Dan’s brother got married back in the beginning of June, with just a small intimate ceremony for just the immediate family followed by a dinner at a local downtown restaurant. It was a really nice day and it was actually really awesome to split the ceremony and reception up. Just this past weekend they hosted a big reception with all their friends and extended family, but it took so much pressure off the wedding day!
Back in June they got married right in downtown Buffalo, along the riverside under a beautiful gazebo. The weather was perfect everything was so simple and classy!
Just this past weekend was the big reception, which was a lot of fun! It was nice to not have to worry about wedding stuff all day and then just go to the party at night! We brought Ada with us for a little bit. She stayed through dinner and then I dropped her off at my parents house for a sleepover. She couldn’t wait to dance at the wedding, but once the dancing started she thought it was too loud and I think she got a little concerned with why all the grown ups were acting so crazy on the dance floor! If there’s one thing that goes down at family weddings its a crazy dance floor!! (and a lot of drinking, which is why I got her out of there!) I also must not have taken very many pictures at the reception, which isn’t like me at all, but here are a few! Also, the lighting is terrible!
So a big congratulations to my Brother-in-law and my newest Sister! Everything was so special and we were thrilled to have celebrated! We wish them a lifetime of happiness, love and maybe some babies sometime soon!
We jammed a lot into the holiday weekend! Having an extra day off was really great and put me in a summer mindset that was really hard to leave, aka I did NOT want to go back to work on Wednesday! Fortunately the rainy weather since then has made it not so bad! But here’s how we spent our 4th of July weekend!
We had our friends over Friday night and it turned into a really late night, keeping the kids out waaay past bedtime, but us grownups were having too much fun to say goodnight, our excuse “Its summer”! While we chatted on the deck we planned a super fun Saturday for everyone! We went to lunch at 12 Gates Brewery, which (despite it being a brewery) was a perfect place for kids, they had picnic tables outsides and lots of room to run around, and even some yard games! We got there right at noon when they opened so we were the only ones there for about the first hour. The absolute BEST part about this place is that its located right near the airport and the planes fly right overhead, which was awesome! It was a little scary for the kids at first, but they got used to it. We downloaded a flight tracker app so that we could see when planes were coming and give everyone a heads up.
After lunch we headed back to our friends house to go swimming for the afternoon! Ada did awesome swimming in the big pool all by herself with just her water wings!
On Sunday, we decided last minute to go up to Conesus Lake, where Dan’s family has a cottage, we go every year. I’m not a big fan of sleeping in a tent which is what has to happen when we go because there are so many people, but we decided to go up around dinner time, after Dan got out of work, and just stay for the fireworks then drive home.
Ada got to go on a boat ride, which she has been asking to do since our Florida trip. she played with cousins and watched the fireworks. Again, it was a VERY late bedtime!
Oh yeah, and our house officially went up for sale on Monday July 3rd!
On the fourth our friends invited us to their house so the kids got to play all afternoon and then we walked to where the fireworks were and let them run around some more!
It was a super fun weekend that we didn’t want to end! 4th of July is always my favorite holiday (better then Christmas) Its just feels like summer to me, we stay so busy but its always fun, relaxing things like swimming and campfires!
I haven’t posted in awhile, we’ve had a lot going on. Between summer fun and getting our house listed to sell!! (Yep, on the move again 3rd time in 5 years, but I swear this is the last time!) Also, I had an appendectomy that shut me down for almost 3 weeks! Lots of craziness over here!
I thought I’d share a quick post of some of my favorite summer time moments so far!
Ada finished her first year of “School” its really her daycare program but its Pre-k3 so its actually a structured educational classroom with lessons. They finished the year with a show, and it was beyond adorable! She did great singing all her favorite nursery rhymes and we got to meet some of her little friends from school, it was very cute!
We got to meet our new baby Niece, Natalie Isobel, who arrived June 8th! She is the most precious itty bitty and Ada loves her soo much! I got to take some pictures of them in the hospital when Big Sister Savannah met her little baby sister for the first time!
And a couple of Ada being the most Awesome big cousin ever! She’s such a pro holding her little Baby Natalie!
And one of me meeting my third little niece for the very first time!
Its been a fun summer and I feel like its flying by, so I made a bucket list for us of things I want to do this summer! So far I think we’ve only done one of them…. Spend the day at Niagara Falls. We went to visit my old office crew and say hello to everyone, followed by an afternoon in the park. I thought it wouldn’t be too crowded on a Wednesday afternoon but I was wrong, all we got to do was the Cave of the Winds, which Ada LOVED!
So far its been a great summer, but here is what else is on our bucket list…. Let’s see how much of it we can fit in!
Niagara Falls USA
Go to the Beach
Drive In Movies
Fantasy Island Theme Park
Take a hike through a state park
Take a Road Trip (this might be coming in the fall instead)
Go strawberry picking
Go to a fair or Festival
We’ve also been spending a lot of time with our friends, just hanging out on our back deck, (we won’t have it much longer) we’ve been playing in the sprinklers, having campout fires (as Ada calls them), movie nights and family time!
More summer posts to come! We had a super fun fourth of July weekend and hopefully we’ll be able to cross some more stuff off our summer bucket list! How has your summer been so far?
Some girlfriends and I thought it was about time we got a “mom’s weekend away”. Our husbands have been going to Vegas each Spring and backpacking in the Adirondacks each fall for about 3 years now, and so we thought it was our turn! So Chicago it was!
We flew out Thursday night and from Buffalo the flight is only about an hour. So we had most of Thursday night, Friday and all day Saturday. We left super early Sunday morning and got back around 9:30am, in time to spend the rest of the weekend with our little kiddos.
Thursday night we hit up a place called Three Dots and a Dash. Very cool! First, its really hard to find. We kept being told secret ways to enter, or “down an alley” all sounding kinda sketchy, but once we located it, (aka walked there by a local) we went down some stairs and into a dark underground restaurant. It was a tiki/Hawaiian type place, known for their drinks. The drink menu has strength warnings and even an average drink was pretty potent. The food was great too, we got a sample platter and a side of guacamole to share and it was more then enough for 4 girls. (The guac was amazing with chunks of pineapple!)
Friday morning we headed to Three Arts Club Cafe for brunch. Another amazing food choice!! The weather was cold and cloudy but this adorable little place had a window roof top and indoor fountain, so you really felt like you were outside. They don’t take reservations so we were told to get here early. We arrived around 10am and were sat almost immediately, but when we left around noon it was swamped with quite a wait time. We shared some croissant pastries for the table, chocolate, almond and ham and cheese – all which were sooo good. Then they brought us some french fries and aioli sauce, compliments of the kitchen (could be the best fries ever!) Followed by our actual meal, we all ordered the same – Scrambled eggs with fresh farm eggs, crème frâiche, avocado, chives, and Texas Toast! Everything was perfect! Highly recommend this place!
After brunch we took a 1:30pm Architecture Boat Tour down the Chicago River. There are a bunch of companies that offer this, but we chose Wendella Boats as it was located right near our hotel. It was $35.50 per person and had a bar on board, 75 minutes long. The tour was great, despite the weather being cold, our tour guide was super informational and entertaining! We were able to get some really great pictures and learned a ton about the city and even other random tidbits.
After the boat tour we walked to Millennium Park to check out The Bean. It was very crowded (and did I mention cold) but we got our touristy pictures and moved on. The boat tour guide had filled us in on a little place called Cindy’s Roof Top Bar. He said it was a great spot to grab a drink and look out over the Bean, and he was right, the drinks were great and the outside balcony area overlooked Grant park for more exceptional views!
On our way back to the hotel, we decided we were hungry for some Chicago style Pizza. I read about some less touristy places for this but, this one was on our way, so we stopped at Giordano’s. (Fact: The Deep Dish Pizza takes about 45-60 minutes to cook once you order it.) Since we didn’t have the time to wait, we ended up getting a flat crust pizza instead, which compared to Buffalo style pizza was still quite different. I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get to try the famous Chicago style, but after seeing it on other tables I was ok. It doesn’t look like Pizza at all to me. We did hear that people would call ahead and order their pizza and then walk into the restaurant and sit down to eat. A little tip for next time!
Our night out started with a quick trip up to The Signature Room Lounge in the John Hancock Building. With amazing views of the city from the 96th floor, you don’t have to pay $19 just to go up and look like you do at the SkyDeck Chicago. For less than $19 each we got a bottle of wine and shared. (Also the women’s bathroom has one of the best views around!) Dinner that evening was pushed back from 7 to 8pm since we filled up on pizza late in the day. We went to the Pump Room at Public Chicago. Food was phenomenal and atmosphere was perfect. We sat at our table and chatted and drank wine for hours! A perfect Mom night out!
Day two started out with Breakfast at West Egg Cafe, just a short walk from our hotel, The Loews Downtown Chicago. Cute place, great breakfast and pretty fast! The rest of the day turned into a bit of a jumble as the weather was pretty shitty! It was pouring rain and about 40 degrees. We spent most of the day just shopping in and out of places to stay dry. A couple of us split up. Me and my Girlfriend Andrea spent the day on the Magnificent Mile, stopping into the Disney Store and Tiffany’s (dreaming). The other three found themselves in an area called Bucktown which had lots of unique boutique shops and restaurants. We met up at 4pm at Second City Comedy Club to catch an early Improv show! A must stop! Improv isn’t really my thing and I find it kinda odd, but once I got used to it, it was really funny. It was a pop culture show so it hit on a lot of things relevant to me and today!
After the show we had an early dinner reservation at Sunda Chicago. We weren’t able to get a reservation here on our own, but the concierge at our hotel was able to hook us up. It had a great menu of unique drinks and Asian food. Its meant to be ordered family style so the table can share, but we had a lot of tastes and opinions to cater to and so it worked out better that we all ordered our own dishes and shared a couple things. The food was great and my blackberry cocktail was dynamite.
On our way back to the hotel we stopped and got some Garrett Popcorn to bring home to our families. The Mix was the best, cheddar and caramel! Yummy! With early flights in the am we all checked out early and we were in bed by 10pm.
It was such a fun getaway for a couple days. I wish the weather was better, I’d like to go when its warmer so we can enjoy walking the downtown area a little more. We had to take a lot of Uber rides to avoid the cold and elements, but even that was super easy and surprisingly not very expensive if you have to. We would have loved to check out Navy Pier and the beach areas or rent the city bikes but we just weren’t up for that this time around. A reason to go back again I guess!
Both our families were in town for Easter this year, we’ve had a few years where Dan’s parents were out of town, so we didn’t have to split our time, but this year we did a double day again!
Ada has been counting down to Easter this year, she loves holiday’s and so we made an Easter chain about 2 weeks ago and she’s been literally counting down the days.
I also wish we actually had people to our house during Easter, my table was looking so festive and springy!
I loved the little Easter Baskets I put together for my nieces. My Florida Niece got a special package in the mail, and my sister’s girls both needed matching Easters Baskets (one is coming this June, so she’ll have one to match her sister next year!)
I colored Easter Eggs with Ada one night too, which she loved, it got a little messy but she loved mixing and matching the colors. I bought a marble kit this year, so the colors all blended together instead of turning into gross shades when you apply more then one color!
On Saturday, I had found all these fun breakfast ideas on Pinterest and since most ideas I find on there turn into major #PinterestFails I was delighted when this one actually turned out pretty cute! Ada was super excited about it!
Sunday morning she did her Egg hunt which she loved and keeps reenacting now over and over again, even as I try to keep hiding them away for the season. She also got a few new books, some bubbles, some painting things and her favorite, a new Moana Dress up costume. She’s obsessed with that movie right now!
We had brunch with Dan’s family where Ada received a gigantic Easter egg filled with some goodies for outside, bubbles, chalk, a jump rope, and some other little things!
And then headed over to my family for dinner. The weather started out not so nice that day, but it actually turned into a beautiful evening, so we sat on their back deck and let the kids (and dad) play in the yard for awhile to run off some of that sugar from the day!
Hope everyone else had a nice Easter too! We are ready for summer to start now!!
While in Florida this past February, we spent 2 days at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Ada is so obsessed with the Disney Princesses that I knew this would be a perfect trip for her right now. And since I’m still trying to get her familiar with the idea of travel, I want to make sure they are trips she is excited about. I know she probably won’t remember the details of the trip, most people recommend going when they are a little older, but I figured that since the family is in Tampa, its a perfect time to visit them and give her a little taste of Disney.
2 days is definitely not enough, but at the same time, it was plenty! There was obviously only so much we could do in 2 days, and being that she is still so young we wanted to make sure we hit up the things she was most excited about.
Our first (half) day there we didn’t have tickets to the parks, so we checked into the hotel and played at pool all afternoon.
I then, neglected to make any dinner reservations for the first night, so we were left scrambling to find something. We thought about heading to Downtown Disney, but it just didn’t seem worth the hassle to pack everyone up and take the bus out. Instead we hopped the monorail and headed to the Polynesian Resort, where I wish we would have stayed. I remember staying there as a kid and so I wanted to show Dan, but we foolishly thought we could just walk up to a restaurant. Of course everything was booked. We were informed that the Kona Cafe had a first come, first serve bar seating area, and we somehow managed to nab three seats there. After dinner we walked around, grabbed a famous Dole whip (the only place you can find them outside of Adventure Land in the Magic Kingdom), and we were able to catch the fireworks from the beach at the hotel. All things we just happened to stumble upon and probably couldn’t have planned any better.
I booked this trip 30 days out, and apparently that was not nearly soon enough. When booking the “Magic your Way” tickets and staying on a Disney property, reservations for restaurants and fast passes open up 60-180 days out, so everything I really wanted to do like Cinderella’s Table or Chef Mickeys, etc. was completely booked up, we had to be a little flexible. The only character dining I could get our first day was lunch at Hollywood & Vine inside Hollywood studios, which changed our plans quite a bit. Hollywood Studios wasn’t exactly on my itinerary this time around, but it ended up working out for the best. There was a lot more in that park for younger kids then Epcot, which was my original plan. The only reason I wanted to do Epcot was for the Frozen ride, but instead in Hollywood Studios we started our day with the Frozen sing-a-long, which was a perfect alternative. She got to see her princesses in real life, and it even “snowed” white foamy bubbles at the end, which was super exciting for her!
After the Frozen Sing-a-long, we did the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, this only had a short wait time and by the time it was over it was lunch time. That show was alright, she was excited to see Ariel live, but honestly in my opinion its time for Disney to update the theatrics, it seemed a little outdated, but to a 3 year old it was just fine!
Hollywood & Vine has the Disney Junior characters. So we saw Sophia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake the Pirate and Handy Manny. They all make their way to your table at some point during your meal and it had a pretty decent buffet for lunch. She was just so excited the whole time!
After lunch we debated trying to catch the Disney Junior Live! show, but decided that it was getting hot and we just saw half those characters so we headed back to the hotel for a nap. We did get to see Donald on our way out!
That evening, we had Fast Passes to Enchanted Tales with Belle. So after we were all refreshed we made our way into the Magic Kingdom for our first glimpse at the Castle!
5:00 was a perfect time to head into the park because I think everyone was at dinner so we didn’t have to fight crowds to get to Belle on time. We did it right away at the early side of our Fast Pass time slot, and this was probably the cutest thing we did our whole trip and made such an impression on Ada. Belle is her most favorite princess right now, so I think she was literally star struck. The whole attraction though was just perfect for her, it was with a small intimate group, so you could really take it all in, and I felt like she actually got some cute, quality time with Belle up close.
After, we had some time and there was only a 20 minute wait at Ariels Grotto, so we waited a little bit for her to meet her second most favorite princess right now, Ariel.
We did a quick-service dinner and then it was time to get ready for the fireworks. Grandpa had sent her a gift card in the mail before our trip so we let her pick out a light up toy to play with while waiting for the fireworks, and then we caught the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. So glad we got to see this since its coming to an end in May! She loved the fireworks despite thinking they were too loud!
We went back to the hotel that night and somehow the girl was wired still, so we let her go run around in the splash pad until about 9:30, at which point we threw her in a warm tub to clean up and she passed out in about 30 seconds.
The next morning we got up early and made it to the Magic Kingdom again right at 9am when the gates opened, it was great timing as the lines were not yet too long and once inside, the park felt pretty empty. We even got to see Minnie as she was walking out! Perfect timing! (Main Street doesn’t look empty below, but the rest of the park really was!)
Our first stop was Fast Passes to meet Repunzel and Tiana. I’d read a lot about saving your fast passes until the afternoon, but there somehow was already a 50 minute wait and so I’m glad I didn’t take that advice and just got the Fast Pass for 9am. We were in and out in about 15 minutes and she was in her glory meeting both!
I had called Disney on the phone before our trip to help me find restaurant reservations after I was becoming frustrated at the the fact that everything was booked. Someone actually managed to get us into Chef Mickeys at 10:30am, it wasn’t in my mind the most convenient time but I really wanted Ada to dine with Mickey and Minnie, so we took it. (I think someone worked some magic because we were guests of the Contemporary Hotel, which is where this restaurant is located. I can’t confirm this, but I don’t know how else we would have been booked there, when everything said no availability). This is why we got to the park so early though and what prompted me to book a fast pass, I wanted to get something in before 10:30 breakfast. It involved some back and forth, park hopping, which with the convenience of the monorail made this not the worst scenario. When we left the park the gates were mobbed!! Never try to enter the park around 10:00-10:30 it was crazy! When we came back into the park again after breakfast/lunch around 12:30 the gates were dead again!
Chef Mickeys at this time was also actually a blessing in disguise. Because it was the tail end of breakfast, as people cleared out, no new guests were coming in because they were getting ready to turn over for lunch. So because there were fewer and fewer people, the characters we’re actually starting to come around again.
We spent the rest of that afternoon in the Magic Kingdom again, and it had gotten crazy busy and super hot! We had fast passes for the Monster’s Inc Laugh Factory, which was super cute and felt amazing inside because it was all air conditioned. We grabbed some ice cream en route to the Haunted Mansion and when we got there, the Fast Pass line was longer then the regular line and we almost skipped it. Luckily, we found a shady spot for about 15 minutes and when I went back the line was down again and so we did that. Ada loves scary things so she was super pumped for the Haunted Mansion. I think she got a little nervous once we were inside but quickly got excited again and she loved it!
When we came out the afternoon Parade was just starting so Ada took the best seat in the house and we watched that before heading out!
She fell asleep in the stroller rental we had shortly after that, so once we got to the gates to leave I had to carry her all the way back to the hotel, that was suuuper fun! We had already checked out of our hotel, so we just grabbed a shady lounge chair by the pool and let her nap. I ran up to the hotel shops to get some souvenirs and then we let her run around the splash pad again for about a half hour before jumping in the car to drive “home” (Back to Tampa). We got in around 7pm and she talked Grandma’s ear off about everything we did!!
All in all it was a great way to add to our Florida trip! Next time we plan to stay at the Polynesian Resort and actually just take some time to enjoy the hotel and some of the things around that don’t even require park tickets. There is just so much to Disney World without having to pay hundreds of dollars to go to a park and since we have the family in Tampa and go down so much, its not one of those “once in a lifetime trips”, we can actually just do small bursts of Disney a little at a time, which I think is totally the way to do it!
I’m going to do our Florida trip in two parts. We headed south at the end of February, and visited family in Tampa and then did two days in Disney World, but since Disney warrants its own post I’ll do that part separate.
Tampa is amazing for kids and families. I never really did a good post on our trip last year down to visit, when we did the Tampa Zoo and the Florida Aquarium, but since we go to Tampa at least once or twice a year I’ll do that at some point! This time, we were there for a day and a half before Disney and then another day after. Dan’s brother lives there, so we visit a lot and plan to do so even more.
Our first day there this time around, we hit up Datz for breakfast which was amazing! The Monkey bread was to die for, I had chicken and waffles which was so filling for breakfast but super delicious. It was a fantastic place for kids, it was loud and energetic and they gave some fun little wax sticks for the kids which kept them occupied forever.
Afterwards we spent the afternoon at Treasure Island Beach in St. Petes. Ada really loved the beach, my favorite comment from her was “Mommy, I don’t understand how the beach is soo fun?” She just melts my heart with how much she loves and appreciates everything we do with her at this age. I have to remind myself that we don’t have to do over the top things, she is so impressed with the simple things. The weather was perfect and we had sunshine and family time, so it was the best first day!
We did two days in Disney afterwards, which I’ll recap later and then had another beach day in Clearwater after we got back. It was fun to break up the trip into two parts and that way we didn’t get burnt out of anything too fast, and I honestly feel like two days in Disney was enough! There’s obviosuly a lot we didn’t do, but to break it up with some beach time made it for a relaxing and fun trip for everyone.
After we got back into Tampa, we spent our last day in Clearwater at a little beach/bar restaurant area called Whiskey Joes. We could see it from the road as we were driving into Clearwater, and both Dan and I looked at each other and said “I hope we’re going there!” (we were just following the fam). It was like a little private island getaway and on a Wednesday afternoon it was dead, so we basically had the beach and the bar to ourself. We enjoyed some fish tacos, beers, mango mojitos and sunshine! A perfect last day!
We finished out the day with a stop at the park so the girls could run around in the sprinklers and enjoyed some beautiful views of Tampa Bay, then dinner in the cute little historic area of Ybor. Where we took a stroll through downtown and hit up the Tampa Bay Brewing Company for dinner. Complete with a super amazing Sunset sky!
What are your favorite things to do in Tampa? We travel there a lot to visit and are always looking for more fun things to do to make our trips different! Suggestions welcome!
This post has been a long time coming… I’ve been wanting to do this forever and just never got around to it. I love good before and after pics and if there is one thing we love its to buy fixer uppers and renovate. Its tough living through renovations but it’s so worth it in the end. Plus we end up with things exactly how we like it! We’ve done a lot of work to our current house and our downstairs bathroom is the latest project we did. Dan’s Uncle has helped us do two kitchens now and I loved them both!
In this house he torn down a wall in between the kitchen and living room to open it all up. Here is a view from the same side of the kitchen, where we can now see all the way through to the living room.
And here is the view from the other side. The kitchen was virtually unusable when we moved in, the openings for both the stove and the fridge were too small for modern day appliances, and it obviously just needed a cosmetic overhaul!
We also did a few things to the living room to make it flow a bit nicer with the new modern kitchen. We added some crown molding around the top and spruced up the fireplace a bit. Its hard to compare this one, when there was no furniture in the house before. These are some of the realtor photos!
The upstairs bathroom, was a quick fix, cosmetic project that he did while we waited 2 weeks for our Corian countertops to come in. We just updated the vanity and toilet, he put down some new flooring an added some electrical outlets so we could actually use things like hair dryers and straighteners. The before picture is a horrible shot, but you can clearly see how outdated it was!
That was all work that we did when we first moved in. Since then we’ve also added a beautiful back deck to our house, and updated the downstairs bathroom. I’ll do a part two to this post soon. The deck is done but we plan to stain it this summer after its had a winter to weather. So I’d rather show that when its 100%, plus we’ll have the garden planted in the spring too! We plan to update the front of the house landscaping as well as soon as the snow melts!
It’s that time of year again, I don’t know where this year has gone once again. We had such a busy fall that I of course haven’t posted much! But we just had a beautiful family photo shoot at our home and I wanted to be sure I posted those before I forgot.
I originally planned on having an outdoor Christmas session at a Christmas tree farm, but then once our calendar started filling up, I decided it was better to just do something inside our home rather then spend half a day driving out into the middle of no where. I also thought it would be nice to have pictures from our house because we know it won’t be our forever home and I want to always remember every inch of where we call home and raised our daughter.
So here they are, a few of my favorite Christmas pictures for 2016 and lifestyle photo shoot of us just living our life!
Our good friends got married at the end of September and it was literally a wedding straight out of Brides Magazine! They had the best DIY wedding I’ve ever seen and I was honored to stand by their side as they said “I do”! There aren’t really many words for this wedding, it was such a perfect day. The entire wedding party was our group of high school friends, making it the absolute best wedding party in the history of wedding parties! We all stayed in three townhouses side by side so the whole weekend we were able to spend together! I love these two so much and it warms my heart to know they have everything they ever wanted in each other and I can’t wait to watch their family and their love grow in the future! Much love to Cody and Danielle on a beautiful wedding!!