I’m Back!!!

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I’m Back!!!

Hey friends!  Remember me?  I’ve decided to include a picture of myself just in case anyone forgot who I was … and because I realized I have very few photos of myself on this blog.  Sorry there have been no new posts for quite some time.  I have been without muse as the winter here has forced us into semi-hibernation mode, and lets just face it, that just isn’t much to talk about!  But on the upside, winter is calming down for us here in Northern Newfoundland and we are seeing more and more fine days.  We’re talkin’ 3 and 4 degrees Celsius above freezing mind you, and the wind usually factors that out completely, but it’s something!

Being able to get the family out into the world again has been the best!  Hubby, K, bought us all a pair of snowshoes that were locally made and we have been having a blast on them!  Yesterday, we all went out for a trek through the woods up to the town’s lighthouse.  In places where our dog kept falling and fumbling through chest deep snow, we were staying nice and secure up on the top layers.  Snowshoes are a pretty amazing thing really.  I felt like a pioneer woman, scaling the land and being one of the first people to see the sights.  The fresh powder that had fallen the night before covered all old tracks, allowing us to see that no one was up ahead, so we let Fender off leash to run the entire trek.  He stayed close, appreciative of his freedom, just meandering after the bunnies whose tracks were fresh.  Our daughter, W, who will be three in May, snowshoed for the first 20 minutes or so of this adventure, and did amazingly well.  She truly has a kind and gentle spirit; outside is where she is the happiest.  After her legs started to get sore, it was a toddler-wearing win, as K got her snuggled onto his back in our Tula.  We ended up snowshoeing for about 2 hours on this outing and were very reluctant to go home as we were enjoying ourselves so much.

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Hey! Wait up guys!

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Fender in his glory

snowshoeing view of the harbour

snowshoeing view of the harbour

Our family has also been keeping busy by filling up our social calender!  The playgroup that meets weekly, Treehouse, had their Easter party this week, which was fabulous!  I tried my hand at decorating sugar cookies with royal icing techniques for the first time as my treat to bring to the party.  They turned out pretty good and were a bit of a hit!  And today there was an Easter Party Fundraiser for the Children’s Wish Foundation that was put on by a group of lovely women – my neighbor and her sisters!  It was a blast and was really well put together.  K had the job of driving the Easter Bunny around town to cause a bit of a commotion.  There were large door prizes as well as small prizes for all the kids, hotdogs, facepainting, a bake sale, an Easter candy grab, and it was all broadcast over the local radio station.  All in all they raised over $2,600, which is enough money to grant two wishes- such an impressive feat for such a small town!  It goes to show how kind hearted and generous this place is.  Everyone seems to always be looking out for each other and lending a hand.  A big “Bravo” goes out to these sisters for pulling off such a fantastic community event!

having so much fun at the Children's Wish Foundation Easter Party!

having so much fun at the Children’s Wish Foundation Easter Party!

Our Bunny!

Our Bunny!

My first attempt at decorating with royal icing

My first attempt at decorating with royal icing

So I guess that pretty much sums up what we have been up to!  I will try to get more posts up soon – I’m sure the inspiration will be flowing freely as the weather continues to warm up!  W and I are off on her first plane trip to her Ninn & Ga’s house next week!  I am sure everything will go smoothly as she is over-the-moon excited!  We can’t wait to see all of our family and friends but sad to leave K behind for a few weeks. Wish us luck!

-A
xo

"helping" Mama make her bed

“helping” Mama make her bed

Holiday Preparations, Chocolate Butterflies & New Dresses

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Well folks, the holidays are fast approaching!  We have our tree up and decorated finally, as well as a couple of wreaths I made last year.  We are kind of nervous to put any outside lights or decorations up as the wind is unreal here and they would probably end up in the ocean!

This year getting ready for Christmas is so different than ever before.  Besides the inability to decorate the front of our house like we are used to, we have had to do most of our shopping online.  I am so used to going to a large mall (or two or three) with lights strung everywhere and the big mall Santa’s “HoHoHo”-ing – it helps you get into the spirit of the season whether you enjoy that part or not!  This year there wasn’t much of it all.  We were to a mall that is a few hours away in the closest city, but it isn’t nearly as large as we are accustomed to!  Very slim pickings on what stores you can visit.  However, this is not me complaining; it just another part of the adjustment!  Take a girl who has lived in or beside a very large city for the last 7ish years and put her in a tiny town and there is going to be some adjusting to do!  But we are still loving it here, more and more each day actually.

My husband spends most of his time working as you can probably tell from my past posts, so W and I try to keep ourselves busy socializing!  We are finding a lot to do here actually.  Between our scheduled playgroup once a week to play dates set up privately among friends, fitting gym time in for myself and Kyle, and now throw daycare for W once a week into the mix.. we are definitely busy!  We have made a fabulous circle of friends here, and we are so greatful for them every single day.  They are a group of Moms and kids who are really proving to be there for each other; a group that when your having a rough day, you can call on to get together for a coffee and a talk.  I have searched so long for friends like this, and I am so blessed to have found them here!

As I have mentioned above, W started daycare once a week today!  I had such mixed feelings on sending her, but she proved to me once again, that she is growing up fast and can handle more than I think she can.  She woke up first thing this morning and remembered it was the day she was going to “play all day”.  “Get ready!!!!!” she screamed as she jumped out of bed and ran through the hall.  She couldn’t even eat breakfast because she said she was too excited and had butterflies made out of chocolate chips in her tummy… go figure.  Anyways, she made out swimmingly, didn’t want to leave at the end of the day, and she can’t wait to go again.  Tonight she made sure to bless all of her playmates daycare in her prayers before bed.  She isn’t a mushy kid who likes to bless Mommy & Daddy tho; she will bless the lamps and the walls before us usually, obviously still getting used to the concept a tiny bit.

While W was at daycare today, K & I went shopping for groceries and a dress for the upcoming holiday party!  I got one that is a bit out of my comfort zone as I am a very casual dresser usually, but I figured what the hey.  The more exciting part was the fact that for the first time in literally years, I had to buy a size small!!  For those of you who don’t know me, or don’t think this is such a big deal, fine.  But I am quite proud!  Since I was 12 years old, when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, I have battled my weight from the countless medications I have been on and off of.  I have finally managed, after many attempts, to lose about 40 lbs so far with more to go!  All through healthy eating and exercise.  It really works!  I will make sure to post a photo of the dress I found next time.

Anyways, I think that’s about it for now…
Until next time!

Lots of love,

A
xox

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Link

This week I have decided that it is high time I post a recipe for everyone!  There hasn’t been much going on in terms of events in our lives as the weather has been windy, cold, damp… and did I mention windy?!  We have been camping out indoors and visiting neighbors as much as possible to kill some time.  However, W & I did bake some shortbread cookies and they were completely delicious!  And, I know, shortbread cookies are pretty simple and straight forward to bake.. but I liked these so much I thought I would post the recipe anyways!

This particular recipe I found at http://www.somuchbetterwithage.com/2013/12/easiest-shortbread-cookie-recipe-ever/  … I figured with letting a toddler do most of the baking this time that this recipe was perfect, especially with the name of it “Easiest Shortbread Cookies Ever”; its best to keep it simple with kids in the kitchen!

We followed the recipe as it is written except I added about a tsp of vanilla, as I am a self proclaimed “vanilla-holic”.  I need it in everything.  It makes life better… and yes, I even admit to putting a few dabs on my wrists as perfume once in awhile.  See?  A bit obsessed with it.

Anyways, these cookies were so easy to work with, none of this letting the dough set in the refrigerator while your kid cries because they have to wait even more time for the cookies to be ready and they’re only half ways done.  And they turned out beautifully!

We baked them to a perfect golden on the bottom just letting the color start to creep up the sides.  Flaky, buttery goodness.  Completely perfect.

I do, however, recommend thinking of a friend or two whom you can surprise with some once they are baked as the recipe made quite a few; or if calories aren’t an issue with you… go to town!  I know I wanted to.

Anyways, I hope you all enjoy this recipe link.  I highly recommend you try them, they are so perfect this time of year!

Lots of Love,

A… xox

 

Here is the recipe from the blog “So Much Better With Age”.  A great blog with everything I am passionate about including decorating, furniture makeovers, baking and much more!
http://www.somuchbetterwithage.com/And take a look at that message cookie cutter set she has!  If anyone is still looking for Christmas gifts for me… this would be high on my list!

Easiest Shortbread Cookie Recipe Ever

Prep time
20 mins
Cook time
12 mins
Total time
32 mins
This is the EASIEST Shortbread Cookie recipe you’ll ever try!
Author: So Much Better With Age
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sifted icing sugar {confectioners sugar}
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 deg F
  2. Place butter in a large bowl or mixer
  3. Gradually beat in sugar until smooth and creamy, mix well
  4. Stir in 2 cups of flour just until incorporated, don’t overmix!
  5. Divide dough into 4 parts
  6. Roll out dough on floured surface to ¼ inch thickness, one part at a time
  7. Cut shapes with cookie cutter
  8. Place on ungreased baking sheets
  9. Bake until cookies turn light golden colour, about 10-12 minutes
  10. Slide onto racks to cool
  11. Store in covered container or fridge for one month! They can be frozen but texture will soften

The Moments I Live for

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When I found out I was pregnant with our daughter I didn’t quite know what to expect when it came to child raising.  Sure, I knew the fundamentals such as what needed to be done, and my mother was there to help when I got stuck, but before actually becoming a mother I never dreamed how hard some days would be.  I think the hardest thing about raising a child is adjusting to the constant change; once you think you’ve mastered something such as getting them to sleep or cooling another temper tantrum; what you have been doing suddenly no longer works and it seems like all of your “skills” have vanished!  This adventure called “parenting” has really taught me that it truly is the little things that matter.  Once your own, flesh and blood, child does something new; in that moment every frustrating moment and every tear shed, fades away and you are left with nothing but amazement and warm butterflies.

In infancy, the constant nursing, the sleepless nights, the poop-splosions that has left both your baby and everything it was touching including and mostly you covered in well… poop… those are some of the not so fun times.  I can remember being so absolutely distraught and feeling like I was definitely not cut out for the whole motherhood thing.  Why on earth did I think I would be remotely good at this??  Why did I give up my life to raise a child??  Tears ran down my cheeks and feeling completely hopeless, it then happens.  Was that a smile or gas?  Nope, definitely a smile.  At that moment it feels like the sky bursts open with rays of light shining down from the heavens on only you and your wee one.  Everything is perfect again.

Looking back on my time when we were in that stage of development, some of my most frustrating and most rewarding moments went hand in hand.  Breastfeeding is a perfect example of this.  When we were in the hospital we had nurse after nurse saying we were “doing it wrong”.  Once I learned to trust that my baby already knows how to do this as it is in her instincts, and to block out those that tried to interfere, we had such a great nursing relationship.

It was not all sunshine in roses tho, as nothing is… just when I thought we, as a breastfeeding pair, had it mastered; a growth-spurt, or teething, or self soothing hit.  I would regularly find myself questioning my own self worth, my ability, my technique … everything!  And then would somehow snap myself out of the downward self destructive spiral and look down.  I, at that very moment, was giving my own daughter everything she needed; nourishment in which I produced myself and to suit her own specific needs, comfort, and love.  Sure, at times I would sit for hours with her literally attached to me, but when she looked up with such a peaceful face, or pure joy, excitement and a little laugh as she got older, my life was complete.

Now, as my daughter is now two and a half years old, we have been through so much together.  She is learning new things everyday, and we have to be very careful what we say around her!  Playing make-believe is her favorite pass time, as well as helping Mommy and Daddy with anything and everything we allow her to!

But still, she has her moments, and there have been quite a lot of them lately which made me sit and write this post.  Bedtime is such a struggle.  Some nights she completely refuses to sleep until between 9-11pm.  Once we finally get her to sleep, my husband and I (when he isn’t working night shift) rush off to try to get some rest ourselves, only to be awoken a few hours later.  And then a lively wake up call at an ungodly hour of the morning.  Coffee can never be in short supply in our household as of late, and when I leave the room, even for a quick minute, the flood gates open and there is no calming her down until I return.

She has become a demanding two year old, which I know is all par for the course, however it takes a toll on the ole noggin trying to keep up with her ups and downs.  But even as I write this, the last “perfect moment” is etched into my brain that makes it all better.  This evening as I lay with her in her dark room, as she fights the urge to give into sleep, she says to me “snuggle up Mama”.  Pulling her close I hold her tight.  I lay quiet, shut my eyes and breath in her smell and try to lock it into my memory for years to come.  I then feel her drowsy head bash into mine as she smushes our noses together in our “nose kisses” and lays back down beside me, nuzzling her head under my chin.  It is moments like this that I live for.

As I sit here tonight and write this post, I am filled with happiness despite being completely exhausted. I know that tomorrow we will have our fair share of challenges and moments when I feel that I just can’t keep up.  I also know that we are only so far into our Mother-Daughter journey together, and these trials and tribulations will keep coming up, and will progressively become more substantial.  However, I can do nothing to avoid these times, and I ultimately would never want to avoid them as these are signs of her growth and development.  I will always remember to relish in her accomplishments and hold onto the sweet moments we have together, because in those moments, I know I am doing something right.

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Change; the Beauty and the Beast of it

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Change.  The word of the day… the theme of our new lives.  Change is inevitable; it can either be greeted with resistance or it can be embraced and looked at with positive eyes.  We have encountered a whole lot of change in the last while, both positive and negative.  We are only human after all.

The most recent changes in our great sea of adjustment has been things like getting used to my husbands new and insane work schedule, as well as the many many ways we see our daughter developing and reacting to the move.  All of our changes are normal and completely expected under our circumstances.  Some are welcomed we are excited about.  But others, well those changes we have had a rougher time getting used to those.

This new work schedule we are dealing with of my husbands takes some getting used to for the entire family.  There will be six days in a row of which he will either be working day or night as well as on call in between, and then three days off.  We have been told this schedule will be ever changing with the seasons as the summer equals tourist time which means there is a very high call volume, also meaning he will be going flat out for the most part for six days.  Right now, there are no tourists left, and the weather has been chilly and mostly rainy with sunny days mixed throughout to make it feel not so bad.  He has been not so busy, so we get to see him quite regularly throughout his work days, which is nice.

The on call part is a nice change as well but we are in the adjustment period of that as well.  After being awaken in the wee hours of the morning by a phone call and my husband getting dressed and running out the door, it is definitely hard to get back to sleep to try to be as refreshed as possible and ready myself for a day of two-year-old chasing.  I find my mind tries to run away with wondering what is going on, if everyone is okay, if he will be ok… and then the words of my mother, who has gone through a similar career with my father, play in my mind: “In times like these, you must put your mind to rest and have faith in your husband and his training”.  Easier said than done, especially on nights when you have an inkling of whats going on and he has to drive at least an hour to said call and there are always a possibility of moose on the road, which can be deadly for him since they are MOOSE for goodness sake and impossible to see at night… see what I mean?

On the mornings after nights like that, I find myself reaching for the coffee pot a few times and pressing play for the millionth time on Dora the Explorer on Netflix.  I allow myself to feel like a terrible mom for a moment for not engaging in conversation with my daughter and for having the TV on at all really as it is looked at so negatively upon in parenting culture now; and then my moment is over.  I give myself my much needed reality check that I am far from a terrible mom, that I am an awesome mom, and just because I didn’t get any sleep the night before and have to rely of massive doses of caffeine to get through my day, that this is just one day in the grand scheme of things, and this too shall pass.  I then relax a bit further into my spot on the sofa, wrap my hands around the warm mug of caffeine bliss, and have a moment for me.  

Our daughter has been growing and changing so much since we have moved.  She has been getting out for play time with more and more friends, her vocabulary is ever growing and changing… however phrases such as “Mom, butt out”, must stop.  She has been wanting to do things less with Mom and more with friends her own age and older.  This is hard for a mother, but so rewarding at the same time.

We had a playdate last week with a new Mommy friend of mine, and her daughter who is pretty well the exact same age as W.  We both had so much fun and W didn’t want to leave at the end of it!  It was so nice to sit with another mother who is right there with you, facing more or less the same things you are, as far as developments and tantrums go.  And W just loved being with someone her age, playing with trains and dolls, and other make-believe games.  She is no longer the baby who didn’t know how to interact with other children, who would rather just sit on Mommy’s knee and snuggle the entire time.  This change is a good change.

The change with W that I am having a rough time with is seeing her need less of me, and by this I mean; less snuggles at bed time (she now goes to sleep after three books in her own twin sized bed), less time spent on my knee in the day time just reading books and hanging out, less time in our toddler carrier (she walks pretty much everywhere now and she hasn’t been in our Tula in weeks).  All of these things I recognize as positive and defining moments in her independence, please don’t get me wrong.. I do realize this.  But as a mother, I am finding this a bit hard to grasp.  I find myself with so much more time on my hands (some days), which is so so nice, but with this change being so all-of-a-sudden … just kind of leaves you a bit breathless.

And so with all of these changes mentioned, as well as a whirlwind of others, life has been extraordinary, exciting, boring, despairing, entertaining… all-consuming, to say the least.  We have been loving the direction our lives have been taking us, and we are loving the new little person our W is turning out to be.  With our new found freedom, K & I have had a chance to step back and find ourselves again, and intern back to each other.  We look forward to what our future is holding for us, only He knows what is in store next.

Until next time,
Lots of Love.

A

xox

Our New Home… So far! (with many pictures)

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Our New Home… So far!  (with many pictures)

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First off, I would like to apologise to readers for the late blog entries.  There were a few minor glitches in internet hook up, but after all… we live in the middle of nowhere – what do you expect?  (hehe)

Since we have moved into our new house in our new town, in our new province; we have already begun to enjoy ‘the little things’ and are very grateful for each and every new experience we have.  The nearest big box store such as Target or Walmart is about 1:45 away from us, as well as large grocery chains.  We are learning to distinguish between our needs and our wants, and are thankful for the things we have instead of focusing on what we don’t.  We are consciously trying to make the most of every moment and live in the now.  Life is so fulfilling when these things all come together.

My husband was off for the first 4 days we were here, which was very helpful in getting the house arranged and clear piles of boxes out of the way to restore some state of normalcy.  When we weren’t busy unpacking, we did some sight seeing and adventuring around the immediate area to see what this place really had to offer!

In the summer months, we learned that this town is a very popular tourist destination for people all over Europe and the US.  There are many little shops that boast handmade crafts, baking and preserves, cabins; many ocean view cottages for rent; bed and breakfasts; a hotel; as well as many quaint restaurants for home style meals; and a few grocery stores for necessities.  However, once the tourist season comes to a close and the chill sets in the air, most of these businesses close down and we are left with a restaurant and lots of peace and quiet.

During one of our adventures in our first week, we came across a path that led down to a rocky beach… and to our surprise, a 100 year old ship wreck!  A sign described when the ship sank and to stay at least 3 m away from the wreck at all times as it may collapse.  Very cool!  I was so glad I had my camera for this impromptu photo shoot  (See photos).  We were the only ones there at the time and there was a sort of ghostly calm surrounding us with breath taking views (as always).  W loved playing on the rocky shore and climbing on the large boulders there – What a monkey.  After taking the views in there for as long as a 2 year old would allow, we jumped back on the highway and saw some caribou grazing in a field (also pictured).  An amazing day.

Aside from sightseeing and adventuring, we have been busy making new friends!  The people here are, in general, such friendly and accepting individuals.  And I am going to put it out there that I have never met such polite and well spoken teenagers in my life.  I think it has to do with, as my neighbour pointed out, that it takes a community to raise a child and the people here all chip in to help one another.  This instantly gives me the “warm fuzzies”  that I have been looking for.  Perfect.  This neighbour I speak of has children, older than W but they love her and play with her all the same.  She goes over to their house and fits in like she had always been around, and they in ours.  W & I also go to a playgroup on Tuesdays where a group of very sweet mothers and children get together for a chance to relax, play and socialize.

We have been shown the infamous hospitality here already when the neighbour previously mentioned gave us some moose meat to try (delicious), and another neighbour brought us over a home made lemon pie (que K’s drooling) and invites us over for tea any time we are free and want company.  Her husband is such a sweet man as well that has offered us his half tonne truck for whenever we may need it.  I have also made to feel extremely welcome in my husbands new office and we pop in all the time, even when K isn’t working.

Baking is still a huge part of my life (surprise, surprise), and my dear daughter has began to pick up on this love as well.  As soon as we set foot in our new house, even before the movers came with our fridge and stove, she begged me to “bake cookies, please”.  We have been baking together quite regularly, and this week we decided to make Halloween themed sugar cookies. What a time she had mixing the ingredients and helping me roll out the dough.  And don’t even get me started on the part where we actually had to cut them out!  It is much harder than one would expect to use cookie cutters with a toddler… but we had a blast all the same (see photos).

The weather here is always a big question I get when talking with my parents and others not around here.  It has been chilly, but we have had a very lucky amount of sunny and hot days.  At the moment it is blustering so hard, and pouring rain.  I took a photo earlier this evening of the waves crashing on the shore…(excuse the quality as it was taken out my front window, but you get the idea). We decided to go hiking after the rain a few days ago; a steep incline to, which would be, gorgeous views if it hadn’t have been for the fog.  W completely loved it and cannot wait to go again (pictured).

The last few photos are just fun pictures of W.  She loves being in front of the camera and her imagination has kicked into high gear with developing alter egos such as “Coco”; who can be either a ballerina, princess or just a diva.  I’m not sure where she comes up with this stuff, but I love seeing her grow and play.

There has been, as you can see now, a lot going on here.  We are getting used to a whole new way of life, as well as a new work schedule as far as K goes.  It has been very exciting and we are all adjusting quite nicely.  And now that we have internet… I look forward to posting more updates and photos that helps me keep in touch with all of you.

Until next time,
Lots of love.

A

xox

And Off We Go!

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Up until a few days before the big day we lead on our normal lives, getting small errands done here and there, in some preparation for our relocation – but then “it” set it.  We were going to changing provinces … again, and in just a few days.  And this time with a TWO year old!  We kicked things into high gear and worked long hours into the night.  Of course we also had to add more confusion into the already by then chaos and buy a new-to-us SUV and also do some cosmetic bodywork on it… because adding more to your already full plate is always fun.  hmm…

Our neighbours there were such amazing people who loved W.  I thanked God for them for watching her while my husband and I worked.  It helped W be a kid when she needed to the most.

The big day finally came.  The movers showed up in their van and almost right away started rolling out the red carpets through the doors and down the halls; W called them “Mickey Mouses carpets” and wanted to keep them.  I spent the first part chasing her around, trying to keep her somewhat occupied, but within a half hour she decided she needed to go to her bedroom.  There was no stopping her.  I trailed close behind – ready to pick up the pieces… I knew that her – especially being a two year old – seeing someone strange in her room, much less (to her knowledge) taking her things; would crush and confuse her greatly.  She walked into her room, looked around briefly and then “UhOh…No Man!… Mommy up!!!”.  I swept her up and away to my amazing neighbours house so W could be out of the confusion and mess for the rest of the morning.

By 2 pm all of our belongings that once occupied our spacious 2 story home and double garage, was in boxes.  As you spoke to one another, echoes filled the air.  An eerie feeling.  A house where your memories and laughter once filled the air,  where you look over to that one place in W’s bedroom where she took her first steps; or over in front of the front picture window where I sat holding our sick dog before she passed.  These and many more memories took over and momentarily flooded my heart.  All you can do at that moment is close your eyes, take a deep breath, and walk out the door – look ahead and don’t look back.

The next few days were pure chaos and quite blurry.  Four nights in hotel rooms; where myself, my husband, our two year old and our very nervous Great Dane attempted to rest as much as possible at night.  During the days we were constantly packing and unpacking our things, stuffing our SUV as full as a can of sardines, and driving long distances to the lovely soundtrack of Mickey Mouse Club House… Boy, were we ever regretting buying that CD by the end of our journey.

Looking back now, we must have been quite the sight to see.  Our dog was a complete rock star and we were made famous by him wherever we went.

We met so many very sweet people along our way as well; the lady at our first hotel that tried so hard to help me try to track down a park in walking distance and sent me and W on a walking adventure for about 30 mins in the wrong direction; the pool boy at our second hotel who gave W a floatie ring and goggles and made her feel like she was the coolest thing ever (she wore the ring & goggles around our rooms to follow and held onto them in the car)… there are so many other amazing people we ran into and when you are already stressed out and have a two year old who can be very uncooperative at times, as well as a giant dog who is scared of his own shadow; there are no words to describe our gratitude to each and every person who gave us a smile.