My Two December Birthday Boys

Like I mentioned in my last post, things have been a bit crazy around here lately.  But in the middle of all the chaos and confusion we did celebrate two very important birthdays.  The first one was my little man Owen.  He is now officially two years old.  Where did the time go? I swear that I just gave birth to that 10 pound little sucker!!!   But now he is no longer my little baby!

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He is officially two and in 2 weeks I will be registering him for preschool. I still don’t think that we have recovered from the “I’m pregnant” news and here he is walking, talking and throwing temper tantrums. Ahh the joys of a toddler.

Since all of our family was able to make it up on Thanksgiving, that’s when we had his official party.

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Then just 3 weeks later Joey had his big birthday. He turned the big 4-0. The kids wanted to throw him a surprise party and since he had his office work party that evening we celebrated at 6:30am with ice cream cupcakes!  As you can tell the boys weren’t quite awake yet…. Until the sugar kicked in 10 minutes later. I know that the hubby has had a difficult year but we all love him so much. The boys look up to him and we are all so proud of what he’s accomplished for our family. He’s provided for us in so many ways. We are forever grateful. Even if the boys don’t express it to you.

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And these two December birthday boys seem to share a really special bond.  Owen and Joey get along so well.  Owen really is a daddy’s boy! I love the connection that they share with one another. It’s magical.

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Happy Birthday to two of my 4 favorite boys!

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11 Crazy Years

Repost from a few years ago .. with some updates!!!

11 years ago today Joey and I got married. It was a cold and damp October morning in Delaware and of course we opted for an outdoor (but tented) wedding at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington. I didn’t even notice the chill in the air because I was so nervous about walking down the aisle. Not because I was afraid of getting married, but because I absolutely hate being the center of attention. Thank goodness I had my dad on my arm to make me laugh – so I wouldn’t throw up. Laura Novak was our wedding photographer! She was excellent. Check out her work, she is pretty awesome. Laura and her team now have a great business called Little Nest Portraits which photographs families.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures that Laura Novak snapped off 11 years ago!

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I love these pics of my dad. I think he was a little proud on this day!

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Our first dance as husband and wife to Be Mine by David Gray – I cannot wait until we see him tonight! The perfect anniversary gift.

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My dad had them play our favorite song growing up “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly

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Love this picture of my father-in-law watching Joey and his mom dance!

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Some more great shots from Laura Novak

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We have been through a lot these past 11 years including several major moves, a few job changes, the loss of my father, Joey’s health challenges and the birth of our three boys. It hasn’t always been easy and I must admit that whenever we feel like we are getting things on track something is there to knock us back down but we keep on fighting. I would never trade anything that we have experienced together – even the worst of times. Those horrible days have made us closer and much stronger as a couple!

Just look at this beautiful family that we have created

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Photo Credit: Photography by Jen Davis

Joey – I love you each and everyday and I am forever grateful for your hard work and dedication to the family. You work very hard so I can raise our boys (terribly) and I will never ever be able to repay you for that! Love ya!

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Vacation Part II: Rehoboth Beach & Hershey Park

So I am back for round two of my vacation diary!  You can catch up on Week 1 here!

The kids spent a few days at my inlaws while Owen and I headed back to New Jersey to catch up on housework and laundry!  I also had to get everything packed for the second week of our vacation.  This year we didn’t go to Avalon for our normal week.  We ended up staying local while the kids enjoyed weeks at basketball, CCD, camps and swimming lessons.  We had a very busy summer.  But towards the end of July, Joey and I were really missing our week away at the shore.  It was a little late to book a house in Avalon so we decided to head on down to Rehoboth.  We both grew up right in Delaware {Joey was only 15 minutes away from the beach town} but we never really vacationed in Rehoboth.  Yes, we spent tons of time there growing up but neither one of us actually stayed down there for a vacation.  It was so nice staying at a hotel right on the boardwalk!  We just parked our car for a few days and walked everywhere!  It was great! The beach and boardwalk were right outside our window.  Plus all of the restaurants, rides and games were a few blocks south on the boards, it was awesome!

Joey and I were in NJ and packed up and left Saturday morning to head down to the beach {for all your Jersey folks, we call it the beach in Delaware … I know it’s the shore in NJ}.  We took our time traveling down.  It is only a 3 hour drive but we decided that since we only had Owen that we would stop for lunch and hit up a few beer stores that we can never get into when we have the whole gang!  I think this trip took us 6-7 hours but it was fine.  Owen was a trooper!  We stopped for lunch at Two Stones Pub in Wilmington, DE.  We love this place! The food is awesome and the beer is superb!  We have never been disappointed!

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We finally arrived at Joey’s parents around dinnertime!  We picked up some pizza and had dinner while we were reunited with our other two boys!  They almost forgot about us!  They have a blast down there in the open yard.  They swing, play basketball and we cook s’mores on the firepit!  It’s always a nice and relaxing time! Plus they live 2 minutes from Dogfish Head Brewery so we always stop in to see what’s new.   We spent the night there and the next morning headed into our hotel in Rehoboth.

We stayed at the Henlopen Hotel.  It’s nothing fancy but it has a great view and the rooms are decent.  It definitely needs some upgrades but it was perfect for us!  We couldn’t check in right away so we decided to go to Dogfish Head for lunch!  The kids always enjoy the food and mommy and daddy always enjoy the beers!

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After lunch we headed to the beach for a few hours while we waited on our room.  I think that the kids were still a little nervous about the rough waves after last weeks knockdown.  But they still had a blast.  It was another rough day but they managed to get wet and sandy!  Owen on the other hand hid from the sun!  The kid sat like this for a good 10 minutes!  He cracks me up!

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At this point we were all anxious to get into our room.  Luckily it was ready.  So we unpacked the car and headed on up!  I fell in love with our view.   I mean look at this!  I love falling asleep to the sounds of waves crashing and since it was a cool night we slept with the door open so we could hear all the wonderful sounds of the Atlantic!

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After we checked in and unpacked a bit we headed on down to the boardwalk! Walking the boardwalk with my kids brought back sooooo many memories of my childhood.

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I remember walking up and down the boards holding my dads hand as we walked past the “hotel that had the pool out front”.  It was my favorite place to look at. I loved how my boys had to stop and check out the pool as we walked down.  I loved taking my guys into Ryan’s Gems and Junk {I think that they just call it Ryan’s now}.  They sold some of the same “junk” from when I was a kid. I made Sean pose in front of the sea shell jewelry boxes! I guess that they never go out of style {were they ever in style}.

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We stopped off at Obie’s by the Sea for dinner that night {after a hit up Candy Kitchen and the arcade}. I mean how can you not love this view at dinner!???

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The boys were a little crazy but we somehow managed to get through dinner {after I had to remove one of them from the restaurant}.  The next morning was a little windy so we decided to go for a nice walk around Rehoboth and hit up the park for a little bit and then Grotto Pizza for lunch!  We can’t go down to Rehoboth without getting some slices from Grotto’s.

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Then it was off to Funland. The rides were opening so we had to get there as soon as we could.  My inlaws came into town to spend the afternoon with us.   We had one major meltdown because of a game that we will never mention again.  Okay it was that damn claw game! Come on, it’s rigged… The 6 year old boy never win it!  But despite the breakdown we did get on a few rides! Owen went on the boats for the very first time! It’s a tradition that all kids must ride those boats {there are quite a few generations in our families that have spent many of summers ridding those boats}.

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After the rides, we decided to go down to the beach for a few hours before dinner.  It was such a gorgeous night!

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Since we loved Obie’s the night before we decided to go back again! It was the perfect spot to bring the kids and the stroller.  This night was a little smoother and the kids were pretty well behaved!

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Tuesday morning we met up with some good friends on the beach in the morning.  We spent a few hours down there playing and relaxing in the sand.  After they left it was off to lunch at Nicola Pizza and then back to the beach! That night was our last night in town so we had to go big!  We spent a ton of time back at the rides and the boys went into the Haunted Mansion for the very first time! Again this ride has been there FOREVER so we knew it was time for them to get on it. I love how they pretended to be so scared waiting in line but their faces as they came out of it were priceless! They were scared to death!  It was awesome!

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After the rides we hit up the ice cream shop and ran into a skunk in the dunes before heading back home to get some rest.

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The next morning was checkout time! Since we were so close to Joey’s parents we decided to drive there and drop off Owen.  We had a few more things that we wanted to do with the boys and it was just easier if we didn’t have the stroller {sorry Owen}!  We just had to squeeze in one more day of rides and miniature golf!!

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After we finished up the day in Rehoboth it was time to head back to my inlaws!  That leg of our trip was coming to an end!

We spent a few days relaxing at my inlaws before we packed up the car and headed to Hershey Park!  That was an interesting trip.  The boys were soooo naughty that night in the hotel that we almost didn’t go to the park the next morning.  But we sucked it up and took them!  They weren’t on their best behavior but I think that they still had a blast!

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Overall, we had an awesome time.  Yes there were a lot of moments where the boys were fighting and we were all yelling, but I know that we will look back and only remember all of the fun times and memories that were made that week.  Ok I’ll still remember Ben’s breakdown when he didn’t win the Despicable Me minion at that claw game!  But I will mainly remember the skee-ball games, the rides, and of course the massive amounts of pizza and ice cream that we consumed! I can’t wait to see what next summer brings for us!

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Let’s Play Catch Up {While the Boys Play Catch}

Alrighty, I know that it’s been a few weeks since I had a personal post.  As you can imagine life with 3 boys is a little bit hectic.  They keep me very busy each and every day.  Now that the weather is warming up we have been trying to do some fun family things.  We have spent a lot of time outside playing in the yard, riding bikes and had a trip to the Crayola Factory a few weekends ago.   We have also been trying to do some minor house repairs. I am trying to update Ben & Sean’s bedroom.  A long, long time ago — actually 6 years ago tomorrow — we moved into this place with just Ben.  So their room was the guest bedroom and I had painted it a light green to match my fancy Restoration Hardware bedding.  Fast forward 6 years {and two more kids later} and we no longer have that guest bedroom and that bedding is in a tote somewhere in our basement.  So I wanted to update the room a bit to make it their own.  I painted it a nice tan and I can’t wait to buy some wall name decals from Etsy for above their beds.   I also plan on finally hanging the curtains {the ones that Sean ripped down two years ago} and add a few shelves.  One of these days I will finish it and post some pictures.  But I did get the painting done one morning so that’s a start!

Last week my dryer broke — it just stopped heating.  So I waited around today for the GE repair man to show up and tell me what’s wrong with the thing.  Of course it wasn’t the dryer.  He said that I am getting no airflow so my ducts are probably in need of a good cleaning!  Now having your dryer break when you have 3 kids is not fun.  I have been hanging up my clothes all over the place.  It’s not fun washing boys socks and hanging them over the shower rod.  Then your shower rod falls down at night and scares the living daylights out of you.  Oh and during this time, Sean had an accident over night and Ben had a bloody nose.  So I had two comforters and a set of sheets to wash.  Thankfully we spent some time in Delaware this past weekend so our laundry made the trip with us.  Thanks to our moms for helping us wash our clothes! It’s just like when we brought them home over Christmas break in college!  I really wished that it could have been fixed today because I need to do some more laundry ASAP!

So I can’t believe that Owen is almost six months old and that summer is just around the corner.  The past six months have been crazy and hectic but it really has flown by.  My little guy is getting so big and I want to stop the clock and slow it down.  Owen is rolling over, trying to sit up and already eating a ton of food!  Here are some recent pictures of him.

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I mean come on, how freaking cute is this kid.  Just six months ago he was this “tiny” little 10lb chunky monkey!!

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Photography Credit: Photography by Jen Davis

Ben has been doing pretty well at school. He loves going (even though he is home sick today with a “sore throat”). He loves reading books and doing his homework. The kid has handwriting like his father…. Messy. But he is such a hard worker.  We are also working on some of his behavior issues and hopefully we can get them under control soon!  Ben has an exciting summer coming up.  He will be going to 2 weeks of CCD camp right after school ends and then he has a few other weeks of Rec Camp.  I can’t wait for him to get out there this summer and enjoy himself.  He is always so anxious when he is trying new things {hmmm not sure where he gets that one from} so I really hope that he has a fun time at his camps.

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Ben is starting to enjoy sports a little bit more.  He has started to play basketball a little bit more and wants to play for our rec league.  He also spent the weekend in Milton playing baseball with his daddy!  Both kids had some great hits.  I’m still trying to explain the game to them but tonight they did go outside together and to have a catch!  It was quite amusing watching them play.  I think between the two of them they caught the ball 3 times but they didn’t care.  They had a blast.  Ben even told me tonight that it’s not about catching the ball, it’s about having fun.  A quote that he just picked up from watching the movie The Sandlot this week.

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Sean is also enjoying school. He loves his friends and he definitely can’t wait for September. He cannot wait for kindergarten and the bus ride! I can’t wait either.  Sean also has a few weeks of camp this summer as well.  He has Kindergarten camp.  Ben went for one week last year and loved it so I decided to sign Sean up for 3 weeks.

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Between the camps, visits to Milton and my mom’s pool I plan on keeping the kids super busy this summer.  Less time for trouble and lots of time for fun.  I hope that they both learn to ride their bikes without their training wheels too.  Sean rides his bike a lot more than Ben so I have a feeling that he will be the first to get it.  But fingers crossed for both of them.

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This past weekend we took a trip down to my in-laws for some rest and relaxation!  It was nice to just hang out all weekend.  We didn’t make it into Rehoboth because Sean got sick but we did have a lot of fun cooking Smore’s on the firepit and swinging in the trees!

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So that’s the latest with our crew.  I am busy every day running to the bus stop, school, karate, grocery stores, painting bedrooms and scheduling dryer repair men!  In a few weeks school will end and the schedules will be all over the place.  I hope that it’s not too crazy and we all have a fun and exciting summer!  We hope to make it up to Hershey Park, take the boys camping for the first time and get to the Jersey Shore as much as possible!

What are you summer plans for the kids? Pool? Camps?

Have a good weekend!!!!!

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Owen’s Baptism Day

This past Sunday we had Owen’s baptism.  It was a wonderful day full of love and support from friends and close family.  We chose not to have a huge celebration this time around. There is just so much going on that I didn’t have time {or money} to have a huge party.  So I just invited my immediate family and some of my close friends.  It was a gorgeous day on Sunday {the snow all melted that day, but of course it has returned today}.  We spent the morning preparing the house and food!

My wonderful friend {and photographer at Photography by Jen Davis} pulled double duty on Sunday at Owen’s Baptism.  Not only did she serve as his godmother but she also was his photographer!  I am so thankful and grateful that I get to have these pictures to document Owen’s special moment in the Catholic Church.  It’s one of those days where you don’t think to take pictures because you are in the middle of the ceremony but thankfully she is brilliant and captured each moment for us.  I have said it many times before, if you live in central NJ book her NOW {see below pics for more details on Jen}.

Now onto these gorgeous pictures from Jen (warning there are a ton of pictures below. I just couldn’t pick 5 or 6. I picked a ton and these aren’t even all of the gorgeous ones that Jen snapped that day!

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Here are a few pictures that I snapped that day {amateur pics from my iphone}.

Owen’s wonderful godparents Jen and Gary. He is one lucky baby!

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Thanks again to Jen for documenting this wonderful day in our lives.  I am anxiously awaiting the announcement from Jen on her spring mini sessions! I can’t wait to get some new pictures of my 3 boys together! You can find all of Jen’s details here:

Website  /  Facebook  /  Instagram  /  Twitter  /  Pinterest  /  Google+

Happy Wednesday guys! Tomorrow I will be giving an update on my Beach Body 21 Day Fix.  It’s still going beautifully.  I didn’t even cheat on the day of the baptism.  The only cheats that I have had this week are 3 Coke Zeros!  Not too bad considering I usually have 3-4 a day!  I’m even contemplating becoming a coach because it’s so much fun and it’s challenging too.  I am trying my best to start setting an example for my kids on food and exercise.  They don’t eat the healthiest things but if I can show them that I am doing it they may want to try it too!  Sean has already asked me all about my new foods! He has even tried a few things!!!!

Talk to you all soon!

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It’s Graduation Day!

Get ready for a massive amount of photos!  Sorry but I am a proud {and teary eyed} mama!

I was pretty impressed that we got 5 adults and 2 kids out of the house before 8:30am so that we could get to the church in time to scoop up the prime seats.   We even had plenty of time to go out front and snap our end of year pictures!  Ben wasn’t being to cooperative at first but he finally got into it.

Here are a few of Sean on his very last day of 3 year old preschool.  Next year he is moving up to the 4 year old class {which is five days a week – WOO HOO}

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Finally, Ben decided to put a big smile on for a few pictures.

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Brotherly love!

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Our family {baby 5 is photo bombing in my massive stomach}

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Grandparent love

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And now onto the actual Graduation ceremony at Little Tree Preschool.

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There’s my little man walking across the stage!

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Carrying his diploma and bible.  When he walked past me he whispered “we get to keep this book”.

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Ben and his ladies!  Emily is his classmate who he bought the shiny gold necklace for {you can read all about that here}.   Maddie {on the right} is one of his lifelong friends from the neighborhood!   Oh and in case you didn’t notice it, she loves the camera {and the camera loves her}.

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Ben with some of the boys from his class.  I just love the hands in the pocket!

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Now back to the house for some subs, cupcakes and end of school year presents!

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I can’t believe that my baby is going to kindergarten in September! I was pretty proud of myself today. I held it together during the ceremony until the very end.  The last song they sang before diplomas was “Kindergarten Here We Come”.  I shed a few tears but I really lost it when one of the teachers got up to talk and she started crying.  I think every mom lost it at that point.  I am so glad that we chose to send our kids to Little Tree.  All of the teachers really do care about the kids, even if they are not in their class.  Ben went through a lot this year with his seizures and I felt that they cared so much about him and his safety.  I am so glad that Sean has another year there {and if we are still living in this town the baby will go there as well}.

School’s Out for SUMMER!!!!

Stay tuned for my baby update!  I am officially 16 weeks now!  

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Wordless Wednesday – Avalon Edition

I finally uploaded the rest of my iPhone pictures to my computer so get ready for a photo dump here!  If you want to see some of the other beach pictures that I snapped of the boys, then click here to view my post from yesterday!

We have arrived!

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Sunday – Checking out the beach for the first time this summer.  Ahhh, I finally got my feet in the sand {yes, I know that I am pale}.

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Ben was a little chilly on the beach but he still had a blast.  Sean, well he is just like a little old man sitting in his chair watching the waves roll in.  Love that kid.

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Sunday night we went to my Aunt & Uncle’s beach house on the bay of Stone Harbor for a wonderful dinner and great conversation. Oh and this was the same shore house that Taylor Swift used to spend her summers in and her dad still owns it.   Pretty cool.

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Ben is so silly and so freaking cute!

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Then it was time to catch some frogs!

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Monday we headed back to the beach and filled our buckets with tons of water & sand

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Tuesday was my belly shot day! Officially 14 weeks!

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Tuesday night we headed out to dinner at The Circle Tavern.  Always a great meal here!

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After dinner, Sean passed out on the car ride home. Ben was lucky and got a few minutes at the park with daddy.

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Wednesday morning we had a delicious breakfast at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House!  Yummy. Yes, Sean is wearing the same shirt that he wore at dinner the night before – don’t ask!

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Then it was back to the beach for a few hours of sunshine!

Sean was so cold but was determined to eat his snack! Silly boy!

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Just rolling around in the sand!

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We pretty much had the beach all to ourselves most of the week!

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A little selfie.  I never do this but I really liked my hair that day!

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Thursday was another wonderful beach day! The rain came in late in the afternoon but we were able to squeeze in a few hours under the sun before we decided it was a little too windy & chilly.

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Sean and I decided that just because neither one of us could drink wine we would toast our water in fancy plastic wine glasses! Cheers!! Oh and yes, I had to addt hat second picture in there! He looks trashed! He has the best facial expressions!

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Friday was a wash from the rain so we just went to Stone Harbor and did some shopping {after another great breakfast at Bill’s Pancase House of course}.

This is what washed us off the beach on Friday night.  New Jersey is under there somewhere!

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Saturday morning we packed up the van and said goodbye to Avalon.  We hope to visit a few times this summer but can’t wait to spend another week there next year! I just love this family tradition!!!

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When we got home I realized how much I missed my own shower! But I would do anything to spend my summers down the shore!  I’m still trying to find a way to make this happen!

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Tag, I’m It!

I was recently tagged by one of my blogger friends Kat over at No Holding Back in an Old School Blogging Post Linkup.  This month’s topic is all about marriage, babies, and bliss, oh my!  So here we go! Check out the questions and my answers below!
 
  • How did your husband pop the big question? My husband and I were only dating for about 6 months when he asked me to marry him.  I was definitely shocked that it happened so soon but I knew that it was going to happen at some point.  We had planned a weekend for my parents to come down and visit with his parents.  While we were waiting for my folks to arrive we went over to a State Park overlooking the ocean in Lewes, Delaware.  We were up at the top looking at the view when he handed me a letter. I read the wonderful letter {which I am not sharing with you guys, ha} and when I finished he was down on 1 knee! I was definitely in shock, and I am sure that the bird watcher standing next to us was too. Joey said he was waiting for the guy to leave so we would be alone but he wasn’t budging.   We drove back to his parents house and surprised everyone with our engagement.  He told me that he wasn’t planning on doing it that morning but he got the ring from Tiffant’s and was so excited that he couldn’t wait.  
  • What are the three most surprising things about married life? The three most surprising things about married would have to be: 
  • That it really does take a lot of work.  Not everything is rainbows and unicorns all of the time.
  • That you really need to marry someone that makes you laugh. Without the laughter during the hard and crazy times you might not survive. I am glad that Joey and I make each other laugh all of the times. Even if I am laughing so I don’t cry! Ha
  • Kids really do change a marriage.  Whether it’s for better or for worse, they do change the dynamic of your marriage.  You have to make sure that you make your marriage a priority {even though that can be really hard with two screaming toddlers}

 

  • How did you find out you were pregnant for the first time? The first time I was pregnant we were living in New York City but we were down in Delaware for a visit. I was meeting Joey in Philly for lunch and I had a suspicion that I was pregnant.  So I went to my local pharmacy and got a test! It was positive. I don’t think that I remember the drive to Philly one bit.  We were sitting at Fado, a wonderful Irish pub and Joey was wondering why I didn’t order a beer with my lunch! So I shared the wonderful news with him!  He was shocked but SOOOO excited! 
  • How did you choose your first baby’s name? Joey doesn’t really remember this but I always will… when we were traveling on our European vacation we were eating dinner at a small restaurant in Dublin.  I don’t know how it came up but we started discussing kids names.  We both agreed that we really liked Benjamin! So when I found out that I was pregnant of course that name went to the top of our list!  The moment we found out that e were having a boy, we called him Ben! 
  • Describe where you see yourself 10 years from now… 10 Years from now I hope to have two well behaved teenagers {ahhhh}. I hope that we all survived these crazy toddler years and have come out stronger, happier and healthier!
  • Describe how you find bliss either by using words or images.

Europe Trip Part 3: Paris

Thanks for joining me again for Part 3 of my European vacation series.  I meant to put this up on Monday but I was so busy this week that I didn’t get the chance to finish it. But I am finally done uploading the pictures so today I am going to talk about our trip to Paris. In case you missed the other two parts of our European vacation, you can click below to catch up: 
So I must admit that I had a love/hate relationship with Paris. Yes it was gorgeous and romantic and everything that I thought it would be but for some reason I didn’t love it. I know, I am weird. I think it was just coming off of such an amazing week in Dublin and London and then headed to Paris into a city that I didn’t know the language was quite intimidating to me.  I was nervous and a little scared . My husband could wing it THANK GOODNESS. Otherwise we would have been screwed.  
From the moment we arrived I was a nervous wreck.  Joey navigated us to a cab and we found our hotel, the Villa Pantheon.  Our hotel was pretty nice and was in the French Quarter section of the city. It was a small little room with lots of dark greens and plaids.  It was perfect for us for a week.

After unpacking and relaxing for a bit we headed out for a bite to eat.  This was my first time speaking in French and I attempted to order on my own, but I know that the waitress spit on my frites!  Thank goodness their frites are very good because I lived on them for a week. Well not just frites, I also consumed a massive amount of wine and banana, nutella crepes.
The week that we were there the University students were protesting because of tuition increases, so of course I was a little anxious over that. They actually closed all of the museums down one day because of the protests.  But thankfully our trip wasn’t disrupted too much {but I will get into that one in a bit}
Our first major stop after walking around for a bit was the Arc de Triomphe.  We went up to the top of it and let me tell you, the views were absolutely stunning. When you walk around Paris everything seems to be wild and crazy but up here the streets look so uniform and calm.  
Sorry for the blurry pictures. Our camera was on it’s last leg this trip!

We visited so many buildings over the week that I lost track of some of their names. But here are a few pictures that we took… 
We hit up all of the wonderful {and expensive} shops. I can see why everyone wants to shop in Paris.  Louis Vuitton was amazing! If only I could get another bag.

 

I spent a lot of time sitting while in Paris!

Don’t worry, we just walked by the McDonalds, we didn’t eat there!

We took a long walk along the Seine River.  What a gorgeous river running right through Paris.  I loved looking at all of the street vendors lined up all down the river as well. Some interesting art and tons of touristy stuff too.  

One of the many stands set up along the river. 

We of course stopped by the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  The outside of it is gorgeous and where it’s situated  in Paris couldn’t be more magnificent.  Then you walk inside and it’s even more stunning.

I think we spent a few hours touring the church and sitting outside in front of it. Just admiring the beauty of it. The pictures don’t do it justice!  Just look at this place…. amazing.

One day we too the Metro out to the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur.  Traveling to see this amazing church is not an easy task.  All I remember after getting off the train is taking the stairs up to the town.  We figured that we would skip the elevator {since the line was about 20 minutes long}. I mean we were living in NYC and walked the subway steps all day long. But little did we know that we would have to walk up at least 1,000,000 steps all in a curved subway like staircase. When we finally got to the top we just collapsed on a bench for at least 15 minutes trying to catch our breath.  When we finally got moving, we realized we still had to hike up through the town to get to the Basilica. But let me tell you, once we FINALLY reach the top, it was AMAZING. The views over Paris were stunning.  We just sat on the steps for an hour or so {I know that I was still trying to recover from the stairs}. 
The town was pretty amazing too.  It had a center square where you could buy art, food, etc. It was a gorgeous little area {despite all those hills and steps}

 Just look at these views!

Such a gorgeous Roman Catholic Church

Like everyone else that visits Paris, we made our way over to the Eiffel Tower. After much conversation we agreed to go to the second stop of the Tower. Neither one of us liked the looks of that “elevator” and agreed to skip the top! I know something we will probably regret but at least we got on the elevator. Have you ever been on that thing? You are crammed in there with 700 other smelly tourists and you are leaning sideways as it slowly cranks its way up the side of the tower. Not my idea of fun. I was thrilled when we were able to get off and walk around.  Despite only being a part of the way up, the views were still pretty amazing! You definitely have to see it at night when it’s all sparkly and shining.  Again I wished that we had a better camera at the time but oh well….and I know that I have pictures of when we were up on the Eiffel Tower but I don’t think that they are on my computer! GRRRR.
Of course we took some time to hit up all of the Museums.  We went to the Louve as well as the Musee d’Orsay.  I think that I saw the Mona Lisa. It’s amazing how many people crowd around that painting.  I think it was about 50 people deep when we were trying to catch our glimpse. Plus they rope off around it and I am super short. But I am pretty sure that was the painting that I was staring at.  It was still impressive from that far away.  No pictures of the Mona Lisa since they are not allowed but I did snap a few others from the different museums.

The entrance to the Louve

 

After a few days in Paris we did take a day trip to Brussels, Belgium on the Eurostar.  The main part of the town was the center square. Everything from our guide book was in one easy spot.  Our first stop though was for breakfast. We had to get some waffles.   Then we hit up some of the historic sites before walking outside the square to explore a bit more.  We also found a little restaurant where we could try some beers!  I was happy to sit there for a bit to relax! The 2 weeks of walking was really starting to take it’s toll on me!

I can’t hide my emotions! You can tell that I am a nervous wreck here. 

Joey didn’t care, he was in HEAVEN!!!  
 

The way home from this trip was a little eventful. After a day of walking around Belgium and a few beers, I was exhausted. I just wanted to get back to our hotel and get a good nights sleep. Well as we were headed into Paris, the train stopped for a bit. After a few minutes they finally started to make an announcement over the intercom.  Of course English was last on the list and the pre-recorded announcement was “Sorry for the delay but the train has tipped over”. Ummm what? Yeah I started to have a panic attack. Joey had to calm me down telling me that we were still upright. Um yeah that’s true. I guess we didn’t tip.  What happened was some of the students were on the tracks protesting. Lovely! After about an hour delay we finally got back into the station. What a relief. I didn’t want these students causing me any more stress! 
The next day we decided to take the Metro out to the Palace of Versailles.  What another amazing place. I think that I was meant to live in that Palace. It was HUGE! 

I wish that we went a little later in the season, the gardens are amazing but they weren’t in bloom yet. 
Home Sweet Home!
After a long but fun week in Paris, it was time to pack up all of our bags and head back home to New York City.  It was an amazing two weeks and something that I will always look back on and smile. I know that I was a nervous wreck traveling to so many foreign countries but I was so far outside of my comfort zone. But I can say that I did it and thank goodness I went with my husband. He is the only one that could keep me sane {especially in Paris}.

Thanks for checking out my European Vacation posts. I hope that you enjoyed reading them. Share with me some of your fun vacation spots. Europe? South America? Asia? What are some of the best places that you have traveled too. I love hearing your comments. 

Happy Wednesday!

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Europe Trip Part 2: London, Baby

Thanks for joining me this week for Part 2 of my European vacation series.  Today I am going to show some pictures from our trip to London, England. It was an absolutely fabulous 5 days and I would love to get back over to London again soon.  You can click here to read about our Europe Trip Part 1: Dublin
We flew from Dublin to London via Ryan Air. Oh my, what an odd little airline.  It’s a really cheap, discount airline that’s always in the news for their odd charges {i.e. fee to use the bathroom}.  Well our flight for the two of us was a combined $35. Yes, that is correct, $15 per person. But of course, there was a catch. We were not traveling light since we were going to be gone for 10 days without laundry so our suitcases and carry-on bags were quite heavy. So heavy that we had to pay over $250 in fees to get them on the plane.  Oh well it balanced out the cost of the flight. And what a flight it was. I think that the pilot had just finished up at the pub before he hopped on the plane because that 45 plane ride was pretty scary! Plus the airline attendants didn’t walk around with snacks or drinks, instead they were selling raffle tickets. I think Joey and I spent the entire flight praying we were going to make it to London. When we arrived in London we somehow missed customs so the entire rest of the trip I felt like I was sneaking around the different countries! LOL
Once we got to London, we jumped into one of their awesome taxis and set out for The Cumberland Hotel. It was our home for the next 5 days.  It was such a perfect little room and a gorgeous hotel.   So clean and modern. The restaurants were delicious too! 
Once we got all settled in our room, we headed out to explore.  Our hotel was right on the edge of Hyde Park on Oxford Street.  We were steps from a tube stop and it was such a great location to stay.  One of our first stops of course was a pub.  We were starving and thirsty.  I can’t quite recall what I ate this week but I know that Joey had every single Fish & Chip in the city of London! I am not exaggerating when I say that he probably had them at every single meal {except breakfast}.
We met up with Joey’s cousin Allen, who stayed at the same hotel as us.  The three of us had a blast together wandering the streets of London for a few days.  Of course we had to do the double decker bus tour, we stopped by Big Ben and Parliament, we saw The Tower Bridge and the London Eye {which none of us went in, we were all a little wimpy}. 

We had to go shopping of course! Harrods is simply amazing. Oh and I loved hitting up Burberry, Thomas Pink and some of the other fabulous stores.
 

 I had to do the typical “I am a tourist” photo. 

 

We saw the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace. We had to wait a very long time for it to start and then it took forever, but it was still really neat to see and totally worth it. 

One day we took the train out to Oxford University and walked around there all day.  That was another great day. The town itself was gorgeous but the University grounds and buildings are simply amazing. We even went into the dining hall that the Harry Potter one is based on. Oh and they had a main street of cute shops and bookstores. Allen and I lost Joey for a very long time that day. I even got lost myself. I don’t like walking around foreign countries alone. Thankfully I found them after about 45 minutes. I knew to find Joey in a bookstore. 

University Church of St. Mary the Virgin

How gorgeous is this campus?
 

Looks pretty close to what they had in Harry Potter. This room was absolutely stunning.
The Radcliffe Science Library

After our trip to Oxford, Allen left us to head back home and Joey and I were going to head off to Paris.  We have just hit the halfway mark of our trip! It was such an amazing time in London. I felt right at home there. I guess because it’s similiar to NYC with the hustle and the grandness of the city.  It was a wonderful town and despite the cold weather I loved every second of it.  I think if we ever get back there I will finally be brave enough to get in the London Eye. 

I’ll be back on Monday to talk about our trip to Paris! I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend.  We have a birthday party {you know for the girl that Ben needed to buy the Shiny, Gold Necklace for} and then we are headed down to Delaware for a Beef & Beer Fundraiser for Katie’s Cancer Crusade.  And hopefully we will be able to get to the Philadelphia Zoo on Sunday.

Make sure that you enter my giveaway below … it ends Sunday.  Also, please take a moment to vote for me for the top mommy blogs. I am now in the 40s. Boo!

Talk to you soon! Happy Friday.

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