A Journey to a Place, or, How Summer 2015 is Going So Far

•July 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I always consider my birthday “the beginning of the end of the summer” and despite the fact that it seemed like time dragged itself on allll winter long, we are already at the beginning of the end.  May is gone, June is gone, July is going.  We’ve going to North Carolina twice, the pool a million times, and half of our cherished “Sunday Fundays” are already in the past.  This weekend was yet another much anticipated summer moment that, unfortunately for me, is not going to happen thanks to a very angry uterus and a body that is apparently saying “Screw you Lindsay!”  Instead of being in VA reuniting with my college roommates and enjoying a 4 day break from my kiddos, I’m laying on a couch writhing in pain.  On the bright side, I guess I will have time to do things like write in my blog and catch up on Netflix although this is not even remotely how I anticipated my birthday weekend to begin….

So, the summer started with two trips to the OBX.  One in May, our girls trip with Mom, Sue and the kiddos over Mother’s Day.  It was decidedly unremarkable, which (if you know my kids) is pretty awesome.  Our second trip occurred in the end of June…my parents, my kids, and me.  It was first compounded by my lovely woman problems (we should call this summer The Summer Lindsay’s Uterus Tried to Kill Her) and then further complicated by some very, very willful and difficult children.


Could also be known as the The Summer Stella Ruined all the Pictures.  Or The Summer Mom Snapped So Many Times and the Kids Learned All the Different Ways Swear Words Can Be Used.  Ok, our trip was not horrible, not by any means.  And I won’t lie and say that my feeling terrible physically doesn’t impact my mood or patience.  BUT.  The kids were bad.  Stella adopted the role of “middle child” so well I had to stop and think about whether I had a 3rd kid I was forgetting about.  Gabey was his ornery self.  The kids fought a lot.  My parents and I had disagreements over things like food and grocery shopping and bedrooms.  Kellie had panic attacks about the fact that she had to leave Nola with someone besides Shawn for the first time (me!!  And it was AWESOME!)  There were shark attacks happening while we were there.  I just read a fantastic article that talked about how, when kids come along, it is not a vacation.  Its nowhere near the definition of vacation.  Its simply “a journey to a place”.  A trip.  A “work trip near water”.

The main highlight of the trip, of course, was Miss Nola’s 2nd birthday.  A reminder to all that life is certainly miraculous and not to be taken for granted…even in the midst of siblings punching one another and 7 year olds crying in the bathroom telling you “I wish I had a new life!” because you would not tolerate him punching his sister in the back in front of a crowd of 30 people.


Speaking of Gabey, he’s had a rough summer.  I mean, he’s had a pretty freaking awesome summer thanks to his MOM who took him on multiple vacations, signed him up for Lego camp, and makes sure to hit the pool a few times a week.  Along with making sure he reads books, taking him to the library, and driving his butt to karate.  Still…he has so far spent a grand total of 2 weeks of summer being grounded.  He has – at one point – lost every single electronic and toy he owns.  He lost all of his money to pay to replace the family’s Kindle that he broke in a moment of frustration by throwing it on the floor.  He has been punished multiple times for telling lies about stupid things, such as “Did you take a shower?” I know that maybe he is just testing boundaries and my harsh punishments of slave labor (see above photo) and the cessation of all fun things are just as torturous to Gabe and I, but sometimes I just want to smack him and say, Come on, Kid!!!  Stop ruining the summer for everyone!!!!!!

Ok not totally ruined.

What else?  Well we also had our annual trip to Dunwoody, which came at a much needed time of a break from people and things and electronics.  It was peaceful and easy, and proof of my theory that no matter how many adults are on a trip, kids are easier to manage when both of their parents are present.   Our weather was lovely, we got to spend some time with cousins Nate and Abbey and their kids, and Miss Stella caught a fish!


We also celebrated Gabey’s birthday.  His EIGHTH birthday, which is hard for me to contemplate.  8 just seems so…old.  I can very clearly remember myself being 8 years old.  As usual, the poor kid’s birthday got sandwiched between our 4th of July festivities, our Dunwoody trip, and a bazillion other things that all happened in one week such as Lego Camp and the Pavuk visit.  This was the 3rd year Aubrey and kids spent the night with us on the eve of Gabe’s birthday, and it panned out much as it has in the past with chaos, crazy kids, a campfire and some pool time.  And, following the trend, Stella’s refusal to smile for any pictures….


And I guess the final detail of the summer so far is the adult fun that has been occurring.  Its so, so easy to push aside responsibilities and the need to go to bed at a reasonable hour in light of late summernights, moonlight, fires, wine, and just in general, good friendship.  We’ve spent a lot of nights on our patio together, or with friends, and I must admit that its my favorite part of summer….summer nights outside.  Our patio has really evolved in the past few years with the addition of the pavilion…twinkle lights…furniture….fans to blow the heat when needed, fire to warm it up when not.  It’s truly a little oasis that I adore.


And so as we hover closer to August, we have lots to look forward to, provided my body issues don’t ruin everything as they have this weekend.  Peach Festival with friends to celebrate our 10th (yikes!) wedding anniversary.  Another camp for Gabey (solar powered kids).  More pool.  More Sunday Fundays.  A family reunion of sorts.  More long nights.  More fun times with the girls.


And as much as I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoy all the “journeys to places” that we take, I am happy to be spending August at a slightly slower speed, not leading up to any more vacations trips, and just enjoying what I can of the best season ever.

What Lies Within

•June 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yesterday, I came across the above quote and from now on, when people ask me “What’s your favorite quote?” that is going to be my answer.  Beyond the literal truth, what I take it to mean is that the details, the events, the happenings, the things that occur in our life are of little matter when compared to what is within us, what makes up our character and personality and the core of who we are.  Our attitudes, perceptions, acceptance and how we handle the world are far more important.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a lot of things, lately (shocking, I know.  So much thinking!)  Friendship.  Family.  Kids.  Life.  I’ve had a few days lately where my level of contentment was so high I felt the need to tell the people around me, repeatedly. Some of it, of course, is situational.  I mean, who wouldn’t be content sitting on the side of a pool on a gorgeous May day with a beverage, happy kids, and good friends?  But then again, was it the situation?  Or was it a general sense of being satisfied with myself and the life that we have that leads me to take a bit more appreciation for what’s around me?  Because if truth be told, Gabey was causing problems and Stella pretty much begged non-stop for “something from the snack bar” and my beer was warm before I even drank it and I was coming off of a few days of lingering…intestinal distress.  But it just didn’t seem to matter on that afternoon.

I’ve spent the better part of the last week watching someone I care about tremendously go through what has been described as “the worst moment of my life”.  The details are not important and its not my story to tell, but living something second-hand is hard on a person.  All kinds of feelings…shock, horror, anger, sadness, helplessness.  Fear for my friend on many levels.  And then, her leap of courage of the kind most people will never take.  A journey of self-realization read through probably a thousand text messages.  And its been said to me to back away and distance myself, after all, its not my tragedy.  But how do you that?  How do I do that, and stay “right” within myself?  The answer is, I don’t.  Can’t.  What can I say, when it comes to empathy, I’m a badass!

But in all seriousness, her story isn’t over, and won’t be, for a long time.  In many ways its just begun.  But for me, to have gone through this with her, and to see her break through the surface on the other side, has been powerful.  Its caused me to look at all of the things in my own life, to have thanks for things I don’t actually think about on a regular basis, like being able to do what I want, when I want.  For having a marriage that is not perfect, but solid and safe.  Kids who are far from perfect (sorry guys) and often bring out the worst in my patience level (sorry again, guys) but who are smart and healthy and, lets all just admit it, pretty good looking.  For having a family that’s real, without any Duggar-esque drama or estrangement or tragedy.  And friendships.  In particular, girlfriends.  I have lots of friends, and some are old and some are new and some are acquaintences and then there are those who are close to my heart.  And guess what all of those friends have in common?  A sense of integrity.  A sense of loyalty.  A sense of happiness and a general peace of mind about life.  NONE of them have perfect lives, far from it.  All of them are different with different priorties and different lifestyles but when it comes down to it, they are genuine and real and good.  And I find as I have gotten older, I’ve slowly gravitated towards this–surrounding myself  (and by default, my family) with people who bring positivity and contentment, and letting those who don’t, fall away.

The perfect contrast: last night I had a girls night out with two of my favs, Cristina and Joanie.

We’ve all known one another at different levels over different amounts of time, but somehow fell into a tighter friendship over many nights around my island or at one of our favorite restaurants over the past year or so. The 3 of us could not be more different in many ways: our ages span 2 decades. Two of us are married, one is not. Two of us are childless, one is not (guess who!) Our jobs are different, our styles are different, our pasts are different. But yet there is a connection on a fundamental level and its tough to find words to explain it.

Anyhow, last night as we sat outside around a table with our glasses of wine and our conversation that flowed effortlessly between some hard core emotional advice-giving to trying to come up with something that rhymes with “30” for Christina’s birthday invitations (related: dirty, flirty and birdy were all suggested). I got a message from a lady who I met when our daughters had an activity together this spring. She had sent the message to a few people, and was trying to arrange summer playdates “for the ‘cool’ kids only”. In the past I would have struggled with what to think, how to answer. I would have checked the names on the message and wondered why so-and-so was not on there. When you’re in your late 30’s, what does that even mean, “cool”? This is a woman who once spent a great deal of time gossiping about someone else’s mothering skills to me…only to realize halfway through the conversation that I not only knew who she was talking about, but that it was someone I considered a friend! Once I disclosed this information, her tune suddenly changed to nothing but praises and statements that completely contradicted the catty gossip she’d been spewing just moments before.

And then, an invite to join the group of “cool” kids. Lucky me!

I put the phone away, and fell back into the present time. A lovely summer night of wine, friends, a couple of dogs and some really, really pathetic attempts at birthday poetry. (Its safe to say Emerson will not have any competition from us in the poetry department.)  With the aforementioned friend in the back of my mind, and the girls in front of me, and the knowledge that I was there at all because Gabe had the homestead under control and that overwhelming feeling of content…it suddenly clicked.

This is the cool group. Its what lies within.

The Power of Positivity

•April 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Recently, my good friend Brooke (ok, she’s my sister’s friend but I think after all these years I can claim her too) has been on a positivity kick.  For me, this is always something that I strive for and I will admit openly that its often the little things that bring out my negativity: irritating people, schedule changes, weather (oh, the weather), electronic issues, money woes.  I will get irritated with my husband over things he’s been doing for 15 years (clomping mud through the house) and frustrated with my children because they are so loud and the fight a lot.  When in reality: when find chunks of dried grass in the telltale pattern of Gabe’s boots all over the house, he isn’t going to suddenly start taking off his shoes just because I’m mad about it.  My kids are not going to stop being kids just because I lose my patience over the fact that they must express ALL THE EMOTIONS at top volume.  These people are who they are and they also encompass one hard worker, two smart and creative kiddos, and three people who are really funny and fun to be around.

See how super fun they are?

See how super fun they are?

Anyhow, back to Brooke.  She posted an article with a lot of different things (which I will share below) and it really got me thinking.  Although I will tell you that I generally wake up each morning with a good mood and a go-getter attitude, it doesn’t take much to make me feel all stabby and pissed off.  Incorporating some of these things in my daily life is not going to suddenly make all the traffic jams, spring snow storms, banking errors and spilled grape juice go away, and its not going to end world hunger or toxic people or scary things like car accidents and childhood cancer…but it does help ME.

On top of accepting Brooke’s positivity challenge, I had a slightly eye opening experience yesterday.  In general, I have learned over the years to omit soul-sucking people from my life.  By soul-sucking, I mean those people who take more than they give.  Who have a problem and a complaint about every. little. thing.  Who start drama for no reason.  I surround myself with friends who build me up, and I no longer feel guilty for saying “No” or not developing a friendship with a person who doesn’t make me feel good, so to speak.  The one place this concept doesn’t transfer to is social media because, quite frankly, sometimes the intrigue of looking into other people’s minds and lives is just too entertaining to give up.  But yesterday, a facebook friend who I barely know (or like) in real life – she is a mom of an acquaintance of Gabey – posted something really disturbing to me.

She posted a picture of a woman lying in the middle of the road.  There were two cars stopped at crazy angles and one person standing over the woman.  The caption was “Saw this on my commute to work.  Lady lying in the middle of the road and not one paramedic or ambulance worker in sight.  SMH [shake my head].  What is this world coming to?”

The irony.  Yes indeed, what is this world coming to?  When instead of stopping to see if help was needed a person instead chooses to take a picture, while driving by.  When instead of, I don’t know, calling 911 just in case it had not yet been called, a person chooses to post said picture on Facebook and lament over what the world is coming to.  It just really bothered me and I really wanted to comment on her picture, but I knew it would not change HER mindset and would most likely start an argument.  So you know what?  I unfriended her.  and then I went through my friends list and unfriended about ten more people.  And then I felt like this:DSC_2193

The following five things are a small part of what Brooke shared with me, and so I’m sharing them with you.

3 Gratitudes: Think of 3 things you are grateful for before you go to sleep.

This is an easy one :)

The Doubler: Think about one positive experience that happened to you in the past 24 hours. Write about it for 2 minutes, on paper or type.

I’ll admit I haven’t actually done this one yet.  But hey, I think I’m making up with a nice super long blog post on a Saturday morning!

The Fun Fifteen: Spending 15 minutes of a fun, mindful activity to your day.

Two ways that I do this: every weekday, I leave to pick up Gabey from school about 45 minutes before he actually gets out. It only takes 6 minutes to drive from our home to school, but there is serious value in getting a good parking spot, especially on the days we have karate and a very short amount of time to get from school to the dojo. A good parking spot ensures that we will not get stuck in the shit show that is 200 parents all trying to pull out at the same time. Anyhow, I have deemed this “quiet time”. I arm Stella with her leap pad and a snack (often she naps), I put on some music (I’m realizing right now that perhaps “quiet time” is the wrong name) and I veg out with mindless activities. I play Trivia Crack, Candy Crush, and chat on messenger, and occasionally read. For 40 minutes straight. And I look forward to this boring, mindless time period every day because what follows is either a hurry-up-and-wait mentality of 2 back to back karate classes, or the usual afternoon craziness of kids, homework, breaking up fights, and plugging along to that sweet spot when the first child is in bed and the second is going soon. Which brings me to my next “fun” moment…the relaxation at the end of the day with a glass of wine and some binge-watching (I love you Netflix.) This doesn’t happen every single night but I strive for it at least a few nights of the week!

Meditation: 2 minutes each day, stop what you are doing and watch your breath go in and out.

Ok I haven’t done this one either.  But I DID in fact bookmark an article entitled “5 Yoga Poses Anyone Can Do to  Destress Their Day” or something along those lines.  And I swear to God I’m going to read it.  Probably even today.

Conscious Acts of Kindness: Email or text a communication, thanking someone for how great you think they are/or how you feel about them.

And the final act on the positivity challenge…and this has been my favorite. I love my family, and I love my children, but one of the greatest blessings in my life is friendship. I consider myself lucky to have both old and new friends. I absolutely cherish the people who’ve come into my life recently that I have instantly clicked with and formed a bond or a friendship that is mutually gratifying. Just as I cherish the fact that this week I was able to spend time with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Sarah. In 7 years this is only the 3rd time we’ve been able to get together and nothing changes in that great span of time. Its as though we saw one another yesterday. It makes my heart happy in the same way it does when I sit in my kitchen with my friend Joanie and have an hours long, into the night, wine fueled discussion that encompasses everything from bathing suits to starting and alpaca farm to faith and spirituality. These are just two example of frienships that have brought and continue bring great joy to my life. And so, I’ve made a point to contact at least one person every day just to say “hey” or “I miss you” or “I love you” or “Congratulations” or “I’m proud of you!” or “Let’s make a plan to get together asap”…and you know what? EVERYONE likes getting a message like this, especially for no reason. And I have not yet run out of recipients…nor to I expect to.

And so, I thank you Brooke for reminding me as I come out of a very trying winter that has been sucking my spirit dry, that 90% of everything is attitude. And to take a moment to tell YOU that I value your friendship, both to me and my sister, and that I value your wise take-charge, do-gooder, get-shit-done attitude (the fruit skewers at Kellie’s NC baby shower just might have saved the day) and for our rare but always enjoyable beach days. Your friendship during Kellie’s wedding and Nola’s birth are just two examples of ways you have impacted my life and I am a better person for knowing you. And I hope someone else reads this and decides to take on the positivity challenge as well!


Science Geeks

•March 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment

When my kids were babies, the thought of having school-aged offspring seemed really foreign to me.  And boring.  What would I do with them?  Did I even like kids to begin with?  Maybe I should have thought of that before I had my own?  What would happen to my safe little world of naps and bubbles and crayons?

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But actually, like most parents, I’ve discovered that as life marches on, things with kids are generally more fun.  I might hate spending hours of my week in the karate dojo, but I love watching my kids learn it.  I might struggle to watch Gabey, well, struggle with soccer, but I like that he is in involved in it and okayyyy I like being a “soccer mom”.  I miss being able to throw a kid in a stroller and go for a walk…but I love that my kids can go for a winter hike with me.  And in the same vein, although I don’t exactly love helping with homework and packing a lunch every. single. day. I really, really enjoy stuff like this.  The Science Fair!!

We attended the Science Fair on a whim last year for something to do, and I’m so glad we did or otherwise I might not have known how cool it was, or how much Gabey would love participating.  True to form, he reminded me often that “in 8 months it will be next Science Fair and we have to start planning my project”.

I had to restrain myself a bit, because making projects like this is right up my alley.  When I was discussing ideas and thoughts with a group of friends, one wisely pointed out to me, “Lindsay, you cannot do his science project for him!”  I found a few ideas online and presented them to him, and he smartly chose the one I deemed to be the best :)  His project was baking cakes without all of the ingredients.  Over the course of the last 2 months we used a few of our snow days to do the project in steps, and I have to say it was a lot of fun…DSC_0560 DSC_0568

This week was the fair, and although it was postponed due to snow (of course.  Of COURSE…) Friday night came soon enough.  I ditched Stella with Dad at work and my little scientist and I hurried home to prepare.  In the nerdiest of all nerd senses, I adore that JUST LIKE ME Gabey felt that getting there 15 minutes early was absolutely essential.  We had different motives (I didn’t want to carry everything from a far lot or get a cruddy spot and he just wanted to get set up early so he had enough time to go over to the book fair that was also going on.)  Honestly…big Gabe would have been all Relax, it doesn’t start until 6pm and its only a 6 minute drive and Stella would have fought putting on her coat or announced that she had a bathroom emergency as we were walking out the door.  Its so nice to have a like-minded TARDINESS IS NOT OKAY!! person in our house!!  But I digress – that’s another topic for another time.

Anyhow, the fair was a success.  The first few people who stopped to look caused red cheeks and a little embarrassment as he answered their questions and explained his project.  But by the time 10 minutes had gone by he had his talk down to a science (see what I did there?) and he really was in his element.  Totally confident in his project and his words, and not underestimating the power of baked goods to lure people over (cake samples were a huge hit!!)

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We capped off the successful night with a family dinner out of pizza.  When I was putting Gabey to bed I asked if he had a good time at the fair.  His response was something along the lines of “Hey Mom.  Did you know my school’s having a talent show next month?  I’m thinking about starting a band so I can perform…”

Brownies For Breakfast

•February 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment


In my life of social media, I tend to stay away from other people’s tragedies, in particularly other people’s tragedies that involve children.  Not because I don’t care, or I’m not interested.  But because I just…can’t.  There is this huge vat of raw fear that lives in every mom’s soul, the fear of something happening to their child or children, and that fear can manifest itself in many ways.  Seeing your child’s life flash before your eyes as a car whizzes by a little too close in a parking lot.  Tripping on the stairs while carrying a newborn and envisioning her toppling over the railing and smashing to smithereens on the tile.  Hearing a news story about a freak accident and–just for a moment–imagining what it must be like to be that child’s mother.

But of course, you push this fear into a neat little box and place it up on a high shelf, always in view but out of the way, because if we did not do this, it would surely eat us alive.  We would lose the thing that makes life so great, the joy we get from every day things, if we were to constantly worry about the endless possibilities of death, accidents, illnesses, predators, anaphalyctic allergic reactions, brain aneurisms, fires, floods, drownings and car accidents.

But once in awhile I allow myself to be pulled in to someone else’s tragedy.  There are a few “sick baby” pages on Facebook that I follow.  One is Prayers for Baby Alex…a little boy who was in the NICU with Nola.  Another is about a baby named Ethan belonging to a friend of a friend who was born with a rare spinal tumor and (ironically, as I’m realizing now) was just released from the hospital today.  And another story is about a little girl named Chloe who was the same age as Gabe.

Chloe, the daughter of a friend from my “mom board” was killed in a car accident on December 22, 2014.  Her mother talked about, after her death, how that morning they had had brownies for breakfast, just because.  Some of her friends suggested that they, too, would give their children brownies for breakfast on February 18, which would have been Chloe’s 7th birthday.  A page was born, Brownies for Breakfast, and it grew from a few friends of friends to a massive 28,000.

28,000 people, kids.  Let that sink in for a moment.


And the purpose of this exercise in life was so simple, so deep, and so important.  Stop, for just a few minutes.  Stop working, stop worrying, stop correcting, stop chastising, stop cleaning, put down the phone.  Take a minute to enjoy the tiny things that are really the biggest things in the world.


This kid loves to help in the kitchen, but oh my goodness is she a mess.  Most of the time when she “helps”, there is a lot of parental assistance.  Today, for a change, I decided to let her do it all.  And I do mean everything.  And when we were done, we licked the spoon (okay, bowl), ate our brownies of uneven consistency and let the rest cool for the other half of our family.  I can’t tell you how incredibly happy this made my sassy girl, who always wants to “do it myself!” and who also has a serious weakness for sweets.


And of course, the flip side.  The moment of remembering Chloe, and thinking of her mom, who I wouldn’t know from Adam but who I know how she feels in her heart, just a smidge.  Just a tiny inkling, because I am a mom too, and her Chloe is my Gabe, and my Stella.  And a minute of gratitude, because while her kid is no longer here, mine are.


So thank you, Chloe, for the reminder.  For me and the 28,000 other people who took time from our busy, busy worlds to stop and enjoy a moment, remember what we have, and say a little prayer of peace for your family.  To remind us to take that box down and dust it off, for within the fear of what if also lies the great, immense joy that comes in the simplest of forms, things that are so often pushed aside because there just isn’t isn’t time.  Its the epitome of being unable to see the forest for the trees.

And so: Brownies for Breakfast.  Literally and figuratively.  Happy birthday, Chloe.


That Time We Went Tubing & It Was Awful. And Then We Did It Again The Next Year

•January 18, 2015 • Leave a Comment

photo 1

You know how sometimes you have those days where everything just goes wrong, to the point that it’s almost comical?

And how sometimes you do something and its awful but you forget and you do it again the next year thinking the kids are older now? Or it can’t be as bad as last year was! Or tubing is really fun!

And you know how sometimes there are those days when your normally angelic or at least human-acting three year old turns into some type of rabid animal?

Now, put all of those things together in one day and you have the Horvath Family and Friends 2nd Annual Tubing Adventure.

So, I was sure I blogged about our First Annual Tubing Adventure last winter, but alas I did not.  To sum it up: freezing cold, long waits in line, two 2-year olds with a constitution not really suited for waiting or, frankly, being cold.  Extremely painful sport (seriously.  Who honestly thinks tubing is fun??!!  Besides the 6-10 year old crowd?)  Extremely bad and overpriced food.  Followed by a trip to a brew pub with 4 kids post-tubing which was about as fun as it sounds (except for the beer.  That part was good.)

So two days ago I came downstairs to a note from my loving husband “Made plans to go tubing on Saturday”.  I reminded him of last year but the gleam of snow and winter fun was in his eyes.  Also, the gleam of 12 complimentary lift tickets thanks to his sister Marybeth.  So, we asked around and managed to come up with a willing group of our friend Jon and his 2 daughters and my friend Jill and her 2 kids and one straggler kid.  Combined with us, that was 11 people (3 adults and 7 kids) and as the resort was just a few miles out of town, sounded like a fun day.

Yes, the weather forecast had a high of 22 with wind.  But there was a big bright sun icon next to it, so really how bad could it be?

To start off, we pulled into the resort (which is also a giant housing development) and found that the first turn to get to the house where our tickets lay under a doormat was a detoured road.  What followed was about 45 minutes of attempting to get to the house another way.  GPS unreliably led us to the bottom of the mountain on a dead end road with a gate across it and a horse stable next to it.  GPS said “continue forward on Winters Lane” in a jovial voice, but the gate said otherwise.   Things that may or may not have been said include:

If it were me I’d just go back to the entrance and ask for specific directions…

Follow the detour signs Lindsay.  Just follow the signs…

I hate this resort…

45 minutes later we arrived where we were supposed to be

And found Jill and her crew waiting in the very crowded and loud ticket area. Jon and his kids also got lost on the detour road, but with diligent voice directions from Gabe, he pulled in just minutes after us. I asked Jill, “how come you didn’t get lost on the detour like the rest of us?” Her response: “I went to the front gate and asked for directions.” Hmmm, imagine that.

Of course as soon as we arrived Stella decided to throw a fit about putting on her coat and gloves. This fit lasted most of the walk into the clubhouse and continued during a trip to the bathroom and then finally fizzled out after we attached our lift tickets to our coats and began the trek through the snow to the tubing line. At this point it was about 2:45…an hour and 15 minutes after we’d innocently pulled into the resort.

The line was long. The air was cold. The kids were freezing (though, I will say all things considered 6/7ths of the children had great behavior.) We waited…getting closer and closer. The excitement in the eyes of the children as we watching tube after tube fly down the mountain could not be contained. Yes everyone was windburnt. Appendages like fingers and feet were numb. Some of the children were actually lying down on the ground. At one point I turned to Jon and said “This is ALMOST as fun as last year!”

And then the lift broke. JUST as it was our turn.

Fifteen minutes later, it was fixed. At the top of the mountain I questioned the kid if it was really safe for Stella to be in her own tube and asked him “isn’t she going to fly out?” His response, “Well, if she goes up the side she could roll out…” Well! Okay then! I told him I was putting her in my tube with me even though that was against the regulations. He shrugged and gave us a push. The ride down was hideously painful. Stella loved it. I hated it.

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Several of us (myself NOT included) waited in line again for a 2nd time down. Jill and I discovered a fire pit and stood warming our frostbitten fingers by it. The line was long again. The lift broke again. We’d now been there about an hour or more and everyone, even diehards Gabey and Bella, agreed that going inside sounded really good.

photo 3

What happened next was just the perfect end to this perfect day. Inside, packed with people, waiting in a long, long line of cafeteria style food and drink. We had told the kids they could get some hot chocolate and so it was a really lovely surprise to find at the end of that long, long line that not only were they out of just about every type of food…but there was no more hot chocolate. The kids were sad, but conceded to drink hideous looking blue vitamin juice and Doritos and we happily went into the cafeteria to eat.

Oh wait. 6 of the 7 kids did this. One little girl…just one little girl could not handle the news that there would be no hot chocolate. She literally morphed into a horrid, horrid devil spawn of a child with screaming, hitting, flailing, screaming OH THE SCREAMING. More than one stranger stopped to offer kind words to the beautiful blonde child in hopes that she’d shut up (I’m assuming). All strangers continued on their way when they realized said child was past the point of no return. Gabe attempted to bribe said child with everything under the sun but it went something like this:

Stella do you want to sit with your friends and drink this juice?


Okay do you want to sit at this table with Daddy?


Okay then lets just stand with Mommy

NOOOOOOO!! I want you Daddy!

Okay lets sit here

NOOOOO!!! I want to sit with my FRIEENNNDDSSSSSS!

Well come over here then…

NOOO! I want the table. I want my juice!

Okay Stella, here’s your juice


At this point I realized there was nothing to be done but to remove her from the situation. With a hot coffee in one hand and the sleeve of her coat in the other hand, I literally dragged her screaming across and icey parking lot, a trek in which she fell several times, I spilled hot coffee on my hand, and she threw her bag of chips on the ground in anger. Finally back at the car, I strapped her into the seat where she proceeded to scream (omg the screaming! How does one human being scream so long and so loud??) to the point where she was hyper ventilating with her eyes closed and I actually expected her to pass out as that has happened a few times. Twenty minutes later the Gabes returned to the car and she was still crying. We tossed her a pack of graham crackers and called it a day. Before we were out of the resort (which we learned had the roads closed due to a water main break) she was asleep with a cracker in her mouth.

photo 4

And so, there was a lot of comedy to the day, which without it would have been infinitely much worse.  Next year, though, when I come downstairs to a note from big Gabe suggesting this fun family activity, I will at least have this post to look back on to remind me that you do not like tubing.  Stella does not handle tubing well.  Tubing is not fun for anyone except Gabey.  SEND GABEY TUBING WITH ANOTHER FAMILY AND STAY HOME!

Until then!

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (But Now Its Over)

•January 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment


Today is officially the last day of “Christmas Break”.  New Years, Christmas, and all the magic of December are officially over.  Unlike last year, where the challenge of having both kids home for days on end was enough to drive me further away from sanity than I already am this year was…enjoyable?  I think it was just the perfect combo of enough to keep us busy without going overboard.  Our babysitter was also home from college and jobless, so that afforded Big Gabe and I a few extra nights out.

I didn’t go as all out as I have in the past, which was sort of nice (for me).  Our elf just moved from spot to spot, no naughty theatrics or creatively thought out acrobatics for him.  I baked cookies, but just a few.  Santa brought fewer presents than he has in years past and our holiday gatherings with family were pretty laid back.  Our tree was not gigantic but it was perfect.  We didn’t go to 900 Christmas-themed kid activities, but we did hit Hershey Park Candy Lane.  And it was enough…


I found myself reflecting and wondering over the last month…is this the last Christmas where Gabey will believe?  This year, he was allll about the presents.  The threat of Santa watching did very little to quell bad behavior.  He was less interested in Christmas movies than years past–okay this is just a weird anomaly…but somehow I have given birth to not one, but TWO kids who aren’t into Christmas movies?  I forced them to watch Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause, Home Alone and The Polar Express…but no dice.  THE POLAR EXPRESS???  I mean, if that doesn’t move you and instill the magic of all that is Christmas than nothing will.  Still…there was this face on Christmas morning…


And the one major hint that MAYBE just MAYBE the magic isn’t over for him was a friend who’s husband somehow managed to rig his trail camera to capture Santa and a reindeer with a red nose in their back yard on Christmas Eve.  I have no idea how he did it…but Gabey was impressed and I just have to say thank goodness there are insane dedicated parents like that guy out there.  Because I distinctly remember learning that Santa wasn’t real and telling my dad while we were shopping at the Susquehanna Valley Mall.  I remember him sitting me down on a bench and the look of utter disbelief on his face and feeling my internal eye roll develop.  But now…I get it.  The years of your life where you truly, totally, for real believe in magic are so, so short.


So, with Christmas and all its glory over and done with, we moved forth to one of my favorite holidays: New Years Eve.  And with it, annual Lindsay Day.  NYE has been and always will be an adult holiday in my book.  That’s a wonderful gesture that Netflix and Nick Jr are doing by putting out a “fake” countdown at 9p.m. so parents can celebrate with their little kids but no thank you :)  Not me.  My kids are annually shipped off to spend New Years with my parents, and I usually rig it so I can

Have a full day prior to the festivities kid-free. I call this Annual Lindsay Day and I believe this is the third one in the books. It starts with coffee and peace and quiet for as long as I want and usually develops into shopping of some sort, a manicure, a nap, and ample time to get ready for the evening. I mean, I am a pro at getting ready for just about anything in under 20 minutes. A normal day can see me go from bedraggled to ready for the public eye in 9 minutes flat. So to be able to take an hour to “get ready” is nothing short of a gift.

This year we rung in 2015 at our house with a party. Which is my favorite way to do it because I don’t have to drive anywhere and I can sleep in my own bed. I might not be too old to party, but I definitely prefer those comforts. Our gathering was a lovely mixture of friends old, new, and everything in between. People I’ve become closer with in the recent past and am utterly thankful for their presence in my life. People I’ve known since I was 13. People who fit comfortably in between those two types of friends.


And so we forge on to 2015. I didn’t do my annual list of resolutions this year because, quite frankly, my resolutions are the same EVERY year. Be healthier, be more frugal, be more patient with my kids. More and better. But this year I think I’m just going to move ahead with a sense of peace that enough is good enough. Be healthy, be patient. Enjoy things as they are right now and worry less about what is to come. People spend so much time and planning and preparing for the future (myself included) that sometimes the present is just swept away and missed.

So yes, the most wonderful time of the year is over. But its really not the “most” wonderful, its just another block of the year that I enjoy. And we now enter the block of time I do NOT enjoy but…it is what it is. So here’s to 2015!



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