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!

An Afternoon in the Yard

One of our neighbors has a fancy camera and every now and then he catches our family (and other families…but we have the babies and it’s hard to resist taking pictures of babies, right?) at the right moment and takes some pictures to share with us.


I love this picture.  I wish I could remember what Wes was saying.  More often then not, if you approach us in our yard this is how Wes greets you.  He’s got something serious to tell you and he’s going to cross his arms about it.  I think this is a Sean mannerism.


I couldn’t decide which of these Madeline portraits I liked best.  I will miss when I can’t just plop her down in the grass anymore.  It doesn’t last for too long, but there are moments when we’re outside and Madeline is fine sitting and observing and Wes is fine digging a hole, foundation, ant house, what have you in my garden and I can just sit without any children on me.  Of course I like hugging and kissing and having them on me, but it’s nice to just be too.


Who is this man child?!  Is this my 3.5 year old or a teenager?!


That’s Wes’s jackhammer.  A important for hole, foundation, ant house, what have you digging.


Sweet, right?  It is sweet.  Really it is.  But watch as it becomes less of a hug and more of a forced re-positioning.


I titled this “An Afternoon…” but really you can find us just like this most afternoons that the weather allows.  In the mornings we try to go somewhere, but in the afternoons between nap time and dinner prep, it’s nice to stay close to home.  I always thought of myself as an indoor girl, but it turns out I really crave being outside.  So does Wes now.  Hopefully Madeline does too, but we’ll see.  The fresh air is so good for us.  I’m so happy to have these pictures that make just our normal everyday afternoon look a little more special.

Hidden Pond

The other week a play date canceled at the last minute and Madeline slept way late (why can’t our children sleep in together…and on the weekend?).  I packed it in during the morning for Wes so he’d nap and after lunch we headed to a nature center.  This nature center has everything a playground, a pond, and a building with animals.

It was a really nice time initially. We played on the playground, put together the puzzles in the nature center, saw the baby turtles there too, and ventured around the pond.

We’d intended one last play on the playground before heading home, but I mentioned this was after lunch.  So Wes was tired.  Sometimes I wonder if I should give more allowance to defiance that happens when he’s tired and I’m the reason.  He really should have been at home but I was pushing for a) a nap (not just quiet time) and b) to start that nap at the same time as Madeline’s.  But then there’s that look.  You’ve given me instruction, Momma, and I heard you but I’m going to half smile at you as I stick my toe over the line as little as possible to make sure you’re serious.

I could stand to be more consistent, but this time I was serious.  Because I hate that half smile.  So we went home.  Crying child all the way to car and all.

When it comes to parenthood, why doesn’t winning always feel good? I set the boundary, it was crossed, I reinforced the rule. That’s a win! I did the hard thing. I was unwavering. Why doesn’t it feel better? Why does it feel like I still lost a little? Especially when there’s a child crying all the way to the car. Why doesn’t it feel like I made progress toward the end goal? What is the end goal here exactly?  Am I meeting it?  I really have to wait 20, 30 years to find out?

In the short term I didn’t even accomplish the goal of a nap. So long term, I’m really holding out hope for you. That the combination of these difficult moments really will matter.

Photos by Wesley

Santa brought Wes a camera for Christmas.  Like all toys, his interest in it ebbs and flows.  We’ve had a recent flow, so I thought it would be fun to share the highlights of all his pictures since December.

First, there’s plenty of blurring nothing or very vaguely something shots.


Then there’s baby’s first selfie.  🙂


And lots and lots of out-of-focus, off-centered, wonderful-to-see-your-perspective shots.


2018 video so far

Yes, I really had canceled my blog.  When the auto renew notice popped up I thought this doesn’t make sense.  I hoped my archives wouldn’t vanish and that I’d revisit this hobby in a year.  But here we are.  I’m having a hard time parting with this blog.  Having a record is so fun (I mean, who are these fresh faced, kid-free people touring the West Coast 5 years ago?).

As a quick update, here’s our 2018 video up until April 22nd.  Not because I’m behind on it, but because I switched phones on April 22nd and saved that version in case it was lost in the transfer.  So for ease we’re going with this version.



Happy 3rd Birthday, Wes!

Wes is 3 today!  It’s so exciting!  Remember when I told you I wanted to accomplish two things in October?  Well, the second was to  make sure Wes felt celebrated for his birthday, even though he now has a baby sister that takes up a lot of attention.  I’d planned for us to take a family trip to the National Building Museum.  We’ve never been but it sounds like there is a really cool kids space that Wes would love.  He’s in a real construction phase.  But when we woke up on Saturday morning I knew it wasn’t happening.  Initially I felt bad.  We laid out presents for Wes to wake up to, along with a cupcake breakfast.  He was SO EXCITED about these things when he woke up.  It was a glorious day for him.  It was a nice reminder that just cake and presents go a long way for a small child.

Again, he’s in a real construction phase, so we gave him this dress up set with the idea that it would also double as a Halloween costume.  We’re still not trick or treating, but we do have a Halloween party to attend.

Keeping with the construction theme, he also got a drill game.

My parents got him a guitar.  He promptly wrote a song for his favorite girl at school.  He also brought it on the couch with him while he watched his last TV show of the day and randomly strummed it.  Both things were so cute to me.

Sean has been trying to read science books to Wes since he was itty.  They have always been on his phone and without pictures.  So we were excited when we discovered these.  They maybe weren’t as initially exciting as some of the other gifts, but Sean is enjoying reading them and I’m glad we have them for both Wes and Madeline.

For the last few weeks, Wes had been pointing out these cupcakes at Wegmans and told me he wanted them for his birthday.  At first I was disappointed he wanted something store bought instead of home made, and then I remembered I have a newborn and decided to be grateful.  So Wegman cupcakes it was this year!  They weren’t bad.

Sean, Madeline, and I went to Wes’s classroom to read books for circle time and have a special snack.  We had kept it a secret that Sean was coming and it was very special to have him there!

So happy birthday 3rd to our sweet Wesley!  Thanks for making us parents and keeping us laughing with all the funny things you say.  We love watching you grow.

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.  

Take Me Out to the Ball Game


A friend of ours had a birthday recently, and to celebrate a group of us were invited to join her for a Nats/Cubs game.  She’s a Cubs fan.  It was a 7 p.m., Monday night game, so initially I told Sean he’d probably be going on his own if he decided to go.  Getting a sitter to our house in enough time for me to leave to get into the city on a weeknight is tricky.  And then I thought, but this could be so fun!  I want to go!  And Sean and I talked more and we said, we should just risk it and bring Wes because the cost of the babysitter would have been more than his ticket.  So in a very unlike us move, we ended up breaking our rules and bringing Wes to a baseball game that started at bedtime!


I’m so glad we brought him!  This worked out so well and was a lot of fun for all of us!  Wes, of course, didn’t really know what was going on, but he occasionally popped up on Sean’s lap and Sean would walk him through what was happening.  He liked when people clapped and cheered and would join right along with them.  He danced to the music, made friends with the birthday girl, and mastered drinking water straight from the bottle.  A very successful night all around.



We made it through the first half of the 5th inning, or about 8:45 p.m.  Which meant we made it for the Presiden’ts Race!  I love the President’s Race!  George won.  We parked at Sean’s office and our house is a little ways out, so I knew getting home would take awhile.  I thought I was so smart coming prepared with pajamas and putting him in them before we left for home.  Because of course he’d fall asleep.  Right?  Nope!  He chatted the whole 35 minutes home!  “You’re going in the wrong direction, Momma.  Daddy told you the right way to go.”  “It’s raining?  Are we going to see lightning?  I need to call my friend Eleanor.  We’re going to talk about the ligtning.  Did you bring my phone?”  (It was not raining.  No, he doesn’t have a phone.)  “Momma, you crack me up.”  “Do you see the crane?  Are the construction workers still working?”  And he recapped the foul ball that landed incredibly close to us.  The man who caught it spilled his peanuts and Wes cried.  I’m not sure if Wes cried because he was scared by the close proximity of the ball or because the man spilled his peanuts.  I think it may have been the spilled peanuts.  It still comes up and he always leads with the peanuts spilling, not the ball landing.  While I didn’t really want him to fall asleep at 10 p.m., I really enjoyed experiencing a ball game with him and his loopy chatter at the end of his night.


A Crib for Baby Margaret

Daniel Tiger has a lot of power in our house.  Or did.  Until we introduced Bob the Builder and now Bob the Builder is the only thing Wes will watch.  But, at the time we told Wes he was going to be a big brother, Daniel Tiger was it.  To break the news we got him a Baby Margaret doll.  In case you’re unfamiliar, Baby Margaret is Daniel’s little sister and there are a few episodes around her birth and the disruption a baby might cause to your family.  Baby Margaret comes in a cardboard crib that I had planned to recycle right away but Wes wanted her to sleep in it, so I kept it.  The crib had a slow destruction.  It would be missing this little piece and then this little piece until finally it just wasn’t an effective crib anymore.  Wes wanted a new one though.  Baby Margaret needs a crib!  Daddy can make a new crib, but, of course, Wes had to help.


We appreciate that Wes is a kid that loves his Baby Margaret doll so much that he wanted to make sure she had a proper place to sleep, but at the same time wanted to be involved in all the sawing and drilling and hammering and building.


Sean did let Wes help a bit, but most of his “help” was watching or using scraps of wood and a few safe tools to “build” something of his own just outside of Sean’s wood shop.  He still loved being a part of this project though.  Wes is in a phase right now where Sean is IT.  When Sean’s home I’m banned from the playroom or the basement or wherever he and Sean and working on a special project (even if that special project is just coloring).  Sometimes we tell him it’s family time and I can be in the same room as them, and sometimes I say okay have your special time.  I’ll take advantage of this time alone.  Since there was a phase where Wes didn’t want Sean ever, it’s nice that they’re getting some quality time together now.


This was a multi-weekend project and we’re all very happy with the final product!  Baby Margaret’s crib has a special place right next to Wes’s bed, although her place during naptime and bedtime is still with him.  Along with what feels like 50 of his other stuffed animal friends.  It’s getting to be a real zoo in there.  And it’s remarkable how he knows when just one is missing, and that one must be found before he can settle into bed for the night.  Because the other 49 stuffed animals just won’t do.