Three Kids and a Dog

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day Weekend 2019 @ Cedar Point!

What a fun Memorial Day Weekend we had! It could have been spoiled by rain but somehow the rain seemed to miss us in Ohio.

We ventured to Cedar Point, Ohio, on Friday for a baseball tournament for Austen. We left after school and made the long trek (4 1/2 hours) to Cedar Point, getting in late and barely noticing the maybe two star hotel that our team had been assigned by tournament officials. I'd liken it to the Econolodge with outside room access, a toilet that barely flushed, squishy carpet and barely enough room to lay out our four small suitcases. The beds were new and comfy but there were only two of them (and no rollaway beds were available) and we're a family of five. So what to do at midnight? Sleep three to a bed with Hailey snuggled in between Tom and I in what they claimed was a queen bed but was clearly a double.

Luckily, morning came quickly as the boys had an early game so we didn't have to spend much time at the hotel that morning and we didn't return after the first game, opting to go to a Panera before the second game where I talked to another mom who had booked a hotel outside of the tournament. I quickly looked that one up, Tom and I made a few calls and just before the second game we moved hotels to the Breakers at Cedar Point. (Another family followed suit shortly thereafter too.)

Hands Up Hailey!
What a difference a hotel can make. More space, right on the shores of Lake Erie, a big Starbucks located inside and just steps from the Cedar Point Amusement and Water Park. It definitely made the trip. That and the fact that Cedar Point is huge and full of amazing rides!

Now that our kids are getting a little older, they'll venture on more rides. Peyton, crying, but bravely went on her first real roller coaster, Iron Dragon. Austen did some fun ones too - Corkscrew and Raptor. Hailey had fun at Planet Snoopy (the Peanuts characters are the theme of the whole park!) where she rode a mini roller coaster, Woodstock Express, and the Monster, and participated in whatever rides her height would allow her to go on. She can't wait til she's bigger and can go on more!

Tom and I went on many rides separately but we were able to ride one fun one together - Steel Vengeance which was an amazing old wooden roller coaster that they replaced with a steel track. The line for this one stretched upward to 2 hours most days but because we were hotel guests, we got on in 30 minutes or less during early arrival admittance. I could see why too - clearly one of the best roller coasters I've ever been on as you dipped and corkscrewed through the intricacies of an old wooden roller coaster at break neck speed, often thinking you were going to smash your head into the beams.

We spent 3 days at the park in between baseball games. Baseball? Oh yeah, the reason why we were there. However, the boys were certainly out of their league at this tournament although I thought Austen performed well hitting and fielding. But this was definitely more of a mini vacation for our family. On the way home, the kids begged to go back and I think we will. It was a great and unexpected place to visit. We had a blast (and thanks to all the men and women who serve(d) in the military, we can).

Flying with Snoopy

The Boardwalk at Hotel Breakers

Austen at the Plate

Fun with Teammates

We Love Snoopy!

Monday, May 20, 2019


Both Peyton and Hailey are total pack rats. You should see their rooms. Bags of little toys, paper, band aids, and a multitude of other things stuffed in their closets and under their beds. Peyton started this habit first and has taught Hailey the art of being a pack rat so now I'm not sure who is worse but it drives me nuts as I can't stand a messy room.

One of Hailey's favorite things to collect is the free activity sheets at restaurants for kids. You know the ones they give you that have activities and the kids menu on them. Hailey likes to draw on them and then she loves to take these home and stuff them under her bed. We've been trying to convince her that she doesn't need these to no avail, but finally on Friday night, I persuaded her.

I pulled her aside and told her that she needs to leave these on the table because they collect them and they put them up by the beds of children who have no arms and can't draw so she needs to leave them there. She happily got up and walked away from the table on Friday night without it. One point for mommy.

Well on Sunday night while at another restaurant, she happily declared to our table that she didn't need to bring home her coloring because they are for the children with no arms. I almost spit out my drink. Trying to contain my laughter, I must've looked like I was crying because Austen was like, "Really? They use those for that? Oh." Then he continues to say we can't talk about this because it's going to make mom cry as he mistook my body convulsing with silent laughter as sobs. Turning away from Hailey so she wouldn't see my laughing, I hear Peyton say, "Hailey, you know what they really do with those, right? They throw them in the garbage as soon as we leave!"

Oh my, how is my 9 year old smart as a whip and my 12 year old so naive? Ha! Still I thwarted Peyton's attempt to see Hailey cry by her admission of the truth and then told Austen on the side that it wasn't true but that's what I told Hailey! Jeez, maybe he really does still believe in Santa Claus. Oh Austen. Pure sweetness and naivete from that one.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Mother's Day 2019

A funny cartoon about moms this Mother's Day caught my eye and explained exactly how I felt on this day.

You see when I worked, I had two full time jobs and that was hard (but if I took a day off, it could be my day off as my kids were in school/daycare). There are no days off when you're a stay at home mom especially with one who isn't in school full time yet.

 Now don't get me wrong, my favorite thing to do on Mother's Day (and during that weekend) is watch my kids play sports. So we started the weekend with Hailey playing a great soccer game (with me coaching) and getting a goal. Peyton followed that up with a superb soccer game where she scored two goals leading her team to a win, and then a softball game where she went 2 for 2 from the plate. Austen rounded out Saturday with an ESPN baseball play of the game where he made a diving catch in center field (and knocked the wind out of himself in the process).

Sunday morning, Mother's Day had us up early and off to a soccer game an hour away only to find out as we were driving down our street that it was canceled due to flooded fields. Baseball tournament games were also severely delayed. So what to do? Brunch was out - the  kids already ate. So it was off to deliver a Mother's Day present to my mom then head to the grocery store. Made lunch for the kids and took them and Sadie all for a walk to Starbucks. Folded and put away laundry. Made lunches for Monday and got clothes and uniforms situated for the week all the while Tom repainted our deck.

By that time it was time for the U.S. Women's National Team soccer game on TV so at least I got to enjoy that (and a crepe) before heading off to Austen's 6pm baseball game an hour away. He doubled and singled and made several key catches in center field including throwing someone out at home from center field. After the game, the players all gave their moms roses too. The only thing that could have been better while watching all my kids this weekend was the weather!

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Life Lessons and Sports

We are just about knee deep in spring sports. Lots of baseball, softball and soccer going on every day in our household here. And, it's got me thinking about how much sports taught me about the real world. Think about it. There are so many situations that relate to the workforce that are so important and my kids are learning these now. But Austen is at an especially pivotal age where these lessons are going to stick with him.

Number 1 is time management. Austen learned this from a young age as he has the most sports but as he's gotten older it's become more difficult too. He easily has 2 1/2 to 3 hours of homework every night for a 6th grader! Crazy! But I'm confident this will pay off for him in the future too as I've already seen how well he manages his very limited time.

Number 2 is how to be a team player and a leader on the field. Your teammate lets in a goal or strikes out, how do you pick them up when they are feeling terrible? Do you grab the ball irritated that they let an easy one in or do you put a hand on their shoulder tell them to shake it off and get the next one? What kind of teammate will you be and what kind of leader will you become? Austen is learning how to be more vocal with this teammates especially in soccer where the others look to him as one of the leaders on the field. He's not the most rah rah kind of kid, but if he wants that role, he needs to be.

Number 3 is mental toughness. This is huge. How do you pick yourself up from striking out, being in a slump, making a bad play or having a bad game? Do you think woe is me and cry your eyes out or do you work hard to get better and figure out what you have to do to make it happen? This is what Austen and many kids struggle with the most. Many of Austen's teammates in baseball and soccer get pissed. They swear, they kick the dirt or a goal post, they throw their gloves, they cry. Austen has learned to reign in this type of emotion over the last two years thanks to a baseball coach who told them all to quit crying or they were going to get made fun of or beat up when they got older. But that doesn't mean that he doesn't cry in the car or at home. That doesn't mean that he doesn't beat himself up for missing a goal he should have had or striking out at bat. How do you come back from adversity? How do you press the reset button, shake it off and persevere? It's hard for an adult. So I know it's tough for a 12 year old. We're working on lots of positive self talk. It's a struggle.

Number 4 is hard work pays off. There's not a lot of time between homework, games and practices so Austen does not have a lot of free time with his friends who do not play sports with him. Sometimes I feel sorry for him as I see his texts from friends asking if he can go to town or to a movie and his answer always is, I have a game or a practice. Austen's friends are diverse. Some are sporty. Others are not. They apparently have a lot more time than he does. At any rate, he needs to practice his swing when he's not at a practice or a game or doing homework. Whether it's soccer, baseball or lacrosse, there is always something to practice. And it's not that video game Fort Nite either! You work hard, you're likely to be rewarded. Hard work pays off. It's my "Mom-tra."

There are many more life lessons, I'm sure Austen will learn from sports over the next several years. All important lessons. Lessons he'll carry with him into his first job someday. And, because of sports and our guidance, he'll be ready.