Thursday, July 31, 2014

Oh, Home. Sweet (Old) Home.

My goal for the day is to get some laundry done.  I managed to wash the kitchen floor on Tuesday morning, which was a huge success that lasted about an hour before Thing 2 (insert laughter here) started tossing her snacks from her high chair.  Then Thing 1 came home and wouldn't take off her shoes.  The dog came in, and the floor was again covered in dirt.  Good times.  Mommy swept for the 3rd time, then got out the vacuum again.  Boy, that was so much fun.

When adults foster the dreams of children, they create this perception that life as a grown up is so much fucking fun.  Some day, you are going to grow up and be whatever you want to be.  You can do what you love, you can have your own home.  So romantic.

Owning a home is a lot of work, and my husband and I have a "shit that needs to get done" list which continues to grow longer with each passing year.  It's not that we haven't tackled any of the items on the list, but when one item finally gets crossed off, another two or three are added.  It's endless.

I love our house.  It's older than any living person in my family (except Babci), but it's lovely.

You can see in this picture that my husband needs to get some work done on weeding the walkway.  It's a total pain in the ass.  I've attempted to help, but I really don't like doing yard work.  Anyhow, we fell in love with the house as soon as we saw it.  It's a 1922 Colonial Revival, and so much of the original detail remains intact, like the slate roof, the glass door handles, the hardwood floors.  It even has a garage, which is more than I ever dreamed of in a home.

One fun detail about the garage is that the door opener sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.  So, on a day when I have somewhere to be--like today when I had to drop off my daughter at school--I sat holding the remote pressing the button relentlessly, looking I'm sure like a freaking maniac as I banged the damn thing in my hand.  Bang. Press.  Aim.  Shake.  Press.  Nothing.  I drove off with the garage door wide open.

What is also a really good time, is that our driveway doubles as a swimming pool when it rains.  You can see the drain in this picture above, but you shouldn't make the mistake of believing that the drain actually works to run the water out of the driveway into some far off land.  There was one storm when my husband got out there with a broom and was trying to swish the water off to the side yard so that it didn't overflow into the bulkhead.  We bought Thing 1 a pair of rain boots so that she could jump in the driveway "puddle", but it collects so much water, it's actually more like a pond and is too deep for her to stand in.  So. Much. Fun.

Above you can see that the breezeway door might fall down with the next gentle breeze that flows through.  The door needs to be replaced, then the roof because it too leaks when it rains, thereby serving the valuable purpose of protecting us from inclement weather as we pass from garage to home sweet home.  Yes, that's our dog Mary.  She's barking at me.  We have a deep love-hate relationship.

What really burns my ass is when shit like this happens.

Putting up a fence in the back yard was a HUGE accomplishment.  It was great to get that off the list.  Then a tree falls on it?  Really?  While it seems that there is little to no damage to the fence (thank the sweet LORD), it does add "remove tree" to our growing list of shit to get done.

Another fantastic finish was replacing the toilet in the downstairs half bath.  So exciting.  We no longer need to turn the water on and pull the top off to flush when the little one has to pee and won't make it upstairs.  As luck would have it--and I'm not kidding--it wasn't even a week before that new toilet was installed when the sink in the upstairs bath started leaking!  Sweet child of mine.

And so it goes, right.  This is what being a grown up is all about.  Sure, all of this is in part due to the fact that the house is so old, but my sister's house isn't nearly as old, and they have had to do a lot of work in the few years they have lived there as well.  It's just part of owning a home.  

I love my house.  I do.  I just wish that This Old House would come here and fix things up for us (before the tree falls on a neighbor's house) so that we can start a new list of things that need fixin'.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sign me up!

Well, I know it's hardly a blogpost, since all I am really doing is self-promoting, but that's what I've come up with for today, ladies and gentlemen (are there are out there actually reading this?).

I got my first "paycheck" from a book store this week.  I'm not sure how I am going to spend all $4.79, but I have a few ideas.  One of which, is to buy more of my own books to give away to all my delicious fans who are just chomping at the bit to get their hands on the hard-to-come-by hard copy available on  I think I can get two author copies with this check.  So, for all you memoir writers out there, when someone asks, "was the financial windfall from book sales worth putting your family secrets in print?" I assure you, yes.  I'm well on my way to being a hundred-aire.   Of course, even if I ever were to break $100, I'd still be in the red, but --as most authors will tell you--it's not about the money.  As you can see here,, the median income for authors and writers in 2012 was a whopping $55k.

No, this is really why I share my stories.  A book review like this.  I've been so moved by the heartfelt and compassionate responses I've received that I feel somewhat sure that the decade long commitment to this book was worth it.  Yes, I wrote the book for me, and it was a catharsis that helped me have the courage to stand before the magic mirror gate and not run away screaming.  But, I also wrote the book for so many other people, for so many of my students who believed (quite shamefully) that their families were fucked up because they had an uncle or a father in jail.  A drug addict for a mother.  A brother who died in a drunk driving accident.  A father who was murdered.  A father whose name was in the headlines of several newspapers for illicit activities.  These are kids who felt embarrassed by where they came from because EVERYONE knew their stories.  These are the kids who didn't realize that EVERY family had secrets that never made the news.  Some believed terrible things about themselves, their families, and their potential for success in the world.  While some of them dedicated themselves to scholarship, others turned to drugs.  Some even overdosed.  Some continue to fight their demons in silent shame, and some will never win that battle.  We are all screwed up, and that's nothing to be ashamed of.  Even the Brady Bunch was messed up, man.

Anyhow, I got lost in thought there.  The real goal of today's blog is to get you to sign up with your email address or "follow" my blog.  If you do, there's a signed copy of Finding My Way Home that will find it's way to you!  Or, if you get 10 people to "like" my author page on FB, you can win yourself a copy of the book as well!

Stay tuned for a chance to win #assfold t-shirts!  If you just can't wait for the chance to win one, you can order them now

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

And Let's Not Forget Sri Lanka

For a highly anxious person like me, the current events of the world are enough to make me never want to leave my house.  Even in saying that, though, I think to myself, maybe I'd be better off in an institution.  The world is a shitty mess right now, and I can't help but think that the end is near.  I'm wired that way.  Yes, the Prozac helps a little bit, but it can only do so much.  The rest is, as they say, up to me.

So, somehow I have to will myself to find peace and serenity when I can't even find produce at the local grocery store.  No, my Hannafords is not the store that is in the midst of a high profile protest, but it is right across the street from the Market Basket, so EVERYONE and their fucking cousins have crossed the street and completely corrupted my otherwise delightful grocery shopping experience. Yesterday I had to play frogger in the parking lot because people were ready to run pedestrians over to get the one open spot in the lot.  Ordinarily, there's always a front row spot.  I want my grocery store back.

Then I remember that these are my first world problems.  And honestly, the stupid grocery store fiasco is not what haunts me when I think about the chaos of the world.  I don't understand the problem with the Gaza strip.  It seems like a pretty simple solution would be to open the borders and allow the flow of commerce to provide opportunities for a better quality of life for the Palestinians, but what the hell do I know?  There's a video making its way around Facebook, some Dennis Prager dude who "concisely" sums up the Israel-Arab conflict by blaming the Palestinians for wanting the Jews dead.  I had to shut it off half way through because I didn't feel like I was learning anything that would help me understand how the situation has reached the point of air attacks and ground invasions.  I hit stop and thought, "please don't let me be the only one who thinks this is propaganda."

Let's not forget the situation in Sudan, the immigrant children, the shot down Malaysian airline.  It's like every day with this non-stop craziness.  I don't know how these people live through this shit.  I'm way over here in the comfort of my own home, and I'm paranoid as fuck that we are all going to hit the red button and blow each other up any second now, and the one voice I keep hearing in my head is that of Patrick Bateman.
I'm off to the dentist.  It's a great day so far.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Potty'd like a Rock Star!

Well, as we all know from this blog's readership, I am NOT special.  I think the number of readers has gone from 3 to 12 depending on the topic, but let's be honest, no one really cares.  I'm not some fashionista journalist who used to work for Vogue advising on the latest trends that ought to make your closet this Fall, and I'm ok with that.  I like my mediocre life.  I'm not special, I'll barely make a blip on the radar screen of human existence, but I have you fine ladies to call my own, and that sort of makes my life rock a little bit.

Speaking of rockin...and rollin, you know that I did the Rock 'n Roll half in Chicago this weekend.  It was such a great weekend, made better by the fact that it was also my birthday.

Perhaps some of you know the story of my 40th birthday.  It was just last year, about 6 weeks after Fiona was born.  I wanted to go to see Bon Jovi because, let's face it, I was the target audience for that tour.  I'm a middle aged white girl who grew up "Livin on a Prayer", and now the only Bon Jovi songs I hear are the Rockabye Baby renditions.   When I heard that tickets were going on sale, I thought for sure all my girlies would want to go.  Gravity is having its way with our bodies, and it's been years since anyone has asked, "lay your hands on me".  Right?

"Who's with me?" I asked.  "It's now or never!"  Turns out none of my friends wanted to go to the concert. (In fairness, K would have gone, but she was out of state at the time) Out of pity, my husband offered a half-hearted, "I'll be there for you," and suggested that perhaps he and I could get tickets.  Realistically, that wouldn't work given that I had an infant on the breast every 2-3 hours.  While I wanted to "Never Say Goodbye", it quickly became clear, that my youth was behind me.  I was as old, fat, gray, and boring as I felt at six weeks postpartum.

I didn't go to Bon Jovi, but we did go raspberry picking at a farm.  My family graciously joined us at a restaurant to celebrate the big 4-0.  It was my siblings, my kids, my nieces and nephews, my parents, and my aunt, and we had a great dinner thanks to my husband, who tried to plan something fun even though I was a crazed hormonal lunatic who cried every hour and screeched in pain from the torture my nipples suffered each time the little babe latched on.  When we got in the car, I cried all the way home.

Now is a good time to fast forward to #41.  My friend Jen and I joined my cousins in Chicago, and we stayed at a fantastic hotel with the most lovely outdoor pool.

Radisson Blu is the way to go if you are visiting Chicago in the summer.  How is this for a gorgeous evening city view?

We had a blast, and for the whole weekend, I was a VIP.  Seriously.  I paid $195 for it, but it was worth every penny.  Friday night we got to see the Billy Joel concert from a roof top bar at Wrigley field, and we enjoyed complimentary (VIP) drinks and food.  Then, on race day, we had FLUSHABLE toilets with NO line in the VIP tent area.  We had coffee and breakfast before the race, and we returned to receive a massage, a full breakfast, and complimentary drinks post race.  Hello mimosa.  Yes, I'll have another.  It's not even 10:00 am, ok my third drink will be straight up prosecco then. There was even a charging station for cell phones AND they handed out ice cream sandwiches.

I know it was gluttonous and unnecessary, but it made me feel really good to celebrate myself and all that has happened for me this year.  Everyone deserves to feel as special as I did this weekend, and every woman should be able to come home and have her husband say, "I'm so glad you had fun!  That's awesome."  Every mommy (and daddy) should have a few days away from her kids because they can be little skootches, and we all need a release.  When my daughters saw me yesterday, the smiles on their faces could have lit up a midnight sky.  I missed them terribly and wanted nothing more than to hold and snuggle them forever.

I'm back in the comfort of my home with the piles of laundry that need washing and the dishes piling up in the sink because our dishwasher is broken.  I'm not a very important person, but for a single weekend, I felt like I was, and before I returned to the normalcy of my working middle class life, I sure as hell went down in a "Blaze of Glory!"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What do you see?

The Adam Ezra Group is one of my favorite local bands that I've been following for years.  These lines from their song, Do You See is one example of why:

we are social creatures bound
upon the ones around
to value and define
our status all the time
yet still i try so hard
to omit and discard
that notion generally
what do you see

I think about this song all the time.  Mostly because I'm self-centered and the world revolves around me, so I'm constantly wondering/worrying/fearing about what other people think of me--both as a physical being and a person.  In sick ways sometimes, like if I died today, who would come to my funeral and what would they say about me?  I do hashtag searches of myself on twitter to see what students have to say about me.  I google myself to find the most mundane information because I'm really not that interesting.  

One of the most frustrating facets of being a human being is our tendencies toward narcissism, and during these summer months when the weather demands that we show more skin, I become more obsessed with worrying about what my body looks like.

I might have mentioned in a former post that I bought a bikini--a little Trina Turk inspiration to help keep me conscious of my caloric intake.  This little number right here...

Yes, that is me, I swear (wink, wink) my life on it.  I look pretty fabulous, huh?  

Of course my husband is the one person on earth who actually WANTS to see me in this swim wear, so I've done my duty as a good wife and sported the thing for the past two weekends.  Last Sunday we were at the beach, and I was feeling particularly whale-like and self-conscious about my belly blubber that won't go away even 14 months postpartum (MB, don't you dare mention the donut topped with ice cream and caramel sauce that I had for dessert yesterday as a potential reason why the blub still jiggles). 

I like to play a little game of figure matching sometimes.  I saw a couple approaching, and the woman was wearing a bikini as well.  She looked something like this, which I don't find unattractive at all.  
In my head, that is about what my body must look like.  So, I said to my husband, "see this woman walking toward us?  That's pretty much what my body looks like, right?"

He looked, then said, "No.  You look different."  I found this response completely fucking useless.  Different?  What the fuck is that?  Is that tantamount to the ambiguous "interesting" which is saying something while saying nothing at all because you don't want to be offensive.  Different, as in, you are bigger?  Smaller?  Toner?  Flabbier?  WHAT DO YOU MEAN, DIFFERENT?

A few minutes later, after the woman was a good distance away, he said, "No.  She was much bigger than you."  

Really?  Come on?  I say.  "That's pretty much what I see when I look in the mirror."

He ignored me and continued playing with the girls, and I assumed the conversation was forgotten.  I still felt flabby, but I cared a little less about it after seeing other women walking around with an air of confidence or complete disregard for what they looked like.  It seemed, in fact, that no one gave a shit about me, my #assfold, or my belly.  My husband thought I looked great, I feared I looked like a two ton tessy, but aside from that, no one really cared.

As we were packing up to leave, a gorgeous little thing, looking something like this, walked by with her boyfriend.
My husband turns to me and says, "that's what you look like."  I burst out laughing.  

"You wish," I said.

"Well, it's as off in the opposite direction as you were off with the other woman," he said. 

"Which means I'm somewhere in between the two?" I ask.

"Yes," he laughs.  "You look great, honey."

Really, is that what you see?  Because I just don't see it.

Monday, July 14, 2014

If it's only a problem when it's a problem, then how do I know when it's a problem?

When I first met my husband almost 7 years ago, he was riding high on the single hog of life, enjoying his new digs, new job, new hood, and--if I dare say so myself--life with his new lady love.  We spent a lot of time sharing good conversation over many bottles of beer, absinthe, or wine, simply because we were care free, young, and falling in love.  It's what you do, right?

I had been in a relationship with a self-proclaimed "alcoholic", and given my extended family's history with the drink, I was always somewhat fearful of drinking too much.  Not only was I afraid for myself--mostly because I absolutely hate bed spins and hang overs--but I was also a drink counter for the men I dated.  AWFUL place to be people.  Let's just say, that as my relationship with my husband grew more serious, I was doing a lot of mental addition.

We had lots of conversations about the lifestyle that we wanted to share together, about the kind of parents we wanted to be, and the level of drinking that would be unacceptable in order for us to create this healthy home.  In one conversation, he promised something along the lines of, "don't worry.  I don't want to be the kind of dad that ruins my family because of drinking."

"Well, good deal," I might've replied.  "What person goes into creating a family hoping to fuck it up by being an alcoholic?" I asked.

The good news is, NOT my husband.  Sometimes I look at him and forget that I ever feared his excessive drinking, but I do remember spending many hours with my therapist trying to figure out if I had legitimate reasons for my worry.

"Well, it's only a problem when it's a problem," he said.

In hindsight, that sage wisdom is true for the man I married.  It wasn't a problem, and there was no need for alarm.  In fact, the irony is, that today I'm writing about my drinking.

I've had spells where I stopped drinking all together because I couldn't justify why it was ok to drink when alcohol is such a lethal drug that destroys so many families.  I worried that I'd be a hypocrite if I told my children that they couldn't drink while I sipped on a glass of wine.  I feared that if I couldn't go without it at all, then perhaps that was a sign that I needed it, which meant there was a problem.  I spent nearly three years sober when I had my girls.  I didn't touch a drop of alcohol during either pregnancy because I was afraid that my DNA wouldn't be strong enough to combat the long standing battle it's been fighting with alcohol.  Then a friend told me, "everyone needs a release."  It's true.  I enjoy a night out with friends in which we partake in convivial libations.  My husband and I like our Friday night pizza and beer routine, and I just enjoyed a couple Corona's with my dad this very afternoon.

But I've been drinking a lot this summer.  Almost every day, never more than three, not to the point of drunkenness, but habitually.  Routinely.  Daily.  And last night we didn't have any beers in the house and I really wanted one.  Is this a problem, or is this just relaxing and having a good summer?  I give myself permission to drink during hours of the day when I would ordinarily be working.  I consume more drinks in a week that I do over the course of several months during the school year, but I justify the pop of the cork by telling myself it's only one or two.  I'm not getting drunk.  Does that make me better than the person who only drinks on the weekends but drinks to gluttonous excess?  By whose standards?

Oh Cheese and Crackers...I think I need a drink!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The world is not your trash bag!

Yesterday I was driving route 129 through Lynnfield to Swampscott, and I happened to be behind a blue Honda Civic in which four teenagers were traveling.  I could have sworn I recognized the boy as one who just graduated, but I couldn't really identify the girls.  Except one.  To be fair, I'm only 87% sure it is the young girl I am thinking of because I could only see her mug through the side mirror.  What's important is not who she was so much as what she did.  Yup, she tossed a handful of trash right out the window.

SERIOUSLY?  What an ass hat!  I wanted to get out of the car at the red light and give the girl a good hollering, but I didn't, mostly because I had my two kids in the car, and I was afraid that I would end up getting arrested as a crazy person for defending my right to a clean environment.

Were it only this singular incident that I witnessed, I *might* not have been so overcome with rage, but it seems there are lots of filthy fart tards in this world, and they are really burning my ass leaving their trash around.

Exhibit B--we went to the beach on Sunday, and a family of four--two adults and two teenagers--sat comfortably in their beach chairs while they watched their snack bag blow away in the wind.  Another inconsiderate jerk left a plastic water bottle behind as if someone else would take care of it for him.  Where do people think all this trash is going?????  How do you think this happens?

I'm sure you've all (and by all I do mean the 4 of you who are reading this) heard that there is no one worse than a reformed smoker. Well, I'm going to give truth to this expression.  Yes, I used to smoke butts.  And yes, I used to throw my butts out the window of my car because--selfishly--I did not want my car smelling like stale smoke.  ASSHOLE.  I know.  Ironically in confessing to this civic crime, I am also going to tear apart the stupid pieces of shit who do the exact same thing I used to do.  The butt out the window enrages me almost as much as the second hand smoke.

Call me a hypocrite, but at least I'm holding the mirror up to my face and being honest about what I see.  Perhaps the butt toss bothers me so much because I know that I, too, was often guilty of committing this wrong.  If I hadn't quit smoking almost 15 years ago, I might still be throwing my butts to the wind, but I would also be a lot heavier, in poorer health, and definitely not married to my husband, so life would all together suck for me.

I'd probably be one of those people who asks for my meat in plastic bags even though it is already wrapped in plastic AND I put it in a clear plastic bag when I chose it from the meat cooler.  How much plastic does one package of meat need?  In fact, how many plastic bags does one shopper need?  Certainly not a single bag for every item!  I'm nearly yelling at my laptop now.  Exhale.

But trash dumping and waste production has historically been a global issue, and not one from which many Americans can escape blame.  This piece from CNN really resonated with me as it evidenced the progress we have made in social trash tossing. I loved Lady Bird's expression of why she used her position to influence social change as much as I love the outcome of her efforts.  She said ,"Ugliness is so grim. A little beauty, something that is lovely, I think, can help create harmony, which will lessen tensions." 

So, I have to feel better knowing that I have changed, and that there is great evidence of change in the world around me.  Because life doesn't suck, and the earth is an amazingly fragile and tender gift on which we get to walk every day, right?  Did you see the moon last night?  Absolutely brilliant, and today is a brand new day.  So please, don't anyone go pissing me off because my husband has the kids, and you don't want me to get out of my car!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I've completely fallen for Her

Before having kids, my husband and I watched a lot of movies.  We were on a good run, getting every penny's worth out of our Netflix membership.  I binge watched Nurse Jackie and Weeds and ordered every movie Ryan Gosling ever made.  Then I made my way through Christian Bale's famous and obscure films.  I fought with my colleague over what was or was not a great picture (note:  I love Ryan, 
but Drive might be the worst movie ever!). Then along came the baby, and suddenly my money's worth turned into donations.  I cancelled my Netflix account.  I'm lucky to see 9:00 on a Friday night, and I've given up hope of being able to sit through a movie that is longer than 90 minutes--which is never a good one.  Of late, the best I hope for on a Friday night is to make it through two episodes of The Big Bang Theory.  I digress.  He's so dreamy.  

Anyhow, when I think of my top 5 favorite actors, for some reason Joaquin Phoenix doesn't come to mind, maybe because of his little cross over into Crazy Town, but the guy is a phenomenally talented performer.  I absolutely loved him in The Master, though I didn't care that much for the film.  But Her, was a performance worthy of an Oscar if I have ever seen one.  I remember my cousin recommending it last summer--she saw it in the movie theater (fancy girl) when it first came out.  I'd forgotten about it until a friend recently mentioned it again.
The film is brilliant in its quest to define the boundaries of love that human beings will inevitably cross in our relationship with technology.  Here Theodore is at the acme of happiness as he explores the seas with his love, Samantha, his intuitive and personalized operating system (OS), in his front pocket.  The very idea that a man could fall in love with his OS seems to the viewer a bit pathetic and inconceivable, but the story is set at an undefined time in the future where such a relationship has become the norm.  Theodore doesn't hide his love affair, and we learn that several others are engaging in affairs with their own or their friends's operating systems. Society's willingness to accept these intimate relationships with OSes begs the question, what is love?  

There is something so light and honest in the love that Theodore and Samantha have for each other that even the "body" Samantha hires to engage with Theodore on a physical level envies what they share.  The blurred lines between physical and emotional love are the greatest challenge for these two, that and the fact that Samantha is incapable of monogamy, because she's not real.  She's an OS after all.  By design, she serves thousands of users.  So the film poses yet another question, "do we have a claim to what/whom we love simply because we love it?"  Is it possible to be in love with multiple people at once?

Theodore's failed relationship with his ex-wife appears to have robbed him of all joy, joy that he can not find with any other woman.  Why then, does he so quickly and so easily fall for Samantha?  Is it because she is not real or because she feels so real?  Does his love for her make him odd or all the more human?  

I watched this flick over two weeks ago, and I can't stop thinking about it.  Yes, I did fall asleep in the last 20 minutes or so, but not out of boredom and not without a fight.  I had to go back the next day and pick up where I left off, and I was glad to have the time to reflect and process some thoughts before taking in the final scenes.  The ending really touched my heart, though it answered none of the philosophical questions posed.

Spike Jonze gets a big high five for this one.  While it was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, it won only Best Original Screenplay.  I've deemed it the most underrated film of 2013.  The script was beautiful, the acting so impressive, and the setting so ambiguously futuristic that it could be only a few years or a few decades from now.  In a world where Siri has become a common household name, and few of us can detach long enough to have a conversation without interruption from a text message, we can all relate to the confused intimacy that envelops Theodore in his loneliness.  If you haven't seen it, check Her out.

Monday, July 7, 2014

I'll drink to Fairfax County!

On my ride back home from Virginia to Massachusetts, I stopped in Worcester, that's Woostahh, to meet a friend for lunch.

"I can't believe you drove down to Virginia with the two girls by yourself," she said.  Yes, ladies, that is where I have been.  Enjoying all the fun-filled, family activities Fairfax County has to offer, from the Reston Zoo to Ticonderoga Farm (I'm obsessed with this place).

Ticonderoga might be my favorite place ever.  It has a giant bouncy pillow, which is fun for adults and kids, fire pits for making smores, a bamboo maze, a mountain of slides, an assortment of lawn games, playgrounds, and hay rides.  We arrived at 10:30 and somehow lost track of time while the kids played and the grown ups relaxed in the shade.  It was 4:00 before we packed up to head home.  A blast.

Burke Lake Park is a new favorite of mine.   A gorgeous 4.5 mile wooded trail circles around a lake where one can swim or paddle boat or just sit and take in the view.   The kids can play on the playground or ride the carousel or the train through the woods.  There's mini golf and picnic areas.  Simply delightful.

We spent so much time riding, rolling, biking, skating, running, and swimming with our cousins/in-laws that we had no time for blogging.  Mommy got her morning runs in, we all enjoyed our afternoon swims, but more importantly, Mommy and Auntie granted each other permission to crack open a bottle of "patience" every afternoon when we needed to cool off from the humidity and/or the 5 little ones.  As I was pouring my 3rd Lime-a-Rita, I started telling a story which began, "I don't really drink that much...", but I stopped myself.

In truth, I don't drink a lot.  My husband and I started a "no drinking during the week" policy as a New Year's Resolution, and he lost a visible amount of weight.  It didn't really change much for me.  Now that the summer is here, though, the wine might as well be Crisco. I am smearing on pounds with every sip.  As my sister said to me the other day, "I feel so much better about life when I'm drinking."  Of course, she was joking, but the summer time is fun, and until school starts again, my greatest stresses are about how I am going to entertain my kids for the day.  That's it.  So, I was able to really unwind and enjoy my vacation--and the few extra pounds that I picked up over the week were worth it.

So, here's a toast to the kick off of my summer.  My sister-in-law and I entertained each other and five children ages 7 and under with little more than a few bug bites--ok a lot of bug bites--going wrong.  We packed and planned and fed and drank and slept and played and chatted way too late into the night, and it was loads of fun.  Now the girlies and I are back home, enjoying beach days with daddy and BBQ parties, fun time with family, and swimming with friends.

It's summer.  We're celebrating living it up until Mommy has to go back to work. Until then, when the noon bell tolls, I will be toasting to good friends, the love of family, and summer cheer!  Stock up on the Moscato, chill the Slumbrew Happy Sols, and keep a bottle of Skinny Girl Margarita on hand.  Let's all unwind a little bit.