Florida Vacation 2013

IMG_3804A few weeks ago Ryan and I returned home from an incredible vacation in Florida with Aaron and Tracy. My parents took care of our girls for the week, so I got to spend some time catching up on sleep and getting mentally prepared to be a mother of THREE kiddos in a couple more weeks. This little break was just what we needed.IMG_1689IMG_1682

I am so thankful for the close friendship I have with my brother Aaron and my sister-in-law Tracy. Ryan and I truly have so much genuine fun when we get to hang out with Aaron and Tracy.

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I’m glad to be home with my girls again. I missed their little faces and their ongoing commentary of our days. It was such a great week! IMG_1692IMG_1693

In closing, here’s a recap of our entire “Real Florida” vacation. Yay!

Cocoa Beach and Jimmy Hula’s
Kayaking at Wekiva Springs State Park
Scenic Boat Tour and The Lake House
Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park
Boating on the Intracoastal Waterway

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Florida Vacation – Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park

Last year when we visited Aaron and Tracy we discovered Kelly Park and decided that it needed to become a tradition with every visit. Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park is a 72 degree, spring-fed, natural lazy river you float down. Each “run” takes about 25 minutes, then you walk on a path back to the beginning of the river and jump in again.IMG_1517

Most people rent tubes from the Tube King, but this year we decided to bring some pool noodles to see how those work. Aaron and Ryan were hilarious discovering many ways to float with pool noodles.IMG_3781IMG_3785

IMG_3773We made a train.

IMG_3779IMG_3784After a few hours floating down the river and soaking in the sunshine we headed home to shower before meeting some of my cousins for dinner at the Mellow Mushroom. Josh brought his son Noah and Joel and Lizzy brought their son Luke, who told me a hilarious joke:

“knock knock”
“who’s there?”
“Jada and Ella!”   …that’s it. that’s the end. hahaha. IMG_1521

Weekend in Granger

Last weekend Ryan was in Phoenix for a conference so I took the girls to my parent’s house for a few days. Easter came a bit early at Grammy and Papa’s house. Clara was in love with the bunny ears.IMG_0337

My Granny and Papaw came up so they could see the girls. I love that they can still play with and enjoy their great-grandchildren. We celebrated Papaw’s 88th birthday and St. Patty’s Day with green cake and shenanigans.

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Ruby and Lydia are two peas in a pod. God made them cousins for a reason. IMG_0345

We walked in the woods and explored the meadow.Clara Amber 031513  1IMG_0307Clara Sheila  031513  1Ruby Amber  03 2013  Grammy's  1

Love this pic of Norah and Ruby looking out the window for wild turkeys. Norah is such a doll.IMG_0311

Being outside never gets old for these woodland creatures.IMG_0390

My dad is an incredible photographer.

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I mentioned at the beginning of this post that Ryan was in Phoenix for a conference. He told Ruby that Phoenix was in the desert, then she watched an episode of Bubble Guppies about the Sphinx in Egypt, which is also a desert. A week after both of these events were rolling around in her head, she told her preschool teachers that her dad was in Egypt with the Sphinx… because he was in Phoenix, which kinda sounds like Sphinx – and he brought her a scorpion paperweight from the desert, and Egypt is in the desert… I can see why she is confused. Her preschool teachers were quite amazed by Ryan’s world travels, I cleared things up and they laughed a lot.

Weekend in Kentucky

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A couple of weeks ago Ryan went skiing in Steamboat, Colorado with his dad and brother, so I drove the girls down to Kentucky so we could hang out with my Uncle Matt and Aunt Linda for a few days.IMG_9995

They were so nice to open their house to us. We explored the new Big Four walking bridge that just opened on February 7th, connecting Kentucky and Indiana over the Ohio River. It was REALLY COLD once we got up on the bridge… but Ruby and Clara were having such a great time we decided to go ahead and walk all the way to Indiana. Ryan texted me this pic while we were on the bridge… he might have been warmer than we were at this moment.IMG_0062

My girls are smarter after spending time with Aunt Linda and Uncle Matt. Uncle Matt did endless puzzles, helping the girls find the corner and edge pieces.IMG_9993

Aunt Linda spent a lot of time with Ruby in the yard learning about nuts, trees, bark and bushes. Ruby “made a collection” of holly berries that were growing near the side of the house. She decided to create a “centerpiece” which she worked on for 3 days straight. It was amazingly intricate and required special packaging for our drive back to Columbus.IMG_0028IMG_0029

My cousin Phil and his lovely wife Lauren came over on Saturday to see the girls. Clara loves Lauren, they seem to be kindred spirits.IMG_0059

IMG_0067We drew with chalk on the driveway, bounced bouncy-balls, and Phil attempted to teach Ruby how to throw a frisbee… it never got successfully thrown back to him, but he threw it to her a few times.IMG_0056

Uncle Matt washed my van for me! He won the Uncle of the Day Award.IMG_0074

As I was packing up our van and getting ready for our drive home, I remembered that there is an IKEA in Cincinnati… so I made the crazy decision to stop there with 2 children by myself. Thankfully they had a play area for kids Ruby’s height and taller (I might have used my pregnant belly and Ruby’s extensive vocabulary as negotiating tools for making Ruby tall enough to qualify). Clara and I explored IKEA and it ended up being a fun, but quick stop on our way home. The main problem with IKEA is that you realize all the things you never needed before, but now aren’t sure you can live without them. Ha.IMG_0077

So thankful for the wonderful family I have and the great relationships with Aunt and Uncles and Cousins we’ve maintained over the decades, its rare but wonderful. Thanks for letting us visit Aunt Linda and Uncle Matt! We had a great time with you and can’t wait to see you again soon!

Pregnancy is my Kryptonite

Oh hi! Im finally coming out of the pregnancy fog that zapped me of all my super powers… it only took 17 weeks. Whew! I’ve got some catching up to do on the ol’ bloggy blog, pretty much all of 2013 so far. ha! Thankfully, my girls have been MOSTLY peachy throughout my sickness/nauseousness/horizontalness and Ryan has been amazing.
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Last weekend we took the girls down to see the waterfall near our house. It was icy and cold, but we bundled them up and they had a great time walking up and down the pathway together. Clara loves it when Ruby holds her hand – except for when she doesn’t want to, then she goes berserk, but on this particular day, Clara was loving the hand-holding.IMG_9576 IMG_9577

The girls and I found this ice cream shop called Graeters that has a great play area and it’s hardly ever busy (so don’t tell anyone about it!) We went there twice last week and are planning to go again tomorrow! On really cold mornings, it’s a great way for Ruby to burn some energy.IMG_9600

Clara finds one things she likes and sticks with it – one day she went down the same slide over and over and over for 2 hours. Another day she teeter-tottered on this giant banana the whole time we were there. She is funny. Ruby, on the other hand, will discover that she can go down the same slide 19 different ways, and each way is more hilarious than that one before. At some point she will probably hurt herself being so silly, but so far she has been ok.IMG_9522

Thankful to be feeling better – 90% back to my normal self! My 20 week ultrasound is on Feb 13th, so sometime around Valentines Day I’ll give you updates on baby #3. WooHoo!

I Love My Siblings

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It’s a really special thing that my brother, sister and I are as close as we are. Now that we are all married, it’s even more special that we all truly like and enjoy being around one another’s spouses. I love my brother Aaron’s wife Tracy. I love my sister Angela’s hubby John. Knowing that my brother and sister love my Ryan brings joy to my heart everyday.

One afternoon during the Beeson Family Staycation, my parents offered to care for all the children while we went for a hike. We laughed and told stories as we walked along the trails through the woods. 

Tracy is from Florida… she was loving the fact that we were hiking around the perimeter of a cornfield at one point. Ha! She kept saying, “LOOK AT ALL THIS CORN!” Love her.

Family Hike at Dr. Lawless Park

Doesn’t this picture make you want to frolic down that trail of crunchy fallen leaves? Me too! My dad took this picture, which is one of the many reasons it is so wonderfully inviting.

 

I love hiking with my family! Ryan, Aaron and John carried babies on their backs and the whole fam hit the trail at Dr. Lawless Park on one beautiful fall day.

Ruby found a walking stick.

 

Beeson Family Staycation 2012 – InstaLife

This year the Beeson Family gathered for a week together at my parents house. Hooray for STAYCATION! We hiked, built fires, went to the pumpkin patch, enjoyed the fall weather, spent a day on the Dunes at Lake Michigan, took walks to the meadow, chopped wood, shot guns, and just had a great time being together without much of an agenda. I’m excited to post pictures this week – for today I’ll give you the Instagram version of our week together.

Here’s a look back at the last 5 years of Beeson Family Vacations.

Ft. Meyer’s Beach, FL – 2007
Glen Lake, MI – 2008
Aaron and Tracy’s Wedding, FL – 2009
Lake Tahoe, CA – 2010
Smoky Mountains, TN – 2011

Robinette’s Apple Orchard

Before we left Grand Rapids we went to Robinette’s Orchard with Chris and Ryan’s parents to enjoy some cider and donuts. Ryan loves apple cider, as I mentioned here back in 2008 when he polished off a 1/2 gallon. (Quick sidenote – I love that my blog is so old I am able to refer back to things we did in the early years of our life together. Blogging is my favorite hobby. Hopefully a few of you enjoy reading it at least half as much as I enjoy writing it.) Ok, back to Robinette’s! Take a look at these dapper fellows drinking their cider.

It was literally the most gorgeous weekend of the fall… sunny, warm enough for light jackets and shorts, cool breezes, fresh air, colorful leaves – just spectacular.

Ruby was enamored by the horses pulling the wagon around the orchard. She was also amazed that the exoskeleton of a locust will stick to your jacket. Ha! Good times with science!

First Trip to Hocking Hills

 

I say “first” trip to Hocking Hills because we are for sure going back a hundred more times. Hocking Hills is such an amazing place to hike and it’s much closer than we realized (a little over an hour away)! Next time we don’t need to stay in a hotel that smells like poo… we can just drive down in the morning! Don’t tell Ruby – she really loves hotel swimming pools.

Old Man’s Cave is one of the most popular hikes, and it was only a few miles from our hotel so we figured that would be a great place to begin our day. It was BEAUTIFUL to be down in the gorge, walking through the old forest and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of nature.

After hiking the Old Man’s Cave trail we were heading back to the parking lot when my right shoelace got caught in the shoelace hook on my left boot sending me crashing to the ground with Clara in the carrier on my back. In a clumsy effort to not let Clara hit the ground I skidded across the trail on my knees then rolled sideways with a thud. Wiping out while carrying 30 extra pounds on your back is not pleasant… I do not recommend it.

Here’s a picture of my knees and shins covered in a schmear of neosporin during our lunch break. Clara was fine… I’ll recover. Most unfortunately I might have to add leggings to my typical fall wardrobe of boots and skirts. Other than that, our picnic lunch was great! 

After lunch we hiked the Cedar Falls trail, then hiked Ash Cave. We saw all the waterfall places, but no water was flowing in any of the streams because the drought has been so bad. We loved seeing the cavernous rock walls and walking into the caves, but we are kinda excited to go back again when we can see the waterfalls.

 

There was a wedding happening in Ash Cave when we hiked through. If you know these people, tell them I have a great picture of their wedding to send to them.

The girls were happy riding along in the backpacks… who knows how long that will last! Ruby loves to be “the walking girl” if we give her the opportunity. For now, she’s still little enough to fit in the backpack. Clara cooed, squealed, blew raspberries all over my hair, and hummed many tunes as she rode. Ruby had a lot to say about everything and happily greeted everyone we passed. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and are so thankful Ryan had the weekend off so we could explore this fun new place together. Is next weekend too soon to go back?