Family Vacation

This past weekend, my family took our first family vacation in more than six years. The last trip we took together was to Alaska and was definitely a high point in my life. This time, we took a trip to Park City, Utah for some skiing and family fun. To make things even more exciting, this was our first family vacation with Matt. While going from a group of 4, to a group of 5 proved slightly difficult, especially with all of the “quad” chairlifts, overall his addition proved to be a positive one.

Besides the incredible scenery, the beauty of Utah is that you there are so many incredible places to ski, all within an hour drive from Salt Lake. We skied at four different mountains: Park City, Snowbird, Snow Basin and Deer Valley. While Park City is close to our family’s heart (Abby worked there for a season back when she was 24 years old), I think Snow Basin is my favorite.

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Snow Basin
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Snowbird
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Snowbird

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Snowbird
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Park CIty
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Snowbird

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Snowbird

Snowbird
Snowbird
Deer Valley
Deer Valley

Back in 2004, when Abby was working at Park City, we flew out to see her over Christmas. Here are some of our pictures from that trip.  It is crazy to see essentially the same pictures 9 years later.

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Then – 2004
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Now – 2013
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Then – 2004

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Now -2013

Hmm, suddenly I feel old. And I realized that I need a new ski coat.

Thanks for the great trip family! I wouldn’t want to go anywhere with anyone else.

 

 

Traveling Below the Mason Dixon Line

Over Memorial Day, Matt and I ventured south to the land of the Flowering Dogwood, the Cardinal and civil war reenactments. Yes, we went to the Old Dominion State, otherwise known as Virginia.

My sister, Abby, moved to Fredericksburg, VA nearly two years ago after taking a new coaching position at the University of Mary Washington. And even though I have seen a lot of pictures of Abby’s new town, met some of her swimmers and  even took a “FaceTime tour” of her apartment, I’m embarrassed to say that I had never visited her. I know, I am a bad sister — but thankfully those days are behind us. Not only did I visit Fredericksburg, I am fairly certain that I dominated it.

After living in New York City for six years, the transition to Fredericksburg has been a little challenging for Abby. Just as she grew accustomed to city life, she moved to a fairly suburban area. While it isn’t suburban like New Hampshire with lots of trees, cows and fields – it is suburban like strip malls, chain restaurants and a slower pace of life. And while we spent a lot of time celebrating everything that is great about America: dinner at Applebees, shopping at Target and getting ice cream at the local “dairy bar” — we also got to experience a little of the history that makes Fredericksburg so special.

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Thanks Abby for an incredible trip. I can’t wait to come again — Carry me back to old Virginny!

Guest Blogger – Chai Latte with Southern Charm

The past few days at work have been crazy (I know, there was a weekend squeezed in there, but still) so my sister graciously offered to help out today (and by offered, I mean, I forced her to). As you will probably see, she is the real writer in the family. She has countless journals filled with her writing from high school, college and beyond. Unfortunately she has directed her writing away from short stories and spends most of her time writing up swim practices. I have tried to encourage to her start her own blog, but between coaching 50+ college swimmers and taking care of her adorable dog, she doesn’t seem to have the time. Which is why I am so grateful that she was able to help out today! Enjoy.


Like many people I have a Starbucks addiction, unlike many people mine is far less caffeine driven and has a lot more to do with the routine; unsurprisingly after spending countless hours swimming back and forth over a black line I have become a creature of habit. When I lived in NYC I would get the same breakfast every day (sesame bagel with cream cheese) from the BEST bagel shop of all time, Absolute Bagels—it got to the point that I would walk over on a Sunday when the line was out the door and the man behind the counter would see me, make my bagel and let me cut the entire line—talk about perks of being a regular!

Now that I have moved to Virginia I have traded delicious bagels for delicious treats (aka chai and the occasional peppermint mocha). Nearly every morning after practice I go home, pick up Bexley Ann (my puppy) and head over to the Starbucks drive-thru; it has gotten to the point that when I drive up instead of placing an order I just say ‘good morning, it’s Abby’ and they know what I want and we spend our time chatting about the dog and other such exciting things. Because Bexley has been going to Starbucks since she was 8 weeks old, she gets super excited every time we pull into the parking lot and is quick to jump up on the front seat to stick her head out the window to say hi to the people who are working. When I don’t bring her with me both Bex and the baristas are disappointed.

I have come to know the baristas by name; and am even friends with a couple of them on Facebook. At least once a week I get a handwritten note on my cup from Dylan and Bethany wishing me a happy day and for the holidays they got me a card that had a buy one get one free coupon inside—like I said, my Starbucks is the best ever.

Now that my season is over, I have been heading over to Starbucks a little later in the day which has allowed for a little more conversation with the baristas—don’t really hit the morning rush when you are showing up at 10.30. I have come to learn that Dylan’s talents as a barista pale in comparison to her musical abilities; she is seriously amazing—

Needless to say, transition from NYC to Fredericksburg, VA was not easy, but luckily with the addition of the world’s cutest puppy and the world’s greatest baristas I am surviving and have a reason to get out of bed every morning. Cheers!



(Don’t worry – I have already yelled at Abby about phone usage while driving. She wouldn’t never do this again – not even for blog footage!)

click here for Abby’s last guest blog appearance

Meet My New Mom

(via)

This comment was so good I decided it needed its own post:

I am officially applying for the position of adopted mother. Although I had not considered more children, your plea tugged at my heart strings. First and foremost, you are my favorite and always have been. Your sister is selfish to hog your birth parents like that. I promise I would never do that.

I have my cell beside my bed, so you can call me day or night. If I don’t answer on the first ring, I will by the third. I make the best chocolate chip cookies on the planet, just ask your new brother. I also like the idea that you are a married adult living away from home!!! This is so novel, I will want to visit you regularly, but especially for special occasions, birthdays, holidays, playoffs, NYC marathon, etc. I love to shop and spend time with my girls doing what they like, that brings joy to me. I must insist that when or if a grandchild arrives, I get to come and take care of both of you. I have my degree in early childhood education, so i am fully qualified to be baby opinionated like all great grandmas! Mostly I want a free place to stay while I’m in NYC, but would happily adopt you and welcome your husband into our family! xoxox

Love mom

PS- I miss you already :)

Thanks mom! You are the best. I can’t wait to meet you!

Delicious Banana Bites

Growing up, my sister gave me a lot of advice. It started with simple stuff. Wear your backpack on one shoulder, not both. Tight roll your stone washed jeans. Don’t buy hot lunch at school. As we got older it progressed into more practical advice. Which classes to take in high school. Run for Class Officer not Student Council. Park in “the pit” not on the streets. And now as we have entered our adult lives, and I’m married while Abby is living the single life, the advice comes, but maybe not as often and not as serious. Find a job you love. Watch My Red Neck Wedding (clearly we have the same appreciation for trashy reality tv). And texts saying “Turn on the Today Show! Now!”

But one thing that I rarely receive from Abby is baking advice. I have appointment myself as the baking guru of our family so, typically, I am the one making things and sending pictures to my family. However, ever since Abby moved to Virginia and started “nesting” things have started to change. She has started to encroach on my Martha Stewart talent and I am not sure I like it. I’m not going to lie – I feel threatened. And there’s nothing more threatening than the combination of peanut butter, chocolate and banana.

Pinterest has given Abby the ammunition she needs to over take my talents. She made chocolate covered pretzles during Christmas that she found on Pinterest. I think they were most popular than the Oreo truffles Matt and I brought to the table. She made a super cute paint chip banner, melted crayon art and don’t even get me started on the Birthday party she threw for her dog Bexley. But now, she went to far – she made these delicious banana bites and wouldn’t stop talking about just how good they were. Naturally, I had to make them myself.

I started by following the receipe –

1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter

While I melted them together I cut 3 bananas into bite size pieces.

Then I dipped the banans into the chocolate/peanut butter mixture and placed them on parchment paper. Now here’s where I took things to a whole new level.

I added sea salt to the tops. YUM!

Molly 1, Abby 0.  And all feels right in the world.

 

Why My Sister Can Never Get Married

This weekend, Abby came to New York for one of her former swimmer’s wedding last night. I was thrilled that the wedding was on Friday because that meant that I got to spent time with Abby on Saturday and Sunday before she returned to Virginia. I was especially excited to see her since we won’t be seeing each other over Thanksgiving as I am heading to my in-laws (I love saying that!) this year.

As most people who follow my blog know, Abby got a dog last February. Since that time, her visits to New York have been sort of frustrating for me since she would have this adorable, but high-maintenance, puppy with her. Add in the fact that Matt is terribly allergic to dogs so Abby and Bexley couldn’t stay at our apartment when they visited, my time with her on those weekend trips was very short. Thank goodness Bex is so cute, or else I might force Abby to get rid of her.

Bexley before her first 5K race this weekend.

Abby decided to leave Bex at home this weekend. And while I would love to see my niece-puppy, I was excited to have a dog-free weekend with Abby in NYC. It isn’t that I had a lot of fun things planned for Abby’s visit, but just spending time together, something we were able to do nearly every weekend when she lived in NYC, is one of my favorite things. She arrived at my apartment earlier today and we spent the afternoon hanging out, chatting, and doing some errands around the city. After getting pedicures together, Abby decided to go visit a friend for dinner.

I have never been good at sharing. I hate sharing my food if I am out at a restaurant, Matt and I each have our own tube of toothpaste (weird, I know), and I didn’t let Matt touch my iPhone for the first four months I owned it. But the thing that I hate sharing the most is my sister, especially now that we don’t live in the same city.

I am pretty sure that my sister feels pretty similarly to me – however, I am so lucky that she likes Matt and, inversely, that Matt puts up with us. Unfortunately for Abby, I am not like that. I don’t want to share her with anyone, not even her puppy!

So I am sorry to all of my sister’s future suitors – you need to acknowledge that you will always play second fiddle to me, or else I won’t give you my blessing. And let’s face it, my blessing is much more important than my dad’s; I am pretty sure Matt asked for Abby’s permission to propose before he asked for my dad’s.

So now I am sitting at home, watching Notre Dame take down Boston College, just counting the minutes until Abby comes back! Man, sharing is so hard!

Pouting because I hate sharing Abby