have a nice st. patrick's day?

Did you all celebrate? We didn't do much other than don these here outfits for this here photo. But I hope if you did you had some good green beer or listened to some Dropkick Murphy's or some such thing. I went to Pints & Poses on Friday and Shipping Up To Boston was the first song they played and I was all like man. These are my people. But that's about all she wrote as far as our celebrations went.

So here are some cute kids in their festive wear! I realize squeezing David into a 4T is a bit extreme but the things I force him to do for a cute themed photo! On to the next Olsen! Will this be the last year? I don't know we will find outtttt!!!

the blue and gold banquet

As first timers to this whole Cub Scout thing, the Blue and Gold Banquet was just a total unknown for us. The boys were all encouraged to attend, as well as all siblings and parents, grandparents, whoever! They would provide pizza and people would bring sides and so forth (you know me and my love of any and all things potluck). 

new (old) dining room shelves

This whole thing started because as Matt and I were perusing my parent's stash of wood for another project entirely I saw this oh so pretty thick piece of old wood. And after asking if I could take it home with me my mother reminded me that she had a second piece that she wasn't really using in any major way and that I could have it too. Lucky me! So then I started wandering around the house trying to figure out where oh where I could have my Handy Matty hang up these gorgeous wood as shelves. I texted my mother many options because I bounce most decor choices off of her and we decided upon the dining room... We had to move some things around of course to make it happen but I'm so glad we chose this spot. I love it so! It brings me great joy! 

Also having a husband who just does whatever I want and whenever I want. That too.

And anyone who has ever commented on my decorating ability the real accolades go to my mother and the invention of photo messaging. I style it and then she does some "tweaking" as it were.

a girl scout build-a-bear party

Just a week late (and a dollar short or something?) but I wanted to make sure to document a fun little Friday evening that Letty had with her Girl Scout Troop, a Build-a-Bear party! As much as she is attached to her two prior Build-a-Bears (Tink Teddy from a gift card she got when she broke her arm and Rose, the one my parents got her on our Carnival Cruise and why yes, she named her after Rose DeWitt Bukater.) I just wasn't sure that she would be into the whole party and getting another one. .. Well no wronger could I have been. 

so what's new with you?

It's been a week since I've even posted anything here (gasp! and whoops!) so I guess it's the perfect time for one of these right?  And it's March! Glory glory hallelujah one month closer to warmth! And vacation!

hey mambo! mambo open that bottle night!

This is one of the very few nights a year that Matt and I have my parents watch the kids and we go out. Not just us two of course, but to a wine party! With other like-minded wine lovers! Now I know I don't drink as much wine as I used too, and I mourn the days of the good bottles of red that we used to enjoy. The tannin! The inevitable headaches! Getting older is fun people. 

living room shelves

It's the time of year where I have an itch and the only way to make it go away is make Matt do diy things. Lucky man. One such thing was adding shelves above our tv in the living room. We have the exact same ones in our master bathroom, just smaller than these, and even had leftover pipe from that project. 

I never really enjoyed this wall with the tv and I've tried a few different ways to fix that lack of enjoyment but it just wasn't working. I felt like before the room felt very weighted to the gallery wall side (which it was) so this I think helps remedy that. Of course I have an antiquing trip planned next month (you know, when it's not a no spend month) because those shelves are nowhere near where I want them to be decor wise. I just threw some things up there that I wasn't using anywhere else so they weren't nekkid. How cute is that tiny candle? It's from the Dollar Tree. I know! Same with the galvanized tub. A dollar!

I'll keep you posted on my antique finds, lest you fret.

the great pantry redo!

I'm not even the slightest bit embarrassed to show you this mess. You know why? Because it ain't my fault (did I do that?!). It's my chef's fault. But since he is the chef I don't really have a thing I can do about that now can I? I organize it. He messes it up. But! He agreed to redo the pantry for me just the same and even agreed to keeping it organized just the way I like it (aha aha). So this is the before, obviously. There was all this extra space between the shelves and soooo much room above the top shelf that is like, why are you there? Plus the walls were all scratched and marked up from all the things being thrown in there through the years. 

hopefully our last snow day

Please oh please let last week's storm be our last. Not only are we now working our way into the summer with make up days but I am just so over it. The kids haven't had a full week of school in forever. Maybe since December? I'm only slightly exaggerating. It's early dismissals and two hour delays and of course the closures. But as it so happens we cannot control the weather and a storm came and it dropped a whole lot of snow and then a whole lot of freezing rain that resulted in a day off of school.



I had taken Dom here in December and just felt really bad about the fact that the bigger kids were missing out because of that silly little thing known as school... And then for Christmas our Fitzs gave us a gift card for this place! So then it was just a matter of waiting for a day when I thought (based on my extensive SkyZone crowd knowledge) it wouldn't be that busy, which was this past Monday. Matt asked off work too so it was a family affair!

some valentine's celebrations 'round these parts

As a rule I don't really enjoy this Hallmark holiday. Romance is so not on my priority list (poor Matt). However, we do celebrate a little bit. Times three as it were, believe it or not. So I realize those sentences are conflicting but bear with me.

Traditionally, we get together with our old neighbors for Valentine's Day. If you've been around this blog since the beginning then you know that we started this tradition because we had little kids and didn't feel like going out and getting a sitter and wearing real pants all of that jazz. So Matt would cook something fancy and we would join forces and have quite the fun night. Last weekend we kept up with that tradition and had them over for dinner. Matt made the kids a heart shaped pizza, the adults had chicken parm and Steph brought her delicious heart shaped dessert. 

rollerskating night! with friends!

I am back from my little blogging break! Nothing intentional like, oh I need a break from the social media world or anything... just more like oh I don't really have anything to say so I'll say nothing type of deal. But I do love this little blog of mine so I am back. Like Arnold... With our church's rollerskating night!

Every Wednesday night I drive a bunch of neighborhood kids (and two of my own) to church. Think: youth group. They call it Quest and it used to be called Clubs but that's just all confusing to me. Anyways each year they take over the Mt. Gretna Roller Rink and have a family night. 

The past two years I skated as well but last year neither kid wanted to skate with me so I figured why bother? So I sat it out. And here David could have really used me. He didn't leave the wall for the first forty-five minutes or so and refused to even try and skate out into the rink. He got there though eventually, but it was painful to see. Letty of course took off with all of her girlfriends and had a blast. That girl just has the best group of friends! I know I've mentioned that before, but it's true. And David? He's got a good friend here or there but not like the tribe that Letty has. Maybe that's a boy thing? Is that a thing? He's the most social kid and knows everyone's names but it's just like oh everyone is my friend instead of oh this is my group. Maybe that's best? Too many sentences about your children's friends Laur, move on.

a david day date!

The Cub Scouts had an ice skating day up at the Hersheypark Arena last weekend and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with my middle child! Matt would have been the ideal candidate for this but he has bad feet. After returning from Mordor they can no longer ice skate. So it was me. Happily. David gets overlooked in a lot of ways.... All our focus is either on Letty's academics... or all her activities... or on Dominic because we are just with him so much during the week and well, the squeaky wheel gets the grease right? It's not intentional, and I used to think Middle Child Syndrome was a farce but it isn't people. He has his Cub Scouts though! And he started a baseball clinic thing this week! And whenever he reaches a milestone with something at school (so smart that kiddo) we sneak him out to get him ice cream and such. We try!

But back to skating. He was hedging leading up to this. Did he want to go? Did he not? He has never skated before and he didn't know of anyone else going.... But two minutes before we had to leave he decided yes, I want to go. Annnnnd about two minutes after I paid he said he wished he had decided to stay home. Can we leave? I want to go home. Which is probably a little bit of why he doesn't get to do certain things. Like brother is not allowed to go to a musical or the movies anymore. Unless it is like the three dollar movies. He is unpredictable in that way. But I reminded him that I paid money for this and he was staying. Tough it out kid. 

It took a good forty-five minutes till he could let go of the wall and move about on his own... a few falls of course but no tears. And then he loved it. He kept referring to the penalty box as the break center no matter how many times I corrected him. At one point he looked at me and said so mom, what you're saying is I'm a professional? Far from it kid but hey I dig your confidence!

so what's new with you?

One month down. We made it! These cold months can just breeze on by if you ask me. I mean obviously not really because time going so fast is always something I loathe but I also loathe being cold. So that's what.

but does it spark joy?

You may know what my post title is referring to and you may not... so for those of you who do not know there is a new show on Netflix (and a book, apparently) called Tidying Up. And in this show the most adorable woman helps people tidy. There are so many hilarious memes I’ve seen that do give me a good snicker... but the truth is Matt and I have been going through our house slowly, getting rid of things we don’t use or need for a few months now... right about the time when we closed the pool and were like oh where oh where can we store these things? Annnnnd sorry Marie but I have been folding clothes that way since Letty was born. Minus the gratitude. I don’t thank my leggings. Maybe I should? But I don’t. 

audrey turned one!

Which I mean, I rarely call my niece Audrey. I say Aud. Like with a heavy (in my opinion) New York accent ala my Uncle Glenn referring to my Grandma, the original Audrey. Aaaaaaaud. Anyways. Baby girl somehow is one! That was probably the fastest year yet. Her birth just happened am I right? Poor girl wasn't feeling quite herself the day of the party so she took it all very seriously, but at least there were no tears! She even took a nap and then came back to the party. It's her party and she'll nap if she wants to. Girlfriend likes her sleep.

My brother and sister-in-law moved the party to my parent's basement just to give all these people more room. It was fun to see how Ash had the basement all decorated! She's so good with all that stuff. It was a Winter Onederland theme so there were lots of trees scattered about everywhere. And lots of photos. A photographer's daughter's party must have a lot of photos!

There was appetizers and drinks before gift opening. There is never a lack of helpers when it comes to gift time at these parties. Like moths to a flame, these kiddos. The super cute cake was delicious. I may have found my replacement bakery now. Somehow Aud allowed me to cart her around from family to family to get photos because that is just what I do at these parties. 

the polar vortex

Are we tired of hearing about this? I am so glad that it's now warmed up to like, the 50's as opposed to say, two degrees. And yes yes I am well aware it was soooo much worse in a great portion of our nation. I just hate being cold. I want to pick up my entire family and move them to a warmer climate. Palm trees would be a necessity. But sadly some members of my family don't want to move. Cough. Mom. Cough.

Anyways last week we had snow, obviously. The kids had an early dismissal one day and then a two hour delay the next day and then school was closed completely the day after that. What lucky creatures to be home with us all that time! And how lucky was I that I got to help them get dressed and undressed nine thousand times. So lucky, I'll tell you what.

I personally just like to let them play in the backyard while I watch from warmer pastures inside. The fence and all of that. But we eventually headed across the street to the baseball diamond which sits high up on a hill and let the kids sled. Half the neighborhood was out as well and we had a drink to warm our bones. I have fond memories of being outside sledding until the sun set and that is just what we did that night.

a bookshelf update. again.

I'm reclaiming my playroom! Not completely, of course. But a little bit here and a little bit there. First order of business was pairing down all the toys! I was able to do enough of that that we could get rid of the Ikea storage unit that was once in front of the bookshelves. That cleared up some space in the room. I went through each and every box of Letty's crafts and put whatever I could into big Ziploc bags that then went into one of those canvas bins. Which I love! They are so sturdy and big. And they hide all the things.

Then I went through my books and got rid of ones I know I'll just never read again. By get rid of I mean take to my local library and donate. All 200 of them. What was left of my books I just spread out on the remaining open shelves and then it was time to shop my house! Find things to decorate! Without spending any money! So it's not perfect and it will most certainly change but for now it works just fine.

we joined a gym!

I have never ever belonged to a gym. I don't do machines. I don't do people looking at me. I don't wear fancy clothes when I run. But I do like to work out. We redid our basement gym recently and that is all well and good and was working out alright... But then my brother and his family joined this local massive gym... Followed shortly after by my sister and her family. Followed shortly after that by my father. Well, as you can imagine, we don't like to be left out of any family affairs. So we too joined.


Yes yes! It's me! I have returned! Our computer was having a little mini meltdown... Such a meltdown that we were certain we would be replacing it until my father came over and was able to coax another life out of it... So thank you to my techie dad! Anyways so with that happening I was all over here a wee bit lost without a computer, hence the radio (internet?) silence. I am flattering myself that anyone other than my mother and sister noticed... but if you did, I'm here!

Weekends! Oh those sweet two days! Actually Sunday sort of is on my list but. Anyways. Saturdays I like.

Our Friday started off with Letty's tutor, the poor girl goes right from the bus to having a tutor for an hour. But she does great and always gives it maximum effort. So I'll take it. The boys had gotten a dollar each for trying a spoonful of taco meat covered in cheese and ranch (side eye Matt) and so that dollar was basically burning a hole in their pockets. As soon as Miss Melissa left we headed off to our new Dollar Tree, which to them is super exciting. We had friends over for dinner Friday night, Matt making steaks and that delicious farro salad. And a whole lot of other goodies too of course.

new pretties around the house

Oh there is always more! After the holidays I find ways to curb my sadness over the loss of all the twinkle lights and festive decor. There are new projects to be sure, as you have seen this past week or so. Some new plants. And of course any new gifts I got for Christmas! So here they are in a big photo dump!

I got a few new plants! It's my January process. I lost a plant or two which literally never happens to me so I have to remedy that!

what i'm doing with all those amber bottles of mine...

As I mentioned in the fall, I recently have become borderline obsessed with collecting amber bottles. I had them all over the place for that season which made sense with their color and all of that. I packed the whole lot up for the holidays but after that all went away I just couldn't let the bottles stay in storage, oh no. They had to come out! I've got quite the collection at this point so I may pause on any new purchases for now... although that said I did get three for Christmas from my sister from the Hearth and Hand line....annndd a few from recent antiquing trips. So who am I to say? 

Most of them are above the bookshelves in the playroom. I took all the existing decor down before Christmas and decided to start fresh and I love it much more now. The lights help too! Keep a bit of cozy in that room.

some new diy wood signs!

You've seen the wood signs floating about on the internet I am sure these past few months (years?) and I'm finally getting on that band wagon. I found a few businesses that make them that I sure do love but I wanted to make my own. Cost effective and hey! I can have it say whatever it is I want it to say!

As I tend to do I go big or go home so I made three to start with. Matt cut the wood down for me to size, and then I did the base paint color. Once that was dry I used chalk to draw on my saying, which I then painted over with black paint. Once that was all dry I lightly distressed it with sandpaper and then Handy Matty added the stained frame. Wala!

For above the tv in the living room I made this one....

a front stoop update

I told you last week I had a few projects I wanted to share on the blog... and so here we are just moving on to another one! Everything just looks so much prettier with a light coating of snow does it not?

I have these moments where I instantly decide I hate something. This happened once before with some of the lighting in the house and then I'm just done! Over it. It must be changed! This semi-recently (like, in November) happened with our front porch. We had the builder-grade poles that just well were, boring. So Matt and I took to Pinterest and came up with these bigger and better versions, which he built and painted, of course. And what a statement they make!

a master bedroom fireplace update

I'm super excited about this update to our master bedroom. It's not even really done but I just couldn't wait no more! My parents are redoing their formal dining room and in the process of that they tore out their old mantle and offered it to us. I actually had already been plotting a fireplace-type situation addition to our bedroom so the timing could not have been more perfect!

a day in the life

I haven't done one of these in a hot second (July! When it was actually hot!) and so I figured why not?! Someday I'll look back I am quite sure and shake my head at my younger self. It just is what it is. This was last Thursday, as it were.

7:00 am: 

The whole house wakes at 6:45... all but David bounce out of bed rather quickly, especially when Letty hears she doesn’t have to make her bed because it’s “new bed night.” I strip the beds while the kids slowly use the restroom and brush their teeth. Before they head downstairs for breakfast I also do their hair for them and then off they go to their father for all their dietary needs. I forgot to put the clothes in the dryer last night and thankfully that saint of a husband has done that for me this morning. He also takes their lunches I packed yesterday and adds the ice packs and puts them in their backpacks by the door.  I start a load of laundry and get myself a cup of coffee while making sure the kids get their clothes and shoes on (I have everything set out for them the night before so it’s mindless, really) and eat their breakfasts. Matt will drive them to school at 7:20 and then I’m off to the basement for some weights and a run. 

8:00 am:
I’m still in the basement. Today was arm day so I picked some things up and put some things down. I am no professional. After that I jump on the treadmill for about 45 minutes. I’ve been re-watching Downton Abbey and I forgot how awesome that show is!! The fact that it entertains me when I run speaks volumes. Matt has switched the laundry for me too which is a massive help when it comes to the sheets. Dom spends this time either watching something on tv or playing with his iPad. He usually sits at the island though munching on his Second Breakfast while watching Ryan videos. Which I hate but pick your battles. When I’m done running I jump in the shower. That done and ready to go I folded the laundry and got out the kids outfits for the following day, as well as their clean pajamas for tonight. Then I got Dom dressed and did his hair all dapper-like for drop off. 

9:00 am:
It is frigid so we wait in the van until the absolute last possible moment before walking up to the door. We always walk in with his best friend Jaxson and I am lucky if I get a hug before he runs right on in. I rush home to meet my sister because today is my first day with my nephew Harrison! My CPA extraordinary sister is back to work while her eldest is at school. So it’s just Harrison and I for a few hours. He watches me sweep the kitchen floor and run BB8. Then he watches me make a few of the beds and vacuum the room he will be sleeping in. Give the kid a dryer ball and the man is happy. We play a bit before his nap time. 

10:00 am:
Harrison goes down for his nap right after I took this photo. I putter around the house... make another cup of coffee... listen to the sound of my own breathing... big things! 

11:00 am:
I just finished making the other two beds. My sister said to only let Harrison nap about an hour so before I have to wake him I quickly vacuum the other bedrooms and hallway. Then I get him up, change his diaper and head off to get Dom from preschool. Harrison was so cute and cuddly with me and I enjoyed showing him off to the other moms immensely.

12:00 pm:
Home from school and it’s lunch prep time. I get Harrison all buckled in his chair and then prepare his lunch my sister packed. Which he won’t eat but at least he’s happy in the chair watching Dom. I get Dom his lunch which involved a lot of peanut butter and I also gather the bigger kid’s lunches for tomorrow so I can just pop them into their lunchboxes when they get off the bus. Then I eat too!

1:00 pm:
I gave Harrison about half a bag of veggie straws and I’m pretty sure I singled handedly taught him to say thank you... Eventually though I cut him off and the boys and I go to the playroom. I read and play with my phone while watching them interact. These two boys together are like the chillest thing on the planet. Must be Harrison’s calming influence. He goes down for a second nap shortly after this...

2:00 pm:
I’ve been reading while Dom does a little bit of this and a little of that. Matt is working on a project in our bedroom and I just love how it is coming along (as seen below)! And this is where the day starts to get a bit unusual. I have to leave to go get my niece from her preschool because my poor sister threw out her back. Thankfully Matt is home to get the bigger kids when they get off the bus. At which point they will do their homework and then I’ll do my homework, signing reading logs and putting their lunches into the fridge for tomorrow. 

3:00 pm:
I have all kids home safe with me. All five of them. Harrison is still asleep though so he hardly counts. All is set for tomorrow and they are in their post-school coma state. Letty has a play date though so it’s not long before we are running out to pick her friend up. They make a ton of things with those little rubber bands... bracelets? Bouncy balls? My brother-in-law comes and gets his kids and now I’m down to just four. 

4:00 pm:
We have evening plans tonight so I hop on the elliptical while I can, checking in on the girls every so often but they are so deep into craft mode they are fine. The boys are playing in the basement with me, either with their Legos or their new xbox games. After that’s done I jump in the shower and wash my hair. Hallelujah! Clean hair!

5:00 pm:
Play date drop off time! They don't want to part but unfortunately we have to because of the aforementioned evening plans. They are already plotting their next date! As I’m walking out the door to drop her off a friend of ours’s (?) mother arrives with a project for Matt. Revolving door, these parts! Matt figures that out and then preps dinner while I set the table and wrangle the kids. 

6:00 pm:
Dinner is cleaned up fully and each kid has done their evening chores. Rooms are ready, iPad sound machines on, toothbrushes prepped, and clothes and shoes out for tomorrow. We will leave shortly now for Cub Scouts and David’s magic show!

7:00 pm:
We went to the magic show at Scout Hall! It was.... Interesting. There were only two boys doing it and they each had a few tricks.... but it was something to see! I'm proud of David for just proudly doing his tricks... and everyone in the audience was quite nice about them all... Sounds of amazement and lots of clapping. Even though we didn't' get the tricks.... Ha! Dom wanted nothing to do with the place and Letty wanted everything to do with it. I think it has to do with a few kids from her class being Scouts. Ahem.

8:00 pm:
Home from Scouts! I offered to take our friend's daughter home with us so she could play with Letty for a bit and that's just what happened. I bathed Dom and they played with dolls in Letty's room... Dom joined them after and it was quite calm and quiet so I went back downstairs and decided to page through a magazine I got earlier. Then Matt came home and so did the Scouts and there went my calm... It turned into a fun little evening complete with snacks! When they left the older two got showers and then right to bed, we said!

9:00 pm:
Little spoiler alert to our newest project... which is almost done other than some touch ups and some decorating. More on that tomorrow. We have been back to watching tv in bed and we did miss it so during the holiday season! We decided to rewatch The Office which has been quite enjoyable. It's not long though before we fall asleep because man, this day! 

Past day in the life posts here.


so what's new with you?

I know I'm about a week late to this one but I was busy wrapping up all the festiveness that was the end of December and now that that's done... here I am. Not to mention it's been since November since I have had one of these little chats with you all so, shame on me. 

our new year's day

Oh New Year's Day. We are all quite shot, to be honest. The night before does the very best sleeper in. And my kids? They haven't taken enforced naps since 2016. So they were tired. And cranky. And my poor poor sister and her family who had to host us all...

our olsen christmas

Are we over Christmas posts yet? I still have few more festive ones up my sleeve but for the most part we are nearing the end. Our final official "Christmas" event of the year was Olsen Christmas. Just Matt's brothers, coming over for dinner, and a few gifts exchanged amongst some of the cousins. We were joined by Matt's aunt and uncle of course, as well as Matt's cousin who we don't get to see that often. All the Olsens we can gather, if you please! 

Matt made chicken parm per the request of his out-of-town brother... We had ourselves a whole lot of new baby niece cuddles as this was the first time we had the opportunity to meet her in the flesh... We attempted the first ever official Olsen Cousin photo and that tanked, as you can see... David spent a lot of time hanging with his Uncle Glenn as he tends to do... and yeah... there you have it. Wrapping up the Christmas season in a bow and all that!

final farewell to hersheypark. for the year.

We had several dates chosen to return to Christmas Candylane at Hersheypark during the month of December but for one of many different reasons it just didn't happen. It was too cold. It was rainy. Etc. So on a Wednesday during Christmas break when there was nothing much else going on and it wasn't that cold my sister and her kids and my mom and my kids headed up there to see what rides could be ridden. And what a good trip it ended up being! There were hardly any lines and! The best part! My sister and I took the bigger kids on this indoor roller coaster called Laff Track! That ride never has a wait under 45 minutes and we were able to walk on. Twice! None of us had every ridden before! How very exciting. My kids also made me go on the big Pirate ship which, woof. 

and our christmas evening

After returning home from my parent's and me finding the spot for each and every new gift (which I do in quite a frenzy, it is my process!), we gear up for another celebration. Of course. Because seeing each other three times in two days is how we roll for Christmas.

This time Matt is the chef, as he always is in the Olsen house. I set the table, including my new little place cards, but he does all the heavy lifting. Horror of horrors, I barely took any photos. I think I was in a coma from all the food. And cookies! Matt made enough food for an army. In fact as I went around the island filling up my plate I realized I had no room for anything but carbs. So... two helpings were necessary. One for carbs, one for protein. We were all in a bit of a daze after eating and just relaxed before the men in the family headed out to a movie. I put the boys to bed and Letty and I stayed up late watching While You Were Sleeping. And you want to know something? I didn't even cry that the day was over.

I blame utter misery of being so overstuffed with food.

christmas morn part ii

As per the usual, we packed up our Secret Santa gifts and headed over to my parent's in our pajamas for a nice breakfast and more gifts! And of course a sibling and cousin photo in front of the tree! We must not break tradition!