it’s a fall tradition!

Does going twice to the Big E make it tradition? I declare that it does.  Somehow it feels more like Fall now that we have eaten our fill of fried cheese curds, chocolate covered bacon, pork chop sandwiches, fried pickles, kettle corn popcorn, and apple crisp. The weather was cool as we took in the sights, smells, and rides with our friends this past weekend in Springfield, MA. It wasn’t until the next day when David said, “Now the Fall has arrived,” that it became apparent how much we enjoy this wildly weird event. Clearly, Fall in New England is marked for us by two traditions: The Big E fried food extravaganza and Apple Picking. We have one down and now it is time for the next fall favorite!!

back in shape

Things have gotten a little tighter these days. Most nights after dinner, David and I race off to the tennis court. Talking “smack” to each other all the way there, we pump each other up for our hour to two hour tennis match. We weren’t very good at first. Balls typically spent more time hitting up against the chain linked fence or popping up and out of the court then back and forth between our rackets. I have taken a hit to throat, leg, stomach, and head most recently and David fell over himself on a few occasions. We are a sight to be seen. But, what is most important is we have a blast.  Between rallies we laugh out loud, sneak kisses, and roll our eyes at each other for missing a shot. Then at some point we got better, I would even go so far as to say mildly good.

Our rallies are lasting longer, our endurance has increased, our serves stay in and we can actually get through games and sets. Practice and playfulness really is making a difference in our game! And as a result we are noticing those pesky 10 pounds we each have wrestled with since our wedding slowly slip away and our figures tighten up. When we first started this new hobby, I did not think it would last longer than a session or two. It has turned into a positive addiction. Each of us tries to best the other. We challenge each other to play harder, faster, and stronger. To celebrate our new found evening adventure/commitment we stayed in last night to watch the men’s US Open Finals. Inspired by the tremendous game, we head out again! Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 2.14.23 PM

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.

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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 ;)
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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.

florida vacation

In mid July David and I were able to fly down to Florida to visit with his brother, sister-in-law, and their littles. Each year around the fourth of July we make our trek down for a long weekend of fun and sun. This year we met our newest little nephew only 14 days old. When we arrived a tropical storm was trailing us, promising to keep us indoors during the visit.  Somehow though, it broke up allowing us all to enjoy the outdoors. We had a picnic at the beach at sunset, went to a cookout in a local park to honor the Navy Reserve, took walks around the block, had a massive water balloon fight, and just soaked up as much time together as possible. It is always so hard to leave on Monday.  I wish I could pick up Florida and place it right next to Massachusetts so that we are only a short drive from one another.

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Uncle David meets our newest nephew. They are both rocking the same hairdo.IMG_4329

Just a little beach nap at sunset.

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Setting up our camp site. We packed blankets & fried chicken and sat in the sand between sea turtle nests.

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Nothing beats this view

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Did not done a bathing suit this time, but still had to put my feet in.

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The little guy woke up right before it was time to head home. First visit to the beach at just a few days old not to shabby.

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Our niece and nephew splashing around in the waves. They are fearless, beautiful, little fish.

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A little family portrait?  Gosh do I want us to start a family. Holding little boy really made that desire apparent. Maybe someday…

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While we were there, I was reintroduced to ramen noodles and fell in love with that salty, noodle soup

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Kid races at the cookout. About to launch off for the potato sack race.

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David and his littles

life lately according to my iphone

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Puppy playtime with Parker & BusterIMG_4126

A snack at my favorite spot, Flour Bakery
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Walking around Boston in the rain

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Roses after an afternoon thunderstorm

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New haircut. What do you think?IMG_4232

The SoWa Market in the South EndIMG_4231

Some more of SoWa.  Man did we eat a lot that day. Free Samples always get me, and we left with some local treats!IMG_4253

Lunch time at Lola’s in Natick

an hour at jamaica pond

Yesterday, David and I took an hour to sit and relax at Jamaica Pond. The weather was absolutely perfect as we watched runners go by, little kids fish, and dogs edge closer to the water for lick or a swim. It was a totally unexpected visit but we had an hour before we were to meet up with our friends Rodney and Jocelyn for dinner so we got ourselves lost at the pond.

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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:

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  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!!).