Of a Cincinnati Labor Day

Cincinnati is famous for it’s chili. The rest of the world looks at this crazy concoction of soupy meat chili piled on spaghetti with a mountain of shredded cheese on top and thinks we are out of our minds. But it’s delicious and comforting for those of us who have grown up on the southwestern banks of the Ohio River. Now those three layers – spaghetti, chili, cheese – are great on their own, but it’s when you put them together that it’s perfect – a trifecta of Cincinnati perfection. And that’s exactly what our Labor Day weekend was too. Each day of this holiday weekend was a perfect little package unto itself, but together the three days were a beautifully layered farewell to summer.

Saturday – We spent the morning at Great American Ballpark. Every baby born at Good Sam or Bethesda North Hospital gets a packet to be a Reds Rookie. So because Miss Matilda was welcomed at a Trihealth hospital we got to be involved with a pretty cool program before the game. We got there at 10:30, and we got all kinds of free goodies from the sponsors. Josh checked in for the competition I signed him up to compete in while the Ellabelle danced around to the music. Mr. Redlegs and Gapper showed up and we got to take our picture with them. IMG_8896

This may have been the highlight of the day for me because I love Gapper more than baseball. Plus, Gapper was very sweet and even kissed Mattie on the head. IMG_8894

Surprisingly, Ellabelle walked right up Mr. Redlegs and gave him a hug. She’s usually terrified of people dressed up (like Wooly Bully at the CRG games), but she was excited to see him.

We did a lot of sitting around and waiting because there were a lot of babies to get in and do everything. So, we had over two and a half hours before the game to burn. Josh competed in the Daddy Bottle Chugging contest. IMG_8902

He had to suck down a bottle of warm apple juice. Unfortunately, two of the guys cheated (one even ripped the nipple off to suck it down which was not the point of the game), and the judges decided to allow it because they never specifically said that you couldn’t do what they did. However, they had to follow the real rules during the second round. It’s ok though. Josh didn’t really want to chug a warm bottle a second time. IMG_8904

We walked around some. I took Mattie to the mommy suite, and it was amazing. I would’ve spent the whole game there if I could’ve. Plus, it was air conditioned. It was 90* the entire day, and we were stuck out in the open sunlight. We tried out best to hide out in the shade for a while. IMG_9046 Ellabelle did amazing considering the wait time. She kept trying to go towards the field and the seats because she wanted to watch “football.” I did attempt to correct her to begin with, but I gave up quickly. I mean, she calls tennis, golf, hockey, and basketball “football” too so it’s a losing battle. She played on the playground they have there for awhile and that kept her happy.

Eventually, we got to line up for the baby parade on the field. That was definitely a cool part of the experience too. IMG_8916

I remember being in grade school and getting to go on the field at Riverfront Stadium. So I’ve officially been on both fields now. Ellabelle seemed to actually enjoy it too. I was worried because for a three year old walking slowly in a straight line with a bunch of people is the equivalent of hell, but she was totally chill and kept up with us. IMG_9008IMG_8953

We headed to our seats after we made in back into the stadium, and it was awful! Let me tell you – drinks with no lids + a stroller + a hot and tired toddler + a 3 month old + two flights of stairs to get to the roughly 50 stairs up to seat + the unforgiving sun beating down = the most difficult endeavor since I went grocery shopping with kids alone. So, yes, we made it to our seats that ended up being right in the sun. Josh was ready to turn around and lug everything back down the stairs. Thankfully, an old man came over told us they had 5 seats but were only using 2 so we could come use them to get the baby out of the sun since they were up in the shade. We moved and got settled. Josh fed Mattie, and I tried to hydrate Ellabelle. IMG_9040

She sat with her fingers in her ears complaining that “football” is too loud. We were right under the speakers so I don’t blame her for that. We got Mattie’s picture taken with her first game certificate, and made it to the third inning. IMG_9031 That’s when I noticed that Ellabelle was shaking, and it was becoming more and more noticeable. So we decided that we needed to head out. We hydrated and napped once we got home because the sun had zapped all the life out of us, but it was such a special day that it was worth the heat.

That's us on the jumbotron! Josh is on the top left and you can see Mattie's tutu and me on the right!
That’s us on the jumbotron! Josh is on the top left and you can see Mattie’s tutu and me on the right!

Sunday – We woke up planning to clean, but there was a disturbance in the force, and we had to go to Target and check it out. To translate that out of nerd talk: the new Star Wars toys came out on Friday, and Josh was antsy to go see them. IMG_8849

We did make it home to clean (laundry is my nemesis), and, as a reward, Josh got to go to the Disney store to see the exclusive toys. Unfortunately, they were all out of our price range so he only got to look.

Model pose with the stormtrooper
Model pose with the stormtrooper

What was important was that we spent some quiet downtime as a family. It was a slow day with no set times to be anywhere. It was a nice change of pace since it seems like every day has something scheduled anymore.

Monday – Oma and Lisa invited Ellabelle and I to go to Smale Park. Mattie stayed home with daddy and watched him play video games all day. (Hey, it was his holiday. Whatever floats his boat.) Lisa brought along one of her friends kids, Ava, and Ellabelle was so excited to have a playmate. IMG_9101

We walked through the beautiful park and made our way to the water fountains. We decided to ride the carousel first because you can’t ride it once you’re wet.

We all rode the first time. Ellabelle wanted to ride a horsey, and we picked the Oktoberfest horse. IMG_9105 IMG_9110

Lisa rode the gorilla. Oma rode an Ohio River catfish. I thought the fish looked like it was made for a child rider, but Oma totally fit. IMG_9304

The second time on Ellabelle wanted to ride the Bengals tiger. I kept asking her, “What does a tiger say?”
“Roar!”
“What do you say?”
“Who Dey!” That’s my girl.

We played in the fountains after that. Even Oma participated which tells you just how hot it was! IMG_9172

My poor Ellabelle is so clumsy, and the water didn’t help. She wiped out twice. IMG_9303

The second time she fell backwards and hit her head on the ground. She stood up, weaved past Ava and Lisa, and found me. I hate to see her hurt, but it’s nice to feel like my independent girl needs me still. The tears were wiped away, and the boo boo was quickly forgotten.IMG_9174IMG_9159

We played on the playground after that. The girls loved the slide. They went up and down multiple times. Ellabelle had a hard time keeping up with Ava cause she’s just so much smaller. IMG_9222 IMG_9226

She found and liked the drums. She’s obsessed with playing the drums on everything (including the poor dog) so she definitely liked this feature at the playground. IMG_9228

There’s a bunch of exercise type stuff, and Ellabelle threw a fit when I wouldn’t let her run off with Ava. I wanted her to see the giant piano, but she was not impressed. That’s what happens when 3 year olds don’t get their much needed afternoon nap.IMG_9179 IMG_9180IMG_9182

We found another water area, and the girls loved that too.IMG_9192 IMG_9194 IMG_9196

There was just so much to see and do. Smale Park is definitely a place to go to spend the whole afternoon. My girl was worn out! IMG_9188

After we finally headed back from the park, Oma took us to Putz’s. Lisa had never been, and it was Ellabelle’s first time too. I got her an Ice Man, and I’m pretty sure she enjoyed it.

IMG_9232 Putz’s is one of those places that’s been around forever. I remember my dad always taking us there in his mustang when I was younger. It was somewhere we went with day camp too. So it was nice to share a place with a lot of memories with Ellabelle and my mom. IMG_9234

It was another hot day so we just laid around once we got home, but it was the prefect ending to our weekend.

Each day of the weekend was good on its own – baseball, family togetherness, water fun – but together they were perfect. Quiet bookended with Cincinnati activities. I love my city, and I love sharing it with Ellabelle and Mattie. Each layer perfect and Cincy filled. It was wonderful holiday weekend. IMG_9094

Super Bee is Three!

Dear Super Bee,

I can hardly believe that today marks the third anniversary of your birth. It’s been an amazing ride so far – exhausting but amazing. You have grown into the most inquisitive and funny little person. You keep us all so entertained and constantly on our toes. 11760094_10100982091088890_4911672204150809867_n

You can play by yourself so well and then be climbing all over us. You love wrestling with daddy, and watching “Girls” with mommy. You’re speaking so much more clearly and can tell us exactly what you want for the most part. You love shoes and hats and dresses. You are obsessed with the twinkle lights that come on in your room every day, and you have to have your fan on whenever you’re in bed. You love to go look at toys at Walmart/Target, and you know immediately that the blue oval sign means that we’re at the grocery store and that you have make sure we know that you “need” to walk.

There is so much I see of myself in you. Your love of books. Your need to do things your way. Your need to do things on your schedule. The ridiculous crinkle nerdy face you make. The look you give when someone tells you not to do something and you know you’re going to do it anyways. But all of those things are still so uniquely you. You are such a lively little character. From singing and dancing in public and putting on a show for anyone who will watch to throwing a fit when we drive past Oma and Opa’s exit on the highway and not stopping to yelling, “I happy!” and jumping up and down when you are, well, really happy about something.

Every day comes with new challenges as you get bigger and braver and smarter. You are stubborn and ornery at all the wrong times. It drives me crazy in the moment, but I know it’ll make you unstoppable when you’re older. You are so curious about the world. You love to mimic us in every way. Just the other day you told me that you had to cook in your kitchen and showed me the toy croissant in your frying pan. After we read your bedtime story to you, you read it to us, trying to repeat each page that was just read to you. You told me just today that you need to take your bus to school and that you need books for school. It amazes me the things you are able to link together.

As a mom, I feel like it’s my job to teach you all kinds of things. You can identify almost all of the letters of the alphabet and can count to 10. What amazes me though is that you are constantly teaching me new things. Like patience. Not because you show me patience, but because I need more and more of it when dealing with your stubbornness on a daily basis. You’ve also been teaching me to be carefree. Like this past weekend and today, things didn’t go as planned for your birthday, and you didn’t even notice. You just just roll with the punches and make the best out of every situation. There’s fun no matter what the circumstances, and I hope that you stay that way forever. I am so not like that. I like order and I like plans and I like things to go the way I want. But motherhood (and life) isn’t like that. Things change in a matter of seconds from chasing bubbles to a scrapped knee. I don’t handle it as well as I’d like, but I watch you with your casual shoulder shrug and a soft mumble of gibberish and you’re off to the next adventure. I will continue to work on being looser in that respect. I never want to be a reason you hold back from doing something fun just because it’s challenging for me.

Something that amazes me on a daily basis is the how you’ve shown me a love that I didn’t honestly expect to see from you. At least not in the way and amount you’ve given. You became a big sister this year, and your love for your MattieG is amazing. You are a wild child – running around and singing at the top of your lungs – but you are so sweet and gentle with her. You wait for things you want while we feed her. You are always so concerned about getting her her pacifier. You tuck her in and give her kisses. She’s the first person you look for in the morning. It is so much more than I could’ve ever hoped and I hope you’re relationship with her only continues down this path.

You made me a mom, kid. And my gratitude to you for that will never waiver. Not even when I’m 90 and you’re 66. I will still be thanking you for picking me to be your momma. You changed everything and made the world so much brighter. I just know you’ll keep spreading your personal sunshine with everyone you meet, and I am so lucky I get to call you mine.

I love you, my sweet EllieBee. 11403010_10100981807966270_3565912143956527127_n

Twenty Six

26. It hardly seems like its even possible that its been a year since I tried to write a birthday blog. Yet here it is again. 365 days have come and gone. With it has come trials and struggles and happiness and laughter. Last year at this time I was the mom of a newborn. I had a tiny baby who still wasn’t sleeping through the night. Now, I have a rambunctious toddler who is destroying everything in her path and sleeps more than I do.

This year was an insane roller coaster for me. I have been on top of the world. I finally quit a job that was literally making me sick with worry and stress. I became a full time mommy and I was so blessed to be able to do so. I got to spend the first 8 months of Ellabelle’s life with her, day in and day out. I can already tell you the future Amy is jealous of past Amy because the next kid won’t have that luxury. I found a new job that I actually really enjoy doing. Only downside is the hours absolutely suck. I hit my absolutely rock bottom and lived to come out on the other side. I realized that I really do have people around me who do honestly care about me. I also realized just how much Josh loves me. I realized that I am more than I have myself credit for, and I’m much stronger than I ever thought.

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I had the best holidays this year – from Halloween to Christmas to Easter. I’ve always loved holidays – decorations and traditions that Josh hates or doesn’t understand. He complains for almost every one (except Halloween) about having to drag out my boxes and put them back away. I don’t care though. I love it. And this year, I got to share them. I got to start new traditions or pass on old ones. Granted the person I was sharing them with had little interest or idea what was going but I didn’t care. We wore matching outfits for Halloween, opened her stocking from St. Nick, baked cookies with Grandma, opened presents on Christmas morning (while someone slept), had an Easter egg hunt, waved soggy flags at the 4th of July Northside Parade, ate cake on her birthday. We did it all. I got to be a kid again because I got to experience every holiday in a new way with Ellabelle. I’m even more excited about this year cause she’ll be able to move around and participate more.

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25 was a year full of tragic sadness. One of Josh’s friends lost his wife after 12 days of marriage. She died suddenly and left behind so many broken hearted people. Also, my mom’s cousin died after a long fight against cancer. She wasn’t even 60. She left behind a daughter and a grandbaby the same age as me and Ellabelle. These two people who I barely knew touched my life and changed it. I realized how lucky I am to have my mom and to have Josh. Bekah’s death hit so very close because only months before Josh was faced with the harsh reality of possibly losing Ellabelle and me. I am touched so deeply by the death of strangers in general, but these two hit very close to home. Ellabelle has been to two funerals before the age of one, and that’s a harsh reality for this momma to deal with. Death and sorrow was very much a part of my 25th year.

25 brought me a new job. In march, I started work as a clerk. I work weird hours and never see my husband, but I get to be at home during the day with my baby. So I guess you gotta take the good with the bad.

25 was full of sleepless nights and long restless days, smiles and giggles and lots of tears, new beginnings and sad goodbyes, and now here I am, the “late” side of my twenties. And I couldn’t be happier. I tweeted back in July: “Being an old soul makes for awkward early twenties and the ability to finally start to feel comfortable in your late twenties.” And its true. I’m finally able to embrace my inner 84 year old Yiddish grandmother. I really am that old. I asked for (and got) an iron for my birthday.

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I gladly look forward to year 26. It’s exciting with more discoveries and achievements for Ellabelle and more soul searching for me. I’m trying to define who I am and discover what I was put on this earth to do. I’m no longer able to just sit and twiddle my thumbs. I’m closer to “middle age” than ever and I don’t want to be that person who turns 40 and is lost. I need some sort of definition for my existence and I will continue to look for it and work for it. For now, I know part of my job is to be the best mommy I can possibly be and that’s what I intend to do.

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