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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boston, you’re my home

we are at the tail end of a heat wave. the low-to-mid 90-degree weather has been occurring since last thursday and today should be the last day before thunderstorms supposedly arrive on friday. it’s not the heat that drives me insane as summer is my favorite season; it’s the humidity. penny’s constantly asking to go outside and yuri has to go out twice a day so we’re out there fairly often. it’s rough when the air feels like a brick wall on your chest and you just stepped outside..

lately, we’ve been forgoing the lunchtime walk because it’s unbearable and unsafe… but that means we have to pass the time doing something else. penny’s been on-the-go the past few months and she’s getting tired of all her toys. we don’t want to keep buying more toys that she will get bored with after a few weeks but there isn’t much to do to pass the time. she does like to use push toys and walkers but now she only uses it for a few minutes before moving onto something else. most recently, she’s been pushing the ikea high chair around the house.

ever since we brought penny to the bounce house and found that she loved playing with the push car, we bought her one from once upon a child, a baby consignment store. dennis purchased a fisher price elephant push car for $15 (retail price: $45)! he also chose a dump truck that makes noises, a crane, and a fisher price toy car. i’m glad he picked those toys out because i want penny’s toys to be well-rounded: cars and trucks aren’t just for boys! plus, she shows no interest in dolls just stuffed animals.

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trying out her push car for the first time at the lee grandparents’ house

my mil and i brought penny and yuri to henry park tuesday afternoon to play in the splash pad and playground. usually water & walking keep penny happy and yesterday was no exception. it’s funny though because we bought penny a water table — one that’s a best-seller on amazon — and she barely uses it. same with the plastic pool (and she has one at the grandparents’ house too). for penny to truly enjoy water play, she has to be in an actual swimming pool (not even in a float) or be under a sprinkler. this is why she loves the splash pad and she also enjoyed being in a wading pool this past weekend. hopefully she grows to like the water table as it was expensive…

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she absolutely loved being in the kiddie pool at henry park. there’s a separate pool for babies and young children (it’s about a 1.5 foot high) and penny kept wanting to be in the swimming position (on her belly) but it was difficult for us to bend over and keep her that way. she threw a fit when we stood her upright. we had to leave after ten minutes anyway because yuri was with us – no dogs allowed. so.. next time at least one of us will wear a swimsuit and we’ll leave yuri at home.

so, i started trying the one-nap method again on tuesday after penny skipped her afternoon nap on monday. she had woken up at 6:30am after sleeping for 12 hours. she made it to 11am for her nap without a meltdown BUT only slept for just over an hour like the last attempt.. ahh.. so, she had a long awake time before bed last night but she slept 6:50pm-6am. on wednesday, she went down for her nap at 11am – again, without a meltdown – so that’s a good sign that she’s ready for the one-nap transition. i just have to keep in mind that it’s a painful and slow process so i need to slowly push the nap without making miss p overtired. i’ve also been feeding her a snack/early small lunch before her 11am nap so her stomach is full since i hope for her to sleep until 1pm.

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this past weekend, we went to boston and brought penny to the museum of science. we purchased a membership which means we can get discounted or free admission to over 400 museums/science centers/zoos all over the world! the lutz children’s museum is one of them.. sadly (and surprisingly) the science museum in west hartford is not. it made sense to get a membership too since even going twice a year will make up for the $90 cost for two people.

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Penny’s favorite book at the moment is Goodnight, Moon so we had to take a picture of this!

my parents spent the entire saturday with us which was wonderful. we brought penny to a wading pool near my parents’ house which of course she enjoyed. she especially loved touching the water spray and having the water splash her in the face. that afternoon we all went to the museum of science. i was surprised to hear that my parents had never been before saturday and they have lived in massachusetts for over 30 years. it made me sad that they’ve been so busy with work, so i’m really pleased we were able to take my parents with us. my dad particularly had a great time – he enjoyed looking at all of the exhibits especially the animal ones and a huge stone with amethyst crystals inside.

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oh, you know, just a typical breakfast

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gotta love snapchat! mom aka sia

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unfortunately we didn’t see my brother or sister at all that weekend which was a major disappointment. sad to say,  i wasn’t that surprised. we also tried to meet up with a few cousins but they already had plans. i’m glad we were able to visit my grandma – she’s at a nursing home for the time being. we brought penny’s new push car with her and she was walking with it up and down the hallway, charming all of the residents and staff.

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precious

 

lastly, we were able to finally watch the movie spotlight with our friends, ben and alf (they’re brothers). ben, alf, and i, particularly ben and i, are cinephiles so we were waiting to watch spotlight (the 2016 best picture winner) together. we supplied dinner from my parents’ restaurant and the byun brothers brought doughnuts – yum! i love doing simple activities such as watching movies and playing board games – the latter which we also did with friends last week.

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our dear friend, alice, sent us 100 mini cupcakes and macarons!

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before i close up, i wanted to share that penny is becoming more brave at standing on her own. when she does it on her own (told hold/play with an object) or does it without realizing, she stands for a while. but it’s when we force it up on her that she puts up a fight. at henry park, my mil let go of penny and encouraged her to walk and she walked 3 steps! yesterday while i was cooking, she took about 5 steps for dennis and his parents. she took a few steps today too. that’s a great start! hoping she walks before her 15-month checkup, but we really hope she walks before our friends’ wedding in october since she’ll be a flower girl.

 

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!