The Smiths Do Disney!

We have lived back in Florida for about 3 years now and our kids have yet to go to Disney. The last time we had gone was when they were 4 and 2 so they barely even remembered it. We decided that instead of big birthday parties this year, we would buy a 3 day Disney pass. The fun part was that we didn’t tell them! We got up super early one morning and put the boys in the car, still in their jammies. We told them that we were going to a surprise place. As we approached Orlando, one of them guessed, “Are we in Michigan?!”

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Um, no. But they finally got it as we started seeing more signs!

For our first day of our passes, for Nolan’s birthday, we went to Magic Kingdom. Chris’s Aunt and Uncle joined us as well. The boys were not sure what to think of Disney. It was a lot to take in! We ended up having so much fun and realized what a roller coaster junkie Brady is. He loved Space Mountain! Nolan loved the more low key rides like Pirates of the Caribbean. He also loved all of the snacks and goodies all around the park.

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For our next two days of our passes, for Brady’s birthday, we went to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. It was SO hot and SO crowed (hello June!), but we made the most of it. I really liked the animals at Animal Kingdom and Brady really liked riding Everest. One of the coolest parts was the Dino Dig area. I got completely soaked on the Rapids ride so that helped keep me cool in the afternoon!

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Cooling towels and fans were our saviors!

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We went to Hollywood Studios to let Brady live out his dream of doing Jedi Training. It was so cute to see how seriously he took it! And the best part was when Darth Vader told Brady that he could tell the force was strong in him!

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Disney was the perfect place to celebrate the boys’ birthdays this year- and more fun for me than planning a party! Maybe we’ll convince them to do this again next year!

2018-2019 School Year (K&2)

Another school year has flown by. Nolan completed his first year of Elementary School and Brady finished his last year of primary grades. Next year Nolie will be a big 1st grader and Brady will be entering a new world of Standardized tests and real letter grades in 3rd. Both boys had a positive school year and came more out of their shells. Brady really embraced his love for reading and writing (swoon!) and Nolan became obsessed with all things math. They developed sweet friendships and grew in confidence. And, as evidenced by these pictures, they both grew like weeds!

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Brady said his favorite part of second grade was “Market Day” and art class and Nolan said his favorite part of Kindergarten was P.E. and recess (shocker!) Here are some special moments from the school year…

 

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First day riding the school bus!

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Brady received the “Leader of the Pack” award for the 3rd year in a row. This year his classmates voted for him.

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Tacky tourist day!

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Habitat Day- Brady’s Alligator presentation. (Go Gators!)

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Art Show

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Almost the end of the school year…Nolan was SO ready for summer!

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End of Kindergarten celebration

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Dino Dig!

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Paleontologist Nolan at his Dino Dig

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Nolan with friends at lunch

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I was so happy that both boys had the same lunch time so I could visit with each of them when I went to their school.

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Nolan and his teacher, Mrs. Ryan.

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Brady and his teacher, Ms. Marlow.

Now time to enjoy summer!!!

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First and last day of Kindergarten and Second Grade!

Valentine’s Day 2019

We have made our way through a dreary and cool (albeit not compared to the North!) January. Valentine’s Day is always a fun day to look forward to because it is full of everything pink and sparkly and sweet. I love any excuse to have a celebration and themed activities, so I hope my kids look back on these little moments fondly. Here are some pictures from our Valentine’s Day!

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We worked hard on our Valentine cards and boxes for school. Nolan went with sports themed cards and Brady did Star Wars (again!)

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I made a big batch of strawberry play-doh for my class Valentine party but the boys got to have some too. They played with this for a long time!

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Brady got the cutest Valentine from a sweet girl that he plays with at the playground every day. I love how she made it so perfect for him!

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I tried so hard to get a cute picture of the boys on Valentine’s Day and this was the best I could do. Notice Nolan sticking his finger into Brady’s throat!

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Another classic Nolan picture moment!

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I was so lucky to have off work on Valentine’s Day and be able to surprise the kids at school at lunchtime. Not sure if they were happy to see me or the smoothies I brought them!

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Nothing says love like a heart shaped ham sandwich in a lunchbox.

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You haven’t lived life until you’ve eaten lunch at the Kindergarten table. It’s always fun to see my sweet boys at school.

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We decided to do a family dinner out for Valentine’s day this year. The kids were happy because they got pizza.

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I love Brady’s mouthful of food in this picture!

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Not sure why Nolan insisted on this pose, but I went with it!

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My funny Valentine. But really, is there a more real life picture of Valentine’s Day on year #16 that you’ve been celebrating together? In our P.J.’s by 7:30 and waiting for the kids to wind down so we can drink champagne… 

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Flowers, pretty alcohol and fluffy animal cards- Chris knows how to keep me happy on Valentine’s Day.

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He also surprised me with Elton John concert tickets!!! Music is my love language!

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Cheers to the cheesiest Hallmark holiday! I’m here for all of it! (well maybe not the dirty socks in the background!)

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This Christmas season was busier than ever. Between school functions, church performances, work events, and celebrating the holidays with family, Christmastime flew by. I managed to get some photographs to help us remember all of the fun and craziness!

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Fun times at the Donuts with Santa event put on by the St. Augustine Moms Blog. 

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This was my first picture ever with both boys smiling on Santa’s lap!!! (Nolan is finally not afraid!) They asked him for Star Wars Legos and a Nerf football. 

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We love Aunt Claudia’s annual Christmas party at the beach!

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We always love to make it down to downtown St. Augustine to check out the Christmas lights!

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We somehow managed to fit in Christmas cookie decorating!

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Brady was SO excited to get a letter in the mail from Santa!

We did a quick trip to Savannah before Christmas and had so much fun going to see the Christmas performance at the Savannah theater downtown with Grandpa and Nana. We also did our annual visit to the Botanical gardens to check out the beautiful Christmas lights.

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Our Christmas Eve and Christmas were relaxing. We went to to church and ordered pizzas with my mom and Aunt Claudia. We stayed in our jammies all Christmas day. It was so fun to see the kids soaking up the Christmas magic!

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After Christmas we went on a road trip to the Atlanta area to visit Chris’s grandparents.

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Brady (and Sailor!) loved Grandaddy’s horses.

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The boys and their Great Granny (and her 3 puppies!)

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Brady fully embraced his great grandparents country cowboy vibe. We had to buy him boots and a cowboy hat and he wouldn’t take them off!

We had a great Christmas season and are looking forward to a fun new year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween 2018

We love Fall around here. It signifies the start of the holiday season and if we’re lucky, we get a break from the crazy Florida heat. Plus, the boys are at the age where they LOVE Halloween! This year we did some new Fall crafts and celebrated with some of our favorite traditions. And of course, embraced The Force!

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Nolan got to use his old Police costume for the Kindergarten Community Helper Parade. He was so cute!

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We tried the blow dryer crayon method for our white pumpkins.

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The kids were so excited about this Haunted House from Trader Joes!

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Every year the kids want to carve a pumpkin, and every year they make Chris do all the work! Brady did agree to draw on a design idea.

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That time I convinced Chris to dress as Princess Leia… Brady was not a fan!

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The boys were allowed to wear costumes to school so Brady chose to go as Darth Vader and Nolan went as an American Ninja Warrior contestant.

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Brady helping mommy make our annual spider sandwiches.

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Ms. Carrie and I dressed for Trunk or Treat at work.

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Force Family!

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Happy Halloween!

Nolan turns 5… Gulp!

 

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Our sweet little Bubba is 5. This birthday is a tough one. In my eyes he is still my squishy little baby who grunts and shakes his bassinet like a velociraptor, manages to get food in every crevice during meal time, and sucks his thumb while holding onto a strand of my hair. It’s hard to believe he’s now as big as his older brother and beginning to read! In some ways he’s that same Rolie Nolie from years ago- he is still loud and still crazy and still lights up the whole room with his smile. I hate that my baby is growing up so fast, but gosh he’s a joy to watch change and blossom.

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This year was such a time of growth for Nolan. He’s grown in confidence and become his own little interesting person. He has conquered fears and tried new things. He loves school (this is a huge area of change!) and playing sports. He’s fiercely competitive and wants to win at everything! He obsessively memorizes every song on the Top 40 list on the radio.  He’s surprisingly sensitive and affectionate. He is not above asking his mommy if she “wants to snuggle?” the minute he senses she may be frustrated with him. His charm and humor continue to get him by in life.


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Nolan is beyond entertaining. The kid named his giant stuffed duckie “Finesse.” Who does that?! Each day he surprises us with his comedic timing, energy level, dramatic responses, and attention to details. He remembers everything and calls us out all the time. My favorite recent Nolan story…

Chris: You’re doing so great at golf, buddy! 

Nolan: But I haven’t gotten a hole in one yet!

Chris: I bet you will soon. I bet by the time you’re 10 you’ll get one.

Nolan: But you haven’t gotten one and you’re THIRTY-SEVEN!!!

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The kid is savage with a burn.

While it is bittersweet to watch Nolan grow up so quickly, we are so lucky to have such a cool little guy in our family. He’s the silliest little brother Brady could ask for. He gives Chris tons of new grey hairs, but is the best sports watching buddy. And, he is the perfect “forever baby” for me. Happy 5th birthday, little man! We love you so much and can’t wait to see how you rock your next trip around the sun.

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Here’s Nolan’s annual birthday interview. The last 45 seconds or so are my favorite. He’s a hoot!

Valentine’s Day 2018

Not everyone is a fan of Valentine’s Day. I get it. It’s cheesy and overly marketed. If you’re single, it’s just plain annoying. If you’re married, it can seem like a chore. Lots of people just prefer to pretend Valentine’s Day doesn’t exist.

I am not one of those people.

I’m a lover of all things shiny, fuzzy, sugary, flowery, and mushy. This holiday is totally in my wheelhouse. Gaudy decorations and cards? Check! An excuse to eat high calorie foods? Check! A reason to wear matching pink and red outfits with my kids? Check! Girly, corny, big fat love fest? I’m here for all of it.

Even when I was single, my girlfriends and I used Valentine’s Day as a day to get together, eat, drink, and commiserate about stupid guys. And I did it all while wearing a ridiculous red LOVE shirt.

So here’s how we spent our Valentine’s day as a family…

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I don’t need a gift on Valentine’s Day, but doughnuts and flowers are a requirement. Also, I’m not above buying them for myself.

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Extra bonus points if the doughnuts are heart shaped.

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Our chalk wall next to the boy’s room. All the corniness!

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I may have a sink full of dirty dishes most of the time, but darn it if my kids aren’t getting a special Valentine’s day breakfast every year! I can’t be good at everything! 😉

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You guys I actually attempted to form these cinnamon rolls into hearts. I failed. Just like I did last year. Maybe next year!

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Mine and Chris’s Valentines for each other. We’re ridiculous.

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Every year Chris and I pass a book back and forth taking turns writing a top 10 list for reasons we love the other person. I know, so cheesy. This was his #2 for me this year. It’s not NOT true.

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Nolan is obsessed with football this year. These were his Valentines for his class.

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Ready to taste test.

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Brady is currently obsessed with Star Wars so his cards included a mini lightsabre and Star Wars gummies.

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Of course Brady and to check and re-check his cards before distribution.

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Gah! My loves!

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I got to have a quick Starbucks date with Chris once we dropped the kids off at school. Of course I ordered the featured Valentine’s drink. Duh.

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Brady’s sweet Valentine writing. I love his heart!

Even if you’re not a Valentine’s person, hopefully the day brought you some love and time with the ones you care about the most. And if nothing else, hope you got a heart shaped doughnut.