Tag Archive | family

Sand, Salt Water & Stress-free

(pardon my middle-agedness as I thought I posted this 2 weeks ago!!) but…better late than never I guess!!

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Can you hear that? Do you smell it? Can you see it? I’m talking about the ocean. The sound of the waves, the smell of the salt air, the brilliant blue color….it seems like it’s been forever since I’ve been there and yet it was just last week!! But oh what a WONDERFUL week it was!!

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We packed up as much stuff as the car would hold including all 3 dogs and off we went! We arrived in the Outer Banks on Sunday and as always, our first stop was at the Life is Good store(right next to Kitty Hawk Kites) obx18 in Nags Head! I mean, a girl (and her husband!) can NEVER have too many Life is Good shirts and hoodies! Especially those that are made just for the Outer Banks!! I did manage to only purchase 3 for myself during my week long stay but Mark ended up with 4, we bought 3 as gifts, I bought a wristlet to carry my phone and money in, plus the small miscellaneous items like stickers and décor. We also visited the stores in Avon, Rodanthe & Duck. Kitty Hawk Kites & the Life is Good store is where most of the vacation budget is spent! LOL
We checked into our house that we rented thru Midgett Realty (who I think is one of the best!) This is the 2nd year we have rented “1 Particular Harbor” and we absolutely love it! 5 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths, a pool, a hot tub, unobstructed ocean views, and only a couple hundred yards to the beach! A bargain!

DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPRO The weather this year was absolutely stunning! Sunshine and warm temps each and every day! Evenings were perfect and only once or twice did I need a hoodie at night on the beach. We spent several hours walking the beach with the dogs, fishing, lounging on the sand, swimming in the ocean, lounging at the pool, soaking in the hot tub and just simply relaxing! It was one of the best vacations ever—mainly because we did NOTHING most of the time but enjoy it!

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We did leave the house Tuesday to make a trip to the grocery store and decided to find a place to have some lunch. We stopped at The Fish House Restaurant in Buxton and enjoyed a view of the harbor while dining on Fried Pickles for an appetizer. I then enjoyed a crab cake sandwich while Mark had a basket of fried BlueFish and fries. Both were delicious and the quaint building with slanted floors and walk in cooler right in the entryway made for a unique lunch!

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We were joined on Wednesday by our good friends for the last half of the week. Being 1st timers to Hatteras Island, we did take them to see the Hatteras Light Station on Friday morning.

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We made the climb up 257 steps to the top of the 187’ tallest brick lighthouse in North America. (That’s equivalent to 12 stories if you’re wondering!) Luckily, it’s a set-your-own-pace climb, so old folks like me can stop and take a break on one of the 8 landings between the flights of stairs! The views from the top are breathtaking and a must see for anyone who makes it to the Outer Banks.

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Friday evening we went to dinner at Good Winds Seafood and Wine Bar.

Having dined there in 2013 we knew the seafood was worth going back for and we were not disappointed! Scallops, blackened mahi-mahi, fried flounder baskets, and so much more!! I even enjoyed the succotash that was the side dish with my mahi-mahi and let me tell you that as a kid, I would rather skip a meal all together than ever eat succotash!!

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After dinner, we sat on the outside patio sipping a glass of wine and watched a simply stunning sunset over the sound. It seriously was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen!obx14
Saturday evening we decided to not cook seafood and went to a local place-StingWray’s Bar & Grille-and dined.  IMG_3873Although the service was slow, the food was good. I had a tuna burrito that was outstanding! For an appetizer we had bacon wrapped cream cheese stuffed shrimp—yeah—it was delicious!!!
We packed up Sunday morning and headed out with the intention of visiting Corolla on our way out but the traffic was horrid so we stopped in Duck and visited Salty Paws & The Outer Barks to get the boys some treats and then we were on our way home.

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After a short detour thru Washington D.C. (in the middle of Memorial Day weekend and 1000’s of bikers!) due to an outdated Garmin, we finally made it home late Sunday night.

This was absolutely one of the best vacations ever. Laid back, relaxing, warm, sunny and peaceful. I could use one of these weeks once a month! Couldn’t we all?!

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Happy Mom’s Day!

I just want to wish all the moms, especially mine, a Happy Mother’s Day! I know my mom is having a great one as she is getting to spend it with my brother for the first time in several years! I miss her but I’m happy for this time she is getting to share with him and all her grandkids in Guam!

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I myself am a mom to my 3 boys-all of them complete with tails, fur and 4 legs!

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Bruno is my 13-1/2 year old. I got him from the shelter when he was 8 weeks old. He’s more grey and white than brown these days but still a sweetheart even as he slows down a little bit! Jake is 5-1/2 and Rocket is 3-1/2, both golden retrievers adopted as young boys. All 3 are heading to the beach one week from today!
Also, Happy Mother’s Day to my sweet mother-in-law! I am blessed to have her in my life too! And thanks to her, I have the most wonderful husband a woman could ever hope for!

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So, hug your mom, hug your kids and hug your fur kids! ❤️

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Yep, I’m kind of hibernating…….

ImageWow, I’m still here-just been hibernating for the winter.  All of us here in NE Ohio are pretty much done with this crazy winter!  I mean really, it gets cold, it snows, it gets cold some more, it snows some more….then you can throw in some thunder snow, lightning, ice storms, power outages, wind chills that make even a polar bear shiver, and it’s just been insane!  That stinkin’ groundhog needs to be found and strung up!  Well, maybe that’s a little harsh but it might make us feel better for a little while!

But now that it’s almost March, the days are getting longer, spring REALLY is just around the corner, summer plans are already being made (can you say VACATION!) so it’s getting better all the time.  Lots of things happening in our family the past few months and months to come.  My older brother and family will be moving back to the states (from GUAM!) in June!!!  It’s been 20 years since we lived on the same continent so, yes I’m EXCITED!!!!  They may end up in another state but at least I know they will be within traveling distance!  I am especially looking forward to seeing some Tribe baseball with him!  It’s been 6 long years since we were able to attend a game TOGETHER so that is definitely on the agenda!  Maybe, just maybe, we will actually get to spend some holidays together!!  What a dream come true that would be!

ImageA week in May in the Outer Banks is also planned for my husband and I and our 3 “boys”.  The perfect place to relax, kick back and soak up some sun.  After this winter, we are going to need all the sun we can get!

2013 in Rodanthe

2013 in Rodanthe

It’s time for NASCAR too!  Lots to see and watch and cheer for!  Go Jeff Gordon!

So everyone hang in there for just a little bit more and we will soon be basking in the air conditioning and humidity of summer!!  WootWoot!  See ya soon!

Are you moving forward too fast?

Bruno didn't want to be in this picture! LOL

Bruno didn’t want to be in this picture! LOL

It’s that weekend we all love!  We get to turn the clocks back an hour!  So, what did you do with that extra hour?  Me….I’m using it to post (it has been a couple of weeks since I shared!)

Last weekend, we enjoyed some family time by visiting Ashtabula County on Sunday and stopping at the Harpersfield Covered Bridge.  We hadn’t been there for about 7 years so it was a time to take some new family photos and enjoy that beautiful scenery!  Here are a few pics of the day along with a picture from our last visit there.  Boy, time flies!

Bruno!

Bruno!

Our family then & now

Our family then & now

They were not happy to be tied up while we took other pictures!

They were not happy to be tied up while we took other pictures!

Afterwards, we stopped at Ferrante Winery for lunch.  The winery is gorgeous inside with open views of the fields and grapes growing right behind it!  We ordered their crab cake appetizer and shared a small seafood pizza.

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Crab Cakes from Ferrante!  YUMMMMMM!!

Crab Cakes from Ferrante! YUMMMMMM!!

Delicious!! We shared the sweet wine sampler as well.  Definitely a place you want to visit when you’re in the area!

Jake LOVED waiting for the kids to knock on the door!

Jake LOVED waiting for the kids to knock on the door!

Thursday was Halloween and the weather was SOOOO uncooperative here in NE Ohio.  Rain, Rain, Rain, wind, wind wind!!  That pretty much sums it up!  We still had about 60-70 kids but was less than usual.

Here’s my top observations from Trick or Treat:

–If you are old enough to drive, you shouldn’t be trick or treating!

–If you’re child can’t walk because they are a baby, they probably aren’t going to eat candy bars & gum that you are collecting!  Is it really for you?!

–Sadly, most kids don’t say “Thank you” anymore

–Sadly again, I think only half even say “trick or treat” when you answer the door.

Boy have times changed!  So, Kudos to you parents who reminded your children to say thank you when they got their treat at my door!  We  need more of you!!

Hard to believe that in 2 months Christmas will already be here & be gone!!  WOW!!  Time is moving forward no matter how much we’d like it to slow down.  Are you finished with your shopping?  Have you even started?  This makes me sad in a way.  I went to the mall Friday evening and the Salvation Army bell ringers were already out collecting donations.  I thought “Wait, wasn’t it Halloween yesterday and now it’s Christmas???!”  I am always sad when it seems that society in general seems to go from Halloween to Christmas and skip Thanksgiving.  It happens every year and it seems to be getting worse & worse with each year that passes.  Now don’t get me wrong–I’m all for early Christmas shopping, hanging lights when it’s not snowing so they are ready for December, etc. but Thanksgiving is the reason we have the freedom to celebrate holidays in this country and enjoy the life we have.

So here is my request.  Don’t get so caught up in the Christmas preparations that you forget to be thankful for your life, your family, your friends and all you have.  Is life perfect?  No, but if you think about all you have to be thankful for, it is going to fill volumes.  So remember to pace yourself this “holiday” season and don’t go so fast that you miss out on what really matters.

“Falling” into the weekend!-Part 2

First, I’ll tell you a little about the weekend & then share some thoughts (the thoughts are mine-so get ready!)  What a fun-filled Friday!!  Joined by 2 friends, my husband & I spent Friday in Cleveland eating & laughing & eating some more!  We spent the evening watching the Indians defeat the Astros to take possession of the #2 Wild Card spot in the AL!!  WOOHOO!!

Steve’s Gyros at West Side Market–if you haven’t had one—GO NOW!!!

Eating Steve's Gyros at West Side Market!

Eating Steve’s Gyros at West Side Market!

A stop at Great Lakes Brewery & on E. 4th Street before heading to the game.

A stop at Great Lakes Brewery & on E. 4th Street before heading to the game.

The Social Media night at the Indians game DID NOT DISAPPOINT!  Hot Dogs, Pulled pork, Pulled BBQ chicken, mac & cheese, chips, potato salad, soda & more–all you could eat (and we did-even after that GYRO!) plus giveaways, the chance to hear Mike Aviles & Mike Chernoff answer fan questions, Nick Swisher “Brohio” t-shirts and TONS of social media freaks that all LOVE the Tribe!!

Onion!

Onion!

Social Media Night at the Tribe Game

Social Media Night at the Tribe Game

We made it thru the 7th inning stretch before the skies opened up and the rain deluge began!  With most of us realizing this was most likely the last baseball we’d see played at Progressive that night, we headed for the parking lots and made our way home.  And boy did it RAIN–we were dripping wet by the time we got to the truck but laughing too.  It was a wet but fun ending to the day.

The rains came down as the floods came up!

The rains came down as the floods came up!

Saturday I met my mom for lunch at a local bakery, Maggie’s Magic Muffins, in Austintown.  If you are ever there-try the Snow Bird Muffin (it’s coconut crème filled!) The rest of the weekend has been the normal weekend duties of groceries, cleaning, more cleaning, and REST after the long day Friday.

It’s the first day of fall today–Officially!  Change of seasons-one of the reasons living in Ohio is not so bad.  I now have orange lights decorating my bushes (NOT in honor of the Browns!), scarecrows in the flowerbeds, mums in the flower pots, and pumpkins & cornstalks will be arriving this week to complete the decor for the front of the house.  Yes, I love warm weather but I also love pumpkins, decorating the yard with cornstalks and mums, hayrides, bonfires, hot cocoa and the chilly air that means you have to wear a sweatshirt when you go out.  Yes, I’d also prefer to skip all that white flaky stuff that’s destined to fall in the coming months and bring ice and frigid temps that require 6 layers of clothing, coats, hats & gloves just to go get the newspaper off the front porch! 🙂  But it’s going to happen, regardless of what I want.

 Just like the weather changes, so do other things & situations in my life—EVERY day it seems.  Sometimes, I am perfectly fine with them–other times, not so much.  I grumble, I mumble, I resist and yet, it still happens.  I choose how I react & I choose the attitude and approach I’m going to use to deal with whatever the current change is.  I can react like I am with the cooler fall weather by embracing the change and making the best of it, even if I don’t like it.  I choose to make this fall season enjoyable & I’m learning that is exactly how I need to react to change and to new “seasons” in life.  Less mumbling & grumbling and more “pumpkins and mums”! 🙂  Trust me–I fail often.  I’m not one that can disguise her feelings and so if I’m unhappy with something, it shows.  But, even in these middle-aged years of my life, I know that I am still learning about life and attempting to improve myself and that will continue right up until my last breath I’m sure.  Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don’t.  But I’ll keep trying.  The seasons will keep changing and so will my life.  The question is, how often will I have “pumpkins and mums” after the change?!

(PS–I’m watching the Browns game while I write this–talk about reacting to CHANGE!! 🙂  If you’re a Browns fan–this post is for YOU!)