Three Kids and a Dog

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The 13th Annual Tree Cutting

I love our annual tradition of going up to Michigan to cut down our Christmas tree. We started doing this when Tom and I first started dating (an idea that we "borrowed" from his oldest brother). Over the years they had brought their three children up to this tree farm with other families to cut down their trees and enjoy each other's company as well as some beverages and treats.

So back in 2001, we decided to start our own tree cutting tradition and we've gone every year since. Over the years, we've accumulated our own group of friends who enjoy this annual tradition. We start with lunch in nearby New Buffalo (this year was a record year with 18 people) and then head over to the tree farm. We start by visiting Santa in his shed (my kids think that this is the real Santa and the ones at the mall are just his helpers) and the kids telling him what they want for Christmas. We then decide on what type of tree we are getting - Douglas Fir, Frasier Fir, etc. and board a wagon being pulled by a tractor or horses to bring us out into the farm. Once there we begin our search for the perfect tree. This year took a bit longer but I enjoy seeing my kids and Adler weave through the trees and then once we call for all to check out a particular tree they all come running back to find us/it.

Once cut down (you do this yourself), we board the wagon back and unload our trees, tie them to the car and begin to help ourselves to festive warm drinks, cookies and other treats while we "tailgate" and catch up with each other.

This year was a warm year which allowed us to tailgate for a bit longer, especially with all of the kids. Austen asked Santa for Legos and the NFL Rush Zone game (because Peyton had already asked for the Paw Patrol building) and Peyton asked for Rapunzel and her horse Maximus too. A couple of funny moments occurred with Santa as the kids caught him checking his iPhone during a break and I loudly proclaimed he needed to check the weather at the North Pole. Also, we were there til dark so Santa was done, took off his suit and walked to his F150 pickup truck parked near where we were tailgating. We all tried to distract the kids so they wouldn't see him get into his car and we were successful but they did see him change out of his red suit into regular street clothes. My friend calmly told them that they got his suit so muddy (from their booths) that he had to change! Not sure if the older ones bought it though.

If I think about it, I really probably only have a few more years until Austen doesn't believe any longer. After all, I was 9 when I found out. Maybe I can get my dad to tell him the same story he told me then. I don't recall his exact words because I was 9, but I recall it being a beautiful articulation about the spirit of St. Nicholas and it made finding out not so childhood shattering.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Whole Lot of Happys

That's Happy Birthday, Happy Thanksgiving and a whole lot of me just being happy now that I'm finally done. So this Thanksgiving I have a lot to be thankful for and I don't take that for granted. I also don't take for granted each day we have on this Earth. So I'm relishing more birthdays including my "first born" Adler who turns 10 tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day).

Ten. 10. I can't believe she is 10! Remember life expectancy for this breed is 7-9 years so she already is above average. She continues to be in good health. Sleeps a lot. Greets guests playfully. Plays tug of war with her toys with the kids and just enjoys romping around in our inch of snow. She is the picture of good health at her age even though Peyton continues to ask when Adler dies if she can get a cat?!

So tomorrow we celebrate what we are thankful for and it's easy to start off with the people who are the most important in my life. I am very thankful for all of my good friends and my family.  Having good friends and family makes this life worth living. But having a supportive husband and three healthy, active children and dog is just a blessing.

I do know how lucky I am. So not just on Thanksgiving but throughout the year, I will be thankful.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I don't remember how old I am anymore. And, I can't actually remember when that started happening either. Maybe somewhere around my mid 30s. The fact is that birthdays are just a number and if you start thinking about how old you are or how much life you have left to live then you just start missing life. I don't want to miss any of it, especially as I begin a new year. 

I do remember enough to know it wasn't a milestone birthday for me but it was the beginning of a milestone for me. A new path to follow in life where before I had been straddling two paths. How much easier to follow only one. To worry about only one. I have often said that straddling both paths was always easier. I'm not so sure that's true anymore. For what I had been doing was hard. I see how hard it was now and I have no idea how I kept it up for so long.  Or maybe I do know. It was a lot of stamina, support and rushing around. I don't want to rush around anymore. I want to enjoy this life, this time. 

So hear's to a new year, a vacation to kick it off (Arizona compliments of the parents) and being in each and every moment from this point forward.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Hailey's Personality

Well, she definitely has one. Not sure she will be meek and mild as we originally thought either. She has taken to "squealing" either in delight or annoyance. It largely depends on which sibling is close by. Can you guess?!  She voices her dissatisfaction at something routinely like getting her diaper changed or sitting in her car seat or stroller.

She definitely has an obsession with electronics but not the kid kind. She wants the real thing like our TV remotes. We have two - one fake and one real. Actually, the fake one is real it just doesn't have batteries in it. Regardless she knows because it doesn't light up. 

And, forget pulling out your phone or iPad either in front of her. She will be so demanding wanting to play with it that none of us dares try to multitask when we're with her. Austen and Peyton even  retreat to another room to do homework or play an app on the iPad.

 So what does Hailey want for Christmas? You guessed it. I only want her to have one so she stops using mine!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Trick or Treat

I can't believe it has been two weeks since I last posted. I don't think I have ever not posted for this long but life seems to have gotten so busy these last few weeks that sometimes it feels like I am drowning in my personal to do list. I will whittle that down at some point but need to give myself a little break.

But, I certainly didn't want to deprive you of any updates on Halloween. It was a very busy but fun day. I don't think I have been that tired in a long time! 

Austen's school had a Halloween parade after they returned from lunch at home (so they could put on their costumes). From there we went right into classroom parties and since I am one of the room moms for Aisten's class, I got to help out. From there we raced home to grab Tom and Peyton and Hailey for our first decked out neighborhood party. Austen saw all of his friends so after eating an early dinner they were off running up and down our street together. At 7, I never envisioned Austen leaving us to trick or treat at this early age but we didn't want to deny him trick or treating with his friends either. Next time we will have to set some ground rules first like where to meet before dark and what to do if your candy bag overflows (it did)!

Since Austen was off with his friends and it was still pretty cold, Tom took Hailey home for a bit to hand out candy while I did a bit if trick or treating with Peyton. Afterwards, we finally met up with Austen and attended our second neighborhood party of the day. 

Hailey loved being pulled around in the wagon and seeing all the trick or treaters. Can't wait to see her running around next year!