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

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

This post contains affiliate links.

our trip to maui!

three weeks ago, we packed up our bags, boarded a plane, & landed in Maui! it was so, so fun to be there & my mama came along which was so tremendously helpful with Eloise & helped it feel like we were (at times) on an actual vacation! {because, let’s be honest, when you travel with kids, it is a family trip, NOT a vacation}!

this was Aaron’s first trip to Maui, & my mama & I haven’t been since I was 5 or 6, so it was basically new to all of us. we had heard that West Maui as a good location & decided to stay just north of Lahaina town. this was an excellent choice! while we didn’t visit much outside of West Maui, it was perfect for this trip & gave us a really good taste of what Maui had to offer.

before the trip, I did some due diligence & checked out the guidebook Maui Revealed. I am usually not one for guidebooks, but this one came highly recommended by more than one person, so we gave it a shot. it was really comprehensive & helpful with tons of tips. I took a lot of notes & we ended up using quite a few of the tips, so I would recommend it for anyone who is thinking about traveling to Maui. we also got lots of tips from our friends & family about things to do or places to see/eat/visit – thanks everyone!

we have really quickly learned that it is SO much easier to be away from home with Eloise if we have a house, meaning a separate bedroom for her & a kitchen. so we found this pretty great condo on Airbnb which had amazing ocean views, a great lanai, was super quiet, & was within a short driving distance to town.

okay, enough words. here are some lots of pictures from the trip, & then below I have some of our favorite spots!

{we took the light rail to the airport from Husky Stadium & that is Aaron with the car seat on his back!* // WA is insanely beautiful from the air // Eloise had a backpack full of new travel toys & we even got lucky enough to have the middle seat empty so she had her own seat! // but bedtime did not go as planned as Eloise did not want to sleep… two hours later Aaron finally got her to sleep}

*we rented all of the “baby gear” except for the car seat & I would highly recommend that if you are traveling with little ones. we used the Ergo for the airport which allowed us more hands to pull/carry our luggage, & then rented a Pack N Play, an umbrella stroller, a booster seat, & a beach tent. see below for more info on the rentals!

{the biggest banyan tree in the US is in Lahaina & it is awesome! // the ocean views from our condo were breathtaking // there were nice amenities on-site at our condo including a shuffleboard court. Eloise loved it!}

{our condo was just up the hill from Kaanapali Beach so we ventured down there one afternoon // Eloise mostly loved all of the fresh (& expensive!) fruit // ahh, those sunsets!}

{we hit up Kapalua Beach which was just north of our condo a few minutes & it was perfect! it was a pretty small beach, but we were able to set up our little tent & enjoy the beach in the shade. my mama & aaron went snorkeling, & saw some fish & a turtle, though it was a great snorkeling beach. Eloise had only ever been to the beach on the Oregon coast & was obsessed with it! she loved the sand & the waves & kept saying “more more” whenever a wave went out.}

{we had lots of food recommendations, but tried to eat out either just lunch or dinner each day. Local Boys Shave Ice in Lahaina (down by the banyan tree) was super good the first time we had it, & okay the second time. it’s actual shave ice (the ice, not the flavoring) was my favorite! // we also tried Ululani’s Shave Ice which was amazing. the syrups are all handmade from scratch & the mocha add-on on top was terrific! there are a few locations around the island, but the one in Lahaina was super convenient for us, though super packed! // and finally, Star Noodle came highly recommended & it did not disappoint! we went for lunch & ordered family style & everything was delish! we even got our malasada fix (which is a Portuguese donut) with caramel & chocolate dipping sauces.}

{Aaron & I were able to get out early one morning & go on a surfing date. it was SO fun! it was Aaron’s first time, & I hadn’t been surfing in years, so we took a lesson. the breaks were perfect on the south end of Lahaina town (Break Wall, I believe) for us rookies. we were SUPER sore for the next few days though!}

{one day we took a day trip east // we visited Baldwin Beach, had lunch in Paia, & drove thru Makawao (it was super cute, but Eloise had fallen asleep!)}

{Eloise & I got to wear our matching dresses & Salt Water sandals! // we had lots of shave ice on the trip. I had this genius idea on the trip: we still don’t let Eloise have any sugar, sweets, or juice, so whenever we ordered shave ice, we would also order the smallest size for Eloise with just the ice (no flavoring) & a spoon & she LOVED it! it was nice to feel like she was still a part of it without feeling like we were breaking our own rule. // there was this super low chair out on the lanai that Eloise liked to read in & play on. she loves being outside!}

{we did one short hike to the Nakalele Blowhole & it was pretty cool. the terrain down to the ocean was this crazy lava rock that looked like it was hit with acid. and the ocean was so beautiful!}

{we hit up Kapalua Beach for a second time & even though it was raining, we couldn’t complain! there was a gorgeous rainbow that appeared when we first got there, & it was warm rain that came in very short showers. plus, our awesome rental beach tent kept us dry & was the envy of the other beachgoers!}

{we hit up the swimming pool at the condo one afternoon & Eloise is pretty much a fan of the pool. she likes to sit on the steps & splash, & also spin around in the water & play “motor boat, motor boat” which she learned in swim lessons last year // Eloise had a great time with lots of the non-toys at the condo, including this wine box! // we had a few rough nights of sleeping where Eloise would just not go back to sleep & while we don’t ever bring her into our bed during the night at home, we make an exception on vacation. she spent a lot of time tossing & turning around, but finally would go to sleep with us, usually laying right on me!}

{on one of our last days we ventured to the Maui Ocean Center which is the local aquarium & it also did not disappoint! the exhibits were pretty good, especially the big shark tank & tube. we were able to catch the information show with the local diver in the tank with the sharks & the fish which was really, really cool!}

we had the absolute BEST time & it was so lovely to be on Maui. we tried not to be too “scheduled” & found a good balance between relaxing & hanging out, & playing tourist. Eloise really loved the time we were there & was a super good little traveler, despite the difficult plane ride over. she was up super early (4:30 AM) the first morning, but considering the three hour time change, it wasn’t too much of a surprise. the rest of the time she was up slightly earlier than her normal wake-up time, but she napped really well & slept decently at night. the biggest headache about being in a warm, tropical, & sunny place was making sure she was covered in enough sunscreen (yep, first world problems!) but she is pretty good about letting me smear white sunscreen all over her every two hours!

if you are planning on visiting Maui, this is what we LOVED (slash would recommend):

  • Lahaina town
  • Goofy Foot Surf School: even though it was just the two of us surfing, we opted not to do a private lesson. it was cheaper that way, plus we ended up being the only two in the lesson anyways!
  • Nakalele Blowhole hike: do the hike in from mile marker 38 and wear good shoes!
  • shave ice (yep, SHAVE ice – no “d”!): Local Boys Shave Ice (better ice) & Ululani’s Shave Ice (better flavorings)
  • Star Noodle: super good food, order family style, make a reservation, try the malasadas (hot!)!
  • baby rental gear: there are lots of rental companies on the island, but we used Nokaoi Baby Rentals and were really pleased. I would highly recommend getting the big family beach tent!
  • Kapalua Beach: a pretty small, family friendly beach. go early to get parking & avoid the crowd, or plan on parking on the side of the road & walking in.
  • Coconuts Fish Café in Kihei: we lunched here after the Aquarium and it was super delish!
  • Maui Ocean Center
  • drive to Paia and Makawao
  • Baldwin Beach
  • if you need a good pair of rubber flip-flops (called slippahs in Hawaii), go to Long’s Drugs (or Walgreen’s) and get a pair of Locals for less than $5
  • food is incredibly expensive on Maui (even in comparison to the other islands). eating in can sometimes cost as much as eating out, so keep that in mind, and we had trouble finding much organic produce. there is a Costco near the airport, but it’s still expensive and a lot of food! I would recommend packing snacks from home for the kids, & plan on spending $10 for a half gallon of organic whole milk!

Aloha Maui & a hui hou!

M

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our trip to texas {san antonio & austin}.

I apologize for the slight absence this past week from the blog. we unplugged & enjoyed the past week on a family vacation to TEXAS y’all!

it was great to have some family time to explore new cities & to hang out with friends. the entire purpose of the trip was to attend Jess & Cale’s wedding (Aaron was a groomsman), but we went down early to visit my very good friend Meg & her family (we have known each other since we were 12 & have been friends ever since! i also know her husband from high school, so it was a little reunion of sorts!).

{san antonio}

{eloise loved looking at the planes from the gate while we waited. she even waved at the ground crew guys, but I am pretty sure they didn’t see her!}

{eloise was catching up on some reading during the first part of the flight.}

{after lunch, eloise napped. hooray!}

{we had an amazing lunch at Bird Bakery & I wish I could go there every day. they have amazing sandwiches & cupcakes!}

{eloise & violet (Meg’s daughter). it is hard to believe there is only 8 months between them (Vi is 6 months)! they are BFFs already.}

{we headed down to downtown san antonio to the Riverwalk we had heard so much about. Meg suggested we take a river cruise & it was awesome! we learned so much about the history of the Riverwalk & the city, & it was so gorgeous!}

{#imonaboat}

{there was beautiful architecture all along the Riverwalk.}

{a group shot! eloise’s morning nap was a no-go hence the pacifier in the middle of the day!}

{& then we ventured down to the Alamo. I had no idea it was in the middle of downtown.}

{there was a gorgeous old & huge tree right near the Alamo.}

{the obligatory family shot in front of the Alamo.}

{the girls weren’t too keen about the fur trapper hats, but they sure were cute!}

{we hit up Bakery Lorraine for lunch & I had to try the French macarons. they had an Earl Grey flavor, so it was pretty much my favorite thing ever!}

{Meg & I took the girls to the DoSeum which is the brand-new children’s museum in town. it was such a great place & even though the girls are little, there were things for them to do. there was a little town & eloise had fun exploring all around. she loved putting the mail in the mailbox!}

{we played a few games of Settlers of Catan. it was fun to play after a few years & it makes me want to play at home!}

{I had my dresses for the wedding (I had three sent – one back-up size & one back-up style which you will see below) sent to san antonio so I didn’t have to do an eight-day rental. I was a little nervous since I would have had just one day to find a dress if none of the dresses fit, but Rent the Runway did not disappoint!}

{austin}

{this little one was so good at the wedding rehearsal & so ready for lunch!}

{picking up aaron’s wedding suit. it was a formal wedding, but no tuxes. the guys looked great!}

{we watched the first half of the huskies vs. ducks game, but it was too late to stay up for the entire thing! it was a sad loss, but I am proud of UW for not letting it be a blow-out!}

{shenanigans with eloise. those are her shorts on her head!}

{this was the outside of the chapel at the venue. “A” is for Anderson!}

{after being with just mama all day while papa was celebrating pre-wedding with the groom & the wedding party, eloise was so happy to see aaron after the ceremony! she had seen him thru the window as he was waiting to walk down the aisle & was pretty disappointed when he had to walk right past. she did pretty well during the ceremony with her pacifier & a stolen set of crayons (from the little boy in the row in front of us) that she used to make really pretty artwork all over the inside of my satin clutch… but she didn’t scream or cry, so no complaints!}

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{the wedding party’s table. the bride & groom sat in that little settee in the corner! the dinner menu was BBQ, so we stripped all the kiddos down to their diapers for dinner, & I tucked my napkin in like a bib!}

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{this was our family photo from the guest book. I love instant photos!}

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{we asked the pro photographer to take a family photo (hence the great lighting!) & then we filmed a little bit for Jess & Cale’s video photobooth! my dress was this Marchesa from RTR & I was so in love! We still aren’t sure what was going on with Aaron’s hand!}

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{one of my favorite new photos!}

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{I had the BEST wedding dates y’all!}

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{we made sure to get a group photo with the new Mr & Mrs Anderson!}

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{this is one of me, Hailey, & Carmen. yep, that’s a booster seat in my hands; we shared it between eloise & lily for dinner!}

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{my back-up rental dress – which was this Monique Lhuillier – was a twin to the dress that I made for Eloise for the wedding. & we had to get some photos in our matching dresses before I had to return them!}

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{you can see the back of Eloise’s dress here – a huge bow!}

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{we went to Torchy’s Tacos for lunch & it did not disappoint!}

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{we made our way to the “greetings from Austin” mural & Aaron set up the timer on my phone for a great family photo!}

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{& there just happened to be a French patisserie right next door to the mural. So we wandered in & found ourselves with a half-dozen macaroni to-go!}

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{Austin is a really young town & very hipster. I feel like this picture is a good representation somehow – a huge aloe vera plant & a silver airstream!}

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{downtown Austin.}

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{this was a great mural right down the street from our rental house: living the good life in Austin.}

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{we learned at the Alamo about how there was a Mexican cannon in our possession & we basically said “come & take it” & then they did… this was a nod to that great act at Frank’s.}

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{our cute little rental house. In a bit of an up-&-coming neighborhood, but so nice on the inside!}

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{we drove out of Austin to The Salk Lick for some BBQ lunch. It did not disappoint!}

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{my two lunch dates hamming’ it up!}

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{posing with the BBQ pit. That thing was impressive!}

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{we had a few hours in Austin before our flight so we headed to the Thinker which is a children’s museum that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts, & math (STEAM). Most of the museum exhibits were too old for Eloise, but we did find a few that were perfect! It was nice to get some wiggles out before the flight.}

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{a giant light-bright! I was in love.}

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{Eloise loved the lights too!}

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{Eloise & Aaron running round with our buddies Andy & Lily (who were also on our flight!)}

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{Eloise fell asleep almost immediately on the flight – & we had the entire row again, thank goodness – but after the flight attendant announced that the fasten seatbelt sign was off & then om & then off (a billion times), she woke up… she was really pretty good the entire flight & only fussed when we tried to put her in the Ergo to sleep. She was awake the entire time we de-boarded, got our bags, & walked to our car. As soon as we got her buckled into her seat she was out!}

except for the piping hot weather (it was in the mid-80s!) we LOVED Texas. seriously, it was a really fun place to visit. luckily we had a rental car (which you absolutely need) & got to explore all over san antonio & austin. if you ever get a chance to visit, we highly recommend it!

eloise did really well traveling, & we were super (super) lucky to get the entire row on both flights! it helped tremendously to have a bit more space for her to wiggle; aaron & I sat in the aisle & window seat (respectively) & eloise bounced around between sitting on the seat, climbing up & down, & standing. the hardest part of the trip was that eloise slept terribly the first three (out of four) nights we were in san antonio. like the worst she has ever slept. I think part of it was the time change, part of it was sharing a room, part of it was teething, etc., etc. even though she wasn’t sleeping well at night, she napped fairly well (even with one nap per day on some days) & wasn’t really grumpy from lack of sleep. when we got to austin for the second part of the trip, we all slept so much better! we rented a house on AirBnB & it was perfect. we wanted a kitchen, two bedrooms, & close to downtown & freeways, & it met all of those requirements. I also set up baby gear rental which changed my life! we brought down our own car seat & stroller (both check for free on the plane) but didn’t want to worry about bringing other gear down, especially since Meg had a highchair & Pack N Play for us in san antonio. so I searched before we left & found I Love Baby Rentals in Austin & set up a rental for: a Pack N Play, audio monitors, booster seat, & activity table. it was delivered & set up at our rental house, & then picked up by the owner – so awesome! I highly recommend this if you are traveling with littles!

thanks for having us Texas!

M

our trip to seaside.

labor day weekend we headed for seaside, Oregon to meet my mama (grammie) for the week. we had a little house on the necanicum river & it was SO beautiful! there was a great yard right on the waterfront where we could watch the birds & fishermen, & we were walking distance to the beach & to downtown seaside. we were anxious to get thru the long, holiday weekend since it meant a lot of the crowds cleared (as school started that week), but it really wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. we also had the BEST weather! it was sunny & in the 70s – apparently it was great weather according to the locals. this was also eloise’s first trip to the beach so it was pretty exciting to share the sun, sand, & ocean with her!

{warning: picture overload!}































have you ventured to the oregon coast?

M

our trip to north carolina & indiana.

{sidenote: some of these pictures i shared earlier in a weekend update so don’t mind the duplicates! also, this is a super picture heavy post.}

the first two weeks of this month we were able to get away & fly to charlotte, NC & indianapolis, IN to visit aaron’s family. we joked that we were “taking the (Eloise) band on the road” but that we were just her groupies (since everyone really just wanted to see eloise, right?).

we started out flying to charlotte (via minneapolis) to visit aaron’s older brother david & his family (jodi & their three kids). it had been about a year & a half since we had last seen them all, so there was lots to catch up on. we also got to see aaron’s aunt molly & her girls who are also in the charlotte area.

20150430_154146513_iOS{napping on the plane – score!}

WP_20150430_20_39_37_Pro {kitchen sink bath – eloise loved it!}

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{eloise enjoyed looking at kitchen fixtures with david & jodi.}

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{aaron was able to attend gavin’s baseball game.}

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{megan, rachel, aunt molly, lindsay, & eloise!}

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{all of the kiddos playing.}

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{maddie let eloise borrow her baseball hat. so cute!}

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{oh boy was it hot. like too hot to wear a shirt if you were under one year old.}

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{date night! we noshed on burgers & sushi, & it was amazing!}

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{eloise, how is that comfortable?}

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{eloise loved her uncle david. he taught her all about baseball at gavin’s game!}

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{eloise & sophie enjoying the game.}

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{maddie & eloise.}

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{we didn’t get a cousin picture until the morning we left. this is the best we could do…}

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{saying good-bye.}

WP_20150505_07_14_05_Pro{eloise & gavin were such good buddies while we were visiting!}

traveling from charlotte to indianapolis meant a stop in atlanta to change planes. our flight crew on the first leg of our trip absolutely fell in love with eloise (who wouldn’t?). she was whisked away by cindy, one of the flight attendants, & got the full tour of the plane – cockpit, galley, & meeting some of the passengers. eloise even got a shout-out during the safety demonstration & was nominated to be “Miss Delta”! it was so fun. plus, we got our own row on the flight, & eloise took a nap. fantastic!

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then we flew to indianapolis (via atlanta) to visit the rest of aaron’s family. while aaron’s dad & step-mom were out at the beginning of september (to meet eloise!), we haven’t seen the rest of the family for at least a year & a half (we were out two christmases ago). we also got to see the gilbertsons (kendra, greg, & their two kids) who were visiting from orlando. it definitely wasn’t a coincidence that we were in town at the same time!

{& these photos are in no particular order…}

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{eloise & charlotte LOVED each other. charlotte kept saying “baby baby” to eloise. i can’t wait to get these girls together again!}

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{uncle aaron loves to play with all of the kids, but sometimes needs to catch his breath.}

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{frankie loved eloise too & helped me feed her one night.}

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{eloise loved all of the attention during her meals.}

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{crosby, kenley, & eloise.}

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{a mother’s day selfie with kendra!}

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{eloise & her great grandmother eileen.}

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{eloise & beau, aaron’s parent’s dog. eloise enjoyed beau since he let her get closer than sadie ever does. he liked to sniff & lick her face though so every time she saw him she would make a face!}

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{i got in a free golfing lesson courtesy of aaron & sam!}

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{eloise & charlotte. eloise has a way larger head & charlotte has longer arms & legs, but basically the same size.}

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{eloise was playing with her aunt cari.}

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{eloise got to meet her great grandmother eileen. it was the sweetest thing when we were all sitting down at the table & eileen looked at eloise & said “she has my thighs!”}

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{four generations of Lowers.}

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{eloise loves to play the slapping game & her papaw sam was happy to partake!}

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{crosby, kenley, & eloise. the best we could do of the three of them!}

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{group shot of mamas & babies.}

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{love those gilbertsons!}

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{kenley & eloise.}

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{mamas on mother’s day – aunt kathi, kendra, me, & diane.}

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{can we please live closer or do this more often?}

SONY DSC{kendra & eloise.}

 

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{eloise was enjoying a delicious brunch!}

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{i was comparing my feet to frankie & teddy, they are 4 & 8. teddy & i have the same size feet & frankie isn’t far behind!}

20150510_000730208_iOS{it took a few days but charlotte finally warmed up to aaron! they were so sweet together.}

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{frankie helping me feed eloise.}

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{our niece mallory feeding eloise.}

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{play time with nana, charlotte, & frankie.}

 

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{eloise had so much fun with nana & charlotte.}

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{eloise also got to meet her great aunt susan.}

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{eloise & i practiced crawling down the hallway. i think she had more traction on the carpet!}

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{me thinks someone dropped a toy down there.}

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{kendra, kait, eloise & me.}

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{all of the (baby) cousins!}

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{kenley, eloise, & charlotte.}

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{me, kait, & eloise.}

WP_20150512_18_34_04_Pro{attempting to do bedtime on the flight home. it was mostly successful but ended up being more of a nap!}

I come from a pretty small family who lived mostly in the same place as I grew up, so marrying into such a big family has been a lot of fun! we were excited to see everyone & catch up, & also be able to introduce eloise to her extended family. hopefully we will be out to visit again soon!

M