Sunday, August 31, 2014

First Day of School 2014

I'm finding it harder and harder to find time for blogging these days.  When I have time (late at night) I feel so lazy and rather just sit and veg out watching TV or on Facebook.  I also sometimes wonder if anyone out there really cares and wonder if I waste my time.  Then the first day of school rolls around and I don't even blog about it and then I realize I'm missing the opportunity to document that for my kids.  That's the whole reason I started this blog in the first place.  I want my kids to have documentation of their childhood and if, God forbid something ever happened to me, they'd be able to read MY words to them and about them.  

So here I am to blog about the first day of school.  First grade for Jack.  

Jack was excited and a wee bit nervous.  He was actually more concerned about what shoes he was going to wear than anything else.  He had waited over a month to wear his new blue high tops and he was happy as a clam when he finally got to wear them.

 Jack was worried about getting on the correct bus after school was over and he said, "I don't know what I'm doing, so Miss Commesso better be able to tell me."  He cracks me up.  Apparently Miss Commesso had her act together because he made it safely home.

Ella is a third grader.  I'm not quite sure how that is possible.  I mean seriously I can't believe it.  Someone asked me this summer about a third grade assignment and I said, "I don't know, I don't have a third grader."  Yep denial.

She too was worried about that first day of school outfit and I think she looked just precious in her lacey "skort" that she picked out.

Ella is really excited about her teacher, Mrs. McGroarty and said that she's "smiley all the time."

Then there is Nicholas.  He's in sixth grade and didn't care about school, most likely didn't care about a new outfit or anything.  He did want to wear his red high tops, but I told him he didn't have anything new that was red so I talked him into this new outfit.

He told me he wasn't nervous at all.  He already knew of at least 2 kids in his class so he knew there would be familiar faces.  He's come home everyday and done everything on his own.  He hasn't shown me assignments and he doesn't have to have a planner signed.  He's all on his own and it's scary and liberating at the same time.  I just love this kid, no matter how big he gets.

So there you have it, another school year begins and I can't believe I have a 7,9 and 11 year old.  I seriously feel like I will blink and they'll be going off to college.

I refuse to let them grow up.   So there!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wonder Mom Wednesday Link up: Why I Workout

Hello bloggy friends.  Today, I am partnering up with Amanda from Mom Who Tris and Sue from This Mama Runs for Cupcakes for a new link up called Wonder Mom Wednesdays!  

Please make sure you play nice and follow the guidelines (see end of post)! When you link up please link back to your hosts and grab a button below for your post.  

 <a href=””><img class=”aligncenter wp-image-2554″ src=”” alt=”WonderMomWedfinal” width=”258″ height=”300″></a>

Ok I'm assuming there are some new people around here from the link up so I'm going to start  at the very beginning.  I NEVER played sports.  EVER!  I was never on an organized team of any kind.  I never did sports with balls and I pretty much sucked at all things athletic.  True story! 

During the end of the year in 2007 I decided I wanted to lose weight.  I had just had 3 babies in 4 years and I wasn't going to have any more.  It was time to reclaim my body.  To be 100% honest, I was inspired by the Biggest Loser.  I thought if morbidly obese people could go to the gym and workout, then surely I could workout!  

So I joined a gym in January of 2008 and I've never looked back.  For the first probably year or so I was focused on working out to lose weight.  I lost almost 30 pounds in 4 months.  I was serious about working out and eating right.  I sometimes worked out twice a day.  So I lost the weight, but there I was with no goal.  

Then my friend Tracey and I met and she talked me into doing my first ever half marathon.  I started training in August of 2009 and my first race was in November of that same year.  From that moment on, my workouts had different meaning.  Now don't get me wrong, I definitely don't want to be a fatty, but losing weight isn't the primary goal of my workouts.  Not even close.  

I began to realize something through training for events.  I enjoyed having a goal, working toward it and reaching it.  It kept me motivated and most importantly it kept me healthy.   In addition, I enjoyed suffering because the feeling at the end made everything worth it.  No one can HAND you training for a marathon.  You have to go out there and do the work for yourself.  No one does it for you and at the end you can beam with confidence and bask in the glory all your own.  It's something I have for myself.   

Suffering (a LOT) at mile 26.1 of the Pittsburgh Marathon 
Somewhere along the way, my focus with exercising also became about something else.  3 something elses if I'm being honest.  Nicholas, Ella and Jack.  

I noticed that I was being an inspiration to my children.  They wanted to sign up for races, they wanted to do triathlon.  They wanted to be like mom.  They wanted to be healthy.  That made me happy in a way I probably can't even articulate.

My kids literally (an figuratively) watch me workout.

That has had an PROFOUND impact on their lives.  They think working out is just part of life.  They don't really know otherwise; it doesn't occur to them and that's just fine with me!  I love that I'm their inspiration.  I love that they're trying new things because of me.  I love that they understand the importance of healthy habits and I love showing them that hard work pays off.

So while working out was once solely about being "skinny" I don't worry about that (much) anymore.  I worry about being healthy and FIT and being a strong role model for my kids.  They'll always be the number one motivating factor in my life in general.

Now don't get me wrong, when I see a picture of myself and I don't look "fat" (to me) then it makes me happy that I'm treating my body well and I can be proud of it.  Honestly though, it's really just a side effect because (if I'm being honest) I'm never going to be 100% satisfied with my body.  That's just not me.

BUT (and this is huge).  I've totally removed skinny from my vocabulary.  I don't even want to be skinny.  I want to be fit and I want to feel athletic.  While I still don't do sports with balls, I can honestly say I am an athlete.

And that's why I workout!  

Join the Wonder Mom Wednesdays link up hosted by Mom Who TrisThis Mama Runs for Cupcakes, and myself Mom Swim Bike Run.   Here are the instructions for linking up:  

  • Publish your blog post on the link up  topic
  • Copy the code for the "grab button" and insert it into your blog post on the topic. The button lets your readers know that you are participating in a link up and can help direct them to the other entries
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Happy Linking!!! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Roatan Day Seven: Farewell

Ok folks, this is my LAST Roatan post.  I can't believe it has taken me almost a month to get them all in.  I thought about just not finishing them, but I did that with our Florida vacation and regretted it.  So, I didn't want to go without finishing them up. 

The whole last day, we spent relaxing at the pool.  I just kept thinking to myself that I couldn't believe how fast it had gone.  That and also that I'd be leaving BB and her family and wouldn't get to see her again for a LONG time.  Too long.  

After the last day at the pool, we all decided to meet at the beach to watch our final beach sunset and then head to dinner.  

It wasn't as spectacular as most as the clouds rolled in just in time to spoil it, it was nice nonetheless.

Everyone says Nicholas and Jack look just alike (I don't think so at all) and everyone says they both look JUST LIKE George (especially Jack).  I'll admit in this picture Jack and George look a little twin like.  Just a little.  I still think he has Diersing features.

Ella and Isabel had run out of matching outfits to wear.  Can you imagine?  When Isabel asked what Ella would wear anyway, Ella replied "my romper."  Lo and behold, Isa had a romper too.  And how cute are they?

Ella also wound up getting her hair braided.  I told her all week I would let her do it, but not until the last day.  She didn't forget.  She looked too cute with the braids and was so proud of them.  

For some reason, I didn't get a lot of pics of BB and I.  I love this one though.  She's so adorable.  I just love her and value our friendship so much.

Photo bomb!

And again...

We finished off the night with buy one get one Pina Colada and lobster.  No better way to end a week in beautiful Roatan.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Roatan Day Six: Snorkeling

I'm so far behind in my blogging, but I don't want to forget Roatan.  I'm going to try to finish up my posts and move on to the other stuff I'm behind on.  You don't care right?  Right? 

So on Thursday I decided I NEEDED to go snorkeling.  I mean I as literally just 30 feet away from one of the best reefs in the world.  Yep, you read that correctly.  From Infinity Bay Resort, you can swim out to part of the reef.  

George, Tracy and I decided we would go and the kids stayed back with Bianca.  

The snorkeling was absolutely amazing and BY FAR the coolest thing I did while in Roatan.  Funny thing is, I almost didn't do it at all because I didn't think I'd care, but I loved it.  It was so easy to glide with flippers on.  I didn't really feel like I was swimming.  I just felt like I was floating along.  It didn't seem like work at all.

I got to see tons of fish.  Big fish, small fish, blue fish, red fish.  It was like a Dr. Suess book down there.  No actually it was like finding Nemo.  It was beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

The water was so clear, I felt like I was swimming around in an aquarium.  I loved finding the paths through the reef and just exploring.  The whole situation felt surreal.  I feel like that word is overused, but it really did feel dreamlike.

My favorite part was when the reef ended and I was just staring out at clear blue water.  I felt like a little fish in this vast, open water.  Again, it was beyond anything I could have conjured up in my head.  I'm so glad I decided to go and it's an experience I will cherish forever.

That evening we decided to take a water taxi over to dinner at Half Moon Bay and wear our Sunday best.  Who do you like the boys' Sunday best?

Of course the girls looked gorgeous and were twin-like again, right down to the hair.

I just love all these girls!

We had fun riding the water taxi and enjoyed the gorgeous view of West Bay.

While everything was so beautiful heading over, things got a little sketchy on the way home in the pitch black night.  I guess our driver knew what he was doing because we didn't hit anything, but I don't know how he could even see where he was going.  It didn't help that strikes of lightning were happening.

All's well that ends well. One more day and then we head home!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Captain America Birthday Party: Jack's 7th Birthday

Well if you know me (and my family) you know this party was a long time in the making.  Meaning, Jack has had his themed picked out for quite some time and Captain America it was.  

Last year his friends were WILD.  So this year, I decided I needed a big form of entertainment and got a bounce house (theme appropriate of course).  

It was a big hit (to say the least).  

As usual there is a LOT that goes into making these parties.  My parties aren't Pinterest perfect.  My parties are done by a real mom (me), trying to be budget conscious and trying to make fabulous memories for my kids.  With every project that I do handmade, it's because I love my kids and this is one way for me to show it (by putting in time and effort).  So while my cookies aren't perfect, and the cake is a little lopsided, everything was done with love.  

I had the Jack caricature made at Fiverr.  Have you seen this sight?  You'd be surprised what people will do for $5.   It really looks like him!  

After I got the rights to the image, I had the poster made at Walmart.  It was a cool decoration and not just one that will go in the trash.  Jack can't wait to get this up on his wall. 

I bought paper mache letters at Walmart and covered them with comic book cutouts and then covered the letters in Mod Podge.  That was a painstaking task, I'm not going to lie, but it's another decoration that Jack is dying to see in his room.  It looked really cute too.  

I made cookie "pops" (sugar cookies on a lollipop stick) as part of the party favors.  No matter how much I use royal icing, I can never seem to get it right.  It's too thick and my lines are shaky or it's too thin and runny.  I did the best I could and overall I'm happy.  One thing is for sure, they tasted great and the kids loved them. 

I really wanted to do a cupcake cake because I thought it would be easy.  It was!  I highly recommend cupcake cakes.  You get all the bang and not all the buck (it was 2 cake mixes and some icing).  I used a sugar sheet for the center star.  It was edible, but no one ate it.  

As part of the favor I bought everyone T-shirts.  I always MAKE t-shirts for birthday parties, but I found these so cheap at Walmart that it didn't make sense to make them. 

Oh and the masks.  Everyone got masks.  I bought just plain blue masks at Party City for $1 and then used white foam to cut out an "A" and attached it using a glue gun.  It made their Captain America get ups complete, but I'll be honest, they weren't too keen on wearing them (at least not at the party).

I wanted to buy everyone a Captain America shield too, but those suckers are $10 each.  So I came up with the idea to make the shields and thought I could do so with frisbees.  Do you know how hard it is to find inexpensive plain red frisbees?  Well I'll tell you--- hard!  I went to Dollar Tree one day in search of frisbees thinking $1 each was better than what I was finding online, when I found plain red plastic plates.  They were 4 for $1.  Score!  

We used those to make our shields.  Each kid was given one plate, one white circle (pre cut), one red, one blue and the silver star (5/$1 at Dollar Tree).  

They used big glue sticks to attach them and then I went over it all with Mod Podge to hold it in place. 

I also attached Avengers Duck tape to the back for a holder.  I just stuck 2 9 inch strips back to back and then attach both ends to the plate with hot glue.  I don't know that it will hold forever, but it was good enough.  So I've got about $1 into each shield rather than $10. 

I found this pin on Pinterest and used it as my inspiration to create the game.  I bought a cheap $4 tarp at Walmart and cut out 4 circles.  I used acrylic paint to paint it and one large silver star (5 for $1) for the middle.  

We then used my pre-made shield to try to make it through the holes.  We made it a contest and with each pass through the hole the kids got 5 points.  It came down to a 3 way tie and a tie breaker.  It was pretty fun. 

I didn't like the looks of any of the Captain America pinatas.  Jack didn't like them either.  I wanted to buy a red circle piñata and make my own shield piñata, but I never found just a plain circle.  We wound up with the red star from Party City and it was fine.  The kids only want what is inside anyway. 

I wanted to go overboard with the red, white and blue treats I really did, but I've learned from past parties; the kids just want the basics.  So we had pizza, and fruit and cheese balls . Ha!  Trust me, cheese balls are like a delicacy among children.  

Do you love the shield pizzas?  I do, they were the cutest!  I also served red grapes and blueberries and whipped (<--- see what I did there) it into the shape of a shield.  This was wasted on the kids.  I don't think they knew the food looked like a shield, but this made ME happy.  

All that was left after crafts, games, jumping and pizza was cake!!! 

Oh there were presents too and Jack made out like a bandit.  He had $160 worth of gift cards to spend and I kid you not they were all spent by noon today.  He was so excited and got things he REALLY wanted!  

I had a great time putting together this party and I hope the boys (and girls) really enjoyed themselves!