Vacation Should Be A Four Letter Word

Vacation. The word sounds relaxing and exciting, right? When you think of vacation, you think of a warm beach, a crystal clear pool, a snowy ski slope and of course oceans of wine. Am I right?

As a kid I always remembered our vacations as a fun escape from school and fun with the family. It was a time to go somewhere fun and new and exciting. We always had great ones like Washington DC, Myrtle Beach, Skyline Drive, Disney, Williamsburg and Busch Gardens, and a million other ones in between. I guess that they were such a blast in my memory book because I was the kid and not the parent. I didn’t have to plan entertainment, plan for car rides, traffic, book hotels and figure out ways to pay for everything. Everything just always seemed to flow seamlessly as a kid. Now that we are adults and we have to plan these vacations with our own kids, vacations might as well be a four letter word. Because I have used a ton of them during the past few vacations. Vacations are tough.

When my husband and I start planning out our next vacation will be, we go into it with as much excitement as a kid waking up on Christmas morning.  It’s fun trying to decide where we are going to blow our money each year. We used to take annual trips to Avalon, NJ but now we have been trying out a few new places. We have done Hershey Park, Rehoboth Beach and we were even going to attempt Disney.  We had the trip 75% booked, but then we ended up buying a house and couldn’t do the trip.  And as I look back I am probably happy that we didn’t go, who the hell wants to spend a 10 days in Disney with their kids?? Oh yeah, I guess a lot of people! We were definitely sad to give up the trip but we couldn’t pass up on upgrading to a new house.

This summer we did get to enjoy a few days in Lake George (with 2 out of 3 kids) and then Rehoboth Beach with all 3 boys. Lake George was awesome and so relaxing.  Then spending a few days at Rehoboth Beach boardwalk with all of the cheap rides, arcades, the beach and the hotel pool was great. I always like to take pictures of our trip and post them online. But not everything I post is as pretty as it seems. Yes, of course I post the fun, sweet pictures, but we all know that vacations can be pure hell with kids — especially 3 boys!  Does anyone else feel this way? Or is it just me? Why is vacationing with kids the most difficult thing in the world? I mean look at these sweet little faces from the summer, how could they cause so much trouble and drama?

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What you don’t see in the pictures that I post (and what everyone in the world posts online) is that 4 minutes before this one of them was screaming about sunscreen in their eyes and the other one was fighting with his brother because he splashed him.   It may look like we had a picture perfect trip, but trust me, we didn’t.  That’s the thing with online social media.  Everything seems perfect in everyone’s lives…. but it’s not. And that’s okay. I get it that no one wants to talk about the fighting that goes on before and after the perfect shot. But I don’t mind talking about it. Here’s our little story of our last vacation!

Lake George October 2016

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The boys had a four day weekend from school and we thought that it would be a great time to go on another trip. Four days away sounded nice. Like I said when we booked it, we were happy and thrilled to get away. We decided that we loved Lake George so much this summer  that we would go back again in the fall — with all three boys.

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Ben missed it over the summer because, well to put it nicely, we all needed a break. He definitely needed a break from us and his brothers.  Don’t get me wrong, mom guilt was with me the entire time we were away, but it was necessary and we all ended up having a great time. He wasn’t in 1/2 of our pictures because he wasn’t even with us for half of our trip.  Like I said, vacation is not always fun and exciting. It’s just like life but in a very expensive location.  Hey, he enjoyed time with his grandparents and we enjoyed some time with a little less fighting.  It was a win-win situation. Would I do that again, probably not but at the time in our lives, we all needed to regroup.

Well as this fall mini vacation got closer, I was becoming very nervous for a variety of reasons. The main being that the boys had lost their iPads the week before for bad behavior and there was no way that we were going to cave and give them back. We had done that one too many times and this time we had to stick to our punishment. So this meant 5 hours in a car (each way) with three kids and no electronics. This mommy had to plan. So when did I plan their in car entertainment???? ummmm 11pm two nights before our trip. Thank goodness for some great ideas from friends and for Amazon same day delivery.

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Well the day arrived, we were set to head up to Lake George! I was so sick to my stomach. Wasn’t vacation supposed to be exciting? Why was it such a hassle this time? But after we got on the road, something strange happened on the way up to New York – the kids were good. Sean read his book for almost three hours. And if you know this kid it’s not easy to get him to sit and read. He finally finished his very first chapter book! I was practically in tears. Owen watched some tv and then took a very long nap. And Ben worked on a Road Trip Journal and a few other mini activity books. He also spent a lot of time drawing pictures. It was strange but for almost 5 hours the car was silent. It was amazing. Of course I knew that this wouldn’t last the entire trip. So I sat there in silence and savored every moment of it.

A happy moment in the car vs. the moment his brother started to annoy him at the end of the trip by resting his feet up around his seat. See I can post the nice pictures vs. the reality.

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We finally arrived at our hotel (which is awesome by the way – The Holiday Inn) and then all hell broke loose. There’s just something about hotels that makes kids lose their shit. It must be the beds that they can jump across. Or the fancy bath soaps, or maybe it’s the key cards that they all fight over using. Who the hell knows but whatever air they pump into the rooms makes these boys turn into wild animals.  So after we unpacked and rested for a short time, we walked a bit around the hotel to show Ben all of the fun things.  Then we hopped in the car and headed to dinner.  This crew was hungry! We headed to one of our favorite spots in town Adirondack Pub and Brewery.  They have great beers and great food. We have hit this spot several times over the past few trips to Lake George. The kids were pretty good at dinner, and we still enjoyed some good old fashioned entertainment (Mad Libs, Word Searches, etc).  Thankfully the food was quick and we had a decent dinner! There was minimal fighting and we survived without the iPads. It was a Christmas miracle!

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The next morning we woke up and went down to the hotel for breakfast. So we ordered our yummy buffet while the kids devoured pancakes and chocolate milk! We decided to spend the day walking around in downtown Lake George. There are tons of stores, arcades, restaurants, etc. It’s a bit touristy but it’s fun. Our first stop of course was for mommy at the winery.  There’s a cute little tasting room for Adirondack Winery right on the main street. Over the summer we stopped in there for a quick tasting about bought a few bottles of wine.  This time around we found a front row parking spot so I got to run in without any children and do my sampling.  Delish!!! After a few samples, I purchased a bunch of wine for vacation and to take home. If you are ever in Lake George, stop by the winery! The barrel aged chardonnay is my favorite!

So now I was happy and ready to take on the day with these clowns.  Our next stop was the arcade. The boys were dying to go all morning long.  So we finally strolled in and I knew right away that a meltdown from Ben was on the horizon.  One of the prizes was a Five Nights at Freddy’s toy. Well it was at least 750 tickets and after all four of us playing for an hour we still weren’t close even if we combined our tickets. Ugh! Finally after 20 minutes of convincing him that he would never have enough tickets, he settled on candy. Yes we spent an hour in the arcade and at least $50 so he could buy $3 worth of candy! Fun times. But Sean picked out a few small things and was a happy camper. That kid is easy to please. It was a fun time. I was happy that I could play skee-ball and the boys were happy running around just throwing quarters into random games. I would have snapped pictures of the meltdown but I couldn’t get out my camera in between talking Ben down from his breakdown on why he just couldn’t play for more tickets.

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After the arcade mommy and daddy needed some refreshments, so we stopped off at a nice little bar called the 163 Tap Room for a quick beer.  It was nice to sit outside on the main street and have a cold glass of some IPA. The kids were being good at this point – mainly because Ben spent 45 minutes eating all of his candy (thankfully he shared some with his brother).  After our beer we headed over to Adirondack Brewing for a late lunch. Probably not the smartest move after two of your kids just ate a ton of candy. But we were hungry.

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This is where the second of the major meltdowns occurred.  We sat outside since it wasn’t too crowded and I was hoping we could have another nice meal like our dinner the night before. I was wrong, very, very wrong. This is one of the meals where I never sat down, Owen wouldn’t sit in a chair, Sean wasn’t hungry and Ben was yelling because he didn’t have enough fries. I was crying of embarrassment. Let’s just say that the young couple that was seated next to us won’t be having kids anytime soon.  I don’t know if they were just tired or having a meltdown from the sugar overload. So we scarfed down our delicious meals and I took off for the car.  Back to the hotel so the kids could explore the hotel and pool again and to work off their wild behavior.

The hotel has so much to offer for kids – that’s why we decided to go back to this one instead of trying something new.  We just spent an hour or so walking around playing on the playground, the putting green, basketball and shuffleboard.  Ben even attempted chess. I think he was just trying to make patterns with the pieces but he was having fun outside!

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After playing outside for awhile, we decided to go to the pool for a little bit before dinner. The boys were in heaven, they now had Sean’s new ball from the arcade to play with and thankfully they all got along.  They made a friend or two in the hot tub, which quickly became their favorite spot. Even I got into the hot tub. It was outside and since it was in the 50s, it felt wonderful. I think Owen enjoyed it the most since it wasn’t as intimidating as the pool.  The meltdowns stopped and we had a great time.

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After the pool, we cleaned ourselves up for some dinner. Dinner didn’t go as smoothly tonight, but we survived.  Thankfully the restaurant was dead (since we spent a lot of time swimming and had a late dinner) and we didn’t scare away too many people.  That’s the thing about traveling with kids.  No matter how much you have planned, no matter how much you spend or where you go, there will be meltdowns.  It’s inevitable with three boys who don’t get along in the real world, so why would they get along on vacation.  Dinner took a lot longer than expected and we had a few impatient kids.  The massive amounts of question games and Mad Libs that we played while waiting just wasn’t enough.  By the time dinner was over we were all ready for bed.  But it was such a nice night and the fire pit was going so we tried to sit by it for a few minutes.  Over the summer Joey, Sean, Owen and myself sat there for at least two hours.  I think this time around we got 2 minutes.  Owen was running all over the place and Joey and I just couldn’t relax and deal with chasing them around.  Ben was screaming he wanted to go to bed, so off we went.  It was pretty for the two minutes that we were there.

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We all crashed that night and were ready for our next and final full day of vacation. Joey and I decided to drive down to Saratoga, which is only about a 30 minute drive away from the hotel.  During the car ride and once we arrived, Ben was being very rude and had a horrible attitude about walking around town. We went into a nice toy store and he had a meltdown because he couldn’t get a book.  I was going to buy it but Joey reminded me about his attitude that morning and we agreed it wasn’t right to reward him for his behavior.  Well you can see what happened next.  I spent the next 15 minutes trying to calm an out of control kid on the side of a gorgeous downtown main street while in front of a wine store!!!!! Why was it too early to drink???? AHHHHHH

After walking around for a bit we needed some lunch.  And since Ben was hangry and only wanted pizza so of course we had to stop into a pizza shop to feed him. I knew if he didn’t get pizza the day would just go downhill, especially since we were headed into a nice restaurant for lunch. I mean look how happy the kid was now that he had a few slices of pizza.

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The rest of us found a nice Mexican restaurant to enjoy our lunch and mommy finally got her glass of wine! AHHHHH The kids did well here (mainly because hangry Ben was full).  He spent our lunch drawing pictures in his notebook.

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On the ride back to Lake George, we decided to stop and visit this mountain drive that was right outside our hotel.  It’s called Prospect Mountain and was a great spot to see gorgeous views of the lake.  We were going to do it that morning but it was too foggy out.  It was mid afternoon so the perfect time to check out this spot. Now of course we had the typical Callaway boy reactions – Sean was all into it and Ben complained. At Prospect Mountain, you can either hike the trail or drive up to the top and then walk the last 1/4 mile up the trail or road.  We of course decided to drive up.  We are not hikers, Joey’s legs and back are still killing him and were not dressed to hike. Oh and from what I have read it’s steep in a few spots and not recommended for kids. Especially our kids who can barely walk to the car without complaining how far away it is.   The mountain is about 2030 feet above sea level and has the most gorgeous view of the bottom of Lake George.  There are three lookout spots to park your car and then you park at the summit. We walked up the road for the last viewpoint. Whew! Just getting up that hill was a hike. But we made it to the top and it was worth it.  Ben cried every step up the hill but he was in heaven when he saw the lookout viewer. Thank goodness I had a few quarters in my pocket to keep him entertained while we actually admired the view (and made sure that Owen didn’t walk off the cliff). Definitely worth a visit during the fall months.

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After Prospect Mountain we hit the pool and hot tub one last time.  You spend all of this money to go to a nice fun town and all the kids ever care about is the hotel pool. Oh well, I’ll take it. It’s one of the very few times where Sean and Ben get along so it was worth it.

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This time Joey took the kids to the pool so I could have a few minutes of quiet in the hotel room. And by quiet, I mean drink two glasses of wine without having to entertain the kids.

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Ahhhh just mommy and her wine which only lasted about 8 minutes until I was asked to bring Sean’s ball down to the pool! DOH!

Dinner that night was pure hell. The boys would not settle down. I thought that after a day walking around town, doing a mini hike and spending an hour in the pool that they would be a little tired! NOPE! Dinner was a disaster. We tried Mad Libs again but this time everyone had run out of adjectives. Well Joey and I had a few that we could use but probably not ones that were appropriate for the kids to hear.  Owen again wouldn’t sit still.  Next time no matter if the kids eat free or not, I might do room service! Worth the extra $15 in meals – haha!

I wanted to do the fire pit again but that lasted about 8 seconds. It was time to go back to the room again. After an episode of some kids show, they all fell asleep! FINALLY!

The next day it was time to head home.  We went down for a quick breakfast – which wasn’t so bad this time around.  The kids were happy to have their pancakes again and by this point we just wanted to get on the road.  So we loaded up the car and took a short drive to the west side of the lake to check out the views and the drive.  Then we jumped on that interstate and booked it home!

Vacationing with kids is so exhausting. Kids fight, people cry, someone doesn’t get their way but in the end, you do it all over again.  You do it because you do have those few moments where everyone gets along, where the view is absolutely amazing or you find a restaurant that everyone enjoys. Or maybe you just drink enough wine to get through the trip!  I guess in a way it’s just like childbirth…. it’s horrific at the time but you forget about all of the bad parts when you decide to have another child.  So when Joey and I start planning our next vacation, I pray that we forget all about the horrible dinners, the fighting in the hotel room, the bratty behavior when God forbid I force a kid to walk 1/4 mile and I remember that one special moment, that was captured in one picture, that showed me why we do this to ourselves as parents…….

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Mission Complete

I was finally able to check something off of my bucket list this past weekend.  For the past 5 years or so I have tried to get into a very fun 5k down in Delaware. It’s called the Dogfish Dash and it is held by Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE.  Dogfish is very special to me and my husband. They have such an awesome selection of beers – probably some of our favorites and the brewery is about a mile up the road from where he grew up.  It has grown over the past 20 years into an amazing brewery that we try to visit as often as possible. And my basement has a beer room which is pretty much dedicated to all things Dogfish.

Well each year for the past 10 or so years they have held an awesome race called the Dogfish Dash.  I have tried over the years to get in but it sells out VERY fast.  One year I was in and just about to check out with my credit card and BOOM it was full. This was literally less than 10 minutes after the race opened up. Thankfully I didn’t get in that year because I ended up getting pregnant with Owen.  I could barely walk, let alone run a race.  Two other times I attempted but it was full within minutes even when they had two races a 5k and a 10k. I would never attempt the 10k but both always sold out faster than any concert that I have ever attempted to get tickets for.

This year was going to be different!  I could feel it. I still wasn’t training at all but I knew that I just wanted into this race.   I have always heard that it was a fun time and of course there’s BEER at the end of it.  Oh and I forgot to mention that the race was no longer a 5k, it was now an 8k.  That’s two extra miles people! AHHH but I was going to do it.  It helped that my new neighbors up the road were going to run in it in too.

As registration day approached I sat by my computer, probably with a highly fatty lunch and Coke Zero in hand, counting down to the moment registration opened up.  I was determined to get in this year, even though I was carrying a ton of extra weight and couldn’t run a 1/4 mile without feeling like my heart was going to pop out of my chest. Registration opened and I typed as fast I could filling in all of the personal, financial information and then finally after several glitches with their checkout process freezing, I did get my confirmation email! YEAH, I was in. I was probably more excited about getting in than running the race!!!!!!  I signed Joey up as well but after his terrible leg injury this summer, we knew he was just going to be my cheerleader (and designated beer drinker).

So now I was set! The race was months away and I had plenty of time to train, right? I did run a 5k in May called The Hair of the Dog at the Working Dog Winery.

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I struggled through that one.  Right away my leg cramped up, but I didn’t give up and I finished it. But I am not going to lie, it was rough. But I will do anything for wine. Notice a theme with my races? I only run towards alcohol, isn’t that the only thing worth running towards? Haha

So after the Working Dog 5k, I thought that if I just trained over the next few months then I would be okay at the Dash.  Well, life took over.  I spent the summer running kids all over the place for camps, Owen cried every time that I tried putting him in day care at the gym and honestly I just gave up and drank wine and ignored the fact that the race was quickly approaching. I figured at the very least, I would walk the race and just come in last. As long as I could beat the street sweepers that were going to pick up trash after the race, then I was still going to do it.

The kids finally went back to school. Owen too (I’ll blog about that soon). So I was able to go to the gym and train – I trained a solid 4 days (eeek).  Oh but I did give up wine and ate a lot healthier for a few weeks prior to the race so that was one good thing. I could run on a treadmill but the same leg pain that bothered me during the May 5k was killing me again.  I ran through it each day but I knew it was not going away before the race. I thought about giving up and not going through with it, but I knew that I would kick myself if I did that. I always tell the boys that they need to follow through with things, I couldn’t show them that it was okay to give up. Especially Ben, he knew that my leg hurt but was always there to offer support or bring me my ice pack when I needed it. I couldn’t let him down.

Well this past Saturday, we loaded the family up and headed down to Milton, Delaware to the race packet pickup at the Brewery! I will say that Dogfish Head really does put together a nice swag bag.  The t-shirts were awesome and the tote bags were pretty cool too. But the best is the beer kanteen that you get when you complete the race (keep reading to see that cup).

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The night before I was full of nerves, I couldn’t sleep and my leg was killing me.  But early Sunday morning, Joey and I got up and headed over to the brewery to prep for the race.  The set up there is amazing.  Beer tents, food tents, DJs, and people. Lots and lots of people!  We had to get there early and had about an hour and a half to kill.  It was nerve wracking waiting around but also good for me.  I wished that I had taken a few more pictures but I just wanted to focus on the race.

Finally, 9:30am arrived and the gun went off.  I was running with a few of my friends but I knew that they would be gone within the first few seconds after we crossed the starting line.  They are actual runners. Within the first 1/4 mile both legs and my knee started to hurt. I thought to myself what the hell did I get myself into? Why did I push myself when I knew that I was out of shape?  But I just kept on running.  The first mile was the absolute hardest. I was in so much pain but as soon as I saw a mom pushing a double stroller running probably an 8 minute mile, I knew that I could do it too.  I mean it looked like one of her kids was only a few weeks old.  She was hardcore. I saw older woman walking, I saw men on the side of the road stretching out their cramped legs.  I knew that I was in good company.  I was probably running with the same crew for about 3 of the 5 miles.  Once the true racers took off and things spread out it was a little less stressful.

This time around I had no issues with breathing. I didn’t feel like I could die. It helped that it was also an absolutely GORGEOUS DAY! We had zero humidity, cool temperatures and such a nice breeze.  As I was running, I kept thinking just 4 more miles, just 3 more miles, etc.  I saw a sign that said 1/2 way done.  Then there were kids along the route high fiving all of the runners.  The fact that they were still there when this slow poke ran by was very uplifting.

There was even a point where I ran past a sign that showed your current time at the 5k point.  I noticed that I had beat my earlier 5k time from May so that gave me hope that I could do this. That I could actually run, errr slightly jog 5 miles.  Finally I saw this sign and knew that I was going to finish.

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I am very familiar with the town and I knew that the brewery was so close.  As I rounded the corner and got ready to turn into the brewery I started running full speed. As I approached the finish line, I saw Joey standing on the side cheering me on and taking pictures/video.  I ran across the line and felt so much relief! I know people run all of the time, I know that many people can do 7 minute miles or can run marathons but I am not one of them.  This is a huge accomplishment for me.  Yeah I may have finished in 1801st place but I finished.  Oh and there were several hundred people that came in after me. I expected my time to be closer to 1 hour 30 minutes based on my last run before race day but I surprised myself.

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As soon as I crossed that finish line, I ran over and grabbed my free beer cup, then I met up with Joey and our friends (who finished about 15 minutes ahead of me) for some brews and music and food.

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We enjoyed some post party festivities for a few hours after the race but I knew that if I sat down that I might not get back up. It was a Sunday and we still had to head back to NJ that afternoon/evening.  The kids had school the next day and Joey had work.  It was a long day and next year I plan on everyone taking a vacation day the Monday after.   I want to thank my husband for supporting me on race day, I want to thank my in-laws for watching the three crazy boys while I could check something off of my bucket list and I want to thank all of my awesome friends that lifted me up with their support over the past few weeks and on race day! It kept me motivated to not throw in the towel and to keep on moving.

So there’s only a few more months until registration opens for next years race. I plan on entering once again, this time I am going to train. Yeah I know that I have said that before, but I promise that this time I will.  Who is going to hold me to that????

PS – I haven’t been back to the gym to run since the race. My leg is still bothering me but I plan on heading back next week.

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Vacation Part II: Rehoboth Beach & Hershey Park

So I am back for round two of my vacation diary!  You can catch up on Week 1 here!

The kids spent a few days at my inlaws while Owen and I headed back to New Jersey to catch up on housework and laundry!  I also had to get everything packed for the second week of our vacation.  This year we didn’t go to Avalon for our normal week.  We ended up staying local while the kids enjoyed weeks at basketball, CCD, camps and swimming lessons.  We had a very busy summer.  But towards the end of July, Joey and I were really missing our week away at the shore.  It was a little late to book a house in Avalon so we decided to head on down to Rehoboth.  We both grew up right in Delaware {Joey was only 15 minutes away from the beach town} but we never really vacationed in Rehoboth.  Yes, we spent tons of time there growing up but neither one of us actually stayed down there for a vacation.  It was so nice staying at a hotel right on the boardwalk!  We just parked our car for a few days and walked everywhere!  It was great! The beach and boardwalk were right outside our window.  Plus all of the restaurants, rides and games were a few blocks south on the boards, it was awesome!

Joey and I were in NJ and packed up and left Saturday morning to head down to the beach {for all your Jersey folks, we call it the beach in Delaware … I know it’s the shore in NJ}.  We took our time traveling down.  It is only a 3 hour drive but we decided that since we only had Owen that we would stop for lunch and hit up a few beer stores that we can never get into when we have the whole gang!  I think this trip took us 6-7 hours but it was fine.  Owen was a trooper!  We stopped for lunch at Two Stones Pub in Wilmington, DE.  We love this place! The food is awesome and the beer is superb!  We have never been disappointed!

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We finally arrived at Joey’s parents around dinnertime!  We picked up some pizza and had dinner while we were reunited with our other two boys!  They almost forgot about us!  They have a blast down there in the open yard.  They swing, play basketball and we cook s’mores on the firepit!  It’s always a nice and relaxing time! Plus they live 2 minutes from Dogfish Head Brewery so we always stop in to see what’s new.   We spent the night there and the next morning headed into our hotel in Rehoboth.

We stayed at the Henlopen Hotel.  It’s nothing fancy but it has a great view and the rooms are decent.  It definitely needs some upgrades but it was perfect for us!  We couldn’t check in right away so we decided to go to Dogfish Head for lunch!  The kids always enjoy the food and mommy and daddy always enjoy the beers!

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After lunch we headed to the beach for a few hours while we waited on our room.  I think that the kids were still a little nervous about the rough waves after last weeks knockdown.  But they still had a blast.  It was another rough day but they managed to get wet and sandy!  Owen on the other hand hid from the sun!  The kid sat like this for a good 10 minutes!  He cracks me up!

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At this point we were all anxious to get into our room.  Luckily it was ready.  So we unpacked the car and headed on up!  I fell in love with our view.   I mean look at this!  I love falling asleep to the sounds of waves crashing and since it was a cool night we slept with the door open so we could hear all the wonderful sounds of the Atlantic!

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After we checked in and unpacked a bit we headed on down to the boardwalk! Walking the boardwalk with my kids brought back sooooo many memories of my childhood.

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I remember walking up and down the boards holding my dads hand as we walked past the “hotel that had the pool out front”.  It was my favorite place to look at. I loved how my boys had to stop and check out the pool as we walked down.  I loved taking my guys into Ryan’s Gems and Junk {I think that they just call it Ryan’s now}.  They sold some of the same “junk” from when I was a kid. I made Sean pose in front of the sea shell jewelry boxes! I guess that they never go out of style {were they ever in style}.

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We stopped off at Obie’s by the Sea for dinner that night {after a hit up Candy Kitchen and the arcade}. I mean how can you not love this view at dinner!???

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The boys were a little crazy but we somehow managed to get through dinner {after I had to remove one of them from the restaurant}.  The next morning was a little windy so we decided to go for a nice walk around Rehoboth and hit up the park for a little bit and then Grotto Pizza for lunch!  We can’t go down to Rehoboth without getting some slices from Grotto’s.

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Then it was off to Funland. The rides were opening so we had to get there as soon as we could.  My inlaws came into town to spend the afternoon with us.   We had one major meltdown because of a game that we will never mention again.  Okay it was that damn claw game! Come on, it’s rigged… The 6 year old boy never win it!  But despite the breakdown we did get on a few rides! Owen went on the boats for the very first time! It’s a tradition that all kids must ride those boats {there are quite a few generations in our families that have spent many of summers ridding those boats}.

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After the rides, we decided to go down to the beach for a few hours before dinner.  It was such a gorgeous night!

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Since we loved Obie’s the night before we decided to go back again! It was the perfect spot to bring the kids and the stroller.  This night was a little smoother and the kids were pretty well behaved!

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Tuesday morning we met up with some good friends on the beach in the morning.  We spent a few hours down there playing and relaxing in the sand.  After they left it was off to lunch at Nicola Pizza and then back to the beach! That night was our last night in town so we had to go big!  We spent a ton of time back at the rides and the boys went into the Haunted Mansion for the very first time! Again this ride has been there FOREVER so we knew it was time for them to get on it. I love how they pretended to be so scared waiting in line but their faces as they came out of it were priceless! They were scared to death!  It was awesome!

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After the rides we hit up the ice cream shop and ran into a skunk in the dunes before heading back home to get some rest.

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The next morning was checkout time! Since we were so close to Joey’s parents we decided to drive there and drop off Owen.  We had a few more things that we wanted to do with the boys and it was just easier if we didn’t have the stroller {sorry Owen}!  We just had to squeeze in one more day of rides and miniature golf!!

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After we finished up the day in Rehoboth it was time to head back to my inlaws!  That leg of our trip was coming to an end!

We spent a few days relaxing at my inlaws before we packed up the car and headed to Hershey Park!  That was an interesting trip.  The boys were soooo naughty that night in the hotel that we almost didn’t go to the park the next morning.  But we sucked it up and took them!  They weren’t on their best behavior but I think that they still had a blast!

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Overall, we had an awesome time.  Yes there were a lot of moments where the boys were fighting and we were all yelling, but I know that we will look back and only remember all of the fun times and memories that were made that week.  Ok I’ll still remember Ben’s breakdown when he didn’t win the Despicable Me minion at that claw game!  But I will mainly remember the skee-ball games, the rides, and of course the massive amounts of pizza and ice cream that we consumed! I can’t wait to see what next summer brings for us!

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Longing for the Summer……

I figured that since it was a snowy day here on the East Coast that I would write a quick post about the summer! Something to help us all think about the warm weather and not the slush and sleet outside.I cannot believe that it is already mid March and the majority (if not all of) of our big vacations are already planned. I feel like it was just yesterday that I wrote this post What I Did On My Summer Vacation and now we are ao close to another fun one! Normally, we end up flying by the seat of our pants but this summer seems to be all planned out and now we just have to wait. And wait. And wait some more! Come on summer get here already.

Actually, we don’t even need to wait until the summer for our first vacation. We will be traveling a bit in April. Next month we are headed down to North Carolina for a long weekend to spend time with some friends that we haven’t seen in probably 5-7 years! They are Joey’s friends from college and we have always lived so far apart from one another that it’s been nearly impossible to get together.  We will stop at my husbands college, Radford University in Virginia, for one night on the way down to break up the driving on the trip. I already know that I will need to get a prescription for anxiety meds for this trip since it will be quite a long drive with the two boys in the back of the car. I need to start hitting up the dollar store for some little treats to help get us through the trip. I might also need to pick up some new movies at the library for the car DVD Player! But it will be worth it to catch up with some old friends. We have never met each others kids and it will be nice to catch up again.

Then after this vacation I am headed on a girls trip with my mom and sister to Hershey Hotel and Spa for a night away from the kids (with a few spa treatments and a delicious dinner thrown in there).  I cannot wait for this trip. It will be our third year in a row and I LOVE this tradition!!!!  I am just hoping that the weather is nice so we can see the Gardens and drink wine on the patio.

 

 In June we are headed to Avalon for a wonderful week in the sun and sand.  This is an annual trip with the family.  It’s just so nice for the kids and I to see my husband for an entire week straight. The kids love catching frogs, building sandcastles and eating ice cream. I love having extra hands for a week as well as sitting under my umbrella, in my hat and 100+ SPF sunscreen watching my husband play in the water with the boys! It’s too cold for mommy (brrrrr).

July will be filled with camps for the boys and then a trip to Hershey Park. This time it’s not for the spa (damn) but for a family trip to Hershey Park! It should be a great vacation – of course my kids will probably be all hyped up on chocolate but they will love it. Oh and mommy and daddy will definitely hit up Troegs while we are there!  Can’t miss the brewery!

August we will have another week of camp for Ben in preperation for Kindergarten (ahhhh I’m crying now).

Of course we will spend a lot of time at Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ since we live about 15 minutes away. This is our second year in a row that we have had season passes and we even got one for daddy this year.  The boys love all of the rides and this year I might actually be able to take them both there by myself without having a meltdown (me not them – they will definitely have meltdowns).

 And of course there will be tons of trips to my moms pool in Delaware and my in-laws house in Rehoboth.  We will hit up the boardwalk, the rides and of course Dogfish Head Brewery.

So what are your plans for the summertime? Do you guys usually stay close to home? Do you travel cross country? One year I would like to go to an island or even Disney World but I am not ready just yet to put the kids on an airplane? Maybe next summer?

Beer Tasting Paddles……

So my latest online order just arrived and I am so happy that I discovered this gift! I found these cute wood paddle sets for beer tasting samples over at an Etsy Shop.  I was originally going to give them to Joey for Father’s Day but I just couldn’t wait (or keep a secret). 

The set that I ordered is pictured below.  I ordered two paddles, and each paddle came with four 5oz tasting glasses. One for Joey and one for myself (or any other friends that happen to stop by for some great craft beers).  Joey loves setting up tastings for his friends and I thought that this would be a great gift for him.  Once I placed the order, I realized that they came from a website called DrinkPaddles.com and I could have gotten the 6 glass set. Oh well!

Now I am just waiting for my husband to get home from the liquor store so I can fill up these bad boys!  It’s Dogfish Head Growler night at our local liquor store and he has waited in line for 2 hours to get the good stuff.  It’s all the fun hop beers – Ahopeclipse Now!

You should check out their online shop here: http://drinkpaddles.com/Shop . Not only do they sell Beer Paddles, but they also sell Mini Beer Samplers, Martini Samplers, Wine, Tequila and Shot Sampler Paddles.  Everything you need for great entertaining!


Check out their Website or Etsy Page and please go and like them on their Facebook Page. Just make sure that you leave them a comment on their Facebook Page letting them know that I sent you! They make perfect gifts for the beer, wine, tequila lovers in your family! You know you want one too!


*** This is not a paid endorsement or a free product review. I ordered these tasting sets with my own money and was not compensated in any way. Just like in all of my product reviews, these opinions are MY OWN.  ***


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Weekly Weight Watchers Update

Okay, I don’t even know what week I am on anymore. All I know is that I have been failing at my Weight Watchers these past few weeks. I can report that I haven’t gained anymore weight back, I am sitting at the same weight for 2 weeks now so I can’t complain (I guess). But I am not happy with myself at all. I just threw in the towel and I need to pick myself up off the floor and get my behind back in gear.

I can give you three reasons for ignoring my diet these past few weeks.

Number 1: 


Number 2:


Number 3: 

Yes, all of these beautiful drinks have been a part of my life over the past few weeks and once I have a drink or two, then I want to snack! I could have easily said no to the drinks but in this house when a new beer comes in you better drink it quickly, if not, the hubby will!  We can’t help it we like our craft beers! That’s something I can’t give up. 
I am going to pick a day real soon to get back on track. I am not in the right frame of mind and when I am not there mentally, then I know that I will fail.  It will happen soon, I know it.  I am still running at the gym (not as much as I should) but I am still doing it.  I am glad that Sean likes to go because he helps me out during the week begging to go to the gym play room.  I can’t turn him down. On the weekends my husband is my support. He gets me to the gym!!!  He goes every weekend so I might as well join him, right? 
So I know I will get there one of these days. It’s not like I can just pick a day, I have to just get so pissed off at myself or gain more weight and then I will get back on the Weight Watchers Wagon.  

Before I go and have a snack with Sean, I wanted to share a new Weight Watchers Anytime meal that I discovered on a recent trip to Target.  


Chicken Slider

Spicy Chicken Slider

Now, I know it’s not Chick-Fil-A but they are pretty darn good for being a frozen chicken sandwich.  Much better than the frozen Weight Watcher cheeseburgers.  The spicy ones were actually quite delicious. If I can use these to fight my Chick-Fil-A cravings then I might be able to get away from the fast food and get that portion of my binging under control.  They are 5 points each – not too bad for a snack in between meals or for my breakfast when I want something different than egg whites.  Now I just have to remember that the serving size is one … not two or three! Ha.

Happy Tuesday!

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Weight Watchers Update – Week 8

So, I totally forgot that today was Tuesday and I didn’t weigh myself first thing this morning. So I will give a real update tomorrow but I am eating white cheddar cheesy puffs as I type this so that should tell you how my week has gone! Plus I hit up Victory Brewing Company yesterday and I had the most delicious cheeseburger, fries and a 5 sampler of beers (IPAs of course). 
So I can guarantee you tomorrow’s Weight Watchers update is going to be a real doozy.  I need a swift kick in the rear end to get myself back in gear!!!!!  
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Weekly Weight Watchers – Week 5

So again this week wasn’t a great one. I knew it would be a struggle for me since we had several birthday parties and a beer festival. I knew I would snack all weekend long and I won’t even discuss how many pieces of pizza that I ate on Saturday night at after the Beer Festival.

But I can say that I didn’t gain any weight (THANK GOD), but I didn’t lose any either. So this week was just a wash. I did get to the gym a few times so I was happy to get back on track with that. I know I said that I was going to start Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred but with everything that happened this past week, I just didn’t have time to get to it. My goal is to start this week and to get my ass back in gear. I was doing so well after having the flu and now I am just stuck again. I am not off the plan, I am determined to lose these last few pounds! I know that I can do it. 


Week: 5
Weekly Weight Loss: -0lbs
Overall Weight Loss*: -7lbs
*Technically I am now officially down 18 pounds but with this new round of WW it’s only 7 pounds.
Confused yet? I went off the plan for a few weeks and now I am starting back up on it. The first round of WW I lost 11lbs and stopped doing it because of the holidays and such. Started back up again on this round of WW and now I am down 7lbs – so 18lbs overall.

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Birthdays, Beers and Broken Things…..

So this past week/weekend was such a busy one. Lets just say the craziness all started on Wednesday at 6:30am when I had one of the worst days ever. You can read about that here: http://erintheirishmama.com/2013/01/worst-day-ever.html
So between the broken TV, the dead mini van and a whole lot of crazy in my house, I was ready for the weekend. 
On Thursday we had to drive Joey to the train station at 6:30am so that I could keep his car to get the kids to school.  Oh and Ben’s birthday festivities started after school on Thursday, so I had a few errands to run. We had a small birthday party for him with some friends on Thursday. My mom was brave (or just crazy) and came up to help out with the crew.  The kids had fun playing with the toys, eating cake and ice cream and the school moms had a chance to catch up a little bit. Ben was wild and hyper but that has become the new “typical” for Ben.

Yes, I know that Thomas’ face was a little to dark but I have the worst time mixing colors for my cakes!!! But Ben didnt’ seem to notice so that’s all that matters!!!!
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The first of several birthday parties was a success.  Ben was a happy camper. 
Friday was Ben’s actual birthday. He woke up in a crazy, hyper mood (typical) and we celebrated with some real (not frozen) pancakes. I even added sprinkles to them for birthday pancakes! The boys were thrilled. 
Birthday Pancakes
Ben opened his presents from Mom Mom McGarry before we headed off to school. 
So then we squeezed everyone back into Joey’s car along with 2 dozen Thomas cupcakes for his school party (I forgot to take a picture of those – but they turned out pretty cute). My mom and I headed to Cracker Barrel for a nice breakfast and ran a few errands before heading back to pick up the boys!
Around 2pm, my van was finally ready (after a new battery, water pump, sensor and an oil change) so we all headed over to the dealership to pick it up. I will say that the new shiny new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited was looking pretty good on the lot. But I have a few more years with my mini van so I was just admiring them! I was just thankful to have my full sized mini van back. I like Joey’s BMW but it’s a bit tiny for the boys and all their stuff! Plus it’s much easier with the minivan’s self opening doors, trunk and the car seats are much higher up in the van. My back hurt trying to strap those bad boys into their seats. I honestly felt a little claustrophobic with everyone in the car at once. 
After we got back home Mom Mom and Pop Pop Callaway showed up for the family birthday festivities. Once daddy came home from work it was time for dinner, cake and then presents. Yes, I did enjoy torturing Ben by making him wait until after dinner and cake for his presents!!! Mwahaha (that’s my evil mom laugh).  Mom Mom Callaway made a delicious giant cupcake cake and Ben blew out all five candles in one quick breath!!! Gosh this kid is so shy even in front of his parents and grandparents!

We had a great night celebrating with all of the grandparents!!
Saturday morning was time for mommy and daddy to get out and celebrate with some great friends. We headed off to the Asbury Park Beer Festival while Mom Mom and Pop Pop Callaway watched our crazy boys. It was a great time with some awesome brews.  It was a little sad seeing the boardwalk and beaches destroyed from Hurricane Sandy but I hope that they can get it rebuilt for the summer. I have never been down to Asbury Park and Belmar and would love to take the kids there this summer for some day trips. So I am praying that they get the funding to Restore the Shore!
We followed it up with a delicious dinner at Pete & Elda’s for some awesome pizza. We all had a great time and I can’t wait to get together again. Thanks again to Steve, Allison, Mike and Caralyn for a wonderful day. Joey and I are looking forward to getting together for our next event (even if it is a stupid movie trilogy – haha).
Even though the week started off pretty crappy, we did end up finishing it up on a high note! Now if only the Superbowl was this weekend I’d be a little happier! Thanks again to everyone for helping us celebrate Ben’s fifth birthday.  It was a wonderful week with friends, family, birthdays and beer!!!! Two parties down, one to go!!

PS. We woke up this morning to Joey’s car not working properly! Seriously? I thought our string of bad luck was over? Anyone want to donate to a new car or $50k? Whichever you prefer or is easier for you! Thanks! Hahaha Happy MONDAY to us!

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Freebies

So lately I have been receiving a lot of emails from companies that want me to test their product for free in exchange for a blog review! This is pretty awesome and I am actually going to start accepting some of them but for some reason no wine company or brewery has contacted me! Please, please, please, if you are reading this alcohol companies, send me some free alcohol I will totally give you a great review.  Just saying!

That’s all….

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