The Last Summer With My Baby

My children are 15, 12 and 8. The older two go to sleep away camp, so for the past few summers, it has been my baby and me. Next summer she will be 9. Next summer she will want to join her sister and brother at sleep away camp.

So, this is my last summer with my baby. It feels like only yesterday that we were moving her out of her cot bed and buying her a “big girl bed” (top tip: MyFDB has a great options to choose from). But now, all of a sudden, she is 8 years old and growing up into a beautiful, caring and independent girl.

It is hard to imagine next summer alone. Not alone, but it will be the first time in a long time that I will be with my husband alone. I am really looking forward to our time together, as if we are boyfriend and girlfriend again with no cares in the world, but I also know that I will have an emptiness to prepare for too. I suppose it would be the perfect time to get some jobs done that we’ve been telling ourselves we will find time for and just never have. I know that the first thing I’ll be doing is getting my hands on some deck wash and getting our backyard back to how I like it. I think we will spend the time trying to keep busy, not even relaxing, to just try and pass the time when we miss the children.

This summer, I took my baby everywhere. It was the summer of Syd (as I called it). Our adventures took us to 11 different towns. We were everywhere from Upstate New York, to Long Island, to the Caribbean, to the Midwest, to California and ending the summer in the Rocky Mountains.

When you are traveling with a young one you look for hotels that are family friendly. Little extras go a long way when traveling with children. While in California, we had the opportunity to stay at The San Diego Marriot Marquis. They have several connecting swimming pools that cater to children that allowed me to also relax while watching my Syd play. They offer a fabulous kids menu at every meal and upon arrival we were greeted with enough snacks to last us a week. Snacks are essential to your day when you are a Mom. I must say, afterward, I honestly thought about moving to California, it is stunning and there is so much up and down the state that can be done. My friends did just that when they checked out that ‘sell your house for cash in Orange County‘ from, they didn’t have to move too far, but it was the best decision they made. It’s getting me tempted!

The San Diego Marquis was also located right downtown on the waterfront. This area of San Diego offered us biking along the waterfront on the boardwalk and we were near all the major attractions that San Diego offers.

We also had our Midwest adventures this summer too. We took a mini Midwest road trip along I-70 from St. Louis to Kansas City, ending up at Crown Center. I grew up in the Midwest and I had not been back to Kansas City for over 30 years. The Crown Center is in the heart of downtown and connected to everything! We stayed at The Westin, which is attached to the Crown Center and we were greeted with little camping tents in the room for the kids. They loved this! I almost thought I should have bought an electric cool box along so they could have really gotten into the camping spirit. But I’m sure that my daughter will get plenty into the spirit when she gets to go to camp for real next year. We visited the SEA LIFE Aquarium, Legoland Discovery Center and enjoyed evening swims in the heated pool. I had no idea that Kansas City and The Crown Center had so much to offer for families.

I knew as I watched my daughter explore with me this summer and as we traveled around together for work and play that this would be our last summer as a duo. I think she felt it too as she talked about how she can’t wait for camp next summer. With every ounce of exhaustion I would remind myself that this was the last summer alone. It’s an interesting mental dance we do as Moms. On the one hand you crave time alone, but in those moments, you feel a ping knowing that your children want you once, and you remind yourself of that. They call you Mommy for a short period of time, then that becomes Mom and you don’t remember when that happened. They want you and all of you and then one day they want their friends. So I remind myself all the time to savor these years and to live in the moment.

High School Makeover Challenge

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Let’s Play, an initiative by Dr Pepper Snapple Group that provides kids and families with the tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority by building and improving playgrounds and donating sports equipment to groups in need. Although I received compensation for this post, all opinions are my own.

Because of Sports, I’m alive. Being active, working out, and playing sports like Oztag and Cricket with my kids kept me as healthy as I could be during my breast cancer journey. My 9-year-old son learned math because of sports. To be honest, because of sports, I am who I am. Because of sports, my family as a whole is who we are. I grew up around sports. My father is a sportscaster. He grew up on the playgrounds in Brooklyn, playing hoops and announcing from the sidelines. He never stopped. Anytime there was a game, he had a tape recorder and microphone to call the game. My parents were so supportive when I told them I wanted to take sports more seriously. They went out and bought me some of the best youth baseball bats and took me to training sessions every week. Sports has always been in my life, even from a young age.

I can’t imagine not having sports in my life. I went to work with my dad as a kid. It was all about sports. Basketball games. Hockey games. Football games. Baseball games. Boxing matches. Reporting the sports on a newscast. That’s where my career began. Watching the sportscasts from behind the scenes and learning how to be a journalist. Learning how to report and tell stories. Learning how to communicate.

All because of sports.

I grew up playing sports. The only girl on an all-boys ice hockey team for almost 10 years. The only girl on a baseball team. The only girl on a soccer team. Then on my high school tennis team. Being able to play and be involved with sport has made me who I am today. Sites like really were lifesavers when it came to providing me with all of the equipment that I needed to be able to be involved in these sports as a girl.

Sports were my life. My first jobs as an intern were in sports. Working for my dad as a statistician at hockey games. Working for a television station. Working at the Olympics.

Sports were my life. All aspects of it.

I can’t imagine not having sports. I can’t imagine my kids having no safe place to play. I can’t imagine my kids not having equipment to play with.

So there’s nothing better than taking part alongside Dr Pepper Snapple Group to let you know how you can help to select a winner of their High School Makeover Challenge. Schools across the country submitted videos for the High School Makeover Challenge by Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s Let’s Play Initiative to be eligible to win a chance at $100,000 of new sports equipment from Dr Pepper Snapple and national non-profit Good Sports. One deserving high school will be selected as the grand-prize winner. This prize money will be able to transform an outdoor play area, from placing the school flag high and proud (check out flagpoles for sale online), to having brand new tennis courts and basketball hoops. It really can change a child’s experience in school – I know sports changed mine.

To get involved and help make a difference in a student’s life, all you have to do is vote! Voting is open from September 8-17. To find out more about the High School Makeover Challenge and vote now, visit:

Imagine, because of sports, so many more kids will now play and one day share their stories about how sports and your vote shaped their life!