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!)


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…


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!


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!!


I used to go all out decorating for fall — pumpkins, gourds, garlands of colorful leaves, and more.  I would roll it all out around Labor Day and keep it up through Thanksgiving when I switched over to Christmas.

But when the kids came around, Halloween decorations started creeping in, and now we fill our house with bright orange pumpkins, skeletons, and bats for the month of October. But it’s too much to do Halloween in October, fall in November, and Christmas in December, and so the fall decor has been pushed out, and instead we put Christmas up in little steps throughout the month of November until we get our tree Thanksgiving weekend.

This weekend, signs of the season popped up around the house, adding some color and cheer.

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The weather has turned chilly compared to last week’s warm temps, but the sun is shining, and for the first time in ages, the water in the Bay was flat today.  Shallow waters and a large sandbar had me walking my board out almost to the end of the jetty, but then it was smooth paddling all the way down the shore and back.

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Halloween Rehearsal

It’s been such a busy weekend that I am going to have to do this post in chunks.  First chunk: Halloween costumes!  With one week left, we’re in full Halloween mode.  Friday night we changed the kids into their costumes after school and went back to their center for the annual fall festival with all of their friends.

Nell is Periwinkle this year — Tinkerbell’s sister with identical light-up wings. Mom made her adorable costume since Periwinkle is impossible (literally) to find.  To go with Periwinkle, Guy is Peter Pan.  He doesn’t seem to really care either way, but his costume came with a sword that he really likes.

Getting ready to head into the festival with their friends

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I don’t even know…IMG_7054 (Large) IMG_7057 (Large)

Playing on the playground with a couple of her best school friends — the school yard was really dark, so Nell’s light-up wings were the most awesome costume accessory there.IMG_7061 (Large) IMG_7064 (Large)

There is a parent competition at all of the daycare festivals. This festival’s competition was a chili cook-off.  8-10 families competed (I didn’t count crock pots), and I contributed a spicy chili verde to the competition. Here’s a prep picture — these winning veggies took home first place and scored us a week of tuition at daycare!

The following morning, we were up early for Nell’s last soccer game (I’ll do that post separately).  Her soccer game was south in Solomon’s right next to Annmarie Gardens, which was convenient since Annmarie was having its annual Halloween in the Garden.  So the kids changed back into their costumes and trick-or-treated through the garden to all the local businesses that set of tables and games.  It was a beautiful day to walk through the gardens (with 10,000 other people…).

Here are some out-of-order pics from the afternoon. Guy ate his way through the garden and fell asleep in a sugar coma before we even left.
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I’d run from Guy with a sword, too…
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At the end of the walk was a guy dressed like a minion.  Guy sprinted to him as soon as he saw him and had to be carried away multiple times. He just wanted to spend all afternoon with the minion.

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But MO-om, it’s a MINION.

IMG_7239 (Large)While Guy was launching himself into the fountain and running around like a maniac pre-super nap, Nell waited patiently in line FOREVER to get her face painted. She was so pleased with the results.20151024_12063820151024_121157 20151024_121135So many more pictures to share from this weekend, but we are all exhausted, and it’s time to get to bed. The countdown to Halloween is officially on!


Our Easter

Easter weekend is almost over, and we had a really fabulous time full of family.  I’m having trouble coming up with the words to tell you about our weekend, however, because Nell is currently pleading her case to eat more Easter candy, Lucy is barking at Guy to throw her some ham and mac and cheese; and Sofia the First is flying through our living room…or singing very loudly from the television anyway.

So in lieu of a written post, I’ll give you a photo dump of all the fun things we did this weekend…

Like Easter Baskets and a hunt in the guest house courtesy of Aunt Bunny K.

IMG_5945 (Large) IMG_5946 (Large) IMG_5948 (Large) IMG_5949 (Large) IMG_5953 (Large) IMG_5956 (Large)  In case you aren’t looking closely at the next picture, that is a box of marshmallow cereal with no cereal. Because Aunt Bunny can. IMG_5958 (Large) IMG_5964 (Large)

Easter baskets inside were followed by an egg hunt outside on the deck. By this time, Nell was in full competitive spirit (bad egg hunts are all in our past), and Guy knew just what he was doing also.IMG_5969 (Large) IMG_5971 (Large)Just in case that wasn’t enough, we moved back inside for Easter baskets from, yanno, the real bunny, ahem.

IMG_5973 (Large) IMG_5989 (Large) IMG_5978 (Large)And just in case you’re wondering, those tiny hula hoops are not easy.

Trust me.

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Neither are My Little Pony puzzles, but these three rocked it.

20150405_143219After baskets and plastic eggs, Nell dyed her eggs in the only way Nellie knows how: with glitter, glue-on sparkles, and princess stickers.

IMG_6000 (Large) IMG_6005 (Large) IMG_6011 (Large)The seasons really have turned over in southern Maryland. The sun was shining this weekend, and the water in the Bay has finally passed the 30s and moved permanently into the 40s around here.  It is glorious.

Today also marked the very awesome maiden voyage of my new race board, which G bought for Valentine’s Day, and which I have been staring at impatiently for almost two months.

20150405_111836_resizedIt was so nice out for the ride today, in fact, that I think I could have done without the gloves and hat. I was definitely warm by the time I got back in.

And it stayed so nice out that we got in a second beach trip this afternoon with the kiddos, who took their new rain boots and raincoats from K straight into the water. For a little boy who wasn’t initially so sure about those boots, he sure overcame any doubts as soon as he realized they were his ticket into the water.

20150405_164532-1 20150405_164605-1 20150405_165016-1 20150405_163640I sure hope the kids are tired because I’m exhausted. It was quite a weekend, and a very happy Easter.

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