Category Archives: My crazy life

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Dear Bean-

You have been blessing this earth with your sassy attitude, funny personality and charm for a decade now.

Girl, you’re old.

How in the world did that happen? Aren’t babies supposed to stay babies? I think there is a law about that somewhere that you broke with all this growing up you’re doing.

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We were in FL back in March, on the beach in St. Augustine – you were all long, skinny, tanned limbs and my heart stopped just looking at the gorgeousness that is you.  Not just your physical features, but your sparkling eyes and loud laugh  – that was the moment I got a glimpse into you who you’d grow up to be and it was astounding.

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You are still my mystery girl. Your brother and I are very similar- what you see is pretty much what you get. We like people, we like crowds and there are no such things as strangers- just friends we haven’t met.

You, on the other hand, are much more guarded. You keep your circle small, your friends close and list of things you love to do pretty damn small. Getting you to try new things is like pulling teeth and if you’re not sure you’ll be 100% successful or comfortable doing something- you’d really rather not.

Parenting you is sometimes one of the most challenging things I do  – and I’m so thankful for it.  You, my Bean, make my life a 1000x more interesting. You keep me on my toes, you show me a new way to look at things and you’re constantly wowing me with your intelligence and humor.  In short, I adore you.

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~*~*~*~

This past year was a great one for you. You rocked 4th grade- adoring your teacher, getting good grades and working hard. This year was the start of some serious girl drama as you discovered that have 2 BFFs is hard. But you ladies figured things out and learned a bit more about kindness, compromise and what being a friend is about.

You kept playing an instrument, even though you complained once a week about that. You played lacrosse again and killed it – even though you complained about that too. Your father and I have figured out that you’re going to complain about most things that take you out of the house- but once you’re there, you shine. You’re dedicated and work hard and more or less remember your manners.

The only things you never, ever complained about? Playing flag football and horseback riding. You’ve already stated that in 7th grade you’re playing real football because when you grow up you want to play in the NFL. Then become a marine biologist. You don’t care which you do first- you’re just going to do both of them. And I really don’t doubt you will if that is what you really want.

As for horseback riding- you started taking lessons about a year ago and fell in love. I don’t know if it’ll be a long time love affair- but you have never once tried to get out of riding and you’d pretty much rather be at the barn than anywhere else (except home- you always want to be at home). It’s a joy watching you find what makes you happy – and right now, being on a horse is one of your most happy places.

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~*~*~

You start 5th grade in a month – and it’s the first time in your life you’ll go to a different school then your brother. You two make each other crazy, but you’re also each other’s BFFs and I wonder how this will go for you. I have a feeling you’ll find a sense of independence you’ve never had before and I can’t wait to see how you stretch your wings.

As you start the first year of your second decade, I wish so very much. I wish you:

  • Friendship: keep your BFFs close, but don’t be afraid to make new friends too. Let people surprise you in the best way possible- because people are amazing.
  • Kindness: I hope the girl drama stays to a minimum and you all remember the importance of being kind to others- but to yourself as well.
  • Courage: try something new. Venture out and do something that scares you just a little. You are smart, funny and amazing- hold on to that knowledge and step off that ledge.
  • Determination: some things are going to be hard. You’re going to have to work really hard at some thing, or you’re going to be faced with a situation that will need strength. Stick to your guns, see it through and know that what ever it is, you’ll succeed.
  • Confidence: Know all the way down into your bones that you are worthy of love, kindness, friendship and compassion and settle for nothing less. Be true to who you are. That may mean that you won’t be loved by everyone- and that’s OK. Be confident in yourself enough to know that it’s about the quality of those around you and demand what’s due.
  • Curiosity: don’t be afraid to meander down different (physical and metaphorical) paths if something interests you. Sometimes you’ll find the most delightful surprises at the end.
  • Conviction: as you get older, knowing your own mind and sticking up for what’s right becomes more and more important. Ask question, figure out how you feel about things and stick up for yourself and others when you feel you’re not being respected.  I have all the faith in the world in  your ability to move mountains.

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You, my darling Bean, are one of the best gifts I have ever received. You are my heart – my wild child, my rule breaker and my stubborn mule. Watching you grow is my greatest privilege and I cannot wait to see what the next 10 years bring.

Love,

Mom

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Adding On – Advice Welcome!

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Back in 2002 when we moved back to NY, one of the things we were most excited about was being able to afford a house. Prices were (are) obscene outside of DC, but we knew we could afford something when we moved back back…we just weren’t sure what. We were approved for a stupidly high amount of money, but we knew we didn’t want to be “house poor” (where we had a great big house, but no left over money) so we dialed down the amount we wanted to spend, rented for a few months and then found our house.

To be honest, our house was not the house for me. We found the house, but it was more than we wanted to spend so we settled on the house we bought which has a layout I hate(d)- but it had 2 acres of gorgeous land and a perfect location. We figured it was just a starter home- we’d be here 7 years tops and then we’d move on to the house we really wanted.

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View from the front porch

Almost 16 years later, we’re still here. This still isn’t my favorite house- the layout is all wrong, the bedrooms are small and we only have 1 full bath. But it’s home. And it’s still cheap- allowing us do a lot of amazing things we wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. And frankly, those are things I’d rather do then have a bigger house.

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Just a part of our gorgeous yard

But…that one full bathroom thing (especially when that bathroom is roughly 8×9) and the lack of closet space is getting to be a bit much. We’ve looked at houses for years now and have never found one that made us decide to move (the $10-13K in annual taxes on more expensive homes with comparable land has something to do with that too), so after a lot of consideration, we decided the best option is to put an addition on our house.

*gulp*

We have a (rough) plan, a kick-ass contractor and an amazing architect and we’re slowly turning our ideas into a reality. We’re 90% sure we’re doing this and things are getting real. We’ll be adding a 25×35 foot 2 story addition that will include a master suite (my own bathroom AND a window seat to read at!), a spare bedroom, storage, a game room and a laundry room where the pipes don’t freeze in the winter. We’re waiting on the first draft back from the architect and I’m giddy! The best news? We can complete 90% of the addition without touching anything but the exterior of our existing home – so while we’ll be dealing with noise and people, we won’t be dealing with a mess inside my house until the very end.

#winning

Outside of re-doing our kitchen, we have never dealt with anything like this- so talk to me. What should we be considering? What did you wish you had done / known / thought about if you went through something like this? What should we be prepared for? Hit me with your thoughts- I’d appreciate them all!

 

Road Trippin’

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The calendar tells me it’s Spring. The kid’s sports calendar tells me it’s Spring. Mother Nature didn’t seem to get that memo though- it’s cold and grey and sleeting outside my window. It snowed on Easter Sunday. This seemed like a particularly bitter pill given that we had arrived home from Fl the day before.

We had a fantastic trip – hitting the West Coast…

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Disney…

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and the East Coast…

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There were feet in the sand, Mickey Ice Cream Bars consumed daily, trips to numerous pools and tanned faces. There was also one trip the ER (the Hubs, sinus infection), one puking kid (the Bean, low blood sugar) , two teeth lost (Scorch, they were loose) and minimal tears. We drove 1115 miles* on the way home and no one lost their minds until about 45 minutes from home, so I consider that a win. There was lots of family time with some of our favorites, a date night that turned into sharing a table with two drunk fishermen with lots of funny stories, and lots of movies watched over and over and over to make the drive down and back bearable.

All in all it was perfect and the Hubs is on his annual campaign to convince us all to move south. Maybe one day…

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Full confession- I wanted to fly to FL this year. So did the kids. But a combination of a last minute date change and the Hubs iron will meant we drove. And while it’s a pain in the butt (2 days in the car both ways), I’m so thankful for these times.  When we travel, we usually travel with people or to see people – but those days on the road are just the 4 of us at dinner and crammed into a hotel room. We only have 7 more of these end-of-winter get aways with both kids (!!!!!) so I’m feeling the need to savor them.

The kids are also amazing travelers. I’m sure it’s a combo of their personalities and the fact that they have no choice- but they really are. Road trips with them are a joy 90% of the time (the other 10% involves vomit and/or sibling death matches).  Because they are so very awesome, we’re driving cross country with them in 2019 for a few weeks…

…and I have no idea how to plan this trip. I mean, I know how to plan the route and where to stop, but I don’t know how to plan how we’re doing this. Taking our car and staying hotels or cabins? Renting an RV? If so, do we tow our car?? That part baffles me. So hit me up, peeps, with any thoughts you have on that topic!

 

20 Years In

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20 years ago today, the Hubs and I went on our first date. We had met a few weeks earlier, but through a series of random events (like having my wisdom teeth taken out), our first official date was delayed. I don’t remember what I wore on that date- but I know I had awful yellow/green bruises on my cheeks and that it hurt to smile. But that crazy man wanted to take me out anyhow.

Obviously I agreed to go out with him because he was good looking and was highly recommended by a friend – but after that first date, I realized that for the first time in my (young) life, I was dating someone solid. Someone with goals, a path to achieve them, passion and and a sense of humor. At 19, that was like cat nip and once we took off, we never really looked back.

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As I write this, the Hubs is sitting on the couch on the other side of the room from me. He’s sick – a sinus infection, we think. He didn’t sleep last night because he felt so crummy, so he napped today and his sleep schedule is all out of wack. I have to work until 1 am and, really, all I want is for him to take his snuffling, snorting, sniffling self to bed so I can have the TV to myself. Or maybe not to bed- maybe to the couch so I can sleep without his clogged nose making him snore next to me.

Sexy? Nope. Romantic? Not even a tiny bit. But that’s life. The romance and the sexiness is still there – sometimes. Fancy clothes, sweet gifts and a quick call during the day just to say “I love you.” Purposely putting on each other’s favorite song just to make them smile. Sharing news and stories and memes because you know it’ll make them laugh during a shitty day. And sometimes it’s not. Sometimes the romance is found by laying out NyQuil, warming up a car and buttering the other person’s toast before it gets too cold and the butter won’t melt.

The romance now is rooted in the partnership of all that comes with raising two smart, active kids. It’s working on the weeks logistics on a Sunday night, determining who is taking which kid where so you both can get to the gym, cook a meal and still have a date night the following Saturday. It’s purposely carving out time for yourselves because the kids no longer go to bed at 7:30 and those relaxing evenings that you used to have with just the two of you are long gone because you’re both going to bed by 10 even though the kids just fell asleep 45 minute ago.

20 years in with an 11 year old and 9 year old, romance is dreaming together about your kid’s future. Planning your retirement. Working on your long-awaited cross country road trip itinerary even though you both loathe pre-planning trips because you’d much rather wing it- but you know this trip is too big to leave to chance.

20 years is literally a lifetime worth of memories. Amazing, horrible, astounding memories that are yours together. It’s an in-twined history that makes it hard to remember life without the other person. It’s knowing even on the nights when you know you’re going to be tempted to smother your partner due to the damn snoring, there is no one else you’d rather have your back.

Here’s to 20 more years with my favorite person to laugh with, raise our kids with and dream big with.

Marriage

 

 

6 and 4

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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…

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

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

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

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Visited a Fort…

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And drove a dragon in a Harbor.

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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.

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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.

Dear Neglected Blog…

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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…

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

To the parks…

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These guys were electrifying…so very cool!

And then finally over the West Coast to the beach…

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Dear Gulf Coast, I love you.

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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…

Practically Perfect in Every Way

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A year ago at this time, we took the kids to see Peter Pan. It was the first professional play they had seen and it hit all the marks. It was mesmerizing and engaging, with sets that surpassed all expectations and acting that blew us all away! A few months later we took the kids to see the traveling broadway show of Annie annnnnndddd that didn’t wow my kids nearly as much which was a huge disappointment. I want my kids to love live theater. I want them to seek it out and make it a priority, so today we went back to the theater where we saw Peter Pan and saw Mary Poppins.

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I admit to knowing nothing about the play- I just knew we liked the movie very much so it was a no-brainer to get tickets. I did not know this was a full on musical (although, in hindsight, the tag line on the poster should have given that away), all sung in a British accent. About 5 minutes in, the Bean looks at me in disbelief- “Are they going to sing, everything?!”

Well, welcome to musical theater, my loves!

Thankfully the kids adjusted and very quickly got sucked into the show. Like Peter Pan, it helped that the story line was familiar, so the kiddos weren’t asking us what was going on every 2.3 minutes. This show was just as good at the one we saw last year and we all left completely in awe of the talent found around our community. And now, on to find our next show…

 

Oh, Christmas Tree

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Saturday was the day. We were going to get our tree, come hell or high water. I love Christmas Tree Day. While we don’t cut ours down (we know our limits), we go to a lovely tree lot, and carefully look around until we find the The One.  The One must be a concolor fir- not a very common type of tree- so it can be a pain, but it’s always worth it. We were going to get adorable selfies and a great tree and a great time will be had by all, damn it.

So, Saturday morning the kids and I set off to meet the Hubs at the tree lot. I had an inkling my plans for a perfect day were doomed when the Bean refused to wear her boots. When forced into doing so, she borrowed my phone while I was driving and texted the Hubs to come get her because she needed to be rescued from me. Nothing says family love like a stalemate over footwear and SOS text messages. When we got to the lot, the Bean refused to get out of the car because of said boots. Upon hearing that, Scorch then informed me that if she wasn’t getting out, he wasn’t getting out either- the adults could pick out the tree on their own.

Hell.No.

This is FAMILY FUN, DAMN IT and they would participate and like it even if it killed them! To prove that, I yelled/hissed at the Bean to get her shoes on and for both of them get out of the car before I counted to 10 or so help me God…

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The Hubs still wasn’t there yet, so when the children finally emerged from the car and started to run around like feral animals playing hide and seek between the trees, I found the man in charge and asked him to please point out all the concolor firs to me. And then….I saw it. All 9 feet of it in all its glory and I knew, I knew, it was our tree.  I mean, who cares that the diameter is so large that I couldn’t see around it and that it was 9 feet tall. We could work with that, right?

When the Hubs got there, he initially told me I was crazy but I knew his inner Clark Griswold was going to come out. I gave him a minute and sure enough, I saw him circle the tree a few times. I knew he was hooked. Only the Hubs asked the man in charge to take 1.5 feet off the base of the tree, so it wasn’t quite as majestic when we loaded it on the truck, but common sense does have to come into play at some point.

While the Hubs and the man in charge loaded the tree on the truck, I had the fun of running around yelling for my kids who didn’t want to get out of the car to stop hiding on me and to get back in the car. I’m pretty sure they would have paid us to take the tree had we let the kids run around much longer.

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Our tree goes in our living room. There are only so many ways to arrange our living room furniture, so for the past 14 years, our tree has stood in the same spot… it’s proper spot, right in front of our picture window. But that doesn’t mean the Hubs doesn’t have to spend a good hour trying all sorts of other configurations of our furniture before giving up and moving things to the same spot they go in every year. This year included the extra added bonus of muttering under his breath when he realized that our kids actually *gasp* stored things in the drawers of our coffee table. Doing so evidently made us into “pack rats”. Who knew?

But, the tree is up. It’s gorgeous. The kids are happy and we’re happy. Nothing about getting our tree or putting it up may be picture perfect- but neither are we.

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Thankfulness: This Crazy Life

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One of my favorite rituals is changing over our monthly white board calendar. I wipe last month’s craziness away, carefully pick the colored markers I want to use for the month’s name and days, the colors for each kid’s activities, the color we use for special events and I slowly fill it all in. I try to be neat and clean- I replace my markers often to keep the tips somewhat pointed.  But no matter what I do, it’s a batshit crazy mess when I’m done. And it only gets worse as the month goes on when all the dates that didn’t have anything on it get filled in with rescheduled practices, PTA meetings, sleepovers and birthdays.

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As I was thinking earlier today about all the things I was thankful for this month- all the things I hadn’t had the time to write about yet- I realized that THIS, this is what I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for that monthly calendar and all the batshit crazy things that fill it. The minutia of every day life in this family the Hubs and I created.

I’m thankful for the two healthy, happy, oh-so-active kids that keep us running to basketball, flag football, lacrosse and concerts. I’m thankful that I married a man who cares enough to be on the school board. I’m thankful for holiday parties at jobs that we both value and enjoy 90% of the time. I’m thankful for the family commitments near and far that keep us connected with those we love the most.

I’m thankful for this wickedly crazy awesome life- because it’s AMAZING.