The Signs ...

They're everywhere.  They follow me.  Have you noticed them too? 

If you've seen my Facebook or Instagram posts lately you'd understand.  For quick pictures or one-liners about what's cooking at Casa de Chaos are all I can muster these days.

Over the past eight weeks since Matt's return, I've written at least a dozen blog posts in my head.  Stories about Grady's new school.  My 40th birthday.  Standardized testing, and why the scores really don't matter (with an alternate blog post titled, "Sheridan failed one of hers and nothing happened").  I could have written about the swim team.  And the insanity of the four-hour swim meets.  My in-laws whirlwind visit.  How I was strong-armed, asked to sign up for the Marine Corp Marathon 10k.  How we've been cleaning and organizing every room in the house so we don't have to do it next summer before we move.  If I really wanted to get personal, I could talk about finally getting hired on by the Loudoun County Public School system.  Matt's "adjustment to normalcy", how it has affected him, and how we've managed it as a family.  Or about sending the girls to three weeks of sleep-away camp.  Only to discover when we arrived last Monday that I royally screwed up by not sending in any bunk requests, and Riley was put into a separate bunk without ANY of her friends.  The tears.  Oh the tears.  Mom FAIL.

Aside from letting these words, these stories, these adventures flow through my head, I haven't put them to paper. 

And now you know why.  Because of this ...

... MY 'signs' of a great summer.  In thirty-nine pictures.  No less! 

First swim meet of the season!

Grady with his BFFs

But of COURSE it's another swim meet. 

Celebrating our birthdays ... yes, us gals are 29 again! 

The last time I saw these two ladies together, was in Muscat, Oman, back in 2004.  
We only had 2 kids back then ... look what's happened since then! 

And this sweet girlie?  Last time I saw her was in 2008.  In Tel Aviv, Israel.  When we lived a few blocks from each other.  Now?  She's back from Zimbabwe and will be living just a few miles away!  Squeee!

Take a guess where we are?  Again.

We aren't exactly considered a small swim team ...

Trying to take a few pictures of the kids ... but the ones of the girls photo-bombing each other were far better!


Grabbing a quick triple grande caramel macchiatto in Richmond, VA, 
at the State PTA training convention.  Yup ... I'm dedicated!

I'm also finally hired on by Loudoun County to be a substitute teacher.   
Where I am hoping to work 4 days a week!


Thanks Heather for making me do this! 

We always love getting together with our DS friends ... 
especially when we get to celebrate MORE birthdays. 

What?  You thought the swim season was over?  Oh no ... you're not THAT lucky!

Taking a little bike ride to dinner.  Our new weekly activity.

One truly can't believe how much cr*p these girls need to pack for camp!

Checking in for summer #2 ...

Dropping Sheridan off in her bunk.

And then dropping Riley.

Signs (of relief) from Riley that she's having a great time.  

 And Sheridan's signs too ...

Organizing the basement for our move next summer.  
Notice all the orange sticky notes.  Yes, we really are this anal.

Thankfully, after we put the little guy to bed every evening, I relax with my BFF ... 
 ... oh, and with Matt too. 


It's a Boat ... It's a Hotel ... It's a BOATELLE!

Well, really it was a cruise.  With the WHOLE fam damily.  For one week.  That's 7 days.  Seven LONG days for someone (like me) who gets insanely seasick.  To celebrate my mom's birthday. 

We thankfully stopped every morning at different Caribbean Islands; St. Croix, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Antigua, and Barbados, giving me a chance to rid myself of the nausea and stretch my sea legs.

I won't bother to tell you how sick I was.  How much Dramamine I had to take.  How much caffeine I consumed to counteract the Dramamine.  Or how many cocktails I *may* have had to counteract the caffeine.  Because all that mattered was that the kids had fun.  And admittedly, WE had fun.

We hit all the beaches.  The kids stayed up LATE.  The girls went snuba diving.  Matt and my brothers went scuba diving.  We rented jet skis.  We chartered a boat in St. Lucia.  We bathed in volcanic mud.  We snorkeled.  Kayaked.  Surfed in Barbados.

We ate.

And we ate.

And we ate some more.

The week flew by, and soon enough we were on a plane back home.  With nice tans, tons of dirty clothes, and a year's worth of sand memories.

An early flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico

Meeting my family at the port ... our first Cruise photos

L: Our daily itinerary.  R: Never wake a sleeping baby ...

Sheridan LOVED finding this starfish

Relaxing on our balcony?  Don't mind if I do!

Why yes, there WAS a Starbucks on the ship.  And funny towel creations greeting us every night.

Grady clearly had fun in the kids club ... and passed out like this every single night!

Getting ready to ride on the jet skis

The girls didn't like it nearly as much as they wanted to!

I think the cruise agrees with them ...

Chartering a boat in St. Lucia

A drive thru volcano?  I'll order the double magma to go please!

The mineral bath ... heated volcanic spring that was about 110 degrees!  
I think it was literally hotter than hell. 

The Piton Mountains

The LOVE Boat ... Soon Will Be Making Another Run ...

Of COURSE we had to visit our dearest friends in Barbados!  FANTASTIC day indeed!

Love this family photo!

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