Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jersey Love

Dear Garden State,
I may have made a few jokes at your expense while calling you home for 7 years - I think we are close like that - I only tease the ones I love. I may have given you a bad rap for your poor air quality, crowded living conditions and your overabundance of fashion disasters.

But now I miss you.

Don't get me wrong, I love being back in my home state. But you see, tonight I pumped my own gas...in the dark...in the rain, and well, all I could think about was you. You, New Jersey, with your quick only slightly scary gas attendants and super low gas prices.

And then my mind wandered to all of your other noteworthy attributes. The bagels, oh your bagels are the best. Our favorite little zoo. The gorgeous views of NYC that I saw everyday.

But as I drove home in the darkness of true suburbia, I realized that it wasn't all those silly things that I miss. Because NJ will never be about gas or bagels. New Jersey will always be about our family. And that is what I miss.

So, NJ take care of my family and we will be back real soon.

xoxo
Lauren

 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Affirmations


There are lots of moments everyday where I am not the best mom in the whole world. Times where even as they are happening I know I am being impatient or a little snappy or just plain missing a perfect learning opportunity. I sometimes look the other way when I should be intervening or shrug my shoulders instead of looking in their eyes and answering.

Not something Im proud to admit, although I know none of us are perfect. So when a moment comes along where something good is happening, I eat it up. Full on belly to the table slurping with a spoon - I acknowledge the little affirmations that my kids are awesome despite my imperfections and perhaps because of something I do manage to do right.

Like when they push each other on the swings. Or tell the story of checking on the other on the bus. Or when one makes sure to bring home the same for everyone. Sometimes it is as simple as pausing and noticing that they are happy. And as I soak it in I remember that it isn't the perfect little moments that they will remember or that will ultimately make them be whoever they will be - being loved is the key and I know I do that right.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Only Option

When in the last days of September Mother Nature throws you a sunny day in the high 70's, there are no options. There is only one acceptable place to be, the beach. An invitation thrown out in a Facebook message has probably been overused and possibly abused at this point, but I can't stop myself. We raced home from the school bus stop, threw on our bathing suits and piled every known beach toy into the car. We didn't skimp on towels and hey, chairs for everyone!! Because soon we would switch the car into four wheel drive, roll down the windows, crank the tunes and head out on that bumpy road to paradise:: Saquish. We pulled the car onto the empty beach and spent an afternoon I will never forget.
 We have only been to Saquish a few times this year, but the last two visits have been amazing. We are the only ones there. We run, skip and do cartwheels. We lay in tide pools warmed by the sun and fill our buckets with shells and sea glass. We sing songs at the top of our lungs and then walk quietly along the shore. The kids make up games and run farther than my voice can reach, but it doesn't matter. Colby tries to keep up, his chubby feet making miniature foot prints in the sand.

And I just soak it all in. Because in late September on a perfect day at the beach, that is the only option.
ps. Mike asked for an "album cover" type photo of the family - this is my best attempt so far 

Monday, September 26, 2011

When You're 3.5

 When you are 3.5 you think you are pretty cool. You know lots and you aren't afraid to share it. Like where animals live, what foods you like, and what your poop looked liked this morning. You sing songs at the top of your lungs with all the wrong words and to the wrong tune.

When you are 3.5 you like to be in charge. You don't like to be told what to do or when to do it. You think you can scooter on a trail for 2 miles. Because when you are 3.5 you think you are 5.5 like your big brother and sister.

But when you are 3.5, sometimes just sometimes, you like to be a little bit like a baby. You cry for the last mile of the scooter ride because your legs are just too tired. You like to be held in the morning and someone to lay with you at night.

And that is why 3.5 is pretty much the perfect age.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Alone...at last?

In the last 6 years I have left my kids very seldom. Maybe once a month, or sometimes less (wow, my social life is sad!). Usually if I was going out at night I would first give them dinner, put on their PJs and sometimes even put them to bed before I left. 
I didn't miss much.

In the last 6 weeks, I have missed a lot. A lot to us is several times a week. I have missed dinners, bedtimes and reading stories. And at other times I have been out with just one or two of my littles...Im not getting used to it yet. I feel the need to explain to everyone I pass that I have 4 children.

It doesn't feel relaxing, actually I constantly feel like I am forgetting something.

And although bedtime isn't my favorite part of the day - I miss it. And I feel guilty.

We have been talking to the kids about my going to work - part time. Drew has asked me a bunch of times who will watch them while I work. I cringe every time and my heart seizes with guilt. Once while passing a daycare he asked if he would have to go -it was like a dagger, I tell ya!
There are times when I long for the way things were, me & my babies together all day. There are times when I am so excited for the days to come - so many exciting changes! A life that feels my own! A break from the monotony of daily routine!

Im lucky that I have had the days I have had and the choices that are now before me. I take neither for granted - the time with them or the time away.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Swinging By


They have come a long way in almost 6 years!

A popular question was whether or not we would keep them together in school. We decided to keep them together for Kindergarten, even though there wouldn't have been a choice to separate them anyway since the district only offers one half day Kindergarten.

It was cute to hear them talk about going to school on the first day and riding the bus together. I know there was a little extra, much needed, confidence by having each other to climb up those big bus steps. And it made me feel better sending them off, knowing that they were together.

The teacher has sat them next to each other for now, but Ella and Drew report that they never sit together during circle time, at snack time, or on the bus. And each is proud to say they have their own friends to play with it recess.

It is a funny feeling for me as a parent. I want them to be independent and capable of socializing with other kids...but at the same time, I want them to like each other and stay close - I want them to chose to be friends.

Ill just add it to the long, long list of all the things I want for my children. I know I can only try my hardest and watch how it all plays out. And Ill watch a little more carefully, paying attention to all the details before another 5 years swings by.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tyler T Goes to School

"Okaay Mommmy!" 
He sang this all morning as I instructed him to brush his teeth, find his shoes, and go to the bathroom one last time. 
If you know Tyler, you know this is not his usual response to any question aside from "do you want ice cream?" But his first morning of Nursery School he was as giddy as could be - it was finally his turn. 

It's funny how things change and how different your own kids can be. Ella and Drew are still nervous about going to school. And I still worry about them while they are gone. But, Ty...he is awesome, no worries. No looking back, no stopping for a hug, no asking how long he has to stay - he loves it. 

He is so proud of himself, and Im so proud of him. I have to admit that I hugged baby Colby a little tighter after I dropped him off...how do they grow up so fast? 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just Like That

I saw the pumpkins at the grocery store last week - but I paid no mind. You see I was heading to the beach to soak in that late summer sun. I wasn't going to let summer go without a good fight. 

Mother Nature is no match for me. 
Fall has arrived with brisk, crisp mornings, hot cups of tea and slippered feet. 
Hooded sweatshirts are pulled from the back of the drawer and the ease of sandals are traded for tugging on socks and tying laces. 

I need to mourn for a minute, just a day or two. 
Then Ill be ready to apple pick and pumpkin carve with the best of them. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Paradise

I stayed up late last night, too late, working on a project for this little blog. It was a slide show of my favorite beach images from the summer put to the Zac Brown & Jimmy Buffett song, Knee Deep.  The problem is every time I export it out of Iphoto, the quality is so compromised that I can't stand it. Not for pictures I love so much. So you will have to trust me that the photos are good :)

The song sums it up so well for me. This summer, especially, held a lot of tense and stressful times for us - what with uprooting our lives and all. But every time I went to the beach - any beach - I was transformed. As soon as I walk across the boardwalk or through the dunes, something happens to me and it is awesome.

Yesterday was the ultimate beach day. Saquish, oh Saquish. 30 minutes from our house, and 20 minutes of that drive is on a beach. An adventure that makes you feel lucky and blessed as soon as you switch into 4 wheel drive. We pulled onto the sand at the highest of high tides, barely room to drive. But within 45 minutes the tide receded as if to welcome us and then revealed long stretches of soft sandbars and warm tidal pools.  There were no other cars in sight and one lone couple so far away I hardly noticed them at all. We splashed, explored, collected, ran, dug, and lounged. We thought of nothing else but that moment. We soaked in the sun, the blue sky, and the expanse of an ocean horizon.

Paradise.
video
Although it is hard to see small, the quality is better - if you blow it up big screen, you have to deal with the fuzziness :( Sad for you, but this little video is going to carry me straight through the winter! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Remembering

There will always be something missing in this picture. 

The world changed 10 years ago today. 
Im still learning the lessons and I still feel the fear. 

I had just moved to NYC. I was way up in Washington Heights when it happened, watching on tv it didn't seem possible that I was so close. Standing in the middle of Broadway I watched the cloud of dust rise into the sky. I remember the quiet of the streets, the piercing sounds of the sirens. The helicopters and the jets overhead. I remember relief when I saw his face as he walked up the street hours later. 

We all have a story from that day and we are obligated to keep telling the story. Because when we do we ensure that the suffering and the sacrifice were not in vain. In our stories heros are honored. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rain Rain Go Away



It has been raining, pouring actually, for 3 days straight. The kind of rain that soaks your hair by the time you get from the house to the car. 
I can't find the box with the raincoats and rain boots. Im sure by the time I do, the sun will be back. Although it is September and school has started, Im not quite ready to give up on summer. We may be wearing jeans and sweatshirts today, but Im hoping for a few more days of shorts & tees to come. 
I need a gradual change, I think. 

The last time it rained my Dad gathered the kids and their umbrellas and went for a walk. The kids thought he was a superhero for the suggestion, I thought they were crazy. 
They were gone for 45 minutes, just long enough for me to worry.  
I snapped this picture from the comfort of the dry house with towels ready and a smile. 
Most times it is the simple things, a walk in the rain, that make the days special. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Girl


I know my kids. I know them better than anyone. I can tell you exactly what they'll do, when they'll do it and how they will react. I know what to say to calm them down, to encourage them to do something, or to stop whatever they are doing. 
Well, at least I used to. 

That's the hard part about kids growing up. One day you are forced to realize that they are their own people. No matter how much they are like you - they aren't you. They will do things differently and feel differently and think differently. 
And it is beautiful to watch. 

Ella is my girl. She is a lot like me. She is competitive, caring, independent, and can argue like a lawyer. But she is different too. And more than any of my other kids, she surprises me. 
Most nights when I think back on the day, I am in total awe of her.  I wonder how our relationship will grow and change, a momma and her only girl.

She was scared to go to Kindergarten, I know she was. But she never cried, not a tear the night before, not a sob into my shoulder while she was getting dressed, and not even a quiver of the lip as she climbed the steps onto the bus. To say that I was shocked is an understatement. 

I guessed wrong and she showed me. I know it won't be the last time. 
And I learned a lesson, I won't underestimate her again. 
It was another day I was filled to the tippity top with pride and awe and wonder of my girl.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Then & Now

Yesterday::
 And Today::
That is how it happened, and that is how Ill remember it. One day they were little babies and the next off to Kindergarten. 

Sometimes I think it is easier to be the one who leaves. Ella and Drew are in school, busy, playing, laughing, meeting new friends. Mike is at a new job, figuring it out, learning, making new friends. 

And here I am, sick to my stomach. Wondering. Waiting. Are they ok?
Im sure they are, but I would feel better if I could see them. 
Maybe we will go peek in some windows....what else are we going to do?! 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Beach Blanket Bingo

It is hard to deny the draw of the beach. A feast for the senses that both excites and relaxes at the same time. One of the many reasons we moved, instead of hours we now measure our distance to the shore in minutes. 

The first stop - driving onto the beach. It was a literal drive down memory lane for me as we bumped along the shore of Duxbury beach following the car of my childhood friend. We settled into our chairs and as our kids played together we remembered doing the same so many years ago. 

Next stop, the Spit. An awesome beach reached only by boat. Uncle Mark and Auntie Teri treated us to a day straight out of the picture books. As if a boat ride isn't fun enough, there was soft sand, gentle waves lapping the shore and buckets of hermit crabs to be found. 

We can certainly get used to this. 


Friday, September 2, 2011

Anybody Home?!

It feels a little daunting to come back to the blog after so much time away...where do I start?! 
But just know this::
I have my computer back. 
I have TONS of pictures to share. 
We survived the hurricane (thanks to our head lamps)! 
New school and new jobs start on Tuesday! 

Let's start fresh next week, shall we?