The Busy Giffs

November 22, 2017

40 in 4 Update

It's been a hot minute since I updated the 40 in 4 list, and honestly, it's not moving very quickly.  This might become a 40 by 40 if I don't start accomplishing things!

But we did head back to Disney, so I can cross that one off. You can see posts about our trip here, here, and here.
7. Go back to Disney

Additionally, it's not technically a Broadway show but it was right in New York and I have dreamed about it, so I'm counting it. I brought Emma to see the Rockettes (see the post here!). I'm counting it, get over it.
10. See another Broadway play

Also, this year, we did a planter box of tomatoes! Sadly, I only got to eat like 4 all summer long because my kids kept going outside to steal them, but it was really great to have fresh tomatoes all summer! Next year we're going to try tomatoes, snap peas, and green beans!
37. Create a real vegetable garden for an entire season/year.

Which brings me to this newly updated list:

40 in 4:

1. Run a 5k
2. Have my palm read.
3. Weekend in the Vineyard with my family.
4. Buy a bicycle.
5. Wear a bikini to the beach, no cover up.
6. Put my toes into the Pacific Ocean.
7. Go back to Disney
8. Go to Universal Studio
9. Get a job in Higher Ed
10. See another Broadway play
11. Fit into a size 8.
12. Travel to Europe, ideally London or Rome.
13. Get another tattoo (or two).
14. Be debt free, minus student loans and mortgage.
15. Put away a 4 month emergency amount.
16. Begin working on an administrator's license or a PhD.
17. Take a photography class.
18. Travel somewhere tropical.
19. Go camping.
20. Get professional head shots for the blog.
21. Sew Emma a matching dress for her and her dolls
22. Consider selling the custom shirts I've been making for the kids...
23. Take a cooking or baking class.
24. Take a cake decorating class.
25. Go to Ireland.
26. Find a local church to belong to/Baptize Tyler.
27. Get out of the minivan.
28. Take a calligraphy class.
29. Participate in Restaurant Week in Boston or Providence.
30. Go to Disney Land.
31. Work on our kitchen: backsplash, new desk, new table...
32. Buy a jacuzzi and redo the back deck.
33. Fence in our yard.
34. Landscape.
35. Finish the basement.
36. Attending the NYC Thanksgiving Day Parade
37. Create a real vegetable garden for an entire season/year.
38. Spend the day at the spa, getting pampered.
39. Splurge on our 10 year anniversary.
40. Save $10 for each accomplished task and spend it on something extravagant.

I'm hoping that we can accomplish a few more things as Holiday and Birthday gifts! What's on your "Must Do list" lately?

xo, Heather

November 21, 2017

A Girls Weekend in New York City: A Flat Tire and the Rockettes

What a whirlwind weekend!

I decided pretty last minute that I wanted to bring Emmalee to see the Rockettes. I've always wanted to see them, literally have dreamed for years but it just never happened. When we went to PlayFair 2 weeks ago, Emmalee saw the posters for the Rockettes and was smitten.  A few converstaions at home about how she wants to grow up and be a Rockette, plus an amazing discount from Today Tix meant we booked tickets on Wednessday for the Saturday show. We made a few phone calls to family in Connecticut and we had sleeping arrangements so we were set!

We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, loaded the car and we off.  Our plan was to be in CT by 11 am, be one  train to NYC by 1 pm, get into NYC by 3, stop at American Girl for lunch, see the Rockettes at 5 pm and then head back to CT for bed, but that was not what happened at all.

Around 9:30 am, my front tire blew driving down Rt 195, a busy highway, and we were stranded. Our AAA had expired so we began making phone calls for tow trucks and new tires. I literally didn't know that I had a spare in my car so I was super excited when David informed me that there was one in my car! Unfortunately, the lug nuts were too tight and as we tried to get them off, the tire iron snapped. There was a super Wal-Mart roughly 2.5 miles away, over the fence and through the woods, so David set off for a new tire iron.

While David was gone, a kind stranger came up and tried to use his tire iron to get the lug nuts off, but it didn't work.  The next kind stranger was a much older man who, after learning David had walked to Wal-Mart, volunteered to go pick him up.  After he left to get David, a third man stopped to help us.  He said he was dropping his friends off at the airport so knew we had been there for a bit. Unfortunately, he was also unable to get the lug nuts off but told me he had a breaker bar at home and he'd go get it and come back.  This whole time, my two poor kids are strapped into their carseats so that, god forbid anything happen, they're still safe since sitting on the side of the road in 30 degree weather wasn't ideal. We turned on the heat and the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving dvd and waited.

Amazingly, the man brought back my husband, plus hot cocoa for the kids, and minutes later the third man came back with a breaker bar.  In minutes, the three men had removed the flat and replaced it with the spare. We drove over to get new tires and at 11:15 we were in line at the mechanics. The trip to New York was about another hour of driving and a 2 hour train ride so we still had time to make our 5 pm show.  Then he told us there was at least a 2 hour wait and then another 30-45 minutes to do the tires, which meant, we would not make the show. We had spoken on the phone about where we were going and he said he'd so what he could to move it faster.

I called the ticket agency to see if I could swap our 5 pm show for an 8 pm show and was told no refunds or exchanges, but I could list my tickets and if they sold, we would get a refund but if they didn't (which was more likely since the show was only hours away), they would still be at the office with my name on them.

We grabbed lunch in between lots of phone calls from family and friends trying to figure out how to get Emmalee to her Rockettes show. The mechanic was amazing and had us out and on the road by 1:30, a full hour less than he originally quoted. I called the ticketing company back to let them know we were on our way and since I hadn't received anything that they had been listed.  The woman on the phone informed me that they had sold less than a minute earlier.  Because I'm an emotional person, I started crying.  The morning had been so crazy and it finally looked like we would make the show, and it felt like it had been ripped out from under me again. She put me on hold and came back a few minutes later, saying that since the sale hadn't fully processed, they would cancel it and the tickets would be put back in my name.  Even more, someone would be waiting outside the theater for me to make it a little easier. Cue more tears.

We made it to a 3 pm train and said good bye to the boys, which got us to Grand Central at 4:25, which, by the time we got outside the station, into the pouring rain, it was 4:45. A quick cab ride up to Radio City left us meeting the man with the tickets at 4:57 pm.


We paused for a quick picture and got into our seats just as the second number was ending.  We missed a bit but were still so thankful we made it! Watching Emma's eyes light up as the Rockettes performed was as magical as I hoped. Her giggles lit up our whole section and in the middle of one number, she jumped over her seat, wrapped me in a hug, and said "Thank you for being the best mommy ever". It was a journey to get to the show, but so worth it.


An amazing gift was given to us: a hotel room for the night in the city.  Since our day had been cut short, the overnight would give us time to walk around and relax without rushing back to our train. We stopped at American Girl and after some shopping, we checked to see if there was any way to get into the American Girl Cafe since we had missed our earlier plans.  Amazingly, the hostess said she would squeeze us in. We stuck to just desserts and cherry sodas and it was a perfect mom and daughter date.



After our snack, we walked through Rockefeller Center and Times Square, with a quick trip to the Disney Store and the M&M store.





Our hotel room at the Fairfield Inn and Suites was beautiful. The King bed was more than enough space for Emma and myself and after some delicious infused water from the lobby, we settled in for bed.


Before venturing back out, we enjoyed a delicious Continental breakfast, courtesy of the hotel.  I was amazed at how much food they offered, and it was so yummy!



On our way to Grand Central to catch another train back to the boys, we stopped at Bryant park and checked out the ice skating and little shops.  We wanted to go in the library but it wasn't open yet so we decided to catch the earlier train. Two hours later we were back with the boys and visiting family in Connecticut.

It was such a crazy, emotional night away but it is absolutely something I look back lovingly at.  I love how much joy it brought my girl.

xo, Heather



November 15, 2017

Holiday Hot Toy: Paw Patrol Lookout Tower

I was provided this toy in exchange for a review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Shopping for both of my kids has been ridiculously easy this year. They love all the toys that are out and I think so many of them are actually adorable and fun! Tyler has been a huge fan of Paw Patrol over the past year and it's one of those shows that I am actually okay with him loving! The characters are super cute and the show is literally based around being helpful and good to others!

It was no surprise to me that much of Tyler's holiday wishlist revolves around Paw Patrol: more characters, the Ride on Quad, the Air Patroller Plane, and the Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower.

The Lookout Tower would absolutely be a WOW present this year. It's 3 feet tall and works with all of the other regular size Paw Patrol vehicles he already owns. Here's a quick commercial:



But let's be honest, watching our own kids play with the toys is so much better! I love that the My Size Lookout Tower is large enough for Tyler to play with his friends. 




The end of the slide is the coolest- it shoots the pups in the air and into their vehicle! The rortating base allows each pup to jump into their own vehicle.


He's always all smiles when it comes to Paw Patrol!


The working elevator moves the pups up and down if needed. The My Size Lookout Tower also has lots of different buttons that activate things like lights and sounds, or the pups' signature catch phrases!


It's such a great toy and we are hoping Santa leaves it under our tree! Otherwise, you can purchase it at Amazon, Target, Toys R Us, or Walmart, as well as lots of other major stores! Let me know who you'll be picking it up for!

xo, Heather

40 in 4 Update

It's been a hot minute since I updated the 40 in 4 list, and honestly, it's not moving very quickly.  This might become a 40 by 40 i...

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