Thursday, April 28, 2016

Home, where my thought's escaping.

In two and a half months, we will be back in the US, after almost six years of living in Bermuda.  As our time here on the Rock draws to a close, I can't help but reflect on what it's been like, what I've loved, what I have hated, what I am most looking forward to seeing again back home.

Our kitchen, July 2010...

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People thought I was joking when I announced I was moving to Bermuda with my husband and two young kids (4 and 5 at the time.)  I had gone back to work for a year, was commuting almost three hours a day, and both kids were in school full time.  Jeff had accepted a position at a smaller firm in NJ and was enjoying the ease of a shorter commute with less stressful law practice.  It all changed when he was offered this crazy job out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

I embraced the idea.  In my mind, I thought of it as a wild lark, the adventure of a lifetime before we got too old to do something crazy like this again.  I remembered the days of living abroad, when I was in law school, and always feeling wistful that I had waited so long to do it.  There's really nothing like living in a different country and culture to give one an appreciation for how global the world has become.  I wanted that again, and I wanted a chance to do it as an adult, with my kids before they got too entrenched in the US school system.

I was also sick of this.

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When we moved, I had two kids.  They looked like this.

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Now, they look like this.

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Oh, and this one showed up...

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Jeff always says, "It doesn't matter where we are or where we live, our home is where you guys are."  He's very good like that.  It probably explains why we have been together for 23 years.  He's grounded.

I'm a bit different though.  As much as these years have been amazing, eye-opening, fabulous, beautiful, heart wrenching , exhausting, serene, infuriating, tiresome, lovely, grand, lush, warm, beachy, sunset-y, relaxing, incomprehensible...

all of it.  The good and the bad.  The wonderful, the worst..

I've never believed this was my home.  I've always missed my real home..

Moon over Bermuda.

A few more sleeps, as they say ... and we will be on our way..

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Theo, 18 months.

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For future reference:

At 18 months -
He says: mama, dada, papa, moon, key (which refers to the object, to Mickey Mouse and to cookies), car (also the object but the last syllable of Oscar's name), bird, ga, up, da, baba, juice, broom, gigi (binkie), boo (his bear cuddly), socks, shoe, Minnie, boom, vac (vacuum), baa (sheep).

He walks up the stairs, walks down with help, tries to put on socks, climbs onto furniture, scoots off, pushes himself on cars, kicks a ball, high fives, gives fist bumps ("boom!"), points, waves, does some self feeding, starting to use crayon and markers, will put things into the sink, helps unload silverware from the washer, feeds Oscar treats.

He likes;
Mickey Mouse clubhouse (especially Pete,) being read to, cookies, giving fist bumps, broccoli, asparagus, dessert, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, cheerios, black beans, chick peas, goldfish crackers, all the Leslie Petricelli board books, wagon rides, baby gym, kindermusic, playing with the shopkins in Jordan and Mina's rooms, sitting on the potty but not actually doing anything, and only if I sit on the toilet next to him (I know.. I know.. if he wasn't the third kid, I'd be worried too, but at this point, I am totally laid back mom now.) bath time, the beach, the ocean.

Not a big fan:
diaper changes, bed time, being by himself, entertaining himself, being without another human being right next to him at ALL times.  He is a wee bit clingy.  Thank goodness he is cute.



First haircut.



Random cuteness.



Sweeping, then steam vacuuming (kid loves watching me clean.)



Sneaking into Jordan's room after drop off so he can play with his stuff.



Botanical Gardens, Bermuda.



Oscar knows who has the goldfish crackers.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Spring break in the Garden State, March 2016


In just a few months, we will be back in the US, and re acclimating to life in the states.  I'm trying  to picture it.  We have lived in Bermuda for over five and a half years now.  I always knew we would return to the US, and I've looked forward to it.  It's watching the process unfold that makes me pause.  I can't wait to move back.  I've missed it so much.  I have no ambivalence about it.  But the process isn't that easy.  There is so much to do between now and July.

Over spring break, we returned to NJ for some house hunting.  You know how much fun it is to watch couples wander through homes on House Hunters or Love it Or List It?  It's not that much fun in real life with kids in tow or where your budget basically gets you the equivalent of Snoopy's dog house.  It's also different when you have a house of your own that must be sold, and it needs work before you can put it on the market.  Technology has improved over the years, so it's easier to view houses online and get a good feel for them before you go out to look at them in person.  That helps a lot since flying back and forth from BDA to the US to look at houses as a whole family is cost prohibitive.

Thankfully, on this trip, Grandma H and Michael took over kid duty, and left Jeff and I some solo time to look at homes, reinstate our state driver's licenses, and debate the pros and cons of mid century modern vs Victorian home ownership.

Unfortunately, this round didn't reveal the droids we were looking for.  Last week's solo trip on my end didn't either.  But, we have hooked up with a fantastic agent, who was vetted by my own real estate mogul brother no less.  She's been very helpful thus far, and I hope she will bear with us as we forge the path of home ownership again.

After exhausting the list of homes available to see, we decided the kids needed a break.  New Jersey is a wonderful place for kids, as I knew from the years we spent living there, when I was deep in the trenches of motherhood.  With two kids under the age of two, we spent a lot of time in the parks. Van Saun was a favorite.  They have renovated significantly, over the years.  None of that matters to a gymnast though. 

He saw toadstool seats and decided it was time for a spin.




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Kids U. was another popular place for us.  Back it the day, I took Jordan and then Mina to mommy and me classes. Maybe I'm feeling overly nostalgic.  It was also the home of the infamous telephone in the toilet incident.  Mommies are not allowed to go to the bathroom during gym class, even if their daughter is left in the care of her teacher.  If mommy departs, it must mean it is time to start banging on the bathroom door, which results in mommy darting up, phone falling out of the back pockets of mommy's oversize corduroy Costco pants, and falling into the toilet.

 Kids U is also great because it had a huge play quad that you could use whenever.  We revisited it this time with Theo, who had a blast.

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Spending some time in the Poconos over Easter.  The chilly weather encouraged the Easter bunny to hide the eggs somewhere warm... like the playroom. 

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I got to enjoy my birthday over the break as well.  We had a lovely family dinner at Trattoria 903.

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Theo didn't disgrace himself too badly.  There may still be some hope of taking him out to eat with us in the future (fingers crossed.)

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Grandma and Michael got a Chocolate cake to rival all chocolate cakes for a lifetime.

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Jeff and I also did some solo celebrating at the Mermaid Oyster Bar in NYC. 

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And we enjoyed Aperol Spritz toasts for an evening of solitude at the Battery Park Ritz Carlton, kid free.

Between time spent with family and seeing good friends in our old town, I felt the week was supremely successful, even though we couldn't find the right house.  I vaguely remember when we purchased our first home.  I still can't exactly recall how we wound up in the town we did, or how long it took us to find the right home.  I remember loving the house and wishing it was in our budget.  Back in 2006, pretty much everything was overpriced thanks to the housing bubble. So, with this next move, I really wish it could be our last one - one to settle into our final house, the forever home.

The search continues.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Staycation with Miss Bean.


As an early birthday present, I took advantage of our beach membership to book a special one night rate at Tucker's Point Hotel. Who better to share the evening with than my little Bean.  Some mommy-daughter bonding time was long overdue. 


No babies, no boys, no dishes to do. 


Bliss.


Enjoying some lobster at the Point restaurant. 


I enjoyed soaking in this tub twice over the course of 24 hours. 


I also liked the lotions and options with their faint recall of the poem references in my favorite book, "1984."  

One long size bed made for cozy selfies. 

 I wish we had taken advantage of the member discounts more often while we have been living here. I can't believe this was the first time I ever used it.  Such a shame. 

I'm glad though that I got to share it with Mina. Making time for each child on their own is a challenge and takes a fair amount of planning. Thankfully, Jeff is a trooper in that regard. He steps up to man full household duty with the boys while we enjoyed one night to ourselves. 

Back to reality this week ... sick baby, ear infections, Jeff traveling, carpool switches, water shut down for continued backyard renovation. 

Oh well. At least we had Tucker's. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Gasparilla Classic Invitational 2016

First, some pics of Jordan's recent gymnastics competition down in Tampa..

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Tropicana Field.

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Inside the arena..

and goofy airplane selfies..

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The gymnastics salute.  The size of this arena and all the activities happening all at once was overwhelming.  It is such a testament to these kids who maintain such focus while they compete.

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Jordan did fantastic.  This is him at the podium getting the second place medal for the pommel horse.  The first place winner shook hands, which was lovely.  This kid and his twin brother were the team to beat up there.

Jordan earned two fourth place finishes (vault and parallel bars), a fifth on high bar and a sixth place for his floor routine.  His scores overall were high enough to earn him an All Around - 4th place, which pretty much rocked his world.

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Seeing our good friends who drove down to see us was so special.

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The Bermuda Boys Competitive Team. posing by the BDA flag after two days of competition.

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The view from the Marriott Hotel at the airport.  Watching Southwestern airlines taxi off and return just about made his weekend.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Tim Daggett Invitational - January 2016

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Jordan just got back from his first gymnastics meet of the year.  Together with his team, he travelled to Springfield, MA for the Tim Daggett Invitational.  He competed again in level 5.  Jeff accompanied him abroad over the weekend of January 29th - 31st.Grandma H and Grandpa Michael joined them (and shot some of these great pictures too.)

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Jordan was excited.  He's worked hard all summer through the fall and winter, after recovering from pneumonia in August.  He sprang back though, and has been working on perfecting all the events and bonus points.

Back home, Mina, Theo and I anxiously awaited results.  I refreshed the online meet scores at least twenty times, and was glued to my phone, texting Jeff for the details.

"How is he?  Is he nervous?  Does he seem nervous?  What did he eat for breakfast?  Remember not to give him a huge lunch before he competes!  Stick with a big protein breakfast in the morning, and keep him away from junky snacks!"

I was obviously more worried than Jordan.  He did amazingly well.  Out of six events, he medaled in four of them.  His scores were high enough to put him in the top ten gymnasts in his division.  Out of 47 boys, he ranked 9th.

It hasn't been forgotten that this meet came on the same week as the anniversary of Jordan's heart transplant (January 26 - 11 years ago.)

Our heart angel, Breanna, lives on and lives strong.  I hope she would be proud of what her guy is up to.

This is what a transplant patient can do.

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Breakdown:
Floor - 9.5 (11th)
Pommel - 10.2 (8th)
Rings - 10.8 (6th)
Vault - 9.5 (12th)
Parallel Bars -9.9 (11th)
High Bar - 8.9 (12th)
All Around - 58.8 (9th)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Turning 11 - Birthday celebrations for Jordan.

We are going on six years now since we moved to Bermuda; and somehow during that time, this guy turned 11.

This was what Jordan looked like when we first moved here.  November 2010.  At the playground at Somersfield Academy.

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And now:  January 17, 2016.

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How did that happen again?

To celebrate, we had a full weekend of festivities.  Grandmas Helene and Grandpa Michael joined us again from New York.  This makes their 12th visit to Bermuda!

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Ice cream is yummy! So is the birthday breakfast brunch at Bouchee! Thanks for the special treat, Helene and Michael.

Jordan had a birthday movie party at the Specialty Cinema in town.  We watched the first episode of Star Wars - IV, "A New Hope."  Big thanks to Ana, who handled the booking.  After some miscommunication regarding party times, she contacted me later and adjusted the price of the party to reflect the mistake.  I never asked her to, she just offered.  I love recognizing great customer service like that.  The staff at the cinema the day of also should be commended for keeping their cool and carrying on during the onslaught of 15 boys.

Oh look - there they are.

Group shot.

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Jeff was the welcoming wagon:

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shenanigans.

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The Star Wars cake, courtesy of The Marketplace. They did a great job, and given Bermuda prices, it wasn't that expensive.

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Loads of presents from his friends.

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That evening, we went out to dinner at Portofino - a family favorite.  Jordan was serenaded by the waiters, who delight in calling him various names.  It's usually Pasquale.. this evening they chose Miguel.  They also know he is a huge fan of the Parmesan cheese.  When the waiter comes by with it for the table, he heads to Jordan first.

Their desserts also don't disappoint.

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This guy was allowed to leave the confines of his cage for a little while as well.  Look how nicely he is buttering his bread.  That lasted for about 30 seconds.  And then he was a disaster.  He's not the best age for restaurants yet, but we try in limited doses.  Portofino is fabulously accommodating on that front. 

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The next night was a Monday, and the actual date of Jordan's birth, but he had gymnastics after school.  He doesn't get home till after 8, but we all waited to eat with him (well, except Theo..)  A cheese plate and wine helped tide over the grownups until we feasted later. 

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First there was steak.  Then there was cake.
 
I made a two layer chocolate cake and covered it with sprinkles.
 

He loved it.

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Hard to believe that our time here is now marked in terms of "this will be the last time.."  But it's true.  I'm fairly certain this will be the last time we will be celebrating Jordan's birthday in Bermuda in January! 

Hope he remembers it fondly. 

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