Friday, April 27, 2018

A Bucket List Item I Didn't Even Know I Had

The stars aligned earlier this month when all 3 of my siblings and I got to hang out together in Colorado to celebrate my brother's 40th birthday. We hadn't been all together in the same room for at least 4 years, so this trip was very exciting.


The first full day we were there, we went to Manitou Springs, CO, home of the Incline. I had seen this massive "thing" before, when my husband and I were in Colorado for the baptism of my niece in September. It literally looks like a ladder going up the side of a mountaintop. Straight up into the sky. I (kinda) wanted to climb it then, but it was a no-go from Hubby.

That day the 4 of us were there, my Sis and I were taking some good-natured ribbing from our 2 younger brothers, who insisted that there was NO WAY we could make it to the top. All this, of course, while the 2 of them had NO intentions of doing it themselves (my brother who lives in CO has done it numerous times already, so he gets a pass; and Birthday Boy? No way-he'd die). So their plan was to go find a library, and by library I mean bar, until we were through.


And so we began. Let it be noted that we were already out of breath...before we even started. The altitude is NO JOKE. I mean, I knew in my head that my legs would get hurty, but I definitely didn't take into account the whole "not being able to breathe" factor.

Everyone attempting the Incline is super friendly and supportive. You're all in the same boat together. I was surprised by the amount of solo hikers, and I'm glad we went on a day that wasn't crowded.

The steps, at times, were close together and easy. And then, at other times, they were further apart and STEEP. And the higher we climbed, the more dizzy we got, both from the altitude and just looking back down. At some points, I was climbing the steps like an actual ladder - using both my hands and my feet. And so we kept going up.


And oh yeah, there's a false summit. Thank GOD I knew about this beforehand, because it literally would have broken my spirit. I would 100% had a meltdown if I reached that point and then realized there was more to go. And there is - more to go. When you hit that part, it's just MANY MORE STAIRS STRAIGHT UP. There's no flat part, no curve, no landing. Just more stairs that happen to be out of sight from the bottom. And so we kept going up.

[Fun fact: My brother once tricked my Dad with the false summit. "You only have this much further to go, Pops. You can do it!" And then once they reached it, there was LOTS of swearing, but my Dad forged on to the top.]

Once you get started, there's really no way to quit. Before the false summit, which is about 3/4 of the way up, there is a point where you can get on the trail to go back down. But other than that? If you want out, you're heading back down those stairs. And for me, that was a huDge HELL NO. I could just picture myself pitching forward and tumbling down down down. And so we kept going up.



Eventually...finally...gloriously...we made it to the top. Sweaty, (still) out of breath, and triumphant!



I'd definitely do it again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Making Family Dinner - You Win Some, You Lose Some


By all means, I'm not a cooking expert. The crockpot is my friend, even though my family tires of those meals pretty easily. But I do have some crockpot meal winners in my repertoire. And definitely some losers:


Nonetheless, I try to plan weekly meals, based on the boys' evening sports/activities and who will be around that night. I'm usually serving dinner 3 nights during the week and my fall back meals are without a doubt: topsy turvy (breakfast for dinner), pasta, and tacos.


Mind you, the taco nights are nothing fancy at all. Taco mix from a box with all the fixings. The boys also like white rice with their taco meat and cheese.

Last week, I'm not quite sure what came over me, but I got oh so fancy and innovative. Instead of plopping all the cooked ingredients on the counter and lining them up assembly-line style for the kids to make a mess their own tacos, I put a scoop of meat, a scoop of rice and some shredded cheese in each of the soft tacos, wrapped them up burrito-style, and baked them in the oven for a few minutes, figuring if the boys wanted fixings (sour cream, guac, salsa), they could just dip the taco instead.

You would've thought I was Mother of the Year. All of the tacos were completely devoured with gusto.

Not 1, not 2, but all *3* of them asked, at separate points and without hearing each other ask first, "Did you get this recipe on Pinterest, Mom?!"

Ummm, no kids. I came up with it all.by.myself. Can you even believe what a gourmet chef your mother is?!



...and then the next day, riding on my high of Taco Maker Extraordinaire, I threw frozen meatballs and sauce in the crockpot to serve with pasta. Simple and easy, right? The boys (including my Hubby), literally only ate pasta...without sauce or meatballs.

Thanks for keeping me on my toes, fam.









Monday, March 19, 2018

The Five Stages of Driving with a New Teen Driver


Moms, the time is coming, mark my words. This blog *used* to be about the hecticness of life raising young boys - potty training; naps; strollers; etc.

And, well, now?  Time sure does fly. Now I have two teenagers and a soon-to-be-teen. One of which is a SIXTEEN YEAR OLD DRIVER. Let me just say that my gray hairs have quadrupled since October 5, 2017, the day Eldest turned 16, passed his exam and received his Massachusetts driver's permit.

Much like the stages of grief (and there is absolutely grief involved when you have a teen driver), here are the 5 stages of driving with a new teen driver:

1. Optimism. Stage One is definitely optimism. You think, "Hey, he did it! He passed the written test. He knows all about driving now! I'm *sure* he can handle driving (no more than) 30mph in town. That's not very fast. This should be a piece of cake! And how great will it be to have someone else able to schlep everyone to and from their sports?!"

2. Apprehension. But then comes Stage 2. Once you're in the car and securely buckled, with the child you practically just birthed at the wheel, the crazy thoughts begin: "Wow, this is a big car. Can he really handle it? What about all the other drivers out there? Isn't there a sign we can put on the windshield to indicate he's a new driver? Why isn't there a foot brake on my side? Maybe this isn't such a good idea after all...I really don't mind schlepping to sports for another 3, 4, 5 years. It's not so bad."

3. Confusion. After Apprehension comes Stage 3, where Confusion sets in. You begin to wonder, "Why am I so nervous? This is a kid who has played driving and racing videos since he was 3 years old! He's driven plenty of go-carts. And the lawnmower. And he had that big ride-on Cadillac Escalade that he drove his brothers in. He should know how to drive, right?"  And hang on (for dear life. Literally.), because Stage 3 merges directly into Stage 4, because then you become even more confused when your child, in fact, is NOT an excellent driver.


4. Abject Terror.  Oof, Stage 4. At this point, the optimism has waned and you're already apprehensive and confused as you find yourself white-knuckle gripping the "oh shit" handle in your car (the handle on the ceiling above the passenger seat), and your body is swerving in the hopes that the car will swerve along with you to avoid the mailboxes and CURBS that are coming dangerously close to your entire right side. Yet you hold it all in and calmly state, "Drive a little closer to the middle, honey. You're getting too close to the side, ok?", but inside of your brain you can see yourself curled up in the fetal position sucking your thumb and wondering whose bright idea it was to procreate in the first place. And don't even get me started about backing out of the garage/driveway and that time he *thought* he had put the car in Forward but it was actually still in Reverse and we came about 2 inches from hitting the neighbor's mailbox. Yep, that's Stage 4 alright. Or when you finally let him drive on the highway and he needs to pull in to the parking lot but he's in the left lane and not the right lane to turn and he switches lanes (signaling, of course) yet he "didn't see" the car that he cut off. Until we hear the furious beeping and see the one-finger wave behind us. Did I already mention the amount of new gray hair I have?

5. Relief.  But oh, then there's lovely Stage 5. Relief, sweet relief. Please note that this stage *only* occurs when the car is parked safely in the garage, engine off, and your feet are on solid ground. And you vow not to do that again anytime soon.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Are You Victoria's Secret Bathing Suit Ready? The 2018 Edition!

Here in New England, we've weathered three (3!) Nor'Easters all within the span of a few weeks...and supposedly there's another one looming on the horizon next week. And ummm...it's MARCH, dammit.

But in the spirit of being optimistic (because that's soooooo me) let's just skip right over spring and think about SUMMER! The sun, the warmth, the drinks, the BEACH!  And what does one wear to the beach? Why of course, you don your best string bikini from Victoria's Secret, right? (Again, that's sooooo me.)


Up first we have this creative tye-dye number. It's a DIY'er! Grab your tightest tee, cut the shit out of it, and go to town with the dye! Hey, have your kids help you!

Ummm, either this is a great breastfeeding suit (just untie and whip out the boob), or a horribly dangerous idea (small children, easy lace to untie with little fingers and then boom, you look down and you're exposed). Kids these days!

Remember Cats Cradle that we used to do with yarn/string in the 80's? This is the bathing suit equivalent.

Mom truth: The sides of my legs up to my waist are NOT the most flattering area on my bod. I feel like my skin would totally try to escape that netting and would bulge out the sides. Not a good look. 

Does this model have nipples? Where are they?!

Victoria finally came up with an educational bathing suit: Here kids, it's time to learn to tie. Lie down on Momma's back and practice!

Why oh why would you ever want those tan lines?! 

If that string comes untied, do your bottoms fall off?


Hey, happy shopping!



Friday, June 30, 2017

Sarah's Summer Reading Suggestions

Curated just for you - to kick off this summer as you're laying peacefully by the pool or relaxing on the sand near the ocean...


Which?? Hahahahaha, that's funny, right Moms??! 

This is probably way more realistic:


Anyway, if there's a slight chance that you *do* have some downtime, here are my recommendations for your summer reading pleasure:

YOUNG ADULT:



Wonder is such a quick but heartwarming read. It will tug at your parental heartstrings. Also, it's going to be made into a movie, so definitely read the book first (always my rule of thumb).


eleanor & park is a pleasant surprise, I promise. It's a quirky teen love story set in 1986.


I remember reading this and feeling so sorry for Sutter Keely, the protagonist of The Spectacular Now. He's a cocky, yet insecure teenager whose actions are often cringeworthy.  It is more of a heavy read for a YA book, but worth it! This was also made into a movie, but I haven't watched it.

FAST-PACED THRILLERS:


I have 3 words to describe YOU (the book! Not *you*):  creepy, weird and compelling. This is one you will have trouble putting down. It's a stalker-filled beach read. And apparently, there's a sequel called Hidden Bodies. I have not read it yet though. Hopefully this summer!


Behind Closed Doors is one of my most recent favorite reads. Don't be surprised if this is one you can't put down. The title of the book says it all - that you never know what goes on...behind closed doors. (cue creepy music).


Wreckage is a book where you *think* you have figured out what happens...but you're probably wrong. It's about a plane crash survivor, her survival experience, the family she left behind, and the family she comes back home to.  This one isn't necessary fast-paced, but it's completely enthralling.


By one of my favorite authors, The Guest Room is about a bachelor party gone very, VERY wrong.

THE OPPOSITE OF LIGHT AND FLUFFY:



We Need to Talk About Kevin is a difficult, yet worthwhile read about the mother of a murderer. It is creatively written, yet eerie and compelling and uncomfortable. This is also a movie, that to be honest, I think I would have a hard time watching.


I don't know how many times I've raved about and recommended A Little Life, but it's quite a lot. This one is not for the faint of heart. It's beyond heavy, but oh so poignant. The writing is phenomenal. The characters (especially the main character, Jude) are memorable. If at first you're not into it, I promise you, just keep reading.

TEARJERKERS:



You can't read fly away without reading firefly lane first. Powerful stories of lifelong friendship. I most definitely cried at the end of firefly lane.


If you liked Me Before You, you'll love Dancing on Broken Glass even more. A heartbreaking love story that will definitely have you reaching for your beach towel to wipe your streaming teardrops.

JUST PLAIN GOOD READS:


I think you'll find that A Reliable Wife is a pleasant surprise. With its setting in the early 1900's, you expect it to be stodgy and buttoned-up, when it's actually just the opposite! The sex and scandal are delightful!


I remember being obsessed in high school with the stories of Charles Manson and the Helter Skelter murders, so The Girls, for me, was very reminiscent of that time period and the cult mentality. I couldn't put this one down.

Happy summer reading!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summertime, And the Living Isn't Easy

"This summer is going to be a nightmare."

---E-mail from my husband to me, today, on only the THIRD day of summer vacation for the boyz, as both of us, from work, were trying to figure out who was getting who to baseball, who was going to what party tonight, who was getting a ride with who, and maybe, just maybe, squeeze in dinner tonight? Like at some point, maybe we can eat?

They are now 15-1/2, 13 and (almost) 12. No need for a babysitter. Like we had with my mother for many, many summers.

We don't even need to pay someone to be a *body* anymore. Just to make sure they don't microwave aluminum foil or physically harm each other. They hopefully know better...and what I don't know while I'm at work is fine by me, as long as the house resembles a home and not a frat house when I return. They are aware that if there is an emergency to call their father 911.


And they certainly already know how to call Domino's Pizza, as evidenced by the empty pizza box on Tuesday. Apparently there was a lunchtime delivery. Paid for by Middle with birthday money. I'm not sure what the other 2 owe him for that, or how they convinced him to spend his money. I didn't ask.

Yes, there are still chore charts. (4 years and counting of them!) Obviously, the responsibilities on those charts have gotten a bit more involved, yet I still find myself writing down BRUSH YOUR TEETH as a task. (Does this ever end?)

But here's the difference that we're noticing this year. They are now teens and pre-teens with active social lives and activities. They are constantly connected to their friends via Snapchat, Facetime and texts.


On days 1 and 2 of summer vacation, I was already getting bombarded with requests to go all the places and do all the things. So today, I took the offensive and forewarned them:


I have a feeling that it is going to be a loooooong summer, you guys.




Thursday, June 01, 2017

What I'm Loving - June 2017

Hi there! Time sure does fly when you have 3 boys playing baseball...on FIVE different teams! Thankfully we're in the home stretch now. (I say that, but does it really ever end? Baseball goes into football which goes into basketball which goes into baseball...)

Anywho, here's some of my recent faves:
 These suckers are addictive! A little salty, a little sweet...they just started getting them at my work.(We have "hubs" on each floor of TripAdvisor filled with drinks and snacks for the taking...among all the other numerous perks!)


This Burberry primer is (a bit pricey but) so silky smooth! I received a sample of it from Sephora and was instantly hooked. I've been using it all spring as a compliment to my baseball tan. You will completely love how it makes you glow.


Another sample I received from Sephora was this Philosophy serum. I've been kinda obsessed with serums lately, and this one is the best I've found thus far. The smell is amazing and it really does make your face feel fabulous and smooth. I'm having a hard time with the price point though, so I haven't pulled the trigger and bought a full-size bottle...yet.


I knew I wouldn't be disappointed when I started binge-watching this. Is there anyone who doesn't like this show? However, Mr. Donovan and I need to break up for a bit, because I need to watch the new seasons of Bloodline, House of Cards, and OITNB first. But I will be back, Liev, don't you worry. (Does anyone else think he sort of looks like Jax from Vanderpump Rules?! Am I right?)



I'm trying to get back into running. It started with making a goal to run at least one race a month. In conjunction with the running, I needed some good running motivation. Enter the Spotify app, which I was unaware of until my 15yr old introduced it to me. After hours of searching for all types of good tunes, I made my own running playlist that I LOVE! It definitely helps so much when I venture out for a run.


How cute are these?! They're my new favorite shoes and will be worn LOTS this summer! They look so great with white capris and a black top.

As far as summer reading is concerned, I am always on the hunt for my next great read. Follow me on Goodreads to see what I'm reading and what I'm wanting to read next!

Happy summer everyone! Here's to not having to make school lunches!

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