Road Trip Part 1: My hometown

I cannot believe this but I have not blogged since July 3rd! Life has been jam packed with activity but not necessarily the usual stuff that keeps me from blogging. Lately it’s been the stuff that keeps me from doing anything seemingly productive. My bathrooms are dirty, my floors are a mess, and I am constantly asking people to clean up their crap! In other news, we have been going to the pool at least four times a week, the kids have been playing games and making human-sized burrito/zombie videos. Running through sprinklers, visiting the farmer’s market, and hosting anyone who wants to stop by for a visit is keeping me from my usual OCD tendencies when it comes to keeping house. I think about my blog and, if I’m being completely honest, I get a bit stressed out and I feel guilty. On the other hand, it’s my blog and I’ll post when I want to, right? Right. Right? Either way, please know that I’ve been thinking about blogging and I’ve been making lists of things I want to write about and share with you. This summer, for various reasons, some personal and some circumstantial, I’ve been neglecting a lot of things in order to focus on the lovelies in front of me, namely my children. In past summers, I’ve had no problem juggling blogging and home/family life, but this summer, I don’t know, maybe I can’t really concentrate with a 10, 9, 7, 5, and 2 year old at home all day. Many times I’ve resolved to blog at night, but that’s kinda hard because TIRED.

So here I am, sitting in a Starbucks while our summer babysitter is at home playing with the kids. (More on that topic later.) It’s a bit strange that the conversation happening at the community table I’m sitting at doesn’t distract me at all. I’m fairly certain that these two guys are talking about the video games they’re building. I love people.

Now that you know what I’ve been up to and why I’ve been neglecting the blog, let’s get on to something more interesting: Our 10 DAY Family Vacation to New Jersey, Ohio, and Indiana!

family vaca summer 2015
I’ll break the trip up into FIVE POSTS:

  1. Family time in New Jersey
  2. My 20th High School Reunion
  3. Ohio
  4. Indiana
  5. Road tripping with five kids for ten days TIPS & TRICKS

Sound good? Great! Here we go.


3 beach Medford Lakes
This photograph sums up our time in Southern New Jersey with my family. Lake, beach, perfect weather, kids playing, parents relaxing, grandparents as happy as can be to have their offspring’s offspring playing in places close to their hearts. I grew up coming to this lake. It’s where I took swimming lessons and where I played during summer camp.

LO 3 beach
It was a delight to my heart to see these “pool kids” swimming in lake water, not fussing at all about the sticks and muck floating around. They were having too much fun to care about the unfamiliar aspects of playing in a lake. I think it’s because there’s just something about nature and humans, especially children. When your skin on your feet is touching the sand, and your body is immersed in lake water, you feel something that you could never feel in a pool.

fishing with Peter
Right after our oldest was born, my parents sold the home I grew up in Medford Lakes and moved to a house in Medford. As the names suggest, the two towns are very close to each other. Although they weren’t moving far away from my home town, it was still sad for me to think that our children would not get to experience staying at my childhood home. Thankfully, my sister and brother-in-law still reside in The Lakes and so we get to make memories at their home: canoeing, fishing, swimming, and howling at the moon on their back deck to name a few.
Bright Eyes with fish
Boys being boys, doing things boys do. That’s summer in Medford Lakes.

Looking at the fish Kazes'
Aunt Sarah taught Smarty Pants how to canoe and let me tell you, seeing him paddling himself around that lake took my breath away. First tooth, first haircut, first steps, first time paddling a canoe alone. When they’re little, we don’t always think about the firsts that will come a decade later.

Smarty Pants canoeing alone
This kid, man. He sets quite the example for everyone. Love and protect. Love and protect! He does it every day and with so much heart.

swimming at the kazes
We stayed at my folks beautiful cabin in the woods. The garden was as beautiful as ever, a magical place for the kids to play together. My parents take such good care of the seven of us. From the second we arrive to the moment they wave goodbye from the driveway, every need we have is looked after. I sometimes worry about the noise and the hustle and bustle, but they just smile and smile. I like to think it’s because they’re just happy we’re there, filling their home with noise and laughter (and fighting and tears).

Grandmom & Grandad's dining room
If this table could talk… Too many meals to count, enjoyed around this table. Too many stories to recount, told around this table. I’m so happy that, even though the children will never play in the home in which I grew up, they can experience what has gone on around this table for decades.

LO on Mommy's horse
Little One loved riding on my old horse. Thanks, mom, for keeping some of our toys! I have to remember to do the same for my grandchildren. And see that fish chiminea? Don’t you just love how my mom plants things in it?! So quirky and cute.

Grandmom's Garden
It truly is a wonder that my mom can get these plants and flowers to grow in so much shade. Even though she can’t grow your usual summer blooms, I love all the textures and shades of green she has going on with just the little pops of color. And the Holy Family there to greet you as you walk by.

wagon Grandmom & Grandad's woods
One thing that amazed me about this vacation was how relaxed it was for all of us. Past trips (to anywhere) have been very taxing on The Hubs and I. There were summer vacations that sent me home more exhausted than when I departed. I don’t know if it is the ages of our children, how we as parents have changed, or a combination of the two, but this trip offered The Hubs and I many opportunities, despite all the driving and packing and unpacking, to just enjoy ourselves and each other and our children. Imagine that!

Dimples jumping into Tim's pool
My brother Tim and his family live in South Jersey too. (When you’re from NJ, you’re usually from “North Jersey” or “South Jersey.” We talk differently, we root for different sports teams, and if I’m being honest, we should be two separate states. I mean come on! North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota? Seriously!) My brother is a builder and built his beautiful home for his wife and daughters. It is one of my favorite places to visit when we’re home. It’s beautiful and comfortable and homey and full of love and laughter. Several family members were able to make it out for our first annual family reunion and it was fabulous. Let’s do it again next year, Tim & Tracy!

LO and Levi
Would you just look at that dog? That’s Noah and he is the most amazing dog I have ever seen. Let me say that I am not a dog person, but after seeing him with Little One, I am now a German Shepherd person. These two totally had a connection. I’m not kidding! So gentle and protective. It was true love.

Come back tomorrow to hear all about my 20th High School Reunion! Here’s a little preview for you:

pete and mary HCHS 20th-2

Categories: Parenting


2 Responses to Road Trip Part 1: My hometown

  1. I love that shot of your table. We had a table like that too growing up. I tried so many times to convince my step-dad to let me have it. No go! It’s in storage now because the family outgrew it. I hope I get my hands on it. Nothing like remembering all the laughs, coffee, tears and wine had at the dinner table and sharing those memories with your kids (well not the coffee and wine part, of course!)

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