Drew said something sort of whimsical to me today as we drove to the local diner to have dinner with my dad and brother. He said, “It is kind of funny. When you live far away from your (extended) family, you wish you could see them all of the time, but when you live as close as we do, sometimes you wish you lived farther away.” I knew exactly what he meant. We all love spending time with our extended family. The boys see my dad nearly everyday and I know they appreciate all that he does for them. A typical dinner for our family on the weekends especially, usually consists of thirteen or so people so only five of us was a rarity!
I get it. I know what he means. Living in the same town that I grew up and having most of my family nearby is very special to me. There are so many advantages to living and working here. DJ always jokes that everywhere we go, I see people that I know. He laughed on our drive up to Connecticut saying, at least in there, we could go places without being recognized. He was wrong 🙂 We saw a family from our town who was dropping their daughter off at the University of New Haven while we were there! Even tonight, at dinner, we wound up sitting next to a family from my school. I have taught two of their children – but I love that! Seeing families and friends when we are out brings me joy. I can’t imagine myself in a big city where I wouldn’t see familiar faces all around me on a daily basis.
But back to what Drew was talking about in the car, sometimes it is nice to just sit back and do something with “just us.” I think that is what we enjoyed so much on our quick get away to Connecticut last week. Just three of us in the car talking about everything and anything. Tonight, although Dave isn’t home because he is playing soccer, the boys and I are about to make popcorn and watch a movie. Just us. No cousins, no friends, no other family. A quiet night together and although we delighted in the last few weeks with so much family around, it is nice to kick back in our pajamas and share some quiet time together.
This afternoon, our Nevada cousins left to return home after spending two weeks here in New Jersey with us. These are the Nevada cousins closer in age to Drew and although they are both girls, they get along even better than any of his own friends!! They wanted to spend every moment together and fortunately they were able to do a lot of that while they were here.
They went to The Bronx Zoo, hiking in the reservations, swam at the pool, went out to dinner and spent time at our house or our grandma’s home where they were staying. Simple games of hide and seek and slip and slide turned into hour long adventures.
Very often when looking for quotes for my blog, I find ones about cousins. Probably because the quotes are so true to the words! Cousins are our first friends. No one understands the craziness of your own family like your cousins do! I write about my own cousins often. We truly are friends and it is so nice to see them all get along as well as we did as kids, and still do now. From the youngest to the oldest, they enjoy their time together and their relationship only makes the bond between my cousins and myself stronger.
We are going to miss them. There were even some tears today as they left. The kids are already planning when we will get to Las Vegas to see them. It seems that only our Christmas and Summer breaks match up, but hopefully we can find a way to make it work.
Since I am running out of time and the day has totally gotten away from me, today’s blog is going to be a quick one. Something that I have already shared with my friends on Facebook. Some might think, “Oh great, another ice bucket challenge!” But this one, which I found on Upworthy.com, explains it so well and makes it very “real.” Take the six minutes or so to watch it. Then, share it. It will be worth it. The video starts about 2 minutes in…if you want to watch the part in the beginning, which he calls “the most embarrassing thing I have ever done in my life,” start it from the beginning.
Ice Bucket Challenge
It may seem silly, and I actually thought I would enjoy these few days off from exercising but I miss it much more than I ever expected to! I still can’t put full pressure on my foot because most of the stitches are across the bottom of it. I knew it would be two weeks with stitches so I expected it, but thought I’d at least be walking around a lot better than I am!
It sure makes me appreciate my grandma and her need for a walker and how exhausted she gets just moving from room to room! My calves are sore from all the walking on my tippy-toes. I don’t know how women wear high heels all day. Give me my flats or sneakers anytime!
At least I don’t feel guilty for not being out there exercising. Normally, when I feel like taking a day off, the guilty feeling comes over me and I get out there and do it. Since I can’t, I am not having those feelings. Instead, I am finding myself missing it. The classes, the running, the long walks…
Only six more days until the stitches come out and hopefully then I can resume normal activities again. I am sure I will be looking for an excuse to not exercise as soon as that happens, but at least it is nice knowing that I will have the option!
After just about two months of being out of my classroom, I headed into school in today to see what needed to be done to get ready for kindergarten to begin. I always know it is time when I begin have the “back to school nightmares.” They started over the weekend. Most of them involve dreams of my new class being lined up on the blacktop ready to begin but my classroom is nowhere near ready! Or I show up to school in my pajamas and my class arrives early and are waiting for me. That’s the one I had last night. I knew I needed to go in today and just “assess the situation.” Summer school was held in my room this summer so I wasn’t sure how it was left or if had been cleaned yet.
I am still not getting around on two feet without hobbling on my toes. That didn’t make it easy but I was at least able to move a few lighter things around and figure out what I needed to buy and stock up on for my room. I have to put up a few bulletin boards and fix up book shelves. I’ll organize tables and chairs over the next few days. Name tags and labels cannot be done until my class list is confirmed and that hasn’t happened yet.
I may have been able to convince Drew to come in and help me for a bit tomorrow. I guess I’ll see if he is still willing in the morning. I bribed him with a trip to 5 Below, where I got a small rug for a reading nook. I had already dragged him to Michaels and Fabricland for some other supplies. It was nice because both of those stores offered teacher discounts! Turns out there are many stores that offer teacher discounts. Lakeshore Learning, The Container Store, Barnes and Noble, Staples, Ann Taylor Loft, J Jill, Apple Store are just a few of them! There are so many more! Just google it and find them. I need to take more advantage of it! I didn’t realize how many there were!! Glad I found them now – just in time for some back to school shopping for myself!
This morning, we knew we had a very busy day ahead of us and although we could have probably made it through the day and back home without filling up the gas tank, I was worried about hitting traffic on the way home and being a person who doesn’t like to let the gas tank get below a quarter tank, I figured we’d better do that before we began our tours.
I live in New Jersey, where it is illegal to pump your own gas, so sadly, I never have. When we are out of state, Dave has always done it and even while I was at college myself, I can’t remember ever doing it. Someone always did it for me. So today was the day the I was going to learn how! Nothing like being forty-four and learning something new!
There was a gas station right near the hotel. A Citgo. I pulled up to the pump ready to do it. I got out of the car when an older gentleman who worked there walked up to my car. I told him I would take care of it, (knowing fully well that it costs more to have full service.) I did tell him that he this was my first time and he laughed and called me a “Jersey Girl.” He did it for me, showing me what I needed to do and he didn’t even charge me more for doing it. Instead, we chatted about college and how expensive it is. His own son is at Clemson right now. What a great start to our day – after another filing breakfast of waffles and whipped cream for Drew 🙂
Today’s tours were of University of New Haven and Quinnipiac. Both were great schools. Of the four schools we saw over these two days, he can only drop one from his list. His lists of pros outweigh the cons for the other three and he came up with so many positives for all of them. I am sure there are more schools that he will want to see and we will do that, but most of these schools are already beginning to accept applications! Maybe DJ is ready…I just don’t know if I am! I especially don’t know if Drew is ready to let him go. DJ and I were laughing because Drew was at the front of every line during the tours as if it was he that was there looking at colleges instead of DJ. I have to admit, I was a little nostalgic seeing dorm life and the quad. It brought back so many great memories.
DJ has a lot to think about and decisions to make. I still wish he’d do a year local, but after seeing all of these schools, I am almost sure I have lost that battle. It took us only two hours to get home tonight so he will still be close by if he chooses one of these three. At least he has a few more months to decide.
Our trip to Connecticut started off with me breaking the arm off my sunglasses before we even left Maplewood. My only pair. Not a great start for a sunny morning ride. I do not mind driving but I am not fond of driving in places where I have never been. Especially through New York City, where we needed to drive through in order to get to Connecticut. DJ was a great navigator and sat alongside me keeping me sane through traffic on The GW Bridge. I am almost embarrassed to say that I have really never driven in the city before. There’s been no reason for it. With the train in town I never have to take my car if I go in.
With only two places where we hit traffic, we actually made pretty good time. We are staying at a Residence Inn Marriott which allows us to have a mini suite so we aren’t all on top of each other. There is a pool so the boys swam last night even those it was pretty chilly out!! They didn’t care and had a blast since they were the only two in the water.
We spent most of yesterday visiting with my college roommate’s mom. She was an awesome host and took us all over New Haven and Hamden showing DJ around the colleges. He fell in love with Quinnipiac and we haven’t even had the formal tour yet. It helps that they have a nice hockey arena which sold both boys on the school! She also made us a delicious pasta dinner and she and I were able to catch up, as we hadn’t seen each other in close to twenty years.
Since our hotel offers a pretty nice complimentary breakfast, this morning, Drew filled up on waffles with chocolate chips and whipped cream. Not the healthiest, but it sure made him happy! My bowl of oatmeal paled in comparison.
We headed out early to Fairfield University. Both DJ and I loved the school. There was a lot of walking though and my foot was not quite ready for the challenge yet so I hobbled along behind the group. We walked so much I wore holes in the bottom of the slipper/shoe I wore since it is the only shoe that fits over the bandage on my foot. I guess it is flip flops for the rest of the trip. The adults in our tour were amused with Drew who was right behind our tour guide the entire time. I think he thought we were here for him! One man even jokingly asked which of my sons was here for the tour!
We weren’t able to arrange for a tour at Sacred Heart University, another interest of DJ’s, but since it was so close to Fairfield we went there anyway and got some literature on the school, walked a bit and drove around the campus. He wasn’t quite as impressed as he was with Fairfield. Tomorrow, we see The University of New Haven and have our official Quinnipiac tour.
Tonight I am going to take the boys to a minor league baseball game. There is a team in Bridgeport – The Bridgeport Bluefish. This hotel we are staying at has been a perfect central location. Right in the middle of everything we have wanted to do. We are mellowing out there now, playing Uno and watching The Little League World Series. I am enjoying this time with my boys. It has been a fun couple of days.