When You Have a Good Weekend You Start Monday Tired

Happy Monday! Can you believe the weekend is over? I’m SO tired after celebrating a bachelorette. I can NOT hang like I used to. I was out until 1:30 a.m. Saturday/Sunday … but I digress. Here’s a look at how the overall weekend looked:

Friday night I ended up missing out on some of the bachelorette activities and stayed in with the fam. We ordered sushi and had dinner on the porch, which was an excellent decision for a beautiful night.  Full disclosure – the kids had grilled cheese and tofu nuggets. BUT LM ended up also eating some of the rice and seaweed salad!

 

Saturday morning, B was out golfing, so we did some playing inside on our own.

But when B got home, we rode our bikes (I ran) to the playground, and then to the farmers market!

Later that afternoon, I realized both LM and I were in dresses  – so naturally we had to grab a pic.

But then it was time to head out for the bachelorette! 

We celebrated by having drinks, dinner, more drinks, dancing and more. Is there any better way to celebrate your future sister-in-law?

We stayed out LATE. I was out until 1:30 a.m., which was earlier than most of the crew. #feelingOld

But, I have 2 kids who wake up when the sun’s up most days, and staying out so late meant not as much sleep as usual. Thankfully, B let me sleep in and I got up just before the family went out for breakfast. B had planned to take the kids to pancakes  while I slept, but I have serious FOMO and had to join them. So, I ran to meet them there.

And then did a little run on the way home, putting me at 4ish for the day. Not bad considering I was out partying late!

The rest of the day was spent relaxing and hanging out. I even got in a nap when both kids were napping = win! But still — I need more sleep than that. Here’s to hoping for a restful week!

 

Questions for you:

  • How late is late for you if you’re going out? 11pm is past my bedtime…1:30 a.m. was LATE!
  • What’s your go-to sushi order?

Feeling Like Myself – Date Night, Racing, Kid Time and More

I have to say, I had a great weekend. It included everything I love – family time, running, good food AND a date night. And, it made me really feel like myself again!

Friday, schools were closed, so I stayed home most of the day with the kids. It was rainy, so once again we entertained ourselves indoors.Saturday started bright and early. I had signed up for a ten mile race, which fit perfectly into my training schedule, and B, FW and LM dropped me off at the start and cheered me on along the way.It was actually a great race! Even though it was 40 and super windy, I still managed a PR and ran much faster than I expected.The afternoon included a trip to the West Side Market, coffee shops, some donuts and hanging out.That night, B and I had plans to celebrate our anniversary with a night out!We started the night with drinks at Bar 32, which has a great super high view of downtown.And then, we got dinner. We enjoyed some oysters, fish and split a lobster roll.

Sunday morning, we slept in (!!) and then it was time to take FW to a birthday party. He had a blast running around and playing with his classmates.

I have to say, it was a really, really good weekend. Getting to spend a night out with B was amazing. I felt like myself again. Enjoying a not-rushed, no meltdown dinner, grabbing drinks and not waking up early was amazing. AND getting in a 10 mile run by myself? Those combined were great and reminded me that I’m so much more than a mom.  I felt guilty at first, but had to remember to turn the mom-guilty off and remind myself that spending 5 hours (approximately how many hours of their waking time) away from my kids was a GOOD thing for all. Plus, we got in plenty of other quality time with our day off and the birthday party.

And now, I can’t wait until we can do it again!

Some questions for you:

  • Any races this weekend?
  • What do you do that makes you feel like YOU?

March Comes Out Like a Snowy, Fluffy Lamb

HAPPY APRIL! Though looking at the weather we had this weekend, you wouldn’t know it was April. That’s because we got SNOW (a few inches!) on Saturday night into Sunday. It may have looked pretty, but I’m ready for spring already!

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s a little bit about the whole weekend.

Friday started off with my long run. I typically do long runs on Saturdays, but opted instead to wake up at the crack of dawn Friday and run in the rain before anyone was up. No idea why, but it felt good to have my 8 miles done with before my day started!

Friday evening included a haircut … finally! I was planning on donating my hair and had to chop it all off to do so.

During the process I snapped a pic

And here’s the after shot! And I’m holding my hair … wow!

We spent some time indoors this weekend because it was rainy on Saturday. That meant lots of book reading!

And then it stopped raining, so I was able to get out for a stroller run with FW. I had done my long run early Friday, so only had to do 3 miles. It had been so long since we had gone out with the stroller, and it wasn’t easy!

And we ended the day with some pasta making!

The finished product. Chicken scallopini!

Sunday we woke up to snow! The 50 degrees from Saturday was gone. We were back to sweater weather.

The rest of the day included some bagels (unpictured) with B’s sister  and brother-in-law, naps, more indoor play and dinner with B’s family. All unpictured. I was a bad blogger at the end of the weekend and captured NOTHING on camera. Whoops!

Thank goodness the weather is looking up for this week – as pretty as it is, I’m done with this snow.

Some questions for you:

  • Did it snow near you this weekend?
  • Have you ever donated your hair?

 

We Traveled More than 8 Hours In the Car With 2 Kids and Lived to Tell About It

Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go … Whoever wrote that idyllic song probably wasn’t traveling with two kids under the age of three during the holidays. Because just a few months ago, we packed up the car, put the kids in their car seats, and drove the 7+ hours to Nonna and Grandpa’s house for the holidays. And let me tell you, it was anything but idyllic. Babies were screaming, naps were missed, toddlers were crying “I wanna get out!” and that was only in the first hour. But we survived and here are some tips we learned along the way:

Don’t Expect it to be the Same as a Pre-Kid Trip

Before we went on our first road trip with my now toddler, I asked one of my friends if she had any tips. She replied, “Expect it to be awful and throw all your fond road trip memories out the window.” Is that harsh? Yes. But it makes a point. Long trips with two young kids are not easy. They’re not relaxing. But they don’t have to be awful; just manage your epectations and be prepared (see below).

B and I in Vietnam – traveling BEFORE kids

Pack Enough Toys/Activities/Games

Toddlers and infants are not made to sit in one place for eight hours. (But really, who is?) That means an eight hour car trip can be anything but fun for them, which means it’s not fun for you. So bring activities to distract them. Here’s a rule of thumb I like to follow: bring at least one new toy or activity per hour of your car trip. So for a six hour car ride, here are some of the things we bring for the toddler:

  1. Coloring book/paper and washable crayons
  2. Matchbox cars
  3. Paint-with-water activity book – we like the Melissa & Doug Water Wow! books
  4. CDs – we like to go to our local library before a trip and pick out kid-friendly CDs to listen to. Our toddler gets a kick out of picking them out and then choosing them during the car trip.
  5. Books – I like to bring 3-4 and let my toddler pick out 1-2 himself. This one, Let’s Play, is a good one that is interactive. 
  6. Post-it notes – they can stick them places and then you can clean up easily. They can color on them with aforementioned crayons. They can stick them together to make shapes.

For the baby, we brought things like baby books, rattles, blankets, and toys that lit up and made noise.

Bring Snacks

Bring plenty of snacks and food for the trip. In addition to meals, plan easy-to-eat and less-mess snacks for the car or any stops. Bonus points if the snacks are new or not part of your usual repertoire. Some of our favorites include Annie’s fruit snacks, pouches, yogurt covered raisins, Annie’s cheddar bunnies, Barbara’s Puffins cereal, grapes, sliced pear, grilled cheese cut up into fun shapes.

Be Flexible

Don’t go into the car trip with a rigid plan. Will you sit in the front or in the back with the kids? Be prepared to do either. Will you stop exactly two times for one hour each and make it to your final destination in exactly nine hours? Maybe not (what if the baby has a blowout after your 2nd stop?). Will your kids nap at their usual naptime? Possibly. It’s okay (and probably a good idea) to make a plan before you get into the car, but just be prepared to throw it out the window or adapt if needed.  

Plan Stops

If you don’t have a hard timeline (see above tip: be flexible), plan a few fun stops along the way. For an eight-hour car trip, it’s nice to plan one or two stops where our toddler can run around and use up some energy. For us, this has meant finding a park that is not far off the route (bonus points if there’s a playground) and near some kid-friendly restaurants so that we can stop, grab a bite to eat and then run around and play. Yes, this takes time, but it makes the trip much more fun for our toddler.

Leave at Night or Around Naptime

We have only done this once and it was the best. After about one hour of crying and whining, the kids slept for almost the whole ride. Getting them back to bed once we got to our final destination wasn’t easy, but it made for a quiet and hassle-free car ride.

Have a Secret Weapon (or Two)

Sometimes all the toys, snacks and stops are not enough. That’s when it’s time for your secret weapon. For our baby, this can mean a few extra toys that light up or play music. For the toddler, this means toys that aren’t used on a regular basis, such as his toy laptop and my iPad with Sesame Street or other kids’ TV downloaded on it. We don’t always have to bring these out, but they have definitely helped make the trips easier.

Questions for you:

  • What’s the longest you’ve ever traveled in the car with kids?
  • What age do you find easiest to travel with kids?

Note-  this post contains a few affiliate links. And aversion of this post originally appeared on Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine’s website.

A weekend of celebrations

It was a busy, busy weekend for us- it reminded me of our weekends before we had kids when we just packed it all in. We had 2 birthday celebrations, brunch and more.

Friday started out with a work of Saint Patrick’s day party. We play the game with lucky charms and sadly I did not win.

Fridays during Lent mean no meat. B was originally going to make some veggie tacos, but we didn’t have any of the ingredients (whoops!) so we ordered takeout. Sushi is pretty much my favorite.

Saturday morning I had either a 5k on the schedule or 7 miles – I opted to do 7 miles and I’m glad I did. It was hard – I haven’t run that much since before LM was born and more than a year ago, but I was happy to have finished it.

Saturday afternoon, we celebrated B’s mom’s birthday. We started with some fun at an escape room.

And then, it was off to shuffleboard.

FW had fun hanging out with his cousins.

FW had fun until he took a spill. He split his lip in a few places and it was a little traumatic for all involved.

Sunday morning started with St. Patrick’s Day brunch! B invited over some friends for some traditional Irish food.

This meant eggs, soda bread, potatoes and lots of meats.

FW had fun playing with Celia.

That afternoon, FW had a birthday party to go to. He and LM were celebrating Clara’s 3rd birthday.

FW had a blast running and jumping around in the gym.

As did LM 🙂

Sunday night, we didn’t have dinner at B’s parents’ house since we had spent half the day with them Saturday. So, we did some meal prep and even made meatballs and sauce – FW was a great helper!

It was a fun but busy weekend – I’m glad we did so much but I’m also hopeful to relax a bit next weekend!

Some questions for you:

  • Are you a Lucky Charms fan?
  • Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Things to Do With a Kid Downtown

Don’t get me wrong – I love our new house in the ‘burbs and all that our new little city has to offer – but I do miss our lives downtown. There was always something to do, always something going on, and it was great walking everywhere (especially to work). And even after we got married and had kids – yes, there was still kid-friendly stuff to do!

Are you thinking of living in downtown CLE with kids? Or just looking for stuff to do with kids downtown? Here are some of the ways we had fun and the things I loved to do downtown with FW:

1. Take advantage of all the free attractions

When you’re a kid, there are so many things that are exciting — and the best part is, so many of these things are free! For example, FW, loves just watching trains, trolleys, buses, boats, etc. These are all things you can see— and ride— downtown. There are several trolleys that ride around downtown for free and you can hop on and hop off whenever you want. Also, FW LOVES looking at pretty much any vehicle, especially trains and boats and airplanes. The best place to do this? Walk down to Voinovich Park. On the walk, you’ll cross over train tracks. At the park you’ll see planes landing into Burke airport as well as boats in the water. If you walk down to the Flats, you’ll also get a glimpse of boats and trains. Walk along the waterfront path near FWD Night Club and you may even be able to catch not only a boat along the water, but also a train cross the bridge. Public Square is also a great, free place for kids. Not only can you watch the buses, but there’s also green space to run around, a splash pad in the summer, ice skating in the winter and plenty of year-round events.

2. Be willing to spend some money

In addition to the free attractions, there are other things to see and do right downtown. Some of the attractions that cater to children include:

3. Know the child-friendly restaurants

My husband and I lived in two apartments downtown, one near East 4th Street and one in Playhouse Square. Both areas had restaurants we’d frequent with our baby and toddler. Some of them include Winking Lizard (they have a kids menu AND a lizard that kids may enjoy checking out), Masthead Brewing Co. (they have high chairs and quick food, which is perfect for kids; it’s also loud, which is great for blending in with your loud baby), Corner Alley (they have games for older kids) and Hofbrauhaus (they have a giant enclosed patio with a playscape and live music). During sporting events or at night, these places can become not as friendly, so we stuck to them mostly during the day. Around the Flats, there also were so many places great for kids because they’re near the water (see above: cool views of boats and trains and bridges) and casual. Some of our favorites include Coastal Taco and Dante’s Inferno. Both are casual, have games for the older kids to play, and are on the louder side, so a screaming child may not get noticed.

There are so many great places to eat downtown, and the best part is, so many of them are child-friendly, especially if you go earlier in the day. If you’re not sure, definitely call ahead and ask.


4. Frequent the family-friendly events

All year long, Cleveland is home to child-friendly events. Most of these are events that people from all over Northeast Ohio attend. Some include:

Whether you’re looking to spend money or not, there’s so much to do in downtown Cleveland year-round. We loved our time living there with our toddler and hope you are able to enjoy some of the fun activities we loved, as well.

Do you live downtown with your baby or small child? OR do you spend a lot of time downtown with your kids? How do you keep them entertained?

A version of this post was shared on NortheastOhioParent.com.

Tips for Living Downtown With a Young Child

It’s been about a year since we moved our then family of three from downtown Cleveland to the suburbs. And while I love how family-friendly our neighborhood is in the ‘burbs, there are so many things I miss about living downtown. When we announced we were expecting, one of the first things people often asked was if we were leaving downtown Cleveland. Many people could not fathom how we could live downtown and have kids. Well, we not only made it work but we LOVED it! If you’re thinking of moving downtown or living downtown with babies or young kids, here are some tips.

1) Find a child-friendly place to live

When I lived downtown, there weren’t many self-proclaimed “child-friendly apartments.” That being said, we made our place child-friendly — we were lucky enough to have a 2-bedroom apartment in a relatively quiet downtown neighborhood before we even brought our son home from the hospital. Some other things to look for in a place to live include:

  • Working elevators — Can you survive with a walk-up apartment? Absolutely; people do it. But you’ll be happy you have an elevator when you’re lugging a stroller and groceries (and diapers!).
  • Lowish level — Bonus points if you’re not too high up in case said elevator breaks down (it’s bound to happen sometime!).
  • In-unit washer/dryer — Kids make a lot of laundry at all hours of the day. Depending on their age, there is spit up, diaper blowouts, other bodily fluids, finger foods, etc. Having an in-unit washer and dryer will make your life so much easier.
  • Close parking — In my apartment, we parked across the street, and sometimes that seemed far — especially in Cleveland winters! When you’re carrying a carseat (and aforementioned diapers and groceries), it will be really nice to have a parking spot that is close to your destination.
  • Thick walls — In our first apartment that we lived (sans baby), one of the interior walls was so thin, you could hear every single conversation that the couple next to us was having. This is NOT something you want when you have kids. You’ll not only be paranoid that your baby’s crying is bothering your neighbors, but you’ll worry that every little sound will wake him/her up.
  • Bonus: Friendly management — Yes, this is important whether or not you have kids, but I personally found myself needing to talk to building management after having kids. Have your parents visiting and need an extra key? Diaper delivery running late and you need to get into the office to retrieve it ASAP? Need to park in a special spot for a day or so as you’re recovering from giving birth? Having an understanding building management — as well as one that loves kids — is a plus.

2) Get used to living with less

Babies and kids themselves don’t take up a lot of space. But there’s so so much stuff that they often come with – bouncers, endless diapers, changing tables, cribs, bassinets, playpens, bottles, etc. Since we had such a small place, we only registered and purchased the essentials. What does that mean? Our baby’s bedroom had a crib and a comfy chair (that had previously been in our living room). We did not have room for the traditional dresser or changing table. So instead, my husband made some drawers that would fit underneath the crib. He also built a changing table that would open up and close back into the wall. We didn’t have a bouncer or many toys. And, it worked out! Most of the time, we simply told family and friends to not get us stuff outside the essentials, and instead donate to our son’s education fund.

3) Be prepared to leave downtown for some necessities

One of the best things about living downtown is being able to walk everywhere — the grocery store (hooray for the downtown Heinen’s!), the mall (GREAT for AC in the summer and warmth in the winter), restaurants, entertainment like a splash pad, etc. But, while living downtown Cleveland is great, it does lack some essentials that you’ll need more of as you have kids. So, be ready to hop in a car and leave downtown for some things. For example, we found great childcare just outside downtown, in Tremont. Our pediatrician was in Lakewood. And, the urgent care that was walking distance from our apartment was unable to see babies, so we needed to seek emergency care elsewhere. Also, I love running with the stroller, but I found many of the sidewalks downtown a little bumpy for running with a baby. So, I typically headed to the Metroparks or Towpath when seeking a longer stroller run.

Some questions for you:

  • When you had kids, did you move? Or if you are thinking of having kids – would you move?
  • Have you lived in a major city with a child or baby?

Please note: I’m now blogging with Northeast Ohio Parent magazine! And, the original version of this post was on their site.