Monday, August 18, 2008

summer parties, birthdays and anniversaries, oh my!

In the battle of The Robertsons vs. summer, summer has definitely won. I can't keep up. Every weekend has been insane. Before I go in to details, I'll try to update about my dad. In typical fashion he has been difficult. He was transferred from Mt. Sinai to a local rehab facility almost two weeks ago. I went to visit him a few times when he first arrived. The first visit was very depressing. He was very moody and down in the dumps. He didn't say much and he was just miserable. The next day Jon and I decided to take the kids to visit him. They haven't seen "grumpa" in a while and had been asking about him pretty regularly. Fortunately this visit was much more positive. He was very happy to see the kids and the kids were happy to see him. They seemed a little overwhelmed by the situation and they didn't like the strange facility. We only stayed for a few minutes because Aidan started to get cranky but it was a nice visit. Due to the insanity in my life, those were my only visits to the rehab. The updates that I've received from everyone else who has visited have been mixed. He has had a few opportunities to leave for a few hours here and there. Some of the trips have been more positive than others. Without going into horrible details about my father, I will just say that he can be quite cranky when friends/family disagree with his desires. Last Friday, against everyones wishes except his own, he was released from the rehab. No one can predict how this will evolve. Will he do his therapy? Will he listen to the doctors? No one knows. I can guess. He called me on Saturday. He sounded wonderful. He was home and happy. He said that he was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I'm going to try and visit this week. We'll see what happens.

OK, back to my inability to keep up. Aaagh!!! Life was so much easier when it was boring. We had few friends, no family and small children that didn't run in two different directions. Colorado was very different. I always missed my family and I was always jealous that I couldn't attend all the exciting events. OK, the decision seemed easy. We can sell our house, get great jobs and have tons of family around. Damn, we can't sell the house. No one wants to buy it. The market is eating us alive. We can hold on but for how long? We are definitely wearing out our welcome and I'm ready to have some space of my own again. We are fortunate and should be appreciative that we have a place to stay and we can afford to pay our mortgage. Try as hard as we can to put it out of our day to day consciousness, it is nearly impossible to avoid getting emotionally bogged down. I need to move my emotions away from the uncontrollable problems to things within our control. I can't do anything about the house. We've discussed our options and the only one that seems feasible is waiting. So, we wait...

Hectic weekends were part of the excitement and allure of moving back to NY. We wanted to be involved with our family and friends. I forgot what it was like to be constantly on the go. I guess we never knew what it would be like with a family and two careers. This is all new to us. July kicked off with the birthday weekend and fourth of July. OK, we can bounce back from an insane weekend. The kids were out of sync for a while but we did a pretty good job at predicting that and anticipating the difficulties.

The following weekend was my cousin Siobhan's wedding. It was a wonderful event. Saturday morning started with a family service at temple followed by a brunch at Siobhan's parents house. After heading home to put the kids down for a nap, we were off again. Saturday evening was an informal rehearsal dinner at the bowling alley. I love bowling so I was pretty excited to join the festivities. We did not expect to be invited to the bowling party so it was a last minute addition to our weekend. I'm glad we were asked to join the group. There were a lot of people that I hadn't seen in years. While visiting and chatting, we bowled. Aidan and Amanda joined us and they were able to bowl with their cousins, some of whom they hadn't seen in a very long time. They thought that bowling was the best thing ever! We could hardly rip them away when the night was ending and we had to get them home to bed. We didn't get them out the door until almost 10pm!!! They rambled the entire way home about how much they loved bowling. They can't wait to go again. We finally wrestled them into bed cranky and over-tired. While at the bowling alley Taryn and I asked Siobhan if she needed any help with anything for the wedding the following morning. She asked us if we would be willing to come early and hand out programs. We happily accepted. We all woke up early, hit the diner for a quick breakfast and then ran home to get showered and dressed to get to Innisfree Garden where the ceremony was being held. It was a bit of a drive so we had to make sure to get on the road early. To make a long story a bit shorter, the wedding was gorgeous! A reception followed at The Vassar College Alumni House. Another beautiful location. I wish we would have had a better chance to enjoy the party but that is nearly impossible with two small children running in circles. By the end of that evening, I was so exhausted. I don't know how we survived!

The following weekend was my mother's 60th birthday! We had a really nice boat ride, dinner on the riverfront in Newburgh and a ride up the river to see some fireworks at the riverfront in Poughkeepsie. Another late night for all involved. Aidan and Amanda must think that life is just one amazing ride. They love riding on Papa Oscar's boat and they both got to drive the boat (while sitting on Papa Oscar's lap, of course!) Amanda didn't even want to go down below to lay down. Aidan crashed out for a while in the cabin but Amanda didn't want anything to do with resting. She wanted to be the captain the entire way home!

Whew, did you think that was the end of it?? Nope, not even close. We're heading in for the heavy hitting weekends. The next weekend, which was July 26-27 (if you had any chance of keeping it straight) was Jon's company summer party. It was held at the Mohonk Mountain House. Lake Mohonk has got to be one of the most beautiful locations. People come from all around to visit this area. The lodge costs at least $300 a night just to stay there! Fortunately for us it was all courtesy of Jon's company. The picnic started at 8am and was planned for the entire day. It was a gorgeous morning so we loaded the kids into the Jeep, no doors or windows, for a beautiful drive in the country. We arrived early and immediately headed for a hike to the tower which overlooks the entire area. The kids were amazing and only started to complain about 50 yards from the top. The hike was rated as moderate so I was impressed with all of us! We enjoyed the views and took a nice stroll back down stopping to play briefly and sit in some of the amazing gazebos that overlook the lake. We planned many activities for the day but first we needed to join Jon's co-workers for a nice picnic lunch. The lunch was delicious and I got to put a few faces with the names I'd heard on many occasions. As lunch was wrapping up, the skies got dark and a intense storm started to roll in. We all ran for the lodge. They have a beautiful wrap around porch that overlooks the lake so we all sat on the handcrafted wood rockers and watched the storm. It was an amazing storm but if you recall from the beginning of this story, we drove the jeep WITHOUT DOORS AND WINDOWS. After about two hours of pouring rain we decided that we should just call it a day and head home. The Jeep was soaked but it didn't ruin the fun we had already had! A damp ride home followed by warm baths completed another busy weekend.

I was going to stop there but I'll just keep going. Apologies to anyone who has kept up with me thus far. You might want to take a break, stretch your legs and catch up again later if you'd like :)

We've hit August.... Not so fast. July 31, a day that my parents would probably like to forget :) The day that I was born. Mom, Oscar, Taryn, Jon, Aidan, Amanda and I went to Loughrans, a great Irish restaurant and had an amazing meal. It was just the start to the birthday/anniversary celebration. In order to help Jon remember both my birthday and our anniversary, we decided to get married two days after my birthday. August 2, 2003, five years ago, Jon and I exchanged vows with our friends and family on a beautiful mountain top, Lookout Mountain, in Golden, Colorado. I can't believe that it has been 5 years. That is a different post all together. Also, 8 days after our anniversary Jon celebrates his birthday. We thought it would be much easier this way.

On our anniversary my company was having a summer picnic. It was held at Lake Compounce amusement park in Connecticut. We could have blown it off but we knew the kids would have fun. How can you pass up free tickets to the amusement park? We drove out to CT and the kids had a great time. We got there early and they had a blast on all of the kids rides. They had only been on a couple of rides before so this was a new experience. They thought it was amazing! After a few hours on the rides, we walked to the picnic pavilion for the lunch. As we approached the picnic area, the skies opened up. What is it with us and rain during our picnics?!? Oh well, we stayed positive and sat in the pavilion while the rain poured down. We enjoyed our lunch for a bit longer than we anticipated and then when it finally cleared up after a couple of hours, we went for more rides. Finally it was time to call it a day since we had more plans for the afternoon/evening. We headed back to NY and went to Meekers house for a party they had to celebrate the recent NY Giants superbowl victory. August 2nd just happened to be 6 months since the superbowl and since many of us weren't able to enjoy the game together we all made plans to watch the playoffs and superbowl together on a big screen on the deck. It was also Bob Meeker's birthday so even more reason to celebrate. We always have a reason to party! We enjoyed a nice evening but after multiple attempts to put the kids to bed at Meekers we gave up and went home. We were exhausted anyway. I needed to get up early since I had a baby shower for my friend Heather on Sunday and I offered to make a few snacks for the party.

The following weekend, August 9-10, was one that we had been anticipating for most of the summer. My mother gave Jon, Taryn and I tickets to Monty Python's Spamalot on Broadway for our birthdays (Taryn's birthday is Aug 24, she is two weeks younger than Jon). Mom offered to watch Aidan and Amanda for the day and we were off! We got up super early to catch a train to NYC. We decided to play tourists for the day. We started with a double decker bus tour of Manhattan. All the years I've lived in NY and visited the city, I've never done most of the touristy things. I've been to the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building but it has been quite a while. We stopped at Battery Park and contemplated taking a ride to the Statue. The line was so long we gave up quickly. We walked through ground zero and over to Wall Street and then grabbed the bus to go up to the rest of lower Manhattan. We had a nice lunch in Times Square and then walked uptown to FAO Schwarz. After playing in the toy store for a while :) we headed across the street and took a carriage ride through the park. I've always wanted to do that. After the ride we went to one of my favorite spots, Jekyll and Hyde's Club. This is a restaurant I've been to many times but it is always fun. If you haven't been there and ever have an opportunity check it out. It is at Avenue of the America's (6th Avenue) and Central Park South. It is a bit pricey but fun nonetheless! Once we finished dinner and enjoying the club we needed to head back to Times Square for our show. Spamalot was one of the best shows I've ever seen. It was so unbelievably funny! We had such a great time. My cheeks were hurting for laughing and smiling! We caught a 11:15 train home and by the end of the night I was so happy to get my shoes off and plop in my bed. Sunday was Jon's birthday. We had planned a boat ride to celebrate but the weather turned nasty in the afternoon and we had laundry and grocery shopping to do. We did have a great bbq to finish out a wonderful weekend!!!

You'd think it would end there... Nope, we're gluttons for punishment. This past weekend we decided to take the kids to Sesame Place in Pennsylvania! Jon and I left work early on Friday and Taryn came over to join us. We took the 2.5 hour drive down to PA and had a hotel booked a few miles away from the park. We had a room with two beds. Taryn, Aidan and Amanda in one bed and Jon and I in the other. Taryn nearly got kicked out of bed by Aidan. Apparently he is a very wild sleeper. I guess I could have suspected that! She had to sleep at the foot of the bed so that he wouldn't push her out. We got up Saturday morning and did the water park part of the park all day. They absolutely loved it. Initially Aidan was not a fan and wanted to watch from the stroller. He has had a fear of the pool this summer for some reason and we haven't pushed the issue. He is content so we don't worry. Finally he started to warm up to the idea and before long they were all jumping around! We were so exhausted after the park and dinner that instead of our planned game of cards, we all fell asleep while trying to put Aidan and Amanda to bed. They didn't nap at all on Saturday so you'd think they would actually be tired. Nope, they wanted to jump on the bed. I didn't even realize that we had all fallen asleep until we were awoken by Aidan crying at around 1am. I suspect that his stomach was upset from eating everything in sight at dinner. He wanted his mommy so he climbed over in bed with me and Jon. Aidan and I fell asleep rather quickly (I think!) I woke up a few hours later realizing that Aidan was pushing me out of bed. I glanced around quickly and noticed that Jon was gone. He had already been pushed to the floor. He was sleeping wrapped in a comforter at the foot of the bed. I wrestled Aidan to the other side of the bed so we could get some sleep! Sunday greeted us with another gorgeous day, not too hot or humid and lots of sun. This time we were going to avoid the water rides and head for the other attractions. First stop was the roller coaster. I am not a fan of roller coasters. I guess that is not the truth. I hate roller coasters. Taryn also hates roller coasters. Aidan and Amanda saw the coaster from the moment we arrived on Saturday and couldn't stop talking about it. We promised them it would be the first ride. Fortunately it was not a monster coaster like you see at Six Flags. It was pretty big in my terrified opinion. Jon loves coasters so he reminded us that we shouldn't scare the kids. I knew Aidan would freak out at the last minute but I had faith that Amanda would be a trooper! She doesn't frighten easily. I decided to sit with Aidan so he could have his mommy if need be. Taryn sat with Amanda and Jon sat behind us all. We actually had a good time. Taryn, Aidan and I freaked a bit but we all survived. They had a video booth at the end and we saw our expressions. Our faces told the whole story! We went on many rides, climbed the rope net, went to the "Elmo's World" show, watched the parade and did all the other things that Sesame Street obsessed preschoolers would want to do. By around 3pm we had a bit of amusement park rage and decided it was time to hit the road. None too soon because the kids started to enter meltdown mode and within 5 minutes of being in the car they both passed out!

All-in-all it has been a good summer. We've had our ups and downs. I'll try to be better about updating since things should calm down now. We actually don't have any plans next weekend. Sunday is Taryn's birthday and hopefully we'll do something nice to celebrate but that is it. I'm sure we won't be sitting around the house for most of the weekend. We'll probably go visit dad at some point.

Before I end this ridiculously long post, I have to share some wonderful news!!! Amanda is potty trained!!!! She made it through the entire trip without a single accident. She even woke up with a dry pullup (we use pullups at night just in case!) There have been a few times when I was concerned but she has been great. She even had to wait a few times when there wasn't a potty. Yesterday at Sesame Place, we were in a very long line to get in to the park and when we were about 3 groups from the entrance, she had to go. We were able to make it in to the park (with her crossing her legs and bouncing back and forth) and get to the potty in time! She is amazing. Aidan, on the other hand, has no interest. He won't even try anymore. He doesn't want to get dry pants. He doesn't even care if he is dry. We'll have to figure this one out!

Other than that, work is going well for both of us. We've been busy but that is good. No news on the house either. We are thinking about lowering the price again so we can get rid of it but our realtor seems to think we should hold on for a bit longer. They think we're positioned really well so we'll give it a few weeks.

I'll try to get some pictures from our many adventures on here soon.