Samantha turns 6!

Six years ago, as I was picking up the last of my items for Brian’s surprise 30th birthday party on my day off from work, I had the biggest surprise of my life – my water broke while in Home Depot, 3 weeks early!!  Less than four hours later, Samantha Rose was born and changed our lives forever.  Born at 3:44 PM, weighing 6 lbs 2 oz and 18.5 inches long….she was perfect.

Her big gift was a trip to Story Land last weekend.  We let her open 2 presents in the morning since it was pouring out: her new rain boots and rain coat.

She was very excited for her birthday  She announced it to everyone as soon as she got on the bus!  At Moose Hill, she got to go to the Principal’s office and get a birthday crown and pick a book out of the prize box.

She got to choose her birthday dinner – hamburger, french fries, and juice….her favorite.  After dinner, Nana and Papa, Mem and Jiddo, Aunty Rita and Aunty Tracey all came over to celebrate, eat cake, and spoil Sammy!!  She got TONS of clothes, books, savings bonds, roller skates, and two movies (Annie and Spooky Buddies).  We also got her a CD (Now 39, all her favorite songs), black boots, and an umbrella.

I made her 6 mini pancakes for breakfast, but they didn't end up being so "mini" after all and she only got 4.

Making a puzzle with Jiddo.

Chocolate cake with pink frosting, as requested.

The birthday crown was worn all day.

I think she had a really nice day.  She seemed to be genuinely happy!

…and not to take away from Sammy’s day, but 9/29/11 is Luke’s 18 month “birthday” too.

Doing flips with Nana, just like she used to do with Brian.

Luke made sure Jack felt the love too!


Story Land

We decided to do a trip to Story Land this past weekend as Sammy’s big gift for her upcoming birthday.  The girls were beyond excited all week for Story Land, but probably even more so for spending a night in a hotel!  They LOVE hotels.

After Sam got home from school on Friday, we had a quick lunch and were off.  Luke slept most of the way and the girls watched movies.  We got to North Conway around 3 and went to a few stores at the Outlets.  Then we checked in to our hotel, dropped our stuff off and went out for an early dinner in town at Horsefeathers. Our meals were good, but Luke is really tough to take out to restaurants right now. He likes to yell and throw things. We’re THAT family….it’s not that enjoyable for anyone.

We stayed at a Hampton Inn and got a room with an extra bedroom.  It was nice to put Luke in (although it was 9:00 before he went to bed) and still be able to stay up with the girls and watch TV.  One of the best parts of a hotel, if you ask the girls, is the pool!  This Hampton Inn actually had a water park.  They were all thrilled!  There were different size slides for each kid and a zero entry pool, which was perfect for Luke.  It is just about impossible to safely take pictures while watching 3 kids in a water park, so you won’t be seeing any from Friday night.

We were at Story Land by 9:45 on Saturday morning.  It had rained the night before and was really humid, but it wasn’t raining in the morning when we got there.  Our past two trips to Story Land have been in the rain, so this was a welcome change.

Luke was mesmerized by the talking tree.

Sitting in a desk in the old school house.

There’s a small section with animals and there are places to press a button to hear a nursery rhyme about the animal.  Luke liked that section.

In front of Cinderella's castle

Inside Cinderella's castle with the princess herself

When the girls misbehaved, we put them in jail. They spent a lot of time there....

Milking the cow

We were too early to see good foliage. This was about all the color we saw this weekend.

It was really foggy at the tops of the mountains all day.

Luke was loving all the balls. He was throwing them at everyone.

Sara worked really hard at filling up this crate by feeding balls into a vacuum tube. They loved it when the crate opened and all the balls fell on them.

Sam liked shooting balls at us from the balcony area.

The girls definitely like doing the rides best.  There aren’t a ton, but it was more than enough to keep them happy for the day.

This turtle ride is like the looked nauseating.

Crazy Barn House

The girls must have ridden the roller coaster 6 times.

This is about when the camera battery died.  Hopefully I’ll remember to check on that before venturing out for the day.  Overall it was a nice, quick family getaway.  Since the girls are SO into the rides, we’ll probably just stick to Canobie Lake Park next year.  I figure we have one more Story Land trip in the future, maybe in a couple of years!

Next post will be for Samantha’s 6th birthday…time sure flies.

Elf on a Shelf (AKA Jessy)

The girls, especially Sam, have been testing my patience…to the extreme.  I yelled, I punished, I (gasp) took away their TV time, nothing seemed to be working.  So yesterday Jessy made a visit to Sparhawk Drive.  I have to say, I truly believe the elf IS magical.  The girls had a great day!  If it wasn’t such a PITA to find a new hiding spot for her every night, I’d leave her out from now until Christmas!

This is just a random picture I took of Luke that I thought was cute.  He needed a picture with a truck for school!

Swimming, S’mores and Dad’s Birthday

This past weekend was tiresome, which usually means it was a lot of fun.   Friday morning  I got Sam on the bus and I was able to go through the girls’ closet and purge all of their outgrown clothes before Mom came over.  She wanted to surprise Sam when she got off the bus later in the morning!  The kids played outside with Mem while I got lunch ready.  Then it was time for Luke to nap and my mom took the girls to the playground and to Mack’s.  Since I had almost 2 hours of uninterrupted “bliss,” I busted my butt and got the girls’ bureau cleaned out as well, and managed to scour their room.  It was in desperate need of a good cleaning.  I was able to get some other cleaning done during the day and we had a nice movie night – Toy Story 3 – complete with popcorn!  I was bone tired by the end and couldn’t wait to curl up with a book.  (I’m reading The Help and really enjoying it.)

Saturday morning was the girls’ first swim lessons.  Sam had taken 2 sessions of lessons last year.  Sara took a Mommy and Child class two years ago.  I figured it was time that the girls learned how to swim properly, especially Sammy.  She is in a class of 5 kids who are a little older than she is, but she was able to keep up with them pretty well.  Hopefully this class will teach her the proper technique.  Regardless, she’s getting a great workout!  They swim the length of the big pool at the Workout Club several times in their 30 minute class!

Sara did great as well.  There were only 3 kids in her class, with two instructors.  Her class is the same time as Sam’s, but she’s in the small therapy pool.  She did everything the teachers asked her to do and didn’t appear to have any reservations while in the water.

Sara was very attentive.

I took a bunch of pictures of the girl to the right of Sam before I realized it was the wrong kid!


Brian golfed all day with Jeff and his friend Brian from high school.  They came over afterwards for a cookout and campfire.  The kids had never met Brian before and it took them all of two seconds to warm up to him!  He had them running around the backyard like crazy monkeys!

It was really chilly out.  I’m still in summer mode, it’s very difficult for me to accept the temperature change and how early it gets dark out now.  The one good thing is we can do a campfire earlier in the night and get the kids off to bed!

Sara would eat 20 s'mores if I let her.

Sammy likes hers without chocolate.

It was a late night (for me).  Too bad the kids didn’t decide to sleep in on Sunday.  The good news – my camera is ok.  I put it under my camping chair to clean the s’mores goop off of the kids, and ended up forgetting it there all night.

Sunday was spent relaxing all morning and then we headed down to Mem and Jiddo’s for dad’s 61st birthday!  Aunty Rita and Memere were there and we had a great time!  I spent the first 20 minutes “shopping,” as Sara calls it.  Two or three times a year I have to go through all the clothes that I have stored there and pull out the next size for Sara.  She thinks its great…it’s her favorite store!

Skyping with Uncle Matt and Maya

It was so cute watching Memere!

Dad and his this picture.

Once you're in the 60+ club you get to have TWO cakes.

Luke didn't need any help from Aunty Rita eating his cake. He was good with his fork and his spoon 🙂

Do you think the girls liked the cake?

Then Luke got sassy and stole Memere’s cane.

Luckily, she wasn't using it.

Happy Birthday Dad!

More Firsts

Before I get to the firsts, I have to get to the lasts.  The last of summer at least.  We went to a BBQ on Beaver Lake at the house of one of Brian’s fellow Knights on Labor Day.  There were many people from our church, a ton of good food, and boat rides!  Luke was pretty fidgety on the boat until he started driving it faster.  Then he was in heaven!  I’m pretty sure I have a little dare-devil on my hands!

Luke's favorite part of the day was the cheese balls!

He REALLY liked them!

The next day, Tuesday, was Luke’s first day at Applewood.  I brought him in to Toddler room and he pretty much took right off and started playing.  I decided not to linger and said goodbye to him and left.  I heard him calling for me and trying to open the door as I was leaving…it broke my heart.  When I called later in the morning, they said he was having a great day!  After some cuddles with one of his teacher’s, Jillian, he went right off to play as if he’d been there forever!

My biggest worry, or question really, was how he would nap.  He always naps in his crib or a pack and play….in other words, he was confined.  Toddler room just uses cots, but I guess he was sufficiently worn out and wasn’t even an issue.  I never had this concern with the girls because they were a little older when they started going to Applewood (Sam was 2 1/2 and Sara was 2 and 2 months) and were already out of their cribs.  He did bite 2 kids, but it wasn;t done in a malicious way they said 😦  Good news is there was no biting when he went back on Thursday:)

He looks so big

Mario lunchbox. He also has a Mario blanket for nap time. I still find it weird buying boy things.

Our other First was actually Brian and Sam’s – their first father daughter dance.  The Southern NH Indian Pathfinders sponsored a father daughter dance at Matthew Thornton tonight.  It was a Hawaiian themed Luau Dance.  Sam was so excited to go to the dance!  She washed, blow dried, and curled her hair. She even put on some of her fancy make-up!  Brian took her out to dinner before the dance, a fine feast at Wendy’s.  She saw friends from Applewood and friends from Moose Hill.  Brian said she only danced a little, but they did do a bunch of slow songs together.

I’ll end this by saying it’s Friday, and I’m wiped.  I never would have imagined that my days off would be more exhausting than my work days!  But it is all worth it….I love my kids!

Myrtle Beach 2011 – Part 4

This is FINALLY my last Myrtle Beach post.  It has taken me entirely too long to complete writing about our vacation.

I was really bummed that my lens wouldn’t clear up and a bunch of the pictures came out so foggy.  Here are a few I tried to salvage.

This was our home sweet home for the week, Windy Hill North Myrtle Beach.

Thursday was cut short due to a storm coming in.  The winds picked up and toppled our canopy.

Ominous sky.

We headed over to Barefoot Landing for dinner at Dick’s Last Resort.  Dick’s is a raunchy restaurant with rude waiters and waitresses….it’s great!  Sammy, however was not amused when the waiter just threw the napkins and silverware across the table!

This was one of the tougher meals we had out with Luke.  Brian ate super quick while I walked around with Luke, then we switched.

Everyone who eats at Dick’s gets their own special hat, made especially for you by the waiter with your own special message that you “proudly” wear throughout your meal!

Sam's said "My butt itches and my finger stinks"

Sara's said "Poster child for birth control"

Brian's said "1 inch from being a woman"

Maureen's said "Yell BINGO when I get laid"

My hat said "Smoked more sausage than Jimmy Dean"

Art's said "Only thing I can get up is my blood pressure"

We went to a few shops after dinner.  The girls had fun trying on hats!

Me and my goof balls!


same picture, 2010

Friday, our last full day.  It’s always sad when vacation comes to the end.  We spent another long day on the beach, not wanting it to be over.

Sam and her baby

We went out to dinner and then we let the kids stay up late while we got a bunch of the packing done.  Brian got the bubble packed on top of the van and I did a lot of the indoor stuff.  Saturday morning was a quick breakfast and more packing.  We were off by 10:00.  The ride all day Saturday wasn’t too bad.  We really didn’t hit any traffic and the kids were great in the car.  We stopped just south of Baltimore for the night.  Brian took the girls for a quick swim and we ordered sandwiches.

We were all pretty tired, although Luke took a bit to settle down.  He kept wandering around the room in the dark!  Then we got a call around midnight that the side door of the van was open!!  Nothing was missing, it was strange though.

We tried to beat the rain and get right out Sunday morning, but we totally got caught in probably the worst downpour I have ever seen.  We crawled for about 20 minutes and stopped for breakfast.  After being trapped in the rain for a little longer, we were clear!  We had a pretty smooth drive home and made it back by about 4:00.  Sara started to lose it about 45 minutes from home.  She got upset about something and flung all of the contents of her purse at us.  Brian took the brunt of it, getting hit with all her change!

Mom and Dad were there with some groceries and Princess!  That was a HUGE help, plus they were there to see the kids while we unloaded the van.

All in all, this was a GREAT trip.  We’ll miss you Myrtle Beach.  Until next year….