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


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:

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

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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!

Gma today show 100

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.


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!

Festive Festivities

Our weekend started on Friday this week, with a day off to celebrate Nell’s graduation from preschool.  She and 35 of her classmates received their preschool diplomas and shared songs with parents and grandparents to show us everything they have learned. Nell is most certainly ready to head to kindergarten, and we are very excited that she recently got permission to transfer to the elementary school near her daycare.  Here are a few pictures from the ceremony on Friday morning.

(Shout-out to K who bought Nell the beautiful graduation dress.  Accessorizing for the big day was all Nell, though.)20160610_101142(0) 20160610_101142 20160610_103434 20160610_103437 20160610_104216 20160610_104413 20160610_104513 20160610_104556 After graduation, we changed out of our fancy clothes and into our curly W clothes to head to Washington DC for my company’s annual picnic at Nats Stadium, where the Nats were taking on the Phillies.  Our family was one of the lottery winners who got to go onto the field for batting practice before the game, and one of the players even gave Guy a baseball!

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Saturday morning, we just happened to be about 10 minutes away from my parents when they texted to let us know they were headed to the southern Maryland crab festival. Who doesn’t want to go to a crab festival?  Obviously, we went.  It was awesome (or, as Mom put it, “very Maryland”).  You know, crabs, beer, crab cakes, country music, classic cars, kettle corn, snow cones.

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And now it’s Sunday. We went out to breakfast, got our grocery shopping done, and went to the beach before these crazy 25 mph winds whipped up around us. It’s been a beautiful weekend, but this wind!

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I got in a couple great SUP sessions this weekend, too.  I went out around 545 am on Friday morning to get on the water before Nell’s graduation and was surprised to find pretty rough surf.  Luckily I enjoy riding the bumps almost as much I enjoy cranking out the miles!  Yesterday I paddled after the crab festival, but had a brutal fight with the wind, and spent the last three miles clawing my way home.  With the wind even fiercer today, I am taking it off!  Here are a few shots from my sessions the last couple of days — the first from yesterday’s wind paddle, and the next three from Friday’s seriously choppy session!

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And that’s what we’re up to!  (This weekend anyway.)

Halloweeny Weekend!

We had a fabulous Halloween weekend. K came down for a visit, and we celebrated Halloween by taking the kids to their first movie at the theater — Hotel Transylvania 2.  Both kids LOVE the first movie, so this was an easy choice.  We went to a brand new theater and had it almost to ourselves (10:45 am showing isn’t popular?), and the kids had the best time ever!

This is what sheer excitement looks like:

download_20151102_154155~2 download_20151102_154157~2 download_20151102_154201 download_20151102_154205After the movie, the kiddos changed into their costumes, we lit our pumpkins and set out our candy, and we headed to our neighbor’s house so Nell and Guy could trick-or-treat with their friends in the neighborhood.

They looked precious and had such a great time!  Guy did a small loop before heading back home with G, and Nell got to stay out longer with some of the big kids and do a larger loop before we headed in for the night.

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And here’s a pic of Nell with her friend Maddie before they headed out for candy

20151031_173030The fall season is flying by!  Happy November, friends!