Summer 2017 Visit to SC!

Like many parents and stay-at-home moms, I was both eager for this year’s summer break and also kind of dreading it. Last summer was my first summer in the US and my first summer with two kids. We were still new to Virginia and didn’t know many people. Michael was traveling a lot for work. Finn was napping twice a day. I was nursing him and feeding him solids. Colt was turning 3. It was hot. It was hard. Each day seemed like the one before it. I couldn’t figure out what to DO. I kept asking other moms, “What do you DO every day?” A lot of it was just me taking time to adjust to our new life here, getting to know people, getting settled in our house and neighborhood, caring for two young kids, etc. Things changed dramatically when Colt started school for the first time in September. It was only 3 mornings / week so not a ton of time per se, but it provided us with a structure, a rhythm and it expanded our community.

When springtime rolled around and we started thinking about this upcoming summer, I remembered the lessons from the previous year’s struggles and knew we needed a better plan. As we looked at our calendars we started planning visits to family, classes, activities, etc. Most camps and classes for kids here are kind of expensive and having two young kids – one of whom still naps every afternoon – makes it a little trickier too. But, when Colt’s preschool sent out the notice about their church running a Vacation Bible School (VBS) program, 1 week, every morning Mon-Fri for $25, I knew we were on to something! I mean, they’re singing songs, doing crafts, and learning about God with other young friends, for the steal of the century! I immediately signed him up and then started searching for other VBS camps when Michael had the brilliant idea of looking into my parents’ church in South Carolina. They go to a great church in Columbia – Eastminster Presbyterian – and sure enough they had a VBS running the last week of June (with a different curriculum than what Colt’s VBS in Arlington will be). The timing worked great for us so we signed him up.

We flew my mom up the Saturday prior (just in time to babysit for us as we went to see The Sound of Music!) and that Sunday, after church, Gigi and I loaded the boys and did the drive together.

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We start the drive with lunch followed by naps.

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Finn always wakes up after 1 hour on the dot.

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And eventually Colt follows.

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And I get moved to the backseat.

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But I don’t hate hanging with these two.

On Colt’s first day of VBS, we arrived at the church and found his group – the Purple Knights! His little class was all rising 4K and he is on the younger end, and since it’s not our home-church, the place and people were all unfamiliar to him. I was nervous about how it would go but I was SO proud of how well Colt did. There were a few tears on the second day’s drop-off but he pushed through and had a great time. And I think things like that are such good confidence builders, where kids learn that they can do it, they can have fun, they can make new friends, etc. all on their own (in a safe, wonderful environment of course). I was really proud of him.

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First day of VBS wearing the new, perfectly fitted T-shirt.

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Colt with his fellow Purple Knights.

And when Colt wasn’t at VBS, we were having other fun adventures in Columbia.

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“This is Noah’s arc. It landed on the mountain top and the water is already dried up and the animals are leaving the boat.”

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Ready for pool-time!

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Gigi introduced Colt to milkshakes…

We spent over 3 hours one afternoon at the Ft. Jackson water park. It is AMAZING and we can’t wait to go back.

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Getting our toes wet.

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Colt getting brave, running in and out of the mushroom.

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The Gigers.

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I’m obsessed with this picture of Finn. He is hilarious. #shades #tummy

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Our third time around the lazy river.

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More splash areas.

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Brothers!

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Finn!

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Just can’t beat it!

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Playing in the shallow end.

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My boys!

More fun around Columbia:

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Finn driving the cart at the Home Depot. He’s the man.

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Heathwood Park had their sprayers turned on!

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Mud pies.

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Harper bros.

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Obsessed with this face.

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A beach. Water with a boat, fish, bubbles and a bridge. Sand and a starfish. Grass and trees. Sun in the sky.

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After the VBS closing program. Finn looks so big to me here!

Swimming, playing and dinner at our cousins’ house, the Longs!

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Jack on swing duty.

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Colt loved the diving board!

I took advantage of having my mom available to go with me to take the boys for haircuts. I was fully prepared for Finn to melt down like last time but it was a kid salon so they had plenty of toys and ultimately the combo of the lollipop + Gigi holding Mickey Mouse on the Kindle was the winning solution.

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A much calmer haircut experience.

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End product.

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Colt got his part buzzed in! He’s very cool.

The grand finale to our time in South Carolina was a day spent at my grandparents’ house on Lake Murray with my parents, my aunt and my brother’s family. My grandparents moved to the lake when I was 6 and, growing up, my brother and I spent all of our summers here so it is the home and place that has been most consistent in my life. Very special place + very special people = great times had by all! Thank you Nannie and Papa!

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Boys hunting for turtles upon arrival.

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Colt & Dad!

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Finn napping while we’re all playing!

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May, Augusta Clare and Brad heading out!

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Michael stole the Zaises new puppy!

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Jumping off the same little trampoline that we used there as kids!

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Augusta Clare!

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Colt!

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May!

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Michael looks a little scared.

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Very subtle Papa!

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Hammock time! Coordinating outfits compliments of my mom.

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They’re so cute.

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Finn!

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Out for a boat ride!

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Colt at the wheel!

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Finn, very relaxed.

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AC driving!

What a great week we had!

 

June 2017 NoVa (+ NY)

As I look through our photos from June, the thing that stands out to me most is the precious friendship that Colt and Finn are building. Michael and I have absolutely loved having two boys, 25 months apart. We have enjoyed it because it is so much fun for us but we also thrill at watching the two of them laugh, talk, sing, squeal, tickle, wrestle, copycat, jump, learn, build, splash, run, chase, race, scoot, kick and PLAY together too. Of course there are still battles and tears, but those are far outweighed by the joy and the fun. When Finn wakes up in the morning, the first thing he does is ask for Colt. He LOVES to copy Colt and is always trying to be part of the action. Colt is so kind to Finn and patient with him. Colt helps him, always tries to explain things to him and teach him and generally loves playing with him. When Finn gets upset, Colt comes to comfort him. Their personalities are such a great balance for each other and I pray that their friendship will only grow over the years.

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Park Finn!

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Snuggled up in Colt’s bed!

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And pretending to sleep.

The first weekend of June, we took a quick trip to New York to see some of our friends from Brazil. One family was flying through New York on their way home from a trip to Europe and they stayed the weekend. Two couples live in New York already and we drove up for it. All 4 families (8 adults, 7 kids!) stayed together at one of the couple’s houses on Long Island and it was an absolute blast!

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Exactly the type of scene we like to have on our road-trips.

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Playtime with Luke & Campbell!

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Finn!

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Backyard fun for the boys! 

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Campbell joins the boys.

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These two instantly picked right back up where they left off in Brazil.

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Strolled to this beautiful spot!

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And bonus – Uncle Joe came by to visit for the afternoon too!

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Colt and his starfish find!

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Uncle Joe with his nephews.

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Back at the house, Colt and Campbell in the bounce-house!

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Relaxing together.

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Story time with Jeff! The only little one missing is Addy!

I am sad that I basically have no pictures of the adults from the weekend but I think we were too busy just enjoying the treat of being together again. Very excited for our full Brazil reunion planned for this fall!

Back in VA…

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Finn showing off his musical talents at the Nature Center playroom.

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Backyard besties. 

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Colt showing off his life-sized self-portrait from school. 

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Practicing hitting without the tee.

My parents came to town for some business which meant we got a visit from Gigi and Pasha!

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Finn and Gigi!

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Colt and Pasha immediately dive right into astronomy.

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Colt showing off for Gigi.

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When Gigi is around, Finn is stuck on her like GLUE.

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Gigi with her boys!

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Swing bros!

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Sprinkler Colt!

Dinner at my cousin’s house and Colt had a blast with his kids and their trampoline!

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Delaney and Colt on the trampoline.

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Kiddos!

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Enjoying dessert!

Climbing, throwing rocks, exploring, splashing… Long Branch Nature Center creek.

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Snack time in the creek.

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Love this picture of Colt and Gigi.

A few days after my parents left, we were lucky enough to get a quick visit from Michael’s sister, Lise and brother Joe! Lise was first to arrive and the boys were so happy to see her!

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Aunt Lise doing milk and cartoons with the boys!

Lise arrived the morning of Colt’s last day of school.

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Colt’s last day as a Caterpillar. 😦 

It was fun to have Lise there to see their end-of-year performance and go to Colt’s class party too.

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Colt with the two awesome Caterpillar teachers!

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Aunt Lise with the boys.

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Back home, Colt feeding Finn…

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And Uncle Joe is here! Morning coffee, milk and cartoons. 

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Awesome outerspace PJs from Aunt Lise. 

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Park day!

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Sidewalk chalk brought out Aunt Lise’s amazing cactus drawing skills!

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Joey & Finn.

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Group pic from the weekend!

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Backyard pool fun!

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Drippy Colt.

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Picnic with their girlfriend Lily. 

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Colt and Finn having fun in the teepee.

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Lights off. Flashlight on.

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Telling scary stories?

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Sweet brothers. 

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Banana bros!

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Colt and I made a paper chain for summer and strung it in his room. 

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Two little monkeys jumping in the crib.

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Michael and Kenny playing tennis across the street one evening

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Finn loves sparkling water.

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Chalk bros.

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“A roadrunner running across the desert with ‘cactuses’.”

Special date-night out — dinner at Kingbird at the Watergate and The Sound of Music at the Kennedy Center! LOVED The Sound of Music!!! So good!

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After dinner on our way to the show.

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Kennedy Center. 

 

May 2017 NoVa

For our fam, the month of May was largely consumed by working on our lawns but I’m saving all of that for another post. When we weren’t working outside, here is the everyday fun we got into. 🙂

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Dirt-ball Finn! 

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This was Colt’s first full solar-system picture. He drew it and marked the letters totally by himself! When he showed it to me I was so surprised and impressed. He has since gotten totally obsessed with outer space and draws the solar system, galaxies, etc. all the time but this was the first one so even though it’s a little funny and on the back of another picture, I adore it.

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Blessings!

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Finn!

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Cracking himself up.

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Boys throwing rocks into a creek. They could seriously do it all. day. long.

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Colt gets REALLY relaxed during his haircuts and typically falls asleep….

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But they still manage to do a great job! What a cutie!

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I love a fresh haircut!

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There are no photos of Finn getting his first haircut because he was screaming the entire time and we were desperately trying to hold him still but I think the end result was an improvement. His hair just grows a little funny. 

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Staying a little late after school to play.

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Mother’s Day with my little treasures. 

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Every day feels like an adventure with these two.

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Quincy Park with friends!

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Backseat bros.

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Off to church!

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Heart. Eyes. 

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Risky Finn.

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Always up to something silly.

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Colt loves his school friends! Walking in with Tara! 

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Finn!

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You know you went to a Campus Outreach Beach Project when your 3yo brings you this picture and tells you about the cross of Jesus “bridging the gap.”  #BridgeDiagram

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These 2 are absolute BEST. FRIENDS.

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Rocky Run with Will! Will showed Colt how to climb to the top – no easy task!

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The climb was a little tricky for Finn-man so he opted for snuggles and banana bread instead.

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Park boys!

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Finn!

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Colt at the top looking out!

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Michael ran home and met us at the park!

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Then… all the boys making pancakes for dinner!

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Colt played “school” where he taught all of his “students” how to draw “the earth and the sun and outer space.” Also two of his favorite things in the background – the globe and the chart of “fast animals” and their speeds. Colt is a little bit of a nerd.

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Having a blast together!

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Some days, Colt opts to run to school. Granted, it’s only half a mile but he can jog the whole thing!

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Chalk!

 

Finn: 21 month update

Finn! You’re 21 months old today Little Love!! IMG_3623Finn developments: What a fun and FUNNY little boy you are, Finn. I haven’t done an update on you since you turned 1 (9 months ago…eek!). We’ve been busy and so have you, Little One. Here are some things you’re been up to these days… IMG_3550

  • The first thing I have to say about you is that you’re hilarious. You crack me up all day every day with the funniest little things and the best part is that you KNOW you’re funny and you crack yourself up too! I asked your dad what is the one thing I should be sure to include in this update and he responded, “Finn has found his sense of humor.” And what a good one it is!IMG_3513
    • One silly example of you being funny is that you like to pretend that you can’t see. You will do this while you’re eating, walking around or even coloring. You’ll close your eyes and keep doing whatever you were doing and eventually crack up. (Our babysitter said, “I’m not sure if he does this very often but Finn kept pretending that he was blind and then laughing about it!” haha)
    • You also like to put puzzle pieces in the wrong places. Then you look up at me and I say, “No, Finn, that isn’t right!” and you just giggle!
    • You also like to pretend that you’re trying to say something that we can’t understand. You will say “Bah!” and I’ll say, “Bath?” You shake your head and say “Noooo. Bah!” I’ll ask, “Bug? Book? Button? Back? Banana?” etc. etc. and every time you will just giggle and repeat “Noooo. Bah!” I’m positive that this is all a hilarious joke to you.IMG_2251
  • You are pretty independent. You’ve just now started to acquiesce and hold my hand when we’re walking near the road but generally you prefer to do things on your own.
  • At home you will play independently a little but you also LOVE attention and will often shout “MAMA MAMA MAMA” to make sure I’m all-eyes on you when you’re doing something like running or jumping or falling on purpose or being funny.
  • You seem to have some type of a musical bend. You respond to music more strongly than your brother – as in, you dance like crazy with the most amazing hip shakes and you can catch a tune and sing it back really well. You are often singing (the tune at least) to the ABCs, “Are You Sleeping?”, and you love to sing “Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul” with me.
  • You like books but aren’t quite as much of a bookworm as Colt was. Your favorite books are lift-flap ones (Dear Zoo, Where’s Spot? and a couple of Elmo books we have). And like your brother did, you have “Moo, Baa, La La La” memorized and love to “read” it with me and fill in the blanks.
  • You really like trains these days and will often scoot down to the basement on your own, pull out the train bin, build out a track and connect some trains together. You call them “choo-choos” and are always so happy and proud to show off what you have built.
  • You love to jump! You can jump well in your crib or on the couch but lately you’re getting good at just jumping from the floor. And you like to go to the fireplace hearth to jump too.
  • You really like going to parks or playing in the yard but one of your favorite “activities” is visiting the local nature center. They have turtles, snakes, frogs, fish, some random toys and a great outdoor creek + trail. When we’re driving there, you start to get excited as soon as you begin to recognize the area and you start shouting, “Tuh-tle! Tuh-tle! Sssssssss!!” (For turtles and snakes, of course.) Then you are borderline combusting the whole time that we’re there, running from animal to animal. And last time, when we went with Colt, you were in heaven throwing rocks in the creek at the end. I swear, you must have stood in the same spot throwing rocks for 45 minutes.IMG_3562
  • I would describe you as pretty obedient and I think you’re getting better at this all the time. If you’re acting out or I need your attention, I always ask you to look at me or look at my eyes. In the past if you were misbehaving, you would absolutely REFUSE to look me in the eyes and would just cut your eyes to the side and give a little defiant side smile. (Making it impossible for me not to burst out laughing!) But the past couple months you’ve been better at giving me your attention and then becoming more obedient. Related but different: you follow instructions great!IMG_2270
  • You are talking quite a bit, although your enunciation leaves a little something to be desired. It’s funny because of course your dad, brother and I all understand you perfectly but when we’re with other people I find myself translating for you a lot. For your 18 month checkup I made a list of 70 words that you were saying then. Now there would be no way for me to try to count as your vocabulary grows each day. You’re speaking in “sentences” like “Moe hehe-le pees,” (“More cereal please.”) or “Bye bye, Mama,” or “Tee here!!” (“Treat here!! – while pointing to your tray.) But you sometimes also just huff out syllables instead of trying to say the real words. You do this a lot for “thank you” and instead say “hmm hmm” to the tune of “thank you” or will say “buhbuhbuh” for “banana bread.” You say “Tuh” for “Colt” and “puhpuh” for “purple” and for “paper.” For “sit” you say, “hit” and “juice, cheese, Gigi and Jesus” all sound pretty similar.IMG_3261
  • You basically know the colors yellow, blue and purple although we’re not 100%.
  • I have not been as dedicated to “teaching” you things like letters, colors, etc. as I was with Colt so the only letter of the alphabet which you know solidly is “O.” It’s easy for you to recognize and say so this one stuck easily. Now just 25 to go! Speaking of numbers, you can kind of count to 3 but that is probably being generous… (If I say “one,” you say “two,” and sometimes say three next.)
  • Your favorite thing to do is to play with your brother. You and Colt are officially each other’s best friends and have so much fun together. You guys totally get each other’s wacky, goofy, little boy sense of humor and are always laughing up a storm. You immediately ask for him whenever you wake up in the morning or from a nap.
    You guys love to have little races where Colt sweetly runs beside you. You dance together, put your dishes on your head and call them “hats,” you jump on the couch in the basement for days, take turns playing t-ball in the yard, go down slides at the park together, splash and pour water in the bath together… you just play great together! It has been such a blessing to have you two close enough in age to see this genuine friendship blossoming already.IMG_3326IMG_2867

Health: Praise God, you continue to be healthy and grow beautifully.
Clothing size: 2T.
Diaper size: 5
Shoe size: 5-6 (although your feet are so chubby it can be hard to stuff them in to certain types of shoes!)
Height/Weight: Your last appointment was a few months ago but at that time you registered in the 61% for weight and 81% for height. Could have had me fooled though, you’re such a little beefcake with the best tummy ever!
Teeth: You have all of your baby teeth with the exception of your two-year-molars (so 16 right now).
Sicknesses: You showed signs of a possible ear infection once, right around last Thanksgiving. We followed our doctor’s recommendation and gave you antibiotics. A couple days after we finished the antibiotics you broke out into a full body rash that took about a week to clear up. We’re not sure if you have an allergy to the penicillin (if so then it’s not a terribly strong reaction since it took so many days to appear) or if the rash was unrelated but so far that was your only incident with antibiotics. (Colt has yet to have them so not sure how he would react…)

Eating: You’re a good eater – very different style than Colt is/was. You basically like to feed yourself everything and are pretty coordinated with utensils. You are happy to bite into anything and like most things we offer. Green beans and broccoli are your favorite veggies, you like bananas, apples, strawberries, oranges, grapes, pasta, chicken, cheese, oatmeal, eggs, pizza, sweet potatoes, turkey, peas, raisins and one of your favorite foods is a bowl of cereal with milk (Colt still won’t eat cereal with milk on it!).
You love “treats” and get so excited whenever you hear that word (like, you start raising the roof, saying, “Woohoo! Treats!”).IMG_3272IMG_3093

Sleeping: You are an all-star sleeper and have been since you were a baby. We literally never have problems with you in this area. You go to bed between 7:30 and 8pm (closer to 7:30 if we’re going out somewhere but typically more like 8:00). We do the Tot-Clock with you and your clock changes to yellow at 8am and usually we don’t have to rush to get you. If you wake up before 8am then you normally just play around or sing in your crib until you notice the clock is yellow.
You nap every day in the afternoon. Tue-Thur we pick Colt up from preschool at 12:50pm so your typical nap doesn’t start until around 1:30pm. Your nap clock is set for 2.5 hours but 2 hrs 45 min or 3 hours is a more typical stretch for you. This means that it’s a challenge for us to be very adventurous in the afternoons but it’s nice for me to get some alone time with your big bro and I use this time to get some chores done, start dinner, etc.
Your only sleep deficiency is sleeping on the go. You do NOT fall asleep on airplanes (you don’t even get drowsy, you just get nuttier and nuttier!!). You will sleep in the car but not for too long so all of our long travels are a little interesting with you, Little Finn.
You’re also a little bit of a light sleeper. Not terrible and you put yourself back to sleep fine if you do get woken up but it makes me a little nervous for the day when we move you into Colt’s room. I think we are still about a year out from that but on our most recent visit to SC you and Colt shared a room and you both surprised me by doing great!IMG_3309

Schedule:
8:00 am Wake up, drink milk
8:45 am Breakfast (banana, oatmeal, cereal, pancakes, strawberries, yogurt)
Morning Errands, adventures, parks or just playing with mom.
12:30 pm Lunch
1:30-4:00 pm Nap
4:15 pm Wake up, drink milk
4:30-6:15 pm Afternoon playing with Colt, neighborhood walks, etc.
6:30 pm Dinner
7:15 pm Bath with Colt. (Dad-duty)
7:45-8:00 pm Bedtime!

Mama: Finn, you are the sweetest treasure and such a blessing. You shine joy and light into our home and our family. It is SO much fun to be your mom and I enjoy you more each day. Thank you, Lord, for bringing this precious soul into my world. I couldn’t be happier.IMG_3315

(**For comparison: Colt at 20.5 months**)

April 2017 NoVa

During the month of April, when we weren’t in South Carolina, we were hanging out, enjoying the start of Spring in Arlington!

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Our guest bed is actually a Murphy bed in our basement and Colt thinks it’s best for jumping.

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Tie!

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April 17: Cheers to 7 years of marriage! HAPPY!! More fun every day.

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Dandelions on the walk to school!

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His favorite “flower.”

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Park Finn.

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Kid loves some corn on the cob. Getting after it like a boss!

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Swinging!

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Hanging out while Colt is in school.

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Sweaty after walking home from school.

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Doing his best Chris Farley.

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I happen to think he is deadly handsome.

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And adorable.

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This guy too.

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We love walking through our neighborhood.

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Adventures at the playground across the street.

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Colt just started Saturday morning soccer camp for the summer!

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One of Colt’s first solar system drawings! He ran out of room so added the last couple in the corner. 

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Picnic! 

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Matching in the backseat.

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Hanging with our neighbors!

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Park twins.

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Hanging out on the back porch. 

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Heart eyes.

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Colt takes sticker-time very seriously.

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Finn has a different approach.

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I love this guy!

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And this one!! 

Easter 2017 in SC!

Our family spent Easter (week) in South Carolina for the second year in a row. Michael had a bachelor party in Vegas the weekend prior to Easter

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Michael with some of his best buddies in Vegas.

so we decided to fly my mom up to VA to drive to South Carolina with the boys and me.

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This is what you want to see on a road trip.

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This is what you do not want to see.

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Burger King pit-stop.

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Finn!

While in South Carolina, we were out and about, playing at parks, visiting the zoo, spending time with family and getting ready to celebrate the risen Jesus!

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Park date!

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Slide bros.

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Finn and Gigi feeding the giraffes at the zoo!

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Gigi with her boys.

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Carousel!

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All ready for Church!

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At the Eastminster Easter Egg hunt.

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Pretty pumped up about his egg treasures.

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Visiting my sweet grandparents.

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Finn absolutely adored Papa!

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We didn’t totally obey the signs…

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The perfect student/teacher combo. They spent HOURS talking about astronomy (and other sciencey things). Pasha gave Colt an Astronomy magazine that he slept with for days.

**Related to the photo above – my dad successfully taught Colt all of the planets, in order, plus all of the dwarf planets in our solar system. He loves to talk about solar systems, galaxies and the universe. He’s constantly telling me new facts about black holes (“in black holes there isn’t time or space!”). He draws pictures, every day, of the planets, of black holes sucking things into themselves, of asteroids, of “The Big Red Spot” on Jupiter… And while we were in South Carolina, Colt swapped out his daily cartoon viewing (his current favorite right now being Wild Kratts) for my dad’s recorded series on “The Secrets of Outer Space” or something like that and another series on America’s National Parks. Anyway, I’m starting to think that Colt might be more like my dad than I was prepared for. 😉

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Visiting my brother’s family in Charleston.

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With the babies, May and Finn.

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Cousins! May (2), Finn (1.5), Colt (3.5), and Augusta Clare (5.5).

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Pure joy!

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Nothing better than cruising around with his big cousin!

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Back in Columbia, scooting around the neighborhood.

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Dying Easter eggs! 

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Zoo visit #2. Colt likes all of his sunglasses to give off the impression that he’s just had some type of major eye surgery.

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Zoo train with Fincher.

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Finn loved feeding the lamas.

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Carousel kisses!

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My little heartbreaker.

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The tiger came out!

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Park picnic after the zoo!

The Saturday before Easter, Michael flew down to join us in South Carolina. We headed straight for Chapin to visit my grandmother at the Lowman Home Rehab Center.

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Group pic!

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The boys with Nannie. 

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Finn sporting his new John Deer hat from Papa.

That afternoon, my brother’s family joined us in Columbia and spent the night.

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Scooting around the neighborhood. Everything about this picture is amazing.

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Whole family – Easter Sunday.

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Our little crew.

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Our best attempts at family photos…

Following church, we headed to my great aunt & uncle’s house for a big family lunch and they are always so sweet to do an Easter egg hunt for the kids.

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Colt and AC on a mission.

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Showing off his stash.

After the family brunch, Michael and I loaded the kids in the car and drove the 10 hours back to Virginia. (Without kids it could be done in 7.5 or so but…) It’s our tradition to stop at Cracker Barrel for dinner. The kids love to run around and play with the toys while we wait for our table — this is our way of letting them play during the drive but not going to a McDonald’s Play Place.

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Testing out the hats and toys.

As always, a wonderful visit in South Carolina. Thank you Gigi & Pasha! We are already plotting our return!

Paige’s Amazing Visit!

When Michael and I moved to Brazil, Trent and Paige Hudson quickly became our newest, best friends. We actually first “met” Trent and Paige via a video Skype chat a week or so before moving there. Michael’s brother, Joe, had randomly met them as they were each on unique trips in Buenos Aires. They were staying at the same “estancia” – Villa Maria – and they connected over dinner there. They realized that they were all living in São Paulo but didn’t reconnect again until Joe and Trent literally bumped into each other on the streets of São Paulo some months later. The Hudsons had Joe over for dinner and, when we decided to move to Brazil, Joe instantly knew that they would be perfect friends for us. Joe put us in touch, they set up a Skype date and in our first conversation the Hudsons offered to pick us up from the airport, have us live with them and use all of their stuff… We did not take them up on any of this but did come to learn that this was a VERY typical Hudson move. Underplaying it, really.

Our first actual meeting was a day or two after we arrived in São Paulo. The Hudsons picked us up from our temporary apartment in their heavy-duty bullet-proof Highlander. They drove us all over the city pointing out important streets and POIs, intimidating me with Paige’s impressive sense of direction and Portuguese pronunciation and terrifying us with tales of being robbed at gunpoint. Then they took us to their favorite restaurant for an amazing afternoon of caipirinhas and conversations, feijoada and fun, and our friendship was unshakable from that point forward.

Over the next 4 years, Paige and I made countless memories together including trips throughout Brazil, local adventures in São Paulo, the joys and struggles of living life abroad, becoming moms (within a month of each other!) and then doing it a second time, and so many other details that only happen when you live daily life alongside someone.

And then we all moved. And daily life was no longer side by side. One of the hardest parts of our move was not being in such close proximity to our friends (OK so this post is about Paige but really we had such an amazing core group of friends there).

In March, I celebrated my 30th birthday. Michael and I took an awesome trip to celebrate. It was perfect and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. But I wasn’t with friends.

Paige and her family now live in South Africa. She’s due with her 3rd baby in June. She decided to fly across the world FOR A WEEKEND (so that she wouldn’t burden her family by being away for too long) to celebrate me for my birthday. She brought with her suitcases bursting with THIRTY gifts from South Africa. Treasures that are now placed throughout my house for me to see every day (vases, art, dishes, textiles, books), or pieces that I wear regularly (purses, jewelry) and remember that special weekend and my incredible friend.

We didn’t do anything extravagant but we spent all weekend hanging out and it was so great. Colt was almost just as happy as me, counting down the days to Paige’s arrival, squealing for joy when he saw her and never leaving her side the whole time. And Finn, her godson, was equally enamored.

Words can’t do it justice but thank you Paige!!

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Paige arrived Friday morning and was waiting for the boys when they woke up! They loved their South African cheetah and lion!

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Our first stop was for welcome donuts!!

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Mix!

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Afternoon walk through our neighborhood.

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Afternoon opening 30 PRESENTS! Paper was flying. There was squealing. Here I’m already wearing 2 necklaces and a new purse!

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A few more treasures.

That night we did dinner out in Arlington at one of our favorite spots, Kapnos Taverna.

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Saturday morning milk and cartoons.

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Brunch with a few of Paige’s other DC area friends.

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More snuggles with the boys.

Afternoon/Evening in Georgetown!

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Walking around Kalorama. Ivanka Trump’s house behind us. Obamas’ house was totally blocked off.

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Cupcakes and Pedicures! The perfect combo.

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Micheal met us out for dinner at The Sovereign.

Sunday we were thrilled to bring Paige to our church, Restoration.

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Sunday afternoon walking around Old Town, Alexandria. (Funny note on this photo: We have never had a double stroller. We randomly grabbed this one from the side of the road – don’t judge – used it this one time then put it right back on the road a few days later and someone else took it. We are just not double stroller people…)

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Park on the water in Old Town.

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Such a scenic place to play!

We met up with our good friends, the Millars, for pizza!

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Colt and his buddy Jack at dinner.

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Monday morning snuggles and Snap Chat.

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One more trip to Sugar Shack for donuts.

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Paige helping Colt.

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A ramen spot for lunch.

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Colt trying his hand at chopsticks.

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The master!

When Paige left I felt so filled up, refreshed and energized by her visit and yet also felt a huge hole in my heart and life. What an incredible gesture of friendship and what a wonderful time we had together. I love you, Paige!