Embrace the Camera Challenge

My favorite blogger/photographer has set up another “Embrace the Camera” challenge (you can read all about it here).  And this time I thought I would partake.

She loves to do whatever I’m doing.  And taking pictures is no exception.  So it’s been hard lately to get her to let me take her picture (we usually end up with her helping me take pictures of Minnie and Daisy).  But then I remembered that I had a camera remote, and since the girl loves all things remote, we managed to grab a few keepers.

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I’m glad that I got some of our Lego time (or, as she calls them: “Yegos”).  They are by far her favorite toy these days, particularly the “Pinky Yegos” i.e. the ones that we keep in the pink box.

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It will be fun one day when she’s really old enough to cook with me, but since stirring is another of her favorite pastimes, I welcomed her help (and made sure to use a deep enough bowl to prevent the frequent over-zealous stirs of a toddler).

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I like the reminder to get out from behind the camera.  Hopefully I’ll make it more of a regular occurrence.  Happy Friday all!  Oh, and GO WAHOOS!!!

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2013 in Review

Another year.  Faster than the last.  Can that possibly keep happening?  I hope not.  Otherwise, I’m going to end up blinking and Mini Bunches will be graduating high school.

Now that everyone has hopefully received our Christmas cards (sorry for the delay, but it was Vistaprint’s fault), here it is for the interweb.

© 2013 Nickel City Studios

 

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The photo was courtesy of Nickel City Studios’ Alyssa.  She is AMAZING.  I think that an annual photo shoot with her will become a tradition for sure.

It’s hard to believe that 2013 led us to so many places . . . Seattle, Dallas, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Florida, the Adirondacks, and Boston.  Phew.  Will 2014 be the same?  Let’s hope so.

And just to do a quick look back, here’s what a year did to my baby . . . from January 2013 to January 2014.  Sigh.

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Wishing everyone a happy and health New Year’s!!

Clowning Around for Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!!

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Mini B loves her clown costume (handmade by Aunt J).  She even gave us the “sad clown.”

 

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But only briefly.  The hat was a bit of a challenge for her to keep on, but she loved the rest of the ensemble.  Dressing up is totally her idea of a good time these days . . .

 

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I love that I have such a wonderful, talented Aunt who took time to not only make Mini B’s costume, but also a matching one for Mr. Squishy.

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If only they could be trick-or-treating together tonight, but maybe next year?  Either way, we love that they’ll be dressed the same even if they’ll be miles apart.

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She loved walking in it and crunching leaves.  She just kept going back and forth.

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I told her to go stand by the garage so I could take a picture.  She walked over and decided that she should sit down for the pictures.  Her mind is too funny.

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Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween!!!!

 

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Someone can’t wait to get some candy . . .

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Peekaboo

Good morning.

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Where’s Mr. Squishy?
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Where is he?!

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Peekaboo.

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Mini Bunches: 1 Year

It’s three months overdue, but finally here it is: a celebration of Mini Bunches’ first birthday!!

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Don’t expect any Pinterest-worthy pictures here.  We didn’t go overboard for the party, nor was there any super cohesive theme.  The most cohesive thing would have to be the flag bunting.  Remember how I made her invitations?

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Well, I tried to carry the flag theme through as best I could.  I bought a bunch of vintage sheets and made some fabric bunting (I used this free tutorial).  I wanted something really girly for Mini B, and I think this fit the bill.  Plus, it’s something that she could possibly decorate her big girl room with some day.

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I made a bunch of different sizes, and put them up all over the house.

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Besides that, the decorations were minimal.  Some balloons strewn all over, and some new picture additions to the house.

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Those are all printed Instagrams (I used MPix to print them–great quality and they have an app, so you can upload files right from your phone), and I used a hot glue gun to stick them to the door (just a tip–be generous with the glue or else they’ll come down after a couple weeks).  I put them up in chronological order.  My plan is to completely cover the door.

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And then I did a little artwork on the chalkboard pantry doors, and put up all of Mini B’s monthly pictures.

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Now that we’ve covered the decorations/theme (or lack thereof), let’s get to what really matters about such occasions–the family and friends that really make it special.  Mini B lucked out on her first birthday–so many close family and friends made the trip to celebrate with her.  Just look who she got to wake up with . . .

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That’s right–it’s Mr. Squishy!!!  He came out for Mini B’s big day.    So not only did she get to wake up to that smiling face, but she also was rocking some awesome birthday hair.

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All of Mini B’s grandparents made the trip.  I don’t know what they liked more–playing with B or comparing who had the cutest pictures of B.

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She had a great time at her party, even though the weather didn’t exactly cooperate.  Our outdoor cookout turned into an indoor feast thanks to some drizzly rain.

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But we did sneak outside for a quick family photo shoot.

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Mini B loved that everyone sang Happy Birthday to her.  So much so that we ended up doing it twice.

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And then it was time for the moment we’d been waiting for–the SMASH cake!  I wanted to make her cake myself, so I used a low-sugar recipe for the cake (from here), and then just made regular cream cheese frosting (since she loves cream cheese).  I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t notice that ragged edge without icing–it’s in all the pictures.  Ugh.  When I made Mr. Squishy’s smash cake a few weeks ago, it came out much better.  Oh well.

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We had high hopes for what might happen when the entire thing was placed in front of her.

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That might have been her only taste.  After that she was more interested in feeding it to Mama and Dada.

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Things progressed pretty slowly.  I felt badly for our guests.  Can you tell which ones of these are family?  I’ll give you a hint . . . ahem-iPhones-ahem.

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We tried helping her along with a fork, but she just wasn’t digging how the icing felt on her hands (she was having a diva moment).

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In the end I think more ended up on her chair than on her.

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All in all, it was a great day.  Thank you to everyone who came, and thank you to all the friends and family who couldn’t make it but sent along lots of well-wishes.  B’s favorite part, besides the singing, was seeing so many new, fun people.  And also opening their gifts, haha.

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Happy Birthday Mini Bunches.  I love you.  Best year of my life.

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Graduation: 2013

This post is long overdue, but what else is new?  I have about 73 posts milling about in my head, and about 1,316 pictures to go along with those, but let’s be realistic.  Probably ain’t gonna happen.  But, I have already edited these pictures, and since I’m feeling nostalgic for my own college days now that schools are back in session, I thought I’d get this one done and out there.

This past May my oldest little cousin graduated (I’ve got a bunch of cousins, all much younger than me, but this one’s the oldest of the crew, hence the “oldest little” bit).  I am so proud of her.  Hard to believe she’s gone from a little baby whose diapers I used to change to the accomplished woman that she is today.  But enough of me gushing and getting weepy.  Here are some pics . . .

No visit to UConn would be complete without a trip to the Dairy Bar.  Best. Ice. Cream. Ever.

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Although I’m not sure Mr. Squishy was sold on it . . .

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Time for a campus tour . . .

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Nerd alert: she’s an engineer!

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Deep thoughts in UConn’s halls of learning . . .

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And now for the main event . . .

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Someone thinks she’s big woman on campus . . .

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Way too cool for school.

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And then there was cake.  Yes.

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And since the graduation coincided with Mother’s Day, we thought it was a good time to add to my grandmother’s charm bracelet.  Two more charms for her great-grandchildren: Mini Bunches and Mr. Squishy!!

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It was a great trip to Connecticut filled with family, laughs, food, and good times.  And to my oldest little cousin: I’m so proud of you!!! Congratulations again.  Love you.  One more round of applause!

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And a final big toe up! from Mr. Squishy . . .

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Mr. Bunches Has a Birthday!

Wouldn’t it be funny if everything was titled like a children’s book?  I think so.

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Happy birthday (or as we like to say in our family, bursth-day) to the best dad, husband, friend, Donald-Duck-impersonator, Vacation Bunches, and companion there is.  We love you!

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Mini Bunches: 11 Months

Every month goes so fast that it’s getting hard to keep track of exactly what Mini Bunches was up to during each one.  Thank goodness for my camera, and for my journal.

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Yet again, Mini B logged some travel miles during her 11th month, but this time it was closer to home.  She wrapped up her trip to Florida, and returned home a little bit chunkier than she left (you know how those vacation pounds can be–they just creep up on you!) . . .

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And since it was still cold in mid-April, we decided to embarrass dress up our little girl . . .

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Mini B took her first visit to the Buffalo Zoo, but since it was freezing and raining out, we spent most of our time indoors in the rain forest exhibit.  She liked it, but wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it.

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Luckily, our second trip later in the month was much warmer.  She would’ve been happy if we had put her in the pens with the animals–she loved them.

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Now that Mini B has become much more mobile, she’s less content to play in her exer-saucer.  Sigh.  So this was one of her last times enjoying the beloved toy (from the inside at least; she still loves to climb on it, but will no longer willingly sit in it).

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She finally mastered drinking from a sippy cup on her own.  And then smashing it to the ground.  Awesome.

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One of her favorite times of day is story time with Dad.  I love this little tradition–every night before bed, he reads her stories.  She can’t get enough.

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We discovered our new favorite breakfast joint: Sophia’s (which was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives).  Hands-down the best breakfast we’ve found.

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Now that Mini B was 11 months old, we thought it was time to prepare her for the inevitable: Zombie Attacks.  She took it well.

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As part of her training, Mini B spent some time in the grass.  Her first time in the grass to be exact.  She was not a fan.  Not even the promise of an iPhone could get her to crawl in it.  Not sure how this bodes for her ability to escape zombies . . .

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At the end of her 11th month, we spent a week in Ithaca, NY.  

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Which is kind of hard to tell since most of the pictures are of Mini B destroying the hotel room.  But I promise that we did go outside; it’s just that the camera didn’t often come with us . . . 

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I think we need to invest in some floor-to-ceiling windows.

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Her 11 month marked our first Mother’s Day together (well, not technically, but we celebrated it a little early).  She picked the sheep ornament all on her own, but Dad helped with the jewelry decisions.

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Love her.  Best Mother’s Day ever.

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Then we decided to take Mini B on her first college tour (you can never start too early, right?).  We thought about setting up an admissions interview, but thought that might be pushing it.  The good news is that she really seemed to like Cornell, so we’ll have to keep that one on the list ;).

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She wanted my froyo in the WORST way.  Mean mom.

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A room full of toys and she has to play with the lens cap.

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So there you have it–Mini B’s 11th month.  Now to plan for her big birthday (which obviously has already happened, duh, but in keeping with the delayed timeline of this blog, it’s still in the future).  Here’s a shot from her invitation photo shoot . . . gotta love that hair.

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And here are the invitations (designed in Photoshop and printed on postcards from Winkflash, with some extra bits sewn on by me).  Obviously, some details have been hidden on these, but you get the idea . . . 

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House Crashing: MO Style

As promised last week, here’s a quick recap of our recent Florida house crash, MO style.  MO has been a frequent blog bomber here on Bunches of Joy (see more on MO here, here, and here), but this time we got to invade his space; his new digs by the beach to be more exact . . .

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In fairness, MO’s new digs are a rental and came with some of what you’re about to see (like the valance and letters above).  So not all of this is exactly MO’s taste.  Moving on . . . 

MO is the consummate host–he had lunch prepared for us upon arrival (granted, it was a true bachelor meal of turkey burgers with only McDonald’s ketchup packets as the available condiments, but I must say–it was delicious and much, much appreciated).

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He also did a great job entertaining Mini B . . . with kisses, hopping, and apple sauce.

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His entertainment for Mr. Squishy was somewhat, er, less appropriate . . .

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Oh well.  Luckily Aunt Doodles spared him :) . . .

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While MO was entertaining the kids, I had a chance to snoop poke around and get some shots of his little bachelor pad.

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It’s quite the beach-ready place.

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The best part was the upstairs deck, complete with a picnic table that MO built himself!  Color me impressed.

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The pictures don’t do that table justice–it’s HUGE.  Could easily fit 8 people.  Maybe on his next trip to Buffalo he can whittle us a new table?  Mini B would be much obliged.

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All in all, it was a short visit, but a great one.  Thanks again for all your hospitality MO!  Oh, and points to anyone who can guess what his home is built of?

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Any guesses?  Brick?  Wood?  Fairy Dust?

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Seashells!!!!  Ha.  Thanks again MO!  Next time we’re going to drop Mini B off for a long weekend . . . sound good?!  Chickie Chickie Yeah!!!!!

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Mini Bunches: 10 Months

Two posts in one week?!?!  That’s just crazy talk.  So call me crazy.  Earlier this week you got to see what Mini B was up to during her ninth month of life.  Now, let’s take a look at what she was up to during her 10th month.

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One major change should be immediately obvious . . . hair!  She’s finally sporting a little more on top.  Still not enough to overcome being called a boy by strangers each and every time we go out, but we’re getting there.

And just like my last couple monthly updates, here’s a rundown of what our Mini Bunches was up to during her 10th month:

The month started out with Mini B’s first trip to Springdale Farm (which you may remember from our goat hoax).  Of course, we may have to reconsider that whole gettin-a-goat thing . . .

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Mini B is obsessed with tags.  And what’s amazing is that she knows the fake tags (like those on Taggies toys) from the real tags with words on them.  Not sure what it is about tags, but maybe it’s genetic?  I may or may not have had a similar obsession as a wee one.

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Her other big obsession?  Our iPhones.  She has a lot of people to talk to ya’ know.

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Mini B celebrated her first St. Patrick’s Day.  Hollah!

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And she also continued practicing for her American Idol audition.

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She took a break from exercising her pipes in order to take her first trip to the local children’s museum (Explore & More in East Aurora).

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Oh, did I mention that she learned to read?  Sunday mornings are her favorite . . .

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Mini B celebrated her first Easter.

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It was short lived.

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She also found her voice . . . this picture needs her added soundtrack of squeals and shrieks.

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And then of course Mini B continued to rack up her frequent flyer miles with a trip to Florida where she got some qt with Mr. Squishy . . .

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And they got along well except for one ill-fated fight over a water bottle.  Room full of toys and these two want the water bottle . . .

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Not only did Mini B get quality time with Mr. S, but she also got to see some friends from NY who were also enjoying a little fun in the sun.  Yep, Mr. & Mrs. Rockstar were rockin’ out with their own little fam . . .

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And guess who else made an appearance . . . chickie chickie yeah!

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Living the Florida life.  Not too shabby, eh?

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“The ocean is big.”  Those were his exact words.

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We had a great time with Mr. S, Uncle J, and Aunt Doodles–thanks guys!

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I seriously can’t get enough of these two.

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Once we wrapped things up on Amelia Island, it was time to head to New Smyrna Beach to visit Mini B’s other little cousin . . . but first, a stop at MO’s place (more on that next week):

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After a quick visit, it was time to move on.  Of course, with two babies in the car, we pretty much took the tortoise route.  When one baby slept, the other one cried.  Awesome.  Apparently we forgot to tell the kiddos that we were on vacation.  But either way, we made it and look who was ready for the paparazzi . . .

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She showed the new kids on the block how beach time is done.

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The first time touching the Atlantic Ocean for both of them . . .

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Mini B was lucky enough to celebrate her 10 month birthday with her two littlest cousins.  Such fun!

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Before we returned home, we took one last early morning walk on the beach.  Sigh.  Sleepy little beach town–how we love you!

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So there you have it.  Her 10th month.  St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Florida, cousins, sun, sand, and surf.  Good times.

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