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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.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Cape Cod Trip - Part 1.

 It's time for the annual vacation post.  We started our yearly trek to Cape Cod on Thursday, August 3rd.  We left around 8:30 AM and arrived in Newburg, NY around 7:15 PM.  We had dinner at Longhorn and then hit the bed early.  After a delicious (well, free anyway) breakfast at Hampton Inn, we were on the road on Friday morning by 9:00 AM and were at the house on the Cape by 3:00.

Our first day there consists of turning the water on, opening the windows (no A/C at the Cape house), unpacking, getting groceries, etc.  After doing all the boring things, we went to the beach briefly and then we always order pizza our first night on the Cape.  It's  tradition after all! After dinner we went to the Cape Cod Creamery for ice cream because we get ice cream every night after dinner when we are on the Cape.  That's also tradition!

On Saturday, the weather was nice.  Dan and I had a couple of household errands to do while the kids slept in and then Sarah and I went to the beach.  We came back for lunch and then headed back to the beach. Dan and Peter went for a drive and then joined us.  They aren't as into sitting on the beach and relaxing as much as Sarah and I are.

We then went to Mass at 4:00 PM and then ran to TJ Maxx looking for cheap Red Sox gear.  We came home and I prepared delicious burrito bowls.  We went to Gray's Beach to see the sunset.  We almost didn't make it before the sun totally set but I'm glad we did as this has become another tradition - at least one night we try to make it their to see the gorgeous sunset.

And then we headed to Ice Cream Smuggler guessed it!  Ice Cream!

We were up and out the door early on Sunday morning  headed to Newport, RI. If you will recall, last year we visited Newport for the first time and had a really great day. But this year, we were doing something special - Eric (Dan's sister Cathy's partner) is now a member of the New York Yacht Club and he invited us to join them for lunch at their Newport location!  We were so excited! (Eric and Cathy had just finished competing in a race which is why they were in Newport.  The race ended the day before.)

We got to Newport early and took a trolly tour around town.  It was very informative.  Even though we were there last year and toured around ourselves, we saw a lot on the tour that we didn't even know was there and learned a lot about the area too.  After the tour (which was supposed to be only 90 minutes but ended up lasting a little over 2 hours) we headed straight to the yacht club and were only a few minutes late for the reservation. We were late because the driver stopped along the beach for photos:

We sat outside at the yacht club and enjoyed an absolutely beautiful view of the harbor. Sadly, there are no pictures because you aren't allowed to take any pictures while you are on the grounds of the club. Click here to see what the outside of the club looks like.  We had lunch under the green and white awning. After a delicious lunch, Eric toured us around the grounds and then we all headed to the Breakers.

The Breakers is a mansion in Newport that was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1893.  Cornelius is the brother to George Vanderbilt who built the Biltmore House in North Carolina.  (Trying saying all that 5 times fast. That's a lot of bilts and builts.)

The Breakers was gorgeous.  It was so ornate and the view was breathtaking.  It's a lot smaller than the Biltmore House but in all of our opinions, much more beautiful.  


My pictures aren't very good and certainly don't do it justice.  Here are some shots from the balcony or piazza or terrace  - can't remember the exact word they used for it... (it's the back porch if you are a redneck from the south).

Then we went outside and walked along part of the Cliff Walk.  The Cliff Walk is a three and half mile walk around the cliffs and outside of some of the mansions in Newport. We had some great views of the ocean on our walk.

We said our goodbyes to Cathy and Eric and then headed back to the Cape. On our way back, we stopped in Fairhaven to visit Colleen's Ice Cream Cottage.  Check out my post here!

Monday turned out to be a cloudy day so we decided to head to Captain Parker's for lunch.  We got our traditional clam chowder and then afterwards headed to Hyannis to do a little shopping. There was a cool record store with lots of posters and the kids spent a lot of time there.  There are apartment walls to be decorated you know! 



Then we headed to a Cape Cod Baseball League baseball game.   The Cape League is the nation's premiere summer college baseball league.  It was officially founded in 1923 but has roots dating back to 1885. Players from all over the country are recruited to play in the 10 team league.  Currently there are over 350 MLB players playing right now that were part of the Cape league.  (Aaron Judge for one.)

We saw the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox play the Orleans Firebirds.  It was a great game and we enjoyed ourselves even though the Yarmouth team lost.  There was an obnoxious fan from the other team who was really getting on our nerves. We later learned that this guy was the other team's mascot (out of costume because he was not at his home field). He just yelled constantly and was so loud and annoying. Peter can do a great impression of this guy yelling.

We came home from the game and enjoyed hot dogs and then got ice cream from Katie's in Hyannis for dessert.  After ice cream, we walked around Hyannis Harbour for a little while.

  Even though it was cloudy all day, it turned out to be such a nice day spent with my little family.