Monday, October 7, 2013

New house, new beginnings

Since my last post (in April!!), Nolan & Luke have turned 4.  We sold our house in Philly (in 3 days) and bought a new house.

Justin & I bought our home in Philly in 2006 - about 6 months after our wedding.  Our intentions were to live there for 5 years before we'd start a family and move to the burbs.  We all know how the "5 year plan" goes:  it doesn't.

I remember Justin saying to me last year, "Jenn, this is going to be our last Christmas in this house."  I honestly didn't believe him but...here we are!  In the burbs with a cute split-level, nestled on a half acre on a cul de sac.  The boys have plenty of space to run around and I have the "quiet" that I've been craving.  Moving was an "adventure" that I have no intentions to ever do again.  I may end up eating my words 10 years down the road but that was a production that I don't wish to go through again any time soon. 

The boys are in Pre-K and doing very well.  There are some issues with them not wanting to pick up after themselves, but it's something we're working on.  Overall though, they are both able to write their names, can count to over 20 and know all their letters and shapes. 

Before we moved, I promised the boys that they could get bunk beds once they got their new room.  Daddy built the bunk beds this past weekend.  Luke sleeps up top and Nolan is down below.  They do seem to really love their new Super Hero Squad bedroom!  Since we had intended to move, I never updated their bedroom decor in the Philly house to a more "big boy" style.  The divorce tree and their nursery decor sat on the walls until they were 4 years old! 

Summer vacation - OCNJ 2013

I Craigslisted 2 Power Wheels once we got a new backyard.  The Hummer is their fave.
Also, Colin is their BFF. 


Here's Justin and I on the day we made settlement at the new pad.

 I didn't ask them to pose like this but it's one of my favorite shots from the summer.


 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hello Everyone!

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for your sweet comments - it's good to know that some of my old friends still check in!

I'm going to take the time to write about myself a little bit.  As I've mentioned several times on this blog in the past, I have never been big on exercising.  I've always done it sort of sporatically at home but last summer, I was in a bit of a funk about my body so I began walking (for cardio) which quickly turned into running.  The problem was that I hate running on a treadmill, so I began trail running at a local park. 
Well, I fell in love with it.  Until December came.
I'm just not into freezing my ass off and feeling icy cold sting my lungs.
However, I loved the way I felt when I ran.  I loved the effect it had on my body.  I loved the way I completely cleared my mind and concentrated on nothing but my breathing and the way my body was moving.  The weather has finally began warming up here which has led me to begin my runs again. Obviously, I wasn't able to run as fast or as long as I did when I left off in December, but I'm taking baby steps.  Since I don't have a ton of free time (with working and being a mom and all), I try to limit my runs to 35 minutes.  A few times a week makes a HUGE different in my body.  Everything just seems to tighten up and I feel so much more energized!  I have a few personal goals that I'd like to meet before June so we'll see how I do!

Now onto me and my "daughter," Nikki (which is what I named my Nikon).  I've been photographing people OTHER than my own children for a year and a half and I have to say - I enjoy it so much!!  It really is so fulfilling to me and I love making families happy with the pictures that I take.  This is a particularly busy spring for me with family sessions and two weddings which I'm really looking forward to!

Justin and I are planning to meet up with our friends in Vegas in July again this summer which I'm really looking forward to.  I love alone time with him!  I've also just booked a house in Ocean City, New Jersey for a week in August for the family.  I've been hyping the beach up to the boys for a month now.  Sometimes Luke likes to be carried when he's tired so I've been telling him that he has to practice his sleepy-walking for when we go to the beach because mommy can't carry him plus sand toys and everything else that comes along on a beach day!

I've jabbered on enough for a while now.  I'll leave with some pictures from Easter.
More to come on another day! 

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

3 months away from 4

Does anybody still read my blog?  Probably not considering I haven't updated it in like a year!  If you are still reading though, thanks for checking in!

Nolan and Luke are 3 years and 9 months old and they started "school" this past October.  They attend school 4 days a week from 8 - 5.  I have noticed a positive change in my boys since they began attending school.  Not only are they learning so many different things, which is fun for any parent to witness, but their social skills have improved tremendously.



The weather was warm enough yesterday for me to take them to the playground.   Not only were they able to climb the rock wall that they couldn't climb unassisted last summer, but they also were so patient with the other children who were there.  There was no pushing or becoming agitated when they had to wait in line for the sliding board.

This is not to say that they are patient with each other, however.  That's our biggest struggle at home, but I also believe that it's a struggle for every other pair of siblings in the world.  I have noticed them using their imaginations more and more which couldn't make me happier!

 Luke absolutely LOVES art.  He wants to color constantly and the very minute he walks through our front door after school, he takes his folder out of his school bag and proudly shows me whatever it is that he made that day.  He draws the letter "L" all over his artwork too!


Nolan is more interested in playing with his toys and using his imagination.  A few weeks ago, I found him in his bedroom talking to the "passengers" on his airplane.  He was the pilot and he surrounded himself with all of the stuffed animals from his toy box.  He told them to "buckle up and prepare for takeoff."  


I'm really looking forward to summertime this year (what's different from any other year?!) and heading to the beach with my 3 men.  Since they're so into superheros at the moment, I'm leaning towards throwing them a birthday party with that theme.  All 4 of us are in Aunt Chica & Uncle Eric's wedding in May and we're really looking forward to it!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday!

Happy 3rd Birthday to my little chipmunks!

We will be celebrating their big day by swimming, splashing and sliding at Sesame Place.  This past year has been a whirlwind, but we made it through and will be celebrating the best way we know how - together.  


My little loves,


I wish you were both born with a pause button because I would press it right now.  I could do without the 3 year old 'know it all' phase, but other than that, you're both just a joy to be around.  Some of the things that come out of your mouths are hysterical.  Who knew I had two little comedians on my hands?  


Nolan, I don't know what I would do without you.  You give me the affection and attention that I, as a mother, needs.  You need me to be around you, you need me to sit with you, "keep you warm" and snuggle in bed with you.  I love it.  I love your angelic voice and your soft skin.  I wish you could be a tad bit gentler with your brother, but we're working on that.


Luke, you are the most independent little guy I know. I often joke with people that you don't really need me or your dad - you'd be able to feed yourself and run the house all on your own!  You make me so proud.  I just know that God has big plans for you.  I can see your concentration and attention to detail and it reminds me of your daddy so much.  I absolutely love that about you.  You still give me the absolute best kisses of all time and I love to nuzzle up to your little neck and ears.  


Happy Birthday to you both.  I am so proud to be called your mommy.  

Love Always,
Mommy


P.S. Please take it easy on me this year!


3rd Year Collage 2

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Baltimore

When our friends Tom and Erin asked if we wanted to join them in Baltimore to watch the Phillies play the Orioles, we jumped at the chance. Justin and I hadn't been to Baltimore since 1999 (we've obviously been together for a VERY long time) and were excited to see a game.

Nolan and Luke spent the long weekend and Grammie & Pop's house while Justin and I drove with Chica & Eric down to Baltimore. The first night we arrived, we took the train into the Inner Harbor and had dinner at Hooters. You read that correctly: we didn't have crab cakes or seafood, but opted for chicken wings, beer (and a cosmo for me) and boobies instead.

A guy waiting for the train with us (another Phillies fan) came up to me and said, "hey, I know you. You get on the train back home in __(my station) and you get off at __(my work station)."

Ummm...creepy. His friends poked fun at him a bit and called him a stalker, but I tried to be a little more forgiving.

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When we arrived at the stadium for the game, I could.not.believe how many Phillies fans had traveled down to watch them play the Orioles. It was incredible!

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Aren't my girlfriends cutie-pies?!

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We didn't have the most amazing seats in the world, but we were in the shade and we had awesome friends to sit with!

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Did I mention that it was 92 degrees this day? It was HOT!! The heat didn't stop Justin and I from eating bacon on a stick.

BACON ON A STICK. 'nuff said.

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On Sunday morning, we packed our bags, said goodbye to Tom and Erin and hung out at the Inner Harbor for a few hours before heading back home to see our munchkins.

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If it weren't for our incredible families, we'd never be able to take getaways like this and I feel so blessed to be able to spend alone time with Justin.  (BTW, someone asked me to see a picture of the bangle I received for Mother's Day - you can see it in this last picture!)

Sesame Place, day care & potty training

Potty training updates:

Nolan is my new potty training rockstar.  He barely has any accidents and has been waking up from naps & night time completely dry.  Luke has regressed a bit, but it's understandable.  We're all still new at this!  No looking back though -- I'm through with diapers.  I think that Nolan really liked the attention he was getting every time he went potty, so it was very encouraging to him to keep doing it.  He's doing great!

I visited a daycare center not too far from my home that I'm thinking of having the boys join this September for the 3 days that I'm at work.  This center has Pre-K built into its program from 9:30 - 11 every day which I love.  I couldn't just put them into Pre-K because it's too difficult with mine and Justin's work schedule, so this seemed like the best fit.

We've visited Sesame Place twice so far this season and one thing that changed from last year was the Nolan's excitement for the water rides.  He BEGGED me to go down a water slide, but the water is freezing and I didn't bring bathing suits.  Instead I let them wander under a sprinkler and play in the wading pool a bit.  Justin and I have off of work on their birthday (coming up in a week and a half!!) and plan to spend the entire day with them riding water slides.  Day-2 Day-4 Day-5 Day-6 Day-12 Day-18 Day-21

Oh, another thing that changed from last year...

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...they weren't able to climb this, but now they can!

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This water was ICE cold and he wanted nothing more than for me to run through it with him. How could I not?

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And now for some cell phone pictures!

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Mountain House

We are starting a Memorial Day Weekend tradition by heading up to the mountain house to celebrate the long weekend. We had fun doing it last year, but I knew that this one would be even better because Nolan and Luke love exploring and there is no shortage of exciting things for little boys to get into at the mountain house.

I also planned to devote the entire weekend to potty training the boys. We have absolute privacy up there (can’t see a neighbor), so I felt comfortable letting them run around the yard in their underwear or nude. Good thing too because they spent about 90% of the weekend pants-less. The 3 days we spent devoting to training my little men worked in our favor! Luke is doing fabulously and will tell me when he has to go to the potty now (he even told me at Sesame Place this past weekend and peed in the urinal!). Doing #2 is a different story, but he’s always had issues with that. Nolan is improving more and more every day. He doesn’t tell me that he has to go, but I read his signals. We’re having 80% success with that, but like I said, we’re getting better every day.

The first thing we did once we arrived was set up the tents. Justin & and I shared the blue one and Aunt Chica & Uncle Eric shared the other. Nolan and Luke were to spend the nights in the house with the rest of the family, but they did get a kick out of helping Justin & Eric assemble the tents.
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Every night, a different family member cooks dinner for everyone else. Justin and I cooked the first night. We made a bushel of crabs, corn on the cob and salad. YUM! Nolan couldn’t get the crabs into his mouth fast enough!

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Since the boys didn’t nap that day, they went to sleep around 8:30 and missed out on the campfire, but we had a nice time sitting around, talking and drinking. The following morning, Justin and I woke early then walked to the house to find Grammie awake with a coffee in hand sitting with Nolan. Luke was still out cold.

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After a delicious breakfast by Pop, we went down to the river to do a little bit of fishing!

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The boys loved wading in the river with us. They have zero fear when it comes to water! Dinner that night was ribs and steak, followed by roasting marshmallows on the fire. This was the highlight of the boys’ day! We played some fun music, danced around the fire and had a BLAST! They went to sleep around 10 that night and slept beautifully!

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On Sunday morning, Chica & I joined my parents & Uncle Ed & Aunt Kathy at the flea market where I bought two hobnail dishes and an old fashioned suitcase for my photography sessions. While we were fleamarketing, Justin & Eric took the boys to the river to fish again. When we all arrived back home, it was quite hot and everyone went kayaking & canoeing while Chica & I stayed home with the boys while they napped (we napped too!). When everyone got back, it was our turn. Chica & I went kayaking & Justin & Eric took the canoe. The boys stayed behind with Grammie & Pop. We had a boating fiasco that we’ll never forget, but ultimately, we did have fun!!

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Uncle Eddie cooked dinner that night – the best jambalaya I ever had!

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On Monday, we woke early, had a delicious breakfast then drove home. When we got home, we discovered that Justin’s car had been hit while sitting on the street and our washing machine broke. So, not the homecoming we wanted, but we’ll deal. Since we needed to buy a new washer, we ordered a new dryer as well. They both arrive tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it. We took the opportunity to get ourselves a front-loading washer & dryer. Things have been going well – busy but well!