Category Archives: trips

Where Have I Been?

I’ve been right here.

But I’ve also been here…

Niagra Falls was crazy-cool. It’s somewhere you hear about, but just haven’t gotten too. At least we hadn’t. But now we did.

I’ve also been here…

The observatory made me tear up. It was truly awe-inspiring. If you can go, do that. I highly recommend it.

I’ve been in my kitchen.
I’ve been in the car.
I’ve been in therapy.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to write about. I’d say I’m back, but I’ve been here.

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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.

Β 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’.

Weekend Wonderful

This weekend was right in my wheelhouse – thanks Dennis! I LOVE a weekend that starts with a Friday night in NYC for Christmas festivities.

DSC04081 DSC04085 DSC04091 DSC04094 (1) DSC04095 (1)We took the opportunity to visit Ellen’s Stardust Diner. The servers are all broadway-caliber performers who are auditioning for shows or between shows. They serve and sing and the atmosphere was fabulous. I was pleasantly surprise by the great food.

DSC04108 DSC04125 DSC04145 DSC04155 DSC04158 DSC04167We then made our way to Rockefeller Center. It was cold and crowded and exactly what you should experience in The Big Apple 5 days before Christmas.

DSC04169 DSC04172 DSC04191 (1) DSC04193 DSC04195I wanted The Boyz to see and be photographed in that iconic setting. Later in the weekend, while watching Miracle on 34th Street, Sean said – ‘hey, we are just there!’ Exactly. Just what I was shooting for.

The Macy’s windows don’t fail to impress – ever. I loved the Solar System theme.

The weekend continue with brunch with Santa…

and a solstice bonfire celebration, at which I forgot to take pictures, but it was full of fire and feasting. I embrace Solstice a little more every year – it fits every religion or lack thereof and is a simply wonderful way to mark the season.

Sunday found most of us home for most of the day – walk-taking, movie-watching, cookie-baking, game-playing, time-experiencing πŸ™‚ We capped off the evening here.

I hope you find what makes you happy as you anticipate the impending holidays. My souvenir for NYC? I brought home some Holiday Spirit. Very Merry.

Where To Start

I did it again – blog neglect. It’s either the blog, or the kids or the house, or the….I don’t know where to start to jump back into my little corner of the internet. So, I’m going to start right here and I hope you’ll just meet me where I’m at. Please.

We had an exciting trip to Sanibel Island, FL. We saw sights and had experiences we had never had before. I will not lie (I try really hard not to lie to you) it is just not easy vacationing with The Boyz. But there were plenty of wonderful moments that will make great memories. I am so glad we had a chance to visit this beautiful island. (You know I just like saying ‘island’, right?)

Now I’m here, but I’m not really ‘here’ if you know what I mean. My brain is either still on the beach or I am having a problem with Mercury being in retrograde – blame Mercury – sounds good.

I still have not done ‘real’ food shopping since our return, so we are consuming the dregs of boxes of cereal, tuna, toast and whatever I can dig up hunting through the freezer. Laundry has been done in stops and starts and does not seem to be diminishing at all. I am shuffling papers around my desk, but no headway is being made there either. Oh well. I’ve checked in with you – here – and that’s something.

How did I contract a case of ennui in October. Damn it Mercury.

A Big Deal

We are headed for a family vacation to beautiful Sanibel Island, FL. We fly out Sunday morning.

Did I make that sound natural?! Because it is SO NOT!

I honestly never let myself believe that this is a place in our lives to which we would get. A simple vacation, so easy and normal for some other people. But for us, it’s an undertaking of epic proportions.

A few years ago, we managed a trip to Washington D.C. and it was the first time that The Costellos, as you know us (6), managed a trip. We stayed two nights in a hotel. Our sites became set on the bigger and better things and we managed a trip to Disney World. We drove all the way there. These were amazing feats, for sure.

Until the age of 7, Ethan was chronically and often critically sick. There were infections, viruses, and illnesses aplenty. For the first 11 years of Ethan’s life – 11 years – he did not sleep. He was either up many times a night or he stayed up for days on end. It was hard enough to manage at home, but being out of our environment was out of the question.

Mikey also joined our family very unwell. It took several years to get skin infections and asthma to a manageable state. Gavin was nestled in the middle, of course, with his own issues and concerns. Daily life was a series of putting out fires – sometimes in the literal sense πŸ™‚ I would not consider vacationing more than 20 minutes from a major medical center in those days.

Add Sean a few years later and the rising costs of, well, everything, and it seemed like airfare and tropical islands were an unattainable dream. This vacation is the product of a series of fantastic deals and God’s goodness.

It’s still a production. We mailed several boxes, via UPS, full of Ethan’s matchbox cars, AutaBuy Magazines and coloring books – there was just no way we would get them all on the plane. He would be extremely unhappy without then, and then we would be extremely unhappy with him, without them. We are assessing what everyone will need to be happy so that it can be put into bags and transported to our island paradise.

I am pretty sure what I need to be happy will soon occupy a 3-bedroom beach cottage on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico.

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Liberty Hall Museum

What a hidden gem we found in Liberty Hall Museum in Union, NJ.Β  I have to tell you, I thought I hated all things ‘history’ until Gavin developed a real loved for it – places, movies, documentaries and historical novels. Gavin’s way of learning about history is way better than what I was exposed to in school. When I see something from this vantage point I am usually really impressed – like I was at this location. I remember things when I see them and hear the facts told in story form. I’m sure my kids do too.

The docent that lead our tour had first-hand knowledge of the family that inhabited this historic house. It’s a place that has hosted 8 presidents and goes back to 1772. Truly, we were walking in history’s footsteps πŸ™‚

001 002 003 013 018 019The English Garden was wonderful and right now apples are ripe and $8 a bag to pick. I’ve heard they host wonderful teas here as well. I think I’d leave The Boyz behind for that πŸ˜‰

Check out how I am doing on my 30 Day Challenge here.

Miracle on the Delaware

If you’ve read this post, and several like it, you know that sometimes traveling with my crew is hard. Really hard. Honestly, there is no pattern or rhyme or reason. Some days are ok and some ARE NOT. So, what makes Dennis and I continue to try and trips that could potentially land us in trouble? Why in the world would we think that it would be ok to launch rafts, full of all of us, and float peacefully down the Delaware River?

Hope.

Our reward/failure threshold must be very high – or low – whichever way that works. We just need a few awesome trips and we keep hoping. We wait for the miracles. And sometimes, they happen.

Ethan is definitely our toughest customer. He had to wait in the sun, and in a long line for a bus. We took a bumpy, over-crowded & hot ride to our destination and the whole time he was quietly anticipating our impending floating experience. He had to walk down a rocky, slippery path, and pop himself into a tiny raft with 2 other Costellos. It was hard to anticipate how long it would be until he announced that he was ‘done’ – and he’s serious when he says that.

But since this is entitled ‘Miracle on the Delaware’, I guess you know how it ends. (These pictures were taken with a cheap, water proof, real-film camera and remain unedited – and that’s what you get.)

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When it’s this good, I sometimes can’t believe it. But I REALLY like it πŸ™‚

We got an inner tube
We got a trailer hitch
We’re near the river and far from rich
But we have got each other and gas in the tank
And it’s a beautiful day.
We’re laughing all the way
To the river bank

~ Brad Paisley