Race Recap: 2014 Bayshore Half Marathon

To preface, I typically try to write my race recaps as quickly as possible so I don’t forget about all the nitty gritty details I so love to retell. As I start this, I’m already 8 days out, so you may be in for a nice quickie ;)

I’ve always wanted to run this race. I love Northern Michigan. I love running. The two together sounded like a match made in heaven. Plus I had heard nothing but great reviews from others who had run it in years past. Based on all of that, it has been known to sell out very quickly. Like, under an hour quickly. So when registration opened just after Thanksgiving, I was online and ready to shell out the money necessary to secure my spot! (Dad’s too).

Fast forward 6 months. I was already 2 half marathons in for the year. And though I was proud of what I had accomplished, I still was in search of a better race. Faster. More confident. Less pain. But, per usual since baby, I completely failed on my training and thus went into race day with very little expectations. Side note: Mama needs to get on the ball for her next race. No joking this time. An actual calendar. On the fridge. With a big red marker next to it that’ll tell me whether or not I’m doing things right. Maybe I’ll get a new pair of shoes first. So write all that down. It’s happening.

E, the hubs and I set out on our trek to Traverse City on Friday morning. It was a not so quick 7 hour drive, with a pit stop at the inlaws to drop off our furbaby. Thankfully it was a gorgeous day, and besides a little traffic hang up in Grand Rapids, we met up with Mom and Dad in the Cherry City at 6p. We rented a condo at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, which was perfect – 2 bed/ 2 bath, kitchen, balcony. Perfect for a long weekend. After hauling in our stuff, we headed over to the high school for packet pickup followed by a delectable gourmet dinner at the one and only, Ruby Tuesday!

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Our sweet backseat driver

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Not my minivan!

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Pre-race sunset over Grand Traverse Bay

Bayshore had a shuttle system set up for race day. First transporting runners from various hotels in the area to the local high school, then from the high school to the starting line. Since the first shift would’ve required us to be ready to ride at 450a, we opted to have the hubs drop us off at the high school instead. It was already an earrrrrrly morning.

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As soon as we were dropped off at the school (around 540a), we literally walked right onto a bus that would drive us the 30 or so minutes north to the starting line (the marathon and 10K courses were out and back, whereas the half mary started north and ran south). This, despite all previous warnings to get to the start line ASAP due to the high number of runners. Guess we were okay after all!

Bus selfie!

Bus selfie!

We arrived at Bowers Harbor Park at 615a, and had the fairly annoying task of standing around for over an hour until the race started. This was inevitable since the last shuttle to the start left at 620 and we were once again warned not to wait until the last shuttle. So around we stood, trying to keep occupied and warm at the same time. The pre-race temps were brisk, high 40′s at most, so there was a lot of huddling up amongst strangers. This was by far the most disappointing part of the race. No one wants to wait around, much less STAND that long before running 13.1 miles. We spent our time trying to pick out people that we think Dad could beat,, settling on a lady with a HANS device on her leg ;)

Course map

Course map

Finally at 730a, we set off. The first mile had an enormous hill, which literally had the entire group silent as we huffed and puffed seemingly straight up in the air for a half mile. I suppose if there’s going to be a hill, I’d rather it be at the beginning than the end. But still! After that torture, we found ourselves in a nice groove, which surprisingly was sub-9 minute miles. Shocked were we! Though I always wear my Garmin, I tend to try to ignore it as much as possible during a race, which I guess completely defeats the purpose. But I really try to not obsess over my pace, because it tends to  jinx me in the long run. I like to listen to my body instead of the numbers on my wrist. Since Dad and I seemed to be cruising along nicely, we just went along with it. About a mile and a half in, we finally found our way out of the vineyards and came upon the bay. It was sunny, hazy, and the water was perfectly crystal clear. I literally gasped and said to Dad,, “Oh my gosh, it looks like heaven!!” It was incredible. Something about it even made me teary. What a gorgeous day for a run.

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This race was unlike any of the other five Dad and I have ran together. We both had our headphones in, we were much less chatty and much more in the zone than ever before. Chalk it up to recent life events or the beautiful scenery, there was just a different vibe in the air. Having said that, Dad and I continued to pace each other perfectly. When one would pull ahead, the other would follow suit and sometimes move a little farther ahead. We continually found ourselves running behind a guy with ‘Jeffries’ on his shirt back and it was our task to stay out in front of him. A little under halfway in, we started seeing the uber fast marathoners, who were on their way north as we ran south. It was so inspiring to see faces in search of 26.2 during our search for 13.1. We had a good rhythm going on, and for a long time I though we would achieve our long-term goal of finishing under 2 hours.

In front of Jeffries

Have I mentioned how beautiful the course was yet?

PS,, the course was BEA-UTIFUL!!! ;) Just gorgeous the entire time. And even though there was no way for spectators to drive up there during the race, there were still TONS out there! Lots of vacationing families enjoying their morning cups of coffee while working their signs and cowbells. There were also plenty of mimosas and even some beers out there too. In fact, at mile 7.5, I spotted a little table with Dixie cups of beer out for the taking. So I bopped over, grabbed me one, and took a big swig before handing the rest to Dadyo. In hindsight,,, not the best idea as that cheap brew sloshed around my belly until the next water stop. It was fun while it lasted!

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Pic courtesy of Running Fit

As Dad and I walked through the next aid station (which we had been doing fairly regularly just to regroup after those speedy miles), we looked at each other, high-fived and sighed. This tends to be the point in the race where you’re close to being done, but honestly still pretty far away. He looked at me and said, “You got another 5 miles in ya??” to which I replied, “Absolutely.” Though the thought sounded a little rough at the time, I was still confident in us. I still hadn’t really done the math on how fast we needed to run to break 2 hours. Didn’t want to either. So we just ran.

Meanwhile,, back at the condo,,,

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My sweet boys having a rough morning.

The last miles were pretty painful. A little bit physical and a lot mental. Our splits had slowed a bit, but we were still close to 9:30 min/miles. We were pushing probably harder than we ever had before. At one point with a couple miles to go, I finally decided to figure out what we needed to run to reach our goal. When I realized we had 17 minutes to run over 2 miles, I became a little dejected. Come to find out after the race, Dad had felt the same way. It was going to be so close, yet still so far away. But we pressed on. We high fived the little kids on the side of the road. I thanked everyone who wished us luck down the final stretch. And before we knew it, we were back at the high school running our final steps down the track. We grabbed hands and across the finish line we flew.

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Final time: 2:03:11. Pace of 9:20 min/mi.

Earlier while we were running, we had seen an older man approaching us in the opposite direction running the marathon. And he was moving slowwww. But he was moving! Dad had made a comment about how he was going to have a tough finish. And I said, “Hey, at least he’s out there trying.” And he replied, “He’s just happy to be alive.” Yes, yes, and YES. This summed up our race. It was our most emotional run to date, and like that older man, we both left a lot on the course before we even had medals around our necks.

We eventually hobbled our way to the post-race area where we found our cheerleaders.

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A fantastic race. Beautiful. Strong. Inspiring. & emotional,, all packed in those 13.1 miles. Brums and Did half mary number six in the books. We’re coming for you, sub-2. Catch ya in the fall.

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 ******

Also! We spent the entire holiday weekend in TC, here are some pics from our wonderful trip!

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Gorgeous dinner outside at LockenHeath

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Naked baby photo shoot

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Day trip to Petoskey!

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Bayfront Park

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E’s first time on the swing!! Loved it.

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My cool dude.

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Hanging with GPop

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Sign of a solid weekend :)

Sign of a solid weekend :)

Ten Months

Dear Emery,

I’m back again, and this time baby,, you’re TEN!!

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I mean, really? We’re at double digits already? Crazy, buddy. It’s absolutely crazy how fast time flies. I’m already working on organizing your FIRST birthday party for pete’s sake! Though there are definitely moments where I miss that teeny tiny baby you once were, I’m absolutely loving life with you now more than ever. And month nine was a biiiiiiig one!

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The day you turned nine months, you started crawling. Sure it wasn’t pretty. And to be honest, it still isn’t. It’s what I like to call a peg-leg army crawl. You lie flat on your belly, and using your right leg only, you push forward. There’s no grace to it whatsoever. But you’re able to get from point A to B just fine! And your speed is actually impressive. So like they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! You’ll get those knees up underneath you one of these days.

So far you’re not a total terror despite your newfound mobility. Mommy hasn’t even baby-proofed the house yet! But she has a feeling her grace period is quickly coming to an end.

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Just over a week ago, I put you down for your morning nap. And to my surprise, when I heard your sweet voice on the baby monitor telling me nap time was over, I turned on the screen to find you sitting up all by yourself! Until then you hadn’t been able to switch from lying to sitting all by yourself. But, tada! And now,, you’re even able to pull yourself up from sitting to standing! Your little chubby legs sure are strong, buddy. You’ll be walking in no time.

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In other mobility news, you’ve found a new love for dancing. It’s no two-step, but it’s a sweet little bounce that Mommy can’t get enough of. Hopefully you grow up with better rhythm than Mommy and Daddy!

Mommy took you to the Monon on a warm Saturday morning in April where we met up with her running friends, the Perfect Strangers. It was nice and early (730a), and you’d already had a nice breakfast, so I figured you would ride along peacefully in the BOB while we ran, and take a nice nap on the drive home. Well, you did well for the first third of our six miler. But a short while later you became a little mad man. Crying. Incosolable. It could’ve been noise overload from girly PS chatter. Or maybe you were just over it and wanted your crib. Either way, it wasn’t a pleasant 3 mile run back to the car. When we finally got back home, you still weren’t happy. Sassy, in fact. Well, long story short, we soon figured out the reason behind your anger,,,,

TEETH!!!

After battling with you all morning, you finally fell asleep. I snuggled you during this nap.

After battling with you all morning, you finally fell asleep. Mama snuggled you hard during this nap.

Yes, sir! On April 26th, we [finally] saw two little razors break through the skin of your bottom gums. And besides that one day of madness, you never once showed any more signs of discomfort. They just popped right on up! And they’re pretty sweet if you ask me. I thought I’d miss your toothless grin terribly. But I’m pretty smitten with this new smile you’re flashing :)

Why is it impossible to look in a baby's mouth?? Gotta zoom in close to see those pearly whites :)

Why is it impossible to look inside a baby’s mouth?! Gotta zoom in real close to see those pearly whites :)

And as of last week, you’re already starting to sprout your two front teeth! Four in one month,, that’s impressive! Mommy noticed a little blister on one of your gums one night (apparently called a “teething blister”), and next thing we knew, there was a little white thing popping through! And thankfully, there were no sassy days with these two teeth. Just a lot of drool. I’m still thanking those amber beads.

One and done with the maple teething biscuit!

One and done with the maple teething biscuit!

You’re eating mostly finger foods this month, which has been pretty fun. It’s been nice to be a little more creative with your meals. I’ve also been trying to let you take the reigns at meal times. But it’s funny,, when I actually do try to feed you with a spoon, most of the time you either bat the spoon away or take the food directly off of it and feed yourself. Or my favorite,, spraying it clear across the room. Hey, I guess you only learn independence one way!

Here’s a list of some new foods this month:

  • Spinach
  • White potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Pancakes
  • Watermelon
  • Mac & cheese (Annie’s)
  • Waffles (with bananas and/or apples)
  • Red beans
  • Ice cream!
  • Chicken
  • Black bean burger

So far, no bad reactions to food! Hooray! Except,,, last month we tried some cinnamon on your applesauce and you got a little redness on your face. Well, Mom decided to retry it to see what would happen, and unfortunately the same thing occurred. After speaking with the nurse at Dr. Christy’s office, we decided to tentatively list it as an allergy and avoid it as much as possible. No snickerdoodles for you, bummer :(

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Another big thing in the food department this month was that we finally started supplementing you with formula. This broke your Mama’s heart, babe. She’s so proud she was able to exclusively BF you for 10 whole months. But she knew how important it was that you were getting enough milk and unfortunately she wasn’t able to keep up with you as easily as she used to. So now our schedule is nursing twice a day, morning and night, with two 6oz bottles of formula during the day. This seems to be a great plan. You have had absolutely NO problem adjusting to the formula. In fact, you get pretty darn excited when you see me getting a bottle ready for you. I’m grateful for the time I can still spend nursing you. It’s quite special and I’m not quite ready to give it up.

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Our normal day-to-day isn’t usually full of big milestones (though they’re much more frequent lately). It’s the little things that make my heart swell. Your constant babbling and high-pitched squeals (I call it your sweet voice). Your laugh. Your ticklish feet. Your obsession with Cheerios in bed. The huge smile you get when you see Mo the Monkey. Your constant flirting when we’re out and about. Even seeing you pee-pee in the bathtub makes me giggle. You’re just the best little buddy I’ve ever had, and I’m grateful for you every.single.day!

 

 

Ten Month Stats: No clue! But a nice lady at lunch last week called me a strong Mama because you are “a little chunk” (said in the nicest possible way). She must’ve seen that potbelly! Wearing some 9 month clothes, but you fit most comfortably in 12-18′s.

Milestones Achieved/ Firsts:

    • Crawling!
    • Teeth (two on the bottom with two on top on the way)
    • Lying to sitting.
    • Sitting to standing.
    • Standing, supported.

  • Climbing on everything!
  • First Mother’s Day! We spent the day at the zoo with your family and you bought your Mama some beautiful flowers and a ruby ring!

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  • Playing in the grass. Yay springtime!

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Things You Like:

  • Toys: Mo the Monkey, FP farmhouse, stuffed frog, giraffe on a stick, doctor set, and Gymboree beach ball.

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  • Books: Little Blue Truck, Sophie books, Dr. Seuss ABC, Peek A Boo, Caps for Sale, Llama Llama books.

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    • Eating. Nonstop. Til the cows come home.

  • Making a big mess in your highchair!

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  • Flirting!!
  • Cartoons (Daniel Tiger, Cat in the Hat, Curious George)
  • Babbling/ singing/ lots of noise :)

  • Lunching with Mommy.

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  • Cheerios in bed.

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Things You Don’t Like:

  • Getting your face/ hands wiped down after meals.
  • Not getting fed fast enough.

Places We’ve Been This Month

  • Fort Wayne Zoo

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  • Downtown Zionsville
  • Broad Ripple Art Fair & post-fair ice cream at BRICS!

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People We’ve Seen:

  • Both sets of Grandparents, your Aunt Heather and cousins.
  • Lisa & Traci, Mommy’s work friends, who came over for pizza and ice cream.
  • Mom’s friend Lesley and her son, Beckett who is 6 weeks younger than you!

Exciting Upcoming Events:

  • Traverse City over Memorial Day weekend.
  • Spending a whole week in Michigan in June!
  • Father’s Day

Things Mommy is Looking Forward To:

  • All of the above.
  • Pool time at the clubhouse!
  • Getting your first birthday party plans in order!

 

Last Month:

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This Month:

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And that’s it for month 9!! Month 10 is already off to an awesome start, and I can’t wait to kick off this summer together! Love you LOTS, E!

 

Love always,

Mommy

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Race Recap: 2014 Indy Mini Marathon

Hi! I’m back with another race recap! My second postpartum half mary is in the books!

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The Mini was the first race I signed up for after Emery came along as it’s close to home and I’ve ran it twice before (read my recaps here and here). Though it’s not necessarily the prettiest race I’ve ever ran, it’s one of the biggest half marathons in the country and it’s always so. much. fun. I tried my best to coerce my Dad to come down and run it with me, but I was unsuccessful (silly work). Thankfully a bunch of Perfect Strangers were registered as well, so at least I had buddies to run with! Long lost ones at that :)

I figured after our decent finish at the ChiTown 1/2 one month ago, I would kick things up a notch and become more consistent with my weekly training runs. Well apparently, excuses have trumped my motivation because I’ve been a super slacker these last three weeks. Anything from, “I’m too tired” to “It’s too windy” or “Sure I’ll have a beer” have taken over my vocabulary. For whatever reason, running just hasn’t been a priority, though I truly wish it were. I managed to eek out one 10 mile weekend, but beyond that, there’s been a whole lot of nuttin’, honey. Even despite my poor mileage, I still had my sights set on running 13.1 Saturday morning come heck or high water.

Emery and I went down to the expo at the Indiana Convention Center on Friday. I loaded him up in the Ergo since it’s usually pretty packed and maneuvering a stroller would’ve been a pain. He was pretty enamored with all the activity around him, which made my expo perusing enjoyable. I ran into Meggie and her husband at packet pickup and we discussed our meet up plans for the following morning. I hit up a few booths to pick up some Feetures, Gu, and a “Crawl Indy” onesie for E before we headed back home for water and carb loading!

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Since Emery only napped once on Friday, he was in bed by 630p, which meant that Mama followed suit, hopping into bed by 730! Sometimes missed naps are a blessing in disguise. My alarm went off at 5a, and after one round of snoozing, I was up and getting myself ready for the morning ahead. For some reason it felt like it had been a long time since I adequately prepared for a race morning, even though it had only been a few weeks. I guess I just missed the ritual. With a coffee in hand, I was on my way downtown by 6a for a race that was scheduled to start at 748!

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I parked and bopped over to the JW (pictured above) where I met up with my PS girlies. This year the race was organized in waves, so with the help of Meggie and a color copy machine, we all “doctored up” our bibs so we could run together. We found ourselves in wave 1, corral E, which I found quite fitting ;)

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The energy at the starting line is electric. It was just as I remembered it two and three years before. It didn’t hurt that the weather was absolutely perfect, 50′s and sunny with just a hint of a cool breeze. We snuggled up in our throwaway shirts for a pre-race pic!

Meggie, Jess, Kelly, Dana, Kristi, moi, Adam

Meggie, Jess, Kelly, Dana, Kristi, moi, Adam (not pictured: Martha)

Our backdrop. <3 Indy.

Our backdrop. <3 Indy.

Wave 1 took off according to schedule and we soon found ourselves cruising past the Indianapolis Zoo. Just like last time, our cute “little” elephant was on the sidelines cheering us on! Meggie, who was two steps behind me, started yelling “Hey elephant! Over here!” while trying to get a pic. Standard antics ;)

Photo cred: MD

Photo cred: MD

We joked pre-race that none of us had truly properly trained and that we were all out to just finish in a respectable amount of time. Kelly said the last time she had ran 13.1 miles was this weekend last year, with about a dozen miles in between ;) After a little discussion, we figured a 10 minute/mile was an appropriate starting pace and we’d take it from there. These kinds of races are the best. Very little expectations with the sole goal of having fun. It didn’t take long for the chatter to ensue, and despite the months away from each other, we instantly fell right back into the groove we have always so comfortably fit.

The first few miles went fairly quickly. As soon as few of us would pull ahead, we would just as quickly fall back to the rest of the group when the gap got too big. As always, the course was crowded, but I really do feel like the wave start helped even things out immensely. We passed a bagpiper, the cloggers, belly dancers, and all kinds of teenage bands who were out bright and early to keep things rocking. We also cruised past a Pancake and Steak House which immediately made my belly rumble. A chocolate Surge gel and Sport Beans sufficed.

It usually isn’t until the second half of the race when things start to get uncomfortable. And that’s exactly what happened. When we ran up the giant hill to enter Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we decided we would jump off course and make a quick potty stop together. We were in and out quickly and continued on our merry way. As we ran, I tried to take a couple over-the-head group selfies. PS, I need botox.

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As we approached the Yard of Bricks, we decided to grab another pic. Kissing the bricks is apparently kind of a cool thing to do and the PS girls did it last year. We did our best to stay to the right as not to get trampled by the throng of runners. We struggled a bit as you can see below ;) Some professional-type guy from IMS took a picture too, but I have no idea where to find it. So photographer man, if you’re reading this (fat chance), send it over!

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Right after these pictures was when we all started slowing down a bit. Legs and hips were tight, tummies were upset, and we were over the track (it’s fun to start, but 2.5 miles is a bit monotonous, plus the slope stinks). We took a few walk breaks, but always pointed out something ahead that once we passed, we would start running again.

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Meggie & I

As soon as we left the track, we found Martha’s Dad who was waiting to cheer on his girl(s). COG award!

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And I snapped my own pic and texted it to my Dad. Check my first Mini recap for a better explanation ;)

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The miles after the track are probably the worst of the entire race. Cramped back roads with absolutely no scenery and very little crowd support. It’s also the point where the reality that there’s still about 5 miles yet to run sets in. Our group started to split apart a bit at this point, Meggie, Jess and Dana out front, Kelly and I in the middle, and Martha and Kristy a few steps behind. Though we were all hell-bent on finishing as strong as we could, we figured we could get in around 2:15 (which we would ALL be happy with).

There was, however, one moment during those boring miles that stuck out. We spotted a man earlier in the race that was wearing a neon yellow shirt that proclaimed this was his 20th Mini Marathon. Incredible, right? Well after the track, he was once again close by. I overheard another man congratulate him on his accomplishments. The man thanked him and said something to the effect of, “I gotta stick around for my kids! It’s all for them!” Heartstrings PULLED. And how true is that? Everything we do is now all for them.

Pairing up with Kelly turned out to be the absolute best thing for the both of us. Every time someone asked how I was feeling, I would reply “Good!” And for the most part, it was the truth. Most of my energy stemmed from the fact that I was honestly just happy to be out there and running. But I was definitely not as boppy as I was during the first half. My hips and quads were incredibly tight and I was just pooping out. Kelly was in the same boat as I was physically (not to mention her emotions were also running high due to my ill-timed questions). Every little while she would say, “Okay, I’m going to walk for a minute.” So we would both walk until the next identified landmark. Even though she kept telling me I didn’t have to stop, I did. Every time. Where did I have to go? I wasn’t going to win the race, or my age group for that matter. So a little walk was welcomed. My hips and quads thanked me for the rest.

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The breaks started becoming a little more frequent in the last two miles. And I found that it was my job to keep us both focused on the finish. Eyes on the prize, like my Mama says. I encouraged us to slow down. I pointed out how close to the finish line we were. Simple things took our minds off the pain. At least for a short while. And before we knew it, we were there! And this happened,,,

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Photo cred: Indy Star

Best picture, right?? Sums our experience up perfectly. We couldn’t have done it without each other.

Final time: 2:15:52

We caught up with the three girls who finished just minutes before us and per usual, grabbed yet another pic.

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Kelly and I said goodbye to the other girls, who all had to jet to various activities right away. We, however, had some time to kill so we headed to the post-race party where we had a celebratory beer in the Blue Mile tent. Nothing beats relishing in a personal victory over laughter and ice cold beer. & I’d say completing 13.1 miles counts as something to celebrate! We also met up with Kristi and Martha who finished just a few minutes after us. The post-race air had a bit of a chill to it, but it was truly the perfect spring day.

As I made the short walk back to my car, I couldn’t help but smile. Being back here. Back with my people. All doing what we love with some of the people we love most. It’s something I’ve missed terribly. And something I never want to stop. Despite my occasional slacking and lack of motivation, there’s something deep inside me that will always have a love for running. And like that man reminded me, I do it for my kids.

My biggest fan

My biggest fan

Nine Months

Dear Emery,

 

You’re mine all mine, and now you’re nine!

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[ps,, sorry I'm a week late!]

Month 9 was craaaazzzzyyyy busy, bud! You had so many firsts: first time in the front of the shopping cart, first trip to Chicago, first flight (!!), first time in the ocean, first boat ride, first Easter, and lots of food firsts too. You also topped off the month with your first signs of crawling. To say you’ve kept your Mommy and Daddy on the go is an understatement!

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Physically you’re becoming more and more grown up every single day. One of the moms at swim class this week said you’re even looking older just since last week! Your eyes are still blue as can be and your belly is just the cutest potbelly I’ve ever seen. You’re a blondie just like your parents were when they were little and your hair is as soft as silk. Your mom is also obsessed with your adorably long toes, but just hopes they’ll stay cute forever ;)

Florida feet

Florida feet

Your curiosity is out of control these days! Lately you do this thing with your pointer finger. Well,, you point. At everything. All the time. I wonder when I should tell you that it’s not particularly polite, but right now it’s adorable. Plus it’s your way of exploring, which is very important at your age. You’re also always looking around. You seem to be very content when we’re out in public – lots and lots to see! You giggle uncontrollably in the grocery cart, mostly because your Mama acts like a fool running you up and down the aisles making silly noises. She just can’t resist your sweet laughs. Your curiosity peaks after nap time, when I can usually find you peering over your crib bumper looking for someone to come rescue you. I love it.

Sleeping! Still doing great. After waking up usually between 6-7a, you’re ready for your morning nap about 2 hours later. That is, after your morning dose of Cheerios + breakfast. When your head hits my shoulder, I know you’re ready to snooze. So up we go to your room, where we snuggle in our rocking chair and I read you a story. I love these moments with you. So snuggly and innocent. You’re good in your crib for an hour at least, sometimes two. PS,, I’m SO proud of how far you’ve come on your napping!! On days when you have swim class, you forego your morning nap until afterwards, and usually those are the good ones since you’re so pooped out! You typically take an afternoon nap too, though timing is more random based on the day. You went through a little spurt a few weeks ago when you took three long naps a day! This was pretty short lived, but I think you were growing, my big little man :)

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Your bedtime is usually around 7-730p, which makes doing anything outside of the house at night a bit challenging. Dinners out included. But there’s something to be said for a nice routine. Dinner, bath time, bedtime is usually the sequence. And our theory: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! You average about 10-12 hours of slumber at night, which is beyond our expectations, but much appreciated.

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I wrote allll about our trip to Florida in my last blog post, but I have to reiterate that was probably the biggest, most exciting event of the month! Not only was it a learning experience for us both (learning to fly, travel together solo, etc), it was a fantastic one at that. Sand, ocean, swimming, shopping, dolphins, friends. Couldn’t have been better. In fact, we’ve already talked about returning for spring break next year!

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A couple of weeks ago, Mommy decided that it was time to start feeding you lunch. You’ve still been nursing, though we’ve cut back to about 3-4 times a day (becoming less and less interested + low supply). But your snacking had gotten out of control. You acted like you were starving all the time (which I know you weren’t!), and at times I felt bad. My main apprehension in starting you on lunch was the fact that it would interrupt our day at a time when we’re usually fairly busy. But thankfully it’s going quite well. I usually have a good stash of fruits and veggies on hand for you so it’s just a matter of taking time to whip something up, sit down and eat! It also gives Mommy the chance to eat something herself – she falls short on her nutrition a lot of the time, though she’s not blaming you at all, kiddo ;) You’re a total piggy (you can throw back a whole sweet potato in one sitting), and still give off that starving vibe. But based on your 9 month stats, you’re a very well nourished little boy.

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You still eat purees, mostly at breakfast, but I’ve been a lot more adventurous lately, giving you small chunks of foods. Your coordination is great and you’re very capable of feeding yourself, but Mom is still getting used to the huge highchair messes you make! You’re not very picky at all right now either, which is awesome. Here’s a list of some new foods we’ve tried this month (all homemade!).

  • Plums (w/ oatmeal)
  • Kiwi
  • Mangos
  • Green beans (didn’t love them, but probably because of the tough skins. Maybe when you get some teeth – still none yet!!)
  • Steamed baby carrots
  • Turnips (who would’ve thought! Even I’ve never had one!)
  • Brown rice
  • Broccoli (again, not a fan. Will retry)
  • Spaghetti squash

One day I sprinkled a little cinnamon on your applesauce, and shortly thereafter noticed a little redness around your mouth. No other symptoms (swelling, rash, trouble breathing), and the redness went away by morning. But it was probably the most concerning thing I’ve encountered since starting you on solids. Mama had a minor freak out. You’ve done other spices fine (salt, garlic powder, etc), so will just have to keep a close eye on this!

Movement! Last month we worked on getting you interested in crawling, of which you had little to none. I tried putting things just out of your reach to get you to scoot towards it. No luck. Not even food would get you to move! But at the end of this month, you started showing more promise. You started pulling on stationary things (mostly me), which would force you to scoot little by little. We let you stand on your feet as much as possible (with help of course), and you have some seriously strong legs!

So on your 9 month birthday, you were on the floor playing while Mommy was getting ready for the day. I looked over and saw you army crawling on the floor. You were kind of just turning around in circles reaching for toys, but there was definite movement!!

And since then, you’ve been pulling your knees underneath you and propelling yourself forward, which usually ends up in a forward flop. But you’re getting there!! It won’t be long before you’ve got those arms and legs coordinated, that’s for sure.

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If I had to say something negative about this month, it’s that you’ve turned pretty clingy. Mostly to me. One might even call you a Mama’s Boy (not me of course!!). I suppose it’s because we spend most of our days and nights together, huh?! When your Dad gets home in the evening, you’re usually on the tired side. So that plus clinginess = a fussy little man. I find it best to just stay out of your sight when I hand you off to someone else. That way you’re not reminded that I’m close by. As much as I love the attention, sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming. I keep reminding myself that these days are short-lived, so enjoy it while I can. Someday you won’t want to love on me as much. Though I hope that day never comes.

 

9 Month Stats:

Weight: 18 lbs 8 oz (18%)

Height: 28 1/2″ (60%)

Head Circ: 17 1/2″ (26%)

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Milestones Achieved/ Firsts:

  • Sitting in the front seat of the shopping cart.

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  • First walk on the Monon!

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  • First road trip to Chicago.
  • First time as a race spectator (see above).
  • First flight.
  • First time in the ocean.
  • First boat ride!
  • Three meals a day.

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  • Pulling up on things, mainly Mommy.
  • Standing (supported).

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  • First time behind the wheel.

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  • First Easter! Check out these great pics from our weekend in Michigan!

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Things You Like:

  • FOOD!
  • Tickles
  • Your paci/ wubbanubs

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  • Allie
  • Bubbles at bathtime
  • Any songs Mama sings. Well at least they make you smile :)
  • Toys: your doctor set, Mo the Monkey, Morty the Moose, your carseat monkey.

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  • Story time! Gigi gave you two big boxes of older books last weekend, so we have a lot of reading to do!
  • Walks outside in the stroller,, in your Superman sunnies.

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  • Gymboree
  • Swim class – you’re learning how to kick and blow bubbles!

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Things You Don’t Like:

  • Being away from Mom when she’s in clear sight.
  • Diaper changes when you’re just waking up/ about to fall asleep.
  • Not getting enough attention!

Places We’ve Been This Month:

  • Chicago
  • Destin, Florida
  • Michigan

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Exciting Upcoming Events:

  • The month of May is an exciting one in Indy! I’m sure we’ll find some good stuff to keep us busy. Just being outside sounds exciting to Mom!

Things Mommy Is Looking Forward To:

  •  Her first Mother’s Day!

 

Last Month,,,

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This Month!

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Oh, Emery. I should start calling you my little lightbulb, because you light up my life. I guess there’s a song about sunshine that would work just as well ;) I have a sneaking suspicion that this next month is going to be pretty pivotal for all of us. So bring it! Let’s show May whats up. Til then, keep up the good work. We love you so much!!!

 

Love always,

Mommy
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Experience: Destin-ation Florida!

Back in February, my friend Jaime and I were commiserating about the awful winter weather and how badly we could both use a warm vacay. Truth be told, we commiserate a lot together. But I digress! She mentioned her uncle had a condo in Destin that might be available. Before I knew it, she was booking the unit for the week AND inviting Emery and I to join her and her boys! Umm, let me think about that for a sec,,,,, YES!!

J planned on driving from Indy to Florida, but recommended that E & I look into flights because 12 hours in a car would likely be a little much for an 8 month old (agreed). She would bring some of my bigger items in her truck (i.e. pack and play/ Emery’s “crate,” diapers, carseat base, etc) so I wouldn’t have to lug as much through the airport alone. Not gonna lie,, I put off booking our flights for a LONG time due to my general anxiety about flying solo with my baby. I’m not a huge fan of flying in the first place, so this was pretty over the top for me. My list of concerns was ridiculous: packing, checking luggage, the actual plane part, layovers, etc. I eventually bit the bullet and booked the flights, and thankfully felt some relief. But every day leading up to our departure was still full of fear. I wished I could just magically transport the two of us down to the beach and avoid the whole travel part! No dice.

We returned home from our trip to Chicago on Monday afternoon, giving us very little time to put the finishing touches on our suitcases and preparations. We were, however, able to enjoy some quality time with the hubs, who would be staying back home because of work. Mamas & babies only on this trip! After putting E to bed and packing up the car, I hopped into bed as it was recommended by many that I get a good pre-flight night’s sleep.

E was still on central time, and unfortunately woke us both up at 530a, well before my alarm clock. Never fails! It worked out fine though because the early wake up gave us time to say our goodbyes to Daddy, have breakfast, and get on the road by 8a.

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Thank goodness Jaime took the PNP and the carseat base, because Mama’s hands were FULL heading into battle!! I decided to bring our stroller (which I gate checked) for when I needed to take E out of the Ergo carrier. And I had bought this sweet backpack carseat carrier from Amazon, which was a lifesaver. Carseat on my back, baby on the front, stroller/ diaper bag in one hand, suitcase in the other. Let’s do this.

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Heading in!

We arrived to the airport plenty early, so I did my best to keep E visually stimulated for the hour and a half pre-board. This included his favorite food group: carbs :)

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We boarded the plane and took our window seat (which ended up being the wrong one, so we switched). I pulled out all his goodies in Ziplock bags and put them in the seat back. When the plane started moving, I gave him his juice bottle, which he anhiliated quickly, leaving me with nothing to give him as we actually took off. This is when the cries began. E’s new thing is to arch his back and throw his head back when he’s mad, and that’s exactly what he did. While trying to refill his bottle with water, the passenger next to me made some odd comment, telling me I should relax because he didn’t know any better. Um, thanks but obviously I’m going to be a bit unnerved with a crying baby on his first flight. He at least offered to help me with the bottle. After 10-15 minutes of tears, E finally passed out on my chest and we enjoyed the rest of the flight snuggled up together with a little playtime post-nap.

Post-nap

Post-nap

We had a quick layover in Houston, where I found us more carbs before boarding flight #2. We were shoved in the last row of a mini plane that bounced around frequently with a window shade that didn’t go up. But we were fuss-free and actually had a bit of fun drinking my Mighty Mango Naked juice together! First flying experience: success!!

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We landed in Fort Walton Beach and were immediately met by Jaime, Luke and Jacob at baggage claim! This little heartthrob took some of my precious cargo off my hands ;)

After a quick 20 minute drive, we arrived in Destin. We stopped at The Crab Trap for a late lunch/ early dinner. Popcorn shrimp and a celebratory Woodchuck Cider for all! && more bread for the little one.

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After lunch, we drove up to Publix to get some grub for the next couple of days (“Turn right, then turn right.” Oh you’re right across the street? Kthx). Once we returned, we made our way down to the beach, which was literally a hop across the road. No words can describe how excited I was to put E’s toes in the sand for the first time. It didn’t hurt that it was the most gorgeous beach I had ever laid eyes on.

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Perfect toes in perfect sand

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Wind? Whitecaps? Pssh.

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Wednesday morning we had some business to tend to right off the bat. Sadly, there was a death in Jaime’s family the day we arrived and she needed to get home by Friday instead of Saturday like we had planned. Thankfully, after a quick call to American Airlines, we were able to switch our exact flight from Saturday to Friday for just $8. Clearly we were both a little bummed to have to leave such a beautiful place a day early, but life happens. There’s too much to be thankful for to be sad over something so small.

Plus, we had this:

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We picked up a few more goodies at Target that morning (pool floatie included!) and headed to the pool upon our return. Well, let me rephrase. The other family went to the pool. This family was stuck inside the condo for TWO AND A HALF HOURS while someonE took a coma! Figures he chooses Florida as the place he’d like to take his longest nap ever ;) The second he awoke, we sunscreened up and headed outside!

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It was still a bit breezy, but we kept warm floating around in the water!

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Like my new Superman sunnies?!

Everyday, the Mamas had to do some coercing to get the boys to go to the beach. For some reason, pool > beach in their kiddo minds. So despite a little sassiness, we eventually made our way down to the water, where we ended up spending well over an hour walking, kite-flying & playing in the water/ sand. It was perfect.

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My little lovey

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L & JLo

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Later we enjoyed a frozen pizza and made a trip to the outlet mall down the street, after which the Mamas drowned their crazy kid sorrows in all of this:

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The perfect accompaniment to ’19 Kids and Counting’ and ‘Cyberstalkers’

If only they weren’t so darn cute.

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I should note that Emery’s sleeping was wayyyy out of whack the entire trip. The condo had one bedroom (which was generously offered to us), so E slept in the pack n play next to my bed. It’s SO hard sleeping SO close to your little one. Every move I made I felt like I was going to wake him up. And wake up he did. At 430a on day 1, 230a on day 2, and 530a on day 3. We survived, but at the time it was a bit brutal. Thankfully he napped almost every time I toted him around in the Ergo.

Day 3 was my favorite day (“What day is today?!”). We woke up and had coffee/ breakfast per usual while E played on the [sandy] floor.

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We headed down to the water bright and early to soak up as much beach time as possible. The day couldn’t have been more gorgeous. The wind was gone, the sun was out, and the water was crystal clear. Can I live here? Please?

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Babywearing = naptime. On the beach. Under the sun. Toes in the sand. Not complaining.

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Once E awoke, we went straight to the ocean!

And we got some of my most favorite pictures ever.

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Including a non-selfie with my girl (thanks Luke!).

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We played in the sand. And ate some of course.

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I think E had fun :)

The afternoon is what we had been looking forward to all week,,, DOLPHIN CRUISE!!

But first. Let me take a selfie.

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;)

We drove down to the marina and snapped a group pic while waiting to board our cruiser, the SeaBlaster!

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Sunnies for everyone!

And the boys played in the cutouts!

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When J had asked if I was interested in going on this boat ride, knowing good and well I may say no because of Emery, I hesitated for about 2 minutes. Sure it’s a boat. Everyone’s at risk of flying off. But we would have a baby lifejacket in tow, and there would be no death defying stunts. So again,,, YES. Sign us up.

Baby's first boat ride!

Baby’s first boat ride!

The ship’s crew were fantastically attentive, and the whole atmosphere of the cruise was so. fun. We were told when we signed up that we would get a free drink, but apparently this meant we could have as many as we wanted! Oh darn :-P No worries, we were responsible. We were given saltines to feed the seagulls, who took them directly out of our hands. And we listened to throwback music, which was hard not to love. All the while, we headed out further into the water in search of dolphins. And holy moly, did we find some!

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J & I decided that running a dolphin cruise would most definitely be the best job in the world. It was so incredible to watch. There were at least 15 dolphins out there, a baby dolphin included! Lots of people commented on how this was the most they’d ever seen. And as if watching them swim wasn’t enough, when the boat sped up, the dolphins followed! WATCH!

(you can watch more videos on my YouTube channel here)

We cruised for a total of 2 hours. The older boys drove the boat. We laughed and enjoyed the warm sunshine. It was glorious.

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We followed up our boat ride with lunch at Margaritaville and some trampoline jumping at the marina. We also randomly ran into our friends Mark and Denise, who spend some time in Destin during the cold midwestern months! Such a small world.

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High rise high chair!

It’s safe to say that after all that activity, we were exhausted by time we got back to the condo. We put the boys to bed and finished up the remaining beer & wine in our fridge while packing our things. 530a came early the next morning, and after loading up the truck, we started our trek away from the beach we had absolutely fallen in love with.

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Apparently after flying with a baby once, you pretty much get the hang of it. Either that or my baby is amazing, because our two flights back went absolutely seamlessly. Our flight out of Pensacola was on a little plane, but only half full, so we had a whole row to ourselves (in which E napped). And though our plane out of Dallas was a big/ full one, the lady next to us was wonderfully kind, and E napped again for well over an hour. The drive home from the airport was probably the most stressful part of the day, and that wasn’t even that bad! Just call us a well-oiled machine ;)

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And that’s it! What a week. My emotions have truly come full circle. From flying anxiety which morphed into vacation excitement which morphed into complete gratitude. I truly couldn’t be more grateful for the time spent with one of my best friends and our boys. How special for us to even be able to take a trip like this. I now have memories that will be forever etched into my mind. And E has checked off so many firsts! So stinkin’ fun. I already cannot WAIT to get back to that beautiful beach. Destin 2015,, who’s in??! Maybe we’ll even pack the Daddies next year.

Luke & Jacob ~ thank you so much for inviting us to Florida! We had so much fun with you! Thanks for watching Emery when I needed a little help, and feeding him too! You two are such special boys. We love you!

Jaime/ Aunt Yaya ~ no words, Mama. None. Except,, Alvin’s Island :) I love you and am so blessed to have you and your family in my life! Can’t wait for our next adventure!

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