Three Kids and a Dog

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Break!

I don't think I have said those words since I was in college! And, I don't think I've gone on a true spring break since then either. But now with Austen in public school, we have to take vacations around his school schedule. We were lucky before, we could go places in May and have great weather and more options and great prices with less crowds. In March, there are few places you can go that are warm within three hours or less by air. Florida was pretty much it so we tried out Anna Maria Island and we weren't disappointed. 

The sand was as white as seashells and as fine as flour. Austen loved using it for sandcastles but Hailey didn't enjoy walking on it that much. And, Peyton spent more time in the ocean than on the beach.

The kids loved our backyard pool. Peyton grew braver jumping in on her own and Austen got to showcase his fine swimming strokes that he has perfected during his past six months of lessons. Amazing progress by both of them. Hailey loved to splash in the pool and did her own jumping in (with assistance of course!).

Exploring the island - trying out a bike and some ice cream while posing for funny pictures.  

What is vacation without a little mini golf? Austen made us play. Of course he golfs just three over par beating both Tom and me. And after, we got to feed the Gators:)

Great vacation with our kids summed up by a great quote --
"Take Vacations. Go as many places as you can. You can always make money. You can't always make more memories." 


Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter!

With all our cold weather it certainly seemed too early for Easter, but somehow the forecast cooperated today and we had an almost 70 degree day. Perfect for the three Easter egg hunts that our kids went on at our house, their grandma's house and their aunt/uncle's house.

It was a long day but fun to see and celebrate this holy day with our families. We started off by going to church at 7:30am! Then home to Easter baskets and an egg hunt.

We then headed over to grandma's house for an infamous Easter egg race where once again Austen placed second. (You want to place in the top three to secure a nice prize - usually a gift certificate to someplace good like Starbucks or the movie theater or a restaurant). Papa was assigned to Hailey so that prevented him from placing at all. And, Peyton wasn't much help to Uncle Mark (who normally always places) as she was more concerned with whether Austen was winning or not. Tom placed third and I placed a very close fourth.

After that it was on to our final destination where unbeknownst to us another hunt awaited the kids. Austen and Peyton were all too eager to participate in another egg hunt even though it was their third of the day. Hailey decided to sit this one out given that she had been very clingy at all the houses (see photo above when she was taken away from us to pose for the "cousins" shot).

She still made a cute little Easter bunny though! 

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Long Winter

Last Friday we had snow. Yes, it was March 27. 

The kids are so over their snow pants and snow boots and putting on heavy coats along with their hats and gloves. They are ready to be outside playing with their friends and riding their bikes. Hopefully our random 60 degree days become more frequent otherwise for the second year in a row our kids' spring sports will start almost in May!

There is someone who doesn't want spring or summer to come too quickly. Now that I am home, she begs me to let her out especially when there is fresh snow so that she can cool her belly on the snow and make snow angels.

Sorry, Adler. It's time for this stuff to melt and you to go outside for more walks!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Austen vs. Peyton

Be nice to everyone, I told Peyton the other day. If you do, you will have a lot of friends like your brother. Be nice to the boys, be nice to the girls and be nice to the new kids too. I want to embed this in her head early on so she never thinks it's cool to be the "mean" girl. Although she does have a little clique of friends at school and her teachers have already told me that they weren't so nice to a new girl recently. So we had the talk. And, I am glad we did because the new girl is one of their good friends now.

Austen on the other hand is so different. He's nice to the boys and the girls. In fact, he was one of only three boys recently invited to a girl birthday party and the other two boys couldn't go so he ended up being the only boy there. He didn't mind one bit though. These were his friends. It didn't matter if they were boys or girls. When I went to pick him up, he was having a blast with all the girls. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body and could never intentionally hurt someone else's feelings (unless it's his sister Peyton). I'm sure a lot of girls will break his heart some day because of it but I'm sure Peyton will take care of them:) 

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Toughest Boss

I have a new boss these days. She's very demanding, pushing me to do things outside of my comfort zone. Things that I never thought I would do or want to do. Tough bosses bring out the best in us and make us believe that we are better than we actually are at the jobs we take on.

My new boss is 5 and her name is Peyton. She's my middle child who is very much into crafts. Now don't get me wrong, before I had Peyton as my boss, I loved all those cute ideas on Pinterest that I would find but I would gladly hand those over to my husband to execute as he is the more artsy one in our family. Heck, I don't even like carving pumpkins. But, being at home now with a daughter who loves to do art has pushed me to find activities for her and me to do in the mornings before she goes to school. I started slowly with a simple craft or two and then ventured out to our local art store to purchase a bunch of art supplies so we might be able to create anything we wanted at a moments notice. Fifty dollars later, I had a great base for any art project. So Peyton and I started doing a few together then we would have play dates with some of her friends and I would have a craft or two planned for them to do. Peyton loved this and so did all of the other girls. In fact, late one night, Tom came home from a meeting to find me hard at work creating crafts for a big play date (four girls and their moms - a different kind of networking now!).  And, just last week, I tried my hand at making homemade play dough. It actually turned out great. I can't believe I am one of those moms now! But, I see how much Peyton loves it and it makes me feel great that we can share these special projects together. In fact, when Austen gets home from school he often wants to create what we worked on that day too so now I am making extras for him to do too.

So far my tough boss has given me great reviews on these crafts so I think I am doing all right and adjusting to my new way of working. Check out some of our masterpieces.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Hailey Can Read

When I took Hailey for her 15 month doctor appointment, the doctor asked me how many words Hailey could say. She said 5-10 were normal. At that point Hailey was well over ten. She's like a sponge. Say it a few times and she'll remember it. So it's only logical that after we read her a bedtime story, she tries to read one on her own to us. The video below shows it all - her tone, inflection and her ability to not waver even when her brother or sister are being loud enough to distract her. I thought she was going to be my quiet child but I don't think that's true either.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Girls Trip

So last weekend, Peyton and I headed to Boston for a little girl time. Some thought we were crazy venturing there in February when they already had seven feet of snow and more coming but it seemed like a good time for a change of scenery and a visit with my aunts, uncle and cousins. I took Austen to Boston on a trip with me when he was five so I thought it was only right that Peyton have her turn too. I wasn't sure how this trip was going to go. Peyton seems a whole lot needier and less mature than Austen was at age five. She was either going to be great for me or a royal pain in the behind. It was a toss up. So off we went.

We had an early morning flight and took a car service to the airport. Peyton was so excited she talked my ear off the entire car ride and then on the plane. I asked her later if she was tired and she said, no, and that I shouldn't be either since I slept in the car and on the plane! Ha! I was trying to sleep in the car and on the plane but Peyton kept talking.  It wasn't until I put a video into her mini DVD player that she finally stopped. She was a great little traveler though and she didn't even have to go to the bathroom. As soon as we got into Boston that was the first thing that Austen had to do!

I always like going to Boston. There's a lot of history there for not only the U.S., but for me too. I was born there and although I lived there only for a short time, it connects me to my childhood. Because I spent many holidays and summer vacations visiting my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, we spent a lot of time there. I have great memories of those times and I feel close to my family there so much so that I have enjoyed taking trips back first with my friends and now with my own family.

When I go, I usually like to frequent the places of my childhood like Canobie Lake amusement park; the many beaches where I spent long days in the summer; my old houses and of course Friendly's ice cream for one of their sundaes with lots of jimmies. Peyton and I didn't get to do those things this trip as we are saving all of those things for our visit there this summer with the rest of our family, but we did get to spend lots of time with my aunts, uncle and cousins - most of whom I hadn't seen in three years. But, I did get to talk a lot with my aunts who took me down their memory lane as they recalled living in Italy during World War II when their father (my grandfather) was fighting with the U.S. I remember my grandmother telling me the stories of how the German soldiers knocked on her door in the middle of the night and how when she tried to buy some time for her and my aunts to get away, they shot at her on her balcony. I never captured these stories she used to tell us and I wanted to for our family history.
So now I have a good start on it thanks to our trip.

It was a quick 48 hour trip, but we did manage to eat some lasagna; (thanks to my cousin who makes it as good as my grandma used to and that's saying a whole lot since I don't even order lasagna in a restaurant anymore); get our nails done and visit a toy store for Peyton. It was a nice taste of a longer visit this summer and the best part was that Peyton proved to be a good traveling companion too!

Peyton on the airplane - of course she had to bring her bunny.

We've arrived and we landed early! Yay!

 Helping to set the table for a good old Italian meal.

Look, I got my nails done!

Killing time in the airport since our flight home was delayed 45 minutes.