Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Whew...3 posts in 1 day! Take that Blog!

Today was the first day of school.  The kids were very nervous last night, fearing that they would be unable to sleep.  We had Gramy and Papa over for dinner for a last summer BBQ.  Jason made his ribs, BBQ chicken, scallops that Papa brought and I cooked up some Greek pasta salad, Old Bay shrimp, Caesar salad and baked potatoes.  It was a feast.  For dessert we had an ice cream sundae party in honor of the last night of summer vacation.  Kaitlyn invited her friend, Cameron and Zac invited Brendan.  They had a great time and after they gorged on the ice cream they played some hide and go seek and watched TV.  The friends were off, Kaitlyn took a bubble bath and Zac had a tummy ache and terrible allergies! 

     And today they were up and running and believe it or not, the morning ran quite smoothly.  Kaitlyn must get up at 6:30 and heads out the door at 7:10 am.  Jason drives her (the High School and Middle School share a bus so Jason drives her each morning and I pick her up in the afternoon-not ready for her to be on the bus with high school kids!).  Zac woke up at 7:40 and we headed out for his bus at 8:10 am (his bus is just 3rd thru 5th grade so it's pretty tame!).  They only had a half day so it was a nice way to dip their toes into the new school year.  They seem to both be happy with their teachers.  Things will be much more challenging this year as Zac tested into accelerated Math and Kaitlyn was recommended for accelerated English.  I'm praying that 2011-2012 school year is a good one!

Last Day of School!

Just need to backtrack a bit with this post.  I wanted to share some photos from the kids last day of school.  They both had a half day so we picked up Gramy and headed to the Olive Garden for a tastey lunch.  Well the kids were incredibly wound up and ready to dive into summer!

What I Did on my Summer Vacation Part 1

...well I did a lot!  I can tell ya what I didn't do- post on my blog!  Ha ha, I've learned to let go of the guilt...sort of!  Anyway, it was a fabulous summer and there is so much to tell.  Getting Kaitlyn off to 7th grade and Zac off to 4th this morning was hard.  It's not their birthdays that get me so much, it's the change in grades.  7th and 4th grade!  Unbelievable!  At least I still have Brayden and Gray home with me to watch Disney Jr. and keep me busy!  I am going to break our summer up into weeks and go from there.
     Week 1 found us with the start of our yearly Make Me Mine Monday.  It was Zac's choice and he went with Chili Cheese Dogs, interesting choice as he doesn't really care for hot dogs but throw some chili and cheese on top and it's one of his favorite meals!

Week one also brought the arrival of Garnet Valley Basketball camp for Kaitlyn and Zac.  This was a pretty intense camp from 9-3 Mon-Fri.  They really seemed to enjoy it and Zac got the award for best rebounder and Kaitlyn got the best defense award.

Zac, Brendan and Kaitlyn getting ready to go to Bball camp
     While the big kids were at camp, Brayden, Gray and I headed to Concord Township Park each day to walk on the track.  Walking on the track almost everyday this summer helped me to maintain the weight I lost, however due to the increased beer consumption and junk food in the summer I didn't lose anymore but maintained the loss I had.  Now that school has started I am focused on a healthier diet again and will attempt to dispose of some more pounds!
     Weeks 2 and 3 were the most anticipated weeks of all.  We found ourselves finally at our "home away from home"- Corolla, NC- for 2 glorious weeks.  They were amazing!  I will be doing a separate blog post on just our beach experience so I won't go into much detail here. 

     Some other Make Me Mine Monday choices were Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Butter (Kaitlyn's choice) and Make your own Pizza (Brayden's).
     Week 4 found us going to our best friends pool, the O'Donoghues, and just relaxing.  I have to admit, I was in a bit of a daze the 2 weeks following the beach, I missed it so much and just wanted to be back there!  But we managed to have some more fun!  During week 4 Kaitlyn participated in a Safe Sitter class as Riddle Hospital.  She was there for 2 full days from 9-3.   She learned everything she needs to know to be a safe sitter.  This summer I started to have her babysit for Zac and Brayden in the mornings while Gray and I would go to the track.  After her safe sitter class she actually watched all of them while Jason and I went to a U2 concert (with the help of Gramy too) and another evening when Jason and I went to a Happy Hour that his work provided.  She has been doing great and earned just about $100  this summer babysitting for me.
Receiving her Safe Sitter degree..sniff sniff!

 As I said I had Kaitlyn babysit (with the help of Gramy) while Jason and I went to the U2 concert.  This was a great night.  I am not much of a concert goer, I get a bit panicky at the thought of all those people crammed into a tight spot, dancing, drinking etc.  But this turned out fine.  Kevin O'D, who works on U2's tours, got us our amazing tickets.  It was the day of Kevin's birthday and Kristin had a huge tailgate prior to the concert.  Every food imaginable was at that tailgate, lots of Philly faves and more.  She made the cake herself and it was in the shape of the stage with little Lego guys as the band and Kevin!  My only regret is that we lost everybody on the shuffle into the stadium.  But we had a great view and enjoyed ourselves a lot.
"Besties" at the tailgate

And we had another Make Me Mine Monday, this time back to Zac with homemade Split Pea Soup and Cheesy Olive Bread (not the best choice in the middle of a heatwave if you ask me!).
In between all of these "events", we spent time in our pool, going to the Library, movies etc.
Kaitlyn, Gray, me and Zac in our pool
Well that's about all the time I have now.  The first day of school happens to be a half day as well so it's already time for me to get ready to pick up Kaitlyn.  Can't wait to hear about her day!  I will continue with weeks 5-11 soon and also do a beach blog.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dear Blog....I got it figured out!

Dear Blog,
     I am so so so so so so so so sorry for neglecting you yet again.  I triple PROMISE to do better this time.  Really.  Again with that 4th grade diary guilt!  But seriously, a lot has been happening...some more trying times in all areas of my life and just a lot of activities going on that it has been hard to keep up.  Aside from all the sadness, I am really excited because I now have summer figured out!  Yay for me!  So there are 3 1/2 days of school left.  The 2010-2011 school year is about to come to an end.  I really don't understand how time can just fly by so quickly leaving you spinning and feeling dizzy.  And all of the end of year "things" don't help the matter because they just hurry the last few weeks of school along.  But at least I feel as though I have a grip on summer.  In my last blog I was pretty worried.  However I have a plan.  Both Kaitlyn and Zac love, love, love basketball.  Well there just happens to be a basketball camp run at their schools the whole week after school gets out.  It runs from 9-3 Mon.-Fri.  So week one out of school will really just be very similar to when school was in.  I will drop them off at 9, head to Dunkin Donuts for my large black iced coffee (yes black, but I carry my own creamer!), and then head to the track for my daily walk with Brayden and Gray.  We will then either run some errands or head home.  Gray will take his usual 11:30-2ish nap and then it will be time to pick up Zac and Kaitlyn.  So week one out of school will not be much different.  Speaking of the love of basketball (which by the way, for the life of me I really don't "get" that love), Kaitlyn and Zac have played summer basketball at BYC for the last 2 years and they are doing that again this summer.  Fortunately, their games are on the same nights, basically the same times and amazingly at the same place!  So Tuesday nights this summer are spoken for.  Summer basketball has been a part of our summers for the past 2 years and we have also had another fun tradition.  And that tradition is Make Me Mine Monday.  Every Monday, a different child gets to choose what is for dinner.  They are supposed to help me prepare it as well, but that rarely happens.  The kids get so excited for Make Me Mine Monday.  They want me to do it year round, but I think it would lose its luster if it were a weekly occurrence.  Zac gets to go first this summer and so far he is set on Chili Cheese Dogs...I make my homemade chili and top a Market Day hot dog with the chili, sprinkle some cheddar cheese on it and it is fabulous!  So Monday nights are filled with fun food and Tuesdays are filled with basketball!  Another summer tradition is for us to belong to a pool.  Now I consider myself a bit of a pool whore.  We have lived here in Delaware County for 11 years and have belonged to 4 different swim clubs!  We started out at the infamous Hidden Hollow Swim Club located at the beautiful Linvilla Orchards (remember I chose my first dentist here because his office overlooked Linvilla!).  We belonged there for 3 years.  Loved it!!!  Then when Kaitlyn was in Kindergarten we joined another pool (can't even remember the name of it, it was like a one summer stand!) because all of her little school friends went there.  We then moved to Chadds Ford and joined Brandywine Country Club.  Sounds snooty right?  Well they offered summer pool memberships so that was why we joined.  All the "real" country club members kind of looked down on us lowly summer pool only members.  We went to Brandywine for 2 summers.  After Brandywine we headed to a close by club, High Point.  We loved High Point and belonged there the past 2 summers.  I'm a little worried because we are actually "pooless" this summer.  It causes me to have some anxiety.  I just couldn't see joining a pool this summer with the age that Gray is, he just runs in every direction.  Plus we are going to the beach for 2 weeks.  Also, my best friend, Kristin, now has a pool and Gramy and Papa are living at a place that has a pool.  Not to mention Jason's baby...our 18ft by 4ft deep Intex pool with a salt water filtration system that we have in our backyard.  So no pool this summer.  It's hard for me.  We always belonged to a swim club.  Although my parents were a bit more loyal to their clubs than I am.  I first remember going to the Family Center.  And then the rest of my childhood we went to Northwest Swim Club.  I became a lifeguard at the age of 14 and began working at the city pools.  Bethlehem is considered a city but it isn't much different from where we are today.  I love that they had city pools all over the city.  There was West Side, Memorial, Clearview, Stark and a few others.  These weren't "club" pools, anyone could go and you just either paid a little daily fee or bought a membership for the summer which was a fraction of the cost of the clubs.  We don't have those kind of pools in this area.  There are only country clubs or private swim clubs...no city or township pools.  That's always been a bit of a disappointment for me.  So pooless we are this summer...I'm bummed but hoping for the best!  So week one is taken care of with basketball camp, Monday nights are good with Make me Mine Monday and Tuesday nights are basketball for Kaitlyn and Zac.  The week after basketball camp we head back to the beautiful Corolla, NC at the Currituck Club for two glorious weeks.  I am beyond excited for this vacation.  I love the beach more than anything.  After we were married, Jason moved me to a little cottage 3 blocks from the beach and 1 block from the bay.  We lived there for 13 months and I was in heaven!  I belong at the beach.  I lived at Ocean City, MD for 2 summers in college. Loved it!  When I was growing up we went to Long Beach Island every summer for 1 or 2 weeks.  It was the best.  The Outerbanks is a lot like Long Beach Island only without all the Jersey and New York people!  And when we are there, my life doesn't change that much.  I make breakfast every morning and then lunches to take to the beach.  We then make dinner (grill, crock pot or something else).  We occasionally go out but mostly just enjoy our time together at the beach and are happy to eat our meals there.  I'm really looking forward to our trip.  After we get back from the beach we have one week without any plans.  And then for the week of July 18th Kaitlyn and Zac will be going to the Township camp.  They love this camp so much.  It is just from 9-12 for 5 days but they adore this camp.  This year Kaitlyn will be a Junior Counselor!  Crazy! That leaves us without about 6 weeks of freedom and I'm looking forward to day trips (maybe Sesame Place, Crayola Factory, the Zoo?), a trip to Leesburg to visit Aunt Cheri and her amazing water park and maybe a day trip with just Aunt Cheri and I to the DE beaches.  And then sadly it will be Labor Day weekend and I will be getting my 4th grader and 7th grader ready for their new years (Enrichment Math for Zac and Enrichment English for Kaitlyn!) and Brayden will be heading to a new preschool for 3 days a week.  Time flies!  I'm trying to embrace every day and make some good memories along the way.
     So what have we been doing the past couple of weeks?  Plenty!  Here's a little glimpse...
Memorial Day weekend at the O'D pool

Niece Nat's college Graduation party in Leesburg

Gray, Mause and Brayden at Aunt Cheri's

Kaitlyn (Sher's Goddaughter), me and Sher

Our "Swim Club" for the summer, the Green Pool

My "little" garden that has become an amazon jungle because I don't have spatial skills!

We celebrated (well not yet because we had nasty viruses) our 14th wedding anniversary

Kaitlyn's Dance recital (6th year with Kicks, 8th year dancing!)

Hip Hop Costume

Lyrical Costume

Grandma and Kaitlyn

Zac and Kaitlyn

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ack! Summer is breathing down my neck!

          The lazy hazy days of summer are right around the corner.  I am usually so excited for this time of year but I don't have a plan of action for the summer yet.  School activities are bursting around me, the pool and sprinkler are up and running, I have 50 million loads of laundry because of said pool and sprinkler and it just never gets dark!  Summer is breathing down my neck!  It is very hard explaining to a 4 year old that it really is almost bed time even though it's still light out.  I tell the kids my hard knock story of having to be in bed when I was little when it was still light out.  I could hear all the neighborhood kids outside and there I was in bed!  They look at me with their eyes wide and jaws open and can't believe that Grandma and Poppy could have been that cruel!  You should see them when I tell them that Grandma used to lock the screen door so we would have to stay outside and play! 
     Kaitlyn and Zac had their last CCD classes last week.  This was the end of Kaitlyn's CCD days.  How in the name of CCD does that happen???  I swear it was just last year that she was in first grade and I signed her up at our "NEW" church, St. Cornelius, because we were moving here in the fall.  It was just yesterday that I raced to pick her up on time all the way from Aston and the lady in front of me got so mad that she stopped her car, got out and read me the riot act.  I explained that I had to be on time to pick up my 6 year old, she didn't care....she must not have been a mother.  I went into a panic the other night when I realized that since that just felt like yesterday, the next 6 years will go by just as quickly (or even faster) and Kaitlyn will be getting ready to graduate from High School.  Impossible!!!  Well here she is, still 11, leaving for her last ever CCD class...

     The weather has been warming up quickly after our very cool April and most of May.  Jason put the pool up, we brought the sprinkler out and we have been grilling a lot on the weekends.

Gray watching the action from his perch inside

     This week brought Brayden's first year of preschool to a close.  This was bittersweet.  He never really got used to going to school.  Up until the very last day the teacher (God bless her!) had to literally peel him off of me!  I would then run to my car and ask Kristin or another Mom that was just bringing their child to school to tell me how Brayden was.  They always came out to tell me that he was perfectly fine and you wouldn't have known that 2 minutes ago he was crying with protest.  Bugger!  He would have a great time once the intitial ripping away from me was complete (I guess he didn't realize that he was ripping my heart out with him!)!  But is was draining so I am happy that it is over because it broke my heart every Tue. and Thur. morning to take him.  He would always ask on the ride if it was a little day.  A little day meant he was only there until 11:30.  On the long days he stayed for lunch and played until 2.  I truly believe he enjoyed school overall but geez he liked to torture me beforehand.  Today was his end of the year picnic.  It was an incredible day.  Sunny and in the low 80's.  We brought Lemonade and Key Lime cupcakes.  They had hot dogs, fruit salad, cupcakes and more.  There were pony rides (although he would only pet the pony, not ride him) and sand art.  The kids played on the playground and had a blast.  Jason was able to come for the last part as well.  At the very end, they released their butterflies that they watched go from caterpillars to beautiful butterflies.  And then it was time to say goodbye to Teacher Jen and Teacher Kim.  I couldn't hold back the tears when I hugged Teacher Jen goodbye and thanked her for all that she did for Brayden.  Brayden is going to a new preschool in the fall so it was sad to say goodbye today.
Sept 2010, Brayden 1st day of school

Brayden and Luke back in Sept

Luke and Brayden at the end of year picnic (man, have they grown!)

Brayden, Merrin and Luke

Brayden at the sand art table

Releasing the butterflies

Brayden and Teacher Jen

Saying goodbye to Teacher Kim, sniff sniff
Gray hanging with the big preschoolers

How cute is he???
     This week we look forward to Zac's field day, a pool party at the O'Donoghues and then off to Leesburg, VA for Natalie's college graduation (how the hell did that happen?  Wasn't she just 7 years old singing to the Spice Girls at our wedding???)