fall decor is up!

Or rather, it has been up thanks to a certain hurricane that kept us at home on a rainy day the first week of school…. But the main reason I am sharing is our new mirror over the mantle! I love it so much and totally and loving the new vibe it gives the living room! But yeah. Fall is here. Even if the weather lately has other ideas which I do not hate!

harrison is four!

I just can’t believe how my sweet-cheeked nephew has grown so quickly! We got to celebrate him last weekend and just showered him with gifts and those hugs and kisses he loves so much from me. Spoiler alert: he does not enjoy my affections. But those cheeks just need to be kissed! He chose a space theme and my sister made all the foods and we sang and the kids played and I sure hope he felt the love! 

Oh Harrison! You are like a little prince and you bring me so much joy every told I lay eyes on you! You are funny and inquisitive, a wonderful brother and such a good little boy! Can’t wait to see the places you go my man!!

and on the actual holiday, we swam!

The weather turned it around and we were able to have my family over for another group swim! All the patriotic suits and the good foods! Who knows if we will get another chance to have everyone here this season but I’m thankful for each and every time they get to hang out here!

more of the in between…

You know… between the start of field hockey and baseball…. Back working at the school again…. Lunches and time with friends… celebrating a ten year old! Also, found my new favorite burger and I am not ashamed to say I am already looking to return! More baseball (thank you for the photos Shauna!)!! Trying to enjoy every last second with our pool while I can! But with all of those things life has been quite…. Full. I don’t exactly love, love it, but I also wouldn’t change anything because living each day to the max is sort of a habit of mine! These kids don’t miss out on much!

finishing out labor day…

Weeks and weeks later. Heading back to school has been rough on the Olsen Family. We rush from place to place and down time is rare… so here I am, finishing up the holiday posts. 

And naturally, the post kicks off with pumpkins. I worked the entire week after Labor Day and my mom and sister didn’t want to wait till after that to get our pumpkins and I don’t blame them. So we hit our local farm up on Saturday morning to get them… friends of ours from college and their kids came over for a bbq and brought their GoPro and all the fun that entails! Sunday Letty joined Matt and I for her very first spin class! Then we buckled down with my sister and her family and got twelve dozen ears of corn ready for winter…. It isn’t the most glamorous of jobs but we sure appreciate the world come the cold month! Not a typical holiday weekend but when the weather has other plans you just have to roll with it….

a long labor day weekend, day one.

We really packed all the things in on the kids’ first day off from school! Letty was at a friend’s house for a sleepover the night before and we decided to meet up with that family at Hersheypark after I got done at the gym…it was a very momentous day because Dominic is now up a height category so he was able to go on a bunch of new rides (and some more than once)! He’s a big kid now! 

Then we met up with the Scheffeys at their club’s pool! And we were not asked to leave! My boys can be quite loud. Well, can’t we all? After that Rhonda cooked us an epic dinner that I am still full from followed by the first fall fire and s’mores of the season! 

But don’t let these photos fool you, my kids be in such a funk!! Call it the first week of school tiredness or whatever but there has been a lot of yelling happening on all ends…. Hopefully I am not alone!

and in the past week…

I had a wonderful spa day with my friend Lindsey including hot cocoa and grapefruit crushes! So relaxing before the chaos of school! Letty had an epic sleepover at her cousin’s house including a nail painting party courtesy of her uncle! We had swims and cousin cuddles! I decorated for fall while Ida rained down upon us… went out to lunch for my brother’s birthday and found some photos of two of my kids at school on their newsletters (stalker that I am). All this and more in only one week! Goodness!

the final swim day of summer!

I mean not technically. But the last of summer vacation. I always like to be surrounded by my family on the final day before school starts. It makes the sting of the next day a little bit less… Also there are drinks. We actually got the entire family together for the first time since the Outerbanks which was pretty exciting! We had all the foods and just soaked up every last drop of this very full and busy summer break!

the first day back to school

Well we survived the first week… despite Hurricane Ida and early dismissals and two hour delays the kids had two full days trying to learn the ropes in between. And if the past year and a half has taught us anything is that these kids are quite resilient and adaptable!

The first day was like any other except not quite, because as we pulled away from the elementary school it was just the boys we saw walking in together… for Letty now is an entirely different building. The Middle School. She walked right in though all confident and happy to be placed in a home room of sorts with our very favorite kindergarten teacher turned Middle School art teacher. Spending the day with her was something to be excited about! I volunteered to help with the first grade lunch since these first graders have never experienced the cafeteria line before (last year we delivered their lunches to them). It was chaotic but at least I got to see my three favorite elementary students! Of course I had to have a moms lunch in there too! After a very late arrival time from Letty’s bus we took the kids to our traditional after school Rita’s run!

night swim!

This is quite the tradition of ours... Toniel and her girls and the Carpers come over for dinner and drinks and then when it starts to get dark we bust out all the smores stuff (can't forget the Reese's cups) and then out come the glow sticks and the kids put on light shows and the squealing and giggling abound! We were a bit shot this day as it was also tubing and open house day... but we know how to get things done!

tubing

Tubing has been on my summer bucket list for years and years and quite unlike myself I waited until the last week of summer to get it done. We headed down to Sickman's Mill which is under new ownership and finally back open after the shut down and what not for our hour and a half of tube time. Eleven of us. Eight kids. Three adults. Only who of which had the physical capacity to use both legs. We tethered ourselves all together and then figured out how to get into the river... Quite the feat. We were slow going and got stuck quite a few times but all in good fun! And the yelling. The screaming. The shouts of our impending death. I pity anyone else within any proximity to the river. David was the only causality and even that it was just a few scrapes and bumps on his back... at the end they had a bus pick us all  up and back to the starting point for drinks and some snacks! So glad that we got to do this before summer's end! And so thankful I have friends who don't judge me for yelling at Dominic to SIT DOWN IN THE TUBE. 

a spa day…

A rare day if I may say so... One where I spend hours and hours away from my kids just relaxing and enjoying some peace and quiet? My friend Lindsey had wanted one last day before school started to chill out and she asked if I cared to join her and I mean, yes! We got into our robes and relaxed a little with their delicious hot cocoa before a lunch. In our robes. Loved that! Then we both had a body treatment with mojito smelling something or other.... We chilled outside in rocking chairs with Bellini's and just soaked in every last second before we had to go back to realty... 

just a typical august day….

You know me, trying to get all the things in while I still can... case in point? A super humid and not quite sunny day where I thought let us go for a hike! See an overlook! Have a picnic lunch! Then go to the mall's food court while mommy runs an errand! Then out to a late afternoon snack at a new local favorite.... Get in all the things people. All. The. Things.

wrapping up summer like...

Dinners and drinks out with friends... tea parties... family swims with a fun uncle who has once more returned... sleeping cats... ice cream runs and friend visits.... bike rides on the rail trail...fresh new hair cuts and ice cream trucks... swims with friends... mom's night out... matching bathing suits... rainy lunches and rainy swims and our final Tuesday with Nonna.... Pool swims and telescops... birthday sleepovers and open houses at the kids' schools....All things summer (or a tad bit school) in all the short time we have left!

a final hersheypark visit. for summer.

We haven’t been to Hersheypark since June and I find that fact a bit surprising. But I suppose I shouldn’t since we did all the things this summer. So we just had to go one last time before the fall version of the park makes itself known…. We headed up there in the middle of the afternoon knowing that we wanted to try the new restaurant there, The Chocolatier. We also knew there would be quite a wait and there was, two and a half hours for a party of ten. We walked the whole way out to the end of the park and rode whatever rides we could as we made our way to the front of the park. The lines were long this day. It was all perfectly timed as we got a text our table was ready and we were right there! The drinks and food in this place were so good, albeit a wee bit pricey. But what isn’t pricey at Hersheypark? Solid night people. Solid. Night. Hersheypark in the summer? Over and out. 

the in between

Somehow mid-July became mid-August in the blink of an eye. These few weeks full of birthdays and beach weekends tend to make this summer feel as if it is already over. Even if we have a few more weeks left. I shouldn’t count my summer days until they hatch I suppose but it cannot be helped. During the past month we have had countless swims. Lunches and dinners out. All the good food. Friends and family over on a rotation. Flowers. VBS for Dom and Lena. Church camp for Letty and a Sports World camp for David. Sleepovers. Oh all the sleepovers. Cuddles and pool side reading. Trying to fill each day with all the things before school and sports take over!

lena girl is seven!

We cannot forget that before the beach was my niece’s birthday party! Seven! I just can’t believe it! We had  delicious dinner and then gift opening of course (Tenley in particular found the sleeping bag to be the very best) followed by a yummy cake! And singing! Oh Lena! You are such a wonderful little lady! Watching you grow up is such a joy even if it does happen too fast! I hope you had the happiest of birthdays! We love you so!! 

our final beach day of the summer

You know it had to be dramatic like that. We have spent a fair amount of time at the beach this summer and it’s been amazing! And today was the last of those days. After our run Rhonda and I went to get an açaí bowl. Well deserved I would say. When we got to the beach that is when the real excitement started… Matt caught a shark! Like a shark shark. The crowds on that beach watching…. It was wild! The guys caught a ton of things this weekend but the shark takes the cake! After a dinner of all the weekend’s catch (not the sharks) Rhonda and I took Letty shopping. All the girlie things after a weekend of too many boys. We ended then night with ice cream!

the zoo and the beach

A combination that I have never done before! Up and feeling more like herself Rhonda suggested we go to the Cape May Zoo. The sun wasn’t out and it was sort of chilly so it was the perfect way to spend the morning! I mean, giraffes! After lunch we did make it to the beach and the sun did decide to peak out!

the day without rhonda

Saturday morning poor Rhonnie woke up not feeling quite herself. And she remained that way the entire day the poor thing! So it was just me and Letty and a ton of boys! I got my run in quick and then took the boys out kayaking which Dominic quite enjoyed! We took the kids to the park to blow off more steam before lunch and the beach. See also Aaron caught a shark! Right in the very same bay where the kids were swimming yesterday!!  All the catching of all the things this weekend! Later in the day there was a lot of scootering, some in the rain! Just trying to keep those boys occupied is quite the job but I would say it was a successful day… minus my sick friend of course!

stone harbor!

We had the honor of being invited back! We are loud and the boys are naughty but we were still wanted! Woohoo! Our friends’ family has a place on the bay in Stone Harbor and we went last year this exact same week and were so happy to go down to the shore once more! We left Friday morning and went straight to lunch just as we did last year… after which we headed to the house to unpack and get those crab pots set up, always with the crab pots! We got to the beach eventually and then got take out for dinner. Did I do two burgers in one day? Why yes. Yes I did. There was a good sky and some porch hangs and scootering and fishing and all the things! Solid first day!

letty’s actual birthday…

It was a Monday. And a day David had to go to camp. And I wanted to hit the gym… So after all of that I let her dictate the day. First she wanted to hide a rock she had painted in her favorite park so we did that… then we met some friends at Wayback Burger which was amazing! Then we had a little time before camp pick up so she built her new lego set. Harry Potter of course! After grabbing David we went to Fox Meadows for ice cream. Dinner was the birthday girl’s choice of Korean rice bowls followed by The Jungle Cruise. A full day for my girl! This is 11!

letty’s family party…

The very next day was when the family comes over to celebrate! The weather was lovely and there was a lot of swimming to be had before dinner! My dad brought pretzels which is quickly becoming something the kids look forward too! She chose lasagna and ice cream cake which of course Matt obliged. After dinner we opened presents before singing and dessert. Her gifts have gotten so grown up! Jewelry and a new field hockey bag? Time needs to slow down!

letty’s friend party…

As always for my kids and their birthdays they get to have a friend swim party… Letty’s was on a Friday afternoon and thankfully the weather cooperated and the sun was out! They swam of course, much calmer than her brothers’ friends (thank God) and had snacks and cupcakes and sang and then opened up the presents! It’s fun to see what all the kids are into as they grow up! 

final day at the beach!

The sun was playing hard to get for a little while on our final day at the beach but eventually she came out and we ended up having quite the full beach day! With burgers which I mean how could that get any better?! We left the beach and packed up before an early dinner and then we hit the road for home... Until next time! 

more beaching!

On Saturday it was more of the same at the beach… Matt goes surf fishing with the rising sun, I go for a quick run, we all pack up and Matt is a Sherpa on the way to the beach. And then we sit and read and watch the kids scream and jump and boogie board the day away…. 

Have you heard of the Scopes people? Relentless college students who take photos and then you go to the Scopes place and spend a ton of money on a telescope key chain? Well she sure had our number! I told her if she could get the kids out of the water for photos have at it. And well, she is a professional and got so many cute photos! Naturally we went to the store and ninety bucks later had ourselves some Scopes and some photos! 

This was the night we all celebrated the summer birthdays too! Cake and singing and presents! The night wrapped up with good sky and some sparklers!

a boat day!

Our second full day at the beach had us on the boat by ten am and off to Assateague! I first ran to get bagels because that is a tradition! We set up shop on the island and Matt grilled lunch and the kids played on this new mat Aunt Sue had gotten…. We floated a lot and then walked over to the ocean side where there was basically no one… we didn’t see horses this year but still had such a great day! They sure are long days but they are so worth it!

we went back to the beach!

Every year we return to Ocean City with Matt’s brother and his family for a long weekend. When we go varies year to year but we always make it happen. We left right before a storm on a Wednesday and got down there just in time for dinner. Where of course everyone around me (albeit the kids) got seafood and I got a burger... Par for the course. Then we just hung out on the deck and caught up while we waited for Steve and Holly to get there. The next morning after coffee and monkey bread we headed to the beach, as one does! And at the end of the day we were rewarded with some good sky!

and on david’s actual birthday…

We went back to an old favorite of ours, Dutch Wonderland. We had gotten free tickets at the Barnstormers game and David was chomping at the bit to get there and go on Merlin’s Mayhem, a ride that had not even existed when we used to have season passes there. We got right on that and then it started pouring! Matt and I hid under a tree while the kids did the turtle ride but we couldn't stay there forever.... We figured if we are wet might as well hit the water park which is when the rain stopped and the sun came out! My brother-in-law and his family have season passes and they met up with us for some water park fun at that point. I recreated a bunch of photos I had of the kids when they were toddlers and at DW because well, they are so big they don’t need me to go on slides anymore and I found myself just sitting around with naught to do. 

david’s family birthday party

And then on the second day of the trio of birthday celebrations we had our families over! It was a beautiful day perfect for swimming and bomb pops and snacks! Beer I mean water pong and cornhole...We swam the afternoon away before drying off and heading inside for the actual festivities... David chose spaghetti and meatballs as his dinner which was a hit with all! Matt had made an ice cream cake also upon request of the birthday boy which was quite delicious… We sang and then he opened up all the gifts! The generosity never ends!

david’s friend birthday party

Otherwise known as day one of three celebrating this kid turning nine... Because a birthday should last three days, correct?

I picked up David and two of his friends early from camp and brought them home to lots of snacks and treats and pool swims and quite a few other boys joined as well. Thankfully the weather held off and no one died. I’m not dramatic at all am I? They were actually a lot calmer than I had imagined so I figure my son knows how to pick good boys to be friends with. He wanted red icing on his cupcakes but we ran out of food coloring so they were pink… I threw some red sprinkles over them to make them less…. Girlie. I think he forgave me. None of them minded though so I consider myself lucky. The boys sang to him and then it was gift time! He got so spoiled by them as well! What a lucky dude!

and on the actual fourth...

And on the actual Fourth we celebrated with our family... a swim afternoon and good foods... lots of festive wear of course and then walking up the street to see the fireworks that our development puts on. It may not be the most exciting but I love these people and the traditions we have year to year!

a slip and slide fourth...

And on the Saturday of the Fourth of July weekend came upon us we headed to our friend's house for their annual party that as always includes, a slip and slide. It rained on the way over and was slightly chilly once we got there but that didn't stop the kids from going on down that slide and time and time again. There was a ton of food and ice cream and then well of course, fireworks! Thanks so much for having us Rohrers! Always a pleasure!

a neighborhood fourth party...

We have had the honor of being invited to our neighbor's (up the street) Fourth of July party for a few years now and we just love going! Walk up the street... the kids in swim suits...  and hang with friends before wandering back home after a great fireworks show... What is not to love? Thanks for having us Krells and as always a great show!

a few festive swims...

This past (or not so past) Fourth of July weekend we had a few evening parties to go to but our days were free.... So we had ourselves an Olsen swim day and a Trovato swim day! With a lot of festive swim suits and food in between!

summer moments...

I vowed not to wait too long to do one of these catch all posts like the last time... way too many photos Laur! We have had lots of time swimming of course.... a kind thank you from her teacher... pool side slushies with friends... expander twins and fires by the pool... hair dyeing.... a giant slip and slide for a friend's birthday...field hockey camp and cousin swims.... David's mug appearing in a brochure.... the start of all the camps, hockey and sports of all sorts and church camp... swim times with friends... playdates and day dates galore... it is the stuff summer of made of!

matt’s one and only hersheypark visit

Matt really put his foot down when I decided to get season passes for Hersheypark in the fall. The foot was down hard. He was not going to there. Ever. Buuuuut when I got a free ticket from school I figured he could handle one evening... just one! It expired at the end of last month though so we had to get him there fast. Anddddd it was on a day where feels like temps were in the 100s. I make him the most happy don't I? Some friends joined us which was fun and I mean it was only a few hours... you can do anything for only a few hours right?

take this team out to the ballgame

A bunch of the boys on David's baseball team were kindly offered tickets to see The Barnstormers on one very hot Sunday afternoon... The families were also offered tickets if they wanted so we all got to tag along! And sweat together!

a half birthday

Poor poor Dominic. Oh the horror of having a birthday in December... only two short weeks prior to Christmas. I mean really. Now that he is in school all the time he has all these little friends and I knew he would be wanting a birthday party.... but again, December? So we decided he would have himself a little "half" birthday celebration instead. Four of his buddies came over and swam and had cupcakes and of course some gifts! Thanks so much to all for coming and spreading his birthday love out through the year! He was a naughty naughty little boy and it may very well be his last but still. Thank you just the same!

the descendants

When Lindsey asked if we wanted to join in on our first live theater production in over a year and a half I jumped on it! And especially as it was a favorite of Letty’s, The Descendants! I had never been to Dutch Apple Dinner Theater before so it was a whole new experience for us. The eight of us got our seats and went through the buffet, mainly kid-friendly food which makes sense since it was a kid’s theater production.  These kids had eleven days to rehearse and we got to see their first show! It was amazing to see that talent because girlfriend here would need months of practice. And the girls just had the best time!!!

cherries on a rainy morn

It’s what I do. I go and pick cherries for my dad for Father’s Day. He loves his cherries. After returning from the beach I really didn’t have a ton of time before our Father’s Day make-up dinner to squeeze picking in so I just went on a rainy day! As one does. We all picked extremely quickly and then rewarded ourselves with free apple cider donuts! 

one last beach day in ocmd

I hadn't ran in a few days which is so unlike me so on this Father's Day I made myself get out there and do it and it felt so good! Sorry to Matt though! I brought home breakfast bagel sandwiches though... so.... Forgiven? We got to the beach and set up although in vastly different circumstances from the week prior... As in, lots and lots of people. At this point the kids were so shot and tired and I think beached out. Which is a thing I never thought I would say... but they were. We took them to the pool for a little before having our Father's Day dinner and then a final sunset on the bay!

and then the beaching continued…

We always spend Father’s Day weekend in Ocean City, Maryland with Matt’s aunt and uncle. And seeing as we were already leaving the Outerbanks that weekend anyways we just went straight there while the rest of my family headed back to PA... Just shy of five hours and one terrifyingly long bridge (I see you Chesapeake Bay Bridge. I see you and I hate you.) later we arrived at 11:34 pm. Just ask David. 

The next day we headed right out on the boat to watch the annual air show. The weather wasn’t amazing but at least the rain stayed away... Matt grilled and the kids swam and jumped on the tube, etc. And of course when we headed back to their house David took a turn at the wheel as he loves to do. And the day ended with a beautiful sky!

obx, we out!

This wasn't supposed to be our final day, we were supposed to leave Saturday morning but we saw that traffic so we all made the executive decision to leave after dinner on Friday night and just drive through the night. But before all that we had to have one final day at the beach! We discovered a sand bar which meant the kids could go so far out into the ocean and of course, not drown. Leave it to us to find that fun feature on the final day. My dad got take out for lunch once more.... And then we also got to see our chef one final time for a crab boil! Way to go out with a bang!!

obx

Our final full day at the beach! Matt got up again early to surf fish... living the dream that man! It was another gorgeous day full of beaching, digging, jumping in the waves, pool time... this time we even let the kids get into the hot tub for a hot second and they felt like such grown ups! We went and got ice cream one last time and then rounded out the day with a last bonfire on the beach! What a life!

obx

I should be far better at naming these... like this one could be obx: the one with the photoshoot. Or, obx: the one with the first bonfire. Either way today was a really good and fun day! We got a lot done and just made a ton of memories. 

Of course we were at the beach for the majority of the day. My dad got take out again for lunch and I of course true to form got a burger, another yum. I am still recovering from all the food I had this week! Matt "needed" a boogie board so he took the boys to the shop and they came back with matching hats... so then Letty also wanted a hat to match me of course. The clouds looked a bit ominous in the afternoon but it went right by us thankfully!

It was my brother and Sadie's turn for dinner tonight and they did all things Mexican. Rob took care of the margaritas and man you have one or two of those and yikes. But we did, have one or two. Which  made the aforementioned photoshoot even more fun! Beth and I even got to play photographer for a bit which was different! Thanks to Ash for taking them for us! Those will come tomorrow!

And then we all got into our comfy clothes and headed down to the beach for the first bonfire. We should have had one of these every night honestly. All beaches should allow this! We just hung out and our phones were down (other than taking photos of course) and we just got to be. All to the tune of a gorgeous sunset and then stunning starts. 

It was a good day. A great day.

obx

This day started promising but quickly changed to rain for a few hours in the morning. The kids were of course up early as per the usual to play with their screens... and Uncle Robbie brought back Duck Donuts! Because, when in Rome! Me and the beach on a rainy day does not bode well. I get twitchy. As soon as the local souvenir shop opened I took the kids over there and got myself a hat because rookie move Laur, you need a hat and the kids all got OBX t-shirts and then magic upon magic the sun came out! To the beach we went!  Down for more beaching in all our OBX finest! My dad got pizza for lunch which was so yum and then back we went for a few more hours before pool time! The night's dinner was once more by our chef, bbq chicken and potatoes, another big hit! Then we just relaxed around the house and watched the beautiful sunset, from two sides! No matter where you look down there it is just gorgeous!