Ben takes on Europe!

10 05 2012

We are finally back from our much awaited vacation to Europe. Dan and I were VERY nervous that it would be less vacation-y and more stressful dealing with long plane rides and time changes with a 20 month old. Ben was such a rock star, I can’t even tell you! He did amazing on our first flight to Amsterdam, and only woke up once the first night and then slept through the night EVERY OTHER NIGHT. I know! My kid is awesome! The flight home was fine, too. We had an empty seat in between us which was nice (the flight there was totally full so he was on our lap).

My travel tips with a toddler:

  • take the last row of the plane, and have the child in the window seat
  • snacks and more snacks
  • their favorite toy(s)
  • NEW toys they have never seen
  • bring benadryl if you want to make you FEEL prepared, but you won’t need it 🙂
  • bottle or sippy and pacifier if you use one for naps (this helped him sleep). They will give you milk on the flight.
  • don’t let them run up & down the aisles b/c once they are out of their seats it’s all over
  • RELAX. I was way too stressed for days before and got myself sick the first 2 days in Amsterdam.

The trip was absolutely perfect. We had the best time visiting our friends in Amsterdam and taking a side-trip to Paris. We were in Amsterdam for Queen’s Day and rented a boat on the canals all day which is really something everyone should add to their bucket list! We did Keukenhof and saw the tulips which were a sight. We rented bikes. We went to the famous market. In Paris we drank wine outside the Eiffel Tower at night. Walked to the Louvre. Took the Metro to Notre Dame. Spent lots of time in Jardin des Tuileries. It was magical!

Ben is wearing an H&M hoodie, Gap jeans & TOMS boots.

I Amsterdam

Me trying to keep Ben from jumping in the water

Ben’s first bike ride

Since everyone wears orange on Queen’s Day, Ben was wearing an orange bicycle Gap shirt (perfect for Amsterdam!!), H&M shorts & sneakers.

Queen’s Day on the canals!

Above is the boat we rented…it was the best 3 hours! Good drinks, good food & great company. Also, the weather had been rainy and chilly, but on Queen’s Day it was sunny and 70! Perfect weather. The canals were kind of empty (in a good way!) since it was 11am, but as we were leaving they were getting much more crowded. I can’t imagine what it was like by evening! Mayhem.

Happy family! (Ben had just woken up from his nap on the boat)

Keukenhof

Dan and the tulips

When the blankie goes on the head, you know he’s ready for a nap!

First glimpse of the Eiffel Tower!

Trying to get a good picture of Ben and the Eiffel Tower was near impossible.

Love this one!

Outfit change! Ben started out in jeans but as the day got warmer we changed him. He is wearing a Janie & Jack polo shirt, Janie & Jack shorts and H&M sneakers we bought in Amsterdam.

The area surrounding the Eiffel Tower is perfect for a picnic or relaxing. They also have a wonderful fenced-in playground where we spent most of our time. Ben could run around and be safe, and we could soak in the view of the Eiffel Tower right behind us. I didn’t realize how family-friendly the area would be. They also have a carousel right below and vendors selling drinks and snacks. Everything is very stroller-friendly also!

Walking to the Eiffel Tower at night. This is right when the lights turned on.

Life doesn’t get much better than this!

Dan, Ben & Notre Dame

Ben is wearing H&M pants, a Gap sweatshirt we bought in France and H&M sneakers.

Ben racing towards the only puddle in a park outside Notre Dame.

Love Locks

I didn’t really know about these locks before we went, and I wish I did. You can read the story about them here. Paris is such a romantic city!

Ben is wearing a Janie & Jack lobster polo and H&M pants and sneakers.

Back on the Thalys from Paris to Amsterdam!

All in all, it was truly the trip of a lifetime! It was wonderful for Dan and I to spend 11 days together with Ben. I think it was much needed for Ben, also. He slept every night in our room and woke up so happy seeing us each morning. I never felt like we couldn’t do things because of Ben. We are already planning a trip back to Paris and Europe for next year! Hopefully we can convince some family members to come with us 🙂

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Running a Half Marathon = Risky Business

24 04 2012

Dan participated in the Rutgers Half Marathon on Sunday, which just happens to be where we both went to college. He ran 13.1 miles. In less than 2 hours. I know, I was impressed too!

He ran the hilly course so quickly that I actually missed him coming across the finish line! He ran through 3 campuses which he said was amazing and quite an experience and something he wants to do every year going forward. We were both getting very nostalgic being back at Rutgers, especially with Ben. It was a wonderful evening/morning.

Happiness!!

This is how Ben prepared for the race…by running around Risky Business-style with no pants on! I absolutely love giving Ben a pair of sunglasses because he finds it hilarious.

Ben is wearing a Gap button down and H&M sneakers.

Here are a few other pictures from the evening before the race and the race morning. We had dinner at Old Man Rafferty’s and walked around campus. We got Ben all decked out in RU gear for the morning! He was exhausted since he woke up at 6:45 in the hotel because we had to drop Dan off at Busch campus. And luckily the rain held out until Dan was around mile 10! Could not have been a better weekend. *Please note Dan’s amazing Adidas New Jersey shirt he has been saving for the race*

Ben is wearing his Rutgers football jersey, Gap jeans, Old Navy onesie, Rutgers socks and H&M sneakers.

Bib pick-up / Sharing milk / Time to Run / Success!

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In case you need a Tuesday pick-me-up, you need to check out this blog. Be warned, you may die laughing. Especially when you look at this post.  

Thanks to Laura for sending me last night, causing me to laugh uncontrollably for many minutes.

***Linking up to Harper’s Happenings for a very late Steppin’ Out Saturday post!!***

This week I have an excuse to go a little crazy since we’re taking Ben to EUROPE and it’s finally here! I am so excited, and can’t wait to post updates on the fun European clothes we get him! I am particularly excited for the Eiffel Tower, eating as much cheese as possible, visiting the Anne Frank Museum, the tulips in Amsterdam, renting a boat on Queen’s Day, riding bikes around Amsterdam, and of course, seeing our good friends the Zbranaks!!!!





How to Wear a V-Neck

17 04 2012

Ben is really giving a lot of fashion lessons this week. Ben wearing his very first V-neck T-shirt just makes me laugh because all I think about is Andy Sandberg and Ben Stiller in the SNL V-Neck skit that was hilARious.

I already feel the need to buy about 1,000 more V-necks for Ben because he looks so ridiculously cute in them. Dan is a V-neck guy, so it’s cute that Ben is following in his footsteps!

Ben is wearing a Gap v-neck shirt, H&M khaki shorts, and H&M sneakers.

King Ben of the V-Necks

"Mom! The meatloaf!"

I can't take this kid. He is the coolest.

So excited for music class!

Yesterday Ben and I drove to Pennsylvania for a playdate with his cousin, Will! I snapped this shot when Ben was waiting for the door to open. It was so cute. He knocked, then took a seat to wait with his snack. I also got to see my cousins Amy and Mim and have a nice day at the library and lunch in the cute town of Bethlehem! It was a gorgeous day….90 degrees in April!

Ben is wearing a Ralph Lauren Polo button down, H&M khaki shorts, Elegant Baby socks, and H&M sneakers. 

Ben patiently waiting for his cousin Will to open the door for his playdate!

I am finally starting to prepare for this huge Europe trip NEXT WEEK! I picked up a used Ergo carrier for Ben today and so far it was a small success taking the dogs out on a walk and having Ben on my back. We are hoping to use the Ergo for things like the plane,  being on the boat for Queen’s Day in Amsterdam and sightseeing in Paris. We’ll see if Ben ends up liking it…I sure hope so! Cannot believe our trip is next week. So excited.





Ready for the Weekend!

12 04 2012

I am so ready for the weekend. For some reason the weeks have been feeling looong. Maybe it’s that I am just ready for summer. Or maybe I just have a lot on my mind. One being a huge attempt to lose the last of this pesky baby weight (so basically I am hungry all the time), and the other being our upcoming trip (VERY excited, just a little nervous that Ben will behave on the plane).

Yesterday Grandma treated Ben to a few new shirts at Janie & Jack, thanks to a really great sale they are having right now. I just LOVE Janie & Jack’s clothing. They have adorable, high quality items that actually last. Forget about the girl stuff…if you have a daughter you will go broke just looking in the window.

There was one shirt they only had in size 6-12 month, but we had to get it anyway. It fits him PERFECTLY, and it’s long sleeves, so it works out. It’s also reversible. It almost makes their prices worth it since you can turn the shirt inside out and you have an entirely new outfit! (This picture shows the other side of the shirt…cute!)

Ben is wearing a Janie & Jack shirt, Gap jeans, H&M sneakers and a ridiculous comb-over. 

"Where's your belly button?" Close, Ben. Close.

Such a dapper lil’ guy.

Ben modeling his new shirt. And a Lucy butt.

Seriously, how cute is that shirt? I don’t know, maybe I am biased. (Please pardon the blurry picture. It’s difficult to capture this crazy man standing still).

Sitting on Mommy's lap giving Lucy a hug

Currently Ben is eating his dinner with 2 forks, 1 in each hand. It’s adorable. (And smart, since he can eat twice as fast this way).  No clue if this kid will be lefty (like Dad) or righty (like Mom). The minute we start guessing, he goes and uses the other hand. Looks like we’ll have to just wait this one out and see what happens!

Tomorrow and the weekend is looking gorgeous! I will be dropping off the pups at the Grandparents’ house tomorrow since we are going to Baltimore for the weekend! I have never been to the Inner Harbor, so I am really looking forward to it. At this rate, I will be able to write a book on roadtrips with a toddler!

Happy Friday!





Real Men Wear Pink

9 04 2012

Yesterday could not have been a more perfect Easter Sunday! Ben was so happy all day, the sun was shining and the weather was gorgeous. The day started with an Easter egg “hunt” with strategically placed eggs all over our apartment (basically, just a bunch of eggs in plain view). We filled them with yogurt melts and he was so excited to open each one with a snack inside! The rest of the day was spent with family and Ben got to run around outside and even tried kielbasa for the first time!

Gimme my Easter basket!

Ben’s Easter outfit: Pink Ralph Lauren polo shirt, Gap jeans, Gap blazer, H&M sneakers, Pottery Barn personalized bib

Find the egg, Ben

Ben & Frisco enjoying the weather

Shirtless Easter dinner

Mini Don Johnson

Dan and I did not realize we were channeling Don Johnson when we put him in this outfit in the morning, but just look at the resemblance. He even has a similar hair-do. I’m so proud.

Ben's Easter fashion idol

Ben actually wore the same blazer last Easter….it’s a size 6-12 months but if you just roll up the sleeves it still fits, just a little differently! I figured why not get some more use out of these things that he only wears once. And he looked so adorable (both years).

Easter 2011 - 8 months old

Hope everyone had as nice an Easter as we all did. And that you are enjoying as many leftovers as we are! Happy Easter!

***Linking up to Steppin’ Out Saturdays over at Harper’s Happenings, even though these were from Sunday!***





Happiness is a New Slide

29 03 2012

Laura and I made a Target run today to pick up a few things. Dan and I have wanted to get Ben a slide for awhile now. I didn’t really feel like spending $50 on one, and anytime I email about one on craigslist the person never gets back to me. I guess slides are a hot commodity! Anyway, we saw the one I wanted for $30 at Target today! Wow, so cheap! Laura and I checked the #’s and it was the right item, so I put it in my cart, very excited. When we went to pay, it (of course) rang up at $50. Bummer. The manager said the price was right….boo. After we paid, my super detective sister ran back to the toy aisle and did a double check and took a picture of the price & #…we brought it back to the manager and he gave me the slide for $29.99! SCORE! They totally mis-marked the slide, but that is not my fault!

I put the slide together (Ok, basically just opened the box) and Ben was very excited. He just kept walking up the stairs, standing at the top and yelling, like he was King of the Mountain. No clue how to actually get down the slide (meanwhile, he goes down slides all the time…not sure what was throwing him off). This went on for about a half hour, until I tried to show him how to go down himself. Finally he got the hang of it and has become a sliding maniac. He LOVES it. Let’s hope he doesn’t get bored of the slide in a week.

Ben is wearing a Carter’s zip-up, Children’s Place t-shirt, Gap jeans, and Trumpette socks.

King of the world! / Landing on Lucy / Singing at the top o' the mountain / A little help from my blankie

The funny part was the biggest lure for him to get down the slide on his own, was when I put his blankie at the bottom. He was on a mission to get it! It was cute. Those Aden & Anais blankies are basically crack for Ben.

Making sure I put the slide together correctly (Pretty sure Ben thinks I am out to get him)

The weather has been gorgeous in NJ lately. I am loving it, and so is Ben. Nicer weather means more time outside, which means a more tired child.

Me & Ben at the harbor on a gorgeous Boston evening

Here is a quick peek at Ben from Boston. He is very into “mooing” right now. And it even sounds like a MOO! (Unlike his previous moo, which was more like a “baaaa”) So proud of my little man! He is even starting to say “ba ba” for bottle.

Ben is wearing his Boston “Cheers” shirt (such tourists), Gap jeans, and H&M sneakers.

Mooin' / Shufflin'

While Ben is napping, time for this momma to work out! Not many more sleeps before it’s bathing suit season, and at this rate I will be scaring people off the beach!





Thrifting Adventures & Hunger Games

22 03 2012

Poor Ben. This post has almost nothing to do with him! It is more of a “What Dan Found Thrifting and Wore” post. We went back to the thrift stores my sister and I found in Westfield. This time, Dan really made out. He found tons of gorgeous dress shirts – PINK, Barney’s, BCBG, Express. Unfortunately, most of them were too big. But we will definitely be back and see what pops up over there. Finding designer dress shirts for $3? Yes, please.

Dan ended up going home with 2 shirts – a Polo golf shirt for $4.50 and a Thomas Pink dress shirt for $3. That Pink shirt probably cost around $150. It even had a dry cleaning tag on it. I am hoping whoever donated this shirt is a regular and we can snag his entire work wardrobe!

Another steal was this CAT dump truck for Ben off craigslist for $8. Amazing deal. Yes, that is my slipper going for a ride around the apartment. Thanks, Ben!

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Polo shirt, $4.50 / PINK dress shirt, $3 / CAT dump truck, $8

****Linking up to Harper’s Happenings for more thrifting fun!***

Last night we had the pleasure of attending a HUNGER GAMES PREMIERE in NYC! We were at a Scholastic employee screening in Union Square at the Regal Cinemas (and even saw the movie in IMAX!) If you haven’t read the books, you are really missing out. They are probably some of the best books I have ever read…and I read A LOT. It’s also opened me up to the young adult book category which I have been loving! Even Sci-Fi. I never knew I had it in me.

Team Peeta

The movie really did the book justice. I was impressed. There were of course a few discrepancies and differences. She got her famous Mockinjay pin in a totally different manner than the book. It was much less gory. It didn’t delve much into relationships such as Gale/Katniss or Rue/Katniss. And I think the movie made you think Katniss was falling in love with Peeta instead of really faking it for the camera. But it was still great. I LOVED Peeta’s character, the casting was superb. Everyone was pretty much exactly as I imagined they would look while reading the book.

Katniss was so kick-ass, I loved her. But they also did a really good job of showing how scared she was to be put into the games. The scene with her and Cinna right before was intense and emotional. Cannot wait to see more of Cinna in Catching Fire.

Right before the movie started the director of Hunger Games, Gary Ross, came out for a little Q&A session. What a surprise! It was great to hear him speak and hear him chatting about him & Suzanne Collins casting Peeta, who his favorite character was, etc. Very cool. It was a perfect evening. I laughed, I cried. Good times!

If you are into this type of book, here are a few other books I have read lately that could definitely be in the “Hunger Games category” (especially for a Super Fan like me!)

And in Adult books, I just recently finished a few good reads the past few months:

  • I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (funny and adorable, as usual)
  • Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close (fun girly read)
  • Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosney (read it in 1 day)
  • ROOM by Emma Donoghue (depressing, disturbing, amazing)

Wow, this blog post took a weird turn. I obviously need to join a book club because I have a lot of book info pent up inside me.

Heading to Boston with the family this weekend. Very excited. I will post pictures of Ben’s outfits, of course. Here is Ben at the park on this gorgeous day today. Not exactly an outfit for the books. Last year’s beach hat, Rutgers shirt, Gap jeans, and new play shoes from Target. But at least Ben wears it well!

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Fun at the Maplewood park!

Happy Thursday! And Happy Thrifting!

Support my sister and help save her favorite NYC bar! Yes, this is a problem. Plus the whole place is VEGAN!!! It’s a good cause! SAVE KATE’S JOINT!

I think someone wants to go outside again!

The End. Of my longest, least Ben-filled blog post ever.








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