New Smyrna Beach | Spring Break 2015

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There’s only so much one can say about how awesome beaches are… I’ll let these photos from New Smyrna Beach do the talking for me.

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Backyard Happiness | Spring Break 2015

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Our first day in Florida was spent recovering from our drive by spending a relaxing day at Aaron and Tracy’s house – My brother Aaron taught Ruby how to catch chameleons, which kept her occupied for most of the week.

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On Sunday we had Jeremiah’s Italian Ice and celebrated Easter at Summit Church. The worship band played what has since become my favorite song, “You Brought Me Back To Life” by Citizens and Saints. Also loved running into so many of my Floridian friends at church.

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Aaron has an amazingly beautiful Kampfer Tree in his backyard. He hung swings and created the most magical backyard imaginable. I wish I was there right now swinging the day away.

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Tracy and Aaron’s backyard was the perfect location for an easter egg hunt. This was the first year Charlie was old enough to run around collecting eggs in his basket. He loved it!

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Clara loves her Aunt Tracy.

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This inflatable pool was the perfect hangout for the kids. Little did they know that after they were in bed Aaron, Tracy, Ryan and I parked ourselves out there in the corners of that pool for hours.

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Florida Vacation – Scenic Boat Tour and the Lake House

Thursday morning I got to meet my Aunt Becky for breakfast. She is one of the most amazing people on the planet, and spending time with her is certainly a great way to start the day.IMG_1505

Later that morning Ryan and I went on the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour with Aaron and Tracy. It was something we’ve thought about doing for a few years, but this year we figured there was no better time. Our captain taught us all about the houses in Winter Park and historical information about Rollins College and famous people who were students there or lived on the lakes. Did you know when Mister Rogers was a student at Rollins he lived in a gorgeous mansion off campus? Well, that’s the type of interesting information you learn on the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour.IMG_1511

For lunch we enjoyed some brisket at 4 Rivers Smokehouse. If you’re anywhere near Central Florida you need to eat at 4Rivers. As is typical for someone nearing the end of their 3rd trimester, my meal consisted of a side of mac-n-cheese, some fried pickles, and fried oreos for dessert.

IMG_1512Later that day we spent time at Tracy’s parents lake house. I’ve never been swimming in a Florida lake before… but this one is lovely and we checked to make sure there weren’t any alligators before we jumped off the dock. We picked up some floats at WalMart and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon floating around until a storm rolled in. We played euchre on the patio until the rain stopped and the sun came out again.IMG_1513

It was a great day!

Florida Vacation – Cocoa Beach and Jimmy Hula’s

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Ryan and I have made it a bit of a tradition to visit my brother Aaron and his lovely bride Tracy in Florida whenever I’m around 35 weeks pregnant  :o) They got married when I was pregnant with Ruby. We left Ruby with my parents when I was this pregnant with Clara and came down for a visit… and here we are again.

My parents kept Ruby and Clara for the week so Ryan and I could have some time to catch up on sleep and get mentally prepared for our baby boy who will be making his debut in a little over a month.

Ryan had a conference (DDW – Digestive Disease Week) in Orlando, so he was already here when I flew down on Monday night. Tuesday morning we picked him up from his hotel and made our way to Cocoa Beach.

Tracy found us a sunny spot on the beach right between where clouds were making shady spots. Ryan applied a good amount of the SPF.IMG_1482

It was super relaxing and just overcast enough that we didn’t get too toasty on our first day out. We took a quick trip to Ron Jon Surf Shop to buy some flip-flops then headed back to the beach for another couple of hours.IMG_1485

Tuesday night we ate a this really great fish taco place called Jimmy Hula’s. I got the Pipeline Pork (which is pork, not a fish taco, but it had pickles on it, so I literally had to get it.) When we finished dinner we sat there for a while planning out our week and talking about all the things we want to do while we’re here. Tracy is the queen of organizing a schedule. She’s really handy to have around.IMG_1488

I can’t wait to share more pics and stories from our little vaca over the next few days.

Florida Vacation 2012

Ryan and I just returned from our vacation in Florida with Aaron and Tracy. I am so thankful for the great friendship I have with my brother, and so blessed that Tracy is his wife. Ryan and I always have a blast hanging out with them, and they were nice enough to let us crash at their house for a week. Incredible! Our week in Florida is becoming a bit of a tradition, here we were in 2009 for Aaron and Tracy’s wedding, then in 2010 when Ruby was a wee babe, and last year 2011.

My awesome parents took care of our girls for us all week. Being kid-less meant I got to stay out past 8pm, go out to dinner and just feed myself, and carry a small purse instead of a mom-size bag full of everything anyone could need at any given moment. I feel rejuvenated by my time away from my girlies, but missed them terribly. They’re my best little buddies. We talked to them on the phone a couple of times and sent videos back and forth. (The video quality is terrible because they were text messages I uploaded to youtube…) anyway, here’s a cute one Ruby sent to us:

And here is Clara giving singing her 2 cents.

I’m looking forward to sharing all the fun Florida pics and stories on my blog in the coming days. Until then, here’s a picture of Ryan in his rally cap. He is my favorite. I love that I get to be married to him.

Saturday… a month ago.

Remember a month ago when my brother and Tracy came to visit? Well, I just downloaded more pictures and realized I forgot to blog about the Saturday they were here! Ha!

We all got a good laugh when Ryan and Aaron both showed up for breakfast wearing blue check button-up shirts. (Aaron bolted upstairs and changed shirts immediately after taking this picture.)

Saturday began with a glorious breakfast a la Ryan. He spared no expense creating incredible bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches topped with avocado on english muffins. Delish. We eat well when Ryan is the chef.

After breakfast Ryan took all of us downtown for a quick tour of the children’s hospital where he works. We got to see his office and the procedure rooms where he spends a lot of his time.

It makes me happy seeing Ryan in his element and hearing him talk about the interesting things he is learning and experiencing everyday. I couldn’t be more proud of the work that he does “to help babies tummies feel better” as Ruby says.

After our tour we went to the North Market for lunch. Its one of our favorite place in CBus, lots of good local food and finds. If you come to visit, this is probably where we will take you for lunch.

Highbanks Metro Park

Praise the Lord we discovered a pretty good place to hike near our house! Our previous attempt at hiking near Columbus was ok, but not great by any means. Today, however, we tried out another park with Aaron and Tracy and were pleasantly surprised by the trails as well as the February sunshine!

Highbanks has trees, trails, bluffs, ravines, bridges, a river and all sorts of things we like to encounter while hiking.

Ruby wanted to walk by herself the entire time… which is less like walking and more like standing by the side of the trail looking for rocks. Luckily Uncle Aaron was willing to carry her on his shoulders so we could actually make forward progress. We stopped by the nature center and Ruby did some light reading.

Discovering this park really made us so happy today. Ryan is THRILLED to have somewhere to be in nature on the weekends that he isn’t working. Hooray for Highbanks! Double hooray for Aaron and Tracy visiting us in Columbus!

Normal stuff is more fun with Aaron and Tracy here.

Having my brother Aaron and his lovely-in-every-way wife Tracy here for the last couple of days has been unbelievably wonderful. They’re super for many reasons, one of which is the fact that they’ve been happy just hanging out with the girls and I doing all the stuff we usually do while Ryan is working. Including running errands in the mornings and being home during the nap time window in the afternoons… we’ve had a lot of fun too!

We’ve been to the zoo twice, worked out at the Y, hung out at the Homestead Park, had a couple of picnic lunches, Ryan and Aaron grilled us some delicious steaks, and we all had dinner “out” tonight. Simply too much happiness is happening over here.

As you can see, Ruby and Clara have had unending fun and entertainment from their Uncle Aaron and Aunt Tracy. I’m pretty sure there will be massive amounts of depression (mostly from Ryan and I) when they go back home.