Three Kids and a Dog

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Happy Easter! My kids, who love to play Easter year-round - hiding and finding their little, plastic Easter eggs all over the house - finally got a chance to have a hunt in their new backyard.

The weather was perfect (almost 80) and for once dry, meaning no snow or rain. They woke up early or rather one of them did and then woke up the other one. I heard four little feet pad along the hall and down the stairs until they found their Easter baskets heaped full of candy. I know better than to over do it since that's my mom's job and she will have Easter baskets for them filled with toys, videos and clothes. Each year she picks out a new basket for them so my job as the Easter Bunny is to simply pick one of the many personalized baskets she has given them in previous years and throw in a few candy items.

After all of the excitement over the baskets, they wanted to get dressed so they could start the hunt in the backyard. They do so quickly and Austen takes off running around the backyard like it is timed. News flash, my hunt is not a race! There are no prizes for finishing first. Still Austen sprints around the yard tumbling down our small hill as his feet moved a little faster than his body at one point. Slow down, I tell him, but in a matter of minutes he has found all 12 of his eggs and has moved on to helping Peyton find hers. Peyton stands in the center of the yard and surveys the area, looking for eggs and then running to get them. Different approaches for different kids!

After all the eggs have been found, we take off for our next hunt at Grandma's house. This one is a competition with rules, partners and prizes. There are eight teams of two with younger kids paired with an adult or older kid (even Hailey participated being carried by her partner in her car seat).  Austen's team takes first, Peyton's second, and mine third. The prizes are gift certificates for Starbucks, movies, etc. Grandma's hunts keep getting better, especially when you win!

The kids then went on to their other Grandma's house where they participated in their third hunt of the day. This one comprised of clues and giant cookies at the end! 

There is no question though - Tom and I have big shoes to fill when we are grandparents. Not just on Easter but on every other day of the year. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hailey Turns 6 Months

It is hard to believe that last week Hailey turned 6 months old. It is hard to remember life without her!

At her 6-month doctor's appointment, she weighed in at 14 lbs, 4 oz and measured 25 inches long. She is still a peanut at about the 25th percentile overall. She definitely is the smallest of the three. But she is also the best baby so far too. She smiles more than any kid I know. She is easy to put down for bed. She gets excited when she sees one of us and flails her arms and legs. She laughs at her brother, plays with her sister (ok sometimes pulls her hair), and already tracks Adler as she moves about the room.

She has started eating cereal and has really good eye hand coordination. When you are holding her, she has been known to try to grab your drink out of your hand or the placemat under your dinner plate off the table. She passes objects back and forth between both hands and rolls front to back and back to front. 

Next big milestone, sitting up. She is working on it! Hard to believe in another 6 months, she will be 1 and almost walking.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Austen's Spring Break

Last week was Austen's spring break. Given all the changes in our lives the last five months, we decided to enjoy just a few days off all together. That meant we kept Peyton out of school for a few days too since their spring breaks weren't the same.

We enjoyed a fun family trip to the library to pick out books/DVDs (just because it is spring break doesn't mean reading stops or that our kids can't watch a few extra videos!). We went out to dinner every night and Austen and Peyton got to experience using chopsticks (Austen has Tom's chopstick skills, Peyton not so much). 

We went to the beach. Yes, I said the beach. So it was a little snow covered and only in the low 50s but the kids enjoyed making sand castles (I wish I could have been in their classrooms when they told their teachers they went to the beach for spring break, which they did! Too bad it was in Michigan.). Adler did get to come too! I love how happy she looks running around and rolling in the sand. I think it is her most favorite place. That's why she is the perfect dog for our family. 

After four days of togetherness, Austen and Peyton were getting on each other's nerves. It was at that moment when one of Austen's friends called to have him come over and play. Perfect, I thought until Peyton, who had been complaining her brother was bothering her, started crying that she wanted to go with Austen too. 

Next year, I think we are up for a true spring vacation. Someplace warm with a beach so my kids don't have to write about the look alike glaciers on a Michigan beach.


I had a few posts that I just realized did not publish since I was posting from an app. I just published so note Hailey turning 5 months and Peyton's spring break. Next up Austen's spring break and Hailey's baptism.

5 Months Old and Just Happy

Last week, Hailey hit the 5 month mark. Hard to believe she has been part of our family for five months now and there are times when I can't remember life without her. 

Having a third kid was definitely a good addition to our family. Austen and Peyton have not shown any jealousy toward her (although Austen doesn't like the fact that it is hard to get his seatbelt latched now with three car seats across the back and early on did say, it was fine with just Peyton and me! This of course was in a moment of frustration with the seatbelt!)

Just yesterday at dinner, we were sharing with Austen what it means to be a big brother to Hailey and protecting her. Peyton piped right in and said, "Austen, you are going to do those things for me too? Right Austen???"

Of course he is. Adler will too of course. She is already one of Hailey's favorites.

Spring Break for Peyton

It is spring break season and this is the first year since I was in college that I needed to plan for an actual spring break. In past years, Austen and Peyton's school did not have a spring break so we didn't need to worry about planning time off during this period.

To complicate matters this year, Austen and Peyton had different weeks off. So if we didn't have a nanny, Tom and I would have had to take 10 days off or some number of days each that equaled 10. However, we were lucky but still felt like it was important to spend time together even though we hadn't planned an actual trip somewhere.

It started with Peyton enjoying a special day with just me.

We went to breakfast...

Got our nails done...

Tried on some clothes while shopping...

Made a stuffed animal at the Build-A-Bear workshop...

And got a snack together...a great day!

Peyton also enjoyed a special one on one day with grandma since she was on spring break too! They went to McDonalds, shopped, went to a movie and rode the carousel together. Our nanny also took Peyton to the library, scheduled a play date with a friend and treated her to cupcakes at a local bakery. By the end of the week, Peyton clearly was exhausted but I hope she will remember her special spring break. 

More on Austen's week in an upcoming post.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Adler's Sleeping Arrangements

After almost 10 years of sleeping in our room at night, Adler has decided to change up her sleeping arrangements.

The past several nights she has come upstairs to bed only to go back downstairs 10 minutes later to sleep on the carpet.

Now I know we bought some nice carpet for the family room and she likes to lounge on it during the day, but I never imagined she would want to be that far away from us at night too.

I might have chalked it up to old age aside from the fact that she comes upstairs initially and I have seen her enthusiastically bound down the basement stairs. I am hoping it is just a phase because it makes me sad that I don't have to climb over Adler to get out of bed in the morning anymore...even though it is much easier.  Maybe I stepped on her one too many times! Although she never held it against me before. Maybe it's because of that box of  mac n cheese I accidentally dropped on her head last week? Either way I miss knowing she is near.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dear Dad, Mom, Peyton, Hailey & Adler

Yesterday, when we sat down for dinner there were nicely decorated envelopes at each of our seats. Austen instructed us not to open them until we were all sitting down together. 

When we were finally sitting down, Austen gave permission for each one of us to open ours. Peyton went first and Austen read her note. She beamed from ear to ear especially when Austen said she was good at hide and seek!

Tom went second and read his. He is learning what his dad does and is more and more interested each day.

I went last and read mine with a huge smile on my face and in my heart. Maybe we will have another writer in the family!

We are not done, Austen said as he pointed to Hailey and Adler's envelopes carefully laid out on the table since they don't have a seat. I had to write them one too, he proclaimed, they are part of our family!

They were sweet notes to a sister he has known only for a short time and a dog that he has known all his life.

This time is fleeting, I know. How much longer will my son write love notes to his family unprovoked by a birthday or another occasion. Just in case it is sooner than I want, I am keeping every single one

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Small Town

I am not used to living in a small town. For the past 16 years I have lived in the third biggest city in the U.S.  Even while growing up I lived in towns that easily had more than 20,000 people. 

When we picked our new town to live in, we did a lot of research and were interested in a certain pocket of the town.  I didn't really grasp the magnitude of what being in a town of only 8,000 people means. My college class was probably bigger than my whole town!

Last week, on my walk to the train, a woman had just pulled her car out of my neighbor's driveway when I left my house. I waved (because everyone here does that even when they don't know someone) and started my 7-minute walk to the train. At the end of my street, the same car that had been in my neighbor's driveway goes by and the lady offers me a ride. I say okay, mostly because you shouldn't say no in this town and because I was tired of trudging through snow, ice and cold to walk to the train. As I approach the car, she tells me she was just dropping off something at my neighbor's and she is on her way to church. I felt better for my city instincts not kicking in and willingly get in her car.

As soon as I am in, she tells me she used to live at my address for 15 years, two owners ago. She asks me if we kept the shed in the back (we did - her husband built it); if we had kids (her husband is the town's fire captain and is certified installing car seats; who Austen's teacher is (she walks her dog); and what we built on top of our garage (a size able deck).

We chatted for a few minutes more when we arrived at the train station and exchanged full names before I got out of her car marveling at what it means to live in a small town. 

The magnitude of moving here starting to sink in; this place is like no other place I have ever lived before.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Puerto Rico

I finally found the Blogger app and downloaded it to my phone. They must have updated it because last time I remember using it, it was awful so I deleted it. Now, it actually works so I will be able to use my commute time to post blogs and pictures. Videos are a little more complicated for some reason so I have to do that from my phone.

Why am I telling you this? One, because you will have to excuse the typos as my phone likes to believe it knows what it is spelling and it's not always right! And, two, my updates might not happen on Sunday nights anymore. 

Anyway, just returned last week from Puerto Rico for work. I was there for six full days! Missed Hailey lots as she is so young. Good thing she decided to roll over right before I left. We Skyped though and the time went by slowly. 

When I returned, Tom had gone skiing with friends (which was planned) and I had the kids all to myself:) I took them to places they wanted to go punctuated by places I needed to go. So we went to the library, Costco, grocery shopping and the restaurant where the train delivers your food. 

It was a fun weekend of catching up and spending time with my kids...and Tom when he returned on Sunday night.