Florida in February

We scooted out from MA for February break week (well, actually two days before).

Thursday: Swimming at a super cold Yacht Club.  And a trip to the beach, I believe.  And then a trip to Mammaw and Pappaw’s pool tool
Friday: Trip to the Jettys.  Saw dolphins!  And, E&J date night for Valentine’s Day.  Woot woot!!  N&P stayed back with the kids, concluding the night with some Home Alone 2!
Saturday: Nana & Natalie did morning stretch yoga on the beach.  Trip to Sharky’s beach with Chucky and Therese, who moved to Sarasota last summer.  Highlight… We were on the pier and a fish tugged hard on a fishing pole.  Elliott says, “I think its a shark!”  (We all thought he was wrong… until a fisherman agreed.  I thought it was a catfish.)  Elliott says, “I think its a baby hammerhead!  (I thought the chances of him identifying a small shark were slim, but I was wrong on that too!)  Then, Elliott kept say “aw, look at that baby hammerhead.”  He was thrown back in, but not before we got a good look!
Sunday: Lunch at Snook Haven.  Saw an alligator in the creak!  Plus, swimming at Uncle John’s and family pizza dinner with cousins!
Monday: E&J kayak trip (more dolphins) and more beach time.  In the morning, everyone went to the beach except Elliott and me.  He wanted to stay back and read in bed, like “the good ol’ times.” He also read, Where the Wild Things Are, to me.  I’m so impressed!
Tuesday: Climbing the banyan tree + a mini golf date with N&P!  (Yay!  I type this while Conor sleeps and they are on their way to golf.)

Below are pics from the week, in no particular order and with an over-emphasis on Conor (sorry!)  He is also definitely walking all over the place.  People are enjoying his toddle, his red hair, his laugh (he loves to laugh after other people laugh) and chunky thighs.  He is enjoying rings, balls, blueberries and stroller rides.

Big Papa’s got his Nana and his blueberries – that’s a good day!

Rockin’ with my rocking dada!

Anybody up for a game of catch? (note: Ball is one of C’s favorite words and objects)

This cuddly lady looks so familiar, but I cannot quite place her.

OMG! I’m driving! Let’s go on the golf cart again. (In real life, he points at the golf cart and says “oooo.”)

Hmm… how can I get all that fountain water into this cup? Or that cup?

I’m a beach babe. (Actually, I’m a sitting-on-the-blanket kinda babe b/c I don’t care for the sand or cold ocean water)

I love my valentines!

It takes muscles to hold my beach bod. (This is Uncle Chucky)

Do we have a story to tell you… (this was taken moments after the hammerhead shark incident!)

Climbing the 50-year-old banyan tree knocked out my teeth. (JK – those two top missing teeth are due to a wresting match with a BFF and a cucumber)

Wait a sec…. gotta pose. A girl has gotta look good while climbing

Ah! For real, these alligators at Snook Haven are no joke!

Ah! Run! I saw a real one in the creak!

Why are we posing for a pic when there is a for real alligator behind us (look at the back right)

I love me some venison! (aka Fawny)


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Happy 1st Birthday, Conor!!

(2.5 weeks late)

Happy 1st Birthday, Conor!  Wow – what a year.  His personality is shining through, and it’s really fun to be by him. I’m so glad he is a part of our family.  

Look at me – I’m one!

Weigh-in: 26 lbs (95th+ percentile), 31 inches (75th percentile), still a big head.  Natalie was about 24 lbs 9 oz and Elliott was 25 and change.

Nicknames: C-Man, Boody (even though that’s really Elliott’s nickname from when he was little), Bud.  It kinda seems like we’re lacking in the nicknames.

Personality: Cute, happy, and a mixture between particular (like his big sis) and easy going (like his big bro).  He does have to be more flexible than Nat had to be… after all, he’s a third child.)  Loud and likes to talk.  I want to write that he wakes up singing and smiling, but that’s not true. And he does fuss on the diaper changing table and sometimes when I’m getting him in his car seat.  (On 1/23, we took a walk to the library and that got too long from him… he reached his arms up to me to say “All Done”.) 

Gotta bundle up to get my big bro and sis from school

Favorite Games:  Hide and seek.  Pushes his face up against the glass door in Jordan’s office.  Explores the pantry and cabinets. Claps and he likes when people cheer “Yeah Conor.” (Nat is so encouraging and does this all the time.)

Favorite Books:  5 little lady bugs (#1 favorite – he loves the little lady bugs that pop up; this was a Natalie favorite and hand-me-down from big cousin Trevor).  That’s not my dinosaur (a gift from Grandma, which has been edited by Elliott to be more technically accurate – for example, the swimming “dinosaur” or plesiosaur isn’t actually a dinosaur, so Elliott changed the words to “That’s not a dinosaur.  Dinosaurs only walk on land” and the “spines” at the end of the book, where changed to be “plates”). That’s not my reindeer (a hand-me-down from a friend for Natalie’s 1st birthday). He likes the Karen Katz and Spot lift-the-flap books.

I like to be silly, especially during my epic 40 – 60 min meals. This is my silly “eeee” face, where I shake my fists. This one happens to be after spaghetti. Yum!

Words: He can say the name of everyone in our family, but you haven’t said “Conor” lately.  “Eee” is for Elliott. “Na-Na” is Natalie. Mama and Dada are pretty self-explanatory.  (Added 1/24, in the 2.5 weeks since his birthday, he has also said “balloon” (he got two for his birthday and loves them), blueberry, banana, all done, hi, bye.)

Funny Stuff: He has this funny game where he likes to go “EEE” and pump his arms really excitedly.  He is totally not aware of your body at all, so he often pivots his bum on the ground, which sometimes ends up with him sitting on my face or cheerios all over your bum.   

Motor Skills: He is really good at standing and will even pick up heavy things, like Daddy’s Yeti water bottle, and balance with it.  I thought he would take his first steps while we were in Green Bay for Christmas, but I was wrong.  (He took his first step on 1/13 and six steps on 1/23 to get to a balloon.)  This probably is more fine motor, but he waves (sometimes a little backwards.)  He has given a couple kisses, but these are rare – although he gave one to Lala on his first day of meeting her, when she came to help while Jordan was away.

Look at me – I’m 1! (Thanks for the trike, Grandma!)

Favorite Toys: Balls.  His friend Sarah (who already has a ton of hand-me-down toys) just gave him a bunch of new things, like a keyboard and puzzle. Loves to stack cups, play with balls and mess up our cabinets.  

Favorite Foods: Blueberries (are #1!), clementines (a new fav) bananas, strawberries, oatmeal.  Chicken, broccoli, soft carrots, Gerber, etc. 

Favorite Places: Climbing on the back of the couch.  Going through our cupboards, especially the Tuperware cabinet and dishwasher.  His corner of toys in the living room too. Otherwise, he doesn’t really leave the house too much – weekly trips to church, the library with our awesome nanny Kaitynn and basketball court (to cheer on an older sibling) are about it.

Gotta love my sis time! Isn’t her room beautiful, fun, with lots of little things

Favorite person: I wish I could say me, but he is an independent love bug.  He isn’t too clingy, but he is excited to see your favorite people – Mom (especially when you’re thirsty), Dad (especially in the morning before N & E are awake), Natalie (she gets her smiley cute face right up in yours and has the most excited voice; what’s not to love?!?), and Elliott (super sweet voice and very gentle). 

Places you’ve been: 7 states – MA (home state), CT (directly south), FL (for a Nana & Pop visits at 3 months old), IN (for a family wedding in July), IL (during the big Midwest summer tour, plus in October for an early Thanksgiving trip), WI (during the big Midwest summer tour and for Christmas), and VT (during a Nana & Pop visit in the Fall).

Schedule: Wake up at 7:15.  Two naps a day. In bed by 7:15 p.m.  Lots of playing and eating in between there. 

We are so thankful to have this adorable boy in our family.  He’s a love bug.

I just love to feed myself yogurt. It usually requires a post-yogurt bath. Did I mention I love water bottles too? I’m a big kid now.

Didn’t I mention I needed a bath?

And didn’t I mention I’m a big kid?!? Mama and I went to the toy store while Dad, Nat, Elliott and Lala were skiing

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On MLK weekend we tried to ski on Sunday. Butternut was filled so we went to the hardware store, bought $80 of sleds and headed to a rough hill (bumps and bruises).  Then, we went snow-hiking (1.5 miles round-trip in 1.25 hours) in while Alison stayed with Conor.

Gotta love this cute little snow angel

Yes, that is me (Erin) on the right. This WI girl knows how to dress for the weather! (Meanwhile, my daughter is slowly killing me by wearing a fall fleece and non-water-proof gloves.)

Is this the pic with the frozen waterfall in the back? Sorry, I don’t think so, but the 3 of them are even more appealing.

And, perhaps less appealing…. sadly, this isn’t the weirdest photo. Natalie’s uber-goofy side was shining strong by the end of this hike, but those pics may not be internet-appropriate.

Then J N E and Alison went skiing on Mon. Nat even did four black diamonds. Tag Jordan here to add photos!!

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Basketball Team

Natalie’s basketball coach is hilarious and fun.  He made the girls personalized sweatbands.  (We call them headbands, but Natalie says people don’t where headbands for athletics, so she calls its a sweatband.)  His nickname for her is Girl Flash – after the superhero, Flash, which is perfect because she is a fast runner.

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Happy 1st Birthday (party) Conor!

After being sick for an entire week over Christmas break, I wasn’t sure if we could pull together a 1-year-old birthday party for Conor.  But, we did and I’m glad we did!  Natalie and I made banana cupcakes, which were a big hit – with Conor and everyone else.  He loves bananas.  We had some of our good family friends over to help celebrate – our house was able to host the ~25 people very well (whew).  The average kids age at the party was probably 7, so this 1-year-old bday party skewed old.  You can tell below that Conor was surprised by all the attention.  His bff 1-year-old Sarah wasn’t able to come (she had a fever), but we were lucky to have the Klattes, Baldens, Glasses (who just moved back to Longmeadow a week ago), Monges (well, 1 kid Monge) and Bauers (somehow missing from the photo) here.

I’m not sure what I think about this cream cheese frosting

But this banana cake is delicious!!

Would you like to try some?

Um, what’s going on here?!?

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Happy 9th Birthday, Natalie

(Almost 3 weeks late – back-dated to Dec. 30th, so that it shows up in the Dec posts, but actually finished on Jan. 7th)

Happy 9th Birthday, Natalie!!  

How we celebrated: A few weeks before your birthday, I took Natalie and 3 friends rock climbing in CT and then we went out for ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s – yum!  Natalie had dance the night of her actual birthday, so we had a birthday dinner of grilled cheese the night before. And ice cream sundaes a couple days later. She liked and appreciated that I decorated the dining room a lot. 

Favorite Foods: Grilled cheese, pancakes, mac and cheese, hamburgers.  Our compromise foods that she will eat to be healthy are eggs and yellow peppers.  She is kinda a picky eater and don’t really eat that much. 

Favorite Movies: Home Alone (1 and 2), Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1 and 2), Leap, Elf, Matilda, The Intern, Happy Feet, Back to the Future (1 and 2 – 3, not so much)

Favorite Games: Connect Four, Sorry, Trouble, Clue, Guess Who, Sequence, Monopoly

Favorite Books: Babysitters Club Graphic Novels (they currently have 7).  She also likes Raina Telameier books, like Guts and Smile. One of my fav books to read with her his year was Matilda… we’re also reading a collection of biographical short stories about siblings.  We just finished Stephen Colbert and the Manning brothers tonight. 

Activities: Ballet, soccer, basketball, swimming just for fun

School: A conscientious student who follows directions and tries hard (usually).  She does very well.  She reads above grade level.  She likes science a lot too.  Gym is her favorite special, although she just took a recorder home from music class and have been (unfortunately) playing that.  She is not bad; its just the recorder is not the prettiest-sounding instrument.

Quirks: Germ-a-phobe.  She washes your hands all the time. Y

Personality: Hilarious.  Sweet. Kind.  Helpful.  Particular.  Debater.  Negotiator.  

P.S. I just kicked Natalie out of my room.  It’s past 9:30 p.m.!  She left with a “You’re my baking buddy,” to which I always respond “You’re my chocolate chip.”

Climb on!

An uncommon moment of N & E love

Happy bday Nana!

My little baking buddy!

This is Natalie in the little rocking chair Grandma bought for her house when Natalie was 10 months old!

Big sister caretaker

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Happy 11 Months, Conor!

Happy 11 Months, Conor!  (Two days ago)

I cannot believe this guys is almost 1!  I have a lot of memories from last December, waddling around the neighborhood for exercise (running downgraded to jogging downgraded to wogging downgraded to walking) and watching Natalie’s basketball practice on an uncomfortable gym floor barely being able to get back up.  So, it feels SO MUCH BETTER to be running 6 miles, lifting weights, sleeping through the night, etc.  2019 wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.  See below for some amazing pictures!

This is my happy place

Yay! Brats! Cannot eat just one.

Isn’t my Dad the best? He’s strong. He can hold me forever. And his teeth are so white.

Why do my brother and sister get to have all the fun when I’m sleeping? Give me some of those small cribbage pieces to put in my mouth. And cards to crunch.

Who is so big?!? Its Conor!

My sister and brother like to climb up these walls. I, instead, recommend pulling on the ropes.

Mom, give me some of your oatmeal.

Ah, that’s better.


Weight: He’s around 25 lbs and at the top of the scales.

Personality:  Amazing.  He is happy to see all of us.  He makes us laugh and laughs along with us.  He is a chatterbox.  He has a lot to say.  It seems like he is really good at “parroting” what we say.  I swear, we’ve heard the following: love ya, blueberry, banana, yum, brother, Natalie, etc.  (There’s more too – I just cannot remember them all.)

Funny story: On Sunday, I fed Conor lunch as quickly as possible because we wanted to take Natalie and Elliott rock climbing for an early Christmas gift.  His last thing to eat was eggs.  A few minutes after I got him out of his high chair and was holding him, he had a big burb.  A big egg burb.  I scrunched up my nose, plugged my nose and then waved my hand in front of my nose and said “PU”.  He laughed aloud.  We were all there to hear it, so we all laughed.  It was awesome.

Favorite foods: Blueberries (which is very appropriate, given his nickname before birth was Blueberry), Oatmeal and O’s.  He likes a lot of other things too but is getting a little more picky.  Bananas used to be a favorite and aren’t any longer.

Another funny story (the beginning is not funny): My cousin Matt passed away 13 years ago on December 8th.  He was 20, I believe.  I was telling Natalie and Elliott about him.  There’s many fun and funny things to share because Matt was hilarious.  One of my favorites is when he was in elementary school.  “Your mama is so fat…” jokes were popular, and he had the best one: “Your mama is so fat that when she sat on a rainbow, Skittles popped out.”  This inspired some “Your baby brother is so fat” jokes as well, like “Your baby is so fat that O’s get stuck in his neck fat and under his double chin.”

New interests: When we finish up dinner and are cleaning up, he loves to crawl all around the island area – sometimes picking up some extra food that he dropped – and explore the pantry as well.  (So gross when he explores the broom.)  He has now found the tuperware cupboard, so there’s no hope of neatness there.  I do have to admit though, its much better than him helping with the dishwasher, which is right next to the tuperware cabinet.  Pulling out forks seems like a recipe for disaster.  He also loves this “Baby,” which is a small doll that Elliott used to have and call “Little Boy.”

Physical talents: Okay, I know that some kids can walk by now (including his only baby friend, Sarah).  My kids have always been so girth-filled that their physical movements have been on the slower side.  However, Conor can stand like a champ.  He can stand for 10-15 seconds, even on soft surfaces like my bed, and then does a deep knee bend to get back down.  Oh yeah.

Schedule: He usually sleeps from about 7:15 p.m. to 7 a.m. with a morning nap of 1-1.5 hours and an afternoon nap of 1-1.5 hours (always up by 5 p.m.).  He is nursing 3-4 times a day, depending on whether I’m home or not and has seemed to ban bottles, which isn’t a big deal since he eats so many big meals a day.  It can take him up to an hour to finish a meal sometimes.  And, its not because he is a slow eater.  Email me if you want to see a video of him chowing on blueberries.  During weekdays, he is with our nanny, Kaitlynn, who he loves.  She is so good about playing all sorts of stuff around the house with him.

Sibling Relationships: Elliott gives a really sweet “Nigh, Nigh Conor” (higher voice than normal) with a little peck or hug.  Natalie gets upset with me if I put him down for nap or bedtime without an extensive good bye from her.  Even when she is done eating breakfast in the morning and needs to go upstairs to brush her teeth, she has an extensive “see you later” process, which includes her walking backwards slowly, waving, and saying “see you later Conor” with a huge smile on her face.   It’s no wonder that when he gets a chance to crawl out of his bedroom, he totally bypasses the dangerous stairs right there and goes straight for Natalie’s room.  There’s so much in there that he would LOVE to get his hands on.  And, it nearly always contains one of his favorite people!  (When he does get in there, she emphatically pleas with me to pick him up, which I do understand.  There’s a lot of little pieces of legos, etc. all around.)

We are definitely lucky!



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Happy belated birthday Nana

We got to celebrate Nana’s birthday 10 days late with cranberry pecan cookies. Nat is definitely my baker girl! (And sometimes Elliott likes to help, but he was busy with legos so he just wanted to do tastes, which Natalie is always so happy to accommodate.)

before N and P flew in, E joined me for our first Holyoke vs South Hadley Thanksgiving Day football game. His first football game ever. It was a great date. I packed hot chocolate (thank goodness bc the concession stand wasn’t open). And we ran out of milk so I added some half and half to make it extra creamy. He was so polite to my co-workers. Since it was cold I got to snuggle him for an hour. He is a pretty cute burrito boy. Xoxo

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The kids and I have been reading Roald Dahl – we are now on to Matilda!  She inspired us with a limerick about her teacher so I’ve written two. (while my kids were also inspired by If I built a house and were designing their dream houses)

My kids always like to tease me

Tickling under my chin and knee

Then I say no, no, no

But still they go, go, go

Early to bed may help, let’s see


Conor is about to turn one

He’s a chubby boy and so much fun

he lives peak-a-boo

and chews on a shoe

But my back hurts, he weighs a ton


P.S.  pic is from brat night  Conor ate a whole one! (Cut up into about 32 pieces)







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Open house

To stuff myself with turkey. (Didn’t know that to be true!)

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