Party Prep Progress!

Seamus, Brendan and Casey started planning their graduation party 2 years ago when we were on our way home from a friend’s graduation party in Albany.  It was then that they came up with ‘Tombfest’ and the idea has grown from there. We are not sure how many people will be here but there will be lots of family staying with us and we have a LOT to do before we are ready for June 23rd!

This was our only full weekend home in a long time and before graduation so we took the opportunity to get started on some house projects. Steve’s oldest and best friend, Smitty, was SO generous to give up his weekend for us. Thank you to his wife Laura and his girls, Raegan and Kierra who gave the A-OK as well 🙂

 

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Smitty came up to paint – he is a pro- but we put him to work on a few other things first…he is an amazing worker!

Steve and Smitty had a painting company during college summers. It was a lucrative business but they have each gone a different way with it. Steve seems to detest painting now while Smitty is so good at it and has lots of painting jobs over the summer since he is a teacher. I am beyond grateful for all he did.  Smitty is an incredibly hard worker – does not take a break all day – just drinks water all day and says if he sits down, he would not get back up so he is better off not breaking! I felt so bad though!

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Steve and boyz did tons of yard work

We had these stones lining our gardens – they worked for a few years but it has been about 13 years now and the grass is growing in between them, getting into the gardens making for tons of weeding -yuck!  They pulled all the stones, edged the gardens with a spade, and  pulled up the patio as that is all uneven now (made of flagstones).

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Casey gets on the job helping Smitty paint..Smitty is entertaining and hysterically funny so it is not a bad gig for Casey 🙂

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Hmmm- this door is on back of garage…we need to remember to paint that!

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The shed needs some major TLC….Steve tries to give it a boost as it has become a little off kilter

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Finally sitting and eating dinner….Pete joins us too

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Bear and Gram …Gram came up to watch all the goings on…she loves to see home improvement!

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Casey and Senior (Pete is the boyz Spanish teacher)

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Gram and Seamus

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Day 2- Painting the shed

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And each other!

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Since losing her mom, Drew is sticking close by us

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Went to get flowers with my mom and she bought me 2 hanging baskets :)…I usually buy the flowers and pot them myself so this felt SO easy! Thanks Mom!

DSC_7216Finally done for the day…after some leftovers and a beer, Smitty got to head home to his family

 

I so appreciate all the hard work that went into the weekend to get things moving on the house. We still have lots more to do but it feels great to be going in the right direction! Have to keep up the momentum for the next few weeks.

Making progress definitely feeds the love!

Many blessings,

Suzanne

Lily Girl

We lost a part of our family on Thursday. Lily was 12 years old and has had cancer for a few months. We had the tumor removed initially and she did quite well, but several months later it returned with a vengence and there was nothing that could be done except to give her prednisone which made it shrink and benadryl helped her feel more comfortable. She began losing weight rapidly and slowly lost her ability to stand. She was happy, ate and wagged her tail until the last day. Thursday she was noticeably worse and could not move at all.  We were blessed in that we were all able to say goodbye to her and she died very peacefully here at home.

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Lily and Sampson bond…he was a trooper!

 

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Lovin up their pup

When Lily was 2 we bred her with another local Yellow Lab. Oh my that was interesting. Sandy, the sire’s owner, and I did not really know what we were doing. They did their thing and he stayed in her – we were so confused and since he was a lot bigger than Lily, we thought maybe he was stuck. Sandy sprayed the hose on them – the boyz were asking what was happening. They got a precursor lesson in reproduction at 8.  We later found out that this is how it works – the male stays inside the female for a bit. Our ignorance was scary but fortunately all went well and 10 adorable pups were born on September 18, 2008.

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Not the most beautiful shot but it is the real deal….

Lily was a sneaky girl who knew just where she wanted to have her pups. A friend brought over a whelping box for her to give birth in. We put it in the sunroom and blockaded her in there when we left for work. I came home at lunch to check on her and she was not in the sunroom. I heard a tiny noise from upstairs and followed the sound up to the boyz room. There Lily was giving birth on Casey’s bed! It was magical, beautiful, disgusting and unbelievable all at once. About 6 of them were born by the time I got there and she was getting tired. I called our friend, Jerry, and he came over in case there were any issues. I called Steve and he and the boyz came home as well.  It was such an amazing experience for me. I felt like it must feel to watch your sister give birth or something (OK, not quite the same) – in the way that you can fully embrace the magic that is birthing….in a way you cannot fully take in when you are the one delivering your baby/ies.

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Poor picture quality but ……oh my cuteness!

Lily was a calm and gentle mother…she was a trooper feeding all 10 pups and just letting them on her as much as they wanted/needed.

Some outside time for the pups….

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Checking on her pups

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I fell in love with Pippen…he was the runt and sadly, did not make it. I don’t remember the last time I cried that hard 😦

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Casey had a special bond with Lily…after all, she gave birth on his bed!

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Chillin by the fire

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Lily and Drew sniffing around while we ski out back

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At the vet a few weeks ago

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Lily with 2 of her pups – Drew (left) and Bella (right)…so blessed to have had a ‘pup family reunion’ at Erin and Tim’s over Memorial Day weekend 🙂

At 12 years old, Lily had led a great life…full of play, love and lots of tolerance for the chaos that is our home!  So on Thursday we all said our goodbyes and then the boyz had to go to a National Honor Society dinner. They knew it would not be long and she ended up passing about 20 minutes after they left. Steve and I were right with her and it was very calm for her.

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She started lying like this in the last month of so….

We are so grateful for what you brought to our lives Lily….for your gentle ways, your soft fur and your loving nature. We will miss you and always love you Lily girl 🙂

Lily fed the love for sure…

 

Many blessings,

Suzanne

Uncle Tom’s Visit and Memorial Day Fun

We have had two weekends involving nice family visits :).  Last weekend my brother Tom came to visit as he will be unable to attend the boyz graduation/party and likely will not see them for quite awhile :(.  I am so grateful to him for going out of his way to visit and love how much the boyz enjoy being with him.

 

My mom and Tom drove up from Albany Saturday afternoon and we had a great visit with snacks then had a delicious dinner cooked on the BBQ -despite more crappy, cold and wet weather :(.

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Not sure what Tom was talking about but we all seem captivated!

Sadly, I forgot to take pics the night he was here so these were first thing in the morning – he was showered and very awake but the rest of us were not really ‘picture ready’!

Of all of my brothers, I look the most like Tom…..and here he is trying to look taller with his Godson, Bear

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Uncle Tom and the boyz

For Memorial Day Weekend, we went to Binghamton for the Rugby State Championships. Rangers had an amazing season but sadly did not fair well at the tournament.

Steve, Brendan and Casey stayed at the hotel with the team while Seamus, Ava and I stayed with my incredible niece Erin and her family. I just love  visiting them – they are gracious hosts, so much fun to chat with and the kids are ADORABLE!!! (&energetic!)

 

Seamus and Ava doing bubbles with the kids

 

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Ava, Addy, Connor and Seamus at the rugby game

Tim’s dad, Bob used to play rugby for Binghamton so took a trip down memory lane watching the Rangers . It was so nice of him to come and support the team

 

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Bob, Tim…and obviously Seamus and Ava

Despite the fact that they did not win – they played their hearts out and put on a great game

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Brendan in a line out

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Casey had one of his best games ever on Monday

A little exchange with Coach/Dad on the field

The weather on Sunday was rainy and cold but Monday turned out to be gorgeous. Erin and Tim generously offered for us to come out to their cottage (which I am in absolute LOVE with!!!) so the boyz could jump in the lake before the 4 hour car ride home (thank you Er and Tim for not making us drive home with stinky, dirty bodies in the car!)

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Addy is swimming great and likely to give up this swimmy by summer’s end

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Connor’s not too excited to be boating! 😉

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Not sure a paddle boat is meant for that many!

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Connor loves his mommy…Oh how I miss those snuggly days! 

 

Uncle Greg is temporarily in Corning blowing glass so he came up for the championships. He and Steve had a nice visit – I think they shared the King  bed a the hotel – how cozy!

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Uncle Greg and Steve lunching it

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Summer picnic….sandwiches, watermelon, grapes, chips…before getting on the road

I feel truly blessed to have family who are so phenomenally good to us and who we absolutely adore being with. We are all spread out which is so different from the way I grew up – with all cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents in the same town and one cousin family less than an hour away (which allowed us trips to ‘the country’ which I loved!). It is amazing that the boyz have been able to feel connected and truly loved even with the miles between us.  Guess it just goes to show what can happen if you keep feeding the love 🙂

Much love and many blessings.

Suzanne

Honoring Intuition

For awhile now, I have been looking back at the past few years with some regret, frustration, anger and sadness.  I have come to a new level of awareness around how I ignored my intuition, how I fed my ego/fear instead of my spirit, and another familiar fear pops up – ‘what if it is too late?’ So what is intuition? It is that gut feeling we talk about, an inner knowing not based on anything rational or conscious. It is our subconscious trying to tell us something because it sees the bigger picture and is not attached to anything in particular.

“Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out.” 
― Malcolm GladwellBlink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

My gut, my intuition have been telling me to write this blog since our return from India in 2011. I began writing but then thought I needed to have a definitive direction, theme, name etc and I felt stuck.  Life of course kept going and was filled with boyz activities and mom responsibilities, a very intensive and demanding work situation, Steve’s pedal cab company and other projects, pups, chickens, and various reptiles, house stuff etc …you know the drill. So I would sometimes have a strong desire to write the blog but then be stuck on a name or something….and other times I would feel relieved I did not have that pressure as I felt like I could not handle another thing. But the latter was fear and kept me small and contracted. It kept me from using my voice and being true to myself.  And that is what I feel regretful and sad about. That is what I feel angry about and frustrated with. For I know now that I had the time. That when you do what is in your heart, you expand and with that so do the time and resources you need to continue on that path.

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I have a choice now-  I can stay stuck- in the past,  creating more of the same or I can  move forward with a focus on what my heart calls me to do now. I can write here…I can create from my heart, and I can live my intuition instead of ignoring it time and time again.  I may allow a little time when I am triggered to feel the sadness…but then remind myself of my intention to be present and know my power to change, tap, meditate, talk with my go-to people for things like this (thank you Steve, Mom and Mare!)  and ultimately re-set my mind to creating a current reality that feels joyful and alive.  It is in feeling the love that is within me and longing to be expressed each and every day that I am true to my own spirit and truly free.

So if you feel contraction in your body…if you feel sadness or regret…know that it is part of life…for if we look back with some level of sadness or regret (though that is a strong word – for if we were to do it differently, we would not be who we are today), it is because we have grown – we have become a bit older, wiser, with broader perspective and we can start today from that place.

In honoring my intuition, I will feed the love.

Much love,

Suzanne

Spring Break..a bit delayed

We had an AMAZING Spring Break..thanks to many wonderful family members who are beyond generous to us.  Right after school on Thursday 3/29, we drove down to Baltimore, arriving late and sleeping for a short bit before getting up for a 6am flight to Phoenix. We arrived, so happy to see the sun and feel the warm air – it has been a long winter in the Northeast!  We visited for 5 days with Steve’s sister and her family. We enjoyed lots of chill time together…warm weather…their unbelievable gym which was so big and had anything and everything you could ever want to work out…

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Life is oh so rough in Phoenix 😉

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Andrea and Brian -our generous hosts!

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Annie and her dad

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Matt, Ben and Brendan doing dishes

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Thanks so this wonderful lady, clean up is easy as she has much of it done before you blink an eye!

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The Easter Bunny came for all of the kids…and left a big bowl for the adults to share 🙂

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Uncle Brian let the boyz drive his car…Ohhhh…they could get used to this! 

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A little basketball at Life Time Fitness – the most unbelievable gym we have ever seen!

Steve’s brother Greg and his girlfriend Shawna have been staying in Phoenix for the winter but had been out of town until Tuesday. Fortunately, we were able to fit in a quick visit before they had to leave again. They are amazing artists and travel to do shows and work on their art.

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We got to see Uncle Greg and Shawna before we left..meeting for breakfast at Whole Foods

On Monday the Scotts had to go to school and work so we took the opportunity to drive to the Grand Canyon by way of Sedona…

DSC_5986 Cathedral Rock-boyz don’t look so big here do they? 😉

We were able to meet up with our friends from home who also happened to be out there for Spring Break.

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The Stone/Anderson crew – a little bit of home in AZ!

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The mandatory family photo

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Cairn building contest

And we drive back to Phoenix via Flagstaff where our nephew is a Freshman at NAU. We asked him where he would want to eat and he said there was a nice sushi place he went to with his parents. Well, some in our family would not find anything appealing in a sushi restaurant (and Liam then admitted that he does not like sushi either but they have good chicken!). So we went to a brew pub thinking burgers fries etc would be good. We got in there and it was a dive bar with plywood tables.  Ended up being great food though and we had the room to ourselves so we could visit and be crazy and not worry about offending or bothering other diners.

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West coast Faughnan cousin visit

We flew back to Baltimore on Wednesday, arriving at our nephew and his wife’s home late that night. They were very gracious hosts as well – they had a pizza for each of the boyz (Maura said ‘Andrew can eat a whole pizza – so I know…), and stayed up chatting til midnight despite having work the next day.

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Murphy, their pup, is all about the photos!

We headed to Wm and Mary for a tour – what an AMAZING school! Casey’s first pick but ultimately too pricey for out of state students who have a teacher and social worker for parents!

We stopped in Baltimore to explore the harbor a bit and eat dinner at Steve’s mom’s favorite Italian restaurant (we missed her being there). Casey was also considering Loyola and had been to accepted students day but had not seen the harbor since he was little.

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Boyz are big Forrest Gump fans (who isn’t?)

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A little calamari ap!

From there we headed to Steve’s parents, arriving late and spending the next day helping them out with some jobs around the house….

 

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Casey painted

 

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Brendan and Seamus set up the new master closet.

 

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And I (twist my arm) brought Jeanne (who treated me) to get pedicures…I had the toughest job I am sure :)…truly though I did help with some organizing and unpacking in their dining room!

The next day we headed out early to a USNA crew race in NJ so that Seamus could meet the coach and some of the team. It was great to see some parents and Seamus especially enjoyed hearing some positive things about USNA as lately all he is hearing is how hard it is going to be -which he knows but it does get a little old hearing that.  We then headed to my brother and his wife’s house in RI.  It was beautiful and we were able to go for a nice walk, look at a couple of houses they are considering buying and they treated us to a wonderful meal out!

 

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Aunt Mary, Faolan and the boyz

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In the morning just before we left – Uncle Jim and Aunt Mary have been great to us and have hosted us several times as we have been touring colleges near them!

 

 

 

We headed out Sunday morning for Boston College accepted students day…our last official college tour!

 

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Brendan and Casey giving Seamus a hard time about his height

And Casey ultimately decided on BC so despite the cold weather, it was a great visit.  They tracked and realized we traveled 55+ hours over break – so lots of quality family bonding time in the car ;)…after leaving as soon as school got out and getting home Sunday night and having school the next morning…we were all ready for a vacation from our vacation!

Thanks so much to all of our family who hosted us and we just  loved the chance to spend short but sweet time with so many people who we love and do not get to see as often as we would like being so spread out all over the country!  So much gratitude for them!

 

 

Living in Alignment

What does it mean to live in alignment?  What happens if I do things that are counter to my values and ideals?  This is something I have been grappling with for awhile now.  It is very important to me to be genuine and to live my truth. Yet as a natural born people pleaser,  I also have spent much of my life trying to make others happy. As my therapist/mentor has often said ‘you don’t have to take a pole for everything you do’…in other words – follow your intuition…do what feels right for you and the rest will work itself out.

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View from my meditation spot

I am learning to have some grace with myself as I work towards that alignment and with the times that I am functioning out of that place but still doing my best. That may be a parenting moment where I get frustrated or impatient and react instead of maintaining a steady calm which would be my preference. Let’s be honest – this is not an occasional occurrence! Or it may be when I am eating ‘safe’ foods instead of challenging myself to try something new. Or it may be when I am using my phone as a distraction instead of cleaning the bathroom or paying bills. 🙂

 

So what helps to keep me in alignment?  My go to practices are:

1-Meditating – this allows me to sit in the quiet (or relative quiet as my mind may be active and fighting stillness). it helps to take a break from the distractions of life to be in tune with what really matters most. It allows space to hear my inner voice… inner guidance… intuition, speak to me. It is calming, even if only for a short while. Meditation improves physical health, increases self-awareness, mindfulness, and concentration.

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Puja table

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My zafu

 

2-Movement – whether it is yoga, running, a walk or skiing, movement helps me feel grounded and present. I do have to work on this as it can also be compulsive and disconnecting if I get focused on miles/time or performance. When I focus on being present, being in my body and enjoying the movement, it is energizing and centering. And it is an added bonus if it is an outside activity because the fresh air, potential sunshine, and peace of nature boost mood, reduce stress/cortisol levels, and lower blood pressure.

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Getting ready to ‘race the train’ – a fun event to raise money for our local Dollars for Scholars

3-Journaling – I have journaled since I was 9 years old and it has always been helpful for me to write what is going on in my head.  It is not something I ‘must do daily’, but rather something I do when I feel the need to release, to process or to express myself in that way.  I found when I was very young that when I wrote something in my journal, it was like taking a step towards a goal. This hit me when I was 12…. I was so scared/embarrassed to ask my mom if I could get a bra – for months I tried but could not get the words out (when the opportunity with no brothers around arose!) but as soon as I wrote about it, I was able to ask my mom that night. It was then I realized the power of writing. The one rule I have always held with journaling is that it is for no one else’s eyes, that penmanship, grammar, readability does not apply. Even if it was so illegible that I could not go back to re-read it myself, it has still served its purpose. The release is the part I am looking for – not re-reading and learning from the past. I have told Steve I want my journals burned when I die – these are not books I would want to have published that’s for sure!!!

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A box of my old journals

4-Gratitude – Practicing gratitude is all the rage right now – and for good reason. It helps us keep perspective, to feel more positive and to better cope with the things that are not going well. It reduces depression and increases a sense of well being.  I have recently been writing daily on gratitude and it is definitely helping me with the roller coaster that is senior year!

5-Sleep – This is one of my most challenging areas.  I am an early to bed and early to rise person which suits me because I love the calm and peace of the morning. I am one who loves the ‘Fall Back’ time as it gives us slightly more sunlight early in the day and I do not look forward to “spring ahead’ because I am happy to have it dark in the evening so I can put my PJs on and get to bed early without feeling like I am missing something 😉 But life often calls me to stay up a bit later and my body naturally wakes up early regardless. And once I wake up..I am up. Plus my bladder wakes me several times a night (hello 50!) though thankfully I can fall back to sleep when that happens. I know that adequate sleep decreases stress/cortisol levels, improves mood and concentration, boosts immune system and just overall feels better so I am definitely working on improving this area.

 

6-Food – I tell my patients that sleep and nutrition are the foundation of healing. If we are not adequately nourished and rested, our brains will not function well, our bodies will suffer and we will not feel grounded no matter how many of the above activities we practice daily.  I have lived this in the past and know full well what it is to not have these basic needs met. So I am working on nourishing myself with all the food groups – grains, veggies and fruit, proteins, fats and yes…sugar :). I have a sweet tooth and denying that would only lead to feelings of deprivation and preoccupation.

 

It’s all about balance 🙂

7-Connection- Being with people I am close to fills me up. Sometimes though, it means just connecting on the phone or through text.  Having my peeps who know me, understand me and are there for me is beyond the greatest gift.  And trying to have a balance of it all – family time, couple time, extended family time, girlfriends time, social time….there are certainly seasons where one of these things seems to dominate, but over the long haul, I have balance there and appreciate the connections I have to travel this journey with.

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Girls weekend at the Cape 🙂

 

Of course keeping these practices as part of my world, but not becoming just another item on my ‘to do list’ is another challenge.  My tendency is toward routine, which is a blessing and a curse. I want to be experiencing these moments, not just going through the motions. I admit I am guilty of that some days…but again I will have compassion for myself and be aware that keeping these habits may mean sometimes ‘going through the motions’ but as long as I continually strive to be present, to be conscious of what I am doing and why I am doing it, then I am on the right path. It is a continuous journey and in doing this, I am feeding the love.

 

Rainbows and Unicorns

Rainbows and unicorns…an expression I have heard a lot lately.  It has come to mind this past week as Seamus, Brendan and Casey won an award and scholarships.  Many people have congratulated us and made many kind comments.  While I want to be clear that I very much appreciate this, two things come up for me.

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Brendan and Casey with the most amazing guidance counselor ever! Ms K nominated the boyz for this award

One – the feeling that it is all not as perfect as it may look. That the boyz are like any other teen with their trials and tribulations, that they need reminders to do things, still cannot wake up to their own alarm clocks, and even as they were handed awards, had some assignments that needed to be handed in.  And I realize I am also projecting…when people comment, I worry they will think we do not have these struggles…but maybe it is me because I recognize that as I looked around the room at the other kids who were receiving the same award, I imagine they do everything they need to do without question …that they are all perfectionists with tons of internal motivation and drive…with incredible time management skills….that they do not struggle in any way that our boyz do.  And maybe some of them are like that…but just maybe some need a push here and there, make mistakes, and are not as ‘perfect’ as they seem in my mind.

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The group of honorees

Two – the quote under the picture in the paper said ‘Suzanne Tomb is not a proud mom’. I cringed when I read that but fortunately most have told me when you read the article, it is more clear what I meant. I have strong feelings about the word ‘proud’.  While I feel OK if I am proud of myself for doing something challenging or accomplishing a task, or just being the kind of person I want to be, I do not feel OK saying I am proud of my kids. This feels oxymoronic because as I write that I think..but I am proud of them…but I guess it is more I am happy for them and excited for them. To say I am proud of them feels like I am taking some of the credit for their accomplishments and that does not feel fair. It is theirs and I want them to own it, not me.

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Casey, Mr Moro (who all 3 reported as their favorite teacher) and Granddad (who is an inspiration to all and drove 6+ hours to attend this ceremony with them!) and Brendan

So I guess this is a lesson to myself. As a therapist I know there is no such thing as perfection. I know everyone has a story – whether that is something that makes it completely understandable why they do irrational things and their life looks chaotic or whether it is the personal struggles that lie behind what appears to be an otherwise perfectly put together life.

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Casey is holding up Seamus’ picture since he was out in Utah at Junior Nationals and could not be at the event

So no it is not all rainbows and unicorns…but I will embrace the bright moments and the joy that comes with them. In doing so, I  am feeding the love 🙂

Weekend Highlights

It ended up being a surprise long weekend since Friday brought another storm :).  We were very happy as we always are for snowdays…but were also concerned as Seamus was due to fly out for JNs that evening.

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It is a good thing we had the day off as it took my oh so fast moving son all day to pack!

 

With no delay by 2:30pm, we headed to Albany, hit up Trader Joe’s – groceries for us and travel food for the skiers. Thankfully and miraculously , Seamus, Ava and Coach Julie made it out without any delays!

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Utah…here they come!

Steve and I then were able to meet up with some of our oldest and closest friends for dinner. Two years ago, we won a gift certificate to Pasta Pane in Clifton Park. At that time, I thought – oh great – we can meet Smitty and Laura out for dinner one night since they live in Clifton Park. Here we are 2+ years later finally doing just that! Better late than never right?

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We laughed about how old we are with all of our ‘readers’..

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I could chat with Laura forever – one of the most genuine and easy to be with people I have ever met 🙂

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Matching ‘specials’ for the guys

We sat and talked well past our meal time and got home at 10:30ish very grateful to our lovely sons who were there to help unpack the groceries.

 

Saturday we were all exhausted. It was a later night than we usually have and I woke up early, per usual, unable to fall back to sleep.  We went up to Garnet Hill to ski (and bring Brendan his forgotten lunch!). It was nice to get out on one of the last ski days of the season.  They were having a snowshoe race there which looked like a lot of fun.

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Enjoying the peace and tranquility of a quiet ski

We went to a friends winter party later that evening. We brought a farro/bean/brussels dish and it was so great to see so many friends we don’t see as often anymore.  Of course everyone asked Brendan and Casey about their plans for next year. It will be nice when we have a definitive answer to give!  A friend warned me to make sure Steve and I make a lot of plans because the emptiness is too hard otherwise. Oh I am so focused on the ‘getting into college ‘ process, I have not yet delved  too much into how Steve and I will cope.

Sunday was house stuff, homework and a snowshoe at home while the guys went to rugby practice….

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And we ended as we love to end our weekends…with some screen watching and a sweet treat 🙂 We watched the Las Vegas Rugby 7s tournament which was quite exciting as US won- Go Eagles!!!

States…& The Last Race :(

Monday and Tuesday were the State Championships for Nordic. Originally set to be in Rochester, they were moved to North Creek due to lack of snow at Bristol. We were happy to host despite the scurry of planning and details that had to be worked out very quickly!

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Coach Tomb and Coach Schreiner take a break from waxing

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The moms put on quite a spread to help racers re-fuel!

Day one was a 10 K race for the boys and 7 K for the girls. It is a very challenging course but they put on a great performance. It was an incredible  day – sunshine and 40s.  Seamus was not feeling well (has come off of 2 weeks with stomach bug, flu and then started with congestion and terrible cough the day before States!).  He also fell twice – I think more people fell than not – especially the boys since it was later in the day and the snow was very heavy and sloppy.  We saw some major spills but thankfully no one was seriously injured. Anyway, he was not thrilled with his result despite putting it all out there and giving it all he had.

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Seamus just after crossing finish line – he does not usually collapse upon finishing but this day he was whipped!

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Here to cheer on the team!

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These two are very supportive of Ava …but will also take any excuse to miss school 😉

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Ava kicks it in to the finish line!

Day 2 proved to be another gorgeous one! Blue skies, 50 and no wind. The race was a mass start relay so it was quicker than day 1. Section 2 did well with the Queensbury girls team coming in 1st! And Seamus’ team coming in 2nd – whoo hoo! He gave it his all for his very last high school home race (still has Junior Nationals in Utah next week).

 

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These girls had an AMAZING performance – coming in 1st for the girls relay and 1st overall as a team! Yay QHS!

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Seamus starts out for a strong race

 

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Continues strong up the ‘A Climb’ (aka killer hill!)

 

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Boyz relay team came in 2nd! Whoo hoo!!!

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Congrats to Section 2 skiers and coaches for a phenomenal season!

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In his glory after the race – he will surely miss this next year!

The Elusive ‘Balance’

When we first came home from India is when I began spending more time reading and researching on the internet.  It was 2011 and maybe I was late to the party, but it really caught on with me at that point.  It was fascinating how much I could learn about health, nutrition, cooking etc.  But very soon that fascination became an obsession.  And I know I am not alone in this as I see so many people fall into this same trap.  What can at one point be empowering and energizing can suddenly become debilitating and paralyzing.  It seemed that there was nothing that one could eat that would not in some way be ‘bad’ for you.  Everything caused cancer or was toxic in some way. Be it meat, dairy, spinach, soy, and God forbid—sugar.  Add to that the multitude of ways things can enter your bloodstream or be inhaled – all your personal care products and house cleaning products were toxic as well. I remember talking with my friend and telling her that there was nothing that felt safe. I remember where I was sitting in that moment and the feeling I had – it was all of constriction and contraction. In other words – fear.  So what had started as an innocent search for increased knowledge about something I have always been interested in, very quickly became an unhealthy obsession with how much ‘bad’ is out there.

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Enjoying a meal out with our Canadian friends 🙂

Add to that feeding a family with various taste preferences. I could not change everything they were eating just because I was fearful of it. For some time, I had wished I knew more when the boyz were little so I could have raised them differently – so what? would I have not fed them because nothing is healthy? Would I have made everything from scratch as I was trying to at that point – making myself crazy? I remember it would be a beautiful summer day and I would start out early and say ‘ I just need to make some yogurt, bread, almond milk and cookies’…thinking I could do that in no time and then enjoy my day. But as the day started to get away from me, I would grow increasingly frustrated as I craved the sun and doing something fun outside.  So was that healthy? Increased stress, decreased sunshine and decreased fun? I think not!

So I have come a long ways since then but it is a continual journey and a constant awareness and conscious effort to not ‘buy into’ the media’s fear mongering.  I am susceptible to black and white thinking. Life would be easier in some ways if things were right or wrong, good or bad, black or white.  But that is not the reality and that , as I have found, breeds fear and dis-ease.  What I have been striving for is a balance.

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One thing that continues to be homemade is the treats – there is just no comparison!

I have stopped buying as many organic products primarily for financial reasons especially as my boyz became very hungry teenagers and it was just not realistic to buy that much organic food.  While I look for the best deals on organic foods and do the best I can with cleaning products and personal care as well, I have learned not to stress about the non organic milk and other products we buy.  I am conscious of the media I consume as I do not want to go down a road that tells me how that milk will kill us, how dairy, meat, carbs – pick your poison – will cause terminal disease.

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A lovely gift from our friend who visited last night…another triplet parent 🙂

What I realize is that ease is what I need….grace as we try to live the best life we can….cooking and baking is fun but I also recognize it is ok to do easy meals in this stage of my life.  If I am in the mood and have the time, I will put more into a meal, but on your average night – it is a basic rotation of go to meals the majority of us like with sides that make it a feasible meal for those who are not crazy about the entree.  And this works…everyone if (somewhat) happy, everyone is physically nourished and we are together sharing a meal which nourishes our souls and our relationships.  So I am choosing to stope feeding the fear and instead to feed the love by embracing moderation, embracing ‘all foods fit’ for my family, and expanding my awareness of what it means to be ‘healthy’.