Summertime. I mean, really.

First day of summer break. Awesome and awful all at once. I woke up Monday to a child screaming, “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mama!” I jumped out of bed worried about what the screaming was, only to find that the boys were watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Augustus Gloop’s chunky butt was screaming for his mommy from the tube. I crawled back into bed for a minute.

Once I gained my bearings I climbed into my running shoes and poured a cup of coffee to chug before my summertime baby-sitter arrived. I hired someone (actually a teenager I used to babysit when I was a teenager) to sit with the kids in the morning Monday through Friday so I can continue on with my runs while the boys are on break. She pulled into the drive way and I took off.

I got a great run in, although I’m still not in what I consider “shape”, I was able to run two, under 9 minute miles so I was good with that. I relieved the sitter and hopped in the shower. Afterwards I worked on garage organization while the kids played in the yard, searching for worms so we could go fishing. We were starved by 11:30 and the boys have established an obsession with Subway so we loaded into the car, had sandwiches (veggie for me – have I mentioned that I’ve lost 6 pounds since the beginning of May?) and then stopped at a convenience store to pick up bait (you can buy bait, beer, chips, dip and lottery tickets all at the same venue in Ohio).

We pulled into the park and unloaded our fishing gear. Josh’s dad bought the boys fishing poles and all that goes with it so I fumbled for a few minutes trying to figure out how to pull the line through the rod, hook the bobber and attach the hook. I managed though and within little time the boys were looking at me like I was the definition of badass ūüôā

We fished for about an hour, maybe a little more, and I was impressed with how quickly the boys caught on. Theo could cast like a master fisherman and Parker caught three fish! I was also a little surprised with how unafraid Theo was. He’s usually very squeamish about all things but when it comes to animals something is just different. He caught one fish, grabbed it and began to release the hook when Ruby tripped over his line causing the hook to dig into his finger. He freaked out for a minute but it wasn’t that bad so he shook it off like a champ. In the meantime, every fish Parker caught waged a war between he and I. I’ve declared this summer as the season of learning and I’m digging my heels in when it comes to making sure the boys do the things they can do, on their own. I read an Ann Landers quote recently that basically sums up my personal parenting philosophy and I’ve taken it to heart.

“It is not what you do¬†for¬†your children, but what you have taught them to¬†do for themselves¬†that will make them successful human beings.‚ÄĚ

Anyway, I told the boys from the get go that I would help them bait their hook and cast a couple of times but that was it. If they wanted to fish, they had to fish. Parker was totally creeped out by the wriggling fish every time he reeled one in so we spent about four minutes per fish (the first two at least) arguing about whether he should pull the hook from the fish’s mouth or whether I should. And then the third fish happened. I watched him literally, mistakenly, cast his rod into the first dip of water and within two seconds a fish had caught. Excitedly, he reeled it in only to find that the fish had swallowed the hook. As soon as I saw it several choice words flew through my brain.

Park worked on getting that hook out for about three minutes before I finally said, “Okay, we’ve got to get this fish back into the water or it’s going to die.” I threw the fish back in still attached to the hook. Parker flipped. He was going to de-hook this fish and save its life. He told me to reel it in again because he was going to get the hook out. He asked that I gently step on the fish so he could get a better grip and then he proceeded to try every angle while tearing up and bickering back and forth with me for twenty. minutes. Twenty minutes. It was so pitiful and though I was annoyed with his squeamishness, I felt so bad for the little guy by the end of it. Eventually I told him it was a lost cause. The fish was dead. We had to cut the line and just throw him back. All three kids broke down crying and we all hugged in the 85 degree weather by the pond in the park.

We called it a day and discussed whether we’d ever go fishing again. Theo said absolutely not because he “can’t handle when things die. Except for germs.” Parker said yes because he had had a blast until the third fish fiasco but next time he’ll bring gloves to better handle the fish. We headed off to the library to return some books and check out new.

When we got home I realized that I had left the garage door open. Now, our garage is not for our car. It’s at a really terrible angle in our driveway and I’m actually not even sure that our van would fit even if we could make the required turn. If I had my way, I’d tear the damn thing down. On top of our inability to use the garage for what a garage should be used for, we need a new door. The one we have is ragged, ugly and off the tracks.

As I pulled the door down, the stupid thing got stuck. With my handbag and library books in my right hand, I used my left hand to partially  re open the garage door so I could pull it closed, but as the door dropped, my left hand caught inside of one of the sections and began to smash as the door continued to lower.

Though I didn’t make any noise, all I could think was, “Holy shit, my fingers are being cut off and I’m here by myself with my three kids who will just be completely traumatized.” Parker thought it too because he screamed and said, “Mom! Are your fingers there? Are you fingers there?” I dropped everything I was holding in my right hand and slowly began lifting the door. As the door lifted, it got tighter and I grew even more scared thinking there was no way out. Luckily, after a certain point I realized that I could manually separate the sections of the garage door that my hand was stuck between and managed to escape with a minor gash and three bruised knuckles. It actually didn’t even hurt that badly but it was scary as shit. I held it together until I was in the house and then 5 minutes later, when the kids were distracted, I called Josh and broke down crying.

The rest of the night was filled with vodka and lemonade (duh), eating dinner outside and Face Timing  my aunt, sister and husband. After the kids were in bed I vegged on the couch while drowning my sorrows in Housewives and London Ladies. Day 1 is in the books.

 

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Hello! A catch up post.

I’m kind of over blogging. Over as in, I don’t ever feel like taking the time to write things down anymore. Over as in, I never want to upload/edit/share pictures from my camera anymore. My hobby of blogging has been evolving since the day I started my first blog back in 2010 and I assume it will continue to evolve until it eventually fizzles out. Then I read back on something I wrote 4 years ago and I’m so thankful that I took the time to blog because I love the little glimpse into the time capsule that I created. Our lives are so different now than they were just 4 years ago. I’m ridiculously nostalgic so even though my life today is exactly (almost) where the me from 2010 would have hoped it to be, I can’t deny that it makes me sad to look back and remember where I was then.

I think I’ll probably get back to blogging a little bit more since it’s officially summertime in the Kistler house but since I can’t promise anything I thought I’d write a little random update post to share with everyone (especially the future me) what is going on in our family and my mind lately.

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  • Living separately from the love of my life absolutely sucks. Today marks two months since we started this geobacheloring journey and while these two months have flown by, we still have 16 to go. As to be expected, we’ve already had some issues but we knew this wouldn’t be easy when we signed up for it. For me, aside from just really, really missing my best friend, the hardest part is keeping the feeling of resentment at bay. Some nights, when the kids have been particularly difficult or the work on the house is wearing on me and Josh calls to tell me he’s out at a bar in Manhattan with the guys from work, I feel it creeping in. I feel like he’s such an ass to be out on a Wednesday night partying like he’s one of the guys (everyone he works with is single) and I really, really want to be mad at him. But I know that he isn’t really¬†partying like one of the guys and that¬†this isn’t something he would be doing if we were there with him. I don’t expect him to sit in his apartment and twiddle his thumbs because I’m back at home tucking our kids in bed. Sometimes I just have to remind myself that he’s not choosing his friends or the bar over us – we’re just not there for him to choose. The kids are handling it well though. I was afraid they’d live their lives Sunday to Friday just waiting for dad to come home but just like they always do, they’ve surprised me with their resiliency. We FaceTime every morning and every night and have only gone 5 days max without being able to squeeze Josh so it’s not too bad. Ruby has become obsessed with New York. Any time she sees¬†anything¬†that resembles a city she says, “Look! It’s New York!” because she knows that’s where daddy is.¬† photo IMG_8627_zpsa2831249.jpg
  • Moving back home has been pretty much completely opposite to what I thought it would be like. It’s not a bad or a good thing, it’s just different than what I imagined. I love our little house but it doesn’t feel like “home”. As a matter of fact, while we are very happy that we made this decision and we’re very happy to be back in our hometown for right now, I don’t think that any of us feel this is long term. For the first month, while the New York funk wore off, Parker made comments every other day about how badly he wanted to grow up here. I felt it too. I was actually disappointed that we didn’t buy a bigger house because this house is just too small for us to grow into if this is going to be our forever town, but slowly that feeling started to fade for all of us and now I wonder if we’re just addicted to the nomad lifestyle. A few weeks ago, Parker and I were talking about our life here and I asked him if he was happy that we moved back. He said, “Yeah I like it here and I want to stay for a little while but I think I’d be okay to move again.” Hearing him say those words felt a little like gaining permission for something. It felt like a relief of some kind.

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  • As for the house, Josh and I have been busting our butts and have the downstairs 99% of the way completed. We’ve changed nearly everything. The color of the walls, the light fixtures in every room, we’ve painted the fireplace, stained the mantle, installed a door bell, installed central air, changed the entire kitchen, upgraded the blinds in the windows and on and on and on. We’re currently working on fencing in our back yard and we’re creeping upstairs as we continue on with sanding the floors, painting the hallway walls and changing out the upstairs hallway light. I’d say overall, we’re at about 70% complete with everything I envisioned on the first day we walked through the house. The speed at which we’re working is insane – basically projects haven’t stopped for 2 months – but it’s just one of those by – products of being a military family.¬†You only have so much time in this space so do what you need to do before you have to move on.¬†That’s the way my brain is wired now. That feeling is draining at first but now that we’ve accomplished so much I’m actually starting to feel elated. I nearly have the house I’ve been picturing since February which is allowing a little bit of contentment to trickle down. I don’t think I’ve felt content since 2011 so this is nice. With that said, I am very bipolar when it comes to this house and some¬†hours days I feel like we’re pouring sweat and money into a pit. Hopefully not.

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  • I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about summertime in my life. The dog days of the two summers past have given me a huge appreciation for Ohio summers. I plan to move at an extremely slow and laid back pace, earn the nick name of pool rat, play outside in our pajamas at 8 am, eat most of our meals¬†on our new picnic table, run and bike hundreds of miles and eat more fair food than I’d ever admit to. The boys are signed up for basketball, soccer, and art camp, we have two vacations planned and a visit from my sister and new baby nephew in early August. I know I’m going to blink and it will all be over with but like I told the boys this morning, the second half of the year in Ohio is just short of magical. Fireflies, football, holidays and family is all that’s left of 2014.

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Family things.

I think one of the sweetest parts of being in a family are all of the little¬†things¬†that belong only to you. You know, the things that you remember when you grow up, being specific to your mom or dad. For some reason when I was little I always used to pick up on the things other families said and did and some of them stuck with me. For example, the mother of the family I babysat for all throughout jr high and high school always told her girls, “I love you so” and it just melted me. Adding one little word to the end of a phrase that everyone uses made it seem so much more personal and powerful. I still follow along with her and her girls on Facebook and every once in while I’ll smile when that little sentence pops up on my screen. And I won’t lie. I have been telling my kids that I love them so for 8 years now ūüôā

Ice cream dreams are a thing¬†I’ve passed on from my childhood. I used to have nightmares a lot when I was little so when I’d wake up in the middle of the night, scared and crying, my mom would come into my room and list off all of the good things I should think about to help me get back to sleep. She would say, “Just think of good things like ice cream cones and you won’t be afraid anymore.” Our kids don’t often have nightmares but every night as I leave their room I always say, “Have sweet ice cream dreams.” ¬†I realized that this was definitely one of our¬†things¬†one night when I didn’t say it and Theo got out of bed to remind me that I forgot to wish them the ice cream dreams. Isn’t it incredible how strong the connection you can make by doing something so small?

It’s not just words,¬†things¬†can be anything really. When Josh and I were in high school, before we were comfortable saying I love you, we would do this hand thing where one of us squeezed the other’s hand 3 times. A sort of morse code I guess. Even after we said the words to each other we continued to do the hand thing anytime we were in a group setting and didn’t want to say it out loud. Cheesy, yes, but sometimes that’s what makes the best kind of¬†thing.¬†Of course we don’t do it much now but every once in a while those three squeezes still mean something. I’ve also let the boys in on the secret code although I don’t get many opportunities to use it with them anymore.

Josh and I also call each other buddy. I don’t remember where it came from but for as long as I can remember it’s been our term of endearment for each other. He’s even listed under “Buddy” in my phone. We’re not big into lovey names. Sweetheart is my way of saying asshole, honey was my dog’s name and I’ve never once called a grown person babe so I guess buddy was created out of necessity ūüôā Regardless, I love it because it’s so personal.

All of these things, whether stolen from someone else, passed on or created by us, make up a kind of club. They’re part of our binding. A legacy specific to the 5 of us. That’s why it’s so important to me.

Family can be so tricky but has been especially for us,¬†because of circumstances and our lifestyle.¬†For us,¬†things¬†haven’t had the chance to occur naturally outside of our circle of 5 because we’ve never been consistently surrounded by our loved ones. It has been easy for relationships to stunt when they should have been growing. When I was little¬†my grandma lived 10 minutes from me which meant we were given the chance for things all of the time but mostly because she never missed an opportunity to make memories with us. Our thing was taking drives on roller coaster road every Friday night. I think of her every time an unexpected hill “gets my belly” and when our kids, whom have spent the majority of their lives in flat NJ and TX, cackle with laughter over “the roller coaster road” (what they’ve designated ¬†the hills of Ohio without any help from me). While it makes me sad that our kids have missed out on creating those things with other loved ones, I am more sad for the other loved ones who have missed the opportunity to create those legacies for themselves. But hopefully moving home will open up more chances for growth and things ūüôā

 

 

 

Springtime thoughts.

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It’s 20 something degrees and will be April next week. Yuck. I guess maybe since I’ve been a little bit removed from real winter weather for so long (last year we were in Houston and the 4 years before that were in Cape May which generally has mild, albeit windy, winters) I forgot how cold and looooong they can be. On the upside, it’s supposed to be in the 60’s in both New York and Ohio next week.

I hate daffodils. They’re filling up my Instagram feed lately and I can’t help but wish for tulips or hyacinths instead.

March is insane with birthdays! We have 7 birthdays this month including Theo’s and Ruby’s. I mentioned this to Josh and he said, well what’s 9 months before March? The 4th of July! ūüėČ

Our family is passing around a tiny stomach bug (early spring is always when we get sick). It’s not anything that knocks you out but it’s actually kind of worse because it comes and goes randomly. Ruby and Josh are recovered but now it’s my turn and it sucks. At least it’s this week and not next. Exactly 7 days until our moving truck arrives!

We’ve moved so many times now that it no longer bothers me at all. I actually like taking inventory on all of our belongings, purging things we don’t use/need and starting fresh somewhere. Obviously this move is especially exciting since we’re officially homeowners.

Actually, buying a house is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever experienced. Josh and I have so many plans and ideas for this little house and I can’t wait to get started. This is my thing. For about 6 years now I’ve been really interested in real estate, renovations and home decorating. I even took a real estate appraisal course a couple of years ago, just for fun. Eventually when my career in mommyhood becomes just a part time gig I plan to start something in this field.

Springtime is the beginning of a new running season and I can’t wait to get back into it. Last spring I trained for a half marathon but have only run a handful of times since. I’m planning on a full comeback. Actually, I need a jogging stroller to accommodate Miss Ruby and I’m leaning towards a BOB Revolution. One thing I really want are iPod speakers on the inside so Ruby can listen to music while we run but I’m not sure if BOB’s have that feature. I’d love any suggestions or recommendations.

Happy Spring!

 

 

 

Randoms

Family

The boys are on “mid winter break” for this entire week. I love waking up in the morning and not feeling like I have to get the ball rolling right away but it’s also stressful to keep them entertained. Theo wanted to spend our second day of winter break having a Harry Potter marathon so here we are on The Prisoner of Azkaban and I’m bored to death. I love me some H.P. but laying around watching movies all day just gets a little old after a while.

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Josh and I have a secret project in the works right now and I’m beginning to feel a little impatient with it. And that’s all I can say about it for now.

Tomorrow begins Ruby’s last month of being one and I feel it. There are hardly any signs of babyhood left (notwithstanding noonas and diapers. those seem likely to be around for a while still). She understands punishment (timeout), can follow instructions, plays on her own and is¬†extremely¬†independent. She also says things like, “Na – cho mama!” and “Hey big guy!” (when talking to Josh. Ha!) and chooses her own clothes almost everyday.

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Entertainment

If you haven’t yet seen the movie About Time,¬†watch it now. We rented it a few weeks ago and I spent the last hour sobbing while Josh fell asleep. It’s a chick flick but not what you’re expecting it to be if you saw the previews for it. Loved loved loved it!

As for tv,¬†True Detective¬†on HBO is insanely good. Seriously one of the best television shows I have ever watched. And has anyone else noticed that Matthew McConaughey has apparently found his acting chops? President Obama even requested an advanced copy of the rest of the season’s episodes.

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I’m reading¬†Happier at Home¬†by Gretchen Rubin and just can’t get into it. It’s very reminiscent of¬†Eat, Pray, Love¬†which I loathed. Self indulgent, made up issues, a “project” taken on with the pre conceived plan to write a book about it. I’m forcing myself through in hopes of keeping my book a month goal for this year.

Wants & Needs 

Have you heard of the air fryer? A little over a month ago I saw it advertised in my Williams Sonoma catalog and nearly choked I was so excited. Apparently, it uses little to no oil so the food is healthier, made without a mess and with no chance of dangerous spills. The price tag is a little hefty but I’m a kitchen gadget junkie and I can’t stop thinking about how much I’d love owning this.

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I’m over winter but not really excited about summer either. Summer in the city is a little dreadful with all of the tourists and awful smells. Think heat meets trash meets street meat vendors meets lots and lots of people. I guess this fits under the “wants & needs” category because I want & need a vacation somewhere south.

I’d settle for just a night out alone with Josh. You know that whole saying, “It takes a village…”, well that has never¬†applied to us and I just recently realized that most people don’t spend 24/7/52/8 (24 hours 7 days a week 52 weeks a year for 8 years) with their children. I’d pick this. It’s right up our alley.

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Snow Day.

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We kicked off our mid winter break by taking the kids sled riding for the first time today. The boys have gone a couple of times on the small hill in our back yard but today we took them to a big hill down the street and it was a blast. I thought we’d make it twenty minutes top before Ruby was cold and crying but even she loved it. I took her down the hill once on Parker’s sled and even though we were flying, she cackled the entire way down. Theo is a pro sledder and loved every minute, even telling me that he was “training for the Olympics.” Parker asked if we could go back tomorrow.

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Sledding is terrifying. You never realize it when you’re a fearless kid but I went down the hill twice today and thought I was going to die both times.

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Our view is pretty amazing. Not everyone gets to sled beneath the Verrazano Bridge. One of the most beautiful bridges in New York, in my opinion. 

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A lot of times when the kids ask me to play outside with them I balk at the idea and try to come up with excuses as to why I can’t. I want to stop doing that.

 

 

 

 

Laundrygate.

Oh what a morning. It’s one of those where you just have to laugh because otherwise you’d go insane. Luckily I have this hysterical little boy called Theo to lighten the mood.

It all started when I told Parker to grab a uniform shirt from the dryer. Yep that’s right. A school uniform because, you know, Mayor DeBlasio thinks it’s imperative to issue a commuter warning (stay off of the roads) but not to cancel public school. Hmmmm…

Anyway, Parker went to grab a shirt from the dryer which was filled with a load of the kids’ laundry. He came back with a white undershirt covered in blue marks and said, “Mom, there are blue marks on¬†everything¬†in the dryer.” Both boys denied having put any markers in their pockets, which happens every so often, and I wasn’t really concerned with it because marker is easy to get out. I went on with my morning and continued packing lunches.

When Theo was done eating breakfast I told him to grab his black gym sweats from the dryer and start getting dressed because surely blue marker wouldn’t show on black pants. But even the pants had bright blue spots all over them. Josh unloaded the dryer and I quickly saw that¬†every single thing¬†was covered in blue. Including several of the boys’ expensive, embroidered school uniforms.

I was mad. We looked through everything but didn’t find any clues as to what or who caused the blue. Both boys vehemently denied leaving anything in their pocket but Theo fought back a smirk while telling us it wasn’t him and passing off the blame to his little sister. At this point, we figured that it had to be a blue crayon because the stains were showing up on everything and were a little waxy. Plus there were no remnants of anything so it must have melted. That just reinforced Theo’s theory. “Coloring with crayons is for babies so it¬†had¬†to have been Ruby.”

As I sat and sprayed Spray & Wash on all of the blue stains I checked the pockets of the clothes. Wouldn’t you know, there was one single pocket from one single pair of little jeans that turned up bright blue.¬†

But I wasn’t mad anymore. I mean how do you stay mad at a kid who says, “Well I think the blue makes the clothes look kind of fancy.”

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