Posts tagged summer vacation
Summer Bucket List

The 12 weeks of summer vacation were so sweet. With both boys excited for little adventures and outings, we started the summer by making a bucket list of activities and places we wanted to seek out and embrace. Afraid of getting into a routine of just slow mornings and lounging, I tried to tackle one item a week so there would be a good balance between "get out and be busy days" and "sip coffee and settle in days." With only 24 hours left of my summer being a "stay-at-home-mom" with my kiddos, I am feeling nostalgic for the warm, long summer days we shared. It hurts so much to return to the rigid school day schedule after savoring this time together as family, but this summer there are no regrets or "I wish we hads." We carpe diemed the Sh*t out of our summer together and I am happy to look over the memories we captured as our trio explored together. If only I could get paid to just have time home with my family, that would be the life! I know that once school starts on Monday, it will feel fresh, and good, and exciting to be back on campus, but tonight I want to halt time and stay in this summer sunset longer. What was on the bucket list?

Wingearshaek Beach

Beach Days... yes, multiple!

Lunch with David

Davis Farmland

Eat oysters

Get a pottery wheel

California

Newport, RI

Hopkinton State Park

Ashland state park

Kayaking

SUPing

Salem

Gloucester

Beach Picnic

Summer Concert

Aquarium

Running in a Fountain

Eating outside

Roger Williams Zoo

Strawberry Picking

Riding bikes (my only picture of them on wheels)

Lobster rolls

Visit to Long Island

Have a kickass birthday party for Henry

Duck boat ride

Savor our family

Which items didn't get crossed off this year?

Castle Island, SoWa, Provincetown, Mass MoCA, Portland Day Trip

Not bad! We almost did it all, but I am glad we stuck to picking from our list. The boys loved hearing about the different places we could visit and would fall in love with one location and then want to go back and visit over and over again. This might be a fun little tradition to embrace and to maximize our time together and our explorations of this beautiful region of the country we get to call home.

No more babies live here...almost

Owen's summer has been full of major shifts. My sister-in-law came to visit on the last day of the school year marking the official beginning of our time home together as a family. A time when I get to pretend I stay home with my littles 24/7. And this summer included a long list of transitions. First, on the docket was potty training. As a second born, the idea of pottery training Owen was far less intimidating than the first rodeo with Henry. The main hurdle with training Henry wasn't the training part at all. It was the mental space I had to get over when you do anything new with a little one. Getting into a routine that works, that feels relatively easy, and that lets you get out and about isn't super simple to achieve and life always throws some curveball at you to undo your baby steps of progress, so the idea of intentionally disrupting  the "calm" was the hardest part for me. Once I got out of my own way, and we started the three day long process, it became apparent that this wasn't as hard as it originally seemed. So doing it a second time with Owen was easier to get started. And the little guy was definitely ready. Having a model in his big brother, he simply followed Henry's pace and he is always so eager to be like his brother that he waited in line behind H in the bathroom and we are officially out of diapers in this house. And just like that one of the biggest defining attributes of babyhood is extinct for us.

But if we are "advanced" in one area then we are "babyish" in another. We landed on a red-eye from California at the beginning of August and took away Owen's baby crib rail determined to transition our big kid into a toddler bed. The first night went well. Exhausted from his travels, Owen only attempted an escape once before resting his head for the night. David and I patted each other on the back for shedding one more baby-layer in our dedicated summer to big kid transitions. Then.....reality hit. For the next week, Owen ramped up his efforts to intimidate us. David left for Florida with Henry and I was alone doing a 2+ hour bedtime drama. Owen would scream, kick, tantrum, and leave his bed at least 1,000,000 a night. When he finally gave up the ghost, he slept so poorly waking up multiple times at night crying out for me and was "up for the day" at 5AM. When you go from solid, good sleeping to crappy sleeping you start to wonder maybe, just maybe, you made a mistake. Everyone you talk to about these big kid transitions tells you to stay the course, be firm, and hold on to the change. And I totally subscribe to this ideology. But every night Owen's refusal lasted longer and his commitment to waking up and having disturbed sleep grew. So while Owen might be pottery trained, he is back in a crib. Immediately after putting his crib rail back, he delightfully said, "my cribby." At bedtime, he snuggled in with his stuffies and went immediately to sleep and stayed in his bed until 6:30AM and he even napped again for 2 hours. He clearly feels secure and comfortable in his crib and has no desire to escape his cozy baby bed....yet. So do I feel like we made the right decision? In reality yes.  We will just try again at some other time when he and we feel ready again.

But to end on a high note of transitional success, we tossed out all of our baby sippy cups. This was definitely a reactive step on my part. None of the boys were really even using them but after feeling like we "failed" on our second major transition of eradicating cribs, I cleaned out the entire kitchen cabinet of baby plastic cups, spoons, utensils, etc. Immediately, it gave us more kitchen space to think about what the boys could use now as big kids, and felt like another chapter ended: no more soaking plastic cups, sippies, and plates. Every night since Henry was born there was some plastic kitchen equipment that needed special tending and now that was not a part of our routine and it felt both liberating and sad. We almost don't have babies anymore. And that leaves us with a lot of feels. I both want them to continue to be funny, spunky, creative, and playful "big kids" but I also want them to stay just like this and cuddle in their footie pajamas forever. Why can't we ever just have our cake and eat it too?

More summer vibes

July is a month of celebrating! There is America's birthday, Henry's birthday, even Nathaniel Hawthorne has a birthday this month. David's dad and step-mom come for a visit and the travels of friends and family bring so many of our loved one into our daily life with stops in Massachusetts and quick reconnections. With all this, we are summering hard but somehow it is already mid-month! Sitting next to the boys this morning, I just feel so lucky to be able to soak up this warm month with them and am plotting and planning how we continue this awesome trend of exploring, enjoying, and entertaining.

The summer solstice was 2 days ago

Tracing my finger lightly around Henry's chin, cheeks, and forehead and down his nose and across his lips, he giggles and I remember doing this with my Nanny. It is a silly little game and, at the time, I thought it was the most luxurious thing to get your face tickled endlessly. And it is. I used to think, how did my Nanny have the stamina to tickle my face for what seemed like hours while I  laid in her lap and laughed and relaxed. Then sitting there with Henry and Owen, it dawned on me. Here I was with her endless stamina to tickle their little faces because I love them so darn much and they were clearly enjoying the little "spa" treatment and because I was SO DARN tired from the day, days, and weeks of the past month that I would have tickled those peanut faces for the whole day if it meant I too could rest a little.

Exactly 30 days ago, we packed up the family and went to LA to join in my father's retirement flight from Unite Airlines. After working for 35 years in aviation, it was time to hang up his wings. The FAA regulates that at 65 years old, captains and co-pilots must step down from the flight deck and this legislation pained my father. A truly passionate and gifted captain, he was not exactly ready spiritually to comply. We spent a few days in SoCal with family celebrating this momentous event. As a chief pilot said to my father, "The sign of a great career in this industry is an uneventful one, thank you for for having a great career." While there together as a family, we tackled jet lag, a desire to really go all out and all in for this special lifetime event, and a spectrum of emotions as we watched our dad come in to LAX for the last time at the helm and prepare for his return to his base in EWR. The morning of, our dad saw a number of friends in the terminal who came to shake his hand and clap him on the back. He boarded the plane and took control of the ship for 5 hours. The landing greased into New York and he received a round of applause not only from the passengers who each shook his hand but also when he came up out of the jetway. More family came to celebrate and it was a really good time.  It was such a beautiful and incredibly proud moment for him and for us. One day, and not in the proverbial way, my dad and I will have to sit down and write his stories of flight down. I imagine something titled "Confessions from the Flight Deck," in which we curate his hilarious tales from 35,000 feet because my dad was not only the epitome of professionalism in flight but also a character and a truly a humorous raconteur!

Once we got back to Boston, it was time to close out the school year. The last week and a half of school is obviously incredibly exciting because summer vacation is so close BUT standing in between a teacher and a much needed break is a mountain of grading, a pile of finals, a heap of comments to write, and way too many meetings to sit through. The workload always feels insurmountable and the pressure of the final due dates makes me grow "Bertha." Who is Bertha? Well she is more of a what. Bertha is my shoulder knot. David has often commented after an encounter with Bertha that I have a lump of cement in my shoulder blade. Every end of the school year, I sit at my desk with clamped shoulders while grading furiously. This position and those stress levels form Bertha who causes me literal sleepless nights and takes away my ability to turn my head from side to side. As the graduates of the class of 2018 threw their caps off, some tears fell down my cheeks, and I pushed "submit" on all the grades and finals, only then can Bertha slowly dissipate.  Goodbye Bertha, goodbye this school year, and hello to the next 11 weeks!

And then summer started!

10 days into summer and this feels like such a good one. Obviously summer vacation is always a good thing and time off with family is truly a gift that this profession gives in exchange for the high stakes and demands of the academic year. Jessie, Avery, and Smith arrived minutes after my final faculty meeting and stayed with us for 5 days. My underlining goal of their visit: Convince them that one day they should move to Boston because the city rocks, the people rock, and because we love them so much and just wish we had more family closer. Of course, leaving beautiful SoCal (or Florida for David's side of the family) makes moving north a bit of a hard sell. Neither of our families' current locations have snow or what I like to call wintry wonderlands, but Boston does have us and you can't find that anywhere else, right? In wanting to show them the best of Boston we bit off a lot: Fenway Park, duck boats, Boston visits, Strawberry picking, late nights, 6 bottles of wine, lots of eating, even more snacking, and even more laughing making it hard to  say good-bye to them. It almost felt like we just live together now.

After teary goodbyes, the boys and I headed into our first 4 days of "Mom is at home season!" This year a bucket list of fun and breezy summer activities will guide our time. And we already ticked off two items: a trip to the Roger Williams zoo and a morning at the lake. The beauty of this year's summer bucket list is that it is short. Potentially only 10 line items but most of them will definitely be repeated especially if they involve the oceanside. So stay posted because now that I have returned to this page, I am planning on documenting more effectively this summer's shenanigans and my next pottery class starts in two weeks so there will be more updates from the "artist's" studio as well as some really cool new pieces I am trimming and glazing right now.

But back to face tracing. Sometimes when you do a lot in a short amount of time or when you are transitioning from the fast-paced, routine-based school year into summer you need a little buffer time to slow down, kick your feet up, and trace your babies' faces. Maybe if I do this I can commit to memory their lines and curves more deeply and slow down this season.

With Open Arms

This morning the commute marked the last 40 minute long journey of my ninth year of teaching! And with Journey on my mind, I cannot help but think of that great 80s band. While I won't stop believing that summer is really, finally, beautifully hear, it is their song "Open Arms" that is playing on repeat this morning. An odd choice you might at first think, but then when you realize the destination is summer vacation, an almost 11 week hiatus from the daily grinding commute, endless e-mails, piles of grading, and consuming lesson planning, there can be no doubt that I am charging into summer with these words on my lips: So now I come to you With open arms Nothing to hide Believe what I say So here I am With open arms Hoping you'll see What your love means to me Open arms

Do you hear Steve Perry too? And then the school threw 8 hours of training on Canvas at us this morning and summer vacation could not start fast enough! Each summer I worry about what we will do to cherish the time, it would be so much more fun too if David was home everyday. But with Labor Day's inevitable return, I am going to just try to soak it up, recharge, and check my attitude both for the sun-soaked happenings of summer and for a positive restart for the 2018-2019 school year.

You can find me in the sand until then!

the best summer
So....this may just be the best summer ever!

Why? But, what about last summer when you had a baby!?!

Yes, yes last summer was AMAZING! I got to meet my tiny human and it was beyond incredible. BUT I spent a lot of that summer inside recovering physically and being an emotional wreck because I had a TINY HUMAN!?!? And I was just so clueless on how to feed him, comfort him, and everything else. So last summer was tremendous but it was also very very intense.

This summer though has been truly the very best. Henry has SO much personality. I LOVE this kid (you may have noticed based on my Facebook and Instagram accounts which are entirely consumed by the little dude). He is just so darn playful and funny. We have little "inside jokes" now too. When we are upstairs in his room, he will flash me that mischievous smile and dart around the glider, then he pops his head out from behind and wants to play hide and seek. When I "find" him (which is so hard, where ever could he be?), he laughs and laughs. My little boy is a little fish and can hardly stay out of the water. From the lake to the baby pool, he wants nothing more than to dunk his head, splash, and stay in there ALL DAY long. He speed walks through the house and even likes to sit on the potty and pretend his is using it. But mostly he just wants to laugh and flush the toilet or pull all the toilet paper off the roll. I remember thinking before I had a child that I would never be able to tolerate messes and play that "destroyed" my things. And, what is hilarious is that I love watching Henry explore so if that means pulling out an entire box of kleenex because it is just magic. I will watch him laugh his way through the box. They all fit back in anyway, right?

When I went back to school after maternity leave (summer vacation), I was a mix of emotions. I was scared to leave my son primarily and angry that I had to return after 8 weeks and overwhelmed by the daunting school year ahead. I felt alone, isolated, and sad mostly. But, looking at this approaching school year, I am sadder but in a different way. This summer has been so great exploring New England with my little boy and having so much mommy-son time that it is going to be very hard to say good-bye to our routine. The mornings in the park and afternoons playing and evenings picking up David from the train and being completely carefree together before bed have been just awesome. I guess having the best summer makes the end of summer quite bittersweet. These August days will have to be savored then. Henry is going to get lots of kisses, hugs, and trips out and about because I am just not ready yet to say good bye to this.

beach babies?

In approximately 192 hours the school year will commence. Gosh this is a cliche but the summer flew by! I feel like I just got settled into a routine I enjoy (which includes iced coffees most mornings with Laura) and finally shook off the post-school year fatigue and now it is time to head back in. Yes, I know that the majority of Americans do not have the luxury of a summer vacation like a school teacher and believe me I am so grateful and appreciative of the time I do get off. But, it is always a little sad to say goodbye to the long summer days. As soon as I see the students and get settled into my classroom, it will be second nature and hard to imagine ever not being in the classroom with those particular students. The only really difficult part of the school year starting is the inevitable loss of summer's sunlight that will be exchanged for winter's snow.  Therefore, Laura and I set out on Monday to hold onto summer just a little longer with a full day at the beautiful Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester. At the end of the day, we packed up our little campsite and bid the sand and surf adieu until next year. Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.17.33 PM

Welcome to Good Harbor!Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.17.49 PM

Despite being a random Monday in August the beach was PACKED but we still enjoyed ourselves even though we had to share the shore ;) Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.18.07 PM

The obligatory feet in water shot. The water was freezing cold.  So cold that I felt my shin bones freeze and Laura and I dared each other to dive into the waves. Which we did three times. Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.18.24 PM

See those two mansions out there on the cliff?  Yes, that is where we live.Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.18.41 PM

Laura reading at our campsite for school.Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.18.58 PM

I brought The Art of Racing in the Rain and have fallen in love with this story. It is funny, poignant, and makes me want to snuggle my puppies ever closer. I am devouring the novel as my last summer read.

happy birthday big bro!

Today is my brother's birthday. When we were growing up, I could always count on him to play with me even though I was five years his junior. Each summer, for two weeks, our family would trek down to Florida for a beach vacation. The only two kids within miles, we created a variety of games to entertain ourselves. Splashing around we pretended to  swim from sharks (ironic as he was in fact bit by a shark later in life), shout "marco..." "polo"..., and run top speed into the ocean. We were obsessed with digging deep holes in the sand. We could spend the entire day just digging a giant pit and pretending we were heading to China. Our giant pit once even became the nest for a sea turtle. In the afternoons, we would take a 1 mile walk to the pier and back and I would often listen as my brother and father talked about aviation. Afterwards, we'd head up to the apartment to eat sandwiches while watching Chips or the North Shore on TV. We probably watched that movie a hundred times over the summer. We bought boogie boards and tried to stand up in the waves and my bro eventually graduated to surfboards. We grew so close over those vacations. They were always the highlight of the year for me.  I had him all to myself and did not have to share him with his older friends (and potential girlfriends). We were just kids, just siblings. Now watching him become a father of his own still boggles my mind. How did we ever get old enough to have our own families? Even in this new phase of our lives he is a beautiful model of love, compassion, team work, playfulness, planning, consideration, professionalism, and integrity. I love my brother so much and I just want to wish him a very Happy Birthday today!! photo 5 DSC_0865 DSC_0592_2 840alcat_w

happy birthday big bro!

Today is my brother's birthday. When we were growing up, I could always count on him to play with me even though I was five years his junior. Each summer, for two weeks, our family would trek down to Florida for a beach vacation. The only two kids within miles, we created a variety of games to entertain ourselves. Splashing around we pretended to  swim from sharks (ironic as he was in fact bit by a shark later in life), shout "marco..." "polo"..., and run top speed into the ocean. We were obsessed with digging deep holes in the sand. We could spend the entire day just digging a giant pit and pretending we were heading to China. Our giant pit once even became the nest for a sea turtle. In the afternoons, we would take a 1 mile walk to the pier and back and I would often listen as my brother and father talked about aviation. Afterwards, we'd head up to the apartment to eat sandwiches while watching Chips or the North Shore on TV. We probably watched that movie a hundred times over the summer. We bought boogie boards and tried to stand up in the waves and my bro eventually graduated to surfboards. We grew so close over those vacations. They were always the highlight of the year for me.  I had him all to myself and did not have to share him with his older friends (and potential girlfriends). We were just kids, just siblings. Now watching him become a father of his own still boggles my mind. How did we ever get old enough to have our own families? Even in this new phase of our lives he is a beautiful model of love, compassion, team work, playfulness, planning, consideration, professionalism, and integrity. I love my brother so much and I just want to wish him a very Happy Birthday today!! photo 5 DSC_0865 DSC_0592_2 840alcat_w

happy birthday big bro!

Today is my brother's birthday. When we were growing up, I could always count on him to play with me even though I was five years his junior. Each summer, for two weeks, our family would trek down to Florida for a beach vacation. The only two kids within miles, we created a variety of games to entertain ourselves. Splashing around we pretended to  swim from sharks (ironic as he was in fact bit by a shark later in life), shout "marco..." "polo"..., and run top speed into the ocean. We were obsessed with digging deep holes in the sand. We could spend the entire day just digging a giant pit and pretending we were heading to China. Our giant pit once even became the nest for a sea turtle. In the afternoons, we would take a 1 mile walk to the pier and back and I would often listen as my brother and father talked about aviation. Afterwards, we'd head up to the apartment to eat sandwiches while watching Chips or the North Shore on TV. We probably watched that movie a hundred times over the summer. We bought boogie boards and tried to stand up in the waves and my bro eventually graduated to surfboards. We grew so close over those vacations. They were always the highlight of the year for me.  I had him all to myself and did not have to share him with his older friends (and potential girlfriends). We were just kids, just siblings. Now watching him become a father of his own still boggles my mind. How did we ever get old enough to have our own families? Even in this new phase of our lives he is a beautiful model of love, compassion, team work, playfulness, planning, consideration, professionalism, and integrity. I love my brother so much and I just want to wish him a very Happy Birthday today!! photo 5 DSC_0865 DSC_0592_2 840alcat_w

summer to do

Lists make me happy. Each day, I write myself a "to-do" list and revel in crossing off items, highlighting items, and adding new tasks. In an odd way, I feel like a superstar when I complete the list. Praise is showered down "you did it," "look how organized you are," and "wow, how did you ever get all of that done in a single day."  While this is a little crazy, it is innately a part of me. Each morning, I arrive to my classroom and start a new fresh list for a new fresh day. So to feel a little less stressed about the end of the school year, I have decided to focus on the summer and all of the stuff I plan/hope to get accomplished:

Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 1.26.46 PM

  1. Organize the Basement (go through the last of the moving boxes and make some shelving so items can be more easily located).
  2. Finally bring the last boxes to the recycling center
  3. Paint front door, I am thinking dark gray
  4. Paint the bulkhead
  5. Refinish the back porch stairs
  6. Visit with friends and family as much as possible
  7. Work on my blogging
  8. Attend teacher conferences
  9. Work on curriculum development
  10. Read Read Read
  11. Cook and BBQ
  12. Re-budget our finances
  13. Garden and tend the lawn
  14. odds and ends of cleaning and keep our home b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l
  15. Freshen up my Italian language skills (might be visiting a bestie in Rome)
  16. Power-wash house
  17. Steam carpets
  18. Exercise and take it seriously (as in drop these pesky 10 pounds I have hugging my body)
  19. Have the retaining wall and fence built in our backyard (just hired the contractor last night!!)

Ah....while this list is long, it feels so much better to have it written down and not floating aimlessly in my head. It is daunting but quite exciting to think that my daily school lists are almost on hiatus for the next three months of summer vacation and I can shift my attention to health, family, and home more consistently.  Summer, here I come (with my list in hand!!).

summer to do

Lists make me happy. Each day, I write myself a "to-do" list and revel in crossing off items, highlighting items, and adding new tasks. In an odd way, I feel like a superstar when I complete the list. Praise is showered down "you did it," "look how organized you are," and "wow, how did you ever get all of that done in a single day."  While this is a little crazy, it is innately a part of me. Each morning, I arrive to my classroom and start a new fresh list for a new fresh day. So to feel a little less stressed about the end of the school year, I have decided to focus on the summer and all of the stuff I plan/hope to get accomplished:

Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 1.26.46 PM

  1. Organize the Basement (go through the last of the moving boxes and make some shelving so items can be more easily located).
  2. Finally bring the last boxes to the recycling center
  3. Paint front door, I am thinking dark gray
  4. Paint the bulkhead
  5. Refinish the back porch stairs
  6. Visit with friends and family as much as possible
  7. Work on my blogging
  8. Attend teacher conferences
  9. Work on curriculum development
  10. Read Read Read
  11. Cook and BBQ
  12. Re-budget our finances
  13. Garden and tend the lawn
  14. odds and ends of cleaning and keep our home b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l
  15. Freshen up my Italian language skills (might be visiting a bestie in Rome)
  16. Power-wash house
  17. Steam carpets
  18. Exercise and take it seriously (as in drop these pesky 10 pounds I have hugging my body)
  19. Have the retaining wall and fence built in our backyard (just hired the contractor last night!!)

Ah....while this list is long, it feels so much better to have it written down and not floating aimlessly in my head. It is daunting but quite exciting to think that my daily school lists are almost on hiatus for the next three months of summer vacation and I can shift my attention to health, family, and home more consistently.  Summer, here I come (with my list in hand!!).

summer to do

Lists make me happy. Each day, I write myself a "to-do" list and revel in crossing off items, highlighting items, and adding new tasks. In an odd way, I feel like a superstar when I complete the list. Praise is showered down "you did it," "look how organized you are," and "wow, how did you ever get all of that done in a single day."  While this is a little crazy, it is innately a part of me. Each morning, I arrive to my classroom and start a new fresh list for a new fresh day. So to feel a little less stressed about the end of the school year, I have decided to focus on the summer and all of the stuff I plan/hope to get accomplished:

Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 1.26.46 PM

  1. Organize the Basement (go through the last of the moving boxes and make some shelving so items can be more easily located).
  2. Finally bring the last boxes to the recycling center
  3. Paint front door, I am thinking dark gray
  4. Paint the bulkhead
  5. Refinish the back porch stairs
  6. Visit with friends and family as much as possible
  7. Work on my blogging
  8. Attend teacher conferences
  9. Work on curriculum development
  10. Read Read Read
  11. Cook and BBQ
  12. Re-budget our finances
  13. Garden and tend the lawn
  14. odds and ends of cleaning and keep our home b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l
  15. Freshen up my Italian language skills (might be visiting a bestie in Rome)
  16. Power-wash house
  17. Steam carpets
  18. Exercise and take it seriously (as in drop these pesky 10 pounds I have hugging my body)
  19. Have the retaining wall and fence built in our backyard (just hired the contractor last night!!)

Ah....while this list is long, it feels so much better to have it written down and not floating aimlessly in my head. It is daunting but quite exciting to think that my daily school lists are almost on hiatus for the next three months of summer vacation and I can shift my attention to health, family, and home more consistently.  Summer, here I come (with my list in hand!!).