Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Day of School

  So emotions were running high this morning. My oldest left for middle school. I walked him to the corner of our street but if he could have had me hide in the bushes he would have because he's "too old to have his mom walk him to the bus stop." I think he was a bit nervous. He didn't finish his breakfast which never happens. He claims it was too early for breakfast and that he was still digesting dinner from last night. Ok, if you say so Billy.

I'll admit I was a bit teary-eyed walking back to the house. I could have easily lost it but I had to compose myself to say hello to a neighbor. Then it was time to get the next 3 ready for their bus. They were all smiles. Of course I was trying not to think about Annie, my baby girl, leaving me for the whole day. I will miss her. I'll miss all of them.

And so will Matthew.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

End of Summer Treat

   I thought these cupcakes would be fun to make on the last day of summer vacation. Just got word the school district is closed tomorrow. Oh well, they still looked good and tasted yummy!

I hadn't planned on making the seaweed, so I had to improvise on that with a plastic baggie and a hole. It doesn't look that great but you get the idea.

Now that I've downloaded the pictures I'm thinking you might not get the idea. They are supposed to be fish in water with sand on the bottom. See it now? I never said I was a genius at decorating. And in case you're wondering, the "sand" is crushed graham crackers. I may change the fish to swedish fish next time to keep it all sweet.

 Have a good day!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vacation Highlights

We are back from Avalon, NJ. Our vacation there was cut short a couple of days due to Hurrican Irene. Luckily, the 6 days we had there were fantastic. We did everything we wanted to do.

 Our car was packed full, including 5 bikes on the back and a huge carrier on the roof. I wish I had a picture of the outside of the car. It must have looked funny because we saw many people staring on the highway with a smile on their face.

We're on our way!
Cool Dude!

 We had great beach days and the kids got a lot of use out of their new belly boards.

The Beach Drill Sargent ( aka Dad ) had us going every minute: bike rides, miniature golf, Ocean City for the amusement rides, arcades and very little down time. But I had to insist sometimes.

Early morning chess games

TV Time ( aka Mom's coffee time )
The highlight was a boat ride on our Uncle Joe's boat. What a treat!

Billy got to steer!

Future Naval Officer?

Dolphin sightings!
Down under

I passed this house every day. I had to take a picture of it. Look how cute it is. If you click on the picture it will get bigger and you can see the whale on the door and the decking on the ground around the chairs. The light above the door matched the lamp on the sidewalk too. I thought the details were adorable.


 That's about it. It was a great first vacation for our family...hurricane evacuation and all. I wonder if this will be an annual tradition??

Friday, August 19, 2011

Footprints In The Sand

  We leave early tomorrow morning for our vacation. My biggest worry this week was making sure I wouldn't forget anything and hoping it didn't rain while we are at the beach.

 However, close family friends of mine are worrying about something else. Something big, real big. Their hearts are breaking for a loved one who is very ill.

 Sending loving thoughts to them this week.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Middle School

  Bill and I just returned from a parent orientation for our oldest son Billy's new school.....the dreaded "Middle School". It was actually a nice night. The principal sounds like a good leader, seems to have his priorities straight, and seems very approachable if need be. And hopefully there will never be a "need-be" :)

 Middle and School : when these two words are put side by side, parents seems to cringe. Have you noticed that? What is it that makes it so scary? Is it that the school is bigger? Or that the kids are reaching that bewitching age? Or that they have 6th, 7th, and 8th grade dances?!?! *GULP*. Whatever the reason, I sat there tonight in the cafeteria with all the other parents who I assume are all wanting the same for their children...a good education, a moral high ground, and a safe place where our children can grow.

 I left there tonight feeling a sense of calm that I didn't expect to have. I'm actually looking forward to this journey with my son. I think he'll thrive there.

  That's not to say I wouldn't go back to this day....First day of preschool : September 2004!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shore Bound!

 In a few days we leave for our first annual family vacation!  We're headed to Avalon, NJ. Maybe I wasn't  thinking clearly when we rented a house for the last week of summer vacation. Not only do I have to pack but also make sure we are set for the first day of school when we return.

 Since I've never done this before I'm collecting my thoughts on what to bring. Finding toys and games to bring is a lot easier than planning the menu for the week, that's for sure. We went to the store today and got some game "staples". We should have had these in the house anyway, so I didn't feel like I was splurging.  We already had a checkers set, but some pieces were missing and we had to use coins instead. It's just not the same. Don't you agree?

 When I was in the board game aisle at the store I thought about the endless hours my friends and I played with them as kids. Yes, we had Atari and Intellevision, but we didn't beg to play all. day. long. At least I don't remember we did. I may just start getting these oldie-but-goody type toys as gifts when my kids have a  party to go to.  Would it be the equivilent of bringing bed sheets? (remember that  line  from Toy  Story? When Andy opened one of his presents and it was bed sheets, Mr. Potato Head said, "Who invited THAT kid?")

 And I have to say that I'm guilty of too much technology. Yesterday Tommy came into the room where I was and asked me why I was on the computer all the time. Really? I was just checking my email. I guess I do do that about 50 times a day. Add up all those minutes and we could have a rockin' game of Trouble! Sorry kids. I'll do better.

 Next week we'll be leaving the computer and XBOX behind and we'll have some good old fashion family fun, even if it brings us to the brink of delirium and tremors.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

30 Years and Counting

 This weekend I hosted the 14th Annual Sexy Six Sleepover Night. Each year on the second Saturday of August my 5 life-long girlfriends and I get together for a sleepover to catch up and spend quality time with each other.

 Before I get ahead of myself, you may want to know a bit more about us. We are grade school classmates who were friends but didn't become "The Six" until we all did the 1 mile walk together every day to get to our high school. By February of that freshman year we had formed such a tight bond that we named ourselves the Sexy Six.....not sure why or how we came up with that name....my brother claims we call ourselves that because no one else will. Anyway, one February night we made a pact to always stay friends. This could have gone by the wayside, but it didn't. We became family to each other. Since then, we've lived through a ton of emotions together.  Back then it was about fashion and boyfriends. At one point is was about jobs and vacations. Further down the road it was getting married and having babies. More recently it's been about certain struggles we face and losses we live through. Each year it develops into something different. There's heavier emotions as we get older. That's just the way life is. But we still laugh. In fact, when this picture was taken we were joking it would be a great detergent commercial about fading colors.

Our shirts say, "What happens with the girlfriends stays with the girlfriends."
    Getting back to the sleepover: we take turns at one of our homes ( leaving the host husband and kids to vacate and find other accomodations for the night ) and we have a great time catching up on things happening in our lives. The main event is the food. It is a 24 hour food fest!  I say this proudly. We each bring a few things to share and basically eat the entire time, only to stop to sleep about 4 hours. We wake early and start all over again.

  This year only 4 of us could make it. It's never the same when all 6 of us aren't there. But as years past have shown, life happens and one may have to cancel last minute. But we definitely didn't scale down on the food. Here's a list of the foods we had to eat last night and this morning:
 Spinach dip/bread, bruchetta, buffalo chicken dip, hummus, chips, veggies and more dip, 2 kinds of brownies, 2 types of cookies, chocolate cream pie, (feeling hungry?) stromboli, cannoli, bagels, muffins, cinnamon raisen toast, coffee, Bay breeze cocktails, wine, and Smirnoff Ice. Yes, we did have left overs but we stuffed ourselves silly and enjoyed every bite!

 Here are the 3 that were able to come this year.

Peggy, Rose, and Marianne

 I appreciate these girls so much for the mere fact that our history together makes us so comfortable....no need to impress, calling it like we see it, pulling no punches, being strong for each other, teasing each other for drinking hot water or not reading my blog ( ahem ) and being a sounding board when we need a shoulder to cry on. You gals are the best!!

 We missed you Mary Alice and Tricia. Here's to August 11, 2012 starting at 8am!!
Love you all so much! Thanks for the gift of your friendship!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Couch to 5K

 In a nutshell, Couch to 5K is an amazing program designed to get you from couch potato to running a 5K race at the end of 9 weeks. When I started this back in April, I could barely jog for 60 seconds without becoming severly short of breath. But that was then and this is now. I am proud to say that I can run for 30 minutes! It  is a goal I thought I'd never achieve. And the best part is that I love it!!

 I had a lot of help along the way....MBR for first telling me about this program; BK for giving me high praise every time I updated her with my progress,  whether it was 2 minutes, 5 minutes, or 25 minutes. The girls from MNT who were a good bit ahead of me in the program and gave me lots of encouragement to carry on even when it was tough.....thanks JH, EM, LR!!  All of you were great inspiration.

 I am officially done the program. Yes, I did start in April and it did take me longer than 9 weeks. But that's okay. I'd like to say since I reached that goal that I really don't need to prove myself by actually running a 5K race.

 But I will. I've signed up for a race on September 5th. I'm so nervous. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Strep Throat and Popsicles

 Matthew has strep throat. Poor kid. He was up a lot through the night last night. He was exhausted most of the day. This is him before Motrin:

And this is him after Motrin and a popsicle:

The pediatrician suggested I go home and sterilize everyone's toothbrush fearing the germ may spread through those. I've been there before. Maybe that  is why on the same day I spent a small fortune getting them all the fancy, battery operated brushes (they begged ) I got this new fancy toothbrush holder below. It's a  mixing bowl.

 What is more unsightly? The kitchen bowl toothbush holder or my 80's style yellow sinks and countertops??  Or perhaps it's the in-need-of-caulk sink? Or maybe the messy paste on the counter? It's a toss up.

  One good thing about sickness is all the cuddling involved.


Sunday, August 7, 2011


 I decided to try to figure out how to attach a video to one of my posts. This song is taken from the popular bible verse of 1Corinthians 13.  You know the one...Love is Patient, Love is Kind.  Even though we used this as our second reading at our wedding, it always gave me a bit of angst. I felt I'd never be able to live up to the words in it. Our good friend L.R. used this verse as an example in her talk during our parish retreat. She helped me see the verse in a different light. This song does the same.

Have a great day!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My New Favorite Place

  Yesterday we took the kids to Dutch Wonderland. It's an amusement park in Lancaster, PA. It was one of those days where we all were in the right mood at the right time. ( or at the same time I should say ). We left in the early afternoon and arrived somewhere around 4 o'clock. I think arriving then helped us to avoid big crowds. We had about a 10 minute wait on the first ride. While we were waiting, 2 of the kids said it was taking too long. I told them that if they can't wait this long for a turn on a ride, they'd NEVER be able to wait in the long lines at Disney World. That shut them down real quick!

  This place is so great. It was perfect for my kids' ages. It was not too big, not overwhelming, had scary rides and baby rides. This ride here was for young ones. I swear it must go .1 miles an hour it was SO slow.


 We all had a turn on the bumper cars. THAT was fun. I remember as a kid I wanted to feel like a real driver, so I'd avoid the cars at all costs. NOT yesterday though. I was out to get everyone! Even these two.

Way to squeeze in there Dad!
 I did realize though that I really am not the amusement park type. I sort of liked it as a kid, but really I'm just a big scaredy cat now. I went on the log flume....petrified me. Then went on the kiddie roller coaster....felt a bit of nausea. I was relieved when Ann was too scared to go on the sky ride. Well, someone had to stay with her!

 Even this ride I stayed away from. It's a height thing for me. Too many steps up!

There is also a water park side to the place. No swimming, but almost like a playground with lots of water. Matt had a ball here.

The bigger kids had fun going down this slide; actually this was my favorite ride of the day.

 Here's Matt feeding some geese:

He's saying, "Here geesy, geesy"

  Another fun day for all. A day with no tantrums, no one begging for food and drink, no arguing over which rides to go on next. Just fun and togetherness. Here's proof--last picture of the day and we're still smiling :)



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Decisions, Decisions


10. Every once in a while life throws us a curve ball.

 9. The best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

 8.Stuck between a rock and a hard place.

 7. Catch 22

 6.%#%* happens!

 5. Six in one; half dozen in the other.

 4. Back to square one.

 3. It's a toss up.

 2. On the fence.

 And my personal favorite:

1. If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans!

 Bill and I are facing a tough work-related decision. Not to worry. We are prayerfully considering our options. Whatever we decide we'll be okay because our hearts are in the right place.

 I'm reminded of this bible verse:

 "For I know the plans I have for you; plans to give you hope and a future"  Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ball Game

 Last night we had the opportunity to go to our Minor League's baseball game. It was a special event sponsored by Villanova, where my husband graduated from college. Our tickets included an all you can eat buffet and special seats behind 3rd base. It was great for the simple fact that Matthew could walk around and not be confined to a seat.

Billy and Tommy positioned themselves to catch a foul ball but didn't have any luck. The girls had fun with the Villanova tattoos that were on our table, and Matt had fun with his freedom to walk around and endless cups of lemonade and soda! ( He was a bit wired by the end ).

 At the end of the game the children get the chance to run the bases. What a thrill!

Hey, who's that big guy carrying that little guy?

 A fun time was had by all. Can't wait to go back!