On Lily Day

New York Mom

This week we celebrated LILY DAY! 6 years ago we arrived back in New York as a family of 3! In the adoption world… it’s called “gotcha Day”. But for us… LILY DAY!  Each year we have a small wonderful get together with our family members who live near us. Lily loves spending time with her aunts and uncles and so we make it a whole event. It’s always laid back but full of activities and just hanging out.

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This year we headed to central park to see the cherry blossoms. They were glorious and we enjoyed the cool spring air as we picnicked and played with bubbles and rolled around in the grass.

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Lily has always wanted to sail one of the motorized sailboats around the boat pond in Central Park. You can get to this pond by entering through 72nd street. It’s pretty much in the enter of the park so you can enter from the east or west side.  After handing over our $11 for 30 minutes we were handed boat 55. The best boat on the pond! Matt and Lily spent the whole 30 minutes trying to get the sail to catch the wind. While they did achieve this a few times… I think most of their time was spent trying to predict the direction of the wind and swapping lochness monster stories I’m sure.

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Thomas ran free. He rolled around the grass, chased after dogs, chased after the girls and was just his 16 month gundu baby self! It’s great to have family close by. While we don’t see each other as often as I would like… we try to make a once a month date with everyone.

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What a blessing these kids are in our lives. The riches they bring us are beyond anything we can imagine.

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Snow Day activity for kids – How to make ice cream out of snow

Hey you guys! It’s a SNOW DAY here in New York and we are loving it soooo very much!

One of Lily’s favorite things is making ice cream from fresh snow. Matt started doing this with her a few years ago and now that she’s older, she does it all by herself.

A couple of tips – when the snow is falling, leave an empty container outside to catch fresh snow. or … we scoop up the snow from the top of our outdoor table. the fresh stuff. DO NOT EAT THE YELLOW SNOW!

This is the perfect snow day activity. You can make a huge batch and freeze it for later.

My sweet Lilypie decided to share her ice cream making tips with you.. dear readers. So here ya go… Lily’s how-to on making snow ice cream!

HOW TO MAKE ICE CREAM OUT OF SNOW! 

 

 

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New York the Impossible

^^ you know I love New York.  ^^

I do.

but just like any relationship… sometimes the OTHER ( not me) can be selfish, stubborn, and plain ole impossible.

my Sister and Brother -in-law are leaving… on a jet plane. Don’t know when they’ll be back again.

after living in New York and making it work really well, and comfortably and enjoying all that ole NY has to offer… they are moving to Seattle.

you know sometimes New York makes it impossible for people to settle down. between the price of property, taxes, noise, smells, school systems, dog parks ( lack of) , cost of everything! it’s a tough game.

their move makes me think of my life here in NY.

while I have seemed to have found a happy medium here in the burbs… my early artist life was tough.

between auditions, and gigs that didn’t pay much… most of my time was spent working jobs just to survive. so where was  there any space for art?  i eventually figured out that building websites, choreography,film and commercials paid a whole heck of a lot more than concert dance and I was able to make a good amount of money in a short amount of time that fed my Modern Dance Company. i can’t tell you how many friends of mine moved to NY to “make it” as a dancer, actor, artist, musician – and while a lot of us  achieved that “made it” cliff we had come to climb – some got lost in jobs that paid enough just to pay rent and subway fare and that occasional night out with friends. and some got non art related jobs that paid really really well and got comfortable and settled.

new york misses out on so many talented artists everyday. and i miss the art my friends create! ( or used to create)

my sis and BIL are not artists, they are in medicine and finance… really succesful great careers and even they threw in the towel.

i mean this gentrification thing is out of control. And who are these people who can afford to live in new york if the very demographic with funds to live here is moving away. the DINKS (Dual Income No Kids) and the YUPPIES – both terms you could potentially use to describe my sis and BIL.

dang it New York. why do you have to be so greedy and chase everyone out.

my sister is Lily’s best friend. lily is torn over this. she has decided to buy a tiny park in seattle and build a tiny house so she can be near my sister. breaks my heart. last night we spent a good hour looking at property online and she found patches of land for $75,000 and said.. ok how do I save up that money and maybe by the time i graduate high school i’ll have that money.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know my BIL and sister (as an adult) these past few years and we’ve had some amazing times, hurricanes, storms, snow parties, skiing, all those new years eve parties, boston, apple picking, beerfests, remember the time we threw our old dining chairs in the fire pit, we had a baby, beaches and just plain ole hanging out!

moving sucks.

Ugh. I’m going to miss my sister. ( and BIL)

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One Year Later…and we’ve built our boat.

It’s been a year since we moved to Long Island.

{ Lily has been obsessed with building a boat lately. She’s been researching how to build a boat… a real one. For her and me to ride the waves and go on adventures. We’ve tried to encourage her to build a boat for the fairies in the back yard or maybe for her dolls. to no avail… this child is set on building a boat. 

…until my brother took her to a TJMAXX and there… staring at them was the answer to all her boat building wishes… a boat! A raft actually… the blowup kind. 

This boat building project – which has lasted for weeks by the way – is a metaphor for moving… me thinks. }

The New York Mom

Moving is a tough thing. Matt and I moved from picturesque… Northern Westchester to very busy…very populated… Long Island.

I don’t say this in a negative way. I say this in a ‘matter of fact‘ way.

We moved here last summer actually. Matt’s job being the reason. The move was a welcomed one, we had been in our previous community for 10 years and awesome as it was… it was time to move.

It’s just that..last year at this time… I was super pregnant, cranky, it was hot – NY had some serious heat waves last summer and most houses here are old and gorgeous and come with a history worthy of historic mention this also means no central air. and while this is charming.. our falls and springs are seriously beautiful… this can be a nasty thing for a pregnant cranky woman.

IN AUGUST – our next door neighbor dropped off baskets of fresh produce from his vegetable garden. He did the same this summer. Granted the man does not wear a shirt outdoors until the snow is falling from the heavens and has a pirate mustache that I am most impressed with… but really isn’t this what neighbors are all about!

IN SEPTEMBER- My baby brother got married september and it was beautiful. I absolutely love my Sis in Law and am so thankful she’s part of our super close family. The wedding was beautiful but sadly I did not indulge in any of the wedding shenanigans… my 7 month preggy belly and swollen everything and not being able to breathe and the whole not drinking thing…but it was so beautiful and such a celebration!

IN OCTOBER- Hurricane SANDY, the worst storm to ever hit the NY region,  hit us and we lost power for over a week… Matt was a champion… my champion… he kept us entertained and made us gourmet meals because everything was slowly going to waste in the freezer and he massaged my feet by candle light and really kept us all sane during those insane few weeks here on Long Island. We lit all of our candles and played cards and told jokes and stories and built legos all in the quiet glow of candle light.

I was so close to my due date and prayed that i wouldn’t go into labor. I mean we could not leave the island… all bridges were on lockdown and the traffic was horrific and there was no gas at the gas stations. But we made it through. Thanks to Matt.

IN NOVEMBER- We got home from an amazing Thanksgiving at my brothers house in CT to find out my sweet bean Jonah had eaten my maternity leggings  and his body could not digest it. Big bucks, lots of prayers and emergency surgery later he is fine and the surgeon took a HUGE chunk of stretchy fabric out of his belly. He is fine. But my goodness what a scare AND this all happened on my due date! I can’t even think of the ” what ifs”. but we made it through that.

IN DECEMBER -Thom decided that he was so comfortable in my nesting bellie that he decided to just hang out in there – we are seeing this exact chill personality in him these days- my Dr. said…your fluids are low… we gotta get this babe out. So a week after my due date, we scheduled our induced delivery and out came my little man-man. and we made it through that just fine.

My family came to take of us – my mom and grand-ma, matt’s mom and dad, our siblings, our friends.. from far and near. We were filled with love for a long while. Christmas came and it was a truly blessed one.

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IN JANUARY – For the new year.. my ” so cool” brother and sis- in-law spent the evening with us and rung in the new year with us… kid having… not cool people. (because you know when you have kids sometimes people think you have lost your cool… so it’s great to have peeps who want to hang on special occasions) We prayed for blessings and health and friends and family and it was just wonderful!Spending New Years with my brother … for the first time since we went to college… what a blessing.

IN FEBRUARY – Matt and I celebrated our 11 wedding anniversary. Gosh I love that man so.

Lily turned 8!

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In the months since – We found a couple babysitters through our church and  the owner of our local coffee shop and they have both been amazing and we trust them entirely with caring for our babies… and Jonah and the guinea pigs.

We still haven’t found our social network in our new town.  I’m on the PTA this year as the Cultural Programs Coordinator – something I know all about and advocate for and am looking forward to this school year.

We’ve enjoyed the beaches of Long Island… Lily and I are both beach babies and the ocean has been incredibly inspiring! We go to the beach in the summer, fall, winter, snow winter and spring!

So much like Lily and her boat building dreams…

One year later…. slowly and steadily we have built our boat.

The New York Mom

We slowly put down the bones and skeleton for this boat of ours.

One question when one builds a boat is – what kind of boat do we build?

Do we build a motor boat… to go fast…or do we build a row-boat… one that will take effort, strength and time to master…a row-boat that will slowly and patiently get you through all the big waves and the hurricanes and keep you afloat.

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Our friends, our family, our babysitters, our house sitters, our local coffee shop owner, our library, our church, our neighbors, the pork shop, the fish shop, the beach, the running path that helps me focus, lily’s teachers who inspire her … all have had a part in helping us build our boat this past year.

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In case you wanted to know…We built a row boat. Slow and steady and one that allows us to enjoy every moment.

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One year later – I’m so thankful for our new life. Our new adventures.

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7 months

This little man-man of mine turned 7 months the first week of July.

He is hitting some milestones like a major league baseball .. mile stone hitter ( whatever that made no sense but you get the idea).20130720-022522.jpg

Well first he’s a little eaty monster… everything in sight goes right into his mouth. Toys, food, arms, side of my head… I guess his foodie habits are starting early.

He can pull himself up to standing anyplace… and we lowered his crib because one morning, I innocently put him in his crib after changing his diaper and walked out of the room to wash my face for all of 30 seconds and walked back in to see him STANDING in his crib, holding on to the rail and smiling his “look mom, look mom, look mom” smile.

My heart totally skipped a beat because his little head is actually in the 85% of heads and is quite large and heavy and all it would take is for him to look down from the side of his crib and his big heavy head would take him off the edge!

So lowered was the crib bed! 20130720-022544.jpg

He also gets Lily’s attention by screaming really loudly and we bought a little high chair for him which he seems to love and sits on his high chair and talks and talks and TALKS all the time.

Lily translates… she IS the baby whisperer you know. She tells us all kinds of things that Thom is saying…like, “ewww this quinoa fruit mush is gross mom”.20130720-022610.jpg

I’ve noticed that he’s becoming more of a mama’s boy. No matter what’s going on… he’s got his one little eye on me. This makes it hard for my daily shenanigans… like taking a shower or trying to chill out after a long day. 20130720-022628.jpg

Thom is a happy lad. His laughs are cute and his whole jelly belly shakes… like jelly… when he laughs. He’s also super ticklish… and gives us the best squeals when we tickle his little tummy.

He makes this ‘kissing’ sound with his lips.. it’s the sweetest sound. we think it’s because he has 2 little itty bitty teeth trying to grow.

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Oh my goodness! I can’t believe it’s been 7 months since he made his debut in this great big wide world. Oh Thom… you have so much to discover and I know just the sweetpea who’s going to hold your hand through it all. Your sis is one awesome gal!

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Back from Florida

We’re back from our annual trek down south to Florida. Every Summer we take a vacation to visit our families and spend lots of time eating home cooked meals, swimming in bayous, riding in boats, late night fishing and lots of time laughing with our parents.

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This was Thom’s first Florida visit. It was also his baptism. My sweet man.

This summer all our siblings and spouses and kids from both sides of the family were able to make it to Florida for the baptism. Such a special day for all of us.

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Lily – my beach baby. Loved every second of the vacation. She never had a bedtime and woke up whenever her body … or cousins woke her up. I tried really REEAAALLLYYY hard not to be such a “helicopter parent” this summer. I think I did OK. There were a few moments when I had to give myself a pep talk and say… ” let her deal with this on her own” or ” she’s not going to drown or get eaten by an Alligator out in the middle of the bayou as she falls off her skis”… I just took a deep breath and looked away.

Thankfully no gators in the bayou ate Lily or Thom for that matter!

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Thom took to the beach like… sand to the … well beach.

His little toes wriggled in the sand trying to process this funky feeling. The beach was pretty calm one evening so I took him into the water … in the waves and he loved it! A few feet from us, we saw a family of Dolphins swimming around. The tourists thought they were sharks… but my local sense knew… dolphins. Also, they probably thought I was crazy hanging out in the water with a 7month old… so close to sharks – which were actually Dolphins. 20130715-151424.jpg

Lily has a knack for finding her jungle creatures everywhere she goes. And this little fella – Spotty- was a sweet friend who she met one afternoon. She petted Spotty, sang him a sweet song as she does and fed him some grass.

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As we have come to expect… Summers in Florida have their own share of thunderstorms, tornadoes, waterspouts and wacky rainy weather. This summer was no exception. We have quite a few days where we stayed in and watched the rain… only running out on the boat to go skiing or tubing for the 30 mins or so that the rain let up. 20130715-151606.jpg

Thom had to wear his life jacket on the boat. He was not a fan. He kinda sat like this the whole time and stared at me… like… what. do. you. have. me. in. this. time. woman.! 20130715-151623.jpg

There is no shortage of shopping malls in florida… and with shopping malls come… splash playgrounds! 20130715-151702.jpg

This never gets old does it. Lily loves a good splash ground! 20130715-151733.jpg

My sis-in-law has two gorgeous GIANT Great Danes… they make our Jonah beast look like a little medium-sized dog! 20130715-151827.jpg

SInce both of our families live in the same town… we are constantly bouncing from house to house. When we stopped over to visit my mom and g-ma… Thom got his first dose of “life with girls”. DRESS UP! 20130715-151912.jpg

These two. Lily kept an eye on Thom the entire vacation. Even though she was out skiing or tubing or catching fish at the beach… she always came back to give Thom sweet kisses. Such a great bond… I hope it continues when the teen years hit! 20130715-151952.jpgThis is just round 1 of my summer vaca coverage… more coming up about food in the Florida Panhandle!

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Summer Surprise Fund

You know I have this crazy obsession with things with horns… Yep I do.
So how in the world could I pass up this funky Unicorn piggy bank when I saw it at Target – during my daily meditation.
And it was only $7.48 . So I brought him home with me to serve a very special purpose.

New York Mom

This summer we are going to collect all our loose change in our Unicorn Piggy Bank and at the very end of summer, we’ll count out our collection and find something fun to do with it. Maybe an overnight stay at a fun hotel, an ice cream treat, new pair of shoes for mommy ( i can wish).

Last time we did this, Lily dropped half of what we collected in the church offering one Sunday. I was a proud mama. She’s a giver. And i love it!

Lily has already started dreaming up some end of summer surprises… a safari, a trip to india… we’re not dropping gold nuggets in this piggy bank now… so maybe her end of summer plans need to get a reality check.

I think having a Summer Surprise Fund is a great thing to snap you out of the “it’s the end of summer” doldrums. Summer time is a fun time in this house. We have friends to see and family to celebrate with, we have food to eat and road trips to go adventuring on. This summer will be our first by the gorgeous beaches of Long Island… so get ready for some surfing and sand castling stories coming your way!

DO you have a Summer Surprise Fund? Maybe you should start one! Even if it’s enough collected for a lazy summer ice cream night… it’s such fun!

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Springtime in Central Park

Last weekend… I can’t believe it’s been a week already!

So last weekend… we met our siblings in Central Park to celebrate LILY DAY!

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We keep this special day to ourselves.. it’s a day for family and celebrating being a family and what better way to do this than blow bubbles and run among the blossoming cherry blossoms in Central Park!

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My sister made the yummiest peanut butter cups with this icing that was a desert in itself. It was a special LILY DAY treat! They were gobbled up in no time!

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I love Central Park. It’s one of my MOST favorite places on earth. I think if you are a tourist and you skip through Central Park you have failed your vacation. Where else can you be immersed in total nature yet surrounded by the sky line of one the most amazing cities in the WORLD. 20130510-211930.jpg

The Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom and love is in the air. Every corner of the park seems to have a couple folded in each others arms and lip locked.

20130510-212453.jpgSpringtime in Central Park is like walking into a Woody Allen film. 20130510-211952.jpg

These weekends with my siblings are precious. I know I say this all the time. but really they are. Never in a million years did I ever think  – when I moved to New York to become a dancer- that I would be surrounded by my sweetest brother and sister… and now their spouses.. who are practically my brother and sister as well.

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Lily loves the park. Everytime a soft wind would pass by and the cherry blossom petals would go floating by, Lily would say {with absolute delight} “the flowers are dancing” !

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The flowers WERE dancing that day.

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And they showered us with all their flowery well wishes and fragrance and covered our sweet family with moments captured in laughter and conversation. 20130510-212123.jpg

Gosh I wish I were dancing everyday. My lack of dancing these days is like missing a whole part of me and I really pray that I get that back one of these days. 20130510-212146.jpg

So where to go in Central Park? Let me tell you my spots: Last week we entered the park at 86th/ central park west. We set up our picnic on the highest rock right as we entered and had the whole area to ourselves.

20130510-212521.jpgAfter we ate and played we walked up the reservoir a few blocks and parked ourselves beneath the cherry blossoms.

20130510-212718.jpgSee everyone goes to the more popular spots like Sheep Meadow and the area around the fountains. But I like to stay above 86th street. Here’s my LOCAL tip-  If you enter on 101th street and walk through the North Woods… there are waterfalls and caves… yep in central park..and don’t forget the amazing rock climbing. But don’t tell anyone because I love the North Woods and we go all the time and it’s not very crowded.

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You know what the BEST part of this day was… LILY.

She’s 8. it’s a funky age .. 8. Somedays she’s a baby and wants me to do everything for her.. and other days she’s a teen and thinks I am SOOOO uncool – Eye roll is free! But this day in the park… I was asked to climb trees, and run through the dancing flowers and roll in the grass… with her. She asked me to do this. And I happily agreed. I was included in her adventures in Central Park, I picked flowers with her and she laughed at my jokes and let me kiss her and snuggle and when she fell and skinned her knee she let me hold her and cried on my shoulder. THIS IS A GIFT! A GIFT folks. I felt so full of love this day…just being included in Lily’s fun creative world as a partner .. and not her “rule-enforcing-not eating-candy-all-day -sooo-not-cool” mom. Most day’s I am not cool… but this day among the dancing flowers… I was totally cool! New York City

Tis the season folks… pack up your picnic basket and head to the park!

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And call me when you go… I’ll join you!

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5 Months

This little man-man is 5 MONTHS. already! I know!

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A solid 17 pounds!

Gosh my heart just aches when I think about how fast he’s growing up. and Lily too.

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Matt and I met Lily for the first time when she was 5 months old. She was {and is} such a special baby. We had an INSTANT connection. I remember meeting her and there was this moment when I knew… I just knew she was meant to be in our family. At 5 Months she would look at me with these telling eyes and just smile and squeeze my cheeks and give me wet drooly kisses. It was meant to be. It was as if Matt and I were waiting for Lily all along and never even knew it. because when she made us a family… we all fit. perfectly. And it could not have been any other way.

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Thom at 5 months is also giving sloppy drooly kisses.. or trying to eat me… i can’t quite tell.

Although 5 months is a relatively short period, having him does feel like forever ago because of all the activity around these parts and I just could not imagine our lives without him.

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Since we skipped all these precious months and years – until age 3- with Lily… all this is a whole new experience for both Matt and myself. Babies are cool folks! I mean just watching them change every single day is such a gift in itself.

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Thom pretty much, eats, smiles, poops, and sleeps. He started saying ‘ MAMMA” 2 days ago and says it on a constant loop. Now yes, i know that he’s just saying this sound not knowing what it means… but man does it ever melt my cold cold heart!

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He’s always happy and smiling and sometimes just stares at me with these gorgeous eyes in serious thought … I think he’s just plotting a takeover.

5 Months is fassssst. Word on the street is that  it only gets faster from here… they do so much more so quickly. It breaks my heart you know… I wish they would stay little just a bit longer.

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Even my Lilypie, I notice fun changes in her every week… attitude, personality. She’s such an individual and is already teaching Thom some of her fun tips on life. I can’t wait! I can’t wait to see the two of them in action, Lily teaching Thom how to dig for worms, or how to swim or how to climb trees or where to hide the candy stash all over the house and both cars!

the new york momEvery night she reads books to him, her favorite books and he stops what he’s doing and listens to every word she says. When she’s done with the reading he gives her the gummiest-no-teeth smile you have ever seen and looks at her as if she’s the most beautiful girl in the world.

She is.

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So here we are 5 months… can we freeze frame this please.

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Peanuts and Crackerjacks

We headed over to the METS vs. PHILLIES game last weekend.

And it was such fun… again!

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The METS lost… but whatever… we had a great time being outside in this gorgeous spring sunshine!

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This time I invited my bro and sis and their wonderful spouses. So it was a whole family affair.

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Spending a Sunday afternoon with our siblings and their spouses (family) is so precious. Lily and Thom are SOOOO VERY fortunate to have these memories and moments with them.

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The day was gorgeous and Citifield was all a buzz.

My second time at Citfield… and STILL… amazing service, the employees were so friendly and helpful. And no i did not have a special media pass tag on.

Lily had the best day with her Uncles. My brother – who is a big ole baseball fan- showed Lily all the MUSt do’s at the field. Like going to the very tippy top of the stadium and looking down, the whole go to the dugout after the game to try to get a baseball.

These two… thick as thieves they are!

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Gosh I am just so blessed to have these moments with my family.

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The METS have an exciting day planned for Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, as the Mets take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:10p.m.

The Wiggles are coming to Citi Field and will be performing pre-game!

and I have the BEST deal for you… my readers!

Private Meet-&-Greet with The Wiggles from 
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. or 1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the Mets Cafe
For $65 per person, package includes:
• One (1) Field Level ticket
• Exclusive photo opportunity with The Wiggles!
To purchase tickets, please visit mets.com/thewiggles
or contact Matt Gulotta at 718-559-3044 or mgulotta@nymets.com
 
*I was not paid for this post. I am a MetsMOM and blog for the METS*
 
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