I’m not crying. I’m not crying. Nope. I’m not crying, I’m just in disbelief that I suddenly have a four year old.
FW turned four last week. He is no longer a baby, no longer a toddler, and sometimes when I look at him, I get a glimpse of what he may look like as a teenager. He has his own truly defined personality, his preferences and dislikes, taste in clothing, and more. He loves running (yay!), riding his bike and playing outside. He is an amazing big brother and a great helper, and I cannot imagine or remember life without him. It seems so long ago!
Spring is definitely here in CLE! We had a beautiful weekend in the ‘burbs, filled with good food and pretty good weather. Friday night, B made us pizza. It had been forever since we had homemade pizza, and I was looking forward to it all week. I got to pick my toppings for my slices, too — it was pepperoni, eggplant, peppers and mushrooms. I love pizza with tons of veggies and also pepperoni on it!
After the kids went to bed, B and I stayed up somewhat late and watched Always Be My Maybe. It was just what I was looking for in my Friday night – a cute, funny romcom. I recommend it, especially if you already love Ali Wong.
Saturday morning FW got up early – like 5 something in the morning – so it was a long day. After breakfast, B went to Home Depot to get some stuff (it’s his second home these days) and then we went to our first event – a playdate with some friends who also have kids. FW had a blast playing on his favorite playground with LM and of course Celia, Maura and Maddie.
After the playground we headed home for lunch. B and FW hit up Home Depot (yes, again – 2x in one day!) while LM napped.. When he got back, it was time for our next adventure – Ruby’s birthday party! It was a party at a local ice cream shop, so I’m sure FW and LM had a good time. (we did too 🙂 )
After ice cream, we were going to try to watch soccer, but all the bars and restaurants nearby were overflowing and LOUD (aka not as kid-friendly as usual), so we just went home.
FW skinned his knees on our jog to the car, so he needed some extra care and wanted a special seat on the couch before dinner. Toddlers are a ton of work but tons of fun sometimes!
After FW and LM had dinner, it was off to bed semi-early and B and I had to figure out what we wanted. We had planned on going out after ice cream, but since it was too crowded, ended up not sure what to do for food. B was craving buffalo wings, so we ended up doing some takeout. I got a kids’ meal, which meant it came with a side (salad!) AND a drink.
Sunday morning, I got in a nice run – 6.3 solo miles. I had planned on taking out the jogging stroller, but B andFW and LM had breakfast and I got out semi-early (at least for a weekend). It was nice to still be out a little later than usual.
The day was somewhat productive. We did some meal prep, some cleaning, some playing, and some walking. It ended up being a nice day outside so B also got some outdoor chores in.
We ended the day with a jog around the block. FW ran pretty much the whole way!
This weekend is brought to you by the letter F. F is for First birthday, Friends, Family and Food — all wonderful things and well, I’m still smiling over what an amazingly wonderful weekend it was.
Friday was LM’s first birthday. That’s right, LM turned one over the weekend and I can’t believe it! While I’m still emotionally recovering, we had a blast celebrating. Friday celebrations started off early – I took the afternoon off and we were able to get the kids early from daycare to spend some time at the playground. Both LM and FW loved the swings.
And then we took LM to get her first ice cream. No photos of her, but FW loved his 🙂
Friday night, B and I actually got in a date night. My parents came into town, so B and I snuck out to grab drinks.
And then we had tickets to see the Indians – they won!
We even made it out for an after dinner drink on East 4th.
Saturday came early (especially after staying out late Friday), but was filled with celebrations — it was LM’s party! She enjoyed her first cake.
B’s mom made the cake and cupcakes – isn’t she amazing?!
LM thought so. She got frosting in her nose 🙂
The weather was PERFECT and FW enjoyed playing with his friends, cousins and of course, me.
After Saturday’s perfect weather, Sunday turned out stormy. We managed to catch a break in the rain and made it to the Zoo with my parents.
LM is still a little too young to enjoy it, but FW had such a blast. His favorite animals are the giraffes and elephants, and he got in some quality time with both.
Monday morning my parents left, and we hit up the local Memorial Day parade. It starts about 2 miles from our house, so B rode with the kids on the bike and I ran over.
Post-parade included some hot dogs at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, followed by a run home.
Aftet naptime, it was time for bbq #2, this time at B’s uncle’s house.
FW had some more fun and food with his cousins and LM did some assisted walking.
And that was the end of our perfect three-day weekend. Cheers to the unofficial start of summer!
Wow, what a fun-filled jam-packed weekend. We packed so many activities into two days! Why? Because FW turned TWO on Saturday. So, we made sure to do as much fun things we could to celebrate him. It was great to make him feel special, especially since he now has a 1-month-old sister and he has to share the attention with!
Saturday morning we started the day with his favorite – pancakes!
They even brought out in muffin with a candle on it to blow out and sang Happy Birthday. He loved it!
After breakfast, we headed to the zoo. FW gets a membership from one of his uncles for his birthday and it’s such a perfect gift!
Francis LOVES animals, especially giraffes and elephants. So, the zoo was pretty much his ideal birthday location.
We even checked out the new Asian Highland’s exhibit.
We were there for several hours, and I discovered that they even have a nursing room for moms! It has two rockers, a privacy partition, children’s books and more. Yes, we may have spent some time in there.
At night, we all headed to the Indians game. FW seemed more interested in the mascot and music than the game. He did love “the baseball song” of course.
My parents also came in town to celebrate the birthday! They got in Saturday night, and we started off Sunday with a walk to breakfast.
That afternoon, we had people over to celebrate FW. B grilled, and my mom and I helped with the sides.
B’s mom made a great birthday cake – it was a bear with a soccer ball! FW loved it.
I know I had a good time – and I hope FW did, too. I can’t my little buddy is already 2 years old!
Let me let you in on a secret. There are some days that I feel like a bad mom.
Earlier in the week I had one of those days. I picked up FW from daycare and knew it was going to be a hard night. His teacher mentioned that he hadn’t napped, didn’t eat much of his lunch, didn’t want to drink anything during the day, and he was cranky. Oh, and he was crying when I got there – which he never is.
So, instead of taking him to the playground after daycare as I was originally thinking we’d do, I popped him in the carseat and we headed home. Bad mom move number one. Good moms take their children to the swings on sunny days!
What good moms do (not what we did)
As soon as I got him in the car, he started crying. And then of course the second we pulled into our apartment parking lot, he passed out. Because he hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before (we were up with him from midnight until 2 a.m.) and because he hadn’t slept much at daycare, I decided to let him nap. Bad mom move number two. Good moms don’t let their kids nap after 5 p.m.!
After we got back to the apartment, I thought I’d let him play for a bit while I prepared dinner. That wasn’t happening – the second I put him down on the floor he cried. And I’m not talking about the little baby whimpering that goes on for a few minutes but then goes away when you distract them – no, I’m talking about the sobbing, head down on the floor type of crying that is typically inconsolable. So, I picked him up in one arm and attempted to chop of veggies with my right hand. Bad mom move number three. Good moms NEVER use a knife while carrying their baby. AND good moms don’t multitask with their baby; they give their children their undivided attention.
FW didn’t really stop crying and made the sign for hungry, so I attempted to put him in his high chair to feed him. He continued to cry, so I put on some music. Still cried, so I resorted to turning on Elmo’s Song video on YouTube. Bad mom move number four. Good moms don’t allow screen time, especially on children under two years old.
Bad mom’s savior
FW settled down for a little bit, so I attempted to continue to make dinner and feed him. I gave him some zucchini and sweet potato. He threw it on the floor immediately. I gave him some spinach muffin and cheese. That landed on the floor as well. Then, I tried some bread and peanut butter. He shook his head and pushed all the food on the floor, dramatically picking up the peanut butter bread and dropping it – of course it landed peanut butter side down. I tried and tired again, but eventually gave up and ended up giving him some jarred peaches and graham crackers. Bad mom move number five. Good moms feed their children balanced meals and give them whatever you’re eating. And of course you don’t give in – they’ll eat if they’re hungry!
You can guess where the night ended. After FW’s not-so-well-rounded meal, because B being out late buying paint for the house, I was in charge of putting FW to bed. Which of course ended up being late and past his bedtime (and meant he ultimately cried himself to sleep … because, well, bad mom, again). And then instead of spending the evening cleaning or making food for FW, I caught up on work emails and started packing up 1 box of kitchen stuff for the move.
I’m not a hoarder, but this is the embarrassing state of my apartment right now …
I know that he won’t remember days like this and that we’re doing the best we can, but sometimes it’s hard to be a good mom 100% of the time. Does anyone else feel this way?
I’m not gonna lie, traveling has slowed down a bit since FW was born eight months ago. Since then, the only places we’ve gone outside of Cleveland have been New York to see my family and Columbus for a weekend getaway. But we finally got in a little family vacation, with a trip to Asheville and Atlanta.
One of the highlights of Asheville was the trip to the Biltmore. If you haven’t been before, I highly recommend it. AND if you’re traveling with a baby – it’s definitely doable! Here are some tips to make it work:
5 Tips to Experiencing The Biltmore with a Baby
1. Go early. We bought tickets for 9 a.m. and got to the house around that time. It was great- not only was it nearly empty (look at all my photos – where are all the people?!) but it was prime time for FW. He is a morning person and naps well in the a.m. so going there when he was in a good mood – and then sleepy – was perfect! He was great for the self-guided house tour and even napped a little bit.
Selfie when got there. See – nobody on the lawn or anywhere!
Snoozing in the Halloween room at the Biltmore
2. Buy tickets in advance.
Don’t waste time going to the ticket office the day-of your visit. You’ll either waste time in line or not be able to get in and see the house when you want (fact- this happened to B and I a few years ago when we first went to Asheville around Christmastime. We went to get tickets the day of and they were sold out!). Instead, buy tickets in advance. I’ve been told that some AAA offices sell discount tickets (not the ones in Cleveland, sadly), but if you buy your tickets more than week in advance, the Biltmore often offers a discount. And if you’re going with a baby, great news – they’re free!
3. Travel light.
My definition of “traveling light” has changed significantly since FW was born. Babies need so much stuff! But for the Biltmore, since I knew we’d be walking around a lot and have a baby to carry, I wanted to bring as little stuff as possible. And we did! In my Baggu (which has become my all-purpose FW bag) I had our Skip Hop diaper changing system with some diapers and wipes, 2 small toys, a bottle, my wallet, my Baby Bjorn and our tickets. That was it. And guess what – I didn’t even use any of the toys OR the bottle during the trip!
4. Go stroller-less if possible.
Yes, the Biltmore lets you bring in strollers (yay for them!) but there are TONS of stairs in the house. Knowing this, we opted to go stroller-less and were very happy. B wore FW in our backpack carrier (I also had my Baby Bjorn in case FW didn’t like the backpack – it was our first time using it for a long time period) and it worked out perfectly. We were able to go up all the stairs and not miss any of the exhibits. We were even able to go for a walk around the grounds, including visiting the ponds and gardens, without having to worry about the terrain, more stairs, etc. Which brings me to the last tip …
5. Explore more than just the house.
The Biltmore is more than just the beautiful historic home. It has several gardens, a village (with a winery!), walking trails, ponds, etc. If your baby is being good, explore as much of it as possible! And if you’re going early (see tip #1), you’ll find you have much of the grounds to yourself.
Taking in the view
Visiting the indoor orchid exhibit
FW enjoying his walk to Bass Pond
I highly recommend you visit the Biltmore the next time you’re in Asheville. It’s a great place to check out – with or without a baby!
If you are anything like me and my friends, your Facebook feed has been full of reasons why 2016 was the worst year ever and people beyond ready to welcome in 2017. I even saw this trailer for a fake horror movie about the year:
And while not everything went as hoped in 2016, I can’t complain toooooo much. Why? Well, one big reason – FW. But 2016 was a pretty good year and when I was talking with B about how the year had gone, it was easy to come up with some reasons why. Here are 9 reasons*: 1. FW was born! FW was born in June of 2016, so the year can’t be considered all bad 😉
This was taken in the hospital when we were about to take him home!
2. I had a healthy, relatively easy pregnancy. I was pregnant for about half of 2016 and I was able to remain active, walking and running, throughout – and I am so grateful of that!
A wedding a week or so before FW was born
A morning walk the week FW was born
5k race at 39 weeks pregnant
And yes, I had the same pose in all the above photos. There’s not much you can do with your arm when your belly sticks out so much!
3. B got a new job! While his commute is a little worse, he is so much happier at his new gig and I’m so proud of him for all he is accomplishing.
4. The Indians were in the World Series! No, we didn’t win. BUT I did get to go to a game in the ALDS AND Game 7 of the World Series and it was great.
5. The Cavs became NBA World Champions and B and I got to celebrate – both the night of them winning (we went out and partied with all the other Cavs fans to celebrate) and then the parade, the day before FW was born.
6. Great travels. We kicked off the year with a trip to Mexico City (I can’t wait to go back with FW!), got in a trip to Boston for our 5 year anniversary and spent a weekend in Columbus after FW was born.
7. Great friends. I felt so much love this year from so many great friends. I had a wonderful baby shower with so many of my great friends in Cleveland, had another great year part of Ladies Craft Beer Society (I love these ladies!), and even was visited by some other great friends – my BFF Jane came and visited before FW was born and Katie and Caitlin visited shortly afterwards.
Me and Cuoghi – she threw me the best shower!
some of the Ladies Craft Beer Society at my baby shower.
Jane was excited to see me and touch the belly 🙂
girls night out with Katie and Caitlin!
8. I got to spend another year as a Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassador. I’m so grateful to represent the Cleveland Marathon and even though I was just about 9 months pregnant, I’m so glad I got to be part of the group again and run the 5k/10k Challenge Series.
Cari and I before the race! We both did the 10k
with my fellow ambassadors
9. We got a new car! I didn’t realize a new car could excite me so much, but I LOVE our Subaru so much. We got it over the summer and I am loving using it this winter!
I know many of us are looking forward to having 2016 behind us – and while I had a great year, I’m pretty excited to see what 2017 has in store for us! I have a feeling it’s going to be a pretty eventful year.
Questions for you:
What’s something good that happened to you this year?
What are you looking forward to in 2017?
*yes, there are 9 reasons. Not 10. Why? Because 9 is a pretty awesome number, because I’m recovering from a sinus infection and that’s all my brain could handle and because I’m joining with the Thinking Out Loud linkup where there are NO RULES except write what’s on your mind!)
I had a LONG weekend (took part of Wednesday off) and I can’t believe that it’s over. Unfortunately our plans to go back east and spend Thanksgiving with my family fell through, but we were able to spend the holiday in Cleveland with B’s family. Which meant we got to do quite a few things on our days off. Here were 10 of those things …
1. Running the Cleveland Turkey Trot. It’s a 5 mile race and was my first real race after FW was born that I had signed up for. I tried to keep up with B’s siblings for most of the run (B watched FW during the race and cheered us on) – but since I’m still getting back into shape and they’re mid-marathon training, it wasn’t an easy feat! In any case, I finished pretty strong and better than I expected – I had an 8:40/mile average page.
2. Getting dressed up and celebrating the holiday with B’s family. Any excuse to put FW in a cardigan and bowtie 🙂
3. Cooking! B and I brought cauliflower to the big meal. We roasted a few whole heads with a dijon dressing and then also made a cauliflower, date and pignoli nut dish.
4. Cuddling with great grandma. This was FW of course 🙂
5. Working out. I got in 4 runs and some kettle bells on my days off.
6. Bundling up for a walk downtown. It was chilly for the first few days – but at least it made for perfect ice skating weather! (not for me – but for those people in the picture)
7. Shopping! We did some shopping for Christmas gifts and bought a few books and teething supplies for FW. (Side note – teething is THE WORST.)
8. Walking. FW, B and I went for a walk when it was sunny and in the upper 40s one day. It felt great to see the sun and not be super bundled up!
9. Bowling. B’s family’s post-Thanksgiving tradition is bowling and then a big Italian dinner. I did pretty well for me (82!) but as you can see, it wasn’t enough to get in the finals – check out all the high scorers in my lane!
10. Lots of eating. I mean – it was Thanksgiving, after all. B and I had some good meals even outside of our Thanksgiving Day meal. Including some great Chinese takeout from our favorite place (Wonton Gourmet)and then feasting on all of the new Halo Top flavors. Seriously – I almost squealed (okay, I did squeal) when I saw all these flavors at Whole Foods!
And now, it’s back to reality for a few days at least. I have a busy week ahead of me at work so hopefully it will fly by.
Holy moly…it’s November. I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. I feel like it should still be August. Honestly, I don’t really know where August went … I guess having a baby makes time fly even faster?
It was a really good weekend for us in Cleveland. We even started out Friday with semi-matching outfits for FW and me. Okay, I know we’re not matching, but we’re both wearing grey so I was pretty excited. So was he apparently!
And then Friday at work we had a dog in the office! I love puppy therapy days … seriously, I needed it since work has been kinda stressful and busy lately. But puppies make it all better!
Friday night B and I spent some time out by ourselves. We went out for drinks and dinner at the Plum Cafe & Kitchen.
Check out all that deliciousness in a bowl!
Saturday morning started off with a walk outside. It was in the 40s so we bundled up!
But it was GORGEOUS out.
We then decided to go out for brunch. This fruit and granola bowl at Phuel is my favorite.
And then it was time for a trip to the West Side Market. I love wearing FW and this was the first time I’ve worn him facing out! I think he liked it.
That afternoon it was time for Ladies Craft Beer Society! This month we made decorative towels and had some tasty bubbly AND fall beers. I finally had my favorite – Warlock!
FW got an extra dose of Grandparent Time this weekend – he spent Friday night with B’s mom and the rest of the weekend with my parents!
I neglected to take any photos Friday night with B’s mom, but FW got to spend some time with her because B and I had tickets to the Indians playoff game!!
It was a great night for some baseball and seasonably warm (80 degrees!). Oh yeah, and we won!
We followed the game with some local thin crust pizza. I love Pizza 216’s dough.
Saturday we woke up and it felt like fall was here! We decided to take my parents away from downtown for the day and spent some time in Burton, Ohio for their Oxtoberfest AND apple butter festival.
We watched people make apple butter and of course ought some to go.
After the festival, we made quick stop at Ohio wine country. I love Spring River for its views and I’m glad my parents got to check it out.
We started Sunday with a run (faster than my previous runs!) trip to the Market, a walk around Ohio City and brunch at Le Petit Triangle.
My mom and I split the lemon curd French toast and the Croque Madame. They were so so good!
B also got this fancy coffee drink. I got to have the whipped cream but he enjoyed the rest of it which had grand marinier and whiskey I think.
After that it was time to say goodbye to my parents – which is always so sad. Luckily we were headed right to Sofia’s cross country meet so that helped keep my mind off of them leaving. FW was thrilled to cheer on his cousin at her race.
It was fun watching the kids run!
And then it was already nearly time for Sunday family dinner with B’s family. We ended the weekend with a fall meal – beef stew and apple crisp. And of course, milk for the little guy. Cheers to a great week!
Some questions for you:
Did you enjoy any fall meals? What’s your favorite fall meal?