the first two days of summer vacation

The second school was over it was like full on party party party around these parts. We met the kids at the bus stop with loaded water guns and water balloons and it only went uphill from there (once I got Letty to stop crying about how she will miss her teacher that is). The kids wanted Panera Bread for lunch, so, yes. After that we met friends of ours for a little hike and then that turned into ice cream that then turned into a swim date. See also then dinner at my sister's with some park time! And we didn't have to rush out for bed times! That's how things roll around these parts I suppose.

an olsen swim

Even as I typed that title I didn't realize that there are barely any photos from this day of my niece and nephew... Sam's there, for sure, playing ball with his cousins. Future ball players, assemble! Anyways.  Last weekend we had the Olsens over for some swim time and the rain stayed away and it was just a great day to float and let the skin soak in all that glorious vitamin D!

water park!

We finally braved it and made it to Hersheypark's water park! It's always an overwhelming undertaking. The packing and the prep and the oh my is Dom going to have an explosion in his Charlie Banana because we all know that boy cares zero for any potty training discussion... And we have a pool so why bother, right? Well with my parents gallivanting around Austria (yes, I know, I'm shocked too) we just put on our big girl pants and went with it. Water park it was.

a final party as room mom

Last Friday was my last time being Room Mom for Miss Letty. This whole Room Mom thing sure was a lot more than I understood it to be when I agreed to do it, but I think we've done alright just the same. Yeah sure I forgot to have someone bring drinks in for this final party but hey. No first grader complained so I figure we are all set there...

kindergarten and first grade. a year completed.

Oh it's here! Yes and finally! Of course though it always seems to have been over in just a blink and a half and that makes me sort of panicky! Time going by and all that stuff I am always lamenting... But as days do they come whether you are ready or not (we so were) and yesterday was their last day of school. A half day just full of fun and excitement. They got to go to their future classrooms and meet their future teachers and see their future class mates... You can be sure I grilled them all about that. 

kindergarten graduation

This event is everything. We have been so blessed to have this teacher in our lives for two years now and I just don't know what we will do without her! Ms. Carino! You are the best! If not for the millions of ways she is amazing during the school year this event alone deems it so. She has the room decorated, snacks and coffee prepared... All the aides and special teachers and principals and other staff that interacted with our kids are set to stop on by during the party... there is a slideshow of photos from the year!! She also made sure to thank all the mom volunteers from the year and gave us each a mason jar of flowers! I can't! I mean you people who know me know this event is like my love language!!

wrapping things up with a nice little bow

The end of this school year has just been really intense. I look at other moms in awe. The moms who work. The moms who have more than two kids in the school. The moms that have more than two kids in the school and also do sports. Those sports moms the most. I don't know how people keep it all together and keep it straight but I am trying. Between me and my big ole desk calendar we are trying. A for effort? In the past few weeks there have been a few little "ends" if you will that we are just tying right on up! 

culture day field trip

The last field trip of the year but alas, not the last school event! The end of the year is just chock full of fun activities isn't it? Which is great for the kids... but I'd personally just prefer to say, cut the year short before all these shenanigans and let us have a longer summer. Just me?  These are such fun times though for the kids.... Letty's last field trip involved a walk to the high school for their Culture Day.

master bathroom update

This bathroom just has seen so much change. I guess it's still a work in progress if I am to be honest. The shower needs to go and we know that but that's down the road a piece.... The faucets though? They were horrid and they are something we could handle. Now.

memorial day itself

Our Memorial Day wasn't sunny but it wasn't rainy either and I mean, I'll take it! As is becoming tradition with us (we sure love our traditions don't we?) we headed to my brother's house for his town's parade and a bbq! And lots and lots of family time! Just such a patriotic bunch aren't we?

a disappointment on a sunday

Sunday was supposed to rain but thankfully it was just cloudy... And Sunday was when I thought an epic parade was going to be that we typically hit up every MDW. Well I totally was wrong about the parade and the weather changed it's mind and people. We had no plans other than a birthday party for Letty's friend later in the day. This cannot happen. Not on a holiday weekend. Oh and it was too cold to swim. Sigh. Enter the Flavor Fest at the Renaissance Faire right up the road. Free admission and you just purchase a glass and have all the free wine tastings you want. Plus things for kids! How can this go wrong?

a saturday in lititz and then swimming!

Where oh where did May go? March felt like months long and then once that passed now it's all oh okay, June tomorrow? April and May were just blips. That's all. Back to our weekend of fun! As is becoming tradition we took the kids to Lititz Springs Park and let them tear around for a bit and then the adults go over to the Bullshead. Little fun for them, little fun for us... Plust it was Colton's birthday! Happy day to him!

the school carnival!

I feel like this was ages ago already.... Time is really messing with me these days. A few weeks back the elementary schools banded together and had a carnival for all the kids. Of course it was raining because for awhile there I'm pretty sure we lived in an Edwardless Forks so they had to move the carnival indoors, to the Farm Show buildings. Only in our town right? My mom came along for the ride because she is a brave brave Nonna. 

our summer bucket list

In a different form than in years past but it's here just the same! As you all know this weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year... It just is so full of the promise of the fun summer to come and I love me some summers with my kids and all the adventures we pack into them! The Summer of Yes is almost here people! My Sandlot summer! More exclamation points!!! I have activities planned each day of this nice long weekend. Half day today! Monday off! And only eleven more days of school left!!!! Happy Memorial Day weekend!

And lest you be worried, I know the real reason for the holiday and you best be sure I'll be explaining it all to the kids like I do every year when I get all emotional seeing the veterans walking in the parade. You do it too.

Summer here we come!




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aging american flags and some patriotic decor

I have about a hundred and one of those small American flags they hand out at parades, do you know what I mean? I never throw them out because, American flags. But they are just so bright. I don't want bright. I want aged. Distressed. Who am I? So my mama suggested I "age" them. Mothers. They always know best yes? Now like I said I had about a thousand of them so the thought of dabbing them with scratch remover to "stain" them sounded far too tedious for my quantity over quality mentality.

one store to rule all others.

Oh this store. It can take all my money. I honestly could have walked out of there having bought it all. I've never been in a store like that before, that is trouble for me. I can only go back with like, cash from a birthday gift or something. Anyways. I had so many people recently tell me I just had to go to Cocalico Creek. And I was like: meh. Sure, when I get around to it. But the recommendations just kept coming so I finally enlisted my mother and off we went with Dom in tow one Thursday morning.

And it was like Joanna Gaines Herself had been involved in the creation of this store.

a quick and easy mantle refresh

It's sort of like the Field of Dreams in a way in this house. If I wish it, Matt will build it. Or something maybe not at all like Field of Dreams? But I mentioned to Matt I wanted an aged wood mantle and like two days later there it was just waiting to be installed. He just got a piece of wood, aged some nails, beat the wood up and stained it and wala! He did attach it to the old mantle with screws but I suppose if you weren't completely ready to make a commitment you could just rest it on top of your existing mantle.



the planetarium! and an astronaut!

A coworker of my brother's put in for this very large grant in order to refurbish his school's planetarium. Following that? Anyways Matt and I have this thing for the stars and wanting to support we voted daily for this grant to be chosen and.... it was! So of course on opening day we had to go check it out! Even though we don't live in the area or go to the district of course... We got tickets online for the children's show, figuring that would be best for our three. And off we went! 

updated outdoor lighting

Whoops. I did it again. I saw old fixtures that were in fact not old and I thought well no. Not me anymore. So I took to Shades of Light and found these and the rest is history. And I love them so! Thanks to my dad! Okay and Matt for being the manual labor.

food truck frenzy

The neighboring town of Lititz not only boasts my older brother as one of it's residents, but also tons of fun events and cool restaurants and the like. Last Friday was their Food Truck Frenzy. Food trucks. In the park. We had done this one in the fall and loved it, so of course we all packed up and went once more. Matt and I are nothing if not punctual so we were naturally there almost an hour prior to start time. There is a playground right there and ducks who are starving for old bread. We also wanted to scope out a table and figure out a plan of attack. Which trucks to go to and so forth.

our mother’s day

Mother's Day can be a difficult time for many different people for many different reasons. This past Sunday I woke up just really feeling that... How difficult this day can be for so many people, some extremely close to me. I really tried to focus on the here and now and these lovely humans that I am blessed to raise and my own parents that I am blessed to have. Of course I have a fabulous husband who had the kids make these quite bright and festive stepping stones for my garden on top of taking care of any and all little house chores he could conjure up. Which is saying something because he is always such a major helper. We had a slow morning at home with mimosas (pretty sure Mother's Day mimosas need to be a thing) while we watched the dreary day unfold. That weather just did not want to cooperate. Guess Mother Nature was having a moment....

gretna glen field trip

Another field trip in the books for this year! This time with Letty's class. I've heard tales of this trip, that it's messy and muddy and if it rains oh Lord help you! Thankfully we had lovely weather for our trip to Gretna Glen, a camp just shy of twenty minutes north. The camp counselors are just those nature loving excited types.... The one who led the initial meeting was amped up on something wild I'll tell you what. I consider myself a morning person but whatever she was taking I want. Yowza.

a party for the budding artist

Letty had the honor of attending her girlfriend's birthday party this past weekend at Big Dream Creative Arts Studio. She's done this once before and if she had her way it would be the place where she too would have her birthday parties. It's just such a cute place and I love everything about it. The programs they offer and the fun whimsical way they have it decorated. It's just the cutest. And they are moving! I am so excited to check out their new location! Yay for local businesses am I right?!

race.

That's just what it's called. Race. I mean technically it's the Race for Education but it's just such beast that it becomes just: Race. Dun, dun, dunnnnn. 

Just like last year, the kids send out mailers to family and the sweet and loving supportive family members (thank you!!) send in donations for the PTO. This is a massive undertaking for all. Parents, students, volunteers, teachers, no one walks away untouched by Race. I got a wee (tiny) bit more involved than last year and wow. No joke, this Race. Not to mention that it's nearing the end of school and there is just something happening all  the time. Jam packed activities from here on out people!

our first pool day!

The end of last week, let me tell you! The weather gave me a serious case of summersitus. That's a thing, I'm sure of it. The temperatures were in the 80's, the sun was out, and it just felt like surely this is summer now?! I pushed back homework time and I let the kids stay up a smidge later than usual, playing outside just as long as we could. It just felt wrong to have to prepare for school the next day? Not with temps like that! It's gone by now of course but! It happened! We have the tan lines to prove it!

The pool has been open for I think just over a week with her solar cover on just soaking up those rays and heating up a degree at a time... Kids don't need much though they'll jump in to just about anything (69 degrees to be exact). The excitement was almost too much for them to bear. Luckily we had already planned on the entire family coming over for a BBQ (see aforementioned good weather) so we told all to bring their swimsuits. If they dare. Only a few did.... The kids swam and played on the playground and we all sat outside at the new table and hey! We all fit! At the table! It was wonderful to have all that room to sit! The new set up works!

some updates to our lighting. again.

Can't stop, won't stop. 

I was sitting on the floor at the top of our stairs and Dom was being difficult, refusing to come up to brush his teeth and I put my head back in frustration which put the light fixture directly in my line of vision. That's how it started. And maybe it was my frame of mind from Dom but I looked at it and I said: I hate you. To the light. I love my son, as difficult as he is. But the light. Not my style anymore that's all. I wanted it gone. So I took to the internet and found the Kichler Barrington line at Lowe's. I'll just take them all please! Anyways so while the light at the top of the stairs started it I kept going as I tend to do. The light in the powder room had to go as well! To this:

a craft night with the moxie shoppe

Let's see if you can follow this... My brother-in-law's cousin's wife has a shop. The Moxie Shoppe. She had an open house right before Christmas and I was amazed. I could have purchased sooo many things had not my wallet and budgetary needs not denied me. Good for her. Is what I'm saying. She had another open house last weekend and of course I immediately planned on attending. But then she got me to my first ever craft night. I see those things of course.... craft nights with ladies and maybe some wine and I'm always like... no. But this time I had to go and support Sara. And of course I also insisted my sister join me. 

so what's new with you?

I have never been more thrilled to see all those Justin Timberlake meme's. You know the ones... It's gonna be May? Oh how thrilling! April really sucked the life out of us. It was cold and rainy and gray and it even snowed and just no. No thank you. May! To the rescue!

daddy daughter dance. the three d's.

There is a first time for everything and this year our elementary school had their first Daddy Daughter Dance. Now to be honest when the paper came home Matt was like, uhm, no. But Letty was just exploding with excitement about it and so of course as Matt does, he agreed to go. Willingly. We picked out her dress and she even put on her little Pixie Dust perfume. Matt got her a rose and took her out to dinner at the location of her choosing which ended up being Eat. And then there was the dance. Matt sent me tons and tons of photos and videos and our little girl did not stop moving! Matt said she was literally bouncing around. He said she was so social and little lady friends just kept popping  up everywhere to say hello.

skate night!

Ah how nostalgic is a skate night am I right? The roller rink hasn't changed since the 70's, if not longer. The music and the disco ball. The creaky old wooden floors and skates you may have worn when you were 14? All of that. In one night. Our church wrapped up our Wednesday night church season with a family skate night. Which naturally, we went to. Not Dom, that poor boy stayed at home with his father and we were all the saner for it. I took David and Letty and a neighborhood friend and off we went! David's first skating experience!

this be back country

Because of the whole pool issue we hadn't planned on doing Luray Caverns as early as we did and so we had some found time. We decided to try driving through the George Washington National Forest. That’s like deep woods back country there. The kind where roads are closed during the winter and you just imagine all work and no play making Jack a dull boy. There was only so many ways out of it (like, two) and I led Matt on quite the excursion to do so but. We survived. One lane gravel roads and steep cliffs and switchback turns not withstanding. 

luray caverns

Sunday morning after my run and our breakfast we went south once more this time to Luray Caverns in Luray (where else?) Virginia, which was part of our plan when we first decided to hit up the Shenandoah Valley. Matt had been once as a kid and thought I'd really like it. You know, the little girl who used to collect gem stones with her allowance money? That girl. Do you know how many tables I had to clean up after dinner in order to buy one teeny tiny piece of turquoise? Lots. I digress.

skyline drive

Saturday morning was a bright, clear and sunny day. Perfect for what we had planned: Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. I ran as soon as the kids got up and then we hit up the continental breakfast down in the lobby. Matt only made about sixty-five trips to the buffet so we figure we got more than our money’s worth there. We decided to drive south on the highway and then travel north through the entire park, so we had a bit of a drive first thing. As luck would have it it was National Park Day or some such thing so our entry was free! Oh the fortuitousness! We had packed lunches from home and were prepared to spend the great majority of the sunlight hours driving. And of course stopping at every single overlook. I am only slightly exaggerating. 

oh give me views!

I said to Matt a few weeks ago, I want to see vistas! I want mountain views! But I also clarified that I didn’t want to drive too far because this idea of mine had to work for a regular old weekend. You go away once with just your family of five and suddenly you just feel like you can conquer the world!

Matt’s immediate response to me was: Shenandoah. Like he had just been waiting for me all along to suggest another getaway. 

a field trip to hershey gardens

I had the very recent pleasure of accompanying David and his class on their field trip. I guess kindergartners go to Hershey Gardens, it’s just what they do. I was in charge of three little boys all by my onesie. I hadn’t expected to be yelling at my own child as much as I had to but, man. That kid does not stay with a group!! Story of our lives though. One just thinks that its during the school day so normal school behavior applies? Not the case for David.... No, not ever.

yet another deck update!

Once again, I wish that I could share these images with sunshine and flowers but alas, still not in the cards for us. We got a tease last weekend, to be sure, but that was short lived. We had taken down the sun sail (you can see what that looks like here) during a particularly windy night and well, no sense in putting it back up until the sun decides to return right?

But in the meantime our chairs have arrived and the table has been moved out to the back thanks to the helpful biceps of my brother-in-law. Matt made the table as I may have mentioned before... There are two "compartments" if you will where the table top can be removed (you can sort of see the cut out for fingers to lift it out) and buckets are below that one can fill with ice for all of your assorted summer beverage needs. The chairs can be found on Amazon here. I wanted ten chairs but when it came time to order it the way it all worked out it made more sense to just get another set of four rather than the set of two. Details. So we have twelve chairs which we will use and it's all good. They are stackable so come winter time storing them will be a breeze. I obviously went with the grey here because I just wasn't sure if the aqua would be something I would love year to year. And yes, spray painting would be an option but twelve chairs is a lot to paint. 

inner harbor

Our final day with Kerri was so cold and windy and dreary and rainy. Which just about stunk in every way imaginable. That didn't stop us from continuing on with our plans to head down to Inner Harbor on our way to drop her off at the airport though. It worked for us last year and I was a big fan of not having to drive solo on the way home...

We parked the van and then headed off to Westminster Hall where Edgar Allen Poe was laid to rest. Him and a whole bunch of other important Revolutionary individuals of note for various deeds. I know it's morbid and definitely a bit weird for me to say, but old cemeteries are pretty interesting to me. This obviously wasn't the first time I've hit up an old cemetery before...

playing tourist at troegs

Sometimes I have to stop and ask myself why I've never been to this place before? Because when you finally go somewhere and it's just awesome well then you feel a bit silly that you've never enjoyed it before. This was one of those times. Tröeg's Independent Brewing is right down the road from Hersheypark and was our stop for a later lunch after leaving the crowds. There is a tasting room, a snack bar menu, a self-guided tour and a guided one, crayons and coloring pages for the kids, and lots of good beer too! This place is right up my alley! Family friendly and drinks!

first hersheypark visit of the year!

Between illness and weather we just haven't gotten ourselves up to Hersheypark yet this spring and that really stinks, you know? We like to get our money's worth! Thankfully a friend of my sister's had a free ticket that would go unused and she was kind enough to give it up for Kerri! So Hersheypark it is! When we got there the line was just bananas so we thought we would go on Chocolate World first, as it's been years since Kerri last was there. 

a taste of summer

Continuing on from yesterday's activities with Kerri.... The big kids got off the bus and instantly put on shorts and ran out back. We all just parked ourselves out there... some of us in the sun, soaking it all up while we could. Needing it. Wanting it. Taking it. After a few we packed up to head to a quick hike to an overlook. Matt's favorite! One overlook required no hiking and the other well... Just a bit. Nothing too crazy. And not to sound like a broken record here but, sun! We were actually hot! I wore shorts! This is so momentous! It requires more exclamation points!

my floridian friend brought the sun!

And I'm back. Late, but back. I don't believe I have ever taken that long of a break from this space in the five years (!) that I've had this blog! Which also whoops, bad blog mom that I am, I forgot andiamo's birthday! Schade. Five years! Wow!

Okay so this past weekend Kerri, my best friend from college, came up from Florida to visit me and mine. As she tends to do once a year. We also came to the realization this weekend past that we have been friends for half of our lives. That's a pretty long time if I do say so myself. As per the usual when my Floridian Friend comes up here I really try to plan the entire time chock full of activities. Gotta show her a good time, you know? To compensate for the lack of palm trees? Just me?

We had gorgeous weather for two out of the three days she was here so it worked out almost perfectly! She brought the sun! Thank you Kerri! Friday we wandered around Lititz, letting Dom play a bit on the swings, getting a quick cup of coffee, basically just enjoying the fact that we didn't need to wear coats and the sun was out! We ended up having lunch at Slate Cafe which I've been dying to try since I first saw their Instagram feed. The food was delicious and I love how bright it is in there! Gotta go back for breakfast. Fact. Also let's just acknowledge every photo from the weekend is Kerri's because her phone is amazing.

disney on ice! princesses!

Disney on Ice! This is always such a great event! The music and the dancing and the costumes! This year my parents got all the ladies in the family (Ashley tagged out and sent Rob due to a certain nursing-only type newborn situation) tickets to see this year's show.... Right on the ice. Close enough that you could smell the sweat! If you can name that movie we could be friends.

Anyways. 

Right on the ice! Watching all our favorite princesses dance and sing! My sister and I pondering the workout regime of the female skaters... Lena and Letty and Mikayla all dressed up in their princess best! Wands in hand! We had a little snafu before the show started with Letty surprisingly losing a tooth into a fruit snack... But we rallied and moved on past embarrassment (her's) and had just the best time. This was the first year where I think Letty  might have actually appreciated the stunts because she kept wowing every time one of them was up in the air... She has been ice skating. She knows it ain't easy. The athletic prowess needed!

let's see who won the great deck sail debate!

I had a poll a few weeks back about what color sail we should go with on our deck and while there were a few blue people out there the majority leaned towards beige. Against Matt's wishes of course... He was anti-beige. But he is a good husband and so he agreed to give it a whirl and well, thank goodness because the wife knows best yes?

I would have liked to have shown these images with the pool open and flowers planted but I mean this weather we have been having lately has just been horrific! Cold and rainy and gray and did I mention cold? Soon to change around these parts I hear! Yay!

david's class spring party

Last Friday was a doozy. I went in to David's classroom for Kid Writing... then I ran home for lunch before turning around to help with these fundraiser mailers for Letty's classroom... and then after that I went back to David's classroom for his spring party. I love going in to the classroom! For any reason sure, but especially for parties. Just so much fun for all! Games and crafts and snacks! The kids have the best time and I mean really, they are so easy to please it really could be any sort of game and they would be loving life! 

I get about a hundred hugs and he tells me that I'm just the very best mom and I mean hey, what a boost to the mom-confidence! Which is probably why I'm in there as often as I am... 

our weekend!

It's another Monday all! We are here! We had ourselves an unusually busy weekend and I don't hate it! But I'm a big fan of all these activities you know?

We had some change of plans last minute Friday night and my parents decided to bring my kids McDonald's and Matt whipped up some Chinese and well there was cider and we deemed it good!