Thursday, July 12, 2018

Dancing on the Beach

When Aunt Shannon was here for rehearsal, she and Issa decided they needed to do a beach dance photoshoot. The second night of our trip, Shannon did her hair, and Shannon, Becca, and Issa ran in and out to the beach to take these beauties:

 I love this pose from her solo:

 Her grace:
 Her strength:
 How very grown up she is:

 The close to sunset, the more they take my breath away:

I am so incredibly grateful for these pictures. They seem to capture Issa just on the brink of being all grown-up, and I couldn't be more excited to see where these next chapters take us.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Family Memories

Last week, we spent a blissful week with some extended family in the Outer Banks.  There were 12 of us in one house right on the ocean, and it couldn't not have been more perfect. We cooked at the house the whole week, which meant we were not running to reservations. This was made possible by the fact that we completely reorganized the kitchen when we arrived:
Instead of trying to capture every day, I want to capture the big memories here. Like beach walks:
 Our family was incredibly gracious with the kids. Brad and I were able to sneak out alone a few times, and even when we were at the house we got plenty of time with the rest of the grown-ups while our kids happily played with someone else. The kiddos also had the whole bottom floor as their lair, so they were content to just hang out at the house, too.

Every night, we took crabby walks:
I loved watching these little guys scurry on the beach. However, Aunt Shannon and Aunt Carol felt very differently and only joined us once!

 I have no idea how many hours were spent in the pool:
 Evan even tried our a ponytail one day to better allow for swimming:
The only time we had to leave the house at a certain time was for a dolphin tour:

 We saw so many dolphins! 

We took in the sunsets:
 We even got to watch the fireworks from our beach!

And we spent plenty of time near the ocean, just taking it all in:

 I think some of the best conversations happened in the surf:

We also spent plenty of time in the ocean:

We all took turns grocery shopping, and Issa and I were afeared of the crowds:

 But that shopping allowed us to spent plenty of time cooking and eating together:

 When we weren't at the water or in the kitchen, we were doing puzzles:

We actually finished four!

 One of the absolute highlights, though, was seeing Nana take her first trip into the ocean. She had never gone deeper than her ankles, and by the end of the week she was body surfing into shore:
It truly was a blissful week full of memory making and conversation. Everyone felt free to do as they pleased, but we always met up for dinner together. There was plenty of time and space for conversation and playing, and we all weren't quite ready for the week to end. It will be one of those weeks that we talk about for years to come.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


I had been on a roll. I was halfway through a 30 day yoga challenge--doing a practice every day. I had been running three times a week for 30 minutes, increasing my distance and decreasing my mile time ever run. I was on fire.

Then Saturday, I fell walking down the sidewalk. I hit a rock wrong, my sandal slipped, and down I went. I ended up with a badly bruised palm and a badly bruised and swollen knee.

I am not happy. Yoga is out of the question for the moment; any pressure on my knee or palm is just to painful. Until my knee stops swelling, Brad is pretty sure I shouldn't run.

Bottom line: I'm frustrated and ready to get my running shoes back on.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Man and His Dog

I just can't handle the cuteness. Every morning, these two have a snuggle. I think Buddy just might be his dog.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

We had a ridiculously quiet Father's Day--just what Brad asked for. We made him his favorite breakfast, and he made himself the best steaks I have ever eaten for dinner. We learned a couple years ago that me grilling the steak does not a happy Father's day make. I know my limits.

To be honest, Brad spent most of his day working. He took breaks to play with us and eat with us and go on a walk with us. But most of the day he was at the table working.

It's one of the greatest gifts he will give our children: security. He works so hard to provide for us. He started his company a year ago, knowing the risks. Never once, though, have we worried about us. In the midst of all that work, though, he never fails to show up for us. He takes Evan to the dojo; he kick boxes with Issa; he makes me rest when I need it. He's our rock, and I will be forever glad he is my children's father.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Back to the Farm

We are loving the slower pace of summer this week! One of the added benefits of more time is a return to the community farm! We had an evening that was in the low 70s, and the kids and I were thrilled the rain held off long enough for us to go!

We weeded, planted, and harvested. The kids independently staked every cucumber plant on the farm, and I harvested coriander. I will never take coriander for granted again. It is a tedious crop to harvest, but it is so delicious!

The highlight, though, for the kiddos was the bunnies:
 Yes...we put them in the rabbit cage. The one rabbit is an escape artist. Issa was especially thrilled to have all of the rabbit snuggles:
We still love our little farm. I love seeing how much the kids remember about how to plant and harvest, and I love having a place where they can work and play in the fresh air. I imagine we will be back often this summer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Best. Birthday. Ever.

Saturday, we celebrated my birthday at the zoo. Last year, the zoo opened a Zoofari, and I have been desperate to go. We are so fortunate that our zoo has a ton of space for the animals to roam. The antelope, rhinos, and ostrich have 40 acres to wander, which is awesome for them. It makes viewing them a little tricky. So...the zoo converted a bus into an open air vehicle, and you can ride with one of the keepers for an hour-long excursion into their home.

Brad got Mom involved, and we left bright and early for the zoo Saturday morning. You can't purchase tickets ahead of time, so we were first in line when the zoo opened. We got our tickets for the first zoofari of the day, and we all watched Brad relax once those tickets were in hand.

And we were not disappointed. We saw all but one breed of antelope:
 And we could have reached out to pet a rhino:
 Even Evan scooted a little closer to me with that huge horn just on the other side of a bus wall. We were close enough to actually see all of the little hairs that make up his horn.

 Pearl stole the show for most of the family, though:
 She actually came up and stuck her head in the bus!

We got beautiful views of the elephants:
 And antelope:
 And even saw a herd on the move:
It truly was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and I'm glad I had this crew with me:

We spent the rest of the day exploring the zoo, and we were so grateful to see so many animals so active. We even got our usual chimp picture:
We ended our zoo day with another trip to the bird show, which Brad and Mom loved! They had never been, so it was all new to them. The kids and I loved seeing how much more comfortable the birds were this time!

We came home to shower and then ended our day at Mez for a fabulous dinner. It truly was just about the best birthday ever!