Nolan is 10!

Sweet Bubba hit double digits. It seems like he was just a wittle toddler screaming at us for more “foffles” and spending endless hours playing with his train tracks. Our baby boy declared this birthday his best ever. He had a surprise visit from Grandma who showed up at his favorite restaurant for dinner on his birthday, opened loads of Pokemon cards, and ate strawberry cake of course. We gave him new (big kid!) golf clubs and he celebrated over the weekend with his two closest friends at a Sea Dogs baseball game.

Nolan’s enthusiasm for life is contagious. He gets so much enjoyment from playing games, “dominating” in sports, and bragging about his math skills. He is always moving and can be heard stampeding down our stairs from a mile away. There is not a quiet bone in this rambunctious boy’s body. He is a lover of the Beatles, Mario Kart, sprinkles, stuffies, and Taco Bell. He is a feeler of all the feels and wears his big heart on his sleeve at all times.

We are so grateful for ten years of trying to keep up with our little man (although, he is consistently not so little, the tallest in his class in fact- as he repeatedly reminds us.) Happy birthday, Nolie! You are so loved.

Nolan’s Turning Ten Interview!

Smiths in the City!

For our February break this year (because Mainer’s need a break mid winter!) we decided to do a family trip to New York City. We had taken trips to the city when Brady was a toddler, but Nolan had never been. Turns out February is actually a great time to go- the Christmas crowds have died down, and let’s face it, not many people think to go to cold New York at the height of winter. We got very lucky though as the temperatures were quite mild (compared to the Maine winter we had been experiencing.)

We let the kids have a lot of say in the planning of this trip and made sure to include all of their interests. The American Museum of Natural History was a must see as it fulfilled Brady’s dream of seeing a T-Rex skeleton (along with many other species of dinosaurs.) We also made sure to head to the Harry Potter store where Brady was able to pick out his own wand.

Nolan was focused on visiting the Nintendo store and multiple toy stores, including two Lego stores. He was also in it for the food. Bagels, pizza, Serendipity and Little Italy were priorities.

It was so fun to see the sights of Times Square through the boys’ eyes. They loved all the hustle and bustle and especially the glamorous subway. They couldn’t get enough of riding it!

This was a trip to remember and we can’t wait to go back. There is still so much to see!

Holidays 2022

Another holiday season has come and gone. This year we had visits from family, ate lots of yummy food, and enjoyed activities close to home. We kicked off the holidays with a visit from Grandpa and Nana. I was so happy to be on both my feet this year (boo to last year in a cast!) We cooked a huge meal, went to a Maine Mariners hockey game and checked out the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens lights. It was a fast but fun visit!

Throughout December we did lots of festive activities. We bought our biggest Christmas tree ever at Highlands nursery by our house. We had to buy more lights!! We decorated cookies, did advent activities, played in the snow, and hosted a neighborhood Christmas party. And, school went right up to Christmas weekend. It…was brutal! But, we made it.

Over Christmas break Grandma came to visit with her puppy, Ollie. We didn’t get to do as much as we had planned because she got sick while she was here (boo!) but we did fit in some fun. Lots of eating and relaxing! And of course, Santa was very good to Brady and Nolan. They even got to skate on our next door neighbor’s rink they built in their yard. Chris and squeezed in a fabulous date night and even a beach sunrise one day.

Here’s hoping 2023 blesses us with good health and continued happiness!

Acadia National Park

After about a year of living in Maine, we finally got the opportunity to make a trip up to Acadia. Brady had been saving money in our family adventure fund since we moved up here in hopes of visiting Acadia. From where we live in Portland, it is about a 3 hour drive- perfectly doable for a nice weekend trip! We heard many people’s stories about how absolutely bonkers Acadia gets in the summer, so we lucked out by finding a time to go right before peak season started. Mid May was the perfect time to check it out. Beautiful weather without the crazy crowds of summer. And, we were able to book a beautiful resort in downtown Bar Harbor for a deeply discounted rate. We checked out Cadillac Mountain, Jordan’s Pond, Thunder Hole, Sandy Beach, Bass Harbor Lighthouse and lots of other cool spots in the park. We can’t wait to go back again!

Brady is 11!

It happened again- our boy is a year older. Brady is such a light in this sometimes very dark world. His curiosity, his always spinning wheels, and his even keeled nature make him such a one of a kind kid. At 11, he loves all things dinosaurs and Jurassic Park. He pours through books faster than I can keep up- we are constantly at the library stuffing our tote bag full for him. He is often distracted and in his own head thinking of new inventions and analyzing the way things work. He is fearless and has tried all kinds of new activities this year- baseball, skiing, trumpet… He is kind and gets along with everyone he meets. We couldn’t have asked for a better 11 year old. He is so excited for middle school and growing up. We secretly wish we could keep him this age forever. We love you Brady-boo!

Spring Break(s) 2022!

So one thing that is new to us here in Maine is having both a February and April week off of school. I guess they assume all Mainers are ready for a break from the cold come February. And, let’s get honest, it’s still cold in April so many people need to get away again then! We did a big Florida road trip in February and had a nice stay-cation in April.

We made the 2 day journey down South with the kids and the dog. It was a loooong drive, but we did get to see Grandpa and Nana for a night before we made our way to Universal Studios. (Sailor spent her vacation with them!) During our trip we also got to visit with Aunt Kim, Uncle Esteban, Aunt Gift, Chloe, Grandma, Aunt Claudia, and our friends Darrah and Ryley.

The boys loved the hotel at Universal. One of their favorite things was the pool and restaurant! But, the biggest reason we were there was to finally see the Jurassic Park world and ride the Velocicoaster. Brady was SO excited. We also loved getting to see the Harry Potter World. It was ridiculously crowded but we packed a lot in. We even got to check out the new Volcano Bay water park. It was snowing back home while we were floating down a lazy river!

We kicked off April break by celebrating Easter just the 4 of us at home. Chris had to spend part of the break in Puerto Rico for work, so my dad flew up and spent the week with us. We did a fun stay-cation and did things like eat out at new restaurants, went to the trampoline park, went to the movies, and hit up a minor league baseball game. We even drove to Boston for the day and checked out their amazing science museum.

We are finally starting to see some signs of actual Spring. There are buds on trees, flowers blooming, and *slightly* warmer weather. We can’t wait for Summer!!!

Nolan is 9!

Our littlest man is officially in his last year of single digits. We’ve had 9 years of laughing at his crazy antics, learning how to understand his big emotions, and being in awe of his never-forgets-anything smart brain.

This year brought big changes to Nolan’s life- new home, new school, new sports… and he has embraced it all. Which, is a tell tale sign that our once shy little boy is really starting to grow up.

Nolan does life large, loud, and intense. He feels all the feels, voices all his thoughts and opinions, and loves to “DOMINATE!” He plays hard and is a sweaty mess all year round. He goes full throttle until he drops. He is the only person I know who can pass out on the ground, in the middle of a concert, with thousands of people surrounding him, and sleep like the dead.

He’s big for his age. Looks more like a 12 year old than a 9 year old- which makes his borderline obsessive affection for stuffed animals and all things cozy, that much cuter. He’s rough and tough on the outside, and squishy and sweet on the inside.

Happy birthday, Bubba! You will always be our best and favorite surprise in life.

First Christmas in Maine!

There is something about cold weather, snow, and winter activities that make Christmas time really feel special. Our first Christmas season in Maine did not disappoint when it came to those areas. We even were blessed with a white Christmas. We tried to take advantage of all that living up north has to offer during the holidays- ice skating, snowman making, sledding, and of course tons of yummy comfort food. The boys had such a great Christmas! Grandma was here for an extended visit, they got everything they asked for for Christmas, and they absolutely loved playing in the snow.

First Fall in Maine

There is nothing like Fall in New England. This season did not disappoint! Gorgeous foliage, crisp air, cider doughnuts, apple orchards and all the flannel. We got lucky and had a mild October and November this year. The temps were cool enough to feel like real fall, but not so cold that you couldn’t enjoy being outside.

We tried to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and weather by taking short trips to Ogunquit, ME and Portsmouth, NH. We picked an abundance of apples and made so many desserts. We took gorgeous drives to take in the views.

One thing that will make next Fall even better- the ability to walk and hike! Because, frustratingly, I have been in a walking boot since Labor Day and had foot surgery at the end of October. I am thankful we were able to squeeze in as much Fall fun as we did, but I know next year will be even better when I can do a little more.

Here’s some of the Fall 2021 fun…

First Summer in Maine

Well, we picked a good time of year to move to New England. Summertime is heavenly compared to the sweltering hot box of Florida. Not to say we didn’t have some super hot days up here (thanks a lot global warming!) that made us question our decision to buy a 121 year old house that lacks A.C., but I digress. Overall, we were loving our sweatshirts in the evenings with a side of fire pit. And, the cooler temperatures did not stop our boys from enjoying the backyard pool. It is the ultimate form of irony that we never had a house with a pool in all the years we lived in Florida.

We were pretty busy with unpacking and working on the house, but since the boys had a loooong extended summer break, we had lots of time to explore our new area. We also had several visits from friends and family. Most of our exploring was within a 15 minute radius of our house (there is so much to see here!!!) but we did squeeze in a quick trip to see Burlington, Vermont.

Most of the pictures from our first summer in Maine have a common theme- water and food! Can’t wait for summer to come back around to do some more exploring!