Oh, Christmas Tree! 2018

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I didn’t have time to post these before we left for NYC last weekend, but the tree went up last week!  … And seriously, all of the sudden, the house feels so magical with all the Christmas spirit!

The boys were in awe looking at all the lights and ornaments, I immediately pulled out my camera and started snapping photos of them and their sweet gestures.  They each took one ornament off and played with it for a few minutes, but that was about it!   I’m really surprised they didn’t start grabbing everything and pull the tree down on top of them!  I mean, sometimes these boys can be confused for wild animals…  It’s been up for about 10 days now and everything is still in tact.  This mama (two thumbs pointing at myself) is amazed!

Tree pics from the past can be found here, here, and here.

Has your family put their tree up yet?!? Do you use a real or fake tree?  I always get a real tree.  I’m sure I have written this in the past, but the smell of a live fraser fir is probably one of the best smells of all time.  My whole house is consumed in the scent and I LOVE IT!!!  Sure, the needles are annoying, and the tree will never have the perfect shape… but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I hope the Christmas spirit has hit your homes too!  Happy December, everyone!  It’s going to be a crazy, fun, exciting month!


So very thankful…

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Happy belated Thanksgiving, y’all!  We were in Houston visiting family for the holiday (which was SO wonderful), then on Friday I came down with a terrible head cold, so I have been out of commission the last few days… but I’m thankful!!  I’m thankful for my mom who made us dinner last night so that I didn’t have to (AND cleaned my kitchen afterwards), I’m thankful for my husband who works so hard to allow me the luxury of staying home (even though we all know that we parents never get a “sick day”), and I’m forever grateful for my beautiful babies… they make everything sweeter and more special just by existing. Well, not so much when they are throwing temper tantrums and screaming loud screeches while mama has a terrible headache from coughing up a lung… but I’m still thankful for them ;).

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends!

PS I’m feeling a wee bit better today! In case you were wondering… LOL!


Alaska on the Disney Wonder

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If you are considering taking a cruise through Alaska,  if you are dreaming of taking a cruise through Alaska, if taking a cruise through Alaska is a top bucket list item, if you have heard about cruises through Alaska and you thought to yourself, “hmmm… that might be something I want to do some day”… Stop whatever planning you have for your next family vacation (you know it’s probably somewhere Caribbean…), and book a freaking cruise through Alaska!!

We decided, on a whim, to make the trek to the opposite coast to catch the Disney Wonder for a 7 night cruise out of Vancouver, B.C. and I can’t even begin to describe how great it was!  We stayed in a hotel that was connected to the boat terminal called Pan Pacific and they all but carried us to the boat.  They brought our Disney luggage tags, transported our luggage to the boat so we didn’t have to hassle with them, and we just went down the elevator the morning of departure, checked in, and got right on!  Not one issue whatsoever!  Here is a view from our room of the boat:

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Now, I did not have the highest expectations for this cruise even though everything I had heard about Disney Cruise Line was extremely positive.  To be honest, I’m just not a cruise person.  I like to plan my own trips, be able to rent a car and just go.  I don’t like the idea of being confined on a big ol’ boat, around thousands of people I don’t know, in a shoebox sized room, with germs everywhere… ewww…. but y’all, this Disney cruise exceeded every single expectation… by a lot!

From the moment we set foot on the boat and they introduced our family to the whole entire boat our experience started.  We went and ate fine dining, which you would think with kids would be a complete sh*t show, but for some reason it was like a dream.  Disney sure knows how to pick their employees, they all seemed to LOVE my children!  I mean, my kids are no angels, and I don’t even pretend that they are.  They can be real a**holes sometimes.  But the staff, literally every single one, pretended to LOVE my kids.  It was a little weird at first, but you get used to it.

Next, we explored the ship.  First things first, the kids club and nursery. This is where you can drop your kids pretty much any time of day (if not all day ;)) and they can play and be entertained with children their own ages!  DREAM!!!!  So if you and your hunny want to frolic around like teenagers, go see a movie, get drunk… kids club is what’s up!  If you scroll up to where you see Bennett in a area that looks like “Andy’s Room” from Toy Story, he literally would wake up wanting to go to kids club.  And surprisingly, Remy didn’t mind the nursery!  Again, all of the workers were super friendly, always knew my kids names, the check in and check out was super secure, and if the kids were ever not 100% happy and wanted us, they would call us on our portable ship phone which is in every stateroom.

Speaking of stateroom, they were cleaned twice a day, spotless.  One night we ordered room service (because it doesn’t cost anything on the boat- yeah, you heard that correctly) and Bennett accidentally spilled BBQ sauce on the carpet.   I quickly cleaned it up and thought no one could see where it was, well, I have no idea how they knew, but our carpets were professionally cleaned the next morning while we were out on an excursion.  CRAZY!!!  We had a veranda were we had plenty of whale sightings.  We even witnessed a baby Orka learning life strategies from it’s mama!  It was amazing!  We also saw icebergs, up close and personal, going through the Tracy Arm Fjord to Sawyer Glacier (pictured above).  Just stunning!

We did plenty of excursions, I cannot even remember them all.  One of our favorites was the train ride via White Pass and Yukon Railway (starting from Skagway) which takes you across the U.S./ Canadian boarder.  The views from the train cars are incredible. Bennett especially enjoyed this!  Remy participated, but chose to take a nap instead of enjoy the scenery.

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  Another thing we really loved was the seaplane!  It was about an hour long ride in and out of the misty fjords.  It was stunning!  We couldn’t get out (which was the plan) because of the rain, but it was still a great experience.  It’s all Bennett could talk about for weeks!

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Again, Remy participated, but chose to sleep instead of enjoy the views.

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For the seaplane excursion, we got to ride in this trolley to the Docks!

The other excursion we really loved was whale watching in Juneau! Unfortunately, it was a longer excursion, I think it was about 6 hours total, and Remy was not able to participate (age) so he had to stay in the nursery.  Which, again, he didn’t mind ;).  So it was just  husband, Bennett, & I!

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We also got to hike a little bit to see Mendenhall Glacier!

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But every day we would get back on the boat, have a fun dinner, see something entertaining, and enjoyed it to the fullest!  I hope this post inspires some of you to take the adventure to Alaska.  Even with small children, it was truly remarkable!

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Sweetfields Farm, 2018

We just love Sweetfields Farm!  This was our third year to go (previous trips are here and here), and each year, as the boys get a little bit older, they love it more and more!  I mean… what’s not to love about getting lost in corn mazes, feeding goats, rubber ducky races, and big bales of hay??? Enjoy the pictures, y’all!

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sweetfields 2018

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Vancouver, B.C.

Hi there!  Hi! Hi! Hi! :)

I want to start this post off with a little apology.  Majority of the photos that were taken in Vancouver were captured with my iPhone and the quality is horrendous.  I think it’s because my phone was on “portrait mode” which if the subject is not entirely still while the picture is being taken, it’s going to turn out blurry… so there’s that.  Sorry.  BUT, aside from the poor photo quality, goodness gracious!  This was an amazing family trip!

A few months ago, I had a sudden urge to go on a Disney cruise… and not just the easy peasy, catch the boat right here in Florida, go straight to the Caribbean for a few days and come back Disney cruise, because that would just be too convenient… <insert sarcastic voice here>.  No, we decided to be crazy and fly across the country to catch the Disney Wonder out of Vancouver!  We arrived 3 days early so that we could adjust to the time difference, which was actually really smart of us to do.  Then we were on the boat for seven days!

My next post will be all about the crusie but for now, I want to chat about Vancouver and how much I love Canada in general.  I think if I could vacation in Canada every summer I would.  The weather is incredible, the people are SO FREAKING NICE, and there is so much to do and see!  This was my first time in Vancouver.  I had did some research to see what the most family friendly places to see and things to do were and with three days I feel like we didn’t even scratch the surface.
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The first thing we did was explore Stanley Park… isn’t that the first stop for everyone who visits Vancouver?

We visited the Vancouver Aquarium which was located right inside the park.  It’s always such a treat for the boys when we go to aquariums because they are so fascinated with all the fish.  To be totally honest, I don’t think it was as good as the Florida Aquarium which is located right here in Tampa where we live, but… that’s just my own personal opinion.  To me, it didn’t seem as clean and it didn’t have enough unique exhibits.  Overall, it was entertaining especially since it rained almost the entire day, so we made the most of it!

Next, we had to ride the train.  Bennett is currently obsessed with trains.  My mom recently found a bunch of vintage Thomas the Tank Engine figurines that I believe at one point belonged to my brother, and Bennett loves them!  He knows all of their names, we watch the Thomas movies, I even invested in a train table from Pottery Barn so that he could build tracks and store all the pieces in some form of organized chaos.  The Stanley Park Train was a hit!  The boys loved riding around through the redwoods and hearing the whistle blow!

After the train, we got some snacks at a close by snack bar, which there are tons of places to stop and eat in the park.  I wish the weather had been a little nicer for us because I hear that renting a bike and riding along the water is a great way to see the city and the entire park.  It rained almost all day while we were there so we were pretty limited on activities.  We did make it to the totem poles and the light house though!

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The next day we decided to be crazy and walk across some suspension bridges!

Oh, this was sooooo much fun! Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is AWESOME!  To anyone reading this, please go to Vancouver and go there!  The kids (and us adults!!) had the best time looking out over the canopy of huge redwoods and walking across the scary bridges connecting the treetops.  Truly an experience we will remember forever!

**Travel tip- if you plan to go the Capilano, get there right when they open.  We were like the second family there when they opened and had the entire place to ourselves it felt like!  So cool to see without all the crowds which were building when we were leaving.**

Later that day we drove about an hour north to the Sea to Sky highway all the way to Squamish where you can ride a gondola up the mountain to yet another cool suspension bridge and super fun play ground for kiddos!

You guys, go to Vancouver, B.C. when you have a chance.  It’s incredible!


Iceland :: Northern Region (Part 3)

Godafoss Waterfall

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Icelandic Ponies

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Lake Myvatn
Akureyri

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^This picture was taken around 12:30 or 1 a.m.^

The sun never completely went down, making it extremely hard to sleep some nights. During the winter it is the complete opposite, where the sun never comes out and it’s dark 23+ hours a day. That would be so depressing…

Northern Iceland

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The view from the house we rented was incredible.

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Whale Watching

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breaching whale

^Breaching Humpback ^

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^The face of the humpback^

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^ And of course... the tail as he dives^

This post is WAY overdue.

The northern region of Iceland was probably my favorite part of the trip.  Not only were we able to relax a little bit and stay in one place for a few days, but the weather was absolutely perfect!  We got to see Godafoss & Lake Myvatn on the way in which were stunning to say the least.  Godafoss really takes your breath away as you approach its vastness.  We got there pretty late which ended up being a great time to go because there was hardly anyone there!

When we got to Akureiyi we could not believe the view from the house we rented. It was straight out of a magazine.  The city was so lively with hip restaurants and bars that served local beers.  Walking the streets of this sweet little town, the people are so friendly, there are tons of cute shops and fun things to look at.  I even tried an authentic Icelandic hotdog!

We got to do some whale watching one of the days which was such a treat because the humpback we spotted actually BREACHED!!  It was the first and only time I have seen a whale do that in the wild!   So cool!

If anyone plans to stay in the northern region during their visit, I highly recommend staying in the home we rented.  Send me a email for the listing!  It was such a beautiful drive and stay, I would do it again in a heartbeat!  Don’t skip the north, you will regret it!