Two Children and a Wedding

We have been to a handful of weddings since we became parents.  D’s first flight was to Alaska for Kristin and Adam’s wedding.  He was just under three months!Other than that, I don’t think either boy has attended any weddings.  We have always found a sitter so we could enjoy the event and avoid messing with our sacred sleep schedule.

Recently, we traveled to Gainesville to  celebrate the wedding of a dear family friend. We left early because, well, we have children and they do not sleep in. Ever. Somehow we missed the memo that April 1st was the official departure day of all snowbirds, so traffic was a bit heavier than we would have liked.  We made it safely and early enough for nap time.  The hotel was able to check us in early (Thank you, Jesus) and we got settled in our room.  With all of the commotion and excitement, D had no intentions of taking a snooze.  Cam took a short one.  I knew we would be in for an interested afternoon.

As with all attempts to go anywhere with children, chaos ensued and we were almost late to the wedding.  I have to give my husband a big shout-out because he held everything together and got us there in a cool and calm manner while I was freaking out.


The ceremony was outside at a beautiful farm in Alachua (how do you pronounce Alachua?) My dad was one of the groomsmen and D was very excited to see him walk down the aisle and stand up front.  So excited that he decided to yell, “Hi Grand-dad” during the vows.  He soon realized that this was getting him lots of attention so I had to literally hold my hand over his mouth the rest of the ceremony.  He could not be trusted.


Meanwhile, Cam was beginning to get antsy, so thank goodness we had puffs.  Or, so I thought.  The moment D saw the puffs, he wanted them too.  Which would have been fine if he hadn’t started whining and yelling about needing puffs that very moment.  Again, I am trying to keep my children as quiet as possible so we don’t disrupt the entire ceremony.  Eventually, a battle ensues over said puffs and they have to be put away.

From what I saw of the ceremony, it was beautiful.  Matt and Debbie looked so happy.   The farm was amazing and there was so much space for the boys to run around and there was cool tree right in the middle.  It was nice to be in an area where I knew that we could let them roam while still being able to keep an eye on them.  It was a bit warm so Doug and I traded off trailing the kids.  I probably would not have encouraged the tree climbing while in dress clothes, but I guess that’s what Dads are for.

The reception was held inside and we snagged a table on the edge.  I knew we would be up and down a lot.  D instantly found his way to the dance floor and was totally content to dance by himself.  It was pretty adorable.  I did need to step in to remind him to be gentle with the other children, but overall, he was too busy being a dancing fool.


Dinner was a delicious southern barbecue.  And, naturally, D ate only the mac-and-cheese, only when we could tear him away from the dance floor.

My family was a great help through it all.  They took the boys outside and danced with them.  They helped with dinner and were the extra eyes and hands to help us.


Bedtime is 7pm sharp.  By 7 we had just finished eating dinner and the dancing had just started.  Cam did a few rounds on the dance floor and by 7:30 he was asleep in Doug’s arms.  D, on the other hand, was full of energy and was running and dancing inside and outside.  It didn’t take too long to realize that with one already asleep, that the other would soon crash and we had a bit of a drive ahead of us to get back to the hotel.  We aren’t usually the first to leave, but by 7:45 we were out the door.


I packed pjs and had both boys ready for bed as we got on the road.  You would think they would fall right to sleep in the car.  Not.  You would think they would fall right to sleep when we got back. Nope.  Finally, around 9ish they gave in.


Overall, the boys did really well.  Even without good naps they managed to make it through the wedding without any major meltdowns.  I still think that weddings are more enjoyable when you do not have to chase after your children, especially while being dressed up.   I find that when you expect your children to behave like adults in social settings, you are usually setting unrealistic expectations.  Everything is novel and exciting to them and they have no clue what is socially acceptable.  They just know what their wants and needs are and running in a field, climbing a tree, and calling out to their loved ones are exactly what kids their age should be doing. And, that is ok!  As parents, we teach them how to behave in those settings, but we also have to be realistic about how long and how well they can handle being outside of their norm.   For us, it is always ideal to keep sleep schedules as close to regular as possible.  It just gives you a little extra assurance that they are rested, which means they should be better able to adjust to the new situations.  At least my dress was super easy to nurse in and the next morning the boys slept in!  Until 7:30 am.


Have you brought your children to a wedding?  What are your tips for traveling with children and keeping them happy at a wedding?

With Love,

From Me To You

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Second Trimester: Re-cap

Rings on or off:

On-I never had to take them off last time, so I figure that I’ll be fine this time.  I did have a reaction to metal during my last pregnancy, which lead to a rash on my ring finger.  This time, all is well!

Cravings:

Anything sweet. Candy. Cookies. Ice cream. Fruit. Christmas Tree Cakes. I try to keep it all in moderation, but it is pretty nice to have an excuse to eat whatever you want 🙂

Aversions:

I’m still not a fan of raw meat or anything with strong smells or flavors.  Thankfully, I have an appetite again and I don’t feel like I’m going to puke all day.

Physical Differences:

This baby is carrying lower than Donovan did. I am also having way more pelvic and hip pain, which is supposedly caused by stretching ligaments.  When I stay active it doesn’t seem to bother me as much.

The long flight to Barcelona was way harder on my body than I expected.  On the way there, I slept in a weird position and had lower back pain for a few weeks.  As if being pregnant wasn’t hard enough on my back!  I also had to pee a million times on both flights.  Sitting in one position for long periods of time is not comfortable, so I felt pretty miserable on the flight home.  Oh, and add a fidgety toddler to the mix.  It was a loooong flight.

Does Donovan know what is going on?

I think he is understanding more and more.  During Christmas, he was very interested in Baby Jesus and once the holiday was over, he began referring to the baby as Baby Jesus…I had to help him understand the difference 🙂

When did you start feeling the baby move?

It was some time around 20 weeks and my trip to Chicago.  Those hiccups.  They are hard to miss.  The rest just feels like flutters.

What are you doing to get ready for the new baby?

Not much yet.  Just lots of thinking about doing things.  With all of our traveling, BOLD and work, the holidays, and just general lack of anxiety this time around, we just haven’t really made any moves to get things in order.  I am certainly a planner and I know that we have lots to do, but I also know that what needs to get done, will get done.  The rest is extra.

Any predictions about the sex?

I think girl and Doug thinks boy.  Donovan is still certain that he is having a “sissy”.

Any names chosen yet?

I thought that we had our names set from the get-go.  But, Doug just didn’t seem as excited about these names as he did last time.  So, we have been looking for inspiration and we have yet to decide.

Other differences this time around?

It is nice to not feel so anxious and uncertain about what was to come.  Doug and I both know what to expect so we just pray for a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby.  Not finding out the sex also takes some pressure off of us to have certain clothes and everything monogrammed…like I would anyway 🙂

All of the doctor appointments are way more annoying this time, since it is all pretty boring until the end.  Plus, I forgot how much they stick you and take your blood in the second trimester. I go to a large practice so I see different doctors for each visit. It is interesting to get to know each of them and understand their different perspectives and personalities.

I am lucky that I haven’t really gotten too big either.  Some people really have no idea that I am pregnant.  And, I sometimes forget, too.  I’m not too uncomfortable and I can still do pretty much anything that I want.  If I overdo it, then of course I feel it, but for the most part, I have to remind myself that I am pregnant and to slow down.  Donovan certainly keeps me pretty busy.  I am still able to wear Donovan (thank goodness!) and I am still breastfeeding.

One of the biggest differences is work.  Last time, I was in a college setting with students who, I’m pretty sure, were just worried that being pregnant was a contagious condition.  I didn’t get a lot of attention from them or tons of questions about how I was feeling.  And, no one touched me, ever…which, I was ok with!  This time around, I work with more people who have their own children or grandchildren.  They have experienced pregnancy and are so open and friendly about discussing their experiences and want to know how I am doing.  And, the touching of the belly is way more of a frequent occurrence.  This time around, I am ok with it.

13 weeks
Week 13
14 weeks
Week 14
15 weeks
Week 15
16 weeks
Week 16–.can you tell it is bedtime 🙂 I lost week 17’s picture somewhere 😦
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Week 18–From California!
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Week19–First day of BOLD!
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Week 20–On my way to Chicago to see the Cubs!
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Week 21
22 weeks
Week 22
23 weeks
Week 23
24 weeks
Week 24–On our way to Barcelona!
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Week 25–From Barcelona!
26 weeks
Week 26
27 weeks
Week 27–BOLD graduation!

With Love,

From Me to You

May 2015

Good-Bye USF

My last day at USF was May 1st.  It was strange leaving a job that I had only been in for less than a year.  I had no regrets leaving and I was looking forward to my new career in real estate and more time at home with my little man.

I greatly miss my co-worker, Melissa, who taught me how to be an advisor.  How to ask the right questions and know what students really mean by their questions.  She is such a dedicated and hard working woman.  I am thankful that she was there to show me the ropes and keep me from losing it when I was frustrated or down.

I was most happy to say good-by to my breast pump.  Three times a day was getting old, but Donovan wasn’t ready to wean.  I gave up a lot of opportunities to connect with colleagues and friends so that I could pump during my lunch.  I also learned that it is ok, and frankly, good to take breaks during the day.  It helps you refocus and turn your attention back to your work with a fresh mind.  I was so thankful for a job that allowed me the flexibility to pump and that Donovan and I were able to keep our nursing relationship going.

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Rachel arrived home from FSU that same night, so obviously, some Champagne was in order!

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Rachel Turned 21

Cinco de Mayo might be the best date to turn 21.  It certainly is a special day in our lives as it is Rachie’s birthday.  We celebrated at Don Pablos for dinner and toured the Village for Rachel’s first LEGAL night out.  Look out world, all of the Schwartz sisters are legal!  In other news, I am old.  10pm was WAY too late for me to be out.  But, we were happy to celebrate Rachel’s milestone 🙂

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Summer fun!

We enjoyed an awesome beach day with the Motley’s.  We also stepped up our beach game by purchasing a pop-up tent to keep the little ones in the shade.  Also, Donovan likes to eat sand…

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Mother’s Day is one of my new favorite holidays as it is a reminder of how much I love my new role as a mom.  I never knew that I could be so thankful for my little guy or how much he would change me.  I also find myself appreciating my own mother in new ways.  She has taught me more than I will ever know and she has helped me in more ways than I can count.  Being a mom is a tough job and one that doesn’t always get the thanks that it deserves.  But, it is the best and I am thankful  to have the best mom around!

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During the riots in Baltimore, the Rays hosted an extra game with general admission for all.  We got a big group together and enjoyed the Sunday game!  The Rays won!

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Donovan the Toddler

It seems that since Donovan turned one, he has grown and changed so quickly.  He loves practicing animal sounds and he has quite the repertoire already.  He still loves reading books, but now he likes to try to read them to himself.

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He has always loved exploring, but now he is into everything and he cannot be contained.  Every ordinary object is now a new toy yet to be discovered.  And, have I mentioned that he loves to climb on everything?!?

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As much as I see him growing up into a big guy before my eyes, he still needs his Momma.  Especially when he is sick 😦  He is loving the extra time with me at home!

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Adjusting to the new job

It is strange to wake up one day with a whole new schedule and set of priorities.  I no longer turn into a crabby person on Sundays nights as I scramble to get the chores done and the family ready for the new week.  I still have responsibilities and things to do, but now I have time to do them and I’m not up against a stressful and dreaded Monday deadline.

It is nice to drive with Doug to work and to drop off Donovan for only three half days of daycare.  I wasn’t easy learning the ropes of a new job, but Doug is a patient and amazing teacher.  He puts up with my lack of knowledge and encourages me to work on projects that utilize the strengths that I bring to our team.

Working from home is not as easy as it seems.  There are distractions everywhere.  And, mostly, it is the cute little boy who needs me.  I try to be as productive as possible, but sometimes, work has to wait.

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One of the many perks of working with you spouse are lunch dates.  With Donovan at daycare, we can find time to eat and catch up.  We talk about work a lot more than we did before, but we also find time to check-in and support each other.

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Wisconsin

With the new job, comes flexibility.  It is so nice to plan a vacation without needing to check with someone or request time off.  We headed to Wisconsin to visit family and celebrate the wedding of Doug’s cousin.

Donovan had a great time on the plane!

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We spent time with Grandma Kimmy and we really enjoyed the Milwaukee zoo!

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We saw Great-Grandma Irene and Uncle Terry for dinner.

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We arrived at the DeGroot house and Cathy hosted Ed’s birthday and invited Doug’s childhood buddies and their families over for a fun day.  It is fun to see how their children grow!

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We traveled to Antigo, Wisconsin to celebrate the wedding with the DeGroot family.  The wedding was beautiful and the reception was a blast.  Such great time with family!

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We headed back to Milwaukee for a Memorial Day BBQ at Grandma Kimmy’s house.  The weather was perfect!  And, we enjoyed some quality time with Brian and Pip and their sweet children.  We wish we lived closer to them!

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Our trip was a busy one, but we wouldn’t trade it for the world!  It was perfect seeing so many special family and friends and getting to do so much, too!

With Love,

From Me to You

Donovan: Month Eight

Halloween

Donovan celebrated his first Halloween as a pumpkin.  We did trunk-or-treat at our Church.  So we dress up as scarecrows and Donovan was part of our pumpkin patch.  Stella was not amused by her pumpkin costume..

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Come on Stella, I'm a pumpkin, too!
Come on Stella, I’m a pumpkin, too!

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Showing off the sweet sign Doug made!
Showing off the sweet sign Doug made!
The little pumpkin!
The little pumpkin!
Me and my little guy!
Me and my little guy!

Painting the House

After many years of living with white walls in the residence halls, I was finally able to pick paint colors for our home.  The only trouble is that there are a lot of colors to choose from.  Talk about paralysis of choice.  The slight variations were just enough to make you second guess every shade.  Also, after living in transition for so long, I never really learned how to decorate.  I never worried much since I always knew that I would move out and I didn’t want to leave any holes either.  Now that I finally had the opportunity to decorate, I found myself questioning what direction I wanted to go.  All I knew was that the white walls had to go!

Doug and I made many trips to Lowes.  We started with our bedroom, the bathrooms, Donovan’s room and the living areas…which was basically 75% of the house.  I quickly learned that I HATE painting.  I swear the low-VOC paint does not cover as well and our walls are textured just enough to make you feel like you need a second coat.

Picking out paint colors!
Picking out paint colors!

I was also reminded of a subtle difference between me and my wonderful husband.  Precision.  I know it may come as a shock to some, but I really don’t mind if something isn’t perfectly centered on a wall and I would probably not ever decide to center something on a wall anyway.  I go with how it feels.  Doug, on the other hand, has his tape measure out and ready to go to ensure that the location is correct AND that it is level.  Apparently painting requires a ton of precision and Doug was quite the critic of my painting skills.  I wouldn’t do a bad job, but I did need more touch ups than he did.  That also might be due to the fact that we were painting and taking care of our son, so I would run off to Donovan more than Doug did.

Donovan playing while we painted.
Donovan playing while we painted.

In the end, everything looked great.  And you wouldn’t even notice my little mistakes…which still have not been fixed, even to this day 🙂

Painting our bathroom.
Painting our bathroom.
Our bathroom finished!
Our bathroom finished!
Starting Donovan's room.  Isn't Doug so sweet?
Starting Donovan’s room. Isn’t Doug so sweet?
Two tone green in Donovan's room!
Two tone green in Donovan’s room!
Finished Guest Bathroom..it is the same colors as our bathroom but the light makes it look different!
Finished Guest Bathroom..it is the same color as our bathroom but the light makes it look different!
Our bedroom, finished but still a mess!
Our bedroom, finished but still a mess!
Starting the Family room!
Starting the Family room!

Trip to Tally

We took our second trip to Tallahassee in November for the FSU vs. BC football game.  Donovan was such a trooper!  The weather was starting to get cool and sure enough, it rained the whole day!  We did not prepare for this, so we had to swing by Target for ponchos and raincoats.  Donovan slept through most of the game and somehow, we stayed pretty dry.  I think he had the driest and warmest seat in the house.  And, thankfully, FSU won 🙂

On the road to Tally!
On the road to Tally!
On the way to the game!
On the way to the game!
Before the rain!
Before the rain!
The guys.
The guys.
After the rain...
After the rain…
I promise Donovan could breathe!
I promise Donovan could breathe!

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Post-game
Post-game

We celebrated Thanksgiving and Mom’s birthday with the whole Coletti family!  Photo credit to the wonderful and talented, Becky.

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Brunch at Andrew’s.
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Spoons got a little crazy!

Thanksgiving

Donovan’s 8 month-aversary fell on Thanksgiving.  It was such a wonderful day spent with family and friends.  And Doug and I really loved the fact that we did not have to drive more than an hour to spend it with family.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I always enjoy reflecting on the many blessings in our lives.  Donovan’s birth was the biggest one for us we are thankful each and every day that he is in our lives.

Donovan hanging out in the new fire pit.  The backyard looked awesome!
Donovan hanging out in the new fire pit. The backyard looked awesome!
Friends that are like family :)
Friends that are like family 🙂
Uncle Pat and Doug singing by the fire pit!
Uncle Pat and Doug singing by the fire pit!
The babes :)
The babes 🙂

The biggest excitement on Thanksgiving arrived just after dinner.  Ann and Joey Sweeney welcomed their son, Joseph Stone Sweeney III 🙂  What a memorable Thanksgiving!

Other 8 month moments:

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An Italian Thanksgiving with the Zecs!
An Italian Thanksgiving with the Zecs!

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An early Baptism gift from Great Grandma Maxine Calhoon!

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Sick again :(
Sick again 😦
Sick selfies.
Sick selfies.
Donovan LOVES peas!
Donovan LOVES peas!
And yogurt.
And yogurt.
And he loves Stella :)
And he loves Stella 🙂
And Stella loves him :)
And Stella loves him 🙂
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Avoiding Bedtime…
Such a happy guy!
Such a happy guy!

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After the French dinner Donovan found a part of Jack's costume!
After the French dinner Donovan found a part of Jack’s costume!

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With GiGi and Grandad
With GiGi and Grandad

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Our little family 🙂

Eight Month Photos:

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Family :)
Family 🙂

With Love,

From Me to You

Donovan: Month Three (part two)

We tried to prepare as best we could for our trip to Alaska.  But in the end, there is just no way to be truly prepared to travel across the country with a baby who is under three months.  I read blogs, asked friends, and made lists.  Ultimately, we just had to be flexible and keep a good sense of humor. We flew out of Charlotte to make a connecting flight in Chicago.  To our very happy surprise, Donovan was not at all phased by the plane ride.  He didn’t get fussy at all.  I had heard that nursing at take off and at the landing would help and I guess it did.  Using the cover was a hassle, so luckily, I used Doug as a human shield in case Donovan kicked it off.  I mean, come on, it gets a little toasty under there, so I could understand why he was so against the nursing cover.

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I thought this onesie was appropriate since he was going to meet three of his Aunties!

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On our leg from Chicago to Anchorage, we hit the jackpot.  No one was assigned to sit next to us so we had a whole row to ourselves.  Thus, Donovan got his own seat, or should I say bed?img_4441 img_4442img_4435Donovan did great on this flight, too.  Even though we prepared for take-off four times before we got in the air.  This was annoying because I would try to nurse him and then find out that we would not be taking-off.  Then I would try again to nurse him and then,  no take-off.  By the time that we did take-off, Donovan was asleep, so no nursing was necessary. The flight was long.  Luckily we had the extra space and free movies to watch.  But changing a diaper on a plane was no simple task. The view flying in was so beautiful.  I cannot even begin to explain how majestic and huge the mountains are.  And the sky and the air just seemed so crisp and clean.

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We landed in Anchorage and we were exhausted.  Or at least I was because I can never sleep on planes.  It would have been night time, but Alaska is four hours behind our time-zone and it was summer, so it only got dark late at night.  We got to see some of Doug’s family and we went to buy diapers and other necessities, since we wanted to pack light for our flight.

This is what we bought for Donovan to sleep in. It was certainly an upgrade from his hotel drawer!
This is what we bought for Donovan to sleep in. It was certainly an upgrade from his hotel drawer!
On a morning walk through Anchorage.
On a morning walk through Anchorage.

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The next day we drove to Talkeetna, which is a super cute little town near Mount McKinley.  The drive was long and babies do not like long car trips.  Donovan needed breaks to eat and just get out. We arrived in Talkeetna and got to see more family once we got settled in to our cabins.

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Just a random moose on the side of the road by our cabin.
Our view. You can see Mount McKinley in the distance.
Our view. You can see Mount McKinley in the distance.

The next day we enjoyed some local food in Talkeetna.  The day was beautiful and clear so we went to the river and caught a beautiful view of Mount McKinley! That night we enjoyed the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner.

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The soon-to-be newlyweds and Finnley! Love the boots that Cathy made!


img_4491img_4494On the day of the wedding it rained and rained.  It was cold too.  Luckily there were tents to keep us dry.  Even though the day was soggy, the wedding was still beautiful.  Donovan slept through the whole thing.  The food was delicious and it was fun enjoying the soggy-ness together.  Kristin looked beautiful and didn’t mind that her dress got muddy.  It was such a fun wedding and we were so happy for Kristin and Adam!

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Donovan’s cute outfit…which he pooped all over only moments after this picture was taken 🙂

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The next day we watched some soccer and explored more of Talkeetna.

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Then we drove to Seward. The views of the water and the land were incredible!  Our cottage was across from the water and it was beautiful to wake up to each day.

img_4600img_4606img_4604img_4603One of my favorite parts of the trip was the tour through the bays in Seward. It was a five hour tour and we saw orca whales, dolphins, tons of birds, a bald eagle, and humpback whales breaching.  We also saw the most amazing icebergs.  It is hard to believe how old there are.

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img_4617img_4656IMG_4706IMG_4659IMG_4660IMG_4665IMG_4672 IMG_4668img_4620img_4623IMG_4674 While we were on the ship, Maggie and Sarah were getting engaged!!  We can’t wait for their wedding 🙂 The next day we went for a hike at Exit Glacier.  It was so beautiful!

IMG_4703   IMG_4700  IMG_4698 IMG_4697 IMG_4696 And Doug and I walked about Seward. IMG_4695 IMG_4694 IMG_4693 IMG_4692 IMG_4691 IMG_4690  IMG_4688  IMG_4686 And we got to spend quality time with Doug’s family 🙂 IMG_4685 IMG_4684IMG_4682IMG_4679IMG_4678IMG_4677 Donovan turned three months in Alaska!

IMG_4723IMG_4720IMG_4728IMG_4724IMG_4714IMG_4725IMG_4730IMG_4733 After we left Seward, we stayed outside of Anchorage in a small town named Turnagain Arm.  We enjoyed one last family dinner together before departing for the lower 48.

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In the end, I actually loved Alaska way more that I thought I would.  It pushed me outside of my comfort zone since I am not the outdoorsy type.  But, Alaska was so beautiful.  I was in awe of the nature around me.  It reminded me how great and beautifully made the world truly is.  I don’t often get away from the hustle of city/suburban life so, it was welcomed change of pace.  Spending such a special time with Doug’s family was wonderful and together we created so many memories.  We don’t get to all come together often and it is exciting seeing new places together.  It is was also nice just sitting together outside with a glass of wine and talking about life and all of the things that we don’t get to share on a regular basis.  And, sharing our little guy with his family was so sweet to watch and enjoy.

I also have to recognize all of the hard work and planning it took to make this trip so special.  Cathy did so much to make sure that we all were comfortable and that we had everything that we needed on the trip.  All of our lodging was beautiful and the food was delicious.  I know that she spent a lot of time making sure that everything was just right.  And she was always so thoughtful when it came to accommodating a baby.  I am so thankful for my mother-in-law 🙂

With Love,

From me to you