Sunday, March 18, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day and Weekend!

WOW. First off, I cannot believe that it has been almost three months since my last blog post. Time just flies by - between the kids, work, and every day things - I can't seem to find the time at night to blog like I used to. The boys have been falling asleep later and later, which means my evening hours are dwindling very quickly. ;)

I wanted to blog about some recent happenings in our life, as well as recap our fun St Patrick's Day and weekend. When uploading a few pics from this St Patrick's weekend, I found some pics and blog posts from some in recent years. Here is my post from last year, 2017 - apparently the boys were sick - check out my title! HA. And here is the post from 2014 when we were staying at my Aunt Joyce and Uncle Den's house in Alexandria, VA, when I was pregnant with Conor and Caden.  I even have a post from 2013 - wayyyy back before kiddos weren't even on the radar. I was living in LA and flew to Boston to hang with my sister when she lived in Southie. We went to the parade and it was a blast.

The last few Mondays, I have taken the boys up to Skyzone in Danvers for some trampoline fun. We have had some serious cabin fever, so Skyzone is the place to go. During the week day mornings (10-11:30AM) they have "Toddler Time" for a discounted rate. It is $16/family when you have children under the age of 4 (with 4 kids being the max). Essentially, it is perfect for the Phelan phamily. I can bring all three kids, and it's $16 for an hour and a half of jumping and running around. A few weeks ago, we stopped at Dane Street Beach in Beverly to check out the waves. It was just after our first Nor'easter. The waves were gorgeous and it had that "post storm" vibe. The kids were feeling it too!

Here's a capture of Conor and Caden shoveling the driveway! Jimbo got them some smaller shovels and they actually do a pretty good job! :)

This was us as we went to school Friday morning. It was SUPER sunny with the sun bouncing off the snow - so they needed their sunglasses. Check out this website. It's where my sister and I got the boys their sunnies last summer.

Saturday morning we woke up, threw on our green and also threw the corned beef/potatoes/carrots/cabbage in the crockpots!  I used two crockpots this year, I put the corned beef, carrots, and cabbage in one - and then used a separate one for the potatoes since there were so many. They cooked slowly for about 4-5 hours on low. I also made a Guinness Chocolate Cake!

We visited our friends Shayla, Kyle, and Anna for a corned beef hash brunch. Of course it was like 10am and the Guinness and mimosas were flowin. All the kids played great together; and Conor Caden and Cal did NOT want to leave. They loved playing with all of Anna's toys!

Thanks for yet another delicious brunch guys. :)

Chocolate cake, crockpot #1, crockpot #2, and plate of finished corned beef and potatoes.

Later that afternoon, we visited Julie and her boys Brayden and Tyler. They had a lot of fun together.

Look at these Irish lads... Con/Cay 2016 and Cal 2018.

Cal Pal and his besties "woof woof" and "giraffe" lol

We decided to brave the freezing temps this afternoon and walk about a 1/4 around Horn Pond in Woburn. As I mentioned above, the cabin fever can really get to we needed some fresh air. We lasted a total of about 16 minutes and we abruptly turned around and bolted back to the car to warm up.

Guinness Chocolate Cake anyone?  I made a quick recipe yesterday with the intention of bringing it over a friends house. Turns out, it took a little longer to bake than I thought, so then it was too hot to add frosting. So I ended up leaving it at home, and frosted it this morning. I just had a slice with some coffee and it was delicious. It reminded me a bit of a fourless cake, with a slight Guinness flavor at the finish. Definitely different, and perfect for this weekend.

Ingredients For the Cake:
  1. 1 cup Guinness stout / oatmeal stout / chocolate stout.
  2. 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter.
  3. ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa.
  4. 2 cups superfine sugar.
  5. ¾ cup sour cream.
  6. 2 large eggs.
  7. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
  8. Butter for the pan


  1. For the cake: heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.
  2. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.
  3. For the topping: Using a food processor or by hand, mix confectioners' sugar to break up lumps. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.
  4. Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.  Slice and plate. :)

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Back to the grind.

Til next time...


Sunday, January 21, 2018

My Three Sons: Their Individual Strengths, Challenges, and Personalities

First of all - GO PATRIOTS!! What a game!

When I was avoiding having a heart attack towards the end of the game, I was drafting up a post on each of my children - focusing on their independent strengths, personalities, and some challenges that they endure. The reason for doing so is that Conor and Caden just received their progress reports from school and I loved reading about them independently - their strengths, challenges, and overall personality.

When they were very little, maybe about 6 months, I wrote an "individual post" which I loved writing, and I also loved re-reading today. As a mom of twins, I will admit that I lump them together mainly to remain fair. I want them to have the same experiences, the same exposure to things, the same amount of attention and so on. It's easier for me to justify not bringing Cal to something because he is younger (like our NY trip for example) but with Conor and Caden, they are the same age and it's hard for me to separate. However, when I was pregnant with them and also when they were babies, the biggest piece of advice me and Jim received was to treat them as individuals, separate them in school, never refer to them as "the twins" and to encourage each individual personality as best we could. So here goes - oldest to youngest...

Conor James:

My oldest, sweetest, caring boy. Conor loves with all he has. He is a thoughtful, genuine, kind-hearted boy. In one of the blurbs in the "Social" section of his progress report, the teacher wrote, "Conor often asks why another child in the room is crying - without hesitating he goes over and gives the child a hug." To me, as a parent, that is something that cannot be taught. You cannot teach a child to love and genuinely care about other people. You can try, and you can hope they pick it up. But at Conor's young age, he really genuinely does wholeheartedly.  The other day he said to me, "Mom, I love your green eyes." And often when I sneeze or cough, he asks "Mom, are you okay?" Like - come on. He is the sweetest.


Caden Francis:

Caden is the most inquisitive and charming three year old I've ever met. He has been so smart and curious ever since he was a baby. He originally connected with Jim from the beginning, mainly because they are so similar - but lately, he has been super clingy with me which is amazing. He has so much love to offer right now. Not to mention he has had a few nightmares and and has run into our room, so it gives us an opportunity to bond and for me to spend time with just Caden. He is super sweet. He will look at me and just say "I love you, Mom" and gives me a kiss. I must admit that it is my absolute favorite thing. In one of the blurbs in the progress report about Caden, the teachers wrote just how inquisitive and intelligent he is...he tries to make sense of everything and tries to figure out how everything works (he reminds me A LOT of Jimbo). The teachers wrote that Caden loves books and loves story-telling. He often tries to relate the story to his real-life experiences, especially stories about the beach or water, which to me, it means he loves Cape Cod and always talks about our "little house".

Cal Thomas:

My forever little baby Cal. I have always called him "Baby Cal", but now that he is a year and a half, I am shifting to "Cal Pal" which I think Chrissy came up with. I think it suits him so well! He is a crazy little man - constantly on the go. My Dad refers to him as "The Destroyer". Jim's grandmother calls him "The Boss" you get the idea. He is a strong little guy, but he has to be. He has two older brothers who totally try to control everything, the toys, the room, the house, you name it! So I feel relieved that Cal is a strong little boy and can stand up for himself. He also has had a ton of personality emerge lately. My mom noticed this too and mentioned how funny she thinks he is all of a sudden. He absolutely LOVES to dance and he has been trying to talk so much more. He will look at someone and have a serious conversation with them. He thinks he is actually talking. My parents think its so funny when he looks up at them and talks all this gibberish. It's really cute. He is growing up so quick and I love him so much. I am so proud of him.

And a recent family pic!

And THANK YOU to everyone for all the birthday wishes. I had a wonderful birthday this year and everyone made it very memorable. Thank you so much for all the kind texts/messages/calls/visits. :)

Til next time...

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Phelans Take Over BROOKLYN!

On Friday, Jim, Conor, Caden, and myself drove to see Chrissy and Lindsey in Brooklyn. Over the summer, Cal took the trip solo with Mama - so I thought it would be nice for Conor and Caden to have a turn. It was an incredible 60 degrees outside, so we brought their scooters and spent a good amount of time venturing around near the water.

Later that night, Chrissy and Linds offered to put the boys to bed while Jim and I had a fancy dinner out in town. They made reservations over a month ago at Lilia...and we had a great time. We had fancy drinks, amazing appetizers, and a relaxing dinner. They told us to stay out and enjoy the night - and we were home by 11pm haha. But hey, to us that is a big night out!

On our way to NY earlier that morning, we did a little research to figure out where we could stop so the boys could stretch their legs. I conveniently found a Sky Zone about two hours south in CT during their "toddler time" special - so we spent about 1.5 hours jumping around and then had lunch. It was the perfect spot to stop and then the boys napped for the remainder of the drive. 

We arrived in style and had the best time!

The next day, on Saturday, Linds and Chrissy planned for us to go on a few little ferries to sight see around NYC. The boys are obsessed with boats and ferries lately, so they had the best time ever.

Here we are on the little ferry that leaves right at the bottom of their building. Here we are in the East River, heading over to the Staten Island Ferry. We wanted to see the Statue of Liberty!

When we made it to our stop, we scooted over to the bigger boat to see the Statue of Liberty.


Me and Cay taking in the view was a bit windy.

Cal stayed with my parents and sent constant updates, which I loved - while Chrissy, Linds, Caden, Conor, Jimbo, and myself enjoyed the weekend together.

Here are a few of the pics/updates my parents sent me. Cal absolutely loves it at my parents house. He doesn't have his brothers there bossing him around and stealing his toys. My Dad watched him by himself from 9-2 on Saturday while my mom worked. He did AWESOME (and by "he" I mean my Dad).

Taking in one last view with Mommy and Chrissy before heading back to Boston.

 When we got home, Caden and Conor were beyond exhausted. They slept like this til about 4pm.


Now back to the weekly routine...

All for now!

P.S. A few from when Cal visited NYC last year!