Brady turned 18.

Last week, this little boy that came into my life almost thirteen years ago, turned eighteen!

Bradys favorite meal is steak, asparagus, and potatoes. We got the steaks from Findlay Market, nice and big ones.

Father and sons, crazy how much these kids grow. My nephew Max on the far left is the tallest and keeps growing every time I see him it seems like!

Papa feeding Huxley his baby food, it was hilarious watching him. He was like, who is feeding me?? lol

Doesn’t matter how old kids get, they always want to rough house!

We put Huxley in this Saint Xavier onesie that Uncle Brian got him when he was first born. It was a little snug but wanted him to wear it since his uncle went there for high school. Now we need to get him some LaSalle gear since that’s where his dad went!

Happy 18th birthday Brady!

Happy Birthday, Husband!

Happy Birthday to my person, my husband, my babies daddy! There is quite a bit I can say about you, Kevin. Like the selfless man you are everyday. I’m so thankful for you and the life we are building together. Every year I see you grow as a person and become better with age (even though I’m a few months older lol). You really do give your all to me and the kids with no hesitation.

You always see the positive in both life situations and in people. You always give people the benefit of the doubt. You remind me that we don’t need much in this life, other than each other, and a whole lot of laughter. I hope this is the best birthday ever.

Happy Birthday babe!

The big change.

The time has come for me to quit work and stay at home with these two cuties! Yep, you read that right I quit my job. Today was my last day and I had to document this change in my life somehow.

I have been working in Human Resources for most of my life but have been at my employer for the last five years. It’s a long-drawn-out story, but to sum it all up is my employer wasn’t being the nicest and it was time to go. When you are dreading work every day, and it’s become more of a job than a career, it really is time to leave.

It’s a little scary going from two incomes to one, but we have plans to make it work. Part time jobs, side hustles, things like that. There’s always this blog to make money off of, and I’ve also toyed with the idea of starting an Etsy shop for my love of paper things.

I’ve never really pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom, but the time is here, and I cannot wait. I’ve had a little taste of the stay-at-home life during my maternity leave and it’s not that easy! You really don’t sit at home all day, living the life! It’s a lot of work, but I’m willing to do it all to make this work for us.

It’s going to be one fun summer, not having to work and being able to spend all my time with my family! You might be seeing a lot more blog posts of our adventures, that’s for sure!

Thanks for reading and thanks for your support, to those family and friends, and whoever else might read this from my small corner in the internet land!

Our 2021 Christmas.

We’ve had some fun with the Elf on the Shelf this year! We call our elf Snitch, and he has had some adventures this holiday season. The excitement of finding him each morning is just the best, some mornings were more boring than others but for the most part it was all a success!

Part of our Christmas Bucket List this year, was to go downtown and do the bumper cars and ice skating. We went in the morning on a weekday, and it wasn’t very crowded. The weather was very cold though! The big kids were rockstars at ice skating, Hadley tried it at least but wasn’t a huge fan after she fell twice. She loved the bumper cars, so much fun!

We played Christmas card games, matching and go fish. I keep this set of cards in our Christmas bins, and we only play it during the holiday season to keep it special.

We take turns putting the angel up on the tree, we keep a handwritten list inside the angel container to keep track. This year it was Natalie’s turn, but she wasn’t at the house when we put the tree up so she let Hadley put the angel up in place of her. Growing up, my Grandma and Grandpa did the same thing with all of us grandkids, took turns putting the angel up. Love the little memories we are creating for our kiddos.

The one and only Black Friday purchase we made this year was a mini Keurig maker! I made this little corner of the kitchen a coffee / tea area. Kevin is a one cup of coffee kinda guy, and I like my chai tea latte’s!

Something about a clean kitchen before I go to bed makes me so happy. I try very hard to clean off the counters and dishes before bed, because waking up to a clean kitchen is just the best for me.

I’ve not written a blog post about this, but for two years in a row now I’ve made my own holiday planner for the season. It helps me keep things organized and it’s festive too!

Another Christmas Bucket List item is to make Christmas cookies! Since I’m 30+ weeks pregnant, I try not to stand for long periods of time so this year Hadley did a lot of the baking herself! I sat at the kitchen table, and basically told her what to do, and she did it all herself. She’s going to be a great baker!

Hadley and I got our Christmas mani/pedi done the week of Christmas! We knocked out a lot of our Christmas bucket list the two weeks before Christmas. She loves to get her nails and toes done! It was her idea for the blue snowflakes, and we loved it!

Kevin loves to make fires, and we did a lot of them during the holiday season. Hadley loves to watch and help him make the fires. He would make a fire every night if he could!

Another Christmas Bucket List item, go to the Festival of Lights! We ended up going with our cousins and had the best time. It was cold, but not super cold where it wasn’t enjoyable!

We made it to see Santa just in time before Christmas! This Santa is THE best around, he used to be at the Macy’s downtown but when they closed he moved a little further away. We drive about 45 minutes to see him each year, but he’s so worth it. He takes his time with the kids, really talks to them and makes them feel so special. Plus, he has his real life reindeer outside to see before you see Santa!

This was our first year going to the Coney Island Christmas Night of Lights! It was really neat to see, but not sure we’d go every year. The car line was about 2 hours just to get in to see the lights, then about 30-40 minutes of lights, and then you are done. So overall, almost three hours in the car! My god I had to pee like three times, thank God for portalets!

We celebrated our Christmas two days early this year, due to Kevin having to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So we left out the traditional cookies and milk for Santa!

Santa came!

We always make a big breakfast before we open presents, I know it drives the kids crazy but that’s what we do. And by big breakfast we have pancakes, biscuits, mini cinnamon rolls, bacon, sausage, goetta, eggs, donuts, orange juice, and chocolate milk. And when I’m not preggers, mimosas!

Christmas Eve night we went to my brother-in-laws house. We surely missed Kevin, but he was busy literally fighting two fires. One was a car fire, and the second an apartment fire. The second fire photo above is my husband kneeling down at the door.

Christmas Day was just Hadley and I at home. Snitch the Elf left her a goodbye note, saying how well behaved she was and he’ll be back next year. And in summer clothes of course, this girl was born to be by the water. After dinner, we did a little movie night and she picked out Santa Clause 2 and we had popcorn. If only Dad were home to make us a fire!

Hope you all had a great Christmas, and holiday season!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Christmas won’t be the same this year, but we’re making it through. I’m wishing everyone a happy, and healthy time with the ones you love the most.

Blessings at Christmas
“May the blessing of joy abide within you; May the blessing of peace rest upon you; May the blessing of love flow out through you; May all the blessings of the Lord be yours at Christmas and in the new year.” — Author Unknown

Our Thanksgiving 2021.

Our Thanksgiving 2021! We had my side of the family over our house and it turned out great! It was very calm, peaceful, and low key despite how many people we had in our home. We had about twenty-ish family members plus the kiddos.

We have folding tables we keep in our attic for entertaining, and then our regular dining room table we use also. We had plenty of room since a few family members didn’t come this year. The table cloths on the long tables were paper from Meijers, and then my regular fall table cloth on the regular table. The centerpieces were plain eucalyptus greenery, mini pumpkins, and candles.

Banners made out of cardstock! I love making anything paper, these were all handmade by yours truly.

Pumpkin pie banner for the dessert table. We had two pumpkin pies, two apple pies, and apple fritter bread.

The bar cart. We had two bottles of wine, a decanter of Wellers, and a sparkling pomegranate juice recipe. The sparkling pomegranate recipe can be found by clicking here!

Cardboard turkeys for the kids to color! We used cardboard from the boxes we already had on hand, painters tape, and that’s it! Hadley and I grabbed a few of her washable markers, and let the kids go to town. It was a cute easy idea to entertain the kids!

I do paper plates for Thanksgiving! I don’t want to mess with a million plates to wash afterwards, plus they make pretty cute paper plates for the holidays so it works perfect for us. In the three-tiered metal tray is a fall chex mix that I made. It consisted of chex mix cereal, muddy buddy’s, pretzels, candy corn, reeces pieces, and roasted peanuts. Yum!

My husband putting together his new fryer, with his tool box just cracks me up. Never met a man that loves to cook as much as he does! We had two turkey’s, one was smoked, and one was fried.

The smoked turkey.

The fried turkey.

Hadley named the turkey’s, Tom and Pam. Tom got smoked, and Pam got fried.

And there you have it, our Thanksgiving 2021! Everyone left with their tummies full, which is always a good holiday. It was nice to get together with the family, it had been a long time since we’ve seen everyone. I’m glad those that could come did so, it was good to see everyone and catch up!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Our 2021 Destin beach trip.

We spent last week at the beach! It’s been a few years since we’ve been to our happy place. We squeezed in lots of fun things on this vacation, and the best part about it all was we took our time! It was the most relaxed, chill, no worries kind of vacation! Ready for a photo dump?

Monday, Aug 9

The drive from Cincinnati to Destin is about 11 hours. With this trip being our six year old’s first long drive, we decided to stop at a hotel. Stopping was the best decision ever, we had no time constraint, we got there when we got there. During our drive, I had a few surprise car gifts for Hadley to break up the time. She had already had a bucket full of things to do already, plus her iPad, but these were extra things in case she needed some distractions. Car surprise #1 were the ever so popular pop-its! I don’t know a kid that doesn’t like these things!

We drove for seven hours, with a few rest area stops, and finally stopped in Birmingham, Alabama. The hotel was beautiful, and the staff was so polite! The general manager came out to the pool while we were swimming, and gave us bottled water!

Hadley was super excited to have a bed all to herself!

Tuesday, Aug 10

Woke up and worked out in the hotel gym. Ran on the treadmill for twenty minutes. Kevin and Hadley just chilled in the hotel room. After my workout, I hopped in the shower to get ready to leave for the next drive of our trip. Kevin and Hadley went down to get breakfast while I was finishing up. The hotel breakfast was amazing, they had everything you could ask for which was crazy, especially for a complimentary breakfast during a pandemic! Hadley sat with me while I ate my breakfast, and Kevin packed up the truck.

On the road again! We only had a four hour drive to Destin which seemed super short! We were all pumped and ready to see the ocean! The next car surprise was from Grandma Gail, she brought her a box of goodies for the trip.

We arrived! Hadley was soo excited, she wanted to run straight to the beach! But we had to check in and unload the truck. You know, the not so fun part of vacation. I wish I would’ve taken more photos of the condo, it was so nice. Hadley had bunk beds to sleep on, she slept on the top bunk every night. She loved having her own little area.

We took no time to unload, changed into our bathing suits, and hit the beach! The water was gorgeous! I couldn’t get over how clear it was! It took Hadley about a day and a half to get used to the salt water, and the waves that would almost knock her down as you walked into the ocean. We brought her life jacket which was the best idea, she loved floating in the ocean and not having to worry about not touching.

After the beach, Hadley and Kevin checked out the pool while I went up to the condo to freshen up a little bit. Hadley could swim in a pool everyday all day of her life. She loves the water!

Wednesday, Aug 11

Worked out at the condo gym, we had it to ourselves! Hadley was so cute and tried a few of the machines out while I ran on the treadmill. I hope I encourage her that exercise is an important part of life. After our workout, enjoyed breakfast on the lanai overlooking the beach!

First full day at the beach! We came prepared! Beach toys, life jacket, umbrellas, and beach chairs.

For dinner, we went to Fudpuckers Gator Beach. They had live alligators you could feed while you waited for your table. It was a long wait, but fun while you waited. Super kid friendly!

After dinner, we went swimming in the pool and hung out on the lanai just listening to the ocean. I could listen to that sound all day everyday.

Thursday, Aug 12

My little workout partner! I worked out 5 out of the 7 days we were there full days. Some days I would do the Nike app in the condo, and other days I would go to the gym. I didn’t make it to the beach to walk/run, but maybe next time.

Waking up to this view every morning was the best. I couldn’t imagine having a condo without a beach view.

Our little beach babe! She adapted so well to the beach life. We found her a hat to help with her face getting so hot, it helped so much with her little cheeks. She’s a hot box!

We had a routine for the most part, beach all day then late afternoon I would go up and get ready for dinner while these two swam in the pool.

Some nights, we would eat in the condo instead of going out. After we ate and showered, we headed out for some crab hunting! Hadley was most excited about this. Walking along the beach at night was so nice and peaceful, and the condo looked so pretty all lit up. We saw so many little crabs, and one huge mama crab! I shined the flashlight on the big mama one and it crawled straight into the ocean. It was such a fun night!

Friday, Aug 13

Today was the dolphin cruise! We were up early and ready to roll. We decided to do the morning cruise so it would be less hot, and we’d still have time to go to the beach afterwards.

Waiting for the cruise to start was hot hot, even mid-morning! And Miss Hadley wore her dolphin earrings for the dolphin cruise.

We saw the harbor, Crab Island, and along with the dolphins, we saw some sharks! It was hard to take photos of the dolphins, they were fast.

The water is just gorgeous, and so peaceful to watch. We loved the cruise, the breeze was just enough so you weren’t sweating your booty off.

After the cruise, we walked around a little bit and found this super fun activity to do for kids. We were soo surprised Hadley did it, but she did and loved it! She walked into this deflated giant bubble, they blew it up with her inside of it which she thought was going to be scary but wasn’t. Then the man walked her into the pool, and there she goes! Floating around with other kids in bubbles, and as you can see by the photos nothing but smiles.

After the dolphin cruise, we still had some time to go to the beach! We were so glad we brought her life jacket from the lake, she loved floating in the ocean.

Just like every day, pool time after the beach!

Saturday, Aug 14

Started off the morning with a workout in the condo, did the Nike app.

Clear blue skies, no filter! Another beautiful beach day!

For dinner tonight we went to Lulu’s! Out of all the places we went to eat, this was at the top of the list! Being Jimmy Buffet fans and all, we thought it was pretty neat that this place is owned by his sister Lucy! They had a live one man band playing, the entire place was open so you could feel the ocean breeze, had an outdoor bar area, with sand and access to the beach. It wasn’t very crowded outside, because a storm was rolling in. It was awesome though, and we loved it!

Sunday, Aug 15

Went for donuts for breakfast this morning! The line for this popular place, The Donut Hole, was very very long, like out the door long and this was before 9am. So we decided to do takeout and eat at the condo. They were delicious!

Beach day! Towards the end of our day, Tropical Storm Fred winds started rolling in. The winds were so strong the sand was blowing against our bodies and it hurt! Floaties and pool chairs were flying all over the place, so we headed indoors.

Since the storm turned our beach day short, we went bowling before dinner. This place was called Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill and it was so neat inside. Everything was ocean themed, and it felt like you were bowling inside an aquarium.

After bowling, we went to dinner at the The Back Porch! Food wise, this was our favorite place. The fish was so good and fresh. LuLu’s was great for the ambience, and the food was good too. But the Back Porch food was very good and another place right on the water. Just love eating with the ocean breeze flowing in! We loved hanging out on the beach while we waited for our table.

Monday, Aug 16

Our last full day before we had to leave, Tropical Storm Fred had other plans for us. They closed the beaches, and pools, it was a double red flag day. We took our time in the morning, I worked out, ate breakfast on the lanai, took showers, and took a long walk on the beach. The tide came up to where everyone sits on the beach!

We went to a Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park! This place was huge, and totally worth a visit. Side note, notice the surfers behind the last photo? Double red flag, and surfers were out there! The lifeguards kept coming by and telling them to get out, then they would get right back in. Anyways, we saw a show about seals, and dolphins! And saw so many other ocean animals. It was a very cool place!

After the Gulfarium, we ate at Rockin Tacos for an early dinner. On our last night, we stayed in so we could pack and get everything ready for the road the next day.

Tuesday, Aug 17

On the morning before we left, the beach was just gorgeous! I guess Tropical Storm Fred busted out of there in just one day.

On the road again! Car surprise was more pop-its! We decided to drive for eight hours until Bowling Green, KY. We stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat dinner, haven’t eaten there in ages. I loaded up on pancakes, my favorite there!

The hotel was not as nice as the one in Birmingham. It’s a long story, but let’s just say Kevin isn’t in charge of booking things anymore haha! The indoor pool was okay, we let Hadley swim for just an hour or so. It was already late enough, but she just can’t resist a pool. Oh, and I totally forgot to give her this underwater camera for the beach and pool in Florida! She used it in the pool at the hotel, and got the hang of it.

We had the best time on this trip! Would definitely recommend Destin, and we plan to go back again sometime! I loved how we took our time getting there, had zero plans while we were there, just went with the flow everyday and did whatever. I loved not having a real plan everyday. I did do some research and planning beforehand and had a few places in mind to check out, but nothing set in stone. Hadley loved the beach, and just like anything she does she adapts so well to whatever environment she is in and is such a happy easy going kiddo. Love these memories we’ve created for her and us as a family!

From the past few weekends…

Happy Monday everyone! Catching back up from the last few weeks. We’ve been busy enjoying summer, going to the lake, marking off our Summer Bucket List, and so many other things. I can’t believe July is almost over, this Summer is just flying by soo fast. Love it, but also hate it. Here are some different collages of photos from what we’ve been up to…

Part of our Summer Bucket List was to visit the Mt. Airy Forest Treehouse. We didn’t even know this place existed until I started looking up things to do this Summer. We had the whole place to ourselves, it was so cute. Hadley couldn’t believe how big it was! Afterwards, we stopped at a picnic bench and she drew the treehouse in her journal. And then we played at the playground for a little bit, it was a great day!

We went over to Kevin’s friends pool and swam with him and his family. The pool felt amazing! Afterwards we grilled out, dodging the super fast storm that rolled in. His wife made homemade ice cream, so so good! The Thursday of July 4th weekend, I went to Kroger in the morning and so glad I did. It was already crowded, and going to the store for our family for 10 days at the lake should count as a workout in itself. The cart was so full I could barely push it! We went out to dinner after work that day, and Hadley wearing Dad’s hat at dinner.

Friday of July 4th weekend, we went to a graduation pool party! The kids had a blast, and being around this pool brought back so many memories of our old house and our pool. It was great to see everyone, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect!

July 4th weekend at the lake, started off with the cove party! The house at the end of our cove puts on a band every year, and half the lake anchors in our cove, swims, hangs out, it’s a great time. Our dock was a hot spot, we had so many kids we didn’t know jumping off our high jump!

Sunday was the golf tournament! We came in second place, it was a scramble so pretty easy and fun! It was hot hot hot though, we were sweating our butts off by the end of the tourney. Brady showing off with the winners cape / hat afterwards. Came back to the lake and swam, it felt so good to cool off.

Grandma took the girls to the Ark Encounter for the day. I drove back home for a few days for work, and then came back for the weekend. Everyone else stayed all week long. The big kids took the pontoon boat out by themselves time, and the battery died (because nobody uses it anymore!), and they had to get a tow back to the dock. The pictures the kids took on their phones were hysterical.

Bonfire night! Hadleys first time roasting s’mores. She liked it, so she says. S’mores are so delicious, yet so filling. It was a gorgeous night for a bonfire!

Thursday of last week, we went to the West Chester Clock Tower, for a concert outside. It was nice to just sit, chill, talk, and enjoy live music. Hadley loved the snow cones, people watching, looking at all the different dogs people brought, and playing hangman with Grandma.

Another Summer Bucket List item marked off the list, watch the Parent Trap movie under a fort! I printed off a few “camp” like things, taped them to the TV stand, made a fort with old sheets, and Hadley was in heaven. Super simple things like this, makes her so so happy.

Well there you have it, just a few photos of what we’ve been up too! It’s been a pretty great Summer so far. As always, thanks for reading!

Memorial Day Weekend 2021.

Saturday. This was the only photo I took all day! We were frozen, and didn’t even make it to the dock. After Hadley went to sleep we went down to our cousins for a bonfire.

Sunday. In the morning I worked out in the basement, and then edged the pathway we use for the gator to go up and down the hill to the dock.

Sunday. The girls were absolutely crazy for swimming while it was 60 degrees outside! The water was warmer than it was outside though. We were in jackets, pants, and socks/shoes!

Sunday. My nephew Max playing with their dog Buckley. And these two little ones put on sweatshirts over their wet bathing suits to go on the boat. I don’t know how they weren’t totally frozen!

Sunday. Meanwhile, the adults in the back of the boat bundled up!

Sunday. We went on a golf cart ride to feed the horses, since the gator is currently broken.

Sunday. My niece Maisie has a tiny dog that has the longest tongue! I bought all the kids pop-its, and only the girls were really interested. They popped them in the garage and Papa came out to watch.

Monday. My nephew Max and his lovely little kid smiles with his friends.

Monday. Out of the entire weekend, this was the best weather day we had! I never put on my bathing suit, I just couldn’t with how chilly it was. After lunch time, it was starting to get warm but I still just kept on what I had. Selfies with my niece Maisie, lots of boat rides, chilling on the dock, and just hanging out. It was a great start to the summer!

Little miss Hadley was exhausted, she has so much fun but will take a few weekends to get used to all the fun!

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend, and remember what Memorial Day really means.

From the weekend.

Friday. We had two days just us two. We started the weekend out by playing with water balloons and relaxing in the front driveway. Water, sun, and happiness.

Friday. We grilled out steak and broccoli on the back deck.

Saturday. Surprised Hadley with a trip to the Zoo. Every kid just loves going to the Zoo, no matter how many times we go. She knows so much about the animals, and she was the map guide deciding how to get to each animal she picked out. She loves to get her face painted, unicorn for the win!

Sunday. The big kids came over in the morning, and they both got to see Hadley play her softball game. Brady helped Coach Dad by being the catcher, and Natalie and my parents were cheering her on!

It was a great weekend! Looking forward to making soo many more memories this Summer!