trying to find myself and humor in life

Archive for the tag “Summer”

Hail, Hail go AWAY!

I am not loving the Daily Prompts the past couple days, however, I told myself I would do them so here goes.

Daily Prompt: You’re at the beach with some friends and/or family, enjoying the sun, nibbling on some watermelon. All of a sudden, within seconds, the weather shifts and hail starts descending from the sky. Write a post about what happens next.

I foresee 2 very different endings for me.

#1 Beach WITH kids: 

It’s hot and it feels like we have been at the beach for hours (it’s only been 2 hours). The kids are fighting over a broken shovel

Mommmmmmmm Jake took the shovel! It’s MY shovel give it back! MOM Jake hit me with the shovel.

and the husband is passed out in his beach chair. God it’s hot, did I mention it’s hot? Now Lucas needs to use the bathroom.

The twins want a snack but are whining, as they stand on my clean towel,  because the chips taste like sand since their hands are caked in wet sand.

Jake get back over here, you need more sunblock, I yell while digging through the 40 bags we lugged to the beach. Ugh, where did I put the sunblock?

The sky gets dark and in seconds the umbrella is flying down the beach. I am just about to “run” after it when suddenly giant pieces of hail start falling from the sky.

YES!! It’s a sign from the heavens.

Kids, wake up dad and let’s pack it up! We are going for ice cream!

#2 Beach WITHOUT kids

I’m settled in my lounge chair under the umbrella with a pina colada in hand. The sun is shifting and I contemplate moving my chair to absorb some of the rays – I know the sun is bad but a girl needs some vitamin d.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, I sigh, this is THE life.

No kids AND no husband. Just me on the beach with my drink and my bestie.  Mrs. Jeter is with me napping in the other chair, an ear bud dangling by her neck.

I am so glad we were able to sneak away and pull this little beach adventure off. The nanny thinks I am at work at an “off-site meeting” and Jeter told her husband she had a conference.

We met up at a secret rendezvous spot (i.e. Panera Bread) and changed into our “resort wear” in the bathroom.

It’s not an all-day adventure, we only have a few hours (3.5 to be exact) but we plan on making the most of every last second.

On the way down the Parkway, we relived the beach days of our youth – summer shares and nights on the boardwalk – as we listened to the beach play list Jeter made.

Life is good.

Hey, why is it so windy? Wait a second, where did the sun go? Jeter, wake up, what is going on?!

OMG everyone is packing up and running off the beach…is that hail falling??? 

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO not today, this is my day!!!

Jeter and I look up at the sky and then at each other.

Simultaneously, we each pull up the hoods on our cover-ups, move our chairs under the umbrella and grab the umbrella’s base.

NO WAY we are leaving. We’re Jersey girls, a little hail can’t scare us off the beach!

Thanks for reading and Happy Hump Day!


Thursday Ramblings and Mom Guilt

Hello and Happy Thursday-before-the-big-Labor-Day-2013 weekend.

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about the upcoming holiday and the unofficial “end of summer.”

On one hand, I am THRILLED the kids will be going back to their “normal” schedules. There is no more washing of beach towels and the sun is setting earlier so I will hear less of MOOOOMMMMM I can’t go to sleep now….the sun is still out! at bedtime.

The flip side is that it is the END of summer.

Overall it was a good summer. Some months were better than others – July kicked ass and August no-so-much – but it wasn’t too bad.

The kids got to go to the beach, pool and Dutch Wonderland. Heck, they even stayed at a real farm back in June even though they don’t really remember. They saw some movies and got to hang out in pjs all day once in a while.

Looking back though, I wonder if I did enough with them. Were they really entertained? Will they look on the summer of 2013 with fond memories or tell me Mom, we never did anything when we were little when they are 20???

Yesterday the twins had their well-visit at the pediatrician and when she asked them if they did anything fun this summer M said No, not really so I guess that answers my question (lol).

I was talking to my work neighbor Sam earlier today about kids and the mom-guilt I have felt lately. I blame this almost entirely on Facebook and the posts and pictures of all my “friends” on vacation with their kids. Nothing is more depressing than seeing all the things that you did NOT do with your kids.

Let me tell you, I have some pretty fortunate friends because their kids went to  Disney World, Bermuda, Jersey Shore and a bunch of other places I can’t remember now but do know I saw pictures and even “liked” a few.

I know…I know….I am not supposed to compare myself to others. Kids need love not stuff. The boys will look back and remember that I loved them.

This may be partly true but I happen to know from experience they will also look back and tell me all the things they didn’t have – like maybe every Lego set in the Lego store at Freehold Mall.

Lately I have thought that I am not the best Mommy out there. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t completely suck and I LOVE those boys to death but I am not THE best by any means.

I have accepted that I’m not one of those fun, crafty moms that always has an activity planned making even the littlest things into some great adventure.

Maybe because there are SO many boys in Casa Chaos, I rely on them to entertain each other. After all, the twins are WAY more fun at playing pirate with L than I could ever be right?

This is not to say I lack all good mom qualities. I am VERY good at hugs and kisses. Kissing boo-boos and finding a “favorite” t-shirt or Lego figure.

I can coördinate pick-up and drop-off schedules, camp drop off and bath time. I know who likes homestyle Eggo waffles and who despises Eggo pancakes.

I know L will eat apples (red or green) cut up or whole but J will not touch a green apple if his life depended on it. And don’t even think about passing off anything other than Pepperidge Farm raisin bread to J.

Parenting is just a big life lesson I guess. Kids do not come with any sort of instruction manual to help parents navigate the roller coaster ride of life. A lot of times you just have to go with your gut and pray you made the right choice.

If you don’t, you can’t beat yourself up too long. Mistakes are part of life too and your kids shouldn’t expect you to be perfect – Lord knows our parents weren’t all the time right??

Last Saturday the boys and I had some extra time on our hands after sneaker shopping. It was around 6pm and the husband was trying to get over an upper respiratory infection.

The thought of taking them home and listening to them kill each other over swords, Legos and the iPad was not appealing.

Then as I drove down Route 130 North an idea popped into my head How about ice cream for dinner??!! At first the kids thought I was insane. Ummm… Mom, you don’t eat ice cream for dinner, M said.

Why not? I replied. Come on, let’s go to Dairy Queen and have any kind of ice cream you want! YAY they all yelled in unison over the KidBop 25 cd.

And eat ice cream we did. Over ice cream and milkshakes we laughed as L attempted to eat a sundae and J ate an ice cream cone sans ice cream (don’t ask). We even managed to get a table with an umbrella.

On the way home we stopped at a park and M learned to pump his legs on the swings and they all posed for a picture on the slide (possible xmas card photo???).

As we walked back to the van, the sun was setting and M ran up and gave me a big hug. Thank you Mommy…thank you for everything today. I loved it all!!

Maybe 2013 was not the absolute BEST summer ever for the kids (they are only 7, 5 and 3.5) but hopefully, they were happy and knew they were loved.

Dinner al la Dairy Queen

Dinner al la Dairy Queen

Mommy and some men

Mommy and some men


Random Monday Thoughts

Wow can you believe today is July 1st??? Wasn’t it just April Fool’s Day??

The beautiful Garden State has been a bit soggy the past week and today is no exception. As if the 100%+ humidity isn’t enough, what’s a monsoon (or 2) while you walk to your car – or fight with your 3yo and attempt to strap him into his car seat?

And now for some Random Monday Thoughts…

1) Thank Goodness for having a Plan B

Last week I blogged about my twins upcoming 7th birthday here and their obvious discontent for the “surprise” outing to a minor league baseball game. The husband and I did not back down, and had all intentions of dragging taking the twins last Thursday night.

Even when the weatherman (is that un-PC to say?) predicted a tornado watch and flash flooding, we were set to make the trek to Bridgewater, NJ AND have fun.

However, the husband and I did not take into consideration M’s sudden “illness” that struck halfway through dinner at the local diner.

Afer complaining about the air conditioning, and his sandwich and his lack of Skylander Giants, M turned to my husband and started complaining of a stomach ache.

Within minutes M had an ear ache, joint pain and a “fever” and J was asking how many minutes we had to stay at the baseball game.

Assuming M was not hit with a case of malaria, I looked to the husband and said should we just take the kids to c-h-u-c-k-ie c-h-e-e-s-e?

The husband, being the husband, looked at me and said Huh? (spelling is not his strong suit).

No lie, I spelled Chuckie Cheese (I know it’s “Chuck E Cheese” but it was easier my way) 4 times before just saying the damn thing out loud – to which the kids yelled YES!!!!!!!!!

The next 2 hours were a blur of music, yelling, video games, ice cream, tickets and excitement as the twins had (and I quote) the best day, birthday, EVER! Thank you MOM!

I guess there is something to be said for a Plan B.

Happy Birthday Boys!!

Happy Birthday Boys!!

2) My Buddha Baby

As most of you know, my now 5yo was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in January 2011. Previously, I have talked about some of the challenges, and successes, we, rather J, has experienced since his diagnosis.

J has come a LONG way since 2011 and I am beyond proud of him and how hard he works. However, having a child with ASD is like riding a roller coaster – there are ups and downs and just as you get used to one thing BAM! you are hit with a new “thing”.

For example, J will be attending Extended School Year (ESY for those of you who are “cool” with the school district lingo) beginning in the middle of July.

ESY is a 5-week school session designed to prevent kids with disabilities from regressing over the summer break. While I am thrilled that J can attend ESY, the draw back is that school was over on 6/24 leaving me (and J) with over 2 weeks of no structure – the kryptonite of ASD kids.

Routine is to ASD as peanut butter is to jelly or ying is to yang. Just mention “change of routine” to an ASD parent and watch them physically cringe at the thought!

I did some brainstorming in the spring and came up with an idea for J. His 3yo brother attends a daycare (a/k/a country club like facility) near my work and maybe they would take J for 2 weeks in July and 2 in August????

I begged talked with the owner and the school was able to find a spot for J. Now for the hard part, preparing him to go to a new school, new kids and completely new routine.

Terrified I talked to his teachers, aides and therapists for weeks. These women are true saints. They not only listened to me, consoled me and offered me advise, Miss Lyn even called the daycare in advance to talk to the teacher J would be getting.

Over and over (and over and over) they told me Nicole it will be fine…this is good for J….don’t underestimate J.

None of it mattered, my stomach was in knots and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. For the past week I dreaded the thought of today’s drop-off.

Would he cry? Scream? Run or freak out? Worse, would he do that new, weird head-hitting thing of his???

Last week J and I took the twins to camp. J was SO excited for them and kept telling me he wanted to go to camp too. It was like a lightbulb went off over my head. That’s it!! I’ll tell J he is going to camp next week with L!!!!!!

All weekend I planted the “camp” seed with J. Even the twins went along with me and told J how much fun camp is and all the great stuff he would do. Yesterday I even got him a new lunchbox to bring with him and he was thrilled.

I slept terrible last night, I was so nervous about drop off today. At 4am I just stared at the ceiling and wished it was September.However, I put on a brave face and made sure to greet J with a huge smile this morning.

Are you ready for camp today???? It’s going to be SO MUCH FUN!! I said even though on the inside all I  wanted to was cry.

The ride to “camp” seemed like it took forever (it’s down the road from where I work). When we pulled into the parking lot my stomach ached and a feeling of dread came over me. I put a big smile on my face and said You ready for camp J?! To which he said YES!

All my worry was for nothing. God bless that boy! He walked into that school with the biggest smile on his face and said hello to everyone. He walked into Miss Danielle’s classroom and looked like he was right at home.

J was all excited when he was asked  to choose puzzles or blocks to play with and gave me a kiss goodbye before he went and sat with the kids.

I walked to my car speechless.

A little while later I emailed someone at daycare to see how J was doing. This was the exact response I got “The sweetest little happiest boy, the best in the class!”

I don’t know what the rest of the summer will bring but there was a lesson learned today – Never underestimate J.

1st day of "camp"

1st day of “camp”

My Summertime Woes

School is officially over for all the kids – except L who goes to “school” (a/k/a daycare) all year. I have read on Facebook, the past couple weeks, posts and comments from friends who are happy summer is here.

Some of these friends are teachers so that’s understandable – 2 months off. However, for those who are parents, especially working parents, how can they be THAT that happy?

Summer stresses me out completely with the kids. School is my rock, my 9 month, 180-day guaranteed place for the kids  M-F, 9-3.

Sure there are breaks, in-service days, holidays and snow days but for the most part, school is a constant. I don’t have to worry about who is going to watch the twins while I am at work. I don’t have to come up with activities to keep them occupied once the tv, Ipod Touch, Legos, toys, dvds, etc. become boring after an hour.

When school is in session, I also don’t have to use up all my vacation/sick time because camp is over and there are still three weeks until school starts back up.

I guess my complaining is moot, after all, there will always be a summer break. Don’t get me wrong, I like summer – longer days (except when trying to get the kids to bed while the sun is still out), beach trips and afternoons at the pool.

Summer break just stresses me out a little and, more importantly,  makes me have to adapt to yet another morning/evening routine with the kids. Seriously, you have no idea how much time is added to mornings when you have to apply sunscreen to 4 squirming boys (lol!).

That being said, I guess I need to focus more on the positive and appreciate that the boys are still kids, kids who get excited to play in the sprinkler at camp and will still let me apply the sunscreen.

I’ll leave you with this. When the twins and I pulled into camp this morning, M was commenting to me about the awesome playground (I must admit, the playground at this school is 110x better than the one at the twins’ school – in the same town). Our conversation went something like this:

M: Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy?? Do you see the playground? You see it?

Me: Yeah, that’s a pretty cool playground. Did you guys go outside yesterday?

M&J (in unison): YEESSSS

Me: Did you have fun?

M: Yes. Mom, mommy, mom…do you see that circle thing over there? (pointing out the window in the 3rd row of the van as I am driving).

Me: What? That thing? Yeah I see it. That looks cool (hoping I am looking at the right piece of equipment)

M:’s the boys’ secret playhouse. No girls allowed. We sit underneath and pretend it is our spaceship and we have lockers for our space suits.

Me: Do you? Wow!! No girls allowed at all? Not even 1?

M: No, no girls!

Ahhhh to be almost 7 years old again!

Happy Tuesday everyone, thanks for reading.


Today is my last day of work until after Labor Day. Technically I will be “on vacation” next week but to me it doesn’t really seem like a real vacation.

Vacation is when you go someplace, stay in a hotel and eat your meals out. You pack a bag with your favorite clothes and head off for a week of fun (preferable with some sun and adult beverages). On vacation you are worry free and relaxed, enjoying every minute of your much-needed break from life.

My vacation next week will be a little different. I will be home, mostly alone, with all 4 kids since their respective camps/schools are over. We have to get haircuts and new sneakers for school. The twins have a dentist appointment and if the husband can get a couple of days off work we may get to go see the trains in Strasburg and squeeze in a visit to Storybook Land.

Sure we will eat a few meals out and there will be adult beverages but there will be no rest and relaxation for me. I know, I know, it is not about me, it is about the kids but you know what (to quote my son M), that’s not fair!

Everything I do is for the kids, the husband, my family and sometimes even the dog. Working, cooking, cleaning, laundry, coordinating, planning, refereeing, doctoring etc. really leaves me zero time for myself. I can’t even manage to hide in the bathroom without the door being kicked open (literally) and a little boy asking me what you doin’ mom? Lately I can’t even make a doctor appointment from my desk at work without hearing that I am doing much personal stuff.

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but this has been one hell of a summer. We have dealt with cancer, sickness, hospitals, jobs, kids, school and money. At this point I am just exhausted – mentally and physically. September will be here soon and the twins start K and J is starting a new ASD program at his school – the fun never ends.

Ok..ok, I will take a second to focus on all the positives in my life. The kids are healthy and they had a great summer. The twins absolutely LOVED camp and L did better than anyone imagined at his school. J’s speech increased dramatically and he is socializing more.

We got to go to the beach a few times (I even got tan for the first time in years) and took advantage of the pool in our complex. M lost his first tooth and J is getting his very own “big boy bed” soon. Our kitchen is finally complete and we are rid of Nick the Contractor.

I guess overall it was a bittersweet summer filled with good and bad. I made some mistakes but I absolutely learned from each one (now if I actually follow what I learned is a different blog for another day).

So maybe my “vacation” won’t be filled with umbrella drinks and naps on a beach but I won’t have to get up at 5:30a and come into work and hear about how I need to be remarkable either. Plus I will get to spend a little quality time with “my men” before they go back to school and start growing up.

I am sure there will be MANY blog worthy things that happen next week. Fingers crossed that I will actually be able to sit at the computer and document each and every one – with a glass of wine in hand.

T-minus 7 hours and counting until VACATION!


My Summer Happy Song

Smiley Face

Smiley Face (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My taste in music is far from cutting edge. I used to be a “top 40” kinda girl but now I find myself gravitating toward the “light fm” or “great for the office” kind of stations. It’s not all bad, it’s a mix of the 90s and today (ok, it sounds worse than it is) but it is important that I be able to sing along, or at least bop my head along, to the songs playing.

Mrs. Jeter makes fun of me all the time, she is able to sing along with current songs on Pandora while I am humming along to the  best of the 80s. She will occassionally email me lyrics to a song she is liking or listening to in an attempt to get me to change my station and come into the new millenium. Usually I ignore her but a couple of weeks ago she got me hooked on a song that has now become my “happy song” – “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen.

O-M-G LOVE this song, the music is just SO… happy. Luckily it is usually playing on all my stations at the same time so I am able to hear it often. No matter what kind of mood I am in, as soon as I hear the beginning beats I am happy (at least until the end of the song).

I have had other “happy songs” (“Write me a love song” and “Stronger”) and I won’t turn my back on them – how could I when they have been there for me over the years. However, this summer is all about Carly (or at least until the end of July when it is over played).

I heard today that Carly Rae is opening for Justin Beiber on tour. Wow, in the blink of an eye I have gone from “easy listening” to “tween”.

Happy Tuesday and may you find yourself a happy song for the summer. Until you do, I will share some of my song:

Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me, maybe? It’s hard to look right, at you baby, but here’s my number, so call me, maybe? Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me, maybe?

We’re in the middle of a heat wave

Well here it is the second day of summer and it’s gonna be 100 degrees in beautiful Central New Jersey. Ugh!

I used to LOVE the summer, beach, pools, flip-flops and longer days. However, since the kids, I can’t say I really love it as much anymore.  I still love the beach and flip-flops but cute bathing suits are a thing of the past (for me at least) and intense heat and humidity KILLS me (curly hair and humidity do not mix).

Longer days mean the kids staying up later at night Mommy, I can’t go to bed the sun is still up.  Let’s not forget school being over and the constant whine of Mommy, where are we going today…mommy I’m bored! 

Aside from all this, the one thing that really bothers me about summer lately, is the air conditioning. No matter where I am it is either too hot or too cold, there is no happy medium ANYWHERE.

Let’s start with my house. Our townhouse is 2 floors and the first floor is ok, I would maybe even go as far as to say comfortable at times. Once you go upstairs, however, it is like a whole new world. You can actually feel the temperature rise as you start to climb the steps. When you finally reach the second floor it’s at least 15 degrees hotter than the first floor!

We have tried everything to make if feel cooler, open/close vents, open/shut doors and ceiling fans but nothing helps, especially when temperatures soar into the high 90s. I twisted and turned all night last night trying to get comfortable. It was useless, the more I moved around the more I felt like I was suffocating.

Then there is the office. I am grateful to work in an environment that has air conditioning, however, it is SO cold in here this week that I had to run my space heater the other day. All day I watch co-workers (mostly women) clutching their sweater tightly around themselves or rubbing their arms for warmth.

I even saw one of those e-cards on Facebook this week making a joke about the stifling heat outside verses the frost bite like temperatures inside an office. How am I supposed to wear my cute summer dresses and tops if it is freezing in work? Surely I can not be expected to concentrate on my work product if I am freezing in my cubicle.

I know I will defrost as soon as I step outside the lobby doors and the extreme heat will feel like a slap in the face. The walk to my car will feel like an eternity, the car will be stifling and by the time the air conditioning finally kicks in, I will be pulling into my driveway at home. Oh the drama of it all!

Hopefully the heat wave will break soon and we can get back to “normal” summer temperatures. For now I will seek comfort from my friend Jose Cuervo and his fabulous margarita mix.

Stay cool everyone.

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