Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Choose your battles wisely

I strongly believe that part of being an effective parent involves choosing your battles. I don't like to get caught up in arguments about things that really don't matter much in the grand scheme of things.
So, when Tia insisted that she wear her "beautiful princess dress" to the grocery store this morning, I chose not to fight with her. I even helped her find her crown and put her hair up. What the heck, Princesses have to shop too, and they must look glamorous doing so.
My only stipulation (because I do still have to be the Mom) is that she wear a jacket over the dress until we get in the store. She agreed, and got many accolades from her royal subjects in the produce department.
I just know when she is 13 she's going to be mad at me for letting her do this, and worst of all, taking her picture.

We love the mail man

Tia absolutely LOVES to get mail, especially packages. Yesterday she hit the jackpot. She got not one, but two large packages from her Aunt Sheila (my dear friend of many years). The gifts are for Tia birthday but arrived early because there was one thing in there for my birthday too.
Sheila knows Tia is very "girlie", so here is an example of the types of things she included in the box...

Now what little girl wouldn't want to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner off of that?

And here is Tia feeding her new baby doll which was also in the box.

She has really only recently started to play with dolls. This one really made her day. This is the first time she got posessive with a toy and would NOT under any circumstances let her sister play with it. I convinced her to let Gia choose something else out of the box to play with. She gave in and let her hold the Ariel Pez dispenser, as long as there was no candy in it.
Oh the joy of girls. I love it!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The good, the bad, and the beautiful

We had all of the above today.

First we went to Tia's dance lesson. Despite having 19 kids in her class this season, compared to only 5 over the summer, she did fantastic. She listened and followed directions. Even more reason to believe she is ready for preschool, although her mom is not!

After dance we headed to the "Johnny Appleseed Festival". This is an adorable little festival that we went to last year when Tia was still on 2 naps a day. She got tired and cranky and we had to leave.
We were excited about going this year because she is a year older, and more mature, and we thought it would be more enjoyable. Um, wrong!
Here she is showing her baby sister the ropes on the Pumpkin train ride.

What you don't see here is that Tia cried the entire time we had to wait in line because she didn't want to wait.
Patience is not a virtue bestowed upon 3 year olds.
Gia decided she really didn't care for this ride, thankfully this was discovered before it took off. She swapped seats with Daddy, which Tia thought was so cool.

As soon as the ride was over, there were more hysterical tears. I showed her the painting area which she really enjoyed but then started crying again because there wasn't enough black paint on her brush.
Needless to say we sold our tickets and left. The whole time listening to Tia cry that she didn't want to leave. Lesson learned...two events in one morning are too much to handle(Skip dance and go to the festival earlier).
Hindsight is 20/20.


When we got home and got the kids ready for naps, Tia insisted that she did not want to wear a diaper to bed. Although she has been potty trained for a few months now, I always put her in a diaper at bed time. She insisted, saying "No, no wanna' wear a diaper, it hurts me". OK, we put her down without one and held our breath just knowing she was going to wake up soaked.
She surprised us all and woke up dry, and proud. We made a big deal out of her accomplishment. We called both Grandmas and she also got some M&M's.

So, our day came full circle. A little good, a little bad, but no ugly.
I can't ask for more than that!

Friday, September 26, 2008

She's still cracking me up

Today Gia found my bowl full of cookie cutters and thought she hit the jack pot. Tia came running in and said "No JuJu, those are Mommy's cookie crumbs".

When we went into the yard to play, there were quite a few bees buzzing around. Tia said "Mommy, those Bees want to spring me!".

Gia has had a runny nose for a few days now. When she woke up from her nap today, her nose was really crusty. Tia looked at her with a disgusted look and said "You have a boogie nose Ju Ju".

Tia was playing with a red car and kept saying "Hewwo woho" I couldn't figure out what the heck she was getting at. It took me a while but she was saying "Hello Rojo". She learns Spanish words from Sesame Street! Now if only she could learn to pronounce the letter L.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How my kids amuse themselves

OK, I know this is an absolutely horrid picture of me, but I am willing to post it anyway just to show everyone what my kids think is funny.
They got stickers in the mail from Mema today. Tia thought it would be cool to put them all on my arms. Gia on the other hand took them off my arms and placed them on my face. She just laughed and laughed. It was cute. Oh the things that keep them busy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A day in the life...

Today was a pretty good day with the kids. Here's a recap.

It's morning. Both kids wake up happy. What a relief. Tia wants the TV on almost immediately. That's OK with me today because Gia is refusing a diaper change and I have to literally chase her around the house to get it done.

Time for breakfast.
Tia..."I'm not hungry". Gia...refuses all breakfast type foods. Finally will eat some goldfish crackers.
An hour later when I'm actually able to sit down to eat, Gia now decides she would like to eat my cereal. We share. Tia now eats the 1/2 bagel I toasted for her, as long as I put jelly on it.
Gia gets cranky. I put her in her crib where she talks and sometimes whines for about 20 minutes. Just enough time for me to grab a shower and get dressed.
I get her out of her crib. She is happy to see me.
She is good until about 9:30 when she starts rubbing her eyes, yawning, and of course being cranky. Her timing is not great since we have play group at 10am. I put her down for a nap anyway since this week our group is meeting at the park right down the street from our house. I'd rather be late than bring her when she's cranky. I guess we can't really figure out if she is going to be a one or two nap a day kid.
After about 40 minutes I wake her up and we head out the door. If I let her sleep, we will miss play group completely, and the chances of her taking an afternoon nap are slim.
At play group Gia won't have anything to do with me or Tia, and prefers to stand with 2 other mothers who are having a grown up conversation. Doesn't matter how far away from her I am, she stays by them. One of my friends seems concerned and asks "Do you know those people?'. Isn't that odd for an 18 month old to not want to be near her mother?
We played for 2 hours. Well, Tia and I played. Gia listened to someone else talk for 2 hours, and had a snack. When it was time to leave, Gia screamed like I was killing her. I got her buckled into the wagon and by the grace of God, Tia didn't cry. It's the little things that get us through the day. One screamer is enough, thank you.
At home Gia has a little lunch and goes right down for a long nap. Tia insists on watching Caillou first. Then of course she pulls the "I'm hungry" stunt to stall nap time. I give her an apple and some almonds. Time for nap. Ahhh, quiet. I lay on my bed for 20 minutes. I hear her in her room talking. I go back in and tuck her in again telling her she must take a nap. She agrees, but never complies. At least she is in her room and having quiet time. I can't force her to fall asleep. Meanwhile I start a project that is bigger than me. Our bedroom closet. This thing has been a thorn in my side since we moved here. The folks who owned this house before us had some sort of plan for a fancy closet. So, on one side of our closet we had shelves. No place to hang clothes, just 9' shelves. On the other side was 2 rows of cubes. Supposedly great for stacking sweaters. Where exactly am I supposed to hang my clothes? The best part is the foot and a half of unused space at the ends of these units because the previous owners didn't know how to use a tape measure! You know the old saying "measure twice, cut once". They never heard that one.
Anyway, long story short, I ripped apart the closet. It's still a mess in progress but at least I was able to get that darn shelving unit out of there. I kept praying "Please, don't let it fall and hit me in the head". That's all I need...I could picture myself yelling to wake up Tia so she could bring me the phone to call an ambulance. That would not be good.
Dinner went smoothly. It's Wednesday which used to be my night to go to aerobics, but D.R. has been playing football and had a game tonight. He called at 5:30 to say his game was canceled due to rain and he would be home in time for me to go. I rushed into my gym clothes and threw the kids in the tub. They were having a great time until Tia started flinging a wet wash cloth around, soaking the bathroom. I asked her to stop twice and she did it again so I took the cloth from her. Now begins the tear fest of the century. Enter Daddy, said tears are accompanied by louder cries and lots of drama. It's at precisely this moment that D.R. gets an emergency message from work. He gets Tia in her pajamas and takes care of the emergency. When he is finished, there's no time to make it to aerobics.
I tell Tia the pajamas she picked out are too warm for her. She cries. Fine, wear them. I put a movie on for her so D.R. and I can have some sort of conversation. Gia goes to bed happily.
At the end of Tia's movie, I look over and she is naked. "Mommy, these jammies too hot for me". Gee, I think I have heard that somewhere before.
Time to brush teeth. Tia no longer likes the tooth paste she has been using for 2 years. She wants grape tooth paste. I have looked in every store. There is no grape flavored tooth paste. She cries again because I force her to brush with a tiny drop of strawberry toothpaste. Poor child. Finally she is in bed. She's now wearing her summer pajamas, the ones I wanted her to wear originally that caused tears. This is what happens when she doesnt' nap. If only I could get her to see that correlation.
Jammies and a cup of tea for Mommy. We watch a couple episodes of Prison Break.
Time for bed so I can be rested to do it all again tomorrow.
Lord help me!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Some random funny things

Here are some things that crack me up:

Tia is really into building tents/forts lately. The other day we built one and then of course she insisted we get in it with her. Later, I walked into the room and this is what I found. They were reading books under there, just piggies sticking out!

Yesterday we received a package in the mail from Emily who lives in Germany. It contained a dress for Giuliana. Tia was upset that it wasn't for her. I reminded her that Emily had already sent her a dress and that it was hanging in her closet. Of course I had to go get said dress for her to wear, as well as put the new one no Gia. This is what they looked like.
And, they are drinking yogurt/fruit smoothies that they think are so cool in their own cups. Tia is looking quite sad because I dared to delay our walk by 30 seconds so I could grab the camera!

While making dinner tonight I tried to keep Gia busy by giving her some little markers to color with. After a minute, I turned around to see her mouth was totally purple. I asked her if she tried to eat the marker and of course she said no. Hmmm, I wonder how this happened then?

Talk about the truth being written all over your face, literally!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The mysterious cupcake tree

Well, we had enough left over cupcakes to sort of recreate the tree I made for Tia's birthday.
The original one had candles that spelled out her name on top. I couldn't find them for the re-do. Anyway, here is the replica for those who wanted to know what it looked like.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Princesses love tea parties

Tia asked for a "Fancy, dress-up, Princess tea party" for her birthday. She has been talking about it for months. Today was finally the big day! Her birthday is actually in October but Nonna and Papa are in town so we decided to have her party early. Thank goodness we did because they were both a HUGE help in getting this party off the ground and keeping things moving.

I made "fancy princess" sandwiches for the girls. Here is a sample of what they looked like. Oh the things you can do with a cookie cutter!

Then I dressed up our dining room table for this auspicious occasion.

Here is a close up of what each place setting looked like.

Notice we used real tea cups and each lovely lady who attended got her very own crown and earring set to take home.
They were a big hit with these 3 and 4 year olds.
Then it was time to get ready for our guests. Tia and Giuliana spent a long time in the mirror!

All the girls tried on various outfits, including hats and shoes. They had a blast. Here was the final product. I look forward to being able to pull these pictures out when they are in high school. I hope they are all still friends then.
Even Grandpa got in on the action. What a guy won't do for a pretty girl!

Next, we moved on to the formal tea party. The girls absolutely loved it! They couldn't believe they were using real cups and kept asking for more.
They never ate so well, simply because we told them they were eating princess sandwiches and grapes. Beautiful.

I did an awesome cupcake tree with bright pink cupcakes, but it seems no one took a picture of it! Sorry for that.

It was only an hour and a half party but we gained memories for a lifetime. I know Tia won't always want to be this girlie and enjoy tea parties or dressing up. That's why I did my best to make it special and memorable for her. I know we will look back on this day and laugh.

Here's one final picture of the birthday girl.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Birthday...Part 2

Well, in true Angotti/Salerno tradition, the birthday celebrations keep going and going and going.

My wonderful husband took 2 days off work. That in itself is a heroic undertaking. We had a leisurely morning at home and then hopped a train to downtown Chicago. We made our way to Wrigley Field, where we saw a phenomenal Cubs game. I am not exactly a sports fan but I really enjoy going to professional baseball games. This, D.R. tells me, makes me a cool wife. I understand the basics of the sport, and I do pay attention, but I enjoy it for different reasons.
I love the excitement in the air, the fans, the kids, the perfectly manicured field, and of course the smell of cooking hot dogs and onion rings. It's the whole experience, not just the game.
Now that I have been to a Cubs game, and a taping of the Oprah Show, I think I am officially a "Chicagoan".
We left the game a little early to go out to dinner. We took the "L" train and went to a fantastic sushi restaurant. It was a hip "yuppie" place. We were probably the oldest people in there, but the food was great so we tried not to notice. We even had some Sake for the first time. Let me just say Wooh! Not an every day kind of drink.

After dinner, we headed over to our hotel. OK, I am sure most people have heard of the Drake. You can't really imagine its elegance, you have to experience it. It's a classic, historic hotel (ie. Hoity Toity) right in the heart of Michigan Avenue. We used Hilton points to get the room, and then were upgraded to an executive room because of D.R.'s Hilton status. We love traveling with the rich and famous, and not having to pay for it! It's also amusing to be walking around this place that charges $400 a night, in shorts and a T-shirt. Works for me.

Here is a really bad picture of the hotel. We obviously didn't bring the new camera.

I slept like a baby on Tylenol at this hotel. The bed was a dream come true. When I become rich and/or famous, I will buy one of those beds for sure. This morning we got up and worked out in the hotels state of the art gym. It was nice to be able to work out together again. We haven't done that in years.

So, this morning we checked out of luxury and decided to head back home. D.R.'s parents stayed at our house with the kids which was also an awesome gift. When we got outside and stood at the bus stop, I asked D.R. how far it was to the train station. He said it was about 2 1/2 miles. I said "Let's walk it". After making sure I was serious, he said "OK, but we have to go really fast in order to make our train. We made it with 15 minutes to spare! I know the Ronda he met 5 years ago would never have suggested walking 2 blocks, let alone 2 miles. It felt great.

We are back home now with our beautiful angels. It was a great trip, one I will remember for many years to come.
The only problem now is trying to figure out what to do for D.R.'s birthday next year. I will never top this!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Birthday...

It's my birthday. I actually sort of forgot. You see, in D.R.'s family, birthdays are a big deal and they celebrate for days. I am in the family now so I get the same treatment. I got my presents already. Then on Monday night D.R. and Tia gave me a card. Then, last night my in-laws came into town and we went out to dinner. By the time this morning actually arrived, it felt like my birthday had already happened! D.R. woke me up to say Happy Birthday, and I was like "Huh, I forgot it was today".
The pictures are of the girls just before we went out to dinner. It really captures their individual personalities. Tia is such a girlie girl, and so loving. She had to wear the fanciest dress she owns. Gia was perfectly happy wearing denim, and thought it was hilarious that Tia kept trying to kiss her.
These two precious angels are all I ever need for my birthday. They are my gifts. I am thankful for a healthy and happy family.
I have been blessed with a loving husband, beautiful daughters, and an awesome extended family.
What more could I ask for?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The many hats I wear

I am not sure how I adopted this role, but I have become the fix it/figure it out person in our household. Over the winter when our furnace wouldn't kick on, I was the one who went down there, took the cover off the big scary machine, and got it going. I also made the call to a furnace repair guy when I could no longer get it to limp along.
Now, it seems our sump pump isn't working properly because we have water seeping into our basement.
I went to our neighborhood web site and got some advice. Someone suggested unscrewing the lid on the sump pump and taking a peek inside to see if it was full. D.R's response was "I'm not opening that thing up, call someone!". This friendly advice giver also warned that there could be toads in the pit, waiting to jump out. Lovely, just lovely!
Me being the handy (wo)man in our house, I got the screw driver and flashlight and headed down there. Yup, the pit was full but thankfully, no toads. Oh the relief.
Said advice giver suggested it could be a burned out switch, and told me what to do to bypass it. It's working. It's almost 11pm. I have to go back down there to check on things. This is NOT my favorite job, but it's one of them nonetheless.

A pleasant discovery

I haven't written much about it but we have had some serious behavioral problems with Giuliana lately. I have been at my wits end with her...constant screaming, acting out, throwing things, and just downright naughtiness! Well, this weekend I think we got it figured out. Really I should say D.R. figured it out but I am the mom so I get some credit too.
This girl needs sleep, and lots of it.

We put her to bed at 6:30 last night. That's about 40 minutes earlier than her usual time. She slept until almost 7:00 this morning. Over 12 hours. Then, when she got up this morning, D.R sat quietly on the couch with her for about 20 minutes cuddling and watching TV. That seemed to do the trick because for the first time in weeks, I had my sweet baby back. She was pleasant to be around, no screaming! I guess she's just not a morning person.

At 9am. she rubbed her eyes once and I said "OK, time for night night". She laid right down in my arms and I put her back to bed. She only slept for about half an hour but again I think she just needed the quiet time.
We went shopping (and didn't rush through the store hoping to avoid a tantrum), came home, had lunch, and then it was the 'regular' nap time. Again she went right down without a fuss and is just about ready to get up now. I can hear her talking in her room. It's been 2 hours and 10 minutes. Holy Heaven.

So, just for today there have been no tantrums, screaming fits, or throwing of sippy cups. I hope (fingers crossed) that this isn't just a fluke and all she really needed was a little extra sleep.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Recital canceled

Well, our little dancer was supposed to have her shining moment today, on stage at the Huntley Fall Festival. Unfortunately it rained buckets all day so we didn't go. I am assuming it was canceled since there were flash floods all throughout our surrounding area.

I had really hoped to get a video clip of her performance to post on here, but here's a cute picture of her in her get-up instead.

There's always next year.

Friday, September 12, 2008

She's growing up!

Tia is definitely growing up.
Today we had planned a play date at a friends house. It seems every time we go there, we have a problem leaving and Tia ends up in tears because she doesn't want to go. Today before we headed over I told her that I REALLY didn't want her to cry at Sophia's house. I went so far as to tell her if she cried while we were there, we would just have to leave. I explained that I wanted her to be a polite girl.
In the car on the way there, Gia got a little fussy. I heard Tia whisper to her "Shh Ju Ju, no crying!". I held in a laugh.
When play time was over and it was time to go I said "OK, we have to leave in about 2 minutes because it's almost Gia's nap time". Tia very politely put down the doll she was playing with and said "OK", then proceeded to go to the door. I was floored! All the way home she talked about how much fun she had and how she would like to go back. Then she added "And I no cry Mommy!". She was proud of herself, and I made sure to tell her how proud I was of her too.
My little girl is growing up so fast.

Home Sweet Home

I think our house might be getting back to normal this afternoon! For those of you who read this that don't know what has been going on...
We had a couple bad hail storms.
Needed a new roof.
Got severe rain before the roof was done.
Water damage inside the house!
Restoration company put in HUGE dehumidifiers and fans to dry us out.
Ah, finally today they are here to get their very large and extremely noisy equipment out of our house! Our moisture levels are back to where they should be.
They are even cleaning the carpets as we speak.
I can't wait to put everything back where it belongs and for Tia to have her room back. She has been such a good sport about it. She doesn't seem to care where her bed is, as long as she is able to sleep in it.
Maybe now we can get back to our normal routine and schedule.
I really feel for those folks who go through serious natural disasters/floods/hurricanes/tornadoes. It takes a lot out of your daily life.
Special prayers to those on the gulf coast who are preparing for the worst tonight.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A gorgeous day

It was a beautiful day so we spent most of it outside. We played in the park, dug in the garden, and even had dinner on the porch! What you don't see here is that later Tia decided to jump in the pool fully clothed, shoes and all! I figure what the heck, how much longer will be really be able to do that?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bathing Beauty in September

Well, Tia was so enamored by the new bathing suits, she tried on the pink one and wouldn't take it off. She took her nap in it. When she woke up we went outside to play, so I put a jacket on over the suit. She insisted she was too hot (65 degrees today) and took the jacket off. She then played with the hose and kiddie pool. I was cold and I was fully clothed!
I brought both girls inside for a quick bath, mostly to warm them up. Well, you guessed it, she still wouldn't take off that bathing suit! Here she is in all her pink glory, loving life.
I believe in choosing your battles and this is one that I didn't want to fight. She had fun and I am sure she got mostly clean.
Ah, to be 3 again.

Bargain Hunter Bounty

Anyone who knows me knows I am a bargain hunter. Not just bargains, but I am a serious clearance shopper. I can smell a clearance sign a mile away.
I often go to Target a day or two after a holiday and stock up on things for the girls that have been marked down to $1-$2. Last year I paid $4 for their winter coats at the end of season! I guessed at what size they would need for the following winter, and happened to guess right. I figured, what the heck, for $4 if I am off about the size, at least I'm only out a few bucks.

After the 4th of July I went into Target and found blue and white bathing suits marked down to $3.98 because they were considered "holiday" stock. I was pretty darn proud of my find.
Then, today I was in Target again, for some groceries, and I came across my favorite sign...
"75% off". It draws me like a magnet! I found these suits for the girls.

Check out the price tags! $1.72, $2.24, $2.48...I was in clearance heaven!

I got two of this pink one (one for each of the girls). Tia has hers on right now and won't take it off!
I totaled up what I paid for all 6 suits (including the 2 blue ones from the first sale). Ready for this?
A whopping $16.98 for 6 bathing suits!
Now that's a bargain!

Monday, September 8, 2008

It's really our family!

It's not uncommon for Tia to pretend that she or her sister are characters of a book. For example, in "Elmo's First Babysitter", she insists that we say "Tia" instead of "Emily" each time we come across the babysitters name. However, this is really uncanny.
Here is the cover of one of the books she loves to read. It's actually Gia's book from her Easter basket...I know, how horrible that I give my kids books while all the other kids get candy! Boo Hoo.

So, you might look at it and say "yeah, that baby could be Gia, sort of".
But get this.
The Dad has curly brown hair just like D.R.!
And the Mom has darker brown hair, just like me!

And the big sister has red hair with blue eyes just like Tia!And The Grandma has white hair and glasses just like my mom.
This is too funny.

And here is our whole happy family (except we don't have a cat and dog). The author of this book must have been stalking our family for subjects!
I can see why it's Tia's favorite.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fall is in the air

I think it has taken me 36 years to realize that I don't much enjoy summer time. It's September and I am thoroughly enjoying the cooler weather and the crisp smell in the air. It's so cool in the mornings, I am drawn to the yard and get to putter around without sweating! I think we get outside more now than we do during the summer months. Going for walks after dinner is so pleasant...no humidity, fewer mosquitos, it's nearly perfect.
My kids aren't yet in school but I still browse, and sometimes buy school supplies. Yup, I am definitely a Fall kinda' person.
One of the many things I miss about 'home' is being in a more mature area with big colorful trees. Our area of Illinois is so new that checking out fall foliage would be a day trip! On our way back from Rochester last week I noticed the trees were just getting ready to turn and I found myself wishing we had come a week or two later so I could enjoy all the colors.
My poor kids. Remember the commercial for Staples where the mom is dancing through the aisles throwing school supplies in the cart and singing some sort of back to school song? That's going to be me, and the kids will probably be moping behind me, thinking I am absolutely nuts!
I love it!

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Gruffy Nose

We all got back from Rochester feeling a bit worn out. Tia seemed to be having a cold coming on. She said she had a "gruffy nose". I am sure she meant stuffy, but good for her for coming up with an explanation of how she was feeling.

At nap time yesterday, she told me to take her dress off her. When I inquired why, she told me she needed her pajamas. I asked why she needed pajamas for nap time and she said very matter of factly "Mom, I not feeling good!".

About 2 hours later, she woke up crying. I went in to get her and rocked her for a while. She then said to me "Put me back in my bed, I not done with my nap!".
This kid cracks me up! I don't know another 3 year old on the planet who wants to nap, and takes it so seriously.

Today she was feeling better so we headed out for our weekly trip to Wal Mart to get diapers. I got everyone dressed and in the car. About half way there Tia says "Mom, I need a hair bow. I look crazy". I just about roared! Mind you, I did comb her hair before we left, but didn't put it up in a clip or bow. I never thought she'd notice!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Phew, we did it

We are home from our road trip, safe and sound...and tired!
We had a nice visit with family and friends and once again I was reminded of how much I miss 'home'. That being said, I am glad to be back here in my own home, and getting the kids back on their normal schedule. I think they are both thankful that we didn't go anywhere in the car today, and stuck around the house.

Here are some highlights of our trip...

-We listened to all the experts and decided to break the trip up, so we got a hotel room in Ohio. We figured it would be good to get some sleep and do the second half of the trip in the morning. WRONG! Giuliana decided she would rather scream bloody murder ALL night, than sleep. So, none of us got any sleep and we did the second half of the trip exhausted (D.R.) and hyped up on caffeine (Me). Never again.

-The girls and I picked up my mom and took her to her favorite thrift store, then to lunch. She got to see the girls in action, and loved watching them eat their ice cream! I am sure the waitress talked about us when we left due to the mess under Gia's chair. I have learned to tip well because of this issue!

-Tia got to celebrate her birthday (a few weeks early) with family and friends. She had a blast and is still talking about it. She thought she was getting too many presents from Aunt Kim so she tried to pass them out to the people around her. True altruism!

-D.R. and I got to go on a date. We are so wild and crazy that we walked up to the new Wegmans (grocery store) and had sushi in their cafe. Yup, that's our idea of a date. Just the two of us having our favorite food, together. Ahh, the sweet sound of no kids screaming. That's the life!

-I got to go shopping at the Christmas Tree Shop! Holy cow I could spend all day in that place and still want more. I got Tia's Halloween costume for $6. She wants to be a princess so I got her a dress-up gown and she couldn't be happier. Oh how I wish they would open up a store near me. I would even volunteer to work there, I'd do anything! I think I'll start a letter writing campaign.

-Our ride home went much better than they way there. We stopped for an hour for dinner. I know we lost a lot of time that could have been spent on the road but it was worth it. The kids got to run around and play. They slept for 2 hours after that stop. No tears! Woooo Hoooo! That's the way we will do it from now on. No more listening to experts.