Friday, August 25, 2017

While the kids were gone...

I made the most of my time while the kids were at camp.  It felt good to catch-up on some projects I had started.  It was great to be able to just read a book, or 5 or 10 to be exact!  It was wonderful to binge watch a few new shows -- OMG!  Must check out "Ozark" on Netflix.  Sooooo good!  A bit like Breaking Bad, which in my opinion is like the highest compliment you can give a show.  Love Jason Bateman!

Jeff and I spent 48 awesome hours in NYC and a beautiful sunny day in Annapolis.  I met The Girls for lunch - each of them on their own day near their offices.  I was even able to meet up with my Sister-in-law for lunch and a little shoe shopping afterwards.  Fun!

I managed to keep up my 5:30am bootcamp workouts 3x a week.  This is pretty amazing given the fact that I didn't have to be up by any certain time to take care of Ian and Samantha.   I was able to keep the house clean -- for longer than two hours too!

I logged many, many miles with Lucy and started each day with a long walk with her.  This was definitely a highlight.  I also logged many, many hours working for the Crazy Man.  While the increase in money from working for him was nice, I discovered I can really only take him in 3 hour increments.  That 6+ hour day was a killer and not repeated again!  Wine was definitely on the menu when I got home for dinner that evening.

I had enough free time to start and finish a big billing project for Susanne's therapy practice.  It felt good to get that done.

I got all my doctor appointments in -- my mammogram, my yearly physical and my bi-annual dentist appointment for a cleaning, plus a training session with Lucy and her trainer.

Jeff wasn't expecting me to cook dinner the whole time the kids were away and I surprised the both of us by cooking at least 6 different evenings with leftovers for more dinners and lunches.  Wowee!

One of my greatest achievements while the kids were away was taking on the Pipestem Repavement project.  This was a HUGE deal and something the rest of the houses on my pipestem weren't touching.  Nothing had been done to the pavement in the 39 years this pipestem existed.  It was in bad shape and really needed to be resurfaced.  Can I just say how great the road looks now?  It's smooth, no cracking, and doesn't have big chunks missing or sinking down. It was several weeks of complete frustration figuring out the details and contacting several companies to give us an estimate.  Plus, contacting Fairfax Water and Fairfax Sewer to discuss their separate access points and issues on the pipestem.  Not to mention navigating the process with the Conservancy office on using the appropriate funds and getting it disbursed.  But it all got done and the effort was more than worth it. Yay for me on this one!

It was a jam packed 28 days where I didn't slow down much, but even so I had lots of time to miss the kids.  I am glad they are back home.  Our lives have resumed its normal la vida loca and we are back to running around like a chicken with its head cut-off.  Very quickly my zen existence of doing as only I please has ended.  We are very busy preparing for the first day of school on Monday.  There is much to be done and our lazy days of Summer are definitely over.  

I am currently feeling very overwhelmed...not just by one thing, but by all of it together...the starting of the kids' activities, two different school schedules, Ian now has Bar Mitzvah tutoring once a week in addition to religious school twice a week, getting back into the groove of working at the preschool, The Crazy Man being at "full moon crazy", making sure the kids are doing their homework, and being responsible little people helping out. Not to mention cooking dinner again every single night except Saturdays -- I'm still taking that day off each week.   And let's not forget all the back to school nights.  I really don't know how families with more than 2 kids manage all this.

I am counting down big-time to when The Crazy Man has sold his house and finally moved to the retirement community village he has put a deposit on.  I am hoping that by this time next month I am no longer his go-to person for everything under the sun. It will be nice to not have every hour the kids are in school filled with a part-time job.  As of right now, I plan to fill that newfound free time with a nap.  :)

A final thought - While the kids were at camp, Jeff asked me if having children was something I always wanted?  Without hesitation, my answer was "yes".  Not because there was ever a time in my life where I had to consciously think to myself "do I want kids?", but because it was never a question in the first place.  I never pictured my life any other way.  In my opinion it was always going to be this way.  I love it.  I love the craziness, I love the noise, I love watching them grow into these amazing people, I love listening to them talk and their opinions and seeing the world from their perspective, I love how it feels to be a part of this family.  I love my kids so much.  I know that I am mostly in survival mode getting thru each day, but when I have a month without them around me, I realize just how much I was meant to be their mother.  And how much this is who I am.  But yes, a nap does sound awfully good.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Camp is awesome!

The kids are back from Camp Ramah!  And its a good thing too because the house was so quiet without them. 

How quiet was it?  Jeff (all on his own, without any prompting from me) said we could get a 2nd dog when Sam leaves for college.   Yep, you know the house must've been quiet. Like hear the mosquitoes buzzing around outside quiet.  The kind of quiet when Lucy was shedding some of her fur you could hear it hit the floor.  It was so quiet that we could hear the ice maker in the refrigerator make each ice cube. 

I've come to the conclusion that a month is too long for the kids to be gone.  We're used to them visiting the family in Orlando or doing Gramps Camp in Baltimore without us, but the difference is, its for much less than a month and we can still talk to them on the phone or see the kids thru facetime as much as we want.  It's hard to miss them so much when you still feel connected.

I honestly don't think I would've survived this past month without my friends Susanne and Dawn working at the camp.  Their texts, photos and videos they sent me made it bearable. I am so fortunate that they were able to check up on them, make sure Ian wasn't getting homesick, give them lots of hugs and report back to me what they were up to. 

Here's the thing -- the kids had a great time.  Even Ian who was so worried about being away from us for a month had a fabulous time.  They both want to go back next Summer.  So Jeff and I will try to work our magic and see if we can make the impossible possible again.   Fingers and toes are crossed.  Because as much as I miss them, I know this experience is so good for their development.  And to be in a setting that surrounds them with other Jewish kids is the icing on the cake.

Sam looks like she is up to no good!

That cucumber in Ian's hand never stood a chance.

It is so wonderful to see her so happy! 

At the airport picking up the kids! 
Everyone's happy to be going home!

Sunday, August 20, 2017


My idea of a dream weekend? 

Take Jeff and me and put us on a train super early on a Saturday morning headed to New York City.  See three (yes, 3!!!) shows, have lunch with a seriously cool lady who just happens to be a writer for General Hospital (No way! Way!!), find an awesome NY deli for breakfast that offers gluten-free bagels, all while walking everywhere!  Not to mention we managed to fit drinks in with a friend from high school, dinner with Jeff's uncle, and made it to Juniors for the yummiest slice of cheesecake.  End the weekend with a train back to D.C. departing Penn Station at 9:00pm Sunday evening, being in NYC for every possible minute we can before having to resume our regular lives on Monday morning.

I love NY!  I realize it will never be practical to live there, but it sure is nice to visit.  I love the energy, I love the people, I love the skyscrapers, I love the skyline.  I love it all! 

How wonderful Jeff and I could make this weekend a reality while the kids were at camp.

On the train!

As heard in the  "Hamilton" soundtrack, "It's the greatest city in the world."

Jeff and I have been to New York just frequently enough over the past several years that we seem to end up at the same exact restaurants completely by coincidence.  It's not until we are inside and seated at the same table that we realize we've been there before, and sometimes twice before.  Out of the tens of thousands of restaurants we could eat at, we've managed to randomly pick the same Chinese restaurant, Italian restaurant and diner.   It's pretty funny when it happened again this past visit to New York.  We've agreed to give up trying to find anything new and just keep visiting what seems to be our favorite places.  Hey, if it works, why mess with it?

Nora Ephron sums up my feelings perfectly:  "I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance."

Friday, August 18, 2017

I must be dreaming.

I've been having a "pinch me" moment that keeps going on and on and on.  There are some things I experience that even amaze myself it is happening.

It all started when I noticed that a baby born on the soap opera "General Hospital" had the same unique name as my neighbor's newborn who was born shortly before these episodes aired.  I commented on Facebook to my neighbor what a trendsetter she was.  My neighbor replied back and said her husband's aunt was a writer for the show and that is how that happened.  Next thing you know, I'm chatting with the writer herself and telling her what a fan I am of the soap opera.  I had been watching since I was 5.  General Hospital has become a part of me.  It's just something I do.  It's always there.

Then this happened:

SERIOUSLY!!!   The writer I had been emailing with made Ian's name (first and last!!) an off-screen character.  Ian's name was spoken by the great Nurse Bobbie.  OMG!!  I think the kids and I watched this video about 50 times in a row right after it happened.  How insane is this!?!?!    It should be noted that there are already females character named "Sam" and  "Robin" on the show, so that wasn't really an option.

But wait, it gets even better!  I get an email saying the studio has a surprise for me and will be sending it to me shortly.  In the mail, a signed script by the cast of the episode Ian's name appeared in arrived at my door.  HOLY SH*T!  I can't believe it and was shaking as I held the script when I realized what it was I was taking out of the envelope.  THIS IS INSANE!!!!   I've since figured out a great way to protect it and display it. I've put it in a shadow box frame.

After thanking my new bestie, she indicated she'd be open to getting together the next time I am in NY.  OMG!!  This just keeps better and better.  If I am dreaming all of this, please don't wake me up.

Lunch with her on Sunday in New York City was a surreal experience.  The icing on the cake?  When at the end of lunch she said "We should do this again."  Um, about every Sunday?  Is every Sunday good for you?  I am pretty sure I'd never get tired chatting with her.  She is fascinating, lovely, and so incredibly sweet.

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.