Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Disney Trip and CPA Exam

Since my last post, I have tested on two of the four sections of the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. In addition to studying for and taking those sections, we took our second trip (this year) to Disney.  I have also been busy with a continued job search and my stay-at-home dad duties.  I just could not justify spending time on a blog post.

I am not shocked by the results of the first two sections of the exam (I received my grades on both), although I am still somewhat numb by receiving a 74 on one exam section when the passing grade is a 75!  I need to reread the fine print on scoring - maybe I can appeal and/or ask for a re-grading...

If you read Sarah's blog, you know we flew to Disney this time and it went about as good as it could have gone - considering it was our first time flying as a family.  Sarah's mom traveled with us again on this trip.  Having Grammy and flying Jet Blue were definite positives.  We stayed at the Art of Animation resort this time, which was  different than the Beach Club, for sure.  But the stark differences between the two resorts went unnoticed by our girls.  I think.

More on the exam and our vacation in future posts.  This is a clip of the girls meeting Alice in Wonderland for the first time:




Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Three more letters.

As the girls move through their first year in a "real" school (kindergarten), they are learning the letters of the alphabet, along with a handful of other concepts.  They continue to bombard us with questions on a range of topics from religion ("Why does God _____?") to sports ("Why are you watching the Patriots?") to family ("Is Grandma G. your mommy, daddy?").  Curiosity is high for all three of them and I love it!  I love watching their faces as they ponder the answers Sarah and I provide.  It is one of the multiple joys of parenthood!

Trying to explain Sarah's four-day work schedule and my study-unemployment-school-interview schedule is another thing.  Emily has been especially curious about how I spend my time when Grammy comes during the day to watch them.  I am studying for the CPA exam.  They know I am done with grad school, so Emily has been asking me questions about my studying for the exam.  If you could only see her cute little face and lips when she asks me a question...her eyes roll upward and she thinks REAL hard!

Emily has asked a lot of the questions I have been asking myself about this exam...like WHY!?

The answer to the WHY question is a long one, but for now let's just say the answer is FOR THE BETTER.  Sarah & I hope the long-term outcome will be a better quality of life for the entire family.

In the meantime, the content of the study material, for me, is tough!  Most of the stuff is material from undergrad - over 20 years ago!

I am taking the FAR section one week for today.  Passing rate is less than 50% for first-timers.  I certainly hope I beat the odds!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Silliness and Middle "C"

With summer's door closed and winter's chill creeping in, time outside is dwindling.  FAST.

And, of course, having three five-year olds' bundled energy indoors can be trying at times.  They are kids and they are active kids.  I get that and Sarah and I are pleased that our girls are active.  Yes - Allie, Anna and Emily have their time in front of the television but they spnd much more time playing.  And they get goofy.  And silly.  And wild too.

This is a little clip of them being silly but cute (of course).  The first part is at the piano which we recently moved out of the girls' playroom into the kitchen area so it doesn't serve as a shelf anymore - it serves as a piano! 

Emily says she wants to take piano lessons....



Saturday, October 20, 2012

One of Allie's numerous dance routines.

A dance routine choreographed and/or performed by either Allie, Anna or Emily is pretty much a daily occurrence in our home. 

Allie especially loves dancing and performing.  She takes it seriously too!

I love this performance in particular - Allie looks so DARN CUTE!



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Anna has Spina Bifida. For Real.

Some kids (and adults) with Spina Bifida look "normal" to those who do not know they were born with SB.  These individuals with SB do not require the use of a wheelchair, leg braces, or some other form of walking aide.  Their disability is invisible to most people. 
 
Our daughter Anna has Spina Bifida.  And to most people her disability is invisible (most of the time).  Believe it or not, it is even easy for some family members to forget she has SB - they may see her once a month or a few times a year.  And, until they see Sarah or me take Anna to be catherized, they see her as one of the girls.  This is good.  I like that she is looked at as "normal". 
 
We are in many ways "lucky" that Anna's SB is not as severe as others with SB.  Anna has full mobility of her legs - no leg braces, no crutches and no wheelchair needed.  But...her leg strength is not all there.  This, combined with the fact that her legs are so short, makes Anna prone to lose her balance.  She tires easily as well.  All these factors contribute to her falling more often than other children her age.  
 
She took one of those falls a couple of weeks ago under my watch as we (Anna, Allie, Emily and I) were walking from the van in the school parking lot to the entrance to the school.  In the end, it was not that big of a deal.  But I felt TERRIBLE.
 
For me, it is sometimes difficult.  I want to give Anna room - I want her to challenge herself.  On the other hand, I obviously want her to ALWAYS have the support she needs - whether it be a hand to hold or a  shoulder to cry on. 
 
I did not have her hand when she fell and hit her head.  I let my guard down and she fell.  It was kind of ugly.  It was a fairly small cut on her forehead but there was a lot of blood.  Emily and Allie stopped looking because they didn't like the sight of it.
 
So, this all happened at the start of the school day.  Long story short is that we ended up at a local emergency room to get the cut looked at.  The same emergency room Sarah & I had taken Anna to about two years ago when she lost her balance and hit her head on the corner of a wall in our home.
 
This is Anna waiting for the staff to stitch her forehead.  She is making the "ducky" face that only Anna can make.
 

 
 
It was interesting to be there when they put the stitches in.  It was obvious that the staff (a doctor and 2 nurses) was not expecting Anna to cooperate.  They wrapped her whole body (legs & arms) tight in a sheet and assigned parts of her body to everyone.  "I'll take her legs, you hold her arms."  The doctor said "I'll hold her head in place." "Dad, pull right up and sit close."
 
Anna flinched a couple of times and gave the "I don't like what they are doing" face.  But, other than that, she was still and didn't cry at all!  Yes, it was more painful for me than it was for Anna.
 
 
After the stitches had been put in:


 
The ducky face. Post-stitches:


Sarah tells me I did the self-pic incorrectly.  It was a mirror shot:
 
The stitches stayed in over the weekend (5+ days) and again Anna handled having an egg on her forehead like a champ.  A wince or too when we changed her band-aid but I think everyone else felt worse about the whole thing than Anna did.
 
Having the stitches taken out by the pediatrician was almost more eventful than the ER visit.  It was a Monday morning appointment so I took Anna (and Allie and Em came along with us).  Oh my...the questions the three of them were firing off on the ride to the pedi!!  Most of the questions were the "will it hurt?" type of question but just asked a different way.  Like "how does he take the stitches out Daddy?" or "will Anna get a shot?"
 
It took awhile for the doc to get the stitches out.  And, having Allie and Emily in the examination room with us didn't help matters.  Anna's doctor was stressing so he kindly "requested" that Allie and Emily wait in the waiting area.  No problem.  The ER doctor apparently put the stitches in TIGHT.  Tight stitches on forehead skin with a dry scab makes for a difficult pull and snip (apparently).  The stitches came out finally.  Relief!
 
This is Anna while we were waiting in the examination room.  She is holding a luvvie Auntie Joan (my sister) had given her.

 
Anna has Spina Bifida.  It may not be visible to everyone everyday, but it is certainly visible to Anna. And Sarah.  And me.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Happy Anniversary 2012.

While pulling together this slide show/video in celebration of our wedding anniversary, it was amazing to see just how many memories Sarah & I have created in such a (relatively) short period of time. We have been married 8 years.
 
Happy Anniversary Hon!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Our Disney Trip: Character Meet & Greets Part II

Here's one more video clip of some character meet & greets from Disney.  Like I said before...meeting/hugging/talking to the characters is the girls' favorite part of visiting Disney! 

It certainly brings me enormous joy too - I love seeing the girls' faces light up!




Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our Disney Trip: Meet and Greets Part 1

After two trips to Disney, the hands-down winner of favorite things to do is meet the Disney characters.  Allie's, Anna's and Emily's faces light up with joy at the very sight of Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White, Minnie, Goofy, etc.- name a Disney character and they have probably met him/her!

If there is one thing we have learned about the character meet and greets is to plan ahead and know their schedules!  Sarah (of course) has been the ultimate Disney planner for our trips and it has paid dividends in terms of maximizing our time. See her blog for much more detail on our trip(s).

The clip below are SOME highlights from encounters the girls had with various Disney princesses (and Tinkerbell).



I separated the other character meet & greets into another video which I will post next.  In the meantime...there is discussion of heading back to Disney before the end of the year...stay tuned.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Our Disney Trip: Shows and Parades

Sarah  and I agree that the folks at Disney know how to put on a show.  BTW if you don't follow Sarah, but are interested in getting details about Disney, go to her blog.

Having been to Disney twice, and taken the girls to two different Disney On Ice shows, we have concluded that Disney shows are done right. They get everything right from timely starts to entertaining multiple age groups.

This trip we saw the Belle show (Hollywood Studios) and The Lion King show (Animal Kingdom) again - we had seen them during our first trip to Disney in 2010.  Very enjoyable shows.  We also saw the Nemo (Animal Kingdom) and Arielle (Holywood Studios) shows for the first time.  Equally impressive.

What I find impressive about the shows is that ALL the cast members perform the show as if it is their only performance. They give 110% and it shows!

So...if you go to Disney, don't miss the shows!!!!

There are, of course, parades throughout the day at Magic Kingdom and a parade at Animal Kingdom.  Both of which are great.  It just seems like the parades at Magic Kingdom run when I am trying to get from one part of the park to another and cannot because of the parade! 

I got some clips from the Belle, Lion King and Nemo shows and some of both parades.  My video clips do not do the shows justice, so don't judge the show by these clips (please):



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Our Disney Trip: Beach Club Resort

How nice was it for us to check-in at the Beach Club in Disney after that draining drive?  It was great!

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon @3:00 and I was impressed with the hotel the moment we pulled up to the entrance.  We stayed 7 nights and, outside of the hotel(s) Sarah & I stayed in on our honeymoon to Hawaii back in 2004, this was probably the best stay we have had at a hotel while vacationing.

I am sure Sarah will give a more detailed review of Disney's Beach Club Resort.  But here are the pros & cons I came up with.  Mostly pros, BTW.

Pros
  • Rooms were clean, comfortable, and fairly spacious.
  • a/c worked great in the rooms (we had 2 adjoining rooms for 3 adults and 3 children).
  • awesome, awesome view from our room.
  • proximity to Epcot and Hollywood Studios was great - it literally took 5 minutes to walk to the Epcot entrance.  The walk to Holly wood Studios was @20 minutes.
  • Pools!!  The pool, as advertised, was awesome.  We spent our time in the "kiddie" pool behind the huge water slide and it was perfect for our girls.  Old man daddy (me) went down the big slide a few times too!  It was a fairly intense ride!  The kiddie pool had a slide too - Emily loved it.
  • Beaches and Cream restaurant was fun and the ice cream was delish!
  • Staff was friendly, helpful and professional.
  • The bed was very comfortable - in no way did it feel like a hotel bed!
Cons (observances more than complaints)
  • It was a LONG walk from our room to the lobby, parking lot and the hotel store.
  • the bathroom and the sink/mirror area was kind of awkward.
  • Despite having reservations, we had to wait almost 20 minutes beyond our reservation time for breakfast with the characters.
I took a few video clips of the hotel, including the kiddie pool area, our room and the view from our room.  I think it gives a good feel for Disney's Beach Club Resort:



Sunday, September 9, 2012

A few video clips from our (VERY long) drive to Disney

I think my previous post set the tone for how our drive to/from Disney went, so I will not beat the point to death.  I will only say that it was a tough ride for both the adults and kids (Emily got car sick on the ride home).  And the girls actually fared better than the adults.  The drive sucked everything out of Sarah and me.

I pulled the FLIP video recorder out on the ride down and was able to capture some (but not all) of the flavor of the 1,300 mile drive down Interstate 95.

The traffic in the beginning of the video is near the Virginia/North Carolina border which was shut down due to flooding.  It took us about 3 hours to travel 17 miles.  Enough said.





Thursday, September 6, 2012

Drive to Disney: Never again.

Most of the folks that end up reading my posts follow Sarah's blog also.

So...if you are reading this post, you probably know we just returned from a seven day vacation at Disney World in Orlando.

We drove. 

We drove the ENTIRE 1,300 miles. 

BOTH WAYS.

AGAIN.

This is the second time we have done this drive.  After the first time, my comment to Sarah was "never again".  And, because I'm not a good salesman at all, I was not able to convince Sarah to bite the bullet and pay to fly to Florida for this trip.

So we drove again.  And it took 31 hours to get there because of:
  • traffic at the GW bridge in New York
  • traffic at the Delaware Memorial Bridge
  • major traffic at the Virginia - North Carolina border.  They closed route 95 because of flooding.  That's right CLOSED.
The drive back was brutal too. We drove straight through because we so paranoid about getting stuck in traffic on Labor Day.

I'm not sure when things changed but the drivers along 95 in the New Jersey to Connecticut stretch drive as if they are on a racetrack.  Like passing on the right doing 85 m.p.h. crazy.  Trucks too.

Sarah's comment to me on the drive home was "never again".

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

School's Out!

With Labor Day behind us, everyone with children of school age are now focused on the upcoming school year.  I, on the other hand, am finally done with my graduate level program and for the first time in over three years! I do not have any classes to concern myself with!

It was a family effort and I would not have my MBA without the support of Sarah and the help of Sarah's mom, who watched the girls many days and nights while I attended class or studied.  Thank you!

When I was in grade school, Alice Cooper's hit "School's Out" was popular and each year on the last day of school you could find me playing the 45 inch single on my record player:

School's out for the summerSchool's out foreverSchool's been blown to pieces
No more pencilsNo more booksNo more teacher'sDirty looks
Well, we got no classAnd we got no principalsWe ain't got no intelligenceWe can't even think of a word that rhymes...

My grades for the two summer sessions.  Considering my grades for undergrad, I'll take these!

Intermediate Acct'G
3.00
Graded
B+
9.900
Adv Corporate Financ
3.00
Graded
A-
11.100
Oral Communc Mngrs
3.00
Graded
A
12.000
Strategic Management
3.00
Graded
A-
11.100


And a couple of pictures from the graduation, which was held back in June:





Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hanging Out on the Cape Cod Canal

As I may have said before on this blog, both Sarah & I love Cape Cod and have great memories of visiting there with our families as kids. My parents took me and my siblings there every summer.  And, whether it was camping at Nickerson State Park in Brewster, or a day trip to one of the many beautiful beaches, I have endless memories of summertime on the Cape.

As I have also probably said on this blog before, Sarah and I have started to create memories of the Cape for Allie, Anna and Emily the past couple of years by making it down there a couple of times during the summer months. Sarah and the girls have come to cheer me on while I run the Falmouth Road Race for the past 4 years, for example.

In some ways I can't believe I did it, but I (just me) took Allie, Anna and Emily with me to Falmouth so that I could get my number for this year's running of Falmouth. (There is no number pick-up the day of the race, so runners MUST pick-up their numbers by Saturday for Sunday's race.) And again, I surprised myself by stopping along the Cape Cod Canal in Buzzards Bay on the drive home.

Note: Buzzards Bay has special meaning to Sarah & I as we both have a brother who graduated from Mass Maritime Academy, which is located in Buzzards Bay.

Here's a video clip of the girls taking in the beauty of the boats, bridge(s), birds and people:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer cruising on princess bikes.

Since we gave the girls bikes for their birthdays LAST year, we have talked about taking them to a nearby bike path. Well....they finally got to ride on the bike path a couple of weeks ago!

Unfortunately, "they" did not include Anna because she had ben sick with a temperature and was just too run down for any physical activity. Emily and Allie had a good time, though:



Otherwise, it has been another good summer here in New England in terms of weather.  And, as a family, we have had a good summer as well.  Everyone (for the most part) has been healthy and we have been able to do some of the many things we want to while the weather permits.

I ran the Falmouth Road Race last week and hope to do at least one post on that day.  Falmouth, by the way, is the best road race in the area (in my humbled opinion, of course!).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thing(s) that make me go hmmmmm...


According to TIME magazine:
  • $3,600 = Lemonade-stand revenue earned in a week by 9-year-old Josuhua Smith of Detroit; he donated the money to his struggling city.

  • $11 million - Amount Jersey Shore star Paul "Pauly D" DelVecchio earned from DJ appearances over the past year.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

On (and off) the beam.

The title of this post refers to the spiritual beam, not the balance beam we have been hearing about the past several days.

In the past I have prouded myself on being “on the beam” spiritually. Unfortunately, when I am off the beam, I do not even realize it. Life takes over and I get caught up with making a few extra dollars or I get overly concerned about keeping up with how others perceive me. I suddenly cannot find the time to pray, meditate or take a deep breath and clear my mind.

Today, out of nowhere, the serenity prayer entered my mind. It was just what I needed:

God Grant Me the Serenity


To Accept the Things I Cannot Change


Courage to Change the Things I Can


And the Wisdom to Know the Difference


For me, the things I cannot change = other people.  And the things I can change = myself.

I certainly hope I am moving toward more serenity and less mental chaos.  

In other news...I've been having fun over the past few months spending some alone time with Allie, Anna and Emily.  Here's a picture from our outing yesterday:
 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dance Little Sister

I think it is interesting to look at children's (and adults') interests and professions in relation to their parents.  Do you work in the same field as your father or your mother?  Do your kids like to play the same sport as you?  Maybe you play the guitar for pleasure - do any of your children like to play the guitar?  Maybe your children's interests are completely different than yours - that certainly is possible.

When my older siblings were old enough to babysit us younger siblings (I am the 3rd youngest of 13 kids), my parents took up dancing.  They started with square dancing but also did round dancing as well (round dancing is kind of like ballroom dancing).  Dancing was my mother and father's outlet -
I have tons of memories of my parents dancing together. My dad would record the instructor's "calls" for a new dance and then replay the recording in our kitchen while him and my mother practiced the new dance steps.  My brothers and I would run through the kitchen dodging their footsteps - we must have drove them crazy!

Well, I wouldn't consider Sarah and I to be "dancers".  Sure, I can do the Electric Slide and I like to shake it up to classic dance music from The Jackson Five, Shalamar and the like...but no, we are not dancers.

Our girls love to dance so it will be interesting to see where it leads them in the years to come.

This is a clip I got of Anna dancing with Sarah.  I love this clip because there is so much joy radiating from BOTH of their faces:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Boston Driving, The Red Sox and A Swingset.

I've conceded to the Boston driving.  Having driven the streets and highways in and around Boston for almost 30 years now, I can say that traffic is extremely unpredictable, the roads seem to be forever under construction, and there are some people who drive like lunatics. 

New Englanders are very familiar with the Big Dig.  And f
or those of who are not familiar, it was (and still is I believe) the largest federally funded construction project in the United States.  Well... the Big Dig was completed a few years ago but every other roadway in a 20 mile radius of Boston seems to be under construction now.  I have dealt with the traffic and crazy drivers the past few years commuting home from campus after taking evening MBA classes.  Construction.  Traffic.  At 9:00 at night. 

I understand that roads need to be resurfaced.  Roads need to be updated.  But why does it take SO LONG!?

Case in point:  last night's drive home from the Red Sox game.  Sarah & I had a nice night - just the two of us.  I picked her up at work and then, thanks to a sibling, we got free parking within a short walk to Fenway.  We enjoyed a great game at Fenway.  Good seats (sat between home plate and 3rd base).  We stood with the Fenway faithful to give Kevin Youkilis a warm welcome upon his return to Fenway (after he had been traded to the White Sox). 

We decided to exit a bit early to beat the crowd (and we did). We got to within about 15 miles of home and TRAFFIC.  10:15 PM traffic.  On a major highway.

Can you tell I am a bit done with driving in Boston?

Onto something fun...I was taking some clips of the girls playing on the swing set (or whatever they call these playthings) when Allie decided she was going to describe to the camera the various items on the swing set.  Kind of cute.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Beach Day 2012

Sandwiched between numerous scheduled events like birthday parties and the like, we have been able to make it to the beach a few times already this year.  July has been hot!

With my class schedule light for the second summer session (only 1 class this session = last class!) and with Sarah on her reduced schedule, we hope to get several more beach days in.  The summer closes quickly here in New England so Sarah & I want to take advantage of it while it lasts!

This video clip is from a couple of weeks ago.  The girls have since done a little "boogie" boarding - I hope to have some video of that soon....

Friday, July 13, 2012

Allie reads to Emily & Anna

The title says it all...

The girls apparently get their love of books from Sarah.  Sarah tells me how, as a kid, she would go to the library, get a bunch of books, and read read read!  The benefits of reading are so obvious now that I know Sarah so well - she has a great gift for words and is smart as a whip!  So yes...the girls get their enthusiasm for books is similar to their mother's love of books at that age. 

I, on the other hand, like a good book as an adult.  As a "yoot" (think My Cousin Vinny) it was a different story for me!

I'm glad I was able to get this video clip - it makes me so proud!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A - You're Adorbale

As with most families, our weekends in both May and June were packed with weddings, first communions, christenings, and shows! One of the shows was the annual dance show put on by the dance school the girls have been attending for the past year. This was their first dance show.

I will leave my commentary on the dance show itself and preparation for the show for another time.  I will say, however, that the "guidelines" were a bit much, especially when dealing with 5 year-old triplets.

If you are the father to a girl, you probably understand the feelings I felt while watching my girls perform on stage.  My daughters make my heart sing each and every day, regardless of what is going on. A smile.  A giggle.  Their questions.  Their energy.  It all makes me so proud.  Yes, I am blessed.  Seeing them all "dolled-up" and dancing on stage was just priceless, however.  Totally priceless.

Video recording and picture taking were not alowed at the actual show so this clip is actually from the rehearsal, which was the day before. Their instructor(s) stood behind the curtain and directed them - that is why the girls are looking to the side at times.




Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gymnastics Show 2012

This was year #2 for Alicenne, Anna and Emily in the annual gymnastics show put on by the local academy they go to.

I am sort of disappointed in myself for not moving to a spot where I could get better footage of the girls performing - I feel like the clips I got last year are so much better.  Oh well.

Allie is in the front row, center.

Anna is in the front, right.

Emily is in the rear, closest to the camera.

Enjoy!



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Countdown until...

...Allie, Anna and Emily start Kindergarten - only about two and a half months.

...we take a mini-family vacation  - days away!

...the first summer session at school ends for me - about three weeks!

...our return to Disney  - about two months away!

I took the girls to the local feeding/ petting zoo the other day.  Here are a few pics:







Anna is still afraid of the animals = nopictures of her feeding them!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Return of The Bobblehead


I got a couple of early Father's Day gifts on Friday from Allie and Anna.  They made them in school and I love 'em!

 




Friday, June 8, 2012

One in Five Hundred Thousand

My posts, as they have been for the past week or so, will continue to be less frequent for the next few weeks.

I am taking three graduate level courses this shortened summer semester in an effort to complete the MBA program by August.  And the three classes are fairly heavy: Intermediate Accounting, Advanced Corporate Finance and Strategic Management.

Presentations and team projects have been, as expected, a significant part of the program and this semester is no different.  I have to do a 20 - 25 minute case-study presentation next Thursday night.

So...with the time I have NOT doing school work, blogging is not at the top of my list - especially with the spring/summer weather upon us.

I do have some video almost ready, though.  Stay tuned.

Sarah showed me a video clip on Yahoo which is currently trending about a couple in Pennsylvania who had identical triplet (boys).  The doctor says in the video "...one in five hundred thousand chance..."

I guess I'm not sure how or why some of these births make the news and others don't...I said to Sarah that around the time our girls were born, there seemed to be a few that made the news.  But not ours.

Time for bed.  Sarah and I have an extremely rare night out tomorrow night.  One of my nephews is tying the knot.  A local wedding so we will not be staying overnight.  Good thing because Sunday will be a busy day for this family!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Interruption.

Tonight's post has been interrupted by my class and Boston Celtics playoff action.

GO CELTICS!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Commencement, some anger and a little bit of vomit.

Sarah was right in saying that my attending the graduation ceremony on Friday was somewhat anti-climactic.  I finish up the MBA program in August so there is still some work to be done.

I'm glad I went to the graduation however.  And even more happier that Sarah, Allie, Anna, Emily and Sarah's mom Sheila were there too.  Sure, the process of bringing three 5 year-old girls and having them sit through an event for "adults" was a trying experience.  But, they got to see the place where their daddy has been going to for MANY nights after work.  The girls got to see the place where daddy was while they were being tucked away to bed.  The place where daddy was when Allie would say "I miss daddy" to Sarah in a boo-whoo kind of voice!  Thanks for coming guys!

Friday (the day of the graduation) was nice weather-wise too.  Saturday was a wash-out, though.  We stayed home most of the day as a family with the exception of a trip to the local Target for a mini-shopping spree followed by bread sticks and pizza from the in-house Pizza Hut they have.

In other news...Sarah & I spent most of today following Allie & Emily around with a puke bucket.  No Anna, though (yet) - thank God.  They are all sleeping soundly right now - Sarah & I hope a restful night of sleep will help their resilient little bodies bounce back in the morning.

Even though the girls' tummies were upset, we were able to keep our plans of visiting Abigail today.  She should be turning 6 tomorrow.  They all picked out a balloon for Abigail.  Allie a pink dolphin.  Emily a butterfly and Anna picked a Snoopy balloon.  We also cleaned things up a bit and planted some nice flowers for our little angel.

While we were at the cemetery today I kept hearing an air horn but didn't give it much thought until Sarah told me it was coming from some kids who were "hanging out" at the cemetery.  I was not happy. AT ALL. Unfortunately both Sarah & I left the cemetery filled with anger.  We actually stopped the car and I told the young man (punk) in so many words to wise up.

A mass is being held for Abigail in the morning.  Our little angel.  Taken from our arms but not our herarts. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Biggest Book Evah

So...if I look out the window to my left I can see endless rows of chairs, a stage, video screens and other AV equipment.  All this was set-up in preparation for the commencement exercises taking place on the Harbor Campus tomorrow.  I was invited to attend the ceremonies since I will be completing my MBA in just three months time. 

I will be attending the ceremony tomorrow.  Sarah & I have been discussing whether to take the girls or not, however.  It will be crazy here tomorrow.  And crowded.  There will be the main ceremony followed by multiple separate ceremonies for each college.  Parking will be a challenge.  Navigating the crowds will be a challenge.  Navigating the campus with the mass of people will be even more challenging (for Sarah and Sheila).  PLUS the girls have school tomorrow - this means time will be tight.

I didn't attend my undergraduate graduation ceremony.  Many years ago.  On this same campus.

Grad school, although not quite over yet, has been a challenge for EVERYONE.  More work for Sarah at home.  More work for Sheila.  LONG days (and nights) for me.

We should celebrate as a family.  Right?

The girls will only be five once.  Maybe they will remember this day when they get older...maybe they will some day understand the sacrifices their mommy & daddy make for them.  For the family.

I am taking three classes in the first (of two) summer sessions.  They are Advanced Corporate Finance, Strategic Management, and Intermediate Accounting.  I bought the Intermediate Accounting book today - BIGGEST BOOK EVAH!  Over 1,500 pages...ya, we will not be covering everything in that book!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Take-out Tuesday.

As it goes, Sarah & I get take-out for dinner once a week, on average.  Some weeks no take-out...others maybe more than once.  Just Sarah & I - not for the girls, as they generally eat at a normal dinner time.  Sarah & I usually eat at about 7:30 - 8:00.

So... if you eliminate local pizza joints or restaurants and keep the list to typical "chain-type" restaurants, I came up with a Top Ten take-out list.  The list is based on how often we get take-out from the establishment and I used three factors:

(1) Service (did they get the order right and was it ready when they said it would be?)
(2) Quality of food and menu selection.
(3) Convenience - where are they located in proximity to our house?

10. Cracker Barrel - very predictable service and food quality.  A bit of a drive from our house, however.
9. Olive Garden - great food but poor location for us.

8. Outback - we have found that for take-out purposes, quality, quantity and accuracy are lacking.
7. 99 Restaurant - not a great menu and they have a "service charge" for take-out.
6. Five Guys Burgers - great burgers and fries, but location and selection not as good.
5. Friday's - convenient to us, but difficult for Sarah & me to find something on the menu we crave. Also, I always have to wait for our order (it seems).
4. Longhorn - another convenient take-out spot. I like their seven-pepper steak salad and they also have a chicken sandwich Sarah & I like.
3. Bertucci's - good overall take-out service (and selection).  A bit pricey, though.
2. Applebee's - the proximity to us keeps them from the very top of the list.
1. Chili's - most consistent all-around, by far.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

A day to remember all those who have served our great country, especially those who have given their lives. 

THANK YOU.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Nickel, Dime and a Penny

I just wanted to first say that if you like to see the girls in action via videos posted here, they will continue (at some point).  I am fairly certain my FLIP video camera is dead.  This is somewhat of a bummer because shooting, editing and posting FLIP video clips is simple and fast.  Especially in comparison to my back-up DVD recorder.  I have been shooting videos of the girls but because they are on my Hitachi, which records to mini-DVD discs, the edit and post process is more time consuming.

Well, I am glad there are still two days left to this weekend. The girls' shots they received on Thursday are still showing their affect with Emily missing out on a birthday party today because she spent the morning vomiting.  Huge bummer.  Everyone in the family was bummed because she couldn't return with her sisters to the "bouncy" place for a birthday party.

Sarah stayed home to care for Emily and I took Allie & Anna to the party.

The party was fairly uneventful.  I was telling Sarah, however, that it was interesting how Allie & Anna didn't jump right into the action at the start of the party.  The highlight (for me anyway) was going down the "big" slide with Anna.  TWICE.  Hey - she insisted.  I just had to.

I texted Sarah while at the party and she informed me Em was doing better.  That was news Sarah & I both needed.

Let's hope for good sleep tonight.  Last night was much better than the previous one.

Running log: Ran my normal @3.2 mile route today in extremely humid conditions.  Despite the heat and humidity, I felt strong and my time reflected that.  Oh...I found another 16 cents on my run.  Sarah & I hope to do a 5K next weekend.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Serenity Now

God Grant Me The Serenity
To Accept The Things I Cannot Change
Courage To Change The Things I Can
And Wisdom To Know The Difference

I have gotten away from the Serenity Prayer.  I haven't said it in a long time and that is not good.

Today was a day in which I should have utilized the Serenity Prayer.  Today was a very difficult day for Sarah & I.  For lack of a better word, Anna had a few "fits" today.

The ironic part about Anna's behavior today is that I discussed Anna with the girls' pediatrician at their 5 year wellness check-up yesterday.  The pedi made a few points.  Two things he said were:
  1. Is her behavior affecting relationships in the home? (He gave an example of a couple who were facing a split because of a child's behavior.)
  2. What is going on when she acts like this?  Is she hungry?  Tired?
So #2 first...Anna's behavior today could be (partly anyway) explained by the fact that she got two shots yesterday and was up a couple of times over night. She was tired, for sure.

#1..Anna's fits today (trust me, they were fits!) had a very bad affect on her sisters and her mommy and daddy.  It was ugly.

The key line of the Serenity Prayer, of course is Wisdom To Know The Difference

I need to pray for direction.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Smarter Than a Pre-Schooler

Sarah nor I have ever doubted that our girls are actually learning something at preschool.  It's not just playtime, snacktime and making friends for them.

Case in point. Emily today as we were getting ready to leave for school:

"Daddy, did you pack me apple juice for snack today at school?" 

No, Emily, you have lemonade in your backpack.

"Oh shucks.  I wanted to have apple juice so it would be a pattern.  Lemonade then apple juice, then lemonade.  A pattern."

That's right, Emily!  A pattern!

I am impressed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Giggly Emily

Today's video is follow-up to yesterday's post on giggly Emily.  I found this clip today - it pretty much proves my point.


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Monday, May 21, 2012

Eenie Meenie Minee Moe

My daughter Emily's version:

Eenie meenie minee moe
Catch the tiger to the toe
Eenie
Meenie
Minee
Moe

Emily has been using this rhyme as a decision-making tool lately.  A LOT. 

Will it be Dora, Spongebob or Sparkle toothpaste?

Which cookie will she choose?

And....I will say....that no matter how tired or short on patience I am while I await her decision, I smile. 

I smile because Emily smiles.  She cracks herself up.  She walks on her toes or skips around the house.  A LOT. 

Emily giggles.  Her teacher nick-named her Giggly Emily.

She loves telling funny stories.  I couldn't keep track of the number of times today that Emily started a sentence today with: "Daddy, it was so funny at school when...." or "Do you remember that time...that was soooo silly....!"

Emily can say eenie meenie minee moe all day.  As long as she continues to giggle and SMILE.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Somebody's Watching Me

The end of a busy but nice weekend is here. The weather was fantastic both days, which always helps spirits too!

I spent most of Saturday with my brothers for a post-wedding bachelor party (of sorts). We played golf at Wayland Country Club in the morning and then met later for dinner at an Italian restaurant similar to Vinny Testa's. We had two foursomes for golf (six of my brothers)and fourteen guys for dinner. I was hoping everyone would have a good time, especially my brother Chris, and I think a good time was had by all.  Plenty of laughs is always a good indication of a good day.  A lot of laughs, for sure.

The girls had two birthday parties to attend so Sarah had Allie, Anna Emily for the day. Based on what Sarah told me, after she got through the gift purchasing part of the day in the morning (Anna was being Anna), it sounds like the girls had a good time at the parties.

Today we went as a family to participate in a local Great Strides Walk. Great Strides are walks to find a cure for cystic fibrosis (CF). My niece passed away from complications from cystic fibrosis in 2002. She was only 13. Money raised by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) from these walks go directly to treatment of CF patients and toward finding a cure. It was nice to be with my sister, her daughter, and some other members of my family to remember my niece and raise money for CFF.

Today's Video

This is a clip of Allie, Anna & Emily dancing to Rockwell's Somebody's Watching Me.  Sarah's mom pulled a CD out of somewhere with a couple of 80's hits and the girls have been repeatedly requesting to have it played.  Allie is especially sassy in this one!

video

Friday, May 18, 2012

Massage Envy

Today went as planned for the girls with a picnic lunch and playground fun after school with Grandma G (my mother).  It was Grandma G's idea to have the picnic lunch at a park near her house that has, among other things, a playground and views of the Prudential and John Hancock towers.

Before I picked the girls up from school, I cashed in my birthday gift and got a one hour massage.  My first massage in YEARS was great.  I used to get a massage regularly before the girls were born.  And, before that, I got massages MUCH more frequently.  I was a Certified Massage Therapist back in the day.  While in school, I would sometimes get treatments 3-4 times in a week.  Simply awesome.  Anyway...it was nice to have an hour of pure relaxation this morning.

I had a lunch packed for everyone when I picked them up from school so we headed straight to Grandma's.  Upon arrival, I cathed Anna while Emily & Allie hung out in Grandma's backyard swing seat. 

The weather was great - mid to high 70's.

I had been to this park in the past but hadn't taken notice of the playground areas.  They were perfect for the girls.  With the exception of a sliding pole and monkey bars, the girls could play on everything without adult help.

We hadn't been there long before Anna took the role of care-taker to a 22 month-old girl.  The girls were at one point battling over who would hold the little girl's hand!  When Anna got too close to another younger girl however, that girls was not as receptive and made it clear she wanted to play alone!

It was a good day, overall.  Allie, Anna & Emily provided a lot of laughs for Grandma.  I had meant to bring my video camera, but forgot.  That was the only bummer.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Roger Williams Zoo

As parents to triplets our concerns when visiting a zoo are probably no different than those of any other parent (of multiples, singleton, etc.), especially since our girls are more independent now.

The factors Sarah & I consider when we plan a trip to a zoo are location (how long will it take us to get there), cost, weather, crowds and time of day.

We visited the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence a couple of weeks ago for the third time (I believe) and this was by far the best visit we have had.

In terms of cost, this visit was free thanks to the family membership that we purchased last year for about $80.  For us, the family membership pretty much pays for itself the first visit and this was our second visit under this annual membership thank you very much.

Weather was great too with overcast skies but warm temperatures - @70 degrees.

Our Saturday morning arrival was perfect timing too.  We saw most of the zoo and were home before 2:00 (if I remember correctly).  As we were leaving, swarms of people were entering the zoo.

Although I would not call us zoo experts by any means, both Sarah & I agree Roger Williams Zoo is a good, all-around zoo.  There are a fair number of animals including all the "must-sees" such as giraffes and elephants.  The one exception is lions.  No lions.  The food is...well, it is zoo food and priced accordingly.  We don't go there for the food, nor do we expect to get a good value on our lunches there.  I consider it a way for the zoo to supplement their revenue and I am fine with that.

Sarah, as always, has some good pics from our trip to Roger Williams Zoo.  Check them out here if you haven't already.  Oh....the pictures Sarah took of the girls on the statue of the dog...it looks like I am posing but I am not!  I thought I was just there to ensure the girls didn't fall off the statue - I didn't think I was going to be in the pictures.  I look ridiculous!

Here's some video footage from our visit:

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Brand New Day

What a difference a decent night of sleep can make in our house. Today was so much better than yesterday and I can guarantee it is because ALL three of the girls slept in their own beds ALL night without getting up (at all)!

It was a great night for sleeping with rain falling right at bedtime and there was no wind.  I swear our street acts as a wind tunnel and our house (because we are at the end of a cul de sac) gets the brunt of it!  Anyway...Sarah & I slept soundly also.   It all added up to a better day than yesterday and that is all I wanted. 

And Anna?  She was in such a better mood! All day.  Thank you God.  Yes, I still had to pour just the right amount of milk for her, but overall she was in much better spirits.  Anna & I even started to implement the "sit on the potty" routine - she was obviously proud.

This was week #1 of a two week break from school for me before I start summer session(s).  My goal is to savor these days - I may never have another two weeks like this again.

In the interest of restful sleep, I am cutting this post short.  Before I do that, take a peak at this picture from last week.  The girls all made a Kiss Box in preschool for Sarah.  It was so sweet watching their proud faces when each of them handed theirs to Sarah (they couldn't wait 'til Mother's Day)!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Anna Banana

Today was a day in which I wished I could have crawled into my daughter Anna's body so that I could know what she was thinking.

Anna had a tough day today.  Sarah & I had a tough day with Anna today.

Not the whole day.  Not all day.  There were moments of pure frustration, though.

I just came down from Anna's bedroom where she is sleeping soundly.  She is exhausted, this I know.  Sarah & I are exhausted.  Last night's wake-up calls from Anna and Allie were killers.

You see...Anna met another doctor today.  Anna is 5.  True, there are plenty of children who have many, many more challenges than her. 

I think Anna is not happy with being "different" right now. And having to miss dance class with her sisters to sit in waiting rooms and listen to yet another doctor ask questions, check her tummy, and look at her spine added up to one very unhappy girl today.

Sarah and I decided that she would take Emily and Allie to dance class and I would take Anna to the doctor.  In the past, we had sometimes ALL taken the trek into Boston for Anna's appointments.  It made more sense for just Anna & I to go today, however.

It was a very quiet ride.  I do not have a problem with.  At all.  In hindsight, however, I wonder what Anna was thinking as we drove in.

So... the short story of the doctor visit is that we scheduled a consult with this GI doctor after so-so results from a different GI doctor previously.  Today's initial consult was productive.

Anna didn't say a word to the nurse, the doctor or the medical student who sat in on the consult.  Strictly head nods of "yes" and "no" from Anna.

At one point the doctor asked me how many times a day Anna goes #2.  I didn't know how to respond.  She just goes.  She has no control.  He recommended we put her on the potty twice a day after meals to see if she can go. 

The other big thing discussed was periodic enemas and a MACE procedure sometime in the future.  The MACE procedure is the direction we are heading.  Theoretically, the procedure would get Anna closer to a "normal" day with fewer (if not zero) accidents.

How much of this conversation I had with the doctor today did Anna take in?  How much did she understand?

Sarah and I think Anna knows exactly what is going on.  We just want her to talk to us rather than flip out over the fact that Daddy poured her milk rather than Mommy, for example.

Anna, we love you and just want you to be happy.  Please work with us.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Random Thoughts

We attended a First Communion of Sarah's friend's daughter over the weekend.  Both the mass and the celebration at a a local restaurant afterward were nice. 

I told Sarah after the mass that it is sad that our 5 year-old daughters showed better manners than many of the "adults" during the church services.  Apparently chewing gum at church is not a big deal.  A loud belch from a twenty-something year-old is funny.  And ya let's let our preteen daughter wear daisy dukes to church.  Oh sure the butterfly tattoo on your shoulder blade is cool but couldn't you find a nice shawl or sweater to wear over the backless dress (at least during mass)?

I think my FLIP video camera may have seen its last days.  Bummer.  I've been using the back-up DVD camera until I come up with  a solution.  So...video posts may not be as frequent...temporarily anyway.

Watching The Big Chill as I write this...a classic - how 'bout that cast, eh?

I am so blessed to have Sarah as the mother of my children.  Happy Mother's Day, hon!

The respect and love I have for my mother has grown exponentially since my daughters were born.  Happy Mother's Day, Ma.

The food shopping billl was a tad high today - $182.55!  Included in the total was Sarah's Mother's Day gift and $20 for Pull-Ups, however.  I also bought a few freezer stock-up items too.  So..not THAT bad.  Plus, I SAVED $43.52!

Summer session I for grad school starts in just over two weeks - just when I would have de-compressed from the spring semester classes!

I am toast today - time to hit the rack.

Good night world.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Craft Time

Today's Video

As a parent to a toddler or young child, you quickly learn the difference between good quality products and poor products for children.  We have found, for example, that just because something has the Disney name on it does not mean it is good quality.  We have been happy with Melissa & Doug products though.  Especially their crayons. 

Allie, Anna & Emily each received a Melissa & Doug decorate-your-own-mirror set for their birthdays.  I like this video because it captures each of them focused (and behaved!).

 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Daddy

My daughters gave me the best birthday gift ever today. They showed me love.

There was nothing especially different about today. But I guess I was a bit more sensitive.

It was a somewhat regular Thursday. Hung out at the house in the morning before having lunch and taking the girls to gymnastics.

I think the girls were enjoying my company today, though. At one point I dropped onto the couch to rest my feet and the girls decided to cover me with their luvies!. It was pretty funny (Allie even volunteered to get the camera and take a picture).

All the girls made me a birthday card. And, as a parent, there is not much that tops a card made by your child. This is the card Allie made for me. She drew her hand on the left and then a picture of herself, Anna and Emily:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Five Year Old's Version of Jeopardy

Allie's, Emily's and Anna's imaginations have been very active as of late. They continue to invent new games and act out everything from going to the dentist to school to "can you guess what I am thinking of?". This is a clip of Emily playing the role of Alex Trebek. Her lovie, Little Lion, is the contestant:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

45 before 46 List.

With another birthday fast approaching and the end of my MBA in sight,  I decided to put in writing some of the places I've been as well as some things I've done.  As it goes, this is in no particular order:

  1. Climbed Ayers Rock (in Australia).
  2. Got my picture taken with Larry Bird
  3. Ran the bases of Fenway Park (at night when the park was closed)
  4. Camped in the White Mountains
  5. Took a gondola ride through the canals of Venice
  6. Completed the Boston Marathon
  7. Married a beautiful woman
  8. Watched our beautiful daughter Abigail grow in Sarah's tummy
  9. Became the dad of a beautiful girl named Alicenne.
  10. Became the dad of a beautiful girl named Anna
  11. Became the dad of a beautiful girl named Emily
  12. Ran the Falmouth Road Race (many times)
  13. Ran a 5K road race in 21 minutes.
  14. Toured Australia with my younger brother Don
  15. Got drunk in King's Cross in Australia
  16. Received a BS with a concentration in Accounting.
  17. Got to watch my mother father dance...many times
  18. Became a godfather to one of my nephews
  19. Became a godfather to one my nieces.
  20. Completed the Disney Marathon
  21. Visited the Tower of Pisa.
  22. Got a sunburn while touring the ruins of Pompeii.
  23. Paid my way through undergraduate school.
  24. Visited many of the beaches of Cape Cod.
  25. Sat in the (old) Boston Garden and watched Larry Bird play basketball.
  26. Went to see the J. Giels Band play at the same Boston Garden.
  27. Saw Whitney Houston perform at the Berklee Performance Center (years before the movie Bodyguard).
  28. Snorkeled The Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
  29. Went to Augusta and watched The Masters.
  30. Lived in a one-bathroom house with my 9 brothers and 3 sisters.
  31. Honeymooned in Hawaii.
  32. Lied on the beaches of Aruba.
  33. Have never been admitted to a hospital overnight.
  34. Jumped out of an airplane.
  35. Witnessed my daughter Anna take her first steps
  36. Received many many squeeze hugs from my daughter Emily
  37. Told my father I loved him (even if it was over the phone!)
  38. Completed the Marine Corps Marathon (with humidity levels close to 80%)
  39. Came extremely close to shaking President Clinton's hand.
  40. Grew up in a two parent home.
  41. Visited Yellowstone National Park
  42. Took my daughters to Disney World
  43. Watched the sun set over Key West
  44. Became a Certified Massage Therapist
  45. Gambled in Vegas
This was a cool exercise even though I chose not to put down a couple of things near and dear to me.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pershey's (Hershey's) Kisses

Sarah and I will be the first to admit that our girls are not great eaters. They do not eat avocado on a regular basis nor do they eat vegetables with every meal. We are aware, however, that there are plenty of 5 year-olds who eat "better" than Allie, Anna and Emily and plenty that do NOT.

We work on it. Some days we are successful. Some days we are not.

One positive is that the girls are not candy junkies (yet). They look forward to getting candy on Halloween and Easter but they end up spending more time telling each other what they got and asking Sarah & me "what is this?" and "what does this taste like?" rather than chowing on the candy.

Sarah beat me the punch in her post yesterday regarding the way the girls pronounce "Hershey". What comes out of their mouth sounds more like "Perci"! Cute! Here is a clip of the girls at Easter counting their candy & coins:


Saturday, May 5, 2012

All Things China

All I can say is that I am glad my group project for my International Accounting class was completed on Wednesday.  We submitted our paper and presented (as did all groups) during class on Wednesday as well.  Just like the old Rolaids commercial - How do you spell RELIEF?  Done.  Over.  Finished.

Sitting through six group presentations on accounting practices in various countries was tough.  We did ours on China.  Even after all the reading and discussion on Chinese Accounting I did, I "got nothin". 

I was telling Sarah, however, that it amazes me that some of my fellow students are in graduate level classes.  Stop staring at the screen when you are presenting!  Stop reading from a script!  Look at your audience! 

Kind of related news:

I took the girls with me to an "unfinished" wood product store the other day.  It's called Mill Stores.  I was shopping for bookcases for Anna and Emily so I told the girls there may be something there for them to pick-out that they could paint.  After going back-and-forth on a couple of things they settled on butterfly nets!

Even before they had the long-handled nets in their hands, most eyes were on them as we shopped. The sight of Allie, Em and Anna walking out to the van carrying the butterfly nets was classic though.  I cannot wait for the butterflies to appear in our yard and the girls start their chase - THAT will be a sight.

Oh, the nets were made guess where ______?  CHINA. Yes.  MADE IN CHINA.