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.

Oh Sleeves!

Does this happen in your house? The weather gets a touch warmer, the sun shines a bit brighter, and the general consensus becomes….It’s Spring! You cannot ever say this too loudly in New England of course, because surely if Mother Nature sees the rejoicing, she will inevitably throw one last April snow storm your way. But, this is not about the slow slide into Spring.

In our house, we have a problem. A serious one. Well not so serious, but hilariously annoying. Henry and Owen have plum forgotten how to deal with short sleeves. After over 150 days of cold temperatures and a commitment to cozy long sleeves, jackets, sweaters, gloves, hats, long john’s, and heavy socks, this weekend I pulled out a short sleeved shirt and their world melted. Really though! It all started like a normal morning. We cuddled in bed as a family and laughed and talked about our day. We ate some breakfast slowly and I drank a cup of coffee. Then we headed upstairs to shift into our attire for the day. They slipped on their pants, one leg at a time and chatted about their interests and ideas. No issue when it came to the socks either. Then it was time for the shirt. This item had drastically changed in their 24 hour cycle. With predictions in the mid-60s, it was time to try a short sleeve. Naively, I thought nothing of this moment. It was just part of the normalcy of my own Spring transition. A time of year, that is exciting and much anticipated.

But, for the boys is was HARD and devastating! What the heck are short-sleeves? Why are my arms suddenly exposed? What do I do in the breeze? They fussed quite a bit as I tried to wrestle them into one. THEN once on, they were not impressed. Bottom lips all the way out, it was clear they were not happy with this new development. Each tried harder than the other to pull the little sleeves down their arms. Unfortunately, this only made the shoulder become exposed as it popped out the neck opening! Then came the arm slapping as though that would generate some sort of warmth or coverage. Finally they pulled their arms inside and down their shirts to stick alongside their torsos. And there we were, my armless boys unwilling to give Spring a try and I a tired and sweaty parent not sure how to get them outside to run and enjoy the shift in weather. They won the battle. Donning long sleeve shirts and demanding jackets and gloves too, we headed out. Slowly they shed the gloves, then the jackets. They did not budge on the shirts though. By Sunday, we got Henry into the short sleeves as long as they were batman. Now we wait the little one out. The temperatures will eventually convince them, no?

apple picking in new england

Saturday afternoon I went apple picking with my advisory. These nine students are pretty awesome. Funny, smart, and kind, I am incredibly lucky to work with this group of students and to watch them grow up during their high school years. We headed out to Belkind Family Farm in Natick for some bonding and to continue to build our friendships. It was fun watching them be goofy with one another but more importantly inclusive of one another. I am hoping that this “advisory bonding” can continue to occur this school year. As juniors, they are so close to their final year of high school and it is just amazing how fast time is going!

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Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 1.52.51 PMScreen Shot 2013-10-08 at 1.53.07 PMThat’s right, we got to ride a camel!

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 ūüėČ
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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.

post 1. the great wall.

This wall is a monster. When we bought our first home we were totally in love with it. ¬†It was built the year we met and immediately I felt a connection to this mound of wood and plaster. It must have been built for us, no? ¬†Everything inside is brand new and gleaming with that “never been used before” sparkle. Everything we do to the house will be a first. It is the perfect little nest for our young love.

Except for one thing…the backyard is a bit small. When we first spotted the home and fell head over heels for her flashy looks and sexy personality, we neglected to thoroughly price out the cost of redesigning the yard. ¬†Our realtor seemed to suggest so¬†nonchalantly¬†that to build the retaining wall we would need to turn our sloping hill into more reclaimed flat surface was a piece of cake. Looking around the neighborhoods of New England these field stone retaining walls are everywhere. ¬†How much could it really cost? ¬†Well, the number was staggering. We spent our first year in a sparsely furnished home while we saved, saved, and saved for this wall. I worked extra hours, took on more classes, and even tutored three times a week on top of providing Pilates in the afternoon program at school. ¬†And, after 10 months of this horrendous schedule that left us exhausted and without friends (because when you work like this, you see your friends very little) we had the money to build the Great Wall.

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We hired a contractor/mason we got through a friend’s recommendation (however, I do not hold any grudge or responsibility for this nightmare over my friend). The mason is a nice guy. ¬†A bit chatty but then why not make a friend of the guy who is going to build you a 75ft long x 4ft high stone wall? ¬†Well, he is a slippery one. Everyone always says beware of contractors. And now I know why. ¬†The project timeline is 3 weeks. We are currently at 2 weeks in. The mason has only worked a total of 3 days of those 2 weeks but still demands to be paid according to our original project plan (How do we handle this!?). ¬†It is nuts! ¬†He likes to text and so he usual texts at night with some great line like: “Just wait until tomorrow. I will arrive at 6am work all day and then through the weekend. ¬†You two will get so tired of my face by the end of this.” ¬†Tired of his face? I would love to see his face! ¬†What does he look like anymore?? ¬†I have kept my temper in check which is hard for an orignal Long Islander. I have never once raised my voice or acted out in aggression. ¬†But, I am getting close to my breaking point. All I want to do is see him work like he promised he would so that this wall can be done in a reasonable amount of time. Currently, the front of our beautiful house looks like a disaster zone. ¬†Trees tossed about, rocks and sand and boulders piled sky high and mud everywhere. Geez. ¬†Being a homeowner when a MAJOR project is underway is quite difficult.

Today, I was about to lose my cool.  He promised to arrive at our house bright and early and no sign of him as per usual. I texted David at work and our conversation was as followed:

Me: I am going to go bat suit crazy on this guy should he ever show up.

David: Bat suit crazy sounds awesome!

Me: hahaha! ¬†That’s right. ¬†That is how crazy I am. I am putting on a freaking bat suit!!

David: Haha

By noon the mason finally arrived. At 1:10 he was off to Home Depot. ¬†Back at 1:40 and then lunched for 20 ¬†minutes at 2:30. I have now decided to have myself a glass of wine and to seclude myself in my room. ¬†Being home for the summer with this project going on is going to be interesting. To be continued….

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