Will She Still Call Me Mommy?

Will She Still Call Me Mommy - Under the Monkey Bars blog

When Bean turns 11 tomorrow, will she still call me Mommy?

My baby girl, almost as tall as me now. She barely fits in my lap, and she’s starting to “borrow” my clothes.

Will she call me Mommy for just another year? And then another year more?

I can’t even think about it. I know my time is short but I didn’t realize how quickly this day would come.

We ran into a friend at the grocery store last week. The monkeys were excited to see her and literally took turns hugging her over and over. She practically melted, telling me that her teenage daughter just started hugging her again.

It took my brain a few minutes to register what she said. Wait, she stopped HUGGING YOU? How can that be? I live for the hugs, the kisses, and holding my daughters’ sweet hands.

I can’t live in a world where my monkeys don’t hug me. 

For years, it seemed like all I heard was Mommy, Mommy, Mommy. I couldn’t even use the bathroom without one of them calling me. And I complained about it.

Now here I am thinking about the possibility of NOT hearing her say Mommy…and I’m devastated.

Bean is growing up. It’s happening. She’s turning into a witty, kind, and spirited little lady. I’m so proud of her and can’t wait to see what the world has in store for her. 

But at the same time, I really just want to freeze time. She’s growing up way too fast. And I know it’s inevitable that I’ll start hearing her call me Mom.

I might be okay with it when the time comes, but for now: Will she still call me Mommy?

Long Winter Farm

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They did it. Our friends purchased a 49 acre farm in Stowe, Vermont. Long Winter Farm is truly magical! 

It’s not just a farm. Surrounded by breathtaking mountains, Long Winter Farm is an organically driven farm with a vision of nourishing the Nebraska Valley. It’s a work in progress like most things in life, but in our eyes, it’s already perfect. 

We met the farm’s owners, Annie and Andrew Paradee, through the Busters ski program at Stowe Mountain. Annie was Sweet Pea’s ski coach last season. We wouldn’t have made it through the dark days of March after Don’s injury without her grocery deliveries and hours of babysitting. She’s quickly become an irreplaceable part of our village.

I’m so incredibly proud of these two! Annie and Andrew had a dream, and now it’s become a reality. They’re actually farmers. Along with some help from friends and family, they’ve been working extra long days to set up their start-up farm since passing papers through Stowe Land Trust this past April. A few of their many accomplishments include cleaning out the barns, planting organic seeds, and building a chicken coop.

We visited Long Winter Farm for the first time a few weeks ago. I’d been following updates on Facebook and Instagram since the winter, so couldn’t wait to actually see the farm in person and, of course, give Annie a big hug.

But seeing everything through the monkeys eyes was even better than seeing it for myself. The girls were beyond excited with tons of questions. What kind of fruits and vegetables will you grow? Do the chickens peck you? Can I pet one? How many eggs do they lay a day? What other animals will you have at the farm? There’s so much to learn about farm life.

Annie is no longer just Coach Annie. She now owns a farm with crops, chickens, eggs, pigs, and a shiny blue tractor. She’s the same person we know and love but now she and her husband have made their dream of owning a farm come true.

When we got in the car to head home, Sweet Pea said, “I wonder what their next dream will be….” She noticed that a dream came true for our friends, truly a powerful moment for me as a Mom. I couldn’t have picked better role models for the monkeys if I tried. 

We’re so honored to have these two in our lives. Do you know a farmer? I highly recommend it.

Playground Crawl

Playground Crawl - Under the Monkey Bars blog

Cashman Park in Newburyport

Playground Crawl - Under the Monkey Bars blog

You’ve done a pub crawl, but have you ever taken the kids for a playground crawl?

There will be no beer on this crawl. Gone are the days of stumbling from one Irish pub to the next. We have kids and jobs and schedules and no time to be *that* hung over.

But we can still experience the fun of going place to place in a crawl style. In fact, there may be some little monkeys crawling.

If a pub crawl is a tour of several pubs or bars, with one or more drinks at each, then a playground crawl must be a tour of several playgrounds, with one or more swings, slides, and monkey bar passes at each! Along with some coffee or tea, of course.

Choose an open Saturday on the calendar or make it a weekend quest. Why not put some friends up to the challenge while you’re at it? Kids of all ages will love a playground crawl. It’s all about creating your own special event and the challenge of a crawl.

Now is the time. Besides the fall, June is our favorite weather for playground time. The air is still crisp in the morning so be sure to get an early start.

If you’re motivated, plan your own workout before the crowds show up. Try this playground work out or check out this one. Be a role model for the kids and they will likely join you for some exercises, counting reps until they move on to something else.

Plot your route in advance. Travel by bicycle or car, spending 15-30 minutes at each playground, depending on how engaged the kids are and the size of the playground.

A playground crawl can be done in any town or city. Here’s an example of a playground crawl for my beloved Newburyport:

  1. Cashman Park (5 Pop Crowley Way)
  2. Ayers Playground at Cushing Park (1 Buck Street)
  3. Fuel up at Plum Island Coffee Roasters (54R Merrimac Street)
  4. Frog Pond Playground at Bartlett Mall (151 High Street)
  5. Bresnahan School Playground (333 High Street)
  6. Moseley Woods (Corner of Merrimac and Spofford Streets)
  7. Lunch at Port City Sandwich (40R Merrimac Street)
  8. Inn Street Playground (Inn Street)
  9. Fuel up at Atomic Cafe (56 State Street)
  10. The Brown School Playground (40 Milk Street)
  11. Perkins Park Playground (15 Beacon Avenue)
  12. Jason Sawyer Memorial Playground (Plum Island Beach, Northern Boulevard)
  13. Celebrate with whoopie pies at Chococoa Baking Company (50 Water Street)

Stretch the crawl into other towns to meet friends in Amesbury (Amesbury Town Park Playground), Ipswich (Pirate Ship Park), or West Newbury (Action Cove). The possibilities are endless!

Be sure to pack plenty of water in refillable bottles, healthy snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, and extra clothes in case someone falls in the river trying to feed a duck (learn from the monkeys here guys). Also consider bringing hula hoops, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, jump ropes, and balls.

Kids need time outside more than ever. Get them pumped up about a playground crawl, and exhaust those little monkeys.

Cheers to the parents after bedtime, because you deserve a drink!

Moms: Get in the Picture

Moms: Get in the Picture - Under the Monkey Bars blog Moms: Get in the Picture - Under the Monkey Bars blog

Kids Fashion
Dress :: Ragdoll & Rockets from Lively Kids
Stone bead necklace :: Pretty Little Things
Floral printed tunic :: Ragdoll & Rockets from Lively Kids
Cream knit shorts :: Mayoral from Lively Kids
Sandals :: Birkenstock Kids

Mom Fashion
Kelly Green Romper :: Pretty Little Things
Stone pendant necklace :: Pretty Little Things
Sandals :: Yokono {similar}

Moms: Get in the Picture - Under the Monkey Bars blog

Moms need to be photographed more often with our kids. Don’t you think? I’m always the one taking the pictures. We have very few of me having fun with my monkeys — like these amazing shots from our recent fashion shoot. It’s so important to not only take pictures, but also be in them as well.

It doesn’t matter if you look tired or if you have spit up on your shirt. Nor does it matter if you haven’t showered or if you have roots. In the wise words of Elsa, let it go. We’ve all learned too often that life is short. 

My monkeys love taking selfies with me. I always end up looking at the wrong place so my eyes look weird. I rarely like the shots we take, but it’s not about me. It’s about being part of the fun and having those memories for the kids to look back at and see that you were there. You’re always there whether or not you’re in the picture. So why not make the effort to join them more often?

Hand your camera or phone to a friend or set aside some extra cash and hire a photographer. Candid shots of the every day moments are my absolute favorites. I love seeing the joy and love of family life come through a single frame. It’s real and it’s life. 

Record memories with your monkeys. Life is too short to be on the other side of the lens.

Local friends: Don’t forget to stop into the new Pretty Little Things store in Newburyport. Mention “Monkey Bars” when you checkout for 10% off your purchase through June 1st. 

Shoot Details
Fashion :: Pretty Little Things + Lively Kids
Photography :: Mercy Street Studio
Salon: Beautique
Hair: Tammy Silva
Makeup: Raena Mae Mason

Mother Daughter Fashion

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Mother's Day Fashion Shoot - Under the Monkey Bars blog

Kids Fashion
Ruffle dress :: Eliane et Lena Tidyan from Lively Kids
White denim jacket :: Mayoral from Lively Kids
Chain statement necklace :: Pretty Little Things
Nautical layered lace dress :: Hatley from Lively Kids
Anchor hoodie :: Hatley from Lively Kids
Color zip boots :: Mini Boden

Mom Style
Blue dots dress :: Pretty Little Things
Tassel necklace :: Pretty Little Things
Watch :: Michele Chronograph
Brown boots :: Born {similar}

Mother's Day Fashion Shoot - Under the Monkey Bars blog

Our Mother Daughter fashion photo shoot was an absolute blast! It was lovely to spend the day bonding with my monkeys doing things we love together.

We spent Sunday morning at our favorite salon. It’s the first time ever that we all had matching nails. My stylist curled our hair for a more finished look. I haven’t had my makeup done in years and was thrilled at how natural it came out. They monkeys even wore some lip gloss and blush! It was so fun to be pampered. We truly felt like princesses.

I love that our outfits coordinate but aren’t matchy matchy. When you’re a tween, you don’t want to match your sister let alone your Mom. So uncool.

The monkeys naturally express themselves through fashion. It’s so important to feel confident and comfortable in your own skin — especially as kids get closer to middle school. We experiment and play with different looks and styles together. I know I’ll always have that special bond with them when it comes to fashion through the teenage years and beyond.

It doesn’t get more classic than blue and white for summer style. I’ve always loved the nautical look with a twist. Wear boots with dresses during this chilly New England spring, then transition to summer with sandals or flip flops. 

My dress and necklace are from Pretty Little Things, the new boutique here in Newburyport. If you’re in the area, definitely check it out! It’s the perfect little shop to pick up a few on-trend pieces each season. 

At first glance, I bet some Moms will think the clothes in the shop aren’t for them. Don’t make that mistake! Stop in and ask for help from the owner Michelle. I promise you won’t be disappointed. She truly has an eye for fashion and will make you look and feel fabulous! 

Mention “Monkey Bars” when you checkout for 10% off your purchase at the new Pretty Little Things store in Newburyport through June 1st. Shop local!

Shoot Details
Fashion :: Pretty Little Things + Lively Kids
Photography :: Mercy Street Studio
Salon: Beautique
Hair: Tammy Silva
Makeup: Raena Mae Mason