Three Kids and a Dog

Monday, August 03, 2015

Road Trip - Part I

Hailey enjoyed her first big road trip of her young life as we just returned from a 10 day vacation to the east coast.

Our first stop was the Boston area to visit family and enjoy some of the places that I visited as a child and wanted to relive through my kids! So off we went - 16 hours in the car. We decided to do it all in one day based on experience. Previous trips to the Outerbanks and Folly Island, SC, are about the same distance and we had broken those trips into two days. But if Hailey could handle it, we knew that one day would be our best bet and we weren't wrong. Hailey traveled like a champ. It helped for sure to have the iPad for her but she napped, read books, played and ate with only 3 stops of about 45 minutes each on the way there. As for Peyton, we weren't even five minutes out of town when she asks if we are in Boston yet! Austen was the new Adler (who vacationed at Papa's and Grandma Szurgot's houses) and we didn't hear from him barely at all the entire trip - easy traveler as always!

Once in Boston, we caught up with our family (always great to see the Italians!) and also hit up Canobie Lake (an amusement park for younger kids built in 1902), took a tour of Boston where the tour vehicle turns into a boat (the kids loved that!), stopped by Harvard Square and spent a day at the Cape. Oh, and almost forgot that Tom and Austen enjoyed their first visit to Fenway Park for a Red Sox vs. White Sox game.

Peyton was terrified of most of the rides at Canobie Lake but we got our moneys worth out of Austen and Hailey. Note in the pictures how Hailey goes on rides by herself but Peyton make Austen go with her and she still looks terrified. Austen got to drive his first race car (Tom drove behind with Peyton and said Austen drove cautiously - good for when he really learns how to drive!). Hailey loved the horse and buggy ride. Note the pure joy on her face (I had to make that picture extra big so you could see it!). We spent more than five hours at the park and Austen and Hailey could've spent more time there too. It was great to see Austen wanting to go on bigger rides and not being as scared as he was at Disney World. He actually asked to go on the Log Flume ride and loved it! Maybe next time we'll be able to get him on a roller coaster (although I don't remember going on those until I was a preteen).

We had a great day for our trip to the Cape. We visited the beach, of course and our kids had fun building sandcastles and playing in the warm water. No big waves or really any waves but we'll see some during the second part of our road trip to New Jersey. You'll hear all about that in my next blog post. Stay tune!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Our Third Born

It's amazing that even after already raising two children from infants to toddlers that we still marvel at this stage and Hailey's daily feats. It's like we are seeing most for the first time (and sometimes we are!).

We think her vocabulary is much more advanced than Austen and Peyton's at this age. She has so many words and is already using two or three word phrases. Among her favorites are:

- "I'm going to get you!"
- "I'm okay"
- "It's stuck!"
- "Where'd it go?"

She plays amazingly well by herself for focused periods of time (maybe 20 minutes) and she likes to play with Austen and Peyton too.

She still struggles with playing with kids she doesn't know as she really hasn't been exposed to so many different kids like the other two were at Montessori school. She did okay with her library art class camp this summer and then seeing Austen's friends' younger siblings at games. She warmed up to a lot of them but it took some time. This fall, she'll get more exposure to making friends when she starts her own Montessori school for two hours a few days a week. I think she's ready for some challenges socially and academically and I think her mind is already trained for Montessori. Can't wait to see how that changes her!

Hailey is also our little daredevil. More than the other two, she likes to climb, jump off things and even ride roller coasters. This summer we hit a local carnival, and Hailey didn't shy away from the rides!

She notices things out the window like when I'm driving - she says "mommy, cow!" I am in the middle of suburbia and there are no cows so I don't know what she's talking about but she's adamant that I am going to see the cow too so she keeps saying it with greater intensity until I look to my right and there on the roof of a store is a cow! Why, yes Hailey, there is a cow!

At 21 months, she loves hats including baseball helmets and also loves trying on my sunglasses (upside down always). I am really relishing all of her moments until she's two (which is fast approaching). Holy Cow!

Monday, July 13, 2015


Adler has officially hit 10.5 years and since I haven't posted in awhile just about her, I figured I would bring you up to date. 

- In the last few months, she has gained four or five pounds - mainly due to a switch in her food so we switched back and are nearing her "fighting weight" again.

- Adler has grown a lot less tolerant of other dogs who annoy her. People, are no problem and she seems less suspicious of them than in her younger years.  If you want to pet her, great, but If it's a pet who wants to sniff her, forget about it. 

- She is happiest when she can go for walks (which is necessary now that she needs to get back to her fighting weight). She spends most of the day sleeping indoors - even when we kick her out of the house into the backyard, she wants to come back in. But since she was walked twice a day for the first 9 years of her life, she prefers to do just that.

- She can keep up with her sisters at the playground. Yes, she went down this same slide Peyton and Hailey did.

- She is still a true city dog. She prefers the indoors (unless it is snowing) and is still afraid of flies. God forbid one get in the house (which happens daily).

- Even though it's summer and she used to sleep on the cool floor instead of her pillow, she now lays her aging body on her pillow every night no matter what temperature it is inside or outside. 

Some say age is all about how you feel and I would say for 10.5, Adler is feeling pretty good!

Monday, July 06, 2015

Happy Birthday America!

It's not the 4th of July without the beach, baseball, parades, barbecues and fireworks! We managed to get all of these things and then some in during this long weekend.

Friday morning kicked off with some baseball where Austen played in his first all star game of a holiday weekend tournament. Afterwards we headed to our favorite Michigan beach. Traffic was horrible and the beach was crowded but it still was nice to at least feel like you were a million miles away from home.

Saturday kicked off with more baseball and the parade. We couldn't all do both so Tom took Austen to his second game of the tournament while the girls and I headed off to our local parade.  Peyton was glad to tell Austen he didn't miss out on seeing Coach Q and the Stanley Cup at this year's parade (since we saw both last time they won the NHL championship) and Hailey was just enthralled with all of the excitement. She fished candy out of the street like a pro and she waved and clapped like a true American. We capped off the day with a low key barbecue with friends and of course, fireworks! Hailey loved it all. She loved watching the fireworks and throwing the little "pop it" firecrackers on the ground too. She was a true champ who retired at 10:40 that evening. A really late one for her!

Parade time!
Sunday held more baseball games and once again we needed to divide and conquer. Tom, Austen and Hailey headed to one more all star game for Austen and Peyton and I headed to the city to use our Chicago White Sox tickets we had for that day's game. Austen and Tom had to miss due to Austen's game but it was a good lesson in commitment as Austen really wanted to go to the Sox game. We told him he had made a commitment to playing in the all stars and he needed to attend that game. He wasn't happy about it at first but eventually he came around and I think he was glad he did. He won the MVP that day (awarded by the coach of the other team - they vote for the opposing team's MVP) for robbing three kids of at least doubles or triples when he caught their balls in the outfield. Go Austen!

I don't think you could get more Americana than our long weekend especially with the great weather we had. May the rest of our 4th of Julys be just as great!

Fireworks with our 3 and a friend.
Adler gets in the shot. 

Daddy's White Sox girl
Getting in some batting practice at the cages for the big tourney.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Changing the Way I Parent

Just last week I came across a post on Facebook titled, "My daughter is not giving me a hard time, she is having a hard time." I had read a very similar article recently and now this second article made my heart hurt for my middle child because it rang so true.

Austen had recently told me that while him and Peyton were playing downstairs she had asked him why mommy paid more attention to Hailey than she did to us? After my initial shock that she asked that, I asked Austen how he answered. He said matter of factly that he told Peyton that Hailey was little and needed more help than they did. Smart kid. However, being a middle child, I knew how she felt. You aren't the oldest that commands most of the attention with all of your activities and you aren't the youngest that needs your parents overseeing most of everything you still do.

So while we had been chalking up her outbursts, her defiance and just generally her bad behavior to her personality saying oh that's so Peyton; what we were missing - what I was missing - is that she is having a hard time. That she wanted and she needed more attention than she was getting and she didn't know how to ask for it or to get it.

It's funny because after I read the first article, I changed how I started parenting her. When she started having an outburst or started becoming defiant, I would show her love by wrapping her up in my arms and talking to her instead of shouting right along with her. Amazingly she responded differently. She calmed down quicker and I could even head off her tantrums before they even got to the point of escalating.

I also started making a point of doing things that Peyton wants to do and having just Peyton time. Whether it's taking her to the store with just me or meeting Tom for lunch with just her, we are making more time for our middle child. She may be our second child but she is definitely not second in our hearts. We love you P!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day

We just finished up a great but very busy weekend with our kids in celebration if Father's Day.

We kicked off the weekend by taking Austen and Peyton to mini golf (Austen's request) and to see the new Pixar movie Inside Out (Peyton's request). We left Hailey at home with a babysitter so we could all fully participate. It felt weird with her not being with us but it was also nice to be able to spend time with the older two together without one of us having to hang back. 

Saturday we went to breakfast together before Tom headed off to golf with friends (his Father's Day gift of sorts). The kids and I headed to the mall to run some errands and ended up at the Disney store for some special interactive games. Home for lunch and nap for Hailey before heading to Austen's little league home run derby contest where beforehand they  test the skills of all the little kids beforehand. While Austen didn't win any category in particular, he did really well in all categories probably placing in the top 3 in at least 2 out of the 4 categories for hitting, accuracy, throwing and speed. 
Tom met us at the field and we capped off the night with a date night to a Mexican restaurant in a neighboring town that I would definitely go back to. 

Sunday we woke up early so I could run in our town's 5K and Austen got to run the 1/2 mile race with all of his friends. He placed 18th overall out of over 300 kids ages 1-10. Maybe we have a runner on our hands too. I did okay as well averaging a 9 minute, 20 second mile. It's not the 7 minute mile I did when I was 12 but I was happy with it! After the run, my dad met us and we headed for some beach time in Michigan. We love that he loves going there as much as we do. Someday soon, Dad, we will have a place there to go to that's ours! Until then we'll keep going up there for Father's Day as long as you do!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hailey's New BFF

Can you guess who it is? Austen? Peyton?


It's Adler.

I love how Hailey just decided one day to pay more attention to her.  Adler will be sleeping and she will go right up to her and start having a conversation with her. Sometimes Adler becomes annoyed and moves because Hailey is interrupting her nap time and she's old and needs her beauty sleep. But, for the most part, Adler will start to lick her and Hailey will laugh. Then Hailey will pat Adler's head. Sometimes she will pucker her lips and stick her face right in Adler's asking for a kiss. And, sometimes they just play side by side, content knowing that the other is there.

Hailey has also shown a great interest in feeding her -- from treats to dog food to her own food (including Froot Loops!). That's probably why Adler considers Hailey her BFF. Hailey was probably the reason Adler gained 4 pounds in three months!