Fall Festivals: All The Fall Things

It is time for all things fall like festivals. The D.C. area is full of great spots to get out of the city. In less than an hour, you can be on a farm in the middle of what feels like nowhere petting baby goats and sipping homemade cider.

Montpelier Farms – Upper Marlboro, MD

1508936378663Sometimes I do not want to drive to what feels like the far ends of Virginia even though in reality it’s only like 43 miles. Lucky for us there is a great spot less than 20 miles away in Upper Marlboro, MD. We found Montpelier Farms last year when our desire to visit a pumpkin patch was great but our fear of driving an hour with a screaming 1 1/2 year old was MUCH greater.

This fantastic little farm is filled with activities for the whole family. Kids can play games, pan for jewels, get lost in a corn maze, jump on a giant pumpkin air mat, make a scarecrow, go on a hayride and feed farm animals. The alpacas and the horse will nibble the food right from your hand. It tickles, it’s wet and slightly frightening – IT IS THE BEST. We spent a lot of time watching LADC climb up and slide down an old truck bed converted into three slides. After you’re finished with your afternoon of fun, you can pick your own pumpkin.

Admission: $12.00 (2 and under free) – Most events are included with the price but there are some ticketed games as well.

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2016 Montpelier Farms Visit – It was hot hot hot!!!

 

Winterbrook Farms – Thurmont, MD

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Our friends invited us along to this fantastic farm way out in Maryland. This was about an hour and half drive for us but it was well worth it. This beautiful farm has a huge barn with kids activities, animals to feed and shaded tables for eating. There are apple cannons, a cow train (highly recommended), zip lines, corn maze, hayrides to a pumpkin patch. So many things to climb – bails of hay, tire stacks, and even a hill with a bell at the top. We even engaged in a friendly sack race which made me laugh so hard. We spent a lot of time in the giant corn box…a sandbox filled with corn kernels. You’ll want one for your own! The corn box was conveniently located next to a duck race using water pumps which was a hit with the adults. LADC loved the tube slides so much that she insisted on doing them alone. They were not too fast for a tiny two year old so we let her go for it…OVER…AND…OVER…again.

Admission: $10 Regular, $7 for children under 4′ tall – All events included expect Apple cannon and pumpkins

Ticonderoga Farms – Chantilly, VA

This was our (mine and LADC’s) third trip to Ticonderoga Farms. LADC and I have  in the past attended my former employer’s corporate picnic with friends so this year was our first time being able to do all of the farm activities. Ticonderoga has a huge pillow jump, a mountain of slides, several playgrounds, goats and chickens to feed, hay rides, a bamboo maze, pedal carts, pumpkin patches, and live music. We spent a lot of time playing hide and seek in the pumpkin patch and on the slides. WE enjoyed the slides over and over again! Climbing that slide hill like 50 times is an exhausting good time!

Oh and everyone gets their own pumpkin to take home!

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Admission: $16.95 for everyone 2 and up (slightly pricey)

As the fall festival season winds down, I come away with one final thought.  – Turns out all that is important to us is a good slide and apple cider!

Birthday Parties and Being the Vegan Kid: Age 2

When you are the vegan person in the room people seem to be hyper aware of their food offerings. Hosts like to say sorry for not offering more vegan friendly options. Sorry really isn’t necessary AT ALL. We go to parties for the company, the friendship, the camaraderie not to be fed all the food. Although we may completely devour your humus tray after a few cocktails. Plus when WE have a party…it’s all vegan.

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LADC only went to two birthday parties at the age of one. One was hers. What she knew both times was that we took her to a room full strange people (big and small). But there were toys for when and if the initial shock wore off. We did the responsible thing for the friend party. We brought her snacks and some ice cream. I do not even remember her eating either.

She is two now and her social circle is slightly larger. We have attended a few birthday parties inthe last few weeks. We, as her parents, will try our best to make sure she has what she needs to feel included and not different during parties. Our methods will, no doubt, evolve over time. Right now, she is only two so she mostly just eats what we give her with no question. She just wants to play. She does not yet get the concept of birthday cake so that has been a non issue.

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We will keep adjusting our plan as she gets older. For now…she just wants to jump in the bouncy house, eat all your blueberries, and pet your dogs and babies.

To Party Parents: You have a lot to think about when planning a party these days. So many dietary restrictions to plan for…from nut allergies, to gluten issues, to vegan friends. I would say let’s worry about those nut free kids first. That’s life and death. We know that you can not please everyone. As party planners, just be open to questions about your food options, the other parent is just trying to plan ahead for their kid. Also, don’t be offended when someone walks in with their own snacks. When possible let the guest parent take the lead in offering their child food. Some children will not know exactly what is the safe choice without a little parental guidance.

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To Pour or Not to Pour…The Toddler Decides

During a rather idyllic breakfast on Wednesday morning, LADC asked to pour her water onto her grits. My gut reaction was to shut that mess down but instead I simply said, I don’t think that’s a great decision but go for it. It may not taste very good. 

Sounded gross. But totally harmless.

She poured.

She stared.

She tasted.

She gagged.

She waved her hand over it and muttered some toddler-ese which I interpreted as…”You were right, mom, that was a POOR decision.”

When I asked her if it tasted badly she said, “Yea,” connected to this half laugh half sigh that she does when she know something was so ridiculously silly. (seriously, it is the cutest)

We can call it a culinary experiment so it sounds really brave and smart. We do encourage exploring and learning at home. Making messes and doing the silly thing is kind of part of our every day life. Some of us shoot water cannons at others while they mow the grass just because it makes the toddler insanely happy. We will be cleaning up glitter for the rest of our lives.

If I had said no to pouring water on the grits, there would have been tears and frustration. I do not like to say NO all the time. Sometimes our instinct is to say no because of inconvenience, a bad mood, laziness…those times I have to stop myself and remember I am trying to raise a tiny human. I have to stop to remember that pouring water on the grits might just turn into a moment that I can tell her about when she asks about when she was a small. Saying yes to the silly odd random thing might just be the best decision I make all day.

I read an article once about parents who never said no. They discussed the good and bad consequences of decisions with their kids and gave them the choice. Keeping an open dialogue for when the tough subjects come up. I mean some things are inherently dangerous and require a strong NO. We have some non-neogtiables like brushing teeth. Has to be done even if there are tears and ear piercing screams. BUT Some things are just things that can be turned into a teaching moment. Some things are just silly so you do them anyway.

LADC thinks grits are the best breakfast ever. As most parents know, getting a toddler to eat can be challenging so having their favorites on had is essential. I have had to permanently add grits to the grocery list. I remember not liking grits as a kid but I also remember them being white and bland unless you put a slice of cheese in it. (We use Bob’s Red Mill Polenta following the suggested directions and also adding some nutritional yeast and flax meal to make it extra nutritious.)

Guess Who’s Back!?

Hello all (if you’re still out there)! I haven’t read a blog or written a blog in like 6 months. I have been momming, working and wifing hard…not always in that order but always doing all the things. If you follow us on Instagram, you’re fully up to date on her growth and what we’re doing now.

Working from home was hard. I made it work. I did some office management work for a about 6 months which demanded a lot of computer time. However, I am now back working in the real world…and by real world…I mean I play for a living and I love it. I was presented with an opportunity this past February and I seized it. My little one goes to work with me every day!

I finally have some room to give updating, writing and musing some attention.

I mostly want to hold on to memories that I know my brain can not possibly hold on to forever.

Like would I always remember that she laughed in her sleep the other morning. Then Lisa and I giggled back and forth. I wonder what she was dreaming about?

I want to remember the pee-pee in the potty dance she did for hours last night EVEN before she actually peed in the potty.

Or those moments when we have one big group hug and there are so many giggles, kisses and love is just oozing out of us.

Maybe moms always remember this stuff…Maybe I will remember it but just in case my brain gets so full of wonderful memories that some start falling out…I’ll write them out just in case.

Before She Turns One…

I am such a bad blogger mom…I skipped her 9 month update and her 10 month and now I’ve let 11 months slip through my typing fingers…but don’t worry there were photo shoots.

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This first year has passed by so quickly. She went from fragile baby we held firmly in our arms like she would break at the slightest movement to indestructible toddler who constantly falls on her butt and bumps into everything forever keeping a little bruise on her forehead. She busted her lip for the first time a few days ago which about gave this novice mommy a heart attack.  She cried for a minute and then was over it. Her little lip is healing nicely and she doesn’t even seem to notice. She was still giving kissing and sucking on her bottle like a champ.

The other morning when she woke up instead of pulling her out of bed to get breakfast and start our day, I just climbed in with her to snuggle. We laughed, made noises and said, “Hey”, with different inflections. It’s amazing all that can be said in a three letter word. She put her head on my chest several times just being still something you don’t get much of from a girl on the go. For those 15 minutes or so time stopped. We were just in the moment and it was perfect. I did it again yesterday morning because we have no where to be. We do not have to live by the alarm clock at the moment. The lighting was in just such a way that when I looked at her face I could see that baby from the sonogram picture. Being home with her has been the best decision we have made in a long time. I feel like it maximizes everyone’s time together. There is a financial cost to the time but the benefits are amazing.

So expect some happy birthday gushes later in the week!

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Momming So Hard – SAHWM

I am thirteen days in to my new path as a Stay at Home Working Mom and boooooy am I tired. As you know or may not know, I left my full-time position a little over two weeks ago to stay at home with our little #LADC. For the first ten months she had the best childcare a little baby could have – her grammy. But grammy needed to get back to doing what a grammy does when not being a grammy extraordinaire. So we made the difficult, easy, logical, scary, wonderful, cost efficient decision for me to stay at home.

So far I am rocking this stay at home mom thing.  We are working on our daily routine making sure to carve out time for play, learning, exploring, me to do some work, to clean up the house, and MAYBE carve out some time to write. I will be working from home. I have a few P/T gigs that I’ll be doing so I can pay back those evil minions at Navient.

So what do I think about my new role?  I LOVE IT! I think it is where I am meant to be right now. I GET to be with an awesome little human every single day. Plus with her as my office assistant it means nap and snack times are totally a work day must.

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Thankful – Giveaway!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. As I sit here watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (which made me tear up as soon as it came on TV), I’m thinking about how thankful I am. I have a beautiful wife and child snoozing away and a warm home with big furry cozy sleeping dogs. In the quiet I am taking this moment to check in with the internets. The stars all aligned last night and I was able to prep all of my Thanksgiving dishes. I only need to pop them in the oven later!

Since starting this blog, I have made so many far away friends and been given so much support from the blogging community. So when my friends over at Fabness.com reached out about doing a giveaway, I thought this was the perfect way to say, Thank you! So Fabness.com is helping me give away a 16×20 Personalized Canvas to one of my followers! I know you are all shutterbugs because I see so many cute pictures of your little ones so I thought this was perfect!

I first heard about Fabness.com last year when I was looking for an inexpensive way to put one of our wedding photos on canvas. This is now one my favorite pieces we have hanging in our home.

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All you have to do is enter and you might win! I am delving into something new and trying a giveaway/sweepstakes (legalese and all that jazz). I’ve set this up with Rafflecopter so I fee like it’s pretty legit.

But don’t worry if you don’t win…You can still get some great deals with Fabness.com – You can receive 70% off of All Canvas and Free Economy Shipping with the code Black Friday!! Just click here!

Here is the Rafflecopter link to enter since it won’t embed!  Enter away folks!

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You can also go to our Facebook Page where there is a Giveaway tab!

I also would like to add that I am an affiliate for Fabness.com and Dinkledoo so when you click on my links and purchase something, I get a little something too. If you would like to become an affiliate, you can as well. Just click here for details.

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

Month 8 – She has Teeth

I skipped over month 7 because October was completely crazy…

Our photo shoot went a little like this…

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The Number 7 tastes amazing!

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7 Months was delicious….

So here we are 8 months in to this amazing journey as moms. Our little girl is growing and changing so much. She can stand on her own…DSC_0022

She has not taken her first steps on her own but she is so close. She loves using her VTech Sit-to-Stand Walker to cruise up and down the hallway. She stands up over and over again. It’s a good thing baby butts have so much cushioning!

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She can throw a ball and other objects. And she laughs just to laugh. I like to think it is because she hears laughter so often. She even has a fake laugh. It’s so funny that it usually ends in actual laughter.

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We are so in love with this child. Even though you hear it time after time, it’s amazing how one little person can come in to your world and fit so perfectly. The love just grows and grows. It is an easy, all consuming love.

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Of course, we have tantrums and sleepless nights but who cares. The memory of those moments slips away easily. The only evidence is the bags under our eyes and the frequent trips to Starbucks (and I’m not complaining about that!). To us, she’s just perfect. Most tear filled nights these days are because of those little teeth poking through. She has two now!

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She can play by herself but hates when mommies and grammy leave the room sometimes.

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She gives the best baby kisses of all time…all open mouthed and drool. The other night even with a sore mouth and a melt down happening, she looked up and then gave me a kiss.

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She may appear to be bald in some photos but she has quite the head of blond hair growing in. Little tufts of hair stick over her ears which remind me of little old men. It’s adorable.

Also, because I skipped a Halloween post, here is a little photo shoot we did in her giraffe costume.

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Fall is Heeeeerrrrrreeeee!

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When I feel that first nip in the air signaling that fall is near I experience uber euphoria. I just want to skip, twirl, sing with woodland creatures and carve fat pumpkins as I feel the crispness in the air. The temperature always drops right around my birthday like a gift from mother nature. I have felt this way since I was a child. I love fall clothes, apple cider, college football and the crunch of leaves. I like when the weather is just perfect enough to wear a long sleeved t-shirt and a pair of shorts. The summers in South Carolina were miserable…the kind of hot where your parents can not send you outside because it would be negligence so fall was a welcome friend.

I am sure some of you thought fall had arrived with the release of the PSL at Starbucks but the first day of fall was yesterday (Sept. 23rd)!  I am not judging you…I started celebrating fall the first day I saw a Pumpking in the liquor store! I take no issue with the pumpkinization of fall. Pumpkin on, my friends!

Side Note – My birthday hasn’t passed yet so you still have time to shop. 

Along with fall comes fall activities! Corn mazes, festivals, haunted houses, apple picking, county fairs, pumpkin patches…etc. I always want to do it all but there are only so many Saturdays and Sundays. So here is our must do list for this fall!

Cox Farms’s Fall Festival – We attended their preview last weekend to kick off our fall activity schedule. There is a corn maze, slides in every theme possible, caramel apples, apple cider, a new forest walk, live music, games, pumpkins and food. It’s great for the whole family! At night you can go to Fields of Fear, which is their corn maze but scarier. Lisa and I went with friends two years ago…We had a blast chunking pumpkins at targets, sliding down giant slides and freaking out in the corn maze.

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LA was more impressed with her Nuby teether than the corn maze or the imagination forest but we had a great time! Also, everyone gets their own mini pumpkin when you leave!

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Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary’s Open House – Every fall the awesome people and animals at Poplar Spring located in Poolesville, MD open their gates for a fundraiser! There are goats, pigs, lambs, cows, horses, turkeys, etc….all rescued animals now living a happy life at a wonderful place! You get to visit with the animals, bid on auction items, and eat tasty vegan food all in a idyllic setting. We are so excited to start taking LA to this yearly event. She loves our dogs at home so I am hoping she gets just as excited about these wonderful animals! 

DC VegFest – Since Lisa and I started attending this annual event a few short years ago it has grown and relocated twice! VegFest is a vegan food dream come true. Vendors come from all over the country with samples of their delicious food. Plus local eateries have booths and/or their food trucks. Plus there is art, clothing, accessories and organizations to support as well! It is a most wonderful gathering of compassionate people. Also, there are speakers on a myriad of topics and cooking demonstrations from some well known vegans. Jane Velez-Mitchell will be opening up the day this year! She is a great speaker and has a genuine passion for compassion. One thing you can count on is the long and continuous line for Vegan Treats. It’s worth it and amazing! Plus you can do all your people watching while you wait!

Maryland Renaissance Festival – I have not been to this festival or any other renaissance festival but it just sounds like fun! I don’t know what to expect…wenches? grog? chainmail? dungeons? swords? dragons? I just realized I have no clue what medieval stuff is really. Still, I think it sounds like a blast.

Day 13 – Shout Outs for My Homies

The BlogHer Conference is later on this week. It sounds like a fantastic conference with a lot of good information for bloggers. It’s the kind of thing I would like to attend at some point. Not this year though because babies and things…Today’s prompt was about the conference for those going…for those not going it is a chance to give a shout out to our favorite blogs. So here they are in no particular order.

  • The Chronicles of a Non Belly Mama – The ladies were due a couple of months ahead of us so they were my go to guide for all things pregnancy related…especially vegetable sized baby things. Great, fun family to follow! I think they may have been the first blog I followed.
  • Reciprocal Love – These ladies have an exciting time ahead for sure! Another blog I’ve been following from the very beginning.
  • My Kid Doesn’t Poop Rainbows – This is funny stuff right here. I don’t think I need to explain further…Her blog name says it all…but there are amazing drawings for the words too.
  • Fisticuffs and Shenanigans – She’s funny and seriously deranged in the best possible way.
  • Raising My Rainbow – A great look at parenting a gender nonconforming child. She is an awesome mom.
  • Life With Roozle – This blog ranges from simple smiley posts to deep thought provoking stuff. I dig it on a lot of levels.

Because it is almost 11:00 PM EST and I am super super super tired…Here are more blogs I love…with no explanation but they are worth a read!!!

No blog is the same and everyone has a unique perspective to offer. These are just some of my favorite blogs and I’m sure I missed some and I’ll have to come back and update.

Tuesday, July 14th, 11:20 AM – Already back and adding.

NaBloPoMo July 2015