Sunday, October 25, 2009


I realize that, until the vacation posts, I was a total blog slacker.  So, here are some highlights of the last month.  Or so.

Adam’s swim teacher had an underwater camera.  Adam loved being underwater and always wanted us to help him dive for rings at the bottom of the pool.  I love these pictures and have plans to have them printed and framed for Adam’s room.

Adam_Dives Adam_Dives2 Adam_Underwater 

We celebrated Jane’s 3/4 birthday in true Holmes style.


I celebrated my 30th birthday at the beginning of October.  It was a great day and Scott made it very special.  We went to dinner at Hicks and McCarthy, one of my favorite restaurants, then we picked up some dessert to go at the Cheesecake Factory.  After we got our dessert, Scott totally surprised me by pulling into the parking lot of a jewelry store and asking me if I’d like to pick something out.  If you know Scott, you know this is very out of character for him.  Not because he’s not generous and considerate (he is), but because he’s probably the cheapest man I know.  This was a big deal for him and thus a big deal for me.  Fortunately, I’m the kind of girl who has a pretty good mental list of things I want, so I knew exactly what I wanted.  We looked at the jewelry store and they didn’t have it so we came home and ordered it online.  It came while we were on vacation:


It is a charm necklace with my kids’ initials on it (this is a really close shot, each charm is about the size of a pea).  A friend has one that I always admired, so when Scott asked me to pick out a piece of jewelry, this is immediately what came to mind.  I absolutely love it.


We spent our last day, Friday, in Philadelphia.  It was a two hour drive and after we stopped twice for potty breaks in the first 10 minutes of the trip we had to make sure we really wanted to see Philadelphia.  We decided to go for it and we weren’t sorry.IMG_3941 

We didn’t waste any time and headed straight into downtown to try two different places who both claim to have the best philly cheesesteak.  


It was a tough job, but the research must be done and we decided to buck up and do it. 


We all agreed that Pat’s had the best cheesesteak, but Genos’ had better fries.


I thought the sign to order was funny.  Even if you don’t use the philly accent when you order, they translate your order.  So I said, “I’ll have a cheesesteak with onions and provolone.”  Then the cashier called out my order as, “ One ‘wit’ and provolone”.

After the cheesesteaks we headed to Liberty Square to see the sites.

Liberty Bell:


Benjamin Franklin’s Printing Press:


Benjamin Franklin’s grave (they charge $2 to go in, we just looked through the gate):


Independence Hall:


And the big one, the thing all must do who travel to Philadelphia.





There was brief discussion of ditching our car and buying a minivan right then and there to accommodate some purchases.  But frugality won out and we limited our purchases to what we could cram under our kids’ feet and between the car seats.  

Poconos, Round 2

The Vaiseys left us on Wednesday and were replaced by the R family.  The first day they were there we decided to go hiking.  Dingman Falls was only a short drive away and the perfect hike for toddler, a pregnant woman (not me) and a woman carrying a large infant (me).





True to her style, the hike exhausted Jane and she had no choice but to sleep.  What a life.




Not a true hike, even by the wimpiest standards.  But the kids loved it and the adults enjoyed the beautiful scenery.  Coming up…Philadelphia and the treasures we discovered there.

Top 10 Things to Do in the Poconos

When we were trying to decide what to do one day Jeff asked, “What are the top 10 things to do in the Poconos?”  At the time I was pretty sure there weren’t 10 things to do in the Poconos.  Period.  But, after having spent a week there, I have come up with a list.

1.  Feed the wildlife monster cookies.


2.  Hunt.  Sort of.


3.  Crafts in the resort clubhouse.


4.  Throw stuff in the pond.


5.  Moon the locals.


5.  Game night.


6.  Hike.  But not Bushkill Falls, where they charge $11/person (ya!).  Go to Dingman’s Falls instead.  It’s free and stroller accessible.


7. Light stuff on fire.


8. Admire the natural beauty.


9.  Feed more of the wildlife.


10. When all else fails, fall asleep reading a good book.  We did this several times.



After spending several days in the calm wilderness of the Poconos we were ready to experience the not-so-calm wilderness of NYC accompanied by our friends, the Vaiseys. We started off at the Museum of Natural History. Adam has been listening to a song called “I am a Paleontologist” from the new TMBG kids album and has been interested in dinosaur bones. He loved seeing all the bones and I think he was a bit surprised by their size.


We started to get a bit hungry, so we crossed the street to Central Park. Scott and Jeff went foraging for food (i.e. the nearest hotdog stand) while Kelly and I tried to keep four rowdy kids in check.



After we ate our lunch we went back into the museum to check out some of the other exhibits, then it was off to Times Square. Adam LOVED the subway. It was so funny to see his enthusiasm with the backdrop of all the jaded native New Yorkers. Most of them couldn’t help but smile as he looked at them and said, “This is fun. Isn’t this fun?”


By the time we got to Times Square Jane had had all the fun she could take. We headed over to Toys R Us as recommended by a friend and it didn’t disappoint.


There was a large ferris wheel inside the store and Adam enjoyed a ride on that. If we had known, however, how much he would enjoy the escalator, we could have saved the $4.


After Toys R Us we started looking for dinner and found this little gem:


In true NY style, everything cost three times as much as it should ($25 for a sandwich), but it was fun to eat while looking out into Times Square.

After dinner we went back to our cars, changed the kids into jammies and started the 1 1/2 hour drive back to the Poconos.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go to the..."

Poconos! I have to admit that I was at an embarrassingly advanced age before I realized that the Poconos were not a Caribbean destination. Well, we wanted to get away and my mother-in-law has a time share that she rarely uses, so we traded some of her points for a week at a resort in the Poconos. We have some friends joining us for parts of the week.

It was a four hour drive and Adam occupied it watching episodes of Dora the Explorer on Scott's Blackberry.

Which led to this:

We arrived at the resort in the early evening Saturday. It's nothing special. The decorating is a bit dated and the staff are a little odd, but the clubhouse is new. It has a nice indoor pool, a toddler playground, mini golf and WiFi (which is how I'm writing this post). The resort is located up in the hills and the drive up is lovely (and full of deer). The deer here have obviously been well cared for by other guests, because one walked right up to our deck. We threw him a few oatmeal cookies and he hung out for a while.

The Vaiseys got here late Sunday night. The clubhouse has crafts everyday for kids. Lena and Adam had fun making crowns.

Meanwhile, Jeff showed the kids the finer points of arcade deer hunting.

We drove into NYC yesterday. Blog post to come...