Happy 2019!

We might have gone to bed around 9:30PM last night, which I know is totally lame, but we did wake up early and watched the sunrise on the first day of 2019. I am excited for the next 365 days and to see all the ways this little family of mine continues to grow and explore together.

Over breakfast we chatted with the boys about how sometimes people like to set goals for the year ahead and if they had any in mind for themselves:

Henry “to play legos, ride my bicycle, learn to tie shoes, and do dishes.” Hahahahaha um….yes to all of those particularly the dishes one!

Owen: “to read books, go fishing, and ride my bicycle.” Yes yes yes! Let’s definitely get outside and try new things.

David: “to foster relationships, to not check his phone in the middle of the night when he wakes, and embrace vulnerability”

Me: “to keep making pottery, be actively engaged in with my family, to positively encourage and love those around me”

Portland overnight

When I was kid, probably an early teen, my parents would go away for a “romantic weekend,” in the Poconos. My brother and I would always laugh and laugh at them thinking there was just no way that sounded like fun. But then David’s mom and step-dad said they would babysit our little guys for us for an overnight stay in Portland, Maine and well it was

AWESOME!

We missed the boys so so much, but it was also so so fun just being a couple again. It felt like we time travelled a decade. Back ten years into our past when we would just slowly meander about, kiss more, explore more, and eat at all the posh locales. It felt exciting and a little tummy-butterfly-nervous to be away together. We were tourist in this little coastal city together and explored the fun of a new place. Deciding to eat well, lunch was at Duckfat and consisted of delicious local beers, Belgium frites and mayos, a pear and porchetta salad and we shared a brisket with Asian slaw panini and a tomato, bacon, goat cheese panini. Dinner was over at Fore Street where the line started fifteen minutes before the doors opened and we enjoyed some tasty drinks at the bar with a lovely older couple before sinking our teeth into an outrageously good charcuterie. David had the pork loin served with some Brussels and an insanely delectable cranberry bourbon reduction and I inhaled a monkfish with bacon shiitakes and polenta. The flavors were so good, I want to eat there every night. We saw so many pottery shops, and window shopped up and down every street. Stopping in bookstores and pantry stores throughout the day to warm up for a few minutes and look through the wares.

It was clear that with a little extra band width, we could be totally smitten with one another and have such a playful time just the two of us. Chatting all day and talking through topics from future plans and dream travels to memories and ideas we hold dear was so luxurious and beautiful. Dating on this little excursion with David was delightful and I am super grateful for our moment away and hopeful for future adventures both with the boys and just us two. It was so sweet to reconnect so intimately with my husband and best friend and we talked so much about how our lives are changing now that the boys are older. We can see more of these easy excursions with them too. They are just so damn good and getting to be so damn easy that things are really feeling different in our neck of the woods. But little vacations for just us are also so damn good and needed too!

Thanksgiving: Part II

At certain points, it felt like the universe did not want our thanksgiving travels to go down. Some of the occurrences were very small and easily dismissible except when added to the other crazy events surrounding them, then the signs were clear! This trip was disrupting some homeostasis. It all started like every Thanksgiving break with the insane end of the Fall Term. In 7 days time, teachers are tasked with wrapping up course content and student work, grading any remaining products, writing finals, grading said finals, lesson planning for the new term of brand new courses with brand new students, writing comments which is approximately 150 words per students, proof-reading colleague comments, uploading grades, and any other loose ends that inevitability have to be tied. It is a bananas timeline and you can feel the faculty stress levels boil over. But this frenzy is sadly “normal.” I was ready to “tackle” this in order to squeeze into a break with my family. The other pieces though only more deeply complicated this already wacky time.

Henry broke is leg. To be exact, he broke the femur growth plate and ended up in a cast from his toes to his hip. He refused to walk on it for quite some time, and then found moving even short distances both frustrating and exhausting with his heavy green “hulk leg” cast. Over a few days, he adjusted but the concern was: How will he navigate the epic trip which includes flights, Disney, and the beach? Then David burned his arm, because our oven never properly cooks anything and we had a suspicion that it was not rising to the appropriate temperature, David was on a mission. To catch our sneaky oven in the act of under-warming, David bought a thermometer to hang from a rack. But, he forgot that racks get hot and burned a giant letter I in to forearm leaving him with a bad-ass wound and a tender limb.  When driving home from work the next day, I pulled over to a random urgent care because I was tired of being so tired and started to think it wasn’t just the lack of work-life balance anymore. Alas, it was walking pneumonia. With three days left to our departure, we were a mess. I could not breathe or keep my eyes open, David was trying to manage the house, grading was piling up, and Henry was incapacitated. Then my sister-in-law called to say she had a horrible eye problem and we all held our breath! If her issue did not adjust in the next 24 hours she would need to be hospitalized and our trip should then just be called off because the universe was starting to laugh at us little too hard.

In the morning light, Jessie was convinced her eye was improving so we packed our suitcases only to be hit by winter storm Avery! Six inches of snow fell and we braced for flight delays and indeed landed in Orlando at midnight. Waiting for over an hour on the jetway, our stroller had gone missing. My reaction to this “not so terrible occurrence” was to lose my freaking mind. Everything suddenly hinged on whether or not we had that stroller to navigate this epic trip with our son with a femur cast. The children were melting down to epic proportions because it was almost 1AM and we were waiting for over an hour and they were so exhausted and tired and frustrated and I was about one second away from throwing a tantrum right on that carpet next to them. When we finally boarded the Mickey Bus to bring us and our chaos to the hotel, the charming driver turned on her Disney princess voice at 2:30AM and declared, “Good Morning and welcome to the magical Disney bus!” and I nearly lost my head from the intensity of my rolling eyes. We got off the Magical Express and left behind our sweatshirts on the bus because losing something other than our minds was needed and we crashed in our beds to only wake up at 7AM exactly 4 hours later. But, all of the other members of our travel team slept in, and David and I just started to laugh the kind of laughs of unstable people, because all of this happened and we were in literal shambles and everyone was crying and we were about to start our first day at the Happiest Place on Earth.

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We did pull it together and we did have a great time, but Smith also did puke to add one last moment of chaos to the journey, but overall these were the parts of the trip that social media usually glosses over but the parts of the trip that were so real, and so ridiculous that we inevitably had to go from there!

 

 

Thanksgiving: Part 1

Traveling for the holidays will inevitably be rife with challenges even under the best of circumstances. But while this might have conjured hesitation, when we decided to head down to Florida with the kiddos, my brother and his family, and my parents for a week in the sunshine, we knew it was going to be an excellent time. Seeing Henry and Owen with their cousins is more magical than Disney, but going to Disney it also pretty magical.

We spent the first two days of our vacation in the “world’s amusement park capitol,” and hustled our way from fast-pass to fast-pass along with 7 billion others. Despite what you might be feeling, it was not as claustrophobic as it might seem. Jessie did an insanely amazing job pre-planning the Disney extravaganza which helped us navigate the rides and break up our day with perfectly timed meals and breaks. Epcot was our first destination and since everyone was partying it up over at the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s 90th birthday party (which we had not idea was happening), the park was pretty quiet and we were able to ride on some of the attractions multiple times with no wait. This definitely helped when the Nemo Ride was a big smash hit for the boys. We ate and drank our way through England and Germany and left feeling blissful content, full, and ready for bed. Our second day at Hollywood Studios was a little less smooth in that the crowds were more present.  With Toy Story land opening in June, the desire to ride on the slinky dog roller coaster was outweighed by the over 2 hour long line to do so. But we had a great time on Toy Story Mania and the Alien Ride and taking in the intricate details of the Disney’s imagination for the space. Smith even got to be the “Kid Director” for the Indiana Jones Spectacular which he literally talked about for days leading up to be chosen at random to fulfill his dream. Talk about having the best day ever!! Owen force pushed Kylo Ren and we ended our night with our best meal of the trip over at the Boathouse in Disney’s Springs where we ate one slice of baked Alaska that took the restaurant 5 days to prepare and was carved into massive heaps able to fill the bellies of all 10 of us.

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From Disney we drove across the state to the beach. Eight years ago, David and I got married at the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast. It was crazy driving back up to the front gate of the resort now with our kids and reflecting on how much our lives have changed and how much life has just happened in 8 years. David and I got to walk through the spots where we had our ceremony and reception and re-imagine some of the highlights together. We took our kids with our family to the beach. Henry was confined to a beach blanket in order to keep sand out of his massive cast but he was SUCH a trooper and just played in the sand and brought lego man down to build a world for them. Owen was also the sand king and sat beside Henry savoring the texture of it, while the rest of us looked for shells, put our feet in the ocean, and played silly games. My favorite part of this segment of the trip was the mornings waking up to the sunrise. For some reason, the boys slept in everyday which allowed us to wake gracefully and watch the sunrise over a cup of coffee and in jammies.

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Then we blended the families! David’s dad lives not too far away and one afternoon we packed up the troops and headed out to the woods to visit. It was so nice having the opportunity to see his Dad and step-mom, grandma, brother & his family, as well as, a cousin and his family. Then my family arrived and all the kids played together inside and outside of the house. They launched a potato cannon, toasted marshmallows, and wrestled each other. My favorite part was watching them hug goodbye because you could see the connection they made even in that short visit. Getting to grab on to my sister-in-law, Heather, and her family was such a treat after not seeing them for a long time. And it was so crazy to be able to pick up right where we all left off over some wine, laughs, and good chicken!

This was probably the first vacation where I came home and did not immediately wish for more time to decompress. It was a nice mix of Disney Mania, Beachy Breezes, and Family Bonding.  I hope you had a positive Thanksgiving too!

With Love, Becca

My dear friend Becca, over at With Love, Becca is sort of a rockstar.  She is hilarious, like big belly laughs hilarious because she is willing to show you the real side of life as a working mom. We all know that it can be quite unglamorous, full of hustle & bustle, feelings of success, and often feelings of failure. I sometimes imagine that life is like the quintessential circus performing song on in the background while you spin 2 dozen plates of “the many demands on you” in endless circles. But then maybe that is too melodramatic. What I do know to be true, is that Becca’s stance on life is finding the humor in the moments when you are ready to throw your hands up and scream “My life is a dumpster fire.” And to me that is pretty magical. We all know that life gets in the way of life, when you are running late from work and need to do daycare pick-up and then get home and find a mouse on the floor in your house and think great add it to the pile. So when I get an update from Becca’s blog, I know that she is about to share a glimpse into her real world and that this glimpse will be full of humility, kindness, insights, guidance, and belly laughs. I hope you go and visit her site and stay there for a while. It is good for your soul, trust me. Sometimes now when I see Becca, I get a little starstruck. It is silly to say out loud, but she is doing such amazing work with her blog and becoming more and more retweeted, and shared, and growing her platform because her sh*t resonates so much.   Add to this all the ways in which she is supporting women through her guru work in career development, entrepreneurial guidance, branding, and marketing and I forget that I have known this crazy, cool lady for almost 2 decades and no matter how many more people in the world get to see her amazingness and no matter how many people love her for all she gives out and shares, that she is still my dear friend and timelessly available to laugh and connect. She is the realest deal and has helped me shake off my “imposter syndrome” around my pottery by giving me a platform on her blog to share like a professional potter because she is that kind of friend.  You know, the kind that believes in you when you are covered in self-doubt. She is the person in your corner always. Whether you need a hug or a kick-in-the-ass, Becca is the person you want in that corner and you want to be reading her blog starting today, right now, go over there!

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Thursday moment & a broken leg

This one has to go out to little Henry who found himself at the hospital on Thursday with a broken leg! Our sweet little dude jumped from a cubby at school on Monday and then had a normal day. At bedtime, he started to express discomfort but we hugged him and loved him and wished him sweet dreams. In the morning, things changed. We woke to him crying out from his bed that he could not get up. Not sure what was wrong with him, I carried him downstairs and set him up on the couch with a little snack, a little blanket and a little TV while David and I got dressed and ready for school. A few minutes later my mom arrived and sat with him and the two of them started their morning with Owen joining in shortly. We kissed goodbye and backing out of the driveway, David and I headed out for a normal work day. About 15 miles from home, my mom called and said that Henry was inconsolable. This wasn’t just a bruise or a pulled muscle. He was crying on the floor and unable to take himself to the bathroom. Immediately turning around, it was time to bring Henry to the hospital and his pediatrician agreed. After a long walk from the parking garage to the hospital entry, in which Henry was quite uncomfortable, we finally made it to the doctor’s office. A few Xrays later and Henry was getting his “hulk leg” cast to stabilize and immobilize his leg which showed signs of a break at the growth plate of his femur. For the next three weeks, he will be donning this new look. He was so brave throughout the process. He waited so long in multiple doctors’ offices, then had to experience his first Xrays, followed by a full leg cast, and having to be carried in the pouring rain back to the car with a bag on his leg. Not once did he complain or fuss. He just cuddled and played with his toys and answered all the questions that the doctors asked as his team worked to locate and understand the problem. He even laughed a little while we tried to make it to our car as quickly as possible while the heavens poured down on us. It is crazy to say this, but seeing him tackle this and conquer this just makes me fall in love with him all over again because he is crazy brave and crazy cool and just the sweetest little guy.

Fall in New England

Yes, we had the most beautiful and basic New England fall days this weekend. We have less then 14 days until the end of the school term and what I like to think of as the official kick-off of the holiday season and this past weekend was a glorious lead-up. From time spent together, to time spent outside, to a date night finished off with a kids ice cream sundae for each of us, it was a quite good one.