Category Archives: family

September

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September continued its trend of not being very kind when I got sick last week. A cold quickly turned into a sinus infection that just as quickly turned into pink eye.  I woke up a week ago with tired eyes, which wasn’t surprising since I worked until 1:30 am the night before. When I went into the bathroom around noon and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror I was slightly horrified at how red and puffy my eye was looking. I prayed that a few allergy eye drops would fix things but by the time I picked the kids up from school at 3, the Bean told me that looking at my eye made her feel like she wanted to throw up.

The rest of the night went downhill from there.

A trip to the walk-in clinic got me the meds I needed later that night and 4 days later I was finally feeling human. Just in time too because my baby cousin got married last weekend and we had a LOT of celebrating to do (which we did spectacularly, I may add).  Seriously guys- the wedding was amazing and I couldn’t be happier for these crazy kids.

Photo by K&T’s wedding planner – gorgeous!

My cousin and her husband have been together for 15 years – since they were in 8th grade. That’s mind boggling to me, especially since the kid I dated in 8th grade is, I believe, in jail. The Hubs helped to arrest him years ago (you can’t make this up, I swear). Anyhow, K&T are just as in love now as they’ve ever been and it was wonderful to be in their company as they finally made what we’ve known for years official.

Here’s hoping this past weekend ushered in some good mojo and September starts being the amazing beast we know she can be.

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Start of Summer

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So…hey, been a while. Life got nuts. Like more nuts then usual. We had the end of school- both kids passed and I got all teary on the last day of school. I’ll let you decide if they were tears of joy or terror for the summer ahead. I cannot believe I have a 4th grader and a 2nd grader now!  The day after school ended, Little League ended with a bang when Scorch’s team won the championship game. There wasn’t even time to celebrate because we left the next day for the Outer Banks in NC.

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Scorch, Bean and Lala

And that is when summer really started.

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It was the perfect vacation. The hardest decisions were deciding whether we went to the beach first or then then pool or vice versa, and what we wanted to drink each night around the pool (don’t judge- deciding between margaritas and Cape Codders isn’t for sissies).  The weather was gorgeous 85% of the time and when it did storm it was a night and the lightening was spectacular.  My biggest complaint about this vacation is that it is over.

The waves were so big, the kids couldn't go in far even if they wanted.

The waves were so big, the kids couldn’t go in far even if they wanted.

I read 6 books, spent time with my extended family and vegged on the beach for hours a day. That’s my definition of heaven.

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And now we’re back to reality. Camps, more baseball, work and all the craziness that comes with real life. But at least it’s summer time- that makes it all OK.

3rd year in a row we've found a heart shaped shell on the last day of vacation.

3rd year in a row we’ve found a heart shaped shell on the last day of vacation.

Happy Summer!

#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.

Happy Father’s Day

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Happy Father's Day

This weekend was all about family. My mother-in-law was kind enough to spend the weekend with the kids so the Hubs and I could go to my cousin’s amazing wedding. The wedding was spent with my immediate family, aunts, uncles and cousins. Today my parents came up to Scorch’s baseball game and over for dinner to cap off an amazing Father’s Day.

At the wedding, I danced like a fool (as I always do) with my father, my uncles, the Hubs, my brother-in-law and my cousin’s husbands. All fathers. All amazing men. None of them have cured cancer, invented anything that changed the world or ran for president. But they have changed a million diapers. Rocked babies to sleep. Played catch for hours. Given out countless hugs. Been chauffeurs, therapist and cooks. Made beds and cleaned house. Been a task master and the bad guy. Kissed boo-boos and wiped noses. They have shown up and cheered on their kids at games and recitals and plays. They’ve learned new sports and been the coach. Given piggy-back rides over and over. Been tackled and wrestled with.  Hosted tea parties for dolls and learned to braid hair. They’ve been Dad.

Happy, happy Father’s Day to the amazing men who I’ve known from birth and the amazing man I’m married to. Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone very special to be a Dad. Thanks for being that special!

 

My Wickedly Crazy Life

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Oh hi…I have a blog. One that I used to post to regularly, even. Then baseball happened.

Scorch got pulled up a division, so he’s going 3 days a week. Bean is playing t-ball so that’s 2 days a week. Most days we’re rolling home after school at 5 pm, then leaving again at 5:30. Things like homework and dinner have fallen completely to the wayside since we don’t get home until after 8 most days. Thank goodness Scorch gets up early to do his work and that both kids love breakfast and PB&J for dinner.

Don’t get me wrong, we really love baseball. The kids love playing it, the Hubs loves coaching it and I enjoy socializing in the stands. Win/win/win.  But, I’m tired.

Add in a kitchen remodel and well, you get even more craziness.  The upshot is that our kitchen remodel went so very much more smoothly then I had hoped. We bought our kitchen through Lowes and while they were wonderful during the design and buying process, they basically disappeared once the contract was signed. Thankfully our contractor went above and beyond to make this as painless as possible. I can’t say enough good things about the contractor and his crew.

Here was our kitchen before.

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It was small and cramped with next to no storage space. The cabinets were cheaply made and the white laminate was peeling off. The cabinets over the fridge were basically inaccessible because they sat so far back.  What you don’t see in this picture is all the stuff that normally sits on my counters because there is no other space for it. Bread, medicines, fruit and mail cluttered our counter tops because there was literally no space to store it all. I loved it because it was wide open- to the left is our dining room and I’m standing in the thresh hold to our living room. But something had to change.

So, here’s our new kitchen. We’re waiting on the counter tops to be edged, so that isn’t installed yet, nor is the backsplash. The cabinet handles are on order so those will go on soon. And the new flooring? Well- that was the one snafu we hit but that should be in within a month. But the rest of the kitchen, I *love*.  We have storage space for everything! I can see what’s in my cabinets and access it all. I’d marry my pantry if it was legal.  Once the counter tops go on, they’ll hide the outlets on the island so they aren’t as visible.

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It’s so much more functional and well worth the dust and disorganization we lived through last week! I cannot wait to see everything completed.

So, here’s to 2 more weeks of baseball! You know, before lacrosse and 4 different camps start for the kids. At this rate, I’m pretty sure life will slow down when I’m 50.

 

 

 

Snow Birds

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3 years ago we started to go to FL in the winter. Being in upstate NY, winter lasts from roughly Oct through April so this mid-winter break is an amazing thing not only for our tan lines, but for our state of mind. Last week was finally the week- so the day after another major storm struck we hit the road, pointed our car south and didn’t look back.

First, we went to visit a Mouse. We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort and it was amazing:

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The kids loved the pool and would have honestly spent all vacation going down the water slides there over and over and over…. We stayed in a Pirate themed roomed which just was the cherry on top of all the rest of the awesomeness.

We only had a couple of days at Disney, so we spent day 1 at Hollywood Studios where Scorch got to live out his lifetime dream of fighting Darth Vadar (last year he fought Darth Maul).

Don't worry, Scorch kicked his butt!

Don’t worry, Scorch kicked his butt!

We also got to ride the Star Wars ride 3 times at the Bean’s insistence, see the stunt show, go on the back lot tour, run around like ants in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground and finally (after trying for the past 3 years) go on the Toy Story ride (worth the wait!). It was hot so we only lasted from 8:30 – 4 and then we went back the pool for swimming, pizza and drinks- which is the perfect night if you ask me.

Day 2 was the Magic Kingdom. Last year we were there on President’s Day and this year between it being a Monday and the rainy weather it felt like we had the place to ourselves in comparison!

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A little rain wasn’t going to stop us, so we bought some over-priced ponchos, made good use of our Fast Passes and walked from one end of the park to the other. The best part about the rain and lack of crowds? Being able to take the kids on Big Thunder Mountain over and over! It’s safe to say we’re raising thrill seekers.

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$32 for four ponchos. We’re never throwing them away- ever.

Tuesday morning it was time to head to the West Coast to visit my parents. Which was fortuitous timing because the Bean woke up with a stomach bug. I’ll spare you the details about how fun the 2 hour drive was, but we all go there in one piece and the Bean finally could curl up on a couch and watch Frozen* over and over until she felt better- which was thankfully within about 6 hours.

We spent the last 3 days of vacation at the beach, the pool and my parents house and it was lovely! I love ending our vacation on the relaxed note.

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The Hubs and I even got a date night while my parents took the kids out. Want to guess who arrived home first that night? Hint: it wasn’t the two 60-somethings with the kids under 7 years old.

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The last night we went to the beach for sunset. It. Was. Spectacular.

684I don’t usually spend too much timing wishing my life was different, but I’ll admit that these trips down south in the winter make me really question why exactly we live up North. The Hubs has a little over a decade until he can retire and I told him on our drive home that my goal is to be a Snow Bird when we grow up.

*Best guess, the Bean watched Frozen 14 times between Tuesday and Saturday. Want me to recite it to you?

Here Comes Santa Claus…

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So we survived the crazy! Thanksgiving was lovely and fun and delicious- just the way Thanksgiving should be.  And the wedding- oh, the wedding. It was gorgeous and loving and joyous. As an extra bonus, the kids rocked it! I admit, I was nervous- so scared that they’d freeze at the start of the aisle once they saw all the people, but they didn’t. Scorch came down first all by himself looking so handsome in his suit, then the girls (Bean & Lala) followed, dropping petals as they went.  When they got to the end of aisle, the girls just stood there, refusing to sit down until they got rid of every petal in their baskets. Trust me, it was too cute for words! If you know of anyone getting married, we could be convinced to hire them out!

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Two days after the wedding, we officially slid into the Christmas season and got our tree. Mind you, it’s not decorated yet, but it’s up and our Elf on the Shelf, Buddy, is back. That counts for something, right? Our first night was a success- we moved the Elf like a boss. Second night? Ummm…we forgot. The kids got a harsh lesson in the fact that Buddy doesn’t move if they are bad- which they surely must have been if he didn’t move, right? Yup- we win at parenting.

I have started Christmas shopping thanks to the kid’s oh-so-helpful list. Scorch asked for (in no particular order) an iPad, and iPod, a Kindle Fire and and Nook HD.  And the Bean asked for handcuffs. Oddly enough, neither list is helpful or surprising!

This.

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Every year around Feb & March, I question why we moved back to NY.  Winter has been going on for 4 to 5 months already and during those short Feb days, it seems like it’s going to end. The snow is all slushy and brown, there isn’t even a hint of new buds on the trees and you feel like summer is eons away.  The weather in Maryland was so much more temperate in the winter- we would wear short sleeves the majority of the time in March and things were turning green everywhere! Why in the world did we ever move?

But then we have nights like tonight. Nights that we spend at my  parents house with extended and immediate family, watching my kids play with their cousin, talking about my brother’s upcoming wedding and laughing over what terrors we were as kids as my parents and aunts share stories from our past.  From 70 years old all way down to 2 years old, we enjoy a delicious meal, wonderful company and hysterical tales and I think “This. This is why we moved back home.”

And I’m so thankful that we did.

I’ve Had Better

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We just returned from our annual camping trip.  I really wish I could tell you it was as relaxing as years past, but frankly, this was the worst trip we’ve had in as long as I can remember.

First, there was the weather. Hello rain and cold temperatures- you’re not welcome this week.  We arrived on Saturday to the camp ground and within an hour, it started to rain. And it didn’t stop until 4 pm on Sunday.  While we do have a pop-up camper, you still have to get out in the rain to walk to the bathrooms, get food, talk to others, etc.  So we spent Sunday at a local (30 minutes away) mall seeing a movie and wandering around.  Thankfully that night was gorgeous, so we were able to go back, have dinner and a much needed campfire. Monday was lovely, but cold so we drove an hour to this cute touristy town full of great bars and adorable shops. You know- just the things a 5 and 7 year old want to spend their days doing.  Thankfully there was also a 2 hour boat ride to help pass the day along.

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Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday were picture perfect beach days so we did get to soak up some sun and relax.  But the weather was supposed to take another nasty turn Wednesday night, so we packed it in after a day at the beach and headed home 2 days early. That about broke my heart, but there is a very limited number of things to do when the weather is bad and we did ’em all.

The second strike against our trip was the Bean. Or more specifically the Bean and her mighty attitude.  Her sass turned to down right rudeness and for the first 2 days of our trip I really wondered if I gave birth to the spawn of Satan.  She was rude, she was demanding and she made me feel like the biggest parental failure on the earth.  Thankfully after Day 2 (and countless time outs, loss of privileges and discussions), she came back around to her normal self.

And lastly, my husband.  Last week before we left on vacation, he went to the doctors because he thought he had strep throat. That was negative, but he didn’t feel much better before we left. He was a *trooper* on vacation- taking turns getting up with the kids, taking them fishing, playing kickball/baseball/lacrosse- but he clearly didn’t feel good. We got home around 8:30 last night and he was back at the walk-in at 9:15.  Turns out the poor guy has Influenza-B.  In July. While we’re on vacation.  Only him!  Here’s hoping the meds kick in soon.

All that said, the trip was not a complete bust. The kids had a awesome time, despite the weather.  We had a great time with the kids making fun memories on the boat ride and on our first fishing expeditions.  We laughed until I cried around the camp fire at night telling stories and reconnecting with the family and old friends camping with us. The days at the beach that we did have were gorgeous- pure sun shine, clean water, gentle waves.  We ate like kings and I had a blast watching my kids get more self-confident and self-assured navigating their way through camp site life.  We started to teach Scorch how to ride his bike without his training wheels and I taught both kids how to play a mean hand of Uno.  The bad never outweighs the good- I mean, we were on vacation and that can’t suck no matter how hard it tries- but I can’t wait for our do-over next year!

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Beach Lovin’

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Last week, the Heat’s went to the beach. And it was wonderful.  And now we’re home. And that’s not wonderful.

The end.

Honestly, that’s all I really feel like writing as it sums up life today perfectly.  But that’s not the whole story.  We drove to the Outer Banks of North Carolina last week by way of Jamestown, VA so my history nut husband could impress us with his smarts.  Breaking the 12 hour drive up to 3 days felt so luxurious- we never once sat in traffic longer then 5 minutes and we had all the time in the world to explore.

The kids and I exploring a replica of one of the ships that sailed from England to Jamestown, VA.

The kids and I exploring a replica of one of the ships that sailed from England to Jamestown, VA.

Jamestown was really neat- they had a Native American village, a replica of the settlement set up by the English and replica’s of the 3 ships used by the English to sail to America (ships that I couldn’t imagine spending 1 day on, let alone 4.5 months). The kids enjoyed it and it was a perfect pitstop for a few hours during our travels.

But the main attraction for the week was our time in Nags Head, NC.  We rented a house with my mother-in-law, her husband, and my husband’s brothers and their families. In all, we had 14 people in one house- 8 adults and 6 kids ranging from 4 to 13 years old.  It was an awesome week. We don’t see my brother in laws often as they live all over the country, so it’s always a treat to hang out with them and my nephews. The kids get along like long-lost best friends and keep themselves entertained well, so there is plenty of time for the adults to catch up.

Wiffle ball on the beach- can't beat it!

Wiffle ball on the beach- can’t beat it!

We did some sightseeing- first, at the Wright Brothers National Monument.  The Hubs and I thought this was awesome, but it was wasted on the kiddos.  Maybe in a few years they’ll appreciate it.

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We also went to my favorite place in the whole OBX- Jockey Ridge State Park. 

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Jockey Ridge consists of the largest natural sand dunes on the East Coast. The sand is powder fine, the views are breath taking and everyone has a blast- as long as you don’t mind getting sand everywhere. See that huge hill behind the Hubs and Bean? People run down it, boogie board down it or roll down it.  There is also a hang gliding school located there where people throw themselves off the dunes. It’s amazing.

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But mainly, we hopped between the beach, the pool, the hot tub and the kitchen. We got too much sun, went to bed too late, slept too long, ate too much, jump a lot of waves, read a lot, reconnected and basically loved life.

Scorch and his cousin dodging waves.

Scorch and his cousin dodging waves.

And now we’re back to the land of alarm clocks and schedules and laundry and real life. And while our real life is pretty great, it’s no day at the beach.

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