and on the first official day of fall….

I thought I’d share all the fall things around my house. Nothing crazy…. Not much new this year other than a nod to Hocus Pocus 2 coming out here shortly and no real pumpkins inside, only faux! But decorating gave me something to do on those first few days when the kids left for school…. And now here it is! And yes, my reading room is still a playroom…

life lately…

Oh these first few weeks of school have just been flying! We are on our third week already…. And the days are short! Every single night of the week has us at some sort of sport. Dom decided he too wanted to play ball! That’s been the biggest shocker and he has been loving it! So theres that. Baseball and field hockey take our evenings and weekends… during the week I have been working as often as I can and when I can’t I have some mom lunches of course! I decorated for fall inside and out (more on that later)…. Lots of good eats and hanging with old friends…. A tie dye sleepover and of course lots of ice cream! Friends who watch my kids while I work at the truck and friends who take the boys to baseball…. What a life lately but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

matt’s first fortieth birthday celebration

When asked what Matt wanted to do to celebrate his fortieth turn around the sun all he said was that he wanted a regular Friday night with who we have started referring to as “the Philly group.” And being that his birthday isn’t for a few weeks I figured he would never ever guess that last Friday was going to be that Friday. I got empanadas and Spanish rice…. Margaritas and balloons….an ice cream cake! Friends brought all the taco things and buffalo chicken and delicious goodies from an Italian bakery… the kids swam a little… hung out inside a little…. And it was just what the birthday man wanted! So it begins, the first of many! Thank you to our friends for their generosity and all of the things!

harrison is five!

Oh so hard to believe this boy is five! I feel like he has been a part of our lives forever and can’t imagine a time when he wasn’t around! This little sweetie requested a boys day for his birthday so prior to his party all the men in our family went bowling and played arcade games at Decades. This kid just living the boy dream! And well done Poppop on the documenting!!

a basement refresh

So I was decorating for fall and smattering pumpkins all over and I realized I had never shared our new and improved basement that was finished like… before Christmas?My brother and his wife had sort of recently finished theirs and I loved how bright it was and the fun accent walls so I brought it up to Matt, matte dark blue walls be gone! It is amazing what some paint and trim can do! The “art” work, which I use that term loosely, I did myself with a sharpie and some paint… the rest of the wall decor was from Amazon except the macrame piece on the stairs which is by Letty…and all shelf decor was from a local home decor warehouse which takes a lot of my money hence why I stay away…. I love it so much more down here! And do you notice what is missing? No more toys!!! Gasp! Some day I foresee a round table and chairs in that big wide open area… someday!

Previously basement updates here. Always changing things up!

our final weeks of summer….

I feel like I say “all the things!” all of the time. Because that is what I try to do for the kids… days full of all the things, all the people, all the traditions, all the making of memories with family and friends. No opportunity missed and all that! Our last few weeks of summer were just chock full of them! Corn freezing and pool swims… day and night! Ice cream trucks and farm flowers…a playground on the bucket list, a new loft bed in the making and a Bulls lunch! Starbies and a final day at Nonna’s! A final library run and another Twisted Sister run! The schools had their open houses and more time with friends! Hersheypark and grill time and pool time oh my! Summer of 2022? You were long and lovely and I miss you already!

the first day of school!

How did this happen? Didn’t we just have our last day of school with a fourth grade graduation? Weren’t we just in the Outerbanks? And somehow despite all my protestations, the first day of school arrived. Everything was prepped the night before… outfits laid out and lunches packed… I hate packing lunches and I haven’t had to since march of 2020 as our district provided free hot lunches…. This is a trigger for me. But they were ready. One of three excited…. But all three of three ready. I hope that this fifth, sixth and second grade year is a good one. A safe one. A normal one. I hope that each kid wants to go and has good day after good day. Dom has never been to public school on a normal year…. David is at the middle school….and Letty is just such a little lady, mothering her siblings along the way. My ears were ringing from the silence…. I decorated for fall and Matt and I went out for burgers all to pass the time till they came home…. And then ice cream! 

I know it has to happen. But I hate the passing of time. The changing of the seasons. Another year older… and a new one just begun…

labor day

Otherwise known as the final day of summer vacation!!! Insert tears!! That must have been why it rained so much because the weather felt our mood. The end. And what a summer we have had! So on the final day our family came over and we swam while we could and ate all the good foods and huddled under umbrellas and ate more good foods before calling it an early night…. For tomorrow was school!

apple picking

I know traditionally this is a fall activity but I also know our weekends will be full of all things sports so I wanted to squeeze this in as a family…. Making those memories! Matt even decided to come along! My sister and her kids came as well and we picked all the honeycrisp! And then I went home to find a use for said apples!

maverick!

Matt has been waiting to watch this movie for so so long! Like Covid long! It finally came out on prime and we planned to watch it as a family but then our friends heard and so a Maverick night had to be! But first swimming! And pizza! Then the movie and it was just so so good! All sorts of nostalgia! And of course aviators!

a trovato swim

My brother and his wife had a pool put in this summer and we had ourselves a big ole swim at the end of August! Great food and drinks, pool hangs and sand table hangs…. Letty had herself a little buddy the entire day! And then we ended the night with a movie outside under the stars!

a final water park run

The water park closes it’s doors on Labor Day so when my sister asked if we wanted to visit one more time for the summer I jumped on it. They got on some rides… the lazy river and then the big wave pool! It was a perfect little afternoon! No regular rides needed, just water!

mini golfing

I have quite a lot of catching up to do on this space as of late…. The past few weeks have been chock full of all the things and getting all the fun in before school starts…. And oh that list was mini golfing! The kids participated in the library’s summer reading program and got free passes for a local place so off we went, with friends!!! I’m fairly certain there was a lot of cheating going on where my boys were concerned…. I had so many photos of my chin and no idea why! Ha! It was hot and the course was hard so we rewarded the kids with some ice cream!!!!

our final beach day of the summer…

Oh to say final makes me so sad. This summer has, like all summers, just flown by! OBX just feels like yesterday when in fact it was ten weeks ago or some such thing. Cruel summer. Our last day had all the normal last day things… cleaning and packing but we did manage to make it to the beach a final time! We saw dolphins and I finished my book and the kids all went wave jumping. What a way to go out! We had an early dinner and headed home… slightly sandy and definitely a bit browner. Thanks so much Uncle Glenn and Aunt Sue for having us! Always such a nice time!!

the day we went tubing

Also known as the day a horse came and took my Pirate’s Booty and ate the entire bag. But that comes later. First up we deemed it another boat day! We love our boat days. We packed up once more and headed back towards Assateague and we’re greeted with the sight of more horses. And one of them got real close to us and hung out there for quite some time…. Just nosing through our foods. I’ve never seen anything like it! The kids played and we floated and then headed back towards home. But not before stopping and bringing out the big guns…. The tubing. I haven’t done this in years and man was it fun! I was so sore the next day from holding on so tightly! The kids all took turns and we deemed it good! I don’t think we ate dinner till like 8 o’clock that night but that’s just the sign of a good boat day!

a boat day! with horses!

After my morning bagel run we packed up our lunches and the boat (no small fest) and headed towards Assateague where we were greeted by the sight of quite a few horses! Once we parked and got settled the kids went off on that floating mat thing and we just relaxed…. It was such a nice day and the weather couldn’t have been better! Once home and cleaned up we had dinner before celebrating all the summer birthdays! And Dom, he gets included on that too. The kids loved their gifts! Then we went back out on the boat for a little sunset cruise and cupcakes! If I were Uncle Glenn and Aunt Sue I would do that every night! Such good sky!

we hit the beach up… again

This time back to Ocean City, Maryland with Matt’s family. We left Wednesday after lunch with quite a few false starts and things forgotten but we got there eventually in time for dinner and a good sky…. The next day we headed to the beach and did all the beach things... Even with some friends from home! Digging and snow cones and waves and of course for Letty a little Taylor Swift action in her personal tent made by daddy! All the things!

more stone harbor

More beach time! Of course that comes after the bay time. And the kayaking time. And the fishing time. And the crabbing time. And then of course that means the Fudgy Wudgy man too! Later in the afternoon Rhonda and Letty and I went out for some quality girls time and got pedicures! That place was phenomenal and there were hot stones! We loved it! Then we hit up a favorite of all of ours for dinner! Afterwards us ladies got to hit the town to go window shopping. Letty loves feeling like a grown up lady doing this! The next day was basically a typical final day day… packing up and of course some more kayaking and the beach and lunch before heading north towards home again…

We always have the best time with the Scheffeys and appreciate these long weekends so much! Thank you guys!!!

stone harbor, the second day

Another day of all the things! The boys kayaked first thing in the morning breaking any sort of serenity found on the bay… and then we took them to the Cape May Zoo… every time we come here the panda is in hiding and a certain seven year old simply has to see himself a panda in real life. And it was a success! After lunch it was more bay time and Letty discovered she absolutely loved kayaking!!! We couldn’t get her off that thing! There was a course a lot of fishing happening throughout the day. Matt and Aaron living the dream! Rhonda and I got a break after dinner to hit the beach with a drink for the sunset… just us girls! 

stone harbor!

We have been quite lucky to have been invited back for the third summer in a row to hang with friends at their family’s beach house in Stone Harbor! The kids, especially my boys, just have the best time doing all the things with those Scheffey boys! Fishing and crabbing, jumping into the bay and digging in the sand, all the beach things! The first day we didn’t get there as early as I would have liked, looking at you Philly traffic! But we got to hit the beach and swim in the bay before a sunset cruise! Lots of good sky!!

lena girl is eight!!

We are just party party party these days! Right after Letty’s friends left we headed right on over to my sister’s for Lena’s birthday party. Apparently the beginning of August is the time to be born! There was good food and a beautiful cake and of course gifts and singing! And lots of cousin play time!

Oh Lena you are just the sweetest and kindest girl. I love hearing all your thoughts on all the things! I hope you feel the love each and every day! 

letty’s friend birthday party

Oh some of these ladies have been coming to celebrate Letty year after year and it is so nice to see them all together still! Missing a few, but still! They swam as we tend to do during the summer and of course had lots of popsicles and snacks before singing and cupcakes… and then pretzels from the newest shop in our town! And presents! These girls know Letty so well and she loved every single thing! Thank you to all who could come out and celebrate Letty! She loves her friends!! 

a second crab boil…

Because we just can’t help ourselves. The first one was such a big hit and Matt did say he would do one every week so I guess twice in a summer we should consider ourselves lucky! With our hectic schedules?! Matt added clams this time per request… the kids were working on some sort of movie most of the evening so we barely saw them other when they surfaced for food but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing because then we got an adult swim! Of course once the sun went down the glow sticks came out! As one does! A solid summer day! As as it happened, my birthday! They brought me gluten free Tandycake and an ice cream cake. The best!

a family party…

For those who could make it, that is. The other night after Letty’s big day of doing big things we had our family over to celebrate her. A little swim, some lasagna soup (the birthday girl’s choice on a hot August day), cake and singing and of course presents! These gifts are no longer toys but big girl things…. A pencil pouch or art supplies… a watch and a huge pizza floatie…a giant L light. I am sure I’m missing some but my point was her interests have changed and it makes me sad. She’s such a cool kid though! Thank you all for celebrating her! She feels so loved!

the last few weeks…

Soaking up every second imaginable before August hits! Sunsets and pool hangs… our dear friends opened up an ice cream shop in our hometown and we basically live there now…. Need to maybe add a line item in our budget for ice cream and soft pretzels…. Visits with old friends and our old neighbors celebrating the summer birthdays…time with family and saying goodbye to friends who are moving…amusement park fun at the water park and lots of bike riding! Got to check out my brother and sister-in-law’s new pool! Us ladies got to take our friend out for some foods and some drinks to celebrate her birthday! More ice cream and reading by the pool….Just checking the things off the summer bucket list in my head because time got away from me and I didn’t actually make one this year. Woof!

these summer days…

Oh filled with all the things! The weeks after David’s birthday weekend of parties have been flying by. Hell, the entire month of July is flying by at a break neck pace! It doesn’t help that the first week the elder two had camp and the following week all three had camp. I am basically an unpaid driver so my children can be living their best lives. In between all of that we have sprinkled in some other things…. Dom learning to ride his bike, pool swims, times with friends and family…. The things summers are made of! In between all the chaos and the driving around and logistical planning that is! 

tubing!

Leave it to my friend Toniel to organize quite the adventure! This was a new to us creek and really the best yet! Cool, clear water… no rough spots… parking at the beginning and end (and bathrooms)…. Really debating getting our own tubes so we could go more often! The weather wasn’t the best but at least it wasn’t raining… we tied all the kids together after a bit realizing it wasn’t a bad float and then the adults all connected and floated the morning away. With drinks. It was perfection. Thanks Toniel for organizing! And then we went out with one of the (many) families for lunch! Next time must bring snacks!

david's family birthday party

The very next day was another party for the birthday boy! This time with family. Those who could make it that is. The weather wasn’t great but at least the storms held off… some of the kids swam and others laid inside watching the birthday dvd…. Which technically isn’t a dvd so I should probably call it something else…. Birthday file? Anyways. David chose sausage and meatballs as his dinner and ice cream cake as his dessert. Everyone sang, much to his chagrin… and then there was gifts! He fell asleep wearing his Red Sox hat, reading about baseball GOATs and wishing he could start building one of the many Lego sets he received. Thanks to all for coming out and celebrating this man as he turns ten!!!

david's friend birthday party

Everybody gets two birthday parties each year right? Totally normal. When making his guest list for this party he just could not be contained.  I had to reign him in and we still had eleven boys. Which is a lot. They were a bit rowdier than on the last day of school, lots of trash talking and arguing but I suppose all in good fun? Lots of different games happening from knock out to baseball to football…. All the things. They had fun with the piñata and figuring out how to hit it so everyone got a turn (bob-dominate batting arm with 50% strength) and they did it! The metal bat had to come out! There was cupcakes and chips and juice and gifts and I think we can call it good! David got some great gifts from some great friends! The lucky boy!

who david is at ten years

A second child now in the double digits… oh how quickly this happens, these milestone years. Of course the first is always the worst and I imagine so will be the last… curse of the middle child am I right? That I can write this without crying?

the fourth, a party.

This year we did a thing… sort of a nod to my childhood, when my parents would have these amazing Fourth of July parties with lots of family and friends and food and fireworks. all the F’s! We gave it our best shot to be sure with just about thirty people in attendance. Lots of festive wear and swims… music and drinks and food. The fireworks weren’t half bad either, even for the Fourth landing on a Monday! We finally finished up our week of hosting (for a few days till birthday shenanigans start) and woof were we shot. This the life right? Living the dream! I didn’t get a family photo and my boys both went to bed crying but oh yeah, tis summer, it is!

an olsen fourth

Matt’s brother and his family have recently moved north and so we had the pleasure of their company over the weekend of the Fourth. It has been a minute! Like three years of minutes! This was the first time my kids met the youngest Olsen and also the first time they were obviously even all together. All cousins. We saw them for brunch Saturday but on Sunday was our little Olsen Fourth. Matt’s aunt and uncle and cousin joined us as well. We swam and ate and wrapped up the day with fireworks! Thanks to my sister-in-law for being on the spot with photos! I really slacked this weekend!

fourth of july parade

I love this parade! It was shorter this year and the route was different but I liked the new parking and viewing spot! Close to a playground and bathrooms woohoo! Usually my entire family goes but it was just my sister and I this time… Matt had a party for a coworker and Letty had a birthday party to go to and these are the times right? My friends got there before us and snagged us some prime real estate, ready for some parading!

It was hot. But it was festive. 

hersheypark at night.

This was a good idea in theory… until we realized that it will be impossible to ride rides at night this summer because the park hours are so short. Closing at eight pm?! How rude. We still decided to go even knowing this information and was rewarded with short wait times. The kids got several rides in with friends before a very expensive dinner at Chic-fil-a before we headed home. 

a seafood boil

I started typing this post with the starter: woof, these past few weeks have been a moment only to realize that honestly, it hasn’t even been a week. So that should tell you something. We have been entertaining quite a lot… but that is summer is it not? The first of the nights was a seafood boil with friends! Matt got all the stuff and prepared all the foods… I really helped out by grabbing beer and husking corn…. The kids swam and hung with their friends while the adults (and Baylee) picked crabs and ate shrimp and all the things! After the night was over and the cost tallied and divide four ways we decided hey! Maybe this should be a monthly thing! Definitely an annual one I think at the very least!

a half birthday for nick

Have I mentioned that my son wants to be called Nick? It won’t happen, obviously, because he is Dom through and through. But at school and with friends, maybe…. He likes it better. Just will take some getting used to. But I digress! Since he is a December birthday we let him have a summer “half” birthday and that is just what we did the other weekend. Friends from school…. Some of the moms. Swims and cupcakes and candy and gifts…. A solid birthday party! And he has got some good friends this one. Thank the Lord!

an OBX photo shoot

A real quick one, mind you. Just a few shots to commemorate the trip… some with my parents too and siblings which I love, all taken by my sister-in-law. I’ll love them forever!

OCMD

Another final day for us…and it was Father’s Day no less! The plan had been originally to stay here till Monday evening… but when we saw the forecast for Sunday and the next day we decided to leave after an early dinner on Sunday. Too cold and far too windy! We did brave it for the beach and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t too bad. The water frigid yes but the air was ok. We stayed for a couple of hours before going back and packing up. Matt’s cousins left prior to dinner and then we had a nice dinner with his aunt and uncle before heading the car north for one last final drive. It was a great ten days but we were all shot! Until next time!

OCMD

We have traditionally spent the past few years spending Father’s Day with Matt’s aunt and uncle at their beach house. I think it’s nice to spend time with his dad’s family, especially on this day. I woke up bright and early for my usual bagel run… and then we debated what to do about the day. It was quite windy and Sunday looked no better. The plan was to take his new pontoon boat down to Assateague and grill, per the usual. We figured we would give it a go and made our way slowly there. It really wasn’t bad on the way down. We set up and Matt started grilling… the kids were all over that mat thing Aunt Sue got them…. After lunch we walked to the ocean side where there was quite a ton of dead horseshoe crabs. Matt’s cousins made Dom a little surprise there… but when we got back it was time to head home and the weather had worsened. It was quite the wet and cold trip back but we were safe and that’s what matters. I’ll stick to that story. After dinner there were gifts and  a few rounds of games before then bed! 

OBX

Our last day… it always has a forlorn feeling about it no? It didn’t help it was like a hundred degrees and barely a breeze to be had…. We didn’t last long on the beach… especially after I took a bunch of the kids down to see where the houses had been washed away. They loved seeing the houses up on stilts with the waves crashing under them! Back at the house they swam a bit but it was a lot of packing up and gathering all the things. We decided to leave prior to dinner this year and get a head start on the long drive back. For some. For us Olsen’s it wasn’t as bad, only to Ocean City. We stopped at a brewery on the way to let the kids run around a bit… It was sort of nice to get there around 8:30 and hang with them for a bit before bed…. More beaching to come!

Thank you so much to my parents for making this all possible! We all love the Outerbanks and had such a wonderful trip! We love you both so so very much!

OBX

What stands out to me about this day? The kids really started to find pieces of the houses that fell into the ocean a month prior… pieces of blinds, roofing, carpet padding, even a piece of countertop. Dangerous to walk on the beach apparently. we also made a shell craft Nonna discovered. Thai food, yum! And ghost crab hunting. If we ever come back we need to add this to our nightly fires, the kids loved it! What a way to go out on our final night!

OBX

Take yesterday’s day and just repeat it for this day! As you can sort of tell as the week went on the photo taking tapered off a bit, ha! After our beach and pool time we welcomed back a chef for our dinner time! Our chef had a serious of unfortunate events and so sent her sous chef for two days. This nights meal was bbq chicken and Mac and cheese with fruit and roasted veggies. Delicious! After dinner we went for an evening stroll on the beach before calling it a night. 

OBX

Another beautiful long beach day! This one slightly different because Uncle Robbie supplied Duck Donuts! And in the evening as the sun was setting my sister-in-law took family photos…. We got a kind stranger to take one of all of us together…. All eighteen. And then as we do, a beach fire. 

OBX

These days at the beach took on the same similar rhythm as last year… sunrises and Matt fishing… getting to the beach around eight… digging holes and boogie boarding…seashell hunting and going for walks… some of us reading….. we would take a pool and lunch break only to return again to the beach for a bit in the afternoon… back into the pool for a dip and coffee…. Then showers and dinner. This day we all walked to Dairy Queen and we sure gave them a run for their money! It rained a little this evening so we didn’t get a fire in… instead just hanging out inside. A solid first full day!

OBX arrival day

We didn’t waste much time on Saturday morning and were at breakfast when it opened at 7 before heading back out on the road. We debated what to do since obviously the house wasn’t going to be ready yet but we were enjoying the traffic-free drive so we just went with it and got down towards the house. We did our souvenir shopping right away as one does before lunch. We were able to park our car near the house and utilize the beach until it was ready. The rest of the family arrived a bit later on having been mini golfing and the like…The house was ready and we unpacked before our chef arrived. Thank you Poppop! And then after a delicious dinner we had our first of many fires on the beach! Let the beach week begin!

the start of our OBX trip…

Prepare thyself for quite a lot of beach posts…. Tends to happen when you go away for ten days. The first day though we headed for Richmond. The original plan was to visit with Matt’s brother’s family who just moved there but alas, they were out of town. We just couldn’t stomach the idea of doing the whole drive in one day so we still decided to split it up. We found a hotel that had a pool and a breakfast included and called it good! We had a dinner out just us five before a swim and then hotel room hangs. Kids love hotel rooms! Even one that has a not so working AC….

tenley’s second birthday party!

I feel like I’m coming down to earth again or something after returning from ten days away… real life awaits and there is much to catch up on… much to plan… much to do. Like recap my niece’s second birthday party! It is hard to wrap my head around how fast the time is going…. Two already?! Wait wasn’t she just born!? But there was a second birthday party to be had! The kids played and the adults hung out… all eyes on Tenley of course because she just attracts all of it. She opened her gifts and loved being sung to. She is just such a bright light. Always smiling and happy! She’s a ball of fire that one and it brings me all the happiness to call her my niece. Happy day to her!

strawberry picking

My friend’s man friend has a farm and this farm happened to be chock full of strawberries so we found a day and all went over to help him with that situation. There were quite a lot of us descending upon that poor man’s farm… watch out chicks! The kids picked but when the boys were done they were just done. Long gone are the days of annual fruit picking I suppose…. But the chickens? They loved them! Minus the mean rooster George of course. Then we all went out for lunch, which is the real reason Matt tagged along.