Three Kids and a Dog

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Soccer in Arizona

Austen with backpack and yellow shoes
We left last Friday for some warmer weather and to play some soccer in the sunny state of Arizona. And, while it was a bit warmer than our Chicago temperatures and lacked the snowfall we had here, it still was unseasonably cool in the southwest.

Despite the frigid temperatures, we still managed to have a good time playing mini golf at our resort, frolicking in the lazy river and socializing with our soccer friends. Austen played four soccer games against teams from New Mexico (2), Washington and Arizona. The first game ended 3-0 in our favor. Austen scoring one goal off of a breakaway down the side and a cross/shot. The second game was 5-0 with Austen adding 2 more goals. Third game ended 2-0 with Austen providing great defensive play. The fourth and final game (championship) ended in a hard fought 2-1 game. However, they could have easily won that game by a goal or more. Two bad or no calls by the ref certainly contributed to the end result as Austen was pushed down in the penalty box as he was shooting with a no call. On another take down in the box, Austen was called to shoot the penalty kick when all of a sudden the ref gets yelled at for the call by the other coach and reverses his decision. I've never seen anything like it. Ridiculously poor reffing for sure. But, at the end of the day, these kids are 12 and there's sure to be more games lost, more bad refs and bigger problems in the world. The kids had fun, bonded as a team, played some great competition and learned more lessons on and off the field that they will carry with them throughout their lives. I know I did.

Team bonding at In and Out Burger

Volleyball in the pool

Having fun after a game!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Will You Be Mine?

Working on his Valentine's cookies
Yesterday, was the usual day of running errands and getting ready for the week ahead. Haircuts for the girls, grocery shopping, sport practice drop offs/pick ups, etc. But, yesterday we had a new errand to run and it was for Valentine's Day.

Austen has been talking a lot about wanting to buy something for a special someone (who shall remain nameless to protect my promise to never reveal who she is to another soul). He started out wanting to get her a card then it progressed to a flower and then to a bracelet or a necklace. Of course he's discussing these ideas with friends who also plan to get the girls they like special gifts too. However, not wanting to scare this girl off (in case she just saw him as a friend), I suggested keeping it a little lighter. He found a card that said:

You're smart,
You're cool,
You're fun,
You're kind,

Now you've officially been Valentined!

Not too deep and nothing too revealing. He purchased some candy, made some homemade sugar cookies and frosted/decorated them for her, and put it all in a cute Valentine's basket along with a super cute little stuffed animal.

He's not sure how he wants to deliver it. Ring the doorbell and run, maybe?! He did sign his name to the card though so she would know it was him. He contemplated having Hailey ring the doorbell and hand it to her (she wouldn't know who Hailey was but she would recognize Peyton). So we're still working that one out.

I did ask him the tough question of - what if she doesn't like you like that? He said, that's okay, mom. And, I said, well, she might not and she might like someone else but I'm proud of you for putting yourself out there and wanting to give something to someone you like without expecting anything in return. He just smiled.

He says she's kind. So I hope whatever happens, she's kind with his heart even if she doesn't want to be his Valentine.

Don't take my picture Mom!
The final products! She's not a soccer player...

Monday, February 04, 2019

Hailey's Trip to Boston

Ready for Takeoff!
Each time one of my kids turned 5, I took them solo on a trip to Boston with me. It started with Austen when I had a work trip there and what better present than to skip schools for a few days and have mommy all to yourself. I followed with Peyton's trip shortly after she turned 5 and just a few months after I "retired" from working. Now it was Hailey's turn and I couldn't very well leave her out of this tradition.

So I booked a trip last week to spend a few days with my aunts, uncle and cousins. We talked, we ate, we drank, we ate, we talked some more, we ate. Did I mention we ate? Lot of eating but then again we are Italian!

We missed the deep freeze in Chicago sending temperatures plummeting into the negatives and helped celebrate one of my aunts 84th birthday. Hailey got lots of attention. She ate my Grandma's famous lasagna (made by my cousin) and homemade pizzelles (made by my aunt); she got a Vanilla Bean at Starbucks; rolled out some pizza dough at Bertuccis and helped my aunt eat her chocolate birthday cake; she visited a cute (kids) bookstore and she rode two airplanes and was especially patient when we sat on the tarmac upon arrival home because flights were so backed up because of the weather that there were no available gates.

It was a nice trip to Boston to round out my solo trips with each kid. It was nice to see my family. And, it was nice to spend a little more time with my youngest.

Happy Birthday!


Birthday Love!

I Love This Book (or really Peyton does)!
Nothing Like My Big Brother's Favorite Starbucks Drink!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

I Wish I Was Good

For her First Communion last spring, we gave Peyton a cute, little prayer box so she could write down her prayers and place in the box for safe keeping. Every so often, I check these prayers to see who she is praying for these days.

Of course, the usuals - mommy, daddy and Sadie (no mention of Austen or Hailey. Hmmm).
Children (yes, good).
The boy in the novel she was reading (okay).
The Army (good one).
Maddox (my friend's son who passed away in October).
Uncle Wally and Mrs. Case (her great uncle and religious ed teacher who was sick)
Mushers (she loves Alaska and the Iditarod).
Musher dogs (huskies in the Iditarod race).
Her swim team coaches (proof she loved swimming but still doesn't want to swim again next summer).
Animals (yes, especially in these frigid temperatures).

And then amongst her prayers, I found one that said "I wish I was good."
No idea when she wrote this but my guess is that it was pretty recent as she's been in fine form lately - teasing her sister, tattling on her brother.

But I was still pretty impressed that she wanted to be good. Don't we all, Peyton? Don't we all?

Monday, January 21, 2019

Slovenian Bread

Last week, Hailey came home from school raving about some bread that she had made at school that day. "It was so warm and yummy, mommy, we have to make it at home!" she demanded. 

Now when Hailey becomes obsessed with something, she'll ask you 100 times a day if we can do it. That means I wasn't getting away with not making it. And what excuse did I have not to anyway? So I did what any good mom does and emailed her teacher for the recipe. (One of her teachers just moved here from Slovenia so she was the one who happily supplied the recipe.) 

Once secured, I had to add the ingredients to my grocery list and then finally we were ready to make the Slovenian bread. So one afternoon when we didn't have gymnastics, soccer or dance, Hailey dragged over her stool, put on Austen's old dinosaur smock/apron and we made two pie pans full of Slovenian bread. And it must've been good because by that evening, both were gone. 

Hailey once again declared it yummy and Austen and Peyton devoured their pieces. I thought it tasted similar to a pretzel (but I think a true soft pretzel is way better). 

Nonetheless, Hailey was happy, it was a fun afternoon with my youngest and I'm off the hook for baking - at least for this week!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Austen Turns 12!

My first born turned 12 on Friday. Twelve. And I must say I felt a mixture of emotions.

Pride. He's a really good kid. Caring, sensitive and hardworking (in both sports and school) and responsible. Sure he has his moments like all kids when he forgets his gym clothes or the pair of cleats that I told him 100 times to put in his bag but he's the kid who many teachers and coaches have told me, they wished they had at least 25 more of.

Excitement. What does the future hold for this kid? In sports, school, friendships. I'm really excited to see him grow up and get to experience a lot of firsts - like his first 6th grade dance that was on the evening of his birthday. We went to dinner with him beforehand and he could barely eat he was so excited to get there and see his friends. He went to an "after party" after the dance too and didn't get home til 10:30pm so I'd say he had a really great birthday (add that on to the fact we gave him an Xbox gift card and the soccer jersey he really wanted among a few other things and I'd say he was pretty happy).

Bittersweetness. Six and a half years. That's all we have left with him til he leaves for college. That seems so short!  But is a good reminder to make the most of the time we do have together as a family. Whether it's spending time in Michigan at our beach house or on some other family vacation. The time is now. Live in these moments with him from guiding him on navigating friendships, helping him those few times when he asks me for assistance with his homework or even relishing that he still wants me to tuck him into bed every night.

Honestly, that's why I hold my tongue more often than not when I hear my friends say, if I stayed home all day, I would shop all day or I don't know what those stay at home moms do in their Lululemon pants drinking Starbucks. Believe me there's plenty to do especially if you actually volunteer a lot at your kids' schools or for their sports teams.

I've been on both sides now - the stay at home mom and the full time working mom. I've made great money working. Managed a large staff. Received big promotions. And, this is why I don't miss it. I have six and a half short years left. And, I'm NOT going to miss those years. I can always go back to work, but I'm never going to get back these six and a half short years. For me, that's all there is to it. No regrets.

Blowing out his birthday candles in a cookie skillet with a few friends

Monday, January 07, 2019

Hailey's Work

Over the last month, Hailey has been involved in a lot of activities. From her parent/child worknight where she showed me all her work (this is what Montessori calls any of the activities they do during her time at school) to her own holiday celebration at school to asking to complete her workbook pages at home.

She's been busy so I thought I'd offer you a glimpse into how she's grown so much since the start of the school year. It's crazy that in another month, I'll be registering her for kindergarten next year.

Hailey's addition work

Hailey's art work on display

Hailey and her buddy Zack