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!

Brady is TEN!

Remember when you turned ten and you thought it was so cool because you were double digits and you could tell everyone you were a decade old? I do. Remember when you were a new parent and you thought people with ten year old kids were kinda old? Ugh, I remember that too. But alas, here we are. Brady is ten and we are the parents of a decade old kid.

But, what an awesome decade it’s been. This ten year old kid of ours is better than anything I could have dreamed up. He is thoughtful and empathetic. He is an adventurer and a dreamer. He has the most positive attitude of anyone I know and always looks on the bright side of life. He is easy going and eager to please. He works hard and strives for success in all he does. He is willing to try new things, and he cheers on others always.

This year Brady excelled in Taekwondo and made it to a green belt. He got straight A’s all through 4th grade. He tried baseball for the first time. And, he continues to be his happiest when reading a good book.

This year we also threw a major curve ball into his life by moving him 10 states away from family and friends. He embraced this change with excitement and courage. He says he was born to live in Maine because it is full of new experiences and challenges. I just love him to pieces.

Happy birthday, Brady-boo. May your life always be an adventure!

Florida to Maine: Smith Family on the Move (Again!)

In April we officially closed on our new house in Maine. While the boys and I stayed in Florida to finish up the school year, Chris moved half of our stuff up north and started working his New England territory. For two months we were a long distance family. I wrapped up teaching and packing while Chris was doing some major overhaul on the new (OLD!!) house.

By the time the boys and I had our last day of school, it was time to start our journey up to Maine. My dad offered to help with the drive so we stopped in Savannah to pick him up on the way. The boys got to drive through 11 states in a matter of 3 days- Florida>Georgia>South Carolina>North Carolina>Virginia>Maryland>Pennsylvania>New York>Massachusetts>New Hampshire>Maine. My dad drove my car with the boys, the dog, and the fish (in a Tervis Tumbler in the cupholder!) I rode with Chris in the bumpy moving truck. We made it to Maine on Sunday the 13th. We celebrated my birthday the next day by unloading a moving truck- yay! My mom sent flowers and treats to make it feel a little more special.

What happens when you get to the hotel after being cooped up in a car for 14 hours…

While the house is still not 100% done, we’ve made some great progress. Chris did an awesome job of getting it in shape before we arrived and now I’m having fun putting my touches on it. Our first Airbnb guests arrived the week after we moved in and it’s been going great. Now on to exploring Maine. So far, it is magical!

Nolan is 8!

It’s that time of year again, where I struggle to grasp how my kids are as old as they are. Nolan is EIGHT-what?! I will always picture him as a chubby cheeked, messy faced, sweaty blur of blonde hair. In some ways Nolan has always been Nolan. A mix of exuberance, energy, and silliness. He has always been anxious in new situations and is his most comfortable self when competing to “win” something. In other ways, Nolan has grown and changed so much into his new big boy self. He is more confident, more independent, and more mature than I could have pictured him just a few years ago. He is learning to take his time with tasks (speed does not always equate to being the best) and is working so hard to accept that making mistakes is okay. He comes by that last struggle honestly! Nolan’s quick wit, attention to specific details, and sensitive heart make him a complete dreamboat to his mommy. The way he always asks to snuggle and adores “cozy town” (aka blankets, towels or pajamas that are fresh from the dryer), makes me swoon. His love for competing and anything sports related makes him his daddy’s total mini me. Time is passing too quickly with our little man, but we are savoring every minute. We love you lots, Nolie!