I promised myself that if I could come up with an extra hour one night, I’d put together a quick “alive and well” post. My life has been consumed by a trip back home to New Jersey, piggybacked with a trip to NYC for work. Followed by a visit from my dear college friend, Nicole! Add work…and moving to a new apartment next weekend…I’ve been going nonstop. Since it’s already kind of late and my battery is at 13 percent, I’ll use some of the pictures I have to recap.

Got to meet my littlest sister Hannah’s puppy, Nahla. We went on a few walks, ran around after tennis balls (yes, both the puppy and me) and cuddled a bit. She’s a sweetie!

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But having a dog is too much work for me. I’ll stick to adorable, finicky and easy Mookie for now.

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I spent a day with my dad at his place by the beach. It wasn’t very hot, but it was sunny, so of course we had to spend a few hours relaxing and just enjoying the view.

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Then we went back and watched the Kentucky Derby. My parents actually met while working at the racetrack, so horses have a special place in our family. I was raised on a horse farm for the first few years of my life, and I’ve been lucky enough to have two beautiful horses as pets. My mom was the big rider though; I was the kid eating apple pastry on the bleachers early in the morning when she had a dressage show. Still, I know how to pick a hoof and how to feed a horse a carrot and where the nose feels like velvet. I guess that’s my long way of saying that watching the race was a lot of fun. My dad made pork chops with an amazing apple topping, instead of the standard applesauce dipper. He also cooked polenta and veggies (finally got a TJ’s in my hometown!)…everything was delicious!

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I got to be home for Mother’s Day, which hasn’t happened in years. It can be hard living so far away on certain days of the year, so getting to spend every minute from sunup to sundown with my mom was so great. Growing up, we’d always cook her breakfast in bed, but since I was still pretty jet lagged and waking up much later than normal…added to the fact that our traditional scrambled eggs and bacon is no longer really her favorite meal…we decided to stick to presents and a late lunch out instead. Afterwards, my mom, Hannah and I went to the boardwalk for arcade games and treats. Hannah really takes after my mom, if you can’t tell!

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Mom loves skeeball, so that’s the only thing we played. She did so well, the sirens started blaring and tickets started flowing…kind of like Vegas, with the jackpot slots. Except here the floors are carpeted in neon and you win prizes like spider rings and bouncy balls instead of cold, hard cash.

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Reason #427 I love my mom: she celebrated her victory as if those tickets were dollar bills. Go big or go home. Then we passed them off to some little girls who were very happy at the thought of more erasers and sparkly hairbands.

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When you go to the boardwalk, you can’t skip the snacks. Where else in the world can you find pizza, popcorn, funnel cake, vinegar fries, fudge and fried Oreos in one place? For my mom, orange and vanilla swirl ice cream.

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For me, chocolate and cherry Italian ice. Don’t even think about suggesting Rita’s. I’m a Strollo’s fan all the way!

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As always, leaving home after spending a few days with my mom, dad and Hannah was hard. The trip was quick, but so nice. I love how everything stays the same, in the very best way possible. I just miss them so much! I wasn’t going too far though this time; just hopping on the train to New York City…stay tuned!

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