our easter

What a difference a year makes! Last year we were all trying to just get through the first major holiday affected by the shut down.... still trying to keep up traditions and make things fun for the kids... and this year we got ourselves together and even had visitors from out of state! Like the good old days!!

a local-cation to the hershey lodge, day two.

We didn't know if we would be able to get into the Waterworks again but my sister once more came through and we could get in again at nine. But first we had to have breakfast! Where Tenley got the largest pancake I have ever seen! My dad and Matt left after that because they had to work but we all headed back into the water park once more, this time for only an hour and a half slot. With the arrival of April over night the rules changed. Back at it, the kids did all the could do in the time they had! Tenley thankfully after having a full night's rest really enjoyed the waterpark! And Uncle Colton to the rescue for playing basketball with David. Someone get that kid a ball!

a local-cation to the hershey lodge, day one.

I'm making it a thing. A local-cation. My sister discovered as season pass holders to Hersheypark that we got a nice discount rate at The Hershey Lodge. We did this before, last January, and it has a nice little water park. She asked if we wanted to come along as well as my parents and so yes! We will! The kids had a half day before Easter break so we headed up there after they got home, bathing suits on!

the in-between

It has been a hot minute since I've done one of these.... and putting them together I see a big theme... I like baby cuddles, going out to eat (a lot), flowers, friends..... 

So the little moments in between have been looking something like.... niece cuddles! Dress like a book character day at school, lunch with friends.... Reclaiming the play room one corner at a time... flowers and cake baking with friends... Watching Letty grow up to be quite the young lady! David's research book that he was just so proud of...baseball started and bike rides on every warmer day we can...Schitt's Creek love still going strong.... lunch with friends! Popsicles with friends! Snacks while our girls are back at Girl Scouts! Working whenever I can at the kid's school (yes, I do work and quite enjoy it when I can get in there!). A rare day with Aunt Lolo! More good eats. Girl Scout drive-thru cookie booth. Dinner with our Fitzs after months apart! Kuboto rides... a rare day-date with Matt! Assume the lunches are a weekly thing. Cuddles by the pool! Swimsuit organization! Cousins who ice cream in new-to-them cups! Niece cuddles! Flowers! My daughter who won't stop growing! And sisters who watch their brothers practice baseball..... 

To be continued...

easter egg dying and cookies

Again, a tradition we have always upheld, COVID year aside. Dying the eggs. The mayhem of it all. The noise and the chaos. I have missed it it so! My sister also made cookie dough and she had fun Easter themed cookie cutters as well and spring colored sprinkles. I mean all the things on a Sunday morning!

It was utterly exhausting but felt oh so very normal! For us.

fishing with youths

There is a youth fishing day? I did not know this. Thankfully we have friends who know such things and they asked us to go along. Well, Matt was asked and I just invited myself along. When Dom is involved extra help is needed... The dads didn’t get much fishing in but the kids all caught a fish in some fashion or another. And the moms got to chat and sit in the warm spring sun. My kind of way to fish if I do say so myself!

the pool is open!

We actually opened her up like the last Friday in March... But yes, she is open! Early, I know. But we have a heater! She is so pretty to look at! The lights at night especially! Who wouldn’t want to open her up early? And of course the kids even got to swim a time or two so.... summer is close!!! I can feel it!

an evening of some green fun with family

I used to always have festive clothes for the kids for every holiday but as they have gotten older it isn't really a tradition I chose to continue other than around Christmas... but I did remember to put them in green for Saint Patrick's Day, less they get pinched. We had a family dinner over and my brother's house and my parents had purchased all the kids fun and festive accessories to wear. It is so nice to get together like this once more and not have to wear masks (my parents are fully vaccinated) and not gasp if a kid accidentally hugs their Nonna... It almost feels normal...

a philly field trip: independence hall

The next morning without so much as a sip of coffee we were off for a walk to see Independence Hall. And on the way there was coffee.  And a lot of other things, some not so nice and a wee bit scary. But we made it to the gorgeous visitor center where I think we practically moved in to that day. At least three maybe four bathrooms runs.... I digress. 

a philly field trip: chaos unleashed upon the city

Did I get you with that title? The entire weekend I kept joking that the people of Philly were gonna put an APD out for us... all the kids, the yelling, the noise.... It was a lot. Once we left the Institute we needed to find food for all and adult beverages for well, the adults. Finding a place to accommodate 15 people in the heart of Philadelphia during a pandemic was no easy feat. We found a place that had the tables we just had to split up which we had expected. 

a philly field trip: the franklin institute

A little backstory first... our school’s third grade field trip is always going into Philadelphia and doing the Franklin Institute. Letty was sooo looking forward to this. And then the world shut down. So a few moms of fellow third graders thought oh we will do this over the summer then! Which of course turned into well, before the end of the year! Which then turned in to well, in the spring since Philadelphia closed down in November. We even had hotels and tickets for December! Anyways so we finally did it! Six adults. Nine kids. Franklin. Institute!

so, what are we doing these days?

When people ask me how it's going, or what is new, I just want to say you know... living the dream. Because I'm sarcastic like that. But we have things that are the same as normal years and then things that are just our new normal. As much as I hate saying that... But here I am... catching up the blog on what I've been doing since the last of these posts... Sort of a monthly photo dump.

The kids celebrated the 100th day of school (glory halleluiah).... at-home hair cuts are still going strong and I don't see them going anywhere... I've been practicing the dutch braid and really failing at it.... I got to peak in on Letty's Valentine's Day thing at school... we had a zoom meeting about the fourth grade graduation celebration thing and I only cried a little.... lunch time hangs with my main kindergartener.... finally got some new chairs for my "reading room" which is still half playroom.... I got a $2 bill from my nail lady and I just knew David needed it... cat naps.... friend nights.... hanging with one of the many sweet fourth graders I know and sending a pic to mom.... fasnachts.... living for summer and buying new suits... my first library book in over a year.... more snow and sledding and forts.... a day in the fifty degree range meant we got outside and scooted.... a new shirt for Poppop... Fridays are for The Bullshead... Dom only had three other friends in his class for awhile and he actually was loving it.... matching with friends and more hectic friend nights!

It's a lot. When I see empty days on the calendar and think about how weird and unusual that is for me pre-COVID times it helps to remember all the things we are still doing. What about you all? How are we holding up?

ice sculptures in lititz

The kids had a few snow days a week or so ago, actual snow days mind you, not virtual days (still salty about it too) and on the second one the roads cleared up and we decided we needed to get out! So we met my friend first for lunch at ABC, which I am happy to report has brought back my favorite salad! Then we walked through downtown Lititz and checked out some of the ice sculptures... It actually was not as cold as I imagined it to be.... but that didn't stop us from warming up at the Bullshead with another drink for us and ice cream for the kids! 

I would have preferred the kids to be in school of course, but as snow days go, this one wasn't so bad!

a friend’s valentines

Not one to let a tradition die, my friend Toniel and I had to have another Friends Valentine's Day. And yes, I know it is now March and that heart holiday has long since passed but here I am anyways...

Matt made all the heart-shaped foods, including bacon hearts and pizza hearts. Toniel cut up cheese and pepperonis and strawberries in the same shape.... all the festive! She also brought cookies to decorate and eat and a nice LOVE craft that the kids got to paint. She's the fun mom in this scenario. 

I suppose I am lucky that I got to keep even one of the aforementioned crafts... David gave his to my sister and Dom gave his to his teacher.... at least Letty thought of me.

our super bowl

If you have been around here for a minute than you know that my love of sports is less than enthusiastic. And I have been blessed with a husband who feels the same way. Unfortunately our son finds all sports thrilling. So here we are. Anyways we normally just go over to my parent’s and eat lots of food and hang out. So we did the same thing this year, but with masks. My mom had a Valentine’s themed craft all ready to go which gave the kids something to do for a bit. My parents ordered food from Wegmans... all the foods. Definitely ate way too much food. Did I mention food? After dinner we took the kids out back so they could sled to their heart’s content. I ended up running up and down the hill because man those sleds were quick

We watched a little of the game before heading home because alas, school night. And we made sure to record the game so that David could watch it in it’s entirety the following day after school. 

since i last checked in...

It's been almost a month since I went through my camera roll and looked at all the in-between moments... A lot our days have the same rhythm to them but every now and again there is a moment worth documenting...

Like accidental matching with a friend... Some fresh hair cuts that need to actually be redone pretty soon here.... a sleeping cat is the best cat.... cousin time... sunrises and good foods..... winter flowers should be a thing, let us make it a thing. Pizza parade with friends... couch cuddles and well visits..... field hockey and scar inspections.... niece cuddles and an odd sunrise.... shopping and breakfast with friends that we have not seen in months.... One last Christmas tree view (yes they are all officially down)... the dress-up station is now a gorgeous hutch... I've been working out... a lot. Lunch with friends and more working out... Girl Scout cookie sales and jersey day at school... hot tub on a cold winter night.... ice cream for breakfast with friends and new finds for said hutch at a local store.... pajamas all day on weekends and more niece cuddles! And food. All the food.

Even though life is slower than normal for us things aren't so bad now are they? 

cousins who sled

We just have been having all the snow these past few weeks it feels like... and one of those particular snow days all the cousins (and their parents) got together at our development to get their sled on... But first, the only photo of our snowman that was so cruelly decapitated moments later by David.

snow days, get your snow days here!

Just like much of the northeast we had ourselves some snow at the beginning of the week. Our district kindly allowed on actual snow day where kids could be kids but then the second snow day was virtual. Which is a nice balance and I'll take it. I don't want to make up snow days anymore than the next mom. Not when my pool is open no ma'am. It started on Sunday and went through Tuesday... lots of inside and back outside and the dryer going constantly to keep their snowstuffs ready to go at a moment's notice.... It is always so pretty at first... I almost forget that I'd rather be where there are palm trees. Almost.

my niece turned three!

And there was a party! Oh Audrey! What a joy you have been these past few months! You have been way more chatty and I am loving to get to know your little (big) personality! You've been so shy with me most of your life so this is just huge and I will take every second of it! We had a great afternoon celebrating you and your love of all things Frozen! There was cake and singing, present opening, and lots of play time with cousins! I sure hope you felt all the love and that having a pandemic birthday wasn't so bad after all! 

We love you so much! You sassy spitfire you! May you never change!

a theater with a bar?

This is a rarity in PA. I've never been to a cinema where we could order food and drinks and then they would deliver them to your chair before the movie started.... But on another random Monday off of school that is just what we did! I figured that none of my kids could get injured sitting and watching a movie... Safe bet right? So we saw the second Croods with some friends and it was definitely an experience! I don't think I can go back to just any old theater... they had me at the vodka tonic! Oh! And the heated seats!

And the movie was cute! Kids had fun! No one was hurt! The end!

ice skating on a long weekend...

That ended badly. Yet again. 

And I'm just getting around to writing about it here so.... very 2021 of me.

We had a long weekend a week or two ago and so we decided to do something special with the kids and landed on ice skating. The older two have gone a time or three and they were doing pretty well, moving around with their friends.... Dom was simply terrible without the walker but with the walker he was practically sprinting! Around and around we went... for just shy of an hour until Matt says uh Laur, David fell and he has a pretty deep cut.... I took him off to the bathroom to look at it and yeah, Urgent Care was once more calling my name. He cried when he learned he needed stitches but other than that was so very brave! He took an almost clinical view of it all, even watching the stitches take place! His biggest concern once the cut was numbed was more along the lines of am I allowed to stick this finger out? Three stitches and an x-ray later and off we went. So thankful to our friends who kept Letty and then drove her to us... we have our own brand of crazy us Olsen’s...

And now there is me, ten plus days later and no less anxious about another injury happening any second now. Because really... bad things come in threes. 

what is new with you?

Just going through my camera roll from the last few weeks and here are the in-betweens! 

Remembering festive days at school is fun! Even if there was just one before they shut down before Christmas....At least David got to have a quick party in his class. The kids got their school pride beanies in and we combed David's hair to look like his uncle's circa 1998... Nera shenanigans and festive tshirts....  Dom got a Baby Yoda shirt from a friend and I am hard pressed to get it off of him! Same goes with the Alexis tee I got. Ew, David! My sister watched the boys while I took Letty to her orthodontist appointment and I returned with cookies for all! Then we had a fun night with friends! Dom and his nose and fun Instax film with Letty! Good skies and Christsmas trees in every room! The gym opened back up and I couldn't wait to take a BodyPump class! I was in the school a bunch of times, some recesses more freezing than others...Letty got a hockey game in and she scored and they won! I rewarded Dom and his stictch removal bravery with a slushee the size of his head, just like his Poppop did when he got them in! I had lunch with friends now that indoor dining opened back up... Dom got some badges at school and David got a new teacher yet again... third of the year! And Letty has to quarantine for a bit so it was just her and I at lunch for a hot minute.... What about you all? How are we handling this year so far?

new years day

We just started off our year with a great start. I mean, the best. I spent the day putting some Christmas things away here and there... The kids were all showered and ready to head over to my parents' house when Dom came upstairs from the basement quite upset, quickly followed by Letty insisting it wasn't her fault. He had been running and jumping and doing whatever it is Dom does down in the basement and fell into the ottoman. Which is padded but has a frame under the pad that he just happened to hit. And for lack of a better word the corner punctured the side of his nose.  A quick Facetime call to my paramedic brother later and Dom and I were off to get that remedied at Urgent Care. Thankfully we didn't have to wait long to be seen and told that yes, he did in fact need stitches. They tied him down real tight and I just had to hold his little hand as he kept going with a litany of "you're going to kill me" and "I'm going to die" and "it hurts it hurts" and "are you done yet?" and "I don't like this!" I'm sure you can imagine how fun that was for everyone in the room. I'll spare you the "before" photo...

The rest of the day was a blur but we did head to my parents' where my mom had cooked quite the spread. I literally have zero photos from New Year's Day other than these involving Dom's poor nose...It always takes me a bit to calm down after traumatic things like this... but I'd say after two nights I was able to sleep without waking up and recalling the entire affair. Good news is that when they took the stitches out five days later he laid there quite calmly and it was not nearly as upsetting. And the nose looks great!


new years eve

I'm reaching way back here to a few weeks ago when we had a little New Year's Eve night with my family. My parents got a bunch of food from Wegman's for us so as far as entertaining goes it was quite simple on our end (thanks mom and dad!). We got the kids dressed up just to make it more "something" even if that was short lived on my boy's parts. The kids played and we all ate and then they changed into their festive pajamas one last time to watch the ball drop. Last year's ball that is. And then everyone went home. I couldn't quite bring myself to stay up till midnight, even as happy as I was to see 2020 go!

our final visit to hershey for the year

Christmas break was so not what they normally crack up to be in my opinion. Normally I am the frame of mind to just have the days so jammed packed there is little to no room for fighting or wrestling. This was not the case of course this year.... however I did get it into my mind to take the kids up to the Hershey Zoo and then run over to Hersheypark one more time before the end of the year. And we had friends join us! Letty's friend and Dom's friend and their mom went with us and man, going with other people to Hershey of a similar height restriction is just so great! And Lindsey is a major fun mom and does all the things. So. There is that. We got on so many rides and got some yummy snacks before we got too cold and headed on home! Till next year Hershey!

an olsen christmas

I think this is my final Christmas post and I am really sad about it. My house is almost devoid of all Christmas cheer and now the blog will follow suit. Sniff.

But back a bit we gathered with Matt's side of the family for one final Christmas celebration. Matt cooked quite the meal and we of course had more gifts! Including some sent up from his brother in Florida....

christmas day

My parents hosted Christmas dinner this year so we headed over there in the afternoon for more gifts and more food! We do a Secret Santa with all the aunts and uncles and cousins and then of course exchange gifts with my parent's.... so! Many! Gifts! We all take turns which I'm sure to some of you is highly annoying but it slows the chaos down and we actually get to make it last... because as with everything else it just goes so fast! 

And I ate waaaay too much food! 

So let us start off this photo dump with some of my little brother's artistic take on Christmas wrapping!

christmas morn

At the very bright (dark) and early hour of six am the kids were up and ready for some gift action! It lasted all of fifteen minutes but I think they got pretty spoiled. The kid's gifts this year were all pretty "small" size-wise so we also got them all a cornhole set that we thought they could play with in the basement for now. And of course for use all summer long outback so.... winner winner! 

christmas eve

Back in March I kept saying oh as long as COVID doesn't mess with my Christmas! And then here we are, it messing with my Christmas. My parent's big cocktail party - cancelled! Thankfully we were still able to get together with my immediate family as no one did anything or saw anyone leading up to the day... And we hosted! Everyone brought a bunch of apps and such and it was just a night of grazing for all. There was a lot of niece cuddles on my end which is always much appreciated...The kids changed into their pajamas and watched The Star which is just a really cute movie if you haven't seen it yet. We put out our reindeer food and tucked the kids into bed after reading The Night Before Christmas.... 

So it wasn't the same. And we missed seeing so many of our friends at the party... but we made the most out of it and kept some traditions alive! It's just over so fast you know??

annual cookie baking day at nonna’s

More! Cookies! We always get together at my parent's house and whip up a bunch of cookies for their annual Christmas Eve party and since that of course wasn't happening this year there was some talk of if we should even bother and I bet you know how I answered that question. Hell yes we still do it! We even got the boys involved this year! Who needs a party in order to have cookies! Ha!

It was such a loud and chaotic messy day but I think great memories (and cookies) were made!