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 🙂

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 🙂 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 lifestyleFor 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 🙂





A day trip to New England: Part 2

Part two! So after spending our day exploring adorable little Mystic, CT we decided to cross the state line and check out the beach in Rhode Island. We made our way to Misquamicut Beach across from the Long Island Sound – you could actually see Block Island. It was beautiful but the best part was the great play ground that sat right on the edge of the beach. We all played for a while before heading out to put our toes (or entire body in Theo’s case) in the water. I love that our kids are beach babies. I never felt the ocean until I was 17 years old so it’s really special to me that Parker, Theo and Ruby have spent most of their lives around water.  photo IMG_6706_zps527d4074.jpg

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 photo IMG_6750_zps073c43ad.jpgI’m so glad we get to visit so many awesome places. This day was fantastic.

Day 12: What do you miss?

I think this question would elicit a major guffaw from most military spouses. Though our family has been incredibly lucky to have only experienced a few months of missing our Coastie, we are basically in a constant state of missing something. Though some have been better than others, there is something from every place we’ve called home, that I miss.

Long Island, NY

listing_photo_0_9707289Besides the absolute beauty, I miss the feeling of adventure that I had when we lived here. It was our first move away from home. Living completely on our own, by the beach, in a suburb of NYC, felt so grown up (even though we were b.r.o.k.e.). Of course, every time we move somewhere new there is a sense of adventure, but it’s not like that first time.

Santa Rosa, CA


*Obviously this is not Santa Rosa, but one of the perks of living there was our proximity to San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Josh Kistler (budding photographer).

 California. I loved it there. I begged Josh to go on a boat so we could stay there. I would gladly go back if we hadn’t promised our boys that we will do everything we can to stay on the east coast. Specifically, I miss the weather, the environment (where else can you go to the beach, the mountains, the (red wood) forrest, the city and the (wine) countryside all within 3 hours of driving?), the food, the culture, and so on.

Cape May, NJ


Oh, beautiful Cape May. There is not one single thing that I don’t miss. Cape May became my home. There will always be a part of my heart left in that perfect, little town.











I miss the beach, the town, my runs and races through all of it, our summertime bike rides, movies on the beach, the shark tournament, Dry Dock, nature center camp, the Lima Bean festival, fire pits, Coast Guard day, the playground in front of our house, our view of the harbor, the school and school functions every other week, the Halloween parade and scarecrow alley and trick or treating on the shops, Thanksgiving supper at the school, the West Cape May Christmas parade, Harborview Friday nights, the community, restaurant week, seeing someone you know everywhere you go, wawa, the library art classes, the TRACEN gym, Cappy’s, not pumping gas, my boys being babies, living by some of the best friends we’ve made, and on and on and on. It’s like Cape May was my first love – I don’t know if I’ll ever feel this way about anywhere again.

Pearland, TX


There’s really not too much I miss about living in Texas. At all. Mexican food, having a back yard to let my dog out, cheap gas, and being able to wear shorts and play outside in January. That’s all.

Columbiana, OH


I’ve been missing home quite a bit lately. I miss the perfect seasons. I miss firestone pool summers. The 4th of July, Doc Pritchard’s calliope, legion burgers, the street fair, the Canfield fair, seeing half of your graduating class at the football game on street fair Friday night, the feeling of driving through the circle the first night the Christmas lights turn on, snow on Christmas morning, sledding the hill at the pool, The Clarks concerts, Pirates games, spending every single holiday with friends and family, Steamers and Cafe Capri, the Clipper clap, the parades and festivals, people calling Josh ‘Beef ‘, having people around whom we know and trust to help care for our kids, Handel’s, farms, inexpensive everything, kind and polite people, Dutch Haus donuts and no bakes, and on and on and on.







I miss having our friends around us.







I’m always missing family.