First Amusement Park Trip

About 45 minutes from where we live is a local amusement park that specializes in families and wholesomeness.  I have been there many, many times as a child and always had wonderful memories of the merry-go-round and my first roller coaster ride.  Just good, old fashioned fun.

Chris has never been to this park and neither has Jack, so we figured a beautiful Sunday of 82 degrees and sunny was as good a day as any to venture there.

Considering that I haven’t been there in well over 15 years, it was nostalgia all over again as we drove in the grassy field to park the car.  My father used to ride the rides with us and my mother would be off to the side snapping photos of my sisters and I having the time of our lives.

Jack was told before we left that we were going to a special park which had rides instead of monkey bars and slides and he was intrigued.

When we arrived, we all stopped and ate something as it was lunch time and we needed our strength!  After eating, it was time for Max’s lunch, so we sat on a bench in a shady area so that Max could eat and Chris and Jack were off to ride the rides!

Fireman Jack

Initially, Chris said that Jack wanted to get off the first ride as he was unsure, but after that, he was thrilled!  He loved the cars, the train, firetrucks, everything!  Chris was enjoying himself just as much!  So much so that when my in-laws are in again from California next week, Chris would love to bring them there for the day again.

On the kiddie ferris wheel

Jack has not stopped talking about the rides, especially the helicopters.  He had seen the helicopter ride and had said that he did not want to ride it as the helicopters went into the air.  We spent the day avoiding the ride only to get to the car while Jack cried about not riding the helicopters.  He has since said each day since, “Mommy, are we going to go to the special park to ride the helicopters today?!”  It looks like he will give it another try if we go back again soon.

Captain Jack

We were all overdue for a family day together, so I am glad that we dropped everything and spent this day together!

Oh, and Max was wonderful!  He was happy to be in the carrier and occasionally in the double stroller as we navigated the park.  So well behaved!

Max watching big brother on the rides

I absolutely cherish these family days!

Taking a cruise with Daddy

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Jack’s First Swimming Lesson

After taking Jack swimming at a friend’s pool a few weeks ago, Jack developed gills that day and swam alone, jumped into the pool, went underwater and began using his arms to move while kicking his legs.  I mentioned to Chris that I thought that it was time for swim lessons to help develop his skills.  Chris agreed.

So, off we went to our local community pool and registered Jack for his first solo swim lessons.  In the two weeks since registering, we have been talking about it and Jack has told everyone he sees that he is a big boy who is going to have swimming lessons.

This morning, I feed Max, pack up the bag and drive the boys over to the pool where several anxious children are waiting for their lessons.  Jack is excited and his looking forward to getting in the pool.  I am looking forward to leafing through my J.Crew catalogue and reading my Parents magazine during the 45 minute lesson.

When the lifeguard came over, Jack was a little apprehensive about going with her, but she was friendly and I assured him that I wouldn’t be far away.  Cue Jack freaking out that I am not getting in the pool and the hysteria begins.  So, for the 45 minute lesson, I stand on the steps in the pool, holding his hand, assuring him that all is ok and that I was right there with him.

Every now and then, the lifeguard got him into the pool and got him to blow bubbles, do ice cream scoops and kick his legs, but he lost it at the end and as begging to go home.  Fine, kid.  You win.

But we go back on Wednesday, Friday and Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week too.  So, maybe…I win.  🙂

Learning to kick (And yes, Jack refuses at any point to not wear shoes. Even in the house)

Kicking on the steps

Ice cream scoops!

 

 

Summer Update

Max is almost a month old, and we have finally taken Jack swimming in a real pool, gone for walks with the kids until we thought that our legs would fall off, and just enjoyed time with the boys.

Jack swimming with Daddy

Chris and I agree that it feels like Max has been a part of this family since day one and we can barely remember what life was like before he came along.  I can’t say that our family feels complete and that we wouldn’t add at least one more child to our growing family because I absolutely would in a heartbeat.

Daddy and Max taking a little nap

Jack is still loving going to school a few days a week and being home with Max and I for a few days as well.  We are getting on a schedule with Max, which means that it is all going to change after I publish this post, but I’m sure it will all be fine.

As I see all of my Mom’s flowers blooming in the backyard, I am reminded that she is here with us and watching us always.  Jack still asks for her and uses a play phone to call her and talk to her.  When he asks for her, he now completes his sentence with “Mom is sleeping a special sleep in a special bed.  I miss Mom.”

Chris and I have officially settled on the land for where we will build our house and just signed the contracts last week for the plans on the house.  The construction loan process begins now and we should be living in this house in about 180 days or less.  6 months until we are in our own home again, and I am looking forward to it.  Decorating, budgeting, unpacking…it is going to feel so new again and I couldn’t be more excited!

Speaking of packing, I have been working on bits and pieces of cleaning out my Mom’s house since May.  It has been a long and sad process, but it absolutely needs to be done.  The time is coming where everyone needs to choose what they want, what goes in the trash, what will be donated and what will be sold in the estate sale.  My goal is to complete the full clean out before our house is done because once we are in our new house, I want to be able to focus my time and energy on that.  We are still not sure about when the house will officially go on the market, but I am hoping to list it sooner rather than later.

I’m already dreading going back to work and leaving Max at daycare.  It breaks my heart that I can’t be with him all of the time, but I know that we are making the best decision that we can to better our children.  They will both be well-rounded, independent adults someday with all of the tools and knowledge to be successful.  That is the greatest gift that I can give them.

My friend Pam made these great shirts for the boys and I was so excited to have them both wear their shirts today.  So adorable!  Check out her shop on Etsy by clicking here.

Brotherly love

Baby brother Max (4 weeks)

Big brother Jack- (2 years, 7 months)

 

 

 

Fourth of July 2012

Max got up with the sun for his first holiday and was soon followed by big brother Jack.  After a quick breakfast and letting Daddy sleep in for a little while longer, we got the boys dressed in their red, white and blue outfits and off we went for a walk before it became ungodly hot.

We ended up stopping at our friend’s house for a quick hello which turned into spending the majority of the day with them.  It was very nice to relax, let the kids play, talk for a while and soak up the air conditioning instead of spending the time out in the hot and humid air.

Our friends were heading to a party and we decided to get the kids home and off to bed at a decent hour as Jack is terrified of the sound that fireworks make and to alleviate the crying and late bedtime, if he would just go to sleep, we wouldn’t have the hysteria when the fireworks started.  Our plan didn’t work out, but at least we tried.  😉

Jack and Max enjoyed a few sparklers before bed, and that was the extent of our day.  Not very exciting, but that was the best part.  Just a day to enjoy and take it easy.  Exactly what the doctor ordered!

The patriotic boys

Jack loves his baby brother!

Jack in his red, white and blue

Max in his red, white and blue

 

 

 

Memorial Day Weekend 2012

We tried to keep this weekend as low key as possible and were pretty successful, I might add.  However, the central air in my Mom’s house went on Friday (it was 90 degrees + each day with tons of humidity) and I was ready to jump off a cliff.  Everyone that we knew with a pool was either away or hadn’t opened their pool yet.  But we survived.  Barely.

It’s funny how quickly you are thankful for the little things in life when you no longer have them.

We spent much of the weekend playing in the backyard, working on the yard, remembering the fallen soldiers, and we went and put flowers on my father’s grave.  Not much, but just enough to make the most out of a long, relaxing weekend.

Monday morning, we went and watched our local Memorial Day parade and cheered on our Veterans.

A special thank you goes out to my Dad (Air Force), my father-in-law (Marines) and brother-in-law (Marines) for their service.  Without your selflessness, we would not have what we have- including (fixed) central air.  Thank you!

Waiting for the parade to start

So excited!

In between picking up candy

Watching the parade with Daddy

First Class Field Trip to see Trains & Trolleys

Jack’s school is wonderful when it comes to child-centered learning.  His classroom curriculum is focused on learning on a topic a week, or over several weeks and encompassing that topic in their everyday learning.  For example, when his teachers were focusing on Trains and Trolleys, they will center the topic with train tracks and trains for play, reading train books, singing train songs, doing train crafts, etc…  It is such a wonderful way to see him learn and soak all of the information in.

A few weeks ago, his teachers planned a day at the Steamtown Railworks, which is the local train museum and historic society.  The majority of his class came with their parents and grandparents and Jack had a wonderful time.  As he is already a huge fan of Thomas the Train, this was right up his alley.

We went through the museum and ended with a trolley ride past his school.  Let me tell you…he was beside himself with happiness!

Walking through an old trolley car with Daddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A train table with a mock-up of our entire hometown and surrounding counties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little conductor!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of Jack’s class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My little engineer

First Swim of the Season

On Saturday, Chris and I had plans to get so much done, after Chris was done golfing, but from 7:00am on, every plan that we had went to the wind as everything began to change.

Chris had planned to golf in the morning, but had to cancel to run to the doctors office.  I had planned to get a much needed pedicure (can’t reach my feet comfortably), but was home with Jack cleaning, doing the wash and trying to organize.

One thing that we did make a priority was to go out and buy a swimming pool for Jack.  We knew it would be hot and since Jack loves to be outdoors, a pool sounded like the perfect solution for an active and beautiful day outside.

Once he awoke from his nap (Daddy mowed the lawn, Mommy set up and cleaned the sand & water table and hosed down his house), he jumped into his swim trunks and off we went!

He is still ever so much the water baby that he has always been with trying to lay down in the water, splashing the dogs, pouring water over his head, playing with his toys and just having a wonderful time.

It makes my heart sing to see him enjoying something that he truly is excited about.  I’m absolutely sure that this pool will get a lot of use this summer!!

Oh and Rogan the lifeguard (the dog) was on constant watch on the side of the pool and would become hysterical if Jack splashed or became excited.  (I really should get it on video…)

Jack playing and Rogan “lifeguarding”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Splash!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Rogie Baby, stop barking!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water baby

Work is Sometimes Fun

This past week, I flew to Salt Lake City, Utah for work.  I have to begin with saying that it is a beautiful area!  Snow-capped mountains surrounding the city, beautiful buildings, the Mormon church and more.  Just breathtaking!

The Mormon Church

 

Just beautiful!

One funny thing about the city though.  Some crosswalks are equipped with bright orange flags to carry from one side to another to ensure a safer crossing.  After going to dinner with about 20 of my coworkers, most from other countries in Europe and South America, we all had to try the orange flag crossing!  Here are a few photos following dinner (and a lot of drinking for some people) with the crossing.

Flag crossing!!!

 

Here we go!

 

My flag and I

 

A few friends with their flags

St. Patrick’s Day 2012

St. Patrick’s Day Parade weekend is the holiest of holy days for my family.  It all began with my mother who would dress us head to toe in green, kilts, Irish sweaters and blinking pins and send us on our way to walk the parade route with our father, who was a Friendly Son of St. Patrick.  This year has been exceptionally hard because I did not get the usual phone call early in the morning, which usually went something like this, “Top of the morning to you, Molly.”  To which I would reply, “And the rest of the day to yourself, Mom.”

My Mom always had a knack for making it an even bigger holiday than it really is; shamrock shakes, green bagels, green beer (for her) and ensuring that we knew every word to every Irish song that the band would play in the bar after the parade.

This year, Chris, who is also a Friendly Son of St. Patrick, proudly marched the parade route with Jack in his stroller.  He beamed with pride and so did I to see my son partake in the wonderful tradition that I was able to experience as a child myself.

We enjoyed the after-party and as usual, it was nice to catch up with friends and watch Jack marvel in the provate bagpiper and drum band performance in our party room.

So proud of my Irish lads!

The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick

 

Chris and Jack marching ❤

 

Irish lads marching

 

My sweet little lad

 

Chris, me, my sister Lisa and Jack after the parade

 

Watching the rest of the parade

 

Bagpipers!!!!

 

Strolling for Strollers

We have had quite the issue with strollers since Jack was born.  We originally loved the Chicco infant seat, which only came with the entire stroller set, which was great and easy to maneuver, but we never realized how much of our trunk space that it would eat up.

My Mom generously bought us the Bugaboo Cameleon, which is an awesome stroller for those who live in the city or somewhere again that you don’t need to think about trunk space as well.  And recently, after a bit of wear and tear on the hand brake of the stroller that we honestly RARELY use, we contacted Bugaboo to help with our sticky brake, and they dropped us like a bad habit and never helped us.  For a $1,000 stroller, the customer service is lacking, the stroller is bulky and not easy to pack up and bring along, and it didn’t and still doesn’t have a Chicco infant seat adapter.  However, this is my favorite stroller when we go to parks or anything that has terrain to go over.

Onto our third stroller, which is a BabyTrend stroller frame for the infant seat.  Fabulous stroller, folds quickly and easily and does not eat up valuable trunk space.  I adore this stroller and even though a friend or two have borrowed it for their children, it is still in brand-new condition!

As Jack grew and we no longer needed the infant seat, we decided that we needed an umbrella stroller.  Shopping we went with Jack in tow to truly get the feel of what we needed in a stroller.  We decided on the Maclaren Triumph, which has been phenominal thus far and is by far our favorite stroller.

So where is the issue?  It comes down to the fact that Jack is still not able to be completely trusted outside of a 5-point harness in crowds or in public yet, so we need a double stroller for both children.

In my search, I have looked for a lightweight stroller (for travel, mainly), something that folds with ease, is comfortable for the passenger, and allows us to fit more than just a jug of milk in the trunk.  If possible, I would prefer an in-line stroller, but am learning that I am not likely to find a stroller that fits all of my criteria and that is an in-line stroller.

So, once again, I come back to Maclaren.  My beloved Maclaren single stroller which has flown with us, been dragged through mud, Irish festivals, the city blocks in Brooklyn and Manhattan, subways… you name it, it has been there.

So I am checking into the double Triumph now as a possibility for a double stroller.  Any other suggestions for doubles?  I have heard about the City Mini, but not all that familiar with it.

We did stop by our local BRU and Babyage and neither have or carry the twin strollers in the store.  Any suggestions for double strollers are very welcome!