Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Johnny Turns 1!

We left vacation a day early to make a very important stop in New Jersey! Johnny was turning one and we wanted to be there to celebrate with him. Joe and I were a little dizzy with exhaustion by the time we got there, but the girls were all rested and ready to party! 😍

I took this active monkey with me to pick up some gluten free essentials and could barely contain her in the cart!

The girls couldn't wait to see and play with their little cousin!

Hanging with Aunt Tori

Apparently, Aunt Cyncy's lap was the best seat in the house. 😉

Sweet guy opened his presents like a champ!

Family shot 💙

I hope Johnny grows up and always loves playing with his Uncle Joe as much as he does now!

Juliet trying to decide if she can trust Uncle Brad's beard! :)

The first birthday moment we were all waiting for....ALL THE BIRTHDAY SUGAR! Go, Johnny, go! All of his older cousins stood around him, sang and encouraged him to dig in.


Happy 1st Birthday, Johnny! We love you!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Myrtle Beach 2017

For years, our friends had offered us the opportunity to vacation for a week at their condo in Myrtle Beach. We wanted to go, but the timing had never been quite right. So, at the start of 2017, Joe and I decided this would be the perfect spring break trip for our family this year! Our plan was to leave late on Easter after our family went home and drive through the night to South Carolina while our kids slept. Our plans were set and we were all pumped about it. What none of us knew was what our weeks leading up to vacation would look like. In the month leading up to the trip, I got sick. Exactly one week before our trip began, I had some tests and my medical mysteries were given a name. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Celiac disease and the new journey began. Thankfully, it is something manageable, but it requires a dietary change that in the beginning feels like a total lifestyle adjustment. In other words, God knew just how much we would need a week away to rest and regroup more then we did. In some ways, the timing felt terrible, but really (as always) God's timing was perfect.

In the fog of my gluten detox, I did way less planning than I normally do. There were less activities in the activity boxes and I packed the bare basics in our suitcases, but it didn't matter. Road trips have become our family's "thing", so loading up the car and hitting the road is second nature to us. We made it to Myrtle Beach in record time. Everyone slept through the night and we started out morning with Chick-fil-A. Road trip success!



Joe made a pretty sweet surprise detour on our road trip. We stopped in North Carolina in the town where my favorite high school show, Dawson's Creek, was filmed and located one of the iconic spots featured in the show's opening credits.  My 16 year old self would have considered this a major bucket list moment. As we walked under the pier, I could hear the theme song playing in my head! 

Wilmington was the perfect place to stop for lunch and stretch our legs. 

Our first evening stroll in Myrtle Beach!




Two tired parents who are glad to be there, but ready for a good night's sleep!

There was a big candy store near the boardwalk and we took the girls in to explore one morning!



Just a bunch of kids in a candy store!

Pool time with Daddy. I had the bird's eye view reading on the balcony while Juliet napped.

The stuff good vacations are made of...

Oh we loved this time on the beach so much!



This girl is not really a fan of the beach. The moving water freaks her out and the sand on her hands makes her mad. She just keeps pointing at it and yelling until we wipe it off.  But, she loves the seashells! 


Good morning!



To steal a line from one of the girls' current favorite songs:

"See the light as it shines on the sea
It's blinding
But no one knows how deep it goes
And it seems like its calling out to me..." -from Moana

the best hugs

On our last night, we headed down to the boardwalk for some ice cream. Abby went into the bathroom to get ready before we left and came out ready to go with all of her accessories. I love her!

Abby carried her camera with her every time we left the condo. One of my favorite things was watching her take pictures of what she thought was special and the moments she wanted to capture. She asked us to pose for these in the perfect spot.

Our morning at the beach began with us witnessing a group of jellyfish wash up on the sand. The girls were fascinated and felt extra special because they were able to see real live jellyfish in their habitat. We took lots of pictures and then realized one of the jellyfish had a crab attached to it.

That same evening, a kind man was standing on the boardwalk sharing his beautiful parrots with anyone who wanted to take a picture. They were amazing! Birds and I don't have the best relationship, but I can appreciate beauty. I mean you won't find me standing under the parrot or next to its wings, but I'm in the picture. (progress!)

When we got back to the condo, Abby fell asleep talking about how excited how excited she is to tell her friends she saw a jellyfish, crab and parrot all for the first time that day. I went to bed reminded of the joy found in the simple things and especially thankful for the way family vacations make for the sweetest moments together. 

Clue Jr., Life Jr. and Uno were the games on repeat this vacation. The girls know I'm always up for a good board game marathon, especially after a morning in the sun!

We always love a good movie night! :)

Soaking up the sunshine and enjoying our last day here.


We are so thankful for our generous friends who gave us the gift of these days in their special spot!!