My little family!

My little family!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Benjamin is 8 months!!!

So I shouldn't eat the sticker...?


Face.

All over the place nowadays.

Ready for a haircut!! Dada won't let me ;)

MA, are we done?

Hi. Nice to meet you.

I'm going to get you!

My baby boy.


8 month stats:
Weight: Roughly 24 pounds from your last doctor's appointment (2 weeks ago).
Height: TALL! Off the charts - my big boy!
Eating: Breastfeeding every 2-3 hours. Two meals a day. Going towards three.
Clothes: 12 month. 18 month. And I recently purchased him some new clothes from GAP - Size 18-24 month. Wowza!
Diaper: Size 5 baby!!

My sweets...
8 months old today. I think this past month has brought on the biggest change in you. You are suddenly a toddler-to-be. You learned how to crawl last week and it's been full steam ahead! You can now crawl to anything/anyone you want and quick. You love to explore and figure out how things work. You bang toys together just to hear the sound. You dump things out to watch them fall. You are so curious about everything around you. You see me and move your little body to get to me and then crawl right into my lap. You are very into Mama nowadays and I am loving it (even when I complain that I need to get things done). You cry when I leave the room and often just want to be held. You play so nice by yourself and with Layla but if you're sleepy or bored, you want me and FAST. You have perfected the feel-bad-for-me-i'm-crying-hard cry. My little drama-king ;)
With all the movement, I'm slowly watching your chubby arms and legs fade. I hate this!!! I know it's only days before your rolls will all but disappear. I kiss your chubby cheeks and don't want this sweet time to end. I love this stage!! 
Your favorite toys are shakers and blocks. You like things that make noise. You (of course) love any technology you can get your hands on. You will still sit in mission control and the jumperoo from time to time but your favorite place to be is on the ground surrounded by toys. You love music and are JUST starting to notice the TV. You seem to love sports (this makes your Daddy very  happy) and the show Jacks Big Music Show. 
We had a crazy month with our week long trip to North Carolina and our whirlwind trip to Florida last weekend (accompanied by your first ear infection) so your sleeping through the night came to a slight halt. You are slowly getting back to normal, generally sleeping 6:30 PM - 7:00 AM, sometimes waking once to eat. You are an AMAZING napper... you nap once in the morning and once in the afternoon for about 2 hours each time. It's fantastic. You nap two hours after you wake up in the morning and 2 hours after your wake up from your morning nap. You sometimes fall asleep in the car but sleep best in your crib. It's so great and allows me to get a lot done! 
You are a very good eater and recently were introduced to puffs - Yum! You're very good at feeding yourself and picked it up the first try around. Very smart cookie!! You have oatmeal mixed with prunes for breakfast everyday (finally helping with your belly problems!) and a fruit or veggie for dinner. Today you also had lunch (sweet potatoes) so I'm hopeful you sleep well tonight! You still love to nurse and I love it too. I'll be so sad to end this special time. 

After weeks upon weeks of teething (and miserable nights) you are the proud owner of THREE new teeth!! All on the top! That brings your total teeth count to FIVE!! So cute and sweet. You are still teething but I'm hoping we are on a little break from all the teething nonsense!!

We started music class on Monday and this was the first time you "participated" - we switched to Thursday mornings so Layla can join us. It's a lot of fun and I'm excited to share it with you!! It's a great way to learn and explore music!!! You love when Miss Sandy plays guitar! You liked when Layla ran around with the "big kids" and danced - soon enough you'll be joining them. 

In 4 short months, you'll turn one year old. How can this be?? Where is my squishy newborn? I booked your party (it will be a music class party!) and ordered your cake. Your mustache bash will be fabulously fun and we will spoil you the way you deserve!!

We have so many fun things coming up for Fall... apple picking, your first Halloween, playing outside, painting pumpkins and more. I can't wait to share it with you!! We have Florida in December and Disney World in January. So much fun and so exciting. 

I love watching you play with Layla and I love your big eyes and I love how verbal you've become (Dadada, Mamama, Lalalala, Babababa). I love it all and I love you to the moon, my sweet boy. 

xx
Mama


Fun at music class!

TWINS!

ALWAYS HOLDING HANDS! 

Let's go Dolphins!

At the doctor's office, happy as can be...we later found out he had an ear infection!

;)

Ready to fly!

Snuggles with his Great-Grandmother! (GG)

He was doing this for a good hour the first night we were in Florida.. poor little thing. haha.

Playing with Grandma!

Breakfast with Aunt Sydney!

Typical morning on the weekend with Dada.

My man.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The good & the bad....

Hi everyone & happy Friday!!!

I can't believe it's September. The temperature is beginning to dip down (ever so slightly...) and Layla has now finished her first full week of school!

It feels good to be back into a routine. I love summer - the warm air, the outside activity, the lazy days... but it's nice to have a bit of a schedule!!

Last weekend, Benny & I took a quick trip down to Florida for my dear friend Nicole's wedding to her fabulous new hubby, Chris. I was nervous to fly alone but we rocked it - Benny cried a bunch both flights (thanks to a pre-existing ear infection, I think) but while we were there he was perfect and we had so much fun. He's a trooper and his family loved to kiss him all over. Tomorrow he will be the big 8 months so I'll be writing his post then!!

I rarely use this blog to discuss anything but my kiddies but I needed to take this platform to discuss TWO businesses. One I can't stop raving about and one I can't stop ranting about.

Let's start with the bad....

WINNER PARKING

Familiar with them? Well -- if so, don't use them again.

They are a company that allows you to park your car (instead of using long term parking at the Philadelphia airport). We have used them 5-6 times A YEAR since approximately 2005. We have recommended them countless times. Despite minor issues here and there, we never had a complaint and loved the idea of them. You get there 20 minutes before your flight and they drive you (in your car) to the airport and pick you up (in your car) from the airport. Simple, easy, perfect.

Until this past weekend.

Long story short...

Benny & I checked in with Winner Parking on Friday, September 6th 2013. I always noticed they did oil changes (and other car work) as well as detailing. My mini-van was a royal mess so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to try out detailing. The man that checked me in simply asked what type of detailing I would like and sent me on my way. Easy. However - he never mentioned any policy regarding car seats.

After arriving back in Philadelphia on Sunday, September 8th 2013 at around 11:00 PM (by myself with an exhausted, crying 7 month old) I called Winner Parking and they arrived at the airport with my car around 25 minutes later. Ready to get home, I opened my mini-van to discover my car seats were NOT in my car. I asked the driver that arrived with my car where my car seats were and he pointed to my trunk. UM.. what? So here I am, with a crying baby in a busy airport at 11:00 PM lost and confused. How am I supposed to get home? Why did they remove my car seats? How do I reinstall my seats?? I called Josh in hysterics.

(Side note.. for those who don't have children. Car seats are the WORST. They are impossible to install and take a long time. Josh is in charge of this and sometimes it takes well over an hour to install one seat).

(Another side note - my oil change indicator light was also still on so I questioned if they ever actually did the oil change -- I later had to speak to Nissan who does the oil changes and they told me it was completed and they forgot to shut off the indicator. Annoying).

Back to the scene... I have to put Benny in the middle of minivan while he is screaming and somehow manage to install Layla's car seat forward facing (Benny is still rear facing) and get us home safe. It was a scary 1 hour drive home and I prayed we'd make it safe -- thank God we did.

This was a huge problem. Josh called Winner Parking that night and was treated EXTREMELY poorly. He was told to call back to speak to a manager the next day.

The next day, I called and spoke to someone, then a manager, and finally the owner of the company. With each frustrating phone call, I was told that I "assumed the car seats wouldn't be removed and it was their policy to remove them and NOT reinstall them". I was told "we are sorry but it's not our fault." I was constantly met with a huge defensive attitude and quite frankly RUDE tone from every person. Despite a steep bill of $240.00, I was never once told I would receive any compensation OR even an "I'm sorry this happened to you and we take responsibility." Instead I was constantly met with a rebuttal. I told the owner after countless attempts at explaining how awful this was that I would never use them again. He told me if this incident causes us not to use them then we are "not their type of customer." I explained that I have spent hundreds upon hundreds of dollars with them. He then told me "money isn't everything." Well..guess what buddy. Money is a lot. And it's what keeps you in business. And I will NEVER use you again and continue to speak to anyone that will listen about how poorly we were treated. You are rude. Ignorant. And as a father of three, I don't understand how you wouldn't treat me with more respect. You told me if your wife was in the same situation, she wouldn't know how to install the seat either -- yet you felt compelled to tell me you'd blame your wife for not telling anyone to not remove the car seats. Seriously man? Get a clue. I was a loyal customer and now I'm gone. I hope my small review of your small business teaches you a lesson in customer service.

RANT OVER.

Let's end with the good....

RENT THE RUNWAY (Here is the site!)

For Nicole & Chris' wedding, I decided to try out Rent the Runway. I am still not in my size 6 (pre-Benny size) so I determined that this would be a great idea. Why buy a dress that will (hopefully) be too big in the near future? So I stumbled upon this site. I browsed through the countless dresses and found a gorgeous Badgley and Mischka number (Here it is!) and knew it was the one. The dress came beautifully wrapped with complimentary hangers and garment bags. After finding a coupon online, the entire dress cost me $99 including shipping (this dress sells for $850) -- I picked two sizes and ended up wearing the smaller of the two.

Other then some (minor) fit issues up top, it was beautiful. I received many compliments and couldn't have felt better in it. What a fun, exciting idea!! I love how they send you two sizes -- I love how easy they make it. They included a pre-paid UPS package to mail the dresses back in. Early Monday morning, Josh's mom took it to a local UPS store for me and I was done!! No dry cleaning needed, no worries. Just a simple, easy way to get a fun dress for any event.

If the dress didn't fit, you have 24 hours to return it and get credit to use at RTR anytime.

We have another wedding in December for our dear friends Ross & Jaime and I cannot wait to order again!! Maybe this one?

SO..there ya go. I was not compensated from either company - these are my honest opinions!

A HUGE rant and a BIGGER rave!!!!!

Happy Friday the 13th - lots of love until tomorrow! ;)

Monday, September 2, 2013

OBX!

We are home. 
A week away. 
20 people in one mansion on the beach in the Outer Banks of North Carolina (specifically, Corolla). 
My parents, my family, my brother's family, my other brother's family and my sister's family. 
20 total.
10 adults.
10 kiddies. 
Could have been a disaster but instead was a magical week. 
We left at 5:30 AM last Sunday. We packed up the car full of STUFF - clothes, toys, pack & plays, food. 
And we left. And I was nervous and worried the kids would go bananas and cry. 
but instead? 
I LOVED the car trip down. It was 8 hours total (including 4 stops). We passed farms, it was beautiful, it was fun. The kids did great. Benny slept a lot. Layla slept too. And we had fun. 
We made it....
and thus began the week of - 
Eating. Napping. Pool. Beach. Playing. 
Benny slept horribly at night but got better as the week went on. 
Layla was a champ and slept all night long (but woke up earlier as the week went on). 
I went to bed fairly early every night because I was up all night with Benny. 
Layla still hates the water. She went in the pool a bit but stuck to playing in the sand. She wouldn't go near the ocean. 
Benny loved the sand until he started eating it. Then he needed to be held. 
He's in a very big "mommy" phase right now and wanted to be held quite a bit - not an easy task but we managed. 
It wasn't exactly relaxing but it was perfect. 
How lucky that my entire family gets along so well? I know how blessed I am. 
The kids had the best time playing together. Layla LOVED waking up every morning surrounded by her cousins. 

For those wondering, we went through Twiddy (google them) -- you need a 4X4 to drive on the beach (our house was about 9 miles up the beach). It was easy to leave town (we left often for Dunkin Donuts, woo!). We rented a Ford Explorer and it was fabulous (we may get one after Josh's Mercedes lease is up). Our house had some issues (the hot water heater broke. twice and the hot water heater broke) as well as minor issues (the toaster not working, etc) but they were very accommodating. 

Our house was huge - i mean, really huge. 12 bedroom and 14 bathrooms. Crazy. It had a huge kitchen with double everything (two sinks, two refrigerators, etc). Huge table that sat all of us. They provided everything (dishes, pots, pans, etc) as well as linens and towels. It was nice. There were a lot of bugs, that was not nice. I mean...bugs in the house, bugs on the porch, bugs everywhere. Yuck. 

Overall, it was a fabulous week. The pictures below (out of order) speak volumes. I didn't take one picture with my real camera (uhhh) so they are all iPhone pictures. 

 I wish I spent more time relaxing and less time worrying ...next year I vow to sit more and just relax.

I guess summer is officially over - WAH!!

Heading to Florida on Friday with Benny for Nicole's wedding. 
Turning 30 in 19 days.
And booked Disney World this morning.

How did I get so lucky?




Ready for our trip... COSTCO!

Let the 8 hour car trip begin... <3

Our first stop!

Nursing monster ;)

We made it!! Playing while we wait for our house to get ready!

Our home for a week!

A stunning view. Pictures do no justice!

Pop-Pop in the movie room!

Our amazing "Jammalsbar" sign - Justin, Abbey, Max, Marley, Ava, Layla, Samantha,  Benny, Andrew and Remi

Marley, Layla & Remi playing in the outside shower. 

She sat here every morning and drank a Danimals - haha, her version of coffee!

Playing on the beach!

My man.

US!

Silly Marley!

One of our stops...an amazing farm! Layla loved it!

Afternoon nap. Yum.

I loved seeing my Mom relax and read outside.

All of our signs!! Summer 2013, Jammalsbar and Soloff,  Kushner, England. 

Early morning love from Taxi for Layla & Remi

Admiring the sunrise.

No vacation is complete without baby breakdowns ;)

Driving on the beach. So amazing.

Andrew & Layla looking at the horses!

We always found them together, playing and giggling. Layla & Andrew.

To avoid any tan, I clearly used a lot of suntan lotion. HA!

My bathing beauty!

Abbey, Ava & Marley ready for the beach!

Photobombed by Matt!

My babies & I

I think this was around 6 AM. We had very early mornings.

Adam tossing Layla!

My little Red Stripe lover!

Playing in the trunk!

Laying with Mom-Mom!

Naps on Mom-Mom. On the beach. Is there anything better?

Taxi & Justin!

He's buried!

My big boy!

Relaxing.

Running!

Late night with Andrew!

My loves.

Driving on the beach causes naps!! 

Benny with the wild horses in our backyard!

Baby butt

Sunrise!

The entire crew. My favorite picture from the trip.

Benny swimming with a crab, ha!

Yummy ice cream!

My boys!

My family.