slice of life · travel

Celebrating (Sans Kids)

I remember the first time my parents ever left me with my grandparents to take an overnight trip to Palm Beach Gardens. I felt as though I had been mightily wronged. I loved my grandparents dearly, but acted as though my parents were abandoning me with strangers. I make this admission with a sense of shame since I was 11 when this happened!

My children have grown accustom to mommy and/or daddy going away for a few days at a time. Sometimes we travel for work. Other times we travel for pleasure. Because, let’s be honest, it’s a trip when you take the kids; it’s a vacation when it’s two adults traveling together.

This past weekend, Marc and I took a mini-vacation to the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. We spent three days celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary at Nemacolin. We dined without feeding a baby or counting bites until the meal could be over. We enjoyed time together at the spa. We exercised at the gym — together — everyday. We read books devoid of pictures and rhymes. Two out of the three mornings we slept in until the mid-morning. It was divine!

We returned to reality last night. We were greeted by two children who were happy to see us, but would’ve been perfectly fine if they went another day without their parents. Clearly, they understand they’re in capable and loving hands with their grandparents. Since this is the way it’s always been, they don’t act like that bratty 11-year-old I was when it’s time for one or both of us to go away. And for that, I am thankful!

Celebrating Ten Years Together!

siblings · slice of life · travel

The Empty Seat

I’ll be honest with you. It’s strange to have only one child in the backseat again. Much as I will enjoy a few days with Ari, I miss having both of my children at home with us.

They are seriously in love. It is a love filled with silly noises, hugs, tickles, nonsensical conversations, and kisses. Lots of kisses.

They’ve been together every day for the past ten-and-a-half months. However, the long good-bye happened yesterday when Isabelle separated from Ari for the first time since he returned from the hospital at two days old. (Marc and I were taking Ari back to Pennsylvania while Isabelle was heading off to Connecticut to spend a few days with my in-laws.) Isabelle seemed fine about saying good-bye to us, but she didn’t want to let Ari go. Eventually, I put him in the stroller and a few more kisses later she departed.
Ari isn’t talking yet, but his actions showed that he missed Isabelle yesterday afternoon. For instance, he woke up from his car nap and cried. As the front-seat passenger, I was able to turn around to see what was wrong. I found him crying while staring aimlessly at the space to his left. Rather than seeing his sister’s smiling face in her car seat, he saw shopping bags. Despite my attempts to soothe him, it took me sitting in Isabelle’s seat for the remainder of the ride home so he wouldn’t cry.
This morning, I noticed Ari staring towards the place where Isabelle sits again. This time, I needed to be the driver so I couldn’t do much other than to say, “She’ll be back on Thursday.”
Thankfully, he didn’t cry during today’s car ride.
slice of life · travel

In Praise of Wawa

The Wawa in Princeton was more than a mere convenience store to many of us in high school. Wawa represented freedom. It was under five minutes from my high school, which meant it was the perfect distance away from campus if one wanted an alternative to school food (usually yucky) once each of us turned 17 and obtained a driver’s license. I always bought a Turkey Shorti if I decided to leave campus for a quick lunch. I don’t know if I was the taste of the hoagie roll, the taste of the turkey, or the tang of the vinegar, but it was a delight for my 17-year-old tastebuds.

My days of eating Turkey Shortis at Wawa are long gone. First, I can no longer eat gluten. Second, the nearest Wawa is over an hour from our home. (Apparently Wawa’s a New Jersey thing, not a Pennsylvania thing.) However, I still have a deep affection for stopping at Wawa whenever possible. 

We traveled back to Pennsylvania from New England this afternoon. I announced I’d be napping before we reached the Merritt Parkway. However, I requested to be woken when we reached Phillipsburg, NJ.

“Where do you want to stop?” Marc inquired as I propped my pillow behind my head.

“How about Wawa? We can get gas there and I can go to the bathroom. They *should* be open even though it’s Easter.”

I woke up just before Phillipsburg, NJ, which left Marc with enough time to consult me about the kind of snack he wanted from the convenience store part of Wawa. “How about peanut butter (unintelligible)?”

“Peanut butter and crackers?” I asked. This Wawa has a huge healthy snack display so we could probably get that without a problem.

“No,” he paused. Then he lowered his voice, “Peanut M&M’s.” Clearly, he didn’t want Isabelle to hear this.

“I could go for those,” I thought. Not the best snack. There would be so many other options: yogurt, fruit, kale salad, nut mixes… But no, it was decided. We were getting M&M’s. “They’re kinda like health food since they have peanuts inside.”

Marc smiled. 

I walked into Wawa while Marc and Isabelle remained in the car while getting gas. (Isabelle couldn’t miss the chance to watch someone else pumping out gas. Gotta love full service in NJ!) I used the facilities and then went on my search for Peanut M&M’s. I found two sizes. I went for the insanely large family-sized pack. Because why not sweeten up the last two hours of our road trip?


Look at all of these smart choices! I don’t remember the Wawa of my teenage years having healthy grab-and-go options.
Eight ounces of joy.

slice of life · travel

Give a kid a cardboard box & they’re happy. #sol16

We drove to State College to attend the Big 5 Gymnastics Qualifier


Isabelle loved watching the floor routines because the gymnasts were dancing.
While all three of us enjoyed it (probably me the most), Isabelle grew impatient after an hour. We moved our seats twice.


Isabelle and Marc watched the balance beam routines from the third row.
We even plied Isabelle with candy in an effort to liven her up. It didn’t work. “I wanna go to the hotel,” she repeatedly said. 

After the awards ceremony, we headed to the hotel. Suddenly, there was pep in her step. Why? Isabelle loves hotels! 


There are two desks in our hotel room. Isabelle is using one for writing and one for her artwork.
Isabelle claimed a bed for her and her bears. She unpacked some of her things. Then, she found oodles of notepads in one of the desks. That seemed to be the highlight of her day! She got to work writing P-E-N-N S-T-A-T-E repeatedly on the notepads.

Is it just me or does this whole thing remind you of when you buy a kid a toy and all they want to play with is the box?