One of my goals for 2017 is to blog more. Not to increase readership (because, let’s face it, Instagram is the place people go to read short commentary and scan through pretty pictures). I want to do it for memory keeping sake. Because life is moving fast, and these three kids that I’m raising are growing and changing right before my eyes.
We took our first family trip to the Jersey Shore while Nick was off on paternity leave. There was wave battling, boogie boarding, beach tossing, army crawling. And Evelyn dipped her toes in the ocean for the very first time.
We couldn’t go to LBI without visiting Lauren’s playground. And I’m convinced that she was watching the kids play from above.
Always entertaining when we get this crew together! Pool time, superhero costumes, ice cream cones, adventures at the park. Even if the older two boys decided to celebrate 25 years of friendship by drinking tequila until 4am, and Carrie and I had to solo parent the following day. It’s always worth it.
37 Years for Mom and Dad: A lot has changed since my parents said “I do” on that hot August day. They have raised 3 children, loved 4 dogs, and spoiled 3 grandkids. They have watched golf at Pebble Beach and soccer in Liverpool. They have been to both coasts, the mountains, and the city. They have built a beautiful home that everyone loves to visit. They have hosted countless parties and picnics, celebrated birthdays, graduations, weddings, and babies. And they have weathered many storms — those that have tested their health, their patience, their endurance. But one thing has not changed in 37 years: their commitment to one another. There are likely more obstacles ahead. But there are also more adventures.
7 Years for Us: We got dressed up to celebrate the wedding of one of our best friends on the day before our own anniversary. I even convinced Nick to dance to our wedding song when the band played it during dinner. I love our noisy, crazy, busy, beautiful life together!
Evelyn + Eveyln
Evelyn finally got to meet her namesake!
Nora’s First Haircut
Back to school haircuts for the big kids … and Nora’s first! (Assuming we don’t count that time I tried to trim her bangs and regretted it immediately.)
First Day of Preschool
Sent the big kids to preschool with pennies in their shoes and kisses in their hands. On our walk, I asked what they want to be when they grow up. Sam said a police officer because they have walkie-talkies and guns and hand-cuffs to catch the bad guys and stop the robbers. And because they’re like Batman — except real. Nora said a princess. Then she changed her mind and said she wants to drive an airplane.
We celebrated Lucy’s 4th birthday with homemade party hats and peanut butter cookies.
We did Disney! But that deserves a post all of its own.
We spent Sam’s actual birthday in Disney World. But when we got home, he invited a few friends over to celebrate again. They took off their shirts as soon as they arrived. They jumped and wrestled in the bounce house. They battled with light sabers and sat still for less than 5 minutes to work on a new LEGO set. They barely touched their pizza, but came running when I said it was time for cupcakes. And the whoopie cushion was a huge hit. Pretty standard evening with four 5-year-old boys.
We took advantage of some warm fall days. And Nick took Sam geocaching. Treasure hunting for kids! They both loved it.
Second cousins, born exactly one month apart! We were excited to finally get these two together.
Holidays are always more fun when you can put your kiddos in matching jammies.
Sam was very specific in his Halloween costume request this year: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Fortunately, we found a Jedi costume that fit his requirements. Also, I had no idea who Obi-Wan was last year at this time. And now I am versed in all things Star Wars.
And then he said, “I’ve been Obi-Wan like five times. I’m going to be Captain America now.” And Nora decided that she wanted to wear a different princess dress and add butterfly wings. Our baby girl giraffe fell asleep while trick-or-treating downtown. We made it down one side of South Street before the kids got bored, so we headed home to eat candy and watch Halloween movies.
The group is growing by one in January. Congratulations to Mike and Kayley! We can’t wait to meet little Cerney!
I wanted to take the big kids to vote, too, but I couldn’t figure out the logistics. Instead we talked about it during breakfast. Nora said she’s voting “for the girl.” And Sam said, “I’m going to vote for George Washington.” Good choices, kids. Unfortunately, neither of our candidates won. And I struggled with what to tell the kids. This. This is what we tell our children. To honor the outcome of this election. But to continue to fight. To be responsible members of a civic society. And to treat all people with love and respect.
We hired a legit babysitter and enjoyed a date night with friends. Only our third night out since we moved to NJ. Believe it or not, I actually remembered how to converse with adults.
American Museum of Natural History
We spent an afternoon at the museum. Sam was most interested in the Indian weapons. Evie squealed at the sight of the elephants. And Nora tried to give big bear hugs to the bears.
Sam enjoyed a Thanksgiving Feast at school, and he was incredibly proud to share his homemade pumpkin bread.
We traveled to Bethlehem for our own Thanksgiving Feast. Love this yearly tradition. And these three little turkeys. The big one, too. Even on our craziest days, I know how blessed we are.
Big Ten Champions
The kids were asleep before kick-off, and the adults took advantage of the grandparents visiting and sneaked out to watch the game with friends. It was a good day to be a Penn Stater.
Remembering Sandy Hook
The 4th anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook. I found myself feeling extra grateful as we went through the motions of our morning routine. Sam requested spaghetti and meatballs for breakfast, and I obliged. I let the kids play dinosaur hunt longer than usual — because they are so lucky to have each other — even if it meant being a few minutes late to school. I kissed the top of Sam’s head, under his Spider Man hat, as he took his teacher’s hand and walked into the building. And I was overwhelmed by the trust we put into those teachers to provide a safe environment for our children. Our cousin, Lauren, will always be a true symbol of a compassionate teacher who embraced her students until the end. Thinking of her and all of the families who still long to hug their children.