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Monday, September 18, 2023

Happy birthday to me!

Wednesday, September 13th was my birthday!  I turned FIFTY-FOUR!  I have that in all caps because, wow! That's old!  I know I've said it on here before but I still feel 21 in my mind but my body tells me 54 is that accurate number.  

I was off work on Wednesday and so was my brother.  He joined me on my errands and treated me to lunch at Yamas.  Yamas is a local restaurant that is very similar to Cava but I like it much better. 

My go to order is always the 1/2 grain (basmati rice) and 1/2 salad (mixed greens is what I usual go for) bowl.  For my protein I always chose the fig and chicken salad and then I top it with marinated chick peas, pickled red onions, picked red cabbage, feta, tzatziki, and Greek vinaigrette.  I also get a few of their fresh pita chips on the side.  PERFECTION!

When I got home, I was surprised to find a beautiful arrangement of flowers on the kitchen island. 

The card read "Happy Birthday Mom and Dad! Love, Peter and Sarah."  Seeing these flowers on the counter literally brought tears to my eyes.  I immediatley texted a picture to the family group chat and thanked both kids.  Then I separately thanked Sarah, because let's face it, she's the one that orchestrated the flowers.  And I love that she included Dan because he turned 57 on the 12th. 

On Wednesday evening was our regularly scheduled Cistas get together.  (The Cistas are my old MOPS group and we've been getting together monthly since 2012 after we stopped attending MOPS) We were actually celebrating Christy's 50th but the ladies also made me feel extra special on my boring 54th. 


I worked on Thursday and was greeted with a host of Happy Birthday wishes, cake, and presents!  I was not expecting that as I've only been working 5 weeks.  So that was such a nice surprise!

I got home from work on Friday evening and Peter came in right behind me.  I cooked Philly Cheesesteaks for dinner (one of Peter's favorite things I make) and then we headed to the Bishop Football game.  Y'all.  It was so bad.  We were playing the team that won the conference last year and it did not go well.  We left after the first quarter we were losing so bad.  But that's the nice thing about not having any current players or students.  You can leave without feeling guilty!  :)

When we got home we watched some Friday night college football and I went to bed early and left the boys to their games.  On Saturday, Peter and Dan did yard work and I did housework and Peter watched the NC State Football game.  

Then my sweet Sarah came home and we all went to Mass together.  After Mass we had dinner at Twisted Pine.  The Coal Pit (where I went with my friends on Wednesday) was hosting their final concert of the summer so we headed there.  We listened to Maiden Voyage - an Iron Maiden tribute band - for about an hour.  If you recall, Iron Maiden was Peter's very first concert. (Look how young and teenagery Peter looks in those pictures.) 

I made everyone take a selfie as we were leaving. I really appreciate the family for putting up with me. :)

A Guns and Roses Tribute band was playing after but we didn't stay.  I would have loved to see that but maybe next time.  We headed home and all hung out together.  Sarah did her nails, we watched more football, had some drinks, and before I knew it, it was almost midnight.  Of course, the old lady had to go to bed but everyone was proud of me for staying up so late. :)

On Sunday we had our BirthAversery Lunch where we officially celebrated our anniversary and both of our birthdays.  The food was delicious and so was the beautiful cake my mom made. 

 But the best part of all was the FULL TABLE!!  I love it when we are all together. 

After lunch, Peter headed back to Raleigh and Dan and I went with Sarah to get new tires on her car.  Then she headed back to Charlotte and Dan and I watched the Patriots lose.   It's going to be a long season.  The Panthers play tonight so I'm hopeful that at least one of our professional teams will win in week 2.

Dan has a ton of vacation to use before the end of the year or he will lose it so he's taking today off.  We will be running errands and just hanging out together - which is my very favorite thing.  💕

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Weekend update.

We had a nice little weekend but it included every single one of our football teams losing. 

Friday night we headed to Bishop McGuinness and saw them lose by one point.  On Saturday, Dan did yard while I did work work.  It was my first Saturday and boy was it busy in that store!  So many shoppers.  I can only imagine how busy it will be at Christmas.

While I was working, Peter attended the NC State Notre Dame game.  NC State was expected to lose as Notre Dame is in the top ten but one thing I love about Peter is that for him, hope springs eternal.  So, we were all hopeful, especially since it was a home game.  But alas, they lost after a two hour delay in the middle of the game for rain.

Peter texted us that when they evacuated the stadium, he and his friends had to run through a torrential downpour to some other friend's apartment where they waited out the delay while being drenched.  They finally made their way back into the stadium for the rest of the game. After the game, Peter posted this picture to his Instagram which had been featured on Barstoolpack's Instagram.  Can you find him?  

When we saw it, Dan said, "Of course, he's on his phone!"  Ha!  

NC State has a brand new giant jumbo tron screen and it got struck by lightening during the storm but luckily it appears to still be functional.

After I got home from work on Saturday, we went to Mass and oh, I forgot to mention, it was our 23rd wedding anniversary! Last week, I told the only thing I wanted to do for our anniversary was go to a rooftop bar downtown and have a drink.  Dan said that sounded like a good plan and we went on with our lives.

On Friday evening (day before our anniversary) Dan said that he made plans on Saturday for us to meet a coworker and his wife for drinks downtown.  Whomp whomp.  He totally forgot that it was our anniversary and that we had made a plan.  Oh well.  The rooftop bar will still be downtown and we had a lovely evening with his coworker and his wife so it was still a nice evening.

And meanwhile, UNC Charlotte, who had started off strong against Maryland, proceeded to lose their game as well. And then Sunday brought a Panthers loss and a Patriots loss and that rounded out our weekend of no wins in football!

On Sunday, Dan, Mom, and I, headed to Raleigh bright and early to take Peter to lunch.He wanted to make sure we were finished with lunch by 1:00 so he could watch the Panthers game.  We hadn't seen him in weeks and were missing him.  (I think he was missing us, too.) And Mom and Dan had not seen his new room yet and neither had eaten at the restaurant where Peter works. It was good to see my boy and get to hug his neck and talk with him in person!

Here is a picture of us on a bridge with the best view of the city in the background.

And that was our weekend!

Thursday, September 7, 2023

What we've been doing and a link to "how I met my husband"....

This is my fourth week of work and so far so good!  The women I work with are all very friendly and outgoing and don't mind showing me how to do something three four five times.  The atmosphere is very laid-back which I appreciate and everyone seems to work well together.

I think the plan for me is to learn how to do several different things.  They are teaching me the inventory check-in process and how to get the merchandise ready for the sales floor.  They are teaching me how to work the sales floor (cash register, where everything is, how to best help the customers,etc), and they are teaching me how to update their website with new merchandise.  I think this is what I will be focusing on a little more each week as the person that currently does this is pregnant and will go out on maternity leave some time at the end of November. The plan is for me to take over her duties while she is gone.

Each day is different (which I like) and I'm learning new things each day (which I also like).  I just hope I don't become a "Jack of all trades, master of none." I feel like right now, I know just enough to be dangerous.  :)  But I'm sure I will feel more confident and (less dangerous) as the weeks continue to pass.

The kids seem to be enjoying their classes and are settling in to the new school year pretty well.  Peter and his fraternity just made it through Rush and I think he's glad it's over.  The first couple of weeks of the school year in a fraternity/sorority can be pretty exhausting. Also it's been HOT in Raleigh and his attic bedroom is definitely not the coolest. 

Sarah just got a new job on campus and is currently filling out paperwork and meeting with HR so she can become an official campus employee and then start her training.  The job title is Student Philanthropy Representative and I think she and the rest of the people they hired will be soliciting funds from alumnae to support programs for scholarships and academics.  

She's excited because this is currently what she's thinking of as a career. She's a communications major but is very interested in philanthropy (raising money) so this should look good on her resume and help her to see if this is something she is truly interested in.  We can thank her time working on the LLS Student of the Year campaign for her interest in philanthropy.  You never know where each thing you do in life might lead you!

We didn't do much for Labor Day weekend.  Peter stayed at school because they had a full weekend of Rush activities but Sarah came home.  She had a doctor's appointment Friday afternoon and split her time hanging out with us and hanging out with Joe.

They both joined us for Mass on Saturday evening and then we went to dinner at Twisted Pine.  It's always nice spending time with them and getting to know Joe better.  He's a big sports football and baseball fan so he and Dan have a lot to talk about. :) 

Two weeks ago, Dan and I went to Bishop McGuinness to see the home opener football game.  They won!  It was great!  We have a new coach.  He recently retired from the public schools and has coached much bigger programs so we have high hopes for the season.  If the weather holds out, we are planning on going tomorrow night too.  It's fun to be at the games but also a little weird since our kids don't go there any longer.  There are still some familiar faces in the stands so we aren't too out of place.  It's honestly just nice to go and watch a game and feel like the boys actually have a chance to win.  We didn't get that experience when Peter played.  And fun fact, the new coach actually went to my high school and was in my brother's graduating class.  

I'm sure by now you have all heard that Jimmy Buffet died.   We spent the rest of the weekend playing his music.  That felt like a great way to remember him.  Peter sent us this picture...

One of his friends made a big batch of margaritas using his dad's recipe and they were listening to his music all day too.  

I know I've told you guys the story of Dan and I meeting at a Jimmy Buffet concert once before but  here's the link in case you want to read about it. (It's short.). That link is from a post I wrote in 2007 when we were celebrating out SEVENTH wedding anniversary and now in two days we will be celebrating our TWENTY-THIRD.  My how time does fly!

And with that update, I need to go and get ready for work! 

Monday, August 21, 2023

Moving the girl. Year 2.

We moved Sarah in to her on-campus apartment on Saturday..  I am so thankful that she was home all summer.  Dan was gone for almost the entire summer so it was absolutely lovely having her here to keep me company.  

Yes, she worked a lot and yes, she spent a lot of time with her boyfriend but she was very thoughtful and tried to be home before my bedtime so I would be able to go to sleep without worrying.  And even though we didn't finish it, we watched a lot of Schitt's Creek.  We are both sad that we didn't finish it but maybe we can finish it over Christmas break. She is such good company and I really do love that sweet girl of mine!  It hasn't even been 48 hours since we left and I already miss her.

Her check-in time was 10:30 and we were right on time. She got her key, we got everything dumped out on the sidewalk in front of the dorm and started getting everything upstairs.

She lives on the 5th floor and this dorm is very large.  It's a sort of U-shaped building with very long halls and it seems that her room is about as far from the door as possible.  (There was a side door that got you to her room quicker than the main door but it was up a very steep hill and we had a lot of stuff to carry so after one attempt at that, we powered through the long halls - at least they were flat.

We spent a bit of time deciding how to arrange the furniture and then realized that we never washed her new sheets so we had to do that before we made the bed..  We are very thankful that this apartment has a washer and dryer!  How convenient! 

She had a heavy mirror that she wanted to hang so Dan got to work on getting that taken care of and putting together her nightstand that we ordered from Amazon.  

Sarah and I got to work getting the clothes in the closet and getting things our of the big blue bags and in their correct spots. (These big blue bags are a lifesaver and I would recommend them again and again. They also have straps on the back if you want to carry them like a backpack and we definitely did that.  It's a nice feature.  Also, if you look at Peter's pile in that post, he only used 6 bags.  We have 8 and used all 8 for Sarah plus had a ton of other stuff to move in outside of what was in the bags.  If only I had about 4 more blue bags! :)  Also, boys are certainly easier than girls in this regard. :)

We stopped for lunch around 2:00 and then headed to Walmart to get a few things she needed to round out her room.  BIG MISTAKE!

Saturday was day 4 of 4 days of move-in at UNC Charlotte so guess what was wiped out?  ALL of Wal-Mart and ALL of Target.  The bathroom, kitchen, school, and college section of both stores reminded me of Covid days - all empty shelves with a few random misplaced items laying around.  I'm not sure how we did it (and it took about 2 hours) but we managed to find what we needed.  We headed back to her room and she decided to change the position of her desk.  Which meant Dan had to move the mirror and we had to make a few other slight changes but it was worth it because it turned out so cute and I think she's happy with it.

Dan really wanted to go to Mass (so we could sleep in on Sunday) so he and I left Sarah at about 5:15 so she could put the finishing touches on her room in peace. (Sometimes, I can be a lot and Sarah is too sweet to tell me that I'm being a lot.)  There's a Catholic church right across from campus and we made it there right at 5:30.  There were lots of announcements and the priest gave a 40 minute homily so when we got out, I had texts from Sarah asking where we were and why it was taking us so long.   

We had to stop at Target after mass to get a rug gripper for her little area rug and then finally made it back to her room where she had everything just the way she wanted it.  We took our pictures and then took here to dinner because by this time, it was almost 8:00! After dinner we dropped her off at her dorm and gave her lots of hugs goodbye and we headed home.  We made it back by 10:00 pm.  Good thing we could sleep in on Sunday morning because we. were. tired.

Here's Sarah's room:

Didn't she do a great job decorating it?

Here are some other areas of the apartment...

Kitchen (with bar stools on the other side of the bar)

Living room with a tiny table.

Hallway leading to two bedrooms and 1 bathroom.
The other hallway leading to the other two bedrooms and bathroom.
One of the bathrooms.

I am praying that she has a great year and that she and Gabi (her bestie) get along well with their other two roommates.  Great roommates can really make or break your year.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Cape Cod Trip - Part 2

 On Tuesday morning, we were up bright and early as we were heading to Boston for the day!

We stopped for coffee and donuts at Dunkin which is also a tradition every time we head off the Cape.  (I don't think I mentioned that when we went to Newport on Sunday.) This usually adds 15 to 20  minutes (at least) to any trip so we have to factor that in to our time.  There are a million Dunkins in Massachusetts and every one of them has a long line.  They love their Dunkin up there!  

Our drive in was very rainy.  And by the time we got there it was pouring down rain.  We had checked the weather and knew that the morning would be rainy but it was so windy and there was so much rain.  We finally (after I caused Dan to miss an exit and that added another 15 minutes to our arrival time) got to Regina Cleri to pick up Dan's uncle.  Regina Cleri is a retirement home for priests. Thankfully as we pulled in, the rain stopped and a little later the sun came out and it ended up being a beautiful day.

Dan's adopted uncle (Ron) is also in Regina Cleri now.  Longtime readers might recall that every year we pick up Uncle Bob and take him to Glouchester to visit Uncle Ron and have lunch. Before we left for lunch we had a nice visit with Ron.  Due to health reasons, he was unable to go with us.

We headed out to Needham to meet Dan's brother Dick, and Jen and Jillian.  There was a lot of texting and calling on the way because apparently the little storm we drove through caused a lot of damage in Needham where they live.  There were trees and power lines down and a lot of flooding. The restaurant we were meeting them at (along with quite a few other businesses and homes) had no power.  So we had to pivot and go somewhere else but we finally made it!  It was so great to see them and spend time with them.

After lunch we dropped Uncle Bob off and walked around Boston for a bit.  We normally park in the Boston Common garage but decided to park in a garage that was closer to Fenway.  This garage was very small.  So small in fact that you had to let an attendant park your car.  Some of the cars were even up on lifts in kind of a makeshift second level. On our way out of that garage I noticed a sign that said the garage closed at 11:00 pm and no cars could be removed after that time.  I mentioned it to Dan and he brushed it off.  But the more we walked around, the more nervous I got.  So right before the game we moved the car. It ended up costing more money but I didn't have a good feeling about this garage and I just knew that if we didn't move it, the game would go into extra innings and we would have to leave to get the car and that would have been horrible.

Here's some pictures from our day in Boston.

Please note that Sarah and I are already dressed for the game but Peter and Dan didn't want to walk around wearing their Red Sox shirts as well because if we all had on Red Sox gear would look like "tourists".  Which I guess technically Peter is a tourist but Dan is not since he grew up there.  :)

Here are some pictures from Fenway:


The Red Sox lost to the Kansas City Royals but we still had a great day with Dan's family and had a great time at Fenway!

Wednesday morning Dan and I took a walk through the neighborhood and down by the water while the kids slept in.(We didn't get home from Boston until after Midnight.)  Then the kids and I ran some errands while Dan worked on a project at the house.  Then we had lunch at home and Sarah and I headed to the beach for a couple of hours.  We read our books and picked up shells.  Look at the pretty ones we found:

 Dan and Peter made their way to the beach and swam for a while then we headed back home where we grilled hamburgers and the kids worked on a puzzle. We aren't a big puzzle family but we usually try to work on one while we are at the Cape. 

After dinner we went to Skull Island for a round of mini golf.  It's been a long time since we've played mini golf on the Cape so that was a lot of fun! Sarah was determined to beat Dan but she lost by one point.  Peter and I duked it out for last place.

After mini golf we headed to the new Cuffy's location. Cuffy's is the premier place on the Cape for tee shirts and sweatshirts and they just recently opened a 20,000 square foot location with a boardwalk and ice cream shop, a sandwich shop,  and all kinds of cool gifts and souvenirs. You could literally wander through that store for an hour or more.  And they have a neat candy shop  with this on the wall: 

That's all done in JELLY BEANS!!!

After we left Cuffy's we headed to the Sundae School in Dennis for ice cream and then came back home and worked on the puzzle more. The puzzle is of the area of the Cape where we stay.  You submit your address to this company and they turn the map of the address into a puzzle.  It was really cool putting the street part of it together but everyone got bored of it when it was just water. Like I said we are not puzzle people. :)

It was cloudy on Thursday but Dan and I did our morning walk and then we went to some thrift shops on then at lunch at the Black Cat in Hyannis.  It was quite tasty.

After lunch, we visited with one of the neighbors and then I made spaghetti.  After dinner we headed to another Cape League game even though it was starting to rain a little.  We stayed for a while but the rain was too much for me and Sarah so we went to the car and waited it out until Dan and Peter were done. Sarah really wanted a hot shower after sitting in the rain so she and I went home while Dan and Peter got ice cream.

Friday was our last day on the Cape which meant a lot of work.  After breakfast and our morning walk, we went to the dump, returned cans, found Dan some Yarmouth tee shirts (after looking in a bunch of tee shirt shops), and started cleaning and doing more laundry.  After lunch we hit the beach for a few hours as a family.  We took some drinks and the speaker (Peter has an excellent Spotify playlist) so we hung out enjoying the sunshine, the water, the music, and our time together.

After the beach we had pizza (also a last night tradition) and got our final Cape ice cream at the Lil Caboose.  It was such a lovely last day on the Cape.  

After closing up the house, we were on the road by 7:00 on Saturday morning.  We (of course) stopped at Dunkin for coffee and donuts and made it to a Shake Shack somewhere (no clue where we were) for lunch.  I had never been to Shake Shack before and it was delicious!  We normally go to mass in Winchester, VA but we knew we wouldn't make it so we stopped in Hagerstown, MD for mass at St. Mary's.  

On Sunday morning I was reading my email in the car and got a note from someone who reads my blog and doesn't comment (Hey, Catherine!) and she was asking if we were at St. Mary's on Saturday evening.  She thought she recognized me!  How cool is that?  

After mass we made it to our hotel in Winchester and then headed to Old Town for dinner.  It's another tradition.  They have the cutest area where Loudoun Street is closed to traffic and you can walk on the street and shop or eat.  They have a bunch of restaurants.  This time we tried the Water Street Kitchen.  It was excellent! 

Dan snapped this pic of me outside one of the old buildings on Loudoun St.

Sunday morning we slept late, enjoyed another delicious (well, free anyway) breakfast at Hampton Inn and made our way home.  We got unpacked, got the laundry going, played with the cats and then joined Mom and Brad for a delicious home cooked meal at her house!

It's nice to be home but I had such a wonderful time with my little family.  Now that the kids don't live at home any longer, I really do cherish our time together.  

And here are a couple of parting shots. Dan took this picture on Friday evening when he and the kids went for a quick bike ride together...

And I took this one when I went down to the beach to see if I could spot them.

Until next time, Cape Cod.