Welcome to Philly!

From June 2…..

We had a lunch time flight to Philly so we dropped the dog off, headed to the park n ride and had lunch at the airport.  Lilli had packed all her essentials for enjoying the wildlife of the Mid Atlantic.


Abbi’s favorite airport activity – plane watching.  Worth the price of admission for her.


My seat buddy.  If only airplanes had 4 seat rows….


We had a really pretty day for our flight and I think it was right around two hours total to get there.


My seat buddy suffers from a case of the wiggles.  This might be why we haven’t been out West in a long, long time.


Two hours can feel like a very long time.  Meanwhile Brent and Lilli were behind us sharing headphones and watching a movie.


Welcome to Philly! After we landed, hit the bathroom, and once again were last to get our luggage we picked up our rental car.  Picking up our car was a strange debacle, and after getting stuck with a car that reeked and was filthy we ended up with a nice (but small car).  From there we headed to our hotel in downtown Philly.


I got us a fabulous hotel within walking distance of a lot of attractions.  I didn’t want us to have to take public transportation or cabs, and since we’d be staying several nights I wanted us to have a nice room that we wouldn’t mind hanging out in at night and with a good gym and indoor pool.  Once we got in our room and saw our view – we were beyond thrilled!


This room was definitely one of the nicest we’ve ever stayed in and we absolutely loved it.  The bathroom was one of the highlights for everyone – the bidet was a huge hit.


After we settled in headed out and walked a few blocks to a taco shop for dinner.


It was a somewhat rainy night and afterwards we walked through an art show in a park and then back up towards our hotel.


Around our hotel were quite a few landmarks and public parks that we stopped and enjoyed as we walked back towards our hotel.


A little Amor …..


Our hotel is the shorter building in the foreground of the picture, the Logan.


As the sun was starting to set we let the girls play in the fountains.  It was a perfect night to sit outside and enjoy a nice, non humid June evening.


Our travel loving city girl.


Having fun in Philly…..


It was a great first night to enjoy the city and just relax.


The view from our room at night was just as wonderful.


We had a two room suite – the girls had the living room with a pull out sofa while we had a bedroom.  The windows in both rooms opened slightly and had window seats – a huge  hit for all of us.  The weather was so mild that we loved having the windows open.


The window ledge was perfect for parking cars while she watched cars in the roundabout and the rain came down again.  We were glad to have made it to Philly safely and be tucked away in our hotel while the storms came through that night.


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Just Ducky

From May 28 – June 1

Greatest Showman dancing all the time.  And Olli does not mind being in the middle and apparently trusts his safety way more than he should.


On Memorial Day we went to the Frist Art Museum to catch the Nick Cave exhibit before it left town.


The children’s area had also finished its renovation and was back open.   We even ran into some good friends and the girls got to run around and  play.


Fun times at the Frist!


Our course we had to make ribs for Memorial Day, and Grandma’s corn is always a big hit.


Abbi’s Pre-K class incubated some duck eggs and then waited for them to hatch.  We were hoping she’d get to see them hatch and three hatched right before her last official day.


The kids weren’t supposed to touch them……but when you’ve only got a couple of days left and the kids are out on the playground when you go home and run inside to get your backpack……


They were pretty irresistible.


And on her very last official day in Pre-K.  This week the ones leaving for kindergarten had transitioned up to “summer camp” and the younger kids were moving in.  It was a great time for her to leave – she did go back for one week of summer camp while Lilli was at Girl Scout camp, but it was a lot easier having them on the same camp schedule and just one place to pick up and drop off.


And then it was time to pack for vacation! Time to sleep and then wake up and head to the airport and off to Philadelphia!


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Hunter Olli

From May 23 – 27…..

We ran into Paper Source one night, which is one of my favorite places because it’s just cute and pretty little things and it also stresses me out because all of the cute and pretty things are so breakable.  But these glasses were everything.


There’s a Hawaiian restaurant not too far away that we had always meant to try but always forgot about.  And then we tried it and realized we needed to forget about it forever.  Man, it was AWFUL.


America! Hats! Maybe this was at Michael’s?


I’m not even sure.  I think this is Elsa meets Harry Potter in the 4th of July parade.


One evening after dinner we were cleaning up the kitchen and just heading outside to play and enjoy the evening when there was a big commotion – the girls noticed Olli had caught something and he was running around with something furry in his mouth.  We thought it might be another mole and we were trying to get him to drop it.  Lilli and I got him cornered and then Abbi grabbed whatever he had in his mouth – which was the cutest little bunny you’ve ever seen! She just scooped him right up and then we were all completely smitten.  And he was named Bun Bun.


I don’t know much about rabbits but he couldn’t have been very old at all.  He was completely wet from being in Olli’s mouth but he didn’t have any sort of bites or any marks on him – once again Olli had found a friend to play with and was basically just licking him, chasing him, and playing with him.


Have you ever?!?!?


We really did want to keep him – but we knew better.  He belonged out with his bunny family.  But man, he was cute.


They had him up in the truck bed for a while since that was one spot he couldn’t squeeze out of.


This was right around the time Bun Bun decided it might have been better off to be in Olli’s mouth.  This rabbit was rocked, cuddled, and carried all night long.


They also had a bucket that they would carry him all around the yard in.  Eventually at the end of the night when it was time to head in and get ready for bed we made them let him go.  And as you can expect there were a lot of tears.  We see a ton of rabbits in our yard so every time we saw a small one we’d say it was Bun Bun.


We had a busy summer of yardwork as Brent prepared to tear the really old fence down and replace it.


We’ve hated these pendant lights since we moved in.  They’re ugly and just in the way and gross.




A few days later we saw Olli really rooting around in an area of the yard and knew he was after something.  And he brought us a turtle.  Out of everything he caught last summer the turtle was the most boring.  It was too scared to ever come out of its shell so we let him go pretty quickly.


When we let him go we did put the Ring doorbell out there on him so we could watch him go – which was definitely the most interesting part of our turtle experience.


Sweet sisters reading together.


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The Safari Home

From May 22.  I think.

Well, maybe over the holidays I’ll get a little blogging done.  Doubtful, but I’ve given up hope of ever being truly caught up again.  As long as everything eventually gets written for the girls to read about all the fun adventures they’ll never remember that’s totally fine! Outside of all the details I’ve already started forgetting at least it’s somewhat nice to talk about warm days on a pretty chilly day where we narrowly escaped getting ice and snow in Nashville.

It was time to load up and head back home, and man I remember it being a HOT and muggy morning as we loaded up the car and made sure all eight million stuffed animals we’d packed were accounted for.  Our little house was the perfect size for us and really offered everything we needed for a nice little vacation.  It would have been nice to have more yard and space between us and the neighbors, but that’s just a luxury these Florida resort areas don’t provide.  At least not in our budget.


The girls weren’t too happy to be leaving beach life.  They’d love to have a place at the beach, but honestly after about two days of the ocean life we’re all tired of the sand, the bottles of sunscreen required for us not to burn and the crowds.  While we all had the flu during the month of November we did watch a lot of Beach Hunters and enjoy watching people buy their dream beach house!


And the drive back from Seaside is so, so very long and boring.  We stopped for lunch in Montgomery and right near that exit we’d seen a sign about a Safari Park.  If there’s one thing (besides a Russell Stover outlet) that I’m pretty easy to talk into going off course for it’s a Safari Park.  We had all day to get back and so we backtracked one exit (after an awful lunch at Hardees that reminded us why Montgomery is one of the worst cities in the USA) to check out the Alabama Safari Park.  It had only recently opened so we were excited to visit.


There were very few cars there – we were there during the week and that area (and most others) weren’t out of school yet.  So the animals were VERY friendly and VERY hungry.  Aggressive was the name of the game.  We’d gotten buckets of feed for everyone thinking the girls would be all in.  But after the first few just about climbed through the window they were a little scared!


There was a lot of squealing, a lot of screaming, and a lot of animal spit coming in my side of the car.


After we’d feed something it would run right beside the car and sometimes jump right in front of it to get our attention.  Later we saw a pack of animals just stand right in front of a car and not move.  The staff had to come out and get them to move on.  The animals were definitely not scared of the cars! We’ve been to some parks where the lines were long and the animals stuffed and they couldn’t have cared less about you, but not the case here!


For the most part, Abbi enjoyed things with the window up.  They’d go for the smaller animals where they’d dump food out and then just watch.


No animals here were off limits, so we could even feed the zebras.  Most places don’t allow that because they can bite, but after the aggressive camels, emus, and ostriches these guys were fine.


The elusive zebra.  They were so pretty and it’s so neat to get this close to them.


The source of some major zebra spit in my car.


Abbi’s preferred animals to fee – short and sweet.


It was really a very, very overcast day where we felt like it could pop up and rain at any time.  As we were getting done with the drive thru it started pouring so we shopped in the gift shop for a little while.  Then when it slacked up we went to see the pigs and goats.  We didn’t realize you fed them the same food and we’d given all of ours away.  The ladies in the gift shop were super nice and gave us more so we’d have something to feed them.


And they were all starving, too! The baby pigs were so cute.


And they even had giraffes! We got to feed them lettuce.


So pretty! Giraffe tongues are so strange!


And then we headed up to the bird house.  I like birds exactly zero percent.  Especially little flying ones where you have a stick and they’re supposed to land on you.  Nothing about that seems like a good idea.  But yet the people I’m with find it hilarious and completely unreasonable that I find it extremely likely these birds want to peck my eyes out.


I didn’t stay in there for very long.  At all.


Tiny birds.  They were actually the only animals that really weren’t interested in eating that day.


I think they were really new and weren’t used to the whole humans/Popsicle stick thing yet.  They did eventually get a few to come over.


And then it started POURING.  Not just a little rain but a total downpour.  And we weren’t near any sort of shelter and couldn’t do anything but try to wait it out under some partial awnings.


We were basically in a humid rainforest.  While were in the slight coverage of the screens this bright green frog hopped up.


When we finally got back to the car we were all completely drenched.  A mile or two later this happened – and she rode the remaining 4 or so hours home like this (although not asleep the entire time.) Just another exciting vacation memory for the books…..


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Christmas Lists

Here is Abbi’s Christmas list : Abbi

Here is Lilli’s Christmas list: Lilli

Here is mine and Brent’s list: Grown Ups

I did them all on Amazon this year because it’s just easier and I can add/delete things more quickly as we think of things or as they mention things.  Brent really hasn’t given me much to work with so as he thinks of things he can add them.

Neither girl really wants anything big, they just don’t play with that many toys and they have plenty to play with already.

Abbi – She is really, really into the Piggie and Gerald books so I put several on her list.  They are really cute and pretty easy to read and she reads them to us every night as she is learning to read.  Those would be the things on her list she wants the most.  She also really wants that unicorn purse and she loves bouncy balls and all the shimmer stuff.  She wants choker necklaces, big bows (the kind that are like JoJo Siwa), jewelry and makeup.  Walmart also has really cute kid jewelry that I’m sure she would like.  She’s really into all the shimmer sequin clothes.  She wears a 6 for shirts and a 5 for pants.  She could use more socks (her shoe size is 11.) And mittens, they get lost a lot.  She also likes the cheap play makeup and lip glosses.  Her favorite thing right now is cash.  A bunch of $1 bills would make her very, very happy.  She likes coloring and doing art – we go through lots of drawing paper and she prefers markers (especially the smelly ones I have on the Amazon list, most of ours have been lost or dried up.)

Lilli – She is even harder to buy from because she plays with even fewer toys.  She also likes all the jewelry, dangly earrings, chokers, and play makeup.  They both like to get “fancy”.  She could also use some new socks.  Her shirt size is an 8 and she wears a 7 pants, shoe size is a 12.  She also really likes all the shimmer and sequin clothes and anything soft and fluffy and very girly.  She has a ton of earrings and could really use the jewelry box I put on here.  She’s also interested in sewing, all the spa kit stuff (I put a kit on here), crafts, she likes to draw fashion stuff, and she really likes Wheel of Fortune.  She also really, really likes cash and gift cards.

Gift cards for them – they love Sonic, Starbucks, McDs, Noodles, Target, Above All (trampoline place), Brentwood Skate Center (roller skating), Claire’s, and Amazon.

Brent and Me – I couldn’t come up with too much fun stuff for us – we could use the trash can and light vacuum most of all, then I added a few other fun things. The pizza stone and password book would also be pretty high up on the list.  Gift cards for us would be for places like Blue Coast Burrito, Uncle Julio’s, Nordstroms, Target, Kroger, Starbucks, McDs, Wendy’s and Blaze Pizza.



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Last Day of Third Grade/Chorus Performance

From May 18th….

I knew my Chorus recital pictures had gotten filed in the wrong spot (by me) and I finally found them.  These are the ones from my camera from that day.

We always make a sign for the last day of school – something Abbi was so proud of on her first day this year!


School’s out for summer! Since it was chorus recital day she had to wear white and black!


The chorus spring performance theme was Movies.  They sang songs from top movies of the year, including Lego movie and Greatest Showman, Lilli’s favorite.  Last time she was hard to see so this time we told her to make sure she stood out – which she definitely did!


A broader view of the group – the blue shirts are the people also in Dance Team (4th and 5th grade).  You can do both Chorus and Dance and they just ran back and forth between songs.


Lilli didn’t end up with a singing solo/duet but she did get a speaking part which she did great with.  We’re proud of how bold and brave she is to go in front of the whole school, cool as a cucumber, for her lines!

She enjoyed Chorus last year but didn’t want to do it again this year, or Dance team.  Since she’s taking dance lessons she didn’t want to also do dance at school and be “too busy” which is fine with us. She does want to be part of “Stage Crew” next year which is only open to 5th graders, so we’ll enjoy this year off from school recitals!


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Shark Hunters

From May 21…..

We woke up and did the usual – as we were waking up the girls splashed in the pool before breakfast – there’s really no better way to vacation than with your own little pool.  A pool this size is all we’d really ever need!


It was another really rainy, really cloudy day.  After breakfast we decided to walk down to the beach just to see if we might see any good shells or animals washed up. We had it pretty much to ourselves since it was such an overcast day.


We didn’t find any fun shells or anything exciting so after exploring for a bit we walked back.


On our last trip (3 years earlier) we’d visited a local park/state park that had this shallow lake full of little minnows.  Since we didn’t know about it we hadn’t taken nets, so we wanted to revisit it this time but really weren’t sure where we’d been before.  We drove to this park, thinking it was it but it didn’t end up being the same place.


As we got there the rain and clouds were getting thicker and heavier.  Brent and Lilli went exploring to see if it was the same place and we finally decided it wasn’t.  Schools of fish were jumping everywhere and Brent decided to venture out in the water.  It was really raining – and another family came up to me and said they’d just seen a shark out there near him.  I thought I’d seen a fin myself but wasn’t sure.  We yelled at him to come back in and definitely saw a fin out there.  At this point it was pouring so we ran back to the car and headed back to the house.


After lunch it cleared up again and we enjoyed the afternoon playing around in the pool.


Little mermaid.


After dinner we walked back down to the beach for one last sunset.


So many cartwheels everywhere we go! (This one is Abbi).


It’s hard to beat those pretty ocean sunsets with a thin layer of clouds.


Sunset selfie


While exploring Brent found this really cool fish.  We looked it up in Lilli’s book while we were there but I can’t remember what it is now.  He definitely knows how to camouflage!


And at dark we found this really, really cool snail.  After enjoying observing them we let them all go.  We really hit the jackpot on ocean life on this trip! Seaside is so wonderful for really cool ocean animals.


One last sunset.


It’s tough to be the little sis! So much sand, sun and swimming to wear her out! Hopefully this area survived Hurricane Michael last week.  This area isn’t too far from Panama City, but hopefully was far enough not to sustain a lot of damage.


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