Sunday, April 23, 2017

Virginia Beach with Lucy

When we rescued Lucy from the shelter at the end of September, we decided to make her an Emotional Support Therapy dog.  We have a wonderful letter from Samantha's therapist convincing anyone reading it why it is necessary for Lucy to be with us.  We also have seen first hand the wonderful effect Lucy has on Samantha and do believe she does a great job taming Sam's emotional outbursts.

During Spring Break we decided to do a quick overnight trip to Virginia Beach and bring Lucy with us.  Why not?  There is a first for everything. 

Having Lucy with us for the trip was going to be either a disaster or amazing.  There was no middle ground.  We were exposing Lucy to so many things where typically a dog is not expected and we had no idea how she was going to react.  I truly believed that Lucy would be an absolute angel if she had the ability to be with us wherever we went. This was put to the test and then some.  We took Lucy to a hotel, multiple restaurants, the beach, a dolphin watching boat tour, and generally walking around and in the shops.  I can't forget to mention we even attempted a surrey ride with Lucy riding in the basket up front. Additionally, she endured the car ride on back to back days, with the drive back home a full 2 hours longer than it should be because of traffic.

I am delighted to report that Lucy was PHENOMENAL!  She was so well behaved and acted like she has always been a service dog. Even Jeff found himself praising Lucy for her stellar behavior and said she was the best behaved all of us.  It was hard to not complain on the drive back when we were sitting in major traffic.  And it was hard to not complain when we were rocking back and forth big-time on that 90 minute boat ride.  Did we hear any complaints from Lucy on either of these?  Nope!  Not a single peep.  She went along for the ride and was happy to be included on the fun.

Lucy got lots of compliments from those who saw her in action.  Everyone asked if it was ok to pet her.  Of course!  She loves people.  She brought a smile to many at all the places we went.   One gentleman looked at her and said, "Thank you for your service."   :)

Our family felt complete with all of us together.  It was our first time visiting Virginia Beach and it is nice to know we can return. 
She is posing for the camera!
Look at her smile!! 

Hanging at the restaurant during lunch.

Watching the sunrise!

Friday, April 21, 2017


I am not sure what has happened to me, but I get very emotional now over the littlest things.  Maybe the pregnancies messed with my hormones and they never recovered, maybe I just find myself being moved by something really touching.  I don't know.  I've just accepted it and gotten on with my life.  I'm not really surprised much anymore when my eyes start to water.

Lately it's been happening when I witness a truly fantastic performance.  Something so awesome that the talent is just oozing from the performer and its hanging in the air around me.  This is even more so the case when its a live production.  Seeing "Kinky Boots" for the first time in London last year...that performance by Simon at the end of the show was nothing short of spectacular.  I couldn't help but tear up listening to him belt out that huge number.  It was a show-stopper!

Watching the movie "Hidden Figures" is another example, only this wasn't live but viewed in the movie theatre.  Both times I saw the movie, I was moved to tears by the story (especially because it was true!) and of course the acting.  What an amazing movie.  I loved every single minute and I was sad when the movie ended.  I could still be sitting there watching these women, wanting more. 

The last time I got emotional over something fantastic was going to see "Chicago" at the Kennedy Center.  Ian and I went to a Saturday matinee earlier in the month.  I had seen the show years ago when it was at the National Theatre.  But it was Brandy's phenomenal performance that moved me to tears this time around.  I had no idea she was that talented.  Wow. This girl IS Roxy Hart!  Actually the whole production was top-notch.  Everyone did a stellar job.

Of course, just sitting in the theatre in these amazing seats (6 rows from the stage, dead center in the  middle of the row!) waiting for the show to begin had me tearing up. Getting to experience this with Ian after all the times we listened to the soundtrack in the car, knowing how much he was going to enjoy the show and fully appreciate seeing a production live like I do made me get emotional.  I love my kids so much and getting to do things like this is what life is all about.  These are the moments I hope he looks back on and realizes how special it was for us to be there.   Oh no, here I go again, tissue anyone?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


I feel like we just drove the car home from the dealer yesterday. 30,000 miles later and I still get a thrill getting in my car.  I love my car. While it doesn't have the 3rd row I desperately wanted, it is perfect for our family of 4 plus Lucy.

The car is not even 2 years old yet!  Pretty soon we will pass Jeff's car's mileage. His car is a 2013 and has 45,000 miles on it.  At the rate we are going, this could occur in the next two years.

It's a good thing this is a Honda.  I know it will be chugging along for a very long time.  Most likely this will be Ian's car he drives when he gets old enough.  Yowzer!  I can't believe we are even thinking in terms like this.  Ian driving?   Actually, given the way Ian is, I think he is going to be a very safe driver.  Sam, on the other hand, we may want to brace ourselves for. 

Monday, April 17, 2017


I am co-hosting a baby sprinkle for my sister, Lori.  It's this Saturday in Orlando.  The planning and prep work is pretty much done and I am now just waiting to fly down with Samantha for a long weekend at home.  It will be nice to go away for a few days and be with the family.

The shower invites went in the mail close to 6 weeks ago.  I put my phone number on the printed invitation and waited for Lori's friends we invited to call me.  And waited and waited and waited. Only one person called to let me know if they were coming.  Only one! 

After a bit investigative work, I come to find out everyone thought the phone number I put on the invite was my cell phone and it would accept text messages.  So yeah, the women were texting their rvps to me.  WHAT????   It never occurred to me that this would happen. That these women would automatically assume I was looking for a text rsvp.  Is this what our life has become in the digital age we live in?  I guess I am in another generation.  Don't get me wrong, in my day to day I text A LOT!  I have a group of friends I text all the time with.  However, I would never think to text a response to a printed invitation to someone I don't know.  I just wouldn't. It doesn't seem very proper.  Has Emily Post even covered this??

Here's the thing I don't get...fine, these women tried to text their rsvp to my home phone.  BUT, each text attempt would have come back as undeliverable and given an error message.  Why then did they not try to call the phone number as their next course of action???   I'll tell you why, because they thought the phone number had a typo on the invitation and that's why it didn't work.  OMG!! 

After tracking down email addresses for each of the 18 people I needed to hear from, my sister tells me that no one has a landline anymore.  We are both very old school that we still do. And that we still use it.   Lori found the whole thing quite humorous.  I'm not at that point yet where I can laugh about it.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Time for a little rant

There have been a few things bugging me lately. I just can't keep silent any more.

Online articles where the info is not conveniently located on the first page.  You know what I'm talking see a great headline, like "The 10 things you never knew about Tom Cruise and Katie Holme's relationship" or "Chrissy Metz loses weight!  See what she looks like now!"  or "Child actors, where are they today?" and countless others of tempting pieces of breaking news.  You want to click thru to see this awesome story.  So you take the bait and click the link.  You leave the comfort of your Facebook newsfeed and soon enter Internet HELL! 

*They* (for lack of better of name calling which most likely wouldn't be lady-like) give you one little tidbit of information, teasing you to read on, and the next thing you know you have to click "Next" to get more.  The page is riddled with ads; big, huge square boxes of advertisements, for everything under the sun that you will never, ever need.  A full 20 clicks later and along with waiting for every single one of those pages to load, you are now officially done with the article.  And you know what?  Those 10 relationship reveals weren't that great...noooooo, they were pretty lame.  And the weight loss Chrissy Metz is celebrating wasn't that spectacular either.  By the time you get to the picture at the end of all those clicks, I am sure me and her have each gained 20 pounds.  That was a good 20 minutes I will never get back.

I am hereby declaring I am done. DONE!  If I click thru the article and it isn't all conveniently located on the first page, I am not taking the bait.  I am not clicking "Next" even if my life depended on it.  I have had enough.  No matter how juicy the headline is or how much I want to see what these child actors look like today, it isn't going to happen.  Maybe if more people take a stand and refuse to click "Next", the click-thru rates will drop and the format of trying to get our attention with all these annoying ads over multiple pages will change.  I realize this wouldn't happen overnight, but maybe, just maybe, we can make change happen. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dinner fail.

Jeff's idea of a good restaurant to go when we want to eat out, but its not a special occasion, is any restaurant that does not require a tip.  For example, Cava, Chipotle, Noodles & Company and Pei Wei are all worthy contenders.  With every rule there is an exception and in this case, Spartans is on Jeff's pre-approved list too as he finds it reasonably priced, conveniently located and a great selection of food.  Even though Spartan's is a full sit down restaurant with wait staff, this Greek diner has become a family favorite.

Usually every Sunday I make homemade pizzas for dinner.  It's typically a winner with the family and something easy and healthy to do as the weekend winds down.  I get creative with the pizzas and make two awesome combinations (cheese, chicken/pesto, white pie with mushrooms, etc).  Fun, right?

This one particular Sunday, Jeff suggests we forget the pizzas and go out for dinner.  And to make this idea even sweeter, Jeff says I get to pick out the place we are going.  AND, I can pick anywhere!  Yes, any restaurant!!   Just as long as its within a normal distance from the house.   WOW!!

So I give this offer a lot of thought.  And believe it or not, the very first thing my brain gravitates towards is to decide between Jason's Deli or Spartan's.  OMG!!  How pathetic am I??  I can literally pick anywhere in Fairfax County; ANYWHERE!!!!  I am not being restricted by where the kids wish we'd go, I'm not being restricted by counter service only; I am not being restricted by any particular cuisine to stay away from and all I can think of is to figure out if we should go to Jason's Deli or Spartan's.   Once I say to Jeff what I'm currently debating, he is shocked that I am not considering more of my favorites where we don't go to often enough in my opinion.   Yes!!  I fully realize just how sad this is.  What has happened to me that this was my first thought???

I now geographically travel around in my mind all the restaurants I love to go to.  I consider the ones that I know the kids enjoy eating at too.  I take away all the places that I know that are ridiculously expensive and more like a special occasion type place.  I take away all the ones where it would be hard to get a table and there could be a wait.

I now have an awesome list of 4 places.  4 restaurants that I would be thrilled to go for dinner.  4 very different places in 4 very different directions from our house.  4 places that I hadn't been to in a while and I'm looking forward to going back to.  I have mentally picked out the entree I would order at each of these 4 places and my mouth is watering.  Bingo!  I've finally settled on a place.  The winner is DGS Deli in the Mosiac District.  DGS Deli is an upscale deli that has some amazing potato latkes, the best french fries Jeff has said he ever had, and the most fabulous pickles appetizer.   Jeff and I had been a few times to eat there but the kids had never been.  I knew the kids would like this place too and I was excited to introduce them to DGS.

We drive to the Mosaic District, Jeff drops us off at the corner and proceeds to go find a parking spot.  As we are waiting for Jeff to join us, I notice from the outside the restaurant looks dark inside.  Really dark.  Ian goes to take a closer look and comments that the restaurant is dark because it is closed.  CLOSED!  And not because they decided Sunday evening wouldn't be a good idea to be opened, but because the restaurant is no longer in operation EVER.  OMG!

I am finally given a choice on picking a restaurant and I blow it big-time!!  My one chance when no one in the family was going to voice criticism on where I wanted to go, where I could pick anywhere I wanted and I blew it!

My other top 3 picks were no where near the Mosiac District.  Seeing as it was 6:00pm, I couldn't really expect us to get in the car and relocate to another place.  Once we saw DGS Deli was closed, we naturally started walking to Ted's Bulletin.  It was a non-spoken, we-are-all-on-the-same-page kind of movement.  Don't get me wrong, everyone in the family LOVES Ted's Bulletin including me. But I had just met my friend Molly for dinner there one week prior.

It turned out to be a nice evening and everyone was pleased with where we ended up.  The kids especially loved getting one of their specialty milkshakes and getting to take home 4 of their homemade pop tarts to have at home.

All I could think of as we were walking away from a closed DGS was 'I threw away my shot.' (A nod to "Hamilton" lyrics).  I was given a rare opportunity and I blew it.   I will have to do better next time.  IF there is a next time. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ian's splinter escapade

Last week, Ian had an after-school drama practice and I had to leave to take Sam to horseback riding at the same time.  Ian walked home from school on his own and called to let me know he arrived safely.  It wasn't until much later that I randomly saw Ian's arm and noticed a huge red circle.  I asked Ian what happened and he replied with "When I was walking home, I skimmed my arm across the top of this wood fence and I think I got a splinter through the my hoody."   Yikes! 

Jeff and I went into action and took Ian upstairs to extract the splinter.  Despite multiple attempts using all sorts of equipment, we could not get the splinter out.  We couldn't even see it.  We could barely feel something below the surface but wasn't sure exactly what it was.  We tried tweezers, we tried squeezing it with our fingers, we tried making the wound bleed and then squeezing it, we tried pushing the area while it was bleeding hoping something would happen.  Meanwhile, Ian is less than pleased with us.  He is in pain while we are doing all of this and really wishes we would leave him alone.  He said this is not bothering him and really forgets its even there.  So we tell Ian to take a bath, soak his arm and see if the redness goes away or at least gets better. 

A few days later we are at Sweet Frog for frozen yogurt and I notice Ian's arm going up and down as he eats his yogurt.  There is the red area and its still there!!  And it still looks bad!  "Ian, that's it, we are going to urgent care right now.  Take your yogurt with you, we can finish it in that waiting room as easily as we can finish it here."  

Ian:  But Mom!  It's not bothering me.  I don't even feel it.
Me: I don't care.  Let the doctor tell me its nothing. 
Ian:  Fine.

Within an hour we were seen and upon looking at it, the doctor said it was definitely infected.  He was going to numb the area (with the largest needle Ian has ever seen) and then get a better look at what might be below the surface on his arm.

Ian handled everything like a champ.  The doctor was awesome and put Ian at ease. 

This is what came out of Ian's arm!  OMG!!!

And no matter how hard Jeff and I tried, we couldn't get this sucker out or even see it.  It was really buried deep!

A much happier Ian that this ordeal is now over. A much happier me knowing that we did the right thing by going.