Pre-Easter, Easter Fun

We are getting ready for Easter around here. Since I am desperately behind on holiday preparations and anything else life-related, Mom and Dad stepped in and hosted the egg dyeing party today.  Nell took her time and enjoyed the colors available to her, while Guy dyed all of his eggs blue as fast as he could.  You will notice the rapid accumulation of light blue eggs…

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Officially the fastest egg dyeing party ever, but the kids had a blast!  Even if we did end up with a very blue non-assortment of eggs.

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After the real eggs came the fake eggs: the county hosts massive egg hunts for all of the different age groups at each of the country parks, so this afternoon, Nell and Guy joined a gazillion other 3-5 year olds on the field to scoop up 2,000 eggs with candy and prize tickets.

The face of a competitor.

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Of course, downtime is pretty good, too, when you’re a toddler with a basket.IMG_8486 IMG_8485 IMG_8484 20170409_143244_HDR  Look how well-behaved we look…20170409_141559_HDR

We didn’t hang out with the Easter bunny at the park — he looked too intimidating — but Nell did sit down at the daycare egg hunt with this totally legit, not at all creepy looking version…

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And yes, it was 30 degrees on Friday for that picture, and 70 degrees today.  Must be spring in Maryland.

Disney World!

We rang in the New Year in quite spectacular fashion this year — at Walt Disney World!  On New Year’s Eve, we flew down to Orlando where K was waiting to greet us at the Grand Floridian.  Over the next several days, we racked up the miles at Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and at the resort itself.  It was a wonderful trip — Nell loved absolutely everything, including the animals, rides, parades, princesses, and pools, and Guy was all about the roller coasters.  (Unfortunately, Guy was about an inch too small for most of the roller coasters, which means he wanted to ride the same roller coaster over and over and over and over…)

Here are some pictures from our trip!

The safari at Animal Kingdom, which the kids loved because it featured all the animals from the Lion Guard so they were already familiar with many of them and SO excited to see them up close in real life

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One of the absolute highlights for Nell was meeting Rapunzel — this was one of her requests when she first found out we were going to WDW.  It was a precious moment, and I guarantee you that look of adoration that she gave Rapunzel while Rapunzel was fixing her hair is NOT the same look I receive every morning before school when I try to wrangle her hair into a ponytail.

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Costume Change (because it’s Nell and KK spoils her!)

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A special surprise that KK planned for us was breakfast with Mickey and the Clubhouse characters.  We joined K’s friend who had two daughters, 3 and 5.  Nell and the other 5 year old had a wonderful, fabulous time.  Guy and the other 3 year old were NOT fans of the characters and refused to take any pictures with them.  Guy scrambled into my lap or under the table any time one of them came by.

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Another character encounter — Olaf at Hollywood Studios after seeing Frozen Live Sing Along

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Strangely enough, this is the only picture I have from Epcot…

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Random pics from Magic Kingdom.  I promise that Guy is not only in the first picture, but he’s driving!  You can guess how well that went!  

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Not a bad way to start the New Year!  Happy 2017!

Christmas

Sally Brown was a bit of a mischief maker last night, so we’re cleaning up Christmas early in perhaps our fastest transition from holiday to not holiday. But while the tree and the train and many of the decorations are already gone, we’re definitely still filled to the brim with holiday excitement around here.

We had a magical holiday that started with Christmas Eve at Mom and Dad’s house, where the kids pulled out new bikes that they enjoyed for hours before dinner.

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After putting out ten pounds of reindeer food in the form of glitter and carrots, we finally got the kids settled down for bed so Santa could come. Nell would not even let me read on Christmas Eve — “Mo-om, Santa won’t come if you’re awake.”  Right, of course.

But everyone finally fell asleep, and Santa paid us a visit.

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Santa brought wonderful things for everyone including clothes, toys, dolls, and trains for the kids; a new soundbar for G; SUP stuff, jewelry, and a new GoPro 5 for me; earrings galore for K; yoga and fishing items for Mom and Dad; clothes for Great Grandma Nelll; and special bones for the puppies.  Nell’s only disappointment was that Santa didn’t bring snow, so we did have to explain that Christmas =/= snow, despite what all of her favorite shows might have her believe.

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A few pictures from my Christmas SUP outing yesterday with new boots, gloves, and wetsox. Ahh, warm toes and fingers!

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Of course, we’ve got another special day today — it’s G’s birthday. Plus we’ve got a few more holiday tricks up our sleeves that we’ll be rolling out later this week.  Let the celebrating continue!!

It’s Beach Party Time!

Today we celebrated Nell’s 5th birthday at her annual party on the beach. This year’s theme was a luau, which the kids celebrated with grass skirts, leis, coconut cups, and all the usual beach party toys we provide each year — buckets, shovels, nets, bubbles, beach balls, etc.  Nell also wanted to bring her paddleboard so she could show her friends how she can paddle and let them try.  The kids were thrilled to try her board, and Nell was proud to show them how she could stand up and paddle.

It was a long day at the beach — Nell was there from about 8am-3pm, though Guy took KK home much earlier for his nap and some snuggles. But we lucked out with beautiful weather — probably the hottest, least windy birthday party she has had since we moved to the beach — and she declared the day a success.

Gorgeous morning on the beach as we were setting up

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Luau ready!20160731_084458 20160731_084530 20160731_084600 Nell wanted coconut cups and grass skirts. Check and check.20160731_092523 IMG_8067 (Large) IMG_8068 (Large) IMG_8075 (Large) IMG_8082 (Large) IMG_8085 (Large) IMG_8088 (Large) IMG_8090 (Large) IMG_8096 (Large) IMG_8099 (Large) IMG_8101 (Large) IMG_8102 (Large) IMG_8111 (Large) IMG_8112 (Large) IMG_8114 (Large)

Nell wanted to show all of her friends who she could stand up and paddle. I was not allowed to touch her board!IMG_8124 (Large) IMG_8125 (Large) IMG_8134 (Large) IMG_8143 (Large)

Hula girl cake and presents!IMG_8148 (Large) IMG_8153 (Large) IMG_8162 (Large) IMG_8173 (Large)

And just in case you still don’t quite feel like you were there:

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On June 22, 2016, Nell — Mom’s mom, grandmother to K and me, and great grandmother to Nell and Guy — turned 100.  She received cards and letters from friends, family, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

She was also featured on The Today Show (link will take you to the clip, screen shot below).  Since being on the show, numerous people have told her that they saw her on television, which she has been quite thrilled with!

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The weekend of her birthday, the family headed up to New Jersey to celebrate with her.  Mom and Uncle M planned a fabulous little luncheon at an Italian restaurant near her home, and K brought with her a gorgeous cake that both Nells thoroughly enjoyed.

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(Guy is in this picture in spirit. He is actually asleep on the floor on a pile of car blankets just by Nell’s feet.  But I know better than to wake a sleeping toddler for a photo op.)

Edited to add this late edition photo sent in from family!  Proof that Guy parties hard.

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It was a really lovely party, and Grandma Nell had a wonderful time.  Most of us in the room had not seen one another since her 90th party, so it was a terrific opportunity to catch up with cousins — which we will do again for her 105th!