Thanksgiving at Trapp

A belated Thanksgiving post in pictures to highlight our Thanksgiving holiday at our most favorite ‘away from home’ place…

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We used to go to Steve’s sister Andrea’s house for Thanksgiving. her husband Brian loves to cook the turkey and it was so festive and fun with all of the cousins together…but they moved to Arizona a few years ago. Steve’s mom was very sad and needed something different to do for Thanksgiving so she booked us units at Trapp (where they have time shares and have been going since Steve was young).  It is a magical place for us – beautiful, full of outdoor activities, a gym, hot tub and gorgeous pool….we love it….

 

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Beautiful brisk walks/hikes are always in order…unless there is snow – then the nordic skiing trails are PHENOMENAL!!!

 

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Breakfast buffet is a must and Gran especially loves to ‘get her money’s worth’ when she bring hungry teenage boyz!

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A little coffee to fuel for the college applications that will follow breakfast 😦

 

Thanks Gran and Granddad…and Trapp for another wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

Happy December 1st!!!

It is my favorite day of the year!!!

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Since I was 9 years old I have been celebrating December the first by decorating my room. I had a little artificial tree, cardboard cut outs of Santa and his reindeer on my walls and Christmas music playing on my record player constantly.  One of my favorite memories is of going to sleep with John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Christmas playing and my tree lights on.

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So as a family we celebrate as well….the boyz lamented that this is their last December the First at home :(…but I am consoling myself thinking how fun it will be to send care packages on this day next year!

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I always buy the boyz small gifts having something to do with Christmas on this day.  Of course when they were little, it was easy to come up with fun Christmasy things for them – coloring books, story books, stuffed animals, PJs – all Christmas themed of course.

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Aunt Eileen has sent them advent calendars for as long as they have been able to eat Chocolate I believe! She did not disappoint this year 🙂

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I was stumped this year and was lamenting to my niece Erin who has little ones and is carrying on the tradition of celebrating December the First with Addy and Connor.  She then thought of something for me and called me right as I was rejoicing in Target as I found something perfect for them…

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Christmas boxer briefs!!! I had thoughts of boxers as I have seen them for years but the boyz do not wear them. So when I saw the boxer briefs, and in the Peanuts/Elf/Grinch patterns – I knew that was it.  They were a hit – so much so that they went right upstairs to put them on despite already being all dressed for school already.

So a happy December and Holiday season to all!

Applications, Road Tests and an LOA…Oh My!

It has been crunch time around here lately…  the boyz all had applications due on November 1, Seamus and Brendan had a road test November 1 and Seamus recently received a Letter of Assurance from the Naval Academy. My world feels as though it is spinning. So let’s start with the latter of these 3 things. A Letter of Assurance is basically an acceptance letter to the United States Naval Academy with the caveat that he still needs to be fully cleared medically (he has cleared most of his medical already) and receive a nomination (he has sent in the recommended 4 nomination applications and is waiting to hear about interviews).  This is pretty big news and while we are so happy for him, there is also a bit of anxiety about the medical /nomination and a whole lot of anxiety about the reality that Seamus may be leaving a few days after graduation for an intense summer, commitment to the military and limited time home from then on.  I have not quite absorbed this new reality – in part because it is not a sure thing yet and in part because I am not ready to. But I have been crying frequently since this news and have such mixed feelings about it all.

Being the parents of multiples is unique and we are often asked the question ‘how do you do it? ‘ and now often ‘how did you do it?’ as people assume the first year was the hardest. Honestly, I have mostly felt like I just have 3 children – they just happen to be the same age. At times that is much easier – especially in the high school season when they have so many activities. We are usually all together as our guys have stuck to the same activities (not a whole lot of options in our tiny town anyway)- that is much easier than others who are running several directions with kids of different ages/sex whose activities are spread out all over.  There were moments when the boyz were babies/toddlers which Steve and I called ‘triplet nights’ or ‘triplet moments’.  This would be maybe when they were sick and would take turns waking at night – so we never had a break…days when they took turns with tantrums and we were exhausted….but this was the exception – not the rule.

This past weekend however , felt like a ‘ triplet weekend’. With three seniors applying to colleges requiring a number of essays each- it was a lot to manage. I have always wondered how people do it – knowing that applying to college is a huge undertaking and kids do this in the midst of already very full lives. It is like Christmas when we take on all of these extra ‘to dos’- shopping, decorating, parties…and add it to our already crazy schedules. But somehow we do it and make it work so I figured, somehow we would do it with the applications, and make it work.  Seamus Brendan and Casey started their application process over the summer as we knew we needed to get a jump start on things. I am so thankful they did as it has still been so intense and the writing has been down to the last minute.  Our intention was to keep the weekend positive and productive, minimizing stress reactions. We did just that and all we can do is hope that they each put in their best application and then it is out of our hands what happens from here.

Hard at work with college essays :-{

We also went down to Glens Falls for Brendan and Seamus to take their road tests on November 1. (It was a huge day in the Tomb house with early aps due and road tests! We like to pile it on apparently 🙂  Steve had taken the boyz car to be inspected and for some reason the emissions part was not passing. He and the wonderful mechanic kept driving it more and more as apparently it just had to decide to ‘click in’ and then would pass.  We stopped on the way down to the road test to see if the extra driving Steve did bringing it home and us driving it back down, made it ‘click in’. The mechanic tested it and it still did not pass but he gave us the form that ensured that the safety part was all set and he said the DMV guy will let them take the test with that form.  We went to the test and waited in a long line of cars (not sure if it is like this everywhere, but here everyone just waits on side of the road which is in residential neighborhood, no building, no place to wait etc – very strange set up !)…we waited over an hour (and past our appointment time) only to be told that no – we could not take the test without a full inspection sticker. UGH – half the day out of school and work and no licenses to show for it :(.  We drove home and again, passed the car place so we had Claude check the emissions again and low and behold – it passed!!!  I gave the boyz the option to go back down to Glens Falls (25 minutes) to try to take the test again. We would likely have arrived at the instructors lunch time and have to wait more so they opted to go back to school as there was a pep rally that afternoon that they did not want to miss (no, they were not just dying to get back for Econ and Calc!)…I gave them credit for their patience as they have waited a long time for their road tests.  I am writing this later to say that on 11/29 we went down and they passed without any glitches! YAY!

Boyz are all happy with two licensed drivers! Casey wants to hold off a bit to take his test but is happy his brothers can chauffeur him around now 🙂

 

 

Family Reunion

We were blessed to have a family reunion on September 30th – hosted by our very generous aunt and uncle – Linda and Don.  Sadly it was the one dreary, chilly day in the midst of a 2 week span of sunshine and warmth! But we had fun anyway and SO enjoyed seeing so many people who are dear to us but no longer near to us 😦

I grew up going out to ‘the lake’. My grandparents bought a house on Warner’s Lake in 1941, when my mom was 4, my aunt Carol was 5 and my aunt Linda was not even here yet.    When my mom and aunts had families of their own, my grandparents bought the house across the road, lovingly called ‘the annex’ so that we could all stay for the summer in our growing numbers.  I have so many  wonderful memories of that place – having my own room on the first floor with animal themed curtains – (all the boys stayed on the second floor in a ‘dorm style’ room), playing cards on the cool chairs with connecting table, mom bringing sandwiches down so we could eat lunch on the deck by the water, walking to ‘the grove’ and buying several treats for 25cents, swimming after dinner and feeling warmer in the water than out…..the list goes on.  The summer I was born I was brought there from the hospital and we lived there all summer.  We did this each summer for several years until the older boys started working a lot and had to stay in the city during the week – we then sold the annex and started going to visit our grandparents during the weekend days.  My grandparents lived to be 95 and 100 so we were blessed to have them – and this phenomenal space – for many, many years. They would often comment on how blessed they were to have all of their family there, to have each other, to have such a wonderful space to be together. I never really got it – the way you never really ‘get ‘ things until you no longer have them. It was all I knew and I loved it but I did not realize how special it was. It kept us all so close – seeing my aunts and cousins each weekend was just natural. I love them beyond words and seeing them always feels like home.

 

 

 

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Julia, Harper and Maddie
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Avery and Adelyn- and Kiera 🙂
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Johnny and Steve- Steve rarely looks short except when around people like Johnny and Bear!
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Gram and Erin
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Rick and Julia
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Linda and ?(Harper or Maddie?)

Just to show we were outside at least a little bit….

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Me, Maura, Becky, Erin, Adelyn and Kate
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The girls plus Connor 🙂
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The crazy swimmers
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watching the action from the dock
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Brendan, Andrew, Seamus and Steve
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Maura and Becky snuggle with Andrew’s jacket to stay warm
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Jimmy and Tommy – their rivaly as kids has turned into a beautiful brotherly friendship as adults 🙂
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The Smiths
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Maura and Andrew
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Kate and Ben
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The sweetest soul -Becky 🙂
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Happy 80th Gram!
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Still able to blow out the candles at 80!

Sadly, because it was more of an inside day than out, I did not get too many photos and especially did not get one of Linda and Don which I feel quite sad about.The day was filled with much fun….swimming for Steve, Andrew, Seamus and Brendan – the crazies in the group!, lots of visiting and chatting and seeing all the littles -my niece Erin’s (and Tim’s) children, Adelyn, Connor; my cousin Kevin’s (and Julia’s) children, Avery, Harper and Maddie (twins – one had one ponytail and one had 2 pigtails so we could tell them apart – I am now forgetting which was which but think Harper was the one ponytail girl!),  Erin taking senior pictures of our guys and a couple family shots (though I regretfully did not think to ask her to take a photo of just Steve and I – major oversight on my part as it was the day before our anniversary)- and a hair crisis when my brother pointed out how frizzy my hair was (thank you thick out of control hair in humid weather- and thank you brother for always being there to point out such things ;)…but my hair team came to the rescue (thank you Maura, Becky, Erin and Kate)…whew – much better family photo after that!  Lots of good food, laughter and an 80th belated birthday celebration for my mom!!! So despite the lack of outdoor games due to weather and missing some family members who could not make it,  we had an amazing day.

So a huge shout out to Linda and Don for so generously hosting a wonderful party – catered by Tom who has been catering our reunions (not yearly – somewhat sporadically) for many many years….and to Rick , Steve and Cathie who now own the camp, for offering this special place to us.

Lots of love and light,

Suzanne

Perfectionism and Parenting

Perfectionism and I have had a long standing relationship though for many years I did not recognize it.  In second grade I found a  picture in the brownie handbook of how to keep your room clean – it showed a messy room and a neat room – complete with very neatly folded clothes in the drawers. I remember staring at that picture often, trying to arrange my furniture the same way and trying to keep my whole room, drawers and all, as orderly as the girl in the picture did.

So the roots of this trait go way back for me and while it has served me in some ways, it has hurt me in others. It helps me to be disciplined, organized and responsible but I am thankful that I have a learned to flow a bit more especially with family life. Living with 3 boyz and a highly energized husband has definitely pushed me to accept many ‘less than perfect’ situations- messy rooms, ‘stuff’ around the house, a schedule that is ever changing…but I have also been acutely aware that I have held onto that trait in other ways – being hard on myself and more easily stressed than I need or want to be and therefore harder on my family than I would care to admit even to myself …… especially to myself.

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This pile of college flyers that have been coming in the mail in triplicate for the past 18 months or so (much is tossed but much gets thrown here) …it has sat in upstairs hallway and I have learned, for the most part to ignore it….this is just one of many spots in my house that needs to be cleaned out!

Perfectionism tends to create an ‘if only’ mindset. ‘If only I had done things ___ way , everything would be perfect’. I think this about parenting situations all the time and this has been heightened by the sense that ‘I only have another year left with the boyz ‘to fix all that I have done wrong’.

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But I have been given a gift recently. We were looking thru photos and short videos and came across a video clip of Christmas 2004.  We were in a temporary house as we were building our current home.  Many of our decorations were in storage so we had fun making due and it was nice to just be simpler that year. It is of note as well that my dad passed away from cancer on November 24 of that year so I was not up to major decorating and festiveness.  So, in a moment of irrationality, I thought it would be fun to string popcorn for the tree…You know – think ‘Little House on the Prairie’ style – pure innocent holiday bliss ;). Well the reality of stringing popcorn (a very tedious task I might add) with three 4 year olds was not all ‘deck the halls’ and ‘ho ho ho’….I went upstairs to go to the bathroom (one downside to that house – bathrooms only on second floor!) at one point and came down to a room covered in popcorn (naturally- 3 unsupervised active boyz and a huge bowl of popcorn! – what did I think would happen?) So I yelled – I felt stressed, on edge and this was not what I had wanted this little activity to be like.  So long story long – when I think of Christmas in ‘the yellow house’, I think of that time and how upset I am with myself for not just laughing, enjoying the adorableness that is 3 preschoolers making a popcorn mess (very clean-up-able, as we all know)..and how my stress (in midst of building house, working, grieving….) impacted the boyz. Well upon seeing a short video of that same living room, that same tree (some popcorn strew on it) and those boyz – dancing shirtless like madmen to their favorite Christmas song at that time, I felt a huge sense of awe – that they were happy and I was watching them, attentive and reveling in their joy- not stressed and frustrated as my memory tells me I was. I was able to have some grace with myself as I was navigating a stressful time in the midst of the Christmas season of joy that year.

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This is the only photo I had from that year…boyz with Gram….the videos are grainy and old so would not transfer well…note the popcorn on the tree 🙂

 

Steve has been trying to tell me all along ‘you are a great mom’..his favorite quote used to be ‘hey – at least you don’t lock them in the closet’. While I appreciate that I do not overtly abuse my children, I am also keenly aware that it is often the subtle things we do as parents that impacts our children in significant ways (sometimes I wish I were ignorant of this- ignorance is bliss). But in watching the video and looking at pictures, I was able to see what he has been saying – that amidst those ‘mistakes’ were lots of moments of fun, joy, connection, and love. It is up to me which I choose to focus on, feed and help flourish.

 

Lots of love and light, 

Suzanne

Senior Race/Game

Well the first of the lasts have started….last week the boyz had their last home cross country race. There was also a soccer game that day so Casey opted to go to the game for fear of letting his team down. Seamus felt strongly about participating in his  senior race so he went to that, and Brendan chose to race this year and not play soccer (after 13 yrs of playing!) so of course he also raced.

 

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Brendan and Seamus with Coach Gary (a very old friend) and mom and pop of course

Seamus and Brendan running their fastest!

 

It was a big week in that Tuesday was the senior race followed up on Friday with the senior soccer game..

 

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The whole team, the 5 of us and all of the seniors with their families

My mom came up to watch the game and support the boyz. I felt teary for sure and it was a tough game against the hardest team in the league. That, topped by the fact that it was their 4th game of the week and it was a staff day so no students were around to watch the game . The girls team would have been the ones to rive in to watch it but they had an away game so could not be there. The boyz were disappointed about all of those factors – but they played hard and have had a great run with JCS soccer. Coach Randy has been good to the boyz and helped make it an enjoyable season.

I have felt sad to not be able to watch Brendan play this year. To watch all 3 of them for the past 13 years and then have the last year where they are the oldest, more confident, and really having a fun season, it is hard (for me) for Bear not to be part of that.  It is what he chose though and he is happy with his choice so I know it is best. Just one of the many times when our kids need to do what they feel is right  – even if it would not be our first choice for them.

So congrats boyz on a great Fall sports season – which is still in full swing with a game today, Friday and a race on Saturday! Whoo hoo!

Senior Year!!!

 

First day of kindergarten….

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September 8, 2005

First day of Senior Year…

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September 6, 2017

OK , so how does this happen? Is it not the statement of all parents of older kids to the parents of wee ones…’it goes so fast’.  Yet you cannot fully grasp this until you have lived it.  I remember going to the 2005 high school graduation because Steve is a teacher and we were connected with kids in that class. I cried as my guys had just graduated from ‘Cheerful Crickets’ and were on their way to starting Kindergarten  – those first 5 years had gone so fast and I knew that in a heartbeat we would be there in the JCS auditorium watching them graduate from high school .

There is so much coming up this year….so many ups and downs, moving towards more independence, senior events, ‘lasts’ of everything….and so much emotion that I already feel – excitement (for all that is ahead and possible for the boyz…and for Steve and I), sadness (for this connected family time that is going to be so much more rare, for the ‘end’ of a stage of life that I have treasured in so many ways) and  anxiety (how will it all work out – college, finances, will the boyz  be ok? )….

So my intention is to embrace all moments of this year – the sad, the excited, the nostalgic, the frustrating, the joyful….here’s to a phenomenal senior year boyz!

 

Love and Light,

Suzanne

Feeding Love vs Fear

My long time mentor and my spiritual teacher both teach this concept….it is simple yet powerful. I chose to name this space Feeding Love because it is a simple phrase that so quickly reminds me of what I need to do to in day to day struggles in order to shift more quickly. What it boils down to is that there are two energies in the universe – love and fear.  All of the feelings we try to avoid or that feel negative – ie- anger, loneliness, sadness, jealousy, frustration….they all fall in the fear category. And all of the feelings we want more of  – ie joy, excitement, connection, hope…they fall in the love category.  So while we need to honor and respect the whole range of emotions, we do get to choose which ones we are going to water or feed.  Like everything else in life, it is about balance.  We can learn to acknowledge and accept our feelings, giving them some space…but not indulging in them when they bring us down a dark road.  We can give time to say, sadness and then say – ok- now I am going to choose to feed love.

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We can shift from the darker emotions in a myriad of ways – some therapeutic techniques, moving our bodies which will shift our energy, talking with a friend, distracting with a  book or movie, identifying 3 things we are grateful for…music (one of the fastest ways to shift our vibration/energy/mood)….and if you are like me(- a slow learner 😉 – you can do this over and over until your psyche finally agrees to release that thought/emotion which is coming from a fear space.

I think real life examples help bring concepts like this to life. I have been having a lot of shifting recently as I am dealing with my boyz and the college application process. For example – we had a ‘panic moment’ when we realized we did not send the SAT scores to one of the schools that Casey applied Early Action to.  I  went into fear mode ‘oh no, now they will not accept him…this will not look good for him….he will not find out early now after working so hard to get his application in on time…how could we miss this?’…and on and on.  I am aware I need to have  a little bit of time in this space – I cannot go right to solution mode, ‘it will be ok’ mode, ‘it is not catastrophic’ mode until I have a little bit of feeling space for panic or fear.  I was not there long however before I was able to hear my own words ‘this will not make or break his college career or choices’,  ‘this is not worth ruining my night of being with my family over’, and when my brain wanted to go back to the fear thoughts I very consciously blocked that pathway.  I also have a regular gratitude practice which helps me before I go to bed so that I am thinking of the positive parts of the day and therefore ‘feeding love’ as I sleep.

Ultimately we need to honor what we are feeling – there is no right or wrong…no ‘shoulds’ with feelings. Whatever is coming up is there for a reason and can teach you something about yourself. Yet we can choose how we deal with that emotion, whether we let it run wild and take over our mood, quality of life for the day (week…month…) or whether we thank it for showing up and teaching us and then make that conscious choice for love.

A Long Time Coming

Wow  – how to begin a journey I started internally many years ago?….I wrote a blog during my family’s 6 month exchange program to India in 2010-11. While it was really intended as a way to track our adventure so that we could remember all we experienced and family and close friends could follow along with us as they wished, it actually became something more for me. I accessed something inside myself that I had always known was there but had difficulty fully grasping .  It felt expansive, open and healing. It allowed me to see things from a different perspective.

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I have kept a journal since I was 9 years old..you know the kind with the tiny lock and key and small dated entries that say things like ” It was hot today. I went to Mary Ellen’s house to play. We had fun’….and often ending with an ‘I love ____’ (name the boy/celebrity of the week;))  So while I am not one who a propensity for English class, I have always loved journaling (yes, my entries did expand to include a bit more meat if you will) and found catharsis in writing my thoughts and feelings.

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My old diary…I hesitate to show the inspiring words written inside!

I attempted to keep up with the blog upon our return home but it seemed more and more difficult to make the time for it. I have thought and planned for it since then….always feeling a yearning inside me but also feeling like there was just not the time. We have been in the midst of pre-teen/teen years and I made a very conscious decision when my boyz were in 7th grade ‘we have 6 years left with them at home and being present for them, their activities and mothering is my priority. ‘ I am very grateful for that decision but I would be lying if I said I do not have regrets about not just continuing with the blog from the get go. But now I can no longer put it off…like my soul will not allow it.   I will do what I can, expand and explore and see what happens.

I plan to write about my ever changing journey….as a mom to (currently) teenage boyz, a wife to an energetic, enthusiastic and passionate man,  as a friend, therapist, seeker of all things nutrition, running,  yoga, emotional healing and spirituality. I am always looking to learn more, find balance and let go of perfection, obsessions, rules and all things that cause contraction in my being.

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Boyz on their 17th birthday

 

I am appreciative of anyone who follows along this journey and hope that my words may serve to inspire, connect and help us all see how we are ultimately all the same…all one…and need each other to be reminded that we are not alone.

Lots of love and light,

Suzanne