Operation Exhale

It seems as if the only time I have to write in this blog is on airplane flights to ATL.  Well folks, that is going to change because I really don’t intend to be going back there any time soon after this weekend.  Operation Exhale is in full swing and the Dollar crew is heading north for good!!  For a good life with lots of happy memories with family.  In beautiful New England.  The way life should be.  Woo hoo!!  But don’t worry avid readers of  There’s a New Sheriff in Town, I’ll still keep up with documenting the lives of the Sheriff, Deputy and Captain on this site.  So one day when I’m in the old folks home, I’ll have something to read and make me happy.  And maybe they’ll read it too and know from these words how much their mom and dad loved them, and how much we strove to give them a life filled with happiness, joy, love, justice, and FUN!

So, what hasn’t been going on these past few months?  In March, after another successful birthday party for the Sheriff at Launch, the kiddos got up on skis for the first time at Bretton Woods.  A little pricey but we had the best family getaway weekend with the Youngs there.  Ace skiied with the girls, and Joker and Uncle Rick enjoyed libations at the Mount Washington Hotel.  A new tradition for March, for sure.  Not to mention Ace’s annual ski trip to Mount Snow over St Pat’s where she actually kept up with the Bowdoin girls on the slopes.  Things are on the up and up.

The roller coaster of life continued in April and Ace was pretty much handed a new job, sort of out of the blue.  Nothwithstanding some corporate grumpiness on Ace’s part, never did she think she’d leave TJX (and who knows what will happen in the future) but for now, the job at Clarks feels really good.  Asst. General Counsel with a lot of autonomy.  She’s  arrived.

Mexico was amazing.  Pool, drinks, cervasas, maybe some food.  Repeat.  Mommy and daddy needed that.  A lot.

Newport again was amazing.  Rooftop drinks.  Seaside dinner.  Castle hill brunch.  You have to be good to yourself.  Looking forward to sharing our favorite town with the kiddos this summer.  They are most excited about the toy store! We will take it.

It’s the middle of June and we are so ready for summer.  The JX has a new roof rack and we soon will be On the Road Again.  Driving around New England in the summer — wouldn’t have it any other way.  Except if we didn’t have to work and could just park our butts on the beach all summer long.  Well, there is always the lottery.

Sheriff worked so so hard this year to master her reading level. We are so proud of her!  And we look forward to figuring out ways to keeping her reading this summer…with minimal groaning.  Wish us luck!  Meanwhile she loves math and can be caught doing math problems all over the house. It’s pretty neat.  She’s loved playing softball with Ace and friends this spring and she can really whack the ball.  The WASC show last night was amazing.  She has so much zest for life and will try anything.  It’s one of her best qualities.

The Deputy is so ready for Kindergarten – writing words, reading letters, and riding her new big girl bike like a pro.  Her ACNS graduation was simply the sweetest.  We couldn’t ask for a better preschool and teachers.  Love love that place…and if her acting career ever takes off we can thank them for her first TV appearance on Channel 5’s eyeopener!  The Deputy also had some good competition on the soccer field this spring.  Still has that aggressive gene and isn’t afraid to throw some elbows…I wonder where she gets it from??

Did I mention the lice?  That was awful this spring and we better not ever ever ever go through that again.  But, we survived.  A drop in the bucket comparatively.

And the Captain has been a real hoot this season.  Talking up a storm, still the most stubborn Polack of the group, and such a little joker.  A real character as Dziadziu says.  He’s certainly his father’s son with his big personality and handsome looks, and simply adores his daddy.  He’s always good for some sweet hugs and kisses for Mama, his head generally jams into our backs at 4am, and he’s never without mystery bumps and bruises all over.  Of course he now has mastered riding a two wheeler with training wheels.  Watch out Auburndale.  He’s fearless and some may say borderline reckless!  Unrelatedly, his favorite line lately — “That’s weird.”

Well, that’s all for now.  Time to shut down.  Landing soon in ATL.  Time to start the next chapter…

 


You Bet Your Bat Tails…

The Captain is a terrible plane passenger.  Just saying.  I apologize profusely to the nice people in “A Little More Room” or whatever that legroom JetBlue add-on is called that we get when we jam scam the airline with Joker’s superstar flying status.  The Captain had an epic meltdown just after take off, over what, I’m not sure, could have been the 1.5 hour delay at dinner time (??), not to mention the fit in the airport bathroom because he didn’t get to flush the toilet (gasp, Ace did it for him) which ends with him refusing to get up from the flu-infested bathroom floor.  Gross.  Thank god the Deputy had Purell in her unicorn sparkle backpack, for whatever that is worth.  Probably better off without the stuff, some say.  Ace says – everything in moderation.

Back on the plane, Steward tried to stop the bleeding with Cheez it and apple juice, after Ace’s snacks failed not withstanding consumption.  The Captain’s response “I don’t want his snacks.  Bring them back.”  Thank god for Joker’s I-pad genius (though it was sort of part of the meltdown problem) but once the calm set in, the situation was a thing of beauty. That Joker. The Cloud Computing Evangelist im lucky to call my husband.

Well, it’s been a hell of a few months.  After a busy family Christmas filled with doll carriages, fire trucks, Cosmo, and rock collections, the “fun” at the 208 continued in January when Joker said good bye to his big piggy — it didn’t come home from market.  All the better piggy.  See ya later.  We are moving on to Cincinatti or whatever that saying is.  So far, the winter of 2018 has been lots of elevation, crutching around, scooting about, acceptance, perspective and resilience, a fun basketball team (Go Wizards!),  a new plow guy (may need a second mortgage now), instacart groceries and of course Ace’s home cooking.  Oh and lots of wine.  Can’t forget the wine.  Only water for Joker, can you believe it??

But the brightest spot of 2018 so far has to be the Deputy’s simply magical 5th birthday party with her ACNS friends and Queen Elsa and oh, don’t forget the amazing, way too big but totally yummy birthday cake…with rock candy!  Elsa was so entertaining and our first friend party at home was simply delightful.  We also had a fun-filled, quick trip to DI to visit Babs and Achoo before they left for FLA – so grateful for that slice of heaven at DI.  God’s Country as Pat Carter would say.  Ice skating and pancakes and fun with Flat Stanley – doesn’t get much better than that!

The girls family party this year was simply delightful this year too — Shopkins theme, good company and great gifts, esp the Legos for the Sheriff and the Ice castle for the Deputy, not to mention the fishies and fish tanks from Babci and Dziadz!  Oy! Family swim, cousin sleepover, followed by family breakfast with the Sherrys.  Never a dull moment.

The Sheriff had her first friend sleepover recently too — such a big girl and always ready to try new things.  She loves her winter camp, isn’t afraid to try new things with new friends, is doing sooooo well with her reading progress, and tries so hard.  I just love that about her.

Now the troops are ATL bound to hang with Team $.  Looking forward to some much needed Auntie-cousin time too.  We can’t wait for them to move home!  But for now, we will sit back and enjoy the ride and pray for no more meltdowns or I-pad mishaps….


Fall 2017

Dear kiddos-

Someday mommy and daddy will talk to you about the last 3 months but for now, it just feels good to be back to normal (sort of) and writing a little about our nice, little happy life. It was a tough tough time for me, hands down the hardest time in my life and infinitely more so for Auntie, Babci and Dziadz (and someday your cousins will feel the pain too), but for now, we are all moving forward in 2018, putting pieces back together and starting over.  Cuz when life knocks you down, you get up, dust yourself off, you learn from the past, and you keep moving forward.  No one ever said it was easy….

Words can’t really describe all the emotions running through to my core these past few months – I hope you never ever feel the gut wrenching feelings I have had that are slowly subsiding but come and go as I work to untangle everything. This truly insane moment in time has taught me so deeply to accept what you cannot change, to literally stop, breath and take moments for me and only me because if you aren’t taking care of yourself you cannot take care of anyone else, and to be so eternally grateful for your supremely wonderful, loving and adoring dad and you kids – the best kids a mom could ever ask for.  We really are very lucky.  When I was gone in Sept and Oct, your smiling, adorable little faces kept me going. And when I got home and my head was in the clouds or I lost my patience, you didn’t hold it against me for me too long!  I know you don’t really get what happened but you do get that Mommy needs to help Auntie right now.  Thank you for letting me be there for her and your sweet cousins.  And likewise, I promise you I will always be there for you, no matter what, through thick and thin, the highs and lows, the good and bad.  I love you kids (and daddy) more than I could ever put into words!!

Meanwhile, back at the barracks, showcasing your resilience and empathy, you kids didn’t really miss a beat this fall and were so good for daddy.  The Sheriff is loving 1st Grade with Mrs. D, working on those reading and math skills and loving her friends – little socialite that she is!  Never shy or intimidated, she has confidence and a passion for fun and friendship, and also enjoys her “alone time” and of course her TV time!  Likewise, our favorite little funny 4 year old is really growing, both physically and emotionally.  The fits can be fewer in number these days, but the wit is still strong as ever, as is the continued desire for dresses and sparkles and princesses.  There is a glimmer in her eye with her silly goofy spirit that makes you want to bottle up 4 and hold onto it forever.  She too loves her friends, and plays hard at school and has stolen her Dino teachers’ hearts too.

You girls both rocked your sports – the sheriff loved Newton girls soccer for the first season, and the Deputy literally ran circles around the boys and girls alike at Garden City soccer. So fun to watch all around!

And just this weekend (12/17), both girls passed Mommy’s deep end test at the Marriott all by themselves swimming from side to side solo.

The Captain graduated from speech and finally started making us laugh with his silly phrases – “and me?” cuz he always thinks we will leave him behind. “Alexa, play fireman sam sheem song.”  “wiper towels.” He’s finally potty trained and is obsessed with Daniel Tiger.  His dance moves are similar to his father’s and will certainly leave his girlfriends in hysterics someday!

Gearing up for a fun Christmas season and then onto 2018. Thank God…xoxo


Down There…Naggie!…I Love You Mommy…Big like Daddy…And Me…

Well, the Captain has certainly found his words!  “Lexa, play scheme song to Fireman Sam.”

Maybe they were stuck in a closet or hiding under his crib ( which he is still in and now jumps out of at 4am to snuggle with Ace and Joker) but they have appeared.  Maybe not always as clear as day, but he has some funny phrases and sure keeps us laughing.  There can be no question that the Deputy and Captain – along with their dad- comprise the comedic trio in the family.  Ace and the Sheriff make sure the house is full of emotion, fun, sweetness and responsibility.  Sometimes with a side of TV and sugar…well, lollipops these days as we try to potty train the heck out of the Captain.  Come on buddy – almost there!!

So a new school year has started after a fabulous summer running around New England.  The quick hits from the summer were the Deputy learning how to ride a two wheel bike in Maine, the Sheriff worked on reading her fave books, lots of great beach days at DI with friends and fam, our family bucket list complete!, smores with Babs and Achoo, adventure days with Babci & Dziadz, camp at Pomfret for a few days, Auburndale Station, swimming and dock jumping and fishing at the Lake, Friday afternoons with Ace and the kiddos, and so much more.  One thing we will never forget was our August of Fun at the barracks with Uncle Rick and Big jack staying with us, and occasionally Corin.  “I’m going to throw you in the sink.”  So many laughs and good times – and a good preview to life with a pre-teen boy!  Yikes!

As we settle back into the school routine, we are more grateful than ever for our family, our home, our support network, and our happy little life in our corner of Auburndale.  The Sheriff has Mrs Dickerson in 1st grade, the Deputy is a Dino and the Captain a Pony.  The little ones are settling into the routine at ACNS and the Sheriff is loving her new class and all her activities — soccer, Daisies, gymnastics and dance.  So much growth transpired this summer and so much more to come this year.  Can’t wait to see what is next for these kiddos!  xoxo


Goodnight Moon

Some nights, many moons ago, when the Sheriff was just a baby, I read the old classic Goodnight Moon, so many many times in that peaceful little whimsical nursery in Southie that I came to have it memorized.  So many precious memories rocking our precious baby girls in that perfect little corner on G Street.  Then there was the summer that we lived at the Lake, and we only packed up a handful of books with us that we read over, and over and over again — Moon being one of them, and Blub Blub Fish, and a few George books.  In the womb, the Captain must have heard those books hundreds of times!

Tonight was one of those nights where the Captain needed a quick bedtime, having stayed out too late with Joker and the Sheriff at Shake Shake while the Deputy partied in Webster with Babci & Dziadziu and Ace got her hair done.  The Captain isn’t one to sit still during books anyways, generally he prefers to jump all over the reader, or his sisters, or run around the room during storytime.  And lately, once he’s calm, he’s been wanting to snuggle on his couch, “down there,” before heading to his crib, which inevitably leads to lots of snuggles and maybe even some shut eye for Ace.  In lieu of a book in the evening dusk, I found myself reciting Goodnight Moon to him, a move I’ve had to use lately with him to settle him down, along with my famous renditions of “Ballgame” and “Hush Lil Baby” per the Captain’s requests (trust me, no one else ever needs to hear those!).  And hey, it counts as reading, even if the book itself is nowhere in sight…right?!  Ok, so maybe it’s called listening not reading, but in any event, the Captain knows the words now to Moon, and as he recited them back to me, it made me think back to Southie, the Lake and all those nights of reading this simple kids’ classic to all 3 kiddos.  And it made me smile.  Goodnight little Sheriff, goodnight little Deputy, goodnight little Captain, Mommy and Daddy love you very much….

 


Loose Tooth

The last couple months at the barracks have been pretty quiet, aside from the usual birthdays and parties, winter colds, snow days and snow play, swimming at the Marriott, playdates, ice cream at Cabots with Babci & Dziadziu, movie nights, and basketball. Quiet is good, we need it!!

Oh, I forgot about the quick surprise trip to Disney with the Sheriff and the Deputy so maybe things aren’t so quiet – a perfect little getaway with the little princesses.  Hopefully the Captain will forgive us someday for leaving him with the grandparents but we did have a blast on the short trip!  The yacht Club compliments of Shire was great, esp the pool and the girls loved meeting Elena and hitting the Frozen ride at Epcot on the last run of the day, though the Deputy still was a little skiddish with the characters.  The Sheriff loved Soarin’ with Joker and guess what the Deputy loved — the carousel!! We did 4 parks and one day and felt like Disney rockstars. Lots of quality time with the girls, the Hoop-de-doo Revue again, some great pool time, and just all together a magical time…again for the second time in a year!  These girls certainly are lucky….

Hard to believe the Sheriff and Deputy turned 6 and 4.  The tea party family party before Babs and Achoo took off for FLA was perfect and Ace loved using the goodies of Great Grandma, Great Babci and Babci for the table’s centerpiece.  The girls also enjoyed a wild animal party themed joint bday party with all their friends, hot and sweaty on a warm February Saturday evening at their favorite playspace….still the only place Ace can take all 3 kids and not worry…too much!

These babes of ours are growing up way too fast.  So cliched but it feels like yesterday we were bringing them home from Newton Wellesley to Southie.  And now we are talking about renovating the Newton barracks, working on sight words and reading, loosing teeth (the Sheriff lost 2 in March!) and laughing at the Deputy’s good humor  (she definitely gets it from Joker…”booty butts…Never!!…my mom, she’s all over the place”).  The Deputy had her first date with Ian at Shake Shack in March – those two are so damn cute.  She claims they will get married some day!  So sweet.

Meanwhile the Captain’s words are coming along so well.  Putting words together and short sentences.  He’s doing great and continues to climb on every counter, table and stool he sees.  He’s such a little boy. Annoying his sisters and giving hugs all the time. Such a lovable little guy, his “yeeeeeahs” and “ok mama’s” always make me smile.

While Ace and Joke never know what sleep will look like on any given night, we are making it work and trying to make time for ourselves and each other. We are so lucky…

xoxo


Odd Numbered Years

It’s been a while since I posted.  I try for once a month, which, over the holidays I really fell down on, this time.  The holidays are amazing. My favorite time of the year, followed closely by a few weeks in August.  But they are also exhausting.  I used to remember Babci always saying how much work they were but I never really appreciated it.  Until now. Here we are knee deep in toddler/little kid life, wanting nothing more but to make the most amazing, magical holiday memories for these munchkins, who, in a few years time, won’t be munchkins anymore, won’t love finding Friday, won’t scream bloody murder at Tuffles at the teddy bear tea or at Santa Claus at Edaville Railroad, won’t believe that Santa only brings 3 gifts, won’t want a laser show for our outdoor decorations, won’t sing christmas songs or read Christmas books until mid January, and won’t be saying cute things like “I’m Polish but I just don’t eat pierogis” (the Deputy).  A trip to ATL to visit Auntie and fam, ice skating with Achoo on Christmas Eve, Christmas parties galore, a hotel overnight in Boston with AK, a doll high chair, art easel, telescope and farm set later, the Sheriff, Deputy and Captain had a wonderful Christmas.

All that said, the holidays were a month ago and Joker and I have just about recovered, thanks to a glorious 40th bday getaway to St John for 5 nights.  Thank you Babs & Achoo for watching the kiddos, who all got sick and who got you sick.  You are total rockstars and we are better parents for it.  Pact was made to always get away for a mom and day getaway each year.  Good for the soul, good the marriage, good for the everything.

Putting aside the chaos that is now our democracy and holding strong in my faith in the judicial system to make things right, today we had a nice playdate with some Ardini second cousins.  Uncle Ted, a father of 3 and grandfather now of 2, shared some words that Ace really could relate to.  The odd numbered years are easier than the even numbered one.  I love this.  I’ve always loved my odd numbered years, of course with the exception of October 2014 when the Captain completed our crew.  Graduated from grammar school, high school, college and law school all in odd years.  Got married and welcomed the Sheriff and Deputy in odd numbered years. Ages 5, 3 and 1 gave us some hope that we could do this.  Ages 6, 4 and 2 are giving us a run for our money and less sleep than we ever thought we’d be getting at this ripe old age.  Hitting 40 was not the easiest for Ace and I’m sensing Joker won’t love it either.  39 forever is the motto around here.  Whether this odd/even mantra is just coincidence or an alternative fact, I suppose it doesn’t really matter.  Make every year count, every month, every day.  And here’s to 140 more.  Ok, maybe just 60.  But who’s counting…

 


Captain Jack Turns 2!

Two years ago today, we brought you home from Newton Wellesley hospital little man.  You gave us quite a scare at the beginning there and I remember every second like it was yesterday.  And now you are 2.  Again, I sit here tonight wearing the same sweatshirt (that breast-milked stained blue zip up hoodie) that I lived in during your 10 day hospital stay and months thereafter.  I don’t think I’ll ever throw this one away either.

So we tried again to have the Bardini Octoberfest to celebrate you and our 7 years of marriage and all things fall, but again it rained.  We have such bad luck when it comes to parties in October!!  Good thing our wedding was so much fun.  Made up for the less than stellar weather.  Anyways, I digress.  Fast forward to today and we still had a fun little party to celebrate YOU – Team Sherry, the grandparents, Vin and Marilyn and of course AK.  You cried when we sang to you over Costco cake, but you loved the Mommy-made baseball cake for your actual day — you love balls!  Now that’s a word you definitely can say!!

Right now, you are known for being cuddly, happy, totally handsome (“that’s the best looking baby I’ve ever seen” says young guy at mini-golf course in Wells!), and smiley.  You love to give warm hugs and snuggle, you are obsessed with Wheels on the Bus aka “bus”, Elmo, balls, and trucks.  You like to play with trains, chase your sisters and tape.  You won’t sit still to read books but you finally sleep through the night!  You climb on everything and are so so strong.  You get injured about once a week b/c you play so hard. You love to climb on the piano, stand on the playroom couch arm, and jump.  I often say you’d burn the house down if we weren’t watching.  You love your avacados, yogurt pouches, nuts and crackers.

You simply are the most adorable little boy in the whole wide world and we are so lucky to have you.  We feel so lucky and love you so much!!!  Happy 2nd bday JCA!!  xoxo


The Night Before Kindergarten

I can’t stop thinking about the night before you were born.  I had fettucine alfredo for dinner and made Daddy take a shower about 9pm because the contractions were picking up.  I put my favorite Bowdoin sweatshirt on and off we went to Newton and our lives changed forever.

Five and a half years later, you are now sound asleep in our happy home Newton, and I wore that same Bowdoin sweatshirt to the Williams playground on Labor Day when all 5 0f us went to the playground this afternoon. We watched you ride your bike there,  we watched you play with your sister and go on to pontificate that the jungle gym wasn’t challenging enough for you!  We read a book about books tonight because you were so excited to start school tomorrow, you picked out your outfit, wanted to eat your grapes that were packed in your lunch, and practiced your teacher’s name, Mrs. Mulholland.  No one is more ready for school than you sweet girl.  You won’t look back and you will love every minute of learning and playing.  Your love of life, friends, learning and fun is so pure.  You are thoughtful, and kind and a natural leader.  You cried like I did when I was your age when you couldn’t make a perfect Number 2.  You still want to be a dentist and you said that you’d help the kids reach things that you could.  You are not one bit nervous, only excited.  You can even do simple math.  You are so independent, adaptable and well adjusted.  There is no question that you are going to be a star student.  You will study so much and work so hard and you will do so well.  I just know it.  You will do so very well.  xoxo


A Preschool Graduate

It’s hard to believe that the Sheriff is officially a preschool graduate.  She did it, walked the ACNS lawn on Friday June 3 (Great Grandma’s 1st anniversary) and proudly got her diploma wearing her watermelon dress.  She sang songs with her friends and recited a poem, after the parents and grandparents were treated to a video montage capturing their fabulous year as Dinos with Dawn & Colleen, and after Ace and the moms shed a bunch of tears.  Feels like yesterday we brought her home from the hospital to the G Street barracks.  Feels like yesterday she was learning to run around M Street Park and Castle Island.  Now she zips down Maple Street on her two wheel bike, plays in her climbing tree or the dog pen pretty much unsupervised, and would run off to any of Newton’s playgrounds to play if we let her.  She’s a sweet, kind and sensitive soul.  She’s so perceptive and witty and responsible.  She is the self-proclaimed “rule follower” in the house and she always thinks about others.  She is so ready for kindergarten and she is bound to thrive at Williams.  She takes after her mom and does activity workbooks for fun.  She can print her name and spell Mom, Dad, Alli and Jack.  She can even do basic addition.  Go get em Mags! The world is yours…

And ACNS truly is a special place and we are so lucky it’s right down the street from us.  Both Maggie and Ace have made great friends there.

The Deputy also got to partake in the graduation day’s fun, and a popsicle at the Cove, but did NOT want her picture taken with her Pony class.  Her end of year performance was outstanding, just like her first dance recital where The Lion Sleeps Tonight was the biggest hit.  So.darn.cute.  The Deputy loves to watch the “bideo” of herself on stage over, and over, and over again. She also likes Ace’s homemade “basagna.”

And the Captain continues to bang around the house in all of his little boy cuteness.  Getting teeth has not been easy for the little man, but he’s almost there.  He’s working on more words and right now Dada is his favorite, along with “Yeah,” more, my turn, and ball.  He loves to point, play with his sisters in the garage and at the playground, play with bubbles, carry around a snack cup in one hand, drink out of a glass by himself, and is finally sleeping through the night and has taken over the status of best sleeper in the house.

The kids all enjoyed a weekend with Joker while Ace went to Nantucket in April, a weekend with Ace while Joker went to Vegas in May, a weekend up in Maine over Memorial Day for the Indy 500, and a weekend in Webster when Ace & Joker went to Mexico for a wedding.  Up next is Newport for Joker’s bday but then Ace and Joker are staying put for the summer with the kiddos and will enjoy some down time with them.  It’s been a whirlwind spring, filled with lots of travel and fun; it’s always something.  And that, my friends, is better than nothing.