Strawberry Picking

Wes and I went strawberry picking last Friday with our friends Erin and Eilley.  I was so excited to go because Daniel Tiger goes strawberry picking in an episode and Wes really likes strawberries.  Wes was pretty excited to go until he fully understood the conditions.  Unfortunately it rained most of the week leading up to this outing and it was very, very muddy.

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This is Wes giving me a status report on the mud before we even got to the worst part.

Honestly I didn’t think Wes minded mud.  So I learned an important lesson about my son’s preferences.  He HATES mud.  Or, he hates mud when he’s wearing the only water/all-purpose summer shoe I have for him, Natives, which have small holes in them.  I tried to talk about what happened on our car ride home and I feel clear it was the shoes but unclear of the specific details surrounding the problem of the mud and shoes combination.  I think the holes might be it.  I think he needs rain boots for a future activity like this.

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Wes did pick some berries.  When he was standing in a less muddy spot, I think he enjoyed finding the red berries and putting them in his basket.  If it weren’t so muddy, I can imagine him getting really into it.  But this time there was a lot of crying about mud.

Initially I tried to talk him through the mud and explain where he should step so he could enjoy this outing more.  I gave up when nothing seemed to work and told him (in a kind way) to stand in the grass if he didn’t want to be in the mud.  Because I didn’t drive an hour to go home after 10 minutes with two strawberries.  So he stood in the grass.  He also explored the grassy area and watched the big kids and ate maybe a few too many strawberries before we paid for them.  He was pretty patient while I kept picking.  I had a lot of fun and was so happy with my full bucket!  Thanks for your patience, Wes.

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Can you spot him?

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See that sweet cheese face again?  My friend Erin took this picture and when she sent she commented that it almost looks like he had a good time.  So don’t let the sweet cheese face fool you.  (He also looks 5 here, right?!)

Erin sent me the recipe she planned to make with her strawberries, Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins.  They looked so good that we made a batch too!  I made ours mini muffins so I could freeze them and use them for Wes’s breakfasts.  They are delicious!  I substituted one cup of all-purpose flour of a cup of whole wheat flour but kept everything the same.  Erin told me she was planning to swap in applesauce for the oil.  We both opted for mini chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate chips.  You could maybe half the amount of chocolate chips if you were looking for a little more strawberry flavor.  Personally, I will probably always make these will a full cup because that’s what’s important to me.  Just some ideas for you if you decide to give these a try yourself.

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Cracking eggs is Wes’s favorite!  Some shells usually need to be rescued but cracking eggs makes him so happy!  (Oh, and he wiped his eggy hands on his white shirt, in case you’re wondering about that outfit change.)

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Not surprisingly, they are the new breakfast favorite.  They are a very tasty muffin, so I do recommend them if you’re looking to do something with your strawberries.  And next year I’ll watch the weather more closely and plan our strawberry picking outing for a dry week.

Burke Lake Park

We’ve visited Burke Lake Park a few times, but we’ve only been to the playground.  Recently we went with friends and they took us on an adventure around the actual lake!

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It was so pretty and peaceful!  There’s so much to do here.  You can rent boats and camp and hike and picnic.  Wes was thrilled to be near the water and see the fish and the ducks.  He was also just so delighted to walk through the woods to get there, looking for sticks (he would dart off the trail and find the biggest stick possible and ask if he could bring it along…and we’re talking small logs).

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He’s basically dance walking with happiness here.

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Can you tell that the guy in the background is fishing?  Well he caught a little one and let the little boys touch him before throwing it back in.  Wes was excited to see the fish up close, but didn’t want anything to do with touching the fish.  Which I totally understand.

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I’m so glad we discovered there’s so much more to this park than the playground!  It’s so close and so pretty!

Tudor Place

We’ve become friendly with some of the moms and kids in Wes’s preschool class, and one mom is a part-time museum educator.  On May 1st she organized a trip for us into DC to see the gardens at Tudor Place in Georgetown.

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Isn’t this tree just beautiful?  It’s 200 years old!

I drive to Georgetown for Junior League meetings in the peak of rush hour.  So I was really delighted to be reminded that it’s only 30 minutes for us to get there.  I’m going to try to remember that for the future because it’s a nice place to spend a morning.

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This is Wes’s friend Ian.  They really like each other.  It’s pretty sweet.  Ian’s mom took all the close up pictures (thanks, Christy!).  Here’s Ian and Wes at Frying Pan Farm Park last spring in case you’re curious in the difference a year makes.

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The gardens were beautiful.  From what I could occasionally hear, the woman leading the tour did a great job of engaging the 4-5 year olds with discussions about flowers and plants.  The three boys from Wes’s class…way more interested in the sticks, rocks, and just generally running as far and as fast as they could in the green space.  But, hey, at least they learned that a garden is a nice place to be!

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Apparently this is the face Wes gives you when you ask him to smile but don’t say cheese first.  It’s so funny to me!

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In case you’re curious, Wes is not that much bigger than Ian.  Wes is on the big side still, but Ian’s just sitting back.

Again, a big thanks to Christy for taking some pictures of us together.

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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.

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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.

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These are tiny, brand new piggies!

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“Hi Roosters!”  “Hi Chickens!”img_6170

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“Daddy here!”  “Daddy closer!”

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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.

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Also limes, it’s kind of weird.

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Rounded out with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

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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.

Wes’s First Day of Preschool!

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Wes had his first day of preschool on Tuesday.  He was only an hour, but it was a great success!  Isn’t he adorable in this picture?  Here are the outtakes:

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Really, mom?

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But I promise I am sitting up straighter.  What does that even mean?

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Motor lips.

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These last four photos are courtesy of our friend, Christy.

And while I looked forward to this all summer, because I really missed our PDO program from last year, there was something about sending him off to preschool that was a little bittersweet.  He’s so very much my little buddy all day.  He never leaves me in wonder about what’s going on because he narrates everything.  “Wesley eating.”  “Wesley cooking pancakes.”  “Wesley working on projects.”  “Aiden barking.”  “Corn!”  “Onion.”  “Cindy home.”  “Da-da home.”  Nothing (and I do mean nothing) happens without Wes stating exactly what’s happening.  I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but I think I’m going to miss the constant chatter.

Although maybe we should see how I feel in a month.

Twirling

Sometimes I wish we had a dining room table already.  But then sometimes I wonder if we had one, where would Sean and Wes twirl?

Hope your weekend is full of delight.

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Sunday was National Ice Cream Day, did you know?  I love a random National Something Day.  I’m trying to remember to mark these random National Something Days on my calendar so we can celebrate them each year now that Wes is here.  (We didn’t celebrate this year but I know we will eventually celebrate National Hotdog Day on June 14th and we’ll also figure out how to make Read Across America Day on March 2nd fun in our house.)

So in honor of National Ice Cream Day on Sunday, Wes and I made some!  We made this recipe for Honey Peach Ice Cream from Yummy Toddler Food.

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I’m sure you have all kinds of thoughts about the fact that he’s naked and the burner’s on.  That’s okay.  We talked about this a lot and no one was burned.

Wes and I have baked together three times (I’m deciding ice cream making counts as baking here).  It is a real lesson in patience.  What I thought was going to be a lesson in patience for him, turned out to be very much a lesson in patience for me.  Sean made him a tower for helping in the kitchen, and Wes really enjoys seeing what’s happening and helping with the mixing and the dumping and the button pushing.

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Button pushing is definitely the best part.  I have learned in our short time baking together that things involving the food processor are a much, much better experience for us than things involving just a bowl and spoon.  Because Wes wants to do it and everything goes everywhere when there’s a bowl and a spoon.

We cooked our peaches before nap time and churned our ice cream after.

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Sneaking a taste!

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Then it was barely ready in time for an after dinner treat, but we had some anyway.  This is not the ice cream of your life.  Even with the extra honey, this is nowhere near sweet enough for me, and I wish I got more peach flavor.  Also, because I worked with a toddler I went too slow and our final result is too icy/crumbly.  But it doesn’t matter because Wes likes eating and he really liked helping.  And while it is stressful, I really like doing things like this with him.

Now go mark your calendars so you’re ready next year!

Frying Pan Farm Park

IMG_5896IMG_5916IMG_5917IMG_5929Earlier this week, Wes and I took a trip to Frying Pan Farm Park with our friends Christy and Ian.  They had been before and recommended it so highly that they wanted to see it again.  As you would imagine, when you’re just starting to learn animals and animal sounds as well as “Old MacDonald,” going to the real live version of that is pretty fantastic.

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Sean was in Boston so we recapped the day over FaceTime.  Sean asked him about his day and Wes told him, “baa, baa sheep” and then made his version of a pig sound followed by “shhhh.”  Now, yes, we are his parents and are giving a lot of credit here (because unless you’re spending time with Wes his pig sound sounds nothing like “oink”), but see how the pigs are sleeping?  He was explaining to Sean that we saw sleeping pigs.  It’s so fun to see Wes start to connect the dots about things like this and to start to figure out sentences/storytelling/recapping.  All of this is pretty new for Wes.  Or, he’s been doing it for a little while and I’m just figuring out what he’s been doing.  That’s very possible.  Sean and I are really enjoying these early stages of asking Wes questions about what has happened to him or what will happen to him and kinda sorta getting answers.

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I think they’re starting to look more and more different, but we have been asked if they’re related.

IMG_571520160711_101343 (1)IMG_5735IMG_5738 (1)Christy and I imagined the boys would love going on a carousel ride.  They didn’t hate it, but neither wanted to sit on a horse for the ride.  I thought that was so funny.  Maybe it’s the age.

We had intended to stay a little longer and I’m not sure if it was the hot weather or the carousel ride, but they both started to melt down.  Christy and I looked at it each and said, “time to go!”  So we did.  Which was perfect because it doesn’t always work out quite so perfectly that everyone is on the same page about leaving.  Despite knowing when to leave, we had a great time!  We’ll see you again, baa, baa sheep!

Water Playdates

Summer wouldn’t be summer without playdates with Angie and her boys.  I’ll spare you another love letter to Angie (but you can read it here as well as compare the pictures I’ll share in this post to the pictures of these boys from last year, which is kind of fun.)   We’ve had two playdates this summer and both have involved water.  Wes is such a water bug.

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We went to a splash pad near Angie’s house first.  This was our first splash pad experience.  Wes was so happy!

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They’re so delighted with each other!  Angie and I were so delighted with their delight!  Reed missed the first one, but he joined us for the second.  A sprayground near our house.  It was fantastic and I can’t wait to go back again!

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Wes was having the best day of his life at this place.  One of the things I like about Wes is his independence at playgrounds (or spraygrounds in this case).  Depending on his mood, he can be a bit clingy at home.  He can be super clingy when we’re attending a class or other organized event.  But when we’re at playgrounds or something that is not organized and inside he’s like, “catch ya later, mom.  Thanks for bringing me here.”  He’ll maybe try to find me to confirm if I saw something really funny that happened to him, but otherwise he’s off.

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One of Reed and Wes’s many hand holdings.  And let’s all take in together the fact that my 20 month old is the same size as Angie’s 2.5 year old.  It’s so crazy.  (And crazier still to see the difference a year makes if you go back to that post from last summer.)

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Angie and I want to know, how do people get perfect pictures of their children?  It seems impossible!  Although Angie’s boys are doing a pretty good job here.

We’re so glad we have a whole summer with you, Angie, Reed & Robbie!