach. Our things almost got washed away a few times. It was the perfect weather and all the kids were happy, and the mommies had mimosas, so all was good!

FYI the hike down to the beach is a tough one if you plan on taking a trip down there yourself. We could only bring the necessities because we needed to have our hands free. 

After the beach we stopped at Sacrilege Brewery in downtown Half Moon Bay for lunch. Keith and I were super excited to see that they had three beers from Fieldwork Brewing Co. because they're opening a beer garden just blocks from where our new house is! On the left is the Super Cell (a double IPA) and the Saw Horse is on the right, both IPAs. The good news is the beer was fantastic, but I had Chilaquiles and they were just so-so.


After lunch Keith and the boys and I wandered around Main Street in search of an ice cream shop. We were kind of surprised that there wasn't a single ice cream store to be found. While we didn't find ice cream we did see a few other neat things... 


We walked through the outside of Oddyssea, which we've checked out before -- there are so many cute little crafty things for kids (and grown ups!) to make. I loved these mini-terrariums!


Owen and I loved these succulent letters! I think I need the "S" for our front door!

It was fun playing tourist in our own area. So often we drive through on our way to the beach or Pumpkin Festival and don't bother to check out any new places. I'm so glad we tried a new spot for lunch too!


Later after we got home I made a trip to the store for a few things and decided to make carrot cake for dessert! We love sweets in our family, but Keith and I try to only have them on Sunday evening, so when we do indulge I try to make it a good one! I used this Incredibly Moist and Easy Carrot Cake recipe and it was everything it claimed to be, although next time I would definitely double the frosting.

Speaking of recipes here's what's on my dinner menu for the week:

MONDAY - Cobb salad

TUESDAY - Roast chicken & roast veggies with brown rice

WEDNESDAY - Spaghetti squash & meatballs with roast broccoli

THURSDAY - Green chile chicken enchiladas with green salad

FRIDAY - takeout

 

After dinner and baths we put the boys to bed. They have been increasingly silly at bedtime lately. Luke likes to walk around in circles and spin himself around until he loses his balance. Owen thinks it's hilarious and tries to join in. They remind us of Donald O'Connor performing "Make 'Em Laugh" in Singin' in the Rain! Once they get the sillies it's hard to calm them down because they just feed off each other. 

After the boys were in bed Keith and I collapsed onto the couch to watch The Walking Dead and eat some carrot cake. It was heavenly!

Well, that was our weekend, and now we're about halfway to the next one already! Hooray!