Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

Our DMV Summer July 12, 2017

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Family,Marriage,Special Needs Kids — The B Side @ 11:36 am
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Lost camera, aching feet, bad bruise on hip, scratched knee, drinking contaminated water, bug bites, and sore finger tips – All in the last 2 weeks.

We’ve been having a great summer.

That’s not me being sarcastic.  We really have been having a good time.

 

I lost my water proof camera when we went river tubing.  It was my fault.  I rested it down in the drink pocket of the tube to help Jay and the next thing you know we both fell over and there went all my pictures from trips taken over the past 3 years.  I dived down trying to retrieve it, but river water moves quickly and it’s sandy and well, maybe it will wash up in China and someone else will get to use it.  Good for them.

Besides that little mishap, the tubing was relaxing and beautiful and the kiddos had a blast.

 

The aching feet and the contaminated water came about when we decided to spend the day touring the National Mall in Washington DC.  We’d been there a few times to various museums – Sometimes with the kids and sometimes not.  This trip though was because Ace has been asking to go to the Air & Space Museum and I’ve been wanting to take them to see the Lincoln Memorial and White House.  We decided to take the train into the city which only added to the fun for the kids.

Following the museum we got ice-cream and headed towards the other end of the mall.  Along the way we stopped to dip our feet in a big fountain, saw some trapeze artists from the circus doing a free show outside, bought over-priced pizza and iced coffee and posed for pictures.  After what felt like a lifetime we made it to the World War II memorial which I had never really checked out before.  It’s pretty cool in that there’s a big water fountain in the middle and then columns with each state etched into it.  People were finding the state they were from to take pictures.  By that point, we were so tired, even though we could see New Jersey, we couldn’t walk to New Jersey.  Oh well.  Did I mention that it was hot and sunny?  No?  Oh, well it was.

EVENTUALLY – (It is a LONG walk) – We got to the base of the Lincoln Memorial and it was time to climb the 87 steps that take you to the top.  *Fun fact* : 87 is equal to the “fourscore and seven years” from Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.

Even though my entire party was complaining about being tired, it was well worth the journey.  Jay announced that it had been a dream of his to see the statue (who knew?) and we all enjoyed the view of the Washington Monument from that vantage point.

But people, we still weren’t done walking.  We had to walk almost the entire way BACK to get to the nearest Metro stop.  Whew!  That’s when we came into contact with the contaminated water at a drinking fountain.  I don’t want to embarrass anyone though so I’ll leave that story alone.

 

We spent last Sunday at “our river”.  (A different one from the tubing).  I love the river.  We packed a cooler and found a new (not crowded) spot and just hung out.  There was a little water fall area that the kids kept sliding down.  I succumbed to peer pressure and decided to give it a try.  That’s where the hip bruise came from.  Hello rocks.  Note to self, leave kid things to kids.

We had snacks and climbed rocks and just spent a lovely afternoon with nature.  We closed out the day with a fire in the backyard and a bushel of crabs.  (Hot dogs cooked on the fire for the kids).  *Insert bug bites – despite those tiki bug torch thingys – and sore finger tips.*  We remedied the bug bite situation with bug spray and just dealt with the sharp edges of the crabs because – deliciousness.  And beer.  Beer helps to dull crab finger pain.

 

Yesterday we dressed up as cows to get free Chik-Fil-A and hit up a local fun place which included go karts and video games.  We have tickets to attend a reggae & wine festival and are hoping the weather is good enough for us to make it to a water park soon.

 

I hope everyone has been making the most of their summer; short as it is.  That doesn’t mean we are not thinking ahead to Christmas though so if anyone wants to gift us nut crackers for next summers crab eating, that would be just lovely 🙂

 

 

 

 

(p.s.  The DMV is DC, Maryland and Virginia)

 

Weekend Rush July 18, 2016

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Family,Life on the Jay train,Special Needs Kids — The B Side @ 5:08 pm
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It’s like, you spend all week looking forward to it; You have all these grand ideas about getting chores done, maybe seeing a friend or two, cooking delicious and well balanced meals for your family, and also, most importantly, finding time to rest.  During the week, it seems possible to do all this on the weekend.

 

And then woo hoo, it’s Friday evening and even though it took you almost 2 hours to get home – as it’s been doing every Friday all summer – you get home in a good mood and decide to take the kids out for an evening of fun.  The kids get to go on go-karts and giant slides and rides that spin them around and around.  They get to climb and jump on a play structure/bouncy house and crash into teenage girls celebrating a birthday in bumper cars.  You beat your wife in air hockey.  You can say you beat her because even though she got more pucks in your goal, the scoring mechanism on the table wasn’t working so only your points were being added.  Not your fault.

 

The next thing you know it’s 9pm (oops, past bed time) and everyone goes home, takes a quick shower and promptly falls asleep because the next day you have to get up early to take the older child to a pool party.  A pool party organized by the Autism Society of Virginia specially for siblings of kids with special needs.  It’ll rain a little bit but that won’t ruin the party and while one son is at the party, the other son tags along to Target where you cross “get school supplies” off your to-do list.  Oh, he also gets ice-cream just cause he likes it.  Following the party and the Target and the ice-cream, the boys settle down to watch a movie at home while the adults dust off their tennis rackets and probably did more running around picking up balls from the next court than volleying but it was still good to get out and sweat and spend some kid-free time together.

 

On Sunday you do get to sleep in a little but but not really because someone’s coming to fix your front door at 9am.  When that someone leaves, you begin working on unpacking cause yeah, you’re STILL unpacking from when you moved in 4 months ago.  You get the children involved in some of the throwing away and in folding laundry and when they complain about it, you remind them of just how good they have it.  You will (all of you this time) head back to the park to play some more tennis but won’t stay long because it’s so gosh darn hot so you return home and set up a slip n’ slide.  The water will be COLD but the kids won’t mind one bit.  It’ll be fun for everyone.  The kids will shower and eat dinner and you will go out and return with fruit smoothies.  So yum!

By the way, all this will happen with Shawnie not feeling well and battling a sore throat.  Poor thing.

 

*Blink*

How is it bed time already?  And tomorrow’s MONDAY???

There’s still more laundry to fold and chicken to season (marinate) and dishes to wash and garbage to take to the curb and papers to burn (easier than shredding since we have a fire pit) and you’re not done with unpacking and your car was supposed to get cleaned out since it’s a mess and you meant to sort out your stuff for camping since you’ll be doing that in a couple weeks.  Some of that will have to wait.

I didn’t pick up my dry-cleaning or read any of my book like I had planned.  I even have a free $15 to spend at Charming Charlie – I love that store – that I meant to go spend but I never found the time to make it to the store.  Hopefully my money doesn’t expire before the next weekend.

 

The alarm will go off at 5:20 on Monday morning and you will be exhausted and wonder how the weekend came to an end so quickly and you will want another day to recuperate from your weekend but you get your ass up, draw on a nice winged eye-liner, slip on your 4 inch heels and go to work; Already counting down to the next weekend so you can finish putting away the laundry (does one ever finish putting away laundry?), sort through your camping stuff, begin packing for 2 weddings you are travelling to soon, clean out the car and hopefully finish your unpacking and finally get some real rest … But hey … You did buy the school supplies, including a very cute pink and yellow flower pen for yourself cause you love cutesy things and you got a little tan.

 

 

Camp Diary August 24, 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015

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Jay was so excited for our camping trip that he took it upon himself to write it on our family calendar.  “CAMP TUDAY”.  I’ve never seen him do anything like that before.*

We planned to leave home at 7:30 am since we had a 2:00 pm check in time at the camp site.  That gave us 6.5 hrs to get there.  Google said it was a 5 hour drive so I figured that was perfect.  And it was.  It gave me 1.5 hrs to run late and actually leave home at 9:00 am and also gave me enough time to stop for over an hour and show up at the camp site at 3:30 pm.  ON TIME by Jamaican standards.

Friday was full of greeting the 13 other people we were camping with, setting up tents, sorting out the food/drinks station, taking pictures and lots of talking and silliness.

The kids went to bed after we ate our hot dogs and hamburgers dinner.

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

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Ace was one of the 1st people to wake up.  That was a shock to exactly NOBODY.  My kids early rising is well known in my circle.  Well before 7:00 am he was roaming around looking for fellow early birds.  Eventually we all got up and did a lot of nothing.  That’s one of the best things about camp life.  There is a lot of work to do; but it never feels like it.  There is no time pressure, there is no rush, there are no schedules.  We get around to things when we get around to them.  You wanna stay in pajamas all day?  Go ahead.  You wanna eat junk all day and not comb your hair?  Knock yourself out.

At some point in the afternoon, after we had feasted on a big Jamaican breakfast, we went to a nearby beach.  Mind you, it was not exactly beach weather.  It was chilly and overcast and windy.  But guess who cared?  None of us.

The waves were HUGE and the current was STRONG.  To some of the adults in our group, that spelled nothing but danger.  To some of the adults in our group – and all of the kids – that spelled lots of fun.  The little ones were getting properly tossed around and knocked over and spun around and under and every which way by the waves.  The adults were on super watch keeping our eyes and hands on them and making sure they were all safe.  There were 7 kids under the age of 10 to keep track of.

Back at the camp site, we roasted marshmallows and the kids played sword fight with some plastic tubes and Jay harassed the other kids and I got attacked by a wild band of sword-wielding pirates and the kids got high on sugar from a giant bag of gum balls.

As you can imagine, it was a full day and once the kids were in bed, the rest of us needed a few drinks.

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Sunday, August 9, 2015

There was pulling down and packing up to do.  There was also a pool and a playground that the kids wanted to go to.  I ended up at the pool and the playground with the kids.  Cause who wants to do the work of pulling down and packing up if you can be at the pool tossing 6 year olds into the deep end.

Once all the hard work was done and the kids had played volley ball over our clothes line and lots of pictures were taken and one person who shall remain nameless was determined to use the timer on his camera to capture a picture of all the grown ups but failed and once all the hugs and kisses were dished out and all the “see you soons” and “I hope you have a great school years” were said, we all made our way out of Chincoteague Island VA.

 

Speaking of Chincoteague Island, can I just say that I had never heard of it before we chose it for our camp site but it’s quite an interesting place.  Next to a shop selling confederate flags and T-Shirts you might find a shop proudly sporting a rainbow flag and a little further down you just may see a giant Jamaican flag atop a brightly coloured, polka dotted boat outside of Woody’s Eatery which you would assume is a Jamaican food establishment but it will not turn out to be anything of the sort.

All in all, although there were some slightly rough patches – A little fussiness from kids, a bum tent for one family and too much wind to enjoy some of the games we had planned to play for example  – It was a very successful camping weekend and I’m sure all 17 of us who were there (for 7 of them it was their 1st time) would agree that it was a wonderful get together and we will all be ready again next year.

For me, without a doubt, my favourite thing was watching all the kids play together.  They even played freeze tag (or stucky as we called it), and sat with us learning dominoes, just as we all had when we were children growing up in Jamaica together.

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*He’s since written “ACE BIRTHDAY” on the Calendar – Sept 3rd.

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Some people actually do work and set tents up … Some people (me) take pictures.

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Cannon Ball!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I was once this age; playing with these kids parents.  (Crazy!)

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Usain Bolt pose.  lol

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Hanging out, talking and watching the corns get roasted.  No I-anythings.  🙂

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Heads Up.  Volley Ball time.

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Early morning inside the tent.

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Told you I was attacked and made to walk the plank.

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The next generation – Learning the game.

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Just chillin and catching up with each other.  Not a care in the world.

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A restaurant, but not a Jamaican restaurant.

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Ignore the hair.  Focus on my boy helping to make johnny cakes on a charcoal grill.

 

The Facts of Life July 14, 2015

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Family,Life on the Jay train,Special Needs Kids — The B Side @ 11:59 am
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We keep having moments that I think to myself “I need to remember to write about that” and then I watch another episode of Hot Wheelz or I pretend to be grossed out that a toy skunk sprayed me or we’re play fighting and falling off the bed.  Jay has said funny things.  Really funny things.  Ace has been a hilarious riot and a gentleman and knocked my socks off with mature comments and actions … All while still being his goofy, silly, exuberant, innocent self.  But for the life of me I can’t think of them now that I sit down to write.

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I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  I mean, I’d really love to keep all those moments alive in my internet vault but the reason I haven’t been able to is that so many good moments have been stumbling over each other and I get distracted by the next  thing that I really should put in my blog.

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This summer has been good to us so far.

Jay is loving his summer program.  This is no simple statement.  This is the first time I’ve been able to say that.  If you recall (I’m sure most of you don’t, but that’s ok, I won’t hold it against you), he got kicked out of the last summer program we tried him in.  He’s been denied entry into many more.

Ace managed to get through 3rd grade without failing anything.  Who woulda thunk it.  He worked so hard and I’m so glad to see that it paid off.  He did all the optional extra credit.  He studied.  He tried different methods of studying.  You guys KNOW it wasn’t easy.  It made me feel incredibly happy to see him be proud of himself when the final report came in the mail.  6 A’s, 3 B/B+’s, 2 C+’s.

I’ve gone to a few events.  Reggae shows, a beach party (which could be its own post), my Jamaican High School’s New York alumni chapter fundraiser fish fry and comedy show.  Although I arrived late and there was no more food.  Oops.

Our camping trip is coming up soon – And this year will be bigger and better.  We have a total of 17 people going.  10 adults and 7 children.  That’s a big group.  But the more the merrier.  Or that’s what I keep telling myself. 🙂

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Now of course it’s not all good.  It never is right?

I have an appointment coming up soon for Ace to see a developmental pediatrician.  We first went down this road about 3 years ago.  It didn’t make us feel comfortable then.  We’re trying a different doctor this time who comes highly recommended by someone I know.  I’m nervous about it.  But hopeful that she will be helpful.  But I’m nervous.  Yes, I know I said that twice.

There’s also been some sad news in my family.  But it may work out ok … We will see.  I will pray.  Hard.

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Oh gosh, I didn’t intend to end on a sad note but that’s kind of where things went so I’ll say this since it was my Facebook status the other day and it’s so very true.

You take the good you take the bad you take them both and there you have the facts of life.

 

No Time To Waste June 15, 2015

Where we live, we don’t have the luxury of taking hot and sunny for granted.  We have to soak it all up as much as we can during the summer.  I take my responsibility in that matter very seriously.

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I should be embarrassed to say that a couple of weeks ago I drove all the way to MD and dragged my Juddles and her parents and my non-pork-eating friend Angel another half an hour south to attend a bacon festival in DC.  None of us will be in any rush to go back there but it’s something we can say we did and I can cross eating certain foods off my to-do list.  Foods like bacon jam, jerk pig on a stick, bacon funnel cake, ground bacon sliders, bacon dipped in chocolate and a bacon and ice cream donut sandwich.

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The boys got fresh new summer time hair cuts.  Ace got a very low buzz cut.  He is determined not to brush his hair.  It’s a strategy I would totally employ if I was brave enough and didn’t have such a huge forehead.

Jay opted for a Mohawk.  He didn’t know the word Mohawk so he described it by saying he wanted to look like a fish.  Brilliant!

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Even though it’s only mid-June and the kids are still in school we’ve also spent some time at a couple different pools.  Of note is that Jay can now walk all the way to the rope in our local pool that divides the deep end from the shallow end.  Last summer that was not the case.  He’s also doing a great job of swimming short distances.  He is not good at coming up for a breath so we will keep working on that.  I’m confident he’ll get it by the end of this summer though.  He really wants to learn.  That’s the # 1 factor in how easily he picks things up.  The kids play really well together when they’re at the pool and Ace’s swimming is just getting stronger and stronger.  He has no fear and takes full advantage of the Olympic sized pool we have access to.  It’s a relief not to have to watch them quite as closely now.

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We spontaneously stopped at a sprinkler park on the way home from school the other day.  We were not prepared for that stop so the kids took off their socks and shoes and played in their school uniforms.  Then soaking wet kids got into my car and sat on my cloth seats for the ride home.

*Note to self*  Next vehicle needs leather seats.

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This past weekend we attended a back yard bbq which was mostly successful.  The 2 hiccups happened when Jay was watching a movie on my phone and then another kid took it away from him and then when he found a pack of dominoes and wanted to play with them but my sister told him no since we didn’t know who they belonged to.  Besides that, everything was great and all the kids had fun.  We didn’t leave there until after 10pm and even that was just because I wanted to leave before things did get bad.  As a general rule, tired Ace and Jay are grumpy Ace and Jay.

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We are really making the most of the limited summer that we have … And what I talk about are only the things they do with me.  They do stuff with their Dad too when they are with him.  They are 2 busy, but happy little bees.

This is Jays last week of school before summer vacation actually starts and Ace will be done next Friday.  That will make even more time for even more fun!!!  There’s still a lot on our agenda.  We haven’t had a water balloon fight yet or gone camping yet or picnic’d in the park yet.

 

Full Busy Lovely May 28, 2015

OK, so the festival I wrote about last time was great but it was a drop in the bucket of all that our weekend was.  Before the bouncy castles and the face painting and Sean Pauls sexy dancers, there was Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Since it was a holiday weekend, with Monday being Memorial Day, the kids were also off school on Friday and yours truly left work at noon.  That meant we had a nice long weekend to work with and the weather was beautiful.  We’ve waited a long 7 months for it.

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On Thursday evening we went bowling.  Ace got quite competitive; in a good way.  It’s not often that I see that side of him.  He ended up placing second but he beat most of us fair and square.  Jay played for 5 rounds but then lost interest and spent the last 5 rounds trying to convince me to let him have my phone and playing dead on the floor.  Overall it was a fun evening and it’s something we’d definitely do again.

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On Friday, I took the kids to the Liberty Science Center.  The first order of business was the gift shop.  Jay has been dying to go to a gift shop ever since he had a school field trip to the zoo last month and he came home angry that I hadn’t given him any gift shop money.

*The gift shop was not a planned stop for the field trip and none of the kids got to go*

There was no way he was going to miss out on this gift shop though so after browsing around he got a stuffed animal cat and a stuffed animal tiger.  Ace opted for a rocket ship.

After the gift shop they explored.  There was an infinity climb and a touch tunnel and live animals and a water/sand table and a rock wall and a high beam walk and tons of other interactive science type things for kids to see and touch.  We ended up being there for about 2 hours until hunger forced us out.

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Saturday was a relax day; for me anyway.  For the kids, it was a day to break out the hose and the kiddie pool and splash around in the back yard.

Sunday was beach day.  We avoided the nicer, busier beaches and stayed local and ended up having a great day.  The water was ice cold but that didn’t stop my little loves from splashing around in it.  They played ball games and built sand castles and looked for sea shells and rolled around in sand and other random beach day things.

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As you can see it was a full and busy and lovely weekend.

And now Mama needs a nap.  And new shoes.  But mostly a nap 🙂

I won’t get it this coming weekend though since the boys and I will be in Maryland with 2 of my long time very besties attending a bacon festival.  Yup, you heard right.  A bacon festival.  How great is that???  We’ll also make some time for the pool and to explore the woods and river that runs through my friends new back yard.

 

Beach Bums and Such August 15, 2014

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Life on the Jay train,Special Needs Kids — The B Side @ 1:38 pm
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For 2 years in a row, I’ve taken my boys to my company’s annual summer event – held at a beach – and I’ve been a nervous wreck leading up to it wondering how they would behave – and for 2 years in a row it’s been awesome!

First let me just say that our awesome day this year would not have been possible without our Nanas.  (How many times and ways can I say that she’s wonderful and that we’re lucky to have her love us?  There isn’t enough time and there aren’t enough ways.)

We showed up at the beach around 3:30pm and the boys were ready to jump right in.  They LOVE the beach.  Nanas and I hung out on the sand and the rocks talking and watching them and taking pictures.  It was hilarious watching them get knocked over by the waves time and again.  They stayed in the water for about 2 hours.

Following the waves fun, it was time to make our way to the tent that had been set up for me, my co-workers and our families.

Jay kept pretty close to me at first while Ace – of course – was off and running with the other boys there.  He made fast work of re-grouping with the same boys he had spent most of his time with last year.  At first, Jay wanted to play with them but he didn’t want to leave my side.  I felt a little bad for him but eventually he got more and more comfortable with the idea of not being physically attached to me and he ended up building sand castles and looking at the bon fire and roasting marshmallows right along with everyone else.  He even took a bite of a marshmallow.  And swallowed it.  It was just one bite but he took it.  He never ceases to amaze me.  It’s such a huge deal when he tries something new.

The next thing I knew it was 9pm and I hadn’t had to yell at or chastise anyone all day.  My 2 boys spent HOURS playing and being happy and not misbehaving in any way.

When I said it was time to go, Ace gave me the pouty face and asked to stay longer but that only lasted about 5 minutes.  Without any further fuss, we were walking back to the car and driving home.

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I guess the beach day wiped them out because the following day was the quietest day we’ve had in a long time.  The 3 of us just hung out at home and watched TV and were lazy (in a good way).  On the Sunday, the boys were off having fun with their Dad and cousins so I got alone time to go grocery shopping and to return something to Kohls and to stop for an iced coffee.  I cleaned out my car and did some clothes organizing and watched multiple episodes of my new favourite show on Netflix – The Tudors.

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No day is perfect – No weekend is perfect – No life is perfect – But there was so much good in that weekend and there were plenty of perfect moments.

There was the happiness of my sons.  There was the company of good friends.  There was the joy of driving with no passengers in the back seat and having the sun be out and the windows down and the music turned way up.  For a while there was a quiet home and there was a clean bathroom and there were no empty cups or snack wrappers on my couch.

Next year when it’s company-summer-event time again, I won’t be nervous going into it at all.  I’m actually already looking forward to it.  “It” being the fun beach day and the quiet lazy day after.

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***(You can read about last year’s outing here.)