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.

Disney Bonanza 2016

What a great trip we had with the whole famdamily (as Joker would say) at the Grand Floridian, the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and MGM Studios.  So grateful for Babs and A-Choo’s generosity for this 40th wedding anniversary celebration trip. Ace and Joker can only hope they will be so lucky to do such a trip with their grown kids and their kids some day!!

A kickoff family dinner at Disney Springs started the trip off so nicely.  The Deputy began her love affair with carousels that night and it continued the whole trip.  The GF pool was a big hit with the girls on Sunday — the Sheriff did the water slide solo and the Deputy did about 100 jumps without a life jacket.  So proud of both of them!  And the Captain was a little water bug too — he’d stay in all day if we let him.  A huge thanks to AK for all she did the whole trip for us, and esp for the special girls treat of princess pedicures.  #sospoiled #bestauntever.

The Hoopty Doo review was awesome on Sunday night!  Can’t beat the fried chicken, corn bread and mashed potatoes.  Not to mention all the booze you can drink!  Best deal in town.  And so good, so good!  Babs and A-Choo did a little wedding anniversary dance and the kids loved “A-Choo’s friends.” (aka the people in the show).  The Sheriff even wanted to get on stage but had to find her way back to the table when they told her the cast had been filled.  That girl has so much confidence — love it! #girlpower.  Ace also had an early-in-the season reminder about why moms never should wear white jeans.  But she will continue to do it again, again and again in the coming months.  Thank goodness for bleach.

Monday morning, the princess breakfast in Norway was perfect and all the girls loved having their pictures taken with the leading ladies…and the lack of people at that hour at the park was just divine.  So.many.people.pouring through the gates at Disney.  It’s truly incredible.

Best part of Epcot may have been the amazing playground!  The Captain didn’t want to leave.  Except when he and Cousin O were asleep at the wheel and both took a snooze for Babs in the stroller.  #strollersnoozesarethebest

The Magic Kingdom of course never disappoints and it was great to be back.  The girls had a blast.  A special moment for Babs was the all family ride through Small World.  No wait, no changes, just like Dziadziu would have had it!

A-Choo especially enjoyed his Dole whips and took the Captain to the Polynesian Tuesday night to share one just with him — so lucky! The Captain also enjoyed eating (someone else’s) gold fish that had spilled all over the ground at the MK — will somebody feed this kid?

Highlights for the girls were the carousel, the tea cups, the race track (esp with Onkle Karsten), Dumbo, staying up late 2 nights at the MK and watching the fireworks, Splash Mountain for Ace and the Sheriff (though Ace teared up at the end regretting having put the Sheriff through that last drop!), the mine train roller coaster for all the Ardini ladies, Peter Pan for the Bardinis, the Sheriff playing the Beast with Belle (the Deputy was a salt shaker), and the Pirates of the Caribbean for the Sheriff (the Deputy made sure everyone at the park knew that “no like Jake.”)

The Captain was a good sport about the whole trip really, and tended to get fussy when his diaper was not yet changed at 3pm each day or when we ran out of yogurt tubes.  Or when he lost a cute Polo loafer at Epcot.  Can’t really blame the guy.  He did try to jump out of the boat into Small World, and got stuck in Space Mountain with Joker.  He did go on Dumbo with Ah-Choo and Ariel’s Grotto with Ace and the Sheriff.  He even had his own private Mickey and Minnie meeting while the Deputy was passed out in the stroller at Animal Kingdom – so special.  He slept in the bathroom and bonded with Cousin O. He rolled with it and we owe him one!

Speaking of characters, the Deputy basically managed to avoid all characters except for princesses and Doc McStuffins.  When the Sheriff met Donald at Animal Kingdom, Ace kept the Deputy facing the other way in the stroller.  She refused to meet Mickey and Minnie, Donald, Pluto, the Easter Bunny, or any other character along the way really.  To each her own!  She still had fun!

The Frozen sing- along was worth the price of admission at MGM, and Ace will never ever ever go on that insane Areosmith rocking roller coaster again.  But she and Joker did spend about 15 minutes of alone QT with the German kids, fed them ice creams and even managed to keep them clean (“Stacey get me those wipes STAT” yells Joker. Ace had never seen Joker so fired up over wipes before!).  They were so proud of themselves.  Cousin E reported that her fave part of the trip was seeing the Sheriff and Deputy – #sosweet #cousinlove #deutschland #girlpower.  She wants to know when we will be visiting Hamburg — to which Joker replied “when you get married.”  Always a Joker!

Thursday night pizza party with Babs and A-Choo was awesome — no parents allowed was the moto!  AK, Ace, Joker, Aunt M  and Onkle K had a big kids’ night out for sushi. So good and so nice of B&A to babysit.

Ace is going to take it easy on the pictures until this summer — the kids are a little over saying cheese and smiling.  But she’s happy to have gotten a few gems from the week long stay.  She knows everyone will look back on the trip with great memories and a lot of love. And hopefully Joker will make our kids the same kind of picture booklet with these photos when we return… in 35 years. 🙂





The early part of 2016

It was a great holiday season and start to 2016 at the barracks.  Christmas highlights included the American girl extravaganza with dolls, outfits and accessories abounding, a doll house residing now in the Deputy’s room, fun board games, Elsa hats, Northface jackets, new kicks for the Captain, a fun Christmas Eve at the Lipskis with a quality Yankee Swap, and a great family Christmas at the barracks.  The Captain also has been enjoying his trucks, his balls, and his cookies (3rd kid!), as he hugs his way around the house, pointing, shaking his head when you ask him to say Mama, and generally just stealing heart with that sweet smile.  He may not say much but he’s such a love bug.

January 2016 brought a new babysitter – April on Mondays and Wednesday mornings, more YMCA basketball with the Ducks and Coach Mommy (love it!), another round of swim classes at Boston College, the Deputy’s start to dance class on Thursdays, a trip to Maine while Ace was in St John for a long girls weekend, and sledding at cousin Caroline’s birthday party!

As for the babysitter payroll, April joins the ranks of Tanya and Rachel in our current mix.  Love all of them.  Tanya promises free braces for the kids someday.  We need that in writing.  She’s our local yocal who helps me navigate Williams, Auburndale Station camp and where to sled.  Rachel is like Ace’s little sister on Fridays– she’s such a kind soul and so good with the kids.  And April is still new but seems great.  We are lucky to have such awesome help!  Before that we had Cassie for the summer — she was just OK, kinda hard to talk to.  Then there was Becky.  We loved her and could always tell when she’d gone out boozing the night before.  Sweet girl.  Just not as motivated as Tanya, that’s for sure!

No Like Santa!!!

Well, if there is a theme to the Deputy’s holiday-ing, it has to be that “No like Santa!!”  They say that fear of characters is a sign of intelligence, and I sure do hope so because if “they” are actually right for once, this child is a genius.  And then some.  The level of fear that reaches her body when the old guy is in the same room as she is for real!  Outside Santa’s house this weekend at Santa’s Village with the Sherrys, she was shaking so badly.  And it wasn’t that cold out.  The little lady has a serious issue with the old guy.  She also seriously dislikes cats.  But she adores her grandfathers.  “where the grandfathers?” “I’m gonna draw my grandfathers” She is such a funny kid.  She cracks Ace and Joker up every. single. day with her playful deep voice and crazy lines.  “I love you too too” is Ace’s favorite.  Goppy is her imaginary friend — who happens to be “both a boy and a girl.”  “Who’s An-f-ony?” “I want to look at pictures on your phone.”  “everybody, do the jack”.  Oh that little girl has brought us so much joy, words can’t even explain it.  She’s had a tough year being dethroned by the Captain, so Ace and Joker try to do little things for her when they can.  Stubborn and headstrong, she lights up a room and melts her heart with her sweet smile. The Sheriff takes such great care of her at school – they sit together at lunch, nap together and the Sheriff lets the Deputy play with her friends.  Oh can they fight, but their bond is so strong already.  It’s one of the greatest joys of my life to be able to watch grow.

The Deputy is finally sleeping in her own own room, since the Captain now has the Red Sox room. All three kids sleeping in three separate rooms, none of which belong to Ace and Joker.  Woo hoo.  The gift of sleep may have just returned to the barracks.  Ace and Joker are pretty much giddy given how rested they now feel.  It’s like 2009 all over again!  Well, sort of!



Happy Birthday Captain Jack!!

Hard to believe a year has passed since our happy little man arrived!  What a year it’s been.  We are just about settled into life as a family of five, but admittedly it took a while.  Managing 3 under 4.5 can be quite a comedy routine sometimes.  We can probably think of other words to describe it too…but we survived and everyone is happy and healthy, albeit, a bit sleep deprived!  We couldn’t be happier with the way things are right now.

As for the Captain, he’s taking some steps and will be full blown walking very soon.  He’s also eating toilet paper, pulling hair, playing under the table and in the dishwasher, climbing on anything, playing in the cabinets, eating us out of house and home already, and smiling so much!  He hasn’t quite mastered the Deputy’s favorite adorable phrase right now “I love too too!” but we are not worried. Boys are slow, right?!

The epic Octoberfest birthday party at the barracks we were planning for the little guy (and us, let’s be honest) got foiled by a rainy and cold forecast.  So thankfully at the last minute the Southie bowling alley came through for Ace, and we were able to pull off a throw-back 1st birthday party, just like the Sheriff’s.  It was nice to be back in the old hood, lots of memories there!

Soccer and swim are in full swing, and of course the Sheriff’s dance class – the thing she loves the most right now.  Thankfully the parents there are the chillest around – the soccer parents are the worst!  The Sheriff tried out golf in the early fall too- it was “something to do” as Joker would say.

The Deputy came through like a champ and dominated potty training in the end and was good to go to ACNS full time as of Columbus Day.  We said good bye to CCLC and the Deputy is now in the Pony class at ACNS with the Sheriff, learning more songs than ever before!   The girls favorite thing to do right now is to dress up in Ace’s closet with her high heel shoes on at night and give a performance for Ace and Joker before bed – some versions of “Where Oh Where is Jack O Lantern?” “5 Little Pumpkins” or “The Nut Song.”  It’s super cute.

We had a nice trip to Edaville Railroad over Columbus Day weekend, a nice fall picture session in the Boston Commons and dinner on Beacon Hill, a trip to the local church pumpkin patch, a play date with the Sheriff’s friends, a trip to Bowdoin for Homecoming, Ace and Joker’s 6th wedding anniversary, and lots of Halloween fun.  It’s been nice to be home and just spend time with the family.  Happy fall 2015 — such a great time of year!

Summer Days with the Famdamily

If there is one phrase that describes August 2015, it very well could be chaos abounds at the barracks and beyond.  With the Sheriff’s preschool closed for the whole month of August, Ace and Joker had to patch together day care options for the little lady.  Lots of days in Maine at Babs and Ah-Choo’s where little kids’ camp was priority #1, followed by Big Daddy’s ice creaming, beach timing, pirate shipping, tomatoe picking with Ah-Choo and lipsticking with Babs.  And Drakes Island beach never disappoints, especially at low tide.  August brought warmer water and lots of water time for the girls!

A week at the Cape with Ace, Auntie, Babci, G$, the Deputy and Captain of course, and the Lipski ladies.  The girls loved hanging with their cousins of all ages.  It was like three sets of twins under one roof — Ab and Nat, G$ and the Deputy, and the Captain and CK$.  Thank goodness for Babci and Cioci Julie – holding down the fort and helping so much with all the kiddos.  Highlights were a great beach day at Mayflower and a few at West Dennis, a successful meltdown free dinner out at Chapins (yeah!), playground runs, a rainy afternoon at the Cape Cod kids musuem, a visit from Dziadz, some beautiful photos, and all around QT with the cousins.  Next year, we look forward to the little ones being another year older for this trip 🙂

Then came a few days at the Lake with Captain Dziadz where MPS tennis camp on the to-do list.  Per usual, the fishies and duckies were well fed, the kyak was much enjoyed and the Deputy fell off the dock a couple times.  Good thing for a fast acting Joker …and life jackets!  The $ kids bday party was another nice day with the fam-damily at the lake — did someone bring the tank of gas for the grill?!

Next came some fun adventures with the Sheriff and AK around the big city where the Sheriff made out like a bandit and got brandy new, hot pink, big girl sneakers with real ties at Nike Town!  Thanks AK!  And she also had a blast in Sudbury with the Lipskis skateboarding, making cupcakes, and mini-golfing with ice cream — all in one day!

Meanwhile, the Deputy never disapppoints with her quick wit and silly personality, and awesome vocabulary, particularly when she replaces “my” for “I”  (“no my want to”; “because my want to”)   She also has been on the high speed potty train this month, but it’s not really going anywhere.  Her ACNS start looks like it’s going to be delayed unfortunately due to her refusal to be bribed by cookies, M&Ms, and ice cream.  Ace & Joker will try anything — she just won’t bite!  Stubborn Polack!

And the Deputy continues to be a happy happy Jack!!  The kid is just so good natured, smiling so much, loving his mommy (I hope always!), and boy, can he eat!  Breakfast the other day consisted of two eggs, a bannana, a piece of french toast, blueberries, and some sausage.  He’s 10 months!  Not walking et but close.  Looks like the Deputy is going to take the birth weight champion title of the three kiddos(8.9, 10.1, 8.10lbs), and the first walker title (14 mos., 10 mos., ___ mos.), and possibly best sleeper.  The Captain certainly is not getting the best sleeper title, but has FINALLY started sleeping through the night.  Just took one miserable night. Sorry buddy!!

In other Captain-related news, his christening was a nice hot Sunday at an air condidtioned BC law chapel with cousin CK$, with a family party back at the Lawn on A.  Blue Ribbon catering never disappoints, nor does Fr Fred!  Love that guy.  Such a nice day with all the family, as the Sheriff used to say.

The Sheriff and Joker both got new bikes in the month of August.  So sporty and a great thing for them to do together.  A healthy fall is in store for the gang of 5 with lots of sports, exercise and healthy eating– of course with a few parties thrown in there.  The summer of 2015 is officially in the books and the bags have been unpacked one last time.  What a great one it was.  We’re onto Cinncinnati.

Summer of 2015

So, I generally try to do one of these a month but the reality of our life with three kids and no sleep has set in (the Captain only sleeps for a 2-3 hours at a time…stilll..and he’s 8 months old!).  Although Ace looks like she’s aged 10 years in 10 months, it’s all good.  But June pretty much past us by in a blur as we said goodbye to Grandma and all that was at Normandy Ave.  She was so special and will be my heart forever.

Turn around and today is July and now the Captain has a tooth, loves to eat shoes, crawl, hates bumps in the road, can pull himself up, loves to eat eat eat and talk talk talk.  But he doesn’t sleep.  Did I mention that?  But he is soooo darn happy and smiley, it’s hard to not have a melted heart around him.  He loves snuggles and laughs so much at his silly sisters.  They love to help with him — the Deputy especially loves eating his food, while telling Ace she is helping feed him.  She’s a good little negotiator even at 2.  She also is the funniest 2 year old around and is working on  her “I”s and “my”s – some favorite phraases right now are —  “yes my do” “my do it” “no can r’member.”

The gang is settled into life at the Newton barracks, making some progress in the decorating department, slowly but surely.  Ace and Joker sure do love entertaining and having cookouts and people over, even if the play room gets trashed beyond belief.  We just hosted the Teams Sherry for a nice little Friday evening the other day and lots of cousin play.

The Sheriff and Deputy are loving ice cream at Wally’s and Ace and Joker couldn’t be happier with the location of their home – walkable to everything imaginable, close to Boston and work, a great mailman, a pack of wild turkeys, and nice neighbors so far!

The summer of 2015 is in full swing and the girls are having a blast with Babci and Dziadz on their Thursday adventures — they’ve hit the Roger Williams Zoo, the Boston Children’s Musuem and Davis Farmland already (with Team Sherry).  Not sure who’s more pooped at the end of the day — the girls or B&D??!!

Right now, we are enjoying our annual trip to #5 at Drakes Island.  Such a special and beautiful place, and so fun to watch the Sheriff go to little kids camp this year and enjoy the beach so much.  The Deputy is loving the driveway play and tooling around on her trike.  She walks around like she pretty much owns the island!  We look forward to doing this every year!

Babs and Ah Choo are showing their grandkids a great time, as always, and the kids love playing with Cousins E and O.  The German flag is flying at #2 in our of the German statesman, Onkle K, in attendance this week.  Ah Choo even made a guest appearance this AM at #5 to make the girls pancakes.  So sweet.  Love hanging with Aunt M and AK, and Ace and Joker even had a great date night at the Tides Beach Club last night – such a treat for them!  The Permaguttos show up for the 4th! What a great week!!