Tag Archives: Summer

Road Trippin

24 Aug

When we got home from camp, we had three days to wash everything, pack it all up, run 17 miles along the gorgeous Jersey shore, and settle in for the unfortunately familiar drive from NJ to KS. Oh, and of course, we had to hit Strollos one last time after watching the church softball game.


The next morning we all crammed into the van, where there was not one inch of the van’s interior that wasn’t covered with our stuff!



It actually wasn’t too uncomfortable! Everyone had something to lean against and sleep on. It worked out perfectly except when we stopped for bathroom breaks. It was quite the obstacle course to get in and out of!

Road trips mean special snacks!


After a long day of driving, we rolled into Indianapolis to stay with friends for the night. It was a-mazing! They have a huge piece of property that includes a lake, a bridge over the creek, 3 basketball courts, rolling hills of grass, and of course, a gorgeous home that includes an ice cream shoppe in the basement! It was nicer than staying at the nicest hotel, especially because we got to enjoy it with friends.

The next day, we got back on the road for the 8 hour drive to KC. I chuckled when I saw the city skyline in the distance. After seeing so much of the NYC skyline, this one is a little underwhelming. But it was still exciting to see because it meant that home was just down the highway!


Plus, it was fun to drive by Kauffman and see KC Royals – 2015 World Champions!

We finally got to our home for the year and were welcomed by Nana and Grandpa and Linus the dog.  Wasn’t I just packing all this stuff up? Now I have to unpack it???


Red Sox/Yankees

11 Aug

We survived the summer! I just sent the kids off onto the bus for their first day of 7th, 4th, and 2nd grade, so I’m going to take the few quiet minutes before Simeon wakes up to continue catching up!

One of the best and most memorable night’s of my summer was going to a Red Sox/Yankees game with my dad! I had to borrow his XXL Boston gear, but I couldn’t NOT wear Red Sox paraphernalia to Yankee Stadium!


We rode into the city with two guys from my dad’s church. They are die-hard Yankees fans, so it was so nice to tag along with someone who knew exactly how to navigate the Bronx!

Even though we have strong negative feelings towards the Yankees, it was pretty amazing to be at Yankee Stadium!





We got into the city in record time, so while we waited for our table at the in-stadium Hard Rock Cafe, we went to Memorial Park at field level.


It was such a fun time! It rained for about 15 minutes. It wasn’t enough to delay the game, but I left our seats and took cover because I was afraid that I’d get cold. Rain here is cold!


I’ve heard that Yankee fans are especially harsh towards Red Sox fans (about as harsh as Red Sox fans are to Yankee fans at Fenway), so I was too scared to cheer too loudly when we scored, but we were surrounded by a bunch of Red Sox Nation. My dad even started a “Let’s go Red Sox” cheer! It was answered by a much louder, “Let’s go Yankees” cheer!


BIG PAPI! It was so fun to see everything live.


It was such a fun night with my dad, especially because the Red Sox won!

Last month….

2 Aug

Wow, so much has happened since my last post! I want to just shut the computer to the tune of out-of-sight-out-of-mind, but I just ran 17 miles today, so my legs are totally cool with parking it on the couch with the laptop. So blog, I will.

Since my last post, I had a birthday! Everyone was here for it (except for Josh, who was en route from Chicago with our car), so it was extra special.

Mackenzie made a cake for me and Sarah brought cannoli! They are one of my favorite desserts, and Sarah knows a guy…

In addition to the celebratory desserts, I picked pizza for my birthday dinner. No prep, no cooking, no clean-up – just the way a mom of five likes it! My mom also took me shopping at some of my favorite stores. I couldn’t take a break from marathon training, but I allowed myself a break from pushing a faster pace. It was a perfect birthday!


While everyone was still visiting, we headed back to the beach. We were a comical sight with all of our kids and beach gear!


My parents church is a couple of blocks from the beach, so rather than pay to park on the beach, we parked at the church and walked.


Simmy was a gem at the beach! He didn’t really like the sand, so he hung out with us under the umbrella on the beach chairs.



He ventured out when he saw his cousin, Audrey, laying out. He even stole her pink hat and struck poses that can only perfectly describe him as a beach bum.


On the way home (look at those sun-kissed cheeks!), the group in the back row was getting unruly, so I told them to fold their hands until we got home. When I looked a few minutes later, the twin gems were both folding their hands even though they hadn’t been told to. These two twinkies crack me up and I have oh-so-many stories of their week here.


Summer = peaches and beaches, amiright?


Another fun family outing was our trip to Jenkinson’s boardwalk

We didn’t have Josh or my brother there because they were living it up in San Diego at the MLB All-Star game, courtesy of PepsiCo. But we tag-teamed and were able to all have a blast and only lost one kid for a few seconds! My phone died fairly soon after we got there, so I only have a couple of pics.


The little kid swings


The big kid swings.


Jackson = such an 8 year old boy. He saw the name of this ride and shouted out to the world that this ride was a bad word!


These two were mesmerized by the ride in front of them. It just spins and spins you right ’round baby, right ’round. They ended up going on it 3 times in a row! Mackenzie was big enough to count as an adult who could accompany small children (shhhhhh), so I asked her to go on it with her little cousins. The poor girl felt so sick after riding it two times in a row!


That night was topped off with some italian ice from Strollos, our favorite Jersey shore hot spot. We’re leaving the shore tomorrow, so we made sure to hit Strollos one more time! We’re going to miss our italian ice, but we’ll probably be so much wealthier now!



We’re Best Together!

18 Jul

My sister and her family arrived in town just over a week ago! We had such a blast together. Her girls are so adorable! They are hug monsters and say the funniest things. We kept telling my sister to write them all down, because you think you’ll remember your daughter saying, “Mom, I have to whine. Whining is my thing!”, but you forget!

Anyway, the cousins all loved being together 24/7. Here they all are, piled together on a tablecloth, eating Klondike bars.IMG_1594

The day after they arrived, my sister and I ran the Belmar 5-miler together. It was down by the ocean, and such a great course! Unfortunately, the weather was crummy. Or rather, it was crummy for my tropical blood. Everyone there LOVED the cool air and light sprinkle. I warmed up once we started running, but the wait was brutal for me!



Our family was waiting for us at the finish line! We thought that we’d see them sooner on the course and when we didn’t, my sister yelled, “Where are my people!?” But they were there, cheering us on to the finish, with towels and hugs for us!



This sign was waiting for us in the elevator when we got home. Oh…yeah….my parents house has an elevator.


The girl cousins all got together and had a tea party with Grandma’s fine china! My mom is Canadian, and they love their china up in the Great White North, so she has some of her own, some of my grandma’s, and some from other friends and family. It doesn’t get used much, so a girls tea party was long overdue!


A couple of nights in, Grandpa huddled all of the kids together for a team meeting. He was eloquent and loving, but I could’ve said it in 4 words—Stop breaking my stuff!


We discovered that the beach was the perfect place to take all of the kids. It’s constantly changing, which keeps them engaged. There is no clean-up (if you don’t count the sand in the car, their clothes, the shower, their room, their hair, their shoes…need I go on?). The best part— It burns all kinds of energy!


We went a bunch of times, but the first time was in the evening. Actually, it was at 8pm! I still can’t get over it, how great the light night’s are.



The twin-cousins loved playing on the shoreline together.


I was chilly, of course. It was 75 degrees, but feels so cold at the ocean! The kids were playing in the water, but my toes weren’t going close to the waves!

The mansion has a great little playground in the shade of a big tree, so even when it’s sunny and hot, the playground is very pleasant! Simmy loves his personal swing.


This picture was just seconds before my little nephew discovered a wasp nest under the slide and got stung 5 times on his leg! Poor little guy!


And…to wrap up this post for now…a snapchat beauty.


7 Jul

The weather has been too gorgeous to stop and be on the computer, but now it’s 90 degrees out, so we’ve cranked on the AC and plopped down on the couch for the afternoon. Perfect for blogging. And Pinteresting. Hopefully I won’t get side-tracked!

A couple of days after we arrived in the US, we headed out to a Sunday School picnic where my dad was speaking. I was floored by how gorgeous the weather was. We’re so not used to being cool and comfortable under the blazing sun! The kids went straight for the playground.


Deacon also discovered that he LOVES baseball!


One of the friends from my parents church rolled up in this this ride that day. My dad asked him if I could take it for a spin. I immediately shouted, “Oh no! Not happening!” I’m still road-shy at the moment. Driving in the anything-goes PI makes me too nervous that I’m gonna do something illegal here! But I did make sure to take a pic in it, since it’s Josh’s favorite car.


Oh! We also had to bring a dessert to the picnic, so Mackenzie and I went to work, looking up fun summery desserts. We settled on this berry trifle that was delish and so fun to make together.


The next day was a little warmer so the kids ran and jumped in the sprinklers for a long time! Short of having a bounce house made of gummy bears, this back yard is a kid’s dream.


That afternoon, we went to the grocery store with my mom. It was overwhelming and wonderful. I was going to buy ravioli for dinner because it’s Bella’s favorite and we can only get it occasionally in the PI. So, when it is available, there is just one kind and it costs p800. When I got to the freezer section of this grocery store, there were about 5 different brands and 10 different flavors. I could’ve spent a half an hour trying to find the perfect one! It’s so mind-boggling to be able to find anything you need or want!

Anyway, when I finally made it to the check-out, the kids had their first experience bagging groceries!


A few days later, it was my parents anniversary, so we took them to the Shrimp Box, a seaside restaurant nearby.

At the front, they have a sign that shows how high the water got during Hurricane Sandy (the storm that cancelled my first marathon in 2012.) The water line was devastatingly high! Caleb is demonstrating how he would swim through the madness.


Amazing scallops. I took this one to send to Josh, who was still in the PI.


Simmy has been loving a hot bath at nighttime, followed by a warm snuggle from Kenzie!


Where am I during all the bedtime routines. Oh, I’m right over here, with my chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Thank goodness for marathon training!


My parents have been regularly walking on the boardwalk, so one night we joined them and played on beach while they exercised. It was really beautiful there!


Oh right. This is 8pm! Long days never get old.



Another beach favorite here is Strollos Italian Ice. We’d go every day if we could!


Cousins arrived!!! My brother and his family live about 45 min away, so they came down for the 4th weekend. This was a little pre-4th feasting, so as to stretch our stomachs out before hot dogs and apple pie.


Josh finally joined us on the 3rd! I showed up at JFK with a Josh-version of a bouquet of flowers. Chipotle and Vernors.IMG_1520

This guy was happy to have his daddy back.


That brings us to the 4th of July!

Between Caleb and Simeon, this Lil Firecracker onesie has been worn on the 4th for 4 or 5 years straight!


My dad made bubbles and special wands to make huge bubbles. Kids and adults had a blast with it!



I was introduced to Kan Jam, a frisbee lawn game. It was pretty fun and Jackson and I teamed up for the win!


These two have been inseparable since they got together. They are our adorable blonde twin cousins. They’ve been getting along so well that we decided to do a kid swap for a few days. They took Caleb and Bella and we took Jackson.


Our crew headed to the beach to play in the surf. The kids loved it! We went during Simeon’s nap, so I loved being able to relax in my beach chair while the three older and capable kids boogie-boarded. Shoot, we should go back today. Like, now.


Literally the day before the TODAY show did a segment called, “More parents getting Snapcha,” I downloaded the app, per the request of my friend. We’ve been wasting all kinds of time since then! But look, so cute!







Mackenzie’s (almost) 11!!

3 Aug

This is always the busiest week of my year, with school starting, volleyball tryouts, and not one, but two kids birthdays! Mackenzie was all for celebrating her birthday early, so we had some girls over for a sleepover last week.

We took them all to a local arcade and gave them tokens and tickets galore! They all spent most of their tokens on the claw games, and two of them actually won stuffed animals!


We also did bumper cars and the indoor mini roller coaster.


The highlight of the day was Josh winning 3,200 tickets!!! He found a game where all he had to do was knock the jackpot football into the goal. He did it 9 times, and had a crowd of people watching him collect the winnings. He gave the birthday girl all the tickets and she traded them in for a Lalaloopsy doll.

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Meanwhile, I took Caleb on some rides. #deltoidenvy!

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After all of our tokens were spent and the tickets traded in for prizes, we headed home and ordered pizza for the girls. They took it all down to the pool and dined poolside while they swam. It was so blissfully quiet up in our condo!

While Mackenzie and I were brainstorming what to make for a birthday cake, we collaborated on a great idea! Mackenzie and her friend made chocolate chip cookie dough the day before, and we put giant scoops of it into our Aussie meat pie pans. Then the girls mixed in their favorite candies, and we baked them. After cooling for just a few minutes, the girls each ate their warm, loaded, cookie pies topped with vanilla ice cream. They were amazing and so easy!

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They followed up with a Just Dance dance-off. I’ve heard those songs so many times that when I hear them in the mall or on the radio, my body just wants to start doing the dance moves from the game!


After that, they snuggled onto mattresses in the living room for movies. They started with McKenna’s American Girl movie, then Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (a sleepover essential from my childhood), Kit’s AG movie, and Molly’s AG movie. They all outlasted me in the sleep department, but were already up when I left at 6:45am for a run!

Mackenzie had a blast and wants to do it all over again next year! I can’t believe my little girl is almost 11. My first 11 years seemed to last forever, but hers have flown by for me! Josh and I still use inside jokes of things she said when she was 2 years old. We are completely and overwhelmingly smitten with our girl!


Happy Campers

10 Jul

The girls just returned from almost a week at camp. They LOVED it! It rained pretty much the entire time they were there, but they didn’t mind. Everyone was muddy and soggy together.

It was Bella’s first year to be a camper, but she’d heard about it so much from Mackenzie, she seemed like a seasoned veteran! It’s Mackenzie’s 3rd year and she actually will get to go back next week for the older kids camp, a perk of which only 6th graders can avail.

They came home with all kinds of stories and highlights. There were five winners picked for the costume contest, and both Mackenzie and Bella were picked! It was a superhero-themed week, so Mackenzie was (lady) Captain America and Bella was Thor. Thanks to their brothers, they both had head-to-toe gear and weaponry.


Caleb was not happy that he wasn’t going anywhere! Even Deacon was packing up to go to a friends house for 2 nights. Caleb packed up his R2D2 backpack just to feel part of the crew!

Thankfully, we had something special planned. Since we were down to a family of 4, we used a coupon for a free hotel night and had our own sleepover! Caleb was pretty thrilled to have something of his own to look forward to.

He even got his own cotton candy! The boy has only known life with at least 3 sibs, so he was pretty excited to have pretty much all the attention! No having to share cotton candy with Simmy!


They both made themselves at home on the big bed.


It worked out nicely because Simeon had an immigration appointment on Monday, and the office is right down by the hotel, so instead of fighting traffic for a couple of hours, Josh just popped over there in 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, Caleb and I hit the pool. It was STILL raining, so it was pretty cool for us tropic-dwellers. (Realistically, it’s in the high-70’s) I was wrapped up in big beach towels while Caleb swam. It’s crazy to believe how hot it was a few weeks ago, when we went to the beach with Josh’s mom!

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It’s STILL raining. We don’t get a single drop of rain for about 6 months, and a week ago it started and hasn’t stopped. We have four buckets out, collecting the drips from leaks in the condo, and everything feels damp. But we’re so happy that it’s finally cooled down!