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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summertime shenanigans

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last saturday, dennis and i attended a wedding in norwalk, ct. he was able to get the day off so we could go, but he still had to work the next day… which was really unfortunate since it was a 1.5 hour drive each way. we left the party around 10:30 and came home at midnight.

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yikes, the selfie image came out way too pixelated

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close buds – dennis and andy (not the groom)

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we had a lovely time celebrating victoria and andrew. as many of you may know, i love to take pictures. the only reason why i don’t have many photos from the wedding (particularly of the married couple) is because there was no ceremony. the mr. and mrs. decided to do a civil ceremony and then celebrate with their family in england where the bride’s family resides. the party on saturday was just a reception for family and friends.

instead of a standard photo booth, theirs printed out 4×6 images which was unique! we glued some onto the guest book and kept the copies. there were even clear sleeves to protect the photos. in addition, there was a cigar bar. dennis and i had considered this for our wedding too but we ended up nixing it because the costs kept mounting for our big day…

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recently, i found out that the park near us has a baby-friendly playground and a splash pad. sure, we live next to an elementary school with two playgrounds that we visit on a daily basis but it’s awesome to have another one to go to.. and with, again, a splash pad for a girl who adores water!

i befriended another mommy that goes to story hour at jack & allie’s. it turns out she lives about a 3-minute drive from us! she has a 17-month-old son who is absolutely adorable. we met up once at the park and we are looking to go tomorrow as well.

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after we figured out this was a splash pad, i began taking penny here!

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as you can see, penny’s been standing on her own more and more. she still needs assistance to stand on her own and often uses nearby objects as well. once she does that, i’m guessing she’ll start taking some steps.. so, we wait.

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playdate at olivia’s

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they love water crackers

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she tried hot dogs for the first time!

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homemade sweet potato fries

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july 17th was national ice cream day so penny and i went to carvel for bogo soft serve!

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um, yes.. i’m playing pokemon go

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this picture is from today. look how tan penny’s feet are! 

it’s going to be busy the next few days! our town’s summer carnival kicked off tonight but we are stopping by tomorrow evening after dinner to check out the rides. we are hoping to take penny on the ferris wheel, carousel, and some other baby-friendly rides. also, we are going up to boston from friday-sunday. we are supposed to have a heat wave starting tomorrow so i assume it’ll feel suffocatingly hot in the city with all the buildings blocking the wind. we plan on going to boston common to go on the swan boat and bring penny to the splash pad at frog pond!

hopefully things work out.. penny skipped her afternoon nap today after having taken two naps since the june 29th incident. she has been taking a long time to fall asleep for her afternoon one though. lately she’s falling asleep around 3pm or even later.. and it’s taking her a half hour-hour to fall asleep! today, she finally just skipped it entirely and i got her at 3:30. i’m contemplating pushing her morning nap to 11am tomorrow to see how she does with one nap. the goal is to be at 12:30/1pm for the one-nap schedule.. i’m actually really nervous to start trying this before our boston trip. i guess i’ll just see how she does tonight and tomorrow morning!

penelope, where art thou?

d+5 – penelope was due may 8th, and here we are five days later still waiting for her arrival. in all honesty, i had a feeling she wouldn’t arrive before the 12th. why the 12th? i had been keeping track of my cycle using an app called ‘pink pad’ since may 2014 and discovered that i have a longer cycle than the average woman. when doctors guess the baby’s due date, it really is just guessing since it’s quite difficult to know when exactly a woman conceived. knowing that i have a longer cycle, i also knew that i ovulated later so i calculated that my due date is actually may 12th. well, today is the 13th and she’s late anyway but that’s fairly typical of first babies.

i know she’ll come out when she’s ready but it’s been difficult sleeping at night these past several days wondering if she’ll finally make her grand debut. in the meantime, i have been relishing my time alone with dennis, and yuri. pretty soon, yuri won’t be an only “child” so the three of us have been busying ourselves with activities. staying active is a great way to not only get your mind off the baby but to also keep your body in shape for labor and delivery.

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yesterday, dennis and i went to the gym. i walked on the treadmill for half an hour at varying degrees of incline and speed. when i’m home, i also walk yuri often and use a step tracker via iphone to encourage physical activity. after the treadmill, i used light weights to tone my arms. i’m very much looking forward to getting back in shape for the summer and i have slowly been buying new pieces to add to my wardrobe as motivation.

i’m also looking forward to pairing my outfits with these lovely flats i received for my first mother’s day gift:

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these white tory burch flats are perfect for summer, and the perforated material allows circulation as well. i recently purchased white espadrille wedges and white chuck taylors as well.. going through a shoe binge right now.

after the gym, we took yuri for a walk at the rails to trails hiking trail in our town. she enjoyed being off-leash and exploring the grounds.

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another recent outing was to bigelow state park. until today, the weather had been hot and in the upper 70s to 80s so we took great advantage of that. unfortunately, the pollen has been unforgiving to dennis (i have only suffered having itchy eyes now and then) but he’s been a trouper.

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if you have the opportunity to start maternity leave before the baby’s due date, take advantage of quality time that you have with your significant other because once the baby arrives, everything will be about the baby. of course as the baby gets older and a schedule is somewhat established (or the semblance of one), it’ll be easier to make dates with friends and have date nights but the first few weeks will be about adjusting to a new lifestyle.

one suggestion is to pamper yourself with a manicure & pedicure. i’m not one of those girls that gets a manicure every week; in fact, i’m fairly certain i haven’t had one all winter. and it was a l-o-n-g winter. ladies, you’ll probably be in the delivery room for a while and i, for one, don’t want to be embarrassed of my calloused and rough feet that had been in hibernation mode (although dignity flies out the window once you’re in a hospital gown, screaming and sweating) all winter. just a simple mani/pedi helped preoccupy my mind and made me feel better about myself – your body goes through so many changes and it’s easy to feel unattractive and undesirable.

disappointingly enough, i wasn’t satisfied with the mani/pedi service i received at korean-owned nail salon in downtown west hartford. the massage and exfoliation was great (to the point that i was being lulled to sleep) but the workmanship was shoddy. last night, i repainted my nails using two colors that my sister gifted me: good as gold & eternal optimism. blush & gold, a trendy combo at the moment and also part of penelope’s nursery scheme.

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even though i’m very anxious for penelope to be here i am still grateful that i can have the energy and time to do ordinary tasks like updating my blog and watching tv without worrying about a baby quite yet.