Mountain Trip 2017

Whew!  We had a quite a fun-filled trip to the mountains of Virginia.  We have several family members who are in the Staunton area, so a long summer trip has been on my agenda for some time.  The kids and I were able to go a few days before the Mr.  We enjoyed staying with “Granny” and spending lots of time with Auntie Brookie plus other family favorites.  ❤

Our first excursion took us to the Explore More Discovery Center in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  I thought this was fun and very appealing especially to younger kids.  Both kids had a ball, but I think some of the stuff was a tad babyish for Holden.

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Our group had a delicious lunch at Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza.  Everything was delicious, and the service was great!  Holden and Helen also took their first pony ride that afternoon.  Both kids loved it!

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Our second day of exploring led us to Chiles Orchard.  Peach picking was very easy there.  Although I wish there had been a little more explanation about how to pick the best ones.  My head picker selected a few duds.  This was very fun though.  The peaches were great in a fruit crisp.

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I was so glad that Auntie Brookie decided to take off a few days from work and hang with us.  We had play time and a picnic at Mint Spring after our picking was complete.  This place was just in a beautiful setting.  I do love an ocean view, but these mountains were so lovely too.

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This is when Daddy joined us.  We were very happy to see him at our meet-up location, Monticello!

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I have to confess that we were a mess on this tour.  Little Miss is in the process of *trying* to drop her AM nap meaning we will be down to just a PM nap.  HOWEVER, she was particularly tired and very vocal about it during the house tour.  Perhaps this is why this wasn’t my most favorite historical stop.

We had lunch at Michie Tavern afterwards.  I have mixed feelings about it as it isn’t necessarily my favorite type of food, but I can’t say it wasn’t good food either.  I don’t think Holden was too taken away by the historic setting or the period clothing of the servers.  He would have been just as happy somewhere else!  But…there was an Armory & Artifacts Shop very nearby that he loved.  We’re talking old money, cannonballs, weapons, etc.  This was definitely a favorite of his!

I have no pictures of the boys’ trip to the county fair for a night event, but you can imagine I guess.  Demolition derby.  Need I say more???  Holden loved this!

Although I believe everyone was feeling the car woes (particularly Helen!  Girl hates the car 100%), we continued on with our last big excursion to Sherando Lake.  I’m so glad we did!  We did the short hike around the lake (lower one) and loved the views and easy terrain for little feet.

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There was little island in the lake that the Mr. and I swam to.  Gosh, I forget how even though you can be physically fit in one way you can be completely out-of-shape in another!  We were huffing and puffing on that little five minute or so swim!

We all summoned up our last bit of energy to see the sights at the county fair.  We saw tractors, all sorts of animals, and rides there!  Holden rode the Ferris wheel for the first time.

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He’s getting too big!

Our final day was spent in and around Staunton, Virginia.  We went to the local farmers’ market, played at the park, visited with family, and enjoyed yummy “zoodles” for the first time!  It was a very full and very fun week!  So thankful to have this time to spend with our loved ones!  We made lots of special memories and look forward to our next trip.

Natalie

 

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5 for Friday

Wow!  These summer weeks are flying by!  I officially have three weeks left until the end of my maternity leave/summer vacation.  I’m linking up with Andrea, Shay, and Narci for Friday Favorites.

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I’m also linking up with April, Christina, and Natasha for 5 on Friday.

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Can’t forget about this link up too!  Amy and Karli

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Here’s 5 things going on with me this week!

{ONE}

Books – I’ve done it!  I’ve conquered fiction (I’m a die hard nonfiction) and read 1 book in entirety!  I really enjoyed it too.  😉

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Basically, the book is set on Nantucket during the summer.  The three step/half sisters have to live together for one summer to be able to sell (and get the $$$) from their father’s vacation home.  Lots of drama and characters!  A great summer read!

Then, I read another nonfiction!  I really enjoyed this book although it didn’t impart any earth-shattering knowledge.  It did reiterate things that I already know/have learned from other books.  One interesting thing was the really overwhelming damaging impact of TV and video games on young minds.  Kind of scary.  P.S.  I had no idea that the American Academy of Pediatrics had issued a statement saying NO TV for kids 2 and under.  Personally, we followed this rule for Holden and plan to do the same with Helen.  I do let Holden watch occasional TV, and he definitely has been loving his one nursing time/one TV show this summer.

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{TWO}

I’m so so so excited about my sister and mom visiting this weekend!  We are celebrating my mom’s 60th birthday about a month early due to a trip that she will be taking.  I have a few surprises that I’m super excited about.  It will be so good to enjoy both my mom and my sister’s company.  The only thing I really dislike about where we live is that family isn’t right around the corner.

{THREE}

Yummy Recipe to Share – Mix and Match Mama’s Shrimp Tacos – I love this lovely lady’s recipes!  I plan to make two over the weekend.  She uses simple ingredients (and not 5,436 of them either!) to make some yummy food.  I especially enjoyed the avocado corn salsa that goes with the tacos.  I had leftovers for lunch, and I could definitely tell the salsa tasted even better the next day.

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sorry so blurry!  dinner is fast and furious around here!

{FOUR}

Running/My Foot – Well, it was somewhat better.  I enjoyed about a 4 mile run on the treadmill yesterday morning.  Very minimal foot pain…However, my calf felt very tight and somewhat sore after I hopped off.  There also was a bit of a “creaking” sound in my foot.  I know…yikes!  I plan to rest it and stretch today.  Fingers crossed for a decent run tomorrow!  12 miles!

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{FIVE}

Playdates – I need to be a little more intentional about scheduling some playdates for Holden.  He definitely wants buddies around to play with, and I am usually up for some playing.  This summer has definitely been a different pace since my time/arms/attention are occupied by Helen.  I’m hoping we can see one of his friends this week!  We’ve also been trying to get out there  and bike ride with our neighbors more often.

Here’s a few cute ones from the camera roll this week!

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Hope you have the best weekend!

Natalie

Over the hills…

Hi there!  Today totally feels like Monday to me, because we just got home from a weekend trip to Holden’s Granny’s house out in the western part of Virginia.  We left early (6:15!) Saturday morning to ensure a sleeping Helen.  She slept almost the whole way!  The early wake-up and rushing was completely worth that!  Once we arrived (after Holden asking 53,246 times if we were there yet), we unloaded our numerous bags and visited with Granny and Holden’s aunt and uncle.  We had lunch at Shenandoah Pizza and Taphouse.  Sadly, I can’t rave about the food as my veggie wrap was missing goat cheese.  😦  However, I take the heat for not asking for it to be added.  I just requested ranch dressing for dipping.  It was hard to focus on the food when we were enjoying the company so much!

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The afternoon meant naps for the kids and even a little work-out for me.  I love my mother-in-law’s spacious basement!  Perfect for working out during nap times!  The Mr.’s aunt and uncle joined us for lots of good summertime food that evening.  Miss Helen tried to stage a revolution with her cries for freedom from the constrains of naps and a schedule.  We prevailed (eventually), and she slept very well that night and the next day.

On Sunday, I was able to do about a 25 minute hilly run.  I’m so not used to this and just ran for time not distance.  It was beautiful views the whole time!  The decreased humidity was heavenly.  After my run, we loaded up for the Frontier Culture Museum.  I LOVE any type of educational/historical thing!  I’m the person who wants to read every sign/caption and take my time checking it all out.  I think this may have passed down to Holden.  🙂  We were peas-in-a-pod meandering through each “village” showing how life was in earlier centuries in different parts of the world.  The heat was a bit oppressive, and we had to wrap up our trip before noon.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing and enjoying the left-overs and family.

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Sadly, all good things come to an end.  We left early again (6:15 again!) on Monday to head back home.  What a great visit!  We are so thankful to have such a wonderful family only a car ride away!

I’ve got lots of other cute pics to share later this week.  I hope you all have a great week!

Natalie

Summer Shore Trip

Happy July!  Can you believe how fast summer is going?!?!  We got to enjoy lots of family time over the last week on the Shore.  It was also Helen’s first overnight (really several nights) trip!  The last week was filled with yummy food, staying up past bedtime, lots of baby holding, games, beach trips, fireworks, a parade, a fishing trip and just plain old fun!

We headed out of town right after Holden finished up his last swimming lesson.  Here’s little sister and me waiting for the master swimmer…Excuse the spit!

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We got to my parents’ house that afternoon after a very sketchy picnic.  I’m a big-time picnic lover, but I confess that the location was super creepy.  This was especially true when we had to stay a bit longer for me to nurse Helen.  I honestly can’t remember if people (aka siblings + Uncle Michael) came over that night or the next.  All I remember is that I ate good food and relaxed.

The next day we (my mom, Holden, Helen, and I) met up with my cousin and her two adorable girls for a little beach time.  It was so nice to catch up with her!  We went to the same church growing up, were in Girl Scouts together, and just hung around each other quite frequently.  Wish we could get together more often!

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After our morning beach trip, we got to enjoy a “ladies’ lunch” of seafood salad with Aunt Sarah Beth.  Holden was unimpressed with the main course, but he was totally down with the sparking apple juice.  My mom always has the fun food/drinks!  We visited my grandmother’s best friend and caught up with her that afternoon.  We also went down to a local landmark and checked out the views…

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Holden was running all over this place!  I love his enthusiasm for things/life!  I also confess that it is a tiny hope of mine that he stays a lifelong runner.

On Friday, a delegation of family went to the beach at Assateague.  This is the typical “beach” that I remember from my childhood.  Specifically, I remember going with my grandmother.  She always had Coca Cola, Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies, Egg Salad, this hideous Raggedy Ann blanket, and the intention of getting us new friends and/or a boyfriend.

P.S.  Doesn’t Holden look like 25 in these picture?!?!?!

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If you look hard, you can see Miss Helen chilling in the beach tent with a fan DIRECTLY on her face.  Ha!  Got to do what you got to do!

Uncle Michael on kid duty in the picture below!

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Hands-on grandma right here ladies and gentlemen!  My mom was all over that beach!  She was chasing down Holden aka preventing a drowning, sticking Miss Helen’s feet in the sand and water, AND generally gossiping with my sister and me.  When we left, she said that she didn’t think she had been this sandy since me and my siblings were small!  I was/am so thankful for her!

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Running yet again!  Great form in my humble opinion ; )

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Holden had a great time splashing around!  I was so thankful for the extra hands.  My poor sister even got her lovely bathing suit spit on by the Spitter aka Helen.  Around 11, we left in a mad rush when Miss Helen had had quite enough fresh air!  Plus, there were crazy storms that popped up midday through the afternoon.  I was very thankful we seized the day and got another beach trip in!

The Mr. joined us after finishing out the work week, and I was very happy to see my partner in parenting/life!  He is one grade A beach-goer (especially with kids and all the lovely accessories they require!).

Saturday turned out to be a girly day with my mom, Helen, and I taking in the sights (and some lunch!) after I finished up my 7 mile run.  I went back over to Assateague to do my run.  Such pretty scenery!

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The guys (my dad, the Mr., Uncle Cullen, and Holden) went fishing, and Holden officially caught his first fish!  It was a pretty good size or so I am told.  However, it was out of season.  Don’t those “jorts” on my brother make you want to grab a pair of jeans and some scissors?!?!  ; )

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Later on Saturday we had to meet with the preacher who will be doing Helen’s baptism.  She also married the Mr. and me and baptized Holden.  That evening the Mr. and I went on a date!  We went to Bloxom Winery for pizza, salad, and wine except beer for me.  I’m just not cool enough for wine.  IMG_3691.jpg

Sunday was church and lots of rain!  The rain pretty much continued through the 4th.  😦  We spent some time with Holden and Helen’s Meme and C-Pa on Sunday through Tuesday.  We had some swimming plans, but they just didn’t happen.  Thankfully, the rain took a break the morning of the fourth, so we could participate in the motor-less parade!  Holden did this last year on his bike.  This year he was so speedy!  I’m thinking next year will be without the training wheels!  Maybe little sister can even ride in a wagon.  🙂

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Holden’s fan club came to see him…  🙂  Notice my mother’s phone (made the picture!)…this woman likes her smartphone!!!

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Check out Miss Helen!  She was sporting some stars for the special day!

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We ended our holiday with some fireworks!  Helen’s first time!  No crying (except from Roscoe the dog) and way big eyes taking it all in!IMG_3710.JPG

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I confess to having a holiday hangover that has lasted through today.  It was a little hard to get back into the swing of things like grocery shopping, laundry, and kiddy tasks like reading two million books before 9AM.  I’m so very thankful for our family vacation and all the memories we made!  We are so blessed to have so many people who loves us so much.

The good news is…it’s Hump Day AND weekend visitors are coming!  My sister-in-law and her fiancee are supposed to arriving on Friday.  We are excited, and Holden is asking if they are coming tonight!

Hope you have a great week!

Natalie

The Art of Vacation Hopping – Part II

I hope the picture overload wasn’t too much for you yesterday.  I love looking back at pictures from happy times and just from life in general.  I think most people do!

When we left off, the little man and I were anxiously anticipating Daddy’s arrival for the 4th of July long weekend.

I started off July 3rd with a nice, steamy run.  I love doing runs she i don’t know the distance.  I just run and keep an eye on my watch to make sure I’m not gone forever.  Boy, was it humid!  I missed a water gun fight {which was just fine with me!} but did jump in Granny’s pool after my run.

Most of the day was spent hanging out with Holden’s Memè and C-Pa.  We did stop by a sweet little girl’s 4th birthday party in the afternoon.  Holden got an awesome “treat bag” with lots of goodies.  Check out the glow sword below!  We had lots of delicious food all day that ended with frozen yogurt and {my favorite!} toppings.  IMG_2251

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Then, the Fourth!  Holden had some help from his fan club in the decoration department.  His bike was amazingly decorated for the parade in the nearby town of Accomac.

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Pictured below is Holden’s newest best good friend, Wally!  This dog is over the moon for Holden, and I’m pretty sure Holden feels the same.  🙂  Wally joined us in the parade.  He was a little worried about Holden getting too far away from him.  Very sweet!

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Holden with his Memè

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And the reward for all that peddling was…a Popsicle!

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I had such fun making these sweet memories with these sweet people.  Later, everyone took out the kayaks.  I missed out on the kayak adventure due to some pretty consistent shoulder pain, but it sure looked fun!

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What a full day!  The evening was spent at the Onancock parade and a picnic.  Although I didn’t know a lot of the people there, I think the Mr. thoroughly enjoyed seeing old acquaintances.

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The Mr. set off some fireworks at the “kid firework hour” of 8:00ish.

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A boy and his {other} dog  🙂  I think Wally was okay with this tight squeeze from his Holden.  We were all just beat after this awesome day!  Unfortunately for Roscoe the Dog, the real fireworks started up around ten despite the stormy weather.  Roscoe and I spent a few hours dozing in the chair while I held his little anxious body still and quiet.  Oh the things we do for our pets!  Thankfully, all was eventually quiet, and it was back to bed for us.  The final day of our weekend was very relaxed with lots of sitting around, catching up with yet another aunt and uncle-to-be {how did he get so lucky to have so many?!?!?}, and {again!} eating great food!  We also watched C-Pa and the Mr. practice their bow skills.  He looks pretty handsome up there doesn’t he?

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My little one isn’t really a fan of “down time,” so Memè pulled out the art supplies.  I think trucks, fish, and dinosaurs were the main interests.

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I admit to craving my own bed and a little quiet time as we prepared to head back home.  However, I also confess to being a bit sad that our family vacation with family came to an end.  Holden had no qualms telling me that he didn’t want to go!  Sorry bud!  Your ours!  🙂  It is very safe to say that we felt very blessed to have such a wonderful family AND to be able to spend time with them.  Although we plan to visit again for a long weekend or two before school starts up again in September, this was our longest trip planned.  You can definitely tell the difference of being able to spend quality time with each of Holden’s grandparents aka our parents!  You forget how much you miss and love them!

Okay, that got a little touchy feely!  🙂  Have a great hump day!  The weekend is coming!

Natalie

The Art of Vacation Hopping – Part I

Hi there!  Can you believe we are already a week into July?!?!?  Craziness!  We just got back recently from our vacation that consisted of hopping from family house to family house.  It was so fun, busy, and action-packed!  Here’s a little photo journal.

We started off a kind of blustery Saturday with a visit to NASA Wallops Island.  It was their 70th birthday!

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We had good company with Moochie and Aunt D.  After checking out the rockets, we headed to a nearby park for some play and a picnic.

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Final stop was Island Creamery.  I admit to not being a super big fan of ice cream in general, but I know people LOVE this place!  If you are vacationing on Chincoteague Island, be sure to try it for yourself.  The ice cream is homemade, and it was rated the #1 ice cream parlor in the U.S.!

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I got “Pony Tracks” and would definitely recommend it.

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Don’t let the face fool you…he LOVED IT SO MUCH!

The next day I elected to skip the 8 o’clock church service which I was bummed about after the fact.  😦  8 o’clock is just so hard sometimes!  Once my mom got back from church, we hit the country roads and saw all the local sights.

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Seriously, he was in heaven.  🙂

We ended up at a little beach on the bay near my sister’s house.  We hunted for sea glass and found a good bit.

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Next, we had a “double day” of pool and boating.

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Ok…I must be getting old now.  I mean, do we really need to have one.more.sex.tip magazine right at a child’s eye level.  It’s kind of gross, and I honestly never thought about it until it was potentially my child’s eyes.  Let me tell you…H the kiddo knows what that first letter is in SEX and the sound it makes.  Believe me, that boy will ask a million questions a day.  I really don’t feel like explaining that one is at…say 4 years old!  #annoyed

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Anywho…stepping off the soapbox…here we are on our dinner cruise aka boat trip with Moochie and Poppy to a barrier island.

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That’s our stuff!  We were the only ones around.

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Cool shell and picture – bad finger photo bomb!

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If you look closely in the above picture, you’ll see H wailing!  He was way upset that Moochie and Poppy dared to go for a stroll down the beach without him.  😉

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We saw the duckies below on our way back to the dock.  Cute little duck family!

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We also went to the beach at Assateague Island {Virginia} with Granny.  It was a picture perfect beach day!

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Prepare yourself for crazy cuteness below!

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We picked some yummy veggies at Uncle and Auntie’s house.

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Although most of our trip was super fun, we did have a bit a crazy 24 hours.  My mom and I were going to visit my sister after putting the little man to bed.  I thought it would be a good idea to bring the doggie along with us.  Well, he saw “something” and took off into the woods.  I was freaking out completely!  He came back after a few minutes which seemed like eternity.  We hopped in the car and took off down the road.  When I looked back at Roscoe P., there was blood all over my mom’s car!  Long story short – He cut his ear, and it was a a total bloody mess!  Thankfully, Holden’s Memé is a veterinarian.  She fixed him right up!

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This terrible picture is due to prevention from a nasty mess in my car!

We cheered back up with a playdate with some sweet friends at a local park and some swimming at Granny’s.  IMG_2240

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Aren’t there flowers beautiful?!?!  Granny’s garden is full of great blooming flowers now.

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We picked up our Mr. Roscoe P, and he looked a bit different than he did before!  Poor guy is stuck in the cone for 2 weeks!  I’m so relieved that it wasn’t anything more serious!  We also attended a little get-together at my sister’s house on a WEDNESDAY night!  It was nice to be able to be there.  The food was delicious, and the company was superb!

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Whew!  As you can see, we were very busy!  I can not say enough how happy we were to be able to spend more time than we usually do.  I’ll be back soon to share the rest of our trip aka the 4th of July edition.  Have a great day!

Natalie

Working Mom versus Stay-at-Home Mom

Greetings from summer vacation!  We’ve been on our summer routine about 8 hours or so now.  Yesterday was a travel/crazy house closing day for us.  Today is the real test.  Today is when I remember what summer vacation with a toddler is like.  This is not meant as a complaint.  Just as a realistic view on “summer vacation” and how I do it.  First off, I totally messed today from the onset.  Late night paint arguments discussions kept me up later than I would have liked.  Plus, I really felt all wound up after cutting a huge check for our home purchase.  I mean seeing that many 0s on a check LEAVING my possession makes me a little queasy (and by “my” I mean ours 😉 ).  Anywho, all this resulted in my rise and shine time of 6:30.  Now, some people may think this is still getting up early.  However, Holden has been an early bird since day 1.  He was ready to go at about 6:31.  I really find that getting in a work-out or journal time or even tidying up and getting breakfast started before he gets up to be extremely helpful in the summertime.  It sets the pace for the day and gives me a few moments to collect my thoughts.

We headed out around 10 o’clock which was way too late to tackle all the things on my to-do list.  But…we did manage to convince the parks and rec people that we do in fact live in Virginia Beach and aren’t impersonating VB peeps just for the sake of swimming lessons???  Do people do this???  Jeez!  I *promised* my little boy some park/play time, so I parked the Mr.’s big truck (repeatedly for our outings today!) and let that boy play.  He ran around and was fascinated by all the kids but wilted in the sun after about 40 minutes.  It really is best to seize the day early on.  My to do list could have been checked off AND play time had by the little one.

I’m blaming our wonky day on the busy, fun, and jam-packed weekend we had on the Eastern Shore visiting family and seeing old friends.  Here are a few pics…

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I can tell that “summer me” is here.  Doing my hair feels like a huge chore (hence the increase in the use of mousse).  Clothing that is beyond a T-shirt and shorts feels way too fancy (See extremely funny video here explaining why I’m not fancy…).  Also, how much does that sweet, almost one year old baby doll make you want to hold a little one!?!?!?  See another of the same song for the pregnant mommas here.

See the original song/video here.

Ha!  I think these are hilarious!

In all seriousness, I’m way more business with Holden.  Like…boy, you better not run up that slide!  I will take you home from this park!  So long working mom guilt!  I’m with that boy all day, erry day!  (said with an appropriate slang accent)  Welcome summer and welcome summer version of me!

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