Snow Birds


Earlier this month we took a break away from the cold and the snow to spend time in FL. It was *wonderful*.  We started taking these trips down south 4 years ago and now I can’t fathom how we survived winters without this quick trip to the sunshine and warmth.

Normally we drive down- a trip that usually takes 2.5 days (we can sometimes do it in 2 but that is really, really pushing it). This time we decided to shake thing up a bit by driving down to northern VA and hopping on the Auto Train- a train that allowed us to bring our car with us. The train left NoVa at 4 pm and arrived in Sanford, FL (outside Orlando) at 9 am the next day.

I had no idea what to expect, but it really worked out well! We upgraded to roomettes- so we had “cabins” that held two chairs in it facing each other. At night, those two chairs formed a bed and a bunk folded down from the ceiling so each cabin slept two people (pictures of the setup not taken by me can be seen here). A full service dinner and a continental breakfast was included in our fare. We all dosed up on Dramamine, explored the train, did homework, read and played lots of Uno. The hardest time was from 6-7:30 when we had dinner as the excitement of the train had worn off and the kids were bored and hungry. After dinner we all went to bed and by the time we got up the next day, we were almost there.

We spent the first half of our trip in the Tampa area with my parents. Our days consisted of the pool, the beach, fishing and watching the sunset. Our most exciting day was Sunday when the Hubs and my father took Scorch to a Yankees game (basically heaven on earth for Scorch) and my mom, Bean and I went shopping. Tough life, but someone has to live it.

Our picture-perfect day at the beach.

Our picture-perfect day at the beach.




From there, we went to Disney! This year we splurged and stayed at the Animal Kingdom Resort. You guys, this place was amazing. Like, take-your-breath-away amazing. This was the lobby:


And this was the view from our hotel room:


Right outside our door were giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, antelopes, ostriches and a variety of other birds. It was the coolest thing!

We only had 3 days, so we picked our favorites and tried to hit them all at Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom. We did the safari at Animal Kingdom:


Checked out the Flower and Garden Fest at Epcot:


And got awestruck at Cinderella’s castle:


And then we had to come home. I figured we must be doing pretty well as a family if we survived two 12-hour days in the car back to back and were still speaking to each other when we arrived. I tried not to grumble too much as I swapped out my flip flops for snow boots as we arrived home in the middle of a winter storm warning. Winter can’t last forever, right?!?

Still Hibernating


I’ve had this silly window open trying to come up with a new blog post for a good hour now. And you know what I’ve got?

Nothing coherent or really noteworthy. But if I don’t post, this will haunt me so here you go.

Things here are good. We survived our crazy February and cling the to delusion that Spring has to arrive sometime. The kids went 4 weeks in a row without having a full 5-day school week thanks to the snow/cold. We combated the cold by spending weekends playing some sport or another in the gym or by eating our weight in carbs. Sometimes both! The exercise outweighs the carbs, right? Right.


Scorch did ski club this year and was hell bent on snow boarding. We warned him that it was much harder and that none of his friends were doing it but he was not changing his mind. So we let him. And he stunk at it. Scorch is a very social creature with an easy athleticism so this was so hard for him. He was on his own (minus his instructors) and it was really, really difficult to learn. Every week he was a basketcase about going to ski club but every week he went and the very last week he finally passed his test and was released out of lessons!

I’m sure there is some lesson in there about perseverance but truthfully I’m just thrilled the season is over because it tipped his anxiety over the top. Every Wednesday was a battle of nerves for him so we both ended up taking deep breaths by the time he was dropped off at the resort (him due to nerves, mine due to frustration). I’m really proud of him for pushing through but Wednesdays were long, long days.

I realize that of all the things we could be dealing, anxiety is way down the list of things that suck but this winter has been hard on Scorch. His biggest fear is getting sick – which he never did this winter. Not once. Which would be great except he’s been waiting for illness to strike him down since December. Over half his class got struck down with the flu and strep in the same week and he was as healthy as a horse. Well, as healthy as a horse who was convinced illness was stalking him just waiting to pounce. At his request I’ve spent more time feelings his cheeks for a fever this winter then I did in his first 3 years combined. I walk the line between being very sympathetic and wanting to shake the kid and tell him that he has not spike a fever in the past 30 seconds since the last time I felt his cheeks (no exaggeration). Spring cannot get here soon enough.



The Bean, on the other hand, is completely unfazed about most things in life. As long as you’re doing what she wants, when she wants. And as long as you don’t laugh at her if she does / says something silly when she didn’t mean do. Or if you don’t laugh when she wants you to, at what she said even if it wasn’t funny. She’s a complicated creature is what I’m saying.

After a little bit of a rough start to 1st grade, the Bean is currently kicking butt and taking names. She taught me something in Math last week that I never realized and hasn’t let me forget it yet. Beaner is playing Little League this year and I cannot wait to see how this rolls out. In football, she was amazing AND managed to get two wedding proposals. Who know what’ll happen in baseball!


And that’s our boring, ordinary, quiet life. Which I’m totally OK with. Hopefully we’ll come out of hibernation soon and be back to our normal chaos.

Cold and Tired (At the Same Time)


The other night when I was putting Scorch to bed, he asked me if I was ever tired.

And I laughed and laughed and laughed and then fell asleep on his bed, fully clothed waiting for him to fall asleep.


This is our family calendar for the month of February. It’s missing at least 10 things on it. This is where I’ve been:


The good news is once Spring arrives, things slow down (relatively speaking). If spring arrives. God, I hope spring arrives soon because this snow and cold may kill me. The kids haven’t had school for the past three Mondays in a row due to snow days. Tomorrow there is a very good chance they won’t have school because of the cold. We have a whopping high of 3 tomorrow with wind chill factors of -35. NEGATIVE 35.

Good thing Mother Nature graces us with moments of pure beauty in the midst of this crazy cold. This is the hoarfrost seen on my drive to work yesterday.


If I don’t come back for the next week, bring a blowtorch and some hand warmers to come thaw us out!*

*Yes, this post was one long whine. I’ll do better next time.

Daily Snippits


Oh these children of mine, they just fill my heart. And 95% of the time it’s with love and happiness! We shall not talk about the other 5% of the time.

I lied –  because what am I if not an over-sharer?!

This past week was spirit week at the kid’s school. Monday was Sports Day, Tuesday was Mis-Match Day, Wednesday was School Spirit Day and yesterday was Character Day. I had been talking to the kids all week long about Character Day- where you get to dress in your favorite character. We have a few odd costumes laying around and I was more than willing to help them put something new together if they wanted. All week they told me they had it under control and it was all good. I knew darn well that was a lie, but was too busy to really concern myself with it.

Character Day arrived yesterday and, to no one’s surprise, the kids had nothing in mind and were freaking out. Always the one to look for the easy way out, I told them they were going to baseball players (what..they are characters!) because lord knows we have enough baseball paraphernalia to clothe a team in my house. All was more or less fine (read: each kid only cried once while getting dressed) until it was time for them to figure out what hat they were each going to wear. Mind you, we have at least 7 baseball hats in my house, but they each wanted to wear the same one. Because, of course they did.

Cue the meltdown of epic proportions from each kid (Scorch: it’s my hat. Bean: I called it first. Lather, rinse, repeat) until I finally said no one is going to wear a hat. Period. Which went over really, really well. I hustled my sobbing, pissed off kids out the door and 2 seconds later Bean ran back in while I was putting my shoes on to tell me Scorch agreed she could wear the hat, so we can bring them both. Clearly I was born yesterday because I believed her only to find out the little shit was lying when Scorch promptly lost his mind when she climbed into the car wearing the hotly debated hat.

We drove to school with the volume on the radio turned up to the max just so I didn’t have to hear them anymore. It’s pretty clear my parenting style is both mature and understanding.

Thankfully the hat decision was decided by a few heated thumb wars and peace was restored by the time I left school. As our beloved crossing guard likes to day, yesterday was a day that called for day drinking.


Earlier this week on Mis-Match Day, the kids decided to dress as each other. Bean had on jeans, a button down shirt and a tie. We pinned her hair up and called it a day. Scorch decided to wear a dress (over his shirt and jeans) and a beautiful pink barrette to school. The kids thought this was hysterical (as did I) and they wore their clothes proudly all day (barrette included!).

Flash forward to Wednesday night when Scorch got home from ski club. He was in the bathroom getting undressed and I realized he never took off his school clothes- he just put his long johns, sweatpants and ski pants over what he had on. He did the same thing for his top half. That meant he had on 4 layers on his bottom half and 7 layers on his top. While I appreciate the need to be warm, I asked why he hadn’t changed first?

Oh, I didn’t think of that.

I couldn’t help but laugh.


Last night as I was putting the kids to bed, I told the Bean I loved her. Her reply? Not as much as I love eating boogers!

The end.

The Picture of Compassion…or Not


So, here’s the deal. I’m not a very good care taker. At all.

The Hubs either has the flu or a very bad cold (getting tested tomorrow to determine which). Either way, he’s a coughing, ear-plugged, nose-blowing, body-aching mess. He can’t hear right now, so he has the TV blaring as he moans on the couch and refuses to go to bed. I have to work until 11, so I’m just doing my best not to smother him to put him (me) out of his (my) misery.

Man Cold

Then you add in sweet Scorch. The plague is going around the kid’s school- a fun mix of the flu, strep and the stomach bug. Last Friday, there were 9 people plus the teacher out sick from Scorch’s class alone. Oddly enough (knock on wood), my kids have thus far stayed healthy*. Completely hale and hearty, which is awesome. But that doesn’t stop Scorch from worrying. A lot. And when Scorch worries, he talks and paces and talks some more.

Do you think I’m sick?

What if I get sick?

Everyone else is sick, I could get sick too.

Do I have a fever? Can you check? Where is the thermometer?

My stomach hurts. Do you think I’m sick or do you think I’m just nervous.

Feel my cheeks- do I feel like I have a fever yet?

Over and over and over, people. I try really, really hard to be sympathetic. Usually I succeed for the first 5 minutes, then I start running out of answers because no matter what you tell Scorch, it doesn’t matter. He’s still going to be nervous. Today I told him he could stay home from school, which I thought would make him feel better. Nope, he wanted to go to school. But he didn’t want to get sick there. So what should he do? We debated this for 2 hours (from 5:30 – 7:30 am) until he decided to go to school 15 minutes before we had to leave.** I’d like to say I was compassionate, understanding and the picture of calm this whole morning, but at one point I may have screeched to him “what do you want me to say? I don’t live in your stomach!”

Parenting and marriage – glamor and sunshine 24/7.


*Now that I put this out in the universe, I full expect the plague to fully hit our house within the next 24 hours.

**The kiddo had a wonderful day- no sign of illness at all once he got past his nervousness. He even crushed it at baseball tonight.

The “Accident”


Yesterday morning I brought my A-game. The Hubs had to leave for work early which meant I was flying solo during the morning routine and I was determined to rock it. I woke the kids 15 minutes early so we could get a jump start on things. Both kids woke up happy, we had a great breakfast together and then…

Well, things fell apart.

First, I think my kids lost their hearing between breakfast and walking to their rooms to get dressed. There is literally no other explanation on why I had to repeat myself over and over until I finally resorted to yelling to get them to finally get dressed, brush their teeth and do their hair. You know, the things we do *every* *single* *day* before we leave the house.

I’m also pretty sure they lost their ability to keep their hands to themselves because there was a heck of a lot of taunting, teasing, snatching of each others clothes/toys/lovies. Which may have resulted in more yelling from all of us. Miracle of miracles, we finally made it out the door.

snowThe weather was a wintery mess yesterday morning, so I opted to drive the Hub’s car that day since it has 4 wheel drive. I got the kids in the car through the rear passenger door and walked over to the driver’s side door opened the door and saw snow. A lot of it.

Inside the car.

I was so shocked that I stood there blinking for a minute trying to process why there was a huge pile of snow on the drivers side seat, the middle console and all over the jackets, book bags, my purse and my laptop bag in the passenger seat. Then I hear the panicked voice telling me loudly and quickly that it was an accident, I swear!

According to Scorch, the Bean “accidentally” opened the moon roof. A two step process that includes pulling back the shade and pressing a button. All of which was done “accidentally.” Bean, the savvier of my two children, wasn’t saying a word. She just sat very quietly in her chair and buckled up while Scorch kept babbling.

And I just started to laugh. Because, really, what could I do? Yelling wasn’t going to get the snow out of the car and having to help me get it out of every nook and cranny in the car was punishment enough for the kids. As we (finally) drove away to school, I told the kids that we can clearly gotten all our bad mojo for the week out that morning and the rest of the week had to rock.

Happy Monday, Universe- you won yesterday. But today’s a new day!

Real Life


So here we are, 4 days back into reality. I admit, I was patting myself on the back a little bit earlier today at how well this transition has gone. Everyone has gotten up and off to school with minimal complaints and zero tears. We have an extraordinarily busy 6 weeks that kicked off this past Monday and thus far we’ve gotten everyone where they need to be on time and with 99% of the equipment needed. I even managed to get the kids to school early one day- we were killing it this week!

And then tonight happened.

I knew we’d have roughly 45 minutes at home before we had to take Scorch to basketball and I knew I wanted to have a hot, easy, well-liked dinner on the table within that 45 minute span. So I did some advance work and had a meal ready to go in the allotted time. It was a simple meal- chicken, corn, fresh fruit and macaroni and cheese- one that I knew from experience the kids loved (which is key in order to get them to eat their whole dinner within 15 minutes).

Except for tonight, the Bean was not having it. Like, at all. She literally cried for 25 minutes over this meal. She wanted a peanut butter sandwich and damn it, she was going to have it. Now, if I had cooked something new or something I knew she didn’t like, I might have been apt to give into her. But this? This was one of her Top 5 meals of all time, so nope – she was not getting a PB sandwich. So we dealt with 25 minutes of crying and yelling that she was NOT going to eat that food. She HATED that food. It was the WORST meal EVER.

Meanwhile, Scorch was laughing hysterically over her antics which just enraged the Bean all that much more. So between the screaming about the food and the screaming at her brother, the child was losing her voice. I kept trying to keep Scorch out of the line of fire, while reprimanding him that laughing at his sister was not a good idea-  all the while trying not to laugh myself because the Bean was being a nutball.

Yeah, that was fun.*

Then before bed, she wanted a kiss. But when I got close to give her one, she put both her arms out to stop me and said she didn’t want one. When I walked away, she called me back saying she did want a kiss. After 3 times going back and forth, I finally blew her a kiss, told her I loved her very much and walked out. She cried herself to sleep muttering what a horrible mom I was under her breath. The good news is it took her literally less then 1 minute to fall asleep.

TGIF tomorrow is all I can say!

*Yes. She ultimately ate her meal. And asked for seconds.

Favorite Books of 2014


This has been, without a doubt, the Year of the Book. I’ve read 90 books and listened to 8 audio books, as well as listened to numerous books with the kids. That’s all sorts of awesome! In case anyone is looking for some new reads, here’s what resonated with me this past year.

Read more.

Kids Audio Books
Scorch and Bean are 8 and 6 and these audio books have made all our time in the car so much more enjoyable! This year we listened to chapter books- the funnier the better in according to the kids. Here are their favorites:

> Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. This was, by far, the kids favorite book – I think we listened to it twice. Two huge thumbs up from all 3 of us. Too bad the next book in the series, SuperFudge, covers some topics that I’m just not ready to go into with the kids (Santa, specifically).
> Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Honestly, I couldn’t stand these books, but the kids loved ‘em.
> Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary. These books were wonderful. Sweet, funny and full of good hearted sass- we loved the Quimby family! That said, the books are read by Stockard Channing- she’s an acquired taste as a narrator.
> James at the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I may have enjoyed this one more than the kids. The book was read by Jeremy Irons- can you blame me?!

Adult Audio Books
Audio books kept me sane during my 1.5 hour round trip on the days I worked in the office. I listened to some OK books but when I got a good one, they were amazingly good.

> Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, read by Edward Herrman. I actually tried to read this a few years back when I bought it for the Hubs, but I couldn’t get into it. However, Edward Herrman’s telling of it made Louie Zamperini’s story come alive. A truly remarkable story that I recommend for anyone. (Side note: we saw the movie last night. While great, the book is so much better. Do yourself a favor and read it even if you did see the movie.)
> The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, read by Edward Herrman. After listening to Unbroken, I knew I’d be happy listening to Edward Herrman narrate the phone book- thankfully this book was a million times better then that. Another true story, this one set pre-WWII about grit, determination and the force of the human spirit.
> Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, read by Caroline Lee. I started out entirely unsure of this book for a variety of reasons, one of which being the narrator is Australian. But once I got sucked in, there was no turning it off. A biting, often funny look at parenting and the silly competitions between moms- but with a dark side dealing with a startling tale of domestic violence.

I’ll be the first to admit my book list is all over the map, so these books may not be to everyone’s liking. However, these are the books that stuck with me all year long and that I’d recommend to just about anyone regardless of genre:

> Written in my Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon. There are two authors whose books I’ll pre-order and pay full hardcover price for and Diana Gabaldon is one. Book 8 in her Outlander series, WIMOHB was well worth the 2+ year wait. Reading her books are like finding old friends again and catching up their exciting adventures. If you haven’t read them, do yourself a favor and pick up Outlander to see what the fuss is about.
> Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. The book itself wasn’t amazing- it was good, but it wasn’t a spectacular piece of writing. However, it introduced me to the Orphan Train Movement- the practice in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s that took over 250,000 homeless, abandoned or orphaned kids from east coast cities and shipped them to the midwest to be adopted out. Absolutely fascinating period of history!
> Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This book is about August, a 5th grader born with some very visible cranio-facial differences. Told from the point of view of August, his sister, his best friends among others, it’s a really eye-opening portrayal of  what it means to be different in today’s society. Cannot wait to read this with my kids!
> We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. This is the book that stuck with me the most. Yes, it’s YA and yes, it’s not for everyone. But its heartbreak combined with ultimate hope hasn’t left me since I finished it in June.
> The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. This was a simple sweet tale of A.J. Fikry and his life. The life he lead wasn’t the one he set out to lead, but it was a great one nonetheless.
> The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews & Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning. I discovered Urban Fantasy this past year and these are the two series I couldn’t get enough of!

So tell me, what did you read that stuck with you this year? Hit me with your favorites!



Happy New Year!


Dear 2014,

You rocked on a lot of levels- I’m so glad we got to be such good friends. 2013 stunk- we were hit with ill health, some house problems, job loss and financial uncertainty so when you arrived you were welcomed with open arms and high hopes. You did not disappoint. You brought:

> Kindergarten graduation & First Communion
> 2 new jobs that I adore
> A brand new kitchen and bathroom> Vacations- including one that let us see all my nieces and nephews in one week (that one was by far my favorite).
> Good health for my immediate family
> Health scares for my extended family that were, thankfully, relatively minor and resolved quickly
> Amazing books and stories that helped to expand our imaginations
> and so much more.

But now you’re out the door and 2015 is coming in. Here’s hoping it lives up to all the fun you brought along with continued good health and happiness for us and our families and friends. Here’s what I wish for all of you as well:

New Years Hope



Holiday Wishes


This evening, Scorch and I were out and, in out travels, we drove by one of the local restaurants. I’ve only been there a handful of times over the years, but I distinctively remember the first time I was there in December 2011 because I sat at the table and cried in front of my girlfriends.

Scorch’s anxiety was just making itself apparent at the time. He was terrified of hairless cats and the boy, in Kindergarten at the time, wouldn’t sleep. He was terrified of going to sleep and would wake up numerous times a night. Putting him to bed would literally take hours and often times end up with all of us yelling and crying. It was an awful time and, that night out, I was just done. I dreaded going home knowing that Scorch would still be awake, and that I couldn’t do a damn thing to fix it. So when I sat down with my friends, I just let the tears flow. Thank goodness we were the only ones in the place that night.

Tonight I told Scorch that story. I told him how proud I was of him for coming so far and we had a laugh over the vision of me sobbing and sniffing at a table out in public. Then I teased him a little about having a phobia over the oddest thing ever.

Yeah, mom- I’m pretty much over being scared of hairless cats. 

Except for spotted hairless cats. They are demons from hell. I’ll always be scared of them.
If you ever needed proof that 8 year olds rock, that’s it!

From my crazy family to yours, we wish all who celebrate a very Merry Christmas! I hope this holiday season is filled with joy, love and lots and lots of laughter!