• Wedding Memories Get Me Every Time

    by  • September 10, 2014 • 0 Comments

    WeddingDisplayUpdate_GetsMeEveryTime3

    Updates have been happening all around the house. Big and small alike. This is a small one. Something we were lacking was some art for our bedroom. Instead of buying something new, I wanted to keep things personal, so I decided to update some “art” I had made in the past. After our wedding, we had all these paper mementos that I wanted to keep. So a few years ago I framed up some of our guestbook “tags.”

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    It worked fine, but it wasn’t quite the scale I had imagined. (I have this idea that “grown-up” art should be big.) Also, I wanted to feature some of the other fun elements from our big day, like the buttons—everyone at the wedding had a name tag button.

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    So, I took the cards out of the frame and measured everything out to decide how big a frame the cards could fill. A trip to IKEA gave me the perfect frames to fill out. Two smaller square “shadow box” frames for the buttons. And one larger frame for all the guestbook notes.

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    I used simple brown kraft paper as the background and double-sided tape to hold them in place. Yes, the “cheers” tag looks like it might have had one too many. Nothing a little tape can’t fix.

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    The two smaller pieces hang on either side of our bed, and the guestbook tags hang on Mr. GMET’s side of the room. It’s one of the last things I look at before I fall asleep and I’m always reminded of our family and friends celebrating the day we started our family.

    Other bedroom updates: Headboard (seen above) | Text art (seen in reflection) | Jewelry Box

    Talking To A Pregnant Lady Gets Me Every Time

    by  • September 8, 2014 • 0 Comments

    BabyShowersGMET
    I work in a big office. With lots of people. Great people. From all different backgrounds. At all different stages of life. Over the past 6 months or so, many of my social conversations at work have been about baby McAuley. And the things I’ve heard have been sweet, surprising and sometimes confusing. So, ladies & gents, here’s my primer on things you should and shouldn’t say to a pregnant woman. Opinions are all my own.

    BabyShowersGMET2Keep Talking:
    – When are you due? I know you’re going to keep asking until you don’t see me anymore. So just keep asking. It’s fine.
    – Do you know what you’re having? (Well, yes a baby.) Guess boy or girl if you wish… Or not. Either way.
    – You look so good. Thank you. Let’s leave it at that.
    – How are you feeling? I’m glad you care, but I’m probably going to lie to you. Honestly, I feel fat and tired. But I am happy to tell you I’m doing great.
    – Are you having any cravings? Some women do. Some don’t. Don’t be disgusted or disappointed.

    Shut Your Face:
    – Oh, you’re still here. Yes, I’m going to work until I can’t anymore. Deal with it.
    – Every time I see you, you get bigger. Well, kids, that’s how it works.
    – Was it planned?/Were you trying? It’s none of your business and really, why do you care?
    – You really popped! Again, that’s how it works.
    – You look like you’re about to pop! A balloon pops. Zits pop. What I’m about to do might be a little more involved.
    – Can I touch your belly? Wait, can I touch yours?
    – You look so big. Never.
    – You look so small. It might seem like a compliment, but really, no one who has just gained 20 pounds or so in six months feels “small.” Besides, every body and baby is different.

    Fellow moms or moms-to-be, did I leave anything out?

    Slow Sunday Links Get Me Every Time

    by  • September 7, 2014 • 0 Comments

    A really slow Sunday here as I’m just now getting around to sharing my links from the week. In reality. It’s anything but slow. We’ve installed a car seat, picked up our CSA and now, football. But, for halftime…

    Get your snack on, speaking of football.

    Reminder of what to do around the house as our minds are a little preoccupied these days. 

    Uncle Gene dancing with himself brings the biggest smile to my face.

    A nice reminder for my blogger friends because it’s just blogging after all. 

    My friend Molly featured some Toyidermy on her blog and I’ve got a few place card holder sets left. If you’re so inclined, hit me up.

     

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    A Bumpdate Gets Me Every Time

    by  • September 4, 2014 • 11 Comments

    BumpdateSeptember_GMETI’m sure you’ve been eagerly anticipating another baby update, some bump pictures and all that jazz. Well, here it is. I’m growing, Baby GMET is growing and the due date is inching closer and closer. We are in “the red zone” so to speak as anything can happen after week 37. The bags are packed, mostly. The freezer is stocked, for now. And the baby’s room is ready-ish. We feel as prepared as one possibly could for such a life-changing event, I think.

    As far as the medical side of things goes, we don’t have any new news to report. We’ve been going for weekly visits since about 30 weeks just to monitor everything. They’re pleased with the baby’s growth, heart rate and activity at this point. We’re still sitting in a pool of uncertainty, so I’ll ask again for any positive thoughts and/or prayers you want to send our way.

    Right now, we just can’t wait to meet our little nugget. However, in my mind, baby GMET is staying put for a while longer, but it’s not really up to me, amiright? So, until that time comes, we’ll take all predictions in the comments. Boy or girl? Birthdate? Size? Prizes for all the winners are an overflow of baby pictures in all forms of social media.

     

    Our Dining Room Gets Me Every Time

    by  • September 3, 2014 • 2 Comments

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    We’ve been in our home more than a year, and, just now, we’ve finally started to feel settled throughout all our rooms. We’ve done a lot of work over the past year and today I’m excited to share the dining room updates with you.

    Some details. On our mantle. (Maybe this year we’ll get around to using the fireplace.) The clock was a wedding gift. The photos are all old family photos from both me and the Mr. including his dad and grandparents and my grandparents. I had a friend help me with getting the resolution right after scanning them in, then printed them using MPix. There’s also one of Louise as we were trying to include the whole family in the room. Next to the front door we hung a wedding photo, though we plan to change that one out every year or so as our family grows and ages.  The new chandelier is from Overstock. And what did the old one look like? Here’s the room before we closed on our home.

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    Oh hi, Mr. GMET.

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    The walls were a very pale shade of green, which would have fine, except for two things. First, the previous owner didn’t leave any of this green paint behind. Meaning we couldn’t patch any of the holes they did leave behind in the wall. Two, this room had lead paint in the baseboards and the mantle, so we knew we were going to have to do some repainting anyway. We went with Benjamin Moore’s Athena, as we did in our family room and kitchen. We hired a great local company to take care of all the deleading and though it wasn’t cheap, we know it was worth the investment in the long run. We were out of the house for just over a week and came home to a painted, lead-free abode.DiningRoomGMET_InProgress

    Over the course of the year, I’ve shared some of our updates with you. Left, our newly polished floors. We decided not to have them refinished because we were putting down an area rug anywhere. Our first Thanksgiving in the center there shows our in transition space, pre-painting, post-furniture shopping. And that rug. I just love our stripe rug (no longer available) from West Elm. (Table from Macy’s.)

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    With all the photos going on throughout the room, we wanted to keep the wall opposite the windows pretty clean and simple, hence, just one simple shelf. When we think about needing more storage, we just think back to the previous owner’s furniture and how cumbersome it looked in the room. (Maybe we need a bigger wine rack though?)

    DiningRoom_GMET3Finally, opposite the mantle, we enlarged three more old family photos. One of each of our mother’s with their mothers. And one of my grandparents with my dad. To the right, you can see our ode to our “first home”. And, we had the interior of our front door painted black, just to make it pop. (It was previously white.)

    And that’s it. Now, who’s coming to dinner?

     

    Eight Years Get Me Every Time

    by  • September 1, 2014 • 0 Comments

    Skyline_BostonGMETHappy Labor Day, guys!

    Here’s hoping you had a great long weekend. Today, I’m celebrating our (last) day off (as two) and along with it, eight years in (greater) Boston. Eight great, wonderful, amazing, long, short, life-changing years.

    Instead of recapping my 8 years here, I thought I’d give you guys my eight reasons to love (greater) Boston. Some are quite obvious. Others, maybe it’s just me.

    FreedomTrail_BostonGMET1. History: it’s everywhere. A trip down the Freedom Trail teaches you about a lot of it, but it’s all over greater Boston.

    Mass_BostonGMET2. Seasons: After growing up in a place where we basically had two seasons, warm and hot, I’m in love with all of Mother Nature’s glory and the seasonal wardrobe that goes along with it.

    Sports_BostonGMET3. Sports: I might not cheer for all the Boston/New England teams (You can’t take the Pittsburgh out of the girl.) but I love that we have access to professional sporting events year round. And I love the way this city gets behind a (winning) team.

    Holidays_BostonGMET4. Shopping: From every major retailer to small shops like Pod and SOWA, you can really find everything you need.

    MBTA_BostonGMET5. Transportation: If you live here you know we all have a love/hate relationship with the MBTA. But, live in a city where public transportation isn’t so great and you’ll appreciate even more.

    6. The Burbs: I just made the jump last year, but I already/so far love living outside of the city yet so close to it at the same time.
    Boats_BostonGMET7. Water, water everywhere: the above photo was taken on my lunch break. Because most places in the city you can go for a short walk and see some body of water, be in the river, the harbor, the channel, etc. Love it.

    8. Eating Up: I haven’t written about every single place I’ve ever eaten (that’s a blog in itself) but you know from the all the food Instagrams and posts like Cutty’s and Jimmy’s Bar that I’m not one to turn down a good meal. And there are plenty of those to be had in the Boston area.

    There are so many great reasons to love Boston and New England and I can’t wait to spend (at least) the next eight years getting to experience all of it.

    Lazy Sunday Links Get Me Every Time

    by  • August 31, 2014 • 0 Comments

    Succulents - Get Me Every TimeI’ve been saving these links for you guys for quite some time. I know, I’m sure you’ve been waiting. Apologies if you’ve seen them already or they’re old news.

    Common cooking conversions because how much is a handful? 

    How to make your own pet pop art you know I totally want to make Louise pop. 

    How to make Iced Coffee better tis the season, after all. 

    A simple(-ish) succulent hanging garden just lovely.

    10 creative Instagram accounts to follow even though I love your selfies.

    No-churn vanilla ice cream because Martha. and last weekend of “summer.” 

    How to take/edit better iPhone photos who carries their real camera these days? 

    A glitter resin countertop in the dining room because you so fancy, we already know.

    A ninja turtle party because my nephews are obsessed. 

    How to be a grown-ass woman as I think I should probably start thinking about that any day now. 

    Sausage cheddar muffins will freeze nicely, I think. 

     

    One Year at Home Gets Me Every Time

    by  • August 28, 2014

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    This post has been in the back of my head for about a month now. We’ve just been a little busy and I haven’t had the chance to get everything out that I wanted to say. But it’s all about our one year anniversary of being home owners.

    So far, we’ve managed not to set the place on fire, so we’re doing pretty good. However, we have had some learning curves along the way as we’ve survived four seasons in our new abode.

    Truth: we paid someone to paint our kitchen cabinets and then repainted them ourselves. I came home from work expecting all the painting to be complete and found half of the kitchen cabinets hung upside down and all the cabinets a little less than what our standards required.

    Lesson learned: A good painter can be hard to find. And even harder to afford. This isn’t a place to try to save money if you want it done right the first time.

    Truth: a house is a lot of work. Like you wouldn’t believe. Case in point, this post is overdue because our weekends have been spent doing things around the house this summer. (More on those projects to come soon.)

    Lesson learned: You either need time or money to get most things done. Have a plan and stick to it so that you don’t end up with less of either than you’d like.

    Truth: we almost flooded our basement. We were trying to “turn on” the water line to our new refrigerator when a piece, installed by the previous owners, popped off and water went EVERYWHERE. It was late, and just the two of us, and I had to run and get a neighbor (thank God for neighbors) to help us stop the water.

    Lesson learned: Know where the main water shut off for the entire house is. It might come in handy at some point. And it’s good to know where that is before the chaos begins.

    Truth: location really is everything.

    Lesson learned: And by that I mean your neighborhood. You can’t change it. And your neighbors (see above.) You can’t handpick them. We’re glad we did our research and found a community we love.

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    There are many other things I’m sure we’ve learned in the past year, but those are the biggies, in my mind. We’ve made a good amount of changes inside and out and I’m looking forward to sharing them all in the next few weeks. N

    Burgers from the Grill Get Me Every Time

    by  • August 13, 2014

    grilledburger2One of my favorite things about living in the ‘burbs of Boston is having real outdoor space. Not a stoop, or a fire escape or a porch that seems nice but you’re too afraid to go out there because it leans just a little too much. A real-life, backyard outdoor space. We’re fortunate that ours came with a nice patio that has turned out to be a great parking spot for a grill. While we haven’t fired it up as often as I would like, we have tossed a few burgers on there this summer. And they have been nothing short of awesome.

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    Burger #18 : Burgers on the Grill

    THE INGREDIENTS:
    for the burgers (makes 3 obnoxious burgers or 4 regular ones):
    1 lb ground beef
    salt & pepper (according to your tastes)
    + your favorite buns + toppings (cheese, mustard, ketchup, tomato, etc.)

    THE DETAILS:
    The easiest ever. (This is nowhere near a recipe. Just too delicious not to share.) Turn on the grill so it gets all nice and heated. Form 3 or 4 patties with the ground meat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on each side. Put on grill. Cook. Pile on toppings. Eat.

    ** This year, I’m making (at least) 20 burgers. See ‘em all. **

    A First Home Gets Me Every Time

    by  • August 12, 2014

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    It’s been a while, yet again, since I’ve posted any updates here. I mean, the last few were huge though, so I felt like they probably carried you for a while. But, the reason for the delay, is because we’ve been so busy readying our home for our baby’s arrival. So, there’s a lot to share, but first, I want to take a moment to share more about our first home—a small, one-bed apartment in Brookline, MA, right outside of Boston, and pictured above.

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    It wasn’t a glamorous place. A walk-up. Hadn’t been remodeled in years. Pink tile bathroom. No parking. Smelled a little funny. Packages got stolen. So, it’d be easy to remember it for those cramped quarters, slanted walls and noisy neighbors. But I’d rather remember it for everything else it stands for in our lives.

    It was the first apartment we “picked” together, even though I was living there alone. It was where Mr. GMET first lived together after we got married. It was where we made decisions about purchasing our first home. Where we spent so many firsts as Mr. & Mrs., from Christmas to birthdays, etc. It was where I got an order for, foolishly accepted and made 500 business card holders with eyebrows.newart1I’m excited to turn our old home into new art, but I’m even more excited for all the memories we’ll make in our new home. “Old home, new art” is tucked behind our front door with our spare keys and not to be needed again address stamp. It’s a great reminder of where our family started and just how far we’ve come.

    PS. The shortened version of how I made this: 1) take picture. 2) print out. 3) tape to window & trace. 4) scan and print on card stock. 5) frame with accessories (spare keys & address stamp.) 

     

    Instant Classics Get Me Every Time

    by  • July 18, 2014

    carshow3While I know very little about classic cars and I wouldn’t even go so far as to say I’m interested in learning more, I did attend a classic car show recently. It got me thinking, not about classic cars, but instead about the phrase “instant classic.

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    See, the cars on display seemed to have withstood the test of time. They’ve been labored over and loved. Treasured and kept in pristine condition. Passed down between generations and restored to their original glory. They define what it means to be a classic.

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    But an “instant classic” doesn’t stand for any of that. Is anything so great that it should arrive and instantly be given such a title? Sure, things are “instant hits,” “instant sensations” or “instant favorites.” But “instant classic?” Shouldn’t we reserve that title for something more deserving?

    To prove that it’s overused, I’ve found some recent examples:
    Dana Carvey’s Choppin Broccoli (funny, sure. instant classic…. jury’s still out.)

    Advertising during this week’s all-star game (c’mon, I work in advertising and don’t even think it should be labeled “instant classic.”)

    Melissa McCarthy’s Jet Ski Story (so, wigs make everything better?)

    This stupid picture (what grade are we in?)

    Really. How can any of those ever live up to the standards and glory and beauty of a 1957 Chevy? Will “Choppin Broccoli” be searchable in 60 years? And will anyone really want to search it? And should that be what is known as a classic from our generation?

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    I’m not here to provide any further answers or insights. Just to say that “What really is an instant classic?” is a question we can all put some thought to, I suppose.

    A Baby Story Gets Me Every Time

    by  • July 16, 2014

    MyBump“Your baby’s not normal.”

    It’s not exactly the words that first-time expectant parents want to hear at 8am on a Tuesday morning during what should have been just a routine ultrasound. But that’s what the radiologist said with no more bedside manner than that of a butcher.

    It’s been 141 days since I heard those words and they still ring shrilly in my ears. Here’s the short version of our story.

    At our first appointment (9ish weeks) where they listen for the baby’s heartbeat, it wasn’t heard, but there was no need to panic. We were to go for an ultrasound the next day where they would just confirm viability. And we weren’t worried. There could be a million reasons why the heartbeat wasn’t picked up.

    The next morning, the heartbeat was there! But the radiologist also told us about something else that was there—a fluid buildup on our baby’s neck.

    Initially there were a lot of questions, tears and prayers. Let’s also put out there that Dr. Google is no longer covered by our insurance. (That’s also why there are no links in this post… don’t go searching. Just don’t.)

    What the ultrasound showed was a septated cystic hygroma. It’s a pocket of fluid on the back of the baby’s neck that can sometimes be life-threatening in utero. We are fortunate ours was not fatal. It’s also extremely rare. We’re talking 1% (or less) of pregnancies. That’s like a 1 in 6,000 chance or something. So, unless you know more than 6,000 pregnant women, it’s not surprising that you haven’t heard of it.

    There can be many causes of cystic hygromas, about 50% of the time they appear because of chromosomal disorders. We did some initial blood work (10 weeks) that came back negative for some common disorders. We chose not to do any further DNA testing (14 weeks) because it would not affect the management of our pregnancy. (Even if we found out about a certain disorder, there’s not much we can actively do, except worry, until the baby arrives.) We have continued with regular ultrasounds and we had an echocardiogram (20 weeks) as some cystic hygromas are associated with heart defects.

    At this point we know that our baby has a bilateral SVC (20 weeks). (Everyone has a right SVC and our doctor said that as much as 20% of the population could have an extra left SVC and just not know it.) It’s not a problem on it’s own unless a person needs bypass surgery later in life.

    At this point we know that the cystic hygroma has resolved or (that the nuchal translucency) is no longer larger than normal (24 weeks). We also had an MRI and a second echocardiogram done around this time that showed no further heart anomalies and what the doctor’s called a “boring*” looking brain.

    At this point we know way more about fetal diagnoses and ultrasounds and echocardiograms than we ever wanted to know. (see weeks 9 – present) We still have a few more extra ultrasounds and appointments to get through, but we’re keeping a positive outlook.

    And at this point (30 weeks) we know September will be here faster than we could imagine.

    So readers, I’m sharing this here not because we want your sympathy, but because writing about difficult things helps me process them. Because writing this here might help some other young family that’s in a similar situation.

    One thing you may not know is that I am a religious and spiritual person. And I believe that the prayers we’ve made and those made on our behalf have helped strengthen us and our baby. So thank you for the prayers thus far and if you have any more prayers or positive thoughts you want to send our way, we will certainly take them.

    Sorry for all the words. But thank you for reading and being part of our family’s journey.

    *Boring has never looked better.

    PS… I’m not a doctor, so my stats or explanations are not exactly scientific. This is just my version of what we’ve gone through. If you are in a similar situation, please speak to a doctor or counselor.