Tuesday, October 17, 2017

party like a librarian

We love the library annual party! It's full of fun little games, inflatables, animals, and prizes. We actually won two books! It's a packed party, too- I planned to meet up with other families there but our paths just never crossed!

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The inflatables are my kids' and EVERY kids' favorite thing so the lines are so long. But the few seconds they have inside must be worth it to them...

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I would have gotten a picture of Liam, too, but another mom stepped in front of me at the crucial moment. Bah.

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Aint nobody gonna say no to bubbles.

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Armadillos are a fascinating mix of adorable and absolutely revolting.

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Wren sat still enough for some facepainting. I was trying to get a better focused picture of her when she completely smeared it. Not a surprise.

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A patriotic boy.

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Gotta catch 'em all!

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The self-proclaimed future chemist.

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Goat gazin'.

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Poke.

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This boy is just so scrumptious.

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Agggghhhhh theyallheldtaratunlas! And with that, we were done!


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Money Money Money Money

We took the kids to the Money Museum- not the most exciting place for kids, but it's good enough for an hour of exploration. Pictoral highlights!

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(If you're going to counterfeit money, I think you can do better than the penny)

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Gone fishin

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At the beginning of the Summer, over a long weekend, we thought the time was ripe for a visit to Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Bradley, who we all think are the best people around.

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My kids have been itching for a fishing excursion and as it happens, Great Grandma and Grandpa Bradley love to fish! Well, I think they both do. In any case, they were happy to take us to the lake and show us the ropes.

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Lots of instruction on casting and bating followed, things which I know nothing about.

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Wren was curious about it all, too.

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But spent most of her time on the sidelines. Selfie!

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Pretty soon, we had a fish!

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Yahoo! I think Dash was most excited about going fishing, so I'm glad he got a catch.

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Dash resisting the tradition of kissing your first fish.

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Each boy got to catch a fish, they may have even all caught multiple. Relief for us, because if someone hadn't gotten any, we would have HEARD about it.

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Back for more!

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With success all around, the kids started to play with other things, like Great Grandpa's cane (how lucky is he to have such a fun toy around all the time!)

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Then they started to tucker out in the heat. Though Grey did take lots of pictures, including these two:
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So it was a successful trip on many counts. Thanks for the fish fun, GG&GG!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Caribbean Cruise of Love

For our tenth anniversary, we decided to do something big. It's ten years, after all! We'd only had a couple nights away from kids since becoming parents, so a getaway was in order. We decided upon a cruise. Neither of us had been, so we went with the classic Caribbean cruise through Norwegian Cruise Lines.

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We LOVED Norwegian. Great food, great staff, great activities, great boat. We went on the Escape, which was huge, along the eastern side of the Caribbean isles for seven days. (It's sad, now, though, thinking about how much damage these places must have sustained after having the hurricanes push through.)

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We dropped off the kids at Sean's parents house on Friday. Sean's mom and brother did an amazing job taking care of our kiddos. So did Sean's dad, when he was there, but most of the time he was on a business trip! The kids weren't to sad for us to leave, ha. It wasn't too hard for me to leave either, since I knew they were in good hands. Just a bit of sadness on the drive to the airport, then I was all excitement. Off we flew to Miami!

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After a night's hotel sleep and a bit of breakfast, we shuttled over to the port. I'll say this, it is CONFUSING figuring out where to go. We got in three wrong lines. And it was raining so everyone was cramped under the eaves.

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But we got it figured out, waiting in a few long lines, and then made it onto the boat.

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We walked all around the boat, admiring the pools, hot tubs, water slides, ropes course, and venues

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Waiting for our room to open, we went to eat some grub at the buffet. Sean and I both stopped in the bathroom first and the teenager in front of me fainted! Another woman in line helped me take her out of the bathroom where we flagged down a staff member, who got a chair, water, and radioed for assistance. Sean came out and, being such a wonderful pediatrician, gave her a quick check over and some instruction until medical personnel came. What a way to start! We think she was just dehydrated but we never did notice her again. Hope she was fine! Sean didn't have to use his medical knowledge again during the trip, phew.

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Our room opened up and we were quite happy with it's size and coziness. It met all our needs and we loved having a balcony. Although, the toilet did make a high-pitched squeak every time it flushed which was irksome. Otherwise, delightful.

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Now, being newbies to the cruising life, we didn't really know the best location to pick a room and chose one right in the front. We definitely could feel the motion of the boat. It made Sean a bit seasick. I'm made of stronger stuff, though, and was fine. Ha! Being in the bow also made for a very long walk anytime we went anywhere. Next time, we'll choose somewhere in the middle.


Here we are enjoying the... overcast... view from our balcony.

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And then, we pushed off. And it was nothing but blue as far as I could see.


Sean's windy video of the boat pulling out of Miami.

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I was impressed by how well the decor matched the ocean.

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Just boat and water. So peaceful.

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And a bit of churning.

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Guys, it was so relaxing. It was so, so, so nice to be in charge of my own schedule, to sleep when I wanted, make decisions on a whim, and just be. All with my best friend.

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We did a lot of lounging, a lot of ocean watching, a LOT of reading, a WHOLE LOT of eating. Seriously, we were full the entire trip. If our stomaches stopped feeling distended, we took that as a sign to get the next meal. My favorites were a beef carpaccio dish and a orange and chocolate mousse dessert. It was so delightful not to have to cook. There were a ton of restaurants with a ton of variety. And no assigned tables or required formal attire, which is not our idea of fun at all. Any time dining, I'm a fan.


A little glimpse of the main dining room.

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We went to trivia most days (the alcohol questions always tripped us up), watched a couple movies, soaked in the sun, tried out the ropes course (WINDY), did some shuffleboard, many hot tub trips, and many naps.

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I did do a massage, which I was so excited about, but was my one disappointment on board. It was painful, she mostly ground my muscles against my bones. Ouch. We did go to a Captain Q&A, learning about the mechanics of the boat. And the BEST entertainment was a comedian & juggler, Scotty Cavanaugh. He's insanely talented (a world champion juggler) and so surprisingly funny (way better than some of the other comedians we saw). He did this one bit with ping pong balls in his mouth that had us in tears with laughter. He actually did a juggling workshop a couple days later, teaching people how to juggle, and I actually did my first three-ball juggle! Seriously, that guy was fantastic.

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Did I mention reading? Lots of reading.


Not a lot of standing outside at the bow. It took about ten minutes to comb my hair out after this.

It was also fantastic to have someone clean up our room for us. And we loved seeing our towel animal surprise each evening! Behold:
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Anniversary cruise phone pics

Anniversary cruise phone pics

Anniversary cruise phone pics

Anniversary cruise phone pics

It was a seven day cruise with three port stops. Our first was...
St. Thomas
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If our boat came into port early in the morning, Sean would hop onto the balcony to see the boat in, but I was happy to keep snoozing. I'm glad he got some pictures for me!

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We're all ready to go, just waiting until we can disembark.

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We did a zip-lining adventure, my first time!

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We used Tree Limin' Extreme and felt very safe and well-instructed the whole time.

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Such beautiful views! Opray owns one of the mansions back there.

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I look pretty awesome...


Me, in action! It was so fun!


Sean, in action! This was the last zip and ended at a ladder instead of a platform.


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We walked around the port town for a while and found some lovely souvenirs. We stopped for lunch and realized that we had cell service since St. Thomas is in the US Virgin Isles. So we Facetimed the kids! It was so fun to see them! We learned that Wren kept saying, "Mommy Daddy boat," which seemed to comfort her when she was wondering where we were. Then headed back to our luxurious temporary home.

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We had a gorgeous, sunset departure from St. Thomas.

Tortola
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Our second port was to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Our excursion here was snorkeling in the Baths of the Virgin Gorda. We don't own any waterproof cameras so no pictures of this, bummer. It was a very early call, where we got on a boat who took us out to the Virgin Gorda. Huge granite boulders lie on the beach forming beautiful grottos with shallow pools of water. We were given snorkel masks, life jackets, and flippers, and once anchored, we swam over to the Baths.

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Now. I tried snorkeling once before and it did not go well (Sean and his dad towing me back to shore). I'm not a strong swimmer and I get rather panic-y when I can't breathe through both my nose and mouth or when I can't breathe fresh air. Problem for snorkeling, right? A friend lent me a snorkel mask that goes over the whole face with the tube sticking out of the forehead area, like a unicorn. It looks pretty silly but it did help me breath normally. Having the life jacket compensated for swimming skill, though I didn't have it tight enough at first and it kept shifting up into my mask during the first swim, flooding it with seawater. I was a bit nervous about this whole snorkeling thing to begin with and I was still nervous after the initial swim to the Baths. We took a little walk all through the baths to see how pretty it was. Then we made it out to a little cove to leisurely snorkel. I adjusted my life jacket and tried again. The issue of having hot, stale air was still present, but all other problems were mostly gone. And after snorkeling for a few minutes, the colorful and intricate sea life distracted me from the stale air and I did actually enjoy it. Hurray! Sean enjoys snorkeling so I really wanted to try to do this with him, I'm so glad I didn't fail! And it really was cool to see what goes on under the water's surface. On our swim back to the boat, we even saw a huge barracuda. Definitely a fun adventure!

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After washing up back on the boat, we spent some (hot and sweaty) time walking around town. Very cute, lots of fun shops, very hot.

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Back to our boat home. They hand out little popsicle snacks and chilled towels on the way in, heavenly.

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So long, Tortola!

Nassau

A little clip of the ship pulling into the Bahamas.

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When I think back to Nassau, Bahamas, I think pink. Pink buildings all over the town.

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Also, it's very hot.

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Also, my husband's hot.

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We walked around the town, enjoyed all the historical tidbits we could find.

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A row of conch shells. It was here that I realized people eat conch. It just never occurred to me before.

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Then we went on a Segway tour. Yes, I did feel pretty geeky going on a Segway tour, but whatever, it was fun.


Look at us go! I definitely couldn't hear what he was saying.

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So tough.

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The tour was way fun. Until, sigh, they asked if our group wanted to make a stop at a bar. They must be compensated because the tour guide made this whole spiel about their beverages. Several people in our group wanted to stop. We didn't mind too much, we did get to take a break in some air conditioning. But then it took FOREVER for them to be done and I just got so annoyed. It was not how I wanted to be spending my time. They did finally finish and we did the rest of the tour. We went to the beach after to do a little swimming but it started raining after ten minutes. I tried not to think about how I could have been swimming for an hour and ten minutes as we walked back to the boat.

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But this view while the ship sailed away eased away my annoyances. As did chocolate lava cake.

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And thus we come to the end of our grand celebration of Sean and Katie's love. It was a soul-soothing adventure. I loved being with my love all the time. I loved seeing my kids again when we came home.

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And I tell you what, I like the cruising life!