Here We Go Again!

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Doing her best “So Big!”

I’m sure that when I was airing my grievances about parenting a toddler a couple of weeks ago, many of you thought, “this chick is so done with kids.”

Well, surprise, surprise!

We excited to announce that B’s (only!) baby brother or sister will arrive on or around February 22, 2016 (I finally have a chance at my Pisces baby!)

Before our trip to Ireland, we decided that we would start trying for another little one upon our return. Well, we got back from  on Memorial Day weekend and just a couple of weeks later (on Father’s Day, incidently), I was trying to control my squirming toddler while the cashier at CVS rang up my preganancy test and gave me sympathetic looks. An hour later, I was standing in the bathroom, staring at those two blue lines.

I was shocked.

Obviously, I know how babies are made. But, with B, it took exactly one year from the day we threw caution to the wind to the day that I found out that she was on her way. So, I was expecting to wait around for awhile this time, too.

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During the days that followed, I would get slightly teary when I would cuddle with B, mourning the fact that she would be my one and only for just a few short months more. As I would drift off to sleep, I would jolt myself awake with panicked thoughts about how we could rearrange B’s room to accommodate both a toddler bed and a crib. I couldn’t help but think that we maybe we had decided to quickly that becoming family of five was a good idea.

But, then, I had my first doctor’s appointment in the middle of July. I saw that tiny blob on the screen and, of course, I was in love.

This pregnancy has been a bit different than the first time around in other ways, too. I feel gigantic already, and I am thanking my lucky stars that I won’t be at my largest in the heat of the summer like I was last time around. I am exhausted of course, which is compounded by the fact that I spend most of my free time chasing a toddler around. I miss the days of my first pregnancy when I could take a three hour nap after work, without a tiny human pulling my hair and chanting “Up, up.” With B, I only had a couple of weeks where I had horrendous all day nausea, but this time around I have felt terrible from 5 p.m. onward every single day since week 6. I would much rather have the former–intense, but short-lived! I don’t really have any food cravings or aversions at the moment, but as soon as I finish one snack, I’m hungry for something else!

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I have heard many moms say that they were less worried, and sometimes forgot that they were pregnant. I don’t find this to be true in my case, because I’m just a chronic worrier. I find myself Googling the same things that I did the first time around (“chances of miscarriage at five/six/seven, etc. weeks” still turns up exactly the same search results as it did more than two years ago) plus some new ones (a frequent search is “toddler jumped on my stomach while I was pregnant”). But, remembering how much time I wasted on WebMD last time around, I let myself wander down the rabbit hole for ten minutes and then force myself to move on to something else. I would consider that progress.

B has chosen to deal with the situation by ignoring the fact that anything is happening. When I show her the ultrasound photos she just says “all done” and pushes them away. I point to my belly and tell her that her baby brother or sister is in there, and she toddles off to get one of her Little People babies, as if to say, “No thanks! I already have one!”

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I’m getting a what?

Yeah…we’ll keep working on it!

Life with a Toddler

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Definitely plotting something

I have mentioned before that the toddler stage has definitely not been my favorite. I didn’t realize it when in I was deep in the fog of new parenthood, but infants are so much easier. After awhile, you can get them to eat, sleep and poop on a schedule. You can strap them into their car seats and they will gladly fall asleep or stare off into space while you enjoy a meal. If they are fussy, you can usually calm them down by rocking them for a while or making a few funny faces.

Toddlers are a completely different breed. Their lack of impulse control, propensity to become overstimulated by circumstances that are completely mundane to grown-ups, limited communication and inability to listen to reason make them pretty much impossible. I’m pretty sure that the first toddler tantrum was what finally snapped me out of my new parenthood fog and brought back vivid memories of the good old days. Suddenly, I remembered exactly what my life was like before this screaming little terror took it over. Spoiler alert: it was awesome.

Also, if there are any soon-to-be parents out there, be forewarned that the term “terrible twos” is a misnomer. The demon behavior starts almost immediately after they turn one. Get your wine glasses ready now.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many days when B is completely adorable and we have the best time together. But some days, she is completely insane. I realize that it’s not her fault, for all the reasons I mentioned above…but some days she drives us completely insane as well.

Like someone who has had too much to drink, she is prone to frequent stumbling and violent outbursts that include throwing things. She laughs and cries at random, often inappropriate times. She will dance around with plastic containers on her head. She an fall dead asleep, anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

Like a senior citizen, B lacks any kind of filter. She has no problem telling me that I am fat, for example. Okay, so she hasn’t actually said this to me, but the way that she squeezes by belly and laughs certainly implies it. Like someone in the advanced stages of senility, she has hidden my cell phone in the oven of her play kitchen and I have found her toy keys in my refrigerator. I have to repeat everything I say at least fifty times because she never seems to hear me the first time around.

Like a puppy, she is prone to accidents and has ruined every nice thing that we own. She craves attention for showing off her tricks, all the time. On the plus side, she can now sometimes be bribed with snacks.

Although I can’t say that I have ever encountered a terrorist or a hostage-taker in person, I’m pretty sure that I have read enough books and seen enough movies to know that B is just like them, too. She is full of demands and she will resort to torture, such as biting, pinching and hitting when she isn’t obeyed. She has perfected the art of hanging onto legs and wrapping her  arms around necks to trap her victims.

Like a mental patient, she dances to music that only they can hear and talks to people that only they can see. I have seen her go from all-out mania to crippling depression in a matter of minutes. Her ability to listen to the same story, sing the same song and eat the same food over and over again could easily be mistaken for OCD.

Fortunately, nature knows what it’s doing, so it also equipped this little monster with the ability to look at me with wide eyes, pull me into a hug, and whisper the word “love” in my ear. Those fleeting moments are probably what keeps us parents from abandoning our toddlers on busy street corners, with signs around their necks that says “free to good home.” Those are the moments I try to remember when I’ve had to peel a screaming little person off the world’s largest rubber duck or been the target of a 6 a.m. kitchen floor meltdown because I gave said little person Honey Nut Cheerios instead of the regular variety.

It’s either that, or I open the liquor cabinet and drink all of its contents in one sitting. But, I’m pretty sure that dealing with a tiny, drunk, senior citizen, while nursing a hangover is the worst idea ever.

Little B: 23 Months

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The countdown to two continues! Here is our second to last monthly round-up of all that’s new in Little B’s world!

Personality

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How you doin’?

Oh, some days are difficult. Let’s just say she’s…spirited. She loves jumping on the furniture, yelling and expressing her very strong opinions about what she likes and doesn’t like.

Milestones

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Baby’s first sleepover

B spent her first night away from us with a sleepover at Granny’s while Chester and I went to one of my work-related events. She had a great time going to Saturday mass, blowing bubbles with the neighbors on the step after 8 p.m. and watching Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire on TV before bed. It was so strange to come home to an empty house that night! I had grand plans of sleeping late the next day, but of course that didn’t happen since I have apparently become automatically programmed to wake up before 6 a.m. since becoming a parent.

Saying

Lots and lots of new words, everyday! We definitely need to be mindful of what we say, since she seems to have added “damn” to her vocabulary. She also has an adorable habit of adding an “s” to and exaggerating some words (for example, “puppieshhhh” when she means puppies or “pleashhhe” when she says please). She is also recognizing many letters of the alphabet (aside from her long-time favorite “B.”) and “sings” lots of songs. The two of us have been doing a mean duet on “You Are My Sunshine.”

Favorite things

Her Alpha-Pup toy—we play with this every single morning.

Least favorite things

Lately, it’s a challenge to convince her to get dressed most mornings.

Favorite Books

You Are My I Love You

Fun experiences

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She met Clifford, one of her favorite book/TV characters, at the Please Touch Museum. She was so excited as we waited in line, but I was unsure of how she would react once she was up close and personal with the big red dog. I needn’t have worried about a meltdown as she ran right up to him and gave him a weird hug/belly grab before posing for a few photos.

We can’t wait to celebrate the big “2” at the end of the month!

On the Road: Ireland (Part 3)

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Family selfie at Blarney Castle

The next stop on our Ireland itinerary was Blarney Castle, located just a short drive from our temporary home base in Cork.

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The castle is, of course, best known for being the home of the Blarney Stone. The castle was no more than a simple wooden structure when it was built in 1200 and the current stone structure was erected in 1446.

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The interior of the castle is mostly in ruins. The 100+ stairs that wind their way to the top of the castle, where the stone is located are quite narrow and uneven. It’s definitely not a trek for someone with claustrophobia and/or a toddler. So, one of us strolled around the gardens with B while the other made the climb.

The exact origins of the stone are debated. But, legend has it that those who kiss it are bestowed the gift of eloquence. The stone is set in a wall over the battlements, so to reach it you have to lay down and lean backwards. Back in the day, this was quite a treacherous undertaking, since there weren’t any safeguards in place to make sure you didn’t fall to your death.

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View from the top

Yours truly made it all the way to the top, got into position to kiss the stone, and then made the mistake of looking down over the battlements. Even though there is a metal grate, a railing to hold on to, and a capable assistant to make sure tourists don’t die, I convinced myself that I would fall over the side and chickened out without completing the task at hand.

Chester was not such a scaredy-cat…although he seems to be no more eloquent than he was prior to our visit.

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Continuing on from Blarney, we drove to the harbor town of Kinsale. I will probably remember this site as one of the most spectacular parenting fails of the trip. B fell asleep in the car and we made the mistake of waking her up so we could go exploring. We should have just stuck to our tried-and-true practice of hanging out in the parking lot until she woke up on her own. I’m sure we were quite a sight as we tried to coax a squirming, screaming toddler into her stroller in this quaint, pictureqesue little town.

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Definitely not happy.

Fortunately, all was forgiven once we brought her a cute little hat. Retail therapy is apparently effective even at an early age.

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There were lots of cute little restaurants scattered around town, but unfortuantely many of them only opened at dinner time. We stumbled upon the Lemon Leaf Cafe, however, and ended up having on of our favorite meals of the trip there. B enjoyed a pancake with Nutella that was twice the size of her head and Chester and I chose two of the specials of the day—a salmon burger for him and an open faced crab and lobster salad sandwich for me. The seafood was some of the freshest that I have ever had! I wish that I had room for dessert because the pastry case was overflowing with delicious looking cupcakes, towering layer cakes and pies. Next time!

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Main Street Kinsale

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Colorful shops line the narrow streets

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We headed back to Cork for the night, and were up bright and early the next day to hit the road to Killarney. On the way to town, we stopped for a stroll in Killarney National Park, the first national park to be established in Ireland.

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Muckross House, which was donated to the Irish nation in 1932 and became the centerpiece of the park.

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Muckross Lake; you can rent one of those cute little jaunting carriages to take you around the park.

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Torc and Mangerton Mountains in the background.

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Ross Castle

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Chasing the ducks…and, yes, that is a leash.

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As was the case in Cork, we didn’t do too much exploring in the town of Killarney itself. But, we did stay in an adorable hotel that served amazing scones at breakfast and enjoyed a nice dinner (fish and chips!) at a place Cronin’s, right across the way. I would definitely recommend this stop as a base if your trip includes a drive around the Ring of Kerry, which was on our itinerary for the next day. More on that…as soon as I get around to editing those photos!

Little B: 22 Months

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So over this monthly photo project…two months to go!

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time to stop counting B’s age in months—our little girl will be 2 years old at the end of the summer!

Here’s what she has been up to this month:

Personality

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The typical toddler mood swings continue. Sometimes, she’s so sweet and adorable that I want to eat her up. Other times, she is so disagreeable that I want to lock myself in the bathroom and never come out again. This is probably not going to go down in the books as my favorite age.

Milestones

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Spending a rainy morning playing at the Please Touch Museum

She cut one of her last remaining teeth (bottom incisor) so now she has a full set of pearly whites when she flashes a smile. I think she is still working on those two year molars, but she won’t open her mouth to let me see.  She can recognize a fair number of colors, letters and objects in picture books. Also, while she is far from being potty trained, she has used the potty a few times.

Favorite things

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Still a huge fan of Winnie the Pooh as well as some of the Nickelodeon shows like Dora and Team Umizoomi; balloons; playing in the park; her Tigger toothbrush; the letter B—she loves when hold her hand to help her write it and it’s one of the letters that she always picks out in her activity books. She must know it stands for Bridget!

Favorite books

At the moment, anything Olivia and Paddington.

Eating

Still loving her meatballs. Other favorites include any kind of long pasta (it’s seriously adorable to watch her eat linguine by the strand); cheese by the slice; waffles and pancakes, especially the kind that Granny makes that are filled with veggies, fruit and yogurt.

Fun experiences

We have been soaking up summer with plenty of outdoor adventures. She attended her first Drexel alumni event at the Zoo in June.

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Half of the job of someone who works in alumni relations is to hold the event signage, so I’m training her well already!

We took Daddy out to a Father’s Day brunch at Village Whiskey, one of his favorite places to get a burger.

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And, she (reluctantly) put on a Blackhawks jersey to cheer the team on as they won the Stanley Cup.

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At the end of June, the Tall Ships Festival was at Penn’s Landing, so we went to check that out. B could have cared less about the ships and ended up falling asleep. Luckily, she woke up in time to pose with one of the gigantic rubber duckies. It was not a good scene when we had to leave. I literally had to peel her off of the thing and she sobbed during the entire walk back to the car.

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Looking forward to more fun times ahead for the rest of the summer!

On the Road: Ireland (Part 2)

After our two days in Dublin, we packed up the world’s tiniest rental car and hit the road. Our first stop was Powerscourt Estate, which is set against the backdrop of the Wicklow mountains and is known for acres upon acres of landscaped gardens. The house on the grounds was originally a 13th century castle and was renovated throughout the centuries. The most recent renovations took place in the mid-1990s, after the house had been destroyed by a fire 20 years earlier.

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Incidentally, Powerscourt had probably the best cafe of any tourist attraction that I have ever visited. Make sure to stop for lunch if you ever visit.

After that, it was off to Lisnavagh, another estate. I was totally confused when we first arrived because the place was completely deserted. Turns out, this is actually still a family’s home and Chester explained that we were here to visit the tree that he had planted for our 5th anniversary! William, one of the owners/managers of the estate was kind enough to show us the tree and share a bit of the estate’s history with us. In the 1800s, it was one of the most advanced and efficient farms in the country. As the estate system fell away, and Lisnavagh was downsized quite a bit and William and his family developed other ways to sustain what remained, including hosting weddings and making cutting boards out of the timber that naturally falls on the property. The tree planting program also generates a bit of revenue and helps to maintain and repopulate the surrounding woodlands.

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Official owners of an oak tree!

In true Chester fashion, it was truly a memorable and thoughtful way to mark this milestone. I’m glad B got to be there with us, and maybe we’ll all return someday to visit our tree when it’s a bit bigger!

After that, we headed to Cork, which would be our home base for the next two nights. Although it might have been more fun to stay in one of the cute little towns that we passed through along the way, we decided to stick to the big cities with easy access to things like grocery stores and medical care, just in case those things were needed for B. Plus, it was centrally located for the next two major sights on our itinerary: Blarney Castle. More on that next time!

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We did zero exploring in Cork, but at least had a nice view of the city from our hotel window!

Summer Fun

 

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Happy first (official) day of summer!

If you are in and around Philly, like we are, there are plenty of ways to make the most of the warm, long days ahead. We have a few things that we want to check off our list, such as:

1. Hit up the spray parks, since we have a little water-lover on our hands. Although, I also will not refuse a run through a cool sprinkler on a hot day.

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2. Eat lots of ice cream. We’ll have to stop by our old favorites like Bassett’s in the Reading Terminal and Franklin Fountain, but there are a few new spots, like Big Gay Ice Cream and the new Passyunk Avenue location of Philly Flavors, to check out. When we get tired of ice cream, there’s always water ice at Pop’s!

3. Spend an afternoon at Franklin Square Park. We had such fun when we went last year that we want to make this a little birthday tradition for B. Hopefully, she won’t mind posing on the carousel for photos each year so we can see how much she has changed!

4. Visit as many of the cool outdoor spaces as possible, especially since some of them are only around for a limited time. Spruce Street Harbor Park was a lot of fun last year and definitely worth a re-visit (although I wish B was old enough for the roller skating rink!), but the Oval, the PHS pop-up gardens and Sister Cities Park also look like fun.

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5. Spend a day at the beach. Chester and I aren’t really beach people, but we do like to dip our toes in the water and eat junk food on the boardwalk. A great time was had by all last year, and I’m sure B will be even more into it this time around.

6. Check out the Tall Ships Challenge, mostly so that we can see the World’s Largest Rubber Duck.

7. See some fireworks. We skipped this last year because B was still so little, but I think she might be into them this year. We don’t have to travel far for them, as we can see them from our house when they have them at Citizens Bank Park after a Phillies’ game.

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8. Speaking of the Phillies–go to a baseball game. Yes, the team is terrible, but that means the tickets are cheap. Plus, Chester will want to see the Cubs when they are in town later in the summer.

9. Go to the zoo. We have a membership here, so making at least one visit is pretty much a given. It’s just a matter of finding a day that’s not blazing hot. The zoo is so not enjoyable on those kinds of days.

10. Escape to the ‘burbs. I know, I know. I’ve just been going on about all of the fun things to do in the city, but we are just a short ride from some great places to spend a summer day, like Longwood Gardens, New Hope and Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey.

11. Check out museum exhibitions. These might not be the most B-friendly activities, but Chester and I would like to check out the Genghis Kahn exhibition at the Franklin institute and Discovering the Impressionists at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Hopefully Granny won’t mind hanging with B while we have a couple of date days!

That’s all I can think of for now, although I’m sure we will add more adventures along the way. Summer has a way of getting pretty busy!

What’s on your summer bucket list this year?

All photos in this post from a run through the sprinklers last week at the Camden Children’s Garden.

On the Road: Ireland (Part 1)

I wrote a little bit in a previous post about our adventures in Ireland, but I am just getting around the organizing the photos from the trip. With the slow pace that I work on this kind of thing lately, that should take me all summer. But, as the summer heats up around here, I’ll be happy to relive memories of the much cooler climate of the Emerald Isle, starting with this post about our time in Dublin.

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Pre-flight selfie at PHL

The first day of our trip felt like the Longest. Day. Ever. We left Philly at 8 a.m. and flew to Boston, where we had an eight hour layover. We met Bridget and Bill for a quick lunch and then headed back to the airport for our 6 p.m. flight to Dublin. B was great on the flight. She was easily entertained by the goings-on of airplane travel and distracted by an endless supply of cheese crackers. She ended up passing out right around her normal 8:00 bedtime and slept until we arrived in Dublin, very early the next morning.

Our hotel was very centrally located near the historic St. Stephen’s Green, Grafton Street (one of the main shopping thoroughfares) and the lively Temple Bar. We made our way there from the airport in a taxi at the crack of dawn, but could see that there were still plenty of people that were still happily partying it up at the pubs, even at 6 a.m.!

Since it was ridiculously early, there was not a room ready for us. B made sure we all knew how displeased she was about being awake at such an early hour. Chester and I tried to keep her calm and eventually, the hotel manager even resorted to bribery, giving her milk, a banana, an orange and a Kit Kat (all of which I’m pretty sure were from his own lunchbox) in an attempt to get her to shut up.

Finally, to keep from waking up everyone at the hotel, we went down the street to a cute little café to have breakfast while we waited for our room. Trying to keep a jet lagged toddler from a full meltdown while in a restaurant is an experience I will be happy never to repeat again. If it was just Chester and I, I’m sure we would have pushed through the exhaustion, loaded up on coffee and just wandered the neighborhood for a bit. But, with B in tow, the only thing I wanted to do was park myself in chair and hope she would fall asleep. So, we returned to the waiting area of the hotel to do just that and thankfully, our room was ready by mid-morning.

We all felt much better after long naps and headed out to explore in the early afternoon. Dublin is an eclectic mix of medieval and modern (there’s even a 24-hour Starbucks!). As you stroll through the main streets you feel like you could be in an U.S. city. But, then you round the corner and you catch a glimpse of Dublin castle or an old church and you remember all of the history contained within the winding streets.

Our first stop was Dublin Castle, which was originally built as a Viking fortress during the 13th century. It was destroyed and rebuilt throughout the centuries and served as the center for British rule in Ireland until 1922.

4The tower at the right is the only surviving remnant of the medieval castle
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Riding in style

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A pretty empty courtyard on this particular day, but the following week it would be packed with people as the announcement was made that Ireland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage after a popular vote

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Old + new

Then, it was down the street to visit Christ Church, the he oldest building in Dublin, dating from 1028. The exterior is probably quite impressive, but unfortunately, much of it was covered in scaffolding for renovations at the time of our visit. Still, the stained glass and wall-to-wall mosaic tile floors inside made the visit worthwhile.

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Further on down the road is St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s a bit younger (dating from 1191), but it ultimately won out in the race for supremacy with Christ Church, and serves as the National Cathedral for the Church of Ireland. Fun fact: Johnathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels and former cathedral Dean, is buried here.

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We ended the day enjoying some Irish music and pub fare at the Old Storehouse, one of the more family-friendly pubs in Temple Bar (i.e. one of the few places not overrun with the bachelorette party crowd).

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The next day, we went to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells (tip: purchase your tickets in advance, and skip the line at the door). There is an interesting exhibition that explains the symbolism behind and the process of creating the lavishly decorated 9th century manuscript of the four Gospels. Pages from two volumes of the manuscript are on display. Just as impressive is the Old Library, which houses more than 200,000 books.

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And, after that, we just wandered a bit more, taking in all the sites. I’m pretty sure that B’s favorite part of Dublin was meeting a real live leprechaun!

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52Ha’penny Bridge, the first pedestrian bridge to cross the Liffey River

We barely scratched the surface of what Dublin has to offer in our two days there. There were a few museums that we would have liked to check out, but we’ll save them for next time when B will appreciate them a bit more. I can’t wait to go back!

#tbt: Wedding Edition

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This is a big year for Chester and me–ten years together, and five years married, as of today! In honor of this milestone, I put together a little #tbt post about our wedding.

I’m kind of glad that we got married in the dark ages, before Pinterest was a thing. I didn’t feel the pressure to DIY everything or incorporate certain elements just because the Internet told me that they were on trend. I didn’t really have a theme or a color scheme. I just picked out things that I liked and that reflected our style.

There was a ton of pink, the best bridal party that anyone could ask for, family and friends to share in our joy, a dress that made me feel like a princess and a delicious cake (I’m told that the rest of the food was delicious too, but I was too excited to eat anything!). Glen Foerd, a Victorian era mansion located along the Delaware River, provided an amazing backdrop and the rain held out long enough for us to have our outdoor ceremony.

Although the event itself flew by, I remember nearly ever single minute of it like it was yesterday. I wouldn’t change a thing…especially not the person to whom I said “I do!”

Here are a few ton of my favorite photos of the day, as captured by the fabulous Kamila Harris.

chicken dance 2The traditional chicken dance to kick off the festivities.

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spanxA true friend will crawl under your wedding dress to fix your Spanx.

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My mom has never really been into parties, but she got more into planning the wedding than I expected she would. It would not have been as much fun to put everything together without her…

and my aunt

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L and M 2 He would never admit it, but my brother teared up while walking me down the aisle. I waited until we got until the end to lose it.

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L and C cordWe incorporated a variety of Filipino traditions into the wedding, including the veil and cord ceremony.

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bridal partyThere was a small ditch in the front lawn of the mansion. Chester found it!

dinnerOne of the few moments we sat down all night!

cake smashI promised Chester that I wouldn’t smash cake in his face. I lied.

danceOur first dance was to Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” We took dance lessons to prepare, and its safe to say that we were the worst students that Arthur Miller had ever seen. I think we dropped out halfway through the classes, actually.

RFkOn the other hand, there was our friend Richard, who I’m pretty sure has never taken a dance lesson to perfect his moves. Insane doesn’t even begin to describe his performance. When people talk about our wedding, he never fails to come up in conversation.

carSneaking away at the end of the night

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Happy Anniversary, Checkter! Thank you for making sure that B and I have everything we could possibly want and/or need, supporting all of my crazy ideas/hopes/dreams, sharing your ice cream (and seeing through me when I pretend that I don’t want any), putting up with six seasons of Glee (especially towards the end when it was really a hot mess), being the numbers guy because I suck at math and just generally putting up with me day in, day out (for ten years. I really don’t know how you do it. I get tired of me sometimes.). You are my other half and everything is more fun with you by my side. I can’t wait to see what the next five years have in store for us!

Little B: 21 Months

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The only decent photo of her sitting in her chair this month. Poor Glo Worm.

I am pleased to report that we all survived B’s first international trip and had a fabulous time in Ireland! Yes, there was jet lag, a few tears and a refusal to eat anything but cheese crackers for the first several days (some of those things applied to all three of us), but I am so glad that we made the trip. This was definitely the highlight of our month, and I have plenty more to share about our experience in this and a few future posts!

Milestones

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This is pretty much how the rest of the shoot went.

Aside from her first passport stamp, B also cut one more tooth (a bottom incisor) and judging from the amount of time she spends chewing on her hands lately, I’m pretty sure she is starting to work on her two year molars.

She is now also a forward facing baby in the car. We turned her seat around in our little rental car in Ireland, because her legs would have been tremendously squished otherwise. She seemed to love being able to see what was going on out the front window, so we just re-installed facing front when we got home.

Personality

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I asked her to wink at me.

B is still pretty wary around unfamiliar people, but she also seems genuinely curious about them. She tends to stare down people (and, especially, other little kids), and she’ll wave at them if they aren’t looking. But, the minute they acknowledge her, she’ll revert to shyness. It seems that just wants to engage with people on her own terms—I suppose she’s a bit like her mama in that way.

On a related note, separation anxiety seems to be at an all time high this month. Some days, it’s so bad that even me sitting right next to her isn’t enough to keep her from completely freaking out! It’s a good thing I don’t remember who it was that told me that separation anxiety gets a bit better after 18 months. I would probably punch them in the throat for lying to me.

Saying

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She cracks herself up quite a bit these days.

Aside from picking up new words left and right, she is getting more expressive, in general. “Wow”, “Yay!” and Uh-oh!” are some of her new favorite phrases.

Favorite things

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She loved the experience of riding in elevators and on the airplane during our travels. While on the plane, she said “Airplane! Wowwwww!” over and over again as she viewed the activity taking place outside the airport windows and on the runway. Fortunately, she was so, so good while we were in the air as well. She slept most of the way there and part of the way back, much to the relief and delight of all passengers involved. The airplane obsession continues now that we have arrived back home. She’ll point at the sky and shout “airplane!”at random, and she has been favoring picture books and stories in which they are a prominent feature.

Sunglasses are her new favorite accessory. She sported her sparkly pink shades everywhere that we went and was the talk of the town!

Blowing bubbles, coloring and playing with stickers continue to be favorite activities. She continues to love the swings at the park and is getting to be a pro on the “big kid” slide This past month, my mom and aunt have started introducing her to Disney movies and she is a huge fan of Winnie the Pooh.

Favorite songs

“The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers”

Eating

Still pretty picky. Although, while we were on the trip she did try a few new things, including muesli (which I’m surprised that she loved!), scones and Nutella (not surprised that she loved either of those things).

Least favorite things

Being “redirected” from a particular activity before she is ready to let it go never fails to induce a meltdown; when the smoke detector in the kitchen goes off.

Fun experiences

Ireland, obviously! This was the perfect choice for our vacation because the flight was short and the destination offered activities that all of us could enjoy. We kept the itinerary light on the museums and tours and spent most of our time wandering through small towns and driving through the countryside.

Fortunately, B loves being outside, looking at the water and seeing live animals and there were plenty of opportunities for her to do just that. The other nice thing about Ireland is that the people are just so lovely. They never once gave us the side eye when we brought B into a restaurant or shop. Instead, they made a fuss over her and went out of their way to make sure we had a high chair and a place to store the stroller while we ate.

As I said, there was a adjustment period for all of us during the first few days of the trip. B was out of sorts because of the time change, unfamiliar foods and new routine, in general. And, Chester and I had to let go of the way that we usually travel, which involves packing as much as possible into a day (conversely, we packed more than ever in our luggage. Between the clothes, car seat, stroller, snacks and items to keep B occupied, we ended up with seven bags on this trip!), in favor of making sure that B was well fed and that there was time for her to nap in the car between stops. But, we all a bit more settled within a few days…by which point it was almost time to pack up and go home, of course!

I am glad that we had the opportunity (made possible in part by the frequent flyer and favorable exchange rate gods) to take this trip now. I don’t think that if a second kid comes along we will want to deal with all of the extra stress (and, probably, extra baggage) that would come with a big trip like this. Of course, I also said that I wouldn’t travel with a kid until it could drag its own suitcase through the airport and we all know that I broke that rule before B turned one!

It was definitely nice for all of us to have a change of scenery and I will carry such fond memories with me forever of what it was like to experience the world through B’s eyes on this trip. Seeing her face light up as she chased the ducks at a park, watched tour busses roll down the highway, tasted sticky toffee pudding for the first time, strolled down the street while proudly carrying a balloon in one hand and enjoyed countless other new experiences for the first time was absolutely priceless to me. I hope that she’ll always have a desire to see the world and that doing so will always bring her the same kind of joy.

Until I get a chance to sort through the photos I took on the trip using my real camera, enjoy some of these favorites from my Instagram feed.

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Jet-lagged at Dublin Castle on the first day of our trip.

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At Blarney Castle, where only one of us kissed the stone.

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Rollin’ with her homies

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Our final stop, in Galway