Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Vacation Summary

We had so much fun at the beach, I wish I was still there. Don't get me wrong -- it was insane. As only one house with 13 children (most in the 3-5 range) can be. But it was also great.

Our typical day -- kids up around 6:30 (ARGHH!) . Eat breakfast and let them veg in front of the tv. 9:00ish head to the beach. Let the kids frolic in the sand and waves (try not to panic too much about them being swept out to sea). 11:30ish head back to the house (3 blocks away). Get lunch together and feed everyone. 1-3ish nap/quiet time. Kids who don't nap are sent to 2nd floor to watch a movie. Kids who nap (most days average = 3 (2 of whom are babies)) go to their rooms. Adults get the third floor and read books, play Boggle or Mingh, and veg. Optional sitting on the deck listening to the waves encouraged. 3:30 - kids craft activity. 4ish head to the pool (out back). Hang in the pool as long as possible before kids dinner/adult happy hour at 6:30ish. Kids in bed (although not close to sleep) at 8:15ish. Adult dinner at 8:30 followed by games and eventually bed.

Adults also had a few outings -- boys went golfing; girls went on a tour of the upper beaches and wild horses.

  • getting the pools to work (electrical issue with the house) - we had a little kiddie pool that served as a waterfall into the big pool - very cool
  • kids singing with Tim, who played his guitar
  • Matthew's Wiggles bday party
  • tour guide passing out while in wild horse country (we can't make this stuff up!)
  • yummy happy hour drinks
  • watergun wars in the pool
  • Portuguese wine - yummmm
  • managing not to drown anyone (even those who fell in the pool and couldn't swim)
  • weird THUMP in the night
  • catching a fish at the beach (it was tiny and caught in a net at the water's edge)
  • Kathy break-dancing (LOL)
  • leftover Oreos and Ice Cream Sandwiches -- what the @(*#&@(*?
  • delicious dinners

Already looking forward to next year!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Yayy for me!

I forgot, even while on vacation I got up this morning at 6:15 to run. Despite being kept up by DS from 12:30 to 1:30, I did the full 30 minutes, meaning that if I do it 2 more times this week, I will have graduated CP25K. Today I also did my first run with somebody. Thought it would be too
hard, but it was fun! Hopefully my first 5k will feel like that. I plan to try and do one in Oct.

We're on vacation, we're on vacation!

So we got up at dawn to make it to the beach before the heaviest traffic. Made it here around 12:30 on saturday. Had some yummy NC bbq, and killed time at the playground in the middle of a shopping area. We were all here and ready when the house was available at 4pm. The house is well suited for
our needs, if not somewhat grungy. It's sad..you can tell it had been nice (granite countertops, beautiful wood floors) but the carpet and sofas are all stained and the house has clearly not been kept up. It is closer to the beach than I thought (right across the street!) And the pool is huge
(although they are having some electrical issues with the pump). So far we've had 5-6 nudie kids running around from time to time, and many propositions to sleep together (mostly to get the top bunk). From the 5 and 6 year olds. The first night the kids crashed around 9:45pm..last night it was
8:30! Love what sun and water can do to exhaust the little ones!!
You would not believe how much 13 kids this small can eat. There are about 5 slices of cheese left in a 5lb block after just one lunch??!! We are also going through minibagels and bread like crazy!!
Anway, will report more later, but suffice it to say we are having a blast!

Friday, August 17, 2007

12 adults + 13 kids = 1 BEACH VACATION

So tomorrow bright and early we are off to the beach. YAYYYY. This is a crazy, but awesome trip I look forward to all year! We rent a big house and 6 families head to the beach. We are outnumbered this year because someone went and had 3 kids !!??!!( ooops, that was me), but it should be fine. The kids range from 1-7, with most in the 3-5 range. They are all going to be in bunk beds on the bottom floor of our house. The adults are on the middle and top floors. The house is 500 ft to the beach, has a large pool, a kiddie pool, two hot tubs and an elevator. I can't wait to see it!

We've taken this same trip for over 15 years -- starting when we had just graduated from college -- no husbands yet and certainly no children. It has definitely evolved since then, but is still a highlight of my year. We have this awesome spreadsheet that outlines dinners for all week, cleaning, kids activities, etc. Each family is responsible for one meal, one happy hour (with drinks and appetizer), one kid activity, and one night of cleaning. Also the adult boys get one day out (they are golfing) and so do the girls (not sure what we are doing yet). We all pay a flat rate for room, and food and drinks. Works like a charm.

So..I'm off to the Outer Banks. Will post some pics and stories as soon as I am back.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Renovation Yuck

So we love how our house is coming along. We really do. But there is currently a film of dust and dirt covering pretty much EVERY INCH of our house. We Swiffer constantly to no avail. It is really gross. And for me to say that it has to be pretty bad. Its not like I live in a pristine home. Our house is full of stuff. Lots of piles of clutter around. But it is rarely DIRTY. It is now. Walking with your bare feet (as I almost always do at home) is disgusting. I am trying hard not to think about how much lead paint dust the kids are consuming. I am very glad to be going out of town again next week. Yayyy beach vacation. Bye Bye dusty dirty house.

Friday, August 10, 2007

3 amusement parks in 4 days is too many

So we did Dutch Wonderland on Monday. Sesame Place on Wednesday. And Dorney Park on Thursday. The first two were great. By Dorney park, I was parked out. DW was GREAT for little kids. Not very crowded, food was cheap (from a park perspective), and the rides were all age appropriate. Sesame was a bit more crowded, lots more expensive ($25 for an Abby Kadabee doll?!!), but still good rides and shows. Dorney is a big park - mostly for big kids/adults, but with a Camp Snoopy that was fun and a great water park. But I was kind of sick of it all. We took a break for naps and lunch and I really didn't want to go back. It started to rain, so I thought I'd be in luck, but it stopped so we went back. The water park was really fun, and the kids loved it, so I'm glad we did.

To do again I think we'd do 2 parks in four days. Even if we went multiple days to each, I think it will be more manageable. When the kids are older it will be easier too. With one of haviing to hang out most if the time with Big Man (although my friend Kathy who we are visiting up here has been a big help), it was a little hard.

Today we are off to Crayola Factory and the Please Touch museum, then we head home. Can't wait to see what the house looks like.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Family Vacation - Part 1

So we're on vacation. Part one of the plan worked great. After leaving the ballgame (Nats make second sweep in a row! Alas, this time to dh's beloved Cards) kids crash nearly all the way to PA. We are staying in these cute cottages, recommended by steph and josh. Cute, cheap, and very convenient - right in the heart of Amish country. Today we spent 7 plus hours at Dutch Wonderland. The kids loved it - oldest daughter (k) went on the roller coaster 4 times. Middle (I) didn't like the baby coaster at all, but loved these little sitting scooter types things you wiggle around on. She could've done that all day. She probably spent an hour on it total. Big man loved the merry go round. We all enjoyed it, although the humidity was killer. Tonight we are taking it easy with fast food for the grown ups and microwave tomato soup for the girls and pick up pasta and canned oranges for big man. Tomorrow we explore Amish country and Strasbourg railroad.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Porch, Ho!

So the house renovation is going really well. The back now has siding and a roof, skylights and most of the windows. This week they started working on the porch. Here is what it looked like two weeks ago (after they had pulled out most of the bushes and weeds and such):

Here it is now:

Isn't it so cool? The one and ONLY one good thing our idiot architect contributed to this project is the skylights on the porch. This will allow us to still have light in the front room of our house. You can't tell from this shot, but the triangle over the door goes with the one over the dormer on the left. I really like it.

As I am told happens with all remodeling, we are now officially hemorrhaging money. There is the overall project which we refinanced our mortgage to pay for (hey honey, after 9+ years of owning our house, we owe twice on it what we did when we bought it -- yay!); then we got a new hot water heater a few months ago to include the new bathroom; now we are upgrading the HVAC in the new space to provide for central air conditioning to the whole house; then we had them fix one part of the roof and realized it was probably just as big a problem everywhere and are having the whole roof replaced; we also have to move the gas meter from the front because of the porch. Everyday we look at each other and say "how many thousands of dollars did we spend today, honey?" never mind the fact that we have no grass or bushes or landscaping anymore... Oh well, its just money, right?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

August = vacation

For me, August means vacation. I have a job that limits when I can take vacation time. August is always a good time. So we have 2 weeks of vacations planned. Next week we will take our (previously planned for 4th of July) trip to Pennsylvania. We first will go to Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster. Then see Strasburg Railroad and take a buggy ride. Then we head north to Sesame Place for a day. Then off to visit friends in Allentown and go to Dorney Park. We end off the week with a trip to the Crayola Factory and the Herr Potato Chip factory before heading home. Will be a whirlwind of amusement parks. Poor big man will not be happy missing naps and will hopefully crash in the stroller.

At the end of the month we got to the beach -- the Outer Banks, specifically. This is a tradition -- I think it will be my 14th or 15th or so year. Maybe more. This year we will have 12 adults and 13 kids under age 8. in one house. It will be NUTS and very very fun. I can't wait. The spreadsheet for dinners, happy hours, cleaning and activities is getting filled. Yayyy!

Will try and post from the road next week, but not sure I know how. Beware of strange looking posts!