Thursday, December 31, 2009

Going Out With A Bang

The Christmas tree is still up (When is the proper time to take down the tree anyway?), you can't walk through my house without stepping on a toy and the laundry pile isn't getting any smaller. We spent our last days of 2009 ignoring our chores and packing in fun at No Limits (indoor activity center) and the Children's Museum. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


After a very brief visit, my dad left this morning to head back to Massachusetts. Tomorrow he will go to-what we hope will be-his final chemo treatment. His blood count is back to normal and aside from a few chemo side effects (itchy hands and feet and exhaustion) he's feeling pretty good. We're grateful he was able to make the trip and be with us for the holidays and we're thankful that his body is healing.

Holiday Festival of Lights

Last night we took the kids and my dad to the James Island County Park Holiday Festival of Lights. I packed a thermos of hot cocoa and some holiday cookies and we drove through the 3 mile light show listening to Christmas music, sipping cocoa, eating cookies and oohing and aahing over all the cool light displays. It's an impressive show and as long as we live in Charleston it will always be a holiday tradition for us.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

My father flew down from Massachusetts to be with us for Christmas. We spent Christmas Eve baking cookies for Santa, taking a ride to Sullivan's Island for lunch, napping, eating Chinese food and watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

Before heading to bed, Currier sprinkled reindeer food on the front lawn and left cookies out for Santa. He was ridiculously excited and so cute.

We had a lovely and relaxing Christmas morning- coffee, Christmas bread, present-opening-frenzies, smiles, hugs, kisses and laughs. We're happy, lucky and blessed. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Check Out My Big Deck

Before: After:
This is my Christmas present from Trent. He misunderstood me and thought I asked for a big deck. Oh well, this is still pretty nice. I trimmed the bushes around my deck to make it look bigger. I'm looking forward to lots of random deck parties. I will never grow tired of deck jokes. Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Mount Pleasant

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Love, The Balents

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Night Away From The Kiddos

Trent's company had their annual Christmas party at the fancy schmancy Charleston Place Hotel- dinner, drinks and a night in an executive suite! The food was exquisite, the open bar was phenomenal and a night away from the kids was ridiculously fun!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Daniel Island Flag Football

Currier started flag football over the weekend. It was 41 degrees (burr!) so Rya and I stayed home in the warmth while Trent took Currier to his first practice and game. Trent said it was a riot. Apparently there was a lot of crying and hurt feelings when flags were pulled. Jeez, these three-year-olds better man up!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Friday Favorites- Elf on the Shelf

This year we started the Elf on the Shelf tradition. It's a little elf that comes down from the North Pole to keep an eye on Currier and Rya. The elf reports back to Santa every evening and comes back to our house the next morning. Each morning the kids have to find the elf and then they have to be on their best behavior all day or else the elf will give a naughty report to Santa. It's bribery at its best!

Be good. The elf is watching you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Meeting Santa

We took the kids to see Santa last night. Rya hated it. Currier loved it. Currier asked Santa for a batman cave, a dragon castle, an easel and pickles and maraschino cherries. Rya refused to look at Santa (even with a lollipop bribe) and screamed her head off until I got her off the creepy guy's lap.

Happy Holidays!

Deck the Halls

The annual "get over there and pretend you're hanging an ornament on the Christmas tree" picture.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Best Buds

This is Currier's best friend from school, Connor. They get along famously and look forward to school so they can play together.

Friday Favorites- DD Christmas Ornament

Every year Dunkin Donuts comes out with a holiday ornament and this year is one of my favorites. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Working Off Thanksgiving

On Monday Rya and I walked across the Cooper River Bridge with my friend Allison. It was a perfect day to do such a thing and Rya slept through the whole thing while I did all the work. We hope to do it every Monday morning motivation and weather permitting.

Thanksgiving Week With Mimi and Papi

Mimi and Papi came and spent Thanksgiving week with us. We kicked off their visit with a little birthday celebration for Mimi. Currier planned the party hence the Spongebob Squarepants Cupcakes.

It was so nice to see Currier and Rya spending time and sharing laughs with their grandparents. Such sweet moments!

We had a quiet and relaxing Thanksgiving. We all played a role in the making of Thanksgiving. Trent cooked the turkey, Mimi made the stuffing and jello mold, I made the green bean casserole and bought baked the pies, Currier set the table and made the sweet potato casserole, Papi watched Rya and football and Rya looked cute and stuffed her face. So much to be thankful for.

Mimi and I woke up at 3AM on Black Friday and stood in line with the rest of the lunatics at Kohls. We also hit Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond all before 7AM! We found some good deals that got our adrenaline pumping. It was my first Black Friday shopping experience and will probably be the last. It was fun and now I can say been there done that but typically I like to leave the masses for the asses and I like my sleep.

On Saturday we decorated the house for Christmas and put up the tree. We never have the opportunity to spend Christmas with Mimi and Papi so we had our own little celebration with a few gifts. Now that the tree is up, click here to see how I feel about it... I could seriously drive Trent crazy!

In keeping with the holiday spirit, Mimi bought gingerbread men for Currier to decorate. He loved this yummy little project.

On Sunday we went into Charleston to walk through the market and eat lunch. We went to the Noisy Oyster for steamed oysters, fried green tomatoes, seafood platters and beer. After lunch we went to the Pavilion Rooftop Bar for a cocktail and enjoyed the view of Charleston.

Before heading back to Florida, Mimi shared a recipe for Kalachi (Croatian Christmas Bread) that has been in the Balent Family for generations. I'm not allowed to share the recipe with you but I am allowed to tell you that it is so good! Ha ha!
It was a wonderful week filled with happy memories, lots of laughs, great food (Thanks to Mimi!), long happy hours and a whole lot of love. Great visit!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Downward Dog

Currier's been taking yoga for several months now. When I signed him up back in August I told him he was going to be taking yoga lessons and his little eyes lit up, "Yogurt lessons!? Is it the kind with blueberries on the bottom?" I love this child. Namaste.


We went to the aquarium over the weekend and had such a nice, relaxing time. Now that Rya is walking around, it was so cool to see her exploring on her own and oohing and aahing right along with her big brother.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ice Cream Social Happy Hour

I scream... You scream... We all scream for ice cream! In celebration of Rya's 1st year of life, we hosted an ice cream social happy hour last night. The adults enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and cocktails while the kids made their own sundaes... a fun time for all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dear One-Year-Old Rya D.,

I attempted to start a little growth project similar to your brother's and it so didn't work out. I've been thinking about it for weeks now and couldn't decide what to do. I thought maybe a picture of you in a bathing suit every year? Or your grandmother's fur coat? Or a t-shirt? Your dad wanted a Dallas Cowboys t-shirt and I wanted a Patriots t-shirt. Luckily, I couldn't find a Dallas Cowboys t-shirt so we went with a Patriots t-shirt picture. You refused to cooperate and you just cried and cried. Your father loved every second of it and claimed it proved that you're a Cowboys fan. Whatever, I don't care.

After putting you to bed it hit me. I want you to have your grandmother's diamond and sapphire ring. It's incredibly special. It's an heirloom. It has a story. And it's yours when you turn 18. Until then, I'll always take a picture of you wearing it on your birthday. Sure beats a stupid t-shirt don't it!?

Happy birthday Rya Diane.

All my love,

Primo Taglio di Capelli

Although Rya has needed a haircut for months, we waited until after Rya's first birthday to get it cut because of the Italian superstition that cutting a child's hair before her first birthday will cut her life short. Okay, I'm not even remotely Italian (God Bless the Irish!) but living in Sicily for five years left its mark on me and I'm not superstitious but I am sortastitious so I wasn't taking any chances. Bina would be so proud that we followed her advice and Rya is thankful we didn't kill her with a haircut.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rya's First Birthday!

Happy 1st Birthday Sweet Baby Girl!

Birth Weight= 9lbs 4ozs / Today's Weight= 23lbs 13 ozs
Birth Height= 20 1/2 inches / Today's Height= 30 inches
100% Lovable

Sunday, November 15, 2009


This weekend we took my friend Stacey's kids for a night so she and her husband could go to a South Carolina Gamecock Game in Columbia. Currier had so much fun hosting a sleepover. They played cars and trains, caught a lizard, ate pizza, watched two movies, played lots of games, ate donuts, did crafts, helped pick up leaves (for a prize), climbed trees and had a few fights. We love the Aukamp boys and can't wait to host another sleepover.

Bruco and Paolo Sitting In A Tree

Occasionally I'll catch my dogs snuggling in my bed and Bruco always jumps up quickly as if to say, "Dude, I'm not gay!"

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Favorites—Buttercream Yankee Candle

Stop stressing out about what to get me for Christmas because everyone knows that you can't go wrong with Buttercream Yankee Candle. Who doesn't love the smell of frosting?! Happy Friday.

Dirty Rya D.

This is Rya's third outfit today and it's only noon!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Handmade Thank You Cards

Today we made these little cuties as thank you cards. Currier and I really enjoyed doing this project together. I'm thinking we might make some more and use them as place cards for Thanksgiving dinner. I know, I really need to get a job!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Damn Yankees

Amy, who I graduated high school with, was in Charleston for the weekend visiting her brother and wife who just moved here (and are now my new buddies!) so we all got together at my house with another Newburyporter turned Charlestonian, Stacey, and her family and had a wicked fun night full of spaghetti and meatballs, wine and beer, brownies and tiramisu and lots of laughs.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Giorno dei Morti

Today is "Giorno dei Morti" or "Day of the Dead". In keeping with several Italian traditions, today we celebrated the lives of loved ones who are no longer with us. This tradition is a way of keeping the memory of the dead alive.

Lately, I've become obsessed with Day of the Dead Mexican style stuff on Etsy. I've found some wicked cute stuff like this and this and this.

Buon Giorno dei Morti!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bruco's Birthday

Bruco turned 6 years old today. That's equivalent to 42 in human years but honestly I don't think he looks a day over 40. Happy birthday Bruco. We love you.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat

For Halloween, I wanted Currier and Rya to dress as surf and turf (a lobster and a cow) but Currier wouldn't have it. He insisted on being a Transformer thus ruining my coordination and you know how I must have coordination or my head will explode. So I worked with it and coordinated in pairs. I dressed as Gorton's Fisherman and Rya was my Catch of the Day. We looked pretty cute but very sweaty in 85 degree weather... I'm not complaining... we moved to the south for the weather... I'm just saying... 85 frickin degrees on Halloween night?

Currier got to be his requested Transformer and Trent earned Father of the Year for also dressing up as a Bumblebee Transformer. Rya and I only lasted about 10 houses for Trick or Treat before she started getting cranky so we went back to the house to get out of our hot costumes and hand out candy while Currier and Trent went Trick or Treating for two hours with the neighborhood kids.

It was a great Halloween and Currier is very excited about his loot!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My 29th Birthday (+7) Weekend in Chicago

On Thursday I flew up to Chicago to meet my cousin Cheryl at the super swanky Dana Hotel and Spa. A few beers after checking in, we rushed off to our three hour serenity spa package—aromatherapy body wrap, a Swedish massage and an anti-oxidant vitamin facial. It was absolutely glorious!—except for the reaction my cheeks had to the chemical peel. It literally burnt my face and so the rest of the weekend I looked like a friggin Raggedy Ann doll.
On Friday we woke to a rainy and foggy Chicago day, but we didn't let that ruin my 29th birthday (+7). We set out via cab for Millennium Park where we spent at least an hour looking at our reflections in The Bean and acting like complete idiots including but not limited to licking The Bean. After taking in the sights and possibly catching the swine flu, we had a wunderbar German lunch at the famous Berghoff and then a very early happy hour at the Hard Rock Cafe. Later back at the hotel, getting ready for our night on the town, buzzed, dancing and blaring Run DMC, we got a little visit from hotel security... It's Tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that's right on time It's Tricky... It's Tricky Tricky Tricky! Here we go...
And then there were three—After security busted our hotel room dance party, our cousin Michelle who now lives just outside of Chicago, met up with us at the hotel for a Girls' Night Out. We kicked off our cousin reunion with a few beers in our hotel room (sans Run DMC), followed by more drinks in the Vertigo Sky Lounge, by more drinks at the Hard Rock Cafe, followed by more drinks at The Second City comedy club where we saw Studs Terkel's Not Working. We had a wicked fun night full of beer and laughs and one of us may or may not have married a Romanian cab driver named Eugene Busco.
The following morning, we nursed our hangovers with a big breakfast and took our time checking out of the hotel. Another Newburyporter turned Illinoisan, Rosemary, came and picked us up and took us for a lovely ride along Lake Michigan to her home in Winnetka where I finally got to meet her husband Paul and adorable son Auggie. After a brief visit with a very pregnant Ro (she's a week overdue with baby #2 and still a total Rockstar), she brought us to Michelle's home in Schaumburg for our final night in Illinois. After a Chicago style pizza for lunch, Michelle and her husband Michael took us to their favorite watering hole The Easy Street Pub—a dive bar with a ton of character, cheap beer, a great jukebox, and a friendly bartender. It was a great weekend and the first time in over eight years that Michelle, Cheryl and I have been together and we would do our livers a great favor by waiting another eight years for our next reunion.
Ps. Does anyone know the cheapest and quickest way to annul an Illinois marriage?