Friday, July 29, 2011

I think we have a favorite.

A favorite sea creature to be exact. After visiting the Atlanta Aquarium, Abby has become very interested in dolphins. She explains what dolphins "do" in a very animated way.... she uses her hands to show how they jump and spin out of the water. All the while saying "dolphin" and "jump." It's the most adorable thing ever.

We brought back a dolphin from the aquarium gift shop, which she plays with and makes it jump in and out of the non existent water. When she spots a dolphin somewhere else, whether in a movie or a book, she squeals with excitement and gets all giddy inside.

Or she gets all giddy when she sees dolphins in person. Just like in the above picture from the Baltimore Aquarium. Abby and I went with our friends to the aquarium last Friday night, where Abby sat in amazement watching the dolphins swim all around.

The dolphins seemed to be a hit for Abby's friend J too. They loved it. And the mamas enjoyed the time to sit back and watch our kids brains at work. I always wonder what those little minds are thinking.

I'm sure we'll be back to visit the dolphins again, but until then Abby will just have to pray for them instead. And yes, she makes sure to include dolphins in her prayers each night. :)

Just for fun our prayers usually go something like this :

"Abby, do you want to pray tonight?"
Abby puts her hands together to pray and says "Yeahhhh."
"Who should we pray for tonight?"
"Uncle Bobby?"
"Yeahh!!" Mommy."
"Mommy? Daddy?"

And then we go through the list of all family members, some close friends, and we pray for health, safety, and Daddy on the baseball field.

"Abby, anything else?"


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Swimming - City Style

With hotter temperatures looming this past week, Abby and I have been missing our pool back home. Well I can't say for sure if Abby has been missing it but I sure have! In the city we don't really have much of a yard, but what we do have room for is a baby pool. And thanks to Maria (ReRe), we now have one that Abby absolutely loves.

After nap time, we suited up (yes I said we), and decided to give the ol' baby pool a try. What's not to love? Abby was entertained and I was getting some sun while playing with her. I strategically placed the pool where only a few neighbors would be able to spot me in my old two piece bathing suit ... and there we sat enjoying the cool water and pool toys.

By the end of our pool time, we were both in the pool splashing around and having fun with the camera. Not my idea ... Abby was quick to instruct me where to sit ... inside the pool. During these hot streaks, looks like y'all will know where to find us. Abby thanks you ReRe! :)


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - When silence sets in ...

All you Mamas know what I'm talkin' about ...

Kids are playing, giggling, talking & making noises.
Then all of a sudden, it's quiet ...

... and you walk in the room to find something like this. :)


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Keepin' y'all in the loop ....

As I write this afternoon, I'm happy to say that it is warm, sunny and beautiful out today. It has been extremely hot here in Baltimore this past week. The temperatures have been in the 100's, with a heat index of 110-120. Not fun. At all. Thankfully today is much better and I'm looking forward to spending some time at the park later. (I'm sure Abby is too)

Since it's been so hot, we've been spending a lot of time indoors. We've been to the mall, aquarium, and out to lunch. At home we've played with new toys, painted, and had fun with Play-Doh. Anything to keep a little girl busy.

Abby was invited to a birthday party Saturday evening. We've become friends with a family that lives just a few blocks away from us. They have a (now) two year old girl that Abby has been meeting for playdates since we've been here. It's been so fun getting to know a local family and Abby really enjoys playing with their little girl. The cake was delicious, balloons were a hit, and a good time was had by all.

Speaking of parties, I've actually been busy planning Abby's second birthday party. We decided on the place and now I'm picking out party decorations (keeping it simple), and I'm looking on Etsy for a birthday shirt for the birthday girl. I cannot believe she will be two in just a few short weeks. More on that later ....

In other news, Jim and I babysat our neighbors twin boys yesterday for about an hour. In that short amount of time, I realized how much I miss that age ... eight months old. They were sitting, laying, playing, cooing, smiling .... and we enjoyed every minute. I think the hubs was happy to have two little boys to play with. Abby was napping when the boys first arrived but woke up in time to play for a bit. She was quite the little helper, bringing them toys and sharing her blanket. Such a little sweetie :)

The second half of baseball season brings long road trips, one of which the hubs left for yesterday. It's a three city road trip that will last for ten days. The only bonus of such a long trip is that I'm going to meet him in Kansas City for three days, while Abby spends some time with Gramma and Grandad. I'm so looking forward to some "couple" time and seeing a city that Jim likes so much. It's always been one of his favorite cities to travel to ... good restaurants, shopping, and best of all, he made me a surprise appointment at the salon. Hair, nails, and toes ... and a whole lot of brownie points for him! :)


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Tractor Rides

There's nothing like ...

... a tractor ride with Grandad.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Baltimore Favorites :)

I went to bed way too late last night and this morning I'm paying for it. The baseball schedule doesn't quite mix with the Mommy schedule. So here is a bit of randomness of the things we love here in Baltimore....

1. Port Discovery - an awesome children's museum that has many different things to offer. We've been a few times, with friends and as a family. Abby loves the water room and she could spend hours in the mini diner. She had so much fun dancing the last time we were there, in between making us lunch. :)

2. Storyville - A free interactive learning center in the back of a library. It's just like a mini version of Port Discovery. (on a much smaller scale) Abby played in a garden, did some grocery shopping, fed and bathed her baby, and read some books. This place isn't quite as crowded, so it's nice to just let her roam and explore. :)

3. James Joyce Irish Pub - This restaurant is my favorite. Jim and I found this place a few years ago when it was literally right outside our front door. When I was pregnant we should have had "frequent flyer" cards, as I was in there probably every other day. There was something about their potato soup and spicy chicken salad that I just couldn't resist. And still can't ... Thankfully Abby loves the spaghetti, rolls, and potato soup. Now this place has become our family favorite! :)

There is so much to see and do in this city. Time for me to down some caffeine and see what this day will bring. It's supposed to be a HOT one out there! Happy Tuesday!


Monday, July 18, 2011

All Star Break, how I love you ...

During each baseball season I always look forward to the All Star Break. As the end of June approaches, I usually start to get a bit homesick and worn out from baseball. But then July rolls around, bringing with it the All Star Break. And with that comes three days of family time, unplanned days, and a break from the daily baseball grind.

After the day game on Sunday, we kicked off the break with a relaxing night at home. Dinner, play time with Abby, and then a movie and pj's for me and the hubs.

Despite the heat on Monday, we decided to brave the Baltimore Zoo for a few hours. At first Jim and I were a bit disappointed, after seeing several closed exhibits for renovations ... and only squirrels, ducks, and farm animals. After almost an hour and one lost shoe, we finally found the zebras, giraffes, rhinos, monkeys, and polar bears. Now that was a bit more exciting!

We never found the elephants (or Abby's shoe), although I know they have them there. Maybe next time! Abby enjoyed watching the fish and turtles swim all around and loved watching the monkeys playing. She is still talking about the "ooo ooo ahhh ahhhs" nonstop.

Not only were the monkeys Abby's favorite, but they were also mine. We had a lot of fun with one of the chimpanzees. (pictured above) When we first got to the monkey exhibit, I noticed that the chimp was playing with a stick, pushing it in between a crack. The stick was actually coming through our side of the exhibit. So of course Jim had to play back ... He pulled the stick out, showed the chimp he had it and pushed it back. Then the chimp would do the same thing. This little game went out for a few minutes, while other zoo visitors watched and waited to have a turn doing the same thing. It was so funny!

Jim's favorite part of the Zoo was the polar bears. It amazes me that these huge animals can look so peaceful floating in the water.

After a hot and sweaty morning at the Zoo, we went home for a bit so Abby could take a nap. She ended up taking one of her record breaking long naps and woke up super happy. I had been planning to cook that night, but we decided to go out to dinner at our favorite Irish Pub instead. We met up with friends, enjoyed a tasty dinner and a few brews. :)

The rest of the break was just as busy. Jim got a round of golf in, we did some car shopping, and met up with my family for dinner and the carnival. As relaxing as we try to make the break, we always end up doing so much ... but we wouldn't have it any other way.

One of the best parts about the All Star Break is the ability to be plan free and spontaneous. The family time was refreshing, giving us just what we needed to get through the second half of the season. As much as the hubs and I look forward to this break, it would be much more exciting to make it to the All Star Game ... who knows, maybe that's in our future :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

4th of July Traditions

The small hometown where I was raised has several traditions for each holiday. Halloween always involved trick-or-treating from house to house with a stop at the local country market for hot apple cider and candy apples. The Pie Run has always been a big hit on Thanksgiving morning ... what's not to like about pies and classic cars?

Unfortunately over time, the country market has become nothing more than a supply store for the local marina. After switching owners again and again, the heart of Galesville slowly started to break apart.

Independence Day has always been a big to-do in this town. Main Street telephone poles are lined with American flags, red white and blue can be seen on several houses, and roads close for a parade.

This 4th of July, Abby watched the parade for the first time. (Last year we were home in FL due to Jim's injury) It's something that I've done year after year ever since I was a young child and it was really special to see her reaction to something I've become so familiar with.

For the most part, Abby sat on my lap taking in all the sights and sounds. We saw firetrucks, classic cars, old farm cars, tractors, horses, homemade floats, children riding their bikes, and even a marching band.

Abby liked the horses the best. After spotting the horses she got off my lap and pointed to each one doing her best horsie sounds. The firetrucks made her nervous with the loud sirens. My girl is not a fan of loud sounds ... never has been.

And of course the day wouldn't be complete without spending time with family.
Abby absolutely adores her cousins.

4th of July ... All about family, good food, and old traditions :)


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Beauty Shop

It's never too early to have a little fun.

Right? Right.

Especially when it's Gramma's idea. :)


Monday, July 11, 2011

Atlanta - Part II

Our trip to Atlanta wouldn't have been complete without taking in a baseball game. Afterall, baseball is what took us there to begin with. That and the fact that great friends were willing to make the drive to meet up with us.

Turner Field - Home of the Atlanta Braves

Of course, Abby is wearing her O's gear for her Daddy!

We decided to take the kids to the Friday night game since Saturday we had big plans to visit the aquarium. Honestly, my expectations of the game weren't that great and I was thinking we would get there and stay for maybe half the game. Abby just doesn't like to sit still, she likes to be on the move. At Camden Yards we have the luxury of a playroom for O's families and sometimes we end up in a suite, both places Abby can have free roam and just play with other kids, instead of watching a baseball game.

I'm not sure if it was due to the heat, the fact that she was tired, or that she had her friends from home to play with, but Abby enjoyed taking in the game ... from her seat! Even better ... all three kiddos did a wonderful job. They moved around from seat to seat, or lap to lap, took in the game, the people, and the sounds of a ballpark. It was absolutely perfect!

Abby ... looking for her Daddy on the field.

Carol & Abby :)

Sometimes there is nothing better than sitting back and watching America's favorite game ... with good friends, happy children, and some Dip N Dots.

After a late night at the ballpark, we woke up early Saturday morning to beat the mad rush at the aquarium. Or what I thought would be early enough to beat the crowds. Unfortunately, it was packed and there were people everywhere. It was a bit overcrowded in most of the viewing areas, but we were able to see a lot in the time we were there. There were a lot of exhibits we didn't get to, but luckily the kids didn't know any better! I was a bit disappointed we missed the belugas, penguins, and turtles ... but Abby loved all the "fishies" and the dolphin show was great. However, it was a bit too musical for me. Seriously the dolphin trainers could have been in theater at some point in their lives. I wanted to see the dolphins do more tricks! :)

Abby & The 4 C's waiting for the dolphins

After a fun day at the aquarium, it was time to head back to the hotel for naps. Later that night (thanks to my wonderful hubby) a babysitter came to the hotel so we (Carol, Chris, and me) could catch the end of the game and head out to dinner. We met up with our "Florida Family" and enjoyed their company as well. Thank you Sue, Mike, and Nick for driving up to take in a few games and spend some time with us. It was great seeing you! Dinner was absolutely amazing. I may have to agree with Carol that it was the best steak I've ever had. Scrumptious!

Atlanta was a lot of fun and I'm so glad that were were able to create memories with such special friends. Abby did fantastic, had a blast, and is still asking for her BFF Chloe. She just loves that little girl to pieces. :)


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Photo Challenge on this lazy Saturday

Since Abby has been napping the afternoon away, I'm using this down time to wander around the blogosphere. Between catching up on reading my favorite blogs and editing photos, why not enter one in a photo challenge?

I'm entering this photo in Chelsey's challenge over at The Paper Mama. The theme for the week is "Sweet" and immediately I thought of this series of photos from just a few weeks ago.

Abby showed me that she was quite the little baker and helped me decorate cupcakes for Daddy's birthday. The baking wouldn't be complete with a little taste testing, right?! Abby was caught in the act in this photo - licking the chocolate off her fingers. And I just love the expression on her face!

The Paper Mama

Head on over to Chelsey's blog for some more sweet photos! :)


Friday, July 8, 2011

Atlanta - Part I

Last Thursday, Abby and I headed to Atlanta for our first "road trip" of the season. Road trip meaning, we flew to Atlanta where we met up with the hubs, since the O's were playing the Braves for interleague play. Our BFF's from Florida decided they would tackle a real road trip and drive to meet us there. Only the best of friends would drive eight hours with two younger children on board, a potty seat on hand and Dora the Explorer on repeat. But ... they did it and we are very gracious!

Thursday night was spent catching up; letting the girls play at the hotel, grabbing a bite to eat at a nearby mall, and snuggling in bed watching cartoons before bedtime.

We started Friday off with breakfast at The Flying Biscuit Cafe, a southern hotspot known for a variety of healthier breakfast options and of course their famous sugar topped biscuits. Since we were on vacation, I went the not so healthy route and indulged in eggs, bacon, sausage, and a biscuit. Quite yummy! Afterwards, Carol and I attempted a photo shoot with the girls since we had them in matching Matilda Jane dresses.

Camdyn was all about posing for the camera ...
here she is channeling her inner-model! :)

Cam & Abby ... so sweet!

This is the only worthwhile shot of all three kids.
Abby is smiling for the other camera, Chloe wants her shoes off,
and Cam is still modeling. :)

After breakfast, we returned to the hotel for some pool time. The Ritz had an indoor pool, which turned out to better than an outdoor pool. It kept us out of the sun and heat (people aren't kidding when they say HOTlanta) and we were the only ones there! Abby is still unsure of the water, at least when it's on a scale bigger than the bath tub. But this time, she enjoyed it a lot more!

After awhile we headed back up to our rooms for some nap time. Abby woke up, took control of the remote, and relaxed with me for a bit. Then dinner came and a trip to the ballpark ... more photos from that later!

It was a perfect first day. :)

Here Abby is using the remote to call Gramma ... aka "Aammmaaaww."