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?!”
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.
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!
Cooling towels and fans were our saviors!
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!
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!
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!
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…
First day riding the school bus!
Brady received the “Leader of the Pack” award for the 3rd year in a row. This year his classmates voted for him.
I don’t know what I’m more emotional about. The fact that my baby is SIX or that my baby just lost his first tooth. It is all too much! How is time slipping by so fast?!
Nolan is and has always been such a bundle of energy and emotions. He is fiercely competitive and loves anything he can win at. His love for sports and games has grown so much this year. He is a constant sweaty mess and goes hard all day long. His rough and tough personality is perfectly balanced by his love for his “puppets” (stuffed animals and blankies) and snuggling. His wild mop of blonde hair can never be tamed, nor can anything else about Nolan. He challenges us and makes us laugh every single day. His love for debauchery and shenanigans make him more like a frat boy than a Kindergartner. When I asked him what he wanted to do on his birthday, he simply replied, “Tailgate.” He is sweet, shy, and rowdy all at the same time. Life is more fun and more interesting with Nolan in the world. We wouldn’t change one thing about him. Love you, Bubba.
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!
We worked hard on our Valentine cards and boxes for school. Nolan went with sports themed cards and Brady did Star Wars (again!)
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!
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!
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!
Another classic Nolan picture moment!
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!
Nothing says love like a heart shaped ham sandwich in a lunchbox.
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.
We decided to do a family dinner out for Valentine’s day this year. The kids were happy because they got pizza.
I love Brady’s mouthful of food in this picture!
Not sure why Nolan insisted on this pose, but I went with it!
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…
Flowers, pretty alcohol and fluffy animal cards- Chris knows how to keep me happy on Valentine’s Day.
He also surprised me with Elton John concert tickets!!! Music is my love language!
Cheers to the cheesiest Hallmark holiday! I’m here for all of it! (well maybe not the dirty socks in the background!)
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!
Fun times at the Donuts with Santa event put on by the St. Augustine Moms Blog.
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.
We love Aunt Claudia’s annual Christmas party at the beach!
We always love to make it down to downtown St. Augustine to check out the Christmas lights!
We somehow managed to fit in Christmas cookie decorating!
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.
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!
After Christmas we went on a road trip to the Atlanta area to visit Chris’s grandparents.
Brady (and Sailor!) loved Grandaddy’s horses.
The boys and their Great Granny (and her 3 puppies!)
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!
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!
Nolan got to use his old Police costume for the Kindergarten Community Helper Parade. He was so cute!
We tried the blow dryer crayon method for our white pumpkins.
The kids were so excited about this Haunted House from Trader Joes!
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.
That time I convinced Chris to dress as Princess Leia… Brady was not a fan!
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.
Brady helping mommy make our annual spider sandwiches.
Ms. Carrie and I dressed for Trunk or Treat at work.
Summer is a busy time for our family. We have so many celebrations between birthdays, anniversaries, and Father’s Day. We still find time to party hard for our kids’ special days. This year was no different. Brady had a special day on his actual birthday, a party with his friends at the movie theater to see Solo, and a family party. Here are some pictures from his celebrations.
Brady is a blessed little boy to have so many friends and family who love him and love to celebrate him!
Look at that sweet face. I can’t believe that face is 7!
This boy is full of curiosity and adventure. He is a believer in magic and “The Force.” His silliness and joyful heart are contagious. He makes friends everywhere he goes and will talk a stranger’s ear off. He insists on fairness and following the rules.
Even though the years are going by so fast, and he has matured in many ways, we are so blessed that Brady has maintained his innocent sweetness. He always looks for good in people. He reminds us of the bright side.
This year Brady fell in love with reading and can often be found with his nose in a book. We find flashlights in his bed from his attempts to stay up late reading. This was also the year of STAR WARS for Brady. You can quiz him on any bit of Luke/Leia/Vader trivia and he will school you. He spends half his days practicing his light saber moves.
Brady loves to work on projects. Our house is filled with his drawings, lists, design plans, and ideas. His “inventions” have cost me a small fortune in scotch tape, plastic cups, and toilet paper rolls.
Brady is a perfectionist and can’t stand to make a mistake. His Lego structures are always symmetrical and he cannot walk away from them until they are complete. He is fearless and is always up to try new things. He is his brother’s protector and often takes on the role of the third parent for him.
We are so blessed that Brady is ours. He reminds us of what is important in life. Here’s to lucky number SEVEN!
Happy birthday, Brady-boo! You are so, so loved. It’s a better place since you came along!
Just wanted to do a quick recap of all the ways we celebrated our Bubba turning 5. He is so loved and was celebrated by so many. He had a class party, a special family and friends day on his actual birthday, and a big American Ninja Warrior party with some of our favorite people. He loved every minute of it!
Celebrating with his sweet Pre-K class…
Last night of being 4…
Special lunch with just mommy and daddy…
At his favorite place, Rebounderz, with some of his friends…
Look at that tongue out for concentration on the Ninja course!
Picking out his birthday present…new golf clubs!
Partying with friends and family, Ninja Warrior style!
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
Here’s Nolan’s annual birthday interview. The last 45 seconds or so are my favorite. He’s a hoot!