Ride On

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When I’m watching her on her horse, I am amazed. Seeing her so confident and full of joy up on her horse is a wonderful thing. She’s fallen off the horse twice in the past year, yet she gets right back on and rides. Isn’t that a great lesson for all of us?

Plus, she’s so damn beautiful. Inside and out.

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O look at matt

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Happy This Week!

Matt has been gone fishing with friends for 8 days…he comes home this weekend! I survived!!

Olivia has been a real pill lately. I don’t know if it’s hormones, boredom or what, but she’s been kind of a nightmare. Olivia went to her beloved Mrs. D’s house for a few hours on Wednesday. The boys and I had a day date! We went mini golfing, go karting, shopping for World Cup soccer balls and lunch T Chipotle! Gabe said “You’ve been so relaxed today!” I said, yes, I needed a break! The boys said they did too. It was a great day…and I let them have a sleepover that night too! And we were all glad to see Olivia at the end of the afternoon.

Therapy!! If I could go daily, I probably would!

Since Matt’s been gone, I’ve been watching Sex and the City every night. I forgot how good that show was! Except Carrie and Big are kind of a bad fit, aren’t they?

My sister and I hung out at the pool with the kids this week. It was so fun!

My BFF and I had workout time and wine time together this week!

My friend Sherri took me out to lunch this week too…so good to catch up!wish we could do it more often!

The kids and I have been watching Full a House together. Oh the memories!! They love it! I’m so glad my friend let us borrow her DVDs!

What made you happy this week?

Summer Playlist

***Linking up with MamaKat today: 4.) Create a summer play list and share it.

We love listening and dancing to music at our house. I love when the kids like something I share with them especially when it’s something from my younger days. Gabe is really into music right now. Almost every day he asks me if he can buy another song from itunes. It reminds me of when I was his age and I’d spend all day listening to the radio hoping to catch my new favorite song and be able to tape it. Even now, when certain songs come on, I can conjure up the weather, what I was wearing and what I was doing on that summer day. There’s just something special about summer tunes, am I right?

Here’s what’s on our current summer playlist. Don’t judge–we turn it down for the naughty parts! Please share what’s on yours!

Lose Yourself by Eminem
Slim Shady by Eminem
Fancy by Iggy Azalea
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
Summer by Olaf (Olivia’s choice…)
Lady in Pink by The Backyardigans (Olivia, yes…)
Talk Dirty to Me by Jason Derulo
Dark Horse by Katy Perry
All of P!nk’s songs (duh…)
Centipede by Knife Party
Bonfire by Knife Party
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Metallica
Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
In Bloom by Nirvana
Stay with Me by Sam Smith

I love summer!!!

Olivia’s Award

At the end of the year, the kids’ junior high has an awards ceremony where students are honored for all A’s and a few other special awards. I received notice a week before that Olivia would be receiving an award for all A’s. I assumed that all of the kids in her special ed class were getting an award and I thought it was great. I got someone to cover my first period class so I could go. When I got there, I discovered that she and another boy were the only ones from her special ed class that were getting the award. Not that it matters, but it somehow made it an even bigger deal. I watched as she sat through the 45-minute ceremony without any issues. She walked up when her name was called, shook the principal’s hand, and stood in the spot where she was supposed to. It was amazing! I was incredibly proud…as usual! Gabe was more than a little bummed…he got one B this year so he didn’t get an award!!!

Watch my girl get her award:

She never ceases to amaze me!

**Excuse the blurry picture…I took it with my phone…she was excited and moving around…and I was laughing through happy tears!**

olivia award

Summer Reads I

My absolute favorite part of summer is reading! I try not to feel guilty when I lay down in my favorite spot and read for an hour or so in the morning or in the middle of the day. I L-O-V-E to read!! Here’s what I’ve read so far…

The Condition by Jennifer Haigh

This was an awesome book. I really enjoy books about family dynamics where the author really delves into each character. This one fit that bill! The McKotch family travels to the beach every summer with their extended family and stays together in the same beach house. In the summer of 1976, the family notices that Gwen, who is 13, is not developing in the same way as her cousin of the same age. Tests later reveal that Gwen has Turner’s Syndrome. After that diagnosis, the family falls apart. But is it because of her diagnosis, or were they already broken? The book follows each of the three McKotch children and both parents after Gwen’s diagnosis. One brother, Billy, struggles to reveal his sexuality to his family. The other brother, Scott, is stuck in a bad marriage and an even worse job. Gwen struggles to make a life for herself given her condition. Frank, the father, is having a difficult time being single and getting old. Paulette, the mother, can’t help meddling in her children’s lives. It’s definitely worth the read!

Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson

Somehow I missed this one by Patterson. Alex Cross is chasing three serial killers, one of whom is after him and his family, while trying to keep his new foster daughter off drugs! There are two serial killers working together, one killing beautiful, blonde women and the other killing young male prostitutes. The other serial killer is working alone, out for revenge against Alex and the D.C. police for a fatal mistake they made in the past. This lone killer is also after Alex’s family…and trying to make a family of his own. It’s fast-paced, thrilling and classic Patterson.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

I have only read one book by King, 11/22/63, which I loved, and couldn’t resist this follow up to Danny Torrance, the little boy from The Shining. Danny is all grown-up, struggling with alcoholism and “the shining”. He suddenly starts communicating via the shining with young Abra Stone. The True Knot, a group of seemingly normal traveling RVers, are after Abra for her shining. The True Knot survives off torturing and killing children with the shining and “eating” their “steam” as they die. Abra has an incredible shining talent and they must have her. Dan is helping Abra survive this terrible group that is after her. It’s very creepy, scary and fantastic! It’s a long book but a quick read because of the fast pace. If you’re not into scary, don’t read it! Or if you think you’ll be afraid of RVers for the rest of your life, give it a pass. If you’re up for the scare, give it a try. I LOVED it!!

It’s Not Her, It’s Me

We are walking on an early Saturday morning to Matthew’s baseball game. Matt isn’t there so I’ve got the whole gang. I’m pushing Olivia in her stroller (why on earth are the fields so damn far?) with my chair hung over the back, Matthew’s baseball bag on my arm, coffee in one hand and water in the other. I feel so damn proud of myself that we are here on time. Getting four people out of the house solo first thing in the morning is not an easy task, am I right?

We’re walking along to the fields when I realize I know the three young ladies in front of us. They are all wearing black cropped leggings and matching Pink sweatshirts from Victoria’s Secret with their hair up in a ponytail. I say “Hi girls!” and they turn around and wave and say hello. They all have that “we-had-a-sleepover-and-can’t-believe-we’re-up-this-early” look. They all wave and say hi to Olivia and she excitedly waves back. We chat about why they’re here so early (sister’s game) and did they have a fun sleepover (yep!) and how are their summers going (great!) and tell your Moms I said hi! (OK!). As soon as they turn to their field as we continue on to ours, I feel as though I’m going to burst into tears.

In that moment I want so badly for Olivia to be one of them. To know the joy of a best friend and to wear matching outfits. To have the pleasure of going shopping with your friends at the mall and feeling so grown up buying a sweatshirt from Victoria’s Secret. To have a sleepover and share secrets and laughs and midnight snacks. To walk instead of be in a stroller. To be a part of a group of friends like that. To be…typical.

It overwhelms me in that moment. I am devastated, honestly. I have to pull myself together because our field is right around the corner and I certainly can’t start losing it now. So I remind myself that it’s not her wish, it’s mine. She is perfectly content to sit in her stroller and play with her ipad with Uniqua from the Backyardigans on her lap. She has no interest in sleepovers or Pink sweatshirts or swapping secrets. She is blessedly happy hanging out with her Mom and her brothers or wearing her pjs and being in her own room, alone, watching TV. She is happy. She is totally fine. She doesn’t feel like she’s missing out. It’s not her dream, it’s mine.

It’s not her, it’s me.

Happy This Week

This is my 100th Happy This Week Post!!!

I am working out a writing schedule for myself so I can post more often and work on my book. If I don’t make a schedule, it just doesn’t happen! (See this week…two posts because I didn’t schedule!)

We took the kids to Cedar Point on Sunday. We had so much fun and they all made it from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m….even Olivia! She was a rock star! There were very few lines so that helped. We told the kids we were going to a presidential museum for Father’s Day where we would take a 2-hour walking tour and dress in old fashioned clothes and do chores and stuff. The kids fell for it because that actually sounds like something my husband would choose! We got all the way into the park parking lot before they realized we were going to Cedar Point! It was awesome!

We got a family pass to the local high school pool. Even though it’s an indoor pool, the kids are in heaven. Plus, because it’s indoors, no one is ever there but us! We have the whole pool to ourselves…and I don’t have to fret over sunscreen! It’s been fun taking the kids in the afternoon to cool down.

My BFF is back from vacation and we had our first “golf widows’ night” last night. It’s my favorite part of summer!!!

My nephew turned 20 yesterday! Hard to believe he’s 20!!

We signed Gabe up (and forked over many $$$) for his new soccer team last weekend. Everyone was so nice and welcoming!

I had a Stella and Dot party to raise money and silent auction items for Olivia’s Open. It was a huge success and very fun. I’m so grateful for all of my friends! My friend, Chrissie, is the Stella and Dot owner and it’s so nice to catch up with her once a year!

Reading out on the porch while I drink my coffee is my new favorite summer past time! It’s a little slice of heaven each morning.

My kids have been getting along so far. Hooray!

What made you happy this week?

Summer 2014 Bucket List

I start every summer with a list a mile long of all of the things I want to do. Need to do. Must do. And then summer break starts and I think “maybe I’ll just read”!!

Here’s my bucket list for this summer…besides reading as much as possible. (And I already finished OITNB Season 2…so that one’s done. Does anyone watch that? It was amazing…let’s discuss!)

READ, READ, READ! I’ve already read two books that I will share with you soon!

Go outside more. I tend to stay inside doing stuff around the house and forget to go out and enjoy the beautiful weather. I started eating breakfast outside each morning. It’s wonderful!

Play with the kids but don’t feel guilty for also letting them play on their own. I tend to think that summer has to be magical, that we have to do something amazing each and every day, but it doesn’t. Did anyone read this post about just letting your kids be in the summer? It really resonated with me. I don’t have to do something magical because…summer itself is magical. They’re just happy to have me home making them lemonade and keeping the freezer full of popsicles.

Watch tons of movies. I love watching movies. LOVE it. I plan on watching a bunch this summer.

Take many, many bike rides. I just love to ride my bike. By myself or with the kids and Matt. It’s a favorite.

Get my lesson plans, etc., done for the first month of school at least. I’m not touching school stuff until July though. That’s a promise. But September is so nuts that I want to have everything in order for that first month.

Work on my book. I really need to dedicate time to this because it’s important to me. I’ve started it…but I want to finish it!

Go to Cedar Point with the kids. Oh wait! We did that one on Father’s Day! :)

Rolling Hills waterpark with my BFF and the kids. We’ve done it for the past three years and it’s always the best time.

Weekly golf nights with my BFF and the kids. It’s a summer staple that I look forward to!

Catch up with friends I haven’t seen lately! I’m talking to you Sherri, Beth, Sarah and Cyd!

Have a “yes” day at least once. That’s where I say yes to everything the kids ask for that day. It’s pretty fun!

Paint the kitchen, the foyer and the upstairs hallway. So far, this doesn’t even seem possible between feeding and carting the kids from one thing to another. We’ll see if this one gets done.

Little Ohio trips with Matt and the kids are also on the schedule. Since Matt and I are taking a big trip to NYC (yippee!), there’s not a lot of money left in the travel budget. We’re taking minitrips around Ohio instead. The kids don’t care…they just love to travel!

NYC with Matt!!! Neither of us have ever been and I can’t wait. My main dilemma right now is what shoes I’m going to where! I know we will be walking miles and miles so tennis shoes are the right choice…but I’m not wearing tennis shoes in NYC!!!! I might as well wear a fanny pack! Any suggestions?

Relax, relax, relax! I have a hard time with this one. My default setting is hypermode. I’m trying really hard to just sit, relax and take it all in. Not everything has to get done today, right?

What’s on your summer bucket list?

Happy This Week

I posted on my blog this week! That makes me very happy!! I missed it!

I spent three days cleaning, purging and organizing. It feels so good to start summer off that way. Of course with everyone home it will only last two seconds…but oh well!

Morning workouts!! I love working out in the morning but can’t during the school year.

A manicure! Isn’t it fun?
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My first spray tan of the season! My legs don’t tan…ever…so I’ve been getting spray tans in the summer and they make me feel so good!

I also got a haircut this week. I’m feeling pretty stylin!

We went and visited friends of ours who just had a baby. I held him for an hour! He’s so tiny and sweet and delicious!

The boys had running and basketball camp this week. They weren’t happy about it at first but they loved it!

Gabe made the new travel soccer team he’s been hoping for! He’s so excited and we’re so proud! It’s going to add more to our busy schedule, but it will be worth it!

Olivia tried something new this week and loved it! More on that in another post!

OITNB season 2!!! I’m almost done! Waaaaaaaaahhhhh! I need more!

We still like each other T the end of the first week of summer! I’d say that was a success!

What made you happy this week?

Fresh Cut

Matt and I have been debating for about a year now over whether or not to get Olivia’s hair cut. I like it long because I can do all sorts of fun stuff with it: fishtail braids, French braids, messy buns, everything. I love doing her hair. Plus, it’s easy to just throw it up in some sort of fancy ‘do. Lately though, I’ve been leaning towards getting it cut. She’s having some acne issues on her back and I thought it might help to get it cut. Plus, it’s summer and her hair is super thick so I thought it might feel good to get it cut. She had enough to donate, so we went for it.

Before:

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After:

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It’s amazing! She LOVES it!!! It’s shorter and stacked in the back…so cute! I’m so glad we did it. Plus, we were able to donate it!!!

Matthew decided he wanted a buzz cut for summer. After my wonderful hairstylist, Christy, buzzed it, he started bawling. He was in shock…he didn’t realize it would be so short! HA! But as you can see in the picture below, he’s happy about it now. I think he looks tough.

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We’re all set now for summer with our summer haircuts!