Goodbye, Summer!

The end of summer is always an inevitable bummer. We had a particularly awesome summer (summer of us) that ended with a big bummer (accident) so we decided to really live it up as best we could on Labor Day weekend. We were down in Newport, RI and made sure to do all of our favorite things…

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One last beach day…

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“mommy, take a pick-cha of my toys…”

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…a picnic at Newport Polo. This wasn’t a huge highlight as it was crazy crowded and both our littles ended up spitting up and my husband and I both got hit…but hey, we hadn’t been yet this summer (we did go last summer too!).

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Walking down Thames Street, popping into shops…

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Dinner at Diego’s our fave Mexican place, I almost always get the quesadilla, Z gets the calamari, and my husband gets the enchilada of the day.

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And last, it was a little breezy some nights so we dressed in some fall fashion to get us in the mood for fall! You were a good one, Summer of 2014!!!

All Good Things Must Come to an End…

So today is the day – the last day of the Summer of Us, my husband goes back to work tomorrow. We have had the best. summer. ever. Can imagine the luxury of 10 weeks off together as a family? And to start our sweet baby M’s life with such a bang? It’s been truly wonderful. You can click through all of the Summer of Us posts but I also wanted to share a few fun days that I just honestly ran out of time to make posts for…

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2 separate rides on the carousel where my husband and I got married in Newport, RI…

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…and a trip to the aquarium at the same beach. After a major Z meltdown we had fun (although the shark touch tank was a little scary as seen here).

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A day at the Franklin Park Zoo.

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Outdoor concerts and picnics (where we made Deviled Eggs and a Quinoa and Edamame Salad).

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A ride on the swan boats in Boston.

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Lots of playground time.

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Local long weekends.

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Countless beach days.

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and best of all – non-stop sister/brother bonding, she loves to help him with tummy time.

This summer was fun, it was stressful, and boy was it tiring (especially for me, our M still gets me up twice a night to eat!) but I wouldn’t change a minute of it. And thankfully we have about 5,000 photos to remember it by! I hope your summer was as kickass as ours!

Summer of Us – North Conway, NH

We were in North Conway, NH for 5 days last week and I just had to share some photos with you because we had such a great time! We go up there pretty frequently but this time was centered around something we had never done – go to Storyland (well, actually, I’ve been to Storyland quite a few times as a child but this was our first time as a family and more importantly Z and Baby M’s first time there)!!

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We weren’t quite sure how Z would do, if she’d like the rides or be nervous. So we arrived and started slow with the Storybook section of the park and she could not have been more disinterested. She didn’t seem to be having any fun so we stopped to get an ice cream with sprinkles and we thought that would perk her right up – it didn’t…

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Across the way was the Polar Coaster (Antarctica-themed roller coaster) and since she IS 36″ and that’s the minimum to ride, we brought her on. Let’s just say, a daredevil was born! Yes, that’s her in the last car with both of her tiny arms in the air (don’t worry, she has a lap belt on AND I am clutching her for dear life. We went on ride after ride and had the very best time!

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Baby M’s first ride and a family selfie!

 

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IMG_7686 Baby M’s view of Storyland…

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Taking a pumpkin coach to Cinderella’s Castle was. awesome! Baby M and I took the foot path, btw. A great thing about Storyland is if you go and buy your pass at 3pm or later one day, you can go the next day as part of the same ticket – a timeline that worked perfect for us with a napping toddler (we went after nap Sunday and were home for a late nap Monday afternoon). The other great thing is kids under 3 get in free!

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After all the excitement of Storyland, we had some pool time the next day.

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We also went on a hike because how can you be in the White Mountains and not do something outdoorsy?

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And now I have to share my favorite story of our trip. We pulled into the parking lot of the hiking trail we took and got the very last parking spot. All of a sudden this guy comes barreling out of the woods! I shouted “Holy SH*T that’s a MOOSE,” grabbed my phone, and ran out to grab some photos.

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I may have gotten a little too close, by the way – but it’s SO rare to see a moose in person I had to get some shots. I yelled for my husband to get out of the car (I don’t think he was understanding just how exciting this was) and he grabbed Z so she could see too. Mr. Moose never stopped trotting until he got across the highway to a small pond. We could see cars pulling over and droves of people stopping to see him. It was so fun and exciting! Technically I had seen a moose before as a child on the side of the road on the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire, but I really understood just how special it was this time around. It was a fun way to end our time in North Conway!

Summer of Us – Pick Your Own Fruit

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We are really big into picking our own fruit at local farms (peach picking) (strawberry picking), so you bet we added pick your own fruit for every fruit grown locally to our Summer of Us list! I thought I’d share our most recent trip to go blueberry and raspberry picking. Blueberries are pretty much the favorite food of most toddlers, including ours, so we had a blast picking and eating blueberries all morning long! Oh, and we picked raspberries too, which my husband and I really love but Z was more into holding the container than snacking on the raspberries. And don’t worry – baby M was there too and slept in my Ergo the entire time, very newborn of him. I think he’ll appreciate picking his own fruit next year, for sure.

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Her motto: pick one, eat a handful!

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These may have been the sweetest most perfect raspberries I’ve ever had.

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Family pick your own fruit #selfie complete with squinty faces, crooked sunglasses, and an overflowing pint of blueberries!

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You really ought to go fruit picking this summer, it’s a blast!

A few notes if you go this summer:
РIf you live in MA Рyou still have  chance to strawberry pick if you go now! Blueberries and raspberries have just started now. Peaches will be the end of this month or early August. Blackberries are late August.
– I find pickyourown.org to be very helpful to know what fruit is ready for picking and when – click on your state on their homepage for more info.
– We love to pick at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, RI (which is where all of these photos are from) – but farmfresh.org is great to find farms close to your house (or whatever zip code your search from). This site also lists farm stands if you don’t feel like doing the picking yourself and just want buy fresh fruit someone else picked!..

 

Time for Mom

Summer of Us – Go Fly a Kite

Last summer when we took Z to our favorite park to fly a kite, she had a blast. We knew this year would be even better now that she’s older and could (potentially) fly a kite on her own so we added to our Summer of Us list. Over the long holiday weekend we paid a visit to Brenton State Park to fly a kite!

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Getting the kite ready…

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…Daddy helping to get it in the air…

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…and flying the kite all on her own – success!

 

A few notes if you go this summer:
– Brenton Point State Park is on Ocean Drive in Newport, RI where Narragansett Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. It’s easily a day trip drive from Boston, about an hour and 30/45 minutes.
– It’s a great kite park because of the winds because of its location right on the ocean. Be prepared with a sweatshirt or sweater, it can be chilly there even on the hottest summer days.
– There are public restrooms available during park hours (sunrise to sunset) from Memorial Day through Halloween.
– Bring a picnic along with your kite and make a day of it. There are quite a few places to get great take-out lunch in Newport, a few of our faves are:
Rosemary & Thyme, a great French bakery that serves sandwiches starting at 11:30am.
Peaceable Market, right on Thames St serving sandwiches and salads.
Flo’s Clam Shack, if you’re looking for traditional fried fish, this is the place but go early, this place gets packed!
Blue Rocks Market, really great sandwiches and pre-made salads and food. It’s also a little market with all sorts of yummy treats!
Ash Mart, looks like just a convenience store from the outside, but they make great, traditional sub sandwiches. Go here if the line is too long at Blue Rocks, it’s just across the street.

Summer of Us – Walden Pond

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Walden Pond was made famous as the home to Ralph Waldo Emerson and even more famous by the words of Henry David Thoreau. I’ve visited the area before but I’ve always wanted to go to Walden Pond in the summer to swim and beach. Walden Pond Reservation has a capacity of 1,000 visitors at a time which includes all areas (hiking, beaching, picnicing, etc…) so it’s tough to go on weekends because as soon as the parking lot fills up (around 10 or 11am in the summer) they close it – ugh! So this made the top of our list of things to do this summer while we could go mid-week when it’s less crowded.

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We packed a lunch and some beach toys and went for the entire morning – it’s beautiful there!

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The water is so calm and perfect for little kids (as I had heard from friends that go regularly). And there was a good amount of shade for this little guy and me. Ps. I’m wearing a J. Crew rash guard, the perfect postpartum bathing suit top!

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A few notes if you go this summer:
– Parking us just $5.
– There is a little ice cream truck that sells hot dogs, soda, and ice cream but that’s it. I suggest bringing food.
– It gets crowded even on weekdays during the summer check their twitter feed for up-to-date capacity closings. They will post when they’ve closed parking as well as when they’ll re-open (usually 3 or 4 hours later).

Time for Mom

The Summer of Us

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When I was working full-time, I did fundraising events for a very family-centered non-profit (JDRF) where I met tons of wonderful children, amazing parents, and strong families. I’ll never forget hearing a member of the Board of Directors mentioning his wedding anniversary was coming up and they were taking a trip as a family to celebrate. They didn’t just celebrate the anniversary as a celebration of their marriage, but as a celebration of the start of their family. How sweet is that? In honor of our 5 year family anniversary last week, I thought I would start a new series here on the blog for the summer. Not only do we have an adorable new member of our family, but we are in a lucky position where my husband gets a lengthy paternity leave from his job and in essence has most of the summer off! In celebration of this we’ve made a short list of local things to do as a family.

For the most part we’re keeping to our normal routine with lots of low-key family time – see photo above, most afternoons at our house are spent outside in the yard with toys, bathing suits, and sprinklers. But now that our little guy is getting bigger we’re going to start tackling that list and I’ll share our adventures with you as we go! We are so lucky to have this time together as a family of four, I am sure we’ll look back at this time fondly for years to come.*

 

*We do have a newborn and a toddler, so I hate to sugar coat things and make it sound sweet and perfect all the time. There are plenty of blow-out diapers, sleepless nights, and temper tantrums. In fact, our days sometimes feel very long but the time is speeding by so we’re making the most of it.