Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rice Cereal Fan

So Jade is coming up to her 6 month mark which is when I started Hazel on rice cereal so I thought that would be a good time to start her. She really liked the cereal so much so that she cried because I obviously wasn't feeding it to her quick enough. The last six months have been truly wonderful. I couldn't ask for a better baby. She nurses really well and has pretty much always slept through the night. Seems like you cannot get between my kids and sleep, they absolutely love it. Sometimes Hazel wants to play when it's bed time but once she's out she'll go for at least 10+ hours. Is this normal? I don't know but I'm not complaining.

Hazel was very independent, even at the very beginning. I would want to cuddle with her and she was content to play on her own or hang out in her swing. I was sort of sad because I would feel as if she didn't need me. I would tell Joe that I wished she was more needy. So yeah, my wish has been granted in my little Jade. Although I never really knew the depths of this neediness that I thought would be so wonderful. When we are out in public everyone thinks Jade is so pleasant, happy, and smiley (hence the nickname "gummy") however when I attempt to cook dinner, clean, or chase around Hazey she cries...oh does she cry...unrelenting cries that conveniently stop the moment I pick her up. If people only knew this side of her they would not be so quick to call her a little angel. I find myself thinking, "well Hazel was never like this" then I remember how I longed for a needier baby....thank you Lord.

I adore my girls and love each of their personalities, they are lovely. I'm just gonna be a tad more cautious with what I wish for...totally kidding...I love my cuddle bug ;)

Suprise after work....

My wife is a very special individual. Thus, the reason God brought the two of us together, however, I do believe I got the better deal... Anyhow, after I got off work this Friday, I had a text from my beloved that said Im here in the city. This is unusual because it takes alot of work to get two kids ready, board the subway with both and a stroller. But she did it! So we met by my work downtown and headed off to Reading Terminal. Reading is very cool! It's like an indoor farmer's market/food court. We walked around there for awhile,

had a cupcake at our favorite place, the Flying Monkey,

a yummy pineapple upside down cupcake.

Then we headed down the street jus to stroll and view... We found a cool Tea bar, found some interesting landmarks,

and lastly ended up in Gelato heaven again,

this time with the duo of Thai coconut/ pineapple mint.

They were exquisite to say the least. Jade didnt mind helping herself to some samples as well... Afterwards, as we were heading down to Urban Outfitters to get me a belt..( Im skinny so sue me), we got some nachos, really white nachos, at Qdoba(dont ask) and then it started to rain. We jumped back on the sub after doing some fun stroller tricks.
It really was a great Friday in late June....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sunday in Philly (an impromptu walking tour)

Sunday Joe's little sis Heather and her boyfriend Josh came to visit us. We wanted to go into Philadelphia and explore. The art museum in Philadelphia is "pay as you like" on Sundays so we've been wanting to check it out. I guess you tell the cashier how much you'd like to pay and they give you a ticket. Which is kind of awkward because the average person would prefer to pay nothing but I'm sure if you said that you'd be greeted with a dirty look. So we overcame that cheap voice inside of us and said, "$5?"

In order to get to the museum we rode the "El" which is Joe's mode of transportation these days. The "El" is the subway that goes from Upper Darby to center city Philadelphia where Joe works. We had to ride a shuttle to the subway since there was construction going on. We caught the shuttle at the 69th street terminal in downtown upper darby. The terminal is an interesting place to say the least. It is complete with an inordinate amount of "crazies" carrying on very tumultuous conversations with the voices in their heads...and it can feel like downtown Zimbabwe at times where crosswalk anarchy is a normal part of life...meaning people just walk across the street even if the obvious big red hand is displayed.

So the museum was really awesome and we had a great time, it is seriously so big that we are going to have to make a couple of trips. I can't wait to go back. We got to explore the American and European art sections and the have a Kimono exhibit that I can't wait to check out. I love art although I by no means possess any artistic talents I do love to observe it's beauty. It comes from first my mother exposing us to museums and classical music. I also took a art appreciation class in college which was my impetus to travel, to see these beautiful things, art, cathedrals, architecture....and I did. I loved it. I love having kids and exposing them to these things, I want them to travel more than I did, to love art even more, and to be cultured and educated individuals of course this is secondary to loving the Lord and living their lives for Him!

Joe and Heather (and Hazel too but she is passed out)

The art museum is where they have the famous steps from Rocky and they also have a statue, so there are alot of tourists in line to take a picture in front of Rocky. They all have their arms up in "victory" just like Rocky!

Here are a couple of pictures we took from the museum...

We tried to wait for the buses but they never came so we opted to walk instead of wait. On our walk from the museum to our lunch destination we saw this statue and Hazel obviously fell in love because she adores dogs...

I don't think this is very sanitary but we couldn't stop her.

We found a BBQ type restaurant in the art museum area and we decided to try it. It was good we mostly just had fun eating & talking in the patio.

Hazel figuring out what she want to eat while sipping on some chilled water.

Jade sitting table-side in her stroller...that's an interesting facial expression, huh?

Two cuties, Josh & Heath---great company and good troopers as we walked aimlessly through Philadelphia looking for this specific BBQ restaurant.

Joe & I

The restaurant was good. Sometimes it's frustrating because we would like to try new restaurants and they end up being just "ok" and we would probably be better off making our own food at home. Very rarely do we come across places that just totally impress us...huh so the search for "good" food shall continue.

After lunch we wanted to eat gelato at this place that we kept seeing while we were staying at the Ritz. We would either see it right after we had ice cream or right before we'd want to eat dinner, so suffice to say it was never the "right" time....but we were dying to try it. Especially since gelato is very near & dear to our hearts!

So en route (walking, walking, walking in the humid heat is very fun) to the gelato place we came across this very cool fountain...

The fountain was inviting, drawing us to it...we were helpless

heck even I was tempted to jump in. My mind promptly dismissed the gentle warnings that "this is not hygienic by any stretch of the imagination" and I was very close to getting...very close. The idea of being wet in public amidst others that decided not to jump in...looking at them all comfy and dry as I walk around dripping....uhh no thanks.

Hazel testing the water. The girl is a sucker for any sized body of water and promptly ditched her shoes in order to dip her cute little feet in the water (clean?) Jade apprehensively looks on as Daddy dips her toes in the water.

She couldn't resist and decides to take the plunge. I opted for the White Trash look instead of walking around with a Toddler drenched from head to toe, so I removed her clothing and let her "go for it".

Jade has fun as she vicariously enjoys the adventures of her older sis Hazel Rei....

Heath & Joe...siblings!

Heather takes on the challenge of smacking the fountain's toosh as Hazel follows her, of course.

Hazel is very upset by the reality that we actually have to leave and is consoled by Josh & Heath. I truly believe that, if allowed, she could stay in there indefinitely.

Yes Hazel was very disappointed that she could not frolic in the fountain all night but here is a progression of events leading her to ultimate bliss.....

So yes, flower picking is the perfect way to chase away Hazel's tears and turn her mood from utter disappointment and sadness to total unmitigated happiness. I wish I could chase away my sadness by picking a darn flower..huhhhmmm.

Joe came home from work the next day and very seriously stated, "yeah no more jumping in fountains" to which I responded, "WHY?". Well, I guess some folks at work said that homeless people take their baths in the public fountains. Yeah,'s something that is so obvious in the heat will do crazy things to your judgment.

So we then made our way to this gelato joint that has been haunting us. We found it (after I asking for directions from strangers--something someone who shall go nameless was resistant to do). So we found it, and Joe was in heaven. This place ain't 31 flavors, I mean they have really swanky stuff like mojito flavored gelato and basil & lemon...boy was Joe was happy!I was happy because they had really yummy iced tea, and Heath was happy because they had spectacular 24 hour brewed iced coffee, which I tasted and was out of this world good. Here is a link to that gelato place, it's pretty cool.

We hopped on the "El" and headed back home. After some entertaining dancing by Hazel Rei & Jade Anise (and Joe), Heath & Josh made their way back to Connecticut. And this is how our evening ended....kinda random but Joe was hungry so he whipped up some crab sandwiches....but he started with these...

Who does this? Who decides at 9:00 at night that they want crab sandwiches and decides to start making them from actual crabs. Joe is special!!



Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Berry Pickin'

Saturday we got up and visited the Linvilla Orchard in Media, Pa. It's about 20 minutes from our house. Our neighbor had mentioned the orchard and suggested we check it out. So Saturday we got up, Joe made a quick mini breakfast to go and we were off. I had ulterior motives for the visit, you see Media actually has a starbucks so I made Joe promise to stop so I could pick up my lovely vente iced green tea :) He did, he is a good husband (Let's just say he didn't have a huge smile on his face and he waited in the car--but he loves me!!) So we arrived at the Orchard and it was totally overpopulated...we are not used to doing things on the weekends when everyone is out and about. Linvilla was having a Raspberry festival and they had a little area where they had face painting, a stage, minnie and mickey were there posing for pics (I'm not sure how they are related, but ok) and pony rides. It seemed that the set price for everything was $6...of course Hazel wanted to we paid the fee and off she went....

So after the pony ride we decided to go strawberry & raspberry picking. The orchard offers hay rides pulled by a tractor and drops you off at the raspberry section first....

For some reason when Hazel got on the hay ride, she thought, "hmmm course hay, I wanna run my toes through it" and she tried to take off her shoes....but we stopped her. I guess with fruit pickin' and hay ridin' really brought out the hillbilly in her.

So FYI, raspberry picking is not as easy as it sounds. I thought you would just walk through and see plump juicy beautiful berries ready to be picked. However we discovered that you actually have to work.

All of the obvious fruit on the outside of the bushes were of course picked so you have to hunch down and move leaves in order to find the fruit. Joe and I got really into it, sort of like we were on some sort of treasure hunt...Oh the joy we felt when we moved a bunch of leaves only to see the "perfect" raspberry eagerly waiting for us to pick it!

We dropped that perfect raspberry into our little bucket after carefully and intently searching for it...only to have Hazel eat the "fruit" of our labor. Yes, we had to guard our precious fruit from Hazel because she kept eating them...

We hopped on the hay mobile and tried our luck at strawberry picking. It was a little bit easier than the raspberries but it was so frustrating because you would see the perfect red, juicy, delicious strawberry and would pick it, only to find a hole in it where something else got a hold of it's tasty goodness.

Once you pick your fruit then you take it to be weighed and you pay for it by the pound. Joe said he saw this family just "grubbin" (as he put it) on strawberries while he was picking...I guess they didn't get the memo about paying by the pound. We had alot of fun. Here is the "fruit" (or berries) of our labor....

It was hot, oh boy was it hot. I was kind of worried about Jade being out in fields with all of that direct sunlight, but she had her little hat and was her cheerful little self.

We were all so worn out from the pickin' and sun...and REALLY hungry so we were happy to hop on the hay ride and head back. Hazel was seriously trying to eat the strawberries, we let her eat a couple. Here are some pics of us on the way back...

Linvilla has a really awesome market with produce, honey, baked goods, and tons of other stuff. We bought two tomato plants, an eggplant plant, chili plants, and a Thai basil plant. When we got home we worked on our little garden and planted them. We hope they grow!!! Wish us luck...

So that was our Saturday. We were so exhausted at the end of the day but had so much fun. We are happy to be finding cool stuff to do while we are here in PA. We miss everyone and hope you guys enjoy the photos. You are all in our prayers and we miss and love everyone so much!!!

God Bless!!!