Picture Pages

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Scorch was kind enough to bring home a cold last week. Then he was even kinder by sharing his cold.  I think I’m dying thanks to this damn cold. Because of that, you’re not getting words, you’re getting some of my favorite pictures from the past month or so straight from my camera.

Here’s the kiddos jumping waves when we were at the beach back in August. Good times (*sniff*I miss it*sniff*). Full disclosure, I may have suggested (strongly) that they hold hands for these pics.

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I have had the good fortune of finding shells with heart-shaped holes in them on our last day of beach vacation. Here’s the 2014 edition (2013 can be seen here):

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We took the kids fishing a few weeks ago. The light was spectacular:

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This weekend I realized it had been a good two weeks since I took out my camera, so while the kids played at their favorite playground, I played in the garden:

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Send soup. I’ll be back when I don’t need to have tissues stuffed up my nose. You’re welcome for that visual.

Meanest Mom in the World

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My son is in the shower right now, muttering darkly about me.

Meanest mom ever.

She said we could play…

She doesn’t understand…

We’re going to play all day tomorrow.

~~~~~

The good news is my kids love being back to school. They love their teachers and recess and lunch and seeing their friends. They don’t even mind learning new things! The wake up every day (more or less) bright-eyed and bushy tailed and ready to conquer the day.

Too bad they come home exhausted. And not the cute exhausted where they fall asleep at the dinner table and you sigh over how angelic they look. No – we’re talking about full on head-turning, teeth gnashing exhausted. Anything and everything sets them off. Wrong song on the radio, sibling tilting their head too close to the others carseat, being asked to hold the door for me because I’m laden down like a pack mule when we get home because the kids are too busy taunting each other to hear me tell them to get their own backpacks, their ability/inability to play with certain electronics when we get home and on and on and on.

Tonight I managed to become the worst mom in the world to both kids – that may be a new record.

We had pasta for dinner and despite asking for it, the Bean lost her ever loving mind when I put sauce instead of butter on her noodles.

I know I said sauce but I meant butter and why didn’t you understand meeeeee? (last part was said in the midst of a high-pitched sob that could only be heard by the dog).

And then there was Scorch. He wanted to play wiffle ball, so I happily agreed and told him that we had 10 minutes. So for 10 minutes he and I had a great time outside before it got dark – I pitched and shagged the balls as he pelted them all over the yard. We got inside and he had dessert – then he wanted to go outside and play actual wiffle ball.

Wait – I thought that was what we just did? Outside – for 10 minutes? (I was worrying he had early onset dementia)

*tears welling* That wasn’t wiffle ball, that was practice. Now we need to go out and play the real wiffle ball.

Nope- sorry Bud – it’s dark out. We aren’t going back up. We had a miscommunication, tomorrow we can go out and play.

But you SAID – you SAID we could play. You lied to me – you SAID we could play. Tomorrow we’re going to play for 2 hours. 9 innings. You can’t say no.

<Insert long discussion over why we don’t tell parents they are lying and how kids don’t make the rules>

And now, 10 minutes later, he’s still cursing my name.

 

Just Say No

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So…Scorch. We’re finding out very quickly that being in the 3rd grade is evidently the key to opening up all things sports in our town. Including tackle football.

We are a football family. My brother played as a kid as did the Hubs. In fact, when I met the Hubs he was coaching a local high school team which meant we went to an average of 3 high school football games a week. Friday Night Lights is one of my all time favorite shows (clear eyes, full hearts can’t lose!). And, most importantly, Scorch has been playing flag football for the past 4 years and he *loves* it.  So basically, I know I’m destined to be a football mom and, fears about concussions aside, I’m totally fine with that.

But not at age 8.

Not when the weight limit to be eligible to play is 50 lbs and Scorch weighs 54 lbs. Especially not when you consider the upper weight limit is almost 3 times Scorch’s weight.

And not when playing tackle football requires 2 hours of practice 5 days a week with games on Saturday.

So as geeked up as Scorch was about playing, we had to stay no. We’re not willing to subject his little body to football yet and, selfishly, I’m not willing to commit my family to a sport with that intensity yet. We explained all this to him and it sucked. The poor kid is devastated and I feel like the world’s biggest jerk but we’re not backing down from this one.

This is the first time we’ve had to say no to something like this. Sure, Scorch has dealt with no’s plenty of times before but not about something so important to him. I feel like we crossed some huge parenting milestone and I’m not at all thrilled with it. Parenting – who knew it would be this hard?!

 

 

The First Day

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Dear kiddos-

Happy first day of school! For the first time ever, you started school on the same day. That means the Bean is Big now, which means I may have gotten teary-eyed leaving you both at school. Never mind that you both have been going to this school since you were 3 and that the Bean literally only moved up a floor, it was a Big Moment.

In typical fashion, when we got to school Scorch, you were off like a shot playing with your friends and ready to pick up where you left off in June. Bean, you were little more shy and reserved. You stuck to my hip until you had to step away and once you did, you were fine. By the time I left, you were both smiling and back in your groove.

New shoes!

I swear, my kid’s legs are clean- they are just bruised like crazy. Why? Who knows.

So, 3rd grade and 1st grade. How is that possible? I’m so excited for you both this year- it’s going to be great. Don’t ask me how I know that- I just do, I’m your mom. Like every year, I have some hopes for you. Want to know what they are? Of course you do…

> I hope that you have fun. At the end of the day, I hope you enjoy every aspect from math to reading to technology to recess. School should be *fun.* I know school can be a pressure cooker (especially for you, Scorch in 3rd grade) but don’t let that get to you. Stay enthusiastic and keep perspective.

> I wish you kindness. Kindness towards others but also kindness towards yourself. No one is perfect so cut yourself, your teachers and your friends some slack.

> I wish you courage. Be strong kiddos and know your worth. Stand up for yourself and those who can’t, or won’t, stand up for themselves.  Remember right from wrong and know that right will always win, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

> I hope that you learn discipline. (I’m looking at you, Scorch.) Keep track of your things, stay organized and take responsibility for yourself. We’ll help, of course- but it’s time to step up, little man.

> I wish you curiosity and love of learning. Seriously- not everything will be your cup of tea (see me + math) but never stop wondering why things work and how your teachers got that answer. Ask questions. Ask a million questions until you have answers that satisfy you. Want to know things, children – it’s an amazingly huge world and the possibilities are endless.

> I hope you have friends. Lots and lots of friends. The only way you’ll get these friends is by being a good friend. Cliche, but true. So be nice, be friendly, be polite and be open to everyone you meet.

Good luck, kiddos! This is going to be amazing!

Love,

Mom

 

 

See You, Summer!

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Summer 2014 will go down as a simply fantastic summer. And after last year’s hellacious summer, we were owed a good one. This year we didn’t have to deal with the Hubs having the flu and mono at the same time, trees falling on our property, the dog destroying our bathroom or a rained out vacation. Instead, we all stayed healthy, we had two amazing vacations and we haven’t lost a piece of property (knock on wood). We traveled, we spent time with family and friends and we generally enjoyed the heck out of this season.

However, that doesn’t mean that come Labor Day weekend we didn’t freak out and insist on jamming in as much more fun as humanly possible. So Saturday we went up to my father-in-law’s cottage for the day. The lake was bumpy mess but we thew the kids on the tube anyhow. The brain damage was minimal, I think.

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Yesterday was a day filled with the rest of our families- starting with breakfast with my extended family and dinner with the Hubs.

Then today it was time for our first ever kayaking trip – which was just as gorgeous as it looked. The Bean rode with me and Scorch had his own boat and rocked it.

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Then the kiddos and the Hubs fished while I read a book. I didn’t have to touch a worm or a fish, so it was just about perfect for me.

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Returning to a routine will be good for all of us because as this summer has been as chaotic as it has been fun. Doesn’t mean I won’t miss it terribly though.

 

 

#ALSSucks

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If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, it’s full of people taking the Ice Bucket Challenge. So is Instagram. And even CNN.

And it’s awesome.

I don’t care if you’re tired of it clogging up your feed.  I don’t care if you think it’s pointless. Frankly, I don’t care about your opinion about this challenge at all. Because it’s working.

According to ALSA.org:
“As of Tuesday, August 19, The ALS Association has received $22.9 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 19). These donations have come from existing donors and 453,210 new donors to The Association.”

That amount of money alone is staggering, but what interests me is the fact that 453,210 people who have never donated to ALSA.org before now have. Over 400,000 now know about ALS and have given money to help work for a cure. And that makes my heart happy.

You see, my extended family was hit hard by ALS when my brother-in-law’s father was diagnosed. His decline was quick and it was brutal and Steve, sadly, passed away 2 years after being diagnosed. ALS sucks. It robbed a family of their father and the world of a good, good man who deserved better.

My niece, supporting her grandfather.

My niece, supporting her grandfather.

If you don’t know about ALS, here are a few resources for you to check out:

> ALSA.org (you can donate here too. If you can, please do so!)
> A quick video by at 26 year old recently diagnosed with ALS. (Have tissues on hand.)
> Often Awesome webseries: this is a documentary series that follows Tim LaFollette’s battle with ALS. Each episode is 20-40 minutes long and takes you through Tim and his wife, Kaylan’s battle and life with this horrible disease. It’s moving and sad and heartbreaking and it is one of the best things I’ve seen online. Watch it to understand what ALS does to a person and their family.

My family hasn’t taped our challenge yet- we were nominated when we were on vacation and by the time I realized it, our 24 hours had passed. So we donated, as we do twice a year since 2010.  We’ll tape our video soon- the kids can’t wait!- but until then, educate yourself. Learn what you can. And please, please donate.

Lucky 13

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Today the Hubs and I are celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary. If the Gods are smiling on us, we won’t be spending it eating dinner at Friendly’s. But since we’re going out with the kids, we probably will. That Mac n’ Frank meal is a staple of the Bean’s diet.

This year for our anniversary I resurrected the “10 Things I Love About You” list. It was something the Hubs and I used to do for each other on Valentine’s Day instead of getting each other gifts. But then it fell the wayside. Life got busy and it just wasn’t a priority- it was easier to get a card and some flowers and call it good. But this year, I told Hubs it was all I wanted for our anniversary.

When we got married people always told us to make sure we took time for ourselves as a couple; to tend to our marriage. And we nodded and smiled and thought these people were crazy- of course we were going to take time as a couple. Of course we were always going to put each other first. We were madly in love and only had eyes for each other so that advice seemed a bit redundant.

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13 years later, it makes perfect sense. Kids happened. Life happened. Jobs, friends, volunteering, coaching. All these priorities started competing for our attention and it was easy to take each other for granted. The calendar filled up with a million things taking us both in opposite directions. The kisses goodnight became routine and not passionate and the conversation stopped being deep or funny and ambitious and just started being about what we were doing the next day.

Nothing drastic happened, but we both realized this year that we forgot to put the attention on us. Which is where it should be. Because without us, everything else falls apart. So it was time to pull back the “10 Things I Love About Your” list. These lists are hard – at first it’s hard to think about 10 distinct things. Then it’s hard to narrow it down. And then it’s hard to write it all down and explain it. The lists take time and effort and a lot of thought- which is the most I can ask of any gift.

I love this man like mad and saying “I do” was one of the best decisions of my life. So here’s to 13 more crazy years filled with love, laughter, tears and all the rest of the good things life has to offer!

 

And Just Like That…

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…Summer is almost over. How did that happen?

Well, I know how it happened. It was a very fun combo of baseball + vacations + work + never, ever sitting still. Ever. We have never had such a busy summer and the craziest thing is I know that this is just the start. We only had one kid with a 3x a week commitment- soon it’ll be both kids and bigger commitments.

We just got back from a wonderfully relaxing vacation to NJ. We started going to the Jersey shore 12 years ago or so- it was a place the Hub’s family went to yearly when he was a kid. I admit- I was a snob about it, all I knew about NJ was what I saw on TV, which was not favorable. But here’s a little secret I found out- NJ is gorgeous.

Even when it’s grey, it’s gorgeous.

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But let’s face it, it’s a heck of a lot more gorgeous when it’s sunny and 85, which it was for 5 days in a row:

SunnyDayScorch and the Hubs were on this trip with us but you don’t see them in these pics because they spent hours every day playing in the water. The waves were huge thanks to an offshore storm and Scorch, oddly enough, loved being pummeled by them. The harder they knocked him down, the more he laughed. He walked away from vacation with skinned knees, elbows and a raging case of swimmers ear (to be fair, he was nursing that before we left- we just thought it was an ear infection).

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We ate wonderful seafood, saw some spectacular sunsets, rode the ferris wheel a million times, rammed each other in bumper cars and spent at least 5 hours a day at the beach.  It was just about perfect.

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So here’s to 2 more weeks of summer!

Quiet

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Today Scorch did 6 hours of baseball camp and then was supposed to have 2 more hours of baseball practice this evening. Sounded doable in theory…that is, until I picked up Scorch at 4:30 and he lost his ever loving 8 year old mind over something so idiotic that I couldn’t help but notice that perhaps he was a just a wee bit over-tired.

So tonight we put the kabosh on all activities. I put a movie on for the kids, we had breakfast for dinner and they were both in bed, asleep by 8:05.

The poor Hubs had to work wickedly late thanks to some stupid criminal.

All of which means I have the house to myself. So I read a book and watched Teen Wolf (the TV show- don’t judge me). There is no point to this post except to tell you that 1) while this summer rocks, it’s exhausting and I love the rare quiet times and 2) seriously, watch Teen Wolf.

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Speak of TV shows, any Outlander fans going to watch the TV show on Starz that starts on the 9th? I’m really, really debating it but I’m so scared that it can’t possibly live up to my expectations that I’ll end up really ticked off.

36!

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A few weeks back, I turned 36. I celebrated in a number of awesome ways but the first (and the most exhilarating) way was jumping 10 feet off a diving board into 61 degree water.

Did I mention it was also beautiful?

Did I mention it was also beautiful?

The water was so cold it knocked the breath right out of you and I literally gasped for air as I made my way back to the ladder.

It was awesome.

Every year I try to come up with some goals around my birthday. Not so much resolutions- but things I want to be mindful of.  My dive off the board inspired me.  36 is the year where I want to do things that scare me. I want to push myself to do things that make me uncomfortable and take me out of my comfort zone. I want to take classes. I want to learn a new skill. I want to try new foods and make new memories. I want to find more diving boards and jump in feet first.

So, here’s to a year of finding new ways to take my breath away.

You know, like posting a picture of yourself in a bathingsuit on the internet for all the world to see.

You know, like posting a picture of yourself in a swimsuit on the internet for all the world to see.