Author Archives: Heather

About Heather

I am the lucky mom to two kids. Scorch is my baseball obsessed 9 year old son and Bean is my crazy, loving 7 year old little girl. I'm happily married to the Hubs. We live in the middle of nowhere with two cats and one certifiably crazy dog.

Self(ie) Love

Standard

This weekend, the Bean took my phone, snapped a quick selfie and asked if she could post it on my Facebook page.

My immediate, visceral reaction was No. No- we don’t draw attention to ourselves like that. No- we don’t just take selfies and share them. No, just no. I hate taking solo selfies- if I take a selfie, it’s with other people while we’re doing something that I want to document. It’s not just me, sitting on a couch, snapping pics. That makes me* feel like I’m begging for attention (…as opposed to blog writing?? I didn’t say my thought process was logical).  But the Bean was adamant and I don’t ever want to squash her if I don’t have to, so I told her to have at it.

Her caption? The beautifulest girl

You guys, I wanted to cry. And cheer. No matter what society is throwing at my kid, right now my 9 year old is feeling herself. She thinks – hell, she knows – she is the most beautiful kid. I don’t want my kids to get all caught up on external beauty- that’s not my priority and it shouldn’t be theirs. But I do want them to have a health self-esteem because, lord knows, the world will try to knock them down a peg or two as they grow.

Beautiful

While I really hope my kids don’t grow up taking duckfaced selfies all day long, I do want them to love themselves today and every day.

 

*No judgement if you’re a selfie fan!

Advertisements

Goodbye, Crazy.

Standard

14 years ago, we got a call from a friend about a dog. He had adopted a sweet puppy, but couldn’t keep her because she was just a little too high energy for him. I had met her a few times and there was no way that sweet yellow lab puppy was going back to the pound, so the Hubs and I (mainly me) decided to take her. I mean, look at that face…

Abby_Puppy

We brought that ill mannered smooshy face home the week after Christmas and discovered two things very quickly:

  1. She wasn’t very bright. At all.
  2. She was allergic to a lot of food.

We discovered the first thing when we realized that the name she came with sounded way too close to the word “No” for her to be able to tell the difference and the second by cleaning up some seriously disgusting messes. So we renamed our pup Abby, enrolled her in training and quickly found a diet that worked.

Abby2

All went along as swimmingly as life can with a yellow lab puppy until Abby was 2. That is when her thunder phobia set in. She made the dog in Marley and Me look like an amateur – this crazy dog tried to chew off door knobs, eat her way through dry wall, hide on your shoulders and once even managed to knock herself out by tipping over a shelf on her head in her frenzy to escape the thunder. We tried thunder capes, desensitizing her to the sound, and watching Rambo movies really loudly during storm. We lived and died by the weather forecast and lost so.much.sleep. staying up with this pup- most of the time with her panting and draped your neck.

Abby_shoulders

Things got so bad that the summer the Bean was born, I tried to rehome her. I was exhausted from having a 2 year old and new born and I was at my limit. Oddly enough, no one else wanted a crazy dog, so she stayed part of our clan. Finally our vet recommended that we take Abbers to the major veterinary hospital within driving distance and see a psychologist.

We were desperate so we did. That is how my 6 year old lab ended on daily Prozac and Xanax during storms. We were officially as crazy as our dog. But it worked and we all got some peace back.

Through it all, Abbers was the sweetest dog. She loved my kids wildly, thought the snow was the best thing ever and tolerated our kitties. She loved meat, but bread (her other love) gave her ear infections. Walks with the Bean were the best thing ever up until about  a week ago. She was pampered and loved each and every day.

HappyDog

She never learned how to do any fancy tricks and would beg shamelessly for your food. She had the most soulful eyes and the sweetest disposition. Her ears were silky soft and her tail never stopped wagging when she had your attention. Nothing made her happier than being touched- a pat on the head or an absent minded rub of your foot when watching TV.

Abbers started to get sick a little over a year ago when she was 14. We knew she had cancer of some sort, but we all agreed that putting a 14 year old dog through invasive tests was cruel, so we concentrated on keeping her comfortable. And we did a great job of that until about a week ago. Everyone had always told me that I’d know when Abbey’s time was up, and we did. She stopped wanting to eat or go outside. Walks didn’t make her happy and treats were often left uneaten.

So we gave Abbers a week- a week where she got unlimited chicken and other treats. A week where we loved on her and said a million silent goodbyes. We warned the kids and had talked all week about how little time Abby had, but last night we told them flat out what was happening today. There were tears and questions and hugs- but ultimately understanding that it is our job to make sure Abby doesn’t suffer and that sometimes that means making really hard decision.

Kiddos_Abby

The kids said their last goodbye’s this morning and we all cried on their way to school. Shortly there after, the Hubs and I took Abby to the vet where she passed away with cookies in her belly and people who loved her dearly around her.

Goodbye, my crazy girl – thank you for loving us with your whole heart.

Abby3

Taking My 6 Year Old to Therapy Was the Best Decision I Ever Made

Standard

Way back when I dreamed about becoming a mom, I dreamed about babies. Sweet, smushy, cuddly babies. Babies with chubby cheeks and heads I’d want to sniff for hours (it’s a thing, trust me). I didn’t picture having a kid with anxiety- I mean, who does?

This is Mental Illness Awareness Week. I hesitated to write that. I hesitated to link my child with words like mental illness. It makes my gut clench and it makes me second guess the writing of this.

But that’s why I am sharing this. Because I have to get over myself, my prejudices and my fears. Because I’ve talked to more parents this year than I ever have who have shared their stories of kids who are struggling and their feeling helpless, sheer exhaustion and frustration that comes with that.  Here is what I wrote a year ago on a community blog I contributed to about why therapy was the best decision we ever made for our kid.

When my son Scorch was 5, he saw a movie that he had seen before but, this time around, the villain in the movie- a hairless cat- terrified him. It sounds silly when I write it out, but it’s the truth. Scorch was petrified of that cat and his fear went from something that we joked about lightly to something that took over our lives very quickly.

It started with not wanting to go to bed by himself. The lights had to be on and we had to sit in his bedroom with him. My child who went to bed relatively quickly turned into one that took hours to fall asleep. Once he did fall asleep, nightmares became commonplace and all hopes of a good night sleep for Scorch, the Hubs and I went out the window.

We would sit in his bedroom as Scorch’s brain whirled on over drive – Mommy, what if the cat gets in the house? He won’t, go to sleep. But what if he does? Scorch, he can’t- all of our windows and doors are locked. What if he breaks in? Daddy is a police officer- no one is breaking into our house. But what if? The questions went on and on and on- it was like his brain was on a track that he simply could not get off.

A month or so after the worries about hairless cats popped up, Scorch watched my daughter Bean get sick in the middle of the cafeteria at school. She was fine (minus the 24-hour stomach bug), but it was like his fears jumped tracks and now he obsessed over getting sick. This fear became even more consuming and Scorch would have panic attacks before school because he was so worried he’d get sick there.

I remember going to dinner with my girlfriends one night and crying the minute that I sat down. I was so tired. The Hubs and I were fighting with each other and Scorch every night as we begged him to go to sleep. Please, child, just relax and sleep. Nothing we said to him made a dent though- we couldn’t rationally talk to him about why he wouldn’t get sick, or what we’d do if he did, and how getting sick was no big deal.

My mother had been gently hinting for months that Scorch’s anxiety level was a lot higher than most kids, but I kept brushing her off. He was 5- just about to turn 6 for goodness sake- what in the world would we do? He’ll get over it. Then another close family member on my husband’s side of the family shared that she had developed an ulcer at age 9 due to her anxiety. An ulcer at AGE 9.

That stopped me in my tracks and really made me evaluate how the Hubs and I had been reacting to Scorch’s fears. The child had had at least 3 legitimate panic attacks. He had missed school because he was so scared that he was going to get sick even though he was completely healthy. His sleep – 8 months later- was still horrible. And our approach wasn’t helping a darn thing.

Wave_OBX2015.jpg

At times, it felt like Scorch’s anxiety was going to pull us under.

Had my child had long-lasting fevers, unexpected bruises or crazy insulin readings, I would have been camped at the doctor’s office 24/7 as we tried to figure out what was wrong. I would have called specialists and driven all over God’s green earth to get him healthy. But because his issues were in his mind, we excused them and assumed they’d resolve on their own.

We were idiots.

When we finally called a therapist, they were very open about things. First, they’d meet with us, then they’d meet with Scorch (with or without us in the room- it was up to us) and they’d let us know if they thought he needed to see someone or if this was simply a case of a worried kid and overreacting parents. After these appointments, they were pretty sure Scorch was dealing with generalized anxiety and would benefit from talking to a professional. We agreed and Scorch saw his therapist for well over a year- first weekly, then bi-weekly and then monthly.

Scorch’s therapist did Play Therapy with him and gave him a safe space to talk out his worries. She also gave him tools to handle his anxiety- worry dolls, rhythmic patting, breathing exercises and the like. These tools made a world of difference. It’s been 4 years since we started therapy and we have had to go back to see his beloved therapist a few times when things seemed overwhelming, but for now, Scorch knows how to handle his worries. He knows how to talk things out and self-sooth. Sure, some of this may just be his increased maturity as he got older, but I credit 90% of his coping abilities to his therapist. We haven’t seen his therapist in over 2 years, but the number is still in my phone just in case.

I know that anxiety may rear its head again as Scorch gets older, as diagnosed anxiety disorders run in our family, but now I feel like that we – he, the Hubs and myself – have a clear vision of what’s going on. I’m as committed to making sure my kids are as healthy mentally as they are physically and I refuse to be embarrassed or worry about the stigma of my son being in therapy. Scorch is wonderful, intelligent, funny, athletic, kind and anxious- all these parts of him help to make him completely perfect.

Thankfully, Scorch’s anxiety is well in check right now. Certain things will still trigger his panic, but it doesn’t rule our life like it did when he was younger. But he’s growing and puberty is going to hit us all in the face soon and I don’t know what that will do to his brain chemistry. What I do know is that I (with Scorch’s permission) will keep sharing, keep talking, keep normalizing any struggles he may have.

6 and 4

Standard

After one of the craziest, most fun, busiest summers ever, we’re firmly back into the fall routine. The kids are happy with their teachers, school is going well and we have a nice rhythm going on. This is actually our quietest time of the year with minimal after school activities and I’m enjoying every.single.second of the peace – because you know it won’t last long.

So, the summer. We did a lot – we visited Lady Liberty…

NYC2017

Saw a professional ballgame (or 3 – baseball was big this summer)…

Yankees2017

Visited with hundreds of our friends at a local music fest…

PorchFest2017

Spent The Best Week Ever in the Outer Banks with family…

OBX2017

Visited a Fort…

FortMcHenry

And drove a dragon in a Harbor.

Baltimore2017

The kids went to different camps each week- school camps, nature camps, sports camps. The Bean learned to sail a boat and Scorch got to hang with friends. In short, the summer was really just about perfect and I was beyond sad to see it go. But you know was solves your dread of summer being over? Having your kids home for 2.5 weeks before school starts while you’re working full time. Trust me, that’ll teach you to embrace a schedule.

So- 6th grade and 4th grade.

BacktoSchool_20172018

This picture of their feet makes me laugh every time I see it because it captures them perfectly. Scorch will stand still and do what’s asked of him because it’s easier and he likes to please. Bean is literally trying to back away out of the picture as quickly as possible because she wants no part in following an order and cooperating. His feet are 2.5 sizes bigger than mine and she’s still obsessed with all things gold.

I love those freaking kids so much and I’m so very excited to see how they grow this school years. But honestly- I’m even more excited for next summer, because summers are the best.

9.

Standard

Dearest Bean-

As has been my habit lately, I’m writing this horribly late. I’m so sorry about that, but we’ve had such a full, fun summer that writing has taken a backseat to living. If it makes you feel any better (because I know you pay attention to these things), Scorch’s birthday post was just as late.

So you, my darling funny face turned 9 over the summer. 8 was a fun age, but 9? At 9, I expect you to soar. I like you at 9- the age suits you.  You have turned into this long legged, tanned spitfire- still so much a child, but I’m starting to see the hints of the amazing young woman you’re growing into and I’m in awe.

Bean_3monthsOld

8 was the year you continued to figure out who are you. When you were 7, you bloomed and at 8 you continued to shine. You have always had a huge sense of self, but 8 is when you started to sink into your own skin in the best way possible. We had countless conversations this year about friendships and what they mean and what they look like and how I expect you to treat others. Not because you were doing anything wrong, but because everyone around you is growing up and sometimes the world around you doesn’t always seem stable.

But we’ll always be that stable home base. Your touchstone where you can be you- which ever you you decide to be that day. Some days it’s the quiet, laid back you, content to curl up on the couch. Other days it is the touchy, miserable child who spends more time spitting fire than speaking. Some days – heck, some minutes- it’s both. And we’ll always love you no matter what.

Parenting you is my biggest joy and my biggest challenge. Scorch and I are on the same wave length, but you and I? Well, we’re different. You don’t let your true self shine around a lot of people- most often, you’re reserved and quiet. Standing out in front of a crowd of people you’re not close to is pretty much your worst nightmare. The fact that I call you one of your numerous nicknames, frequently hug you or play with your hair or – some days – even talk to you at all in public is infuriating to you. You hiss at me to call you by your real name and to stop touching you. You’re not a baby, darn it! <insert literal foot stomp here>.

So I have to temper my natural inclination to be loud, to overshare and to run my fingers through your hair. I want you to be more flexible and less worried about what others think, but I also want to be respectful of the person you are today and the amazing person I know you’ll grow to be.

Bean_OBX_2017

So, for your 9th birthday, I have some wishes for you:

> I wish you fearlessness. I hope the child we see at home starts to explore the world more and makes her presence know. “Quiet as a church mouse” isn’t a phrase I ever want to hear again.

> I wish you joy. Joy in your friendships, joy in your family and joy in what ever pursuits you decide to try. Nothing warms my heart more than hearing your belly laugh.

> I wish you strife. Not a lot of it, obviously, but I feel like you’re on the edge- where life is going to start to get more complicated and, sadly, you’re going to have to learn how to deal with it. So I wish you small fights and sorrows today so you are better prepared to deal with the bigger ones down the road. No one’s life is sunshine and roses all the time and knowing how to be resilient will serve you well.

> I wish you friendship. I’m still friends with many of the people I knew in 4th grade. I wish you those friendships that stretch and grow with you as you make your way in the this world.

> I wish you confidence. You, child, will move mountains one day. Hold on to that knowledge, keep it close to your heart and never stop listening to the voice in your head that tells you right from wrong. It will take you exactly where you’re supposed to be.

> I wish you love. May you always have it overflowing in your life- the love of friends, of lovers, of family. A love of something- books, a sport, a hobby, a passion.

Kiddos_OBX-2017

Raising you is one of the biggest privileges in my life and I’m thankful each and every day that you’re mine. I can’t wait to see what 9 brings for you, Smooch- I know you’re going to rock it!

All my love,

Mom

The Book Battle – May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor

Standard

The summer before 4th grade, my family moved to a new house. There were a lot of amazing things about this place- the trees perfect for climbing, the reflective window that was featured in an architectural magazine, the graveyard boarding our property – but the absolute best were our neighbors, Mrs. and Mr. A.

To my 9 year old brain, they were elderly – but I’m sure they weren’t that old when we moved in. They had grown children with families of their own and an inground pool. Now, if I were over a certain age and I had a family consisting of a 9 year old, a 7 year old and 2 year old moving in next to me, I wouldn’t exactly be thrilled. But Mr. and Mrs. A welcomed us with open arms, introduced us to their kids and their families (still family friends to this day!) and gave us free reign over their pool, letting us host a slew of birthday parties there. I can remember Mr. A only swimming in the pool exactly once- but he maintained it like it was his job, keeping it clean for anyone who wanted to be there.

Mrs. A dealt with health issues over the years and, as I grew older, she spent more time at home. She loved her family, Elvis Presley, colorful jewelry and books (and not necessarily in that order). She’d spend a lot of her summer days on her covered back deck, reading a book by the pool and chatting with with whomever was swimming.

I’ve always been a reader – that child who took a book everywhere. Mrs. A saw that love and nurtured it by slipping me paperback after paperback over the years. If she wasn’t home, I’d find books on her love seat on the porch with a note with my name taped to the cover. I gobbled up every book she sent me and relished being able to talk books with someone who loved them as much as I did.

Heather_Grandma

My, my mullet, my Grandmother and my book- most likely not socializing at a family party.

As I grew older, the books became a bit more….adult. I owe my love of all romance novels to Mrs. A and she’ll always have my undying love for introducing me to the Outlander series. I vividly remember our VC Andrews phase – when the books would come with a note inside that stated DO NOT SHOW YOUR PARENTS! underlined twice. I’d have to smuggle them into my room, stash them under my bed and read them late at night. Those books were crazy and my parents would have freaked out if they knew what I was reading- but that was part of the fun.

Flowersintheattic

Anyone else remember this creepy, awful book??

~*~*~*

Scorch goes to a nature camp that has different themes each week. His all time favorite week is Hunger Game week.

<Yes, I know. Let’s not think too hard about who in their right mind models a camp off of those books and what kind of crappy parent sends their kid there. *cough*>

We went to the library this week and Scorch was hell bent on reading the Hunger Games, claiming he was the only one in the whole camp who hasn’t. I hemmed and hawed and talked to the librarian about this. Just because my kid can read at a grade level 2+ years above his, doesn’t mean he should, you know?? The violence, the love triangle, the back stabbing and brutality just didn’t sit right with me – I wasn’t convinced that Scorch was mature enough to handle this series.

And then I remembered Mrs. A and how important she made me feel when she trusted me with books that were way above my maturity level. Reading those books didn’t seem to warp me too much….right?

After much research that night, I finally decided to allow Scorch to read Hunger Games. We agreed that I’d read it along side him and that he could only read the first book in the series, a compromise that made us both happy. So far, it’s been a joy sharing this book with my boy and I’m thrilled to see him dive into a book with such enthusiasm.

Here’s to you, Mrs. A for sneaking me horrible books that I had no business reading- ensuring I’d love reading forever – and for giving me the guts to share that love with my kiddos.

 

11.

Standard

Dearest Scorch,

Last month, you turned 11. Eleven. E-lev-en.

How, sweet child of mine, is that possible? Weren’t you just born? Tiny? Toddling? Learning to talk? Starting pre-school? Kindergarten? Playing t-ball? Sitting in a 5-pt harness? Sleeping in a toddler bed? Wearing adorable white onesies?

BabyScorch_2006

Physically, you’re not a big kid compared to many. But because you’re mine- my first child, my first baby– some days, you seem gigantic. Your toes have dark hairs on them. Your feet seem too big for your body. You want to style your hair and look good. You want to read books and see movies that boggle my mind because I’m convinced they are too mature for you…but they aren’t. My brain just hasn’t caught up to your age.

10 started out rough as you began to spread your wings and test your limits, but it ended on such a high note. Over 5th grade you’ve evolved into a kid who I love spending time with- good natured, funny, sweet and smart.

At the start of May, you and I traveled to NJ for a baseball tournament. We never get to do 1:1 things like that and it was the best. I got to watch you not only do your favorite thing- play baseball- but also see your whole world open up as you made new friends, played in the biggest sports complex you’ve ever seen and see how far baseball can take you. I came home glowing because you were so.damn.happy.

~*~*~

I started this post last month. You know- around your actual birthday, not almost 2 months late. But life- life just took off at warp speed and dragged all of us along with it. And that’s not a bad thing- it’s NEVER a bad thing when you’re so busy living your life, you forget to document it.

Since I started this post, 5th grade ended. On the very last day of school, your whole building has an awards ceremony and 3 kids from each class are recognized. One for academic achievement, one for Catholic identity and one for their character. This year, you won the award for Character. Your teacher gave a speech that makes me tear up every time I hear it because she captured all the reasons I’m so very, very proud to be your mom.

We talk a lot about baseball in relation to you. It’s hard not to when you are rarely not talking about or playing the sport. It dominates our lives 9 months out of the year and we’re all better people for it. But you, my sweet, smart, amazing child, are so much more than a sport and I want you to know it.

Catcher_2017

You are….

….a friend to everyone you meet. You have never met a stranger and you’re always quick with a smile, a nod and a friendly word.

…kind. Your heart is huge and you’d pretty much do anything for anyone. Kind is such a small word- it doesn’t sound like much. But it is the one thing I wish for you and your sister to always be. When in doubt, be kind. Always.

…smart. You love to read (sometimes), enjoy math (most of the time) and really dig science. I hope you always want to learn and discover and expand that amazing brain of yours.

…funny. You always love a good joke and funny story. There is nothing that makes me happier than watching you laugh so hard that it looks like your dimple is going to drill right down to your teeth.

…self confident. You can laugh at yourself- and your frequently do. But you seem pretty darn comfortable in your own skin and that’s amazing. I hope you cling to that innate sense that you are, and always will be, good enough for what ever life throws your way.

And now, you are 11. You’re starting 6th grade and full of so much life and laughter that, at times, it brims over. You’re also occasionally moody, more than a little dramatic and sometimes a giant pain in my butt. But you’re one of my favorite people on this earth and I thank God every single day that you are ours.

So here’s to an amazing year- may 11 be your most magical one yet.

All my love,

Mom

 

 

Dear Neglected Blog…

Standard

Dear Neglected Blog,

It’s not you, it’s me. Or more specifically, it’s the kids. They have taken over everything. I don’t know who allowed that to happen, but here we are. The end of March through now has been lost in a haze of baseball, lacrosse, concerts, birthdays and other things I can’t remember. It’s all been amazing and fun, but it’s been a time suck to the nth degree.  Hence, our temporary breakup.

Let’s see- what did you miss. Scorch turned 11 a month ago. We just held his birthday party this past weekend because it was the first day that didn’t involve multiple kids needing to be in multiple places in for-freaking-ever. Back in May, he and I traveled to NJ together for a baseball tournament and that 1:1 time was truly the best gift I received this year- we had a freaking blast.

NJBall

We got our first taste of travel baseball and tournament play and it was such a great, positive experience. I don’t want to face the fact that my baby boy is growing up, but he is- and it’s a joy to watch. I promise to post about his 11th birthday before he turns 12.

Beaner tackled some pretty big demons and played in not one but two concerts this spring. Getting this child to put herself out there like that was a huge hurdle and she rocked it. Literally.  She got dragged to more baseball games this spring then she ever had and only lost her mind once, bless her sweet heart. Thankfully s’mores fixed that up quickly for her. Now her lacrosse season started so the tables are turned.

Lax2017

The Hubs traveled two weeks in a row for work and my job recently changed. All good stuff- but one more thing keeping us busy. I saw Rusted Root in concert two weeks ago and then Neil Diamond the next week. I’m sorry blog, but live music comes before you any day of the week. #sorrynotsorry

School ends next week and I want to tell you I’ll be back more, blog- but that may be a lie. Regular baseball season turns into All-Stars and lacrosse gets into full swing. Camps start up in earnest and life will continue to fly by. And I wouldn’t have this wickedly crazy awesome life work any other way.

Be back soon….

 

To Infinity and Beyond

Standard

We just (a month ago…but it was “just” when I started writing this) returned from our annual trek to Florida and I’m trying not to question too deeply why we live in NY instead of a place where the sun comes out and the air doesn’t freeze my nostrils together. I know there are a million reasons we love living where we do, but when you leave 80 and sunshine and come home to 30 and sleeting, those reasons are hard to remember.

We knew going into this trip that it was going to be different than any other we’ve taken because we were going to fly. I know, I know- not a big deal for most, but we’ve always either driven or taken the train- but we got such a great deal on airfare that it was dumb not to jump on it. So we did and the kids were giddy about it. Truly, I think they were more excited about flying than they were what we were doing in FL.

4 days before we were scheduled to leave, Scorch came down with the stomach bug. Thankfully it was a 12 hours of sickness + 12 hours of recovery time- so nothing too bad and he was back to himself by Monday night. Tuesday, Winter Storm Stella hit our area so the kids were home from school Tuesday and Wednesday. We held our breath on Monday and Tuesday waiting to see if the Bean would get sick, but by Wednesday, we relaxed. It had been 72 full hours and if she hadn’t gotten sick yet, she wouldn’t. Surely, she wouldn’t.

(Do you see where this is going?)

Wednesday night at 10 pm, the poor child woke up and was violently ill. Between bouts of puking, she sobbed because she was sick on our last vacation to St. Louis and during Christmas and now she was going to miss going to FL. It was damn near the most pitiful thing I had ever seen and I was thisclose to crying with her as the Hubs and I freaked out over WTH to do. We were set to leave for the airport in 9 hours and there was was no way we could make this poor baby get on a plane. That wasn’t fair to her or the people on unlucky enough to be stuck on a flying tin can with us.

After some serious scrambling and a lot of late night phone calls, we were able to switch our flight to the same time on Friday, change our hotel reservation and rebook our rental car all with minimal fuss- thank goodness! Thursday we went to the pediatrician and got medication to prevent vomiting just in case and prayed everyone would be well enough to travel the next day.

Friday morning, the Bean wasn’t 100%, but she hadn’t been sick in 20 hours so we hit the road and drove the 3 hours to the airport. The whole first flight experience could not have gone better. We had zero lines, lots of time to kill and super excited kids who were thrillllled to be there. The flight itself was super smooth and we landed in FL almost 2 hours to the minute of taking off. We grabbed our luggage and rental car and took off for Disney, patting ourselves on the back over how well we handled the past 48 hours, ready to start enjoying vacation.

IMG_20170317_112648427_HDR

The Hubs starting puking 10 minutes after we arrived at our hotel.

*sigh* At least he made it to FL. We settled him in the room and I took the kids to the pool and to get dinner, basically putting the poor man in isolation. My wonderful mother-in-law was in FL to spend 4 days with us so when she arrived at the hotel, the 3 of us moved into her room to stay as far away from the germs as humanly possible.

The good news isolation worked. I never got sick and the Hubs was up and rolling by mid-day on Saturday so vacation could officially commence! And we had the best time…

From the hotel pool, where I treated myself to a few of these…

IMG_20170317_192341479

Watching the kids swim, praying the alcohol will kill all the germs.

To the parks…

IMG_20170318_090108155_HDR

 

IMG_20170319_140541370

These guys were electrifying…so very cool!

And then finally over the West Coast to the beach…

IMG_20170322_165638_093

Dear Gulf Coast, I love you.

IMG_20170323_193849_547

At the aptly named Sunset Beach on our last night in FL.

…it was perfect.

And now, back to reality. Since I started writing this post, Spring has really started to bloom in NY and I’m remembering why we live here. That’s not to say though, I couldn’t be persuaded to live in paradise full time…

Bless me, Father…

Standard

On the way home from school today, the kids and I did a quick review of what we were doing that night. The boys had baseball and the Bean and I were going to a Lenten Penance Service. For the non-Catholics out there, a Penance Service is an abbreviated Mass followed by numerous priests taking everyone’s confession. Scorch went to confession last week so he gave the Bean some tips on what to expect and what to do. Then, they started listing out possible sins for her to confess to.

They both agreed that she had to include that she calls her brother names, but a big debate started on whether or not she should share what names she calls her brother. The verdict? It was OK to share “moron” with the priest, but not OK to share “ball sack.” (Don’t judge us- it’s a whole new world when you raise an older son and younger daughter who talk about everything.)

~*~*~

IMG_20170405_183224678_HDR

Our gorgeous church

Confessions can be done one of two ways in our church. You can opt to have a privacy screen up between you and the priest or you can sit in a little room face to face. The Bean was adamant that the only way she’d give her confession is if the privacy screen was up. I explained to her that while I’d do everything I could to make that happen, she may have to speak to the priest face to face. She thought about this for a second and asked if I’d go in the room with her if that was the case. I agreed and told her I’d plug my ears so her conversation could be private between her, the priest and God.

Why? You’ve yelled at me for all these sins, so it’s not like they’ll be a surprise to you.”

Good point, kiddo- good point.

~*~*~

When it was my turn, I opted to sit face to face with our priest. We had a great conversation after he heard my confession and, as we were winding down, he reached his hand out to me, looking like he wanted to shake hands. At the last minute, he raised his hand slightly, so his palm was up, facing me. I was super confused so when he started talking, I admit, I didn’t pay any attention to what he was saying because I was trying to figure out what the heck I was supposed to do with my hands and what the heck he was doing with his. It was super awkward, so I didn’t really think- I just reacted.

I high-fived him.

After I did it, I started listening to what he was saying and realized he was giving me absolution and praying over me and I high-fived him in the  middle of that. He wasn’t raising his hand for a slap, he was raising his hand to give me a blessing.

So I looked at him and he looked at me and we both started cracking up because clearly I am the biggest idiot he’ll see all day long.