New York State of Mind

When Billy Joel sang those words, I am well aware that he was referring to New York City, the concrete jungle of the United States.   For me and my family; however, a New York State of Mind applies to Western New York, where the land flows with farms and fields, liberalism isn’t quite as strong, and being referred to as Southern Canadian comes with the territory (well, maybe I’m the only one who uses that reference, and more specifically to annoy my husband).

As many of you are aware, my husband is from western New York, specifically from the village of Fairport within the confines of Rochester.   It’s located along the Erie Canal and boasts the status of Top 100 Best Places to live in America.  There are row houses, old Victorians, and those that give you the feel of New England, although my husband doesn’t like being referred to as New England.  There are festivals, parades, and a warm hometown feel.  It’s quaint, simple, and laid back.   Gosh, if it weren’t for the horrible winters and atrocious taxes, I’d consider living up here.  Fairport is my husband’s native home, and our home away from home for me and the boys.

We love to visit up here, usually making it 2-3 times a year, more specifically during the warmer months.   This time around, I decided to make it a two week visit for me and the boys, with my husband joining us for the final five days.   How is that going? you ask.  We have our good days and we have our bad days.

My boys are out of their element, so that can create some difficult times.   I stick to their normal day to day schedule as much as possible, but going for over a week without daddy, and staying in not normal surroundings, has caused for some hair pulling issues.   My hair, that is.   Fortunately, I have an awesome support group in my in-laws.  We’ve managed to find ways to keep the boys active, even on the rainy days, involving them in coloring binges, and games of Memory.

Davey’s learned how to bowl, we’ve had awesome Tom Wahl’s burgers, enjoyed ice cream sundaes, ridden bikes, visited Great Grandma, taken advantage of the cooler weather and lower humidity to play on the playground, and practiced our artwork on Gammy and Guh Guh’s driveway.   We’ve had exciting days, but days that are still trying.

We have a week left and fortunately for all parties involved, Daddy joins us tomorrow.   Our New York State of Mind is still going strong and today we’re going on an adventure to The Strong: National Museum of Play, a children’s museum known throughout the country as one of the best and greatest.  Davey’s been twice, although I’m sure his memory may be waning, but Henry has never been.

So, for now I sign off with the encouragement for all of you to check out Fairport, NY.

As well as the The Strong.

And stay tuned for a recount of today’s adventures.


Come Fly With Me

Flying can be stressful.   Once upon a time, flying was a luxury, something people looked forward to.   Airplanes were more spacious, flight attendants (stewardesses) were a lot more friendly, and the overall demeanor of most of your fellow passengers was more mellow.   Back then, flying was exciting.  It wasn’t just a way to get from one place to another quicker, but to also do it with a twist of relaxation.   I wish I’d known those days.  Perhaps those days didn’t exist, but instead have been sketched upon my brain with the quick flick of my imagination.

These days, flying can be down right treacherous, exhausting, and if you’re flying solo with a 3 &1/2 year old and an 18 month old, both boys by the way, then it can test even the strongest of wills and turn you into a raging alcoholic.   Okay, so the raging alcoholic bit can be a little much.  I think drinking would have made my situation much worse as it would have only allowed me to be numb the pain, while forcing my fellow passengers to endure my screaming and fighting boys.

flying with the boys 2 - Copy

Neither child suffers from air pressure and popping ears.   Instead they suffer from containment and much like a caged animal who’s been taunted, teased, and can see “freedom” just on the other side of the seat, they’re ready to pounce and scream their way to said freedom.

This isn’t the first time either one of my boys have flown.  Davey has flown three times a year since he was two months old.   If you calculate that with each trip we’ve made to Rochester, NY, he’s been on a total of 44 flights.   He’s more of a frequent flyer than I am.   This is Henry’s third trip up north so his frequent flyer status is still fairly new, equating to 12 flights.  These boys are accustomed to flying, but they’d prefer to have the entire plane to themselves, as I’m sure the rest of the passengers would to.

flying with henry - Copy

When I first flew with Davey, I prayed that the other passengers would have sympathy for me.   I hoped they would be understanding and that they wouldn’t be like me pre-baby.  I loathed flying on a plane when kids were on board.  I did everything in my power to get a seat as far away as possible.   I silently threw insults at the parents, cursed them for bringing their spawn(s) on board.  I wanted them to suffer.   Now, I suppose karma is coming back to bite me, as I’m now the one who suffers.

These days, Henry is more of my problem than Davey.  Davey will watch a movie on the iPad or look out the window.  Henry wants to scream, kick the seats in front of us, torture his brother, climb under the seats, and basically cause an all out war.  I want to knock him out, to force him to sleep.   I want to have enough money to buy the passengers a round of drinks, in the hopes that they won’t get too upset.   I suppose the best thing, though, is to not have the brilliant idea to fly solo with these two heathens.

flying with the boys - Copy

I’ve never prayed so much for a plane to land as I did on the flight to Rochester this time.  I tried to will it with my entire strength, my mind power, to fly at super sonic speed so that I could escape my confined hell.  Looking back on it now, almost a week later, I think, “what was I so worried about?”   But those 65 minutes of flight time felt like nonstop 65 days.   I could feel the hairs in my head starting to gray, but in the end I survived.   I just look forward to the day when I can put the two of them on a flight WITHOUT me.   In the meantime, Daddy will be on board for the next flights.   I think I may sit 20 rows away from him and the boys, pretend I don’t know them, and have a cocktail or two.

Summer Break, Give Me a Break!

We are only two weeks into summer vacation, and this mama is absolutely exhausted. It’s nearly mind-numbing to me, not to mention physically taxing to come up with ways to not only keep my boys entertained during summer, but to also keep those brain cells pumping. And of course, there’s also the normal day to day activities involved with the upkeep of our house.

I swore to myself, more so than to my children, that I would keep them going during the summer. The television tuning would be and has been limited, that the educational experiences would abound, and not once would I hear the dreaded words, “I’m bored.” Well, truth be told, I’m not too ashamed to say that I wish I hadn’t made that oath to myself. I’m not that mom who seems to be able to function at full speed on the half charged “d” cell battery. I’m not the crafty mom, either. Forget finding acorns and painting and stringing them together into a beautiful key chain. That’s not me. Pinterest is really not my friend.

In my nearly two weeks, I’ve found only a smidgen of things to do to keep the boys occupied that will not break the bank. One of which included an air show last week. The downside to the air show was that it was brutally hot, something I should be used to being a native South Carolinian, and the almost 45 minute drive to get to it. It didn’t cost me anything except for the gas, and if I’m going to be honest, my mom and dad came along and they drove, so it really cost them gas. This is what I’m looking for, free things that are fun and educational. I know they exist, we’ve done them before. I’m just tired of searching them out and planning our weeks based upon these.

Once the air show started, it became a success with both boys. I’ll gladly take them to another one of those this summer, of course within a reasonable driving distance. I’m grateful for my stay at home mom status so that I was able to take the boys to the show since it was going on during working hours of a Wednesday afternoon. However, if I were a working mom, I wouldn’t be fretting with ways to keep my boys entertained during the summer. Someone else could handle that for me. Oh the insanity of it all!

Another thing I’m grateful for is our current location, nestled witin the rolling hills of upstate South Carolina. There are a ton of options for us, some of which cost money, while others are free. The one exciting item for Davey that I plan to continue on a weekly basis, a few days a week, is to take advantage of our Swamp Rabbit Trail.

Davey has really taken to his bike lately, and I’ve used the opportunities to add in some additional cardio for me. He’s started biking three miles, while I run/walk alongside of him as I push Henry in the stroller. It’s great for some fresh air and we’ve even managed to turn the excursions into learning exercises as I’m pelted with questions like, “why is that tree trunk falling apart?” or “look at that lizard, what is it doing?” And then I also get the opportunity to tell the story of the trail and it’s origins making for some funny antics as Davey tells his own version of events. At the rate we appear to be going, he should be without training wheels before his 4th birthday. Guess that means a new bike is around the corner.

We plan to hike, since Paris Mountain is right in our backyard, and learn about the different trees, their leaves, and how they grow. I hope we encounter a few animals, minus the snakes, and even get the opportunity to swim in the lake.

We have a neighborhood pool and a playground in our backyard, along with the one at the Runway Cafe not too far down the road. There are waterparks, $1 movies, and trips to NY planned for the summer. My only problem in all of this is trying to find some way to fit everything into the 24 hours allotted to me each day. Why oh why couldn’t the Lord make us to NOT need sleep. It is a waste of my time.

As I write this blog, Davey and I have practiced writing his upper and lower case letters. He’s drawn pictures, and is working a 48 piece puzzle, something he seems to be a pro at. Henry? Well, he’s napping, thank God for that.

Perhaps I’m the only stay at home mom who focuses and frets over summer breaks. Maybe I’m putting too much focus into their days and I should just throw them out into the backyard every day, but I can’t seem to let go. While I may be complaining about what feels like the added work of summer vacation, I’m also eternally grateful to have the days where I can do all these wonderfully time consuming and exhausting trips.