New Baby in Philly!

We went down to Philly last weekend for one last attempt at packing up the house before the movers come on the 14th and to catch up and spend some time with friends, especially our soon to be former neighbors across the street.  They were our first real friends when we moved to Philly and had many fun nights out to dinner, getting puppies, having children, working on the houses, having a few drinks and just enjoying each others company.

Chris and Eric, the sports nuts, were always talking about the Philly teams and could joke over anything while standing over the grill with some cold ones and grilling the burgers for dinner.

Erica and I were always talking about the kids, fashion and anything else that was on our minds.

Other than the fact that we will both miss seeing two of the most awesome people just about every day, we are so happy for them.  They have a beautiful daughter and have just welcomed a second beautiful daughter about 2 weeks ago.

Jack didn’t show much interest in the baby when we came to visit, but we did get some very cute photos, including the one below.

Jack and the girls 🙂

Swimming Play Date

On Friday, our friends Carolyn and Elle came over with the Bridge Girls for a little iced tea, girl talk and to see two of the cutest babies splash and play in the baby pool!

Jack had quite the hard-to-get presence about him and even though Elle was mainly interested in splashing and playing with him in the pool, Jack was having a blast getting in and out of the pool.  Constantly.

I would say the most of Jack’s time was spent getting in and out of the pool instead of swimming.

And without further ado…

Jack kept getting in and out of the pool


Bringing the beach ball in

In again

And out again...

Blowing kisses to the Bridge girls. What a ham!


Motown Philly Back Again

The family headed down to the old house in Philly for the weekend to plant some flowers, clean, catch up with friends and to meet with our Realtor about how the market is going.  Since it was pretty much a weekend on tour between the To Do List and everyone who was hoping to see us for the first time in a long time, we tried to just keep up with the pace.

Friday night, we got in, had some pizza and just took it easy knowing what Saturday had in store for us.

Saturday morning, Jack and I were up early and after some breakfast, we jumped in the car and headed to the Lancaster Outlets for some deals.  Banana Republic was buy 2, Get one free!  Right up my alley!

First stop?  J.Crew.  If I could make a deal to only shop at one store for the rest of my life, it would hands-down be J.Crew.  The classic styles, silhouettes, soft t-shirts and denim…I am in heaven.  My only request would be that they would make dresses and button downs for girls who are D cups and up.  Don’t get me wrong…I get my fill of D-cup bathing suits from them, but dress shopping would be easier if I wasn’t trying to fit gigantic boobs into a dress made for someone with beestings.

But, I digress.

After picking up some Crewcuts clothes on sale for JackMan and a dress and more Matchstick denim for me.  (Side note: I want to be buried in these jeans!)  We then headed to Banana to get some suits and more outfits and then finished it off with a little Baby Gap action where I bought Jack his first Superman shirt with the removable cape on the back.  That will be for this fall/next spring, but such a great deal!

We drove through the farms of Lancaster and with each cow that Jack saw, I heard a “mooooooo!” in the back seat.  What can I say?  The kid loves cows.

We then had a BBQ with our friends Eric, Erica, Briella, Adam and Katie.  We absolutely miss them all terribly.  Living here is not the same without them.  After stuffing our faces with Erica’s delicious cooking, we decided to play “The Michael Jackson Experience” on the Wii.  Best.  Game.  Ever.

Briella and Jack cuddled up and watched a show and played with toys.  A great time was had by all!

Sunday, we got up early and prepped the house for the Realtor’s visit and packed up.  A quick brunch at Kate & Sean’s new house (Yum!) and after a nap, we headed to see The Shanafelts.

We had a nice visit and were able to take a sneak peek into the new baby’s room while Bryce and Chase entertained us and Jack.

For dinner, we stopped at a local tavern on the way home with them and shared some laughs and beers and talked about the events coming up.  “Baby Johnny” (this is what Bryce and Chase are insisting on calling the new baby, but not the name) will be here in early July and we are all on pins and needles until his arrival!  Andrea looks fabulous and is ready to take on a life with three little boys.  Such a wonderful adventure!

The weekend trip made us realize how much we really do miss our friends in Philly.  Although there is some distance between us now, we hope to make more of an effort to get together and keep the friendship going.  🙂

Steppin’ Out Saturday: Farm & Dairy Edition

In the midst of fighting whatever-it-is-in-my-belly, I actually felt like Lazarus on Sunday and decided that if I was well enough to go to mass, then I was well enough to go spend the day outdoors with my family.  (Although I am back in the throes of the stomach thing again as of Monday morning)

We had such beautiful weather (almost 60 degrees) and the girls I used to babysit for were performing their Irish step dance to benefit a local health clinic, so we packed up and headed over to see them dance.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get a photo of them dancing between trying to coax Jack to sit still and be quiet and from collecting stray Goldfish from the floor.  🙂

On a side note, there was an adult Irish step class who performed at the show, and when I say adult, I don’t mean ages 18-20.  Many of these women were in their 30’s and some even in their late 40’s!  It has always been a dream of mine to do Irish step, so maybe I will look into signing up for a class.  🙂

We were also out of milk for the house, so a trip to the dairy was in order.  Since it was such a beautiful and sunny day, we decided to see some of the new calves in the barn.

One week old calf

New calves

The new calves ranges from a week or so old to 3 months old.  And I thought newborns grew quickly!  These cows put human growth to shame!

Among the “moos” and licks all around, Jack mimicked the cows and their mooing and thought the tongues that just seemed to keep coming at us were a hoot!

We headed over to the milking barn where many of the cows were getting ready to be milked and were being whisked in from the fields.  These are mainly grass-fed cows there, so the milk, ice cream and the meat are truly organic (and local!)

Outside the barn

On our way from the barn, we stopped to see the horses and the pony as they rolled on the grass and came by the fence for a few hellos.

Looking at the horses with Daddy

Jack and Mommy looking at the horses

Mommy’s Outfit: Coat- J.Crew, Cardigan- J.Crew, Cami- Banana Republic, Denim- J.Crew Matchstick denim, Wellies- Hunter

Jack’s Outfit: Coat: Target, shirt- Baby Gap, Denim- Baby Gap, Shoes- Stride Rite

After we left the horses, we headed into the dairy for our milk and a little ice cream treat!  Jack had the vanilla with rainbow sprinkles!  He absolutely LOVED it!!!!

Vanilla with rainbow sprinkles!

The dairy had some sirloin steaks also, so we picked up two of those, our milk and headed for the car.  We were greeted by a few roosters who came to say goodbye before we left.  One crowed at us, which Jack found to be HILARIOUS!

Chasing roosters

It was just a fabulous day with the family.  Oh, and those steaks?  Everyone who had some (I don’t eat meat) said that they were delicious!  And the dogs didn’t mind some steak bones either!

Grass fed beef

Bailey with her steak bone

Oh, and there will be plenty more photos and stories from Hillside Farms this summer.  They have great events (sheep shearing anyone?) and a lot of fun and educational events throughout the year.  We love Hillside!

Sesame Street Live: Elmo’s Green Thumb

Yesterday, we finally took Jack to his first Sesame Street Live performance, and boy did he love it!  We won four tickets from NEPA Mom which was absolutely perfect!  We met with a friend and her children at Red Robin before the show so that the kids would be full and ready to enjoy the performance.  Jack’s friend Ryan was with us, and the two of them played with their balloons at the restaurant and we ate a little lunch before heading over.

Once we arrived, we got seated and our seats were perfect!  Thankfully, we did not sit in the Sunny Seats in front of the stage because at Red Robin, the character came out into the lobby to greet everyone coming in, and Ryan and Jack absolutely freaked out.  The Sunny Seats had characters coming off of the stage to greet and shake hands with the children, and Chris, Erin and I were almost positive that the boys would have lost it had the characters come near them.

Waiting for the show to start

Once the show started, the boys eyes lit up with excitement.  Bert and Ernie opened everything up for us, and the audience sang the Sesame Street theme song as we danced in our seats.

Bert & Ernie

The characters were constantly moving which kept the toddler’s attention, which was fabulous!

I was so glad to win the tickets and to be able to go with everyone.  It truly was a great thing to experience with Jack.  And…since the show, he is now saying “Mo” for Elmo!!


And it was Saturday, and I usually do participate in SOS, but our outfits were both repeats yesterday.  🙂

Enjoying the show

Daddy and Jack

And of course, Elmo found a great new home for his sunflower!

Elmo planting Sunny

Mean Mommies

This morning, I drove for our second adventure over to the local Mommy and Me.  I was excited for Jack to be around other children again and to play, run around, sing songs, and just enjoy himself.  We had a fabulous time with the small group last week and I was anxious for Jack to play with more kids and sing songs.

As we walked in the door, I felt like I walked in on a private conversation.  It was like every head turned to watch me walk in the door and whatever they were talking about was never mentioned again.  I took Jack’s coat and hat off and sat in the semi-circle waiting to begin the songs.  I introduced myself and Jack to the Moms seated next to us and participated in the sing along.  All was great up until the “free play” portion.

When free play began, the children aged from 12 months through 4 years ran to all of the toys.  There is a balance beam, tubes, balls, a hoop, a slide and more.

Jack went to chase after a ball that he had bounced and one 3 year old decided that he wanted it and pushed Jack face forward to the floor.  I said to the little boy, “You shouldn’t push people, and you need to be more careful because he is just a toddler and he is smaller than you.”  His mother then came over, grabbed his hand and said, “Come on, usually there aren’t BABIES here, so you can’t play like we usually do.”  The emphasis on “babies” was a total slap in the face.  It was her way of saying “You are not welcome here.”  I comforted Jack and ignored her.  She can’t help that she is ignorant and unkind.

So, we left the ball and decided to play on the slide.  We patiently waited in line for our turn, and once it was our turn, I started helping Jack with stepping up the steps of the slide.  The moderator’s son (who had been obnoxious for most of the session) started walking up the slide and told Jack to get off his slide as his mother looked on.  I told him that it was Jack’s turn and that he could have a turn if he waited in line.  He then started trying to push Jack off of the steps of the slide.  That was it for me.  I picked Jack up, put on his coat and we left.

Yes, as a Stay-at-home-mom, life can often times be lonely and you can miss speaking to another adult about something other than diapers, toys, or sippy cups, but that was not necessarily my driving factor for bringing Jack to Mommy and Me.  Even though most of his play is parallel play, it is still important for him to socialize and be around other adults and children.

Believe me, I am not claiming to be the perfect Mom or that I have all of the answers because I don’t, but haven’t any of these Moms ever heard the word NO?  It’s a simple word that needs to be used to set boundaries for children, and no one has ever died that I am aware of from hearing “No.”  Why wouldn’t any of these Moms ever say “No, don’t do that” or “We don’t hit each other” or “That little boy was playing with that.  You can ask him for a turn?”

I consider myself to be very fortunate to be a mother, and one thing I will never understand is the mothers who make it out to be such an exclusive club.  Like they take ownership of whatever activity that we are at.  “Oh, you are new to Mommy and Me/Story Time?  My kid practically was birthed on the floor here at whatever-activity.  Therefore, you just play by our rules.”  Granted, I have not ever heard those words verbatim, but it does seem to come across that way whenever I take Jack to an organized activity.

If it were my son misbehaving or being unkind to another child, I would totally expect another mother to say something to him about the behavior if I did not see what had happened.  Am I alone in this?

And no, I am not trying to raise my son in a bubble where he doesn’t get hurt and everything is always sunshine and butterflies.  I expect him to have battle wounds.  I expect him to not always get his way.  I expect the village that it takes to raise a child to come together and love and care for all of the children, not to shun them for being new.

Maybe it would be better for Jack to have more socialization or to be able to participate in social outings, but you won’t catch me at this Mommy and Me again.

A Snow Day Play Date

We had yet another snow day, so instead of suffering from cabin fever, we took a little drive over to a friend’s house for a playdate and a few beers.  Also, funny story about the beers…

I called my friend Erin to see what she and her children were up to, and when she told me that they had no plans and that the boys should play together, Jack and I jumped in the car and headed on over.  I asked what I could bring, and the consensus was that I should bring a 6 pack of beer.  So, I headed over to the local mini-mart for a sixer of Miller Lite.

I ran in and out in a matter of a minute or so, and as I was exiting the store, a local news crew stopped me (toddler and beer in hand) and asked me if I would be willing to speak with them on camera about the snow, ice and my plans for the day.  Looking nothing like Mom of the Year, I politely declined and told them that I was late to my destination.  Just to be sure, I watched the 11pm news to make sure that I wasn’t secretly taped and shown to look like a dead-beat Mom.  (Truth be told that I never drink during the day, and my friend Erin and I only ended up having a beer or two while the kids played)

Playing with Ryan

Jack loved playing with Ryan.  They played with trucks, talked to each other, shared snacks, and stole toys from each other.  It was fabulous!

On the Move

Ryan is two months younger than Jack and has not started walking yet, but that never slowed them down.  Both were on the move and never stopped to take a break…until they found that they were in toddler jail.  We had a few screams to get out, and they were back to getting into everything that they could find.

Yelling to be let out of toddler jail

Sometimes I swear that Play dates can save people’s sanity.  Especially during snow storms!  🙂