Posts Tagged ‘E’

San Francisco Whirlwind

Friday, October 14th, 2016

This post is going to be long and rambling but also full of pictures because I currently have 30 free minutes and who knows when that will happen again, so I’m just doing this all at once.

We survived flying to California with 4 kids! A 5 week old who basically just eats and sleeps is a very easy traveler. School-age kids who whine until you buy them in-flight entertainment are slightly more difficult but still manageable. A 2-year-old is awful. He only slept on the way home after hours of rolling around and crying. Ok, it wasn’t hours. But it felt like hours to his two parents who were desperate to get him to be quiet so we could nap for at least a few minutes.

I had been really worried about the logistics of our travel, but it worked out well. We brought our Joovy Caboose stroller and both car seats to the airport, along with a Tula baby carrier and a babywearing wrap. After we parked, we loaded everything we could onto the stroller, I wore Linc on my back and we had the kids pull our rolling carry on. At the check-in counter, we checked two big suitcases and Linc’s car seat in a car seat bag. At the gate we checked the stroller and Finnegan’s car seat, so I wore him in the wrap and E wore Linc. On the plane itself, we each had a personal item, I ahad the diaper bag and E had the rolling carry-on with all our wedding clothes. It all worked in reverse in San Francisco perfectly. If we hadn’t been flying direct, we would have also gate checked Linc’s car seat (I was very worried they might lose it).

I won’t tell  you about the bathroom incident on the plane ride, but let’s just say I recommend packing at least an extra set of underpants (if not a whole extra change of clothes) for EVERY child.

For our stay, my parents rented a house from Home Away or Air BnB or one of those places, so our family could all stay together. It was the 6 of us, my mom and dad, my brother, my grandmother and my uncle. A house was SO much nicer than a hotel for a lot of reasons. The big kids had their own room, there was a general area we could all congregate to watch TV or have snacks, we kept the fridge stocked with milk and Diet Coke, and when Finn cried in the middle of the night there was space to take him so he didn’t wake EVERYONE up. I will definitely look for houses vs hotels for any future family travel.

On Friday morning, we had some free time before the wedding obligations and since everyone was on East Coast time we were awake and ready to explore by 8 am. Our first stop was Battery Spencer, an old fort overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. I needed to readjust my expectations of “old” for the West Coast – in Connecticut, 1700’s is old. Battery Spencer was built around 1900, so just slightly old. The actual fort wasn’t impressive but the views of the bridge were AMAZING. It was easy to find, an easy walk from the parking area, and totally doable both with the kids and the stroller.

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After our visit to the fort, we took a very very narrow, very very very VERY windy road through the hills down to Muir Woods. It’s a really popular National Park with a remarkably small parking lot, so we parked in the second overflow lot. Since none of our group had been there before – and there was no cell phone service in the valley – we didn’t know if it was going to be stroller-friendly or not. So I let the kids go ahead with my parents and E hung out with me while I fed and changed Baby Finn, then wrapped him up on my chest so we could go stroller-free. For the record, the main path is a very wide, well-tended boardwalk, so the stroller would have been fine. There are lots and lots of trails but if you do the main one you never have to really hike at all. It took ages to find the rest of my family because our phones only worked half a dozen times in 2 hours, but eventually we met up again.

It was amazingly beautiful and the weather was perfect – nice and cool and quiet. I suspect it’s like that a lot down in the woods. I would very much like to go back some time without so many kids so we can do a full hike up the mountain (hill?) and down to the beach. I have major regrets that we never made it to a beach in California.

P.S. The National Parks offer a year-long pass for active duty military that lets them (plus 3 dependents) in for free. At Muir Woods, kids under 15 were also free. They gave E the card right at the register, no planning ahead needed, so we enjoyed our day for zero dollars.

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I told Caroline this was the area where she could say anything she wanted and she said she wanted ice cream for lunch.

The rest of Friday was the wedding rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. I’ll spare you too many family photos, but the location (the groom’s parents’ newly renovated smart house) was so beautiful.

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They had these instant Fujifilm cameras around for guests to take photos. It was a great idea, except for all the photos the kids wasted (and the ones I wasted. Backlight does not mix with instant photos).

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At about 6:30 pm I made the call that we were done. Taking my kids at their best to a fancy restaurant is tough. Taking my kids who were still on East Coast time after 5 hours of running around is impossible. Evenings are Finn’s fussy time too, so I was at the end of my rope, patience-wise. I felt like kind of a jerk skipping the dinner when I was the maid of honor but I am 100% sure everyone enjoyed themselves a lot more without us there.

And then Saturday was wedding day! I was not the wedding photographer. I wish I had been, but only if someone else had been maid of honor and some other someone else had watched all of my kids all day, because there were so many beautiful details to photograph (not to mention the bride!!) and I didn’t get any of them because I was busy being IN the wedding. I’m just super jealous someone gets this gorgeousness in their portfolio and I only have a handful of pictures to document it.

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This is my brother, who has a promising career in leaning casually.

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The catering was actually done by someone we went to high school with, so in my head she’s 15 years old and performing in The Wiz with me. But it was INCREDIBLE. The best food I’ve had in years.

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The day after the wedding, the bride and groom hosted a brunch with lots of delicious food at Mountain Lake Park in the city. They even picked up In-n-Out burgers for us (although, I’m not gonna lie, Five Guys is still my true burger love). The kids had a wonderful time running around and tiring themselves out. The California trees were great for climbing and we found a pre-made fort slash fairy house in one of the groves. I’m definitely dreaming of moving to San Francisco and selling my soul to afford an apartment that backs up to that park. I might even bring one or two of my kids.

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While I made them pose for this photo, literally every other person at the picnic started asking them SO WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE KIDS LOOK HOW CUTE YOU LOOK AS A LITTLE FAMILY I BET THAT IS WHAT YOUR KIDS ARE EVEN GOING TO LOOK LIKE???!?!?!?! Apologies to you both, guys. Please remember I said NOTHING about you having kids at the wedding or during my speech.

And then we said goodbye to San Francisco.

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The last known photo of Everest. We can’t find him now, so I think he got left at those chairs during the shuffle to get everyone and everything on the plane. I think I’m more upset than Lincoln was.

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Monday, October 10th, 2016

My sister got married this week! We all went to San Francisco. All of us. 4 children controlled by 2 very very tired adults. No one died! I did take a ton of iPhone photos, so this week’s post is going to have extra California photos!

Sunday:

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My little pirates

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Pirate attack on the docks!

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Baby wrap on theme A+++

Monday:

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Sleeping with all his favorites

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Linc loves his brother

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He thinks he’s people

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MORE OF THIS

Tuesday:

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Matchy!

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The biggest baby needed some snuggles

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All day, every day, basically

Wednesday:

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Living his best life

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Fixing my roots

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LOVES his new stroller

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bebeh fingers

Thursday:

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Giving them the full airport experience

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I took this picture like 75 times

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Really optimistic before the flight started

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Goodbye Boston!

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World’s best plane infant

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Hello mountains!

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Babywearing was a lifesaver the whole weekend

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The tram was much shorter and just as exciting as the plane

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CAN’T RUN IN THE STREET NOW, TODDLER

Friday:

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Hellooooooo San Francisco!

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CAN’T THROW YOURSELF OFF A CLIFF EITHER, TODDLER

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Redwood tree!

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Wear all the babies

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I need to move to California

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The view from the wedding

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Wearing a romper, holding a baby, in the fanciest house

Saturday:

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Perfect breakfast for a maid of honor

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Super classy flowers

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This is the groom’s parent’s house

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A groomsman delivered (more) champagne. Excellent service.

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This is their Vogue look

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I looked out the window and they had turned over the ceremony into the reception

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Still the groom’s parent’s house

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There were flowers in almost every beverage

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All those glasses – including the pickled veggies – are mine

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It was all so beautiful

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Seriously obsessed with this space

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You know the bride is low-key when she’ll hold a toddler AND red wine

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Winning in so many ways

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I was SO EXCITED they had floating pool lights

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Finn was a champ the whole wedding day

I will never attend a wedding fancier or more well executed than this one. It was so beautiful. And now I need to go crash as hard as I can because real life starts again tomorrow and I still have a newborn who never sleeps more than 3 hours in a row.

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Monday, October 3rd, 2016

This week is a pretty good example of my new normal. Except for every photo of anyone looking happy, imagine 15 photos of me shouting at them for being feral monsters.

Sunday:

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Antique car day at the seaport!

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The new exhibit building was…underwhelming

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Successful fun day achievement unlocked!

Monday:

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Very normal toddler for sale

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Taking up as much space as possible

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It’s a good thing I can drink again

Tuesday:

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Rainy morning bus stop

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Wasted a LOT of time trying to make this photo work

Wednesday:

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Still surprised by elevators

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Old Man Grumps

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Bedtime snuggles

 Thursday:

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Everyone goes to school with leaves in their hair

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We found a use for the giant bear

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Too cute for words

Friday:

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YAY FRIDAY!

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Whats up?

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Linc REALLY loves Finn

 

Saturday:

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Watching movies with his camel

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Very scary Halloween decorations

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Hunting Pokemon in Mystic

This current week is going to be the opposite of normal. It’s going to be bananas. I might not even try to do a week in iPhone photos until next weekend. Although I’m pretty sure I triple booked myself for THAT weekend so it might be bananas too. Basically, everything between now and Christmas will be bananas.

Right now I am going to go clean up some of the house disaster and switch the laundry because the baby is asleep and if I don’t do those things now we’ll be one step closer to the spiral that ends with me being crushed to death under a pile of clean laundry that no one has put away for 4 years.

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Backyard Campfire Fun

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

 

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It’s fallllllll! (Imagine me saying that in my best Oprah voice.) But that doesn’t mean it’s time to hide inside. It’s the most magical time of the year here in New England, where the days are still warm enough to be by the water but you have to close the windows at night or you can’t feel your nose in the morning. There’s chowder and donuts and cider and wine and oysters to enjoy outdoors. And it’s the perfect time of year to have a backyard campfire, right on our own patio.

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You can check out my idea board at the end of this post for links to items (or similar items) from Wayfair. They’ve got just what you need.

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Cozy, easy care cotton throws and fun pillows gave our old furniture new life.

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Lantern string lights add ambiance and warmth while you’re waiting for the fire to warm up.

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Plastic wine glasses = no chance of shattering them on the patio stones.

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Same deal with the tray – looks like rattan, but it’s actually plastic for easier clean up and no chance of breaking it.

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We’ve had this fire pit for years now and every time we use it we think “Why don’t we do this more often?!” Now that the cool nights are mostly bug-free, I see a lot more s’mores and wine in our future.
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This metal wall art makes our outdoor space feel more like a room.

One of the best parts about a backyard campfire is the ability to leave my newborn sleeping in the house while we roast marshmallows. Newborns near the fire pit seem like a poor choice – it’s hard enough controlling a clumsy toddler near the fire pit – so it was nice to be able to relax a little. In previous years, the kids seemed to like the idea of s’mores only in theory, but this year they ate as many as we would allow.

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Those blankets are my new favorite thing and I can’t wait to use them for lots of fall photo sessions. I’m sure the wine glasses will find a way to be useful as well. A big thanks to Wayfair for sponsoring this post and encouraging us to get out and enjoy our backyard campfire!

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Best Weekend Of The Year 2016

Tuesday, 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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