just to get by, just to get by…

the title of this post is from a talib kweli song, fyi.

anyway, today was a “snow day.” forecasters had predicted up to 10 inches of snow and most schools closed, but all we received was a few inches of snow; the road is still visible. it was just disappointing because one of our favorite playgroups was canceled so i had to come up with ideas to keep penny entertained at home this morning.

since we hadn’t done any art projects at home lately, i quickly cut up striped tissue paper while penny practiced cutting on a different sheet. then, i gathered other art materials such as a canvas, glue, and a pencil. i drew a heart on the canvas using a pencil and penny squeezed glue on it. i helped her spread the glue out since she likes to squeeze out one giant glob.

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we spent the majority of our morning in the playroom which we hadn’t done in quite some time since penny and i partake in a morning activity every weekday. i always get nervous when i have to be with two kids on my own but it usually ends up being okay – unless penny’s sick or has one of her meltdowns.

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in my last post, i wrote about how penny had started going to the potty on her own. well, she’s still doing it! she will announce she has to go, walk into the bathroom on her own, pull down her pants and underwear and sit down. i was about to put away the small pottys because she had been sitting on the toilet but now i’ll leave them out to encourage her to go by herself.

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we have 4 bathrooms: 2 full and 2 half. she rarely uses the toilet in the master bedroom. in the playroom, we have a toilet seat on top of the toilet and in the upstairs bathroom we just place her on the toilet. she has a potty in her bedroom that she barely uses anymore so we might just put that away until it’s time to potty-train ezra. sometimes i’m still in awe that she’s potty trained. it’s such a huge milestone for toddlers – and definitely not an easy one – but i am so proud of penny. i’m hoping for penny to go to preschool once she turns 3 and having her go to the bathroom on her own is a huge step.

all right, it’s time for both kids to be up so i’ll have to get going. i’m just glad i was able to find time to squeeze in a post so soon after my previous one! i recently started working out again to get ready for my cancun trip so i hope to touch upon that in my next post.

dennis built a fort for the kids last weekend and they loved it. look at ezra’s expressions!

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the every-cheerful ezra. his third tooth broke through last week!

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his favorite song is “곰 새마리” (three bears)

i had wanted a picture of both girls because they wore the same shirt, but, of course, penny wanted no part in it.

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long winter days and nights

i believe in process. i believe in four seasons. i believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming. i believe that there’s a growing season. and i think that you realize that in life, you grow. you get better.

~ steve southerland

this quote is so on point. winter can be dreary, depressing, and drags on for what seems like an eternity in new england. and as much as i complain about the cold and being trapped indoors, i do like the snow. it’s so pure, bright, and pretty. i also like how it creates a soft blanket over everything. still, cold weather does not equal snow unfortunately because snow, to me, justifies the frigid temperatures.

 

i used to think winter made me appreciate my favorite season, summer, more but as i grow older, i’m not quite certain about that. i get cold easily even in the summer time so staying warm during winter has its challenges. lately, we’ve had extremely frosty temperatures with wind chills in the negatives. it literally hurt to be outdoors, just to get out of the car and run inside a store. now we are back to “normal” new england winter temperatures although friday was a balmy 60 degrees.

 

saturday, january 13: we beat cabin fever by going to the mall to ride the carousel. this was ezra’s first time riding an animal. the other times, he sat in the seat with grandma.

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friday, january 12. penny enjoyed splashing through the puddles in her hunter boots after a playgroup at a local school. she’s eating goldfish crackers from a cup.

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the warm weather + rain melted most of the snow away on friday

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there actually is a thing called the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder. i feel like i’m much happier during spring and summer when there is more sunlight and warmth. i’m also probably more cheerful during these seasons because we aren’t confined indoors resigned to do the same activities over and over. who knows? maybe if i lived in sunny california, i’d be happy year-round… but nothing is ever perfect. california lately has been besieged with natural disasters such as wildfires and mudslides, so there’s no escaping the force of mother nature.

white christmas! these photos are long overdue!

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this photo was featured on the ig page: moms with cameras

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eating snow!

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it’s been rough over here in the so household for the past couple weeks. the kids had been sick which is no fun for anyone. penny’s congestion finally fully cleared up on wednesday but ezra still has a rattling sound when he breathes. he’s also teething so he’s been incessantly drooling. (his third tooth erupted yesterday.)

our daily struggles mostly concern miss p: being nice and sharing toys with ezra, using words to communicate instead of crying and whining, and eating. p lost nearly a pound while she was sick because of her refusal to eat most foods. now the weight difference between p and ezra are 1.6 lb. i weighed ezra the other day and he was 24.2 lb! i believe some of p’s emotional outbursts are because she’s hangry, but who really knows?! mealtimes have been a battle these days but now that she’s feeling a lot better she’s starting to eat more again.

on a positive note, a big milestone occurred today: penny used the potty on her own for the first time! while i was cooking dinner, penny announced she had to go potty and walked to the bathroom. my in-laws were over for dinner and we all thought penny was just pretending, but when my fil went over to check she had pulled down her pants and had already peed on the potty! when i walked over to see for myself, she had already finished wiping! i’m so proud of this girl!

it’s day 14 of the new year and so much has happened already. ezra is 9 months old; i went to a preschool fair to start preparing penny for preschool; i’m planning ezra’s first birthday (and penny’s 3rd birthday, already!); and preparing for our cancun trip in march! oh, and i also started a book club! that, i will go into detail in my next post. i want to finish this post so i can start reading tonight.

stay warm, friends.

 

welcome, 2018

and just like that, another year has gone by.

in previous years, like millions of other people, my new year’s resolution used to be to lose weight. although i would love to get my post-pregnancy bod back into shape i really want to focus on my emotional and mental state as well as my overall happiness and well-being.

my close mom friends know what i’m talking about because i’ve discussed this with them on many occasions, and they certainly can relate to the emotional and mental toll motherhood can take on you. some of you may wonder what could possibly have such an effect on me when i am blessed to stay home with healthy children who sleep well. that is certainly what my mom and sister wondered aloud when i had a breakdown at my mom’s house a few months ago.

no matter how well your children sleep, you’re always going to be tired. that’s being a parent. i think the chronic tiredness just becomes a part of you until your child moves out. i know i’m always tired because i choose to stay up late. every night i tell myself i’ll go to bed earlier, but i rarely do. if i happened to fall asleep at an earlier time it’s because i fell asleep on the couch while reading a book, trying in vain to update my blog, or while watching netflix. if i don’t stay up, i won’t get the chance to indulge in adult activities such as reading uninterrupted or even just getting to linger over a meal. these are all things i took for granted before i became a mom, and it’s the simple things i yearn for the most.

i’m going to try to put myself first sometimes. or even better, put dennis and myself first over the children.. for certain things. as parents, we sacrifice so much for our children but having a decent meal, for one, shouldn’t be one of them. sometimes i’m too tired to cook because of all the time i spent catering to penny’s ever-changing palate, but take-out isn’t usually healthy nor financially savvy.

i also used to love reading books and was reading a new book every week/every two weeks for a while until i hit a rut again. i got caught up in all of the things i had, and wanted, to do during my downtime like attempting to update my blog! i’ve had to renew two books three times already because i was having difficulty finding time to read. one of the books is the handmaid’s tale and i’m still only a quarter of the way through even though i just renewed it again.

i had also recently gotten a haircut, something i hadn’t done in 14 months(!) and had also recently wrote about. jjust having that done made me feel really good about myself. now i just need to get a massage soon as well as a mani/pedi 🙂

what i really aim to do is just be more h a p p y. this is tricky because you can’t exactly will yourself to be happy, you just have to be. by happiness, i mean… to relax a little, let things go, revel in whatever it is you’re going through, and enjoy life. nowadays with social media, it’s hard to actually enjoy the now because we’re so busy trying to document it for… later. i’m totally guilty of this as well. sometimes i have to restrain myself from whipping out my phone to take yet another picture to add to my library of 15,000 images.

i also have a bad(?) habit of building great expectations… for events, but mostly for people. i can hold a grudge like my life depended on it.. so i want to be more, not really forgiving, but more… understanding, and empathetic. often times i fret over certain friendships and wonder if the effort is really worth it. i feel like i’m usually the one reaching out to certain people, even just to ask how their day was and i just want to stop. i’m tired of wondering how they are. i’m just tired! i want to try to focus on the few great friendships i have instead of trying to cultivate a bunch just to feel like i’m part of a certain group. basically, this calls for me to be more loving to myself.. to be comfortable in my own skin and not feel like i need the validity of others – friends or family.

even with all of these revelations, 2017 was a wonderful year with the most memorable moment being the birth of ezra, our darling boy. it was also a challenging year as our family adjusted to a new family member and also having to endure the newborn demands once again.

it was a huge year for miss penny. not only did she lose her only-child status, but she also got potty trained in a week and a half; night-trained in a week; and begrudgingly gave up her nap/bedtime pacifier all within several weeks of each other. i blamed most of penny’s sudden mood changes and behavioral issues on the “terrible twos” but penny experienced many developmental growths and achieved big milestones (no diapers!)

i definitely can be too hard on penny sometimes. i’m just an impatient person to begin with, and i have a short fuse. maybe it’s because i get easily flustered and frustrated but i find it so difficult to understand, and empathize, with a two-year-old. i feel like a terrible mom most of the time because i get unnecessarily angry and annoyed at her behavior. it’s not like she’s an awful child; she has typical toddler behavior: jealousy over the baby and hangry meltdowns, to name a couple. my reactions sometimes make me wonder how i ever even enjoyed being a teacher until i remember i had specifically chosen elementary over early childhood for the reasons above. (and my experience at home is also why i don’t want to go back to teaching.)

every day i pray for more love, more patience, and more understanding. i want to love myself more so i can teach penny and ezra to love themselves more, too.

2018 – bring. it. on.

[ these are some pictures i took from new year’s weekend in massachusetts. ]

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dessert crepes for dinner at burlington mall

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double duty: cleaning the floor and entertaining little brother

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a “typical” lunch made by my mom

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we forgot yuri’s booties so we used ezra’s socks

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it was stiflingly hot in grandma’s room

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grandpa lee and ezra passing the ball back and forth

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grandpa lee playing the fishing game, one of penny’s favorite christmas gifts

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ezra has been pushing himself forward for a couple of weeks now. he still can’t crawl; he has trouble lifting up his belly so far. he is over 23 lb so maybe weight is one of the reasons! he seems pretty content on moving around this way or just wanting to stand even though he can’t do that on his own.

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ezra on the move!

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back into it

i’ve been mia from the blogosphere and it makes me sad that i didn’t chronicle the entire month of september. not a day went by without me thinking about finally writing another entry, but i kept putting it off for “tomorrow.” so much has happened since then.. umm, mostly just life.. with two kids. but seriously, at the end of the day, i just wanted to sit on the couch with munchies and watch tv.

we started shameless recently.  i can’t believe it’s been around for seven years (eighth season starting soon) and i am just getting into it now. (we are on season 2.) it’s rather addictive. i also began and finished atypical, a netflix series about a teenage boy on the autism spectrum trying to find a girlfriend. dennis couldn’t get into it, but i really enjoyed it. this is us also returned a few weeks ago so i’m watching that on tuesday nights along with fresh off the boat. two big shows are returning this month: the walking dead and stranger things. more reasons to veg out on the couch after a long day.

i also started reading for pleasure, again. i purchased john green’s new book, turtles all the way down. i’m taking my time reading it though because now i’m busy trying to catch up on my blogging (among other things) at night! ellington library is having a book sale this weekend so i brought penny with me this morning. they didn’t have a good selection of children’s books for sale so i only bought two. i was also getting carried away with the adult books until i realized i can just borrow them from the library. the grand total for two adult books and two children’s books was $1.00!

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a big reason i was also not blogging was because i was working on two scrapbooks: one for my mil and one for my good friend, genie. i decided to make each of them a scrapbook as a birthday gift, and even though i knew these would be time-consuming projecst i still didn’t give myself enough time to work on them. for genie, i showed the mostly-finished scrapbook to her at her surprise birthday dinner and took it back to finish. for weeks, i stayed up until nearly 2am, on some nights, to work on them! it was insane.. and i would have to wake up early to take care of the kids. i’m feeling so much better now that i am a little more well-rested. (i still have a bad habit of staying up late.)

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a good change i’ve been making in my life is starting to work out again. i was browsing my town’s park & rec catalog for classes i would possibly be interested in taking this fall. i came across pound, a group workout that uses weighted drumsticks, and was intrigued. after bringing up the class to the mom’s group that i am a part of, three other moms joined me in going to the group workout! i actually had a lot of fun, but it was hard because i am incredibly out of shape! i could barely do lunges let alone try drumming the floor at the same time. another class that i’d always been interested in trying is zumba. i had a blast! i liked all of the song choices that the instructor incorporated into the routine particularly the unexpected ones like “rollin’ down the river.”

dennis and i do have memberships at a gym that offers zumba, but none of the times work for me. the one i go to is on mondays & wednesdays at 7pm. this works out perfectly for me because i can help with the bath portion of the kids’ bedtime routine before leaving at 6:45pm. dennis usually comes home around 7, or a little after, on mondays-wednesdays so the time couldn’t have been any better, really.

like i mentioned before, so much has happened in these past six weeks (!) that i haven’t blogged. i’m quite overwhelmed at all of the catch-up posts that i have to do.. not to mention uploading all of photos i want to share. (and sadly, i still haven’t done my dad’s birthday from june!)

here’s a quick update before i go:

ezra

  • 6 months old! i cannot believe he will be a year old in… six months!
  • he is rolling onto his tummy now but have only just started seeing it in person! he keeps doing this in his crib, mostly.
  • he’s also pivoting in all directions and trying to crawl
  • eating solids: loves sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, pears, and butternut squash; hates peas!
  • 2 teeth finally broke through but they have to make any progress beyond the tiny dots
  • still happiest during bath time, in the jumperoo, and taking walks
  • loves to watch his sister and dog
  • 9-month clothes are getting snug and short on him… we need to move on to 12-month clothes
  • “talking” a lot more and yelling out
  • bangs his toys around
  • loves looking at the ceiling fan and penny’s chandelier (as she did when she was an infant!)

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penny

  • vocabulary (english & korean) rapidly growing every day
  • speaking, up to, 6+ word sentences
  • counting ability and number recognition is on par with a 4-5 year old according to connecticut standards
  • identifies and says all 26 uppercase letters
  • memorizes oft-read books
  • can sing 8+ songs on her own including the abc song; twinkle, twinkle, little star; i’m a little teapot; and korean songs
  • talented at drawing!
  • still loves mickey and minnie mouse
  • sudden interest in her donald duck doll (dolls altogether) and taking care of him
  • loves to sort objects and line them up/put them in order
  • plays more with her kitchen than she ever has before
  • still gets jealous of her brother; controls what toys he plays with
  • fully day-trained for the potty and has been diaper-free at night for almost a month now
  • has been pacifier-free for nap/bedtime for about 3 weeks now. still asks for it now and then, and can get whiny, but she’s slowly getting better
  • transitioned to a toddler bed due to nighttime potty training. she’s doing great and loves her bed!
  • used scissors a few weeks ago for the first time
  • overall, a great eater. loves korean food especially different kinds of soups and fish; vegetables like onions, broccoli, and spinach; fruit such as golden kiwi, grapes, and clementines. hasn’t liked pasta and cheese for as long as i can remember (which kills me because pasta is my favorite)
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penny wearing her new vest from zara

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cute activity at a playgroup

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for some reason, penny is really possessive of this toy (even though it’s ezra’s). i have to let him play with it when penny isn’t around otherwise she throws a fit.

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80-degree temps in october!

 

summer daze

although fall doesn’t officially begin until september 22nd, it feels like summer is slowly coming to an end with the start of the school year around the corner. i certainly am relishing the long days and soaking up the last rays of the summer sun. as much as i like snow, i dread being stuck indoors and the sun setting at 4pm. i spent this summer planning activities and trying to coordinate them with my kids’ schedules. we didn’t travel anywhere exotic – even with the kids sleeping well, i wouldn’t quite consider traveling far with a toddler and an infant a “vacation” – nor do anything out of the ordinary, but we shared many laughs and created lasting memories.

one place that i’ve been dying to bring penny to is the dinosaur place in oakdale, ct. it is a 60-acre outdoor adventure park that includes new england’s largest splash pad, a jurassic-themed moon bounce, a maze, and a huge playground. there is also a 1.5 mile trail complete with 40 life-sized dinosaurs! the main reason we waited so long to bring her is the distance: it is nearly an hour away. since the dinosaur place opens at 10am, we would not be able to go in the morning and have enough time for penny to eat lunch, drive back, and take a nap. naturally, we planned for the afternoon. we pushed penny’s nap up so she would wake up earlier in the afternoon. (she still woke up around 2:30pm.)

there is so much to do, and you can easily spend the entire day there in order to properly experience everything. this is why admission is so expensive. i was surprised to learn admission for 2 and up is $24 during the peak season! there is no “kid’s price”: they pay the same as adults! for that reason alone, i really wouldn’t bring children unless they’re older.. maybe, at least 5 years old, to make the price worthwhile.

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we took a family photo before we explored the park

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penny enjoyed the splash pad the most!

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dad is regretting not bringing a change of clothes although he did wear swim trunks

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ezra did not like the jet spray of cold water

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can’t expect a toddler to look at the camera in the midst of water play

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this thing was awesome – half the time, kids were waiting for the huge bucket of water to fill up so it could tip over and come down the slide

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splash!

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waiting…

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walking the dinosaur trail

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dinosaur vertebrae

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ezra always has something in his mouth these days

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dinosaur maze

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our annual stop at dave’s place in oakdale, ct… it’s so good and always busy!

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my go-to: fried clam strips

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new england clam chowder and a cheeseburger

the day before, on saturday, august 12th, my mil and i took the kids to the tolland 4-h fair that was held across the street from where we live. we had taken penny there before when she was an infant but going on saturday made me realize just how small it is. i believe it was $3 for a walk-in fee.. not each person so that was fine.

there were a few vendors and food stands but the only thing that was of interest were the animals.  we looked at the llamas, cows, sheep, goats, chickens & roosters, and the rabbits (although the latter were closed off so we had to view from a distance). penny also liked looking at the row of tractors, old and new. she wanted to go on them but we told her they were only for looking.

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i don’t want to knock a fair, but it was just okay. i wouldn’t go back though, honestly. it was just something to do and all we had to do was walk over from our neighborhood.

dennis and i are really looking forward to taking the kids to farm day at the fish family farm in bolton. it’s on sept 2nd this year and it’s from 9am-5pm. we took penny last year but since she was so small she couldn’t participate in the children’s activities like the obstacle course. she did enjoy eating ice cream though (and it’s all-you-can-eat!) my friend, karen, and i found out from a vendor that there is a spin art station so i’ll be sure to look for that. hopefully this year we can make a tie-dye shirt too because we didn’t get a chance to last year.

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always smiling

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blooms & custard

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did you know there are farms that allow you to pick your own flowers? i sure didn’t. i’m constantly looking for new and fun activities to do with penny and i found out about a flower picking farm in south windsor, ct from a mom’s group in my town. recently, i joined a mom’s group; i discovered this group through our town library and, not long ago, i saw the group on my instagram newsfeed. for an annual fee of $25/year, moms and their children participate in weekly activities, organized and spontaneous playgroups, monthly moms’ night out, and participate in board meetings.

it’s always great to meet other moms and provide our children more opportunities to socialize with other kids. the first activity i attended via the mom’s group was a music & dance playgroup at a local nursing & rehabilitation center. the children participate in organized activities during the hour-long playgroup and can interact with the residents if they choose. penny was shy at first because of all the people but she loosened up when she saw that the children were playing with big balloons. i thought that was a wonderful way to keep the kids preoccupied while waiting for the program to begin. some of the residents asked penny to hit the balloon to them so they could hit it back to her. it was really sweet to see how much joy the children brought to these people.

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this playgroup consisted of a sing-along, interactive reading, musical instruments, bubbles, parachute, and a snack. penny was engaged the entire time and was excited to move on to the next activity. although she really enjoyed everything, i could tell penny was particularly pleased with the cup of juice at snack time. we rarely let penny drink juice so it was a real treat for her especially since she was thirsty from all of the activity. overall, i was really pleased with the whole event and can’t wait to go back next week.

tuesday morning, the mom’s group went to petersen farm in south windsor to pick our own flowers. visitors can park right on the grass. the farm provides cutting tools, buckets, and water although it’s recommended you bring your own bucket to safely transport the flowers back home. flowers are $8/lb (which is an excellent deal) and i initially scoffed at the price thinking, “who gets a pound of flowers?” well, i ended up getting two. the flowers are all so gorgeous that you can’t help but want each one. i might have gotten a little scissor-happy.

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the only downside is that it was misting when we went so the grass was wet, soaking our sneakers. i had been thinking about purchasing rain boots for penny and now i have more of a reason to do that. fall is around the corner and they’ll be useful then, too.

we both enjoyed ourselves and i look forward to going back. fresh flowers certainly brighten up a room (and a mood!) and also smell divine.

tuesday was also “national custard day” so rita’s was having a .99 special for a kid’s size custard. i intended to meet some moms from the group around 3:30 but we didn’t end up arriving until after 4pm. i had to wake penny up from her nap because she was sleeping so much. ezra’s naps were off today because he’s been rolling over. since he was awake, we all went to rita’s.

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as for upcoming events and activities, there is a tolland 4-h fair this weekend so i’m thinking of bringing both kids to that.

new england air museum

if you haven’t yet visited the new england air museum, it’s definitely worth checking out. i’m constantly on the look-out for new places to bring penny and the neam has always been in the back of my mind. i first heard about it through my town library. many libraries offer discounts to museums and parks by requesting a pass in advance. admission for adults is normally $12.50 but with a library pass it was half off. kids 3 and under are free. i wasn’t sure how penny would like the museum even though she absolutely loves airplanes because, well, it’s a museum. however, i read so many rave reviews from people that had brought their toddlers and children so i decided to give it a shot.

the museum is located in windsor locks, ct so it was a half hour drive from our home. the hours are 10am-5pm every day but starting in september they will be closed on mondays. initially we had planned on going after penny’s nap but with possible t-storms and rush hour traffic, we decided to go right when it opened. it ended up working out because ezra woke up for the day a little before 8am so we kept him up and he snoozed a little on the way to the museum.

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we ended up arriving ten minutes early so we walked around the nearly empty parking lot and checked out the airplanes that were on display behind a fenced area. the museum is near bradley international airport so we were able to see a southwest airplane take off.

once inside, you are greeted with a display of model airplanes hanging on the ceiling. there is also a gift shop next to the ticket counter so we checked out the items while we waited for karen and parker. of course, we bought penny a few items: a southwest airplane set, a model airplane that moves and makes noises, a glider, and a museum magnet for myself.

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walking around and checking out the cool airplanes and helicopters is one thing, but several of them allow people to climb aboard and sit in the cockpit. this was definitely a hit with the kiddos. i even enjoyed sitting in the pilot seat and playing with the buttons.

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the museum has quite a collection of planes and copters and the exhibits are always changing. they are also in the midst of renovating some of the space. in addition, there’s a kidsport where you can learn how to make different kinds of paper airplanes, watch interactive videos on planes, and dress up in pilot gear.

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the fenced in area that we had seen from the parking lot is also accessible through one of the exhibit rooms. we did go outside to look at a few planes but it was so humid that we retreated back into the air-conditioned museum.

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even though ezra didn’t nap at all he was in great spirits, smiling and babbling away. he did get really cranky near the end so my mil took him out of the car seat to walk around with him. penny started getting a little tired and hangry as well but snacking on grapes helped her calm down near the end of the visit. we stayed for about an hour and 15 minutes. it was a wonderful way to spend the morning, and i’m really glad that the trip was a success.

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thunder has been rolling before i even started writing this blog post so a big storm seems imminent. both kids fell asleep for their nap at the same time so i have a bit of quiet time here which is why i’m updating my blog. if i don’t do it now, it’ll probably not get published for another week, at least.

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the next event we are looking forward to is going up to massachusetts this weekend to celebrate my sister’s birthday. i can’t believe it’s already august!