happy halloween!

I sure hope it is nice and dry wherever you are at the moment but for me and mine it is a day of rain and pretty bad weather. So bad in fact that the entire county changed their trick-or-treating day. So my kids will have to wait one day more. But here are their costumes in all their glory, as taken by my sister-in-law. Mal, Bumblebee and an astronaut for this year's totally uncoordinated Halloween!

letty’s fall party

This year I am "room mom" to both of my kids. Well technically a half of one to Letty. Either way, I have sucker written across my forehead and there you have it. I remember a better time when I didn't even know what a room mom did. That was fun wasn't it? But if there is a need and no one else to help then there I am, I guess. Last week was Letty's fall party and better believe I am taking notes from the veteran mom who is the other half of said room mom. Keeping it all in my back pocket for when it is David's party next month....

The kids had some games, relay races with pumpkins and make a mummy and jenga towers with an apple.... and then it was craft time followed by the kids favorite, snack time! With the cutest of cupcakes!  I was so happy to get into her classroom as it hasn't happened yet this year... I have been dying to get to know her friends and all of that. So. An education, as it were!

the time the gym gave out candy

Last week our gym had their first ever trick-or-treat night. Which sounds kind of contradictory... and it sure was... but it was actually a pretty great night! Sure something like three thousand people came (when it is free I mean what does one expect?) but we got there early and got our candy on right away. Early bird gets the candy and all that! 

I let the kids wear their official costumes which I never do but I figured it's inside what harm can be done? There were something like thirty tables set up, a lot of local companies and the like. Which is genius if you think about it. They had the baseball diamond open and some field hockey sticks out as well as an obstacle course and a huge room full of music and balloons. All about the candy this week am I right? I actually thought it was a great success! I never imagined we would spend over an hour walking around collecting candy so that's always a nice surprise.

disney on ice!

We all know we are a Disney family yes? And when Disney on Ice comes to our (sort of) hometown we always find a way to take the kids there. This year's was so so good! Most of the time I feel like oh we have seen this song or this movie or that princess done before right? Well this year it was all so new and with more stunts and affects and the new music from the new movies and we just loved it so! Mary Poppins and the new Aladdin especially! And Moana, of course. Because we could all use some more sun.

hersheypark in the dark... with no rides

Well, next to no rides. And just don't get us started on that, to be sure... 

Every fall Hersheypark reinvents itself as a spooky but family friendly place and every year we make sure to go.... more than once. You're welcome Matt! The kids wear their costumes and they have a trick or treat trail and there are fun fall lights everywhere. So this was our first chance to go.... Annnnnd such a disappointment! So many of the "kid" rides were closed... or one attendant was working two rides so the lines were ridiculous... and yeah. Not a good time. I think maybe the kids got on two or three rides.... we even walked over to the zoo which never happens just trying to make the trip more worth while. The only highlight was the dripping in butter oh so good soft pretzels.

pumpkin glow at hershey gardens

Last Friday night my parents and sister and her family took the kids to Hershey Gardens for their annual Pumpkin Glow (thanks Nonna and Pop for treating us all!). Tons and tons of carved pumpkins, flashlights, some candy, all in all a festive evening of fun! The weather cooperated too and it was quite nice out, even if a bit chilly. The kids got to wear some costumes, although mean mommy is making them save this year's costumes for a bit longer. Oh and to those wondering Dom was Spiderman but pushed his mask back so he just looked utterly ridiculous all night long...

nera, meet the blog. blog, meet nera.

We used to be pet people. I had a cat in college... Matt grew up with hoards of cats his entire life. When we first got married we got a kitten... and then another kitten... and then a puppy... collecting pets to ease the pain of the fact that we were not in fact collecting human babies of our own. But then human babies came and with that a whole slew of emotions and well... the pet hair! The less than desirable other pet problems! We slowly found better forever homes for our original pet babies and declared ourselves a pet free household forever and ever amen. Not even a fish! That was Matt's final statement... Not even a fish from a fair that you know will only last the week! Nothing!!!

And then a few years ago on a cold cold wintry night there were two tiny (but so fat and fuzzy) gray kittens on our back deck. And Matt just thought.... oh... wouldn't it be great to have kittens? He went out to try and save them from a night of blistery chill but fate alluded him and well, no kittens. We have talked about it time and again since that night but we never came to the official 'okay let's make this happen' stage. Until, Nera (which means black in Italian, you know me and my Italian names!).

annual gettysburg day trip

Matt and I have been taking trips to Gettysburg in the fall since before we were married, and I just kind of love it. It's only an hour or so away, I always enjoy seeing the sights, the kids love climbing all over all the things, and well, it's tradition!

The kids were off for Columbus Day and so Matt took off so that he could join me. I'm not sure I would have bothered taking the kids solo again... although, we will never know.

david's room got a little lift

I was making the beds the other Thursday (as I do on Thursdays) and I just decided that well, David doesn't play with Thomas the Train anymore nor does he watch Blaze and the Monster Machines so why oh why is this poor unfortunate middle child of mine still sleeping with those sheet sets!? So I decided to buy him new ones. Sports ones, of course. And then that led to a look around his room at all his pirate and beach themed goodness from when he was a baby and well... maybe it was time for that to go as well? And then that led to painting the entire room. So. New room for David! And does anyone else totally feel like they are in their very own mom version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? No? Just me?

And just for fun here is the original before and after of his room when we initially moved in. Gives me feelings, seeing that glider... I miss my babies!

one sleepover to rule them all

My niece turned five recently if you recall, and her mother decided it would be fun to have a lady cousin sleepover... a spa sleepover if you will. They basically did all the things. Played with their Our Generation dolls, pretend school, ran around outside, homemade pizzas, spa masks, fire pit, The Greatest Showman, and and and and. Basically a ton of fun was had. All of these were taken by my sister-in-law of course!

farm show week!

Last week was our hometown's annual Farm Show! It's a thing we do.... Animals and tractors and lots of your typical fair food. And of course the boys had field trips, Letty I guess is too old now to do such things. First up was David's! We wandered around and they completed a photo scavenger hunt and of course there was a whole lot of giggles about all the poop. Animals are fun. We were also the baaaaad chaperones and let our group of kids make their own jump ropes. It's actually pretty neat to see how it all comes together although I'm sure their teacher was none to pleased to have them come back into the classroom....

the walk for dyslexia

You may be wondering why there is yet another dyslexia related event happening over here with us Olsens and that is because October is Dyslexia Awareness month. I know. Who knew? Dyslexia "is a disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words." Basically a disconnect between what letter a dyslexic person sees and what sound accompanies said letter (phonological awareness). I used to think it meant switching letters or seeing a letter backwards, which does happen, but it is so much more than that. It affects processing what a person sees or hears, or coming up with the right word to form an answer to a question, or remembering sequences, or difficulty pronouncing a new word, or spelling, or the time it takes to complete any activity that involves reading or writing.... So basically, a lot. 

If you have been around here for awhile you know that Letty has always been concerning... She had great difficulty as a toddler and even into preschool learning shapes, colors, her letters... She took awhile (long long while) to learn how to spell her name or when her birthday was... She struggles to remember people's names and frequently switches out her friend's names that have the same number of letters and start with the same letter. She constantly says "thing" or "stuff" because she struggles to recall the word she wants to use to describe something. Her reading level is far below grade level and the time it takes for her to read even the simplest of texts is exhausting. She is self-conscious and anxious when she is asked to read something. But she gives maximum effort. She tries so hard and is the very opposite of lazy. She is so smart! She is a creative thinker and loves art. But she also recognizes her difference. This video helped her get a broad understanding of what was going on in a way that didn't make it seem like a bad thing...

She was tested multiple times before public school and we were told she would outgrow it, but once she started first grade it became more and more obvious that something was up. We got to know individuals who knew the ropes and they really encouraged us to have her tested and get her an IEP. Which we did. We got her a tutor and got her on the waiting list for The Children's Dyslexia Center of Lancaster. Which is a non-profit that offers free tutoring to approximately thirty students per year (this year, Letty is one of those students). The cost of this (for the center) is as you can imagine quite a lot and so they do several fundraisers and awareness type events during the year. This walk being one. 

when i refuse to let traditions die...

File this one under why do I keep making my kids do these things? They are too old for it, I think. Maybe not Dom, but most definitely the older two. Not that they don't have fun, because they do.... but it's just changed so much over the years. This is a free little festival that a local store puts on every year.... And well, I make the kids go. As I tend to do.

makayla rae turns five!

How I have three nieces who are now five is beyond me. And how Dominc, my baby, will be five here in another month and a half is a whoooooole other issue. But it is what it is and last week Mikayla turned five! And we celebrated in style as her parents do, with a mermaid themed bash!

lancaster science factory

I've always heard about the Lancaster Science Factory but just never taken the kids there... it's hard to know unless you go how much enjoyment my kids will get out of something in relation to cost... so when we found out that on First Fridays in Lancaster it is free admission and that they were partnering with the Children's Dyslexia Center of Lancaster we knew we had to be there. 

race. once more!

I feel like we were just doing this... which I mean, yes, it's been six months. But still! Time you saucy minx! This event is normally in the spring which is just a really crazy time so it was moved to the fall, which makes more sense to me! The kids sent out their mailers, people sent in money, and they beat their goal which is just fantastic!

Day of the kids just run in circles. For an  hour. They stop for water and Ritas (not David of course). David got just over three miles and Letty came in at a solid three. It's just basically a fun morning with friends and of course exercise. This year I got to be a lap marker for 2-4 grade so I had the pleasure of seeing both my kids... Next year when Dom does this I'll be torn once more..... Dom! Next! Year!

Moving on.

peddler's village

The final stop... Peddler's Village. To the best of my knowledge this place is a bunch of shops and restaurants and just a pretty area to walk around. During the fall there are something like 200 scarecrows scattered about and so that made it a must so for our fall family weekend of fun...

We wandered around and poked into shops should we feel like it and saw us all the scarecrows. All before a lunch that was quite tasty. Nothing like going out with a bang! We hung around a little bit longer before heading home... all with rounds of Letty sniffling about it being over. I hear you girl... I hate when things end too. 

So until next time! Trovato Travels, over and out!

solebury orchards, and donuts!

On the final day of our Bucks County getaway we went to Solebury Orchards, simply because we had read that the cider donuts were worth the trip alone. And they were. We rode a wagon out to the orchards and picked some apples, even Poppop! They were the Pinata variety which was new to us all and definitely a hit! You can tell which of these are my sister-in-law's I am sure... 

This was one happening place! So if you're going to go, go early. There was a constant influx of cars and visitors and little bees. It was such a cute orchard though! And again, those donuts!

some wineries, some naughty kids, and some history

After a lunch of all the pizza in all the lands we separated for just a bit... My parents went off in search of antiques and the rest of us went off in search of wine. We found a winery and had the place to ourselves... basically just peace and quiet other than our seven... and then we went to another vineyard.. met by my parents and apparently, Satan himself...

a morning at hellerick family farm

Our Saturday away of course started with a hotel breakfast before the main event, Hellerick's Family Farm. A farm so full of fall activities they just cannot be named! But up first, a playground to kill some time before it opened! And I mean, 80 degree fall days are sort of not ideal but we make do. At least there was no rain!

so what’s new with you

It's October! Which is one of my most favoritest months of the year! We are still just living day by day here living the extra-curricular activities dream life.... But we are in October! So the weather should cool down... the fall things should be in full swing... and the sports should end.... soon. ish. And all you working mamas who also take their kids to all the sports things and also maintain family dinners and also their sanity please please please tell me your ways!

we went away last weekend... and did some swimming..

So yeah, as a family, most of us headed to Bucks County (a little more than an hour and a half away) for what we hoped to be a weekend of fall family fun! We left right after school and headed to the hotel because... they have a pool!

run run, everybody move, run

So it is the fall and that means that the kid's elementary school hosts their annual Run for Fitness. Now that the kids are a bit older it's a half mile each.... They both were super excited to do it and so signed them up I did! And bonus? Their shirts still fit them from two years ago! Wild, right? Saving that money left and right. Right Matt? Wink wink.