Thursday, August 10, 2017

It's what's happening: Sleepaway camp!

Somehow miraculously Jeff and I made it work to send both kids to sleepaway camp for a month this Summer.  Yes, a month!  From July 25th to August 20th, Ian and Sam are spending their time in Palmer, MA at a Jewish overnight camp called Camp Ramah.

I think its pretty awesome that Ian and Sam are able to have this time; to just be a kid, playing with other kids their age, doing games and activities, singing and dancing, and having fun in a structured environment.  The best part of all is, it's technology free.  No iPads, no cell phone, no xbox.

I love that they get to experience this. But boy do I miss them!  The house is super quiet.  And the camp photographer is not the best this year at taking photos.  Fortunately I have my friends Dawn and Susanne working at the camp.  They have been wonderful in sending me lots of awesome photos and videos and giving me great reports on what Ian and Sam are up to.

Reports from my spies:  Sam is eating nothing but noodles for lunch and dinner.  Ha!  Actually one morning's breakfast consisted of 3 (!) cinnamon rolls.  This bothers Jeff more than it does me.  You got to pick your battles, right?  As long as she is happy and eating something is all I want for her.

It's gotten to be something of a joke that Sam is eating so many noodles.  Susanne asked her at one meal where are her veggies?  Sam answered with "At home."   Dawn saw her holding an apple and commented on how much she loves apples too.  Sam replied with, "Don't get so excited, I am only holding it.".   Ha!   The best was when Dawn stopped her and recorded her reaction when she informed Sam of the unfortunate news that the camp ran out of noodles.  The reaction on Sam's face is priceless.  

Just another 10 days to go until I get to hug my babies again.  XOXO

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sun in the fun in OC,NJ

My summer feels complete now that we had our week at the beach in Ocean City, NJ.  For the fourth year we rented a place and spent the week with my cousin Leslie and her family.  This to me is what summer is all about.  Spending countless hours by the ocean, hanging with family, getting ice cream almost every night after dinner and walking on the boardwalk.  Does it get any more old school and wholesome than that?  I don't think so.

This year we had a new set of wonderful guests join us...Jeff's parents!  From Sunday to Wednesday they stayed with us in Ocean City and got a glimpse at all the things we love about our week at the beach. 

Here are some of the highlights:

1. Uncle Bill's.  This restaurant is a family favorite and we make sure to go at least twice during the week.

2. Ian and Max surfing.

3. Getting Jeff on the beach for two days. 

4. Getting Jeff's father on the beach!  Rumor has it its been decades since he has stepped foot on a beach.

4. Being with family --all of them, Jeff's parents, my cousin's family, and her extended relatives.  It's the best!

5. Ian and Max getting to an operate a surrey all on their own.  This has been a dream of theirs. 

6.  The weather was extra gorgeous.

There is something so calming about being at the beach.   It is peaceful and easy and relaxing.  I absolutely adore it and am so thankful we've been able to do a week each summer.  Ian has a dream to rent an additional house nearby for just our relatives to come.  He'll make a schedule and have everyone he is related to come to visit.  The more family he is surrounded with, the better.   I couldn't agree more!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Meeting SDW ♥

My sister had a baby!   Sarah Dylan Wronsky was born on June 7, 2017.  She is beautiful and sweet and everything amazing.  Sarah joins big sister Rachel who is 3.5 years old and thrilled to have a sister.   In fact, Rachel thinks of Sarah as her baby. She is very possessive about her. 

Lori and Ben had Sarah's baby naming in early July and we had the best visit meeting Sarah and spending time with the family.  Now there is another reason to add to the list for wanting to move to Orlando. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I heart NYC!

Our summer got off to a smashing start.  We had a trip to NYC planned for the week after school got out.  The whole trip was created because of one very big, thrilling event.

We had tickets to Hamilton. Yes, those very hard to get, much sought after, fabulous Broadway show about the Founding Father without a father, first Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton.   I was able to get the tickets as soon as they went on sale in September 2016 for the June 27th performance.  It gave us all school year to look forward to this.  And boy were we excited.


 As the lights went down and the show started, I got very emotional for the first 5 minutes. I couldn't believe we were actually "in the room where it happens".   I quickly got over it and became mesmerized with all the songs coming to life. It was amazing.  The show which is close to 3 hours long felt like 5 minutes.  It was so very well done.   Ian couldn't stop thanking us for taking him and as soon as the show was over, Sam said she wanted to see it again. 

We followed up our Broadway show to Hamilton with tickets to go see Kinky Boots the next day.  The kids have been listening to this soundtrack all year too.  The music is so much fun and the show did not disappoint.

Part our visit was taking a trip to the lower East side and doing one of the Tenement Museum tours.  Unfortunately our tickets, which were purchased in advance, were for the wrong day.  Oh no!  We showed up at the right time, just one day too soon.  We didn't have time to go back the next day and was fortunately able to get a refund.  We did sit thru the introductory film that was on a 40 minute loop.  It was great and hopefully we'll return with the kids one the correct date our tickets are for.

We also met up with a family we know from our elementary school. The mom was Ian's teacher this past year and her son, who is in the same grade, is friends with Ian.  They had gotten tickets to see Hamilton the day after us and we found a cool activity to do when we were both in NYC.  We went to Gulliver's Gate, a miniature exhibit.  From NYC to the Taj Mahal, to a section of Israel, all major landmarks were recreated in miniatures with amazing detail and moving parts.  It was really cool and unbelievable to see how small these recreations were. 

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade had floats the went around the building.

This was the Vienna Orchestra. All the people played music with moving instruments.

 Afterwards, we went to lunch at a local diner in Times Square before parting ways for our respective shows.  The kids fought over this milkshake.  We said they could split it.  However, it was a true work of art and unable to be split.  So 2 straws it was and of course they were complaining the other was taking too long of a sip.

We were able to meet up with Jeff's uncle for dinner on Tuesday evening.  The last few years we've gone to NY we've met up with Uncle Larry.  It is wonderful spending time with him and hear his stories about his experiences on being a producer. 

I love New York!  And to top off our visit we even went to Ellen's Stardust Diner for dinner.  It's the place where the waiters and waitresses are all wanna be Broadway stars and haven't made it yet.  They are constantly singing to the customers in the restaurant all kinds of music.  It is so much fun!  It's very loud and Jeff could only take so much.  After about 25 minutes he had enough and met us back at the hotel.

Straight out of the vending machine at our hotel.  What are the odds?

I really think this needs to be a annual trip.  It's "the greatest city in the world".  :)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Can you hear me now?

It was a long, excruciating wait for Ian but the day finally came!  Jeff and I planned that at the end of 6th grade we'd give Ian a cell phone as a promotion from elementary school present.

It was fun letting Ian think the phone was never coming.  There was a day two weeks prior when his friend was over and I asked him if he thought it was absolutely necessary for Ian to have a phone.  He said "No."  Ian tried to explain how important it was for him to have phone.  That when he went to Robinson he might need to text me to tell me he is staying after school.  Without hesitation, I asked Ian's friend if he could use his phone if this need arose.  Ian's friend said "Yes.".  Problem solved Ian!  What Ian and his friend didn't know was that this whole time I had the phone already purchased and ready to give him. 

I bought a Robinson Rams hoodie and wrapped the phone (still safely secured in the box) around it.   As Ian was pulling out the hoodie and thinking this was the only gift he was getting, Jeff called the phone and had it start ringing.  It was a brilliant plan but got a little messed up in execution.  The phone started ringing a little too early as Ian was still reading the card.

Samantha who is 3 years younger very badly wants to be treated like Ian's equal. She feels she should have a phone too.  We told her when she is done with 6th grade that is when she can get one.  The next day, Sam created this sign and posted it on her door.

Sam wrote:  When Sam gets a phone    June 22  7:23pm   2020

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Buh-bye to elementary school!

Ian's elementary school career is coming to a close.  This is his last week at Fairview Elementary where he has attended since kindergarten.  That's 7 years!  It's been a wonderful experience and the great, amazing days definitely outnumbered the more challenging, difficult ones. 

I am proud of Ian.  His enthusiasm for school, love of learning, and exuberant personality came shining through the years.  I thought it would be fun do an exit interview and ask him about his time at Fairview.

Favorite year:  3rd grade

Favorite teacher: Mrs. Costa

Favorite special: PE

Favorite subject:  History

Least favorite subject:  Math  (especially surprising given that he is a bit of a math wizard)

Thing you won't miss:  Chinese (it was a mandatory class at Fairview for the last 6 years)

Thing you will miss:  Small amount of homework and recess

Best buds:  James, Mike and Evan

Thing you would do differently:  Not take Band this year

Favorite event to participate in:  Field day

What did you do at Fairview that you will remember the rest of your life:  Getting dragged to school on the 1st day of Kindergarten.   (We have footage of the kindergarten teacher taking Ian by the arm and air-lifting him thru the hallway while he is kicking and screaming to not go).

Something you accomplished you are proud of:  Not getting less than a 3 in academics on any of his report cards.

Favorite part of the day:  Dismissal

Favorite book read:  Freedoms Fury

Area of biggest improvement:  Going to school willingly.

What advice would you give a rising 6th grader:  Use common sense before you say something.

Which person at Fairview had the biggest impact:  Mrs. Costa

Next stop:  Robinson Secondary School


1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade

6th Grade

Friday, June 16, 2017

Another tale from The Crypt

In case anyone thinks The Crazy Man is only crazy, please know he is also very calculating.

In preparation for a move and the fact he will be throwing out a ton of stuff that is no longer of any value, he has a written a letter to his neighborhood conservancy office telling the executive director what a fabulous job the trash pick-up people do each week.

Mind you, this is the first time in all the years The Crazy Man has felt compelled to write a letter praising their work but he never really needed them like he does now.  He knows he'll be putting to the curb more trash than usual and stuff of various sizes most likely not approved for pick-up.

The Crazy Man feels if he can tell everyone who matters they are doing a great job, they will be most likely to pick up everything he throws out.

Yep, this is how he operates.  He is always thinking of the best way to make things happen in his favor.  And writing a letter is always his first step.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Very, very anxious

I am pretty sure my disdain for the words "General Admission" has been written about before.  I have not gotten any better about keeping my emotions in check.  I am happy to stand in line for as long as it takes to put me at the top of the line and enter in first.  But when I enter a theatre and see the first 4 rows have been secretly reserved by crafty individuals, it doesn't make me want to play by the rules. 

My anxiety is at an all time high. I hate the feeling that comes over me.  Of course, it all works out in the end but it doesn't stop me from being bitter and ruin some of the enjoyment of what I'm about to watch.  

The strange thing is, I know this about myself and yet, it doesn't get better.  In fact, when it comes to something so important to me, my anxiety heightens to all new levels. Ugh. I wish in this case admitting it was a big step in the right direction.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Front Seat Freak Out!

This is Ian in the front seat.  I am still not used to this view.  It really freaks me out to look over and see Ian chilling in the front as I drive us around.  Now that he is 12 years old and over 100 pounds, Ian can legitimately be in the front. Heck, he isn't that much shorter than I am.  Ian has been waiting for this day for a very long time. And now its finally here.

I have one question as a result of Ian's new priority seating...where do I put my purse?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Tales from the Crypt - the beginning of the end

So it's been a while since I've written about my part time job for The Crazy Man.  And it's not because he is no longer crazy.  Ha!  More so than ever.  The Crazy Man, at the ripe age of 79 ("above ground" as is he is so fond of telling everyone he speaks to) is seriously considering a move to a retirement community.  One that has graduated levels care and can help you until the bitter end. 

It wasn't an easy decision for The Crazy Man to decide to take this step.  He very much values his independence, LOVES his house and hates the idea of being around older people.  He finds them depressing.  Mind you, he doesn't consider himself to be among his peers -- he is far above them in his mind.  Ha!

However, due to a huge number of close friends, doctors and other professional types whose opinions he greatly values, he has been convinced this is for the best.  And believe me, this move should've happened about 2 years ago when he was in better shape physically and mentally.

One of the first steps he needs to do is sell his house.  The Crazy Man does not do anything without a great deal of research.  He has been in contact with no less than 6 Realtors to give him their professional point of view on the following: 

1. How much to list the house as is?
2. How much to list the house if renovations were done?
3. How much in renovations do you recommend and what would they be?

Here's where my life becomes needlessly challenging in working for The Crazy Man.  He doesn't remember anyone's names.  NONE OF THEM!  So I now have a chart (in order of who came to visit) and have labeled them with their real name and phone number and then a column with their nickname The Crazy Man has given them.  The next 4 columns have their answers to the above questions.  It's a great thing I'm organized.

Here are the nicknames The Crazy Man has given these Realtors:
1. The first one -- that's an easy one to figure out.  He was the first to come.
2. The guy who promised the report by Monday at 9:00am - Turns out his name is Johnathan
3. Anna - Ha!!  First of all her name isn't Anna, it's Amy.  AND, she works with #3 (Johnathan).  She has been to The Crazy Man's house 3 times on Johnathan's behalf and The Crazy Man still doesn't get the fact she isn't going solo on this.
4. The girl - her real name is "Jenny"
5.  Paul -- however, his real name is "Pete".  He has also been called "The last one" and "The best one"

Please know, he only refers to them by their nicknames.

Meanwhile, he had a random realtor stop by in the midst of all this craziness and ask if he was interested in selling his house.  She has a very interested buyer (all cash deal!) who desperately wants to buy a house on his street so they are within walking distance of their grandchildren.  This realtor is now known as "The neighbors".  The neighbors gave a very generous offer for buying the house as is.  The Crazy Man is not sure about this and wants to now get an appraiser for an independent opinion.


Don't get me started on what he is doing to compare the two independent living communities he is interested in moving into.   I'm looking forward to all of this being over soon.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


When I went to meet Ian to have lunch with him at school on his birthday, I was able to spend a little time with Sam during her lunch time as they kid's lunch period overlaps by 10 minutes.

As I was approaching Sam at her table, I see she is sitting between two girls I know.  Both of these girls are super sweet and I am pleased Sam is friends with them.

Girl # 1 on Sam's left is in the middle of telling Sam a story.
Sam interrupts her and says, "You need to speed this up."


Then a few minutes later, Girl #2 on Sam's right side goes to give Sam a spontaneous hug.
Sam:  Ouch!  My shoulder!!
Girl #2:  Which one?
Sam:  Both of them!

Girl #2 begins apologizing for 'hurting' Sam.  Ha!  I quickly said, please don't ever apologize for giving someone a hug.

I can't believe Sam has friends.  It is amazing to me these girls put up with behavior like this and comes back for more. WOW.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Radley for the Win!

I love GREAT customer service.  And I get so excited when it happens to me.  

A year ago when I did my England and Portugal trip with friends, we found ourselves shopping one afternoon in London (well, we found ourselves shopping lots of afternoons in London) and discovered a store that sells handbags.  Really nice handbags.  Radley London was the name of the store.  We had a ball in this store. I spent more money than I ever had on a purse before.  Actually, I spent more money on one item of clothing/shoes/purses/etc than I ever had before.  But I loved these bags and decided it was okay to treat myself.  Who knew when I'd have the opportunity to be back here again?  

I purchased two purses (one I'd use in the Spring/Summer and one I'd use in the Fall/Winter) and a wallet that went with both bags.  I was so excited!  I came home and instantly started using the pink one all the way until October. It still looked brand new after 6 months of use.  I switched to the navy blue bag and continued using it through Winter.  Unfortunately this bag started wearing in a way that didn't look good or make sense.  It was losing its color in a spot that didn't even come in contact with anything.  I didn't think anything of it until I realized that Jeff was going to London and would be just down the street from where I got the bag.  I thought maybe if I contacted them they'd say to send it to them for repair.  I could do one better and have Jeff hand deliver it to them!  

The only problem with my plan was Jeff had no intention of helping me out.  He refused to even consider for a moment the idea of finding this women's handbag store.  But now that I had the idea in my head, I decided to call them anyway.

The woman who answered the phone (Sarah) could not have been nicer!  She said to send her a picture of the bag and an image of the receipt via email.  Done!  The next thing I know I've got a reply back the very next morning apologizing for the delay (um, what delay!?!?) and to pick out anything on their website for the value I spent on the bag and they would ship it to me at no charge.  OMG!!  I felt like a kid in a candy store trying to figure out what I'd want to get.

I couldn't decide between two bags and when I added the price, it was just about what my original bag cost.  I replied back to the email and asked if that was ok.  I got an almost immediate response and said they would be shipping BOTH bags out to me as soon as possible. And they apologized again for the problems this has caused.  The very next day I received the tracking/shipping information on my bags.

Needless to say, Radley now has a customer for life.  I love the way they handled this.  I am very impressed.  Way to go!!  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Flying solo

The helicopter mom in me is always at odds with the free-range mom in me.   This duel has been going on as long as Hamilton vs Burr. 

I want my kids to be well-adjusted and be able to think for themselves.  I want them to be able to problem solve and figure things out.  I'd like them to be able to take care of themselves and show me they have a good head on their shoulders.

But then I think, "Ian's only 11!!! (or whatever age he is when I'm having this tug of war in my head)  Samantha is only --!!"  They aren't ready to be independent.  They still need me.  I want to be needed!  They have their whole life ahead of them when their dad or me won't be around and they will be forced to sink or swim in this game of life.  Let me help them now. Why can't I parent them in a bubble and keep them firmly tucked under my wing?   Because that would be a disservice to them and society.

Most of the time my free-range parenting side prevails.  I am quick to let the kids stay home by themselves.  I am quick to tell them they need to make their own breakfasts and lunches.  I am quick to let Ian be part of a small group of his friends where he crosses a very busy intersection near our house and does lunch on his own.  I'm quick to let Ian walk home from school on his own if I need to take Samantha to an activity or an appt at the same time school lets out.  There have been several instances where the kids had to leave the house on their own and walk to school in the morning when Jeff and I couldn't be there.  I've taken a bold leap in letting the kids exert their independence and start doing things on their own.  This was never more evident then when Ian flew to Orlando for a long weekend by himself.  Yes, without me, without daddy, without anyone he knew.

Getting ready to board the plane, all on his own!

Ian handled it like a champ.  Me, on the other hand, had a few tears after saying good-bye to him and watched him get on the pane.  I can't believe at some point I thought this was a good idea.  What was I thinking?!?!?   They board unaccompanied minors first. Before anyone else gets on the plane, the unaccompanied minor is sent to take their seat and get settled.

I gave Ian 5 minutes and then started texting him on this spare cell phone we let him use for the trip.  This was our conversation as all the other passengers were boarding:

Me:  Hi.  Just checking in.  Everything ok on the plane?
Ian:  Yes I'm fine.
Me:  Ok.  I'm proud of you. You are going to have a great time. I love you.
Ian:  thanks.  I love you too.
Me:  Did someone help you get your suitcase in the overhead bin?
Ian:  Yes.
Me:  Ok, have a great trip. I love you.
Ian:  Bye. I love you too.
Me:  Has anyone checked on you to see if you are ok?
Ian:  Yes.
Me:  Ok, I will stop bugging you.  Make good choices.  I love you very much.
Ian:  Bye.  I love you too.

Ha!  Baby steps on this whole free-range parenting thing, right?  :)

I am happy to report that we both survived Ian's trip.  Ian did great.  I figured this is good training for the summer when the kids are at camp for a whole month.  Another instance where the helicopter mom in me was grounded big-time.  

Friday, June 2, 2017

Ian's rockstar kind of weekend

About a month ago Ian told me how much he misses his relatives in Orlando.  I had an idea that if it was ok with Jeff and Ian was up for it, he could fly down to Florida for the long Memorial Day holiday all on his own. And so that's just what Ian did.  From Saturday, May 27th to Tuesday, May 30th, Ian had 4 days he will never forget.  

Years from now when Ian reflects back on his life, this trip to Florida will inevitably be at the top of his favorite things to remember.  My dad, stepmother, mom, stepfather, both sisters, niece and brother-in-law all went way overboard in showing Ian a good time.  OMG!  In my kind of way of putting things, they could either go BIG or go home and they went BIG!  Really BIG!   So big that I was a bit concerned we wouldn't be able to get Ian on a flight back home.  I am pretty sure part of him would rather stay in Orlando being adored by all these relatives who love him and don't bug the shit out of him like his sister does.

Ian said he would love it if everyone (all 9 relatives) could be with him the whole time he was visiting.  He wanted everyone to show up everywhere he was going.  I told him that wasn't realistic. He should know that everyone was fighting over him and they all wanted him for themselves the whole time he was in Orlando.  Somehow they managed a rotating schedule that made sense and Ian stayed a night at Dad/Rita's house, a night at Lori/Ben/Rachel's house and a night at Mom/Jim's house.

What Ian didn't know was there were many, many surprises in store for him.  And yes, everyone was going to be at almost every place he went.  My family raised the bar ridiculously high!

Saturday:  Dad, Rita and Meghan picked him up at the airport.
Saturday lunch:  Surprise!  Everyone was at Carrabas for lunch.
Saturday afternoon:  Surprise!  Indoor Skydiving with Dad, Rita and Meghan
Sunday evening:  dinner at Sweet Tomatoes with Dad and Rita.  

Sunday morning:  Everyone (except Lori & Ben) went to the make-your-own pancake place.  A favorite restaurant among our family.
Sunday afternoon:  Mom, Jim, Rachel and Ian spent the day at New Smyrna Beach.
Sunday evening:  Ian went for sushi with Lori, Ben and Rachel

Monday:  The Sanford Zoo with Lori, Ben and Rachel. This was a special request from Ian on wanting to go here.
Monday later in the day/dinner:  Surprise!  Dave and Buster's with everyone.  Mom planned a little party for Ian's upcoming birthday and had a cake ready to go.

Tuesday morning/afternoon:  Time spent with Mom and Jim before the airport with Mom-Mom's world famous oatmeal. 

WOWEE!  Ian had a jam packed 3 days going to all these awesome places with his favorite people.

I love that Ian got this time and this amazing experience.  And I love that my family treated Ian like a rockstar and went all out.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Singing a tune, Ian is 12!

My first born is now officially 12.  It's crazy to think we've kept a kid alive for 12 years. I remember bringing him home from the hospital like it was yesterday.  Next thing you know, they become 12 years old.

Right now, Ian feels like the whole world has a cell phone but him.  EVERY single friend and classmate is mobiley connected but Ian.  Ha!  I don't think its quite that bad, but yes, it seems like this is the year kids have gotten phones.  Jeff and I aren't quite ready yet for Ian to join his peers.  We've had an extra 'spare' phone that we let Ian use from time to time if we need to stay in touch with him.  But as Ian is very aware this is not HIS cell phone.  We are about to enter uncharted territory as Ian is getting a phone as a graduation present from Jeff and me at the end of June.  This is a big time in his life as Ian finishes 6th grade and starts middle school next Fall.  We don't normally see Ian anxious, but the idea of middle school has him concerned.  I know he will do go great.  He is so friendly, outgoing and engaging.  I have no doubt in my mind that Ian will find his niche in middle school and have a great experience.

Besides the transition to middle school, Ian will be in full Bar Mitzvah training and preparation mode this coming year.  It's going to be a big year for him as he heads to 13.  

Ian continued to explore his love of acting and performing by participating in a theatre group on Saturdays.  From 9:00am to 1:00pm every Saturday the kids worked on a play.  It's really cool to see Ian's enthusiasm in learning his lines, the songs, the choreography and getting to the end result of performing in front of an audience.  Ian is thrilled he has a part that gives him 21 lines for the Spring production of Mulan, Jr.

Ian also continued with his Boys on the Trail running program through his school.  It met twice a week and is designed to get the kids to run a 5k.  He enjoyed it very much and I love that it gets him outside for fresh air and exercise.

Unfortunately his musical instrument of choice the saxophone has not brought Ian as much joy this year as it had last year.  Ian is pretty much counting down until the school year is over and he doesn't have to play it ever again.  It's a bit disappointing because its fun to listen to him practice, but it's been a long time since I've heard him play. 

Most days Ian sings to himself a wide variety of Broadway musical soundtracks.  He sings just loud enough that we all can hear it and the song gets stuck in our head.  I am certain that Ian doesn't even realize he is singing and it's done unconsciously.  Of course, Sam has major issues with this and yells all the time "STOP IAN!!  IT'S ANNOYING.  I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT ANYMORE".

Ian kept an open mind and looked beyond his fear of heights to tackle zip lining, a ropes obstacle course among the tree tops, and indoor sky diving.  I am so proud of him that he did not let fear get in his way of trying something new.  It paid off as he had a blast and would now do all of these activities again and again and again. 

Ian is more connected than ever to his relatives and can't get enough of them.  He really wanted to go down to Orlando and see everyone.  Ian decided he'd be ok to fly down on his own, as an unaccompanied minor.  It was a dream come true that he got all this one-on-one time with his grandparents, aunts, uncle and cousin.  We may just have to do this again next year.

I wish for Ian a year of much happiness and the ability for him to do his own thing, not because everyone around him is doing it.  May he make good choices and enjoy this time being 12.  Daddy and I love you so very much.

The return of braces!