Posts Tagged ‘vacation’


May 2, 2017

That thing when you get back from vacation and you know that reality is going to smack you in the face and (other than seeing your oldest girl-child again), it’s going to suck. But then it really happens and not only are you dealing with sucky reality, but you’re sick?

Yeah. That.

Double sucky.

I’ve gone through approximately two boxes of tissues in two days and I’m about to commandeer the nice ones, with lotion in the them. Anything to make my nose stop hurting.

This all started the day before I left San Antonio, and I thought it might have been a reaction to the new allergens in a new city, but now everything’s the same, except for my rather unique stopped-up-ed-ness, and I’m ready for that to leave me now. Although It could have been worse and I could have been sick (or allergic to the air or whatever it is) the entire time I was there. Infecting everyone – or exposing them to germapalooza – would have been worse, definitely.

So I’ll take my mountain of tissues and emails and laundry and play poor pitiful mama for a few days and see how far that gets me. And when that’s not very far, at least I know there’s a weekend right around the corner for me to sleep through.

Huzzah? Huzzah.


In which all the shenanigans are afoot.

April 25, 2017

It would be a good, good week if it wasn’t so unnaturally quiet. The girls are off on a mini-vacation. Their stepmom had plans to visit her sister this past weekend in Houston, and since they were going to be in the area, Stepmom and the Ex asked if they could hold the girls out of school a few days so they could spend a few days in Galveston. They rented a condo and have gone on dolphin tours, held sandcastle competitions, and scored sunburns so bad I’m not even excited anymore that they’re going to peel. (Because: ouch!)

I miss my girls terribly, but that means I’ve had time to do some planning of my own. Because the girls will be home for one day tomorrow – a teeny, tiny day in which Gracie turns thirteen (!), and I become a mom to a teenager (!!) – and then we snag Auntie Kim from the airport and she and Bee-girl and I zoom down to San Antonio for another mini-vacation! See? SHENANIGANS!

Kim is delivering a presentation at a conference, and so the plan was for me to make the five-hour drive, steal one of the extra beds, goof off with Kim, and drive back, all refreshed. Corrie was going to come with, which would be handy when dealing with all of the driving directions (I still haven’t gotten my glasses fixed), and also the tedium of a five-hour drive, but she’s out of town on two separate week-long work trips this month, and she’d rather not get kicked out of her house. So rather last minute, Kim and I arrived at – what if the girls came?

It’s terrible timing. Missing almost a week of school? Unheard of! We don’t do that! But, as my Ex put it: it’s not every day your daughter turns 13! And I’m not going to have many opportunities for a “free” vacation. Bee could bunk with me in my bed, and we could grab a cot for Gracie. It’d work out great! Also, Gracie’s an excellent navigator! So I took a deep breath and checked with their dad to see if he’d wig out if I pulled them from school and got the green light. Only one problem: Gracie didn’t wanna go.

See, she’s a regional finalist for the Big Idea competition. She proposed a health-based community center/retail shop for diabetics – one stop shopping where they could buy groceries, get recipes, get a check-up, work out with the supervision of health professionals, and find a “village” of other people with the same health issues. Because Gracie’s the oldest, and because she was only 4 years old when her dad and I separated, she’s known for a long time about what living with diabetes means. I used to drill her about what to do if she and Bee were alone with their dad and he had a hypoglycemic seizure or he wouldn’t wake up or was acting confused. She’s channeled all of that into an interesting health center – she even thought about adding “halfway housing” for people who were recently diagnosed with Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes and needed help adjusting to a drastically new lifestyle. We won’t know whose idea wins the grand prize until the awards ceremony – which is early afternoon on Saturday. And even if I could convince the district to tell me if I shouldn’t move heaven and earth to get her there, Gracie said she wanted to go either way. “It’d be a great experience!” she said. I hate when my daughter is more responsible than me.

So Gracie is staying with her dad, and Bee and I will be adventuring to San Antonio. I’ll get some one-on-one time with Bee-girl, and still have a navigator for the ride home. (This will be a big test for Bee-girl. She’s a little flighty; I hope it works out with us home safe and sound and not by way of Louisiana.) Bee is wicked excited! Kim’s colleague told us about a wicked candy shop that’s near our hotel, and Kim discovered our hotel has a heated pool on the roof. And somewhere in my texting all of that to Bee, she thought the pool was on the roof of the candy store and possibly that Kim’s conferences were in Hogsmeade?

It shall be a grand adventure, even without the literal magic. And who knows – with Bee helping me find my way back home, we might end up in the magical back alleys of England. Who knows what shenanigans we’ll fall into with that one in charge!

In which Bee is part (or, um, entirely) lemur.

August 9, 2016

One of my favorite things I got to do with my family while on vacation was visiting the ropes course at Storrs Adventure Park. We tried to let Bee, our resident billy goat, go climbing while we were at Lake Winnipesaukee, but we didn’t quite have enough time for it. She took it well, but you could clearly see how crushed she was. And so Auntie Kim happened to mention that there was a similar course near where she lived…

By similar, Kim clearly meant “more awesome.” The staff at the adventure park were shockingly young, yes, but they all enthusiastically loved their jobs, engaged with the kiddos without once speaking down to them (it helps that the minimum age requirement is seven years old, perhaps), and explained all of the safety gear over and over for the few of us who weren’t repeat climbers. (Though we obviously will be – I would buy a season pass if I lived even two states away.)

Added to the awesomeness of being one with nature again was the fact that it was randomly Lemur Day at the park. There was free pizza, and – even better – a stuffed lemur was hidden one on of the seven courses each hour. Any child 11 years old or younger was welcome to pick one up and then redeem the lemur for a free pass – oh, and you get to keep your new buddy.

Bee and Gracie maybe grumbled when I insisted on starting on one of the basic courses, but I wanted to make sure everyone understood the mechanics. There were two combiners, or whatever you call them – giant clippy things – that attached to the safety wires. Once you locked one onto the heavy gauge wire, you used the red “tweazle” (no, I’m not kidding) to unlock the other clippy thing. Then you attached it, too. If the tweazle was blue, you knew to grab your giant slidey thing so you could race down to the next platform. It took us all a minute is what I’m saying. And then we whipped our way through the 20 or so events.

We had a blast! And I’m only the slightest bit bruised (although I could barely walk that afternoon – I miss running and regular exercise!). Bee was convinced she was going to find a lemur since only one other little girl in our group qualified. I reminded her that we might not run into one. We only had two hours before we had to go to back to Grandma’s house. And then, at the end of a zip line, you ran face first into this furry friend:


Bee was so tickled! It was her special activity, the one that make her feel like she was a priority, so I’m glad she felt even more singled out. Lemmy the Lemur hung out with that kid the entire rest of the trip. Bee even scoffed when I went all rogue and, you know, packed the thing so he wouldn’t get lost.

Yes, I imagine the ropes course will be a mandatory stop every time we go back. I’d like to go do a night course to see all the twinkly lights some time. It’d have to be in the middle of the summer – I hear it gets quite busy once the students come back from summer vacation – but someone I don’t think anyone will mind.

Especially not this kiddo.


Five for Friday.

July 22, 2016

I was scared to check the news this morning. But aside from a work catastrophe and some fallout from other events (god, how callous does that sound), we seem to be in the clear for a few minutes. QUICK. BEFORE SOME IDIOT RUINS IT…

1. I am in full-on vacation prep mode. As such, and because we’re in Phase: Packing, no one gets to wear any clean clothes this weekend, unless you feel like wearing underwear that’s two sizes two small, a formal dress, or one of your 80,000 pairs of pajamas.

2. It’s also school supply weekend because stores are ridiculous and would burst into flame if they were caught stocking supplies needed for that season we’re in right now and not the one that’s two months down the road. If I wait and buy school supplies after we’re back, there won’t be any left. I tried that one year. So instead we’ll have bags of goodies sitting in the periphery from now until school. Yay.

3. I keep waiting for Chase to call asking if my card’s been stolen what with all the “suspicious” iTunes purchases. Last year I was so busy prepping and stressing for vacation that I didn’t have time to make a mix-tape. This year, I’m on disc 4. And I maybe have another one or two to go.

4. I have no comment on whether one of those discs is in my car at this moment. Ahem.

5. Off topic of vacation prep, but the construction project that’s been going on along half my route home for the past year is finally nearing completion. Okay, that might be overstating it a bit, but at least they’ve moved onto paving the other side of the road so I get my righthand turn lane back. The back up was so great that I was taking the long way to work even when I didn’t have to drop off the kiddos. Now I can zip right down the road. Maybe by the time I can move home, the project will be done and entire streets will be open again. I know, I know – but it’s Friday, I can’t help dreaming.

Look at us! Five happy things without much of a struggle. C’mon weekend! Let’s do this!

Convert for life.

August 12, 2015

Everyone knows I’m crazy for Dunkin’. It’s one of my favorite things about going back home – New Englanders are never really at ease if they can’t see at least two Dunkin’ Donuts (and one CVS) from where they’re standing. So naturally, we stop at Dunkin’ every morning before starting the hour-long commute to Grandma’s house. Mostly it’s about the coffee – large, three creamers, one sugar; occasionally it’s about the munchkins or the lemon doughnut. Certainly it’s about the partaking of a ritual. It’s part of coming home.

The girls have always enjoyed this particular ritual. I mean, of course they do – they get doughnuts! But my Bee girl was even more insistent than I was this year.

“Are we going to Dunkin’ Donuts?” “Mom, can we stop at Dunkin’ Donuts?” “Oooh! Are we getting doughnuts?!” It didn’t matter if we were running out for an errand or asking what the girls wanted for lunch. This year, Bee lived and breathed Dunkin’ Donuts. One chocolate covered, one glazed. Every time. Oh – and lots of napkins. Because sometimes 9-years-old is a lot closer to 2-years-old than it is to anything else. Heh.

I didn’t mind. We were on vacation and enjoying ourselves and we all know how much I love saying “yes” when we’re relaxing. And that Bee-girl, she was such a trooper about all the other places where we ate out during the week, given that she loathes eating out.

If I can fix that with a chocolate covered one week of the year? Easy answer. Now I just have to help my baby girl through her withdrawal symptoms. Or maybe surprise her with a visit to the metroplex’s only Dunkin’ the next Saturday I have her. Mwa ha ha…


Back from one vacation, on to a new one (of sorts).

June 15, 2015

I’m doing pretty well so far this morning. I’ve gotten out of bed, made it out the door, and have hit every goalpost of responsibility…so far. We’ll see if I can wait until my appointed lunchtime before I nap, and maybe we should hold off on celebrating until I make it home at the end of the day.

Still, I feel like I’m sort of standing at a distance, poking at this day with a long stick. It feels weird, this life filled with formerly usual routines and responsibilities. Who knew it would only take a week brimming with luxury and absent of schedules to throw me off?

It was lovely to come back to the girls and the X-man this weekend. I got the biggest (and nicest) hugs of my life last night. It’s good to know that I’m not just the snack-maker around here; seems the girls missed me nearly as much as I missed them.

(I wish I could say the same about the pile of emails and tasks and deadlines I’m sure are waiting for me, but that’s a very different bucket of peanuts.)

But as much as I like settling back into routines, they won’t be exactly the same. It’s not exactly sleeping til noon, drinking all day, napping all afternoon, eating at crazy restaurants on the strip, and catching a Vegas show every night – but it’s not all sharpened pencils, and grab-your-backpacks, and is-your-homework-done-yet? either. The girls’ stepmom offered to be the “emergency grown-up on the premises” for the month so that we don’t have to bother enrolling the girls in the daycare that was barely meeting standards. The girls are almost old enough to watch themselves, but still sort of need someone on hand just cases. And also so the girls don’t argue themselves to death. So a hyooooge thank you to Stepmom for volunteering as tribute! Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the girls keep their word to get along, play nicely with others, and not bother any grown-ups who are working. Because even though we need to pack lunches and whatever clothes the girls are going to change into later, letting Bee and Gracie roll out of bed five minutes before we have to leave is a lot nicer than our getting ready for school routine!

So let’s do this! Let’s wade into whatever “real life” holds for us this week. Let’s organize the chaos and then we can talk later this week about how much fun I rolled around in while I was vacationing. So much fun, in fact, that I’ve come back without any voice at all. This is going to be a fun, fun week.



Counting down until all of the fun.

June 4, 2015

Three more days of school.

Two more days until my oldest daughter leaves elementary school behind (for the first time; the school district she’s transferring to uses a K-6 system so she’ll get to do this again next year).

One more day until 5th grade graduation.

Two more days until the weekend.

Four more days until summer vacation.

Oh – and four more days until my vacation, too. Because I’m going to Vegas, baby!

Yes, you read that right! I’ve maybe forgotten to mention it here on the blog, but there is a serious countdown going on at my house! All I have to do is survive the last week of school and then the girls will be spending the week with their dad and stepmom while I fly off into the sunset with my guy for a well-deserved vacation. A vacation in Las Vegas, you guys!

I’m so excited, I’ve been trying not to think about how few days are left or I will not be able to concentrate on anything. I have a major deadline I need to meet before I can let my brain completely turn to screaming mush, but really all I want to do is try on clothes, sample reading material, and make playlists for poolside napping.

I’ve allowed myself a little bit of prep work. I bought a new bathing suit and some clothes. I made a first pass at my closet this weekend and pulled out about a dozen shirts for going out. I haven’t even looked at lounging-about clothes. Or shoes. Or jewelry. I have work to do this weekend.

My reading choices are all but settled though! (Because: priorities.) My mentor’s book (Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles) was published this month, so I have that and Robin Wasserman’s The Waking Dark for the plane. Or, at least, that was what I was planning at first, but then King’s Finders Keepers was delivered and so was Judy Blume’s In the Unlikely Event, both of which I’d forgotten about. The trouble is, King and Blume are hardcovers. Giant, bulky hardcovers. I put a lot of time and effort into carefully selecting Twisted and Waking Dark. But even given the fact that it’s VEGAS, BABY!, are two books really going to cover me for two plane rides and three days of vacationing? Do I want to risk it? Best to take all four, I think.

And then there are the shows. We’re staying right on the strip at the Cosmopolitan, so we have all the access to all the things. I plan to hit as many as we possibly can. There’s a zombie burlesque show (!!!). Cirque du Soleil. We miss Eddie Izzard by one flippin’ night. (Yes, I’m rather ticked.) And there will be so much relaxing, drinking, fancypants massages, and I can’t even think about all of the delicious food I’m going to roll around in.

A real-life, grown-up vacation. A going-away-with-the-boyfriend vacation. I’ve dated during the seven years I’ve been divorced, but this hasn’t happened before. I haven’t ever gone on vacation together with someone – with or without the kids. This makes everything seem a little more real. Another giant step forward. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. But I’d also be lying if I said it didn’t feel really right, too. Vegas is happening. We are happening. Even if I made him sign documents promising there would be zero drunken elopements. Heh.

It’s almost summer, you guys. And this year, we’re starting with allllll the dazzling lights, adventures, and magic!

Ha, ha – I made it to Thursday!

May 28, 2015

Not just any Thursday – Kim gets here in T-9 hours! It has been far, far too long since I’ve seen her face and I am all kinds of excited. Why? Well, besides the fact that any visit requires bail money be set aside, we have a few fun things planned:

We’re surprising the childrens. Oh yes we are. For what is more fun in life than messing with my girlies? I’ll grab immediately after work, then dash her over to get the girls and be all SURPRISE! And there will be shrieks of laughter and maybe a few happy tears. Cannot. Wait. [Alternatively, if one of Kim’s three plans is delayed or a sinkhole opens up or another stupid storm system blows through and we need to rearrange the getting of the sister, I’m going to go get the girls, be all blase, grab some Subway, and then see how long before they figure out that they’re headed towards the airport. Sneakiness rules, you guys.]

Then The Sister gets to meet The Boyfriend. Sister #1, I should say, but this is a bit momentous in that she is the first of any family to meet him. This keeps getting realer…and less scary. Kim and I aren’t even worried. And you know how nervous I get when it comes down to people liking people I like a lot. Definitely A Sign.

Technically, it’s the girls’ weekend with their dad and stepmom. But when the Ex heard that Kim had accidentally confused her Memorial Day weekends (because of course she did), he graciously allowed us to borrow the girls on Saturday and Sunday. Which means tomorrow night the grown-ups can still go out and get to know each other. We’re hitting up a nice sushi restaurant and then the piano bar. Because DUELING PIANO BAR!!

Saturday Gracie-girl will have to attend her Nerd Olympics (at eight in the flippin’ morning – ugh!), and then her dad will drop her and her sister off at the house. Afterwards, we’ll all pile over to the Perot Museum for some fun and learning and more fun. And, knowing us, probably the teensiest bit of pretty, pretty trouble too. But the good kind, I swear.

The rest of the weekend and visit I haven’t even planned out yet. I’m a lawless rebel that way. But I know it will contain eighty-eight different kinds of fun. And, maybe with a little luck, some sunshine and a patio party with the redheads and company so we can bust out the waterslide and bourbon slushies and grilled foods. Because how awesome does that sound?

There’s an entire workday to get through first. But then, my pretties, there will be all. the. fun.

Slowly recovering from all of the fun. (And snow.)(And ice.)(And fog.)(And wine.)

March 4, 2015

Everyone should have a girls’ (or guys’) weekend every once in awhile. It’s a little inexplicable – even though you’re up late, drinking, and – in our case – taking your lives into your own hands by driving over untreated icy bridges and parking lots (oh, just wait til you get the story about the race registration packets), you end up so much more rejuvenated for all of that.

Even though now I’m homesick like you wouldn’t believe because my silly rotten lovely starshiney fantastic besties went and left me to go pick up with their own lives.

So here’s wishing a bouquet of extra-caffeinated coffee finds it way to Cor, and a nice long, relaxy day with naps and DVR-y goodness finds it way to Juls. Because they didn’t even land until after one in the morning and Corri has to work!

As for me, a nice, easy (but busy) day to catch up only 500 emails. (Huzzah for working half-days on Thursday and Friday to recover from last week’s icepocalypse!)

It was so much fun. You’ll hear about it all – our ice days, almost stealing a desk from the Dallas Museum of Art, cupcake adventures, and oh my god all the good food – as I slowly unbury myself. Oh, and our plans! We’ve already decided next year I’m flying to Mass. to run a race, in May or August, when there’s no little chance of snow and ice to ruin our plans. Because, yes, another snow and ice storm is on its way.

Maybe that means I can stay home and sleep tomorrow. For the win.


Because duck tours are better than almost anything else.

August 26, 2014

Because there are so many other things going on right now that I just don’t want to deal with (aging parents, start of school, tweens and the internet, boys, tricky home renovation projects, HELLO STRESS EASE UP ALREADY), I thought we’d take a look back to that lovely little week called vacation.

Ahhhh, vacation!

Vacation had lots of fun things, like that one day we took the train into Boston to do some touristy stuff. We didn’t get to spend nearly as much time in the city as we wanted – I had to forgo my steamers at the Barking Crab, and we didn’t get to explore the freedom trail, or visit the ducklings in the Boston Gardens – but we did get to do a Duck Tour with the girls and spend a few hours at the Museum of Science.


Yes, they let Gracie drive the duckboat. Insane, right?! Our tour guide was amazing – he was witty and irreverent and just our kind of Boston (even if he did have on a Bledsoe jersey instead of Brady’s). He was filled with all kinds of facts about the city and the duck boats themselves. I could have listened to him for hours.



The cemeteries and parks and gardens were all so amazing! We definitely are going to have to spend a couple days in the city walking around next year. Or maybe I’ll leave the childrens at the museum with Auntie Kim and Auntie Rhi and I can go on our own little historical walkabout. Heh.


I’m rather in love with this pic of the Hancock Tower and the Trinity Church near Copley Square. Gorgeous. (Fun fact: my high school sweetheart took me into Boston for our 6-month anniversary and took me to the observation deck of the Hancock Tower and we did a tour of the Trinity Church. Very romantic, even if you’re 16 and have idea how to appreciate how amazing the architecture is.)


IMG_4800Because who could resist? I mean, obviously.IMG_4810This pic fills my heart with so much love. Boston, you’re my home!

After the duck tour (I wish desperately that I could show you the pic of Auntie Rhi and Bee-girl making their zombie duck faces), we spent some time at the Museum of Science. We could have spent days there. In fact, I bet I could get Gracie to read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frainweiler now if I got her to switch out the museum in NYC for the Museum of Science in Boston. She was that in love.

IMG_4834 IMG_4832 IMG_4826 IMG_4835

They got to explore a room filled with electricity, one filled with sounds (both Bee’s favorites), one filled with inventions (where we lost Gracie for a good portion of our time), robots, animals and habitats, and on and on and on… Oh, and optical illusions. Gracie-girl was obsessed with that one, trying to figure out the tricks behind them. I could practically see the steam coming out of her head as she thought so hard about the hows and whys. Is there anything better for a mama than seeings your kiddos really snag their attention on something and dive in so deep that they don’t want to surface? Curiosity is one of the best personality traits a person can have, in my opinion, and I try so hard to develop that in my girlies. Good job, Museum of Science!

It was a long day, even if it was filled with only a few different activities. The girls were knackered on the trip home, and the grown-ups only a little less so. Fun, adventure, boats, Boston, and trains – not a bad outing at all!