Friday, January 17, 2020

Pretty Things Outside

Peter and I went to dinner at The Wayside Inn on our 17th anniversary. It's where we got engaged, and it's one of my favorite places. 

At the Boston Temple, where we got married. I always love it there, too.

And a pretty, peaceful sky one evening at home.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The End of the School Year

We weren't used to school ending in the middle of June because in Iowa it was always out before Memorial Day. For that and other obvious reasons, the end of the school year couldn't come fast enough last year!

John qualified for States for the hurdles! 
He's in the orange shirt on the left side. He didn't win or place but he kept up with the group and did well.

John had a wonderful English teacher in 8th grade. Her name was Mrs. Grady and he really liked her. She loved "her kids," as she called them, and you could tell that she really did. At the end of the year they read her favorite book To Kill a Mockingbird (and also saw it on Broadway in New York City) and there was a discussion about it one evening at the school that parents were also invited to attend. She made delicious refreshments for it too. What a great person and teacher she is!
That's Mrs. Grady in the center. John is on the left in the front row.

Sam played a few songs at his end-of-year piano recital. He did great! He's been doing really well with piano.

Sam chose Benjamin Franklin for his American history project at school. He had to make a "doll"-like figure of him and do a Google Slides presentation about him. The parents came and walked around and saw the projects of all the kids in the class. 

Then they sang some patriotic songs together and it was adorable. I will cherish the videos forever! Sam is in the middle in the navy blue shirt with a flag on it.

There was an 8th grade "promotion" ceremony (as in, promoted to high school) the evening before the last day of school. It was long and crowded and John failed to share some key details with me so we barely made it on time, but it was nice.

I know it's hard to see but that's John up at the front receiving his certificate and shaking hands with the vice principals and principal.

In four years this will be a diploma and he'll be in a cap and gown! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Sam writing thank you cards to his teachers.

Sam was in a two-teacher classroom in 3rd grade. 

Last day of school! June 18th

Their first school year in Massachusetts was officially in the books! And now it's officially on the blog! ๐Ÿ˜

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Back to the Berkshires

Less than a month after my trip to the Berkshires with my friends, I went on a day trip there with my mom. It was done through a local school's adult education program so the itinerary and transportation and tour guides were taken care of. I love guided trips!

This little blurb pretty much tells everything we did. My photos can fill in the rest.

Up first was Ventfort Hall of the J.P. Morgan family in the lovely town of Lenox.

The house was rather dark, and one of my favorite features of it was this light-filled balcony off the main stairs. What a great reading and relaxing spot!

This double chair with the seats facing in opposite directions was so cool. I want one of these someday.

A few movies have been filmed here, including (a really oddly named) one with Aidan Turner, a.k.a. Ross Poldark. Ross was here! ๐Ÿ˜

Pretty things I liked in Ventfort Hall: 

A mother of pearl, lace, painted silk fan. 

Cute! I have an enduring soft spot for teddy bears.

We had a lovely and delicious lunch at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge. I've been there several times in the past and I love its history.

It has a large beautiful front porch with lots of rocking chairs. It was really nice to sit out there and relax for a little while after lunch.

Fun things I photographed as we walked around Stockbridge:

I didn't know what Alice's Restaurant was and why it was significant. My mom enlightened me but I still don't totally get it. I guess I somehow missed the memo on that famous song!

Our last stop was at the Berkshire Botanical Gardens. It was nice, but by that point it was pretty warm out, so I wish we'd gone there as our first stop instead of the last.

I liked the flower-covered roof of this little shed. 

Pretty little vases in the gift shop.

It was a fun day with my mom! I'm starting to really like the Berkshires!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Adventures in Microblading

Last June I got two tattoos right above my eyes. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ
Permanent makeup tattoos, that is, in the form of microbladed eyebrows. ๐Ÿคจ

I'd been thinking about getting microblading done on my eyebrows for awhile. I have thin, sparse brows that I'd fill in and shape with brow gel, and I was looking to simplify and streamline my beauty routine. And I thought it would be great to have "naturally" defined brows that I didn't have to do anything with. So I did my research and found a good place nearby that did it, and there I went on a sunny Saturday afternoon to finally give microblading a try!

Getting it done was not comfortable. I did not enjoy the process. I enjoyed the immediate results even less. My research hadn't been thorough enough and I didn't realize how dark my brows would be right after getting this done! For the first week I was horrified because my brows were comically big and dark. This is a normal part of the process, but it's a very awkward part of the process! After a couple of weeks as the color faded to the intended hue, the horror turned to a somewhat wary contentment, and then to real happiness with the results. And now, seven months later, I'm still very happy with how they look.

I took selfies to document how things went. They're funny and embarrassing and not very flattering, but I'm willing to take a few hits to my pride in order to educate the public, and to give my loyal readers a laugh.
Let the hilarity ensue!

Day 1 (Saturday, June 1st)

This was in the car right after I got it done. I was experiencing immediate buyer's remorse.

I don't think this picture does justice to how dark they really were. When I got home and the boys and Peter saw me, they all stopped short at the sight of me. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I wore sunglasses for the rest of the day when I had to go out in public (even in the grocery store!). ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Day 2

I stayed home from church because my brows were too dark to be seen in public and I genuinely thought that I would scare the nursery kids with them. I looked like a clown! I wasn't going to put those innocent children through that or endure the public humiliation of letting people who I see every week see my looking like that. In a panic, I ordered a bunch of different types of band-aids on amazon, thinking that maybe I could cover them up that week while they healed. This was ridiculous of me because twin Band-aids above my eyes would have looked just as silly (if not more so) than my overly dark eyebrows. Plus they wouldn't have stuck, and even if they had stuck, it could have affected the healing and coloring of the brows.
So now we're all set for Band-aids for a long time. ๐Ÿ˜†

How I felt about how they looked:

 Day 3

Still too dark for my fair skin and fair hair. They were flaking and healing and starting to lighten the tiniest bit, but I was worried for my future (for real!), and I was definitely wishing that I hadn't gotten this done.

Day 4

Still too dark. I had to face someone from the public (literally, ha ha) when a guy came over to give me a quote about removing some fallen trees in the yard. I tried to wear my sunglasses for as long as I could but it just wasn't practical and when I took them off he looked at my eyebrows right away. ๐Ÿ˜‚ It was so embarrassing!

On Day 5 I skipped the end of year cookout dinner/Pack Meeting for Cub Scouts because they were still too dark. On Day 6, I had the unfortunate timing of having to host book club at my house. There was no getting out of that! I just had to face it (hee hee) and do it. By that time they looked a little better but they were still noticeably quite dark. But I held my head high (not really) and just did the best I could, and nobody said anything. I think by that point it just looked like I'd put a little too much makeup on them.

Day 7

Getting better!

Day 8

The one-week anniversary! We were definitely in a better place than we'd been the week before!

 Day 9

I went to church and the children were not scared! 

Day 11

Things were definitely looking up and I was much more comfortable with them now. I think they defined my face pretty nicely and I liked how they'd been shaped.

Day 13

I was able to go to Sam's piano recital without shame!

Day 14

After getting a facial. (This is how I look with no makeup!) My facialist thought they looked beautiful.

Day 16

 About three weeks after I'd gotten it done, I had to return for a touch-up. The touch-up was more painful than the first time. Ouch, it hurt! But they were looking good!

This is how they looked two months after getting microblading done. My hair had lightened up from the summer sun which I had worried would make my darker eyebrows stand out more, but I think they looked good!

The picture above is how they look now, about seven months after first getting it done.

All in all, I'm glad that I got microblading done. The color should last for a few years and then I can get it touched up again, or re-done entirely if I choose. I really like not having to bother with my brows anymore. So I would get this done again, but I'm hoping they'll come up with a less painful way of doing it. The pain wasn't THAT bad (I don't have the highest pain tolerance), but it was definitely uncomfortable. (How do so many people get real tattoos?? Ouch!)

I recommend microblading as long as you're a good candidate for it and you find a reputable place and get it done by someone who is experienced with it. Make sure you approve of the shape beforehand and pick the right color for you. If I could go back and change anything, I would have gotten it done in the winter when I could hibernate for a full week and not have to leave my house except to drive the kids around.

I hope you enjoyed that harrowing journey as much as I did(n't). ๐Ÿ˜œ