Three Kids and a Dog

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bump, Set, Spike!

This afternoon, after attending four of Austen's games (soccer and lacrosse) over the last two days we went to watch Peyton in her first volleyball game. I wasn't planning on signing up Peyton for volleyball but one of her good friends was signing up and asked if she wanted to join. Trying to find some type of physical activity that Peyton enjoyed, I said yes (after checking with Tom to make sure he was committed to taking her to her game if Austen had a conflicting soccer game as I don't miss soccer!).

I wasn't so sure this sport would stick either as Peyton would rather spend more time at home with me or playing with the neighbor kids than actually participating in any type of team activity. Actually, the only activity that I have to say that she's passionate about is Indian Princesses (think Girl Scouts but with Dads).

At any rate, I was pleasantly surprised by how well Peyton did today. The soft volleyball and the modified rules helped get the girls used to playing real volleyball. Instead of returning a serve they must catch the ball from the serve to get the side out. Peyton caught the most balls on her team today and did better than I thought she would. We still need to work on her serve though. But dare I say she might like volleyball. I'd be thrilled if she found something she really liked and it involved some type of physical activity!




Monday, September 11, 2017

Keeping Sadie Busy

Now that Sadie is 18 months old she's settled down a lot. That means she's no longer chewing on my window sills and not eating the seat belts in the back of my car (yes, I had to replace a whole seat belt thanks to Sadie!).

However, she does still like to eat the dirt and the flowers in our backyard. Sadie also loves to chomp on mulch from our landscaping and the other day stole my Vitamin Water bottle right off the outdoor end table and I had to chase her around the yard to recover it! But still she is getting easier - even with the walks we have to take her on and the therapy we still need to do on our own with her. (Water therapy is complete and we have seen a good deal of improvement in her gait after just 8 sessions.)

We do still need to keep her mind busy though and while she was recovering from her spinal surgery a friend lent us several treat puzzles that kept her stimulated. We purchased a new treat puzzle recently that she still can't figure out but she sure had fun trying (once they figure it out it's much easier for them - the hard part is figuring it out though!).

Watch Sadie struggle with opening all the secret compartments on this treat puzzle (she gets the easy one but still hasn't figured out the hard one).




Monday, September 04, 2017

I Want to Do Gymnastics!

Hailey has been asking me since spring to sign her up for gymnastics so this fall that's one of the classes she's doing after her morning Montessori school class. She was so excited to go her first day and had so much fun hanging from the bars and walking on the balance beam (close to the floor - they don't let the little ones up on the high ones just yet) that she promptly declared I want to do that again tomorrow! I had to break it to her that it was only once a week.

She looks strong out there and solid. Her balance is pretty good and she enjoys all the tasks that they give her like picking up or stepping over items as they walk on the balance beam or kicking an object as they swing from the bars.

I'm glad she's having fun and doesn't mind trying new things even if none of her friends are in her class or her mommy!





Monday, August 28, 2017

First Days of School

Last week marked the first day of Grades 5 and 2 for Austen and Peyton. They both were excited to return to school and see all of their friends. Austen was happy to find out he got the teacher he wanted while Peyton was less thrilled with hers as she got the same teacher Austen had for second grade (two years in a row she's received the same teacher he had). I of course was thrilled because I really liked Austen's second grade teacher. She's strict and pushes them but she's also very supportive of them being responsible students.



It's Austen's last year at his elementary school and the last year he'll be in school with Peyton again until he's a Senior in high school! That seems crazy to me! Anyway, he's enjoying being the top of the school and having some flexible seating options like a couch and standing desk in his classroom.

Hailey also just started school today at her Montessori school. She moved into the 3-6 classroom with the same teacher Peyton had (see I told Peyton, that's what happens when you're a younger sibling!). She's enjoying seeing her friends that moved up with her and making new, older friends. It's like having Peyton to play with all morning but someone who treats her better than Peyton does!



So far it's been a good start to the school year. The kids activities are starting up again and I'm ready to get back to watching and coaching some games on the weekend.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Final Hours of Summer Vacation...

I'm ready. And, they're ready. The kids go back to school tomorrow (Austen and Peyton at least) and so we countdown the final hours of the Summer of 2017. It was a good one punctuated by the viewing of the eclipse today. (It was cloudy so we didn't see much and we weren't in an area of totality but it was still very cool to watch). The kids enjoyed making their own viewers (thanks NASA) and watching the areas of totality go completely dark and then light again on TV as the eclipse crossed the continental U.S. Peyton of course was worried that she would go blind or that I would but she still took a peek into her viewer.

Our Homemade Eclipse Viewers

Lunch and Watching Eclipse Areas of Totality on TV
Since we'll be able to see another one in 2024, Tom and I have already decided that we'll try to make a trip to an area of totality then with the whole family. Austen will be 17 then, Peyton 14 and Hailey 10 - and I don't even want to think how old we'll be but still a once or twice in a lifetime experience for sure that we don't want to miss. 

Anyway, here are our favorites from the Summer of 2017:

Austen
Best Vacation: Italy or California
Best Day Activity: Hanging out with my friends
Best Memory: Playing soccer in Italy
Best Thing You Bought: Legos from Legoland
Best Summer Song: 2 U by Justin Bieber


Peyton
Best Vacation: California especially Disneyland
Best Day Activity: Going to the Zoo with Daddy
Favorite Camp: Zoo Camp
Best Memory: Going to the Michigan Beach
Best Thing You Bought: My Build a Bear dog from Disneyland
Best Summer Song: God, Your Mama and Me by Florida Georgia Line


Hailey
Best Vacation: Disneyland!
Best Day Activity: Going to the pool
Best Memory: Meeting and Dancing with Mickey Mouse!
Best Thing You Bought: My Build A Bear blue dinosaur or my blue Mickey Mouse hat
Favorite Camp Activity: Dinosaurs or Mickey Mouse Day



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sadie's Therapy

I'm sure you've all been wondering what's been going on with Sadie - how has she been recovering from her surgery that she had almost four months ago?

I haven't written much because there's not much to write about. We kept her pretty much without activity for three months post surgery aside from short walks up and down our street or around the block as she got a bit stronger. Otherwise she was contained from playing with other dogs, running and going up and down too many stairs.

After 3 months, we checked in with the physical therapy department who encouraged us to start doing a series of therapy exercises with her daily such as walking up and down stairs, doing figure eights between cones and having her walk over long rods so she lifts her paws. Still after six weeks, I didn't see huge progress on her dragging her paws. Now both the neurologist and the physical therapist said it could take months and that it's unlikely we'll see results this soon but I want to see progress! I want her to be able to go on long walks again and play with other dogs and enjoy being a puppy. But we've also spent a lot of time and money to help her get better. We're giving her every chance possible to have a normal and long life. So this past week, Sadie started doing water therapy. This is supposed to make a huge difference so two times per week, I will take Sadie to the therapist and she'll put on a life jacket, step into a tub that has a treadmill in it - the tub will fill with water and then the treadmill will switch on and this will help Sadie get used to lifting her feet up higher off the ground when walking.

It's funny because this type of therapy is also used for weight loss in dogs. In fact, they recommended just this for Adler to lose some weight when she was a few years old. We didn't do it then mainly becaue Adler would have freaked out for sure because she hated water. Sadie loves it so we knew at least it wouldn't be a struggle to get her into the tub. And she proved us right as she was drinking from the tub like it was a big water bowl! Fingers crossed this therapy does the trick!


Sunday, August 06, 2017

California Dreamin'!

We just got back from an 8-day trip to California so sorry for not posting last week (I haven't done that too often) but we were spending 12 hour days exploring Disneyland, Legoland and more so I took a true vacation from the blog.

The kids had never been to California so we first went to visit their cousins just north of Los Angeles. The kids were in heaven playing with their cousins and swimming in their awesome pool while we soaked in some California rays and caught up with Tom's brother and wife as well as his older niece.

Cousins hanging out!
Swimming and bomb pops are the best!


Cousin time!


After two nights there, we moved on to Disneyland. Now if you can remember, I detested Disney World so I wasn't so sure about heading back to a Disney park but Hailey absolutely loves Mickey Mouse right now so how could I say no. I have to say I'm glad I didn't say no. Disneyland was a much better experience than Disney World for a few reasons. 1) My kids are a little bit older this time 2) Austen went on more rides which allowed Tom and I to enjoy some of the roller coasters too 3) I took better advantage of the fast pass especially the mobile version so we didn't have to wait in line 4) The parks are much smaller although still plenty to do/see 5) I reserved a bigger room so we could all enjoy a good night's sleep after a long day at the park.

Hailey loved Mickey Mouse which was so much fun to see. She took pictures with him and Pluto and pretty much anyone except Goofy (she wasn't a huge fan of his). She rode roller coasters that were appropriate for her size and proclaimed the Mickey Mouse ferris wheel as her favorite ride. She danced her butt off with Mickey Mouse at breakfast and at the Disney Junior dance party (and didn't care that her siblings weren't doing the same). She loved her wake up calls from Mickey and bought and wore her Mickey Mouse hat the entire time we visited the parks. I'd say she had a good time.

Mickey pretzels!

Disney Junior Dance Party - Hailey is whooping it up!

Hailey riding the ferris wheel next to Austen
Bumper cars with daddy

Awww...Mickey is the best!


Mater!

Peyton loved Goofy and pretty much all the characters. She knew all of them and their names (who knew Goofy had a kid named Max - although Peyton said it was weird because Goofy didn't have a wife!). Ha! She went on more rides than she did when she was 5 at Disney World but we still had to convince her to go on most of them even a roller coaster that Hailey did and told her it went slow but she cried and said she didn't want to go on it anyway (she did but didn't like it). It took all we had to get her to go on the ferris wheel so we could ride together as a family because it was too high for her. Still she did have a good time (buying stuff) and going on some of the tamer rides while occasionally surprising us by going on the Cars ride (super fast race car ride with stomach dropping hills) and the Grizzly water ride (think Great America Roaring Rapids).


Ferris Wheel that Peyton was petrified to go on but Hailey loved!

Captain Hook snuck up on Peyton!

 The Peter Pan ride broke down while we were on it and I was the lucky one who had to calm Peyton down as she realized we were up high when they turned on the lights!

Peyton's favorite character - Goofy (Hailey - not so much!)

Austen got our money's worth out of Disney hitting up Thunder Mountain (roller coaster), the Matterhorn Bobsled (super fun!), the Cars ride (multiple times), water rides, and more. His favorite was the Cars ride, bobsled and Soarin'- which was a very cool ride through many continents that we all did together - making you feel like you were flying right over them. Super fun and real!


Cars Land!

Austen was a good sport about meeting all of the characters

Proof!

Our view from our hotel balcony!


After Disneyland, we headed down toward San Diego stopping in Carlsbad to visit Legoland and spend a day at the beach (Del Mar). We needed a day at the beach to break up all the amusement parks! The waves were plentiful, the weather great and the kids had fun riding the waves on their boogie boards and building sand castles.

Boogie Boardin'

I love the beach!


Legoland was another full day with more rides and entertainment. Miniland was a highlight where they had real replicas of major U.S. cities. We rode rollercoasters, watched some shows (where Hailey once again danced her butt off) and visited their sea life aquarium.

Finally! Legoland!

Driving in his car...beep beep!

Weird guy!

Sweet photo of our kids all tuckered out.


It was a great vacation but I'm glad to be home. Disney redeemed itself in my eyes. Next up - the Disney Cruise for spring break 2018! Can't wait! I heard it's even better than going to Disneyland!