Project Life 365 – Day 87 – Splash

Going into the archives for today’s photo (since it’s still been too darn cold to do any fun “splashing” around here. So, here is a favorite photo from one of the hottest days last summer when Cadence and I roadtripped to meet up with our friends Cristen and Julian. As you can tell, Cadence and Julian had too much fun…


Happy Birthday to Me

I’m back. Yeah, I know, I’ve said that before, but this time it’s for real. The craziness of the summer is finally over. No more vacations. No more flights. No more weddings. No more funerals (we hope). It’s time to get back to some sort of routine around here. It’s time, and boy are we ready!

Tomorrow Cadence starts preschool. We’ve been talking to her about it for weeks now, trying to prepare her to begin this new chapter in her life. We can tell she’s excited. She talks about all the things she’s going to do in school–numbers, ABC’s, playing with kids, etc.–but I can also see her trepidation. Every time we mention school, her little brow furrows for a moment and she says, “I no cry” before going on to talk about all the fun things she’ll do there. Maybe she’s trying to reassure us. But I think maybe she’s trying to talk herself into being brave. Pretty mature thinking for a two-and-a-half year old if you ask me. But then again, I think we’ve all done some growing up this summer. It’s been a hard one around here.

So today, we spent celebrating my 32nd birthday, and enjoying a quiet day together as a family. It’s been waaaaaaay too long since we’ve had one of those, and boy did we have fun! My amazing husband surprised me with a sweet card and two tickets to see Chicago in October. A date night. I can’t wait! 🙂 Then, we spend our day together, enjoying the late summer sunshine at Martin’s Hillside Orchard picking apples. We had dinner at Lazlo’s in the Haymarket, then back home to spend a lazy evening watching movies while I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

All in all, I’d say it was a perfect day. 🙂

Summer Fun

Somewhere in the midst of the sleepless nights, the dirty diapers, the temper tantrums and the endless “No. No! NO!!!” of parenting, there is a whole lot of fun, especially if you’re willing to take some time off, let your kids be kids, and go along for the ride.

Since coming back from our NY trip, it’s been go, go, go around here. Between housework, deadlines, photo assignments, finishing up projects for my sister Kassie’s wedding next week, and Steven and I starting the Insanity workouts, it’s been a busy couple of weeks. So, when I got a chance to take a day off to meet up with my friend Cristen and her son Julian for a playdate, I jumped at the chance, loaded Cadence up in the car, and headed out for some fun.

Since Cristen lives down in Kansas, we chose the town of Marysville as our meet-up spot. It’s a little over halfway for me, but it’s got an AWESOME park with tons of things for the kiddos to climb on, jump off, slide down, and run around to keep them busy for hours. Knowing that it was supposed to be in the 90’s, we brought along a couple garden hoses, just in case the kiddos got overheated and needed a little cooling off.

Cadence has talked about her friend “Julley” since she first met him over a month ago. The two hit it off immediately on our first playdate, and Cadence has been smitten ever since. The moment the two of them stepped out of the cars, they hugged, and then hurried off to play.

Seriously, how adorable are these two???

After playing a bit, the kiddos started asking for lunch, so we spread out a blanket and had ourselves a little picnic. Then, it was time for real crazy fun to begin…

When we turned on the hose, Julian wasn’t quite sure he wanted to get wet. Cadence, on the other hand, barreled right in and was soaked within minutes. I’m sure Julian was wondering what the heck was up with this wild girl…

But as soon as he saw a big muddy puddle to jump in, Julian couldn’t help but join in the fun. And, of course, as soon as Julian’s shirt came off, Cadence couldn’t keep hers on. I’m sure, someday, she’ll be embarrassed by these photos, but hey, how do you explain to a 2-year-old that it’s more ladylike to keep your shirt on? You’d be wasting your breath even trying.

The funniest part was, the wetter Cadence got, the lower her pants sagged. Now, to be fair, if I’d thought she would be running around like a little gangsta, I probably would have put a different pair of pants on her, but I actually thought they might fit. I mean, they’re 18-month size. She’s 2 1/2. They should fit by now, right?


I guess I shouldn’t be shocked. Steven said a bunch of the adults on his block gave him the nickname “tush-less” growing up because he was so skinny. Looks like Cadence might have inherited his skinny butt gene.

And you know it was only a matter of time before Cadence’s full-speed sprinting through the puddles with drooping pants caught up to her. We had a minor two-kid pile-up, but Cadence and Julian just laughed it off and headed off to find a bigger puddle to jump in…

There are so many fun photos from the day, but I definitely think these are my favorites, because they seriously remind me of The Beatles Abbey Road. If we had two more kids in the playdate, we might have been onto something…

Cristen and I got a little nervous when we saw the police truck slowly drive by. We hoped we weren’t violating some sort of water restriction or something, and both held our breath for a moment wondering how the kiddos would fare if their Momma’s got hauled to jail. But the cops must have seen that it was just a couple kids having fun in the sprinkler and went on their way. Phew!

Cadence took a quick apple break…

While Julian teased his Mom and threatened to sit on her with his soggy wet butt…

Seriously, how cute are these two?

Aaaaaahhhhh! 🙂

And the think I love best about hanging out with a fellow photographer and her kid is that I’m not the only weirdo rolling around on the ground with a camera glued to my face. Haha! 🙂

Finally, Julian decided he’d had enough of the water, and spent a few moments trying to convince Cadence to get her clothes changed so they could head back to the playground…

But Cadence had to take a few last turns in the puddle before she was done for the day…

Back in the park, Julian taught Cadence how to climb the ropes, and they played until they were too tired to stand anymore…

Then, with a few quick hugs, Cadence and I said goodbye to our friends Cristen and Julian, and headed back home after a great day. Can’t wait to do it again! 🙂

A Little Christmas in July

It’s been a little hectic around here since returning from our New York vacation. I had hundreds of photos to go through from our trip, a guestbook to design and canvas to prep for my sister’s Kassie’s wedding, emails to answer, photo assignments to complete, laundry to catch up on, meals to cook, and an off-schedule, mildly ill 2-year-old to deal with.

Yeah, it’s been a little busy.

We did take a nice little break from the action on the 4th though. Steven and I took Cadence to see her first movie, Brave, in the theater, and she absolutely loved it. We shared popcorn, licorice, Reese’s Pieces, and Junior Mints and just enjoyed a little time together as a family. Cadence’s eyes were glued to the screen (except to grab another bite, or the minute or two she tried to discuss what was happening in the movie with the little boy sitting in the row ahead of us). She even stayed a few extra minutes to listen to the music and watch the credits roll. By the time we hit the lobby, she was already talking about going to another “woovie”, and has pretty much decided she wants to see Batman with her Daddy.

I’m thinking we’ll probably try Madagascar 3 and wait for Batman to come out on DVD.

Afterward, we headed home and put Cadence down for a quick nap. We invited my sister and her family over for steaks on the grill for dinner. It was so hot, we decided to turn on the sprinkler and let the kiddos run wild, and boy did they! They had a blast getting wet, pushing each other down the slide, and playing with a beach ball in the water. At first, Odin wanted to wear his little Fire Chief hat to keep his head from getting wet, but eventually he left it behind and just ran wild, and you know Cadence had to try it on for size…

Odin thought it was pretty funny to park himself on the slide and try to keep Cadence from going down it…

…right up until she gave him a push right off the top. Good thing we decided to move the slide onto the grass!

After that, the kids thought it was funny to push and watch each other tumble down in a heap…

After dinner, Lindy broke out the little firecracker snaps she bought at the store for the kids to try. They thought it was hilarious when I planted myself in the line of fire to get a few shots of them…

Since their bathing suits were still wet, we threw the kiddos in whatever clothes we happened to grab before they ran out the door on us, and it cracks me up that Cadence ended up in her long sleeve Santa pajama top while Odin is sporting an Awesome Crew sleeveless t-shirt. What a motley bunch!

And you know I couldn’t resist snapping a couple dozen photos when Cadence decided to model Odin’s hat. How cute is she!?

And once all the snaps were done, Odin thought it was fun to make some noise drumming on the table…

…while Cadence hunted for unsnapped snaps on the ground.

I hope everyone had as fun of a 4th as we did!

NY Trip Photo Bomb (part 4)

After spending most of the week on Long Island, having fun and cooling off in the pool, it was time to head back to Westchester for Gary and Liz’s wedding. We loaded up in Pop-Pop’s “Shaggin’ Wagon”, as Steven calls it (which is straight out of National Lampoon’s Vacation with the wood paneling on the sides). Cadence loved hollering out the colors of cars and trucks passing on the expressway, and screeched with delight every time she spotted an airplane in the sky.

In the 10 years I lived in New York, I must have traveled these roads a hundred times, and I have to admit, I got a little sentimental as we drove.

We crossed the Whitestone, laughing about the road construction that seemed to have taken up exactly where it left off the last time we visited three years ago. And, as always, I couldn’t help but to stare at the New York City skyline, rising up out of the heat and smog, as we passed. Yeah, I saw the sign about cameras being strictly prohibited, but it was worth the risk to get just a couple quick shots of my favorite city in the world.

As we crossed into the Bronx, we passed Co-op City, where I taught high school English for two years at Truman High School. Ah, the memories! I was hoping I’d have time to see a few of my old colleagues, but our whirlwind trip went by too fast. Next time for sure.

And then, we were making the last familiar turns, taking us back to a place that, even after all these years, feels like my second home…

It’s safe to say that Cadence felt immediately comfortable. We’d barely been there an hour and she was trying to take over the reception desk in Feth Hall and answer incoming calls.

Then, she tried knocking when I pointed out Dr. Nakhai’s office door. Unfortunately, we had to miss her on this trip, since she was spending the summer with her family in Iran.

But, we did manage to break and enter and snap a few photos in Dr. Nakhai’s office to surprise her with when she returns. I don’t know about you, but I think Cadence looks right at home.

By that time, we were starving, and decided to take another short roadtrip to our favorite restaurant in Westchester County–the Candlelight Inn in Scarsdale. I’m telling you folks, I’ve eaten a lot of hot wings in my day, but the Candlelight’s are, without a doubt, the best wings in the world. Yes, the world. I know that’s a bold statement, but I’ll stand by it. If you think you’ve got better wings, feel free to send me a sample for comparison, and until I find better hot wings, I’ll remain a staunch endorser of the Candlelight.

This little land yacht was parked in the lot when we arrived, and I had to snap a picture because I love it, and I want one.

Just one quick pic, and then we headed inside. It had been three years since our last order of Candlelight wings, and that was two years and 364 days too long!


Please excuse me while I lick my computer screen.

Later that evening, we met up with the Kennedy’s and the Palkewick’s back on campus. We ate our fill of New York pizza in the air-conditioned bliss of Joan and Mike’s apartment, before strolling across the street with the kiddos so they could play a bit before bedtime. And tell me, is it just me, or do these pics look like they could be on the movie poster for “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”?

The kids gave the playground equipment some half-hearted attention before ditching it altogether in favor of the water hose Joan found behind the building. It was after 6 pm, still in the 90’s, and huuuuuumid! Little Josh tore off his shirt and Cadence immediately followed suit. Katie tried, but Joan put a stop to it before she could lose her sundress. We all had a blast watching our kiddos play and thinking that it didn’t seem all that long ago that we were the ones “playing” on campus. Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

And I was super excited that we were able to find some time for a late evening playdate with my old friend Anette, her hubby Alex, and beautiful daughter Ella. Miss Ella is just a month older than Cadence, and the two of them are peas in a pod. They both love singing and dancing, especially to Karmin. They enjoy cartoons like American Dad. And they can both work an Ipad better and faster than 97% of adults. After so many years, it was great to catch up with an old friend and finally meet the amazing little girl I’d heard so much about!

The next morning, we headed over to the Meyers’ house for breakfast. Aaron and Alissa made us waffles and the kiddos had a blast playing. Even having a playdate earlier in the week and then having breakfast, I only managed a handful of photos and completely missed getting pictures of Alissa and beautiful baby Elle, since she was down for a nap. I’m bad about forgetting my camera when I’m having fun. I gotta work on that!

After dropping Steven at the campus so he could meet up with Gary and the groomsmen to get ready for the wedding, Cat, Nathan, and I headed over to the Filippelli house for some good old-fashioned fun. We only managed to get slightly lost on the way, but made it there in plenty of time for the kiddos to play and have a blast in their very own self-made bounce house, right in Christin’s living room. All you need is a well-inflated air mattress and an end table capable of holding the weight of three young children. Instant fun!

After thoroughly exhausting herself playing the the Meyers, the Fillipellis and the Grayboschs, I was shocked that Cadence actually made it through the wedding without some sort of meltdown. But she held on like a champ and didn’t fall asleep until I strapped her in her carseat after the ceremony. I told Foerth to hang on for a long ride. The reception didn’t start for almost an hour and a half, and I planned to drive around as long as Cadence kept sleeping. We cruised through the familiar streets of Bronxville, Tuckahoe, Eastchester, Mount Vernon and Yonkers, reminiscing about our college and after-college days as we drove through our old stomping grounds. We drove past old apartments, past the Cross County Mall, which had received a major (and much-needed) facelift, past the old bars and restaurants and movie theaters and grocery stores we used to frequent. Somehow, things had changed, and yet, remained very much the same.

Cadence woke just as we were arriving at the Bronxville Field Club for the reception. The short sleep revived her, and she was off and running with sweet little Ella almost as soon as we let her out of the car. The two ran non-stop during the entire outdoor cocktail hour, chasing each other up and down the hill, showering each other with grass, and having races. It was adorable.

And Ella managed to sneak over and get a quick hug or two from the groom as he mingled. Aww! We love Gary!

And here’s my hubby the groomsman, looking so very handsome.

Please try to disregard the fact that his fly is hanging wide open. He’s not sure how long it was hanging open. I guess the professional wedding photos will tell.

And here’s a GQ shot with our buddy Papsin…

Of course, Cadence and Ella had to take a spin around the dance floor with Christin the minute we headed in for the reception. And the kept dancing and dancing and dancing…right up until they were so exhausted that they just laid down in the middle of the dance floor. At that point, we decided it was time to take our leave, wish the newlyweds congratulations, and head back to the hotel room for the night.

Before heading back to Long Island to spend the final day of our vacation, we made one last stop at the Candlelight to pick up an order of wings to go, and met up with my former roomie Katie and her husband Brian for a little picnic lunch and hanging out time at the campus. Cadence and Katie became fast friends…sort of like her Momma did. 🙂

The hubbies, chilllin’.

Cadence taking Katie for a walk.

Aww! I love these crazy kids!

And of course, Steven had to snap a picture of Cadence hiding behind the tree and doing her “business” before we left.

And that’s all folks. My camera was officially retired for the trip after this shot because Cadence ended up being sick and feverish our last day there. I’m glad to say though that in spite of a CRAAAAAAZY security line at the airport, we made it home, safe and sound, without any trouble.

Now, it’s time to start planning next year’s trip, because we all agreed that three years between visits is way too long to wait!

Until then, we’ll miss you New York!

Fun in the Sun

Just a lazy Sunday trying to beat the heat in the yard. Steven caught the Mets/Yankees game on the Ipad while Cadence had a blast chasing a ball and running through the sprinkler. Then, a little lunch on the patio, and that’s what I’d call a perfect day. 🙂

And of course, I had to take about a million pictures of Miss Cadence looking like a 2-year-old Baywatch babe running through the yard in her new bathing suit. Unfortunately, I missed one seriously righteous wipeout when her shoe flew off mid-stride and she bellyflopped in the grass, limbs flying as she skidded to a stop. But, I still managed to get some really cute pictures.

Steven keeping an eye on the Mets during lunch
Really Momma? I can’t even enjoy a peanut butter sandwich without that camera in my face?
Cadence’s devious look
Mmmm…peanut butter
Gasp! The bunny? He’s here? Even all these weeks after Easter, Cadence is still obsessed.
Giving me the full explanation of how the Easter Bunny hides the eggs.

Seriously lady, time to put away the camera before someone gets hurt!
Electra praying for Cadence to drop something.
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