Author Archives: Krissy Mac

The Insanity of Kids’ Sports

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Yesterday was the second day of school. It was also the day that Nib had to choose between attending his first travel soccer practice or the tryout for the fall baseball travel team. (“But baseball is a spring sport?” you say, if you’re an adult and remember the days when every sport ran for about 2 ½ – 3 months and the rest was the “off-season.” Not anymore.)

AND SO IT BEGINS.

I’m not sure my kids fully grasp how different the World of Youth Sports & Activities is than when I was a kid. I’ve told them about how I played softball once a week and spent the other hundreds of hours of my free time playing in the nasty, damp, mosquito-invested “fort” my neighborhood friends and I created under my family’s deck. (If West Nile had been a thing back then, we’d be dead.) But they still don’t really get it. So, I wrote them this letter to tell them about it. And of course, I used the phrase, “When I was your age…” BECAUSE I RELISH BEING AN OLD LADY WHO ALSO USES WORDS LIKE “RELISH.”

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Dear Kids,

WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE… (I just really think it works here) the World of Youth Sports & Activities was very different than it is now. It wasn’t even a “world,” it was just games you played with some friends in the same town, at your local field, maybe wearing the same color t-shirt… and then maybe throw in a dance class.

Sure, we had soccer, but I never played because get this – not EVERY KID tried soccer. I KNOW! I played softball, but it was a relaxed, weekly gathering of “Red” vs “Orange” and mostly an excuse to hang out with friends. I’m sure there were games and I’m pretty sure they all happened at the high school field one mile from my house. I was also a cheerleader for the Pee Wee football team and if I remember correctly, we practiced for one hour a week at the community center and then jumped around on the track during the Broncos football games on Saturday mornings.

My siblings had sports and activities, too so it wasn’t like we were sitting around playing Frogger all the time. (Google it.) Granted, I wasn’t a parent then and I also wasn’t a particularly overly-involved kid BUT in my memory, it was all much more relaxed. (More relaxed in the 70s? SHOCKING.)

Quick side note: last time I mentioned to my kids that I grew up in the 70s, HD said, “Wait, the 1870s??” #mymathgenes

OK, back to sports. Let’s break down where I see the biggest differences.

#1. The Quantity of Options. There is a seemingly endless supply of sport and activity choices available for young kids these days. Soccer, baseball/softball, football, ballet and gymnastics have always been around, but NOW we’ve added lacrosse, field hockey, ice hockey, martial arts, wrestling, flag football, hip hop and rugby to the mix… for 7-year-olds!

When I was a kid, I took a dance class that combined ballet, tap and BATON TWIRLING into one 45-minute class a week. Now, parents spend a fortune specializing for their six-year-olds. (Admittedly, I haven’t seen a baton twirling class lately, but then again I HAVEN’T REALLY LOOKED.)

Wait, what about the theater classes! When I was growing up, “drama” was just what happened when my Mom wouldn’t bring me to the mall. I don’t know anyone under the age of well, college, who took acting classes. Yet, just last week I signed HD up for a class called “Acting for Film & TV.” I’M NOT EVEN JOKING. HD is going to learn how to be a soap opera star.

<smh>

(That means “shaking my head” for those of you 1,000 years older than me.)

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Doing their drama.

#2. SEASONS. There are none anymore. ALL sports get played ALL year! The schedulers do their best to avoid conflicts, but some are inevitable. We try to prioritize the sport that would be “in season” if you guys were in high school, i.e. soccer in the fall, baseball in the spring but it’s not always possible. We’d love for you to be able to take a season off, but then we have to worry about you “falling behind” and not making the team the following season/year. This is really, really true. Nib tried lacrosse in second grade and didn’t like it because the Kindergartners and first graders in his group were already so much better than him.

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#3. The Post-Travel Leagues. We have Rec sports. We have Travel sports. And now we have Premier leagues in sports like baseball and soccer. It’s very possible these always existed, and I was just never good enough to play on any of them but it’s all very complicated and I still don’t really understand how any of it works. All I know is that you have to drive even further for the practices, games and tournaments.

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Participation trophy! Another thing that’s changed… but that’s for another letter.

#4. The Schedules. Let’s break it down. This fall, HD has soccer practice on Tuesdays at 4:15, but it overlaps with CCD (religious ed) so we’re going to have to figure something out there. Nib and LO both have soccer practice on Wednesdays and Fridays but at different times in different places. HD has his Soap Opera class on Thursday afternoons at the same time as Nib’s practice and since I haven’t figured out the whole cloning thing yet, THAT’S gonna be tricky. (Is 9 years old too young for Uber?)

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Run fast! We have to get to soccer!

Nib also wants to play baseball so that’ll be practices two days a week, fingers crossed for Monday and Thursday. HD soccer game’s on Sat morning and the two older kids will also play on Saturdays in something called the CT Cup, which lasts until they lose. (Is it wrong to hope for a loss on week one? Asking for a friend.) Two more soccer games on Sunday and if the Nib makes the team, two baseball games as well. LO will start play practice soon and that schedule will change weekly. And then we have the occasional weekends that are consumed with tournaments and/or theater performances.

PHEW.

Quick PSA: Audiobooks. I like music and podcasts, but audio books have been the best discovery for the 8,491 hours I spend in the car all week.

#5. The Tournaments. There is more than one for every sport and just when you think you have your driving schedule and carpools in place, the tournament comes along and screws up your whole weekend. I posted this picture last year of what our calendar looked like during one soccer tournament weekend.

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Kids, I know this sounds like I’m complaining but I’m not, really. We love that you guys are busy and active, and we are VERY, VERY fortunate to have all of this stuff available to us. Although, I will admit to being happy that none of you want to play ice hockey because I’ve heard those bags are super smelly.

You keep running and dribbling and singing and catching and kicking and acting and scoring and swinging and I’ll just keep driving. And cheering. And yelling inappropriately from the sidelines. Even though you hate that.

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Love you,

Mom

PS. Full disclosure, I did take an after-school enrichment class on CALLIGRAPHY when I was in fourth grade. I just really felt like I should admit that.

You Wrote a Book??

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After I casually mentioned in my last blog post that I finished the book project I’ve been working on for a long time, I received many messages saying “Congratulations!” and/or “What?! You wrote a book??”

I so appreciate all the support I’ve received and as for the questions, here’s my attempt to answer all of them.

(If you are not at all interested in the hearing more about the book – and I certainly wouldn’t hold that against you – stop reading now and get back to the work/laundry/Netflix you were working on before you popped in here.)

What?!? You wrote a book?
Well, I like to refer to it as the “book project.” The end result is a 163-page, professional looking book called “It’s a Beautiful Life: Observations & Reflections of Thomas E. McInerney.” While I did write many of the original sentences, I took a lot of direct quotes from the interviews I conducted with my Dad and also invited twelve close friends and family members to contribute essays as well. It was a collaboration.

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“It’s A Beautiful Life” is a direct quote from my Dad during one of our interviews and seemed an appropriate title for the collection of these stories.

Why did you do it?
Because I wanted this book – or some version of it – to exist. I want my kids and my kids’ kids to benefit from my Dad’s wisdom for years to come. Despite my Dad’s best intentions and greatest wishes, he is still mortal. 😏 Documenting some of the stories of his life and more importantly, his sage advice about certain things, seemed like a smart and important thing to do.

How did this all begin?
On September 19th, 2014 (my Dad’s 73rd birthday) I invited him to lunch to discuss the possibility of us working on a project together – a book about his life.

As I explain in the opening pages of the book, I suggested that HE should write the book about his life but he told me that while he had considered it, other projects always took priority. Like his job. Or studying quantum physics for fun.

So, we decided to do it together.

You “conducted interviews” with your Dad? That sounds very formal.
Well, I call them “interviews” because the meetings involved my showing up to his office – once a month, for a year – with a recorder (or rather my phone with a recording app), my laptop, a topic for that month’s “interview” and a list of questions pertinent to that month’s topic. But there was no formality. (Aside from the fact that he was always wearing a suit.)

Sometimes I’d ask every question on my list and get straightforward answers. Other times, I would ask one question and my Dad would lean back in his office chair and spend the next hour reminiscing about playing baseball as a kid or his first job. In those case, I just shut up and took notes while he would amble down Memory Lane.

That sounds amazing!
It was… for both of us. During one of our later interviews, my Dad said to me, “Regardless of what happens with this project – whether the book gets written or not – these meetings have been so wonderful. To be encouraged to reminisce about parts of my life I haven’t thought about in so long has really been a gift.”

I felt the same way. I knew those meetings were the “easy part” and I enjoyed every minute of them. As is evidenced in the book, my Dad has a remarkable memory. He remembers facts and events of his childhood and early career days in astonishing detail (for example, he can quote his starting salary for every single job he’s ever had).

It was a great joy to listen to him tell the stories of his life. Our meetings were interesting, enlightening, poignant and fun.

I strongly recommend anyone contemplating such a project with a loved one to follow through. You will not regret it.

What’s NOT in the book?
(OK, full disclosure… nobody has asked me this question but I would like to answer it and it needed to fit into this Q&A format.)

This is not an objective biography of a public figure nor is it a sensational tell-all. This is a series of essays written by myself and others about someone we love. There are no salacious details. There is no shocking gossip. And if there are skeletons in my Dad’s closet – and obviously those would be very well-dressed, sports-jacketed skeletons – do not expect them to fall out of these pages.

In addition, there is no author in the world who could capture the intensity of which my Dad has valued his family relationships and friendships throughout his life. My one hesitation in (self-) publishing this book is that it does not do justice to the love and fondness my Dad feels about his family – especially his brothers – and the close friends he’s had throughout his life. Maybe he’ll write a Volume II to do that job. J

How long did the whole project take you?
From start to finish, three and a half years.

WHAT? That’s a long freakin’ time!
Yes. Yes, it is.

Like I said earlier, we conducted the interviews for about a year. Then I started “writing up my notes” in a way that I thought would magically turn into something brilliant and entertaining. It didn’t. I worked in that unproductive direction for about six months before I trashed everything and started over thinking in terms of a series of essays instead of a chronological snoozefest.

Once I had a vision for the book that I was happy with, I really started to focus on the writing of sentences. And guess what… WRITING SENTENCES IS HARD. Like, really hard. So much harder than I ever thought. That’s part of the reason the book is so short. I just couldn’t write any more sentences. I ran out. Plus, everyone was tired of waiting for the book; it needed to be done.

When can I read the book? / How can I buy the book? / Where can I get a copy?
These questions make me cringe a little bit because I didn’t write this book thinking people other than our immediate family members would want to read it and it feels awkward to “promote” it.

That said, if you have ever known my Dad, you may find the stories entertaining. Or if you simply want to benefit from the wisdom of a very smart man, then I won’t hesitate to recommend it because the book is chockfull of insight, written in an easily-digestible “Dad’s wisdom nuggets” format.

You can buy the book through the website I used to publish it, Book Baby (link below). They set the price based on how much I spent to create it (damn full-color photos!), so it’s pricier than I would have liked. But listen… USE THE COUPON CODE “MCINERNEY” TO GET 50% THE PRICE LISTED.

CLICK HERE IF YOU WANT TO PURCHASE A COPY!

Again, just in case you’re skimming… USE THE COUPON CODE “MCINERNEY” TO GET 50% THE PRICE LISTED. (You’ll still pay about $20.00 not including shipping but that’s better than the whopping $40 they want you to pay!)

Please know that 100% of the money made through sales of this book will be donated to one of my Dad’s favorite charities, St. John’s Bread and Life.

Is there anything else I should know?
Yes. The photo of me I used for the back cover flap was taken 15 years ago. Because I’m no fool.

That’s it! Again, THANK YOU for all of the support!!

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PS. One more thing… one of my regrets about the book is that I didn’t include an Acknowledgements page like a real author does. At the time, it seemed indulgent and pompous but now I wish I had so that I could have thanked the following people…

… Paula, Tom, Lori, Neil, Amy, Uncle Robert, Uncle John, Uncle Michael, Aunt San, Gene, Tony and Father Harrington for contributing essays. Every time I received one of their essays, I thought “Shit. This is so much better written/funnier/more interesting than what I’m writing. They should be writing the damn book.” No joke. I hated them all.

… my sister, Lori, who was the only person who knows Dad to read a version of this book before I printed it. Her insights and editing skills saved me a lot of embarrassment.

… my brother, Tom, who wrote the funny words for the back cover.

… Paula for digging up all the cool photos that appear in the middle of the book.

… my writing group and writing classmates – especially Liz, Robin, Galia and Shima – for their constructive criticism and valuable feedback.

… Marcelle, the writing coach I hired last summer to push me through the final stage of this project.

 

 

 

blowing the dust off this blog

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<sneezes from all the dust>

Hello everybody. Happy New Year!

I thought I’d do a quick post to say hello, I miss you, I miss writing for the blog, I hope you had a great holiday season, yada yada yada.

I most definitely am NOT going to say anything about how I have big goals to write more in 2018 or that I finished the other big writing project I’ve been working on for years (more details to come) so that should free up some writing time for this place. Nope, not going to say those things.

So, how are we feeling about the end of this year? 2017 was hard in so many ways. Personally, I watched more news than I ever have before and it was constantly depressing and often infuriating. I became addicted to Twitter for the very worst reasons. My eyes were opened to the ugliness in this country that may have always existed but is now being gently nudged out into the open and even encouraged by those in positions of power. Social media exposes all of it in the same way my awful bathroom magnifying mirror highlights my wrinkles and sun damage.

Everyday, another story, another potential melanoma.

But as is true 100% of the time, there is always a flip side. A bright side. And in my case, the bright side is a million times brighter than the dark and lives very close to home.

It’s my people. I have the most awesome kids and husband and siblings and nieces and nephews and parents and extended family and friends. And they’re, for the most part, happy and healthy.

That’s enough. Our people are enough. The balance to the ugly. They’re the bright side.

When I stepped away from Twitter, some really fun things happened with my people in 2017.

We performed…

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We traveled…
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We played…
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We celebrated…
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We Ninja posed…
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We got this guy and he’s proven to be an endless source of yes, some frustration but mostly entertainment (#ohoscar)…
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And for the first time in the history of EVER, I achieved my 2017 New Year’s Resolution, which was to finish the book I’ve been working on for three years. I WROTE A BOOK!
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It’s about my Dad and a lot of people contributed. Eventually, I’ll tell you more about it, but the most important thing to know about it now is that it’s DONE.

And through it all, we loved.
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So yeah, we can be mad at 2017 for a lot of things, but I’m going to try to stick with gratitude. Because that feels best.

I’m ready for you 2018. I resolve to find light in your dark days and appreciate the glow of the bright ones. I will deal with the ugly wrinkles by leaning on my people. I will continue to ask questions, make mistakes and if I’m being realistic and honest, spend too much time on social media. But I will also give thanks for each new day that allows me to do so.

Happy New Year, friends. May 2018 be kind to you and your people.

PS. Using this quote as my guide for 2018:

“For what it’s worth … it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules … We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

An Even Dozen

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KJ and I are not big anniversary people. I have a little bit of a mental block about whether it falls on July 15th or 16th and the only way KJ can remember it is by removing his wedding ring and squinting at the date engraved on the inside.

We’re actually celebrating our 12th anniversary today by doing our favorite thing. Well, things. He’s playing golf and I’m staying home to write and read in the hammock. Happy Anniversary!

But we did have a date last night and get this – we went to the movie theater and SAW THE SAME MOVIE. That’s happened approximately five times over the course of our twelve-year marriage because we can rarely agree on which movie to see. KJ likes action, suspense, car chases and shooting. I like to laugh. So in the past twelve years, just about the only movies we could agree to see together were the first Jason Bourne movie and the entire Ocean’s Eleven franchise.

Oddly, we also saw that Julia Louis-Dreyfus/James Gandolfini movie, “Enough Said.” I’m sure the only reason KJ agreed to see that one was because he misunderstood “James Gandolfini” to mean “Tony Soprano” and when he realized it was essentially a romantic comedy, he spent the whole movie groaning and talking about poking his eyeballs out with his soda straw. That was fun!

Anyway, feeling nostalgic this morning, I started looking at our wedding album. So many happy memories, but really I had two main thoughts:

  1. DAMN it was hot in that church.
  2. THAT was a super fun party.

For those close friends who weren’t at my wedding, here are some pictures to help you feel like you were there.

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I loved designing the invitations; it was my second favorite part of wedding planning. But it’s possible I went a little overboard with the FOLDER and multiple inserts. (Please note, I designed that “forward/backward, interlocking Ks” symbol in 2005 – loooong before Kim Kardashian came up with her slightly more elaborate version in 2011… see below.)

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My hair looks better here than it did when it was finished.

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Maybe I should have someone apply makeup for me everyday?

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Trying to get myself and this big dress into the backseat of this car was the exact moment that I realized how hot New York City in July can be.

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I wish I had this conversation with my Dad on tape.

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DAMN that’s a long aisle.

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“Love, cherish, blah blah blah.” All KJ and I are thinking here is about how much we’re sweating.

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See those faces? Those are the faces of people who can’t focus on a wedding because of how hot they are.

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Kissing in front of a crowd is AWKWARD.

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This is such an odd traditional photo. “Look at us! We’re married… and in a car!” Also, this shot makes me question our photographer’s skills.

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What is so funny?? I’m dying to know.

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Why yes, I did have seating cards in an assortment of bright colors.

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These orange and hot pink tablecloths and flowers were the start of my love affair with those colors…  an affair that continues today.

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First dance. Those faces are saying, “How long is this song anyway? Please let it end.” We started signaling to the band to wrap it up about four seconds into “Have a Little Faith in Me.”

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These men all said nice things about us.

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Wedding planner: A candy bar? Really?  Me: You don’t know me at all. (By the way, choosing the candy for the candy bar was my first favorite part about planning the wedding.)

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Wedding planner: Really, a choc…         Me: Yes, a chocolate fountain, too.

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My Mom was with me the whole day.

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Do you think the photographer had some note that said, “Catch siblings laughing in the corner of pictures.” Because I have like six more like this. And I love them.

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Me: This was fun but we out. KJ: Imma take one small drink for the road.

Twelve years is a long time, but not really. Neither of us has changed all that much. KJ still loves beer and golf and drinking beer during golf and he still loves the Yankees and the Jets and drinking beer at Yankees and Jets games. I still like margaritas.

We still disagree on when to leave for the airport but thanks to a deal we made a couple of years into our marriage,* it’s no longer up for debate.

He still likes to save money and I still like to spend it.

He still eats foods in weird combinations and mixes everything together on his plate and I still cringe when he does it.

We both still like seeing live music but admittedly he’s way more motivated about it.

We’re still bringing our specific skill sets to the family table. He’s practical, reliable and active. I’m creative, organized and lazy (yes, that’s a skill… do you think just anyone can stay on the couch in pajamas all day as often as I do?)

He has more rules for the kids, but I definitely yell more. Depending on the day, either one of us could be “the fun one.”

Lastly, and maybe most importantly for today, we’re both fine with the fact that we don’t really make a big deal about anniversaries.

Still, Happy 12th KJ.

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*Shortly after we got married, I realized that our arguments about when to leave for dinners, parties, appointments and mostly, flights were going to eventually land us in a marriage counselor’s – if not divorce lawyer’s – office. (Of course, I would be 10-15 minutes early for that appointment and KJ would be an “acceptable” five minutes late.)

I proposed the following deal:

I get to pick the departure time for any event – meal, party, wedding, etc. – that has to do with my family and friends. He decides when we leave for his family’s and friends’ events. He also gets to choose our departure time for any “neutral” event – mutual friends, our own dinner dates, etc. WITH ONE EXCEPTION: flights. I always get to decide when we leave for the airport.

We still use this contract today.

 

 

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June Brain

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Hi.

That’s pretty much all I’ve got. Because it’s June and June is nutballs crazy.

When my Mom was sick and undergoing treatment, she would blame “Chemo Brain” whenever she forgot something or couldn’t think clearly. Many of us have also experienced something similar with “Baby Brain” due to sleep deprivation and hormonal wackiness.

Well, I’m now adding June Brain* to the list of conditions that causes forgetfulness and confusion.

The cause is not chemical or hormonal, but yet “overcrowding” in the brain due to schedules that involve end of the school year parties, Field Day, concerts, teacher gifts, last soccer games, baking or shopping for party supplies, coach gifts, Moving Up ceremonies, buying napkins for parties, last baseball games, field trips to the beach, buying Popsicles, graduations and parties, end-of-the-year plays, the costumes required for end-of-the-school-year brain, and all of the other things that happen during the last three weeks of school. ALL OF THE THINGS.

I know you get it. Everyone I spoken to in the past two weeks has mentioned forgetting an appointment, missing a pick-up, screwing up a date or confusing a carpool and I have done ALL of those things this week alone.

Nobody has better explained June Brain than writer Jen Hatmaker in this post, “Worst End of School Year Mom Ever” so I won’t even try. Just READ THIS if you haven’t already.

Hang in there… one more week for my local friends, at least. WE ARE ALMOST THERE!

Godspeed.

*This would be “May Brain” if you live in Texas or anywhere else in the South where the your school year ends in May or very, very early June.

PS. You should know that while this blog stays stagnant for many, many weeks months at a time these days, I have not given up on it entirely. I could still write about the antics of my kids – and the crazy puppy we added to the mix! – but as they get older, I recognize that their stories are more their own to share.

And while Happy Dude will often say, “You can put that on Facebook” even when he is doing something boring and normal – ike he’ll be eating pasta and not eating anything healthy ever and he’ll be like, “You can take a picture and put that on Facebook if you want.” And I’m all like, “No thanks, I’m good.” – I need to respect their privacy now that they’re old enough to complain if I don’t.

So I’m trying to decide what direction this blog should take and hoping the universe will send me some sign or something so that I don’t have to figure it out on my own.

Stay tuned… and have a GREAT summer!

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Last elementary school concert 😩

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Field Day madness

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Paul Revere… check out that elaborate costume.

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Beach Field Trip. YESTERDAY. Because this week is not crazy enough.

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Not taking baseball TOO seriously. 🙄

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Crazy dog, playing hide & seek

Facebook/IG Hiatus

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Heeeeey, what do we have here? A BLOG post? Are people still writing those? I mean, I know I’M not. But I did document all of the pictures/updates I would have posted during my social media break, so I thought I would share them here. Here you go…

DAY 1: March 1st

I almost checked FB 22 times today. I kept a tally. Here are just a few things I wanted to post/read about today:

  • Vet recommendations
  • Two different Goldendoodle breeders’ FB pages
  • Reactions to Trump’s speech last night
  • The fact that HD really wants to name the puppy “Blue Cheese.” Thoughts?

Also, I just saw this CNN post…3.77 billion? Really? Looks more like 3.76 billion years old to me, but tomato/tomahto, I guess.

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DAY 2: March 2nd

  • Caption this photo. #tbt

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  • Just heard on the radio that Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom have broken up… who even knew they were dating? kmac 2000 is really disappointed in kmac 2017 right now. Kmac 2000 would also have really enjoyed this tidbit of gossip news but kmac 2017 doesn’t care at all.

 

DAY 3: March 3rd

  • Anyone have a basketball hoop they want to send me? Aspiring Kobe over here has outgrown our broken Playskool hoop. (Editor’s note: we got one this weekend and we haven’t seen the Nib inside the house since then.)
  • Lori Mac KILLIN’ it driving through icy, whiteout conditions. #VTlife  #Imactingconfidentsothekidsdontfreakout #lorimacsactingconfidentsoidontfreakout #idontevenski

 

DAY 5: March 5th

Hardcore family skiing in 0 degree weather. I’m feeling slightly nervous that someone’s nose might fall off… but not nervous enough to do anything about it because I’m sitting here in the lodge by the fire, with my book, ALONE. So yeah, I’m good.

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Day 8: March 8th

  • I would really like to be on social media today to see how “The Day Without Women” is going. Did all the women stay home? I really want to do my part, so I’m refusing to do laundry today.
  • I just found 19 copies of a March Madness bracket on my printer.  🤔

 

Day 9: March 9th

5-8″ of snow tonight?!? NOOOO!!! Hang in there little, purple guys! 😩

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Day 10: March 10th

The “snowstorm” is a non-event, yet here I sit, during regular school hours, surrounded by three children. I bet everyone is FREAKING OUT online.

We’re kickin it old school on this snow day with some Rock’em Sock’em Robot action. We also watercolored, had a Moana soundtrack lip sync contest, and HD made a bracket for “Most Competitive Sounding Name” (FYI, “ROEN” is the winner). We did NOT play in the snow. You know why? THERE IS NO SNOW.

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AND guess what else… WE ATE BREAKFAST FOR ALL THREE MEALS. NOT KIDDING.

  • Breakfast: Cereal and waffles
  • Lunch: Oatmeal
  • Dinner: Scrambled eggs and toast

BREAKFAST: IT’S NOT JUST FOR DINNER ANYMORE.

 

Day 12: March 12th

I’ve decided that reactions to weather conditions is a big part of my social media experience. For instance, there is now a BLIZZARD coming and I have no idea if everyone’s bought their wine! Also, it seems cruel that today is National Napping Day and I can’t post about it. You’ll just have to trust me: I napped. and I napped HARD.

 

Day 13: March 13th

If a blizzard happens and I’m not on social media to witness the posts/school predictions/snowman pictures, did it ever really happen at all??

 

Day 14: March 14th

So sad about the news of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s passing. Like so many, I learned about her battle with cancer when reading her incredible moving essay, You May Want to Marry My Husband. I cried reading it and I cried even harder when I saw who the author was. And then I sobbed uncontrollably today when I heard she died. Reading Little Pea tonight and sending her family peace and light.

 

Day 15: March 15th

Hawaii just blocked Muslim Ban 2.0! I’ve never been so proud to be a Hawaiian (honeymooner) before!

 

Day 16: March 16th

We met some SUPER CUTE baby Labradoodles this morning!

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And then this happened:

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No, he wasn’t boxing.

 

Day 18: March 18th

So, we’re getting a puppy. A very, very hypoallergenic puppy. It’s really happening. His name is Oscar and he’ll be coming home mid-April and we met him on FaceTime today!

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This is a screenshot of the video the Nib took of our FaceTime session… look at HD’s face:

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Day 21: March 21st

Oscar’s currently living with a trainer for a few weeks since a) I have no idea how to train a puppy and b) we got him much sooner than expected and we’re traveling next week. BUT we did get to visit him today. Slightly concerned about HD’s hives but the trainer’s house if full of dog hair so hoping that’s why. We’re going to take Oscar for a sleepover next week. Fingers crossed. I’m shocked that LO didn’t suggest taking Oscar and sending HD back. Look at this face:

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Day 22: March 22nd:

Took the kids to see “The Play that Goes Wrong” today. I would say LO understood about 88% of it, the Nib 75% and HD, maybe 40%. But you don’t have to understand all of the references to laugh at people getting hurt on stage, so they loved it. #compassionisnotourgame

Then we went to Planet Hollywood and I should get a medal because that place is CRAZY. Also, my kids are crazy. And then I gave them giant milkshakes so THAT didn’t help.

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Day 23: March 23rd

Today is National Puppy Day… yay! we have one! Boo, he doesn’t live with us yet.

 

Day 27: March 27th

Oscar spent the night with us last night. 😍

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Day 30: March 30th

This was a gift, if you can call it that. Thanks a LOT, Neil. My vision will never be the same.

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Day 32: April 1st

Ten-year old me’s dream coming true. If only there were a Ground Round in Times Square, I could relive every birthday party I had between the ages of 7-11.

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Day 34: April 3rd

HD made a list of everything Oscar will need:

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After I read it, I asked him why Oscar will need a calendar. He said, “Well if he gets lots of friends, he’ll have lots of play dates and you’ll have to write them down so you don’t forget about them.” He’s got a point.

 

Day 36: April 5th

I clicked on a link that opened up Facebook today. It was an honest mistake. The link had been tiny url’ed so I didn’t know but as soon as I saw the FB logo, I closed it immediately. Please forgive me, God. (I don’t care what the rest of you people think.)

 

Day 37: April 6th

On a serious note, I just spent a few minutes looking at the pictures of the scene of the chemical attack in Syria. So upsetting and hard, but it feels important to look at these faces – these CHILDREN’S faces – and hold them and all of the innocent people affected by this attack in our thoughts and prayers today.

This week has been rough. From small things like my kids acting like assholes to very big things (see above) to the fact that this time of year can be hard because my Mom’s birthday is tomorrow and the anniversary of her death is the 11th and BAM, and then add it that it NEVER STOPS RAINING and well, it’s been a shitshow. Then this happened:

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My neighbor put it perfectly when she said, “This just feels a little bit like a gift.”

Dayum Mother Nature, you so good.

 

Day 38: April 7th

Happy Birthday Mom… miss you everyday.

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Day 41: April 10th

Yay, Florida! One of my favorite weeks of the year! #halfadozencousins

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Day 42: April 11th

At Beauty & the Beast with 13 people…

  • Tickets: $85
  • Four popcorns: $21
  • Four Crunch-a-Munch: $16
  • Two M&Ms: $8
  • One Sour Patch Kids: $4
  • Ten lemonades: $35
  • Three bottles of water: $12
  • Two Diet Cokes: $7
  • Memories of going to the movies with ten cousins that will last a lifetime: $188 freaking dollars! That’s CRAZY expensive!

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Day 43: April 12th

Last day of Facebook and Instagram hiatus! Hooray!

Here’s what I’ve learned from my social media break:

  • I missed it but can certainly live without it.
  • I’m not dependent on it for my news.
  • I’m surprisingly not that much more productive without it. (I’m just not that productive, period.)
  • I didn’t have noticeably more face-to-face conversations, probably because I’m not a teenager and have not completely replaced face-to-face communications with social media.
  • I’LL NEVER LEAVE AGAIN!!! Just kidding. It wasn’t that big a deal. (Except if God’s listening, then it was HUGE sacrifice!)

 

2016: Our Year in Review

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I wrote nine blog posts this year. NINE. I’ve fallen so far from my original goal of AT LEAST one blog post a week and I don’t even have a good excuse! I can’t blame the stress of having a baby (he’s SIX! 😩)… I can’t blame the lack of sleep (if I get less than 6-7 uninterrupted hours, it’s usually my own fault for drinking too much evening coffee)… and I can’t even blame Trump since that particular stress didn’t really start until November.

I know, I’ll blame the 5th grade homework! That shit takes up a LOT of time AND mental energy. After several pages of word problems involving fractions, division, bar graphs and so many tears (sometimes LO’s, sometimes mine) I simply don’t have any brain cells left for any other intellectual or creative endeavors. Blame the math!

But despite my lacksadaisical posting over the past 12 months, we did do a lot this year. So I wanted to take a look back and review the highlights.

JANUARY – the whole family went skiing in Vermont (and by “whole family,” I mean “almost everyone except for me and KJ”). It was a fantastic weekend… LO appreciated being one with nature on the mountaintop, the Nib turned it all into a winning game and declared himself “FIRST,” (although it’s as unclear with whom he was competing) and HD, well, he didn’t freak out about the ski boots. Success! LO is looking forward to several ski weekends with Aunt Lori this coming season… and also, the waffles they serve at Stratton Mountain.

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FEBRUARY – we spent an action-packed week in Florida where the cousins all learned to skateboard over dangerous obstacles and then whipped and nay-nayed to a “professionally” choreographed dance (God bless that instructor and his patience). (The latter was easier to watch than the former.)

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Oh and we all fell in love with Abe and Mary Todd, our local eagle residents. (As many of you know, this relationship ultimately resulted in extreme heartbreak when their eggs refused to hatch. We assume this also caused Abe and Mary Todd to split up and seek new partners. We’re eager to see who won the nest in the property settlement when we return in 2017. We’ll also have to come up with names for the new partners, which may be tricky, as something like “Abe and Lindsay” or “Justin and Mary Todd” don’t really roll off the tongue.)

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Other February highlights…

LO performed in her first drama-class production…

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And HD LOVED watching her…

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MARCH – LOTS of exciting things happened in March… the kids met Grammy’s puppy, Molly, for the first time; LO got her braces off; new baby cousin Kyle was born AND HD became the first kid in our family to experience Chuck E. Cheese. HUGE month!

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Other March highlights

This sunset.

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APRIL – When I look back to April on the calendar, I see that that’s the month that LO spent several hours a day for four days taking the SBACs (CT schools’ standardized test). It’s also the month my sister and I took the five kids to Mexico. Not sure which one of those would be classified as the more painful experience. I’M KIDDING. LO didn’t think the test was that bad. 😏

For real, that Mexico trip was so worth it for the lifetime of laughs it has given us. If you feel like YOU need to relive it, you can do so BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE.

MAY – Jazzfest or Bust! Or… Jazzfest… what a bust. Boo.

Other May highlights

First official picture of the BAKER’S Dozen Cousins!

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JUNE – June is always a jam-packed month full of end-of-the-school year celebratory events… parties, field day, concerts, graduations, etc. Last day of school, first days of camps, blah blah blah, summer begins!

JULY – Camp, camp, drama camp, camp, blissful all-day camp. And a Phish show! (To be clear, the camps were for the kids; the Phish show was for KJ and me.)

*Another thing to note from July is that I launched a new hobby for myself: brunching. And to more specific, brunching in New York City. After years of being envious of KJ’s hobbies that required his leaving the house for many hours at a time (golf, and sporting events) I finally found one of my own. Luckily, I have friends that have been so supportive of my new endeavor and in some cases, have picked it up as a weekend recreational activity of their own.

AUGUST – We packed up the whole family and traveled to Ireland to celebrate Aunt Lori’s birthday. Yup, we even let the Nib come. It was a great trip filled with family, fun and falcons.

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LO and I also celebrated her 10th birthday with an awesome girls’ trip to Maine. That LO is one interesting kid and we both fell in love with Maine, so it was an awesome trip. The highlight for her was catching almost 100 fish during one excursion. The highlight for me was walking around Portland and hitting up all three Starbucks locations in one day. (KIDDING.) (Not really.)

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SEPTEMBER – Back to school! We’ve got all three under one elementary roof this year in Kindergarten, 2nd grade and 5th grade. Which means, you can usually find me under that roof as well. Also, LO and the Nib started in the travel soccer program this fall and HD started his first year of rec soccer, which means we spend about 129 hours a week either on a soccer field or driving to/from a soccer field. (At least back in September, we still had high hopes for a great season. 🙄)

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OCTOBER – Soccer, soccer, soccer, drama class, soccer, soccer, KJ’s birthday, Halloween.

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NOVEMBER – HD turned SIX! Can’t stand it. He’s lost two teeth, now knows how to read and loves to lip sync songs while dancing hip hop. Like I said, I have no more babies. 😩

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We celebrated the end of the longest soccer season in history, which as many of you know from my Facebook posts was an unbelievably dismal season for Team Jandora. Our final record (for the three kids’ teams combined) was 5-26-2. FIVE-TWENTY-SIX AND TWO! BAD. VERY BAD. 😩

Oh, that reminds me… also in November, the election. 😩

DECEMBER – The Nib turned EIGHT and declared himself the winner of birthdays. That kid didn’t become any less competitive this year, but he’s still a great big brother and a giant cuddler at bedtime so we’re going to keep him.

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We celebrated Christmas with ALL the family and so much love and now, here we sit on New Year’s Eve, feeling happy and blessed, but ready to say goodbye to a year full of ups and downs (as all years tend to be).

I’m sure 2017 will have its down moments as well, because well, LIFE, but here’s hoping the laughs will outnumber the tears, the fun will outweigh the fear and that love will always, always win.

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Happy New Year to all of you and your families!

PS. Our family created a Joy Jar this year – a physical jar where one could document a happy occasion, event or moment by jotting it down on a piece of paper and adding it to the jar. It was some sort of Christmas Miracle that I remembered to bring them to Florida (where we are now) so we could read them today, which was always the plan. We just finished reading them about 15 minutes ago and it was so awesome to remember some of our happy memories of the year… some big (“I loved our trip to Maine!”), some small (“play dates”) and some… well, I’ll let this one speak for itself:

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Yeah, that was one of my happiest memories of the year, too.