Dinosaur Date Day

Jordan had a super special date with Natalie to the ballet in the Berkshires, so I had to come up with a great one for Elliott. We traveled an hour south into CT to go to the Dinosaur Place. It’s mostly statues of Dino’s in their authentic size, plus a Trex tour (climbing area), maze and splash pad. Elliott insisted of taking a photo of he and every dino to show Dad. I think I have 30+.

First stop – volcanic explosion!

Check out those 3-foot claws! (and the adorable double I love you sign from Elliott – this was a pic he wanted to send to Jordan immediately upon taking)

I love you Triceratops. (He and I disagreed on whether this was an actual Triceratops replica or in the family of Triceratops. Either way, gotta love Ceratopsians!)

This heavily armored guy is in the anklosaur family but isn’t an ankylsorous. It was the only pic of the two of us… I don’t like it much b/c I feel like I look chubby, but I guess my stomach is the same size as his snout.

From afar, we thought this was Maiamosaur, who is always mentioned as a good mother dino. We were surprised to find this parasaurlophus is in the same family and also is known for taking care of her young.

Shh – don’t tell anyone we hopped on this 8-foot, 80-lb dino found in the CT River Valley, who had many characteristics of a carnivore, but was later found out to be an herbivore.

This last picture is going to be the picture Elliott brings to kindergarten.  It’s replacing a photo of him dressed up as an astronaut at the CT Science Center, where all you could see is his smiling face in a dimly lit room.  I have to say, I’ve learned A LOT about dinos and space in the past year from this kiddo.  I haven’t caught up to his knowledge on Transformer, I’m struggling to get as interested in this topic.

We ended the day with dinotracks ice cream (vanilla with fudge swirls, fudge pieces, M&Ms, cookie dough – YUM!) and chocolate lovers chocolate ice cream.  We definitely missed Jordan and Natalie, but what a fabulous way to spend the last Sunday of summer vacation.

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  1. The kids and I are headed to Green Bay. We are lucky that Jordan booked a work trip to Chicago on the same flight as ours- so he parked the car, handled our luggage, sit by the kids, etc. what a treat for prego me – 21 weeks with a back ache. But the kids are so good too!! They are old enough to 1) carry their backpacks and luggage, and 2) go in the bathroom stall on their own. Nat is even more helpful – watching our luggage while we are in the stall. And Elliott navigated our way from terminal B to F. Kids love O’hare. The lighted moving walkways. (They beat me to the end)- and the big Dino. We didn’t mind the 3 hour layover since we legit needed an hour to Cross between terminals and then we had a United lounge pass. (Wish we had those passes 8.5
    years ago during a 6 hour layover in South Korea!).

    We are excited for our GB plans! We are going to G and G’s cabin one hour north on Half Moon Lake. (Rumor has it there is an ice cream store near that sells Superman and Blue Moon ice cream – which can only be found in the Midwest). The kids LOVE Bay Beach – best priced carnival rides ever! It’s hard to spend more than $20 a family there on rides and treats! And I am going to take them to on of the pools where I used to be a lifeguard. It’s been converted to a mini water park. And…. Nat really wants to get her ears pierced! We are going to go the same place I went. (Confession: I got mine pierced the day after Becky did!).

  2. random cute comments
  3. Hey. Grandma. Have you ever had a nickname? Like slow poke or tortoise? – Natalie 

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Lunch Dates with Dad

I’m lucky enough to work from home and to see the kids in passing at certain points during the day.  It’s awesome to get quick hugs, see them building fairy houses outside through my window, or to hear them playing.  But I decided this week that I should do an informal lunch date with each kid.  We’ve always had dates in the past, but they’ve been less frequent and are usually a big production (museum, out-to-eat, etc).

Natalie enthusiastically accepted her lunch date invite from Dad.  Elliott flat out rejected me.  I sweetened the deal to say we could watch some Star Wars scenes, which he’s never actually seen.  That did the trick.

Tuesday – Natalie date

Natalie’s lunch date was a bike ride to Forest Park.  It’s about 1.5 miles there and back, and not the easiest terrain.  She clearly was sooo excited to be doing this, and her level of excitement was an ironic reminder of how short this window is where she would rather have a picnic with me than anything else in the world.

Of course, Natalie wanted to first put on sun screen and, as always, She handled the biking like a champ, and it was a perfect day to picnic.  Forest Park is one of the prettiest parks I’ve ever been, too, which is surprising given that Springfield is not a pretty town.  We biked past where our family had its picture taken in the fall foliage, biked past ducks, and eventually came to a little man-made waterfall (more like a dam) where we set up our picnic on a big cement block thing.

It was great to be so unrushed in our conversation together, to casually chat, and sometimes, to even sit in silence and just be together.

At the end of lunch, we had carrots races, throwing carrots into the dam and seeing which made it to the bottom first.  Then, we biked a bit further and came across a man watching a baby snapping turtle cross the road.  The guy was a wealth of information about snapping turtles, and he even prodded it with a stick a bit so we could see just how fast they can snap.

We biked back home which meant going up a VERY steep hill.  Natalie can’t stand up on a bike yet, and I was pretty impressed how far she made it up the hill.  Major quad workout!  She pushed herself hard, and as you can see, was pretty wiped out when we got home.

Dad. I’m pooped! That was some intense bike riding!


Wednesday – Elliott date

As mentioned, it took some cajoling to get Elliott to agree to our lunch date – meaning, a bribe of watching a video.  He decided he wanted to take our picnic to the backyard and we would eat in our fort, which is part of the swingset.

Our date began with me unpacking our food as we sat in the fort, only to look one foot way to see Elliott, pants down, preparing to pee off the edge of the fort and down the slide like a waterfall.  I said, “Dude, you can’t pee down the slide!  Especially not when you are about to eat food!”  I had just enough time to point him to the right so he didn’t hit where we slide down, but it was still a graceful arc of urine to start our date.

We ate lunch and had a nice time chatting.   Elliott is hot and cold on conversation though.  Well, really, he often doesn’t say a lot UNLESS he is talking about transformers.  Then, he can go on 15 min soliloquies about autobots, decepticons and energon (most of which you cannot understand).  I’m comfortable with silence, so we spent some time just sitting, chewing, and being together.

We talked a bit here and there, and at one point, we started talking about “blueberry,” our new brother/sister.  Here is how that conversation went….

  • Elliott: “Blueberry is so lucky that she’s attached to Mom.”
  • Jordan: “Really?  She’s just in their in the dark all the time.  She never even gets to eat.  Would you still like to be attached to Mom if you couldn’t eat?”
  • Elliott: “Yes.”
  • Jordan: “Ok.  Well, Blueberry never gets to watch shows.  You wouldn’t want to be attached to Mom if you didn’t get to watch Autobots would you?”
  • Elliott: “Yes.”
  • Jordan:  “Ok.  I guess it is kind of like taking a really long nap in a big jacuzzi with Mom’s heartbeat right next to you.  Yeah, that doesn’t sound so bad.  And Blueberry never feels any pain.”
  • Elliott: “Yeah, yeah..mmmm..yeah..mmm….but Mommy does!”

Haha.  The kid cracks me up.  After we finished lunch, we watched some Star Wars clips.  I realized that I’ve only seen the original three Star Wars and like half of the next one.  Elliott loved the light saber fight scenes in particular, and it’s clear that I’m going to be catching up on all these when he’s older.  I was also surprised because we were watching a scene from the 6th or 7th movie – one I haven’t seen – and a plane was flying around.  He goes, “That’s the Millenium Falcon.”  I pulled back in my memory bank and realized, yes, he was right.  I said, “How do you know that?”  He says, “I’ve seen it on a Lego set that I want.”


Pretty great to get to hang out with these two.  Erin and I are so lucky to have such amazing, fun, and interesting kids.  I know/hope they will always love us, but it’s pretty great to also have them want to spend so much time with us.

On that note, here’s a picture of Elliott this morning.  He woke up early.  Erin was out on a walk, so this is him sitting on our front steps, eagerly awaiting her return.  I’d say that sums his relationship with Erin up pretty well.

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Lemonade Stand

kids made $13.20 at their lemonade and chocolate chip cookie stand today. We lost a lot of inventory due to frisbee hitting lemonade.


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13 years

July 16 Facebook post

2 grown-ups + 2 kids + 1 baby in utero + 2 pints Ben and Jerry’s ice cream + 2 toppings + biking 3 miles to get the ice cream + 1 85-degree house = 13 years of marriage. Happy Anniversary to the best hubby and father, Jordan Linville!



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Pen pals

Elliott’s best friend is at camp all summer. He wrote E a letter. Awesome mail!

E Wrote back.


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i loved higlights magazine as a kid and my mom has been getting Nat and Elliott High Five (the younger version) and/or Highlights for years. The kids made their first submission to the Magazine today.

Elliott’s is called Break Out (the top is the purple part)  it has something to do with transformers I Believe  Natalies is called Moon and shows a girl on a bunk Bed gazing at the moon

I have to cut this short. Kids are sneaking out of their bedrooms to see if I am awake and I’m pretending to sleep.

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Steep Falls Fighting

From our trip in Maine, I made a gif montage of Elliott and I fighting infront of the Steep Falls.  You have to click the photo to see it.  Be sure to check out Natalie’s face.  Hah.  Enjoy!

Click the photo below

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Our 3rd Annual Trip to Maine for the 4th of July

We’ve timed our trips to Maine for the 4th of July much better now – no more 7-hr trips that were supposed to only be 3.5 hours.  We left around 6:30am on Sunday to go to Sebago, Maine, to visit Elliott’s best friend Ethan and his family at Camp Micah, an overnight Jewish camp.  This place was top-of-the-line!  My personal fav – they spray for bugs and ticks, so we left unscathed.  The kids loved playing at the waterfront, which basically had an inflatable obstacle course in the water.  The super kind campers would help our smaller kids when needed.  Jordan and the kids also tried a Ninja Warrior obstacle course (on land) – led by someone who has legitimately been on the show.  Elliott’s fav, of course, though was just seeing his bestie – which I appreciated b/c they could discuss and perform Transformers (Elliott’s favorite show), which gave me a break from doing the same.  Then, 3 out of 4 Linville’s wanted to camp, so we spent two nights in a borrowed a deluxe tent, including cots for the adults.  I still think camping is an every-other-year excursion for me, preferably 1 night and no more than 2, assuming that in either case, the cooking is extremely limited.  The kids are heavily swayed by the s’mores (somehow, s’mores for breakfast has gotten to be a “tradition”) – and the mosquitoes (which unf, love Elliott – he has my sweet blood) aren’t deterrent enough.

Then, we headed to the Portland area to meet up with 3 of my college roomies – Daniele (CT), Dina (CO), and Tricia (NC) and their families.  Kids ages were: 7, two 5’s, 3, 1 and 9 months.  It wasn’t nearly as relaxing as our last girls getaway (in NYC two Novembers ago) but there was a lot more cuteness.  Natalie loves holding Cormac (age 1 – Daniele’s son) and Caroline (age 3 – Tricia’s youngest) somehow took a liking to Elliott by the end of the week.  Tricia’s parents always host a 4th of July party at Higgins Beach, but the best way to beat the heat (90’s!) was to be in the ocean.  On subsequent days, we went to Old Orchard (think: the Jersey Shore of Maine) and Ogonquit (think: the Cape Code of Maine – it was very crowded but quaint).  We toyed with the idea of going another 3.5 hours north to Acadia (we went 2 years ago – an extreme favorite), but decided against it.  My prego self doesn’t like long car trips – and we were afraid to run into terrible traffic on the way back.

No pics right now – Jordan downloaded them all off my phone, so here’s a public plea to him to really sweeten the blog post with cute pics.

Happy Independence Day/Week!

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Last Saturday

We were lucky to have a lazy Saturday morning last week…. a Jenga game with Optimus prime, while Natalie read a book about a red head with freckles.  So lucky to be their mama.

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