Vegas baby

Have you ever been to Vegas?

David and I made our way to Sin City for 48 hours this past weekend. What brought us so far for a weekend you might ask?  Some awesome friends of course!  We were invited to share and celebrate in the wedding of our friends Andric and Amanda. It was a fun trip for so many reasons. First, our friends got married!!!!  What is not great about that.  We stayed at a dump of a hotel which allowed for great stories to follow. We didn’t gamble but we did eat a lot.  We learned how to play craps and I sort of want to try my new skills out at Foxwoods. We saw naked Cirque du Soleil and my goodness are those performers strong. We walked the strip and “people watched” to our hearts content. We drank some interesting cocktails and danced ironically. We saw impersonators and water shows and listened to great music. We did not get enough sleep.  But, we had a good time!  Vegas in 48 hours is intense and exciting and hypnotic and not nearly enough time to see it all.  But, definitely a great place to celebrate our friends!IMG_4918

Landing at sunset in the desertIMG_4919What you might not be able to tell from this picture is that the women with the blond hair is Holly Madison. That is right, she went to the same performance as us! IMG_4922A random bachelor in drag finds his way to Andric. IMG_4924Singing Michael Jackson.  I love how casual the gamblers are about this. IMG_4925

Ugh our unfortunate hotel. We wanted to save money so we went to Circus Circus otherwise known as the mistake in the desert! Sheesh what a sad hotel room that was. Next time we will absolutely splurge and stay at the Wynn.IMG_4926Mornings in Vegas are quiet. Teacher clock still woke us before much of the city. IMG_4928The Wynn was so pretty inside. IMG_4930 IMG_4931

Interesting horse outside of the Wynn. Clearly, having come from Circus Circus this hotel left an impression on me.IMG_4968

The Atrium in the VenetianIMG_4935The Venetian IMG_4937Wine bottle art IMG_4938A little bit of Venice IMG_4939 IMG_4942 IMG_4945Ceasar’s Palace.  Seeing it made me want to watch the Hangover again IMG_4948Got my rings sparkled up at Tiffany’s IMG_4949

Playing craps.IMG_4950

Michelle’s winnings!IMG_4967

The Bellagio. IMG_4954The Paris across the way IMG_4956

ChihulyIMG_4961David and the Groom, Andric. IMG_4965Married People!

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!!

rainy boston weekend

Friday was not at all how I planned. When Colleen said she was coming up for the day, I immediately knew what we would do. Starting with a cozy breakfast at home, we could catch up over some lattes and cuddle the puppies before heading out to the day. The plan would be to spend the day outside in the sun. Cochituate State Park would most definitely be a stop.  Paddle boarding is something I have wanted to try and Colleen is just the gal to be game for it. Then we could end the night over some wine and a cookout. Unfortunately, Friday was a complete wash out. We did in fact enjoy a cup of coffee together in the morning but then had to regroup and figure out what we could possibly do in the rain. Of course there was bowling or walking around the mall or even driving to a museum but none of them were quite right.

Instead, we decided to forgo our comfort and hit outdoors and the city anyway. We drove into Boston, parked at the seaport, and took the T to lunch at the Parish Cafe. After a delicious lunch and few adult beverages, we thoroughly embraced the crumby weather and walked the length of Newbury Street stopping briefly to pay our respects at Restoration Hardware. Then through the Boston Garden and Boston Common we went sharing stories, laughs, and questioning what the heck we were thinking walking through the rain like this? We continued through the downtown crossing to Government Center and through Faneuil Hall for a few free samples from food vendors. We walked along the water back to the seaport and dried off in Flour Bakery over cups of hot tea and an oatmeal raisin cookie. To say we were soaked to the bone is an understatement. We drenched the floors of the bakery and found that our raincoats had done very little to protect us from the deluge. But, then again, we had a fabulous time and a fabulous visit.

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ormond & orlando

The perk of being a school teacher = summer vacation!

No sooner did the school year come to a conclusion then I hopped onto a flight to Florida to spend a long weekend visiting with my family in Florida. After a long, tiring, eventful, amazing, challenging, and exciting school year, I was able to decompress on the beach for three days. Ah….such luxury.

We spent most of our time lapping up the sun. It was so much fun watching Avery and Smith experience a number of firsts.  First time in a swimming pool, first time on the beach, and for Avery first time splashing in the waves.  On the first day, she would not even walk on the wet sand as clearly trusting such a thing was scary.  But, by the last day of our vacation, we could not keep her out of the ocean.  She let the waves crash over her legs, sat in a little wading pool, and played and played in the sun. It was precious. Mr. Smith enjoyed himself too and fearlessly floated (with assistance) in the “big” pool.

On the last day as we piled 8 people (including 2 carseats) into a rental minivan on our way back to the Orlando airport we got a crazy idea. Why not postpone our return one day more and spend an afternoon at Epcot! After a few phone calls to our various airlines, we did just that.  While it was brutally hot at a humid 93F, we had a great time. The kids went on all of the rides although the Nemo ride was the favorite and we ate and danced in the German Biergarten. A truly excellent way to kick off summer 2013!

 

weeds

A weed is defined as “a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth.” In the morning, I stumble out into the backyard with Buster and Bella and face the enemy. The weeds are “vigorously” growing, taking over, and turning our yard into a jungle. Pretty soon, I will need a machete to help me blaze a path through the tangle of dandelions, clover, crab grass, and juniper branches that are overspreading the area. I have nightmares of the weeds crawling their slow plant pace from infiltrating the garden beds up to grabbing hold of the house siding and reclaiming it as part of their nature. I swear when I go out in the morning the weeds are no higher than my ankle but, when I return in the evening, those weeds having basked in the sunny glory of the day are thigh high. We try to yank them out by their roots which they have burrowed through the earth’s crust. Successful removal of one, only leaves a momentary gap for two others to fill with their invading strength. Spring as just begun and already I feel like a tired warrior. The task is daunting and discouraging. Chemical weapons in war are a crime. Do I violate David’s code of lawn care ethics and release a spray of herbicides to deforest the jungle?  I know the weeds are waiting for us to make our decision. There will be no peaceful co-existence.  New to the neighborhood, the pressure of “not being those neighbors” is high.  Are we to be doomed to the category of neighbors who do not “care” about their property?  Yet, we do care…we care immensely.  But, those weeds are stubborn, resistent, and resilient.  Hours of labor one day are engulfed by new Taraxacum officinale and our dent is gone. The battle rages on…

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weekend trip to philly

It might have been a month delayed but Laura, Becca, and I finally made our way down to Philly this past weekend to visit with Kellyanne. From start to finish, we had a blast catching up with our friend and seeing the city that has adopted her. Yes, we tried to hatch a plan to steal her off back to Boston, but life in Philly is pretty nice and I suppose that means we will just have to visit her more often! In Philly for a little less than 48 hours there was plenty we did (including eating fabulous meals) but, more importantly, there is plenty we left for next time!

seriously, where do i work?

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 7.49.21 PMThere is a scene in the movie The Hangover that stopped me in my tracks.  It is not one of its more notorious scenes involving tigers, drugs, or yanking a tooth out.  It is a fast moment at the very beginning of the movie and it left me laughing until tears ran down my cheeks. Bradley Cooper‘s character is rushing out of school having taught a full week of classes.  His wild bachelor weekend is about to commence when a “nerdy” little student rubs up along side him and starts “Mr. Wenneck, I was….” before he can stammer out the request, Cooper turns his flat hand to face the boy stating, “It’s the weekend. I don’t know you. You don’t exist.” Commence laughing hysterically.  It is so funny because I would NEVER say this, but sometimes when the clock strikes 3:25PM on Friday, I wish I could flip the switch from teacher mode into whatever it is I am on the weekend and run down the hall to my car.

I love my job but after pouring out my empathy and passion all week long, I am utterly drained and dragging on Fridays.  The last thing I want to do after classes on Friday is facilitate an afternoon activity.  Alas, this is my destiny.  So there I was today changing in the bathroom to teach Pilates to my 12 students in the afternoon program while envisioning this particular scene from The Hangover.  As I pulled on my yoga pants, grabbed my mat, and walked to the room we transform into a “yoga studio,” I knew I had failed to fire up the Bradley Cooper in me.

I stretched on the floor with the students and before long, I felt fully present with them.  Breathing heavy, stretching, and doing slow flow Pilates exercises is a sure way to reboot a LONG Friday afternoon. With ten minutes left to the class, one of my ninth grade boys came in and asked if he could hang out in the room while he waits for his carpool.  Since it was Friday, I agreed that he could join us.  Announcing to the Pilates kids that “in 4 minutes it will be time for Savasana,” the ninth grade boy got up and disappeared. I did not think much of it, perhaps his carpool arrived, and continued to lead our last exercises.

As we closed our eyes for Savasana, the ninth grade boy returned with his guitar. He sat down on the floor, dimmed the lights, and began to play Blackbird by the Beatles.  It was such a beautiful, random moment.  Instead of laughing hysterically from a cynical scene about teaching, I started to cry totally overwhelmed by how special this school is, how special these students are, and how I am so lucky to work each and every day with these thoughtful, messy, curious, funny, sweet and so-much-more kids. Pilates on a Friday afternoon was the best thing I could I have done before heading out to the weekend.  Being appreciative even when you are tired is always a good reminder. Happy Weekend!

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The Big E

Have you ever eaten so much fried food in one day that you quietly listened at night to your heart hoping that your arteries wouldn’t slam shut?  That is life after attending the Big E.  Home of the biggest country fair in New England, the Big E is an amazing country fair held in West Springfield, MA. From the minute you walk through the entrance gate you are assaulted by laughter, cheering, and the delicious aroma of fried goodness.  The fair grounds is packed with the traditional carnival rides, games, and food. Add to this local agriculture showcases, farm animals, petting zoos and state specialties and delicacies housed in miniature replicas of the state houses and you have a truly spectacular Fall weekend!  It was our first time attending the fair and it definitely won’t be the last. David and I ate to our hearts content, shopped through the miles of craft and kitsch, and sped through our quarters like lightening as we tried to win carnival games!  How did it feel to be 12 again? Awesome!  However, for the rest of the week, we definitely need to only eat veggies!!