Baby Bunches: 5 and 6 months

It was bound to happen–monthly posts were going to get delayed. You all knew it. So stop feigning shock. You know me well enough by now to know that I get behind. At this point way behind. Baby Bunches is getting closer to seven months these days, but let’s relive months 5 and 6, eh?

And some others from his five-month shoot:

Happy baby! The only tough part of his turning 5-months was that he went through a sleep regression. So my blissful 8-10 hour stretches at night have vanished, replaced by wake-up calls every few hours. Sigh. 

And now, through the magic of the Internet, Baby Bunches is six months old!

He’s officially a moose.  And he likes to yammer on and on about his thoughts . . . 


His favorite person of all time is his big sister, Mini Bunches. And the feelings are pretty mutual. 



Olcott, NY: A Memory Maker

Mr. Bunches always says that one of the greatest things about living in Western NY is how easy it is to go explore new places. There’s no traffic, no congestion, and plenty of parking.  All you need is a WNY native to point you in the right direction and you can end up in some pretty fantastic places. One of our favorites so far has been Olcott, NY.  It’s a tiny town on the shores of Lake Ontario and every time we go we just love it more and more. 

Mr. Bunches’ mom, aka ‘Grandma,’ was the one who tipped us off to this place and so we have her to thank for some of our best memories of Mini Bunches’ childhood so far. You see, there’s a little carnival in Olcott. It’s open all summer (with mostly weekend hours), and it’s designed just for those under 52″ tall.  As long as you’re under the height requirement, then you get to ride all the rides. And each one is only 25 cents!

Isn’t that crazy?! It’s an immaculately clean little park with five kiddie rides and one carousel (that everyone can enjoy) and the prices are all in-line with how much they were in the 50s and 60s.  

There are signs all over the park explaining the origins of the place and how it was brought back to life (sometime in the early 2000s) thanks to the generosity of many area donors. If I wasn’t having so much fun watching Mini B in her glory, then maybe I would’ve read some of those signs and be better equipped now to explain things. But since this place is practically like Disney World to her, I’ve never been able to truly focus on the history. 



And even though there are only six rides and a few carnival games, it has so much charm and the volunteers are so friendly that we have happily spent quite a few evenings there. 


And it constantly amazes us that it’s not crowded. I understand that it’s really only exciting for the 1-4 year old crowd, but there aren’t that many safe yet fun options for that age range so it seems like more people would visit. And it’s only about 35 minutes from Buffalo so it’s not like a big hike.  And even though the rides are just for little ones, there’s a huge park next to it which is an awesome picnic spot. 

And on clear days (like this past weekend), you can even see Toronto across the lake. 

Each time we go, we seem to love it more and more. So thank you Grandma for the introduction. And thank you Olcott for another great season. 


Blue Fingers

During our latest quick trip to Boston, we spent all of our time on the South Shore. Since I travelled alone with the kids, I wanted to minimize my moving-around time and so we limited ourselves to seeing family in Scituate. It made for a great trip–we got to spend so much quality time with our family without the hassle of driving all over the place.  And that also meant that we had time to actually do something besides just visit.  And that something was blueberry picking. She loved it. 


She learned the rules quickly: don’t pick the green ones and don’t drop the berries.  She kept reminding everyone of the rules as we went along, and she quickly filled her bucket and then helped everyone else fill theirs. 

The berries were delicious. If only we could have taken all 8 pounds back home on the airplane!

As for Baby B, well, he slept for most of the picking. Turns out blueberry picking wasn’t his bag. But flowers?! Whoo-boy did he like those!

Happy Hump Day!

Baby Bunches: Four Months

Time is going way too fast. I know every parent says that, but it is just so true. Baby B is four months old and really showing his personality. He’s super smiley and easy-going, loves to chat, and even sleeps for 10-hour stretches at night (which, btw, affirms for me that the way kids sleep is just something they’re born with–Mini B didn’t sleep through the night until she was 15 months old and we’re the same parents and now we have a kid who’s been sleeping through the night since just over three months. Go figure!). 


He did some traveling this month too. Besides our Camelback adventure, he also flew to Boston and he did tremendously well.  Thank goodness, right?

He’s just such a little love. Sigh. 

That last pose is his best air guitar. 

Camelback Resort: Our Family Adventure

We did it: our first vacation as a family of four and we survived.  And actually we did more than survive–we had fun! 

With my final days of maternity leave ticking away, we wanted to try something new and get away. So Mr. Bunches did some research and we ended up at the Camelback Resort and Lodge in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania.  It’s a brand new hotel at the base of a ski mountain with a huge attached indoor water park and also a separate outdoor water park. 

The drive was 4.5 hours from home, which ended up taking us about 6 hours since we took a long pit-stop at a mall in Scranton (needed some lunch and leg-stretching).  Both kiddos did great on the ride though, for which we were super thankful (we should probably just write a thank you letter to Apple for inventing the iPad). 

Once we finally arrived, we were excited to check-in and get to our room. Since we arrived right at check-in time (4 PM), we figured we would be golden–no waiting. Yeah, so we were wrong. Mr. Bunches had to wait in line for 45 minutes before we even could give our name and start the check-in process. And then we found out our room still wasn’t ready! We had to wait another 45 minutes before it was. So in that respect, Camelback has some work to do. The lobby was overrun with families waiting for their rooms to be ready and we watched that same scenario play out every day we were there.  The good news is that, upon check-in, even if the room isn’t ready, you’re given your wristband for Aquatopia, the “largest indoor water park on the east coast.”


Which was good since once Mini B saw this from the lobby, she wanted in!


So we got Mr. Bunches and Mini B suited up while Baby B and I stayed dry. Of course, by the time all that happened, our rooms were ready. Go figure. 

And since all kids love hotel rooms, we actually headed there first. Got ourselves a “King Bunk Suite” (there are something like 20+ different room types at this place), and the layout of this room was awesome. A semi-private small room with two bunk beds and a TV for the kids and then a large bedroom with a king bed and Queen pullout sofa bed.  There was no door on the bunk room but the layout still worked well. 


 Mini B loved it and got her first taste of a big girl bed!


And of course Baby B pretty much loves anything, so he was happy too. 


The resort was brand new, so everything was exceptionally clean and still in good working order (although I’m not sure how long it will stay that way given all the action this place was getting–kids galore plus water plus skiing in the winter–yikes!).  

Only lodge guests were permitted at Aquatopia, but there was also an outdoor water park (Camelbeach) less than a mile away (with free shuttle service).  Each resort guest was given a voucher for one day at the outdoor water park (which costs $39.99/adult and $29.99/kid so if you pack your hotel room with 8 people, then the cost of the room doesn’t seem so high once you factor in the cost of one day at the outdoor park). 

We mainly stuck to the indoor water park and only spent one overcast morning at the outdoor one (skin cancer on both sides of our family makes for difficult relations between the sun and me). 

Aquatopia had a lot to offer–a super shallow area for babies and toddlers (depths of 6 inches to 1 foot), a mixed shallow area for both little kids and older ones (max depth was about 3 feet with most of it being around one foot), a wave pool, lazy river, a bunch of monster water slides, an indoor/outdoor hot tub, a swim-up bar for adults, and a surfing simulator.  Mini B loved the wave pool and the baby area, but Mr. B and I definitely liked the water slides and lazy river best. 


The outdoor park was definitely more chaotic and a lot more spread out (it’s at the base of the Camelback Ski site), but there was also a lazy river and a fun toddler area where Mini B actually braved a tube slide (until she was all done when she flipped over on her 15th ride). 

The lodge/resort was a bit lacking in walking-around space. Anyone who knows Mr. B knows that he loves his walkabouts, but there really wasn’t much room here. Even the lobby seemed cramped and a little ‘womp-womp,’ especially given that it was brand new. 


And there really wasn’t any outdoor space to speak of. We had visions of kicking around the soccer ball in an open area and/or walking on some trails in the mountains, but there was really no space.  The front of the resort is a parking lot and the back has a steep drop-off. So we had to settle for walking around the parking lot . . . 


and just looking at the ski slopes.  And yes, she’s in her pajamas. Because it was a vacation and that’s what you do on vacation. 


So that was a bit of a disappointment. But we couldn’t complain too much–Mini Bunches loved the indoor water park. So while she played, Mr. B and I alternated playing with her. And when Baby B napped and it was Mr. B’s turn to get wet with Mini B, then I got to do a little R&R: 


These pictures make it look like we had the place to ourselves, but trust me–we didn’t! It was crowded. And living in Buffalo for four years has made us forget what crowded looks like. We weren’t thrilled with the reminder. ;)

As with all kid-focused resorts, there was of course a gift shop with lots of overpriced stuff. Mini B fell in love with this little guy so by the end of the trip we rewarded her good behavior and let her bring him home. She named him “Puppy Dog”. She’s nothing if not literal. 


Restaurants were also disappointing. I guess when the aim is to please the masses, then it makes sense to offer just the basics (lots of chicken fingers, fries, and pizza), but again we had some hopes for at least a few more grown-up offerings. Hemispheres, the buffet restaurant, wasn’t bad–at $22.99/adult and kids 3 and under free, we were able to piece together a decent meal that didn’t consist of only fried options. And Mini B loved it, especially once she saw the desserts!



I’m a true believer in at least sampling all things chocolate . . .


Once we tapped out of soaking our ankles all day (Mini B’s favorite area was only 6 inches deep), her next request would be to play games in the arcade. The loudest arcade ever, that is. But we enjoyed it too and tried our best to win as many tickets for her as we could. Although we had to repeatedly explain to her that the “claw” games were dishonest and not worth trying. Oy. 


Of course, we never actually won that many tickets, so our prize choices were always limited to the lowest possible ticket levels (that’s what happens when you let a 3-year-old try skeeball and half the balls end up thrown into the tank of the neighboring duck game; shockingly that type of skill is not rewarded with copious amounts of tickets).


All in all it was a great trip, albeit not exactly what we had envisioned. Would we go there again? Sure, but I think only if we could convince some family or friends to go with us. The convenience factor of having our hotel room steps away from a kid-tastic attraction is something we think would be ideal for a group vacation with others: kids get to have fun and parents get to minimize logistics.  And while the dining options were subpar, there was a grocery store only a 5-minute drive away and each room had a mini-fridge and microwave.  And the true test was this: Mini B didn’t want to leave. She pretty much thought it was the best place on earth–to her, it was basically like being at Disney. And so for us it was a win too. 

Plus, she liked picking out snacks for the car ride. Seriously kiddo?! 


Amazon Prime Day = Buyer Beware

I normally wouldn’t write a post like this, but I’m annoyed. I’m sick and tired of so-called “sales” that dupe people into buying stuff, especially stuff they normally wouldn’t buy except that they think it’s such a great deal because it’s 50% off and the sale is One-day ONLY! Case in point: today’s Amazon Prime Sale with deals that are supposedly better than Black Friday.  And you can only access those sales if you’re an Amazon Prime member which costs something like $99/year.  So let’s look at an example of one of these supposed “great” deals:


When I was scrolling through the “Prime-Day Only” deals, I saw the handheld vacuum that I bought two years ago on Amazon, advertised today as being 49% off. What a deal, right? It was supposedly $69.99 originally:

So this struck me as odd, bc there was no way that I paid $70 for a handheld vacuum when I bought it two years ago. That just seems like way too much money for something as basic as a little vacuum. So I went back through my Amazon orders, and sure enough, there it was: 


I was right–I bought the exact same vacuum for the full price of $39.99!!!  And I know that this isn’t a huge revelation to most of you and it wasn’t a huge revelation to me, but it just makes me mad.  How is it okay to falsely inflate your prices and then promote a monster sale? A quick Google search shows that you can buy the same vacuum today at Target for only $37!

Alright, I’m going to step off my soap box now. I’m sure most of you don’t care about stuff like this, and I usually wouldn’t waste this much energy on it, but to be honest I was actually looking forward to Prime Day and hoping that I could maybe get a good deal on a new sports watch or maybe a Fitbit, but then I actually saw what was on sale and it was all “womp-womp.”  Kinda like choosing curtain #1 when everyone in the audience had been telling you to go with #2 . . . 

Oh well. At least I’ve got these two to brighten my day :)


Baby Bunches: Three Months

Even though I know the calendar says that Baby B is only three months old, my back and arms say he is closer to nine months. This kid is BIG. Total contrast to his big sis who was still a peanut at three months. 

He definitely is in the midst of a growth spurt and he’s working his way through clothes like it’s his job. 

He loves to chat away, especially when talking to the “other” Baby B in his play mirror. 

And he’s making a valiant effort at rolling over–he can get onto his side and he’s somehow able to spin around in circles.  Which is pretty much more than I think I could do right now from laying flat on my back. 


He is still super smiley and really chill. Just goes with the flow most days, which fits our family great at the moment since we never know which way we’ll be flowing on any given day. 

And his biggest fan is still his big sis (we have to constantly remind her to be gentle and not squeeze too tightly; plus, she is itching to carry him by herself. Oy!)





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