Category Archives: for fun

7 Weeks Away

Gavin will be spending 7 weeks away from home this summer. The first week will be spent at high-adventure Boy Scout Camp and the additional six weeks as a staff member at another BSA camp.

There will be a seismic shift on the Costello household with Gavin gone. He is often a bastion of reliability, he is a good conversationalist, and he is full of fun & frivolity. He is the only one who can hold down the whole fort, besides Dennis & I.

He is also a teen…and well, things can get a little hard when your a teen. And things can get a little hard when you are the parent of a teen. You know – the ‘regular’ stuff.

But, truth be told, I am really glad he is leaving.

I am glad he will be leaving behind the monotony and mundane tasks that winter brought us. I’m glad Algebra & Anatomy have been put on hold for firebuilding, metal-working, ecology, and canoeing.

I am glad that he will be disengaged from all his gadgets, screens, the internet and TV for a period of time.

I am glad that he will be surrounded by fresh air and lake water, trees and grass, bugs, birds, forest creatures and nature sounds.

I am glad he is carving out a space where he can cultivate his independence – where he will be responsible, solely, for himself, including his own health and hygiene. Please tell me he will be responsible for his own hygiene 🙂

I am glad that he will experience a time to discover who he is outside of the circle of his three brothers. I am glad he can investigate who he is outside of the centrifugal force of family life.

I am glad he will be developing serious leadership skills in a structured and progressive program like BSA. I am glad that he will be forming new relationships and navigating the balance of the responsibilities he’s been given with personal time & relaxation.

See, I’m glad he’s leaving.

“In scouting, a boy is encouraged to educate himself
instead of being instructed”

~ Sir Robert Baden Powell

Sunday Scenes – The Very Bad Mother Edition

I woke up VERY early for a Sunday. 5:48 to be exact. It worked out nicely, as I was watching my neighbors kids bright and early. It was nice to have breakfast guests.

DSC06584 (1)Although I no longer attend church and don’t see that changing at any point in the near future, there are some things I still find very meditative and comforting.

DSC06587I do not like contemporary christian music, but I do like old, very traditional hymns. It’s is ok with me if they are performed by contemporary christian artists but I still prefer Alison Kraus, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton.

DSC06588Then, this happened and I cannot stand it. Just can’t. Can you?

DSC06595Also, I allowed Ethan to leave the house wearing this. Do I think that it’s ok? I don’t. I was late for playoff hockey and fighting with him can take a VERY long time as Ethan can hold out on issues for hours at a time.

Speaking of being late for playoff hockey and fighting with Ethan…here is where ‘the very bad mothering’ happened. When I arrived at the hockey game, other moms greeted me with ‘Hi! Where is Sean?’

Well, he must be here somewhere, he came with Dennis. But no one reported having seen him. After a cursory search and confirmation that Dennis did not, in fact, bring him, I panicked. It took me about 10 full seconds to realize that he had been playing on the swing set in the yard across the street – WHEN I LEFT!! Yep. I finally really forgot a kid. The littlest one to boot.

I mean, sure it was cleared up in one quick phone call and he had all the time been the care of a responsible adult (not me), but it was terribly disconcerting. I am sure the ‘Mother of the Year’ is still taking nominations. Check on that for me, will you?

So hockey season has come to an end. As glad as I am to have it be over…

DSC06611 (1) DSC06607I love to see them like this!

Later, Chef Cutie and I baked some cookies. We used the wrong recipe – but baked none-the-less.

The evening ended on the best note – literally – the Star Wars Film Score. There are so few times that Ethan is happy, truly, really, happy. Content. With the music blaring, he worked on diligently on his light saber skills. Meditative, light-sabering – I think it could catch on.

DSC06634 DSC06635The force is strong with this one.

Sunday Scenes – Throwback Edition

Sunday was a throwback to ‘old times’ – before sports and Boy Scout camping trips and teens with their own agendas took over. It used to be that Dennis and I packed a cooler and packed up the kids and drove to one or more locations with amorphous plans. We have not had a good, old-fashioned family picnic in a very long time. But we did yesterday.

We ended up in Allamuchy Mountain State Park, as Gavin had some Boy Scout business to attend to. Nearby, was the crazy-scenic Waterloo Village. I’d love to return when the historic happenings are in full swing.

It was a beautiful walk – with only one complainer.

There was also a request to fish. So we did in a nearby lake.

DSC06456 DSC06460 DSC06463 DSC06453 DSC06468These pictures make it look quaint. It wasn’t. There were tangled lines and catching weeds and children yelling ‘help’ every 3 seconds. Dennis wanted to know if I got nice pictures because we won’t be doing this again 😉

This issue of Sunday Scenes is the first of the ‘summery’ edition. Knowing there are many more to come make my heart happy, and my toes warm.

Finally.

Indoor Activities

We are busy here. I think we are trying to move. Strange words to use in a sentence about moving – ‘think’ and ‘try’. But it’s true. The market is unpredictable and there are not too many houses that I would leave our current house for. Right now, the count is at 1 – and it is in town. But, we are cleaning, culling, redecorating, carpeting and painting none-the-less. Let’s see what happens.

Otherwise, I would crochet all day if that was possible because it is one of the rare times that I can think in a straight line (or in rounds). It just feels good. Late at night I get a chance to  sit down and here are some products of that stress-relieving activity. DSC05066 DSC05069 DSC05067 DSC05071 DSC05074 (1)The patterns are here, here and here.

There are other mundane activities and way to many of them are occurring within my own four walls.

DSC05092

Teeth

DSC05109

I LOVE Ethan’s artwork

DSC05116

My very 1st Kombucha brew. I received a SCOBY as a gift from a friend

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He insists the cat loves him

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Serious ‘Poke’ play at The Only Game in Town

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King & Queen of the Hill

10 days until Spring. I hope it’s not a rumor.

Sunday Scenes – Still Snowy Version

When it's not about cars, it's about planes. Or trains.

When it’s not about cars, it’s about planes. Or trains.

A view from my shoes

A view from my shoes

Snuggle bug

Snuggle bug

Cara Cara Oranges by Sunkist. We've eaten 3 bags of them this week

Cara Cara Oranges by Sunkist. We’ve eaten 3 bags of them this week

 

Doodle Bug

Doodle Bug

Sundays are nice. So nice. Mondays are something to be tolerated. Ethan is off at school and The Boys are off skiing. I am here taking care of all types of business – from the ridiculous to the sublime. There are baskets of laundry and lists of phone calls, miles to be walked and two big jobs that I REALLY want to get done. I think I can….

Sappy Valentine’s Day

I tried to buy a Valentine’s Day card for Dennis. I really did.

We do not use the words, ‘Darling’, ‘Sweetheart’ or ‘Honey’. Never have and never will. He often refers to me as “Borland”, my maiden name. I just call him, you know, Dennis. Or ‘dude’.

The cards were so sappy, that at this point in our relationship (the 20-year mark) they seemed condescending.

I think if cards said things along these lines, they would be more authentic.

To The Guy I Married,

I love you because you’ve changed as many diapers as I have and you know when to make the kids take showers and when to just send them to bed.

I appreciate that you have learned to consider grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup dinner and you know just when to order pizza.

Thank you for ALWAYS coming by and unlocking my car with your key fob when I lock my keys in the car – again, and bringing jumper cables to the mall because we left the interior lights on – again. I love you because you say ‘it’s no problem’.

I love you because you understand that library fines are just a part of life.

Thanks for always offering me the big tv and the more comfortable couch. Love comes in many forms.

It means so much to me that you go to work – everyday. I know you love me because you have never let the household utilities get shut off or the house go into foreclosure, you make sure the kids have sneakers and you understand that $523 at Costco IS a bargain.  Thank you for consistently improving our FICO over our 20 year marriage.

Thank you for the date nights we’ve spent in Target – I really like being there with you. I truly love ‘family date nights’ to arcades and the boardwalk.

You are never better-looking than when you are vacuuming and your household ‘to-do’ list makes me feel very special.

The times we spend together are, indeed, the very best of my life. Mean it.

You see, it just depends on what you consider ‘romance’ folks.

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I do feel seriously bad when I leave my little blog out here all alone. I get busy and I don’t know what to say, so I avoid it. But I always come back.

While doing a little birthday cleaning yesterday, Sean asked me how old I was. He begged and begged so I told him 23 – he said that was a really high number. Uh-oh. Then I told him that I was actually 23, 20 years ago, he stared at me incredulously. Yeah, well.

 I had a great birthday celebration. No matter what the weather, an offer for a drive to the beach thrills me – and that’s what Dennis offered. We scouted NYC from a deck in the marshes right across from it – we could see The Freedom Tower – and I love The Freedom Tower. We drove and walked until we froze solid.

If you know anything about me, you might know that I LOVE the beach and shells, and shelling. I got to pick some things up for my birthday. And wouldn’t you know, I received the perfect give – from the hand of God and Mother Nature. How thoughtful, right? It’s a rare find, and even more rare to find a whelk in perfect condition. Not a chip or crack anywhere.

IMG_0278I mean, it’s gift from God – what did you expect?

Then it was on to Surf Taco in Red Bank. I was excited to find they had a Coke Freestyle Machine (I have a ‘thing’ about Coca-Cola). We were just getting fueled up for the main event – a trip to Yestercades. 80s music is the backdrop of the place. Ozzy Osborne (with Lita Ford), Bon Jovi, and David Bowie all playing on a big screen is a really happy thing for me. Playing pinball, Ms. Pacman, Asteriods, Frogger, and Tron are more really happy things for me. Doing it all with my kids, Dennis, my sister and my niece and nephew – totally above and beyond and fitting for such a large-number birthday!

IMG_0279We ended the evening at Carlo’s Bakery – I had a vanilla, vanilla buttercream cupcake. I figured the occasion called for a ‘classic’. I would have liked to try Sugarush, so I see another trip in our future.

Everyone in the bakery sang Happy Birthday to me. I did not think I would like that – but it turned out to be just right. Like the whole rest of the day.

Maybe the shell was not my only ‘gift from God’.