Thursday, August 21, 2014

TBT: Hickfest

Dear Em,
This year's Hickfest was our 6th Hickfest. The first one we had was actually our very first BBQ at our house. It pushed me to get everything in our house unpacked & organized before we had everyone over (I think our Family room couches were delivered days before). We invited all of our friends & family, & more than 50 people came. Daddy & I spent half of the day giving house tours to our family & friends who were just seeing our home for the very first time.

Technically, it was your first Hickfest. I was 4 months pregnant.

In 2010 our family had grown, & we had a little cow-baby to join our fun. We got a little more costumey & got mullets & cowboy hats & boots to add to the ambiance. You napped periodically while the party went on outside.

2011 was the first year you actually went to the fair & a couple of your very first rides. You were fully mobile by then, & much of Hickfest was spent making sure you stayed in the yard like a safe little cowgirl.

Hickfest fell on a rainy weekend in 2012, & it conflicted with two other events. We held a very small gathering on Friday night, skipped the costumes, & ate the crabs & lobsters Nonnie & Papi cooked. Not our typical Hickfest but relaxing & amazing in its own way.

With more of our friends having kids, 2013 was a fun year for you. You had tons of kids to play with. We brought back the costumes & even added some Duck Dynasty & Nascar decor. It was such a fun party for our family to share with all of our friends little families (plus, we found out more of our kids would be having kids).

I can't believe we've had 6 Hicktastic celebrations with our friends & family in our backyard (man, time goes by so quick). I love how it gives us a chance to get together each summer & catch up...congratulate the newly married couple, snuggle the new baby, look at how much each little has grown since the previous year, & squeal excitedly about the news that a new baby is on the way. I enjoy those fun moments in our backyard so much & hope we will continue to celebrate them for so many more years to come.

Plus, who doesn't like putting on a mullet at least once a year? Business in the front, party in the back.

I love you so,

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hickfest 2014

Dear Em,
We live in the North. New England accents abound. New England is known for it's rich history & its fine Universities. Rhode Islanders often dress in collared shirts (sometimes with the collars popped)...except for a few days each summer.

You see, there's this thing called the Washington County Fair. When the fair comes to town, all of a sudden we are transformed into a whole new world. There are men wearing sleeveless tshirts. There is a ton of country music. There are confederate flags. There are mullets...seriously! Mullets!

The first time I went to the Washington County Fair, I think I walked around with my jaw dropped open. I have no idea where all these people come from, but somehow they come out of the woodwork once a year. I know we live in Southern Rhode Island, but once a year we feel like we're living in the full blown south.

You know the phrase "if you can't beat them, join them"? Well, we've decided why not join them? Well, once a year we throw a party that we fondly call Hickfest to celebrate all of the southern stereotypes. We invite our friends over for food & yard games & general hick-like shenanigans. And for those of our friends that are brave enough, they can head over to the splendor that is the Washington County Fair.

I think this year was my favorite. Our yard was filled with family & friends & littles.

And of course there was a photo booth (I freaking love photo booths). You were so stinkin' cute with your "cowgirl" boots, overalls, & mullet wig. You were over the moon excited that I matched you with my own overalls & pigtails.

I think this was your favorite year too, especially because you got to stay up way past your bedtime for sparklers & fireworks.

We're very much conservative New Englanders, but I'm glad that once a year we get the chance to go a little bit country. It's such a fun & hilarious time we're fortunate to share with so many of our favorite people.

I love you so,

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Dear Em,
It was tough, but we had to say goodbye to Nonnie & Uncle Jared this past weekend. Before they left, we tried to fit in as many fun activities as we could into the last week. We went on bike rides (we bought Nonnie a bike to say thank you for all she did & all she was here in Rhode Island all summer). Watching you & Nonnie bike together was one of my favorite things this summer. You both have baskets, enough for three babies to ride with the two of you.

We went for walks on the beach, collected shells, & wrote love letters in the sand.

We went for a walk at the wall, built rock towers, watched the sun set, listened to music at the gazebo, & got ice cream at Nana's.

We went to the fair, had a BBQ, & played lawn games.

It's a little hard for all of us to adjust to life without Nonnie & Uncle Jared. The house is a little too quiet. You miss your favorite buddies, but we're so thankful for the time we were able to share with them. Plus, we already have our plane tickets booked for our visit to North Carolina this holiday season. Until then, there will be lots of skyping.

I love you so,

Monday, August 18, 2014


Dear Em,
Remember how one of my goals in 2012 was to get the basement cleaned out? Well, that never really happened in 2012...or 2013, but I had great plans for tackling 2014 into submission. I realized when I was in college that you can typically gauge my stress level by looking at my home organization levels. When my home is filled with messes, my stress level is pretty high. I can only take it for so long before going into mass organization mode. This summer was when I went into mass organization mode.

My professional life has been a little challenging. There have been a lot of ups & downs & uncertainties. When parts of my life feel out of control, I take on projects...things I can control. After renovating the family room & entryway & dining area (& a bunch of other home improvement projects I haven't posted yet), my mind was still not at rest.

First, I turned to the basement. I didn't take a before photo. It was too embarrassing. We basically just had piles on top of piles. You couldn't see 90% of the floor. We hadn't used most of the things we stored, because we couldn't even access the majority of it. There were so many things I found that I didn't even know we owned.

I made Keep, Sell, & Donate piles. I bought shelves from BJs. Your uncle Jared built shelving for us (way more shelving than I think any person should have to build in one summer), & I organized everything we were keeping on them. I can't tell you how great it is to know we would finally be able to find things.

Do you see that? You can actually see the floor again!

That would be enough for a lot of people, but I couldn't stop. Soon our family was trying to steer me away from closets, because if I saw a mess I had to organize it. I found shelves that we had already owned but had never put together. I put a shelf in & organized our coat closet. I bought food storage bins from Home Goods & cleaned out our pantry. I removed two garbage bags of things that were expired. I reorganized the office & my bedroom closet & the guest closet. I installed a door hanging untit to organize our cleaning products. I organized until I mostly ran out of things in our house to organize.

Then we had a yard sale. Anything we didn't sell we donated. You were devastated to see so many of your things go, but I felt so much lighter. I was so glad to say goodbye to the things that we hadn't used in years (or even remembered that we owned) & know they were going to homes that would find use for them.

It's an exhilarating feeling to be organized. Now let's just see if we can keep it that way.

I love you so,
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