Keeping Up and Summer Adventures


Henry, Nana, Sophie, Daddy, and Jack

I cannot keep up with this blog, but perhaps that’s appropriate, because I cannot keep up with these kiddos, either! They are growing so fast and moving so fast and talking up a storm. Some of our favorite mispronunciations and grammatical mishaps are “Hangurbers” (hamburgers), “Panio” (piano), “I right be back!” and “All of thems.”

This summer we enjoyed our first round of summer camp, trips to visit family, dipping our toes in the ocean, collecting stones, swimming, digging in the sand, and hitting up every playground, zoo, and museum we could find. Oh, and potty training. At least for some of us. A little less enjoyable for the rest of us.

Phase 1: Camp in the City

Henry, Jack, and Sophie had their first separation experience at summer camp this June and July. They went for two hours in the morning twice a week to cycle through art, music, and gym classes with several other playmates. This was a big deal for them! It took a while for H and J to adjust, but soon enough all three were saying, “Bye! See you later! Go get a coffee?” and waving us out the door as soon as we stepped off the elevator. Pictures are limited since they spent most of their time in those classes without us, but here they are waiting for the bus:


Riding the bus to and from camp was its own adventure. Jack thought it was like the merry-go-round, and he would say, “Again?” every time the driver stopped. Three toddlers on the city bus is still a two grown-up job, but fun to have more transportation options than triple strollers and wagons!

Park Time: 

Summer days in the city also included a lot of time at the park. Raising three toddlers in the city certainly has its challenges, but boy, are we grateful for our proximity to Central Park. There is SO much to do. So much to explore! Here we are hitting up The Carousel, The Central Park Zoo, and the newly refurbished (do you refurbish a playground?) Ancient Playground. Sprinklers in general are a HUGE hit.

Lunch at the zoo:


And if we get tired of playgrounds and carousels, there’s always hide-and-seek. Hard to believe this is in the midst of a bustling city like Manhattan. Can you tell I love Central Park?

Weekend in Norfolk

The first part of our summer also included some time visiting Grammie and Nonno (and Pheobe) in Norfolk, where we enjoyed “riding” the train at “Grammie’s library,” “swimming” in Tobey Pond, and a visit with Grandma (Great Grandma).

“Grammie’s Train:”

Visit with Grandma:


Tobey Pond:


We also enjoyed running down the hill at the Norfolk library and playing hide-and-seek in the windows.


Other highlights included a trip to The Farmhouse (that’s now the second restaurant we can add to our list), chalk graffiti on the new stone patio, and of course hanging out with Aunt Addie.


Mmmm….grilled cheese and french fries!


Our First Week at Nana’s

The Wengers Come to Visit

In addition to fireworks, summer camp, and countless hours in the park, July brought our annual cousin visit with the Wengers: one week at Nana’s house with ALL FIVE GRANDCHILDREN. That’s six adults and five children under the age of four. In what is technically a three-bedroom house. For EIGHT days.

Thank goodness for the big backyard.


And the bubble machine.


And the beach.


We spent a lot of time negotiating (and renegotiating) sleeping arrangements in an effort to establish at least a couple of hours when all five children would sleep at the same time. This is harder than you think. Or maybe it’s not if you’re thinking to yourself, “That sounds nearly impossible.” It doesn’t help that our kids already treat bedtime like a slumber party every night. Poor Lily. Their attempts to soothe her, “It’s okay, Lily,” and “Don’t cry, Lily,” were rarely effective, but adorable nonetheless.

If negotiating sleeping arrangements with five under four was tricky, managing a *good* family photo of the cousins was impossible. Getting the five of them to sit in the same place was its own sort of struggle.

Managing a decent photo once they were there proved even more difficult. Adorable matching outfits? Check. Adorable children? Check. Looking at the camera? Check/check minus. Smiling? Check minus.


There were MANY cookies involved.

We did end up with several hilarious outtakes. Scroll through to get a glimpse of what our photo shoot looked like.

This one makes my heart melt a little though:


On cloudy days, we were glad to have the Children’s Museum nearby.

And we were always glad to have big cousin Noah leading the charge.

Phase 2: Setting up Shop at Nana’s House

DSC_0370Ok, Grumples lives there too (and Dorothy), but if you ask Henry, Jack, and Sophie, they’ll tell you it’s Nana’s house. Sorry, Grumples! As July came to a close, we set up shop at Nana’s house for three full weeks of beach days, concerts in the park, swim practice, and various backyard shenanigans.

Here we are getting ready to go (plus a gazillion other bags):


Summer in the suburbs has a whole different feel from summer in the city. Traveling around by car (well, minivan), walking outside in bare feet (and with bare bums!), going to Target…these are all perks of Suburbia. A five minute drive to the beach? Yes, please.

Backyard Time

Grilling, driving, mowing, snacking, cooking, reading, digging, swinging, running, sliding…endless hours of fun in the backyard.

Beach Time

Two (six?) thumbs up for sand. And Nana’s house has sand in the backyard AND at the beach (ocean side and bay side). There’s digging to be done, sand castles cakes to make, and feet to bury. When it comes to the water, Sophie and Jack enjoyed the ocean,  while Henry was more interested in the bay. We all developed an affinity for collecting stones, though none of use were too discerning when it came to choosing our favorites. I’m pretty sure Nana still has thirty to forty rocks scattered about her house. And her backyard. And the patio.

Other highlights from Nana’s house?

We finally experienced Play-doh.

They are kind of obsessed. It’s a little unhealthy.

Potty training. The short version: Henry is totally into it, Jack wants to be into it sometimes, and Sophie couldn’t care less. We’ve got one potty covered in stickers and another growing a bit dusty in corner. So…winter break?

Target and Shop ‘N Stop!

In the city, EVERYthing is delivered. In Suburbia, we do the shopping ourselves. I swear these carts were designed specifically with us in mind.


Swimming Pools, Scooters, and Ice Cream

Ok, that last one is in Islip, but we went there during “Phase 2” of our summer. So nice to have so many family members nearby!

Challenge: Can you tell who is who in the picture on the left above? Hint: That’s me in the middle.


They liked it. I swear.

And best of all? Adventures. Loads and loads of adventures. We have those in the city too, but long summer weekends and laid back summer days meant even more time for frolicking about as a family. Our days at Nana’s were so full of adventures that the minute they woke up in the morning, Jack would ask, “Where we goin’ today, Mama? What we doin’ today, Mama?”

Our adventures included the aquarium, the game farm, the children’s museum, the ducks at the lake, and of course, the usual playground hopping.

The Aquarium in Riverhead

A HUGE hit! Even the shuttle to and from the parking lot was a success. And yes, there were monkeys at the aquarium. Go figure.

The Long Island Game Farm

Not gonna lie: this place was a little creepy. But everyone had their favorite part. Henry’s was the alpaca pen. Sophie’s was the ostrich. And Jack’s was probably the puddle. Let’s be honest. They all really liked the puddle.

Playground Hopping

Summer Nights

Our days would often end with a concert in the park or dinner at the beach.

Phase 3: Maine!


This began with a 10-hour drive. Enough said.

I’m pretty sure this a mash-up of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep.” Musical genius? Perhaps.

The drive included a stop at the Children’s Museum in Portland:

When in Maine…

Our week in Maine included SUPping (well, land SUPping if that’s a thing), hiking, drawing, and of course, popovers. JoPoHo. ALMOST worth the wait and the incredible lack of parking. ALMOST. Sorry, Aunt Addie!!!


Top of Cadillac Mountain

Beach Time

The biggest hit was probably the beach. Every afternoon at low tide we would venture down for some stone collecting, cake making, and toe dipping. No ocean is too cold for these kiddos.

We also caught a parade (“I don’t like these friends!”), went swimming in Echo Lake, and had our first guitar lesson. And a trip to the 5 and 10 was a fun (and inexpensive) way to kill some time. So was hanging out with Pheobe.


Whew. Up next? These kiddos are headed to school tomorrow!

The days are long, but man, the summers are short.


ER Trip #5


On Saturday, Sophie started gaining on Henry with trips to the emergency room. Jack is still holding out, and we’re just hoping that doesn’t mean he’s waiting for something REALLY big before he makes his first trip. Everything is a competition when there are three. Just kidding. Sort of.

The back story: 

On Friday, Jack woke up with a runny nose. By Friday afternoon, Sophie had taken on most of the drippiness, and overnight she started coughing a bit. On Saturday morning, she was a bit more congested, and by Saturday afternoon post-nap, she was breathing very audibly. Her temp was 99.5. She started breathing a bit faster, and since it was Saturday evening and we were away from home, we went to the ER, thinking they would tell us: steam from the shower, cold air, humidifier, lots of fluids, lots of rest.

At intake they didn’t give me much info except that her temp was 100.1 and it didn’t look like she was retracting. She was hysterical during this whole process, so it was a bit tricky to get an accurate read on anything. She especially didn’t like the “light on [her] toe!” Re: the oxygen monitor. She has clearly forgotten that she used to have one practically permanently affixed to her tiny little foot during her days in the NICU.

When the doctor came in to see us, she said Sophie’s breathing did sound loud and fast, and it sounded “croupy.” We’ve dealt with croup before, and though that also involved one trip to the ER for a breathing treatment and steroids, I thought, “Ok. That stinks, but we know how to deal with that.”

One listen with the stethoscope and the doctor said, “Actually, it sounds like pneumonia.” We’re going to need a chest x-ray. Pneumonia?! She literally just got a runny nose approximately thirty hours ago. WTF.

And if you’ve ever attempted a chest x-ray with a feisty two year old, you know the next part of our hospital adventure was less than awesome. It didn’t help that I couldn’t seem to unlock the guided access on our iPad and all my attempts to turn the volume down only made things longer, so we walked the halls and filled that x-ray room with the booming sounds of Daniel Tiger at FULL volume. Add a screaming kid to the mix, and we were LOUD.

It turns out it IS pneumonia, and we had to wait quite a while longer for Sophie’s heart rate to go down and her oxygen saturation to go up. In the meantime, she became quite fond of “the red light on [her] toe” and even asked me to take a picture so she could show Jack and Henry.


A dose of Tylenol, some antibiotics plus a prescription for more, and we were on our way. All in all, the ER trip was only about three hours, and we were very grateful for Daniel Tiger. And iPads. And amazing nurses (thanks, Janice)! And of course, Nana.

The next morning Sophie’s breathing seemed even louder as we waited for CVS to open so we could pick up the antibiotics. She did enjoy part of a waffle while watching Mickey Mouse Club House. 

Perk of being sick: eating whatever you want wherever you want and watching t.v.

Still, we couldn’t get Sophie’s breathing to calm down, and after frantically trying to pack up to go BACK to NYC (I swear we had just unpacked) while managing two slightly cranky brothers and one wheezy Sophie, we made for the ER again. On the way, Sophie’s breathing slowed and quieted, so we stopped at CVS to pick up her meds. She continued to breathe slowly and quietly (again, thank you Daniel Tiger!) so we made for Manhattan.

Here she enjoyed more eating whatever she wanted (or not eating whatever she didn’t want), wherever she wanted, and watching t.v. This is us “eating” dinner on the couch and watching Finding Nemo. That’s her dinner plate in between us.


By this morning, she was feeling (and sounding) MUCH better, and consequently so were Mom and Dad. It was a “fancy pancake” kind of morning.

This afternoon, Sophie resumed her normal behavior of refusing her nap and choosing instead to play with all her “friends” in her crib and sing to her brothers. Until they wake up. So glad she’s feeling better 🙂

Until our next ER visit…or at least until I can get my act together to write about something else. With any luck for blogger and readers, we’ll have non-emergency room content coming soon.

Our ER Stats:

  • Henry: 3
  • Sophie: 2
  • Jack: 0
  • Trips in Manhattan: 2
  • Trips in Southampton while visiting Nana: 2 😦
  • Chest x-rays: 2
  • Diagnoses: Virus, Peanut allergy, forehead stitches, croup, pneumonia
  • Blech, BLECH, blech, double blech, triple blech