4th of July weekend, continued.

I shared last month about our trip to Indiana over 4th of July weekend. Since then, I’ve finally gone through the pictures on my camera, so I wanted to be sure to post those too.

Maggi and Greg hosted the Lower clan for a fantastic brunch on Saturday. It was cooler than normal that weekend, but the kiddos still took advantage of the pool and water balloons. Kenley was so excited to see that Sami had the same swim suit as she did!

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Family photos were a must since so many Lowers were in town from four different states!

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On Sunday, the Faris crew came over for lunch after the Outrunning Autism 5K and 10K.

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It was a great 4th of July weekend with family!

4th of July weekend in Indiana

We headed up to Indiana on Friday for a long weekend. Greg and I were not convinced that we would actually make our flight on Friday judging by the insanely long lines at the Southwest counter when we arrived, but alas, we did and we landed in Indianapolis excited to get our busy weekend underway. Our first stop was Scotty’s Brewhouse for an early lunch or breakfast in our case. After lunch, we got settled at my parents’ new house before hitting the road.

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We took the back roads up to Alexandria, for the last time in a long time, if not forever, to see the old house. We walked the empty halls and I said my goodbyes to the only house I have ever known. I was surprised that I didn’t cry considering I am getting misty eyed just writing about it now. I will forever treasure the great memories I have of that house.

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We thoroughly enjoyed the chilly weather and the evening fires while we were there. We also made our way down to the lake to catch the sunset, which was at 9:30pm!

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The kids thoroughly enjoyed playing with Arie!

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On Saturday morning, we headed over to brunch with the Lower clan. Seven of the ten cousins were in town, so it was a party! The kids all had a great time playing with each other too!

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We headed over to the beach club afterwards and the kids got in the water, which was freezing! It was way too cold for us Floridians, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. Kenley loved jumping off the diving board!

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Sunday morning, the rain started and we headed out to the Outrunning Autism 5K/10K. The race was super small and I ended up getting 4th in my age group!

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Majority of Sunday afternoon consisted of all of us sitting in the garage going through boxes and boxes of old pictures and keepsakes. It was definitely a highlight of the weekend, traveling down memory lane. Kenley also did some sparklers as we watched the rain continue to fall outside.

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We woke up to a rainy 4th of July and packed our bags to head home.

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We arrived back in Orlando and were greeted by the blazing temperatures which made us instantly miss the nice, cool weather in Indiana. After a quick, long weekend, we hauled our two kids, two car seats, two suitcases, and umbrella stroller back through the airport to our car. Needless to say, we skipped out on the fireworks and all went to bed early Monday night after an amazing long weekend.

Disney – March 2016

Over the tail end of the kids’ spring break, we packed up the car and headed down to Disney for a little staycation with my parents. It was so nice to “get away” for a few days without having to actually travel anywhere. We had an action-packed long weekend, so brace yourself for a whole lot of photos!

We arrived at the Animal Kingdom Lodge on Thursday after the kids took a short nap in the car. We walked into our rooms to find the most amazing view ever — animals everywhere! We were hoping to have a room with bunk beds, but two full beds is what we got. We weren’t sure what to expect since we would be co-sleeping with the kids for the first time, but it worked out well. Thankfully, my parents’ room was right next door and the monitor worked perfectly!

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Crosby was enthralled with the animals. They were truly amazing to see in action and you could see them from most of the spots in the hotel. He would wake up each morning exclaiming to “see animals!”.

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The rest of the afternoon was spent at the pool and the playground, as well as exploring the hotel.Our friends from Indiana were down at Disney for spring break as well, so they came over to check out the hotel and visit for a little bit. We ended up getting dinner at the hotel and taking it up to our room to eat. The kids loved that there was actually a Disney Junior channel, so they got to watch their favorite shows before bed each night.

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On Friday, we headed to Animal Kingdom! We knew it was going to be a late night considering the Hoosiers didn’t play until after 10pm, but we were up early and ready to go! We took advantage of Disney transportation while we were there, which was so convenient.

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As soon as we got into the park, we headed straight for the African Safari. I truly believe this is the best ride in all of Disney World. We took over 50 pictures on this ride alone. We only waited about 20-25 minutes to ride, which is really great considering the ride itself if 22 minutes long. Almost all of the animals were out and about while we were on the safari and we were able to get very close to several of them.

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After lunch and some kiddo rides in Dino Land, it was nap time. Kenley went right to sleep in the stroller, but Crosby wouldn’t fall asleep until he was in the Ergo. The boys rode Everest in the single rider line while mom and I enjoyed some beverages while the kids slept.

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After the Lion King show, we decided to stop into the baby center since the skies were looking a little dark. Thankfully, we made it just in time. We camped out in the baby center and the kids watched some TV while we waited for the storm to pass. It was still raining, but we decided to head over to the Finding Nemo show. I wish I would have gotten a picture of the six of us under the world’s smallest umbrella because it was pretty humorous. Both the Lion King and Nemo shows were amazing!

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The park had really cleared out after the rain, so mom and I went over to ride Everest in the single rider line and got right on and off. I was stuck in the front row, which is typically not my favorite place to be, but I survived. We lasted the entire day at the park with minimal whining and arguing. It was such a fun day!

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Saturday morning, we headed over to the other pool on the property to go swimming, go down the water slide, and came back to see the animals eating right outside our room!

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Lucky for us, the Mets were playing at Disney that weekend too so we worked that into our plans. ESPN Wide World of Sports is home to the Atlanta Braves for spring training and they played the Mets on Saturday. This was the only spring training game we got to see, but deGrom was pitching, so it was definitely worth it!

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Later that night, we went bowling and had dinner at Splitsville at Disney Springs! It was a fun place, but it was hard to keep a certain 2 year old confined to our tiny area and bowling lane. It was also raining throughout the evening so we were walking very briskly with the double stroller through the masses of people to get to and from the bus stop. Needless to say, we were all in bed by 9pm that night.

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Easter Sunday, we headed down to the lobby of the hotel to partake in the fun activities and meet the big man himself!

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Before heading home, we went back to Disney Springs to have lunch at the T-Rex Cafe! It was a fun atmosphere and a neat place.

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We had such a great weekend. The kids were so good and it was the prefect long weekend away. We are so fortunate to have such great opportunities for weekend adventures like this right here in our backyard.

Christmas in Indiana {2015}

Last Wednesday, we hopped on a plane and headed up to Indiana for Christmas. Our flight was at 6:30am, which made for a very early morning, and, of course, with it being two days before Christmas, the airport was insane. There were definitely moments that we thought we were going to miss our flight, but we actually made it just in time for family boarding. The kids did a good job on the flight and enjoyed the snacks and iPad time. Once we arrived at the house, Kenley and Meemaw got right to work baking cookies for Santa! We relaxed the rest of the day while it rained before heading to the Mexican restaurant for dinner.

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On Christmas Eve, we enjoyed some family time and brunch! Bonus: there were Alex Bakery cookies there, which brought back so many memories from my childhood. They were just as I remembered them! The kids had such a great time playing together at GG’s house, too. It is always good to get them together every chance we get.

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Christmas morning started at 6:00am! We got to see what Santa brought and took our time opening gifts. We spent the rest of the day playing with our new toys and playing games. The weather was warmer than usual (though, we still thought it was cold), so my dad built a fire and we took Arie for a walk a couple times.

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On Saturday we actually got out of our pajamas and headed out for another Christmas with extended family. As it approached nap time, the kids started to meltdown, so it was a short stay. Thankfully, they slept the whole way home!

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Sunday morning we packed and packed and packed. We decided to spend the afternoon at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis before we had to go to the airport. Our flight wasn’t until 10:00pm, so we had a while to play. The museum was awesome! I was very impressed with each of the exhibits we saw and we didn’t even get through them all. We will definitely be back in the future. After the museum, we met my grandparents for dinner. We boarded our flight around 9:30pm and were pushed away from the gate before schedule. The kids slept the entire flight and were only a little whiny when we were waiting for all of our luggage to come off the carousal. We were home and in bed around 1:00am on Sunday night/Monday morning and the kids slept in very late on Monday morning. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long to get them back on schedule, and have even been sleeping in this week since we’ve been home.

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Traveling with kids can definitely be stressful, but overall, they did a great job and we had such a good time celebrating Christmas in Indiana!

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We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Legoland 2015

Last weekend, we headed down to Legoland to play at the park and stay at the hotel. We hadn’t been back to the park since last December when we went with my parents, which means our annual pass was about to expire and we wanted to get down there one more time before it did. Florida residents get a deal at the hotel Sunday through Thursday, so Greg and I took Monday off so we could visit the park two days. We didn’t end up telling the kids we were going until the day before, so really just Greg and I had been looking forward to this little trip and a night away for a while.

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We arrived at the hotel around 1pm on Sunday and couldn’t get into our room, so we left our luggage and went straight into the park. We headed to the Duplo area first to ride a few rides since Crosby could ride all of them in that area. We were pretty surprised to find the wait times around 5 minutes at each ride.

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The first time we were at Legoland, Kenley couldn’t ride the horses because you had to be four years old, so we told her that we would go again when she was four so she could ride them. She didn’t let us forget about it either. For the last year, she has brought up the “horses at Legoland” and how she can ride them when she turns four. While we were at Disney the weekend before, she reminded us about them again not knowing that she would be riding them soon. I think they lived up to the hype.

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We did most of the park on Sunday since it was pretty empty. The longest we waited for a ride was around 15 minutes. We also knew that we didn’t need to do it all, so we headed back to explore the hotel (and get beers) around 5pm.

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There was a giant castle in the lobby (next to the bar) where the kids could play and legos and building plates at every corner. Crosby liked to run around, but Kenley sat and played with legos several times while we were there.

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We chose the pirate themed room, since that’s our thing right now and it did not disappoint. There were also a couple little things about the room that really stood out to me, like the Honest Company toiletries, the stool in the bathroom so the kids could reach the sink, the Duplo legos in the room, and the Lego Movie playing continuously on its own channel.

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We didn’t do any swimming while we were there, but we walked around the property and down to Lake Eloise around sunset. It was really pretty.

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Kenley slept on the top bunk (which was very exciting for her) and we had hopes for Crosby to sleep on the trundle bed, but we ended up in the pack ‘n play about 5 minutes after bedtime started. He wasn’t happy about it, but slept soundly once he was finally asleep.

The next morning, we had breakfast and played legos until the park opened.

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We saw several lego characters, but the kids were satisfied with just waving to them from a distance.

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The park opened at 9:30am on Monday for hotel guests so we literally had the place to ourselves. Once it opened to the public at 10am, it wasn’t bad either. Mondays are their slow days and you could tell. We walked on to almost every single ride, sometimes doing them twice since there was no one waiting when we were done.

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Kenley was quite the little thrill seeker and went on every roller coaster at least twice. She stood tall and was able to sneak onto the coasters that were 42″ or taller. She and Greg’s favorite was the dragon roller coaster and my favorite was the dinosaur roller coaster.

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Before having lunch and heading home, we walked through the historic part of Legoland which is the Cypress Gardens botanical gardens.

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The Banyan tree was planted from a seed in 1939 and now looks like this. The pictures do not do it justice. It is ginormous.

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We had such a great time at Legoland and quite a different experience from our first trip. We were surprised how empty the park was on both days, but were very excited that we got to do pretty much every ride in the park. The hotel was also so much fun. Greg and I kept talking about how much fun we were having and it was just so nice to be able to get away for the night, just the four of us. We are already looking forward to doing it again.

Key West – October 2015

We headed down to Key West last month for a vacation with Greg’s family. The older kiddo’s fall break happened to be the same week as Greg and my birthdays, so it was fun to celebrate our birthdays in Keys. We arrived on Saturday and headed straight to the house. My 10K race was on Sunday which was Greg’s birthday and the day that the other Gilbos arrived at the house. The house had paddle boards and kayaks and we didn’t waste any time getting in the water. I loved the paddle board and ended up doing it several times over the course of the week.

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We checked out the butterfly and nature conservatory which was just a block from the southernmost point. Kenley was a little skeptical of the butterflies flying around everywhere, but she warmed up quickly. Crosby’s favorite part was the “mingos!”.

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We took a stroll down Duval Street and later in the week took the trolley tour of the city and the island. Kenley was stoked about the trolley since Daniel Tiger rides on a trolley. Aside from being super hot, the trolley tour was awesome and very informative!

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We hopped off the trolley to have some lunch overlooking the water, which ended up being the same spot where we would board the boat to go snorkeling a couple days later.

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We made a point to go down to the sunset festivities on night after dinner. It sure was hopping, but the clouds ruined the sunset for us. There were a lot of street performers, including the infamous cat guy!

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On our last day we went on the snorkeling and sunset cruise. It was so much fun. Kenley got in the water with us on our backs but Crosby cried hysterically when we tried to go down the ladder into the water, so he stayed on the boat. Next time, buddy. We saw beautiful reef, fish, and a giant barracuda. Kenley loved watching the sunset and I think the common consensus was that the boat trip was the most fun part of the trip. We had such a great time sailing the seas.

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We had such an amazing trip and were so happy to spend five days with the family!

#jonandmb // September 2015

Greg and I headed up to the Chicago suburbs this past weekend to celebrate the wedding of Mary Beth and Jon. MBK and I have been friends since we both pledged our sorority our freshman year at IU….way too long ago!

Greg worked on Friday night so we didn’t get to fly out until first thing Saturday morning. We were on a tight schedule since we were flying in on the same day as the wedding and were not thrilled to hear that we had to wait 45 minutes for our rental car that we had a reservation for at 10:30am. Once we were finally on the road, we made a pit stop to get some necessities for the day, including Greg’s favorite beer. Once we arrived at the hotel, we met up with some friends for a quick lunch before we had to get ready.

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The wedding ceremony was at 2:30pm at the church and it was absolutely beautiful. The sun lit up the sanctuary and shined in perfectly on the happy couple. After the ceremony, we headed back to the hotel while the wedding party got their pictures taken.

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Cocktails, dinner, and dancing started at 6:30pm.

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The weather was absolutely amazing the entire time we were there. I was even cold in the evening, but obviously couldn’t complain. The reception was gorgeous (table 11 was obviously the best) and the band was so good. It was such a great party. Mary Beth was also serenaded by the men of Straight No Chaser (including her husband) which was a surprise to everyone and seriously awesome. I’m getting chills just typing it out now. What a great surprise to have at your wedding!

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The next morning, we all met for breakfast at our hotel before we parted ways. I’m not sure if you can tell, but we had such a great time. It was a great night away for Greg and I; and to spend it with my girls was even better. It was such a beautiful celebration for Mary Beth and Jon and we couldn’t be happier for them.

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Until next time Chicago…