water park adventures

My semester ended on Monday and on Wednesday, 3 and I packed our bags and drove to Great Wolf Lodge. It was interesting trip for a few reasons:

  1. We drove to Fitchburg, an area I’d never been but in our journey to get there, we passed Shirley, MA. Five years ago, my husband and I put an offer and deposit on a lot to build a house in Shirley.

    WHAT. WERE. WE. THINKING?

    When you get off of the exit, you’re greeted by a giant tractor store. I know that there was a lot going on during that time and it is beautiful out there in the country. All I kept thinking as I drove past was how miserable I’d be if we’d ended up there. Sure, we’d have a beautiful home that we’d designed, but that’s where things would come to a stand still for me. I am happy we ended up in our beach town, able to walk to the ocean (and bonus, we designed our current kitchen last summer when our floor caved in, so – there’s that).

  2. We drove past the town where my son was born and spent the first year of his life. I was definitely feeling emotional passing those exits. I’ve only ever been to that town for his disclosure meeting, pre-move-in visits, and our court date when his adoption was finalized.
  3. My son was excitedly talking about our “abventure” and then I looked back and he was out cold asleep. What a little trooper. He managed to get in a 40 minute nap on our 70 minute drive, so he was all ready to roll when we got into the water park.

Great Wolf Lodge is HUGE! I parked on the other side of campus and when all was said and done, we walked nearly three miles before we even got to the water park (granted, I ran 1.5 in the AM and we did walk the dog before we left).

We went to our room, moved the car, got changed, and then went to the water park. What fun! There are two sides of water park at the GWL in Fitchburg. We spent a few hours on one side where 3 ran and played and swam. He went down a water slide over and over and over and just laughed and laughed, having the best time.

I love that I get to see the world through his toddler eyes. He was just having such fun and as a result, so was I. After our water park time, we showered and went to dinner and then to bed. It was a busy day and I wanted to be well-rested for the following.

The next morning started off okay — we went to breakfast; 3 ate a small feast; and then we went to the other side of the water park. He didn’t care as much for this side, so we only spent a little while there. We went back to the room after a bit, changed, went to the balloon animal activity where 3 got a purple monkey on a green tree balloon.

We walked around, got dessert and then pizza, and then went back to our room for naps and some HGTV. 3 was pretty exhausted at that point, so we took it easy the rest of the night. Friday morning, we got up, had breakfast, and got on the road to head home. I had my Friday 5k to run upon our arrival and figured 3 could use a nice, long nap… actually, it seemed we BOTH needed a nice, long nap. I put 3 down and decided to lay down myself; two hours later, I awoke, got my 5K in, and got ready for dinner.

We ended our adventure with a trip to one of our favorite Tex-Mex restaurants as a family. All-in-all, it was a great couple days and a nice way to kick off the end of the semester. I am still waiting for consistent warmer weather, though I will say, this weekend’s preview has been lovely!

end of semester recap

Well, folks, I made it through the end of the semester! Monday marked my last day of classes and yesterday I spent some time updating grades. I will submit and finalize everything on Friday upon my return from 3’s and my FIRST SUMMER ADVENTURE!

We are leaving in about 30 minutes to head on a mommy-3 retreat and we are both so excited. 3 has been talking about his “abventure” all week and told me today that he can’t wait until we get there. I can’t wait either!

This week has been really remarkable. On Monday, I had students wait in a line to talk to me after class and tell me that they looked forward to attending my class every week. It was so nice to hear. The biggest compliment, though, was from a student who casually mentioned that it really meant a lot to him to see how I tried to connect with all of my students and build a community within my classroom. I know that this is not something that most professors do and I’ve definitely been told by colleagues that I really shouldn’t care about my students, but it was honestly one of the most appreciated comments I’ve ever been given about my work.

I’ve been looking to transition out of teaching for a while and started doing some consultant work here and there; nothing really steady or serious. I’ve been working on rebranding and marketing in 2019 and have a few big projects in the pipeline that I’m excited about. Monday’s end to the semester really left me on a high note going into a summer and at least a fall sabbatical.

Monday’s high was quickly knocked down by Tuesday’s low. 3 was just not having any part of that day. He went to daycare on Monday and we know when he goes he is over-stimulated and under-rested. This trickled into Tuesday like a waterfall… it was throw-himself-on-the-floor tantrum after tantrum accompanied by screaming and crying. When it was nap time, I ate two giant bowls of ice cream and took a nap myself (I may or may not have cried myself to sleep).

The evening was better for both of us, even though I was so upset all day that all I’d eaten was breakfast (eggs) and ice cream, so I ended up missing my yoga classes in lieu of a salad and some cabbage. It was worth it. I had S relax and read in his room before bed and he got a good night’s sleep and is ready to take on today’s big adventure.

 

mother’s day

For years, Mother’s Day left me in a strange place. I was a step-mother being celebrated for my contributions to my family but yearned for a child of my own at the same time. It was difficult to be appreciative and not show outward aching at the same time. When 3 came home, that all changed of course…

This weekend, we celebrated Mother’s Day and it was all lovely. Yesterday, I was showered with love and hand-made gifts from 11 & 13. They each made me mugs that were thoughtfully painted and they were both proud to tell me that I could use these mugs for my tea. I can’t wait!

Their mom took them to Michael’s to get a craft for me, which is appreciated. She has not always been so accepting and approving. Last night, when she came to pick 11 & 13 up, she texted my husband to let him know she got to the house and to have him wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. 11 & 13 left with handmade cards from an in-town printing press, flowers, and chocolate-covered strawberries in hand.

Before that, though, we went to Davio’s and had an Italian dinner (and a glass of Moscato for me). It was a delicious meal and our server complimented all three kiddos on their behavior (and their appetites).

I also was taught a new dance this weekend. I honestly wonder what the neighbors think, as there are frequent dance parties that take place in our sitting room and kitchen space. The newest dance I learned is where I catch an imaginary ball and then look like I’m tying a bow with my fists. It appears there are dramatized facial expressions as well.

All-in-all, a great weekend that led up to today. For Mother’s Day, my husband and 3 took me to brunch at one of my favorite places, Eastern Standard and surprised me with tickets to the Red Sox game! The weather in Boston was less than fantastic today, but after a Mother’s Day winter hat purchase, I was comfortable enough to make it through the game. Fortunately, my husband got us seats under the grand stand, so we stayed dry the duration of the game.

After a stunning Sox victory, we drove home, admiring the city and recapping our day. Then, we ordered pizza and cheesecake, because is there really any other way to celebrate Mother’s Day?

 

april vacation

We are excited for the kids’ April vacation week as well as the upcoming Boston Marathon to cheer on my husband!

We’d originally planned on 13 attending an art camp but received notice that due to low enrollment,  it was canceled; instead, we’ve come up with a plan for the kids to enjoy their week off of school:

Friday: Family dinner with my parents & brother.

Saturday: Husband and I will go out for packet pickup and a date, so I’m sure the kids will be sugared up since they’ll be with their grandparents all day (the ice cream parlor we can walk to is now open).

Sunday: Church & Family Day to prepare for the marathon; maybe we will walk to the beach if the weather is nice and a big family dinner in the evening.

Monday: Boston Marathon! The weather is suspect for now but we are hoping it clears up some. If it doesn’t, I think we will have to take the T and just mill around the Pru for a little while we wait for my husband to finish. I’d really like everyone to see him cross the finish line.

Tuesday: Zoo (weather dependent) with my parents. My husband and I are heading to yoga Tuesday night, so my parents will get a few extra hours to spend just with the kids and play games/eat sugar.

Wednesday: Girls’ Day — 13 wants to do some shopping; she has birthday money that is burning quite the hole in her pocket.

Thursday: 13 has to have a cleaning and tooth extraction and 11 has a cleaning, so we will probably lay low the rest of the day.

Friday: Chores/Relaxation/Reading.

Saturday: We are getting all gussied up and heading to high tea at a local place. The kids have never been and I think it’ll be a really nice end to their vacation week.

Sunday: Easter Sunday church & brunch.

I really enjoy the school vacation weeks — it’s like an entire week of Saturdays — no real structure (outside of bedtime consistency), breakfast/lunch/dinner together daily, and fun activities. My husband works from home a couple of days to spend more time with the kids, too. It’s a really nice break in the schedule and gets us excited for summer.

kids & responsibilities

We believe in shared household responsibilities. Some people classify these things as chores but we think they’re necessary for everyone to pitch in for the house to run smoothly and also for the kids to learn to take proper responsibility for things.

3 has the simplest chores, of course. He is responsible for matching his socks, he also folds and puts away his pants and pajamas (though I fold the tops). He can’t reach the other drawers yet, but he does take ownership for what he can. He is also responsible for keeping his room clean and putting away his dishes. He enjoys feeding the dog, too, so he frequently takes on that responsibility (or watching him in the backyard).

11 and 13 have similar chores: They both do their own laundry (this started a couple years ago when they both decided they were done sorting laundry; it started as a consequence and we just decided to turn it into a responsibility); on some weekends, they do some dusting and swiffering and each clean one of the two bathrooms they use. They are responsible also for keeping their rooms clean and doing their homework.

In the mornings, 11 takes the recycling down and in the evenings, he’s earned dish duty (loading the dishwasher). 13 unloads the dishes in the mornings and walks the dog after school — she just started this responsibility after turning 13. It’s comical; today, for example, she stood at the bottom of the steps begging the dog to come downstairs for his walk. We decided to add this responsibility to take something off my plate but Brutus isn’t really impressed; hopefully, he will start to trust her intentions sooner than later so he more swiftly will leave with her.

We feel strongly that having household responsibilities is important for a few reasons — it makes everyone invested in the house, it allows everyone to contribute, and it offers ownership of certain spaces/aspects of things. What types of chores/responsibilities do your families divvy?

this week, march 17-22

Originally, I was planning to take 3 and visit my parents for a few days this week. It’s spring break, baby; and I can’t think of anything sexier that a trip to western Pennsylvania!

Okay, that’s a joke.

Regardless, our plans shifted and my parents are now coming to New England on Wednesday. We will celebrate 10 turning 11 on Thursday and since the kids don’t have school, we will also celebrate 12 turning 13 on Friday for lunch (she turns 13 next Thursday — aaaaah, a teenager!!!) before they return to PA. It should be a nice break in the normal routine to have some additional attention from Grammy and Papa.

I told the kids today about the visit and can already see the gears grinding away — Papa is the family doughnut supplier. I cannot think of a single visit with them coming here or us going there where he did not supply my children with sugary dough to start their day. There’s a great little doughnut shop in our neighboring town — they have s’mores doughnuts, stuffed full of a marshmallow creme they make and I must say, it’s as delicious as it is decadent. (Apparently, the kids aren’t the only ones interested in doughnuts!)

We are hoping for a visit that allows for a couple of walks to beach, playing games at home, a visit with my brother, and cake — lots and lots of birthday cupcakes/cakes.

 

sunday funday, bath edition

Now, I’m not going to lie, I love baths. I take at least one bath a week with bath salts or a bath bomb from LUSH. This week took more out of me than I can even put into words, so I started my day with an 85-minute yoga class, came home and ate while my husband and the kids were at church, and then started to prep the kids’ lunches for the week. It was a nice morning and I decided to cap off the afternoon with the same sense of ease and relaxation.

My husband was downstairs cutting potatoes and the kids were in 12’s room playing. I ran some scalding hot water, tossed in a cup of Yog-ahhhhh bath salts, and climbed in ready to relax. Apparently, the children caught wind of my attempt at relaxation and decided it was a good time to establish a garage band, but in our sitting room. As I closed my eyes, I heard the echoes of two harmonicas (3 & 10) and a triangle (played by 12). The dog was clearly auditioning for the lead singing role because I heard his [barking] voice above the music.

Ahhhhhh, indeed.

#adventuresinmumming