A morning at the farm

Frying Pan Farm Park is a favorite of ours and I’ve written about it before. Wes and Madeline have been recently when Rich and Beth were watching them, but I hadn’t taken them in awhile. I really love this place!

We were meeting friends, if we got there a little before them. So we played on the tractors and when they arrived and we went back to the tractors! Amazing how much simple things really occupied the kids for a decent amount of time.

The sign coming in promised lots of baby animals. Baby pigs, cats, bunnies. We only saw baby goats.

Can you tell that there are two chickens back there swinging on a swing?! It really tickled me for some reason.

Their vegetable garden was open. We all had a fun time seeing the vegetables growing right there in the garden. I want a vegetable garden so bad. We have some plans for one but aren’t sure it will get enough sun. Having the kids care for their own vegetables, things that then end up on our dinner table, seems like a really rewarding experience. Hopefully someday!

We finished with a carousel ride! It was such a good morning! Fun to be with friends, and everyone did great! Madeline is not an on the go napper, but I thought I’d see how an outing would go even though she should have been taking a morning nap. It went great! I will probably continue to respect the morning nap for as long as she needs me to, but it was nice to know she can be more flexible than I thought. I’m still anxiously awaiting the days of just one nap!

45 weeks

45 weeks

We have been in Deep Creek, Maryland with my parents and some aunts and uncles for Madeline’s 45th week.  She has been so smiley and flirty (and a little bit clingy), and it’s so fun to watch!  It’s kind of how she is with Sean but just all the time here.  Well, mostly with my aunt Ginger, but much more smiley overall.

I have this idea, I think from her earliest days, that Madeline is not as flexible of a baby as Wes. And while I know she isn’t flexible enough to nap on the go (which really is okay with me), she has been great on this trip! I’m glad I can correct my thinking about her lack of flexibility.


When I explain to Wes that these four are coming for a visit, sometimes I will shorten it to Nana & Papa. Because the whole thing is a mouth full. Wes is always quick to correct that it’s “NanaPapaAuntMaggie&Evelyn” and it gets all mashed together like that. They are a unit and no name can be excluded. Those four came to visit us four a few weekends ago.

It was hot but still a nice enough day to get outside. This is the “Ant House,” one of Wes’s favorite digging places on our street. Wes could dig to the center of the Earth. Have I mentioned that before? I think I may have. It is named the “Ant House” because you can often find ants there, just like we did on this day.

Another favorite digging place. I think in the fall it was called “The Castle” but may be nameless now.

It was very cute to watch them trace each other and then spot the random arms or other body parts in the middle of those tracings.

As close to an on the ground cousin picture as we will probably get these days. (Past cousin pictures here and here and here.)

Nana’s turn!

I had been hearing great things about an ice cream shop in Clifton, VA. So I thought it would be fun to take everyone there. We had a nice dinner followed by a visit to a train car.

Wes and Evelyn really wanted to find a way in!

My mom asked Wes where he was driving. “Kansas City!” Luckily for him we are headed there later this month! Although not by train, even though he keeps making that request.

We had started to leave the train car when lucky us! A real train rolled on by!

Clifton is a very cute little town. The Main Street here is very small, but it’s so cute! I can’t wait to go back!

Totally missed that the train was not for climbing! Sean saved us on that one.

We finished our night with really great ice cream! Such a great visit and a fun little night out in Clifton. I had wanted to get a group picture but that did not happen. Another time, hopefully.

44 weeks

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Madeline has no patience for non-interactive books.  She wants “Dear Zoo,” “Pat the Bunny,” and “Peek-a-Who?”  If the book doesn’t not have some kind of flap she’s rushing through the pages.  Can we get to the fun stuff already?  Wait, there’s no fun stuff, why are we reading this?!  I’m still trying to sneak in non-interactive books when I can, but it’s definitely not her favorite.

The struggle is real trying to figure out how to get Wes to play nicely with Madeline.  I wonder if she’s keeping a tally in her head of all the pushes and pinches and will come back for her revenge as soon as she can figure out how.  I know this won’t change, but I’m a little surprised by how early it’s started that they’ll play with each other and mostly nicely and then all of a sudden it’s such a crisis!  I had a friend tell me her son and daughter with a similar age difference don’t fight…do you think that was really true?

Lunch with Dad

A few Fridays ago the three of us took a trip into DC to have lunch with Sean. What a big time! The last time Wes and I did this, I was still pregnant with Madeline. And the time before that was our first time when Wes was Madeline’s age! Oh my gosh!

Between construction and tow trucks and being with Dad and hotels and people everything the city has to offer, there was such excitement from Wes. He’s in this phase where he refers to Sean as “my dad.” “Is my dad home?” “Where is my dad?” “Is my dad having lunch?” I don’t know if he’s trying to distinguish that I have a different dad or take ownership of the dad in our house away from Madeline or what, but I think it’s sweet.

I got sushi! Helped satisfy that craving from way back on my birthday!

We walked Sean to his office (that building in the background, if you’re curious) and then back to the car. Wes was so sad about leaving Sean. So sad that “my dad” couldn’t come home and not fully grasping that the next day was Saturday and he’d be home with us anyway. When do kids have a better understanding of time? It’s so funny to me how at dinner we might talk about what’s happening the next day and he’ll ask “today?” and I’ll explain that I was talking about tomorrow and he’ll again ask “today?” Maybe it’s just Wes.

As we drove out of the city I knew that I could get myself home, except I know it better by sight than street names and when we pulled out of the garage I had a hard time thinking through the streets so I used my phone to map it. It took me a way I didn’t want to go and so I said, mostly to myself but out loud, “I don’t want to go this way but I don’t want to make a bad decision.” And from the back seat I hear “don’t make a bad decision, Mom.” So I followed the phone. It was fine. Right before getting on the highway I didn’t like how a few cars cut me off and if I said something I don’t remember what. Then I hear from the back seat ” relax, Mom. They can turn. It’s their chance.” I laughed both times, especially that second time. Because when you are the car cutting someone off but not meaning to so you can avoid taking the wrong turn, it really does feel like your chance. Sometimes I’m so surprised by how grown up his comments can sound. And sometimes we go back and forth 10 times about “today?”

43 weeks

43 weeks

Madeline is starting to wave!  It’s so cute!  And she’s a total daddy’s girl right now.  She mostly waves for Sean.  She lights right up when he walks into the room.  I was talking to him on the phone one day this week.  It wasn’t on speaker, but Madeline could hear enough of Sean’s voice at one point and she got so excited!  It’s very sweet.

Date Night

Okay, let’s address this second picture. Let’s just get this out of the way. It’s ridiculous, I know. We are hanging on to the table and each other for dear life. Not to mention that this is such a classic honeymoon pose. Or at least honeymoon circa 2006-2009. Before people took a lot of selfies or pictures of their food but all meals on a vacation like a honeymoon had to be documented for Facebook. Sean was taking my picture and a waiter noticed and offered to take a picture of us together. Why not, we thought. When do we ever get someone else to take our picture on just a regular date? So here we are having a great time and looking awkward.

We really did have a great time!

We went to a steakhouse that promised to elevate the classics. Now, usually I’m all about some Gorgonzola snow, but this is a take on a wedge. We love our wedges, Sean and me. We get a craving for them every now and then. In my personal opinion, the wedge should be left alone. The people who are drawn to wedges in the first place are not looking for snow. They want all the bleu cheese and bacon. We liked our meal overall, though.

Our restaurant was in the MGM Grand at the National Harbor. (Baby Wes and I have visited!…the Harbor, I mean.) It has been so terribly hot here, but we lucked out because it was a beautiful night. Just perfect. My preference is to always sit outside if it’s bearable, and I’m so glad we were able to enjoy a dinner and a little walk outside. And a little snuggle because they had chairs that mostly fit two. 🙂

It was a really nice time. The only downfall is that this was our last date with our most favorite sitter staying with Wes and Madeline.

She’s getting married and we couldn’t be happier, but good sitters are so hard to find! I’m so grateful we had her to sit for us for 3 years!!

42 Weeks

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Madeline can climb the stairs! We didn’t like our old baby gate and this week we were without a gate as we waited for the new one.   There was a time or two this past week when I was doing something in the kitchen and I thought I knew where all the children were but then it would get quiet and there was Madeline on stair two!  The gate’s in now.  Don’t worry.

Can you believe there are only 10 of these left?!

Italy Part IV


More hills.  It was never ending.  This particular hill was watched over by the Black Madonna.  She watched over a short but fierce one.  We again didn’t stop because I just couldn’t.  It was intense.


Our final destination on this final full day of biking was a castle and a picnic.


We also got a little tour of their wine making processes and cellar.


Our guides and the picnic they put together!


Then we had our final dinner as a group.  There was maybe a bit too much wine and grappa involved, but it was so fun and such a great way to end the week with a great group of people.


This is not my best picture, but there’s a story here.  Earlier in the week one of our companions asked what our last dinners would be if we were on death row.  It’s a go-to question of hers.  She’s asked it for years at all kinds of occasions.  It turns out I’m the first person to ponder how I got into the prison to have this death row meal before even considering my meal.  This seemed like an important detail to my answer.  I wanted to be able to hijack a really expensive car with a gun with Sean as a sidekick (he’d be needed to drive it since he can drive a stick and I can’t).  I wanted to have some fun without killing anyone to get to death row.  We all decided that the only way to get on death row was to actually commit a murder.  At our last dinner of our trip, there was an art exhibit in the building behind our table.  A few people went in and told me they had found my perfect weapon, so here I am trying look scary with my perfect weapon.  Sean and I decided both of our last meals would be Second Date Salmon (so glad I explained that before this trip so I could link it!).  And this almost doesn’t seem funny given some of the particulars, but it was fun at the time and a fun memory.


Sean and I had two nights together in Turin before our trip officially ended.  Here’s my best picture of Turin, which is a great and interesting city that we really enjoyed.  Italy, such a good time and so needed in our lives.  More importantly though, unlike when we returned from France I was ready to be home.  I didn’t wish I was back in Italy at all.  I was 100% happy to be back.  And that was the best part of all.  That we got the break we needed as parents and partners and were just so delighted to be back with our sweet children as soon as we returned.  Thank you Italy and Rich and Beth!

There’s maybe a travel video coming, but I’m having the hardest time with music!

Parts I and II and III, if you missed them.

Italy Part III


This bike trip through Italy was very fun and very satisfying, but so so hilly.  And much hotter than we expected.  We did a good job of keeping a positive attitude throughout, but the hills and the heat did get to you after awhile.  We were starting to feel it on our 4th day.  We made it to Barbaresco, where we stopped for just a bit before lunch.


And here we have the church of wine!  Of course it started as a real church, but now contains all things wine.


One of the big differences between our French trip and this trip were the group dynamics.  Group dynamics were exhausting on the last trip, although we did meet a family we really clicked with.  But this trip the overall dynamics were great!  And the particular group pictured here, we really enjoyed!


After Barbaresco we stopped in Nieve for lunch on our own.  Sean and I decided we were done for that day.  It was hot, the hills were hard, we were going to enjoy our lunch and shuttle back for a massage.  Lunch was great.  While we’d been loving the food, Sean was craving a big plate of pasta and he got the perfect thing to fill that craving here.  And we had a really great conversation about our lives as a family and together.  So between the pasta and the conversation, it was a really satisfying lunch!  And then we got our couples massage and we didn’t regret taking the afternoon off from biking at all!


Before dinner we took our Aperol Sprintzes to the chess room for a friendly game.


We did not officially finish the game, but we got pretty close.  Sean declared me the winner.  I can’t decide if he was being nice, but I did have the upper hand when we stopped playing.  I view Sean as a strategic master, so I’m pretty proud of myself.


Then dinner was outside again (the evenings were perfect even though the days were hot) with a beautiful sunset.  And this is one of my favorite pictures of us.  Although I got slack from everyone that I’m still carrying around this relic of a camera to take pictures when my iPhone X takes pictures that are just as good if not better….

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Here’s the iPhone version of the picture trying to prove the point.  Okay, fine.  I will probably stop using my relic camera.  I guess it is hard to deny that because I don’t understand my camera settings the color is far better in the iPhone version.

Last days of our trip coming up.  If you missed them, here are Parts I and II.