Saturday, March 29, 2014

Born to a mountain slide...

My husband, Pete, loves to ski. He grew up skiing in the Pocono mountains and is looking forward to taking PJ out on the slopes.

I, on the other hand,  have a long history of making a complete ass out of myself while wearing skis. I was once dragged up a hill by a ski lift when my jacket caught as I fell off of my seat. There was also the time I accidentally wandered onto a black diamond run (black diamond being a course that requires a higher level of skill). That was ugly.

The good news is that on any ski trip I have gone on, there has been plenty to keep me occupied besides looking like an idiot on skis.

Pete has had the opportunity to ski at Killington Resort and has talked about returning as a family often. I am, clearly, not a skier, but there is plenty to do at Killington, from sleigh rides to hanging out at the Motor Room bar. Pete and PJ could go spend a day pretending they are Bode Miller and I could spend a day getting a massage at the Killington Grand Spa. Sounds like a plan to me!

The best part is, we have a wide space to plan a trip, as the ski season in Vermont is nice and long! We could plan to go skiing over PJ's spring break and still have great conditions on the mountains. Come to think of it, YOU could also have a great time skiing Killington with the  FREE Four Pack of lift tickets we are giving away on the blog!

Enter to win a Family Pack of one-day lift tickets, valued at $320, and ski the day away on the gorgeous slopes at Killington Mountain! You can use the money you would have spent on the lift tickets to indulge in a massage afterwards. And please, in the name of all thing good, go check out the gorgeous Peak Lodge! Over 4000 feet up Killington Peak, the Peak Lodge will offer you a main course of outstanding views with a sizeable side order of delicious, upscale foods and cocktails. Don't ski? You can still hitch a ride on the lift and enjoy this newly-redesigned "heart of the mountain!"



You can enter to win below! GOOD LUCK!
The giveaway will end at Midnight on Friday, April  4th! 
Winner announced later that day!
Follow Killington News and the latest ski conditions HERE!

 
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

We just wanna make the world dance, forget about the price tag...

Pete and I need a makeover.

Not a physical makeover. Pete looks fine and it's pretty much too late for me. We are already in the middle of a marriage makeover, and that's going well. What we need is a money makeover.

While we certainly don't live above our means, we can be careless with money. A few too many meals out, a few too many Thomas trains for PJ, and a few too many spend-y habits like coffee (me), books (me), cigarettes (Pete) and Vitamin Waters (Pete). There are so many changes we could make for the positive concerning our finances, particularly if we want to buy a house in the near future.

When I found out that Marla and Steph were going to do a spending freeze for the month of April, I thought, "Yes. That. Perfect." Pete and I need a month of strict spending rules to get us back on track. Hopefully, after a month, some of our choices will be a part of our normal routine versus something we really have to think about. But I figure that if money can flow out with little to no thought, we can make the same thing happen in reverse. So, this is going to happen.

{trumpet fanfare}




Life According to Steph



April Wallet Watch

These are the five spending rules that Pete and I have come up with for the month. As part of the blog, we will check back in on May 6th to detail our successes and 'fess up to any misses.

1. There are budgeted purchase exceptions for three April birthdays and for PJ's Easter gift. Pete and I will forgo Easter gifts this year (not that we ever did anything extravagant).

2. We will have one family dinner out (or ordered in. Whatever.). No lunch/breakfast dates for the month.

3.  PJ's Spring Break has been abbreviated due to the snow, but there is still the possibility that we will go up to the Poconos for a few days when he does have off. We will set a strict budget for groceries (we don't really eat out when we are up there since there is a kitchen), any outings, and any shopping we do for PJ at the outlets. We usually get his shoes there, and shop for his spring/summer clothes. Thankfully, we have gift cards, so this trip as whole should not be a large expenditure.

4. Coffee for when we have marriage counseling, otherwise, coffee is made at home. That's my addiction handled. Right now, we are trying to figure out how best to deal with Pete's (cigs). I'll get back to you all on that one. PJ's addiction, Dunkin' Donuts, will be visited twice.

5. With the exception of PJ's Easter outfit, no new clothes, accessories, shoes, etc. Toiletries are okay, but just essentials- no Bath and Body Works lotions or anything.

We also will set a savings goal, a certain amount of money to be set aside over the course of the month.

And, there we have it. I'd like to think that this will be easy, but I'm sure it will be a pain in the ass. Still, it's something that needs to be done for sure, and I am hoping that any good habits that form stick. Pete and I have both agreed to work as team, carefully document our spending, and see how we fared at the end of the month.

See 'ya in May, wallet!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I get a kick out of you!

PJ had his first day of soccer this weekend! I did not find out about this program until a day or two before it was slated to begin, but it was perfect timing. Cheer will be coming to an end for the season next month and Pete and I really wanted another group activity for PJ to take part in. When my friend Jennifer messaged me about a soccer program (TOPS Soccer) for children with special needs, I knew we had hit the jackpot!

Saturday morning was chilly and very windy, so we bundled up and headed to the soccer field to get PJ registered. We weren't on the field for a moment or two before a lovely, athletic-looking teenage girl asked if PJ was looking for a buddy. He, of course, was, and a match was made. Pete and I left PJ in Maria's very capable hands while we registered him and collected his jersey, shorts, shin guards, and brand-new soccer ball.

For a while, soccer practice looked like this...



...and like this.


Poor Maria did a LOT of chasing! 

...like this...


...aaaaaand like this...


Lordy.

PJ needed his Daddy on the field for a little extra support. Mommy stayed on the sidelines, snapping pictures and wishing for coffee. It was COLD!


PJ started to feel comfortable, and after a while, soccer looked like this...


...and like this...


...and this...


...and this...


Watching PJ put on the field was proof of just how far he has come. A few months ago, it might have taken PJ a few weeks to get comfortable enough to really try out what was asked of him. He hung in there for the whole hour and when he was done he was exhausted and had a runny nose, but he had clearly had fun! Pete and I are looking forward to seeing how soccer turns out, and so thankful that there are opportunities like this for PJ. 

Hooray for new adventures!! 

LINKING UP!



Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday, Friday! Gotta get down on Friday!

Fridays, in general, are usually pretty good. Fridays mark the end of the work week and the beginning of a few days of relaxation and rest. The latter is generally not the case if you are a parent and/or someone who works weekends, but even if that describes you, there's still something about Friday.

This Friday, I...

...spent a quiet morning with my husband.

...got another good report home from school! PJ has been doing so well and I am so proud of him!

...I got to watch my sister win a well-earned award for her amazing blog Luck Fupus! Wego Health awarded her the Hilarious Health Activist title in a live webcast this morning. I am so proud of this community she has created, even in the midst of all of her struggles with Lupus. Forget turning lemons to lemonade- she took a bag of crap and turned it into cheese cake! Or something delicious. At any rate, you can watch the awards ceremony and meet all of the other nominees below (skip to about 5 minutes in!):



...after the webcast, we celebrated with a delicious lunch at a local Italian eatery. Sooooooooooooo yum!

...The Boy and I spent some time at a store/play space in our town called Duck, Duck, Goose! I had never stopped in before and was surprised to find a well-stocked retail space, full of fun, safe, creative kids toys and a warm, inviting play space. PJ had so much fun and even busted out some dance moves to the Jackson 5! We will have to frequent this spot now that I have discovered it!

...PJ had cheer practice tonight, and was his best, shinny self. He was happy to see his teammates, followed directions well, and had a blast dancing with his friends. I know I have talkedandtalkedandtalked about how lucky we feel to have found this activity for PJ, but you would really have to see him in action to understand just how far he has come and how much good cheer brings out of him. Blessings, blessings, blessings.

...and now, I am about to tuck myself into bed and get some sleep. Tomorrow we are going to try out soccer for PJ and I will need all of my wits (all four of them) about me as we introduce him to a new activity. I'll try to calm my nerves by thinking about how lucky PJ is to have so many opportunities to grow and bloom and stretch.

It was a damn good day. Well played, Friday. Well played.

Seasons change...

Spring has sprung, bitches!

Even though there is snow in the forecast, winter is officially over, and I am letting that declaration sink in right down to my bones.

Stephanie, from Life According to Steph, not only writes one of my favorite blogs but has become an "IRL" friends thanks to an introduction via my sister. Steph's sharp-tongued observations on life and amazing organizational tips keep me laughing and inspire me to try and make my place look less like a cesspool and more like a place that actual humans inhabit (she also has a pack of pugs that produce a lot of  "Awwwww!" on the daily). Steph writes a blog worth reading, so like any blogger worth her salt, I am totally stealing one of her ideas. Complete thievery.

Life According to StephOver the winter, Steph laid out a set of goals that she wanted to reach by the seasons end, and this week, dutifully revealed her many successes and very few missed marks. She also created a new set of goals to strive towards for the spring. I loved her honesty, and I loved the idea of setting goals to be met over the course of a season. To everything, turn, turn, turn, and all of that. New Years has its moment, but Spring, particularly, has a air of being reborn, of sprouting new buds, thus making it a perfect pocket of time to try and make a few things bloom in my life.

And with that, using a stolen packet of seeds, the little garden I hope to grow this Spring:


*93 Days of Spring*
 (March 20th-June 20th)
  • Run in a second 5k, in addition to the one I am running next month with Randi. And admitting I want to do this in no way means that I like running. The fact that I can now run without wanting to die after 40 feet feels like something I should keep striving for. Just don't go flapping your gums to Randi about my wanting to keep this running thing going, or else she'll think she inspired me or something.
  • Get rid of a bag of crap every week: There are approximately 13 weeks in the season, and I hope to purge a bag-full per week. The bag will be, at least, the size of a grocery bag, a rule I need to put in place so I don't try to puss out and fill a sandwich bag. We have way. too. much. stuff. The time has come. 
  • Get PJ's spring/summer clothes set and get his winter stuff packed away and stored, not just folded into a bag in his closet. 
  • Join Steph and Marla in the April Spending Freeze.
  • Deep clean all of the rooms.
  • Get back into reading fiction. I have been on a memoir/non-fiction kick for a while and I want to mix things up a bit. 
  • Use the crock-pot once a week, and set aside a night to prep for two nights worth of dinners. With Pete working nights there is, really, no point in doing nay more prep than that. Making dinner for PJ and I is pretty easy. 
  • Go on two (budgeted) date nights with Pete. "Date" will be a just the two of us outing, any group outings do not count. Also, I know that two is kind of a lame goal for 96 days, but I want this to be attainable. Between our schedules and our budgeting goals, getting out can be difficult. 
(Okay, peeps. PJ just woke up and needs me, so this will be continued tomorrow! )

Poor PJ, he woke up last night with a stuffy nose and a case of Ineedmymommyitis. I had to abandon the blog to go lay down with him...but that's not really such a hassle. :-)

As for my list of goals, I tried to keep it relatively modest. This is my first attempt at seasonal change and I don't want to set myself up for failure. Believe me, I am a person that is highly capable of failure. But this "Spring Cleaning" idea is something that I can get on board with, so we're going to give it a go. Plus, now anyone that reads this blog can keep me culpable. If you see me on the street with a Twinkie in my hand or something, feel free to slap it to the ground and shout "AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE RUNNING, FATASS?"

I actually wish I could just pay someone to do that all of the time.

Anyway. Putting this out there is a bit of a risk, since keeping my goals to myself means that nobody will know if I don't meet them. But I am feeling inspired by the people around me, and hoping that some of that good vibe will ooze over to me. So, with that, bring it on, Spring! 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Size Two clothes don't come to those too lazy to sweat...

{stream of consciousness}

Whoops.

Okay. It's been a while. I admit it. Despite the fact that our days have been full, my brain has been blocked. It happens. Nothing like a good 'ol {stream of consciousness} post to get things flowing.

Legos are serious. 
As I mentioned, our days have been full. It's been a whirl of birthday parties, trips to water parks, play dates with cousins, Lego social skills groups, swimming, and trips to Atlantic City to visit the aquarium and then vomit all over the Rainforest Cafe (poor PJ!). All of these outings have been filled with all of the friends and family who love my Boy and who we love back, and it's been on my mind lately how damn lucky we are to have that. It makes everything more fun when you get to share the experience, which is something we have been trying to make PJ realize through RDI therapy. If there were no friends to go on water slides with, no buddies to try ice skating with, or no cousins to celebrate birthday for, it would be very rough going as we try to let PJ know what an amazing world we live in. Lucky, lucky, lucky us to have so much!

One of my favorite bloggers (and fledgling new friend) Steph, from Life According to Steph, created a list of goals that she was expected to achieve over a season. She recently wrote about her winter goals and how she met them. Most goals were met, one or two were not, but I loved the idea of setting your sights on a finish line and running the race over a season. So, like any blogger worth her salt, I am totally stealing that idea. The first day of spring is March 20th, so I have a day or two to decide what goals I want to try and reach.

I mentioned before that I let my Oldest/Bestest friend, Randi, talk me into running my first 5k in April. It's still a very difficult thing for me. I am not a natural athlete, or even someone who takes naturally to exercise. It's all a very conscious effort for me. That said, running is getting a bit easier. I'm not sure that I can meet the goal of running the 5k in less than 40 minutes, I am pretty sure that I won't look like a complete asshole, trying to disrupt the race by clapping my thunder thighs. I also, finally, joined a gym, along with Pete. We have had a chance to work out and swim as a family which is a wonderful thing. Swimming is particularly good for PJ, as the hard work of being in the water is so good for his hyper, restless body.

And, here we are. Mid-March with Spring right around the corner...hopefully, just after the snow we're supposed to get tomorrow. Boo. But, to everything there is a season, and there are warmer days and new goals just around the bend.