Monday, April 29, 2013

Ferry Beach Weekend

This weekend was our annual trip to Ferry Beach. I just love it there. It's a low key retreat with friends from our church, and this is our 4th year going. I was telling someone about the place, and said I'm so glad I went on a whim the first time. I took Cam all by myself when he was 5 months old - and I found out just what a beautiful place it was - and I've made a  point of going ever since.

Very first thing we did was to fly kites. They really remembered that from last year, and I brought the kids their very own $1 kites to fly. Cam got his up in the air all by himself - and Maggie got help from one of the bigger kids.

But this year was really the first year I was able to participate in the actual retreat part - I think it was a combination of the events that were scheduled were more my kids speed, but also because the kids are finally part of the 'herd'. The first thing we did was Sand Mandalas on the beach. What an awesome idea! They had colored sand that they drew on the beach with paper cones. The kids were easily able to make something fun, and some of the more creative people made some really beautiful things. Here the kids are helping my friend Carole add rocks and shells to her creation.

Cam is totally old enough to be scooped into the bigger group, and he had SO much fun running free with the big kids. It was just wonderful to watch how excited he was, and how sweet the bigger kids were to him. Here was the view I was welcomed to when I went to check on the kids after lunch. I had let them leave the dining hall 'to go play with my big friends'. See how they all all just hanging together? I don't think those kids have any idea how awesome they were.

 While Cam was out playing with the big kids, Suzanne, Maggie and I were able to go and do the crafty things. Maggie was too young for most things, but in normal Maggie form, she sat and quietly 'helped' me - so much fun. We did a workshop in Zentangle and also an origami class. And I had time to knit on the beach!

All good things come to an end, and both kids were VERY tired Sunday morning. So we headed out pretty quickly, and I had a planned pit stop to see a miniature horse farm. We actually couldn't find it, but both kids were passed out - so it didn't matter. Then Maggie woke up crying and threw up all over herself. We got home and found out she had a fever, and at the docs found the start of an ear infection, and a wheezy cough. I'm home with her today, and thankfully I think the puking part is over - we had three more times, but she is holding down water now and her toast with jelly.

Now to just pray I don't get it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring has sprung

New England. I love it. I love the seasons. All of them. But every year in March, all of us New Englanders get tricked into thinking that it should be spring, but it is never spring. NEVER. We always have at least one more snowstorm and a month of winter temperatures to deal with... but it's interspersed with a couple warm days that give a false sense of hope.

When Spring REALLY arrives, we don't trust it. I have friends that refuse to put away snow boots until May. Aaron didn't dare store the snow blower until just last weekend. This weekend, it was a glorious Sunday - and we stayed outside all day, working on the lawn, playing outside, eating lunch outside. The kids finally got to wear short sleeves last week, and it was almost the same level of excitement as they have for Christmas. Cam said 'Short sleeves! I knew it was time to wear them!'

It also starts the time when we get to ride our bikes every once in a while to pick up the kids at daycare. Maggie has gotten to big for her Co-pilot, so we got her a trail-a-bike. As she's a little shorter than Cam was at this age, she doesn't hit the pedals as easily as Cam did, so we got an attachment that makes her more secure. I was sure she would LOVE it. Well, we did our maiden voyage on Saturday, and she was not a fan.

She kept saying 'I don't like this' and 'Mama, go slower! I don't want to go fast!'. And on Sunday - the kids were driving Aaron nuts (he was trying to do yard work and everyone wanted to 'help'), I asked who wanted to go for a ride with me? Maggie almost ran away. So Cam and I went for a ride and had a blast. Yesterday, it was 70 degrees and beautiful, and Cam asked if we could ride bikes home from school - and I figured that we needed to try at some point, so I agreed. Aaron and I joked as we rode there that it was going to be a long ride home with Maggie chanting 'I don't like this, I don't like this' but she did a full 180 on the idea! She was super excited to bike home 'like a big girl' and giggled and had fun the whole way.

I'm excited that the riding season has begun, and I love it that the kids love biking so much. It is a great incentive to ride - having a little kid out of their mind excited to come with you!

Friday, April 19, 2013


This week has been so surreal. Before kids, Aaron and I lived in Boston. We walked around where the bombing happened daily. I ran the marathon in 2003. I've waited at that finish line for friends SO MANY TIMES. In college, my brother and I made a day of watching the marathon and going to a Red Sox game. With the beautiful weather on Monday, I even considered taking the day and bringing the kids in to watch a Patriots Day parade (although honestly, probably not all the way into Boston). Last night, we were scheduled to take the kids to a members only night at the NE Aquarium - right near the area where this massive manhunt is happening RIGHT NOW. Since all of us have a pretty bad cold, we opted out (and in the back of our minds, I'm sure the bombings had something to do with the decision, truth be told).

It hits home hard. It's terrifying to me. When bad things happen, even though I've felt for those effected, I could easily say - that couldn't happen to me. Guess what? I could have been right in the middle of Monday. I have a cousin who goes to Harvard. Another cousin who works across the street from MIT. So many friends who live in Watertown.

I still haven't brought myself to watch the news. I scroll through twitter and I listen to NPR. I can't watch the visuals of the actual bombing or the victims. Things like that are too much for me on a normal day - add in that it's MY TOWN, and its just too much.

I pray this all ends soon, without anymore causalities, so we can start working to our new normal.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Party Planner

The birthday party was a huge hit. There were 15 kids and two simple things kept them running around having a blast for almost 4 hours - a simple beanbag game and the marshmallow shooters. At first, the kids played like they were 'supposed to' with the bean bag game (like my art work?) but soon they figured out to hide behind it and have kids throw the beanbags at them, and then they would duck. Sigh.

Cam was delighted to be in charge of showing everyone how to make the marshmallow guns work - and a few of the kids there who normally aren't allowed junk food may have overdosed on sugar.
One of the nicest things was the turn out. I invited about 50 people, and pretty much everyone said yes. It made me really happy that people were willing to travel for a mid-day BBQ just to show Aaron a little birthday love. I think he was most tickled that his Grandmother came from Nantucket - she claims she wouldn't have missed it for the world! Here she is putting the candles on the cake - I got a photo cake from BJs, and it was fun and perfect! I usually stress over making the cake myself, and this couldn't have been easier. $20 and a cute picture of Aaron when he was Cam's age.

I did rely on pinterest for a bunch of the outdoor game ideas - but my favorite was this guestbook idea. The version on pinterest was on a canvas, so you could frame it, but since Aaron is a big woodworker, and he was in on the surprise, I had him use his carver to put 'Happy 40th Aaron!' and then made sure all the guests put a fingerprint 'balloon' on it. I think it came out awesome. 

People kept telling me I should be a party planner, which made me feel great - a bunch of the kids(there were 15 kids at the party!) told their parents that was the kind of birthday party they wanted. Maggie kept coming up to me and saying 'This is the BEST birthday EVER!'. High praise indeed.

After the party was over, we left the kids with our friends and made our way into Boston. We had a glass of wine, and then relaxed a bit at our hotel before a WONDERFUL dinner at Mooo on Beacon Street. Here we are as we wait for the car to drive us back to the hotel.

It was a great weekend, lots of fun (the kids even had a classmate's birthday party on Sunday afternoon) but I need a bit of a detox from all the rich food and adult beverages!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Night Leftovers

  • Saturday I'm having a big 'surprise' birthday party for Aaron. I tried to make it a surprise, but I just couldn't pull it off. I needed his help to get everything done.
  • I took the kids to Walmart to pick out presents for Aaron - he got Chocolate pop tarts, two 98 cent kites (princess and spongebob) and a pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja PJ pants. Exactly what he wanted, I'm sure!
  • My mom was planning on coming today so she could hang out for a bit before the party with the kids - but then called on yesterday and asked to come yesterday. She is FINALLY relaxing in retirement and understanding that she can come whenever and just be with us. She even brought a delicious Turkey Divan for dinner.
  • Aaron is usually the morning guy. He cleans up the kitchen, takes out the trash, and makes the kids lunches. Three days this week he's just walked out of the house - even leaving his lunch on the counter. I called this morning when I couldn't find the kid's lunch boxes (he put them in his car and brought them to work with him, lol). So I was teasing him that now that he is almost 40, he must be getting forgetful. He said if I keep teasing him - he'll stop doing stuff in the morning - I laughed and said - You already HAVE stopped! He didn't think I was funny.
  • This morning, Mom declared we should go out for a fancy lunch. So we are.
  • It's super cold here today, after a week of normal spring weather. I didn't even notice, but the house temp was 60 degrees. My mom's dog was pacing the house until I light a fire and turned on the heat. Funny dog.
  • Tomorrow is the party, and thank god the weather is back to normal, because in usual Cece form I've planned an outdoor party with no contingencies for rain/cold - and 24 adults and 15 kids are coming.
  • The party had a 'He-man' theme, and I was going to have a bunch of events of strength and skill - but time got away from me, so we will have a tug of war, marshmallow shooters for everyone, a bean bag toss, a pinata and a keg. I figured it was more important to entertain the kids - and the grownups will be distracted by the beer, right!?
  • After the party, we are leaving the kids with friends and going for a night in Boston - dinner and a hotel! Hurrah!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


The past two weeks, I've struggled with dealing with our daycare center director leaving. She is almost a part of our family, and I'm personally sad that she is being let go. And, because I'm an outgoing person, at least half of the parents at the center have my cell phone number and/or email address, so I'm been bombarded with people calling and writing to talk about it. It's been a big factor in my level of stress this past week.

Last night was the parent meeting to talk with the area director and see what was going on. I couldn't bring myself to go. I felt that I'd talked this issue to death, and I had nothing more to lend to the discussion. So Aaron went. And he said that one of the big complaints was that there had been a lot of change in the center lately. A few teachers had left, and had anyone thought about that when making the decision to let our director go? The woman started answering when Aaron raised his hand. He pointed out that in a few years (and less than that for many of the kids) they are going to school. Where they will have new classmates, new teachers, new coaches and teammates on a regular basis. This is a part of growing up - dealing with new things. And he said there was a moment of realization from the other parents - that yes, he was right.

Today I read an article that really hit home. It's by a childless man, but someone who does spend a lot of time with parents and children. And he says that he's noticed that in today's world, we spend a lot of energy 'parenting'. I've talked about it before, but I know that my mom basically raised me with the goal that I had a good education, good self-esteem, and had the basics in life. And she was very successful in that. But I'm sure she didn't angst about my nursery school director leaving and the effect it would have on my life. She knew I would be just fine with a change.

We need to trust that our kids can handle things. They can handle being told no, they can handle trying new foods. They can be put to bed by a babysitter and they can learn new things. They can play by themselves and we can get down on the floor and play with them. Every single parent I know is giving their child a really awesome start - and yeah - I know we all do things differently - but it's all going to be OK. I need to remember this when I'm stressed out about things. Kids need more credit. They are pretty great all on their own. We are really just here to hold their hands as they grow up and tell them everything is going to be OK. Because it will be.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I know I said on Friday that being in the office was going well, and it is. It's not a huge change. But coupled with all the planning I had to do for Easter weekend, the planning I'm doing for Aaron's birthday, and all the drama surrounding our daycare director being let go it is a bit too much. And I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to not skip swimming and keep doing everything else I usually do. Yesterday day I admitted that I'm overwhelmed. And it's not really that have SO MUCH TO DO, because when I sit down and make a list it's all doable. It's more that everything I'm doing is swirling around in my head and I can't calm it down.

So yesterday, I took a deep breath, let the kids play outside (the weather was glorious) while Aaron made dinner, and then, after the kids were in bed, did nothing. I sat down in front of the TV, watched Game of Thrones, and answered random questions for Aaron while he did our taxes. We went upstairs, opened all the windows and had the most restful night's sleep I've had in a while.

Makes me realize that while I can 'do it all' I may not be able to do it all, all of the time.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Night Leftovers

  • I've swum 56 miles so far this year! It may not sound like a lot, but I swim 3 nights a week for an hour and a half. I did the math, and you burn about 4 times as many calories swimming a mile as you do running a mile, so that's huge. And going to swimming it now part of my routine, I don't even think about missing it anymore. If I'm tired, I feel better when I swim. If I'm stressed, feels good to swim. If I'm feeling happy and strong - I'm swimming. I sleep better, feel healthier and stronger, and am happier.
  • This is my second year needing glasses. With my first pair of glasses, I got frames that had magnetic clip on sunglasses. They were a pain in the butt. This year, I decided to get prescription sunglasses, and had a lot of angst over which ones to get. But I found a website with cheap sunglasses and all had good reviews. So I got two pair - aviators (as all my fashionable friends say that is what I should get) and 'regular' ones (as that is what I wanted to get). And I found a coupon code so they were another $15 dollars off per pair (EYE15). I'll model them for you when they arrive.
  • We had a wonderful Easter dinner, and I'm a really big fan of leftover ham. But by Wednesday, I was sick of ham sandwiches and ham leftovers. So yesterday I made spilt pea soup and today I'm making navy bean soup today. I made both in the slow cooker and both took less than 10 minutes to put together and throw in. Love that.
  • This is also my second week of working exclusively in the office, and I have to report back that it's not all that bad. Aaron is pitching in and really helping at home and it's mostly just forced me to be more organized.
  • The director at my kids daycare got laid off this week and there was a huge amount of uproar about it. I love her very much, but as someone who works for a large corporation, I was sure that there was a reason behind it - and they did share that it wasn't related to the care of the children in any way (which I was sure of also). But people have been pushing for the REASON and staging walk outs and social network protests.... and it kills me that people were thinking we would find that out. There are legal and HR reasons they aren't.
  • But the good news is she is finding another, more suitable job with the same company and we will just have to see what happens to the center with a new director.
  • When this all first happened, it really surprised me just how passionate I felt about this woman leaving - so much of my life and my families life has been made better by the amazing daycare my kids attend and I'm terrified of any change in that area.
  • I'm very much looking forward to our weekend - no pressing plans except that our local ice cream stand is opening for the year on Saturday! Woot!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Weekend of Favorites

Going into this weekend, I was a bit overwhelmed. We had visitors and dinners and parties and events booked solid from Thursday forward. I had it mostly under control in terms of planning, but it was a really packed weekend and could have easily been thrown off kilter.

But nope. It was wonderful. We were surrounded all weekend by our very favorite people. Friends, family and loved ones - some we haven't seen in over 8 years. We was awesome. I pulled off 3 events with food for over 15 people each time, and then really amazing dinners for our little family too. AND we went out to a very nice dinner in Boston with Aaron's family AND went to the movies on Sunday night. As we were going through the weekend, Aaron and I have commented numerous times that we really have a great life. We are surrounded with fun, amazing and wonderful people. We were just happy.

Aaron's mother was here for Easter also. She had just taken a trip with Aaron's older brother (the one that didn't come to Nora's funeral and hasn't spoken to us since) to Italy for 2 weeks. Perhaps you remember my post talking about my July plans? We had asked Betsy months ago if we could hang out with her in Nantucket for July 4, and she quickly agreed. Well, come to find out that while she was with Aaron's brother, he announces that they bought non-refundable tickets (they live on the west coast) to visit that week.

If this was a 'normal' family, I would have assumed she would have said - 'I'm sorry, but I already have visitors booked that week, you should have asked first." But no. She told Aaron what had happened, and basically assumed he would give our spot to Adam. And then quickly asked - but you will come another week this summer, right? Aaron said no, and I'm not sure that is what I would have replied, but no matter what - it's hurtful. It has become very clear that we are not the favorites. And I don't even understand why. It makes me sad, it makes Aaron sad, and it's a loss for our kids. Aaron had a long talk with her about WHY it bothers him what has happened with his brothers and how it hurts him, and who knows if it gets through. I'm glad he finally laid it all out for her, and we will see where it goes from here.

In the end, we have chosen our 'family'. Yes, some are blood relations, but others we have picked up and embraced along the way - and I wouldn't change it for the world.