Life Lately: 35 Weeks

Maternity session

A sneak peek from our recent family photo shoot at Longwood Gardens, with April Ziegler Photography

I am 35 weeks pregnant, which means this baby could be here really soon, or weeks from now. I think you all know by know how much I love surprises. So, this does not bother me. Like, at all.

[insert sarcastic emoji here].

All of the uncertainty associated with the end of pregnancy can produce the wildest thought patterns ever.

For example:

“I would deliver this kid myself, in the bathtub, just so she will stop resting on this bundle of nerves somewhere in my pelvis, that I didn’t even know existed.”

Five minutes later…

“Actually, I hope that this kid doesn’t decide to come on a Sunday night. I don’t want to miss Downtown Abbey.”

Or, when trying to get dressed in the morning:

“Ugh. I cannot wait to burn all of these maternity clothes.”

Two minutes later…

“These maternity leggings are just so. freaking. comfortable. Can I wear them even after the baby comes?”

Or, when I see two little girls, who I assume are sisters, being adorable to each other in Target:

“Awww…having two little girls is going to be amazing. B is going to be the best big sister ever!” [cue happy tears]

Less than a minute later, when said girls start pulling each other’s hair and the older one threatens to push the little one out of the cart…

“Holy shit. What was I thinking? We should have just gotten a goldfish!” [cue panicked sobs]

There is one thing I’m sure of though: I will miss B.

Obviously, she isn’t going anywhere, but there is such a short amount of time left time where she will be my one and only.

During the past two and a half years (and more than that, if you count all of those months of pregnancy), B has been the center of my world. I have gotten to know every little thing about her. All of her firsts are cataloged, in painstaking detail, in my memory. I have felt my heart break a little every morning when I realize that she looks a little more grown up than she did when I put her to bed the night before. When she has been happy, excited, sad, frustrated or sick, I’ve felt all of those things right along with her.

I have felt pretty guilty during this pregnancy, because it seems like the only time I am completely focused on this new baby are those 30 seconds at the doctor’s office each month when I get to hear her heartbeat. When I think about this baby, B always pops into my head first.

“How will B react to a sibling?”

“Will B feel like she is being replaced when we move her out of her crib and put baby number two in it?”

“How will I make time for B when I’m caring for a newborn?”

And, so on.

I am prepared to feel overwhelmed for awhile as we settle into being a family of four (Heck, I still feel like we are trying to settle in to being a family of three, sometimes. So, at least we are accustomed to chaos at this point). But, I can’t say that I relate to the worry that I lot of second-time parents have, which is that they won’t love their new baby as much as their first. I am pretty sure that our hearts are like the Grinch’s—they can just expand when the situation calls for it. I know that the moment my second little girl is placed in my arms, I’ll fall in love.

It’s hard to find the right words to express what I feel about B. The only way I can sum it up is that there will always be something special about her.

She is the one who made us a family. She lets me make all of those first time parent mistakes and doesn’t hold a grudge. She was the first person to make me cry out of frustration, exhaustion, fear and happiness, all at once. She was the one who made me realize that love can be both overwhelmingly simple and incredibly complex. She made the scariest thing I have ever done, the best thing I have ever done.

B might not remember a time when she had me all to herself. But, I always will.

 

Christmas 2015

Getting back into the swing of things after the holidays this year has been complicated by pregnancy brain and the overwhelming feeling that there is a lot to do and so little time to do it all before Baby #2 arrives. So, while most of you have probably snapped back to reality, I’m going to stay in the land of twinkly lights, sweets and Santa Claus for just a little bit longer with this post. Plus, B was especially into all things Christmas this year, and the photos are too cute not to share!

Chester and I were lucky to both be off from work for two weeks, which gave us a little extra time to do some festive things with B in the week leading up to Christmas.

There were cookies to make—and sprinkles to eat.

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We took a trip to Macy’s to do all a few of the traditional Philly Christmas activities, including a visit with Santa, a walk through the Dicken’s Village and a viewing of the light show and holiday window displays.

B could not take her eyes off of Santa when she first walked into the room. But, she wasn’t inclined to sit on his lap when it was time for the photo. Hence, for the second year in a row, it was a family portrait. I really should have anticipated this and done a better job with my hair.

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It was so warm on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that we put the air conditioning on. It was bizarre, but at least that meant that B still got to wear the adorable outfits that I had chosen with colder weather in mind.

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Trees were definitely her obsession this year. Ours was on a timer and we told her Santa came to light it up every night. When she would see the lights go on, she would say “Thank you, Santa!” It was adorable, obviously.

Santa stopped at Ni-Ni’s early, and B was excited to unwrap the gifts that he left there. As you can see, there was a musical theme going on.

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This was the first year that she was really into tearing the paper off of things!

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Kisses for Daddy!

After eating way too many cookies for dessert, it was time to head home and wait for Santa!

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Getting Santa’s cookies ready before bed. 

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Yay! Santa came!

When B woke up on Christmas morning, she knew something was up. We waited at the top of the stairs while Chester got a few last minute things in order and she kept saying “What’s down there?!” Her enthusiasm was contagious–I can’t remember the last time I was so excited on Christmas morning! The look on her face when she saw all of the presents under the tree and the leftover cookie crumbs from Santa’s snack was priceless.

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That guitar went everywhere with her for a couple of days.

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Yes, we wore matching gingerbread pajamas.

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Well, everyone but Tracy. They didn’t make them in her size.

B was very specific in her request for a blue Care Bear, so I as excited when I found the last one at Toys “R” Us. She looked at it for about two seconds before moving on.

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In my typical fashion, I over thought all of the gifts we picked out for B (will she enjoy this? Is this right for her age? Are regular blocks better than magnetic blocks). Turns out that I needed have worried so much. Her favorite thing that she received on Christmas morning ended up being a dollar store flashlight that was in her stocking. Oh, toddlers.

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Then, it was back to Ni-Ni’s for more food, presents and family time.

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There’s that guitar again.

After all of the festivity of those two days, we kept the rest of our holiday break pretty low key. We ventured out to the Please Touch Museum, Reading Terminal to see the holiday train display and a couple of after-Christmas sales to score some half-priced décor (which I enjoy even more than the half-priced candy after Halloween) But, other than that, we were mostly at home, playing with B’s new toys.

We rung in 2016 with take-out from DiBruno Brothers’ and a movie from On Demand, to ensure that we didn’t fall asleep before midnight. We are party animals, I know, but honestly, being at home is my favorite way to spend New Year’s Eve. Except, I would prefer real champagne to the disgusting sparkling grape drink that we had. Next year, for sure!

And that, friends, was how we spent our Christmas vacation.

Now, how long do you think I can go on eating cookies for breakfast and trying to figure out if it’s possible to fit the Mamaroo in the living room without dismantling the Christmas tree?

Christmas Magic

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The cookies are baked, presents are ready to go under the tree and the stockings are hung. Sure, the 70+ degree temperatures have it feeling more like Easter, but nevertheless, two of my favorite days of the year are finally here!

I will admit that I couldn’t muster up my usual enthusiasm for all of the preparations leading up to the holiday this year. At seven months pregnant, I am exhausted, cranky and uncomfortable 98 percent of the time. But, B has been a reminder that all of that “stuff” doesn’t really matter, anyway. To her, every little thing about this season has been amazing—even getting dressed up to pose for a photo with a gift box that is completely empty, apart from two LED tap lights stuck to the bottom (which is the story behind our Christmas card photo, above. I’m also reminded how lucky I am that I married someone so creative).

So, in the end, I realized that it doesn’t really matter that the gifts look like they were wrapped by a T-rex or that we never got around to doing half of the activities that I put on the Advent calendar. All she cares about are the sparkly ribbons and pulling the numbers off the twine, anyway.

All that to say, everything can be magical. Even the little things.

I hope that you have the merriest Christmas ever, and that you get to spend this time eating way too many cookies with the people who matter most to you in the world.

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The true miracle of this holiday season was getting both of our kids to pose for photos.

The World According to B

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When B was born, I bought a really cute baby book at Paper Source…and then never wrote a word in it. Okay, maybe I wrote a few words in it, but I quickly realized that there just didn’t seem to be enough lines in the book to record it all or capture the things that I really wanted to about her first days, weeks and months. Instead, I started using this space to share all of the details and photos from B’s first two years. It makes me laugh when I look back through the earlier years of this blog and contrast the content from that time with what I’m writing about now. My how things have changed!

Although I haven’t been sharing monthly updates about B since she turned two, I can assure you that she continues to be a true toddler. One of the things that I love most about her these days is that she says the most adorable things. She seems to pick up new words every day and she has quite the sense of humor and impeccable timing in deploying her favorite expressions.

Some of my favorites are:

Her many demands. The ones that we hear most frequently are:

  • “Read it”
  • “Watch it”—when she wants to look at something. We spend a lot of time “watching” the Christmas tree lately
  • “Hold it”—when she wants us to give her something, even if it’s too large to be held in her hand. If we aren’t watching the tree, she’s asking to hold it.
  • “Take a selfie”
  • “Daddy/mommy, listen!”—when she wants us to pay attention to her or a noise that she heard.
  • “Mommy, go potty!”—She knows that I leave the room when I have to go to the bathroom, so she’ll sometimes say this to shoo me away. Usually, it’s because she wants to play with Chester without me interrupting. Relatedly, there’s also “Mommy, go home,” which is what she says when my mom picks her up from my house in the morning and B doesn’t want me to follow them.

“I’m good!”—if you ask her if she wants to eat or do something and she doesn’t want to, she’ll say this. She definitely learned this one from me. She sometimes alternates this expression with “No nap/no Cheerios/no bath, etc. today!” if she is in a fiesty mood.

“Jesus Christ!”—My mom accepts full responsibility for this one. Sometimes, B uses this expression in it’s proper context, like when she drops something on the floor. Other times, she just says it a random, over and over again, in Target.

“Mommy/daddy, hold you”—She hasn’t mastered pronouns yet, so it actually means that she wants me to hold her. It’s so freaking cute.

“What did you do, penguin?”—I can’t quite figure out the orgins of this expression, but my mom has this wooden penguin that B likes to play with and she always asks him this question.

“Watch out, B!”—usually said when she is doing something she knows she isn’t supposed to be doing.

“It’s okay!”—She sometimes gets mildly freaked out by sirens and motorcycles, so we started saying this to her. Now, she says it to us and gives us a hug whenever there’s a loud noise.

“Sounds delicious!”—I particularly like when she uses this to describe combinations that do not sound at all delicious, such as “meatball water. Sounds delicious!”

“You found it!”—she is very proud of us when we give her one of her toys.

“Tracy’s awesome!”

“That’s silly!”

“Say what?!”—which she says with proper inflection, in situations where disbelief is called for.

“B’s happy!”

“Tell mommy/daddy/Ni-Ni”—We’ve been potty training her during the last few months (she is doing great! She can pretty much stay dry all day and is totally comfortable using her little potty. Next step: real toilets) and when she does her thing successfully, she wants us to tell everyone she knows about it. Sometimes, she is so excited that she even wants us to share the good news with inanimate objects, yelling “tell hat/coat/trees”

Incidentally, I took all of the posts from B’s first year and turned them into a book and am in the process of doing the same for her second year posts. So, B still will have an old-fashioned, printed baby book that we can refer to in case the Internet ever goes away. I am glad that I took the time to write all of this stuff down about B and I look forward to doing the same for Baby #2 in just a few short months.

On the Road: Hudson River Valley Fall Getaway

Although we love our little travel buddy, Chester and I decided that we were long overdue for an adults only vacation. After considering a few options within driving distance of Philly, we decided to head up to the Hudson River Valley for a long weekend. Having visited the area a few years ago, we knew that it would be an ideal setting for a relaxing fall getaway.

This time, we stayed at the adorable Buttermilk Falls Inn, located in Milton. If you were so inclined, you wouldn’t even have to venture off the property to get a taste of what the area has to offer. The 75-acre estate includes a spa, a farm-to-table-restaurant, walking trails and scenic views of the Hudson River.

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An assortment of some of the animals we met at the inn.  City people don’t know what to do around farm animals. Also, I need a llama for Christmas.

If you want to do some sightseeing, Milton is just about 20 minutes away from Hyde Park, which has a few different points of interest.

Our first stop was the Culinary Insitute of America. Current students lead public tours a few times a week, and it was pretty cool to get a glimpse into the kitchens and classrooms, where future chefs and bakers were hard at work. After the tour, we had lunch at The Bocuse, one of the student-run restaurants on-campus.

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From top left: Black truffle soup, apple butternut soup, seared scallops with truffle, potato and cauliflower, veal with braised onions, kale and foie gras butter and an assortment of desserts. The white coffee ice cream was made table side with liquid nitrogen!

On the whole, the food and service were above average, with the exception of Chester’s veal entree, which was completely over-salted. He sent it back to the kitchen, but the second dish did not improve much. The students are all still learning though, so I suppose some hiccups are to be expected!

After lunch, we took a tour of Springwood. Franklin D. Roosevelt was born and is buried there, and it was the place that he often said truly felt like home.

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Burial place of FDR, Eleanor and two of their dogs

Old homes/estates are always among my favorite sites to see when we travel; this site is remarkable not only for the material objects it contains, but also for the fact that some of the decisions that impacted the course of history were made here. The grounds also are home to FDR’s library and archives. Built under his direction, it was the first presidential library and also housed his private study where he conducted several of his fireside chats. Today, it contains more than 50 million items related to FDR and his wife Eleanor.

Continuing with the historic home theme, the next day, we visited the Vanderbilt house, one of the oldest Hudson River estates and one of the best examples of a Gilded Age mansion.The ostentatious furnishings were a definite contrast to the more rustic and reserved elements of FDR’s home.

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I wish that our visit had coincided with the peak of the fall foliage season, because I bet that makes the views of the Hudson even more spectacular.

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We ended our trip with dinner at Henry’s at the Farm, the restaurant at Buttermilk Falls. My recommendation would absolutely be the lobster risotto and Chester would tell you to get the 48 oz Tomahawk steak. It looked exactly like the side of meat that they put into Fred’s car at the drive-through movie theater during the Flintstone’s theme song. He ate the entire thing. I feel like that deserves a plaque on the wall or some other kind of tribute!

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Although I did feel a bit guilty to leave B, it was so nice to have some time to reconnect with Chester. Life has been so busy lately, and it’s hard to find time even for a few little moments together in the midst of it all. I didn’t realize how much I missed him! We slept in (until 8:30!), had adult conversations (only about 80% of which revolved around our current and future child), enjoyed several hot meals/cups of coffee without having to worry about toddler meltdowns and even went to an actual theater to see a movie (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2). 

It was just like to good old days and I’m glad that we had this opportunity to take a breather, before things get even crazier with the arrival of Baby #2.

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(I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to the world’s best Ni-Ni/mommy and the world’s best Ti-Ti/aunt for helping to make the weekend possible by letting B and Tracy, respectively, crash at their houses for a few days. You guys rock!)

 

 

 

My Little Cupcake

I’m kind of glad that B is at the age where she responds to bribery. After two years where she pretty much wanted nothing to do with her Halloween costume (see here and here), I was determined that this would be the year that I at least got one photo of her all dressed up.

Of course, she declared “no nap today!” on Halloween afternoon and was sort of moody by the early evening and my hopes were nearly dashed. But, then I told her that she could go outside to blow bubbles, if she wore her cupcake hat and dress.

Mission accomplished.

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I said “go get your pumpkin!” and she picked up every one that she owns

Although we practiced beforehand, she didn’t really get the concept of trick-or-treating. So, we kept things low key, just stopping by my mom’s, aunt’s and Chester’s parent’s house so they could see her all dressed up. Of course, in the days after Halloween, she seems to have caught on to the fact that she missed out on the opportunity for free chocolate and will bring her pumpkin treat bag over to me and sweetly say “some candy?” I’m sure that by next year, she will be begging us to take her to every house in a five mile radius so she can fill it up!

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Stopping by Grauntie’s (a.ka. Tee-Tee’s) house

And, don’t worry, I kept my promise about the bubbles. They actually created sort of a whimsical effect, swirling around as she strolled down the street.

Life Lately: The Second Time Around

Time has gone by so fast, yet so slow during the past 21 weeks. On the one hand, I can’t believe that I’m already halfway through this pregnancy; on the other hand, I can’t believe that I’m only halfway through this pregnancy.

B started doing acrobatics in my belly at all hours of the day and night, right around 14 weeks. So, there was rarely an hour that went by that I didn’t think about her. Baby #2 is much more mellow, and only started giving me a few kicks here and there at about 17 weeks, as if to say “Still here! So, please don’t forget to take your pre-natal vitamins for the third day in a row!”

Couple this with the fact that there isn’t too much to do in terms of preparation this time around—we have all of the gear that a baby could need, we won’t be decorating a nursery from scratch and we don’t make long lists of questions for every routine doctor’s appointment—and I already feel like I need to sign this baby up for therapy to deal with the side effects of second child syndrome.

(Side note to baby: Please keep this calm disposition when you become an outside baby. Goodness knows that this house cannot handle two spirited children.)

As you no doubt recall, I complained quite a bit about various discomforts and inconveniences quite a bit the first time around (see here, here and here). And, I can report that my attitude towards the overall experience hasn’t changed. At all. I think anyone that says that they enjoy being pregnant is either lying or has somehow been fortunate enough to get early access to the good drugs that you get when you are in labor.

I will agree with those lunatics that the end result is completely worth it, but no flowery talk about how miraculous it is to create a life makes me feel better about the fact that I can’t breathe, have to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes and, to quote Emma Thompson’s character in Love Actually, “the only clothes that I can get into were once owned by Pavarotti.”

On the plus side? I discovered the beauty of maternity leggings and no one has tried to touch my belly this time around. And, fortunately, the best time of year is upon us, and I’m sure that a full calendar of festive fall activities, work events, a mini-babymoon and preparations for the holidays will make the next 19 or so weeks fly by.

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From our recent Linvilla Orchards adventure

And, of course, there have there have been some sweet moments that the second time around brings, which have given me all the feels.

For example, mornings with B, where we sit on the couch reading stories before I have to get ready for work, have long been a favorite part of my day. Lately, I get a bit wistful that the days of it just being the two of us are dwindling. But, then, B will rest her head on my belly, and give it a pat as if to say hello to her sibling and make sure that it’s listening. And, most of the time, the baby kicks back in response. It’s like they already feel connected to each other. I know there will be days when they want to claw each others’ eyes out, but I hope that they will be grateful to have that they will always have “a person” to go through life with.

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Pretty soon, daddy will have two hands to hold

So, I guess you might be wondering whether Baby #2 is a he or a she? Well, so was I, up until just a few days ago!

With B, from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew she was a girl. With this one, I had no strong feelings either way. Most people who saw me guessed that I was carrying a boy (because of the way my face had changed, or the way my bump looked, or some other old wives tale), so eventually I also became convinced that this was the case.

Turns out, all the old wives were wrong! It’s a GIRL!

It would have been fun to have one of each, but, I’m not going to lie–I LOVE having a little girl and I’m pretty excited to keep buying all of the pink–for as long as they let me dress them, I guess!

On the Road: Ireland (Part 5)

Five months later, here is the last installment of our Ireland travels!

On the drive around the Ring of Kerry, I had declared it my new favorite place in the world…but that was before our drive around the Dingle Peninsula.

Located on the westernmost tip of Ireland, cliffs and ocean views dominate the peninsula. The winding roads, cliffs and ocean views that dominate the peninsula make it even more dramatic than the Ring of Kerry. I felt like i was standing at the edge of the world on most of our photo stops!

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We stopped for lunch and a stroll in the town of Dingle, the peninsula’s main town.

176With Fungie, the dolphin who lives in Dingle Harbor

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Before leaving, we tried out Murphy’s Ice Cream, which is handmade right in town. The flavors here range from classic vanila and chocolate to the more unique combinations that showcase the flavors of the region. They are pretty generous with the samples here, so I think I ended up trying almost every flavor before settling on a delicious combination of Kerry Cream and Carmelized Brown Bread.

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Upon leaving Dingle, we drove through the Conor Pass, the highest mountain pass in Ireland.. Of all of the driving that we did in Ireland, this road was the scariest—full of twists and turns, and so narrow at some points that two cars could barely share the road. But, the views…

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Our last stopover was in Limerick, chosen so that we could head out to the Cliffs of Moher the next day. For the most part, the weather was not on our side that day. But, we were patient and waited for the fog to roll out a bit and the views did not disappoint.

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We made a final stop in Galway, which was packed to the gills on a Saturday afternoon. It was late in the day, so we didn’t do much but stroll through the winding streets of the Old Latin Quarter and stop in a few shops. But, one of the funniest moments of the trip happened here, when we found ourselves stopping for dinner at a restaurant in which every table included a small child (or two, or three). It was the kind of place we would have avoided at all costs during our former child-free lives, and it sort of summed up how much life—and travel—can change when you add a tiny human to the mix.

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It is definitely a bit more exhausting to travel with a small child; Both Chester and I commented that we felt like we were on higher alert than usual, while we watched out for B and kept an eye out for signals of potential meltdowns. Still, we had a fantastic time and I would do it over again in a heartbeat!

Little B: 24 Months

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I can’t believe that my baby is two years old!

In the weeks leading up to her birthday, people kept asking me if I was sad that she was turning two. It is bittersweet in some ways, I suppose. After all, she no longer looks like a baby and she gets more independent by the day, facts which can make me teary if I really dwell on them. So, instead, I just focus on the fact that I have such a happy, healthy, smart kid (and that we have now survived two years of parenthood. If I could have popped a bottle of champagne on her birthday, I totally would have) She is definitely one of my favorite people to spend time with and I’m proud to be her mom.

Milestones

At her two year doctor’s appointment, B weighed in at 24 pounds and was 2 feet, 8 inches tall.

Saying

Everything! She picks up every expression that she hears. My new favorites include, “Oh, man!”  “high five!”, “I love you” and “hey!”

Eating

She discovered french fries this month. On the other hand, we tried to get her to eat a chicken nugget and she basically threw it at us. I guess she has discriminating taste when it comes to fast food. She has also been enjoying the fruit and veggie pouches again. She calls them all “apple” even if there are no apples in them whatsover. We play along with this lie, as it gets her to eat greens on occassion.

Favorite Books

These rotate regularly, due to her frequent trips to the library. Some good finds this month included Whose Chick Are You?, Rhyming Dust Bunnies, and Birthday Zoo. From our own collection, she has been enjoying Green Eggs and Ham and I Want to Be Somebody New! lately.

Favorite Things

Painting with watercolors and drawing with markers; playing with blocks, or, more accurately, ordering other people to build tall towers and arrange her Duplos according to her preference—God help you if it falls down or you do it wrong.

Least Favorite Things

Bugs—she calls them all “bees” regardless of what kind they actually are and freaks out whenever she sees one.

Fun Experiences

We packed a lot of fun things into the last few weeks of summer, starting with a trip to the beach. Auntie B and her family spent a few days in Atlantic City, so we drove down to join them for the day. B loved the beach last year, but she was even more into it this year. Once she got accustomed to the sand and stopped saying “hot, hot, hot!” every time she touched it. She found the seagulls endlessly entertaining, enjoyed destroying the sand castles that other people built, and loved dipping her toes in the water.

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The most hilarious thing about the day was that she held on to that half of a peanut butter sandwich for almost four hours, and continued to take bites of it throughout the afternoon, even when it was no doubt crunchy from the sand and soggy from the salt water. I swear that the sandwich is in 99 percent of our photos from the day!

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She got to share her big news of the impending arrival of her new best friend with a big sister photo shoot.

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Speaking of the new addition,I think she is finally starting to understand that her new sibling is on the way. Recently, when I ask her where the baby is, she either pats or lays her head on/kisses my tummy, which is completely adorable. She did however, get a baby doll for a birthday gift, and every time I hold it and give it it’s pretend bottle she will snatch it from my hands, throw the doll on the floor and say “all done!” So, her willingness to actually accept her new sibling when it is here in real life could really go either way at this point!

We had a fun day out together on her birthday eve. We enjoyed our outing to Franklin Square Park so much last year that we have decided to make a trip there a birthday tradition for B. She rode the carousel twice and tried out every single swing in the playground.

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Then, it was the big day itself. Since she turned two, it seemed only fitting that she would have two celebrations in one day!

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Showing off her new toys on birthday morning

We started at Sister Cities Park in the morning, where she and couple of her little friends enjoyed blowing bubbles and playing in the water while the grown-ups sat in the shade and ate cake.

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Later that day, my mom made dinner, which included meatballs—B’s favorite food—and more cake, of course!

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She must have known the day was all about her. She danced, sang and pranced around and generally just enjoyed being the center of attention–except when we tried to sing Happy Birthday to her. After a near meltdown at the first party of the day, we learned our lesson for the second and just cut into the cake without any fanfare.

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This will be the last monthly post about Little B, but I am sure she will continue to be one of my favorite subjects to write about, especially as we all get ready for our lives to change in a major way. Hope you will continue to follow along for the ride. Here’s a look back at the past year in monthly photos:

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On the Road: Ireland (Part 4)

It’s been awhile since I wrote anything about Ireland…or since I wrote about anything, really. It’s really difficult to stay up past 9 p.m. these days. But, on the days when I can, I’ll slowly but surely keep making my way through the rest of the trip photos and posts.

In my last post, I mentioned we made Killarney our base for the portion of our trip where we drove the Ring of Kerry, a scenic loop that showcases the varied landscapes of the region, including coastal towns, beaches, mossy hillsides and green pastures that stretch as far as the eye can see.

As you might imagine, this one of the most poplar tourist routes in Ireland, attracting bikers, walkers, tour buses and individual drivers alike. So, we followed the recommended strategy to go the opposite route of the big busses so that we didn’t get stuck behind the the entire way (start in Killarney, stop in Kenmare, and then head toward Killorglin before heading back to Killarnery; the busses generally travel via Killorglin first).

This was the only day of our trip where the weather was less than ideal. It rained most of the day, but at least we spent most of it in the car and the low fog made the view along the way even more dramatic.

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Portmagee

Also dramatic was B’s reaction when we would stop for photos. We made a lot of short stops along the way and it is difficult to wrangle a toddler in and out of the car every ten minutes or so. So, we started to take turns getting out of the car for quick photo ops, and there was a lot of this going when one of us would leave the car.

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A stop in Kenmare provided a nice break from the drive and plenty of restaurants to choose from for lunch. There are three main streets in Kenmare, all of which come together to form a triangle, so it’s very easy to navigate. On a sunny day, I could have easily spent a substantial amount of time here just wandering around.

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We stopped at Jam, an adorable cafe/bakery, where I wanted one of everything from the pastry case. But, I settled for just this lovely Banoffee Pie.

Banoffee pie

After lunch, we took a little stroll through town. B and Arthur kept out of the rain in their fancy backpack/stroller.

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You might think that the scenery gets old after awhile, but I think the views were even more outstanding on our way back to Killarney. We even made a stop to visit with some wildlife.

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There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing the two of them happy together.138

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The entire drive is about 125 miles round trip, and took the whole day (we left our hotel around 10 a.m. and returned around 6 p.m.). As usual, Chester was behind the wheel the entire time and did a fabulous job navigating the narrow roads along the way. At first, I wasn’t too sure that I would enjoy an entire day in the car, but this was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. There were so many “wow!” moments along the way and it was the perfect way to experience all of the beauty that Ireland has to offer.