THE BEACH, THE BOARDWALK, AND THE BAD-ASS “MICK JAGGER LIPS” CONCUSSION (Our Summer Vacation 2014)

We are a happily, blended family of seven. Plus, one dog.  So actually, we are eight.

With this eight, there is never a shortage of fun.  Or noise.  There is a lot of fun and a lot of noise.

And while we are, of course, blessed for the love and beautiful – and crazy – connection of our family…we are also blessed to be able to take an annual summer vacation.

When planning our annual vacation, my husband and I put in a lot of time, a lot of research and a lot of effort.

Last summer, we brought our five children to Disney World for a week – and yes, we may have been crazy going to Florida in August but our budget dictated the timeline.  For the kids, this was a dream vacation.  For my husband and I, this was work.  A lot of work.  Don’t get me wrong – I couldn’t wait to see my then-five-year-old son’s face light up when he met Mickey Mouse or when my then-eight-year-old rode a “real” roller coaster for the first time.  And, of course, I was excited to dress the seven of us in matching shirts and capture the perfect Disney-themed family photo that, when I posted on Facebook, everyone would say: “That HAS to be your Christmas card.”

But before all the “Disney magic,” we had to pack, confirm all iPods were charged, make sure everyone had flip-flops to wear to the airport so getting through security was as seamless as possible, assign seating on the plane so our then- 10- and 8-year-olds were as far away from each other as possible to avoid uncontrollable laughter and unwanted noise on the early morning flight, request to pre-board because our daughter has Autism and I have MS, confirm that the flight attendants were aware we have two children with peanut allergies, explain to the kids why their electronic devices had to be turned off during take-off, and then survive the questions – and understandable excitement – of the two-hour and forty-minute flight.  Once we arrived, the rest of that week was a memory-making experience like no other filled with fun and fairy dust.

Disney Vacation 2013

I don’t think we were even off the plane back in New York when the kids started beckoning the question – almost simultaneously – “where are we going next year?”

ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?

SERIOUSLY. ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?

I know they were just excited.  And to be honest, we [Ernie and I] were already asking ourselves the same question.  Over the next five months, we would make plans and change plans countless times.  We were DEFINITELY going here.  And there.  And everywhere else.

We planned on taking a plane.  Or a boat.  Or a train.  But for all of our sanity, not the car.  Seven people.  One car.  HELLS-TO-THE-NO!

Fast-forward tons of plans later, a trip to the doggie hotel for Rosie and our two cars were packed for a week in Ocean City where we would drive off at sunrise to end up in Maryland to watch the sunset.

It had all the makings of a perfect week.  A big group of friends and their families were going at the same time.  The weather forecast was picture-perfect.  Our hotel was beachfront – just steps from the sand.  The famous boardwalk – funnel cakes, the Ferris wheel and fun – were all calling our name.  Oh and two cars.  Let’s not forget about that.

The ride to Ocean City was pretty uneventful.  The traffic gods must have been on our side because we more or less flew from Long Island to Maryland in just about five hours.

The days went something like this: beach, pool, food, drinks, fun.

The nights went something like this: boardwalk, amusement park, food, drinks, fun.

But then there was that one night when something else happened.

And it involved a trip in an ambulance to the emergency room. Twice.

“Mick Jagger Lips” Concussion

This Was Trip #2 To The Emergency Room

Please, allow me to explain – if for nothing else, so that I have this in writing so one day – one day WAY down the road – we can laugh about.

My husband has sleep apnea.  I’m not just talking about snoring.  Don’t get me wrong – he snores like a bear (to be fair, I do too!).  But for him, it is a very serious breathing issue where he often stops breathing during the night, frequently waking up gasping for air. Before we left for vacation, he had a sleep study done and was “thisclose” to getting the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help him get back on track with sleeping (due to his severe sleep apnea he has not had a true night sleep in weeks).

Unfortunately, “thisclose” wasn’t close enough.  One night, during our vacation in Ocean City, he woke up to use the bathroom.  The room was dark and unfamiliar.  He went head-over-heels, literally, landing in the in-room Jacuzzi slamming his head and blacking out for a minute or so.  He was calling my name, but I was a few rooms away escaping the snoring.  I finally heard him and was his Knight In Shining Sweatpants.

Since I Wasn’t There When It Happened, I *Tried* To Create This Reenactment

Long and longer story short, Ernie got a pretty bad concussion, we stayed an extra two nights – so he could get more oriented – and we wound up taking one car home after all (one of our friends took our other car back to Long Island).  And guess what, seven people in one car – mixed with a lot of bathroom and snack breaks, wasn’t that bad.

Our Big, Happy, Loud, Sleepy Family 2014 (missing Rosie!)

* Sleep apnea can be a severe condition and is often treated with lifestyle changes, breathing devices and, sometimes, surgery.  The goals of treating sleep apnea are to restore regular breathing during sleep as well as relieve systems such as snoring and daytime sleepiness.

If you or a loved one has sleep apnea, please talk with your doctor to discuss which treatment option(s) will work best in your specific situation.


CAN I BE HAPPY FOR 100 DAYS IN A ROW?

Challenge accepted.

I must be living under a rock.  Or maybe I am just distracted watching Sons of Anarchy and Orange is the New Black.  Perhaps work is too busy and the laundry is piled way too high.  I have a husband, a tribe of children and a dog – and each of them needs my attention.  Regardless, I am very surprised that I have not heard of 100 Happy Days (hashtag: #100HappyDays) until today.

In a nutshell, #100HappyDays challenges people to take a picture of one thing a day that makes them happy and share it through social media.

The program was launched late last year by a 27-year-old guy from Switzerland who embarked on his own challenge to stop and remember what makes him happy.

Great idea, young man.  GREAT.  IDEA.

I am, for the most part, a happy person. Of course, every day can’t be sunshine and rainbows… puppies and kittens…pizza and beer – you get the idea.  But, there is always something to find happiness in each day.  Maybe it’s holding hands with your significant other, the sound of a child laughing or even a really good meal.  If nothing else, just try and be happy to….Just. Be.

I know I am wayyyyyy late hopping on this Happy Train and there are a lot of “naysayers” who think this idea is a big waste of time, but how can it be a waste of time if you are able to capture a bit of happiness in your day?

I’m doing it.  Today is #Day1.

Say “cheese”…you might just part of my #100HappyDays (even YOU, naysayer)!

 


SUMMER, MOTHER’S GUILT & YABBA DABBA DOO (*and Jax Teller)

Can you believe we are already halfway through summer?

Work is busy.  The laundry pile is bigger than usual.  I feel like I can’t catch up with anything.  And I am tired.  So tired.  Like, “if-I-put-my-head-down-for-one-second-I-will-start-snoring” tired.  And, worst of all, I have a severe case of Mother’s Guilt because I can’t be home with the kids during the week.

  • I want to hear all about Maggie’s plans for her alternative universe.
  • I want to play basketball with Joey.  Or at least, watch him play.
  • I even *kinda* want to learn about whatever it is that Ryan is trying to tell me he built in Minecraft.  Sort of.

I always thought that it would get easier as the kids got older.  I thought they would be more independent and self-sufficient – not needing me as much as they did when they were younger.  The thing is, they are.  The other thing is, I’m not.  I feel as though I need them more.  I feel more guilty now for not being there for them all the time for the questions, quips and quality time; more guilty than I felt when they were babies.

The kids never make me feel bad about going to work.  They occasionally say things like, “I wish you didn’t have to work today” but they understand that mom and dad both have to work.  It’s me that doesn’t understand.  I mean, I understand.  BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

I want to stay in our PJs, lounge around, watch SpongeBob, laugh at their jokes, listen to their stories, play board (BORED!) games, break up petty arguments – the whole nine yards – and then be excited to put them to bed.  I want the noise and the annoying.  And then, I want the peace and the quiet.  And after that, I want to watch the rest of Sons of Anarchy (seriously, invest the time – it’s THAT good).

But after that, I want to check the weather for the next day and make plans for the movies or the park.  Maybe we could take a ride to the beach house or spend the day in a friend’s pool.  Or maybe I could help them clean their rooms and listen to them complain about it the whole time.

After a few days home, I bet my severe case of Mother’s Guilt would magically go away.

On the flip side, I wish I had some time for me.  Just me.  Time to go through my closet and get rid of SO. MUCH. STUFF.  Time to invest in writing.  Time to read … ok, watch Sons of Anarchy (that’s right…I’M A SUPERFAN!).  Time to paint the bedrooms – or at least watch Ernie as he does.  Time to make potato soup.  Time to do a huge food shopping and actually get everything we need.  Time to take Rosie to the groomer – the poor dog looks like a dust mop.  Time to sit and do nothing.

My “Yabba Dabba Doo” quittin’ time comes at 3:30 pm today and I get to be with my kiddies.  Bet that Mother’s Guilt goes away pretty quickly…especially when I have to pretend I care about Minecraft.

Have a great weekend and enjoy what’s left of summer.  Don’t let it slip away….