our trip to Idaho!

Just about a month ago, we loaded the girls (including Sadie) into the car and headed west to Boise! We have made the drive maybe a couple of times a year for the past few years, and always try to drive if we are staying for a week or longer.

The girls did so SO well on the trip. That’s not to say it wasn’t long and everything was perfect, but really, we didn’t have any major toddler drama and naps actually happened! The biggest issue we had was that at the end of both trips (so right outside of Boise and right outside of Seattle) we were nearing Daphne’s feeding time, so she started getting fussy (and I don’t blame her!). Instead of stopping 20 minutes from our final destination, we just stretched and gave her a little bit of a later feeding. It was slightly stressful having a fussy baby after being in the car for almost 10 hours, but overall, it was a great trip!

In our pre-kid days, Aaron and I used to stop just once for lunch/gas/pee break and make the trip in under 8 hours (it is 500 miles, so that’s impressive). We also had a diesel so we could actually make the trip on a single tank if we wanted to… Flash-forward to having two kiddos and the trip was closer to 10 hours. The first time we made this road trip with Eloise (when she was four months old too) we split the drive into two days, staying overnight in Pendleton, Oregon. Even though it took so much longer to get there, at the time it was great because the road conditions were snowy and icy since it was December. But, since then, we have decided it is worth it to just buck-up and make the entire drive in one day. Daphne’s feeding schedule of 3 to 3.5 hours was sort of perfect and we ended up stopping just three times for her feedings, and for the rest of us to pee/eat/get gas/get out our wiggles. Eloise took a nap during her usual naptime (after lunch) and while it was more of a cat nap on the way to Boise, it was much longer on the way home! And Aaron had downloaded the Daniel Tiger “movie” (which is 45 minutes rather than the usual 20-ish minutes of a normal episode) and Eloise was delighted to watch it one time per trip! {We are really strict with screentime still and Eloise gets to watch one show per trip, whether it be a 4 hour plane ride or a 10 hour car ride.}

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{I always pack finger foods for a picnic lunch (and other snacks) since it is the easiest to pack and eat while on-the-go. Plus, this is Eloise’s favorite way to eat all of her meals!}

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{Selfies with Baby D.}

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{It is the best feeling to see your final destination after being on the road all day. I will never tire of seeing my parents’ house. So many memories from when I was a kid!}

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{I always get my haircut while in Boise, and this time the entire family came with me. The plan was to have Eloise’s hair cut too, but once it came down to it, she backed out. So Daphne got hers trimmed up!}

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{My mom kept my old Fisher Price dollhouse and Eloise played with it the entire time we were visiting.}

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{And playing with Aunt Kelly.}

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{And Baby D with Aunt Yaya.}

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{And my big brother (Uncle Jason) with Baby D!}

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{And a cheesy grin from Daphne with Aunt Kelly.}

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{I promise she wasn’t this sad about Aunt Dollie the entire time! This is my oldest sister Keri, but my sister Anya and I have called her Dollie our entire lives, and since Aaron’s sister is also named Cari, we use Dollie so it’s not so confusing!}

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{This kid loves putting things in order or lining them up. Takes after her mama!}

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{Purple play-dough with Grammie is like Eloise’s dream come true.}

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{Family dinner at the Eversons’ house. And maybe a first date for Eloise and Deacon??}

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{Reading Stella Goldilocks and the Three Bears which Eloise memorized (and now recites all the time) while we were in Boise.}

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{Meeting Paga’s new horse.}

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{Finding some shade. It was over 100 degrees our entire trip!}

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{And Aaron on the new horse. With all of the sun protection.}

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{Baby D taking a bath in a bowl. That is pretty much a requirement for all babies, right? She LOVED it and hasn’t cried in the bath since! Also, I totally thought this bowl was going to be way too big for her, but I was very, very wrong.}

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{A playmat date with Boyd who is just one week younger than Daphne!}

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{Catching up with the girls at a big family dinner.}

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{Meg and her family were in town, and Beth so nicely hosted all of us even though it was her birthday!}

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{Eloise and Violet with some post-dinner entertainment.}

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{The reality of trying to get a group picture with four mamas and seven kids. #toddlermeltdowns}

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{The best we got. LOVE you ladies and your kiddos! *Not pictured were all of our amazing husbands!}

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{Staying cool by the pool with Baby D.}

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{Jen gave us her old jumperoo (as you have seen Daphne in in recent pictures and videos) and she has loved it from the beginning!}

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{Playing Alphabet Soup with Grammie. My mom always has the best ideas and does all sorts of projects with Eloise.}

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{Daphne with my dad, Paga.}

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{She loves him!}

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{And lots of stripes. It runs in the family so I come by my stripe obsession honestly!}

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{These girls at a pit stop in Prosser, WA. Such great little travelers!}

We always have a great time in Boise and can’t wait for our next trip! It was wonderful to see my family and friends, and introduce Baby D all around. Love to you all!

M

 

our trip to Indiana {2017}

This post about our trip to Indiana has been on my to-do list for an embarrassingly long time (we were there in early May!) but better late than never, right?

We travelled as soon as we got the greenlight from Daphne’s pediatrician who was okay with us flying on an airplane once the first set of vaccines were given (at 8 weeks). So, off we went to the midwest for Baby D’s first trip and our first big outing as a family of four!

We didn’t have any set itinerary and just wanted to make sure we saw as many family members and friends as we could to catch up with and introduce Daphne. It was wonderful to see so many loved ones and we so appreciate people making time for us, coming to impromptu get-togethers, or letting us crash at their homes.

Okay, prepare for a picture over-load!

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{Daphne got to meet her Nana (Aaron’s step-mom) for the first time! Oh, and that little yellow onesie is one that was Aaron’s when he was a baby.}

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{The first of many play dates at Nana and Papaw’s for Eloise and Charlotte.}

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{Daphne meeting her Aunt Cari (Aaron’s sister).}

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{And Daphne getting some lovin’ from cousins Teddy and Charlotte.}

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{And meeting Aunt Gigi (Maggi, one of Aaron’s many cousins).}

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{And Great Aunt Yaya (Aaron’s Aunt Sharon).}

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{And a group photo.}

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{Take two. Okay, there were way more than 2 taken!}

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{And Frankie and Gigi.}

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{Great grandpa Neal (or Great Neal as Eloise calls him) with Eloise.}

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{Great Neal and two of his youngest great-granddaughters.}

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{Can you tell Eloise is saying “cheese”?}

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{Papaw (Aaron’s dad) and the girls.}

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{Chatting and nursing the babes. Kendra (married to Aaron’s cousin Nathan) had just had Adaline a week before! Also pictured is Kelsey (dating Aaron’s cousin Seth) and Kendra’s oldest Wyatt.}

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{Cari singing and playing the guitar because she has the most amazing voice!}

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{Cracking up!}

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{And a better shot. Thanks to Tim and Meg (and their adorable little ones) for making the trip en route home to Bloomington!}

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{Aaron and his step-brother Kyle and Kyle’s daughter Mallory.}

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{The girls seeing Great Grandma Eileen.}

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{These girls had the best time playing at the playground!}

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{I could not just choose one of these to share of Daphne, Cari, and Charlotte. Seriously, so sweet!}

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And since that wasn’t enough, here are some more candid ones from my phone.

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{Daphne’s first flight!}

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{Aaron is the champ at getting Eloise to nap in the Ergo when we are on planes. Seriously, the best.}

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{We accompanied Cari, Mo, and Charlotte to her most recent set of big scans and explored a few different places in the hospital. Luckily, it was great news from the scans!}

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{Great Neal and Baby D at lunch.}

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{And Eloise was so happy that Great Neal colored with her.}

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{The sweetest.}

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{A little cousin gang.}

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{Cousins (that’s Nathan) and the two youngest Johnson family babies. And the blurs that are toddlers!}

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{Eloise always wants to read the safety information card on the airplane! And then she asks a million questions about it, including where her life jacket is.}

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{Watching the airplanes in Chicago during our layover. We also met the crew of our flight and they were so nice!}

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{As much as it stinks to have to buy another airplane seat, it is so SO nice to have an entire section of row when we fly!}

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And last but not least, a few from Aaron’s phone too!

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{Nana and Papaw meet Daphne for the first time. Do you think they were excited to meet their newest grandbaby?!}

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{Great Aunt Susan and Uncle Duane and the girls after a nice lunch!}

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{Bath time with cousins is a must!}

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{Love this one of Teddy, Charlotte, Eloise, and Frankie at the playground. Aaron took the kids down the street from our rental house and Cari and I got a few minutes of mama time to chat and catch up. It was wonderful!}

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{Charlotte loved brushing Eloise’s long hair. One day soon Charlotte, you are going to have beautiful long (and probably still curly) hair to brush!!}

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{Seeing Great Aunt Kathi and Uncle Stan (obviously not pictured).}

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Lots of people have asked about how the trip went, specifically travelling with the babes, and I have to say that the girls are AMAZING little travelers! Eloise really loves to fly and newborns are the easiest to fly with. The biggest hassle is just the amount of extra stuff you end up bringing with kids, and we really tried to minimize as much as possible. We took Daphne’s infant seat and the stroller (mostly for the airport) as well as the Ergo (for Eloise) and the Solly wrap (for Daphne); I wore Daphne thru airport security and Aaron wore Eloise. Also, pay for TSA Pre-Check. It’s so worth it not to have to hassle with shoes/jackets/etc. off and going thru the metal detector instead of the body scanner (though sometimes that happens and Aaron and I both opt out and get a pat-down instead). We ended up renting a (brand-new) car seat for Eloise and a Rock N Play for Daphne from Hoosier Baby rentals which we picked up at the airport along with our rental car (this was a detail that Aaron worked out with the rental company since we arrived really late at night). And, we also decided to rent an Airbnb house this time around in order to have enough space for everyone. In the past, we haven’t done well sharing a sleeping space with Eloise (she won’t co-sleep well) so we always try to get a separate room/space for her. Plus, it is great to have a full kitchen for breakfast in the morning (and casual dinners in) as well as laundry and a place to hangout on days when we are in for the afternoon nap (we tried to alternate afternoons we were okay with being out for naptime and days we needed to be “home” for naptime).

And one last thing (I promise). Lots of people have been asking about how Charlotte is doing. The short answer (in my opinion) is great! We were able to spend SO much time with her and Cari (almost every day we were in Indiana!) and Charlotte was in such good spirits. If you are interested in her treatments and all of her updates, here is her Facebook page. Thanks for all of the Charlotte support! She is one very loved little girl!

Other than the crazy weather (it poured rain nearly the entire time we were there!) we had a good time!

M

daphne {newborn and family photos}

Happy Friday! I will at some point get back to my standard Friday I’m in Love posts but today I wanted to share Daphne’s newborn photoshoot! {I wanted to wait until I knew which photos we were using for Daphne’s birth announcement before sharing here. Our good (and very talented) friend Brenda designed the announcements – she did Eloise’s too! – and I just sent them to the printer so I hope to have them in the mail by the end of the month or sooner!}

Daphne was almost a week old when these photos were taken, and in lieu of doing a traditional newborn one (like I did with Eloise), I opted for a family shoot that was at our house so that we could get professional photos of our new family of four and I wouldn’t have to leave the house (HUGE bonus since with Eloise I trekked way down south to Tacoma!). And while I do love the look of Eloise’s posed newborn shots, I really am loving the more relaxed (non-staged) feel of our shoot this time around.

A few random notes: Daphne looks so different in some of the pictures here, almost like an entirely different baby (which is totally true with all newborns!); even though the last thing you want to do is drag yourself and your brand-new baby to a photoshoot, you should do it, even if it isn’t a professional and just someone with a nice (not a phone) camera take a few pictures (you will cherish them later!); and (related) if you are ever on the fence about getting professional photos taken (we usually get ours done for Christmas cards each year), do it (it’s expensive, but I have never, ever regretted it!).

If you are in the Seattle area and are looking for a professional photographer (for babies, weddings, etc.) I highly recommend Meg! She was so sweet, and amazingly talented, and I am so IN LOVE with these photos.

{Prepare for photo overload since I definitely could not choose just a few to share! Deciding which ones to have printed is agonizing…}

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Wearing: {Eloise: jeans: Gap Kids // bow: A Little Lady Shop} {Daphne: grey swaddle blanket: Lou Lou & Co // silver swaddle blanket: Aden & Anais} {Misha: chambray dress: Madewell (similar)} {Aaron: shirt: J.Crew (old) // jeans: Bonobos}

Have a great weekend!

M

This post contains affiliate links.

 

family pictures {2016}

Like last year, we had The Happy Film Company shoot for our family Christmas cards. I chose Gas Works Park this year since I thought it would be a fun backdrop with an active toddler and wouldn’t be a repeat of our Greenlake shoot last year.

We ended up getting rained out on our original shoot date, but the day we rescheduled was nice and sunny (albeit a little windy)! And since I didn’t want to do another round of professional pictures for a maternity shoot, we did a few bump pictures too (even though I was not showing very much!).

My favorites ended up in our Christmas card, but here are a few others from the shoot!

{My dress: Zara // E’s dress: GapKids (similar) // E’s vest: Old Navy (similar) // E’s boots: Old Navy (similar) // E’s tights: GapKids // E’s bow: A Little Lady Shop // Aaron’s shirt: Nordstrom (old) // Aaron’s sweater: Banana Republic (old) // gold moccasins: Freshly Picked}

Do you do family pictures every year?

M

This post contains affiliate links.

my thanksgiving week in pictures.

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{On Monday afternoon, we picked up Eloise from school and headed out of town for the week. Eloise made this adorable Thanksgiving turkey and also had a killer owie on her nose from falling on the concrete stairs at school… It looked worse than it was and she was so tough about it!}

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{Eloise in-flight. This was her first time having her own (paid for) seat and she wasn’t so sure. She kept saying that she wanted to be on Mama’s lap, but we made it thru the flight without too much hassle! Thanks to Amanda for letting us borrow this awesome CARES harness; we will definitely be getting one!}

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{My happy six month bump! I celebrated by getting my hair done and manis with girlfriends!}

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{Grammie got out my old dollhouse for Eloise to play with and she was in love. It was so crazy to see her playing with it since I have so many memories of this house!}

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{Eloise decided she needed to carry around my new sweater… yep, there were two holes in that bag by the time we got to the car!}

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{We got to have a reunion dinner with all of these mamas and their babies (& their husbands!) which makes my heart so happy. My very best friends since we were all teenagers. Love you girls!}

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{My mama’s beautiful Thanksgiving table!}

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{Eloise insisted on wearing her turkey costume all Thursday morning (but then refused to once company came in the afternoon!) and loved all of the attention from Paga (Grandpa).}

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{I celebrated my first Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday with The Petite Flag Shop with a sale! If you haven’t shopped already, there’s still time. Sale ends Monday night – 15% off with code SHOPSMALL16, plus, I will randomly select orders to receive free shipping!}

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{Eloise loved painting with Grammie all week long! Look at that smile.}

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{When Grammie and Paga offer to watch Eloise, you take them up on a date night! We headed out to see the new Harry Potter movie Fantastic Beasts and it was pretty good. Especially since it has probably been a year since we have seen a movie in a theater. So were the Raisinets. I would have taken a selfie, but Aaron hates them, so here’s me, the bump, and my candy!}

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{We flew home on Saturday morning and were excited to see a Husky plane! We didn’t get to fly on it, but were still on a high from the big win in the Apple Cup!}

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{Eloise did so much better on our flight home. She didn’t mind the seatbelt and harness, loved the safety information card, and even used the lavatory. Plus, she got her own cup of ice water and pretzels – a dream for a two year old!}

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{Even though Thanksgiving is over, I am still loving all things pumpkin. So pumpkin bread it is!}

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{Amazingly, the Christmas cards I ordered from Minted came at lightning speed! I am so excited about our cards this year and thankful for a few weeks to get them together before they go out early next month! Hooray for Christmas!}

We had such a fun and memorable Thanksgiving week with my parents in Boise. We had time to catch up with some friends and family, and enjoyed so much delicious food! It doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving is over (or that we are at the end of November) but I know Christmas is just a few short weeks away! Ahh!

How was your Thanksgiving week?

M

a happy announcement!

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{big sister tee: Thug Life Kids // letter board: Letter Folk // moccasins: Freshly Picked // hair bow: Hello Hadley Girl (similar)}

Happy Wednesday! If you missed it over on my Instagram & Facebook, we have (officially) announced the impending arrival of Baby Lower who is due in February!

While we pretty widely shared the news this time around, waiting until the end of the first trimester felt right to make everything social media official. With pregnancy tests being able to detect pregnancies so early these days, you can find out when you are just about a month or so pregnant. That was true with me – I was about 4.5 weeks – when I took a test on Father’s Day morning. My cycles were non-existent at that point but I had been testing my ovulation which actually seemed to have some pattern. I fully expected a negative test, but was SHOCKED when it was positive! Since Aaron didn’t know I had taken it that morning, I wrapped it up & gave it to him as a Father’s Day present. I still wish I had taken a video of his face when he saw it – haha! It was the greatest!

I am just into my second trimester & starting to feel so much better, tired, but not nearly as much nausea as previous weeks. This pregnancy feels pretty similar to my first one which is comforting, though I know there will be some curveball! We have been taking weekly pictures which I will do a big post on sometime soon to catch you all up! A fair warning that there is no bump yet… EVERYONE told me/has been telling me that you start showing earlier with second (third, fourth) kiddos, but I really think I have a few more weeks before I am going to start showing. I can tell but it really isn’t obvious that I am sporting a bump yet. Le sigh. I am in the awkward phase where my pants feel too tight & I look like I need to give up dessert, so stretchy pants & rubber bands on my pants buttons for now!

Hopefully your Wednesday is a little happier & I will be back with bump updates soon!

xo M

our week in indiana & chicago.

As many of you know from my weekend in pictures post at the end of June, we were in Indiana visiting Aaron’s family. We just got home a few days ago last week & I wanted to be sure to share (lots of) photos from the trip!

We spent the first part of our trip in Indiana where we got to see lots of Aaron’s immediate family.

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{Papaw Sam, Charlotte, & Eloise played “ring around the rosy” & Eloise loved it!}

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{The two youngest granddaughters! Eloise & Charlotte are 10 months apart.}

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{Eloise likes to wear her (sun) glasses when it is bright outside (the sun is out)! We headed to the Indy Children’s Museum with Aaron’s sister Cari & her two youngest kiddos.}

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{All the kiddos in the race car.}

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{Eloise was not happy about leaving, however.}

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{Eloise enjoyed the wooden blocks. Some of them were the magnetic ones which sort of threw her off a bit, but she picked it up soon!}

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{Charlotte & Eloise loved this wind tunnel. It had a stream of air where you could put the scarves & they would blow all around!}

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{We caught music time & made a soundtrack to Goldilocks & The Three Bears. The kids really liked the instruments.}

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{An Aaron & Eloise selfie.}

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{She was patiently waiting for Aaron to build a really big tower & then she knocked the whole thing down, Godzilla-style.}

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{Eloise’s second time on a merry-go-round. This was taken before the ride started. By the time I saw them again (one lap), she was off the horse & in Aaron’s arms! Maybe we need a little more time before the merry-go-round is fun…}

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{Eloise had a good time playing in the make-believe soda shop!}

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{When you are Indiana in the summer, you have to eat corn on the cob. Eloise got the hang of it pretty quickly!}

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{One evening while Aaron & Sam were walking a few of the greens, a hot air balloon landed! We could hear other ones flying over & around the house too.}

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{We made it on a playdate to the Indy Zoo with the Garner-Ballard clan!}

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{The kiddos were so good & this aquarium window was perfect for the trio of littles!}

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{Shark watching.}

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{The whole crew of us. So amazing to see you Garner-Ballard family!}

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{Saying our good-byes. Silas was so sweet with Eloise.}

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{We made sure to stop in & see Eloise’s great-grandma Eileen.}

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{And we lunched with Kait & Oliver. Despite her face, Eloise really loved them both. So good to see them too!}

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{We had a fun evening with “Uncle” Colt & went out on the houseboat for some swimming & shenanigans. Eloise wanted to drive!}

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{Oh man, these three. I also realize that Eloise was not wearing a life jacket. She was safe, I promise!}

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{Eloise looking like her doll Louise – overalls and pigtails! The overalls E is wearing were passed down from Aaron’s oldest brother & to the rest of the three siblings which makes them almost 40 years old! I love this tradition!}

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{We headed to Maggi’s house one morning for a Lower family get-together. Family generational photos were a must.}

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{Neither of us take a lot of selfies, but this is Eloise taking a selfie (she’s saying “cheese!”) so she must have learned it from someone!}

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{An attempt to get a picture of these kiddos.}

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{This was the result. Thanks Eloise & Crosby!}

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{And look who happened to be in town – Kendra! It’s like we planned it… Thanks for being an amazing host Maggi!}

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{Eloise in deep conversation with her great Aunt Sharon.}

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 {After lunch & headed to the car. Maggi gave all of the kids a bucket full of goodies & Eloise held onto that bucket all weekend long!}

We headed up to Aaron’s grandfather’s lake house for the holiday weekend!

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 {Welcome to the lake!}

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{Being at the lake house means being on a boat. So here’s a boat selfie.}

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{Aaron pre-backflip!}

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{Nearly all of Aaron’s (maternal) cousins & Aunts & Uncles were up at the lake for the weekend. That is one BIG family!}

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{Aunt Molly with her youngest nieces & nephew!}

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{Eloise being a ham.}

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{Happy Fourth of July from the Lower/Cambridge kids! These are all of Eloise’s cousins.}

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{Eloise, Maddie, & Charlotte doing Sudoku. Maddie was so patient with the little ones.}

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{Selfie with Aunt Jodi & Landon!}

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{Yes, s’mores! Worth the bug bites & smelling like a camp fire.}

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 {Testing out the selfie-stick!}

And then we headed to Chicago for a mini -vacation (just the three of us)!

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{We ended up in this great little Airbnb in Logan Square & it was super kid friendly! Eloise is obsessed with rocking horses.}

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{And even though we didn’t have a car in Chicago, we still had the car seat & Eloise took full advantage of being able to play in it. She loved to be buckled in!}

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{We stopped into the Longman & Eagle for apps & drinks. It did not disappoint!}

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{A homemade pretzel, meatballs with polenta, & a cherry soda. Amazingly good!}

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{Mama & Eloise twinning. The best! And this is pretty much the best picture we could get. The other ones are of Eloise holding her dress up to show her belly…}

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{Family photo in the park. Eloise was happy despite her stoic look.}

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{For breakfast on the way to downtown we stopped in at Bang Bang! for biscuits. It was mind-blowing! If you ever are in Chicago, please go. There are pot pies & regular pies on the menu as well. We were able to chat with the owner Michael who gave us a sampling of pies after breakfast – SO delish! – & he was super cool. He gave us some tips about where to dine for the rest of our trip.}

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{We took the L downtown. Even though we live in a big city, I am still in awe when we visit a big city!}

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{Papa & Eloise. I think she was ready to get out & run around!}

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{Cloud Gate – aka The Bean – did not disappoint!}

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{Mama & Eloise!}

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{Love this little family of ours.}

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{After Cloud Gate & Millenium Park, we stumbled into the Chicago Symphony playing the musical accompaniment to this silent movie. It was really cool! I wish we could have stayed for the entire film.}

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{Across this really cool footbridge from Millenium Park is Maggie Daley Park. It is this enormous playground that has all of these little play areas for kiddos. We could have spent hours & days at this park, but it was so, so hot (100 degrees with the heat index!) so we got just a sampling. The water features were nice for cooling off!}

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{Down the slide!}

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{She often goes feet first down the slide.}

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{Just one of the many play structures at the park. Do you spot Aaron & Eloise down there by the slide? They climbed all the way to the top of the tower & came down the tube slide.}

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{Eloise really liked this dribbling fountain.}

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{Aaron got us tickets to the Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Luckily our seats were in the shade! What a cool stadium!}

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{It was just before nap time, but Eloise would yell “Go Cubs!” & put her finger up in the air when she heard the crowd cheering.}

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{And she was out. For about 40 minutes.}

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{Obligatory picture with the marquee sign. It was so packed with people after the game!}

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{At Michael’s suggestion, we went to Parson’s for dinner in Logan Square to celebrate National Fried Chicken Day. I don’t know if this was an actual made-up holiday or not, but we went with it.}

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{Eloise & I breakfasting before we left for the airport.}

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{After many, many hours of travelling by train & plane, we were happy to be on the light rail headed home. Eloise & Aaron did pull-ups to pass the time.}

Phew! What a trip! It was hard to be gone for so long, but it was nice to see so much family since we have only been getting back about once a year these days. This was also our last hoorah trip since we didn’t have to pay for a seat for Eloise. Though, I am sort of looking forward to the extra space when we have it!

Eloise was such a good little traveler &, even though we set our expectations really low, she far exceeded them. She was really good on both plane rides & took a short nap. We snacked a lot, drew on her new doodle pad, & played with her mermaid stickers. We had Sesame Street downloaded just in case, but we didn’t even need to bust that out, which is good because we were assuming it would completely occupy her but we don’t know since she doesn’t get official screen time yet!

Where are your family travels taking you to this summer?

M

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