Every now and again I get this idea in my head that it’s fun to take the kids shopping. I get grand plans to take them to a bigger town, more stores, maybe even a mall! I think we’ll check out all the different stores, maybe find new fashion styles they like (they are dang pre-teen/teens already!), hang out, have fun. After today I’ve officially given the kids permission to slap me when I get this notation again. It’s never fun. I mean, it’s fun to hang out with the kids, but shopping just sucks. Here’s what today looked like. Hour drive to the closest Target. Their back-to-school section is lame and picked over (kinda my fault as school starts in a week). Their kid clothes sections are small. The clothing in general is missing way too much fabric. We were looking for long sleeves and pants, ya know, back to school clothes, but mostly found tanks, crop-tops, weird pant-like things. Eve had zero interest (thankfully!). The kids don’t like shopping, they can’t manage to find things on their own (’cause they don’t like shopping and therefore don’t try), they wander around aimlessly and get silly with each other. Really, the most fun we had at Target was trying to figure out how to attach the cup holder to the cart to hold my tasty Starbucks iced tea. We were tired by the end of that (we have zero shopping endurance), but decided to check out a nearby mall as we still had lots of stuff on our list. The mall was deserted!! Half of the stores were empty or closed (on a Friday afternoon??) and the place was just weird. We did find a shoe store and bought some shoes, but certainly it wasn’t any better than the shoe store on 12A. We were exhausted by this point and succumbed to the siren call of the candy store, which was really the brightest, nicest looking store in the whole mall! After a sugar break we headed back to the car with the plan to go to Staples and get the rest of the school supplies. Of course, we found an Olive Garden on the way, realized we were hungry, and stopped for dinner. Breadsticks galore! Finally we stopped at Staples and got everything we needed. The store was well stocked and plentiful, but no better than our local Staples. Then an hour drive home, in the rain and bright lightening. We successfully got our school supplies, spent lots of money, and used up half a day… but really we could have just hit West Leb and been done in half the time and half the money. Sigh. Note to self: we aren’t a shopping family. We drop fast! On the bright side, we do have fun together! :)

CHaD Hero 5K

Alan decided to run the 5K this year. Apparently he was planning to run the half marathon, unbeknownst to me, but “settled’ for the 5K instead. :) Then he talked Rosy into running it to. So guess who was next?!

I should probably start training soon. Anyone want to donate? Help the children and spur me on? :)

Alan also started doing Cross Fit awhile ago and is working hard to get the whole family involved. His intentions are good and true, but we are a lazy family! :( We’re all working on improving that. The fitness, that is, not the laziness.

Goodbye Arlo

We brought Arlo to the trainer/foster lady today. It was a sad/happy day. We all agreed that he would be happier there and then with a family who had space for him to run, and ideally not a family but a woman with time and space. It was hard to say goodbye though. Alro knew something was up too. When it was time to go he wouldn’t get out of his crate.

We tried calling him and using treats. It took the much loved cheese drawer opening to entice him downstairs, but he came right back up! I was able to start folding up his crate when he was out of it, so instead he tried to sit on the folded up crate. When I brought it out to the car he jumped right in and laid right down on the crate. Not knowing where we were going, but sure that he didn’t want to be left behind. We all cried.

When we got to Paula’s she did a great job taking him right over. She gave us a tour of her house (where the dogs all sleep!) and showed us the crate Arlo would be in. His crate is right in her living room next to a very sweet dog (she assured us!). She showed us the training area and where they do baths (good luck with that!) and we met lots of dogs who all wanted to play with Arlo. She had a plan to walk Arlo with one of her “greeter” dogs and then slowly acclimate him to the place and the other dogs. She seems like a wonderful and devoted woman. She said that was was contacted last week by a woman who sounds like a potential match for Alro, so maybe after a few weeks of training he’ll be headed to a forever home.

For now we will adjust to life without Arlo. A car pulled up today and we had no prior notice! I immediately looked around for the dog, then remembered. I’m currently reminding myself that I don’t have to take him out for an evening walk. It will be a strange adjustment for all of us. I hope it was the right decision and everyone, including Arlo, will be happier and more at ease.

Bye, Alro. We will always love you. <3


Another year of the Hartford Performing Arts Camp has come and gone, and this time Eve got to go too!  Yay!  The theme was Where The Wild Things Are and they did a great job turning the sweet book into a musical show.

Lex on the glockenspiel.

Eve in the chorus. She’s the one with the light blue headband/ears.

We had the worst luck with seating this year, somehow managing to frequently be on the wrong side of the speakers from the kids.

The only picture I was able to get of them both together. Lex on the drum and Eve as a “wild thing” sneaking in front.

Eve’s friend and fellow DBS kid played Max. She was great at it! Here she is (in red shorts) arriving on the island of the Wild Things.


Summer photos

In no particular order…

Summer library project

Blue toes

Kitty sitting for a friend

Eve decided she wasn’t in the mood for mini-golf. Good thing she had a book with her!

Lex started drum lessons at a new place and he loves it!

This was pretty it for last week.

Teaching is a family job. Library project for everyone!

We went to Alan’s company party today. Pizza, ice cream, mini-golf, driving range, batting cage, playground…. books.

“Now go away or I will taunt you a second time.” (name that movie!)

We also spent a week in Franklin, but I’ll write a proper post about that… later.

Quotable kids

Two more quotes for the neglected quotes page:  (or, what to do when you have a big paper due soon and you’re struggling to get started…)


“You know those toast hats?…” – Eve, 7/21/18

Eve, opens the door and yells from the office:  “MOM, how do you spell witches?”
Me: “What does it start with?”
Eve, closes door: “Echo, how do you spell witches?” – 7/16/18

New York City!

Hey, we went to NYC last weekend!  Have you heard?  :)  Some Syracuse friends were getting together in NYC for a wedding of an acquaintance (we weren’t invited to the wedding, but it was black-tie and not something I’d want to go to anyway!) and my friend Lauren texted me a few weeks ago to see if we wanted to meet up for dinner.  With some quick logistics and a super helpful Aunt Rosy, we were able to pull it off.  :)  I rented an apartment through HomeAway, big enough for us and Rosy.  We drove down Friday morning.  The trip took longer than expected because the AC gave out in our car half way there, which necessitated multiple stops at Starbucks to cool off.

The kids read books, played games, and didn’t even bicker (very much). It was a nice trip.

Friday night we went out to dinner with friends (some in for the wedding and others there just for dinner), then we all went to a show at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade and  out to a karaoke bar.  There may have been some drinks involved.  It was a ton of fun to catch up with old friends.  I wish we could do it more often!  I love how this group of friends just falls so easily back into sync.

Seven SU friends and a few spouses added in. :) It was a great night!

Saturday morning Alan took the kids to a nearby diner while Rosy and I had a leisurely wake up.  Yay!  Then we all went out for second breakfast (ha!) and down to explore the USS Intrepid.

Rosy patiently entertained the kids while Alan and I figured out the tickets.  Do you see the moon in the picture?  It was much more noticeable and impressive in real life.

Alan explaining something about something. This was definitely more his wheelhouse than mine! :)

It was a quick trip because we had tickets to the 2pm showing of Puffs, an off-Broadway show that’s “a new look at a familiar adventure from the perspective of three potential heroes just trying to make it through a magic school that proves to be very dangerous for children.”  The show was HILARIOUS and I even stayed awake for most of it!  :)

A great show! I would definitely recommend it if you find yourself in NYC or Australia.

Then we met Mark for dinner and an evening full of games and food and fun.

I had some delicious food on this trip! I totally gave up on WW, but enjoyed every bite and sip.

Things get interesting (aka awkward) when your hubby and college buddy start reliving the good old days while sitting next to your teenage (eek!) son. There were definitely a few moments that I brushed over quickly!

Sunday was departure day, but Lex wanted to check out the Lego store in Rockefeller Center first.  Alan took Lex to the diner for breakfast, and Rosy took Eve to a bagel shop, and I had another leisurely morning. :)  Then Rosy, Lex, and I took the subway uptown to Rockefeller Center while Alan and Eve took care of picking up our car from Toyota of Manhattan.  We payed a small fortune for it, but the AC worked again!

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

We need more photos of Rosy and Lex together. :)

The “ear” statue we remember so well from our last trip to NYC has been replaced with this interesting piece of work.

Lex says Rosy and I look a lot alike. Somehow she always looks better in photos though! :/

I love the pattern on this building!

Alan and Eve picked us up, we dropped Rosy off at her car, and the Johnson family headed home.  Somehow it took us forever to get home, but that’s ok.  We stopped for lunch, stopped for multiple Starbucks breaks, and I dunno, jut took awhile.  We made it though and LOVED our vacation!!

If you want to see all the photos, check out the Google Photos album.


Hi guys!  Some of you may know that Eve started a YouTube channel awhile back.  It’s super (not) exciting, but she loves it!  This week Lex decided to start a channel as well to show off some of his Minecraft creations.  It makes me sad that most of their creative juices are going into the computer these days.   I miss having cool kid work around the house (and also at the same time I don’t miss it at all), but it’s neat to see what they are coming up with digitally.  Eve is still finding her voice online with some videos about DYI stuff, some about video games, and some about Harry Potter.  She’s been “colabbing” with her buddy sometimes too.  Lex has one video posted so far about a Rube Goldberg-style Minecraft device, and he has lots of cool things already built in Minecraft that he’s hoping to record over the next few weeks.

If you’re interested, check them out: Thunderpool and Legoman1342


Family, Friends, and Fireworks

We have been moving right along with summertime leisure. I had a conference two weeks ago and my parents came to stay with the kids. Then we had the notorious Kirkwood crew come visit for a night! I still wish they lived closer! It was fun playing games. Lex joined in with the grownups, instead of painting rocks with the kids. That was neat and different. We spent the 4th of July at the beach with friends and despite being tired and sunburned, we made it down the hill to the fireworks. Yay! Today is a quiet home day while we rest up and pack up for a big city adventure!!!

We got to celebrate my mom’s birthday while she was here. Aunt Katie brought over a delicious meal and gigantic cake (which I would have eaten all of if my mom hadn’t take it home with her — thankfully!!).

Jasmine “signs” a birthday card for Mema. Eve might have helped a little.  Arlo got to sign it too.  :)

That many candles requires a very, very deep breath!

The “special diet” table was the best!! Everyone was jealous! They even had sesame sauted temphe one day. Crazy!

While my parents were watching the kids, I was spending my days at the fancy Killington Grand Resort with 11 other colleagues, learning (and teaching, in the case of some of my colleagues) how to improve on our PBIS (positive behavior intervention system) program at school.  Despite the fact that it was a work conference in the summer, it was really interesting and a great experience to share with the team. 

On Friday the Kirkwoods arrived from the west and entertained us for the evening.

The easiest game ever! LOL!

These girls pained a lot of rocks!

Love, love, love, and love!!!

Earlier this week I took the kids on a shopping trip.  We only  needed a few things, but in the name of balancing home days and “busy” days, I decided to drive down to Manchester and go to the mall!!  We also went to the big Barnes and Nobel.  It was great.  Lex bought Legos (shocker!) and the kids spent hours building creations with the very basic Lego set he got.  He said sometimes he finds the sets too restricting and was happy to find a set of basic colored bricks.  I reminded him of the giant bucket he already owns, but he bought these anyway.  I need to do some rearranging of his toys.  I think they could use better storage, but that’s for another day.

A knight (on the left) battling a fire breathing dragon, with a submarine coming to the rescue.

Silly kitty.

Yesterday we spent the day at the lake.  We rounded up a few friends to join us and we all enjoyed the 100° temps!  Sadly, despite multiple sunscreen applications we all got burnt.  I think we need new sunscreen!

We commandeered a picnic table as soon as we got to the lake! We made good use of it with the buffet of (mostly) healthy foods we all brought. :)

Eve and friends.

We went home and crashed for a little while.  Minecraft, Youtube, books, and naps.  Then we regrouped and discussed the fireworks.  Alan is recovering from a sinus infection and had slept most of the day away.  Lex and I were exhausted.  Eve was too, but she was motivated by the idea of more friend time at the fireworks.  We eventually decided to drive down later than we usually do.  Therefore not having to pack a picnic dinner and not having to walk home at the end.  It worked out well and we all had fun with friends at the fireworks.

Lex wasn’t very excited about going and brought along his book. He ended up putting it away after awhile and joining in with the crowd, again mixing between the adults and the kids.

Eve was all about the friends and ended up holding court with her boy crowd for most of the evening. We are entering a whole new era here with these kids!

Playing cards in the dark.

Fireworks! Beautiful, as usual.

Stay tuned for vacation pictures next week!!

A new lake

After a week of begging, I finally gave in and took Eve to the lake.  Um, I mean, we went to the lake today and had a great time!  We decided to check out a new (to me) lake that I’ve heard great things about.  Lex went two weeks ago on a school field trip and said it was definitely a great place to go.  Unfortunately he was in no mood to go today.

Eve, playing with the ducks. Sadly all of her friends are in camps this week and Lex wasn’t in the mood for swimming.  I did my best to be her pal, but she definitely tried to befriend the ducks too.

The ducks were pretty friendly.

The sweet beach babe had fun. We bought a float, rented a paddle boat for awhile, played on the playground, and ate unlimited SunChips and watermelon. Good times.

I snuck in a little of this too. :)

We came home exhausted and only a little bit burned. Luckily our cool house and welcoming screens were there to greet us. :)