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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ct baby shower

baby P is currently 4.4 lb. which puts her in the 36th percentile – a little smaller than average but she’s healthy. My 32-week check-up was two days ago and I was told to come back today for an ultrasound because she seemed small. That was two long days filled with unease for me… thrilled and relieved about the good news.

All her other measurements such as her torso and leg were above average though so maybe she has a calling to be a model..? ha~

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it was tough getting a good picture of her because she kept moving and the placenta was just above her head

it has been a month since my last post. every day i thought of posting an update but i couldn’t bring myself to do it because of exhaustion from carrying a growing baby around on top of being on my feet all day with kindergarteners. all i ever want to do is just curl up on the couch, snack, and zone out while watching tv. it’s.so.hard to get myself out of bed in the morning especially since it’s dark when i wake up now due to daylight savings.

report card conferences are also next week so i’ve been scrambling to get work done and be prepared for that. just one thing after another… ok, enough ranting… i really wanted to share the lovely details from my ct baby shower that was held at my house on march 7th.

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i hadn’t pampered myself since… well, since my pre-pregnancy days. i wanted to feel good and look nice for photos so i got eyelash extensions and airbrush makeup for the shower. ladies, remember to treat yourself once in a while…

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group photo 🙂 missing is my friend, lauren, who had to leave early to check out a wedding venue

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it’s a tradition to do a “funny face photo” when i participate in group photos

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super cute easel that dennis purchased from ikea – only $15! the other side is a dry-erase board

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genie, liz, me, and mouy

this adorable shower would not have been possible without much assistance from my dear friends. btw, genie (on left) is 38 weeks along and mouy (on right) is 21 weeks 🙂

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dennis and me

and, of course… my amazing husband was so hands-on with the details and delegating tasks. he had food catered from black eyed sally’s in hartford which was mouthwateringly delicious – i am pretty certain everyone went back for second and third helpings. he also organized the rentals and purchased necessities like sparkling juice, wine, and tablecloths being a few.

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the set-up

i purchased scrapbooking paper from michaels and used those as placemats – a great idea that i got from pinterest.

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this cake might have been the star of the show. mouy’s friend bakes on the side and she whipped up this gorgeous cake. not only did it look wonderful, but it tasted fantastic as well. i saved the adorable fondant shoes.. they were too cute to eat.

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genie baked the cupcakes among other treats. the pink buttercream frosting is homemade and tasted like it came from a high-end cupcake shop. i thought peeps would be a cute touch.

all the little details were made by genie including the pink paper flower next to the cupcake stand and the paper fans next to the cake.

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phenomenal cake pops made by the cake baker as well… everything was perfect

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it’s all in the details. the first three onesies (l to r) are from my sister and the elephant dress is from liz – a souvenir from her trip to thailand.

i found these cute blocks on etsy (what don’t they have?) and had it custom made for my baby girl. the ones that say ’31 weeks’ will last a long time because wording can change from weeks, days, months, and years. they’ll be used in back-to-school and birthday photos for years to come.

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a fun activity for guests to partake in is the headband-making station. headband kits can be purchased online. make sure you provide directions and glue guns for guests. tags are also helpful so parents know the size of the headband and who made it. there were materials left over and i also purchased another kit for my boston shower this weekend.

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another great activity for guests to do is guess which date your baby will be born ~ my friend, liz, made the calendar and i’m also going to use the same one at my boston shower but guests will use a pink inkpad.

IMG_8481if you want, you can also award a prize to the person with the closest date. of course, you need to follow up on that and send it out after your baby is born 😉

IMG_8555last, but not least, custom made wish cards for penelope. after the guests leave and everything is cleaned up, it’s heartwarming to read these while relaxing on the couch which is exactly what i did. they’re wonderful keepsakes that i will put in a scrapbook and i can’t wait for penelope to be able to read them.

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always nice to see different groups of friends mingling and having a great time 🙂

IMG_8497my friend’s daughter, charlotte, enjoyed playing with gift wrap and tissue paper.

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a lamb rocker from pottery barn kids. you can choose to personalize these but i want penny’s future siblings to use them too

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with my mother-in-law and husband

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expecting ladies! from l to r: 21 weeks, 22 weeks, 33 weeks, and 38 weeks.

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this gorgeous two-tone dress is from asos’ maternity line. i purchased it online without trying it on but it fit like a glove.. the sleeves are a little long and loose but i love the dress! the thick material kept me warm as well. i love the two-tone look because it gives the illusion of a slimmer silhouette. at first glance, i thought it was see-through on the sides.

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can’t get enough of the cake ❤

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i had such a lovely time.. thanks to my husband and friends for organizing it, and i am very grateful for everyone that attended or sent gifts our way even though they couldn’t make it. looking forward to the boston shower this saturday!