One Classy Holiday Letter, 2016!



Happy Holidays! Though, at the rate I’m moving, this letter may not reach you until late January…in that case, Happy Valentine’s Day.

2016 kicked off with Collin diving into the Atlantic Ocean for the Bethany Beach Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day. While he flapped around in the arctic waters, we huddled on the sand, wind whipping around us, and wondered “Why didn’t we just make a donation from the warmth of our couch?” Even our 3-legged dog with a coat as thick as my post-Christmas waistline looked miserable.

jan2016-206

While winter is typically a hibernation season for our family, there were some notables.

  • Ana started soccer for the first time, unleashing her inner beast and developing a ‘win at all costs’ attitude that we’ll need to keep an eye on.
  • We were grateful to inherit a back-saving snow blower from my father. After the first major snowfall, we hooted & hollered around that thing like cavemen discovering fire.
  • Collin went sledding exactly once.
  • Brian had surgery (he calls it MAJOR surgery) to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. And just how did he get a torn meniscus? Here’s an excerpt from last year’s holiday letter: “Brian began playing pick-up basketball at the gym twice a week. It’s a bunch of kinda in shape 40 year olds trying to compete with a bunch of really in shape 18 year olds.”  That’s how.
  • Just as we were about to lose our winter minds, Brian won a work incentive trip to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas! He and Ana swam with the dolphins, Collin split his time between the river ride and the Starbucks located in the hotel lobby, and I lay on the beach listening to couples argue over the cost of their bar bill “$24 for a margarita, Debra! Seriously? Wait a second…oh my god, you ordered two?!”

 feb-march-2016-bahamas-144

In the spring, when the ground thawed out a bit, we reemerged.

Ana turned 7 in April. She continued on with soccer but also added intense tree climbing to her leisure activities. The heights she climbed scared me, but it was mostly her traveling through the neighborhood, placing our Squatty Potty stool around the base of Maple trees, that really made me want to cover my eyes. 

squatty-potty2

 

Collin joined a local NFL Flag Football League, and we’re proud to say his team finished the season undefeated! However, their champion status was never acknowledged at the awards ceremony. It seems that until you’re old enough to pay taxes, EVERYONE’S deemed a winner.

Brian and I took a nice impromptu trip to the Poconos area to see Amy Schumer at the Mohegan Sun Arena. I say “impromptu” because I was in charge of purchasing the tickets and I’m terrible at geography.  Brian: Which arena are we going to tomorrow? Me: Somewhere in Wilkes-Barre. That’s near Philly, right?     It’s not.    Turns out it was almost 3 hours away. Who knew Pennsylvania was so big?

This summer was all about the beach and FUNLAND! Mostly Funland. Brian and the kids had a “we must win every stuffed animal even if requires dipping into the college fund” obsession. They were like trophy hunters, always on the search for a new animal to add to their collection. I’m surprised the summer didn’t end with each of them wearing a necklace made of teddy bear ears.

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The kids started school in the fall. Collin turned 13 (a teenager!!!), got braces, and joined the 7th grade middle school football team where he proceeded to get a concussion that gave him a pass on homework for over two weeks. I’m not entirely sure he regrets the concussion. Ana, still into soccer and working on developing her fan base, entered 2nd grade. She loves her teacher, hates the homework. Brian returned to basketball and tore his other meniscus.

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This December we went on a cruise from Miami to Belize, Roatan, Costa Maya, & Cozumel.  Our most memorable moment was visiting the Gumbalimba Animal Preserve in Roatan and having tons of little capuchin monkeys climb all over us and pick our pockets on behalf of their trainer. The cutest little thieves you ever did see.

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This year’s wish lists:

Ana – live puppy, live kitten, live horse, to have her American Girl doll’s limbs reattached.

Collin – every rated M video game he can’t have, cashier’s check/money order

Brian – for me to stop touching the thermostat, massage chair

Kim – Carb of the Month Club, tapeworm, peace on earth

As this year is coming to a close, we want to say thank you for being a part of our lives, whether near or far, yesterday or yesteryear, you are always in our hearts. May your 2017 be filled with an abundance of love, laughter, health, and happiness.

Love,  

Brian, Kim, Collin, & Ana

The Weekend in Crappy Pics: The Amy Schumer Tour

Weekend in Crappy Pics: Amy Schumer Tour

 

I love me some Amy Schumer, so when I heard she was coming to town I quickly snapped up two tickets, one for me and one for Brian (unless he pissed me off in the weeks leading up to the show, in which case they’d go to my bff).  And, of course, I screwed up the purchase…

First, a few words about me. I grew up in Delaware, a state so tiny that if you stood in the middle and stretched your arms out reallll wide, you’d touch the Atlantic Ocean with your right hand and the Maryland border with your left (look at a map and tell me Delaware’s not the single-wide trailer of states). So anytime you hear there’s an event happening in Delaware, you rarely ask yourself “Hmmm, will this require hotel accommodations?”

So as a newbie Pennsylvania resident, when given the choice of three PA locales, it went like this,”I have heard of these cities. I have seen signs for these cities. I’ll pick Wilkes-Barre because it is on a Saturday night. Saturday nights are fun.” Done. And then I spent the next 3 hours researching laundry detergents.

About a week ago, Brian asked me, “Which show are we going to?” and I replied, “Wilkes-Barre. I like Saturday nights.”

“WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?! Kim, that’s in the Pocono mountains!” Then I spent the next 3 hours researching hotels.

 

Saturday

About 30 minutes into our drive I had to pee. Brian asked “Can we try to get a little farther before stopping?” sure. sure.

An hour later, my fully distended bladder was experiencing a slow pulsating burn causing me to moan and writher in my seat. Brian, slurping up the last of his Starbucks Green Tea, announced, “Just 10 more miles.”      you son of a….

As soon as he put his empty cup down, I took it to the backseat, set on getting him a “refill”.

Weekend in Crappy Pics

A Venti Pee Tea, coming right up sir!

And that’s when he decided to stop at the nearest travel center.

I wasn’t sure I could make it across the parking lot so I had him pull up to the door. As I began running for the doors in a hunched-over Quasimodo gait, he stuck his head out the window and yelled  ‘WE HAVE A PEE-ER!  WE HAVE A PEE-ER! MOVE OUT OF THE WAY, SHE’S GOING TO BLOW!”

 

At 1:30 pm we arrived at our hotel, The Woodlands. I have to say, they have a great marketing team because the outside didn’t look half as good as it did on the internet. But the inside was lovely and the entire rear of the complex faces a river, offering a picturesque view from every room…except ours. Apparently the “Amy Schumer Package” gives you a bottom floor closet overlooking the parking lot.

Just pass the luggage through the window, it's quicker.

Just pass the luggage through the window, it’s quicker.

Our dinner reservation at the hotel’s Japanese Restaurant wasn’t until 4:30 pm, so we decided to kill some time before dinner by pre-eating.

Breaker Brewing Company

Breaker Brewing Company

What a cool find! Like a diamond in this quiet coal mining town. (diamond, coal mining town – see what I did there)

Knowing our second dinner was only 2.5 hours away, we limited ourselves to a turkey panini with gouda and blackberry-jalapeno jam, a seafood cheese dip, and a bunch of micro-brews.

Breaker Brewing CoIMG_1004

Then we headed back to our pantry-sized room to get ready for dinner.

Brian was sooo hoping that with a name like “Shogun”, the Japanese Restaurant would have a gong to announce our arrival. Sadly, they did not. Not even a little souvenir one on the hostess stand.

Shogun_-Japanese_Restaurant_Logo

We ordered some delicious sushi, and I washed it down with a margarita…an orange margarita tasting of Tropicana. I guess that’s how they do it in Japan.

Reached my daily recommended intake of vitamin C.

Reached my daily recommended intake of vitamin C.

6 p.m., time for the BIG surprise. “Guess what, Brian?! We’re not driving the 1.2 miles to the stadium. Nope, we’re going to squish ourselves into the hotel shuttle and be shoulder-to-ear with the other ‘Amy Schumer Package’ guests! YAY!”

He tried to reason with me:

– 1.2 miles isn’t that far

– parking is only $10

– strangers will cough on us

– blah, blah, blaaaah.

Umm, the shuttle drops us off right at the door so I don’t have to walk across 2 miles of asphalt while the 35 degree mountain air kills my soul. I think I’ll risk the cooties.

And you know what, the shuttle was the best! Dirty Dan (not his birth name) was our driver, telling us some of the raunchiest jokes. Brian initially rolled off the van laughing, but then he turned to me looking all serious and said,”You know, those were some great jokes but he better be careful, he could have easily offend someone.” Yes Brian, Amy Schumer fans are real pearl clutchers.

We entered the stadium, grabbed a couple beers, then quickly found our seats.

I like to take pictures of pictures that tell me I can't take pictures. It makes me feel badass.

I like to take pictures of pictures that tell me I can’t take pictures. It makes me feel badass.

Then we met the couple next to me. A 30 year old woman and her 65 year old father, who happened to be a gynecologist. But of course.

They were a chatty pair. And when they were parched from talking SO much, the father got up to seek out some beer. And that’s when the daughter moved over to take her father’s seat next to me.

She told me all about her life- her hopes, her dreams, her failures, her attempts to follow in her father’s footsteps without riding his coattails. It was all very Lifetime Movie-ish. And every 30 seconds she’d interrupt her own story with, “Hmm, I hope my dad’s ok. I should have gone with him. I hope he doesn’t get lost.” Finally I blurted out, “Relax, if he can find his way around a vagina, he can find his way to a beer and back.”

“I like you” she said. Then shit got weird.

A few minutes before the show started, I said to Brian, “I need to use the bathroom. Where is it?” Before Brian could answer me, I received a tap on my leg from my new BFF, who was now two seats over because her father had indeed found his was back, “I need to go too. But let’s do Kegels until we can’t hold it anymore, then we’ll go together. Ok?”  She added a wink for effect.

Lots of questions.

  1. WTF?
  2. How long had she been reading my lips?
  3. Kegels until we can’t hold it anymore?!? Who does that?
  4. What kind of sadistic gynecological shit was she into?

Having flashbacks of the Allentown Travel Center and merging it with my all-time favorite movie Dirty Dancing, I hissed, “NO ONE PUTS BLADDER IN A CORNER!” and left her Kegeling ass there.

Luckily, the show started when I returned. And as the lights dimmed, I could feel her eyes burning into my chubby cheeks, signaling the death of our friendship.

Amy was crass, gross, raunchy – basically awesome! However. How.Ever. a large part of her set was spent discussing vaginas, mostly about how they could all use a deep cleaning. Usually that wouldn’t bother me, but when you’re sitting next to a 65 year old male gynecologist who keeps nudging you in the arm, nodding his head, and whispering in your ear“Tell me about it!”, “You’re not kidding!”, and my favorite “Oh my god, you can’t EVEN imagine!”, it kinda makes you shift in your seat contemplating your hygiene regimen and wondering “Am I doing enough?”

After the show, Brian and I took the hotel shuttle to the Mohegan Sun Casino where we wandered into yet another comedy show. We arrived just as the main act was beginning.

No vaginas here.

No vaginas here.

It wasn’t until the end, when they were raffling off the big, big prize, “Free tickets for a future show!”, that we realized we had inadvertently snuck in.

BAD.ASS.

After our illegal viewing of the show, we hung around the casino long enough for me to consume 4 chocolate martinis and an skunky Heineken before heading back to the hotel.

Did I mention the hotel called me 3 days before our trip to let me know they were hosting a Fraternity? Just a “heads up” they said. “I’m sure you won’t even know they’re there” they said. And that might have been true except:

Brian and I walking down the hall at 2 a.m.

Brian: “OMG, a skunk got in here! He must have entered from the parking lot.”

Me: “Dammit. I knew we should have upgraded to a higher floor”

20-ish year old guy walks by us giggling

Brian: “Woo-wee! That poor guy got sprayed.”

Me: “He got sprayed BIGTIME! You know, I heard tomato juice takes the…”

quick flashback of a hazy, smoke-filled college apartment, everyone laughing while I re-stack the Jenga tower wondering what’s so funny

“…wait…a…minute…that ain’t no skunk…”  (it was pot. they were smoking pot.)

We’re so incredibly naive. We should just take a cardboard box and fill it with cheap booze, spare car keys, and a stamp embossed with our signatures on it, and give it to our son on his 15th birthday. Save him the trouble.

 

SUNDAY

We woke up around 10 am, surprisingly not hung over, and made our way over to Bob Evans where I set up shop. Seriously, breakfast is MY MEAL. Brian is always incredibly embarrassed as I order, substitute, shift, omit, and request various food items until a perfect balance of salty, sweet, and savory has been achieved without the use of pork or beef. And then I take about 10 minutes to pre-butter, pre-cut, and pre-syrup everything.  My motto: once eating commences, there shall be no reason to pause.

After an exhausting breakfast, we headed home, admiring the beauty of the mountains, reflecting on the fun we had together, and feeling pretty darn grateful for another of my geographical screw ups.

 

Tell me, have you seen Amy Schumer on tour yet? If so, what did you think? And did you sit next to a gynecologist?

One Classy Christmas Letter – A Year in Crappy Pics 2015

One Classy Holiday Letter - Our 2015 in Crappy Pics  www.OneClassyMotha.com

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope you’ve had a wonderful year. While we didn’t take as many trips as we did in 2014, our shared moments and experiences have been just as special.

 

January – On New Year’s Eve, we came across a Basset Hound standing in the center of a snowy PA back road. After exhaustively riding around to look for his owner, we took him home, placed internet ads everywhere, then named him Scout. Unlike our ungrateful dogs, Scout LOVED the kids, and the kids LOVED Scout. And then the owner called to claim “Sparky”…Sparky? Who names a slow moving,  droopy-eyed Basset Hound, Sparky?

Scout

After the alleged owner submitted the required vet records, pictures of him & Sparky together, and a preliminary DNA sample, I reluctantly handed him over asking, “Are you sure he wouldn’t be happier with us? I mean, he did try to run away from you.” But he couldn’t hear me over the wails of our children.

That was Day 1 of 2015.

February – After a 12 year maternity leave, I finally returned to work at my family’s tire & auto business. Because I’m gone from 7:30am-6pm each day, Brian has taken on some of my family responsibilities, like getting Ana on and off the bus everyday and staying home with her when she’s sick. As for Collin, he’s 12, we gave him the garage code and a copy of Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival by Denise Long.

March – We went sledding once, on a hill by our house. After peeling off our wet clothes with burning red hands and mopping up the laundry room floor, we took a vote and agreed it wasn’t worth it. So we bought one of those clear acrylic birdfeeders with suction cups and placed it high up on our sunroom window.

We then spent the rest of March watching two squirrels desperately flinging their bodies at the feeder. We named them Dumb Squirrel (he had zero street smarts) and Smart Squirrel.  Smart Squirrel was clever, quick, and stealthy. He was superior to Dumb Squirrel, and us, in every way- we were annoyed by his greed and put off by his confidence. But Dumb Squirrel…now there was a rodent we could root for. Oh how we loved to watch him! He’d circle under the window, staking out potential launching points, usually all poor choices. Then he’d momentarily give up, looking on the ground, perhaps for fallen seeds or an elevator. We’d cheer him on “You can do it!” “Believe in yourself!” “You got this!” And he did believe in himself until {{smack}} he didn’t. By the end of March, we had removed the bird feeder out of concern for Dumb Squirrel’s safety

Not so coincidentally, this was also the month that Brian’s obsession with bourbon based craft brews really took off.

April – Having just started horseback riding lessons, Ana decided she wanted her birthday party to be held at the stable. So naturally I spent most of April on Pinterest.com planning for this glorious event. It wasn’t until I yelled at Brian for blocking the monitor while I was trying to read user reviews on two competing disposable fork manufacturers, that I realized I was drowning in the details. But in the end, I think we can all agree it was worth it.

Ana cake

We spent Easter with family at Brian’s parent’s house. A wonderful dinner that ended with an impromptu Easter Egg fight. We pelted each other with plastic eggs for over 30 minutes, and proudly ended it before anyone lost an eye.

 

May – Our family decided to try something outdoorsy again. We received a flyer that our neighborhood lake was having a fishing contest in an attempt to thin out the overwhelming Carp population. So I got the kids all excited (Brian remained appropriately pessimistic), called my brother to join us, then went down to Walmart where I bought 4 fishing rods, bait, and an honest-to-god fishing license.

June 2015 264

Despite the association’s “we have too many Carp in our lake” claim, Collin and Brian caught nada, I got my line tied in a tree, and Ana hooked a snapping turtle…twice.

June 2015 267

We repacked our tackle box for the first and last time, and went home. My brother stayed behind to enjoy the peace and quiet. It was a fun time, just one we won’t soon be repeating.

June – This was the end of Kindergarten for Ana, and Collin’s last year of Elementary school. Collin made us so proud by winning The Principal’s Award at school, which represents a well-rounded student, both academically and socially. And Ana made us proud by finally working out a window-seat rotation plan with her bus nemesis, Julianna. Never mind it was the last week of school.

July – Brain, myself, Collin, Ana, and my mother-in-law Pat, packed the car with vodka and board games and set off on a 1,500 mile trip to visit Brian’s side of the family in Chicago and Wisconsin. Seeing aunts, uncles and cousins was definitely the highlight of our summer! While there, we went tubing, paddle boarding, jet-skiing, visited Millennium Park, saw the U2 concert at the United Center, and ate at a really good “I’m surprised a health inspector hasn’t shut this place down” dive restaurant.

august 2015 015 august 2015 031

Shout out to “BIG & LITTLE’S” where the tacos are worth the risk!

 

August – Ana participated in several day camps and Collin started tackle football with practices four nights a week. We also finally met our new next-door neighbors when Ana sent their 8 year old daughter home with a ziplock bag full of dead hamster meant for burial. “What’s wrong with that?” she asked, “Her parents probably want to see it.”

Needless to say, they came over pretty quickly to see US.

September – The kids went back to school, Ana in 1st grade and Collin in 6th grade. Our lazy Saturdays were now replaced with travel football games, which I wasn’t crazy about until Brian introduced the idea of checking out local pubs or BYOB restaurants after each game. GO, TEAM, GO!

October –  For Collin’s birthday, we took a bunch of kids downtown to Exodus Escape Rooms. That’s where each rooms has its own specific escape plan that requires puzzle solving, clue finding, and teamwork to find your way out. It’s the newest trend in team-building. When we pulled up, I was dismayed to find that the business occupies the once residential house I partied in during my college days. I looked down at the brochure in my hand “Every room provides the most entertaining experience.” Sounds about right.

SEPT-AUG 2015 157

Brian began playing pick-up basketball at the gym twice a week. It’s a bunch of kinda in shape 40 year olds trying to compete with a bunch of really in shape 18 year olds. As a result, his ankles killed him all month.

Also in October, sadly, Mr. Bojangles passed away. He wasn’t the best dog or even the almost best dog. He was a food thief, a chewer of Barbie doll heads, and he’d tear the eyeballs out of a stuffed animal just for looking at him. But his love for his family was unwavering and true. He was quite a character and we miss him dearly.

2015 123

November – With Mr. Bojangles’ weak bladder no longer a concern, we replaced our living room carpet and area rug. Then we all laid on the floor and rolled around appreciating both the presence of DuPont Stainmaster chemicals and the absence of urine.

On Black Friday, Brian’s beer obsession hit its peak when he bundled Ana up and they headed off to Liquor World at 7:30 in the morning to be the first in line for the 2015 release of Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout. While I was at work, I received the text “I’m the only one here with a kid. Strange.”        Is it?

Brian was still playing basketball. The pain now extended to his shins.

December –  This month has been a bit of a blur as we try to get ready for the holidays. We saw “Miracle on 34th Street” at the Everett Theatre. Brian’s brother, Kevin, played Sawyer, and he was awesome! The kids loved it! In fact, our Christmas Card picture was taken there. And the Santa in the picture actually played Santa in the play! And speaking of this Christmas card, I think we all know it’s not my most photogenic moment, but everyone else looked so nice I decided to use it. Talk about being selfless around the holidays!

And Brian’s still playing basketball. He just sat down and placed a bag of frozen peas across his kneecaps.

 

As this year is coming to a close , we want to say thank you for being a part of our lives, whether near or far, yesterday or yesteryear, you are always in our hearts. May your 2016 be filled with an abundance of love, laughter, health, and happiness.

Love,

Brian, Kim, Collin, & Ana

xmas2015blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Bento Box Season, Bitches!

Well moms, school’s in full swing and you know what that means, it’s BENTO BOX SEASON! That’s right, right now your Pinterest feed is blowing up with this year’s most breathtaking and creative lunches, their step-by-step instructions reassuring you that all you need to pull off this piece de resistance is the artistic skills of Picasso, the kitchen utensils of Martha Stewart, and the ability of a Whole Foods purchasing agent to secure a steady source of edible modeling clay. No biggie.

Last year, as you may remember, I was introduced to the Bento Box craze when my darling Ana came hightailing it off the bus wondering why her sandwich was two squares of whole wheat, while little Hayden’s was shaped into snowdrifts as part of a lunchboxscape her mom designed based on the movie Frozen. Holy shit. What?

I googled the trend. Then my brain shut down from overload.

“Ana, when I can check ‘Get a Shower‘ off my to-do list with any type of regularity…” throwing baby powder in my hair to soak up the grease, “…that’s when I’ll make an Elsa out of Japanese Nori noodles. At this point, I’m thinking college.”

Later that night, guilt ridden by the lack of specialness my little snowflake felt, but still being me (lazy), I came up with the perfect solution for our family:

 

The “I ain’t got time for that. Here’s some lunch money” Bento Box www.OneClassyMotha.com

Step 1: Get lunch money from your purse.

Step 2: Arrange money and tape down

Step 3: Use a Sharpie to draw a special message.

It’s as easy as that!

Today, I’d like to share with you some of my new designs for the 2015-2016 school year.

This was a First Day favorite…

 

The “I ain’t got time for that. Here’s some lunch money” Bento Box www.OneClassyMotha.com

 

A little hygiene reminder is always a good idea.

 

The “I ain’t got time for that. Here’s some lunch money” Bento Box www.OneClassyMotha.com

 

Don’t be a sucker!

 

The “I ain’t got time for that. Here’s some lunch money” Bento Box www.OneClassyMotha.com

 

Did you know 9 out of 10 junkies said glue was their gateway drug?

 

The “I ain’t got time for that. Here’s some lunch money” Bento Box www.OneClassyMotha.com

 

…or maybe it was heroin?

Just in case.

 

The “I ain’t got time for that. Here’s some lunch money” Bento Box www.OneClassyMotha.com

 

Asking the tough questions isn’t always easy…

 

The “I ain’t got time for that. Here’s some lunch money” Bento Box www.OneClassyMotha.com

 

…but saying “I Love You” is.

 

The “I ain’t got time for that. Here’s some lunch money” Bento Box www.OneClassyMotha.com

 

You can gather more lazy lunch inspiration from our 2014-2015 school year HERE or visit the “I Ain’t Got Time For That, Here’s Some Lunch Money” Bento Box Pinterest Board.

And please leave a tip or comment sharing  any of your ideas with me, for I am just one lazy motha, but with many lazy mothas, imagine all the things we can avoid accomplishing together!

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