Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to School-The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Have you ever seen that Staples Commercial with the father dancing through the store to the song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"? The kids look miserable and he is riding the cart back and forth with unbridled joy over the fact that his kids are going back to school! I love that guy! I love that commercial! I love that the kids are going back to school. Now before you call DHS and say I'm a bad mommy, let me make one thing clear....I love summer vacation. Michaela comes home, we have lots of family fun, we roast marshmallows and catch fireflies....quite frankly, we are a goddamn Norman Rockwell Painting. But my mid August, I am ready to get back to reality to be honest. I am a girl who needs structure, and schedules and organization...I thrive on it. The summer vacation is a little too loosy goosey for me. We don't have to set the alarm clocks because their's no "late bell" to worry about. We don't have to plan our time to the minute because there are no school board meetings, or play practice, or homework to worry about. Now, that's fine for a while, but right now...I am ready to bring back the freaking structure.
During the school year, I feel disciplined and controlled, operating a in a closed loop system. Same schedule every day with very little distortion. During the summer, we are like a bunch of gypsies, having way to much fun, without a care in the world for bedtimes, schedules etc. So I say, stop the madness! Get these kids back to school. They start next Wednesday. We have all our school supplies and we are ready. And although I didn't dance through the store with unbridled joy while we shopped....I could certainly identify with the feeling.
Welcome Back to School Kids! It's gonna be a great year!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vacation.....All I Ever Wanted!

I went back to work today after 10 days of about shell shock. Why is it that leaving for vacation and coming back are so stressful? It's crazy, you spend a whole week before getting ready, making sure everything is completed so you don't leave anyone else with too much work while you are gone, then you get back and have to catch up on everything that didn't get done. Oy! Oh well, it was definitely worth it. The Parker's had a "Staycation" this year. We did several day trips in Maine, spent one weekend in NH at my folks and one weekend in New York visiting relatives and seeing some sights. Overall, it was a great time. Not really relaxing, but a great time nonetheless.
I think the highlight was definitely this last weekend in New York. We left Friday morning and took the Ferry from Bridgeport Connecticut to Port Jefferson Long Island. We then drove to my cousin Christy's house in Merrick. Of course at 5:00 PM on a Friday afternoon on Long Island, that meant 1.25 hours to go 32 miles. Fun! We hadn't been off the boat for 10 minutes before Mark, predictably said, "with all this traffic, why would anyone live here." Of course, I predictably answered, "because you can get good pizza, chinese food and bagels here and you can't get them in other places." He always looks at me kinda funny when I give him that response.
Anyway, off to Christy and Kevin's for lots of wine and of course, the aforementioned chinese food (the best egg rolls ever!). Saturday was a spectacular day. We spent the entire day at my Aunt Linda and Uncle Mike's house on the water in South Amityville. Glorious! Swimming, boating, wave running, all the joys that a house on the ocean can bring. But the highlight had to be on Saturday evening as we sat around the crab shack (their outdoor bar) and had copious cocktails while listening to some of the most random selections of music from my crazy cousin Michael's IPOD. Where else can you hear the Ting Tings, followed by Neil Diamond, followed by Gordon Lightfoot? I never ever thought I would see my dad singing along to "That's not my name!" Beautiful. It really is amazing how with our families, we get together so seldom, but when we do, it's always a hoot! Tons of fun.
Sunday morning came, and with a heavy head from the previous night's cocktails, the Parker's ventured to New York City. We found out several things on this trip to NYC. First, Bloomberg is really letting the city go to pot. It was much dirtier then we recalled from our previous visits which was really disappointing. We also learned that the Central Park Zoo is really cool, but also pretty stinky, especially the rainforest. We learned that the Penguins of Madagascar don't really solve problems and there isn't one name Rico (pity.). We learned that the economy is still thriving at FAO Schwarz and Toys R Us in Times Square where the Legos were flying off the shelves. We even visited the Barbie Palace at ToysRUs, where we purchased what we have dubbed "curiously gay Ken" because of his skinny jeans and mildly homosexual t-shirt. You can't find these toys in Maine folks!
After dinner at Sofia's on Sunday night, Mark took Matty back to the hotel and the girls and I had the highlight of our trip, we visited the newest Times Square attraction, POP TARTS World! An entire 3000 square foot store devoted to, you guessed it, Pop Tarts! This place was freaking fantastic. The girls went to the counter and ordered warmed pop tarts while I visited the Varietizer and procured a mixed variety of pop tarts. You go to a computer screen and pick your selection of flavors. Then a huge mechanical arm, pulls down your pop tarts and boxes them lovingly. It's like something out of Willie Wonka for crying out loud. They only cost three times what you would pay for pop tarts in the grocery store, but who the hell cares right? How often do you get to Pop Tarts World? I left with a bag full of Pop Tart's Gear and a much lighter wallet, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
On Monday, the party was over. We took Michaela to the airport for her trip back to Oklahoma for the school year. But, to be honest, I was so happy that our last week with her was spent together, as a family, having fun. We had tons of laughs, a lot of great food, good times with family and we had plenty of time to hug, cuddle and say I love you. In our busy crazy lives, that doesn't happen so often, so it really was the perfect vacation. And though we will miss Michaela, Thanksgiving is only 12 weeks away. I am thinking that we should take that week as vacation too, because Parker Family Vacations are so much fun!!!