Mexico // October 2017

We arrived home from Chicago on Monday and were back at the airport on Friday to leave for Mexico! To say we had a busy October would be an understatement. We were off to Cancun to celebrate Maggi & Greg’s wedding.

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The flight to Cancun was quick and easy! As soon as we arrived at the resort, we started seeing family and friends. The kids wasted no time getting their suits on and heading to the beach.

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The welcome reception was Friday night in the main bar of the resort. It was so good to see a lot of friends and family who we hadn’t seen in a long time. We had an Asian dinner at Lemongrass before heading to bed to get ready for the wedding on Saturday.

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The kids were up early each morning so we had an early breakfast before the wedding festivities began on Saturday. I have so many pictures from Saturday, so I will share those in a separate post. Greg and the kids played at the pool and beach while I was with the bride-to-be before the wedding ceremony.

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The entire wedding day was so much fun. We woke up on Sunday and it was my birthday! Greg and the kids ordered me cake for breakfast, which was awesome.

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We spent the entire day at the beach and the pool while the kids enjoyed some time at the kids camp. Michael and I went out on the stand up paddle boards which is all I wanted to do all day. It was so much fun.

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Kenley got her hair braided and the kids jumped on the trampoline as part of kids camp. The camp was such a great feature of the resort, the kids were begging to go while we were happy to have some time to ourselves.

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After such a relaxing day, we headed out for a birthday dinner with more dessert!

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We headed back to Orlando on Monday kicking and screaming (mostly me). We could have used another day on vacation but the real world called us back. We said our goodbyes and hopped on the shuttle to head to the airport.

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We had such an amazing time in Mexico celebrating Maggi & Greg. The entire wedding weekend was absolutely perfect and being able to celebrate my birthday on the beach in Mexico was an added bonus!

Chicago // October 2017

It’s been a whirlwind the last eleven days and I have a lot to catch up on! Two weekends ago, we headed up to Chicago for a long weekend away and for me to run the Chicago Marathon! We had an amazing, action-packed weekend filled with family, friends, and running.

From the moment we stepped on the plane, there was such amazing energy the whole weekend. Our flight attendants had all the runners stand up and there was about 20 runners on our plane alone. Jaime and I were on the same flight so we each enjoyed a complimentary Bloody Mary on the way. The kids were in heaven too.

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The weather was gloomy on Friday but it didn’t slow us down. My parents arrived at our hotel about the same time that we did, so we headed out for lunch and shopping.

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We headed to the American Girl store and the Lego store for the kids to pick out some early birthday presents. Julie came home with us and Kenley just loves her. Afterwards, Greg and I headed to Portillo’s for dinner then Bar Louie for drinks and baseball.

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Saturday morning, we were up early to head to the race expo. The expo was insane and I think I could have spent the entire day there. We picked up our race bibs, did some shopping, took a lot of pictures, got beers, and met Bart Yasso. All in all, it was a successful morning!

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After the expo, we headed to the Taco Joint for tacos and beer before heading back to the hotel to shower. About 20 minutes before Greg and I were out the door, Mary Beth and Mandy showed up to surprise me! Mary Beth and I had planned on meeting during the weekend, but I had no idea that Mandy was coming in from Kansas City! It was such a fun surprise!

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The Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) pre-race dinner was on Saturday afternoon at Grant Park. It was good to see all of the other RMHC runners both from Orlando and all of the United States.

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It was a gorgeous, but rainy evening in the city. After the RMHC dinner, Greg and I met up with MB and Mandy again before it was time for me to call it a night.

Meanwhile, the kids had an amazing Saturday at Michael and Rachel’s house. They had a birthday party, made a cake, built forts, and made race signs (which I saw the next day!).

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Sunday was race day which will have an entire post dedicated to it!

We headed to Niketown on Monday morning to get our finishers gear and get our medal engraved. The medal engraving didn’t happen due to the two hour wait, but we did some shopping so the trip was worth it. Afterwards, we took the kids to Maggie Daley Park which was absolutely amazing. I highly recommend it and we will definitely be back the next time we’re in Chicago!

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We had such a great trip to Chicago! It was great to be back in the Midwest. The entire city was so welcoming of all the runners and really made the weekend so memorable. A huge thank you to my parents, Michael, and Rachel for watching the kids while Greg and I did all of the pre-race festivities.

Indiana {August 2017}

The kids and I headed up to Indiana this past weekend. We had an action packed four days in my home state. Brace yourself, there are a lot of pictures!

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We arrived on Saturday just in time to help set up for Maggi and Greg’s wedding shower! I am so thankful that we were able to be there to celebrate the happy couple. The theme was a fiesta in honor of their destination wedding. Everything about the shower was absolutely perfect. Abbi did such a great job with all of the little details that made the day so great. It was so good to see a lot of friends and family in one place too!

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On Sunday, we got to see my grandparents, aunt, and uncle for lunch and fun around the fire. The kids got to spend some quality time with Arie and took turns taking her for walks. I think poor Arie was ready to be home after the long weekend.

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We had a great lunch at BRU Burger on Monday, then headed to the Indianapolis Zoo. It had been so long since I had been there. The weather was absolutely perfect, and we drove by Victory Field so the kids could see where mommy and daddy met!

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For dinner, we had a little pizza party with Celeste, Reese, Meghann, and Harper. It was so good to catch up with the girls, though it was short due to bedtimes for the littles.

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The kids played at the park on Tuesday, we did a little back to school shoe shopping (what my mom and I do best!), and had lunch before heading to the airport.

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I can’t believe how fast four days flew by! We had such a great time, but we were happy to get home to daddy too.

Disney Dream Part II // March 2017

I’m back for the continuation of our spring break cruise aboard the Disney Dream. On day three, we docked at Castaway Cay! We had breakfast then headed off the ship to explore Disney’s private island.

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The tram from the ship to different spots on the island, but we opted to walk. I wish I would have grabbed the Ergo before heading off the ship because it wasn’t long before the kids were “so tired” of walking. Luckily, we passed by a row of strollers and wagons which ended up being free to use!

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The entire morning was spent playing in the sand and in the water. The water was a little chilly at first, but not too bad. We had lunch at the BBQ buffet on the island. Greg took Crosby back to the ship for a nap while we bummed around for a little bit longer. On our way back to the ship, we stopped into the shops and Kenley got her hair braided!

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Once we were back on the ship, it was time to get ready for pirate night! Based on everything I read about pirate night, it was a big deal so we were prepared for a full night of festivities. At dinner, the kids got a light up cup which I put to good use the rest of the night.

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After dinner, the kids went to camp and the adults got to explore. We checked out the pirate party that was happening on the pool deck, then we headed to the show of the night, JUNKK. It was really good and I think the kids would have liked it, but they were having a lot of fun getting their face painted in camp.

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We had a couple of hours between the end of the show and the start of fireworks at 10:30pm! We weren’t sure what we were going to do or if we should even be staying up that late, but we decided that it was vacation, so we were going to do it. In our free time, we saw some of our favorite characters in their pirate gear!

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This was the first time of the trip meeting Mickey and Minnie and I was happy we crossed it off our list that night. I didn’t feel like we had to make a point to see them on our last day. By the end of our character visits, we were rushing up to see the fireworks. After being so worried about all of our free time, we almost missed the fireworks show! We headed to the back of the ship and didn’t see any of the show leading up to the fireworks, but it was still really cool!

We headed right to bed after the fireworks show and were up early the next day for our day at sea! We didn’t have much planned for our last day, so the kids went to camp in the morning and the adults went to the adults only area of the ship. We had our fair share of ice cream cones, did some shopping, and continued to explore the ship.

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My parents met us at dinner after winning at trivia. Our last night of dinner was in the Animator’s Palate, which was our favorite restaurant. We were lucky enough to sit by the interactive screen and the kids got to talk to Crush from Finding Nemo. It was really neat!

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After dinner, the kids went back to camp for the last time and we headed to the pub to watch some March Madness basketball. The waves were crazy so we were swaying all over the place. After a couple of drinks, we got the kids and headed to the show, Disney’s Believe. I won’t share much about the show other than it was amazing! Everyone sat so nice and just loved it.

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The next morning, we headed back to Animator’s Palate for a very early breakfast and disembarked the ship. We were back home in Orlando by 8:30am and everyone was ready for a nap.

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While there were certainly rocky moments and a couple attitude problems during the week, we had such a great time. We’re already looking forward to our next Disney cruise.

Disney Dream // March 2017

Over spring break, we headed over to Port Canaveral to finally embark on the Disney Dream! We originally booked our trip for October 2016 but didn’t board the ship due to Hurricane Matthew. We opted to re-book for spring break since the kids would be off school, so we waited another five months to set sail. For the whole month of March, I spent a lot of time on Pinterest reading all about the ship, what to do, what not to do, etc. and I still didn’t feel prepared for what was to come.

We drove over to the ship on Monday morning. The embarkation process was super quick and easy. We got checked in and right on the ship. I carried Crosby on my back in the Ergo so we didn’t have to worry about him wandering off. It worked out great for getting on and off the ship.

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Once we were on the ship, we scoped it all out, had some lunch, and went to our rooms. We had connecting rooms with my parents and the rooms were huge! We lucked out when we re-booked and these rooms must have just opened up. They were twice the size of the other rooms on the ship and we had two windows! We are certainly spoiled for future cruises. I didn’t ever get a picture of it, but the couch turned into a bed and the top bunk came down from the ceiling. The kids took turns sleeping in the top bunk which was big fun for both of them.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon at Nemo’s Reef splash pad and the pool until it was time for our muster drill. After that was over, we headed up for the sail away party and waved goodbye to Florida for the week.

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Dinner the first night was at the Enchanted Garden. We didn’t end up seeing the show the first night because the kids (and adults) were already exhausted, so we figured we wouldn’t push our luck on the first night.

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On Tuesday, we docked at Nassau, Bahamas, but we decided to stay on the ship. We took advantage of all of the fun activities planned throughout the day. The daily schedule was action-packed! The kids went to the Oceaneer Lab and Oceaneer Club, which we referred to as “kids camp”. They absolutely loved it! Crosby’s favorite part was Andy’s Room and Kenley liked Pixie Hallow.

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One of my favorite things throughout the week were the random character sightings. We saw so many characters, but some of them were by happenstance and those were way more fun! On the way to breakfast on the first morning, we ran into Pluto and Goofy! We also saw Stitch, but weren’t able to snap a photo with him.

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After naps, the kids were off to kids camp again and the adults headed to a mixology class. We made a variety of drinks and it was very informative. We ended up back in the same bar that night to order one of the drinks we made.

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We also did some swimming on Tuesday and enjoyed shorter lines on the AquaDuck since some passengers were still at the port. I was surprised that we didn’t do more swimming throughout the week, but we rode the slides as often as we could. The Mickey pool was shallow for the kids, but there was also no jumping allowed, so Crosby got called out a few times (I know that doesn’t surprise you!).

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Kenley got to meet Belle before we had dinner in the Royal Palace on Tuesday night. Dinner each night was amazing!

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Instead of seeing the villains show, the kids went to camp for a little while after dinner and we headed to the Pink Wine & Champagne Bar and Skyline for some after dinner drinks.

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I’ll share about Castaway Cay, pirate night, and our day at sea in the next post!
Stay tuned!

Chicago {Part I}

We spent a couple days in downtown Chicago last week before heading out to Oak Park for the wedding festivities for my brother. We had obviously been planning this trip for a while and it started a little earlier than expected on Wednesday morning when Kenley was up at 4am throwing up. We made it to our 9:05am flight and thankfully it wasn’t a full flight. Kenley proceeded to get sick the whole rest of the day. I felt so so so terrible for her, but she honestly was such a champ. I know if that was me, I would be in the fetal position bawling my eyes out all day.

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We flew into Midway and took a cab to our hotel which was conveniently located right across from a Trader Joe’s and a Starbucks. After getting settled into the hotel, getting some groceries, and taking naps, we started our food crawl through Chicago. We met up Mary Beth & Jon at Portillo’s for dinner. It was so good to catch up with them since we hadn’t seen them since Labor Day of last year.

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Kenley woke up feeling much better on Thursday so we decided to hit the town. We started with breakfast at Eggsperience Pancakes & Cafe, which was delicious.

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We walked down to Navy Pier to go to the Children’s Museum. It was great for the kids, very reasonably priced, and it wasn’t crowded at all. We ended up playing for a couple hours before it was time to head back for lunch and naps. We made a point to get in good naps since we knew we would be staying up late most of the nights we were there. On the walk back to the hotel, we made sure to stop by Garrett’s Popcorn for the Chicago mix, which was amazing.

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After nap time, we took a cab down to Millennium Park to see the giant bean and Michael took the train in and met us there. Since we took a cab, we didn’t take the stroller and I wore Crosby in the Ergo.

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We walked a couple blocks to have dinner at Giordano’s.

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After dinner, Michael headed back to the train and we walked back to the hotel. Mind you, we didn’t have the stroller so Kenley was riding on Greg’s shoulders and Crosby was in the Ergo. It was definitely colder than what we were used to as the sun was quickly setting, but we did our best to take in the scenery through the city as we crossed over the Chicago River.

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Lucky for us, the Colts played Thursday night that week so we were able to watch some of the game after the kids went to bed. Unlucky for us, we couldn’t stay up to watch the end of the game, but the Colts won! Friday morning, Michael, Eric, and Alex rode the train in to the city to pick us up. We wanted to get the full experience in the city, so riding the train was a must. However, we could not have done it without the three boys helping with the kids and all of our luggage. On the way out of the city we stopped at Glazed and Infused for some monster donuts. I think we successfully hit up all of the great food stops while we were in the city.

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Travel wise, I think we did a pretty good job for our first trip as a family of four, especially traveling with a sick toddler. We brought the stroller and could not have lived without it. We used it as a double stroller most of the time except when we were getting on the train because it doesn’t fold as easy when there are two seats on it. We did not bring car seats since, by law, the kids can ride in the cab without one. That’s not to say I was thrilled with that decision, it just wasn’t feasible to bring them along. I was a nervous wreck riding in the cabs without their seats. Once again, the Ergo saved the day multiple times. Crosby took several naps in it throughout our trip. We also checked a cooler with dry ice and frozen breast milk with our luggage. The whole process was smooth from start to finish. We had no problems at the airport and our first hotel kept the breast milk in their freezer. We had a mini fridge with a freezer at our second hotel, so we got to keep it in our room. The things we do for our kids! Both of the kids slept on both flights, so that gave Greg and I a short amount of time to rejuvenate ourselves. Once we arrived back to Orlando, Greg and Kenley went to pick up our car while I had Crosby in the Ergo. I am pretty proud to say that I successfully loaded two 50 pound suitcases and our double stroller in the travel bag off of the carousel and onto the cart.

Stay tuned for part two which is the whole reason we were in Chicago to begin with!