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.


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.


Thumbs up for Belgian pancakes!


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!


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!


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.


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!


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.



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.


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!  ⇓


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!


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.


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.


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.


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


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.

Easter Weekend

Easter was so fun this year.  Like Christmas, it’s so much more fun now that Wes has a better understanding of these holidays and can get excited about presents and bunnies and eggs.  On Saturday we got together with the families of some of our yoga friends for a little egg hunt.  It was so great!  Erin, our host, the yoga studio owner, and a former teacher, is so clever and creative.  She  assigned an egg color to each child.  I’m putting that one in my back pocket for the future.  We had to talk through that some initially, but everyone caught on quickly and did a great job of finding just their own colors.  And the little prizes were so great, especially the stamps!  So simple and yet such a hit.


Then Easter morning the bunny came to see us!  The bunny respected the fact that Wes’s mother grew up with hidden plastic eggs with candy inside and Wes’s father grew up with hidden hard-boiled eggs.  Wes’s parents were so confused by the others tradition, but wasn’t it so nice of the bunny to accommodate both?


So many people are trying to be conscious of the amount of candy consumed at Easter.  Non-candy baskets feel like a big trendy thing people are doing.  I respect it.  I get it.  I attempted to go with a non-candy basket with that Play-Doh and that Roll & Play game.  But the candy is the best part!  I love Easter candy so much!  So I caved.  Cadbury Mini Eggs are too good and too seasonal to by-pass.


We also did a little yard work and Wes’s face so cute and so happy that I wanted to include those of those photos too.

Hope you had a happy Easter!



A Day of Favorites!

For Wes’s 2nd birthday, we celebrated just us three with all of Wes’s favorite things!  Staring with pancakes for breakfast.  I assure you, he was much, much happier with this than he looks in this picture.


Then we headed back to Frying Pan Farm Park for a morning with the animals.  Wes is very into roosters right now.  I think it’s all because there’s a rooster that cock-a-doodle-dos about every hour in the produce section of Wegmans.  It’s a really big deal.  We spent most of our time with the chickens and the small tractors, but if you asked him about what he did at the farm he’ll tell you we saw cows.  The mind of a child is such a curious thing.


These are tiny, brand new piggies!


“Hi Roosters!”  “Hi Chickens!”img_6170


“Daddy here!”  “Daddy closer!”


Then we came home, lunched, napped, had a chocolate chip pumpkin cookie snack, and opened gifts!

For dinner we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant because Wes loves chips and quesadillas.


Also limes, it’s kind of weird.


Rounded out with ice cream and chocolate sauce.


And if ice cream weren’t enough we quickly ducked into our neighbor’s house after dinner for a little pumpkin pie and another candle picture.

It was a fantastic day and a great celebration!  I’m still not sure I believe I have a two year old though.  The first year of life crawled by, but this second year flew.  Thanks for all the joy you bring, Wes.  Happy birthday!

PS – Last year’s celebrations recapped here.

Family Dinner

I’ve been waiting for and worrying about family dinners pretty much all of Wes’s life.  Family dinners are so critical, every article seems to shout.  The root of so many important life skills!  But my child needs to start his bedtime process at 6:30 p.m. (6:00 p.m. if there’s a bath involved!).  I can’t eat dinner every night at 5:30 p.m., especially if Sean’s not home yet.  But we’ve had a shift!  Wes seems to be ready for a 7:30 p.m. bedtime which means everything shifts up half an hour.  I probably won’t eat with him on weeknights, but we can have weekend family dinners at home!  We’re so excited!  A few Sundays ago we had our first in house family dinner and we did it in true Sean fashion.  With homemade ravioli that also involved roasting a pie pumpkin for the filling.


Sometimes I play with image order to better tell my story, but this is exactly how things happened.  Sean worked the whole time, but Wes would work a little, play a little, work a little, play a little.  And there were times where things got a little tough with a small child running around the kitchen, but overall it was lots of fun.  We played a Frank Sinatra Pandora station to fit with out Italian theme, and Wes and I occasionally danced to keep little fingers away from Daddy’s projects.

Luckily we had brunch with a friend earlier in the day and we mentioned our pasta making.  She asked us about our flour and told us we really needed semolina in order to be successful.  So even though we were already pushing nap time at the end of brunch, we made a quick detour and found both semolina and “00” flour, which was the flour Sean’s recipe called for.  We only used semolina this time and we really happy with the dough.  Next time we’ll try “00” and see what that does.

img_7053img_7058img_7065Very sadly, the only person that liked our pumpkin ravioli with sage butter sauce was me.  Sean ate his but wished he’d gone with a different filling.  Wes is just a toddler and food can be so hit or miss for him.  At least he tried it, I guess.  It can be so hard not to make the dinner table a battleground when so much love and effort goes into the food.  We didn’t fight, but it didn’t take away from the disappointment that he barely touched it.

That’s the before and after of Wes’s plate.  I know you doesn’t look it, but he did it the tiniest amount.

I’m still calling this a success!  Because not only did it happen, but I’m already thinking, why did you worry about the lack of family dinners?  Of course Wes wasn’t going to go to bed at 6:30 forever, and, no, he’s not ruined because he missed two years of family dinners!

Apple Picking


We went apple picking the other weekend and it was so much fun!  It was crazy windy and chilly because of Matthew, but so much fun!  I was so happy.  So was Wes.  How can you not be when you have a deep love for both balls and apples and you find yourself in a place surrounded by those things.


We picked a ton of apples!  We’re going to use the apples to make apple butter as neighbor gifts for Christmas.  Sean did most of the picking (thank you, Favorite).  Wes found all of the most gross, bug-eaten, rotted out apples to present to us.  It was such a good day!