Three Kids and a Dog

Monday, July 16, 2018

One Down, One to Go!

Last week marked the start of summer sleep away camp for my kids. Austen's camp started first so I packed him up and trekked him all the way to Bloomington, Indiana, where I spent nearly four years of my late teens and early twenties. I was so excited for him to attend IU's soccer camp - mainly because I love visiting IU and secondly, because I'm secretly hoping that one of my three kids will attend college there so I have an excuse to keep going back!

Austen and I made good time getting down there, breezed through unpacking him, headed out to watch the first half of a World Cup game at one of the local restaurants then I dropped him back at the dorm to get ready for his first training session before making the four-hour trip home. (I would've stayed the whole five days but I needed to get back to finish getting Peyton ready for her week of summer camp and we were headed back to spend the weekend on Friday evening anyhow.)

Once we arrived back in Bloomington, we really got to explore how much the campus has changed since I went there more than 20 years ago. It's amazing! We found a great outdoor brewery for Friday night's dinner and then found some ice cream and walked around Bloomington with Peyton and Hailey. Saturday morning we strolled on the new B-line trail to the local farmers market, which was amazing. We picked up some local corn and then took a stroll through campus before Tom took the girls to the local pool to beat the heat. Meanwhile, I met up with an old college friend for a drink. It was so nice to catch up and to do so in our old college town. Later, I met back up with Tom and the girls and we went to a farm to table restaurant for dinner and then my old friend had recommended this baked to order cookie place for dessert where Tom and Hailey sampled their ice cream sandwich cookies. Yum!

Sunday, we woke up early to see Austen play some of his last soccer games at camp. And although exhausted and sore, he had a great time and told us he wished camp was longer. That's a good sign! He can't wait to go back next year (and I can't wait to take him!).

After taking in the World Cup final at a local restaurant (with Elk burgers), we drove about halfway home and dropped Peyton off at her sleep away camp. (That worked out really well!) She was so excited to go that she barely said goodbye to me. She couldn't wait to get to know her new friends and her counselors (she did go with one friend she knew).

Before departing, I left her many letters and a big care package at the camp post office to be delivered that I know she's going to love. I wish I could see her face when she opens her giant package tomorrow stuffed with gum, lollipops, a stuffed animal, light up balloons and bracelets, tattoos and more!

I bet she has the best time, and like Austen I bet she's sad when it's time to come home. That's the kind of experience that every parent wants their kid to have at sleep away camp. It's the best!

He's arrived and ready to go!

Austen in action!


Bloomington is better with ice cream

Hailey loved the square donuts

And the ice cream cookie sandwich

Peyton loved IU's pool

And, I belong here too!



And, Peyton is off!  Barely even looking at me to say goodbye!

Monday, July 09, 2018

4th of July

4th of July was a hot one this year and likely the last time we'll attend our local parade and I can't say I'm sad about that one. It was so hot this year that Austen and I had to take multiple breaks to go stand in the shade or I swear we would have melted right there on the spot. Couple that with the fact that our whole family hasn't watched the parade together in about four years and you kind of ask yourself what's the point!

The last three years, Peyton and Tom (and Hailey the last two) have walked in it as part of the Indian Princess group and the year before Austen had an all star baseball game so I took the girls. Anyway, next year is a time to start new traditions up at our beach house in Michigan. More on that in future posts.

After the hot parade, we cooled off with a Starbucks beverage and had an early dinner before having some cocktails and desserts with friends before the fireworks. However, a storm blew in right as we were going to leave for the fireworks and they were abruptly canceled and rescheduled for Friday, July 6. So we had a redo with friends that evening. Here's a glimpse our patriotic day:

Peyton was hot and wanted to exit the parade and go home with me not even halfway thru


Tatoos and all! Check out those stars and stripes pockets!

Well at least Hailey was smiling...or maybe she was laughing at the funny headdress Tom had to wear as the future chief of Indian Princesses!


Starbucks break! Nice and cool!

Monday, July 02, 2018

Peyton Joins the Swim Team

I don't care what you do but you're going to do something is the refrain that comes out of my mouth most often when it comes to Peyton. So when she passed out of all of her swim lessons in January but yet I didn't feel like she was very confident in the water, I suggested she try her hand at our pool's swim team.

To make the team you had to swim one length of the pool doing freestyle and the other length doing backstroke. Now I was pretty confident she could do this and she does have a beautiful stroke so it was no surprise when she made the team. But the true surprise was when they held their "mock" meet to decide who would be on the "A" team and who would be on the "B" team. I had heard that most kids who aren't on it the year before make the "B" team and Peyton was okay with this as she thought she'd win more races aka ribbons this way, but she killed it during the mock meet for times and got placed on the "A" team.

And, the "A" team is where she should be because she's still killing it with her freestyle and backstroke and she's working hard to improve her breast stroke and butterfly which has come a long way. She goes to practice every morning without complaint for an hour (you really only have to go 3 times a week but she goes 5) and she's become way more confident in the deep water. In fact, at her first meet she noticed that where she had to dive in from was 12 1/2 feet. I thought she'd quit then but she didn't!

Did I find the sport that she'll stick with yet? Maybe! But when I asked her if she wanted to do swim team next year, she says, "No, I'm good. Just this year." That elicited a big sigh from me.

Here she is killing it in her freestyle medley race with her teammates.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Confession Stand

We attend many baseball (and now softball) games throughout the spring season. And, along with many baseball games (and some softball) comes the concession stand. It's a highlight of the girls' night when they have to attend a baseball game and get a treat if they are good.

On one particular night, we had two games to attend one right after the other and on fields that were back to back. The girls were primed to get their treat but I was trying to hold them off until at least the second game. Hailey was especially persistent and was pleading with me to go to the "confession stand."

Check out my saintly little girl asking to be absolved of all her sins or desperately wanting to snack on something sinfully tasty. Probably the latter.





Either way, she sure did earn those Cheetos she wanted.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Father's Day 2018

My runners!
Father's Day 2018 started off with an early morning wake up to run in our town's 5K and 1K races. This year, it was Tom's turn to run with the kids since one of us has to stay with the younger ones during the 5K.

First, let me say that it was hot - even at 8am. I was a little worried how Tom and Austen would do in the heat but they ran together for the first 1.5 miles before Austen pulled away. They both did great in not pushing themselves too hard and overdoing it on this hot day. In fact, Austen may have been able to run a bit faster as he didn't look completely gassed after the race either.

Next up was Peyton and Hailey. It's the third year that Peyton has run the 1K kids fun run. She took off with her friends and I didn't even find her til she had finished the race. Then I learned that she had fallen once again this year (and scraped up her elbow). It is a bit dangerous on the course as there are a lot of people when you first start so you need to be careful to avoid near collisions. She turned out to be fine though (getting back up and running the rest of the race).

When I signed up the family for the race, Hailey said she didn't want to run the 1K but she had a complete change of heart at the race. I really needed to run with her too and wasn't prepared for her to run as I was just in my flip flops. But I thought that she would start out slow and then likely fizzle out. But, no! She starts off with a bang and I really had to work to run in those flip flops. Thinking she'd slow down somewhere along the course, I  let her go ahead keeping an eye on her from a distance. But then I realized that this 4.5 year old is going to run the whole thing! She pounds up the final hill and then digs deep at the end to find a burst of energy and sprints through the finish line! I'm not sure where that came from but Hailey has been showing even more athletic ability as she's gotten older.

After the run, Tom and Austen headed to their tee time for golf meeting up with Austen's Papa and uncle while I took the girls to the pool. We rounded out the day with dinner with Papa and Auntie Rees and Uncle Mickey. A long but good day and I even got to run to the grocery store too! Bonus!

Looking good after a hot 5K!


Happy Father's Day Papa, Tom and soon to be Daddy Uncle Mickey!


Celebrating Daddy!


Sunday, June 10, 2018

That's a Wrap on 5th and 2nd Grade

Last Day of School Together til 12th and 9th grades
Last week was a busy week as we wrapped up the end of another school year. Austen "graduated" from 5th grade and elementary school, leaving behind Peyton to fend for herself next year in the 3rd grade. I got a bit of foreshadowing of what it's going to be like during 8th grade graduation and when Austen graduates from high school and it did make me a little teary. How could he be going to middle school already?

Not to worry, Peyton has two more years at that school and Hailey hasn't even started yet. It will feel like I've been there forever by the time my last one "graduates" in 2025. That same year, Austen will graduate from high school.

I'm reveling in the now though and the fact that all 3 of my kids had a great school year with excellent teachers and friends. They celebrated the day with a school carnival for the 5th graders while Peyton got to hang out with a bunch of friends at our neighbor's house for a few hours and eat pizza and ice cream. Hailey on the other hand got to have a babysitter all to herself while I helped out with Austen's carnival.

School's out and summer's here! Let the camp craziness begin!


Congratulations Prospect 5th Graders!


Hailey got to watch her brother "graduate"

Saying goodbye to Mrs. Legner - so many great teachers at Prospect
Clap out for the 5th graders!


Having fun at the "carnival" with his fellow classmates.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Field of Dreams

Remember that famous line from that Kevin Costner movie, "If you build it, they will come." Well, we came all right...all the way to Iowa over Memorial Day Weekend.

For Tom, Austen, Peyton and Hailey, it was their first trip into the Hawkeye state known for its corn, hogs, soybean, cattle and dairy products. But we were there for baseball. Austen's baseball to be more specific and it was part of the infamous Field of Dreams. Now, they didn't play at that location but they had a skills competition at the actual movie location on the baseball field and showed the movie which we didn't stay for because it was a steamy 95 degrees and the bugs were biting plus after about 3 hours of the skills competition none of they boys wanted to stay for a movie they watched just last week in preparation for their play.

Austen loves tournaments and it doesn't matter if it's soccer or baseball. He gets to hang out with his buddies in a hotel and it's usually in a different state or a different country! He did play fairly well too batting and fielding per usual with some great pitching thrown in there. They played some stiff competition so the outcomes weren't always in our favor but I think the boys learned a lot despite the heat (which was approaching 100 degrees most days - thank God Austen didn't have to play catcher during any of those games but I sure felt bad for the kid who did especially because this tournament play called for you playing only one position the entire game.)

A bonus of playing in Iowa was that we got to explore downtown Dubuque and I got to visit my friend's yoga studio (it was closed that day). Peyton was super thrilled we made her walk around downtown Dubuque in the hot weather but it was nothing that ice cream couldn't erase. We even rode on one of only a few funicular (elevated and curved) rail cars (and the steepest) left in the U.S.

It was a hot weekend but a fun one spent watching America's greatest past time and enjoying friends, family and the long weekend.


Getting ready to hit!

Fenelon  Railway

In the elevator getting ready to descend

Yoga Studio! Check out Peyton's face!


Austen's team
A few good friends