Monday, December 8, 2014

Today I woke up ready to tackle things. 

I love when I wake up like that cause it isn't as often these days. 
Honestly this last week has been very draining and discouraging. We just aren't seeing progress with our daughter's healing and these past few days were particularly bad. Her hiccups were relentless for days and her poor tummy was so tired. Is there anything worse than watching your kid suffer and being helpless to stop it. ARG!

But they went away praise God around midnight so this morning I wanted to finally refill our fridge (it was sadllllly empty haha, I caught my poor hubby trying to make a pb and j on a corn tortilla today!) Plus I thought it would be fun to Christmas shop at Walmart with the kiddos. I forgot Walmart and Fun hardly ever go together, right? Why is it! I always go in there all ready to conquer my list and almost always leave feeling frazzled. I think it's because I realize I forgot something but don't want to walk another mile across the store! 
But this morning I blasted the Christmas music with my kids and was ready! I even put my ugly tennis shoes on ---- not a window shopping trip !!!! 

Walmart went almost seamlessly, of course I forgot several things (why do I even make a list?!) but my kids were awesome rock stars! Since we were right next to Chick Fil A I figured we could grab lunch and I would let the kids run on the play structure. Of course functioning with Juliana's new food restrictions has really been challenging. I have to always have something with me she can have - which usually means I need to have made it from 10 different kinds of flours -- but I looked online ahead of time and saw that they have this cool allergy chart for Chick fil A and it said the grilled chicken was soy, wheat, etc free. So I definitely hyped it up and she was excited (obviously I learned not to do that again lol), because when I got there and saw ALL the ingredients for them soy was definitely in there. This really frustrated me but lets not go into that lol. She happily enjoyed her fries and fruit cup. 
William decided to have an explosive diaper in the play structure. Let me first say I NEVER.....NEVER go anywhere without complete sets of clothes for both my kids. They are always in the bag and usually more in my car because it's a mess. I do not know what happened but I had nothing at all. Obviously we cleaned up and rushed off the structure (don't forget the crying 3 year old cause we now have to leave right away) to change him. I will spare you non-parents the details. But just imagine flowing poop everywhere and on everything. YEP! This girl pulled up next to my car where I was cleaning him up and clothes and wipes are falling out of the car and she gave me a great pity look :/ 
Then comes the fun part where I realize there is nothing in that whole care for him to wear and we still have 2 places to go. We live 30 minutes from all these stores so there is no going home. So he ended up in a pair of his sisters mud covered polka dot tights that I found in the car pocket. And off we went to costco haha!

(my son's awesome attire)

Costco. is. a. zoo. Do not got there unless it's 10 am! I felt super on it as I checked ingredients on everything and then forgot to grab half of them (again....yep!) A few people also laughed at his tights but who cares LOL!

(you can sense the exasperation in this one:) 

We got to hold up the entire food line while they got the box for their "fruit" smoothie so I could see the ingredients.........just because I want to make 20 angry Christmas shoppers behind me hate me even more than they already do cause my kids are freaking out :)

(This is line to LEAVE Costco!)

Moral of the story, take clothes everywhere with you and maybe don't go to 4 places in one morning. 

But look at this full fridge! Beauty!!

Honestly even though crazy, I loved this day. It was normal. I have been learning to appreciate the normal parent struggles of having kids instead of the isolating ones we have been facing lately where we are always at some kind of test or doctors office. Today was great :) Kids are awesome :)  

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pain and Struggles. This is real life.

We all have moments in our life where our perspective changes. 
It can be small things like a conversation with a friend that changes your thinking about something, or bigger moments like grand trips, new love or times of crisis. 

For anyone following along with me lately you know we've been dealing with some challenging health issues with our 3 year old daughter. "challenging". Everyone says when the doctor says you will feel "some discomfort". Come on already it's gonna hurt! 

Last week we spent 3 days in the hospital searching for answers and getting lots of testing done. While I was happy to be getting it all done and finally know, anyone's natural tendency when in the hospital is just to GET OUT lol. You just want to go home even if you know getting answers is better. 

I've had lots to think about since then. Not only for my own daughter's health but all the other families we met. Since Jules' wasn't a "sick" contagious child we were on the wing of the hospital with the other children getting MRI's or who have cancer. 

I can't stop thinking about them. We got my daughter's biopsy results today and it shows that she has an immune disease called eosinophilic esophagitis, basically her esophagus is having an allergic reaction to foods and such---as I understand it. It was incredibly inflamed and could be the cause of her terrible hiccups and a slue of other problems. BUT it is fixable. She will be fine. Is it what I want for my child? Of course not. But she will be fine. 

So there I am for 3 days hanging out with the parents of kids fighting cancer, watching their life.................and wondering if my child ends up having a brain tumor what my life may look like. Then I get that call today and while I take probably my first deep breath in a long time, I instantly think of all the other parents who didn't get results like that. Sure we can move forward and over time forget that terrible place of sick and dying children, but that is a reality for so many families. 

(I walked into the play room and my mom was telling the kids stories, love my mom)

Jeremy and I were talking on the way home from the hospital about how we all have levels in our life of what is the "most stressful thing in our life (currently)". For us this definitely was the top. MRI's, sedation's, lots of talk of tumors and worse of all unknowns. But for others........MRI's are a part of their monthly check, or they have IV's with CHEMO stamped on it like little Ben who I met and grew so fond of in 3 days. For them, what we are going through is so much lower.
 But then there we were, comparing our problems to our neighbor we had in our room who needed a knee MRI. We found ourselves thinking "I wish we were just here for a knee MRI". But that's just it, for them that was the highest stress they've encountered. They were scared, they were stressed and even if we KNEW (in our minds) our stress was greater it doesn't change the reality in front of them.

We both vowed to try try try and remember this when interacting with our friends, family and anyone we see. 
We always think what we are going through is the most important thing because it is the most stressful thing to us. But that doesn't mean we can belittle other people's struggles just because we know ours are greater. But it does mean we can remember there are others around us who may be battling bigger things. These people are everywhere. 

(Hospital view sunrise, lots of prayer done here.)

You may be running through dollar tree on your way to hang out with friends or in a hurry to get your kids home for lunch and nap but each person you interact with is struggling with something very real and very big to them. On Thursday I walked to a nearby deli while Juliana was having her MRI. There was nothing I could do for those 3 hours. The nurses encouraged me to go for a walk and get some food. Oh sure, ok, I'll walk the park while my toddler is sedated and completely out of my care.
While I felt like standing outside the door and crying (maybe I did that too for a bit :) I knew it was a good idea. So I walked to this beautiful market. I was in my own world. Almost like when ou feel like you're in a dream ya know? Everywhere I saw people laughing and enjoying meals together or deep in conversation. How could life be going on like normal all around me while my baby was inside a machine looking for tumors in her chest? The girl at the counter asked what brought me in that day and I mentioned that sadly I was coming from the hospital. Before I left she brought over two caramel cookies and put them on my table saying "for you" with a smile :) That meant so much to me in that moment. 

So I want to try to do more of that. Not be so in my own bubble of kids, shopping, cleaning and LIFE that I can't see hurting people around me. The opportunities to share the Gospel are endless we just need to look up. We hate talking about pain and struggles but that is daily life people. You're not reminding someone of their struggle when you ask about are showing them you see it and care about it. 

Thank you for your prayers for her! We need lots of prayer that her hiccups would not get that bad again because we really don't want to go back to the hospital :) As much as we miss our little friends :) 

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A face of fear

Alright, time to be real. It's never fun to show your inner yucky struggles with people but this is where true growth and encouragement come from I think. 

Fear is something that has consistently overwhelmed my life.

As I kid I worried about pretty much anything and everything I could think of. 

As a teenager God began working in me hard......showing me the beginnings of what living a life with him could like. That this thing.........this thing called FEAR that till then had crippled me could be lifted off my shoulders through complete trust in him.

This continued into college as a continual and painful process of learning to let go. Sometimes every hour of every day. I longed to live my life with no fear and worry, it bothered me that this was still and issue in my life. 
Into married life I grew even more and God used my husband with his constant optimism and calm presence to really challenge me.

Then my first baby was born it was like I took 100 steps back. My fears had always been for me, my family, my friends. But this tiny new life catapulted that fear to a completely new level. I had never struggled with worry as much as those first months with her. I had never felt like a literal part of my heart was outside of me, unable to be kept safe despite all my efforts. Ohhhh man how God worked in me that first year. Finally being able to give the most precious thing I had ever known over to him was so hard, but also so freeing.

Sometimes fear seems just at bay, like a storm coming in that threatens to consume me. I love the words from that Hillsong song that sing "So I will call upon your name, and keep my eyes above the waves." Sometimes that's all I can do. Keep my eyes above waves of fear that want to overtake me.

Times when it threatens to take over I get a little glimpse of what my life would look like without him, I can't imagine living like that.

It is still a struggle. 

I won't lie I often am just so aggravated that this is even an issue for me, that I just leave it behind as a past struggle never to surface again. Since my life belongs to God I want to not have fear catch my foot so often. But I know that this is a reality until I am home with him. But what a joy to know that one day it won't be. 
This is written during a time when I would have normally been undone with worry about my child and her health.

So thankful that I can rest in him. That I can unload the huge burden that carrying this would have been onto his shoulders. 

I hope this encourages those of you who struggle with fear and worry daily. That you will allow him to take that off your shoulders and learn to rest in him. To hide under his wings.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Usually blogging is the outlet I use to write about life and things I am passionate about -- particular subjects that get my blood pumping so much I have to get them out lol! 

But then life has seasons (and you all know!) of maintenance.
 This is a step lower than survival mode. Survival mode is what is sounds like -- literally surviving. Making sure everyone is fed, rested (somewhat) and clean (maybe). 
Then maintenance mode is doing the days work but little to know time or inspiration for projects, writings, or any form of DIY project to ensue! 

So for us lately we have been in maintenance mode! Life has been BUSY! I mean, when is it not right? But it has been especially busier than we are used to. A massive change in jobs, ministry, day to day life and yesterday a big wedding that was the focus for much of the summer! :) Such a huge blessing to be my sister in law's MOH and almost made it the whole day without a tear! 

I have loved every day and all the fun things we have been doing but I miss my down time with my kiddos and the necessary outlet of projects that maintains my sanity. So hoping there is more of that in the near future. 

The challenge for me (and hopefully I can challenge you!) is that busyness is just the stuff we are doing. The things that fill our day, and no matter how great, important or unimportant they are -- can't replace relationships. 

Yes you may have a hundred errands to run and your kids may be freaking out in dollar
 tree, but take the extra minutes to love the people around you. That's our job! To show them who Christ is. And that IS in everyday life. 

We may hate that the people at the park are screaming profanities at their children but instead of running away because it pushes our kids outside their safe bubble for a few minutes, let them see you interact and care for that person. 

We can't be so consumed with our schedules and issues (even if great!) that we can't even see those around us. It's not about doing good deeds because we are not good people. It's about showing them the love of Christ which is eternal and unconditional. They--just like us--do not have to clean up before coming to him. 

Anyways that's all I have time for. A few baskets of adorable pink and blue laundry needs to be folded :) Thank you for those who have asked about Jules! PRAYING the MRI is this week so we can move on! Her hiccups got very bad this weekend and we decided to try the Benadryl the Dr. prescribed to try for when they got really bad again. Well.....she fell into a dead sleep which was kind of freaky but they stopped! So praying that will work until we can find the source because they exhaust her poor baby.

Thanks friends! 

Fun with Jeremy's family today! 

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

MRI madness :(

I've never been one to be mad or upset with our medical system. Nothing has ever really bothered me or gone wrong in direct correlation with our doctors or services. 

This week has been a WHOLLLLLLLLE new story.

 I know lots of you have been praying for our toddler, thank you! While it seems funny to say, she has had terrible hiccups for over a year that come and go but have been progressively getting worse to the point where she pretty much always has them now. She'll have them all day all night with no breaks for days. Then she will have a day off and then they start again. Last week one night she was having so many (like 8 hiccups at one time) to where she was gagging to try and exhale. Her Dr. felt like something was really weird and not right with these hiccups. So last week we visited her pediatrician and got xrays, blood work (oh joy) and other tests done. Her Dr. said words you never really want to hear as even a possibility for your child. She mentioned that intractable hiccups can be a symptom of something growing/touching the nerve that causes the diaphragm to a tumor. Fantastic. lol. It would be one thing if she dropped that word and then got her in for an MRI the next day, but it has now been 2 weeks since that. We have been working very hard at keeping our minds from running away, knowing that we don't know anything for certain yet.

Even though we feel really strongly that she doesn't have a brain tumor (maybe just hopeful?) we would still like to be able to breath again knowing there isn't one there causing these hiccups. 
It has been such a hassle unlike anything we have ever done to try and get this MRI scheduled. What we thought was a simple order from her Dr. was anything but. The radiologist didn't review it for days, the insurance company denied it, her Dr appealed it, they approved it but only in part, etc etc etc. 
We have called 5 times a day everyday trying to be annoying and persistent to get this through. It is the worst feeling ever to feel powerless over your child's health. Even worse, to feel like no one really cares. We are SO thankful her pediatrician is equally angry and very much our advocate in this. Unfortunately she is not a specialist so her voice doesn't mean much. 

So today they finally finally finally called us! BUT they told us two things. 

ONE = They had a spot for her tomorrow (great! I was thinking!) but it's at 4 pm.......and they need her to fast all day until that point. Ummmm I'm sorry, the fact that a pediatric imaging center is even requesting me to not feed my 3 year old all day till after the appointment which would be evening is crazy. I don't even know how I could do that! 
TWO = Only imaging her brain STEM was approved, so she will need to get another order and do this all again for the entire brain. This is where I really got angry. She's fasted, she's sedated, she's in the machine and they refuse to look 4 inches up and do this all at once!?!? This really made her Dr. mad too. 
We had a very hard afternoon today trying to decide what to do. If we said no to tomorrow's appointment offer we basically give up her urgent MRI status and the next option is 3 weeks from now (cause that makes perfect sense right? For a toddler who could have a brain tumor?)
But we both just felt like there was no way we want to do this twice especially having to not let her eat ALL day (did I mention tomorrow is her birthday too :( . So we chose to wait and take the later appointment. It's hard hoping that something ISN'T in there growing or getting worse because we chose to wait, but we really didn't know what else to do. 
Anyways, that's our current frustration. I am sure it uplifted your evening LOL. 

Please pray for her. Pray her hiccups don't come back as bad as they have been, please pray she doesn't have any new symptoms, and most of all pray that an MRI appointment will come available and that the scan will be CLEAR.
Thank you friends! 
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Picture Wall Hanging

I've had several people ask about this post, which is funny because it was literally so easy! 
Here is the link for you to check it out.
It would be even EASIER if you did it more like a collage with no spacing involved :) Maybe it's time I make another with chalk paint!

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pins and Projects!

Pins to try!

Earl Grey Ice Cream ............ Yes please!

Obsessed with these colors this summer. Thankfully they are also the colors for the wedding I'm in this fall! Yea!

Would LOVE to do this! Then the rain can just wash it clean :) 

Definitely trying this! I am grain and sugar free right now and this looks amazing :) although the choc chips have sugar?

I put a request for this in with the Hubs........we'll see :) 

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Friday, August 22, 2014

I usually wait to blog until late at night when all kids are asleep  in bed and duties are done, but some scenarios are so funny and challenging I just have to stop and write them out so that I will hopefully one day look back and at least snicker?

Or at least to give you a good laugh if you don't have kids.

When I worked my first job at the coffee shop/deli I used to get excited when I could make someone's sandwich order super really fast! At the bank I found pride in working quickly and dealing out cash cleanly and swiftly. 
Today I found pride in wrapping a present. Seriously. Somehow these menial daily tasks come to be huge accomplishments when you have two kids (you out there with 4 or more, you win!) I decided we should wrap this present really quickly (haha) since it's not really a valid thing to put off until my husband is home to help.....I mean really! 

So I sit down on the ground to let Juliana "help" me wrap a present for a little friend's birthday party tomorrow. She loves to cut and use tape -- obviously, she's almost 3. As I attempt to fold each piece over the box William is also right there to help tear anything I literally don't have my body blocking him from (imagine that game "protect the president" yep that was me with the present). At the same time Jules' decides it's time to cut right down the middle as well as the sides. Awesome. Yay for learning and using scissors. My kids were somehow not fooled with the little pieces of wrapping paper I gave them each to play with...HA! There's nothing quite like trying to block a crafty one year old from climbing on top of the box every second while you have tape on each finger and a hand over the scissors the 3 year old is using. Magically we somehow got paper around all sides of this large box. Lots of words were exchanged like "please stop screaming William" and "Ok put the tape right.......that spot works too." I think I'll happily find pride in looking at that sadly wrapped present haha! I know fellow moms can relate. These kinds of circumstances happen ALLLLLL day long and sometimes all you can do is laugh. Some day you will go to the bathroom and not have an audience shredding toilet paper or overflowing the sink with water. 
What fun with that be right? :) 

Have a great day!!! 


This video shows why I don't usually blog during the day. Annnnnnnd they got the markers out and decided to TOGETHER color this awesome present. 

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Food and Health Journey

Sometimes I forget to stop to remember, oh my gosh I am never sick anymore!

Before you ask I"ll just tell you, by sick I mean digestionally (word?) just so that's all cleared up for everybody :) 

Side's like all my life when people would ask me what happens to me when I eat dairy. I would try to vaguely say, "um...I feel really sick". They then press it by asking more "What happens to you?"
DO THEY REALLY WANT TO KNOW?! I am sure they were just wondering if my throat was going to close up or something but anyways. The same applies here, when I mean sick I mean stomach sick.

It was really bad during my high school and college years, but probably peaked those first few years of marriage. Looking back it's like "duh, of course I felt awful, I was eating garbage!"

The thing was I wasn't eating garbage like most people probably think. It wasn't donuts, fast food, pizza, or that kind of junk all day. It was the food that still most American's think is the normal everyday food. 

Here is how my diet looked at that time:

Breakfast: Cereal 2-3 bowls.
(keep in mind I eat a LOT of food, not sure why lol)

Snack: Something bready like a bagel, granola bar or wheat thins

Lunch: Sandwich or left overs with fruit and pretzels and diet coke

Snack: If I had time for a snack it would be a yogurt or whatever was in the break room at work or even worse........candy. Afternoon was my candy hour.

Dinner: Traditional American meals like spaghetti, bbq with bread and rice, anything whole grain and lower fat.

I stocked up on things that were whole wheat and whole grains and kept fats to a minimum by eating ground turkey, low fat cheese if any.

It's hard to know how that long process of several years got me to this place but through family and reading which led to more interest and more reading as well as observing changes in my family I thought I might as well try something. I was sick all the time and also anemic. 

My first "leap" like many others was to try the whole gluten free deal. It was/is a trendy choice so I thought I'd try it. I got into it pretty easily since there are so many GF options. The problem is I started realizing I wasn't necessarily eating healthier, I was just substituting all the baked goods I usually ate wheat flower in with gluten free flours. 

My sister in law made us watch Fat Head and I would have to say that was the beginning of truly understanding how backwards we have it. The "food pyramid" we've always been taught has so many things wrong with it. 

I won't get into all the lies we are told and mass amount of chemicals and garbage we are eating in EVERYDAY food, BUT I hope you'll read more on your own and begin looking on the back of you food. Always aim for as little steps as possible between the ground/earth and your plate! 

I always had been familiar with "good fats" like avocados and nuts but really didn't understand how badly our body needs fats. Turkey bacon finds no home here hehe :) I know it can be so hard to get yourself to eat something you have always seen as "fattening" but your body will need it especially if you take out major grains and sugar. 

This change happened slowly for me. I learned more about my all or nothing personality! I am so the kind of person who wants to go ALL in, all organic, all grass-fed, etc. etc. Because the more you learn the more you want to do it all. But that isn't to say that there aren't huge hiccups for me even now. Our bodies are so addicted to processed and chemical filled foods. We have had them since we were kids and will always temp us because of the connection they hold. I find myself getting too lazy and I start eating wheat and lots of sugar again, and it gets even harder to stay away from them when I do this.

My diet is in no where near perfect at all, even now I am going back through a strict "detox" with my sisters of no grains or sugars. I don't do it to be skinny or legalistic, but because I feel too good while eating this way. If you don't believe me just try it! 

Diet Currently (give or take):

Breakfast: Eggs and meat (ham -not lunch meat real ham, canadian bacon, bacon)

Snack: Spinach smoothie (almond milk, spinach, frozen berries, almond butter, chia seeds)

Lunch: Turkey "sandwich" lettuce wrapped. (Check out the full turkey breast at Costco, you can slice it), fruit, veggies, usually some Luke's organic chips with homemade salsa 

Snack: Peanut butter with apple, string cheese, carrots and hummus

Dinner: We almost always eat some kind of meat (lots of chicken drumsticks since we aint scared of fat!), grilled summer squash, caprise salad --with full fat cheese of course!, sometimes rice or quinoa

Dessert: Something like this :) mug cookie without the sugar or chocolate chips

There are SO many ideas for eating cleanly. I know it can be WAY overwhelming at first but some of my favorite blogs are these:

I am never sick anymore and feel so so great. You would be amazed at how linked the food you eat is to that afternoon lull or an overall sluggish feeling :) 

I'll write a post soon about eating this way with little kids in the house. Do them a HUGE favor and don't addict them to foods they will have to fight against later :) They will eat what you give them if that's all they have ever known.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Vacation = what it means with small kids

We are back from camping! 
The exclamation mark is there for 2 reasons. 
It was fun!
And it is done! 

Let me get right to the point of why I think vacation changes when you have kids.
It may be obvious, but really......It's because it's not about you. 

Camping had it's high points and low points for us. We arrived in Tahoe and excitedly started setting up camp. We booked a group site to accommodate our 20 people (yes this trip was immediate family) so it was fun to figure out who would sleep where and where we would gather to eat, etc. But the sun quickly faded and VERY dark clouds rolled in for what we assumed in our happy beginning of camping spirits would be a light rain. Minutes later we are being pounded with huge hail. Then torrential downpour of rain for about 2 hours. Most of us were huddled under a tarp we had hung minutes before while my mom and sister had 6 of the 10 kids in her tent. Yikes!

Just because camping with tiny children isn't challenging fun enough, add rain please! All that dust and dirt, lets make it mud! Unfortunately it continued to rain on and off like this, and more MARBLE sized hail for 2 of our 3 days. But here is the point - the kids didn't care. If anything, they were having more fun.

I realized something that I should have before, with now 2 kids it really hit home this trip. Vacation is fun for me because of what I get to watch my kids enjoy. I want to do stuff that they will have a blast doing. Of course I am happy to grab my book and escape for a bit! And nothing beats sitting with your adult siblings around a fire long after ALL kids have gone to bed playing games, eating and laughing. It's great! But the bulk of vacation and the bulk of my efforts went to creating a fun time for my little family. 

I had to think back to my memories of camping as a kid. How fun it was. Nothing better than waking up and running outside to your bike and to play till the sun goes down. But of course now I can see all the work my mom and dad did during all those trips to create such a fun environment for us. And never begrudgingly, as if put out that vacation now meant hot cocoa with their kids instead of pina coladas on a beach (don't worry they made sure to get those vacations in too :) But they were having a great time, just like I did because my kids were. While camping with a 1 and 3 year old was more work than rest, I am excited about doing it again when they are older! 

You have to await the fun times as you work hard packing, setting up, cooking, cleaning up, prepping beds, getting kids IN bed, "sleeping" (lets not even visit how that went) and then relive all the fun moments as you pack up camp and then spend 2 days unpacking and cleaning when you get home. 
If you are sensing a love/hate relationship with this camping vacation you are spot on :) 

Here is a picture overload for your viewing pleasure! 

First stop....Tahoe House! Amazing pastries :) 

Our awesome stay

Getting the tarp up just in time!

Happy babies 

Only picture with my boy :( Sadly I am blinking lol

Helping Nonni wash dishes camping style


Riding bikes Alllllll day long. Please note my adorable nephew eating his dinner facing the trailer hehe :) 

on the look out for the squirel who had it out for us :( He was dropping pine cones full of sap right and left. broke my parents back window :( Sad Day!

Sleeping baby on the beach :) 

Fun memories!

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