Is anyone else suffering from heat stroke this summer? Its been the most insanely hot and humid summer here in NJ since I moved here 6 yrs ago. Some days its almost reminiscent of my life as it were in Arizona. Scary, huh? We’ve been trying to cool off every chance we get, hitting the beach and the pool. The baby is the most tan that she’s ever been proving to everyone that she is indeed half Islander. The pictures above were from our favorite beach haunt of Manasquan and the baby is showing off her tan and what she learned in her swim lessons at the pool. I’m so glad we didn’t move somewhere where beach access is difficult. Hope you are all keeping cool…
So, we went back to the farm at the insistence of the little one who wanted to try picking blackberries next. Blackberries came in a couple weeks early, so we made the best of it in the humid weather last weekend. The blueberry patch was also still open, so we snagged more of those too along with clipping our own flowers (which was a great way to safely feed the baby’s tendency to pick flowers out of people’s gardens). You know… its funny that as I was growing up in California, saying you are farm picking wouldn’t come off as hippie or glamorous. Cali has a flood of seasonal migrant workers for the farms and I didn’t know of any farms that invited people to come pick voluntarily. The lack of glamour may also have something to do with Steinbeck’s portrayal of the farm in CA. Okay - In Berkeley, there were definitely small patches of organic farmers and restaurants growing their own food - so I could take back the hippie part. I’ve been called a hippie a few times in my life and evidently our little family here practically qualifies as hippies since we are picking our own food with increased frequency. Its fast becoming part of our New Jersey way of life. No complaints. Anyway, blackberries are a little tart tasting for me, but I discovered they go fantastically well with vanilla ice cream….
An afternoon conversation:
Baby: “Mom, what’s this picture?”
Me: “Oh..that’s me and your dad when we got married in Hawaii.”
Baby: “Where am I? Why am I not in the picture?”
Me: “Sweetheart, you weren’t born yet. We had to get married and then you were in my tummy for 9 months.”
Baby: ” Oh yeah, that’s right. I was in your tummy. Then you threw me up right?”
Me: ” … “
The best vacation resort we have been to, aside from our wedding/honeymoon at the Grand Wailea, HI, was at the Sagamore on Lake George to celebrate the 236th birthday of the good ol’ USA. We traded in hot dogs for lobster rolls and went New England style out here for an a la Americana vacay baby. This was pretty much a full service resort that allowed us to teach the baby a little fishing, pool lounging, and motorboating. They even offered a kid’s camp to take kids hiking and all sorts of activities so that parents can get drunk by the amazing negative edge pool. Let’s just say, we will be back to try out more stuff like that and parasailing and/or waverunning when the baby gets older. We did spend so much of our time in the huge pool; the baby was showing off what huge strides she is making with just 3 private lessons of swimming so far. I just couldn’t get over the view myself….
The picture of Luis directly above was taken by the Baby and her newfound skills at photography using my iPhone (one shot, one try). Anyway, you can’t visit the lake without taking out a boat. I kept singing one of the kid songs on the Baby’s Imagination Mover’s CD that goes something like “you gonna build a boat, everybody build a boat” with a Jamaican accent while we were off trying out our own motorboat. Everybody indeed had a turn at driving. First, Captain Speedy over here had us bumping up off our seats like a roller coaster (which the baby LOVED) as he lived out some kind of Hawaii Five-O water chase scene in his head. The baby had some steering action herself followed by Mommy who scared the bathing suits off of everyone on the resort dock as I was coming into port. That’s right…fear me people!
We did spend a morning outside the resort visiting the Magic Forest again. We took the baby 2 yrs ago and she had a blast, but we certainly noticed the difference those couple of years make in how she takes to rides and parks. The baby was a thrill seeker dragging me on the Ferris Wheel that went thru the mountain trees and throwing her arm in the air on their old fashioned wood roller coaster. It was also funny how she was picking out her next ride before the ride she was on even came to a complete stop. Its only another year or so where she will outgrow this little Magical hideaway.
I didn’t even realize how close we were to Vermont until I spotted the Ben & Jerry’s when we walked into town. Just had to get a picture for posterity.
And to make the vacation an official success, I accomplished what I said I would last year - find better fireworks than that rather sad finale we witness at Rehoboth Beach, DE last year. This year, right near the resort on a floating barge, hugh fireworks were on display giving an awesome reflection against the lake and the hundreds of brave people out on little boats.
Here’s hoping you all had some good fireworks for the 4th!!
Back to the farm again! This time, it is blueberry season….It was pretty hot a couple weekends ago when we headed out to the farm. At least we started in the morning before the heat really came down on us. Papa Bear returned to his Bolivian farmer roots and was compulsive in picking blueberries (hysterical). I took a picture of our final bucket, but we at least doubled that before I could drag the hubby off the patch and down to play in the farmstore and with the animal petting zoo. The baby saw the blackberry patch next door which wasn’t ready yet. She’s already asked me a couple times when we are going back to pick those blackberries. At least I know the family is eating pretty organic and healthy. Its been ridiculously easy to get her to eat asparagus since we picked those in May, so I’m recommending the farm to all Moms and anybody with picky eaters. Our prize take was so large that I had to freeze a bunch down (BTW- it was also super cheap per pound). Getting a creative streak, I broke out the blender and we have been having berry smoothies the last couple of weeks on and off. The upside to the heat - rationalizing downing those smoothies. Keepin’ it cool…
A couple weeks ago while my Mother-in-Law was in town, we ventured out to Fort Tyron Park, NY and spent a wonderful weekend afternoon at the Cloisters. This museum is part of the Met (NY) and is filled with medieval art and treasures. I wanted to post the pics because I did indeed think it was such a tranquil and beautiful place to spend an afternoon. I suggested it for its beautiful gardens and easy access via car, but I didn’t even realize that the hubby is a huge fan of medieval art. That and now gardens. So, I was the hero of the day - Go Me! The little one started a whole new interest in photography. She always liked to take pictures and play, but now she is serious - centering her photoes, taking her time. Now we will get to play keep away with our iPhones. The security guard thought she was hilarious especially after she yelled - There’s a cop! right in his face.
We were laughing on the way home that while the baby’s friends probably got to say something like they went to an amusement park, our kiddo gets to say she was hanging out at another museum. Yeah, between the 2 of us, she has no chance to grow up normal. But she will grow up in a happy family - take a gander at our 3 way picture on the iPhone
Picking up some work now, so between prepping Ms. Crankypants for summer camp in the morning and actually working - I’m a bit exhausted. We had a little transition period for the last several weeks, but it looks like we may have hit our new equilibrium. That didn’t mean that all the fun excitement for the month ended though. In fact, it just compounded everything. I just didn’t have time to just sit and blog. I may even have writer’s block. I can’t really tell. I’m not so much awake as I type this….
For the remainder of June, we had a bunch of activities. First Father’s Day and a visit from my Bro and family. Below are pics of Ms. said Crankypants enjoying time with her cousins.
Actually, I’ve taken to calling the baby Crankypants since she whined a lot about going to school in the beginning since it was “so long” and there were “too many kids”. She’s so much better now and the adjustment didn’t take SO long, but dude is she opinionated. Anyway, June is also my Hubby’s birthday month too. My Mother-in-Law stopped by for a week long visit to help us celebrate.
Toward the end of June, the baby closed out another year of gymnastics. You know what that means? Trophy time. All to the glory of the Olympics theme song blaring across the gymnasium. She was so proud as she had a full house witnessing it this time with her Dad, me, and her Grandmommy screaming and clapping like the Paparazzi. She was beside herself.
And the proverbial icing on the cake….It’s the cake my BFF made for her daughter’s 5th birthday which was a girl’s only spa day. Talk about setting the bar.
My hubby up and decides that my birthday is going to be a surprise. He tells me last week that everything is all set and I just have to be packed and ready to go by 2pm on Friday. OOookay. I’m always up for a surprise. I was thinking I’d end up down at the Shores or Atlantic City or something. Low and behold - we went to Brooklyn . It was so awesome! I completely forgot about the Brooklyn Bridge on my bucket list. My uber-thoughtful husband booked us the weekend at the splendid Marriott tower at the Brooklyn base. We went and proved that I was not over the hill by walking the bridge. We took off early in the morning where there was only light foot traffic by way of runners and bikers. The coolest thing we discovered? It seems that people engrave padlocks with their anniversaries on them and hook them to the bridge. Had I known,I would have made one for us since we just celebrated our 5th anniversary. Neat stuff.
We spent the morning in Manhattan, walking to Chinatown to enjoy some Dim Sum. By afternoon, the sun was out and so were all the tourists. That’s when the realization that we have to walk back dawned on us. It was great, although lots of peeps on the bridge. The baby slept in the stroller on the way back, lucky girl. We then took a midafternoon break at the hotel and headed out to the waterfront park, which happens to be between the bases of both the Brooklyn bridge and the Manhattan bridge. Wouldn’t you know? There was a carousel in this park as well. Guess who jumped on that?
And of course, my birthday wouldn’t be complete without good old family time just hanging in the park, and me with my camera…
If you have ever gone bowling with young kids, you will see that a 10 frame bowling game can last a whole morning. I totally forgot I took this picture of the kids on one of our outings the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. This picture just makes me laugh. The kids were so into the game and since they can’t throw the 6lb ball very fast, they are all studiously anxious as it quietly strolls down the lane to see if they struck any pins. Our little girl does a fantastic granny roll between her legs and did in fact manage to hit the most pins. It just took a lifetime to watch is all. The best part of this outing? The little boy, affectionately called Peter Butter, hit a spare and as everyone was clapping and shouting his name tried to get down on the floor and break dance. Yeah, break dance. After a 2 sec beat of silence on my BFF’s and my part, we busted up laughing. We were so surprised we didn’t catch that on photo or video. We think he was watching the dress rehearsal for the girls’ dance class and saw the boys do this…I have no idea. Hilarious though. Freaking hilarious.
We made it back home this morning in time to enjoy our hometown parade thanks to some super light traffic. This year’s Memorial Day looks so much like last year, its kind of eerie. We ran into our favorite people first thing upon arriving to Main Street. Waving flags and wearing patriotic colors, we clapped our hearts out for all the representatives of our service men and women. We then went home and the kids enjoyed playing with a small home pool until they were all ready to pass out. The humidity, heat, and messing around guaranteed the baby was in bed early. Can’t ask for a better holiday or better friends…
One of the best smelling places we have ever visited! An honest to goodness lavender farm. We are just two weeks away from the peak of the lavender bloom here at Lavender by the Bay - where they let folks pick their own lavendar. I’m so bummed that we are going to miss that, but we did get a good visit to the field anyway. This particular place also keeps and manages bees; they are the surprises inside the purple boxes pictured above. We went in to sample all the lavender smelling stuff. I had to get the little corset satchel for my underwear drawer; too cute to pass up. We left with some shea butter lavender hand cream which I can’t wait to whip out of my purse one of these days. The car and our room smells conspicuously like lavender now. Luis is happy as he thinks that lavender is a sexy scent. Yeah, who knew? He is really getting carried away with all of this weekend’s flower loving now. I for one am feeling much closer to farms now a days. Go figure.
We kicked off celebrating Memorial Day officially by gawking at the Tall Ships. These ships are historically preserved wood vessels which sailed in yesterday to Greensport - Long Island (NY) to be properly awed and revered. We didn’t end up actually boarding the 7 ships docked since we get a rash when we see long lines and the ships look just like ones we saw in Salem, MA and San Diego (Star of India). Wood ships are awfully pretty though. I wanted to see the masts down, but you know…they are parked and whatever. I’m sure its not practical…pppshish. The Tall Ships is a huge event for this town which meant that it was street fair time again. If you read this blog, you know was are always down for the country/ street fair. The baby enjoyed the antique carousel in the middle of their park next to the port/dock and we enjoyed food like we always do. Fun part was that the baby and I were outfitted with airbrushed tattoos! These were part of the free fair experience and who am I to pass up a free tattoo? The baby picked out a butterfly which they sprinkled glitter on for her. Me? Don’t you think if I had dread-locks and a leather hat, I could pull off Captain Sparrow? Luis thought so as I posed in front of the local police. Funny pics of this below. Luis had the local Greenport beer & bratwurst (not the dog shown) and I had to try the lobster roll. They claimed it was the best yadda yadda - I didn’t have the heart to tell them the one in Salem, MA I had was better. The parmesan truffle fries I found at a place called the Frisky Oyster rocked. Bellies full, we wandered out of Greensport in favor of lavender.
The ducks in this village window caught my eye (below). I don’t know if its disturbing or just random.
To celebrate being tied together as ball and chain for the last 5 years, we decided to spend the day at the Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island. It rained and thunderstormed all this past week, so I wasn’t sure if the weather would cooperate - but we were really lucky today. No rain…but it certainly started to heat up at 85 degrees (deepening my farmer tan. oy.). The ride over to Long Island was surprisingly pleasant and we had a very relaxing day. The gardens were incredibly beautiful and my photos cannot do this place justice. What a hidden treasure! I was reminded of our visit to the Vizcaya Gardens in Miami this past Dec., although here we seem to have landed in peak bloom for flowers (and this place seems incrediably lush!). Luis and I were joking that we did live in the Garden State, so gardens here should be the best - Long Island being a jump away. The locals here all took advantage of the nice weather and were setting out picnics and relaxing in the expansive grass. A Mozart concert was being performed on the back grass of the mansion here and we did sit through a Mozart for children interactive event inside the mansion (well - sat thru most of it until the baby demanded a drink and we had to go outside). Our anniversary expanded beyond the two of us and celebrating it was kindof a family thing today. Reflecting on the day…It seems like we’ve been married for 50 years, but at the same time feels like it went by in 5 minutes. I was laughing to myself as I looked back on my post 2 yrs ago and haven’t learned anything new yet (maybe we nailed this marriage thing down at 3 yrs? yeah?). Here’s to the next 5 years.
If I ever want to make sure a picture of the baby has a genuine smile, all I have to do is go to the beach. Seriously. I get these great joyful pictures of the little tyke every single time. Maybe I will take our holiday card picture from the beach….Hmmmm. Well, it was Luis’s idea to hit the beach on Sunday before they start charging on Memorial Day weekend. It was a slightly windy, but sunny day over down the shores. It was weird to feel a breeze and get a tan at the same time. I’m learning this is typical for New Jersey weather. We also ran into a good friend while we where there, so that was a pleasant Sunday surprise. The baby and I are still sporting nice tans that will probably take us thru the summer.
This past weekend we attended a birthday party of a good family friend at the Discovery Touch Museum (near Philly). It was fantastic! The kids all participated in making homemade ice cream and cupcakes for the party itself. After the party, they had full use of the touch museum which is full of interactive, educational, and fun exhibits. The kids had a blast and our little monster did not quit until she was just about passed out 5 hours later. The baby was asleep before I was able to even get the car onto the Turnpike. If we lived closer to this place, I would consider having the baby’s birthday there as well since it was so creative and all the children loved it (and learned something). As it is, I’m still on the fence about what to do for our little one’s birthday. She is getting invited to quite a few birthdays and each one is better than the last. Most of the birthdays she has been attending are in exclusive kids places such as bounce arenas, indoor playgrounds, ice cream parlors, museums etc…I think the only ones that have been held at home were her godsisters’ last year, another super close family friend’s, and her own. It’s like a very low 10% of the parties. I remember when all the parties were home parties. I love having these home parties that seem so personal. At the same time, for the baby’s party last year, I spent an unbelievable amount of time cleaning and rearranging furniture (inside and out). Not to mention the party itself and clean-up after. I can really appreciate why it would be great to have the party somewhere else. Outside venues can also hold more children; now with all her activities and friends - it seems like that would be a good idea. So, I’m on the fence. I would like to reciprocate with invitations, but I would also like it to be nice and personal. I think I’ll be on the fence for awhile. Eh, we’ll see.
I don’t know about Paris Hilton, but I think our girls could make it on The Simple Life. School was closed today due to the lack of use of Snow Days this year (and Ascension Thursday), so we did what any parent in fear of dealing with bored children does on a fantastic weather day…take them to the farm. The baby and I went with her godsisters & godbrother (of course my BFF) to pick strawberries and asparagus. We lucked out that the strawberries came in early this year and the weather was just incredibly nice today. We hit the same farm that we all went to in 2010 when the baby was 1.5 yrs old and her godbrother was 0.5 years old to pick cherries. I heart this farm -Terhune Orchards, located a little south of Princeton. They have various farm animals for petting or viewing for the kids, tractor tricycles and such, a little playground, picnic benches, and a super cute farm store. The strawberry bushes were seriously ready for the picking and it was so much fun. God knows we will definitely be coming up with creative ways for using strawberries for the next couple of days. Strawberries in our lemonade anyone? We continued onto picking asparagus after the kids loaded us up with strawberries.
Now, I had NO idea what asparagus picking was going to be like and I was totally taken off guard on how the stalks just pop out of the ground. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, maybe a pokey looking bush - but I was genuinely surprised to see how this was done. The funniest part was that the girls were a little confused to exactly the type of stalks we wanted. Somehow, asparagus didn’t inspire the same blitz harvesting that strawberries did . Of course, they were a little tired and possibly starving by now. They first went for the big ones, followed by the super skinny ones after we told them we wanted thinner stalks. It was definitely an experience. Our little godbrother over there also just wanted to eat the asparagus - it was hilarious. Our day out was amazing and lulled me into thinking it was Friday already. Somehow we are setting a precedent for how single school day offs are going to be - the last one we all spent watching the new Lorax movie and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Today ended with Ruby Tuesdays for lunch, sundaes from McD’s, and good old fashioned playing outside scooting, etc.. at home. It really is about the simple things in life…
How was your Mother’s Day? Mine was fantastic starting with a big Hubby-made breakfast and flowers from the little one. We took a jaunt down to Philly to watch the NY Red Bulls play the Philadelphia Union. Yeah, between the Hubby who can’t contain his enthusiasm at the first Red Bull goal and the Baby’s Red Bull chants - we were “outed” pretty quick. I laughed my head off when I discovered that the food service was remarkably worse than that at the Red Bull Arena, and believe me that is saying something (really. diabolical. aneurysm-inducing.). The food certainly tasted better, but I couldn’t believe that a Crab flavored fry stand didn’t actually have any fries at the ready 5 min before half time as 6 separate lines formed behind me. I could go on forever on the food failure of the MLS franchises - but I won’t. I’ll spare you all the ugly metaphors running around my head. Anyway……It was so sunny that I think us natives were melting a little. I’m not used to 80 degrees with sun. It was a full house and the crowd was certainly enthusiastic. The guy behind us was yelling to a player.”You Stink!” and the baby turns to me and says, “Hey Mom, someone stinks!” while fanning her nose. Then she had a secret for me telling me that the Red Bulls were losing at the beginning of the second half (which was totally true at that point). She wasn’t too happy about that. We did come home with the win and a tan. Hubby was super happy which makes me happy. All in all a great Mother’s Day. Kiss your Moms for me!