25 May 2022

Ashton knows

There have certainly been many, many bloggable events since Alex's birthday. The boys accepted offers for their club hockey teams next year and played in the parity rounds, lacrosse has been going great, we re-did our front walkway and landscaping, the boys got their boosters, Alex had his first communion, and so on. I've been super busy with the PTO and am elbow deep in planning the carnival that we are hosting on June 5th. But nothing has stopped me enough to write a blog post until yesterday's major moment. 

Ashton came home from school yesterday having lost a tooth, for the first time in a few years actually (his 9th, to be precise, and I didn't even know it was loose!). I said Oooo the tooth fairy is coming tonight! And we moved on with our day.

Cut to bed time. The lights are off and I'm tucking him in. Ashton had the little box with his tooth in it in his hand. I was kissing him goodnight and he said "I'm going to hide my tooth. I'm going to pick a really tricky place and if the tooth fairy is real, she'll know where it is. She'll be able to find it no matter what." 

I have to say, I was a little panicked. What was I going to do - comb through his room in the dark at 11 pm trying to find this little thing? It didn't seem likely that I would. I didn't respond right away and Ashton said "Will she be able to find it? She'll find it if she's real right?"

"Do you think she's real? What do you think?"


"I think the tooth fairy is you."

And we just looked at each other and I knew it was the right time. I said, "You're right honey, I am." And he responded by hugging me. I could have melted. And then he said "What about the easter bunny? You know there were a lot of things this year that had me wondering. Like, I saw Ariane hiding the eggs for Ainsleigh in her yard. The Easter Bunny is supposed to do that but maybe Ariane is the Easter Bunny for Ainsleigh. Are you the Easter Bunny for us?"

"Yes I am."

"Okay." [thinks] "You know, my biggest question is about Santa. And Pete. Are you Santa?"

[pause - ahhhh!]

"Yes honey, me and Daddy are."

"You move Pete every night?"


"Where is he right now?"

"Oh, well sweetie he is in the basement with all the Christmas stuff."

His eyes opened so wide, like he could hardly consider this a possibility.

"All those years, when we weren't supposed to touch him, I never did Mommy. But I could have?"

"You could have."

"And nothing would have happened!"


"WOW..." and he smiled really big. "I can't wait to hold him! Wow, Pete! Really, wow!"

It was the sweetest conversation. I told him the truth about everything. Surprisingly Pete was the biggest focus. "So Pete doesn't bring us pajamas, you do?" "The notes Pete left, you wrote those?" "When Pete didn't move a couple of times, you just forgot?" He's very beloved in our house :) He asked about how I did this photo from two Christmasses ago

And I told him. He smiled. And hugged me again.

"So, the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Pete. And Santa. Wow." and then, "Wait. Thanksgiving is just Thanksgiving right? There's nothing to know about that is there? That's just great on its own?" 

"Yes, Thanksgiving is great on its own."

We kept talking, about how Alex didn't know and so many other kids don't know, (meanwhile Alex is SHOUTING from his bedroom that I hadn't kissed him goodnight yet and what was I DOING in Ashton's room for so long) and I whispered to Ashton that he was on our team now to keep the secret. He liked this very much. I said there is so much magic, just because Santa isn't real doesn't make Christmas any less special. Christmas will still be a wonderful time, and you can help! He said, "Oh I'm going to use Pete to play so many tricks on Alex! I have so many ideas, it's going to be great!" 

He just kept sighing, and smiling and shaking his head, and telling me a few stories about how he found Santa's wrapping paper and tags, how he saw a present that Alex ended up getting from Santa, etc. So, he knew in his heart but I think wasn't ready to truly find out until that moment last night. It was something I will never forget - a rite of passage in every child's life.

Of course, the tooth fairy did still come. I knew Alex would ask and I didn't want Ashton to feel entirely grown up. But there are, of course, some secrets parents keep to themselves ;)

31 March 2022

Alexander (the great) is 8!

My my, Alex is eight years old. He's got a mouth full of holes, a chipped tooth, and his most defining characteristic continues to be his hair. 

Affectionately known (not by me) as the "mohawk mullet". 

So what do we say about Alex. For starters, he is probably the smartest person in our family. It does not make him nice. In fact Alex is kind of edgy and has quite the temper and attitude. In the mornings, I never know what side of the bed he is going to get up on (one time he claimed he was up all night. He said "You know, the closest I got to sleeping was blinking, Mommy" and stated that he should probably have a later bedtime. Ha! I don't think so.). 

How about another example? Sure. So not long ago I stopped and got donuts. They were out of the kind Alex likes (strawberry frosted) so I purchased a regular glazed. When he arrived home from hockey, I gave it to him and held my breath. Here's what happened.

Anyway, as Alex is more touchy than I would like, I got him a punching bag for his birthday thinking it would help LOL.

Temper aside, he was very excited about the gloves :)

When Alex isn't stomping around, he's actually quite funny. And sarcastic. He thinks nothing of telling adults what the real deal is and can make a joke out of anything. His teacher is his hero and probably the one person he reveres besides himself and his grandparents. Alex is quite the showman too and for this personality trait I got him a microphone.

Can't say that was a great decision.

Alex wears a 2.5 shoe, is alllllmost a youth Medium in clothes, stands about 4'5 and hits the scales at 63 pounds. Pluto is still around. Ask him his favorite dinner and he'll tell you turkey burgers or ideally, McDonalds. And watch your Diet Coke - he will steal it. Alex does NOT like chicken (and yet, eats it pretty frequently). 

He plays hockey (his Comets Mite B season just wrapped, and ON his birthday March 16 he found out he made the elite team for the Assabet Patriots, which will be his club next year, so that was huge news). Alex is very competitive and is currently playing lacrosse for the Natick Redhawks, street football, basketball, and whatever else he feels like dominating. He spends his free time watching YouTube videos: DudePerfect, awesome hockey tricks, things you can build with Legos, etc etc. Alex loves the song "Industry Baby" by Lil Nas X and if he had his way, his birthday gift would have been a Playstation. Alex can also tell you with almost 100% accuracy what kind of bird is flying around. 

So what did this little ratso want to do on his birthday? He asked for another skating party but there was no ice to be found due to all the hockey tryouts. I sprung him and Ashton early from school and we went to Fun and Games for TWO hours which to me felt like two days but hey. They played in the arcade, and chased each other in laser tag and generally bounced around, the happiest of clams. 

It was actually really cute - in the beginning they shared the games :)

This next one is BEYOND typical of Alex. So, a lot of towns have early release on Wednesdays, so even though it was 2:30 pm there was a birthday party going on with other boys. Alex became fixated on this game where you had to stop the number climb at 1000. (Imagine being at a gas pump, holding the trigger and trying to let go to stop the numbers at exactly $10.00, for example.) The timer starts at 0 and the numbers ascend quite rapidly. Hit the button at the split second it's 1000, without going over, and you win.

Well Alex got a 999. And he had every kid in the place witnessing it.

He couldn't believe it. They were like, AWE, you were so close. Wow. And then they all tried it and didn't get anywhere near 1000 like Alex did, which he knew they wouldn't. He wins, or nearly wins, at most things. 

Ashton takes it all in stride thankfully. As a brother, Alex does like to use his fists and there is a fair amount of shoving, laughing that turns to crying, indignation, and argument over resources (i.e., parent attention) but overall they are super tight.

Anyway, here are a few more recent photos of Alex as he has hit 8 years old. 

Don't let this last one fool you. The boy does ZERO chores and I was indulging him because he claimed he was so good at cleaning he was going to start a service. I said, "Well that would be nice to have. What is your rate?" and he said "Obviously, 10 out of 10."
"I meant, what do you charge?"
"Oh. Probably too much for you to pay actually." And promptly quit. Sigh. 
(Haha, I looked up last year's 7 year old post and there is a specific line that says "You might be Alex if 'your chore chart is empty. You have literally no chores as you've decided the money isn't worth it.' "
Everything in that 7 year old post is still true.

Up next: His first communion. And he was asked to be the gift bearer at the mass which should be interesting...

You're a lot to handle Alex, but we love you! HAPPY 8!

10 March 2022

Ho ho hoooooly moly it's been a long time since Christmas

Well everyone there is not a better time than March to relive our Christmas spectacular. Although this post hasn't happened yet because there is not much to relive. SPOILER ALERT:

Now that there test all the way on the right is Jason's. We took rapids before packing up and getting in the car to head to Vermont after opening presents. Two lines = positive. Positive = no travel for the Nills. Whomp whomp. Jason was totally asymptomatic but one more rapid and a PCR a couple days later and it was a YEP.

But of course we didn't know this was going to happen so we still had a pretty nice December and holiday leading up to the test. 

Annual tree selection, in which the boys become increasingly disinterested. They actually suggested they wait in the car this year! [aghast]

Letters and cookies and decorating more things. The usual business.

The boys were still very into Pete our elf. Although he's becoming more high maintenance as they are requesting that Pete maybe do funny things and get into trouble in the letters they leave for him. I guess elves in other houses have made a reputation for themselves SO, the best I could do was have Pete bring a friend over (Cherry Cinnamon from next door). The boys just about had a heart attack when they saw there were two. And of course Cherry brought some kind of magic where you put tic tacks in sugar and they grow into candy canes overnight.

Behold, the following photo with the results:

How many days would that have to sit on the counter, be moved around, spilled and "replanted" before you considered it really annoying? 
That's rhetorical.

Changing the subject, I very much like to decorate my Christmas card envelopes differently every year. I chose washi tape this time around and WHOA was it a hit with the boys. Yards and yards wasted, but...they spent HOURS "helping". The holiday season is about making sacrifices isn't it? Refer to comment above about open glasses of sugar on the counter in a very busy area.

So cute though :)

Then cute becomes intense. (Kari show this picture to Callie, it's her flamingo key chain that Alex spent a lifetime wrapping LOL)

I'm feeling the need to advise the 3 other readers here on the flamingo back story. Which is that Alex went to Hobby Lobby on December tenth, saw this at the checkout, and proclaimed Callie just had to have it. Like, as a present. 

Callie has now duly received said Flamingo so Kari, comment below on its status. Most 7 year olds don't have keys so...no expectations ;)

Which brings us to Christmas Eve. In addition to wrapping the glorious gift above, Alex also spent a tremendous amount of time making a Lego version of Santa's sleigh in preparation for Santa's visit.

One of those creations where you find yourself laughing in surprise at how good it is.

Anyway, here's the Christmas morning picture.

And the rest is history. Lots of blurry photos and paper everywhere. It was about 11 am that we found out Jason was positive and everything stopped in their tracks. We spent 5 days home as a family (HOME home) and that was a wrap. The boys and I never got it - Jason didn't isolate from us in the house and we tested repeatedly, so maybe vaccines work after all ;) I'll take good health as my Christmas present any day. xoxox

26 January 2022

Quick allergy update

 Hi guys, this post is for me so I can make this note and come back to it later. Ashton had his allergy testing/skin pricks today for the first time in a couple of years. Of note, the cashew allergy seems to have developed and the egg wheal is now bigger than the sesame one! But size does not indicate severity of a reaction, only the certainty that there WILL be a reaction if ingested. Dr. Lee said some kids take until age 16 to grow out of their egg allergy so it could still happen. The sesame and nuts, not likely. Ashton eats walnuts and cashews and his mouth fills with saliva, he pulls at his ears and feels quite sick. The last time he reported his chest tightening and no joke I was thisclose to an epi but the Benadryl kicked in and he was ok. So we are going to start to steadfastly avoid those. He has never liked peas, even super young he claimed they made his mouth itchy but we thought he was just trying to get out of eating them. Fast forward to today, anything with pea protein (which is actually a lot of things, included Reduced Fat Skippy) makes his mouth very itchy. So that's officially documented now too. The only tree nut he is not allergic to at all is pistachio, and he does seem to tolerate almonds and hazelnuts and he is to keep eating those.

Poor Ashton, he was very uncomfortable this morning. No bloodwork needed as the reactions were clear enough that he is not eligible for any food challenges.

I owe this blog my christmas post - I have not forgotten!!

30 November 2021

November Recap

Before I dive in to the December holidays (spoiler alert: Jason got covid- he's fine), thought I'd take a quick minute to get us through November. My birthday, Thanksgiving, family pics, the fun just doesn't stop. Hit it! 

First, turning 41 was meh. Definitely not as lustrous as 40. We did have Katie and Brian over for a sushi feast that was positively amazing but this is the only picture we took.

It's basically accurate lol. Further breakdown of me at my age:

Peloton rides: 733

New, quite dangerous and impractical obsession: Golden Goose sneakers. I should leave all my Facebook groups but. I. just. can't. I. need. all. the. pairsssss. Count so far: 2.

Persevering pet peeve: In reviewing my 40 post, I do mention packaging and my extreme distaste for opening things. Thought I'd share my latest masterpieces. 

I don't even try to do this. It's become somewhat of my trademark, along with randomly leaving my car door open. This is at the Bentley hockey game whoops.

I have also weirdly noticed that I never fully close drawers. 

Something I could improve on: my road rage. I do, I have it. Next.

Beauty must-have: Lumify eye drops. This stuff turns your eyeballs into dinner plates my friends. In the best way possible. Your whites become white. Like you can't really tell how tired I am at all when I use it lol. I'm also still very into my press-on nails and my skincare routine has become quite robust and expensive.

Other random things about me at 41: During the day I prefer to wear jeans over leggings. Leggings just make me feel like I'm in pajamas. I even tried the Vuori joggers that everyone raves about but the truth is if I'm not in real pants, at home or otherwise, I feel sleepy and lazy. 

Wrapping paper makes me really happy. I have so many rolls! Ironically I'm not the best at the actual "folding and taping" part but I do love giving pretty things in pretty packages :) I also enjoy decorating tremendously, as in all the small Home Goods knick knacks with garlands and whatever else is seasonally appropriate. I think there are 6 bins in the basement for Halloween alone.

I never did watch Hamilton, if you read my 40 post, but none of the other details have really changed. Another year, same me :)

Ok what else happened in November. Oh we took our family photos, usually the worst 30 minutes of our entire year, but actually the boys were SO cooperative and mild-mannered! FINALLY! These are the two I loved the most.

A little behind the scenes for you - Alex's haircut. Thank god you can't tell from the front. 

November was the month that Jason and I got our boosters and the boys got fully vaccinated.

I personally think vaccines are one of the biggest privileges of our society and don't understand anyone who doesn't, but that's a whoooooole other subject.

Lastly, turkey day! Jason's brother and sister couldn't make the trip due to COVID and other reasons. Happily, GG and Erik accepted a last minute invitation. Grandma and Grandpa came early on Tuesday, just in time to watch Ashton win the annual 4th grade Lilja turkey trot. This was like, a very big deal. Pretty much the entire school was betting on him to win - it was 3 loops around the grounds for a total of 2 miles. He smoked everyone and ran at a 7 minute pace!

He's in the very front, white shorts. I took almost zero pictures but this was the beginning and by the end, he came in first by a couple minutes.

And then that night, Jason and Grandma made the apple pie and so commenced 2 more full days of cooking and merriment :)

Don't worry Ashton didn't like it ;)

Boys' favorite part was dessert of course. 

We rounded out the weekend with a Bruins/Rangers game (I admit even I was starstruck by the players and the Garden is HUUUUUUGE! We had awesome seats and it was so fun) 

and then a Bentley hockey game with a bunch of our friends (in which the players came out after to do autographs, it was very sweet).

And with that, we bid November, turkey, and 41 goodbye ;)