Monday, March 28, 2016

Spring Break beach bound

Our Spring Break this year has been relatively mild and very easy-going.  On Monday, we packed up our friend's minivan and headed to Ocean City, MD.  Our group included 5 kids (my 2, her 3), me and Susanne, and their 5 month old puppy, Bernie.   We are always up for a good adventure, even when we are on the beach with 50 degree, very chilly weather.   This might not be everyone's idea of a good time, but the beach is my happy place.  And, I have a feeling for our friends too.  We are not wimps when it comes to enjoying the beach while being bundled up. 

For 3 days we did all the touristy beach town type activities without the scorching heat or the summer crowds.  Ocean City. MD was pretty much deserted but that didn't stop us.

The kindness of Keith:
Keith is the guy who runs the Boardwalk Bike shop.  What a nice guy!  What a great find!
Ian got super excited when he saw a surrey go by on the boardwalk. He loves when we rent a surrey in Ocean City, NJ during our summer beach trip with our cousins.  He was thrilled when he asked the guy who operates the bike and surrey business if he could be the one to drive it and Keith said it was up to me and Susanne.  The surrey places in OC, NJ require you to be at least 12 years or older.  It made Ian's day to be the one to steer all 7 of us, plus the dog as we made our way down the boardwalk.   We had that surrey packed like a can of sardines.  I don't believe it is recommended to have 7 humans and one large-sized puppy, but we did it!  Once we figured out the best spot for Bernie was in the basket up front, it made for a smoother ride. 

When we returned the surrey, some of our kids were sitting in these recumbent bikes (called a Banana Peel) that were parked in the store front.  Keith said the kids could take them for a spin and try them out.  The kids LOVED these bikes.  It was like we let bugs loose on the boardwalk. It was so funny and adorable.  I think Keith understood the need for these kids to burn off some of their excessive energy.   40 minutes later, we returned the bikes and headed back to the condo we were staying in.

Calling Madonna!
For lunch on Wednesday, we happened to find a restaurant called "Fat Daddy's" to eat.  It was the kind of place where you put the order in at the counter, find a table to sit at, and then they call you over the speaker system to come pick up the food.  As the guy was asking me what my name was so that he could announce when my order was ready, I told him "Robyn".  However, I followed it up with a quick story to Susanne that whenever we went to a place like this as a kid, my mom would have some fun and give the name "Cher" or "Madonna".   Of course, the whole restaurant is going to look up when they hear the name "Cher" being announced to come get their food.

Susanne and I each put our orders in and joined the kids at the table.  Approx. 10 minutes later, I hear "Madonna" on the speaker system.  Susanne's order got announced as "Beyonce".   It definitely put a smile on our faces and made us giggle.  

Go-Karting for the win!
Our kids love a good go-kart race.  We managed to find one where everyone could drive their own go-kart as long as they were 8 years old and 52 inches.  Unfortunately, Sam fell short about 2 inches and was able to ride in Dagan's car.

Bernie's first time at the beach
Due to Ocean City being off-season, we were able to bring Bernie on the beach with us.  It was his first time experiencing the sand.  He loved it!!  He had a great time digging and running.  It was neat to see him have so much fun being free.

Throw in some outlet shopping and several hours on the beach on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I'd say you have a recipe for some fun days away. 

You just can't go on the boardwalk and not have ice cream! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A particularly lovely Saturday

This past Saturday ended up being a fantastic day!!  From start to finish, it had all the elements on how I like a weekend day to play out. 

Saturdays mark the end of another week in the training program I am doing to get back to running a 5k.  I took my run/walk outdoors and got it done early in the morning.  By 9:15am, I picked up my friend Jen and we hiked the Billy Goat Trail.  Oh what fun!  It's such great exercise and climbing over the rocks (without falling) is always a good challenge for me.  On the way back, we stopped at Panera Bread for lunch.  Yum!

Meanwhile, Jeff did our weekly grocery shopping at Wegman's.   After the groceries were put away, he and the kids cleaned the house.  Woo-hoo!!

I made it home in time to take a quick shower and load up the car with the family.  We went to a 3:25pm showing of "Zootopia".  Finally, a movie was playing that Sam wanted to see.  This is rare!  Afterwards, we had reservations for dinner at Wildfire at 6:15pm.  This is one of my favorite restaurants.  The whole family loves it.  We don't go often, but when we do, it is guaranteed to be delicious!  We even followed dinner with a walk around Tyson's Galleria.

In my opinion this is the perfect day!  It involved lots of fresh air, wonderful exercise, great food and a good mix of time spent with a friend and time spent with the family.  I love it when this combination of events happen.   And the movie wasn't bad either.  :)

Monday, March 14, 2016


Ian's 5th grade class finally took a field trip. Their destination?  Medieval Times.  Yes, the place where they put on a big show full of knights riding horses, complete with jousting and eating all your food without utensils.  Oh, what fun!  Right away Ian asked me if I was going to volunteer to be a chaperone.  Um, no.  Not if it involves me sitting on a bus for 1.5 hours there and another 1.5 hours back.  I've learned my lesson two years ago on the kindergarten field trip when a child threw-up (repeatedly) two rows in front of me and it slid to my row on the floor of the bus.  Ugh!   Between the smell, the sun beating down on me, and the bus lurching back and forth in stop and go traffic, I didn't ever need to put myself in that position again.

Ian was fine with me not going.  From what he told me, there were 15 parent volunteer forms turned in the first day asking to fill the one spot available for his class.  It wasn't until the mom of one of the girls in Ian's class sought me out a few weeks later and asked if I wanted to go with her and we could drive on our own, that I considered this a win-win in attending the field trip.  I got to drive (in my own car!!!  With my own AC blowing on me!!  With my radio tuned to the Billy Joel channel on SiriusXM!!  With a fellow mom in the passenger seat to keep me company!!) and I still got to see Ian enjoy the field trip.  Yes!!  I'd love to go!  And I'd love to drive us! 

I was going to keep it a secret, let the teacher know I would be there (it was an option for parents to go on their own) and surprise Ian by showing up.  Jeff thought that was a terrible idea and advised strongly against it.  I could not be more surprised than when I told Ian I was going and he asked me to sit next to him at the Medieval Times table.  What???   Really?  Ian wants me to sit next to him????   He's in 5th grade!  You could knock me over with a feather!   Instantly my heart melted and I was so excited that I had decided to give up my normally flexible Friday to get things done and make my way to Arundel Mills where Medieval Times is located. 

It is mandatory that all the kids have to take the bus to get to the field trip.  But Kathy and I were able to spring the kids free and let them drive home with us.  We signed them out at the end of the program and they could not be happier to dodge the last 1.5 hours of school and have an early dismissal.  I know I would've loved having a parent do that for me. 

All in all, it was great experience.  The kids LOVED Medieval Times.  I am still not completely convinced this ties in a whole lot to what they are studying, but it certainly is a fun place to take a group of kids.  The best part was the knight for our section (out of 6 sections) won the whole jousting competition.  Personally, I think it was because we had the loudest cheering section. 

There were other parents who attended that sat at their own table with some of the teachers.  So I consider it pretty special that Ian still finds it to be cool to be seen with his mom.  He actually had me sit in between him and his best friend.  Aw, I love that.  I know this won't always be the case, so I will cherish it while it lasts.

Our Knight who won the competition!

Thursday, March 10, 2016


I woke up on Saturday morning at 6:30am.  A text had come to my phone at 6:17am alerting me to the fact that my friend's mom passed away the night before.  I wished I could be instantly transported to another city.  I never before so badly wanted to be anywhere but where I was.  Without hesitation, I didn't care what we had planned for our weekend; I was going to be on the next flight to Orlando.   This is a feeling that I've never experienced before.  

I've always had plenty of time to plan my trips to Florida before.  Even when I went for 10 days to be with my mom when she had her triple by-pass surgery, I had a few week's notice and was able to plan out my arrival and departure.  This was different.  

My friend Amanda and I have known each other since we were 5 years old.  Our families have a long history together.  Unfortunately, Amanda's father passed away on the same exact day I gave birth to Ian, 10 years ago.  It takes a special person to wish you congratulations on the birth of your first child (she was the very first one to call me) and not mention that her dad died just minutes before.  She didn't want to take away my joy.  I only heard about the timing of her father passing thru my own dad.  Wow.  I wasn't able to be there for her then, I was surely going to be there for her now.  

I quickly told my boss at the preschool why I wouldn't be able to go to work on Monday and Tuesday.  My boss said it was wonderful I could be there for my friend.  My reply was, it wasn't optional in my opinion.  I knew where I needed to be.   You can easily show up for the good stuff, it's the times when you show up for the crappy stuff in life that counts.  

I am heartbroken for my friend.  To say Amanda was close with her mom is like saying Siamese twins have a bond.  It's going to take some time for her to get used to this "new normal".  Ugh.

In the Jewish religion, it is custom to have the funeral within 24 hours of the person passing.  Due to people having to travel from Israel, the service was moved to Tuesday.  I was able to get a 9:00pm flight back to D.C. on Tuesday night.  It gave me plenty of time to attend the funeral and do a Shiva call before heading to the airport.  It made for a very long day, but it didn't matter to me how tired I would be getting home at 12:00am.  I was able to be where I felt I should be.   

There are not many people (other than family) I would drop everything I was doing, without even giving it a second thought, and change my world upside down to be with them.  Amanda is one of the few.  

I was home for 4 days.  It had been too long since my last visit when Jeff, the kids and I was there for Thanksgiving.  While I hated the reason for being in town, I cherished the time I got to spend with my sister and her family and my parents.  I've told my parents I am going to start infusing formaldehyde in their veins to preserve them.  It totally sucks to see them aging.  My friend's mom's passing hits way too close to home.  

Last, but not least, I can not write this blog and fail to mention my husband.  He is my rock and never-ending source of support.  As soon as I read him the text, early this past Saturday morning, before I could even say it, he said, "You've got to go."   With no notice, he rearranged his life for the 4 days I was gone and took over being the mom and dad to Ian & Sam.  Furthermore, about 6 hours after I left, Sam developed a fever and was home for the next 3 days.  Two days of missed school, a trip to the pediatrician and generally holding down the fort.   To say I married well is an understatement.  

The best was when he gave me a stern lecture on how I need to hold it together for Amanda. "This isn't about you."... I should be strong and not cry in front of her.    Yes, right....whatever.  I made it all of 10 minutes and then lost it.  As I was losing it, I was telling Amanda what Jeff told me.  Then I started laughing because I am sure whatever Jeff was imagining, I was much, much worse in reality.   Ugh.  

On Monday, I spent from 9:30am to 6:30pm with my friend helping her get everything ready for the service the next day.  It was a very crappy reason on why I was spending the day with her, but she appreciated me being there.  And for those 9 hours there was no where else I wanted to be.  Sometimes life sucks.