This is totally not a guide to what-to-do in NY, like I said yesterday visiting my parents is not your normal visit to a person or place. For the sake of completeness I do want to write what we did so I don’t forget.
This is not in order… it is in the order they uploaded and I don’t have time to mess with them so without further Adu;
Muddy Puddle days at a local farm we go visit most visits. This is a really cool event where for $4 kids get to dive, slide and generally romp in mud puddles. We nearly didn’t go because the morning was rainy and cool but our friends really did and so we wanted to spend time with them more than avoid hypothermia and fortunately for all it turned around and it was gorgeous and sunny and perfect. Miss Math has a much better picture when they were all head to toe mud, this is a post mud one after we hosed them down.
Many trips to the beach and we learned that Prima loves to dig in the sand. She loves to dig in anything but sand makes the most gratifying hole when you are a 2lb dog.
We had a morning brunch in the park with my friend Pete and Will and Greta and their various spouses and children. Again, awesome weather and the kids all click and play so well they were begging to see each other again. (Good thing we visit for Christmas too). Pete gets the boy scout award by being the most prepared friend I have. He makes me feel disorganized by comparison because while I can fish out a band-aid from my mom-bag, he had a full on med kit with 19 sizes of band-aids and none of them were covered in cookie crumbs or sand (like what is at the bottom of my bag)
Another yearly stop to the Holtsville Science Center where they have a rescue zoo. All the animals are rescues one way or another. This time the peacocks were in full bloom and chasing around the hens who were ignoring them. We also saw some pretty active bears and the normal crew of other animals.
An absolutely unique opportunity happened this year – we happened to be in town for the PROM! so 20 years after my prom, I’m taking a picture of my 2nd youngest cousin get ready for hers. Sayville does something pretty cool. Part 1 – they do a mass picture event at the local pretty picture park (where I also did my wedding pictures). This is so fun because parents are invited and you see all the kids and it saves figuring out where else to do pictures. They did the same for my prom and I loved it then too. Cool thing 2; now they REQUIRE you to go to the prom in a giant party bus. The buses leave from the picture spot and I think this does three great things; takes out the cost of limo (and the pressure to have a limo), limits pre-prom drinking risks, and keeps the schedule rolling better because you don’t have various traffic jams coming and going to the prom. This is a newish thing and I like it but, I still love my prom limo experience… The kids were entranced with all the dresses and they were like cheerleaders LOUDLY commenting on how much they loved this dress or that one. I think they brightened quite a few teens day but none more than their A#1 cousin who was most pretty overall.
On our very last day we met up with Pete and his girls and my nephews and we ran all over a nature trail. We scared away most of the nature but had a great time. Pete brought the good camera so I may get better than my 2 random snapshots.
One of the unplanned great coincidences was that my cousin Antonia and her 3 kids were visiting the same time we were! We hung out a few times including the twins first active beach experience. Twin 1-year-olds are a challenge but Antonia is young and quick so running in separate directions was a fun test for her. They are the sweetest little people who are at that mobile but ‘idiot’ stage and as an aunt, I found it nothing short of adorable.
I have to say Miss Math is the ABSOLUTE best friend about making time for me and I am forever happy for all the time she creates for me. This trip 2 other friends made really awesome efforts to come see me. I missed getting a picture of one who drove 4 hours in traffic to see me for 3 hours, but here is my other. She left as soon as work ended down south and drove the night to get to Sayville the morning I was leaving and texted at 6am that she was there and needed a nap and to call repeatedly until I woke her up. We spent an hour or so catching up and seeing her pregnant belly and she saw all the productions of my pregnant belly plus the puppy (she has been a superb pup mom forever)
I put this on Instagram too, this is my trio solo. We went on plenty of beach and playground trip just us while the rest of NY was still in school. They may fight, they may drive me crazy sometimes but if you think about it, who can you spend 24/7 with all the time? We did do something every day but it was not a rush-rush vacation so there was plenty of time just us or just us and my parents. I am not quite at the read a book stage of parenting, I still need to have eyes on them too frequently but it is nice that there are times I can just sit and relax. 2 weeks is a pretty long time to be gone but not long enough to feel like we fit in quite yet. I end up missing my stuff, my car, my routine and to all the busy people who found time for me I know how hard it can be since usually, I have a really really full routine. The break was nice but I’m glad to be back here even if I have zero family, all my friends are from the past few years so no ‘remember when we were’ conversations or history and my network is 1/12 of what it could be if I had stayed in my hohometown. Moving here was a good decision but not an easy one but as always, I’m more glad for what I got to do and who I did get to see then sad about what I missed or leaving it behind again after 2 weeks.
Bye bye guys, so glad we had this trip and everyone has an open invite to visit us!
Yes, yes, yes… we made it back. Reasonably easily even!
Last I posted we were in the vacation land of NY where I had made nearly no plans but managed to fill the days with friends and family. The trend continued, I am super lucky to have friends that will twist their week or weekend to work me in and my sister even scheduled her house warming for when I was there so not only could I help warm her new cute house, but, see a ton of family and mutual friends all in one spot. Above is one picture, I’ll do a post with more pictures and the ‘what we did’ list for posterity, but, the nature of travel and visiting is on my mind and I have a few thoughts ~
When one visits a place like a tourist they never expect to see friends, maybe some old friend is local and you do a lunch or something to catch up but usually, you are there to visit the PLACE.
When one goes to visit a specific person you see a TON of that person and the I must say, people who you spend 24/7 with on a visit like that are like ‘next level’ friends. However, while you are visiting that person/family you do some tourist things but somehow even if you have 10 other friends in the area, unless they are mutual to the person you are officially visiting you don’t see much of those other friends.
What we do is a hybrid because we go ‘home’ the people we officially visit are my parents because we stay there. The hybrid part is that there is a mix of people I see quite frequently while I’m there almost as much as if I was there to spend the week with them, and, people that I see once or twice – more like the standard visit a place model. Balancing the two styles plus also wanting to cram a little culture and adventure like visiting a place and time to see all my giant family ends up getting hard but I would not trade it for anything. I hate when I have to miss something or a timing just won’t work but I also choose to focus on all the positives possible. If I see an old friend for 20 min, that is 20min more than nothing!
I also told myself this is my only break all summer because the rest is all about house market, possible move, camping trips, and full-time parenting. I got dumped directly back into the soup because the dream of the house selling on day 1 didn’t happen and so when we got home it was not the recovery day and luggage explosion it was scrub and clean and get ready for more showings. We are in the low season of the summer for sales since it is prime graduation and holiday season the spring rush is over and the end of summer rush before school is yet to begin. I’ll consider this week a practice and time to get a routine down that keep the house clean and kids happy (good wishes welcome!)
The timing of our return was also because of a very special day. Today, June 29, is a milestone birthday for Lars and we had to be home! We had to compromise a bit on the day because I had an afternoon work meeting that I had to go to but we spent a nice morning together seeing the house we might buy again, then he took the girls to the zoo and I did the work thing, and now the kids are playing and Lars gets a nap and we have a baby sitter coming in an hour so we can go out together. I also scored on the birthday gift. We did the normal t-shirt and little things but I got an instant pot, something he has never really heard of but given his cooking hobby I took the gamble and I won. The best gifts are things you don’t know you want and/or something you would not just buy yourself. The girls and I found it and my sleep deprived, travel tired brain recognized that this was IT and we got it.
So now you are all up on what I’m doing. I hope to get back on a routine soon but who knows, that might change tomorrow. The stay at home life is never dull if you’re doing it right.
Yesterday I did not get everything done because I ended up going to the Dr and found that it is not allergies or a cold but strep. You know how low the chances of strep are for an adult? Well, I’m glad to live in a time of antibiotics and today they need to work overtime. I need to get myself, 3 other humans and 1 canine through a pair of airports in less than 9 hours. I have told all the girls that once we get to NY all my attention can be for them – not the house, no meetings, just my family, and NY friends.
In the next 9 hours, I need to pack (yesterday I got all the laundry done, your favorite things are always the ones you just wore). To save time I don’t plan on putting away any of the clothing we are not bringing – it is all going directly into totes in the garage so our house looks even tidier for 1/4 empty closets. I need to get everything back to ‘show ready’ and that includes spiriting away many stuffed animals and swapping bed spreads etc. I’ve saved my sanity by booking an awesome cleaning service for tomorrow who will do the floors and windows so I don’t have to worry about cleaning while we are still here.
I’m totally not the first person to move. It is, however, the first time I have tried to do this sell a house thing and I wish I had more time to make it even better. We have had just over a month from deciding this is what we are doing to hitting the market. I’ve done nearly nothing in the yard but that is on today’s list so maybe!
If anyone is wondering what my house looks like, here is the presale link
We truly have taken good care of the house and I hate to leave behind the house we know for a new bag of tricks, but, we are also tripping over each other and need more space so we look and look for the next place to make our own. Everyone think good thoughts for us! We are actually in the great place that we don’t have to move, we don’t have to take a low offer, it is a seller’s market and I’m doing my best to not go crazy over this.
This time tomorrow I will be typing something (or maybe sleeping) from my parents in NY enjoying a well-earned vacation.
We are home!
One of the tricky things about travel over Christmas is what to do about gifts. Do you do them before the trip or after or drag them along on your trip? This is doubled or tripled by what does your family do? Give in person or ship to your home? Complicate that more by variables unique to each situation and you get quite a situation.
We have been doing this for years and have come up with a few things that seem to help so if you are thinking of traveling during Christmas and wondering what to do here is what works for us;
- If we are traveling very close to Christmas we do gifts before we leave
- Also if something that is a Christmas gift but also needed on the trip
- If we are leaving well before Christmas (like this time) we told the kids the gifts would be waiting when we got home and we would do Second Christmas
- To make this work well I wrapped gifts well before we left and put them out so they could be shaken and wondered about, physical proof gifts exist
- Had a friend put out the last few gifts and arrange them a bit and text a picture so on Christmas morning I could show the kids that Santa had come and set the gifts out just like normal and there they were, waiting for them.
- “santa” still came to us in Hawaii, but, for us Santa fills the stockings so that wasn’t hard to do there
- Make Second Christmas a real deal – We got home late and groggy and cranky from travel and I made the kids wait one more night so this morning we woke up to Second Christmas where we had fancy pancakes and talks with relatives as we opened gifts and I’m treating the whole day like a private Christmas.
- Also talking up the fact that we have an extra Christmas day full of family time and nice food etc helped them feel good.
Bottom line is that we talked honestly about what would happen and how and why over and over to make sure they knew. Also, a good time to work on the fact that a trip to Hawaii and all the fun things we did were part of their Christmas, and, spending time together is better than spending money on gifts… However, that is a concept that is beyond many adults so I had realistic expectations for my kids and they did really well. Especially well now that they have their second Christmas 🙂
They did thoroughly enjoy what we got them and what was sent from family. It seriously sounds like Christmas here today with all the playing with all the toys.
Next I need to tackle the unpacking. Our flight was nasty timing, departing at 11:50 pm meant that we couldn’t really have a normal bedtime but on the positive Zoe and Niamh and Lars slept. Fiona kept half waking up and freaking out so she and I did not get much rest. Landing in LA at 7:30am with a 2-hour layover was not too bad. You need at least 30min in LAX to get to the right place so we had enough time for a little breakfast and getting where we were going. I was a zombie and Niamh kept falling asleep everywhere but we did ok. Thankfully we had Vacation Mom to pick us up and we got home and ordered pizza and told the kids to eat and watch TV while we went to sleep. Lars actually ended up sleeping on both flights so he was reasonable when we got home and went to work to pre-catch up.
I’m, not unexpectedly, unsure on what day it actually is but I know we have a weekend and new years day to go so we have plenty of time to readjust to this time zone and weather. The house is decent, I need to grocery shop, but I did leave my sisters with clean laundry so I’m going to enjoy this day.
PS. this day for me made possible by my prents getting married 38 years ago. Happy Anniversery!
I’ve been blog and I have a list of reasons why…. The biggest is my computer decided to be ‘on vacation’ without official leave.
I have so many awesome pictures, we have been doing the family thing and the tourist thing and generally enjoying fantastic weather. When I get home I’ll do a massive update (maybe) but I’ll see about doing a gallery or something for those of you who care to see tons of pictures of Hawaii. I’m posting one a day on Instagram at least.
Today and tomorrow will be fun for us and I hope you too. I know this is a crazy stress time of year for so many and I am putting out only good thoughts for the day.
Off for now, Happy Merry Everything