Tuesday, September 10, 2019

mommy and mae weekend

Over Labor Day weekend, Dan flew to Minnesota for his cousin's wedding while Mae and I stayed home for a "Mommy and Mae Weekend." We made a list of fun things to do while Daddy was traveling. Mae specifically requested a visit to the zoo to see the bird show. I suggested going out for ice cream. We also agreed on a trip to the library and an adventure walk on the nature trails at our nearby park.


We kicked off our long weekend on Friday with a breakfast of english muffins (jelly on the side), a visit to the post office, and lunch at McDonalds. We have recently (thankfully) discovered that Mae is a big fan of "hangubbers." At first she insisted they have "no stuck-on cheese," but is slowly learning to love cheeseburgers as well.


After lunch, we accomplished the most important item on our list: the bird show. We saw all our favorite birds, and we even got to see Sam the eagle up close after the show.


We finished up the zoo trip with a ride on the carousel (Note the selected animal. Good continuity... and patriotism).


Friday evening, Mae and I walked to the square for ice cream (gelato, if we're being specific). They'll let you sample a bunch of the options if you're having trouble selecting one, but Mae knew right away that she wanted birthday cake flavor, covered in rainbow sprinkles. I opted for a mix of tiramisu and chocolate. Yum!


We had a quieter Saturday morning with a leisurely breakfast followed by some sidewalk chalk time in our jammies. The early morning dog walkers are probably getting quite used to being greeted by a busy, chatty toddler and her disheveled mom watching from the stoop while sipping tea. Morning chalk is becoming a regular activity for us.


We visited the library late Saturday morning. We picked out some new books, and I tried to teach Mae how to use a mouse on the library computers. This child of the touch-screen generation has a ways to go. Should we consider getting a "family computer" so she can grow up with Reader Rabbit? Or will mouse technology be obsolete by the time she's old enough to need it?

On Sunday, we took advantage of the cool, clear weather and finished up our last checklist item: adventure walk. We followed the park trails for a while and then spent time splashing around in the creek. We tried to hike back up the creek to the trailhead, but were thwarted by a huge spiderweb (and its unpleasant-looking maker). Mae spent a long time throwing rocks and sticks into the water and climbing over the little waterfalls and rocks. She was thoroughly soaked by the time we headed for home.



Mae has definitely inherited my affinity for box-checking. While she was very excited for all our fun activites, I think she was equally excited to color in the associated square on our checklist afterwards. (I should definitely harness this energy with chore charts soon.)



Fortunately, Mae napped well all weekend, so I was able to FINALLY paint our downstairs hallway. In a rare bout of decisiveness, I put up only one paint swatch on the wall and immediately knew it was the right color. That was almost a year ago. I let the project lag while the bathroom renovation was on-going but finally ran out of excuses not to paint. It feels so good to have it done now!

We had a fun weekend, although we missed Dan. Mae talked a lot about weddings and Daddy all weekend. When she accidentally bit her tongue at dinner, the first words out of her mouth (besides "waaaahhhh") were "I want Daaaaddddddyyyyy." Life's just better with Dan around, but we're glad he had lots of fun at the wedding and at the Minnesota State Fair on Sunday!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

beach bums

Since summer is wrapping up and I'm seeing "back to school" stuff everywhere, I realized I should share pictures from our last trip of the summer!

On our drive out east to visit Dan's family, we split the drive into two days. We stayed overnight in central Pennsylvania and then spent a fun morning at Hershey's Chocolate World. We did the free tour (a fun little ride) to learn how chocolate is made, and then Mae and I demolished a gigantic s'more. We finished the drive to the beach in peace as Mae slumbered off her sugar coma.

We woke up Monday morning and headed straight for the beach. Mae dug into the sand toys immediately, but she took a bit to warm up to the crashing of the waves. Each day, she got a little more comfortable playing in the surf. By the end of the week, she was boogie boarding in the shallow water!



We filled our mornings at the beach digging holes and moats, building sand castles and sea witches, and collecting clams and sand crabs. Mae is entering the unicorn/princess/mermaid-obsessed phase, so she had lots of fun making mermaid tails in the sand with me. (When I asked what kind of swim suit she wanted for this summer, she said "a gray one." Her second choice was "unicorns." Lucky for me, 99% of girls swim suits have either unicorns or mermaids. Approximately 0% are gray. Win some, lose some.)


We spent the afternoons playing and napping back at the house. Mae especially enjoyed her naps in our "big kid" bed and being silly in the hammock with GranE and Batman.



We took turns cooking dinner and had lots of delicious meals. Mae appreciated the clams, though she wasn't interested in eating them... just using them as puppets. (I wonder where she got that idea.)


We only had one rainy morning, and we made the most of it with a trip to the nearby shark-themed playground (so cute). We returned to shark park after dinner (Taco Tuesday) which happened to be National Night Out. Mae got to see helicopters, police motorcycles, and other rescue vehicles up close. She also tried her hand at the dunk tank and was very proud when she succeeded!


Our little beach bum had so much fun. I don't think I've written a post before that had THIS MANY smiling photos of Mae. Clearly the beach is her happy place! While a beach vacation with a toddler is a lot less relaxing, it's a lot more entertaining!


Thanks for a great vacation!


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

our new outdoor pets

Since Charlie died, Mae has been talking a lot about getting a new pet. I think this obsession can be explained as follows: 10% Mae trying to cope with the loss of a pet, 20% her fascination with pets in general, and 70% trying to understand the concept of allergies. It all stems from the first conversation we had when I told her that Charlie had died and was not coming home. When I said we wouldn't get a new bird right away, she asked if we could get a doggy. I responded, "No, dogs make me itchy." She asked if we could get a cat and I told her the same thing.

A few days later, she springs this bit of trickery on me:

Mae: Mom, do cats not make you itchy?
Me: Cats do make me itchy.
Mae: Mom, do dogs not make you itchy?
Me: Dogs do make me itchy.
Mae: Mom, do fish not make you itchy?
Me: No, fish do not make me itchy.
Mae: ... Can we get a fish?

We have had this same conversation DOZENS of times in the last couple months. Replace "cat/dog/fish" with every other animal you can think of. Goats? Turtles? Pigs? Giraffes?? Thank goodness I have allergies or we'd be shopping for a whole zoo's worth of animals. (For the record, if it has fur I assume I'm allergic to it.)

Resisting adding a new pet to the family has been slightly easier with this addition to our house.


I've had this hummingbird feeder (thanks, Mom & Dad!) for a while but couldn't figure out where to hang it up. I finally noticed an old bracket hanging outside the big window in our kitchen. I was able to reach the bracket from the extension ladder and hang a length of chain from it. With a cup hook attached to the end of a long dowel rod, I can hook and unhook the feeder from the chain to refill it. We have almost constant hummingbird visitors, and they go through a cup of sugar water in about 3 days! They are very territorial and I love watching them fence each other mid-air. En garde!


They are entertaining, low maintenance, and I don't have to clean up their poop. The perfect pet. Plus they don't make me itchy!


Here's the other addition to our house that's making me happy. New shutters! I ordered these black vinyl shutters from Home Depot, and Dad helped me install them when he visited a few weeks ago. It took us all morning, but it went pretty smoothly with two people and his hammer drill. Well worth it... they make me so happy. Thanks, Dad!


Here's the before photo. New shutters, storm door, door paint, handle set, light fixture. Just ignore those overgrown bushes... they're next on the list!