Thursday, April 17

Braden's Third Birthday Party

Braden has a deep, abiding love for trains. Even though we did trains last year, there really wasn't another theme he'd love--so we did trains again. I tried to make it as different as possible and I think I succeeded.

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We celebrated his birthday the day after our big outing to go see real trains--and he was kind of a grumpy hot mess until after his nap. I'm extremely and completely grateful for Jenn for bringing her family up to celebrate--and to capture these moments better than I ever could. My parties always look better through her lens! And I'm so grateful for these sweet shots of my THREE year old birthday boy.

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The child loved his cupcake. I'm not exactly sure what his strategy was for eating it... but it did make a huge mess.

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Could you die from the sweetness? These smiles were especially welcome since he had been SUCH a grump earlier in the day. He kept trying to tell Miss Jenn to go home. Not very nice, B. We love this kid and his wealth of personality. I'm having a hard time sitting down to write a post about his three year old little self because there's just so much of him!

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And a few of the dessert table in case you are interested! I'm hoping to have it featured somewhere soon--I just have to get my act together in writing a recap. I'll share the rest of the details eventually. I loved like, every detail of this party and I'm kind of obsessed with the pictures. I love the stripes. I love the yellow. I love the train. I hope it's not rude for me to be in love with my own stuff. Because I am. I love this stuff so much that Finley's birthday party next week is practically identical.

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Tuesday, April 15

Trains for Braden's Birthday

Braden turned three on Saturday! To celebrate our little train enthusiast, we took a trip out to Lancaster County to see all the trains. (Last year we took him to see the trains in Baltimore--they've grown!) There are three train museums and a bunch of other train related sites.  We started off by eating at the Red Caboose Motel and Restaurant, which is where we learned that Braden loves trains in theory more than in actual practice. The restaurant is in a train car and you can rent out individual cars to spend the night in. We could not get Braden near the train cars--it took some serious cajoling to get him in the restaurant! We were surprised how timid he was around the trains. Once we got in the train restaurant he had a good time--especially because out seat had a view of the train tracks and he got to see trains go by a few times!

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Lucky for me--I chose the right museum! We visited the National Toy Train Museum and Braden was in HEAVEN. Heaven, I tell you. I'm really glad we didn't visit the huge museums--Braden was just thrilled to run around and look at the trains.

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Finley loved it too, and Keaton mostly napped.

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Basically the museum was a large room filled with model trains--and a few displays where you could push the buttons and make the trains go. The pink one was my favorite--Braden said it was beautiful.

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This video pretty much sums up Braden's experience. I took about a dozen all like this--Braden running around in circles, overwhelmed by the excitement. It was adorable.



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I was barely able to get Braden to sit on this train for a picture--

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Finley insisted on getting "Conductor Bear" for Braden for his birthday. Sometimes he's a very sweet brother! We took some similar shots last year in Virginia--where my children were much more cooperative. Sigh. At least they are still wearing matching striped shirts.

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And a kind of family picture with the motel trains! Happy birthday buddy.

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If you have a minute, go check out our free Easter Printable on the RV Parties blog! Spoiler alert: it's adorable.

Thursday, April 10

Insta-Fun

Hello! Welcome to my 800th post, which is a tribute to another form of social media, Instagram. I'm way better at posting there than I am here... so if you go through withdrawal of my children, that's where you can get your fix.

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keaton and his best friend
three boys who like/tolerate/adore me depending on the moment
a successful eight mile run while three boys watched Frozen
costco
me and my pal
finley can ride his bike! in style!
another mother/child selfie
a proud baby who can climb up a step
lego-mania

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rapsberry chocolate macarons
#bradynopants
three of my favorite guys
keaton is getting into everything in an adorable way
and climbing up steps
finley keeping keaton entertained while i sleep and they are both up TOO DANG EARLY
thin mint macarons
first day warm enough to play outside! in the dirt!
braden successfully doing his first craft

Wednesday, April 9

Friends from Virginia

I apparently forgot to blog about East Coast friend time a few weeks ago! The stars aligned and my old high school pals, Megan and Carrie, were both able to come up with their families for a few fun days in ole PA. They've both made many appearances on the blog over the years--we've been so luck to live close to them for so long.

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Carrie and I have birthed five darling boys in total--and they all look good in blue jackets. We took the team to the zoo and they were all very well behaved (unlike last time with Finley seriously just pulled his pants down and peed in the middle of the road. Horrified.) We also love that our stroller doubles as a clown car. Finley loves to ride his bike with Edmund and did a decent job of sharing his Legos.

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I am struggling to remember to get out the big camera--more and more my pictures are on the iPhone, which luckily does a pretty good job. We love the way this crew has grown! Here's one of the first pictures of our group that I posted. So many sweet memories--here's to many many more.

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Thursday, April 3

Four Semi-Interesting Things

Hey there! I have some random things to share with you, internet, because I feel like there's some new stuff going on, and if I don't share it, it's like it isn't real. So here's a list of a few interesting things...

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1. I haven't bought bread this year. Not because I don't like bread--BECAUSE I DO. It's because I got a breadmaker for Christmas (thanks mom and dad!) and have been baking all our sandwich bread in that sucker. It's pretty much my fave. Except the one three times I forgot yeast. I don't know why that step is so hard. The recipe is so easy--I have it memorized and just dump all the stuff into the container and weigh it and five hours later--BREAD. And one day later--NO BREAD, because we eat it fast. Sol eats a slice or two a day slathered in peanut butter. I toast the heels for Keaton to chomp on and the boys devour it as sandwiches. And I tend to eat the boys crusts--because that's what moms do. (And--I would make a terrible food blogger. It's weird and hard to take pictures of food. Finley straight up snuck into the picture with the bread because, well it's weird that I was taking pictures of bread.)

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2. This one's a little weird--I am ridiculously committed to baking to the perfect macaron. I'm not sure why. But it's all I want to do, all the time. I'm possessed by it--making batch after batch trying to determine the perfect baking time and temperature, the perfect balance between under and over-mixing and what shelf to bake it on. I'm not going to pretend that it's normal because we all know that it's not. I'm over a dozen batches in and am making progress with them being less hollow.  The good news is, even the ugliest, hollowest macaron still tastes like a tender bite of heaven. You can quote me on that. I've been stockpiling them in the freezer and keeping copious notes on what I did and how the batches turned out. Folks, it's out of control. (Can we all admire my fancy attempt at stacked mac photography???) Pictured below from top to bottom and left to right... Raspberry with Chocolate Ganache // Triple Lemon // Apricot Mascarpone // Peanut Butter and Chocolate // Nutella and Coffee // Orange Chocolate // Raspberry with Chocolate and Buttercream

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3. I signed up for a 5k and am actually training. On the treadmill--I haven't run outside in over a year. I've never trained for a 5k before so I'm interested to see how I do. It's also my comeback race since having Keaton, so it probably won't be a PR, but that's ok. I'm using the training program I'm planning on trying for the NYC Marathon in November--it's called FIRST and has you do three HARD runs a week and cross train. No easy three milers. I kind of love it. This is officially the longest I've gone without running a marathon since I started making small people. Also--Sol and I have been doing T25 and it's kind of awesome. I'd like to say I have a six-pack, but please refer to item one and two to see why that is not the case.

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4. I've converted to doing most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. I've always been fascinated by TJs and loved going there but haven't had it be my main grocery store because they don't care name brand stuff. But recently we've kind of changed our eating habits--some people are like NO SUGAR! or NO DAIRY! or NO MEAT! and that's all awesome. I've slowly decided to try to keep it real--as in eating less processed food and trying to buy food with few, simple, real ingredients. And as it turns out, Trader Joe's has that, for cheaps! This is my current favorite snack--corn salsa and Ak-Mak crackers. I mean, we go through like a can and a half of that salsa a week. It's delishy. I'm still picking up my important staples (Skippy PB, Nesquik...) at Target whenever I'm there. Which is several times a week.

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After I made this list I realized it pretty much all has to do with food. Either making and eating it or burning calories so I can continue the cycle... obviously I'm a nursing mom. #hungryallthetime #feedmeseymour

Wednesday, April 2

Virginia Weekend

As we frequently do, we made a quick trip down to Virginia this past weekend to see friends--and also have our taxes done. Priorities. We are so lucky that we only moved two hours north. It's been such a blessing to have so many of our VA friends come up and have so many excuses to come back. It almost feels like we didn't really leave! Finley knew everything was familiar but couldn't remember why--his guess was that we were at Disney World!

Finley got to have a sleepover at Margaret's house--but more importantly they got to watch Frozen together. They were a-dorable singing and dancing together. Less adorable was the chatter that happened until well past 10 pm... we had some tired kids on our hands the next day!

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We went to our old church the next day and had lunch with a good chunk of our old small group afterwards. I singlehandedly managed to cover up 60% of the Brooks family... sorry about that guys! When we joined the group there was one small newborn--and now there are LOTS of kids. I can't imagine my time in Virginia without these families. I spent so much time learning to be a mom along side these lovely women.

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Speaking of being a friend... it would be so kind if you'd help us out with our giveaway!

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You could win a plate OR a party pack! To win, you must be following us on Instagram. You can enter two ways.... 1) leave a comment tagging two people who may be interested in winning and/or 2) regram our post (using a cool app like Repost).

We're trying to move followers over from Facebook to Instagram so we can share more easily there--it would mean so much to me if you could take a minute and share our giveaway! Our friends are our best resource for growing our little biz. :) THANKS!


Friday, March 28

Victoria + Rachel = Super Cool Fun Times

Vic and I have done a lot of awesome stuff over the years. She's far and away one of the most frequent characters on this ole blog. We had so much fun over her last visit... but for some reason I only took pictures of the two of us on the new iPhone (imagine me doing jazz hands). I need to make sure I'm still shooting plenty with the big girl camera...

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The two coolest things we did while she was in town... One, wearing matching shirts to see the Veronica Mars movie (thumbs up from everyone! we laughed! we cried at the Fault in Our Stars trailer!) and two, visiting the Downton Abbey costume exhibit at Winterthur. It was a-mahzing. You can see us posing in front of the outfits Mary and Matthew wore in the snowy proposal! #RIPMatthew

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We also drank copious amounts of seltzer, made a mighty fine batch of macarons and finalized the rebranding of RV Parties. We did not, however, play Victoria's favorite game of throwing away expired food from the fridge. It was as fun as it always is--and having Kip there might have even amplified the fun a bit, if that's even possible. #rachtoriaforeverandever

Tuesday, March 25

Keaton at Eight Months

Man. Keaton thought I was hi-larious for these pictures. Sometimes I have to be really silly to get him to smile, but not this time. I think he was just really excited to be in the big chair. Who knows.

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You can catch a glimpse of those six very sharp chompers in a few of the pictures. They are all officially in and (knock on wood) he's had a few better nights of sleep lately. By better, I mean he wakes up to eat between 12 and 1, and then again around 5. And at 5 he kind of thinks its party time and it's a bit of struggle to convince him to sleep more. I had been letting him sleep with me when he was waking up all the time, but now he's alone in his crib and doing well. Naps are still iffy--sometimes he'll take nice long ones and sometimes he doesn't want to at all.

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We're starting to improve with solid foods too! When everything was wrong with him, eating made him mad. Like he'd just puke it back up because he was upset about it. I've started baby led weaning with him (giving him chunks of toast/carrot/sweet potatoes...) and he seems to enjoy gnawing on them his high chair. I'm trying to get as much food in him during the day as I can, so I'm trying to sneak in bites of cereal (or smushed avocado!) in while he feeds himself.  I'm hoping we can continue to add more things he'll eat off a spoon and that he'll quickly improve at the self feeding. I'm pretty sure he needs those calories to help him sleep more...

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He's generally just a delightful kid. He still loves to be carried in the Moby and I practiced using it on my hip rather than the front a few days ago--and it was exactly as exciting as it sounds.

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We're starting to get the hang of sitting! He's a great scooter and sometimes will roll to his side like he wants to push into sitting and really just ends up looking like a male model, which makes me laugh.  He's been pulling up to his knees a few times which I find CRAZY like he's defying gravity or something. It's not actually crazy.  He's a great scooter and we're finally to the stage where it sometimes takes me a few seconds to find him if I stop watching him--he moves quick! We have a two rooms that are a step down on the main floor and we're learning some tough lessons about what happens when you crawl over the edge.

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I love his soft hair--it's so much longer than the other boys' at this age! And it might be darker, I can't really tell. I just like that he's his own little dude. With my blue eyes and some mystery hair.

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Eight months buddy! Can you even believe it? That's two thirds of a year. I'm ready to hit pause and soak up the days of this silly guy (the nights I could do without.) Stay little, my friend.

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