Maryland said, “Hold my beer.”

That’s actually the end of a joke. The one that goes,

“No way can you fit all four seasons into one month.”
Maryland said, “Hold my beer.”

It’s the end of President’s Day Weekend —  a weekend that often throws a major snowstorm our way — but in an unusual curve ball, we’re enjoying something even warmer than most spring days. We’re certainly not complaining about the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, but we’re all wondering if this is really it for winter. No more snow or sledding or wearing those expensive snow boots the kids won’t fit into next year?

But, before I launch into summertime posts, I need to backtrack, because we have had SOME snow this season, and since it’s been a long time since my last post, I’m overdue to post our winter pictures from the icy cold snap that stretched for a pretty long time around here last month.

The kids have both become daredevils when it comes to sledding down the hill.

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The wind at the beach was insane — you can tell because the snow was blowing straight into the water and nothing was sticking to the sand. 20170107_131034_HDR 20170107_131041_HDR 20170107_131106 20170107_133837_HDR~2

Sally was too crazy in the snow and the only pictures we got of her were of her wriggly butt.20170107_135355_HDR

These pics were from my SUP session after the snow. The marina was completely iced in, so I had to roll to the beach to launch. 20170108_100443_HDR 20170110_120451_HDR~2 20170110_130608_HDR~2

We’ve done a good job getting outside all winter long — whether it’s been snowing, summer-hot, or somewhere in between. Here are a few pictures from one of those in-between days.  Since it has been unusually windy this season–and the wind at the beach is COLD–we’ve spent most of our time this winter at the big park near Mom and Dad’s house, and I don’t have any pictures from the park since we’re busy running after the kids and racing them on slides.  They’re exhausting!

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And finally, here are a few pictures from this weekend.  The kids started out in jackets and ended up in short sleeves.  Unbelievable for February!  We had more traffic headed to the beach in front of our house than we usually have on summer days.

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That picture of Nell sums up this weekend pretty well.  Who knows what the rest of February will bring!  (Seriously, it could be anything.)


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.


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!!

Life Happenings: Summer

So much going on, so many stories to tell, so I’ll try to get a few quick ones up before more of the season gets away.  If you follow me on IG, you already know the first one I am going to share:


At the beginning of the month, our family welcomed a sweet, furry (very furry) family member into the pack.  We rescued a 3 year old English cream golden retriever and brought her home to be forever friends with Sally, a playful companion to Nell and Guy, and spark a little energy in Linus.

The transition has gone better than I could have hoped for, and she is a wonderful, sweet dog.  She is gentle and lovable, and rolls over at the feet of anyone who might show her love.  We walk her at night on the beach, and she spends more time getting belly rubs from others out to enjoy the sunset than she does walking.

Quick facts about Summer:

  • She loves to swim, even though she has a coat like a mountain dog and stays wet for ages.
  • She is not a runner, so don’t try. She likes a brisk jog for about five minutes, and then she’s hot and tired and wants to walk in the water.
  • She is AKC registered, and her full name is Isabel Summer Daisies (or something like that). She previously went by Izzie. We gave Nell the choices of Izzie, Summer, or Daisy, and she chose Summer “because she is a water dog, and summer is when we go to the beach.”
  • She turned 3 in April.
  • She has Nell’s heart. Nell walks her to the beach after dinner every night, and she sleeps in Nell’s room against her bed.IMG_20160720_192512 IMG_20160709_205045 IMG_20160707_205610 20160718_202945 20160704_124600~2

The (Really Big) Christmas Post

It’s always hard to believe when Christmas is over — the build-up, the songs, the decorations, the baking, the cooking, the wrapping, and then Christmas itself seems to pass in a blink of an eye. But really, Christmas hasn’t ended.  The decor is still shining; the desserts are still winking with temptation; the presents are still out (and strewn about!), separated from pre-Christmas stuff, basking in their newness; and we have more days at home with our family to enjoy making new festive memories before the holiday clock turns twelve and we wake up to a new year.

We had a wonderful Christmas full of family, activities, and special moments. Because we were all sick in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we crammed an awful lot into that last week — the North Pole party, the festival of lights at the gardens, a last-minute trip to see Santa because Nell wanted to visit him, and then Christmas Eve and Christmas itself.

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From the Festival of Lights at Annmarie Gardens… mostly they roared at the dinosaur lights. And Nell went as Elsa, because why not?20151222_181135-1 download_20151222_191154 download_20151222_191201 download_20151222_191224 download_20151222_191231 download_20151222_191243

We spent Christmas Eve at Mom and Dad’s house and enjoyed an impressive pork crown roast and pecan pie among other treats.

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We also got to open a few presents early including one of Nell’s highlights — her PJ Masks Owlette costume that Mom made.  PJ Masks is too new for stores to have anything out, but Nell had been asking for Owlette for months, and Mom used a number of patterns to put it together.  Nell loves it so much that she wore it to school today (I gave her special permission to wear dress-up clothes to school today since it’s a holiday week).

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After we got home, the kids took their reindeer food from the North Pole party outside to leave for Santa’s reindeer.  Except that it was raining, muddy, and about 80 degrees (or, yanno, close), so all of the reindeer food mostly became a mushy, muddy mess, and Guy went out in his diaper and just ate his reindeer food.  So we didn’t exactly nail this tradition this year, but I am sure we’ll get it in 2016.

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And then, it was Christmas morning.

You want to try fun? Tell a 2 year old who just woke up that he can’t touch the new toys sitting out. He had a really good sense of humor about that.

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Finally getting a ride on his new plasmacar from Santa.IMG_7398 (Large) IMG_7400 (Large)IMG_7405 (Large) IMG_7406 (Large) IMG_7408 (Large)

Lollipop at 9am? Sure, why not.IMG_7409 (Large) IMG_7410 (Large)IMG_7412 (Large) IMG_7413 (Large) IMG_7416 (Large) IMG_7418 (Large) IMG_7420 (Large)

Guy discovered the joy of remote controlled cars.IMG_7428 (Large)

Look at the two kids sharing their singing Anna and Elsa dolls…IMG_7430 (Large)

Just kidding.IMG_7431 (Large) IMG_7434 (Large)

This dinosaur was perfect for practicing his ROAR.IMG_7440 (Large) IMG_7438 (Large) IMG_7443 (Large)IMG_7447 (Large)

Empty cinnamon roll pan and Starbucks cup, check.IMG_7448 (Large)IMG_7451 (Large)IMG_7457 (Large)IMG_7458 (Large)IMG_7461 (Large)IMG_7463 (Large)

Dogs got a little spoiled, too, of course.IMG_7454 (Large)

Lucy winning. IMG_7456 (Large)

Sally B winning. IMG_7464 (Large)

Mom and Dad came back later that evening for Christmas dinner, which I worked really hard on, so even though I am way past the capacity of this post, I am going to post some food pics anyway — of beef wellington (the first time I ever made this!); brussels sprouts; wilted swiss chard with honey and balsamic vinegar, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, and parmesan; and rosemary and thyme potatoes.  And, of course, Cookies.
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It was a full and happy holiday, indeed.  And really, it’s still going strong.



Back of the House

I’m never really sure if these two are guarding the bath or just waiting their turn.



Speaking of the puppies, something very exciting happened in their world today.

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That temporary pen we put up for them in the fall became permanent today after a couple seasons of testing it out, and it’s amazing. The puppies — especially Lucy — were ecstatic, and we celebrated with a stop at Petco on the way home from work today so that Nellie could pick out new toys for the dogs.

She chose three orange and blue tennis balls, a pink and purple rope toy, and a spiky throw toy with a tail, which Lucy adores. That blur in the third pic is Lucy — no dog loves a game of catch as much as she does!

I am so happy we waited to create this pen after living here for a bit and really seeing what our needs were and how something like this could best be utilized — because this certainly isn’t what we would have done two years ago.  And even though Linus was a bit curmudeonly about the whole thing (as Linus is apt to be, of course), I see a lot of fantastic spring games of fetch ahead of us.

It’s a good doggy day around here today.