Never Far from my Heart

Disclaimer: This is going to be a long, possibly boring and sappy, post.-

I’m baaaaaack!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted – 11 days, if we’re being specific. To be honest, I had written and taken photos for a tilapia recipe … and then I royally screwed it up and decided not to post it. Hey, honesty is the best policy, right?

After my fishy fail, my four-day family weekend began and to be honest it felt great to disconnect from everything during that time, so blogging wasn’t really on my mind. It was such a special time and words cannot describe how comforting it was to be surrounded by family. I found myself falling asleep all the time because it was just so damn comfortable … is that weird? Anyways, anyone who knows my family knows two things:

  1. We weren’t always hunky-dory. This weekend was the first time in seven years (SEVEN YEARS!) that my dad and all my siblings were in the same place at the same time. For a long time, parts of my family didn’t talk to each other and I spent years trying to be some sort of make-shift mediator … yet it was when I finally said “I’m done” that my family began to drift back together. Now we all get along and it’s totally unexpected and joyous. If you told me five years ago that we’d all be together this fall to celebrate my brother’s 40th birthday, I’d call you insane.
  2. We’re emotional. Seriously, we cry about anything and everything (I promise that all the tears shed this weekend – and there were many of them – were tears of joy).

Anyways, here’s what we did from good ol’ October 8-12. I know this might be sort of boring and if you happened to stumble upon my blog, you surely don’t have to read it. I just want to document the great time we had so I can always look back on it and never, ever forget it.

Thursday, October 8: After work, Lawrence and I drove up to my sister, Jen’s, house in northern NJ. My sister, Monica, as well as my dad, his wife and their dog were already at the house. I ate way too much tortellini and it was gluttonously delightful.

Friday, October 9: We met up with more family and friends to celebrate my brother, Doug’s, 40th birthday at the Pocono Raceway. He got to drive a real race car, which was kickass and my dad and Monica got to meet my niece, Kate, for the first time (equally awesome and total tear city). Afterward, we hung out at Jen’s house and pigged out on pizza.

Saturday, October 10: We went out for breakfast at the Sparta Classic Diner and then spent the day going through a ton of family photos and, of course, consuming delicious grilled food. It’s never too late to grill, amirite? We also played Exploding Kittens, ate Doug’s birthday cake and generally had a good time.

IMG_5060

My brother's race car.
My brother’s race car.
You best believe tears were shed during this photo.
You best believe tears were shed during this photo.

Sunday, October 11: Once my dad left, Monica, Lawrence and I drove back to our apartment. I ran (my half marathon is less than week away!) and then we ate delicious German food at Chimney Rock Inn. If you live in NJ, I highly suggest visiting Chimney Rock – they have an large variety of high quality food, great seasonal menus and low prices to boot. Due to a food coma, we all passed out immediately upon returning home.

Monday, October 12: Monica and I spent the day eating diner food, shopping and playing The Sims. It sounds basic, but it was truly the best.

Our delicious diner breakfast.
Our delicious diner breakfast.

This morning, after discovering I had a flat tire (again), Lawrence drove us to the airport to drop Monica off. I know I’ll see her again soon during the holidays but I’ll be the first to admit that I cried last night and this morning, and even lost sleep last night because I missed her so much already. It warms my heart to know how happy she is in Oklahoma, though. I’d rather have her far away and happy than close and miserable. The same goes for my dad in Florida. It’s amazing how much sunshine can change a man.

Now that the work day has progressed, my spirits have lifted tremendously. I’m still sad that the weekend is over, but now I’m getting excited to plan the upcoming holidays and maybe even a winter-time trip to Florida to visit my dad. Here’s a little mantra that helps brighten my mood and could honestly be helpful to keep in mind any day:

“Be yourself and you’ll feel at home anywhere.”

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