Never Forget

Today is a day where millions of us can stop and remember where we were and what we were doing on a beautiful September 11th morning.

I was teaching and I had just said good-bye to Ryan as he was leaving on a business trip to Las Vegas. Then we were slowly told what had happened. My heart sank when I heard for all who had lost someone they loved in a blink of an eye. My heart sank because I was patiently waiting to hear if Ryan was safe.

I was fortunate that day. He had landed safely in Chicago and would stay there the entire week until flights resumed.

I was fortunate.

So many were not that day. I still can’t watch the footage without completely breaking down. My thoughts are with everyone who was affected that day. We are all changed from that morning. But we will never know how that morning changed your lives.

On this sad day it used to be a joyous day for our family. Today is Ryan’s birthday. And I am will always celebrate it in some way.

I know the quote below is something I always do. I am sure many of the people who lost loved ones this horrific day do the same.


Football Time


I honestly LOVE this time of year!  Finally my Sundays are back to hanging out and watching football all afternoon.  I am probably one of the few women who enjoy football season.  But it allows me to bond with my son who is obsessed with the sport.  His sisters know that Sundays this is what we do and they are good sports about it since he does tend to get the short end of the stick more than they do.

Hunter has started his own football season again and it always amazes me how a child’s mood can completely change when they are doing what they love to do.  I see it with all of my children. I enjoy seeing the spark in their eyes and how excited they get to be back into their thing.  I ask them every single time after a practice, class, game, etc “Are you having fun?” and once the answer is no, it is time to rethink their choices.  So for this point in time all answers are yes which means for this moment in time all is right in their world.  Now this can all change tomorrow but for now it is all good.

Our weekend will consist of all things football with the kick off of Hunter’s season with a scrimmage or a “preseason game” as he refers to it.  Then it will cap off with watching our family’s team~ the Steelers on Sunday.  And the countdown has begun to an unexpected special Mom and Son weekend at the end of the month.  After many months, I was able to get 2 tickets to a Steelers home game and him and I will be heading to Heinz Field!!!  I think I am more excited than he is to get some time away with just him.

Happy Kick-Off Weekend and our family hopes your family’s team has a great opening game unless you are a Browns fan….hehehe!


One With Nature


My late husband loved nature.  He was an avid hunter.  He loved to fish.  If he got stressed with work or needed alone time, he headed directly to the mountains.  It was his happy place.  It is NOT my happy place.  But our kids seemed to have inherited his love of the outdoors.  As soon as they could walk, he would slowly take them down to the creek near our home.  Many Saturday mornings (when it wasn’t hunting season) he would take Ella and Hunter to the creek or up to the mountains where he would spend hours hunting.  Just two weeks prior to his death, he had taken them up to the mountains for a hike and to shoot their BB Guns.  It is a memory my daughter holds very close to her heart.

I try my best to keep this love of nature alive in our family.  Unfortunately my children really haven’t been exposed to what they would have been if my husband was with us today.  They know how to fish to a point.  They know about animals from their tracks to what they eat and their habits.  They have not been exposed to hunting and only have a vague memory of how it was such a huge part of our life at one point.  I mean my wedding and honeymoon were planned around hunting season!  Their births were planned around hunting season too!

So how do I keep this love of nature alive in our family especially when I am not a huge van?  Besides relying on my in-laws to expose them to the great outdoors, I will venture to a local state park as well as head down to the creek near our home a few times throughout the year.  I put on my big girl pants and suck it all up for them!  I suck up the smell.  I suck up the bugs.  I suck up the dirt.  I suck up rodents we come across.  I suck it all up because my kids love it!

Yesterday I decided I had put off heading to a local state park long enough.  My gosh it is literally 15 minutes away and it is pretty beautiful.  It is smelly, buggy, and filled with all things nature lovers love!  So we packed a lunch, put on old shoes, bathing suits, and even brought the dog (oh I despise wet dirty dogs) and jumped in the van and headed to the state park.  The kids were so excited!  They knew exactly which path to take and we started looking for a good spot near the creek so they could get in and just start exploring the water.  As we are about to head down the one path, Hunter noticed some rustling in the bushes.  There I am thinking to myself “Oh s#*^!  What is it and what am I going to do?”   We look over and there are 2 adorable baby raccoons.  Ummmm…aren’t raccoons nocturnal?  We look as they scurry off.


I figure cool excitement for the day.  We lay down a blanket near the bank of the creek and they head into the creek.  Mazy and I sit on the blanket to watch and relax.  Then a few minutes later Ella yells out “Mom the raccoons are here!”  They are all excited and are not afraid at all.  They watch them and the only one of my kids to even be remotely concern is Hunter.  I decide I will take the dog down into the water and snap a few pictures.  Well this is where the fun began!

These cute little buggers decided to hang out and they decided to head over to our blanket and start drinking the dog’s water from a pouch I had sitting out.  Hunter grabbed what was important~ THE FOOD and later the other bag with towels in it.  He stood far away. I stood on a rock with the dog in the middle of the creek.  The girls weren’t scared at all!  These little adorable things decided they wanted the pouch and actually took it and climbed up a tree with it!  I’m standing in the creek laughing because this would only happen to me!  Hunter was ready to go but the girls were able to convince him to stay after we headed to another area.

As I think about all of this, I can’t help but laugh.  As much as dread being one with nature, it was a pretty cool experience and the kids are still talking about it!

Mom and Son Time

images (16)

With the girls both having an activity in the morning this week, I am getting so special time with my son.  This is very rare.  I rarely have just one of my children unless it is a school day.  So to say I am going to enjoy this opportunity is an understatement.

So I asked him what he wanted to do with the next 4 mornings without the girls and he immediately said he wanted Dunkin’ Donuts every morning, a trip to Dick’s to look at football stuff, and school shopping.  I almost fell over on the last one but I will take it.

What is your favorite thing to do with each of your children?

4 Weeks Left!?!!


Is it just me or did this summer completely fly by?  I was looking at the calendar and realized in 4 short weeks school will start!  I have no idea how this happened.  We have done nothing I had hoped to do yet.  Not that there was much planned because I really wanted this summer to be unstructured and to focus on the little things. And we have been doing just that.  A lot of swimming and spending quality time with their grandparents and sitting down every night at the table for dinner.  I have to say that is the one thing I miss when our life is constantly go-go-go~ sitting as a family for dinner every night. We have been able to have great conversations and uninterrupted family time during these meals.  And there has been that much complaining from Mr. Picky Eater either!

But I have so many other little things I wanted to do~

Beach Day

Movie outside

Make s’mores

Date Night with each of them

Sparklers (on my counter since the 4th of July weekend)

Time to make these last 4 weeks count!

3 Positives for 5 Days Challenge



I was just “challenged” for the next 5 days to come up with 3 positives for each day.  It doesn’t sound like a lot but I feel like I am having a hard time.  I focus so much on what isn’t going right that I do forget to focus on the good.  So I have accepted the challenge and hope it will help me start to really focus on the positive of each day that seem to be over shadowed by the negatives.

So here is my 3 Positives for Day 1:

1. Remembering that 24 years ago I met my husband at a local pool’s Dip-n-Dance with 4 friends that are still in my life today.

2. Found an old family recipe and made it for dinner and it was well liked by all!

3. Starting my day, uninterrupted by children, chatting with my best friend of 27 years about absolutely “nothing”!

Feeling Envious or Just Being Human

I know it’s not good to be envious of others and what they have.  We all know that it may not always be what it seems and people only allow you to see certain aspects of their life.  So I know this feeling of envy I am feeling toward others is not the best feeling to have.  With that being said, I am extremely envious of the lives of some people.

I am very envious of the moms who are the “fun” moms.  I used to be fun and now I fight to have the energy to enjoy things with my kids.  I used to be the mom who would have something fun to do every week of summer and now the thought of a trip to the zoo seems more like a chore than a fun time.

I am envious of the “laid back” moms.  You know the moms where nothing seems to make them lose it.  They just have this amazing ability to let things just happen.  I’m not sure if I was ever like that but I know I was definitely more laid back than I am now.

I am envious of the intact families.  I think this is where I have the most envy.  The family fun and trips.  The father/daughter dances and father/son tossing the ball.  The intact family just hanging out together. The fathers gushing over their little girls after their dance recitals.  The fathers helping their sons grow into great young men.

I am envious of the date nights and celebrations of being part of a couple.  I am envious of older couples who have stood the test of time and have the privilege of growing old together and watching their children create their own lives and families.

But maybe I am not really envious.  Maybe I am just missing my old life and the life that was supposed to be and the mom/woman I used to be.  I had it good.  My kids had a wonderful family life with two parents that absolutely loved them and adored them as well as one another.  Maybe I am just exhausted of trying to be both roles for them.  Maybe I am exhausted and feel like I messing them up somehow because of choices I make or the mood I am in.

Maybe I am just being human.

images (14)