Posts tagged memories

Days Go By

Amazing how fast time just flies by, huh?  Sometimes I have to stop and think back a few days, weeks or months to really get a grasp on what has been happening in my life.  Would you believe that I turned thirty, yeah 3-0, back in December?  Honestly, how did I get this old?  I remember graduating high school and college and getting my first apartment.  Now here I am a happily married mother of two paying a mortgage and managing a rental property.

Oh and in January, I registered my little girl for Kindergarten.  Seriously, I feel like I just brought her home from the hospital and she’s going to be starting real school in September?  Yikes!  Sometimes I feel like her four and a half years of life have just passed me by.  My little baby has become a real little girl.  She’s reading!  She dresses herself every single day {sometimes much to my dismay} and we actually have real conversations.

And my baby?  Well, she turned two on Sunday.  She’s not a baby anymore!  She can do just about anything {or at least she’ll try to}.  Walking, talking, running, jumping, you name it – she does it.  Her language amazes me.  Full sentences is an understatement.  She speaks in paragraphs.  She knows what she wants and asks for it.  She idolizes her big sister and for the most part they get along really well.

My house is free of baby swings and bottles.  In their place are ballet slippers and soccer cleats.  Gone are the days of walks in the stroller and easily being able to entertain my kids.  Now I’m scheduling play dates and preparing for dance recitals.  My kids prefer playing with each other or their friends over playing with me.

It’s crazy how quickly time passes, how fast we change and how easily we overlook certain things.  Sometimes I wish I could relive the past 5 years of my life.  So much has happened and I want to remember it all all over again.  But as the days continue to go by I look forward to the future and to all of the great things that are yet to come.

Coming down.

It is said that all good things must come to an end.  This holds true, unfortunately, for vacations and The Vacation High.  After living freely for a few days on vacation, the inevitable end arrives.  This is where you must come down from The Vacation High.

For me it begins the night before departure.  If we’re staying at a hotel or other rented space the check-out time is usually around 11am so some preparations must be done the night before.  Dirty clothes must be gathered and all belongings accounted for.  The place that you called home for a few days and nights is no longer yours.  Time to pack your bags and get on with your normal life.  Once the day of departure arrives it’s helter-skelter to get the bags repacked and back into the car.  This is usually a process since you always leave with more than you came with.  Dirty clothing takes up so much more space than clean clothing does.  And there are always souvenirs.

Once everything is in the car, you check-out and then you see your bill.  It’s always more than you expect because of crazy taxes and fees.  So that’s always a downer.  Then begins the drive home which is always, for some reason, much faster than the drive there.  Although I’m always happy about having a successful trip, the drive home is never a happy time for anyone.  We want to be back where we were with the people we were with doing the fun things we were doing.  But instead we’re headed back to reality.

The hardest part about coming down from The Vacation High for me is the laundry.  I need a better system.  What usually happens is that the dirty laundry is repacked into individual suitcases.  Then when we get home I have to go through everyone’s bag to get the dirty clothes.  Then I have to sort them and wash them.  For some reason, this takes me days.  Case in point, we returned home from our last vacation on Sunday night.  I have still yet to finish washing all of the dirty laundry.  Oh and don’t even mention the unpacked bags that are still strewn about the house.  They’ll get put away one of these days.  But that feeling of excitement and anticipation has left me.  I’ve come down from my high.  As Soul II Soul sang back in the 80s “Back to life, back to reality.”

The vacation high.

Remember all that stuff I talked about yesterday?  Planning a trip, packing the car and hitting the road?  Well, all of that combined with actually being on vacation gives me what I’d like to call “The Vacation High”.  It’s many things all rolled into one (or into a few days actually).  The feeling of excitement and anticipation before going on the trip, the stress and anxiety of packing for the trip, and the happiness and exhilaration of being on the trip all combine to give that high.  It’s a great feeling.

Being on vacation puts me in a different state of mind.  There’s no laundry to be done, no beds to be made, no appointments to attend.  You’re in a different environment doing different things but there’s that sense of comfort because you’re with the ones you love most.  On vacation, you eat whatever you want and don’t think about how long it will take to burn off the calories.  Ice cream, fried dough, pizza, candy.  You name it, when I’m on vacation, I eat it.  Then there’s the beer.  I’d never let myself eat the way I do when I’m on vacation on a regular basis.  Not only would it seriously hurt my waistline but it would take away from the feeling that indulging on vacation brings.

Going new places, seeing new things and creating memories for my family and with amazing friends just gives me such a sense of of pure bliss.   I love seeing the look on my girls’ faces when they experience something for the first time.  It really is amazing.  And sharing those experiences with such incredible friends makes it that much better.  It’s a good thing we don’t vacation too much or I just might become a vacation addict and require some sort of rehab. :-)

You call THAT a vacation?

When most people hear the word vacation images of tropical islands, warm beaches and fruity drinks probably fill their minds.  While all of those things sound amazing to me, they’re not what comes to my mind when I think about vacation.  To me vacation is time spent away from home with loved ones doing things that you all love.  So while sitting on a warm, tropical beach sipping fruity drinks would definitely fit into that category, it’s simply not feasible (at least for us) with two small children.

Instead, our vacations involve packing our car full of everything except the kitchen sink, driving for a few hours, and getting comfy in a hotel/friend’s home/mini resort for a few nights.  Here is how it usually unfolds – A few months prior, I’ll suggest to Scott that we should do X.  He’ll agree because I always have fabulous plans.  We’ll arrange for accommodations either in a hotel/resort or with friends (I do most of this planning).  The week of, we confirm all of the reservations, make lists and take multiple trips to Target for necessities.  Two days before, I begin getting things ready.  Laundry is done, bags and suitcases are laid out and items start getting crossed off of the lists.  The day of departure everything is finalized in bags and suitcases.  This includes clothes for Scott, myself and both kids (and plenty of spare outfits for spills/accidents/weather changes), toiletries for all four of us, toys, kids plates/utensils/cups, any special or hard to find food or snacks, extra pillows, air mattress (if necessary), pack and play, etc.. As I said, everything but the kitchen sink.  Scott packs the car.  I refuse to be a part of it other than to request which few items are to go in the back seat within an arms reach for emergencies.  He’s a master at doing it and I’d rather not interrupt.  Somehow he always makes it fit.  Then we all pile in the car, stop at Dunkin’ Donuts (it wouldn’t be a road trip without this important stop) and hit the road.

Our favorite destinations range from an hour and a half to a little over four hour away via car.  So, depending on where we’re going at the time, we decide if we’ll drive straight through or make a stop along the way.  Generally speaking, anything two hours or less is a straight through drive.  If it’s a trip with a stop we try to plan the drive as follows – get in the car just around nap time for Nora.  Stop for “lunch” when she wakes up.  Eat and then finish the drive.  This usually works out quite well but as of late, she hasn’t been a huge fan of sleeping in the car.  In which case, we try to get at least half of the drive under our belts before stopping.

At this point, we’ve already had so much excitement and anticipation about our vacation and we haven’t even gotten there yet!  Once we arrive at our destination it’s time to unload the car.  (I’d like to take a moment to apologize to whomever decided to host our family for one of our vacations.  We bring a shit ton of crap with us.  Thanks!)  After that task, which is usually left up to Scott so I can wrangle the kids, is done, the vacation begins.

I know what you’re probably thinking right about now… That sounds like the furthest thing from a vacation that I could possibly imagine!  But you know what, it really is fun.  Is it stressful?  Yes.  Do we want to rip each others’ heads off at some point?  Yes.  Do we forget things? Yes.  Do we often say we’ll never do it again?  Yes.  Would we change it for the world?  No.  This, my friends, is how memories are made.

Image credit – worldofstock.com

Note:  Though this picture loosely represents what our packed car looks like, we DO NOT drive a mini van. :-)

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?!

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