Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Camp – Part Two – The Drop Off

So I managed by some miracle to get everything purchased, organized, labeled, and packed for my two oldest kids, in preparation for their month away at summer camp.

Today was the day we they had been anxiously awaiting – drop off.

The plan was to drive there (hour and a half) unload two kids (fifteen - twenty minutes each) and drive home (hour and a half). I know what you are thinking – you are driving all that way to drop your kids off – kids you won’t see for a whole month – and you are only staying for fifteen/twenty minutes per kid???

Let me explain.

This is the fifth summer we have done this. Not only do I have unpacking down to a precise science, but before we have even fully stopped the car, the kids are off and running, trying to find their friends. Parents who? In their opinion staying twenty minutes is staying about fifteen minutes too long. (Plus, my husband has Phillies tickets you know!)

But let me back up so you too can experience the madness of drop off day:

1. Packing the car (night before) & leaving at 7:30am.
2. Sitting in rush hour traffic - because for some reason, drop off is on a Wednesday.
3. Sitting in a line of cars at the gate of the camp waiting to get checked in.
4. Trying to find a parking spot close to your child’s bunk while trying not to hit children running in every direction.
5. Bed selection...

Ah the bed selection... now pay attention because this is important. The camp has a strict lottery policy so as not to penalize latecomers. The policy is that upon arrival to your respective bunk, each camper picks a number out of an envelope. Each number corresponds with a bed. Done. Sort of...

In my son’s bunk, they do pick numbers, but then... . Last year, I spent a decent amount of time unpacking and placing neatly folded towels and clothing on the shelf next to the bed my son picked. Within ten minutes, everything was balled up & thrown across the room to a different bed. This year, I left all the clothes still packed in the plastic bins by his assigned bunk. He is 13 – he can figure out where his underwear is (maybe) when he gets to his final destination. I did however, make certain he knew exactly where the already addressed and stamped blank postcards were, that he needed to write and send home.

The girl’s bunk works a little differently. My daughter wanted a top bunk. In fact, she all but declared that her entire summer would be ruined if she did not receive a top bunk. She also insisted that I pick the lottery number, because I successfully picked her a top bunk the last two summers. Oy the pressure! So I picked... a bottom bunk. The counselor took pity on me, told me the top bunks were odd numbers and then opened the envelope wide enough so I could see all the numbers and told me to pick again. I picked number 11 – shocking I know!

I successfully unpacked and organized everything for her in record time. We said our goodbyes.

On our way out, we had to stop to drop off my daughter’s allergy medicine with the nurse. The line was out the building – and so we waited in another line.

We finally made it back to our cars – almost two hours later than our projected time. It happens almost every year – but looking back at all the kids playing and laughing and hugging makes all the lines and craziness so worth it!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Friday Five - 6/24/11

Hi all – I hope everyone had a great week! To be honest, it was an exhausting (and mostly great) week for me.   Before I start, thank you to all who asked about my four year old. He is feeling better and is back to his happy and healthy self. Now, onto my crazy week:

1. Dance Recital. My daughter was in two back to back shows – 8 dances in total. Two in ballet, three in modern/lyrical and three high-energy hip hop routines. I am always amazed that she can remember that many steps! There was a lot of rushing backstage to help with costume changes and then rushing back to my seat. The hair changes were the worst part for me. I definitely need 'bun making for dummies.' But - - it was SO worth it. She and all of the other dancers were amazing and so fun to watch.

2. Lightning. This actually happened last Friday, but it was after I had already written my Friday Five. At around 2:30 am, I woke to the sound of thunder that was so loud my house shook. Confession time – I am terrified of storms!! Lightning struck one after another after another. The next morning we woke up to discover that our big screen TV was fried, along with the upright freezer that is in the pantry room directly on the other side of the wall where the TV is. Of course, it completely missed my 20 year old washer and dryer – it had to go for the less than five year old appliances. Thank goodness I had unplugged my laptop after the first round of thunder struck (priorities you know!)

3. Book News. Busy week for NATE ROCKS THE WORLD! In case you did not see my post from a few days ago, my cover is finished!!!! I am so SO loving it. What do you think? My interior design is also completed and ready for print! Thank you again Deana at Book Starter for all your creative touches. It is now off to the printer and hopefully ready in just a few more weeks in both print and digital formats. I hope to upload chapter one for you to check out very soon.



4. Camp Packing. After my gung-ho start a few weeks back (and by gung-ho I mean pulling bins & duffle bags out of the attic and leaving them in the bedroom where they sat collecting more dust), I calmly realized majorly freaked, that the kids were leaving in just a few days with nothing really packed. So, I enlisted my two older kids to sort through their clothes and other necessities. They brought everything to my room (translation: they threw their things haphazardly all over my floor). I now have piles of stuff to sort through, label, and pack this weekend. Aren’t you jealous? Which leads right into number five:

5. Kids. I write about the packing and being exhausted and feeling like my children’s personal assistant, driver, butler, chef, and maid. And – well – while all that is true, I did sincerely love having them home all week with me. In between all of their various social engagements, we spent some quality time hanging out, playing games, shopping, eating out, talking and laughing. I think they may have even enjoyed hanging out with me as well... don’t worry kids – I won’t tell anyone!

Hope everyone has a great weekend – thanks for checking in. See you next Friday... and hopefully sooner!

Karen

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Vacation with T(w)eens

photo credit: Giant Toy Soldier with Ferris Wheel via photopin(license)
We are on day two of summer vacation with my 13 and almost 11 year old. Last night (at the end of day one), I found myself asking... is it September yet? It is not that I don’t love spending time with my two older kids. In fact, the opposite is true. I love spending time with them. However, no matter what I have planned for the day – they have their own agendas in mind.

Here’s my yesterday... it started at 9:30 in the morning when my 13 year old asked, “Mom, would it be okay if I go to M’s house to go swimming?” Yes. You read that right. For some unexplainable reason, my 13 year old was up, showered, and ready to get his day started at 9:30 in the morning on his first non-school day. This is the same kid who normally would sleep until noon on his day off if I let him.

My response: “Well, I have a quick dentist appointment this morning, and then I thought we could go to the mall and get some stuff for camp.”

His response: The look. You know that look. It’s the one that says: “What?! You are going to make me spend the first day of summer vacation with you in the mall, when all my friends are going swimming? Besides, you won’t even let me get anything from Abercrombie, so what’s the point?”

My response: “Um - I guess we can go tomorrow.”

His response: “Cool - M’s mom is picking me up at 11:30.”

Well gee – glad you already worked out your transportation before getting permission. At least, my taxi got a break on that one.

My 10 year old has a much different system. She gets up, pulls out the school directory, and proceeds to call one by one down her list to see who can come over. She finally strikes gold. L can come over. They retreat up to her bedroom, only to be seen over the next few hours, when they come out for snacks.

Last night, I warned told my kids we would be going shopping today for camp. An hour later, my 13 year old asked if I bought pool passes for this summer. When I told him I did, he then asked, “Can I take one tomorrow and go with S to the pool?”

Well at least my four year old still wants to hang out with me... for now anyway.

****

http://bit.ly/KPTbooks

Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Cover!!!

Something exciting came across my email today...



Thank you to Deana Riddle at Book Starter, who really listened and was able to transform my ideas into something fabulous! She is not only a talented designer, but a pleasure to work with.

One step closer now...

The Friday Five - 6/17/11

Hey everyone – this week flew by (at least for me!) Here’s what’s been going on in my little world...

1. Fever! It’s never easy having a child who is sick. But, when you have a kid who has already fought off a bout of meningitis, “Mommy, my neck hurts,” coupled with a fever takes on a whole new meaning! So I did what any crazy mother would do, I called the doctor’s office and demanded he be seen ASAP. Of course once I told my four year old our destination, he insisted he was cured. He stuck with this story during his entire examination. But, since he still had a decent fever, the doctor gave us the run down on the list of things to watch for. He stayed status quo for the day, until he woke up at 2:30 in the morning with 105 fever. Oh yeah – that doctor got woken up in the middle of the night. I love when doctors tell you to call back if the fever goes above 105 or he starts seizing – I mean - really?? Day three - still feverish, although thankfully, not as high with no further complaints of neck pain.  Poor little guy!


2. Construction. I was going to list the roof and the roadwork separately, but honestly, they were both equally driving me batty with noise this week. The new roof on our house was supposed to be a one-day job. It turned into a five-day, very loud job. At least no one fell off any ladders, although I do have some garden casualties from their tarps and debris. The water company, as I posted last week, is putting new water lines in our street. We have the lucky property with the fire hydrant, so we get extra noise – every morning at exactly 7am. At least it is all done now, I think. Even my 4 year old is over it – seen one bulldozer, seen them all.

3. Book News. A little delay here, a little delay there... But, it's all good, because things are still moving along with NATE ROCKS THE WORLD. I'm expecting to get look at the cover later today. I’m crazy excited and will of course give everyone a sneak peek! The rest of the interior design is expected to be ready later in the week - cannot wait - then it is off to the printer for a final proof! I have also been busy figuring out e-formatting for all the kindle/nook/sony/apple users out there. I have to admit, I’ve never used one of these devices. I still like the old fashioned way of holding a physical book in my hands, but I may acquiesce soon. In addition, I've been busy lining up interviews and book reviews. If you would like to feature NATE ROCKS THE WORLD on your own blog later this summer, please let me know.

4. Last Week of School. Finally, the last week for my two older kids!! I think I’m just as excited as they are, although I am still in denial that my oldest will be only one year away from high school! In reality, they ended last week, but I guess since we had quite a few snow days, there are hours to make up. This last week actually is more like transition into summer – they have field trips, color war, assemblies, and the dreaded cleaning of the lockers. I think both kids really had great school years, with a lot of discovery, learning, new friends, and growth (especially my 6’3” 13 year old!) Thanks to the teachers and staff for another successful year!

5. Dance Recital. I will no doubt, talk about this next week, as the actual recital is on Saturday. However, the week before the recital is definitely post worthy since it is, as my parents would say – meshuga. My daughter is in eight dances spread over two back-to-back shows. That means, there are many costumes that need to be organized with appropriate accessories: hair decorations, shoes, tights, makeup and other assorted items, including the black and white wristbands my daughter just informed me YESTERDAY that she needs for TOMORROW. I also have yet to sew the straps on one of the costumes. Big giant YUK. Then there are all the hairstyle/makeup changes I have to remember and get right. And the schedule - - trying to figure out what dance is when and how many dances we have in between her dances to change everything out. In case you couldn’t tell, “meshuga” means crazy & then some. But it’s all worth it!!


Hope everyone has a great weekend – thanks for checking in. See you next Friday... and hopefully sooner!

Karen

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

You Pronounce That How?

There is a growing debate in our household and it stems around accents.

I grew up in Connecticut - I don’t have an accent (that’s my story & I’m sticking to it). My mother grew up in the Bronx – she does. For example, she likes to add the letters “er” to any word ending in an “a”. Soda becomes Soder. My alma mater, Ithaca College, becomes Ithacer. Santa was always Santer. You get the idea. She also likes to drop H’s – the word ‘huge’ becomes ‘uge’. For the sake of our relationship, I will stop here...

Besides, I have a bigger pet peeve: the Philadelphia accent.

I have lived just outside of Philadelphia now, for 17 years. All three of my children were born here. My husband was born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia. Talk about accents! I’ve managed to brainwash (I mean teach) them pretty well, but every now and again, their phillyspeak sneaks through.

For example, my youngest thought water was spelled 'wooder'. My daughter said ‘goil’ instead of ‘girl’ for the longest time, and my oldest will often ask if he can make himself a ‘begel’ instead of a ‘bAgel’. My husband has miraculously managed to lose most of his accent, but it always sneaks back in when he watches sports. You can hear him yelling, “come awwwwnnn” for miles, when he watches the ‘Iggles’ aka the ‘Eagles’.

Now back to my supposed Connecticut accent ... my Philadelphia family constantly mocks me because of my accent. So let’s set the record straight ...

Clothes are kept in drawers, pronounced “draws” not “draw –ers”
I clip coupons, pronounced “Q-pons” not “coup – ons”
I talk on the phone, pronounced “phOne”, not “phowen”

Oh & I drink “wa T er”

Let the comments fly ... oh & to all my Philly friends: xoxo love youse guys ;)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My First Blog Award!



In case you missed it from this week's Friday Five - my little blog won an award!! Thank you so much to The Twisted Mummy Chronicles!  You must, must, must check out her blog. She is so funny & dead on accurate. I love reading about her adventures - she is truly the queen in her house of princes!


So below is what I've taken from http://twistedmummy.blogspot.com/ 's post on what to do next, as I've just handed this award to you. Here's what ou need to do.

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award by linking back to them in your post
  2. Tell us 7 things about yourself
  3. Award a few recently discovered bloggers
  4. Contact those bloggers and let them in on the exciting news!
So here are 7 things about me that you may or may not know:

1. I met my hubby on the internet, back when people would look at you like you had three heads if you did something like that.

2. I used to be a college DJ (I keep telling my kids I used to be cool, but they don't believe me!)

3. I'm allergic to dogs, but not cats.

4. I'm scared of heights, flying and thunderstorms.

5. I'm a lawyer by education, but I do not practice (my hubby - also a lawyer - calls me "a happy lawyer".)

6. I straighten my crazy, frizzy, curly hair every day (just maybe if you ask nicely, I'll post a before picture)

7. I have a book coming out in July - NATE ROCKS THE WORLD (oh wait you probably knew that, so just consider it shameless promotion!)

 So here's who I'm going to pass this award along to - these are a few blogs that I've recently started following & love:



Boys Rising

Quasi Agitato

New mom with teens

Confessions of a Snowflake

Hip 2B Mom

The Little Waves

And of course...  Twisted Mummy Chronicles


They are awesome, so make sure you check them out!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Blog Hops!

Are you looking for some great new blogs to read? Perhaps some new followers? Check out the Friday blog hops I am following this week:

So now you know my age...













Novel Bloggers & Mrs. Marine:







Stalk Hop Friday






Supermom:










Friend Finding Fridays




2 Against 1:









TGIF Blog Hop



By Word of Mouth Musings:





The Friday Five - 6/10/11

Hi all – it’s been another hot week with lots going on as usual. The end of the school year is always so hectic – exams, field trips, parties, recitals, and .......

1. GRADUATION! Today, my youngest graduates preschool. I wrote about the last day of preschool earlier in the week. But that was nothing compared to how I am feeling about graduation... I am so filled with mixed emotions today. It is so bittersweet, as he is the third and last baby. I am so excited and so not excited, I’m thrilled, I’m worried, I’m joyful, I’m tearful. But one thing is certain – I am very, very proud. He has been practicing all week for his “Gradulation.” There will be many tissues today.

2. Sunburn. To say I am pasty white is an understatement. My oldest is one of those people who just thinks about the sun and instantly turns the perfect shade of golden brown. He did not get this from me. When I go outside, one of two things happen. Either I gain an extra freckle or two, or I burn. There is no inbetween for me. Can you guess which happened this week? At least I got a good dose of Vitamin D!

3. Roadwork. A few weeks ago we received a letter from the water company telling us they would be replacing the water lines in our road at some point between May 23rd and mid September (way to narrow it down guys.) Well guess what started this week at 7am? My 4 year old thought it was “so sweet” that we had a bulldozer show out our front window. I was just glad I could get my car out. They should be finishing up today... I am looking forward to the quiet once again.

4. Book news. You know I have to update you every week! Well, I am still working on finalizing the interior/exterior design of NATE ROCKS THE WORLD, but in the meantime, I have arranged for three on-line interviews over the next few weeks. There are so many fabulous and generous bloggers out there – thank you! I’m hoping to put together a “book blog tour”! I will post updates, links and dates on my website as I finalize everything. NATE the sequel is also moving along. I’m having so much fun writing more of his adventures.

5. Blog Award. That’s right, my little blog received an award this week! Thank you to The Twisted Mummy Chronicles for awarding the Versitile Blogger Award to me. I’m truly honored and I would like to thank The Academy.... oh wait, wrong award. In any event – I’m very excited. Be sure to come back this weekend when I will be the one handing out awards... you may even learn seven new things about me :)





Hope everyone has a great weekend – thanks for checking in. See you next Friday... and hopefully sooner!

Karen

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Last Day of Preschool

I just dropped my youngest off to his last day of preschool...

Last day of racing down the hallway in the morning, eager to see all his friends.
Last day of having a class size under nine.
Last day with Vicky & Rhea – two of my all time favorite teachers.
Last day of playing in the playscape.
Last day of circle time.
Last day of sign in, job lists and calendar.
Last day of Reading for Pennies.
Last day of KI puppets.
Last day of afternoon enrichment with language, art & Jungle Annie.
Last day of running down the hallway to get a Hershey Kiss from the school director’s office.

Last day as a preschooler.

First day of his future filled with endless possibilities....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Road Trip!!

This past weekend, my husband and I along with the three kids loaded into the minivan and headed to Connecticut to spend the weekend with my parents. We packed light – two mega-sized stuffed to capacity duffle bags, with a couple of other assorted bags. I don’t care what anybody says –we did need it all!!

We left Friday night at 5:00pm. Have you ever been on the New Jersey Turnpike during rush hour with construction going on? It is not pretty. My husband’s thinking was that it was a beautiful Friday - most people would be leaving work early to go down the shore (no that’s not poor grammar, that’s Philly/NJ lingo. Personally, I prefer ‘go to the beach’, but whatever.)

Miraculously, my husband was right.

Let me clarify – it was not a miracle that my husband was right – it was a miracle that we did not hit any traffic – not even on the dreaded George Washington Bridge! We stopped for a quick dinner and still managed to get to my parent's house in record time.

We did hit a tiny snafu when we entered my parent's development. It is a gated community and in order to enter, the homeowner has to ‘buzz’ you in after you call them to announce you have arrived. Well, for some reason my parents had turned off their house phone... and were not answering their cell phones. For a tiny moment, I thought they were trying to tell us something, but after the sixth or so attempt of stalking, I mean calling, they finally opened the gate and let us in. (Yes we were invited ahead of time!!)

With the exception of some tummy troubles for my four-year old, we had a great weekend – the weather was perfect, the pool was fun, and as usual, Pictionary became a little crazy. Even my two oldest children got along, despite having to share a bedroom. I suggested to them on Sunday morning that perhaps we should adopt these sleeping arrangements at our house, since it seemed to be the answer to their constant bickering. The look of horror on their faces was priceless!

A highlight of the weekend was going to visit my 96-year-old Grandmother. She mixed up all of our names, asked us the same questions repeatedly and most likely has already forgotten we were there. But, none of that matters - seeing her face light up when we entered the room was the best!


All in all, a fun time... thank you Mom & Dad - hope we didn't tire you out & leave too much of a mess!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Friday Five - 6/3/11

Happy Friday everyone! I hope everyone here in the U.S. enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend. I can’t believe it is June already - in a good way of course, I am not a winter person! It feels like the school year just started and now there are only a few more weeks of school left and then summer vacation! Speaking of summer, here’s what has been going on in my world this week:

1. Work. For this who don’t know, in my real life, I am an accountant. Specifically, I prepare taxes. Believe it or not, I enjoy it. (Did I put you to sleep yet?) But... tax season only lasts so long – thank goodness; and the last few years I have taken the summers off. It started because there just wasn’t enough tax work during the summer months to keep me busy, but honestly, I’ve gotten used to the schedule and I like it! This week was the first official week of my summer vacation... aaahhhh. Yay, more writing time for me.

2. Heat wave! Wow has it been hot here all week! I feel like for weeks I’ve been waiting for the cold dreary rain to end so I could get out into my garden and then WHAM all of a sudden the mid to high 90’s hit. Just brutal, but in a non-complaining, I would not rather have snow kind of way! Thank goodness for central air. I’m just praying it makes it through another summer. We have a very old unit and two years ago we were told we’d be lucky if it made it through that summer. Fingers and everything else crossed!! Oh and thank you to my husband for standing out at the hot grill in the heat so we could have burgers and dogs on Memorial Day!

3. Packing for camp. Apparently my blog post from this week has caused a bit of a stir amongst other camp parents who either can’t believe how super organized am I, or feel that I am making them look bad. Well, you all can feel rest assured. I have done nothing except ask my 13 year old to bring me the bins and bags from the attic. They have been sitting on my bedroom floor for the past week untouched. And will most likely stay that way for another week until the holy **** I need to pack for camp panic starts to set in. I did blog about packing though, so that counts for something right?

4. Book news. I love that every week I can announce I am one step closer to releasing NATE ROCKS THE WORLD! This week I was presented with a mock up of the interior design. As with everything that Deana at Book Starter has done, I love it! I am now working on figuring out formatting for all the different e-book readers. My book release date is still on track for July and getting closer every day! I hope to have chapter 1 available for free download on my website very soon!

5. Commentluv. I have been reading a LOT of other blogs lately. They are all amazing. There is a big buzz in the blog world about which is better – Blogger (who I use) or Wordpress. One of my new Twitter friends suggested to me that the comment section on Blogger was less then ideal when compared to Wordpress. I have to agree. However, I am so not tech savvy and when I tried to set up this blog on Wordpress, it just got ugly. The fact is, I like Blogger. I like the design templates and I find it very user friendly (despite the problems it was having internally last week.) Instead, I ran across Commentluv, the comment plugin available on Wordpress, and discovered I could use it on Blogger. Are you still with me? To make a long story short – I have a new comment system. Check it out & leave me a comment!!!!


Hope everyone has a great weekend – thanks for checking in. See you next Friday... and hopefully sooner!

Karen

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