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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Starbucks Spring Blend and My New Spring Celebrations (Hint: It's Chaos) @Starbucks @ModernMom

Happy spring!!!

As a child growing up in South Central Pennsylvania, spring was hot, windy, snowy, rainy, cold or practically any other weather you could imagine.  It was also when families- determined to free up closet space or living in denial- would pack away the winter gear and send the kids outside no matter how poor the weather conditions were.  It was spring and we were going to enjoy it!

I’ve always been a creature of comfort.  Tradition is my way of life.  Every Christmas we go to the same places and see the same people at the same time.  Birthdays are spent partying with friends and family.  Mornings are spent drinking coffee (preferably a smooth blend of Starbucks).  I always welcome new people, but new places throw me off and a totally new schedule causes an internal meltdown.  For less significant activities I’m okay with a little variety.  I wasn’t too upset to leave the Mother’s Day Street Fair early the year that it felt more like mid-January than May.  I won’t cry if we don’t go to the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade every year. 

But this spring has been a major test for me.  It’s truly been a season of change, stress, little sleep and crazy days.  I’ve been thrown out of my comfort zones and have been busier than ever.  I’ve been much more active in Girl Scouts, and even managed some (stressful) camping and overnight trips.  Rather than our yearly Easter dinners, egg-decorating and Easter egg hunts with family and annual birthday party for my daughter, Amara and I had a girls’ weekend with my mother-in-law, grandmother-in-law and sisters-in-law.

Leaving my little boys overnight was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  
Love these guys!

And the ones that wouldn't let me take photos too.

Before this year, I had never been away from them overnight.  They have left me- going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house or Nana’s but that’s different.  When they go away I can retrieve them in a flash.  When I was gone, I was hours away and too busy to call.  I was missing them and wishing they could enjoy my experiences.  Not that I didn’t have fun; I spent the night and following day at the Philadelphia Zoo.  I had a girls’ weekend in Manhattan.   
FAO Schwarz, NYC girls' weekend and 9th birthday celebration.

I camped in a lodge at a beautiful campsite in perfect weather.  I went to a PTO Expo in Philadelphia (yes, that IS fun!).    

What’s kept me awake during these long days and sleepless nights?  Coffee!  During these busy weeks, thanks to the awesome Starbucks and Modern Mom, I’ve been downing Starbucks Spring Blend coffee, stopping in the Starbucks in NYC (on Broadway!) for a drink and an awesome new mug and chugging it to get through another few hours after 4 hours of sleep. 
Starbucks on BROADWAY!!!  I think you can see a Broadway sign in the background.  Can you see my new #Starbucks mug?

Here's a close-up.  It's the New York skyline!  But there's more:

A taxi AND a Starbucks store on the mug!

And here we are outside of #Starbucks with Ellen's Stardust Diner in the background.  Awesome place!

I even brought a few VIAs with me when I went camping, since I knew they wouldn’t have a coffee maker. 

By the way, that Starbucks Spring Blend I mentioned?  It includes notes of milk chocolate and sweet orange.  I thought this might be strange, but it's probably my new favorite.  It combines beans from Latin America and East Africa.  I'm not an aficionado so I'll describe it as best as I can.  It's smooth and just strong enough.  A hint of the flavors can be smelled when it's dry and it smells amazing.  When it's brewed, it smells and tastes like good coffee. I had a picture of it but a virus got my computer and currently my photos from the last month or so are missing.   

So anyway, while this has been an incredibly difficult time for me, it’s also been full of amazing experiences.  I fell in love with the orangutans at the Philly Zoo.   

The hippos were pretty cute too.  And how can you not adore a massive, dumb rhino?  They are afraid of birds.  Tiny birds!  They have no idea how big they are and are scared of everything.  

While visiting New York we had the opportunity to stay in China Town, tour the skyline by boat, eat amazing food (Lebanese was awesome and the servers at Ellen’s Stardust Diner sing!!!).   

Can we join the crew at Ellen's Stardust Diner?

We were serenaded on our first ever subway ride, 
Lucky Amara getting a nice song for her birthday.

we walked to Times Square and listened to live jazz while eating brunch.  Central Park was mind-blowing!   
Look at that skyline!

No, really, just look at that!

I never expected the size and seeing the city behind the trees was amazing.  The amount of people (so many people!) but there was still so much space!  We took a carriage ride around and learned about some landmarks in and around the park.  We watched the ice skaters at Rockefeller Center and checked out all of the gorgeous Easter egg art on display.  I played chess with a guy in Washington Square Park- and I won!
He said he was rated near 2000.  I think he was just flattering me.

While I missed out on a lot of family moments this spring, I wouldn't have changed anything for these experiences.  I'm grateful for the memories we've created and I'm glad I had some energetic family members and Starbucks coffee to keep me awake!

How else could I keep up with these girls?

Do you have any spring traditions or memories? 


Starbucks and Modern Mom provided me with Starbucks Spring Blend ground coffee and a gift card to try some great mugs and other coffee.  All opinions are expressly my own.

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