Best Weekend Of The Year 2016

September 13th, 2016

The best weekend of the year, when New England finally remembers what makes it the best – fall weather! food! small town fairs! – and gets its act together for the next 2 months.

Past years: 2015 part 1 /part 2  2014 2013 2012

Friday: Greek Food Festival

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Evan hatched some Pokemon eggs on our way home.

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I can’t pronounce the Greek name of those cookies, but I imagine they translate to “OMG SO MUCH POWDERED SUGAR”.

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DO YOU SEE IT? FALL IS COMING.

Saturday: Ledyard Fair & Taste of Italy

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Her best life, for sure.

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Giant meatballs!

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Seafood ravioli in lobster cream sauce!

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Garlic knots!

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Sunday: Mystic Eats

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Abbott’s lobster roll

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Del’s frozen lemonade

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Mystic Pizza

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Carolina pulled pork slider with sweet pickles

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Clam fritters with garlic aoili

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Mystic Drawbridge ice cream

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I’m pretty sure when your face looks like that after the weekend, it’s been a good time. Poor Finn was either attached to my body or sleeping the the stroller the whole time and is in none of this year’s photos. Just think, next year he’ll be able to eat most of this stuff and enjoy himself much as we do!

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One Big Happy Hello

September 12th, 2016

A big happy thank you to Gymboree for sponsoring this post! They’ve been delightful to work with and we’re all thrilled with the new fall clothes. Be sure to check out their giveaway for an amazing baby bundle here

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After we came home from the hospital the first time, we didn’t really have a chance to adjust to our new 4-kid family before poor Baby Finnegan had to go back to the hospital for his light therapy. When we finally did make it home, school had started and the big kids were gone all the time. It’s made our first two weeks home feel sort of disjointed and hectic, not the calm, cuddly, peaceful time I had imagined in my head. It hasn’t helped that along with school, it was the first week of soccer, E had to go back to work and the toddler has been trying to give up napping, so even WITHOUT a brand new baby things would have been a little crazy. Still, we are so excited about our one big happy hello moment – completing our family with baby #4.

One thing that HAS been just as good (or better!) than I could have hoped is how Evan, Caroline, and Lincoln have all fallen in love with their new baby brother. They adore him completely. It’s such a joy to see and makes my heart want to burst every time I find one of them patting his head or singing Twinkle Twinkle to calm him down or saying “I just LOVE Baby Finn!” Obviously, this isn’t my first new-sibling rodeo and I’ve learned a few things over the past 3 kids. I think applying them all has really made this transition easier. Here are some of the things that have worked for us:

  1. Don’t change anything you don’t have to in the days before the baby comes. Linc is 2 now and probably getting close to potty learning, but we didn’t even consider trying right now. That’s a big change for a small person and adjusting to sharing Mommy with a baby is hard enough. I couldn’t avoid sending the big kids to school the same week the baby came home, but we kept our routine as normal and typical as possible. No new expectations or demands, no new charts or schedules, and I cut back on this year’s fall enrichment activities so they have more time at home in the evening to relax.
  2. Bring the kids to the hospital to meet the new baby. The kids visited us twice before we got to come home, which gave them a chance to interact with Finnegan without having him immediately in “their” space. It also helped them build up excitement for the moment when he (and I) would be released  and back under the same roof with the rest of the family. We let them all hold and cuddle the baby as much as they wanted in the hospital and made a Big Deal about how proud we were when they were loving and gentle.
  3. Put them to work! “Helping” with the baby is a favorite chore around here, especially for Lincoln. He loves bringing diapers and burp cloths for Finn or snacks and drinks for Mommy. Caroline and Evan are expected to do the same stuff, as well as contribute to general household well-being by feeding the dog, picking up after themselves, and helping Linc with things that are slightly above his abilities. Everyone likes to feel useful and important, and they all love their Big Kid Helper status.
  4. Do your best to give everyone some one-on-one attention. I know that’s easier said than done, especially if you’re adding a 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc etc child to the family. Just do your best. I’ve taken Caroline alone with me to do errands or pick up food, E took Linc with him to Home Depot and watched a movie with Evan, my mother reads endless books patiently to anyone who asks. Even if I am holding or feeding Finnegan, I try to make room next to me for whoever needs a snuggle.  It’s easy to get touched out, exhausted and want nothing more than 10 minutes of quiet, but try to remind yourself it’s not forever and some day you’ll kids who don’t even want to be seen with you, let alone sit in your lap. This too shall pass, and probably way faster than you want it to when you look back.
  5. Accept help. The more time you can spend with the kids – or the more people around who can also spend time with the kids – the less likely they’ll see the baby as an attention-stealing monster. It can be tempting to try to prove you can do everything on your own (and you probably can, Supermom) but you don’t HAVE to turn down help. Try saying yes. A freezer meal means you could spend that time snuggling instead of cooking. Someone whisking away older kids for a playdate means you can take a nap while the baby does. Someone who wants to come over and just hold your baby for an hour means you can take a shower. I am one of those people who says “No, really, I’m fine! We’re good! I don’t need anything!” but when people ignore me – and I’m so lucky to have people in my life who ignore me – and help anyway it’s amazing. The less stressed you are, the easier it is to make a smooth transition to +1 more kids without major meltdowns.

Another way to get ready for baby is to shop for newborn essentials like onesies, socks, bibs, blankets and hats. Gymboree has all that and more covered with 100% combed cotton baby items, which are crazy soft and incredibly cute too. The newborn styles are easy to mix-and-match (who has time to hunt for the ONE pair of matching leggings on 3 hours of sleep?) and reversible bibs and blankets mean you can get twice the use out of them.

One of my favorite things about Gymboree is their kid clothes LOOK like kid clothes, whether you’re just looking for comfy play outfits or dressier looks for family photos. I also love matchy-sibling stuff and they are super great at carrying a theme/styles through their baby, toddler and kid’s collections each season. I had so much fun putting together looks for each of the kids and then surprising them with these fun orange boxes.

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After everyone tried on their new clothes, they helped Baby Finnegan open his box and see what his new outfit looked like.

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They are DELIGHTED with the outdoors/wolf theme, and I think it’s so cute that I have a whole “pack” of kids.

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You can expect to see these clothes in our weekly photos a LOT this fall – soft, comfy, and stylish (plus easy care) check all the boxes for the things that become instant favorites. Linc’s outfit comes from the Mountain Trail collection for toddlers, and Evan’s is from the matching boy’s stuff. Caroline’s owl dress and leggings are part of the mix & match collection.

And now for a GIVEAWAY!

Did you know September is one of the most popular birth months? To celebrate, Gymboree teamed up with 6 popular brands to bring parents the ultimate bundle for baby. They’re giving away over $2,000 in prizes from Gymboree, Land of Nod, Seventh Generation, 4moms, Baby Bjorn, and munchkin. You can enter to win this AMAZING prize pack by clicking here. It’s an AMAZING bundle, don’t miss out!

www.gymboree.com/babybundle

I will also surprise and delight one person who comments on this post with a $50 Gymboree gift card. (I apologize for taking down the Rafflecopter, I misunderstood some directions in my new-baby exhaustion fog and it’s totally my fault. I’ll still choose someone at random who comments on this post between yesterday and Monday Sept 19th with a $50 gift card.)

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My Week(306) in iPhone Photos

September 11th, 2016

Now that I spend 80% of my day sitting on the couch nursing a baby, the bad news my week in iPhone photos is going to be a little repetitive. The good news is it’s almost all pictures of a tiny squishy baby, so it’s not the worst thing in the world.

Sunday:

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First time being worn!! In our very most special wrap.

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Super windy lake, but at least we made it ONE more time

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First baby of mine to ever take a pacifier

Monday:

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THAT’S RIGHT

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Poor yellow baby (now he’s a blue baby)

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When you turn on the jets in the bath you get a LOT of bubbles

Tuesday:

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Ready for school!

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How he feels about the hospital

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Baby’s Second Hanna Jams (lobsters were first)

Wednesday:

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Friends don’t let friends have a baby without bringing them their favorite wine

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Pretending he’s still a baby too

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Working on his thigh rolls

Thursday:

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My life is now this…

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…and this…

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And three times a week this (chasing a toddler during soccer).

Friday:

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Helping me make the bed

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He looks so pleased with his noodle and his juice

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FAAAAACE

Saturday:

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Living their best lives

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Bzzzzzzzz

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Presents from Gymboree as part of a campaign! I’ll have the post up tomorrow!

I’m all caught up! Now I just have to edit a bazillion photos of our weekend so I can get THOSE up before the end of the week and then I might just spend the rest of the week napping instead of blogging. I’m sure you understand.

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My Week(305) in iPhone Photos

September 10th, 2016

A whole week late but DONE. I can’t skip the week I had a baby – you would miss so many brand new baby photos! There will be a lot more babywearing selfies happening from this week forward.

Sunday:

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Living that #lakelife

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Goodbye lake! See you next summer!

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I really need to have a baby soon, I have no clothes that fit

Monday:

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Really very much so done with this

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SO HAPPY TO BE IN THE HOSPITAL

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Hospital crushed ice = perfection

Tuesday:

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BRAND NEW!

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Paparazzi attack already

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Someone missed me while I wasn’t home

Wednesday:

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I’m quickly remembering what the middle of the night looks like

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Can’t stop won’t stop

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Actual first day picture, taken by someone else

Thursday:

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Squishy faaaaace

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Naps

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Gave the baby to the toddler so everyone could relax

Friday:

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Early morning wake up call

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PEACE OUT

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So chubby

Saturday:

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I forgot how much I hate carrying these things around

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The toddler missed us all

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And I missed the toddler too

Even though they let us go home, the whole next week was full of doctor’s appointments and a trip back to the hospital for Finn’s jaunice. It’s my least favorite and it seems to happen every time I have a baby. One more 2 week check up to get through and then hopefully we go to normal, infrequent appointments and I can spend all that time snuggling babies instead.

 

 

 

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First Day of School 2016

September 8th, 2016

The day the kids actually started first and second grade, I was in the hospital with baby #4, having given birth almost exactly 24 hours earlier. Luckily, before I went into the hospital, I forced them into school uniforms to take these pictures, because I figured faking it by 2 days is something they would forget pretty soon but if someday I put together a book of First Day photos and this year was missing they would notice. But because I faked them just a little, I only have a few and I didn’t get the shot of Linc crying because he didn’t get on the bus that I was sure I would end up with. Although from what the adults here at home reported, Linc slept through the whole thing and didn’t care in the slightest.

It’s a good thing I did have a baby this week, because THESE kids are clearly no longer babies and I need a baby fix. For comparison, here’s 2014 and 2015, where my children are much more appropriately sized and not these big kids who seem to have taken their place.

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