This summer has been amazing – hands down, one of the best we’ve had. We have traveled to new places, visited with family, caught sharks, hung out with friends, welcomed a new nephew / cousin into the crew and watched more than a few ball games.
We’ve had quiet nights at home where we’ve all retreated to our own corners and nights we’ve danced in the streets. My house has been, more often than not these past few weeks, filled with at least 2 kids who aren’t mine- usually more. My backyard is littered with wiffleballs and makeshift bases and Gatorade bottles. We’ve heard coyotes chattering in the hills across the street and adopted a new kitten.
We’ve celebrated birthdays – mine and the Bean’s – as well as our anniversary. We’ve floated in pools in the hot sun and had to bundle up to stay warm on boats. We’ve roasted marshmallows and ate more ice cream than I could measure.
We’ve worked out 3x a week at 7 am and the Hub’s has rehabbed his knee from ACL surgery. I quit two jobs that I had and loved for over 5 years and started a new one, requiring a trip to CA to meet my new coworkers. We’ve dealt with some stress (ask me how our home addition is going- I dare you) that comes with adulting, but it hasn’t overshadowed the fun.
All in all, we’ve simply enjoyed the hell out of each other. School starts in a week – the shoes have been purchased, the supplies sorted out and the schedules posted. We’re ready for routine again and all the fun that comes with fall- football, Halloween, the gorgeous leaves and the upcoming holidays. But I can’t lie, I’m going to be more than a little sad to say goodbye to this perfect season.
Back in the fall, I took Scorch to one of the varsity football games. He was settling into middle school and feeling like the big man on campus wearing his modified football jersey to hang out with all his friends under the lights. Oh, he thought he was hot stuff and he was feeling it…
…until I made him leave before the game was over because he had a 3 hour long practice starting the next day at 7 am.
He wailed, he pleaded, he tried to bargain – he was pissed at me like never before because I was making him leave early. He was in SEVENTH GRADE and he was NOT A BABY and why was I SO MEAN?!!? He ended his fit asking me if I wanted to be a COOL MOM because this was, unequivocally, not cool.
Fast forward 3+ months and Scorch, the Bean and I have had lots of conversation about the fact that I am not the cool mom, the Hubs isn’t the cool dad and we’re all OK with that. Because right now, to my kids, being the cool mom means letting them do whatever they wants….and nope, not going to happen.
Here’s what kind of mom I am though:
Maybe one day I’ll earn some cool points, but I’m not losing any sleep over it if I don’t.
Despite what I keep writing every.damn.time I have to write out the date, it’s 2019 and I have high hopes for this year. There is nothing particular special about this year, but I have a good feeling about it. The date rolls off your tongue and it just sounds right.
2018 had it’s ups and downs, but it ended on a high note. A healthy family, a joyous holiday season, time with loved ones and friends. Lots of laugh, a tad too much wine at times, a few excuses to get dressed up and hours upon hours spent cheering on both kid’s basketball teams.
2019 hasn’t started on the best foot. We lost a dear, wonderful man yesterday. An old family friend who we spent countless hours with growing up as our families vacationed together. You know those friends who you don’t see for years, but you pick right up on without missing a beat when you see each other again? That is Jim’s family. The soundtrack of my childhood would have been a lot less bright and hell of a lot quieter without Jim’s booming laugh and bellowing yell when one of us was in trouble. My heart is breaking for his family as they navigate this much duller world without him.
And then there is the government shut down. The Hubs, a federal employee who has to work during the shutdown, refuses to allow me to freak out until he’s actually missed a paycheck as he knows my inner Chicken Little is thisclose to coming out. So, I won’t freak out- I’ll just continually update my financial spreadsheets preparing for each of the 1 millions ways things can go.
All this, though, doesn’t mean the whole year is going to suck Right?! I mean, it can’t. I won’t let it. So…here’s what I’m hoping to do this year to help it suck less for me and my little crew:
So, that’s what I want out of 2019. Here’s hoping the highs outweigh the lows, the laughs out number the tears and the love continues to grow.
I’m reading a book right now that takes place the summer between high school and college. Do you remember that summer? For me, it was 1996 and 22 years later it’s still one of the most vivid in my mind. There was that sense of excitement and fear and joy and worry – I can hear the music that played on repeat and smell the clove cigarettes to this day.
There was also a boy. A beautiful, damaged boy – a boy I wanted to know and be known by. A boy who I thought I could fall in love with despite all his warnings that he was too broken and not capable of love. A boy I wanted to try with regardless. A boy who came thisclose to breaking my heart.
This book reminds me, achingly, of that boy and that summer. That summer when anything could have happened and my life could have gone in so many different directions.
This past summer was not an easy one in so many different ways, personally and professionally. There were storms that I honestly didn’t know if we’d get through without sinking. Tears, anger, frustration and hopelessness- they all colored this past summer.
This was also the summer I turned 40. Despite what I *think* I’ll see when I look in the mirror, there is a middle aged woman staring back at me with the start of crows feet, silver at her temples and a squishy middle that is the bane of her (my) existence. There are bags under my eyes and still some faint marks on one cheek from when I developed chloasma gravidarum when I was pregnant with the Bean.
But my eyes sparkle, my smile is always ready to burst out and those crow’s feet- they’re laugh lines.
If you ever want to know how loved you are, I highly recommend hitting a milestone birthday during a particularly shitty time. We celebrated my 40th five times over four months with friends and family from all over the country.
I was kidnapped and swept away for a night of bar hopping and dinner, I traveled to Nashville with my best friends from 3rd grade, and I went on a wine tour in the Finger Lakes with some of my favorite people on earth. I turned 40 sitting on the bleachers watching Scorch do what he loves most in the world while the Hubs coached and the Bean and my parents sat next to me. I sang along with Jimmy Buffett when he played in Fenway Park, I danced in the rain on a rooftop bar and laughed and was loved on so damn hard from the people I adore most on this earth.
This summer was the craziest mix of highs and lows – full of fury and fun and heartbreak and overwhelming love. I dissected my life – my choices, the path that led me to where I was now, the people I surrounded myself with and every little thing in between. There were a lot of what if’s and daydreams about what could have been. Could I have been happier? What would my life have looked like if I went right instead of left? Took Option A instead of Option B? Would my life be better? Worse? Different in a whole other way?
But then I realized, it doesn’t matter. This IS the life I picked- and I’d pick it again.
I would pick this life again in a heartbeat.
I’d pick the Hubs to walk by my side. I’d go through the heartbreak of my miscarriages to get the kids I have today. I’d surround myself by the incredible people that lift me up every day. And I surely couldn’t imagine a better family to be born in.
I would pick this life again.
The “what if” game is fun to daydream about – and trust me, even though I’d pick this life, I still daydream and wonder what could have been – but the fact of the matter is this is the life I built. This is the life I’ve worked for for 40 years and I’m so damn glad it is mine.
So here’s to the next 40 with its ups and downs and heartbreaks and belly laughs. Here’s to family and friends and fighting for the life you want. Here’s to figuring out how to right your own ship, weather the storm and come out stronger for it. Here’s to laugh lines, tear tracks and choosing to love each and every day no matter what life throws at you. Here’s to my wickedly crazy, awesome life
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
and the East Coast…
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…
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 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.
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.
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…
Saw a professional ballgame (or 3 – baseball was big this summer)…
Visited with hundreds of our friends at a local music fest…
Spent The Best Week Ever in the Outer Banks with family…
Visited a Fort…
And drove a dragon in a Harbor.
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.
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.