if I were to plan a trip

And if this trip were to be of the foliage viewing variety I would most definitely head just a wee bit north. Isn't New England (ish) the very best place to be when one wants to feel fall? The crisp air and the mountains and maybe the coast too? I've planned these vacations out over and over again through the years. Back when my arms were empty and longing for a baby and a distraction and then when I finally had her and wanted her to experience the wonder of the open road and a fire lit tree line... We never have gotten around to a fall trip... Life gets in the way each and every time. But I've got these destinations locked down just in case the spirit (and our wallets) ever moves us. 

Drive time: Roughly five hours.
Prime viewing time: October 24 - October 30
Stay: The Inn at Mystic. Downtown Mystic. Water views. It just looks like New England.
Dine: Mystic Pizza. I feel like if one is heading to Mystic one should at least have pizza. Yes? 
Do (minus the foliage viewing): The Mystic Seaport.

Drive time: Almost six hours.
Prime viewing time:September 27- October 5
Stay: Holiday Inn Berkshires. Sometimes I just need a familiar face. With wifi.
Dine: The 1716 Old Mill. An old saw mill turned restaurant? Mill pond and a dam? 
Do (minus the foliage viewing): Fall Foliage Festival. I am a sucker for festivals and parades. What can I say?

Drive time: Just shy of seven hours.
Prime viewing time: Late September.
Stay: Crowne Plaza Resort & Golf Club. The view alone has me sold. 
Dine: The Castle Cafe on Whiteface. Now I have been on Whiteface when it was covered in snow and I had two skis on my feet... but there during the fall when the leaves are turned and eating in a castle sounds like an event worthy of my time.
Do (minus the foliage viewing): Check out the Olympic Sites. I've just sort of passed these by on prior visits but they deserve to be visited.

Drive time: Six and a half hours.
Prime viewing time: Mid-September
Stay: Snow Goose Inn. If I could stay with Bing in the Columbia Inn in Pinetree you best believe I would. But I can't so this will have to do.
Dine: Hermitage Inn Restaurant. I have no idea why. I guess because it looks pretty?
Do (minus the foliage viewing): Wheeler Farm. Cheese. Maple syrup. What do you think holds it up slick?

Drive time: Little over four and a half hours
Prime viewing time: October 24 - October 30
Stay: The Copper Beech Inn. I have yet to stay at a Bed & Breakfast but this one looks juuuust about right.
Dine: The Blue Hound Cookery. Creole in Connecticut. 
Do (minus the foliage viewing): Essex Steam Train & Riverboat. It's for the kids Vince.

And while all of these little getaways are things of my dreams I'll most likely just head towards Gettysburg for the day like I do every year and let the kids climb all over Daniel's Den. Because... why not?

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the last day of summer. says matt.

This week marks the final week that Duke's Lagoon, the water park area of Dutch Wonderland, is open. I started to have a mini anxiety attack when I realized that. We hadn't been there enough! Letty didn't even get hand foot and mouth this year! We must remedy this!

So Matt suggested an evening DW run, which is something we have only done during their Halloween/Christmas specials. Besides the quite alarming amount of tourists for a school day it was fantastico! David decided to forgo his fear of the medium water slides after an incident earlier this summer that dunked him. Letty went down the large water slide with daddy. She also wouldn't let me in the bathroom stall while she did her business which resulted in a blurry bathroom mirror pregnant selfie complete with beach themed decor. Hashtag classy. Letty also was able, thanks to a top knot, thicker soled crocs, perfect posture and maybe because she's been eating her Wheaties, to ride the big roller coaster! First timer! She sat in the front row and she loved it. Her daddy always gets the fun jobs I'll tell you. 

The park closed at six (schade) and so we headed off for the best of fancy meals at Wendy's. Letty got just the toy in her kid's meal that she wanted and David ate his weight in fries. Fries. Fries. Fries. It's his favorite word second to choo choo or dump truck. Matt promised Letty Rita's since he had dubbed this day The Last Day of Summer and so that's just what we did. They were doing free face painting there and David sat down and batted nary an eyelash while they kindly painted a blue plane. Just what he asked for.

All in a Tuesday's work.

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feed the birds, [ducks] tuppence a bag

It turns out besides the obvious things like the health of my loved ones, a good dude to call my husband, a kicking baby in my belly and a roof over our heads I really am quite the luckiest. The other morning while I was running (behind schedule I might add because the children slept in and Matt held down the fort upstairs - again, two points for the being the luckiest) my mother asked if we were up to an impromptu walk in the park with my newly at-home sister and my newly outside the womb niece. I'm the luckiest because I don't have to be alone when I'm a stay-at-home. I get to do things like go for walks in a park on a gorgeous Monday morning and feed the ducks with my mom and my sister and three other little peoples I love so very much.

I am the luckiest because when David saw these feathered creatures he pronounced them with a very emphatic 'D' in front. He saves his dumb f%*# (dump truck) antics for when he is around an audience that appreciates such humor.

I am the luckiest because we have best friends who clothe our children. They not only are our best friends, but our children's best friends annnnd we never run out of things to say annnnd we love them so. They are the most generous of the people's. And to boot they clothe our children. Head to toe. When Letty broke through a pair of her (Avery's) crocs I simply had to walk up to her closet and select the next size croc (Avery's, seen below). I'm the luckiest because even though we can never repay their kindness they still keep on giving it. And those Fitzs are two of the most well-dressed little munchkins I've ever seen. 

I'm the luckiest because I have a girlfriend since forever who happens to be a hairdresser and also happens to tame David's wild beast of a head. In her home. Whenever I ask her. For the simple fee of nothing. And she eats McDonald's with me. She may have a ton going on in her own life but she still hooks me up. Just like in college when I had no money and she would buy me an ice cream cone or a movie ticket.

I'm the luckiest because the other day while I tore the house apart organizing and throwing things away a perplexed Letty looked to Matt and he simply said: Mommy's nesting honey. And I didn't even know I was. I just thought I was losing it from a rare moment of nothing to do. Nesting though sounds much nicer. And my junk drawer and pantry haven't looked as good since we moved in.

My brain may be a big jumble. My phone may have seven different "to do" lists or "to purchase" lists. I may feel like I can't get ahead of all the feels and all the thoughts.... but hey. It's all pretty great right?

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a letter to letteria. the preschool edition.

In a very short few days my Letty will be joining the ranks of school-aged children everywhere. And I know it's just preschool. I know that doesn't really count. Logically I know that. But for me this isn't necessarily a logical and rational event. It's a super really big deal for me and for her. The girl who wouldn't get in the water? Remember her? The girl who's only babysitters have been her aunts and her Nonna? The girl who spent time away from me with a certified stranger only a handful of times for only a short hour? Well in 10 days she will be leaving me and going out into the great big wide world of school. She will be someplace I cannot watch her. With people I do not really know. Doing God knows what. She will put on her over-sized backpack that dwarves her and she will prance away from me and be exposed to an environment I cannot control. And I'll miss her. I really will. The house will be emptier, calmer, quieter. David will be a different child without her around. Thankfully the hours are short and she will be back in my protection soon enough. Still in one piece, I'm sure. This is the first true test of that saying... that having a child is learning to live with your heart walking around outside your body. That one.

Stage five clinger is my name. And self-pitying is my game. So in order to remove myself from that I thought I would think of all the wonderful things she will be doing and how much she will grow as a little girl this year. Because she will. And she actually kind of needs to.

This entire thing is simply an exercise in denial. Or distraction? I'll go with that. Anyways.

Letty.... Things I wish for you, my precious, strong-willed, independent little creature... (in no particular order as my lists are as jumbled as my brain):

- That you listen to your teacher.
- You answer questions as asked and you do as you are told.
- You stay safe.
- You respect your teacher and your classmates.
- You make new friends. I went to school with kids who had known each other since preschool. I have never known anyone that long (minus family of course). I wish you too can know a person since they were four. And still be their friend.
- That you will love school. You will love learning. You will love reading. You will be a good student. That you will take after me in this regard more than your father.
- That you learn. Shapes and days of the week and how to write your name. I hope that somewhere deep inside your stubborn brain you already know these things and it will come flowing out of your mouth as if you knew it all along.
- That you will have fun.
- That you will be kind. You will share and play nicely and most importantly you will include anyone who wants to be included. A mean girl you should not be.
- That when you come home to us you will tell us all about your day and you will be excited to go back.
- I hope that you don't cry. Please don't do that. Please go into your room calmly and confidently and even a bit happily. If you start to cry I fear I will start to cry right on the spot and then I won't stop for days. The pregnancy hormones excuse can only take me so far.

This will be good. This change. It will be a transition for us all but naturally it will be worth it. I'll be googling support groups for overly attached mamas on September 5th in case you were wondering.

Oh, this is us on our first days of preschool. Potato. Patato. 1987 was a good year... two future Olsens started preschool at their respective Christian schools (extra baggage in hand of course) and one lanky Trovato started 2nd grade. May you be as excited to start this journey as we I was then...

Melodramatic Laurie... over and out.

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oh to go to a fair.

And to learn all the things there are to learn there. 

But first! David. The man who stares at goats:

The end of summer in this area, like I'm sure in most areas, is always marked by the start of fairs. Fried food and carny rides and maybe a few games. But since the introduction of children into my life they have also included the animal portion of the fair. A portion that even after working for four years for an agricultural firm I knew little about. In my defense though this company was more poultry and pork related...but I digress. 

Examples of things we learned about:

Cow urination! When a cow pees it is like a hose on full blast. This is what the children thought of that:

We kept waiting for "more" because there was some other movement happening in that region. Although I'm glad we moved on before any real movement happened if you catch my drift. I'm not sure I could have handled it. The kids would have loved it I'm sure. And that is because children are gross.

The udder competition! We blended in nicely with the locals with our Chicco strollers and our diaper bags and large cameras as we shimmied up on the bleachers for this lovely show. I could not believe my eyes when I saw these poor swollen cows. I've been there girl. I've been there. And it's a place I nay like to go again. I wonder if the frozen cabbage-in-a-bra trick would work for them? Some of the poor dears couldn't quite mosey right. And those tasteless judges and their "descriptor" words. Why how my milking days were quite offended. It's the giver of life!! Respect!!

Bunny bear hugs! Move over Lennie. The Olsen children are moving in to town. Theyjustgetsoexcitedtotouchthebunny. What's that towel for do you wonder? Could it be to protect clothing from fecal matter? Oh the humanity!

Manure manure everywhere! In the lane. On the stroller wheels. In the hay. On the crocs. On the animals. On the shorts. The fun abounds! And now I can also add in the van! In my house! On my kitchen floors! 

There was more to this day than just animal petting. We had a very filling lunch with our Nonna, Aunt Beth, Uncle Colton and little Lena. Our eyes were far too large for our bellies and much food was wasted. Beth emphatically decided fairs and animals are not for her and her offspring. And there was a hunt for a mechanical bull that was left incomplete. The family left us for cooler and more sanitary pastures while the Fitzs and the Olsens stuck it out for more adventuring with tractors and milkshakes and oh my!

Tractors are all well and good in my little boy's mind. That is until the engine is running. And then David becomes quite rigid and scared and tears are formed and 'up' is yelled and you see it is quite difficult for mommy to pick you up because you are covered in mud possibly cow shit and so you must tough it out son. Grimace.

Even though I jest about what we saw or what we did... The children love animals. And they also love their friends. Their friends who are heading on back to school for the year. We shall miss their frequent Fitz Days. We wish them the best of luck as one Fitz starts a new job and another Fitz starts Kindergarten. We are just so excited for them. Even as we miss them. Way to go out with a bang eh? Fried food and cow piss. Wouldn't have it any other way Summer of 2014.

And for the record, I know that summer isn't really over but once people start going back to school it sort of feels that way yes?

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the time i was hit by a car

If you can't tell by the blog lately I have been perusing some old photos. One of those photos initiated this post. We left Maine in the very early Spring of my fifth grade year. Pennsylvania had quite the rough winter and so there were mounds of snow on both sides of the road, but the day was actually pretty warm. In Maine, my brothers and I rode our bikes everywhere. Most of the time we rarely even saw a car. It was the second day in our new house and my room had been unpacked already for about an hour (surprise surprise), so I decided since the sun was shining I would explore my new road on my trusty bike. A completely normal idea.

I turned left and rode not even a quarter of a mile up the road. I remember thinking about my best friend back in Maine and wondering what she was doing or if I would ever see her again. And then... nothing. I remember a small part of the ambulance ride. I remember apologizing to my mom. But there isn't much there. When all was said and done I had a broken ankle, hip and shoulder on my left side. A concussion of course came along with that. I spent a night in intensive care and the following two in the pediatric unit. And then I went home. In a wheelchair. Looking fly like this:

Now I joke about that right up there. I'll tell the story about my first day to school a few weeks later and how everyone wanted to take me in the elevator. Or the student who asked me what type of grades I got back in Maine because she was trying to figure out if I was special needs. Or how for Easter that year I insisted on hunting for eggs so I wobbled around outside in the above cast limping like a pirate.  I mean check out those tube socks of my dad's, right?I was hit by a little old lady because I didn't get out of her way. Or something to that affect. It was an accident. I petrified my parents and inconvenienced my Grammy, who instead of unpacking her own home was watching three kids and unpacking my mother's. My aunt has told me time and time again that the bigger your children get the bigger their problems. This particular problem I solved by next to never riding any bike again. That and trying extra hard in school to convince people that I was completely normal. Have I succeeded?

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bye bye summer?

The signs are everywhere. The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are oddly cooler for August (52 last week?!). Literal signs plague that back corner of Target and letters from preschools have started arriving. My summer partner-in-crime has begun laminating and organizing and this all points to one thing. And one thing only. Summer is wrapping on up. Before you know it this blog will become a Thing of Fall. On September 1st this house will be fully fallized. From then until January I'm a holiday obsessed calendar booking maniac. Unapologetically. 

We had a good run this summer. We did it all I think and then some. I shall miss you summer. Particularly...

- Fresh fruit. 
- Water parks and those fake plastic palm trees.
- Swimming pools and the smell of sunblock in the kid's hairs.
- Random ice cream runs and thunderstorms.
- Crocs. Forever and ever. 
- Fireworks.
- Freedom. Nowhere really to be and no exact time to be there. 
- Sweet corn. 
- Flip flops and pedicures. 
- David's tan lines despite my best efforts at sunblock application. 
- Flowers. Pink bright flowers. 

And the list could go on and on...

But fall? I have so many hundreds of thousands of things I look forward to about you. I'm only slightly excited.

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bumpgate, week 22

I've passed the half-way mark and have rounded the corner to 22 weeks. I'm told by The App on my phone that Dominic is the size of a spaghetti squash, which quite frankly, as an avid vegetarian abstainer, I have zero idea as to the size. Also... Letty took this photo. She needs a tutorial on the zoom feature as well as the focus feature... but I think this is still pretty good for a four year old.

Boy/girl, girl/boy| We know that it is no longer an it, it is a boy... Boy oh boy another boy! Matt got his wish after all. I've already got Halloween 2015's costumes planned out in my head. And since we will have the two Toretto siblings represented I think we can all picture what that will be. Good thing I have a battery operated yellow sports car that is toddler sized. Here is an alien version of Mister Too Fast Too Furious himself.

The icks| Feeling just fine and dandy. Like nothing is happening at all. I still prefer to avoid most meat, but that seems to be typical for me and my pregnancies.

The LB's| I added another four since I last wrote one of these so I'm up 6.5 pounds. It might mostly be the enormous power breakfast I was just a part of or perhaps it's the healthy food choices I've been making lately...

The eats| Business as usual. This pregnancy has been taking it pretty easy on me so far and I dig it. I won't lie there has been a lot of Big Macs in my life lately but that is to be expected. I'm only a vegetarian when it comes to non-Big Mac related foods. At least I love my fresh fruit.

The movings around happening on the inside| He's in there alright. Hanging out on the left side of my stomach. I just started to be able to feel him with my hand. Matt has felt him kick just once... But after the first child who cares right? Me. I care. I shall always care. He is quite low compared to my other two but I've been told that is normal as one has more babies. One's body remembering what's going on in there and so on.

On the nesting front| Ugh! I want to shop for his room! I have the whole theme and decor picked out I just need to buy it. Matt. Let me buy it (please). I just bought the furniture yesterday thanks to a lovely sale at Target. I'm going with aqua and orange and owls and fun fun fun. I made him some string balls that I plan on hanging in a corner from the ceiling... But right now that sad little room is just filled with bin upon bin of maternity clothes. Which I mean, is a great problem to have. I know it's about 18 weeks premature but while I was down in storage dragging out bins of girl's clothes for my niece I decided I could pull out a few baby boy bins for Dominic. They smell just like Dreft and all things lovely and baby and I could just sniff those clothes for hours. 

Yes. I need help. Good thing I have a few babies I get to cuddle in the mean time. 

Gender announcement. Week 18. Pregnancy announcement.

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the summer of the baby shower. part three.

Third and final to be exact! This one belonging to my sister-in-law Ashley and her precious little bun in the oven, Mikayla. 

Her mother April threw the shower for her first grandchild at my parent's residence. It was a tea if you will filled to the brim with finger foods, colors straight from the nursery, Beatrix potter, and a lot of creative little touches that I have a sneaky suspicion either came from Pinterest or should be pinned right there, right now. 

Oh and those cupcakes? They had fudge in them. 

We take a looooot of photos. From friends of the new mom to four generations of women to a zillion coworkers and some babies. We fill up my camera card. 

And with that the summer of baby showers comes to a close. Oh what exciting things are coming up for our family now!

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