Category Archives: Life in General

A Day of Firsts

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When I was in 7th grade, we went to NYC for the day. I’ll always remember that day for two reasons- first, it was the day I bought my very first CD (C&C Music Factory- don’t judge) and second, it was the first time I saw a play on Broadway.

And we didn’t see just any play, we saw The Secret Garden starring Mandy Patinkin. Mandy freaking Patinkin in one of my favorite stories of all time. Can you imagine a better introduction to live theater? I vividly remember sitting on the edge of my seat, mesmerized by what I was watching. The soundtrack for the play was the second CD I ever bought – I could still sing the vast majority of the songs to you today.

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When I was in high school, one of our science teachers also was in charge of the lightening at the local theater that hosted a variety of touring Broadway shows. If we volunteered to serve as ushers, he got us into all the shows for free. Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Guys and Dolls, Chicago- I was lucky enough to see them all.

Unfortunately, like a lot of things do when you have very small kids, going to the theater stopped for a long while.  I saw random shows here and there for our girls night- Menopause the Musical and Fifty Shades, A Parody. Fun, fun shows- but nothing that was mind-blowing except Wicked a few years ago. That was amazing!

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The Hubs and I have been talking for a while about taking the kids to see a show but I wanted to make sure they were old enough to sit through the whole thing and enjoy it. And, like most little things in life, I way over thought what the perfect show would be. I didn’t want to take them to a Broadway show because if they hated it, that was money down the drain. I didn’t want them to see something they weren’t somewhat familiar with so they could follow along. I hemmed and hawed and finally pulled the trigger on tickets to a local production of Peter Pan. I wasn’t sure what to expect- it was put on in conjunction with the local large University, but the tickets were relatively cheap and we didn’t have to drive too long to get there. Today was the day, so we put on our Sunday best and off we went.

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You guys, the kids were mesmerized. It was a fantastic musical with great sets, talented actors, fun musical numbers and a story they kids were familiar enough with that they had no issues keeping up. We were 3 rows from the stage and I worried we were going to be too close, but it was perfect. The actors were right there and the kids couldn’t tear themselves away from the show. I got teary-eyed watching them watch the show- all I could think about was how we nailed this!

Here’s to the next generation of theater fans- and to our next show in March!

 

Thankful Heart: Days 6 – 10

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Day 6: Old Homes
Friday we went to the Hub’s grandparent’s house for the very last time. The Hub’s grandmother has been a widow for a few years now and she’s moving from the home she and her husband built 60+ years ago in NY to FL to be closer to her son and his family. It’s a great move for a lot of reasons (and a huge relief to those of us who worry about her, especially in the winter), but man- saying goodbye to her and that home was hard. We’ll see Gram again in the Spring, but we won’t see that house again.

I’ve only been a part of the Hub’s family for 17+ years and I have so many memories in that house. Walking the land, family dinners, Scorch’s first Christmas Day dinner, wrapping paper fights, and on and on. I can still see the Hub’s grandfather at the head of the table presiding over the meals with his gigantic hands folded in prayer. As sad as I am, I’m so thankful for those memories all built in that small house on a country road.

Day 7: Small Town Living

The kids are at the age that most Saturdays are devoted to sports- practices, games, clinics. Regardless of the time of year, we’re doing something athletic. This past Saturday involved 2 hours of back to back games (one for Bean and one for Scorch) which are always enjoyable – but they are made even more so by the fact that, thanks to living in a small town, we know so many people there. The Hubs coaches and, frankly, watching athletic competitions between 7 and 9 year olds doesn’t require a lot of brain power so I was super thankful for friends to talk to, making the time pass by much more quickly.

Day 8: Dad

My father’s birthday was earlier this week and I’m thankful for him all the time because he’s awesome.
Dad_Heather_1982Dad- thanks for being loving and supportive and tough. Thank you for expecting the best from us and loving us when we didn’t always measure up. Thanks for learning sports just because we played them and introducing me to new music. Thanks for being the best Papa around and loving the kids madly. We are thankful for you each and every day even if you do sneeze louder than anyone else on earth!

Day 9: Homework I Understand

Last night Scorch had math homework that he needed help on. And I *could* help him. That doesn’t happen very often, so I’m thankful for a module of 4th grade math that doesn’t make me feel like a freaking idiot.

Day 10: Homework I Didn’t Understand

Never mind. Scorch brought home math today that I had no idea how to do. Then I figured out how to do it, but I had no idea how to explain to him. Very thankful my best friend is a Math teacher who is willing to text me the answer and links to sites to help us out.

Still Hibernating

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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.

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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.

Winter

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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!

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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.

A Month of Thankfulness

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Yes, as cheesy as it sounds I’m going to try to talk about all the things I’m thankful for in Nov. Prepare yourself now. In reading over my last month or so of posts, it’s been a lot of complaining and whining which isn’t at all who I want it to be. So it’s time to shake off this funk and concentrate on the good stuff. I’m keeping things simple today – here are 5 things I’m thankful for this very minute:

1) My warm house. It’s really starting to get cold and I’m so thankful for a warm house full of comfortable furniture, thick blankets and cats to snuggle up with.

2) A good book. I started reading a new series that I’m really digging and got another great recommendation yesterday. I pity anyone that doesn’t fall into reading like I do- what a boring life they must lead.

3) The kid’s school community. I had a PTA meeting tonight and while being a PTA officer can be really frustrating, it’s also a great chance to see every month how amazing and giving people can be with their time, energy and talents.

4) Friends that speak their truth. Whether it be a dear friend’s moving, heartbreak essay in Salon about the long term ramifications of his sexual abuse at the American Boychoir School or another friend’s mission to education all women on the lesser known facts about breast cancer during the month of October, I applaud all who speak their mind.

5) Skinny Cow’s Dreamy Dark Chocolate Clusters. These make any night better. God bless chocolate.

 

This Is Why I Love the Internet

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Earlier today, one of my friends on Facebook shared an article entitled The Default Parent. I made the mistake of reading it at work and I almost hurt myself trying to stifle my laughter because that? THAT is my life.  And honestly, I thought I was the only one.

I’ve always been the default parent. The Hubs is an amazing, wonderful father- but he didn’t have the boobs, so I was the go-to person when our newborns cried. Up until Scorch was 5 and the Bean was 3, the Hubs had a high-stress job with erratic hours and a ton of travel. On top of that, we owned a business 45 minutes away that took up a fat ton of the Hubs times so I was the one around the vast majority of the time. It wasn’t because the Hubs didn’t want to be there, that was just how life was.

My kids have literally walked right past the Hubs sitting in the kitchen and banged on the closed, locked bathroom door to ask me to get them a drink. Are you kidding me?!

As funny as the article is, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Is this nature? Is Mom always the default? Is it because I was around more when they were little? Is it because I have SUCKER written on my forehead?

Regardless, I don’t mind being the default parent 95% of the time. I like being my kids go-to person and I like knowing all the crazy silly details of their lives – it makes the control freak in me happy. As the kids get older, this default role seems to be evening out a bit – the kids know a lot of their own info and Hubs is around a ton more which is wonderful! It gives me hope that the next time I go away for a 5 day business trip, I won’t have to leave a 3 page detailed note about schedules, menu and carpooling.

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.

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

 

 

Here & Now

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There are a lot of things I love about my house (have you met my pantry?), but there are a lot of things I’m not particularly fond of.  Our porch is one of them.

This is after we powerwashed it into submission.

This is after we powerwashed it into submission.

It is the highest traffic area in my house and no matter what solid stain we put on it every year, it looks like that by summer. It’s annoying and time consuming and generally a giant pain in the butt.

When the kids were little, staining this (and the back porch- same issue, only three times as large!) was The Project of the spring as we could only do it when the kids were sleeping because they’d want to help. And anyone with half a brain knows that “help,” “paint,” and “3 year old” don’t belong in the same sentence.

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My kids finished school this week. Scorch ended a wildly successful 2nd grade year. The year wasn’t without growing pains as he’s had to learn to take on more personal responsibilities and make good decisions (the age old quandary of after-school recess vs homework club tripped him up a few times), but really, he rocked it. I couldn’t be more prouder.  And the Bean? She discovered her love of reading and writing this year as she went through Kindergarten.  She came out of her shell, made a ton of new friends and grew so much!

I seriously can’t believe I have 3rd and 1st graders.

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Tonight was the dreaded night to start staining the decks. We’re doing it later in the year then we normally do and it just can’t wait any more. The Hubs had to work late, so I got a jump start on it. I got a pizza and a movie for the kids and figured that would buy me a good 90 minutes of kid-free time to get this going.

Only the kids didn’t want to stay inside- they wanted to be outside with me.  Of course they did.

I told them they couldn’t help because I was doing the railing (a different coloring then the floor) and I couldn’t afford huge messes. Much to my surprise, they took that news just fine and came outside and played. For 2 hours. Peacefully. They played baseball and kickball and then spent 45 minutes trying to capture moths.

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There are times I miss having a babies and toddlers around so much that I ache. Then there are nights like tonight where I’m too damn busy being thankful for what we have right here to miss anything.

Bring It On, 2014!

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New Years

This image was floating around on Facebook yesterday and I love it. I love thinking of the start of a new year as a blank slate and, most importantly, I love that *I* get to choose what I do with this blank slate.  That has never felt as true as it does for me right now. Professionally, I’m starting over. I’ve got my hands into so many projects and places that I’m excited about that I can’t wait to see where my career goes next. Instead of going in the direction the Big Company wants me to go, I can decide which path works for me. While that’s scary, it’s also liberating as hell!

Personally, we are rocking! We had a fantastic school break with the kids- I’m sad to send the little buggers back to school tomorrow. They are old enough now that they’re just plain fun- everything is exciting and their imaginations are boundless, which means they did a great job keeping themselves busy this break. I say this every year, but right now 7 and 5 are my favorite ages. The Hubs and I are in a good, good place. Losing my job forced us to have a lot of conversations about stuff we hadn’t addressed in a while- money, goals, timelines and hopes. We were floating through life and that was going well, but this has forced us into the hard conversations. It’s nice to know that after almost 16 years together, we’re still after the same things in life!

2013, when I look at you in bits and pieces, you royally sucked. But when I look at the big picture, I realize that all your bad moments were buffeted by so much good. Thank you for keeping my family healthy and happy and safe. Thank you for blessing me with love and support and friendship and amazing experiences. But please don’t let the door hit you on the way out because I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

 

Holiday Blessings

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2013 kicked our butts. The first half wasn’t too bad, but the 2nd was rough. Illnesses, acts of God and unemployment all hit our family within an 8 week period. All these things sucked- and some of them will continue right into 2014. But despite all the bad, we were bound and determined that the good would shine through this holiday season. And it really has!

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The Christmas Pageant

The only time the Christmas songs aren’t on in our house is if we’re asleep. The kids are more enthralled with Buddy, our Elf on the Shelf, then any year before. Tales of Santa and Buddy and the reindeer are all that we talk about about and videos from Santa yesterday cemented how closely he keeps track of us- especially when the Bean found out she hasn’t been good enough for the Nice List yet.

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Best of all, when we talk about this past year, my kids don’t talk about the stressful stuff. They remember our trip to FL last Feb, learning how to play Uno, reading Harry Potter and going to the Outer Banks and learning how to play laser tag with their cousins. They remember how fun it was to go camping in the rain- not that the Hubs was sick the whole time with mono & the flu. When they think about our shed being destroyed, they don’t think about the headache of dealing with insurance, they think about how awesome the tree was that fell and how now there is a tree fort in its spot.  Yup, I did lose my job and the budget cuts we made stink- but if you ask my kids about it, they’ll talk to you more about how I pick them up from school every day on time then they do the fact that we don’t go out to eat anymore. If that’s not a life full of blessings, I don’t know what is.

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To all those who celebrate, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas! We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season full of family, friends and more laughs then you can count!