Posts tagged good day

The Relax Inn

My parents own a little slice of heaven in the middle of nowhere.  It looks like this:

On Tuesday I packed up the car and took my girls to spend a few days here.  It may not look like much but it’s such a break from the ordinary chaos of life.  It’s a place where no one cares if you’re showered or properly dressed because no one really sees you anyway.  It’s a place where  you eat yummy food that’s not so good for you.  It’s a place where the phone rings maybe once a day and there’s no internet connection.  The closest store is twenty minutes away and excitement is seeing the legendary beaver or snapping turtle swimming by in the lake.

It’s been called many things: The Camp, The Cottage, The Lake House, The Relax Inn.  But it doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s just awesome.  It’s decorated with lots of little trinkets both old and new.  And inside the cabinet doors you can find little news paper clippings and such with instructions for wound care and “recipes” for things like paint remover and drain de-clogger. We all sleep in one room that has 5 beds and a crib.  And the kids bathe in the kitchen sink because there’s no tub.   It’s not big, it’s not fancy, but it’s one of the greatest places I know.

My girls love it up there.  They get special treats and we take a wagon ride over to the other side of the lake where there’s a little beach.  If you ever want to feel good about yourself, just go there.  It’s amazing to see what some of the locals wear for swimming attire and how they just have no shame at all.  It’s so peaceful and the view is amazing.

It’s a little place to go and get away from it all.  And sometimes that’s all you need to feel refreshed (even if you were up all night with a feverish teething toddler!)

Hitting the trail.

On Friday Scott and I were out doing some shopping.  We stopped in to a sporting goods store so he could look at some golf equipment and home gym stuff.  We had both of the girls with us which always makes shopping for anything more difficult.  As Scott was browsing the weights and pull-up bars, my eye was caught by a stroller.  For a few months now I’ve been looking for a double jogging stroller.  Our new neighborhood is perfect for walks and it’s a great way for me to get some exercise in.  Well I have previously attempted these walks with our tandem Graco stroller and man, it was a workout!  The stroller itself weights nearly 40 pounds.  Nora weights about 23 pounds and Brinley weights about 33 pounds.  So I was pushing nearly 100 pounds around my hilly neighborhood.  But I digress..

Anyway, I had been scouring craigslist and local tag sales for a jogging stroller, but just couldn’t seem to find one that was in pretty good shape for pretty good money.  So, I peered over to the double jogging stroller sitting near the bike display in the sporting goods store.  I could see the tag hanging from the handle but couldn’t quite make out the price.  All I could see was the last part of the price, $79.97.  I knew there had to be a number in front of the 79 but I couldn’t make out what it was from where I was standing.  So, I grabbed Nora and left Brinely with Scott to go and scope it out.  I walked over and read the tag:  InStep Safari TT Double Jogging Stroller with front swivel wheel, Price $79.97, You save $179.00.

At this point, Scott was by my side asking me if that could really be the price of the stroller.  I thought to myself, there is no way!  I kept thinking back to the insane deal that I thought I was going to get on a Britax Marathon car seat about a year or so ago on Target.com.  The car seat was listed for like $40 and it’s typically nearly a $300 car seat.  Of course I added it to my cart and thought I had scored such a deal.  A few days later I received an email from Target saying that it was a pricing mistake on their part but they could not honor the price.  I received a $25 gift card for my disappointment.  Again, I digress…

So now a sales person walks over to us asking if we need any help and we ask him if that is really the price for the stroller.  He says yes and it’s because they’re getting rid of them to make room for the new models.  He checks to see if they have any left in boxes but we find out that the display model is the last one.  I strap both girls into the stroller afraid to leave it where it is because someone else might snatch it up.  We decide that we’re going to buy it.  Scott continues shopping for his golf stuff and I take the girls to play with the balls.  But they’re starting to get antsy because it’s just about dinner time.  We head over to Scott and I tell him that I’m going to pay for the stroller and leave with the girls to get them dinner (we had separate cars).  When I got up to the register I was still worried that the price would be wrong, but lo and behold it wasn’t and I scored a $280 stroller for $79.97!!

Fast-forward to this morning…  The weather is beautiful.  The sun is shining but the humidity of the past, I don’t know, two weeks is gone!  It’s about 70 degrees and breezy.  Perfect for a nice walk.  One of the many awesome things about our town is something called the Rail Trail.  It’s a former rail road route that passes through 8 connecting towns.  When it’s complete it will be about 25 miles long.  It’s completely paved and lined with fencing.  It’s open for non-motorized use including jogging, walking, biking, rollerblading and skiing.  So this morning, I decided to grab the girls and go check it out.  We drove about 2 miles into town (I would have walked it but the street to get there is pretty busy and has no sidewalks).  I strapped the girls into our new stroller and started a route on the iMapMyWalk iPhone app.

It felt great to be out in the fresh air taking advantage of such a great feature.  Having the new stroller really allowed me to move faster but with more ease.  The girls were well behaved for the most part.  I worried a little that with them side-by-side they’d annoy each other.  They were perfect for the first 3 miles.  They just sat there and took in the scenes and ate their snack.  At about mile 3, Nora started nudging Brinley and Brinley started nudging back.  We still had a mile to go before we were back to the car.  So I did what any mom would do… I started singing!  Old McDonald, Itsy Bitsy Spider and Nora’s favorite (thanks to Mimi) How Much is that Doggy in the Window!  It took their minds off of bugging each other and they started singing along.  Passers by were looking at me a little funny but I didn’t care.  We were having so much fun and I got a great, brisk 4 mile walk in before 10:30am.

I’m going to try to make this a regular occurrence.  It felt great and now that I have the right equipment there’s no excuse not to!

Oh, what a night!

This weekend Scott and I celebrated our FIVE YEAR wedding anniversary.  Which, if you remember correctly, was July 3rd.  Since 4th of July weekend is always a busy, busy time, we decided to postpone our festivities a week.  If you live in the Northeast region of the US, you are probably aware that we were in a heat wave/dry spell for over a week.  The sun shone down each and every day and it was hot and humid outside.  Well, wouldn’t you figure that the day we picked to head into the city to celebrate five glorious years of wedded bliss would be the day that the dry spell ended.  I’m not talking a little bit of rain here either, people.  I’m talking about torrential down pours and flash floods.

We had to avoid this on our way in to the city:

And by avoid I mean we had to jump a curb, drive over some grass, and pretty much drive the wrong way down a one way street to get to a flood free road.  (For any of you locals reading, this is Storrow Drive and we had to cut over to Beacon St.)  It might not sound like the safest idea but everyone was doing it so we followed suit.  Thank God we did otherwise we would have been sitting in that traffic backup for nearly 3 hours.

Once we found our way to the hotel the sun looked like it was peeking through the clouds.  I was relieved because we had planned to have dinner in the North End and then walk around a bit.  We pulled up and handed the keys over to the valet, to which Scott joked, “Have fun!” and I nearly puked at the $42/night parking rate.  Upon checking in to the hotel, Scott mentioned to the front desk girl that we were in celebrating our 5 year anniversary (this will be important later).  We got our room key and headed toward the elevator to our king sized bed, Fenway view room on the 5th floor.  Heaven!

After dropping our stuff in the room, we made a reservation for dinner, which wasn’t until 8:30pm and then headed out to take in the city and stop for a snack to hold us over until dinner.  We were gone an hour tops.  When we returned to our room we saw this:

That’s right kids, the receptionist sent a bottle of champagne and chocolates up to our room for us! How’s that for service!  It took the sting off the valet parking charge.

After downing the bottle of champagne and pretty-ing ourselves up, we hopped on the T and headed to the North End.  By this point, the rain had totally stopped and it turned into a pretty nice evening.  We walked through Faneuil Hall and down Hanover Street before making our way in to Strega for our 8:30 reservation.  As we watched Italian Mafia movies we dined on stuffed portabella caps, lobster ravioli and shrimp and scallop fettuccine.  We were beyond full.  However we couldn’t call it a night without stopping into Caffe Vittoria for a sweet treat – iced B-52s and chocolate mousse cake!

We then headed back to the T and made it safely back to our hotel where we hit up the bar for one last drink before calling it a night.  After a fantastic nights sleep ::wink, wink:: we rolled out of the king sized bed at 11am!!  We packed up our things, checked out of the hotel, and requested our car from the valet.  But in true Bostonian fashion, we didn’t leave without grabbing breakfast first.  Where else but Dunkin’ Donuts!

Where were the girls you might ask?  They were home with Mimi who took fabulous care of them while we went out and pretended they didn’t exist.  They were beyond spoiled and loved.  And when we got home, Brinley was not happy.  She kept asking for us to leave.  I’m wondering if the bag of chocolate munchkins left on the counter had anything to do with that?!

Life’s a beach…

Saturday was our five year wedding anniversary.  Since it falls on a holiday weekend we decided not to celebrate this big milestone on it’s actual day but wait and do it the following weekend (this weekend).  With that said, we traveled down to visit Scott’s side of the family for the day.  His brother lives right on the beach and always has a big gathering on July 3rd.  So we packed up the girls early that morning with beach gear galore and drove a little over an hour.  To our HUGE surprise there was no traffic!  We got there in record time, grabbed some food for the kids and headed to the beach.  It was PACKED beyond belief.  I can’t say I’m surprised but the tides were not cooperating with the 90 plus degree weather and everyone was jam packed in about 10 feet of space between the water and the sea wall.  And the tide kept rising meaning we had to push back our chairs and bags about every 5 minutes.  The girls had a blast though and even though I despise ocean beach sand, it was completely worth it.  The water was even warm enough un-numbing enough that you could go in and actually enjoy it.  Brinley made sand castles with her cousins and swam in the ocean with her daddy.  Nora ran around non stop the entire day, ate everything in site and tried out everyone’s beach chair.  She attempted to go in the water many times but every time a wave came toward her she’s run for the sand.  It was too cute.

After we were all drained from the sun and ran out of cold drinks and food, we headed back to my brother-in-law’s house for a BBQ.  Burgers, sausages, steak tips, chicken, pasta salad, fruit salad, coleslaw, cookies, brownies, margaritas, beer… you name it, it was consumed!  The kids all played in the yard while the adults talked and ate.  Around 9pm we all paraded back down to the beach for the most amazing fireworks display ever.  You’d never have known that lighting off fireworks was illegal in Massachusetts after seeing the show that was put on by the locals.  Probably some of the best fireworks that I’ve ever seen.  We kept the kids up waaaaaaaaay late but they were amazing.  Nora stayed awake for the show and Brinley fell asleep in daddy’s arms under the fireworks.

At about 10:30pm we trudged back to the house and packed the girls up in the car.  Nora was still awake so I managed to get her into her PJs.  Brinley was already passed out so we just plopped her in the car.  They both slept for the entire ride home and then  we transferred them to their beds.  Scott and I followed suit and passed out just as our heads hit the pillows.  We never originally planned to stay for the fireworks but the girls were being so good and having so much fun that we just went with it.  I’m so glad that we did.

Holding back the tears.

Today my little girl graduated from her first year of preschool.  I don’t know where the time has gone but somehow over the past three and half years she has transformed from a little, helpless, squishy infant into a beautiful, intelligent, sweet little girl.  Everyday when I look at her, I am amazed at the little person that she is.  She is truly the light of my life and I can’t imagine a life without her in it.

When Brinley started school back in September she was a totally different child.  She was extremely shy and cried every morning when I dropped her off at school.  It broke my heart to see her like that but I knew that eventually she’d come around and love school… So what if it took almost four months.  Now, eight months later, she is so sad that school is over.  She tells me everyday that she doesn’t want to have a summer vacation because she loves school.  I just keep reminding her that she’ll enjoy the break and she’ll be going back in September.

Back to today… For weeks Brinley and her little class of seven other kids have been preparing for their end of the year musical program and graduation.  She’s been singing all sorts of songs at home that she has learned in school and I was very curious to see how this would all play out live on stage at school.  The day finally arrived and she got dressed up in a cute little dress.  She was so excited this morning to perform for us at school and to take part in the finale.  I dropped her off at the usual 9am and ran home to finish getting myself and Nora ready.  I knew that I’d need to get there a little earlier than 10am to be sure to get a seat.  But when I pulled into the school parking lot at 9:35am and there was not a single spot in sight, I was a little taken aback.  I finally found a place to park and headed inside.  When I got inside the gymnasium I was once again surprised to see that nearly every single seat had already been taken or reserved.  From talking with another mom, I learned that some parents had gotten to the school as early as 8am to reserved their seats.  (At least I’ll know better for next year!)  Anyway, I managed to find a seat for Nora and I but Scott would have to stand when he arrived.

The show started and Brinely’s class was the second to preform.  She walked perfectly into the gym with her classmates and lined up on the stage all ready to sing.  She saw us and smiled and the look on her face was of such joy.  It truly melted my heart.  Then they began to sing and my once quite little girl was up there as proud as can be belting out the words to every single song.  It made me so proud and I began to feel my throat get tight and my eyes well up with tears.  And trust me I am NOT a sappy person.  I held back the tears but it was an emotional moment to say the least.  Brinley recieved her diploma and walked down from the stage with the rest of her class.  The entire performance (for her class) lasted maybe 8 minutes but those were 8 minutes that I’ll never forget.

Seeing your children grow up and change and be so proud of themselves is amazing.  And knowing that your love, support and guidance has brought them to that place is a very overwhelming feeling.  I am so proud of my little girl and though I’d like her to stay little forever, I am so excited to watch her continue to grow and prosper.  I have no doubt that she will achieve great things in life.

Now, can someone pass me the tissues? ::sob, sob::

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