Monday, June 27, 2016

Beach Vacation 2016: Hilton Head Island

We spent last week on our annual beach vacation to Hilton Head Island, SC. As usual we had a fantastic trip. It is not necessarily an easy, relaxing vacation to take a 4 year old to the beach (understatement alert!), but we love making these beach memories with our girl. BD and I are both "beach people" so it's fun to expose MC to something that BD and I have been enjoying together since the beginning of our relationship.

We had beautiful weather all week, so we spent a ton of time on the beach.

We spent lots of time digging and building in the sand.

And eating snacks on the beach.

But just like last year, MC's absolute favorite part was playing in the waves. She would have stayed out there for hours if we let her.

Riding to the beach in style, with a purple popsicle at 9am! The condo that we rent every year is across the street from the beach but has private beach access, so it's an easy and convenient walk to the beach - especially with this wagon to help haul all our gear.

We took advantage of the ocean breeze and flew our kites on several afternoons. This picture also gives you a good idea of how wide and flat the HHI beaches are when the tide is out - tons of room to run & play!

We did take a break from the beach to have some other island adventures. We found a couple new, fun playgrounds to explore.

And introduced MC to putt-putt golf. She was interested for about 3 holes before she was over it. I think we made it through maybe 6 holes total before calling it quits.

On our very first trip to the beach with MC, when she had just turned 1, we tried to eat at this Mexican restaurant. (BD and I have a tradition of trying out Mexican restaurants when we travel.) It was the biggest restaurant fail that we've ever had with MC in tow, and we ended up leaving before they even brought us our drinks. Last year we were still too traumatized to try this place again, but this year we were feeling brave and decided to go for it. It was a fun success, so we took a family selfie to commemorate the occasion! 

The restaurant is located in an area of HHI called Shelter Cove - with a marina and shops and some family friendly entertainment in the evenings.

We saw Shannon Tanner perform his kid friendly show and found out that he also performs in Breckenridge during the winter -- one of our other favorite places to vacation!

MC enjoyed clapping along to the music.

And even went down to join some of the other kids for a dancing song!

We had some watermelon - a beach trip staple!

And one morning, on the way to check out a community playground, we stopped for a sprinkle doughnut for breakfast.

We spent one afternoon at the children's museum, where MC played grocery store cashier. This exhibit was actually still under construction, but she was so thrilled that it had a working scanner and conveyor belt - just like the real grocery store!

She spent quite a while in the art room.

And worked on her plumbing skills in the construction area.

After we had spent several hours at the museum, we decided it was time for an afternoon snack, so we headed over to Hilton Head Ice Cream Shop for a sweet treat. We found this place last year for the first time, and I have been looking forward to going back for a year now! I got my ultimate favorite - mint chocolate chip in a chocolate dipped waffle cone. I don't usually use the pregnancy excuse to overeat, but I definitely indulged on this day -- and I ate every bite!

MC got vanilla with sprinkles in a cone - her first cone (instead of a cup)!

On our last full day we visited Harbour Town to see the famous lighthouse and check out a fun playground that we had heard about. This was the hottest and most humid day of our entire trip, so I wish we would have gone earlier in the week.

BD and MC climbed all the way to the top of the lighthouse! (While I sat on a rocker in the shade and watched the boats come and go.)

Top of the lighthouse selfie!

Even though we all came home pretty exhausted, we had a fantastic trip! As I told one of my friends when we returned...we had a four year old at the beach - we did not relax, but we also did not get sunburned or bitten by a shark, so I'll consider that a successful trip!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Family Pictures - Early Summer 2016

Recently we had some family pictures made by our lovely neighbor/friend who also happens to be a photographer. We met up with her on the UNC campus to capture some pictures during this fun and exciting time for our family. MC was just about to turn 4, and I was 31 weeks along in my pregnancy.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Pregnancy Update: Baby #2, 32 Weeks

How far along? Picture taken at 32w, 5d

Size of baby? 4 lbs, 11.5" crown to rump - the size of a large jicama, according to the internet - what a random comparison! Developmentally Baby Sister can now turn her head side to side and all 5 of her senses are working.

Weight gain/loss? +12

Maternity clothes? Yep.

Stretch marks? None so far.

Sleep? Hit or miss.

Best moment this week? I can't really think of anything pregnancy related for this one. This continues to be a healthy, uneventful pregnancy and for that I am very thankful.

Food cravings/aversions? Not really. I'm still not into sweets like I am in my non-pregnant life.

Gender? Girl.

Belly button in or out? Flat, but on its way out.

Movement? Lots of movement all the time - she's a wiggly girl in there! There are lots of times when I can feel her sharp little elbow or knee (or heel? I can never tell what specific body part it is!) poking right out of my belly. And sometimes she does what feels like a full body roll and my whole belly will shift and move from side to side.

What I miss? I miss being able to comfortably bend at the waist - to tie my shoes, to help MC with things, to pick up anything off the floor, etc.

What I'm looking forward to? We are headed to the beach for our annual vacation soon, and I am very much looking forward to that trip!

How's Mommy feeling? I am having some physical pain - mostly in my pelvis and rib cage as my body stretches to accommodate a rapidly growing Baby Sister. I am also having some minor, occasional heartburn which I never had during my pregnancy with MC. Emotionally and otherwise, I am feeling good. I am enjoying this early part of our summer weather before it gets too hot.

How's Daddy feeling? Check back later for a Daddy update. I forgot to ask him but I want to go ahead and get this posted.Update: Daddy is ready to put the crib together and turn this baby's room into a baby's room.

Milestones? The completion of our bathroom project is our big milestone this month. We are so happy to have that done - not only does it make our lives easier but it's something we've talked about doing for a loooong time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

MC's 4th Birthday

Birthday Party

In the time leading up to MC's 4th birthday, she consistently told me she wanted to celebrate her birthday with balloons and sprinkle cupcakes and friends in our backyard. So...that's exactly what we did!

We started off with a simple balloon themed invitation. (I'm old school and still like to send paper invitations, so I ordered the .jpeg file from a designer on Etsy and had them printed on card stock at Staples.)

And then we made sure that we had plenty of balloons. This is what 60 balloons looks like in my kitchen, by the way. I bought the polka dot balloons and the happy birthday balloons in bulk (20 of each) and then purchased the solid colors from a local balloon store. They also inflated all the balloons for us and delivered them to our house before the party. I was super impressed with both their service and their competitive prices, so they have earned another loyal customer!

The weather didn't cooperate for us to have the party in the backyard; we had a significant threat of severe weather - which never actually materialized - so we moved the party into the garage and inside our house.

This was the view from the front door with balloons and pennant banner decorating the banister.

We set up all the snacks in our dining room. Our dining room was still somewhat disassembled from the bathroom project; the table was turned sideways and the rug was put away, so we had plenty of room for snacks + mingling in there.

In the garage we set up a face mask painting station, our small bounce house/ball pit, and our sand and water table. And we had two box fans blowing in there to keep the temperature bearable because it was really hot and humid outside. 

I reused my balloon wreath for the front door from last year and updated it with a new number.

Another request by MC - a sparkly #4 balloon - and some presents from her sweet friends.

Sprinkle cupcakes? Check.

Daddy lit the candle on her cupcake and everyone sang Happy Birthday to her.

She blew out the candle all by herself this year!

Later in the evening after the party she opened gifts from her friends.


We spent the day of her actual birthday with just the 3 of us together.

We took her to Build-A-Bear Workshop, so she could put her paci inside a special teddy bear*. She picked out which animal she wanted and helped put the stuffing into his body.

The lady sewed him up after he was stuffed.

And then MC gave her new bear a "bath" so he was all clean and ready to come home with her.

She picked out a Happy Birthday t-shirt, underwear, and jean shorts for the bear to wear.

Family selfie with our new Paci Bear.

For lunch we ate sandwiches at Jersey Mike's - one of her favorite places to eat a turkey, cheese, lettuce, and pickle sandwich.

Then later in the afternoon we sang Happy Birthday to her and ate the cake that she had helped bake and decorate earlier in the day. By her request we had yellow cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles.

*This topic really deserves a post all of its own. MC is very attached to her paci for sleeping. It is the only version of a "lovey" that she has ever had. We had talked and talked about this transition for months leading up to this day. And while we are now officially paci free, this change has been a huge challenge for our whole family. It has made bedtime go from a peaceful & smooth ending of the day to an enormous struggle for all of us. We are doing everything we can to help our girl through this change, but it has not been easy.