Hot Sunday Night

It’s hot! Hot to point where we have heat advisories and “hazardous to be outside” alerts. Is it hot where you are too? On Sunday we got out the sprinkler to cool off and still be outside and at home.

Madeline was such a trooper here! She sat at the edge of the sprinkler for awhile watching Wes and feeling the sprinkles. She didn’t last that long, but a lot longer than I expected.

I bought these quick fill water balloons (I think I found my one package at Target, but I linked what I could find on Amazon, in case you’re curious). I somehow grabbed the bunch without the tag letting you know a smooth surface for their landing is critical. So note that if you make this purchase.

At least we knew for the second round. It was fun! Wes loved it. He’s never played with water balloons before. I would do this again, but what a mess! It’s fascinating to get the parent experience on these magical childhood moments. I loved water balloons. Thank you mom and dad for cleaning up my water balloon messes.

We finished the night with tacos! I love Sean’s tacos. (You guys have to check out these sweet posts from 2013 and 2014 about our adventures in tacos! Oh my gosh! One day when I have more time I need to read more about our newly married, pre-baby lives.)

Do you see Madeline?! She has a crude pincer grasp. She can eat small things. She is getting so big. She’s going to college tomorrow! Sometimes it’s too bad that I’m not a baby person because I wish for babies to get to about this point and then they get to this point and I don’t wish them to be little but I can’t believe how big they are. It’s curious.

Anyway, this Sunday evening was a nice end to our hit weekend.

Happy birthday to me!

I turned 35 on Saturday the 2nd, and we started the day off right with cake.  Yes, same cake, new year.

Remember last year I did it with Wes and he dropped an egg on the floor and it was kind of frustrating?  This year I did it myself in phases at night.  It just worked better because of more days in preschool and Madeline’s schedule.  I kind of missed him!  Dropped egg and all!  Oh, life!  We ate that cake for breakfast all the way through Tuesday!

Sean and I got a date night in Saturday night.  We hadn’t been on a date since New Orleans and so we were ready!  We had one set of plans that really needed good weather to work.  It seems as though the rain will not stop here!  So we switched plans at the very last minute and it worked out so well!

Sean ended up with a beef carpaccio  appetizer the size of his head!

And I got sushi which made me so happy.  Sean doesn’t like sushi so we never go for sushi.  I might have a craving now and I’m not sure how I’ll solve that problem.

That’s it for pictures.  In some ways I’m still getting back into the habit of telling the story.  I personally think the story is a little better with pictures, but sometimes it’s hard to take the pictures when you’re busy living the moment.

It was a good birthday, but I’m feeling a little sad about birthdays this year.  This is the first year where I’m feeling…different, weird, older, I’m not quite sure about my age.  This year Wes will be 4 and that’s very much a wow age for me.  I’ve never been unhappy to see him get a little older and now I’m like whoa!  4!  What’s next, college?  And Madeline completes our family and so our last child who will have a 1st birthday, which is more bittersweet than I imagined.  I can’t wait for children to turn 1 normally.  So I guess what I’m saying is 35 is the first official year when life started to move to quickly.  And it feels weird.

A trip to the zoo

Wes has had this list for the last little while. “We need to go to the zoo, the beach, and the farm,” he says. Not so much to be annoying but enough to be memorable. I think Curious George’s influence? We bought a membership to the National Zoo last month and on Memorial Day Weekend we checked off that first item.

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We got there bright and early, which was a good way to go.  We arrived around 8:20 and left around 11.  It was a much different zoo at 11.  It was nice to have some time in a less crowded space.

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Some of the animals are still having breakfast or sleeping at 8:20.  We were still delighted with our visit and the timing.

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It was bright.  Some of these pictures looked awesome in my camera….

That’s a sleeping wolf, sleeping ducks, seals, and barely-made-it-into-the-picture-but-very-awake otters.  I didn’t realize ducks would be at the zoo, which was perfect because Wes asked about them specifically on the drive there!

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We did not talk about this trip with Wes before hand.  We decided just the night before after everyone was tucked in tight that we would go.  So I walked into his room in the morning and explained we were getting dressed right away because we were going to the zoo!  He laughed his sweet little laugh and was so off the wall excited until he started to crash around 10:45.  Usually I like to share in the anticipation of the event, but this time it was nice to surprise him.

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Tigers, their roar is no joke!  This tiger was hungry and was pacing around for food, and that roar would be so scary without a fence.

IMG_9855IMG_9857IMG_9859IMG_9861Wes and I rode the carousel as one of our last activities before leaving.  Remember almost two years ago when Wes didn’t enjoy the carousel ride?  He loved it this time!  It was so fun to be his carousel buddy.  We should have gone again because we can do that as members…next time.

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Wes still lets me dress him and I picked his one animal shirt for this outing.  I wasn’t sure if there would be turtles at the zoo but I’m so glad they were there.  I can’t wait to go to the zoo again.  It was so much fun!

New Orleans

Sean and I went to New Orleans at the end of April.  He had a conference, I tagged along, and thankfully my parents watched Wes and Madeline.  Although this trip is already behind us and I went on the trip fully thinking I had canceled the blog, this story is important.

We flew in on Saturday and soon after landing had dinner with Alexis and Christian.  We had the best time!  Alexis lives in Baton Rouge.  It’s a bit outside of New Orleans so I wasn’t sure how this might work out, but I’m so glad it did!  It was great to meet Christian and spend time with a cousin I never have without all of our aunts and uncles around.  (An earlier version of this draft said ” without adults around” because that’s what happens when you think about yourself in your family dynamic.  But I had to change that because all parties at this dinner are all very much adults!)

The only reason I have this picture of food is because I texted it to my dad.  I got frog legs in honor of my Grandma Sarah.  She loved frog legs.

Towards the end of dinner Alexis asked me if the blog was over.  I said yes.  I just canceled it and it’s over at least for now.  And then she asked me if I liked the blog.  And I said yes and then we got distracted by something.

After dinner we walked Bourbon Street.  I think you have to when you visit New Orleans.  It’s a fascinating experience.  Plus we were having such a good time I wasn’t ready for it to end.  Alexis and Christian took us for one last drink at Tropical Isle, where Sean got a Shark Attack and I got a Hand Grenade.  The Shark Attack comes with a plastic shark and a alligator (the victim of the attack), and both now have a home in Wes’s toy chest.

I was sad for this night to end.  We had such fun with Alexis and Christian.  But the rest of the trip didn’t disappoint.

We had brunch at Carrollton Market the next morning.  It was so delicious.  I took this picture because it’s poutine and I meant to text Alli and Mike about it.  Alli and Mike talk about poutine every time we see them, it seems.  And now I understand why!

Then we took a long walk.  We started with a lap around Audubon Park, then down St. Charles Street (where the houses are HUGE!), and ending up in the Irish Channel at Sucré.  Sucré is a sweet little sugar shop that I went to with my parents when we were in New Orleans just the three of us back in 2009?  2008 maybe?

As we walked around Audubon Park I asked Sean about the blog.  How Alexis had brought it up and that I do really like it and what I should do about it.  And he said that he loves the blog and we’ll figure out how I can make time to write.  So that’s why I’m including this story.  Because if we hadn’t gone to New Orleans and I hadn’t texted Alexis to see if she was available for dinner and if she hadn’t asked me such a simple question about it, we wouldn’t be here.

The rest of the trip was really refreshing for me, with parts that were really enjoyable for both of us.  Monday was still a work day for Sean.  As soon as Monday arrived relaxed Sean transformed into super stressed Sean right before my very eyes.  It was weird.  I know his job is stressful, but to witness how the stress transformed him was something I didn’t expect.  Sometimes when he comes home I want him to be more immediately delighted to see us.  Watching how his work affects him gives me renewed appreciation for his contribution to our family and more patience as he transitions between one stressful situation to another (because let’s face it, families are joyful but also stressful…especially as bedtime approaches).  We still had fun.  We ate lunch at the Gumbo Shop, another spot I revisited from my trip with my parents, and took a trip to the casino after a dinner.

Which left me still wondering who is in charge of choosing the carpets for these establishments.

Tuesday morning Sean woke up bright and early to speak on a panel at his conference.  I took myself to Cafe De Monde for a nice little breakfast.  I read a book over a hot cup of coffee.  That’s one of the things I liked most about this trip.  It was quick, but I was only on my schedule to do whatever I wanted without interruption.

Then we went home to our sweet children and our regular lives.  We really did miss those sweet children, but it was a nice break.  Thanks, New Orleans.  And thanks Alexis for asking me such a simple question about my blog.

Pumpkin Patch

Even with Madeline, I wanted to make sure we accomplished two things in October.  The first being finding pumpkins at a place somewhere other than the grocery store.  And luckily, my mom friends told me about Nall’s Produce, 12 minutes from our house, and I knew that pumpkin picking could still feel fun this year even if we didn’t make it to some of the big festivals we did last year or the apple orchard.  

This place was right on a busy road but still let their chickens run around with no fences.  It felt like a bold move to me!

  

This poor pig.  Wes threw a handful or tiny pebbles into her pen and she thought it was food.  She didn’t eat our pebbles, but I’m sad we fooled her.

Wes had a great time!  He jumped and danced and didn’t want to leave.  He didn’t realize at all that we weren’t at some big fall festival.  

And I’ve been meaning this whole week to take pictures of the pumpkins we picked but still haven’t.  So you’ll just have to imagine.  

Father’s Day

IMG_7579I reread my Father’s Day post from last year before writing anything this year.  I was curious how things compared.  I had forgotten that Sean was pretty special on the weekends a year ago.  Although it’s definitely magnified.  Wes wants Sean to do everything when he’s home.  Give him a snack, change his shorts, go outside, answer the question that I just answered, do bedtime, everything.  It’s sweet.  Sometimes a little annoying because I really did just answer the question in the same way Sean would!  It’s such fun to watch their relationship grow and develop with each year.  While needing constant attention from Daddy can be tough too, it’s still much nicer than the rejection from two years ago.

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We kept with tradition and went to our same beloved brunch place for Father’s Day.  They only had waffles.  Wes doesn’t believe he likes waffles.  He only likes pancakes.  With the help of our waiter we came up with Belgian pancakes.  About midway through the meal Sean finally breaks the news to him that he’s eating waffles.  Wes almost looked like he might cry.  Then I said it again and he said.  “These aren’t waffles these are pancakes, silly goose!”  We laughed.  I’m not sure when Belgian pancakes will be called waffles in our house.

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Thumbs up for Belgian pancakes!

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I always say this but it never fails to be true, thanks so much for all you do for us, Sean.  Thanks so much for working so hard and for waking up so early for us!  Happy Father’s Day!

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Ithaca is Gorges!

I almost added all of these photos to the law school reunion post, but decided Ithaca’s gorges needed to stand alone.  The pun seems silly at first, at least to me.  All these shirts and mugs and bumper stickers and all kinds of things claiming that “Ithaca is Gorges!”  But then we hiked two and I totally got it!  Ithaca in generally is a lovely town, but the gorges are so, so beautiful!

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On Friday morning, Sean and I hiked Buttermilk Falls.  It was a great hike and the perfect day for it!  We heard it had been raining in Ithaca for days before we arrived.  The whole weekend we lucked out with beautiful weather.  It caught Sean a little by surprise.  He’s used to Ithaca being very cloudy.  Similar to our recent date for my birthday, we had a really great time being together.  Chatting and planning about things.  We love Wes so much, but it is just so nice to have these opportunities to just be us.  I know I already said this, but I just always feel so grateful for these moments with Sean.

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On Saturday morning we were joined by Sarah, a classmate and good friend of Sean’s who also lives in DC, for a hike around Lucifer Falls in Treman State Park.  Even though she lives close by and we do see her occasionally, it has been a little while so it was nice to catch up.  She’s the one that suggested Lucifer Falls specifically and I’m so glad she did!  The pictures don’t do it justice at all!  This was a beautiful hike.  We were dressed for the law school’s lunch that day.  We weren’t in the most sensible outfits or shoes, but we made it work.  This hike was tougher for me, but we just took lots of breaks.  Hiking while pregnant is apparently something I like to do.  Although the last time I hiked while pregnant I had no idea!

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Thanks for going to law school at Cornell so we could have a great trip 10 years later, Favorite!

Sean’s 10 Year Law School Reunion

Sean’s law school class celebrated it’s 10 year reunion the other weekend.  We dropped Wes off with my mom and dad and we headed to Cornell to be with his 2007 classmates.

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Cornell and Ithaca are really special to Sean.  He worked full time and attended school full time in undergrad, so he didn’t have the carefree experience most people I know had as undergraduates.  But law school was much more fun for him.  It wasn’t entirely carefree, but he bonded with classmates, traveled to some fantastic places, tried some new foods, and just generally enjoyed himself.  Ithaca is so special to him that we’ve actually been twice before.

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Not everyone Sean would have liked to catch up with came to this reunion.  We ended up talking and really enjoying the company of some of his classmates that he knew but not well.  While he wished he had the opportunity to see some of the people that didn’t come, he told me the weekend exceeded his expectations.  So that’s a real win!

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Cornell’s law school is all within one building, and they had plenty of activities to keep you busy the whole weekend.  We were able to pick and choose what to attend, which was perfect for us.  While it was no Switzerland or France, this weekend counts as our child-free vacation for the summer.  We were really happy to be able to spend some time enjoying the law school and Sean’s classmates, but also having dinners and doing activities just the two of us.  Some amount of child-free time each summer is becoming a tradition we really love.  It’s really nice to recharge our relationship batteries and have time to provide the other with undivided attention.  Even if it was only 3-ish days this time, it was a great refresh.

We may have checked the box on law school reunions, but we’ll be back to Ithaca.  Some of Sean’s classmates found lake houses that included fire pits and kayaks.  I think there’s a lake house visit with Wes and BA2 in our future so we can enjoy Ithaca, Cornell, and the surrounding areas as a family.  I’m already looking forward to it!

Birthday dinner

I didn’t take many pictures of my birthday dinner date with Sean, so I almost didn’t write about it.  But I never write about dates anymore and this one was so a good one!

We went to Tosca, which is sort of a DC establishment.  It’s not trendy or hip.  People barely write about it anymore.  But I love Tosca so much.  This was only second dinner there, but both times the waiters were so friendly and great and the food is so consistently good.

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When Sean and I eat multiple courses we decide on a winner for each course.  Sean usually wins.  But at Tosca we tied for our first two courses!  I won the last one…which was not just Sean being nice on my birthday.  I legitimately won!  ⇓

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I broke some pregnancy dining rules by getting seared sea scallops to start and having a few sips of Champagne and white wine.  I don’t regret any of it, and I think it added to some of the fun of the evening.  It’s funny what becomes the rebellious thing when you’re 34 and pregnant.

Then we just had some great discussions about our relationship and our family and life generally.  It made me really happy.  One of my top birthday celebrations of all time.  Thanks for a great birthday, Favorite!

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Weekend Visitors

My parents moved to Pittsburgh back in March, and having them closer is so great!  We’ve been to see their new house, and they’ve visited us twice.  The last time they came they brought Maggie and Evelyn with them!  It was a quick trip but we had lots of fun.

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I didn’t take many pictures.  In some ways is too bad because Wes and Evelyn were so cute together, but at the same time it’s sometimes nice to not always experience things behind the camera.

My mom brought me boxes of things that I can’t believe my parents have moved from Maryland to Memphis to Maryland to Oregon to Buffalo to Pittsburgh…  But then again, I recently thought I lost Wes’s birth certificate and went through some of the boxes in our basement and couldn’t believe some of the things that I moved from Hagerstown to College Park to Silver Spring to Arlington to Springfield, so it runs in the family.  (I found his birth certificates and also did an excellent job of getting rid of things (I mean that seriously), in case you’re wondering.)  There were some real gems, like this first family picture and the first time I ever tried to write my name.

I had this question myself so just want to clarify that those aren’t boobs.  Those are puffy sleeves. Puffy sleeves were very, very important to me growing up.  My mom had to cut off and create puffy sleeves on all of my dresses.  Also, my dad never wore top hats but this is a reoccurring theme for me.  I can’t wait until Wes starts to draw family photos.


But the best was my sister bringing my doll, Carol Linda!  I thought I lost her!  I’d been texting everyone.  I was so happy to be reunited I cried.

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She also brought me some clothes made by my mom and grandmothers for she and me when we were little.  I feel really lucky to have them for my own daughter.

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Then of course I made popovers as their breakfast send off.

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They left on the day Wes turned 2.5 so as I added his newest height to my wall, I had the opportunity to add Evelyn’s too!  I think I might need to color code it.