Sunday, September 27, 2015


My big brother is officially a kindergartener. As you may have guessed, he approached the first day of school like it was just any other day - he really is so cool. Our elementary school is a block away, 187 mom steps to be exact. The school district requires an adult to drop off and pick up kindergarteners at the school door, so I get to walk him to and from school.

As we walked towards the school on the first day, most kids stayed close to their parents. Bodie, on the other hand, scanned the crowd and would holler to each friend he saw. A fourth grade safety patroller yelled out to Bodie even before he'd spotted her followed by his new principal, "Welcome Bodie! Glad you're here." REALLY?!?! What kindergartner is known - by name - by the principal on the FIRST DAY!!?!? Like I said, he's so cool.

As Bodie got near the parent drop off point, he looked up at my mom and said, "I've got this." And waved her off as he walked on. I pressed my tiny face up against the cafeteria glass door as he left and whimpered, "Booooooodieeeeeee." He was gone. And I was alone. It was kind of sad. This may have been the only point when my mom got emotional. But she scooped me up and we were off on our own adventure - trying to help us both forget how much we already missed Bodie.

We're now a few weeks in to our new routines and all is going great. Bodie has a bunch of new friends, loves doing experiments at school, and has only been in trouble for "over climbing" the playground equipment. I guess you're supposed to stay on the inside of the protective rail and not scale the outside of it 15 feet in the air. Here's one of our creations for the school's chalk day.

We're lucky that they have lots of teacher work days and early release days for meetings, so we've had bonus adventures when that has happened. We hiked around Roosevelt Island, went on a father and son campout, and last Friday our whole family went to Pumpkinville - days off are the best!

My mom and dad went to Bodie's first parent teacher conference. My mom said the teacher sat in a big chair and had my parents sit below her in the tiny kid chairs - the image of that makes me laugh. And more important that my parents awkward sitting position is how happy Bodie is; he's doing well in school and having fun - the thing that matters most.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


We have a smaller house and dislike clutter. When you put these two things together, almost nothing gets lost in our house and rarely do we find unknown items behind the couch, under a bed, etc. However, today was different...very different.

Walking toward the kitchen I bumped into a small table. An odd-shaped object behind the table caught my eye. I knew immediately what it was, but could not believe it. I got down on the floor to look more closely and sure enough, it was a tiny turtle - yes, a turtle. It also appeared to be a tiny dead turtle.

We live in a very metropolitan area. Turtles are not common. If there is a turtle sighting in a local pond, everyone shouts and points, "A turtle! A turtle!" like it's a rare, nearly extinct creature. A turtle inside of a home is totally unheard of. So why was there a turtle in my house and how did it get there? I was baffled.

I was also totally freaked out and refused to touch it. I did take a picture of it and sent it to Dave with only the subject line, "call me." The phone rang immediately, "That's a turtle! What's it doing in our house?" We hypothesized for a bit about how he got there and then determined that Dave would remove the dead turtle when he got home from work and I would simply walk around it for the rest of the day. (Feel free to make fun of me, but I was not going to touch the dead turtle.)

All day I tried to figure out how he got there. I ruled out his speed and skill immediately. Dave thought he may have jumped into our luggage - yes, jumped - in Thailand and made the 25 hour trek back THREE months ago. But the thought of this made me ill, had we really had a turtle in our house for three months and not known it - gross. I chatted with a friend for nearly an hour at the pool about the stupid turtle, I became totally obsessed. How does a turtle get into a house without someone noticing?!!

We came home from the pool and I gaged at the new smell as I opened the front door. The dead turtle was rotting and now stinking up our house. My next text to Dave said, "I think he's starting to smell. Save me." I opened the windows for fresh air and got back down on the floor again to examine the turtle one more time. Yep, he was dead and we definitely had a turtle in our house.

Finally, Dave got home and the turtle removal was soon underway. He grabbed a napkin and picked him up. I stopped him just before he tossed him in the outside trash can. "I want to see him. No I don't. Okay, yes, I kind of do. Can you open the napkin?" Dave had put the napkin over his shell to pick him up, so as he unwrapped the napkin the turtle was upside down. We looked down together at the lifeless turtle and saw, "Tortoise. Made in China." imprinted on the bottom of the shell. IT WAS A TOY!!!!!!! Never a dull moment at the Piantanida house.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

July Re-cap

We often travel in July, rarely have we been in town for the entire month. But this year it worked out that we were here from the 1st to the 31st and we took advantage of every second. The first week of the month was filled with a visit from my cousin Nikki and her fiancĂ© Cody and out annual 4th of July festivities. The festivities, however, had a
twist this time because of torrential rain at the same time as the parade. But as they say, the show must go on, and our little neighborhood parade did. We were part of the neighborhood Snow Shoveling Brigade. The boys had a wagon full of ice and would throw it out as the Brigade of adults would shovel it up in "formation." Our goofy routine impressed the parade judges and earned our group a first place medal. To be honest, the competition was pretty limited this year because of the rain storm. But first is still first and we were excited. Fortunately, the rain stopped just as the parade ended and we were able to enjoy the neighborhood BBQ in drier weather.

Each day we went on an adventure or, if it rained, created something new at home. Some of the adventures included berry picking, the Theatre in the Woods at Wolf Trap, robot making, mini golf, the zoo, pretzel making, the Smithsonian Discovery Theatre, splash parks, the trampoline jump house, the Building Museum, the City of Alexandria's birthday party, parks, a taping of a Sirus XM radio show for kids, and Cabin John's train.


This one deserves a highlight. The National Building Museum hosted an exhibit called The Beach. (Definitely check out the photos on this link, It is an indoor exhibit that they have made to look and feel like the beach expect instead of water, there are millions - literally - of the clear plastic balls to dive in. It's pretty over-the-top. It was around 40" high in the deep end - Gates would jump in and completely disappear. I watched dozens of adults get stuck and need help getting out (very funny). Here are close-ups of us buried in the wave of balls...
And here is an aerial shot of the "water" at the beach... 
In addition to our morning adventures, almost every afternoon in July you could find us at the pool. Bodie has become a regular fish, swimming the full length of the pool unassisted, diving off the diving board, whipping off the slide and grinning the entire time.
Gates has upgraded to water wings and tries to follow Bodie everywhere in the pool - as long as mom or dad is closely nearby. Both boys are ridiculously tan with sun bleached blond hair and as a neighbor recently said, "They look like a walking Coppertone commercial!" We love the pool and feel so lucky to get to spend so much time enjoying the water. Oh, and I was just wondering, does anyone look cool in goggles?!?!!

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Gater is two. This low-key little guy isn't much for being the center of attention (unlike his big brother), so we opted for a longer-lasting, slower-paced birthday celebration. He opened one present each day during the week - getting to enjoy every one. The tent, the lawnmower, the remote control car, the fireman outfit, the basketball hoop (affectionately called "hoop ball"), the tennis racquet - this kid enjoys a lot of different stuff. We ended the week with a very low-key birthday BBQ, just his style. And he absolutely loved it. He also got to hang out with his crush Poppy...
The annual doctor's visit reported that Gates remains in the 85% weight range - no surprise. I'd tell you his height but he protested being measured, and by "protested" I mean that he screamed like his leg was being cut off and then curled up into a tiny ball so that his measurement was less than the last time he was at the doctor's office - and none of us believe he is shrinking. With all of the screaming, we were reassured that his lungs work perfectly.

Gates has an infectious laugh. It sounds like the cross between an old man on a park bench and a sneaky teenager. He loves playing hoop ball, shooting more than 100 shots a day. He could stir, cut, and mix pretend food for hours (he's wishing for a kitchen set to explore his chef talents, but his parents haven't succumbed to the pressure...yet). He throws, kicks, and plays with every size ball he can find. If a toy makes noise or music, Gater is glued to it. And if Dave or Bodie is doing it - no matter how mundane - mowing the lawn, cleaning the bathroom, brushing their teeth, Gates will gleefully follow. He LOVES his dad and big brother. We are SOOOOOOOOOO lucky to have this funny two year old in our family.

Here are some photo highlights of Gater's birthday week...

Monday, July 6, 2015

10 Days of Heaven - Mountain Highlights

This is us. Well, 35 of 37 of us because two people were looking for lost car keys, dealing with the locksmith, calling the car dealership about replacements, setting off their own car alarm, and then ultimately finding the keys on the towel hook on the back of the hotel bathroom door. I'm too short to reach the towel hook on the back of the bathroom door, so no one blamed me, thank goodness. But like I said, this is us. I'm the second newest addition to the group and I can already tell you, there isn't a completely normal one in the bunch - I promise; and that's what makes our annual family reunions so much fun.
We stayed in Park City at The Canyons and spent endless hours outdoors. I was the youngest hiker this year, riding the gondola and chair lift up to the top of the mountain and then hiking back down - about a two mile stretch. We stopped at the pond on the way down to rent paddle boats and fish. Unfortunately the fish are well fed - lots of visitors - so you can see them swim right by the bait on your hook. Well, my big brother got tired of watching them swim by so he walked over and got the
big net used by the staff to help pull a fish in once it's caught. He laid down on the dock and scooped a fish right out of the lake - it was HILARIOUS! The staff said they'd never seen someone do that. I'm pretty sure the fish was surprised as well. Good job Bodie!

We swam, played kickball, red rover, and a fierce game of corn hole. If it can be turned into a competition, our family loves it. Good weather, fun activities, and awesome people - kind of sounds like Heaven to me!