Monday, June 22, 2015

And from Scout

And from Scout: Thank you for picking me up when I go crazy and jump around and scratch your legs. I get so excited when you get home. When I hear that you're home, I start to cry because I'm so excited to see you. I like when you hold me and tell me things. I like when you give me tummy rubs. Thank you for giving me food off of your plate. And for playing with me. And for getting me a fence so I can run around the backyard and roll around in smelly things. You're kind of a sucker, but I'm glad. I love you so much.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day 2015

From me: Happy Father's Day! Thank you for being such a fabulous partner to me and wonderful father to our two beautiful children. I tell you this all the time and I mean it - there is no one else I'd rather be with to navigate this crazy ride called life. You are such a great example to our kids - you teach them responsibility and hard work, but also fun and sarcasm and laughter. They are lucky to have you for a daddy. Go me for picking a winner! :) I love you.
From Kate: Happy Father's Day, Daddy! Thank you for being the best dad we could possibly have. No matter how busy we get in our everyday lives, you always find the time to play a game or give us a hug or just ask us how our day's been. Anytime we have an activity to go to, you never hesitate to drop everything to drive us or get home from work as early as possible. Our midnight premiere dates for movies like "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent" are tons of fun (and I can't wait for "Mockingjay: Part 2!"). I love playing games with you, watching "Scrubs" and "Lord of the Rings," and talking about books we've both read. I love you! -Kate

From Max: I love my father! He is one of the kindest people I know. Just two weeks ago we tested for our 2nd degree black belts. He was the one making me not feel so nervous for the test. Today, I want to wish him a happy Fathers' Day! Thank you for everything you do!

Friday, June 12, 2015

These Guys

I am so proud of these two. They've been working so hard for over two years and they tested great yesterday! Mark hurt his ankle but persevered, even breaking boards with his feet! And Max broke through the concrete block with his hand! They did awesome on their forms and kicks and sparring. Kate and I took pictures and cheered them on. I felt very emotional throughout the test. So lucky to have these guys in my life. Way to go, Mark and Max!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


(Totally stealing this idea from my SIL - thanks, Emily!)

Mark and me at the Jane Austen Murder Mystery Dinner


He works hard and plays hard. His favorite thing in the world is family time and he's at his most relaxed when we're all hanging out and playing games when he's not on call. I love seeing him not have to worry about taking call on his days off. He deals with psych patients every morning, nurses all day and night, and also works in our clinic with patients and paperwork during weekday afternoons. He is testing for his 2nd degree black belt this week and I'm super proud of him. He is also awesome about running errands, doing stuff with the kids, fixing and updating electronics (never-ending), playing with Scout, spoiling me, and being my best friend. We talk A LOT and are super inefficient sometimes, and yet I feel like we also accomplish a ton. We're dichotomies. I love him so much that it sometimes feels like my heart could burst.


I'm always working on all kinds of things for the family, our home, our rental(s) (yes, it may come to that with the farmhouse), our dog, homeschooling, our clinic, our marketing, our social life, our friends, the community, ideas, books, games, TV, movies, writing, blogging . . . my mind is like a non-stop hamster wheel and my thoughts are like flying wood chips from the action of said wheel. I'm a visual person, can you tell? I was just talking to Jim about this yesterday - how parenting is this non-stop balancing act between keeping things simple/not overprogrammed and also making sure your kids have great opportunities. This is magnified when you homeschool. Schools sort of takes care of all that stuff, so when you home educate, much of not only the academics, but the social life and enrichment activities, are all on you. That being said, I wouldn't trade it. The kids are thriving and our family loves it. We get flexibility, freedom, and fun - pretty snazzy, if you ask me. I deal with chronic neck pain and have had pain in one part of my neck/upper shoulders for over two weeks, all because I lifted something heavy. Bleh. I've also been branching out and meeting more people in our community and it's been nice.

Our awesome kids at the Jane Austen Murder Mystery Dinner


Looking more grown up every day, it seems. She is her own person, exudes grace and confidence, and knows who she is. She enjoys her morning tea, chatting with her Tumblr friends who all are part of the Supernatural fandom (I hear constant giggling, snorting, and laughter from her and it's almost always this!), reading, writing, geeking out, fangirling, hanging out with friends, and learning. Her favorite game right now is Geek Out. She is pretty excited to be roomies with her writing friend Peyton at writer's camp this summer. She is looking forward to having two foreign exchange students here for a few weeks - Adele from France and Antonio from Spain. She is very driven and has been querying agents and currently has a manuscript being read by an agent who requested it (squee!). She's working at the Renaissance Faire and loves, loves, loves that. She is also doing an internship at our local, indie bookstore and could not be more thrilled. She and I are watching several shows together right now including Frasier, New Girl, and Glee. She has a wicked sense of humor and quick wit. At 5'7, she is already 5 inches taller than I am.


He is also growing and I can see him not only getting taller, but getting that young man look. His eyes are beautiful and change color depending on what he's wearing - I often get distracted when we're talking and I look into his eyes. He is loving, loving, loving living in a neighborhood where the kids next door are always up for playing outside. They're on summer break now and when he hears them in the morning, he jumps out of bed, showers, gets ready, cleans up, and runs outside to play for hours. It's great. He also loves Park Days where he plays Nerf sword battles and role playing games with his friends all day long. He's frustrated that he's not old enough to work at the Ren Faire yet, but he's excited that we got season passes this year and get to go a lot. He has an active social life both in person and online and enjoys friends of all ages, making friends everywhere we go. He never ever tires of playing games and is always making up new games and new versions of games. He is super sweet, snuggly, thoughtful, funny, and fun. Just now the dog's barking was making me anxious, so he handed me a stress ball. He is also testing for his 2nd degree black belt this week and is so excited to help teach younger kids at the studio.

Scout, who thinks all laundry is hers


I love this dog more than I ever imagined I could love a furry, little creature. She is a ton of work, super demanding, incredibly feisty, full of spunk, and often crotchety. And we love it. She has so much personality and is not a boring dog at all! She randomly comes up to us, climbs us, and wags her tail while panting and licking our earlobes - these are random "I love you"s from her to us and they make me so happy. She loves to cuddle, go for walks, go for rides, play, and eat, eat, eat. And whatever she does, she's happiest when we're all together. She is incredibly motivated by food and she adores us more than I've ever felt adored by just about anyone. I could've written voluminous books on all the reasons why I didn't want a dog, but alas, I'm smitten and so very glad we got her.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Cape May, NJ

So, Mark got asked to cover some extra days at work in order for someone to attend a wedding. In exchange, he got a few days off earlier in that same week. It wasn't quite enough to go anywhere far, but it was enough to get out of town for a couple of days, so we did and it was lovely and much needed. We got the cutest little beach house that was nicely stocked with linens and supplies and bikes and we had a great few days together discovering a new place, which is always lots of fun.

Day 1 - Get there and check the place out!
We like visiting places on the off-season.
A lot was closed here, though, which surprised us
(because Delaware beaches aren't like that at all).
Just the same, we were able to do a ton.

 Cape May has a complex full of little shops and bakeries and restaurants.
 We really enjoyed getting treats at the bakeries.

 This is an actual, functioning 5 & Dime with soda fountain and everything!

We always stop at bookstores!

 Kate and I got lobster rolls. They were so good,
 but nothing compares to a lobster roll in New England, 
where they use a special kind of cut hot dog type bread.

 Scout loves going on vacation with us!

 We got to play lots of games on this getaway, especially Smash-Up!

Day 2 - Exploring the lighthouse and biking around
 the Victorian homes and beach!

 Off to explore a lighthouse

 The front patio area of the beach house was super cute

Narrow, spiral staircase - 217 steps to the top!

 At the top of the lighthouse

 My little boy is getting that young man look!

 Back downstairs

 Breakfast on the pier
 Kate and I got delicious omlettes with crab and cheese
 and spinach and all kinds of goodness

Playing in the patio area on a beautiful day

So, Cape May is a Victorian beach town and one of our favorite things we did there was to bike around the town (and to the beach) and see all the great Victorian homes and B&Bs.

 It got hot and we wanted to bike into town for ice cream,
so we got some at Ben & Jerry's.

 Then, it was time to bike over and hang out at the beach!

 These black-headed seagulls were wild!

 Me and my ridiculously handsome husband

 Hanging out at the beach house . . .

 . . . 2015 style! Everyone got washed up to go to dinner.
We asked around town for good recommendations,
 did a little research online, and found a place where
everyone loved their meal.

 These LOADED-with-carnitas nachos fed us for days!
Max was pretty excited to get these.

 No kidding - clam pizza.

 I got a delicious and unique homemade pasta (like hollow spaghetti)
in a delicious white wine and garlic sauce and it was LOADED with clams,
clams, and more clams.

 Kate almost always gets seafood, but she opted for a burger and it was amazing!
There should always be bleu cheese crumbles and avocado on everything.

Day 3 - Packing up and going home

Already time to leave. :(
We walked around the bakeries again
 and enjoyed our breakfast treats outside.

You can tell when we're not ready to be done enjoying a getaway,
because we REALLY take our time getting back.
After not being able to find some restaurants we were looking for,
we stopped in this town outside of Philly and had some
MAGNIFICENT, authentic Greek food.
It was delicious!

Before finding that Greek place,
we tried finding some other places (P.F. Chang's, Panda Express, etc.)
with no luck. Apparently, the Panda Express was supposed to be
in a food court in a mall, but when we stopped there, the mall was DESERTED.
I thought it was SO creepy when I went in to find it
 and saw that everything was boarded up.
I was so creeped out that we stopped at the mall again
 so Mark and the kids could see it.
I must've hyped it too much,
because they weren't creeped out at all.

I, however, was.
And my husband is sweet to humor me.

We stopped at a game store, too, and took the long way back. We really weren't antsy to get back and deal with life stresses. It's so unlike us to allow ourselves a fun getaway when we have so much to do and so many things to resolve. It seems counter-intuitive to go away for a few days when you've got a ton to do. But I'm so glad we did, because I think we really needed it and it really helped to rejuvenate us!

I love my family so much and there's nothing I love more than spending time together. Add the beach, books, games, a new place to explore, bakery treats, and great food, and that's pretty much perfection for us.