HAWAII Awaits..

ALOHA!

I’m beyond excited!!

In less than thirty days we will be in MAUI celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. 😮 WOW. One decade in the books.

Two kids who met by chance, engaged seven months later, another seven months and we were married.  We’ve accomplished so much together from earning undergraduate and graduate degrees, to purchasing our first home before 30 to now raising three kids under three. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has absolutely been worth it! We’ve been blessed!!

MAUI awaits ….

I can’t wait to frolic on beautiful beaches, witness majestic sunrises and sunsets, but most importantly, spend TIME AWAY FROM THE KIDS. 😮 (our first trip since our oldest was born in 2012) Is it time to board yet? Just kidding….am I? 😉

Seven days in paradise.

So much to see, so much to do.

Here’s what’s currently on our list:

1. Drive to Hana

Upper Waikani Falls (Three Bears)
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2. Sunset sail
3. Pa’ako Beach
4. Mama’s Fish House
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5. Nakalele Blowhole
6. Waianapanapa National Park

Black Sand Beach
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7. Molokini Crater
8. Haleaka National Park
9. Kaihalulu (Red Sand Beach)

10. Hamoa Beach
11. Makena Big Beach
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12. Honolulu Bay

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I can’t wait to experience this wonderful island and create beautiful memories with my hubby.

If you’ve been to Maui or know anyone with good recommendations, please share this post. Thank you!

PS:- Photos from Instagram accounts MAUIHI and MAUIVISIT

~TOODLES~
Stacey

Labor Day

The last hooray of summer. The last trip to the beach. The last cookout.  The last weekend to rock your white wardrobes.  The last weekend before everyone is off to school and back to their routines.  Why must summer end? 😥 Well it doesnt have to…at least for a few more weeks. The perks of a Stay At Home Mommy. 🙂

While we didn’t make it to the beach like I planned, we had a lovely weekend in Virginia with my in-laws.

Saturday morning Hubby and I had a kid-free run in Maymont Park . We jogged 2.5 miles.  We had to enjoy the views in the Japanese Garden.

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After breakfast we took the kids to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens (I LOVE this place, if you haven’t figured that out by now)

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The sand pit was a new discovery after all my trips here. Can you believe that? I told you before this place thought of everything!

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The kids had water and sand so it was like going to the beach…right? More or less

Sunday evening we had a little family gathering. It was great watching the twins play with their cousins.

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And if that wasn’t enough, we surprised our oldest with a trip to Kings Dominion with her buddy Brenden.

This photo captured my heart.

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Here my son checks Brenden about playing with his big sister 😀

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I live for days like these with my little family; and, being able to spend it with another wonderful couple was the icing on the cake.

I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

If you’re not off to school or work, then officially there’s still two more weeks of summer!

What adventures will you seek before summer ends?

~TOODLES~
Stacey

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Three weeks ago (8.19) the twins had their 12 month checkup and we needed to work on a few things:-
1. Read more
2. Transition to whole milk
3. Get rid of bottles
4. Ditch the binkie

Reading Is Fundamental
I knew I should’ve been doing this A LOT more but it’s easy to use my three year old as an excuse; BUT No more excuses.

I’ve been reading to them at least once every day when we’re at home, typically early morning (before 7 a.m), mainly because I’m not ready to go downstairs to start our day. Somehow, staying in their room feels like the day hasn’t started. They don’t listen to the stories half the time, but I’ve also been making a conscientious effort to do more educational things with them, but big sister is my priority.

Transition to Milk in Sippy Cups

Switching to milk wasn’t the difficult part. They would drink the whole milk if it was in their bottles, but REFUSED if it was in a sippy cup. They would literally GO hungry rather than drink out of a cup. I remember one day baby girl was so upset; almost an hour after falling asleep she was having palpitations.

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We tried several different sippy cups. They really liked this orange one by Nuby and of course we couldn’t find a second one. So they fought A LOT. I don’t think the type of cups was the issue; they were just testing me to see if I was serious.

They will be defiant. They will cry A LOT. The key is staying consistent. It hurts you more than it hurts them; It truly does. The first week was the hardest week. They fussed excessively. Morning. Noon. Night. Sometimes I gave them their bottles just to stop the crying, but look at them now…

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She can be so silly sometimes
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He even knows how to rotate the cup when the milk is almost finish. That’s big boy status. Lol
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NO Binkie Allowed

The big Kahuna. This is the one I’ve dreaded the most! Nelle ONLY used a binkie when her brother was using it. She would literally snatch it out his mouth. So half the battle was done. He’s been attached to his orange binkie since birth.  They are like two peas in a pod.  There are plenty of pics.

Once I was successful with #2 and #3 I started to SLOWLY ditch the bink.  I took it away during the day and he didn’t fuss at all but I would give it to him at bedtime. We did this for about two weeks.

I figured with summer’s unofficially end, so too shall his bink.  After Labor Day weekend, we returned home and he hasn’t seen the binkie since. He cried the first three or four nights but now just like his bottle, the binkie is a distant memory. 💃💃

I’m so glad this phase is over!!

If you’re going through these phases, it will get better, I promise 🙂

TIP:- Use sippy cups without a straw because you will have to teach them about when to and not to tilt the cups
~TOODLES~
Stacey

Hamptonians

Summer is unofficially-officially over! 🙊:'(

Am I the only one who is in denial this is happening? I REFUSE to accept that fall is almost here despite the leaves turning and fall fashion EVERYWHERE. Summer doesn’t officially-officially end until the 23rd so if you’re with me, let’s keep making summer memories. 🙂

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You’ve probably heard of the coveted Hamptons in upstate New York where celebrities flock to their lavish mansions from Memorial Day through Labor Day. They host grand parties, sun bathe on their yachts, and dine at the finest restaurants when not being served by a chef in the comfort of their swanky homes, of course. I wouldn’t mind experiencing a week of the lifestyle of the rich and famous, but don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Growing up in New Jersey, just three hours away (with the traffic-god on your side), I used to think the Hamptons was reserved for A-listers. Like, somehow a yacht or a private plane was required for entry and or acceptance. I DREAMED of visiting until last year when we celebrated one of my dear friend’s 30th birthday in Amagansett. I was almost 6 months pregnant with the twins.

Contrary to what you believe, the Hamptons is not only for the exclusive; you, too, can enjoy this summer getaway. Time isn’t on your side this summer, but you can make plans for next year. ☺

The Hamptons provides a great escape from the overly congested city of New York. It is just hours away and offers access to numerous public beaches, quaint little villages with quintessential Hamptons-style. If you’re like me, window shopping is about all you will do, but that’s still great fun.

We had a lovely day at the beach.
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I’m not sure about playing in this stuff
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It doesn’t taste too good either
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The first lighthouse in New York State.
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We watched the sunset at the beach then settled in for the night. It was a LONG night. The kids were restless. They are horrible sleepers when not in the comfort of their own beds. In fact, this trip is making me reconsider overnight trips. They were awake before the sun even had a chance to kiss the sky.

We grabbed breakfast from
Pierre’s in Bridgehampton. An ABSOLUTE MUST despite the exorbitant prices. Personally, I recommend dining in for breakfast and ordering the French Toast. It may not sound like much from the menu’s description, but it’s THE BEST French Toast I’ve ever had. Its so fresh and just melts in your mouth leaving you wanting more with each bite. Before you know it, you’ve devoured the entire thing! You might even be tempted to order a second.

We drove to Sag Harbor and had breakfast at the pier, watching tiny boats to mega yachts depart for their adventure. It was a lovely morning. It’s always a great Saturday when you wake with nothing on the agenda and a view like this.

With stomachs full it was time for a different view. We were off to the beach in Montauk but opted for Amagansett Square to unwind before our drive home.

Always putting on a show 🙂
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We feasted on cold refreshments and snacks from Mary’s Marvelous . I recommend their mango smoothie and the CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFIN is to die for!! If you are a chocolate lover, it is worth every single calorie.

The strawberry smoothie was rather delicious too. My boy didn’t want to share with his sister.
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In total agreement with my two year old, “I wish we had a beach house so we wouldn’t have to go home” 😐

~TOODLES~
Stacey

I’m ALL ALONE, Art Discovery

My fellow mamas, what would you do with a kid-free, hubby-free weekend?

It was my FIRST weekend away from my big little family. The first time since 2011. No projects to finish. No one’s needs to occupy my mind. No butt-butt to change. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Absolutely NOTHING on the agenda.

Deep sigh. I wasted much of the weekend at home laissez-faire but I wanted some action. I need something to remind me of this precious gift of being ALONE. My adventure awaited…

My chosen destination: Meridian Hill Park. Where you ask? In Washington DC, of course. How original you say? Don’t judge me. It’s MY weekend. MY prerogative.

As I parked my car I could slightly hear the beating of the drums. It was a beckoning sound.The anticipation intensified.

I climbed to the top of the never-ending stairs, all fifty of them. Yes I counted them. I could hardly hide my disappointment with the turnout.

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Little did I know I was in for a treat and, oh boy, what a treat it was!

It was around 3 in the afternoon. An absolutely beautiful summer day. Nestled above the city, now I could appreciate those fifty steps. A light breeze swayed the trees rhythmically. Shades of blue hugged the skies, not a cloud in sight.

With each passing hour the drum circle grew larger and larger. It was about Five o’ clock now. Things were in full swing. The dancers rhythmically swaying their hips with the beat of the drums. Spectators surrounded the performers, now standing room only…more families relaxing on the lawn on this gorgeous evening.

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Meridian Hill Park is the kind of place where you bring a blanket, a picnic basket, some good company and exchange laughter on a Sunday afternoon!

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Comradeship.  The unison with which they played. Their raw talents. Novices to expert, huddled in a circle. Young and old. Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians. Indifference set aside…the beating of the drums uniting them. It wasn’t the sound of one trying to be superior; they all played to one beat.

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This, my friend, is art! The beating of the drums felt in the depths of your being. Transcending you in time. You couldn’t help but sway your hips, stomp your feet, and bop your head. This truly should be experienced at least once, especially if you are a lover of the arts; but, even if you aren’t this might just very well be the introduction you need.

I can still hear one of the eldest performers, Mr Willie, yelling “Give it all you got. Is that all you got?” In such a playful way encouraging each artist to dig even deeper, if that’s even possible.

They say music heals the soul and for these few hours my soul wanted nothing more than to be engrossed in this moment in time; BUT, my stomach beckoned.

It wouldn’t be me without food, right? I treated myself to dinner at Sequoia while I soaked up the last few hours of being ALL ALONE. 🍷

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I should and will do this more often.

~TOODLES~
Stacey

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden – cont’d

This is the second installation of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden series. Why would I want to see more, you ask? That’s simple, it’s gorgeous here!

Are you a local and need a getaway? Are you visiting Richmond, VA to get a break from life’s hustle and bustle?

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden provides a wonderful escape. You are removed from all your worries, even if just for a little while. The lush vegetation and the serenity the gardens provide is in a class of its own. My little family and I look forward to more adventures here.

From the moment you open the doors you are instantly drawn into the courtyard. There’s so much beauty to behold! The gardens are perfectly manicured, reminding me of my travels of Europe’s countryside.

Enjoy!

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Grandma, do you having any wishing money?
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Worries disappear….
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Don’t be fooled by all this sweetness…
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Off on the 100 meter dash with sissy’s purse 😂
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All I needed was a book…Who am I kidding…A glass of wine sounds more like it. 🙂
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My little CuddleBug..fly, fly butterfly….
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Running up and down the hill was one of those moments that I know she will treasure.
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Sorry, but all good things must come to an end….well, for now anyway….more to come.

Have a lovely day!

~TOODLES~
Stacey

NO More Crib:- Living The Big Girl Life

A few weeks ago the hubby and I had a squabble.😨 Yes, it happens. Anyways, he came home the next day and decided to cross something off the honey-do list (months overdue) to get back in my good graces.

I was in the twins’ room doing a photoshoot when he called me and to my surprise he converted her crib to a day bed.  I should have been excited, but I wasn’t.  I can have a flare for the dramatic. Who me? Say it ain’t so. In my mind, I saw us moving her to our bed after she fell asleep then breaking down her crib and having balloons everywhere.

She heard me talking to her dad and quickly came to check it out. She was so excited. She couldn’t contain it. SHE JUMPED FOR JOY. She was happy. In that moment I realized it wasn’t about me. She was happy and that’s all that mattered.

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During the first two weeks she would pop up in our bedroom or downstairs while we watched tv. We threatened to make her bed back into a crib.  She wasn’t a fan of that.  Since then she’s been sleeping through most nights and she comes to get us if she needs to use the potty or she just yells it over the monitor. Something to the effect of “I have to poop mom.” Lol

Having her roll big girl style has provided much help for me in the mornings.  She wakes up, uses the potty, brushes her teeth, then comes to find us. I love it when she says, “I woke up, mom, what are we doing today?” She craves adventures just as much as mommy and I absolutely love it!

I can’t wait until she can make the bed and fold her blanket. Baby steps I know. Baby steps.

A mom can dream….

~TOODLES~
Stacey

What A Wonderful Day, Mom!

A Sunday afternoon in Georgetown, Washington, DC; what could be better? Nothing, besides hearing my daughter’s sweet little voice repeatedly saying, “WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY, MOM” as we played in the gardens.

It was, in fact, quite a wonderful day because we left the twins at home with their dad.  It felt wonderful being out with just her.  We had a quick picnic, courtesy of Wendy’s; played soccer, chased butterflies and even birds.  We were careful to sneak up on the birds and we didn’t tell the rabbits. Shh

The grounds were much smaller than I expected, but nonetheless, worth the trip.  It was very quiet, at times feeling like you were experiencing the wonders of your very own garden, except a more manicured one.  I would say plan no more than two hours for your visit.  Just enough time to relax and recharge before your next adventure.

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It was only the hottest day of the year with temperatures feeling like almost 110 degrees.  In the cool of the shade it was quite a lovely day, but every step in the sun felt like five steps in the desert. It was time to cool off.

Georgetown Waterfront Park seemed like a great local as any, and less than fifteen minutes away.  I’ve driven many times to and from Georgetown University Hospital when I was pregnant with our first child, but had no idea what I was passing along the way.

As I drove, anticipation was building. Great shops and beautiful restaurants adorned the streets. There’s something here for everyone.  There are lots of garages to park in or you can scurry for free parking at the end of K street.  There’s a three-hour limit Monday through Saturday, but free on Sundays.

This park is a great place for a run; your little ones will enjoy splashing around (be sure to bring bathing suits) and the views aren’t so shabby either.  It’s a great place to paddle board, kayak or just people watch.  I recommend a trip in the late afternoon; bring some snacks and a blanket for some good family time, then send the kids home and enjoy a date night with your honey or even just ice cream and a stroll.  I haven’t been here to watch the sunset but can only imagine how beautiful it would be.

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And, in honor of National Ice Cream Day, how could we resist 😉

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More Sundays should be made of these.

Today was a wonderful day!

~TOODLES~
Stacey

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

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You could and probably will get lost in time here, like we did.  Two hours should be sufficient to tour the grounds said the young ladies as they checked us in. Five hours later and we didn’t even see the entire garden 🙊🙈 We were one of the first visitors and probably one of the last ones there, but we had the best time!

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, located in Henrico County, Richmond VA, was recently voted the 2ND BEST PUBLIC GARDEN in NORTH AMERICA by USA Today readers.  It is definitely worth the cost of admission!

The butterfly exhibit is the perfect place to showcase your inner Sherlock Homes. Daily at 10 a.m new butterflies are released. Come and watch caterpillars metamorphose into gorgeous butterflies or simply enjoy them flying around in their natural habitat. I dare you to not get wrapped up in this excursion. I dare you!

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The smile only a butterfly landing on your head can bring
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There’s so much to see here and I now realize I have way too many photos (what else is new) to share despite not experiencing the entire garden, so stay tuned for the next chapter in this series.

Listen, if there was a photo rehab, I would be a permanent vacationer. Lol, I’ll be the first to admit, I have a photo problem but don’t you enjoy living vicariously through my camera and or phone lens?

I digress..

Part two of the series will be up later this week. See you soon!

~TOODLES~
Stacey

Don’t forget to like, comment and or share. Let me know you’re out there!

HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY!!

DOUBLE THE LAUGHTER,
DOUBLE THE FUN,
JAEDENELLE’S TURNING ONE!!

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The year has certainly flown by; and, it won’t choose now for a breather, so let’s celebrate with Tutu’s and Bowties! Who doesn’t?

The theme proved much harder, especially the color SEAFOAM (have you ever heard of it?) and, if that wasn’t enough, whose brilliant idea was it to travel the weeks leading up to a party, not for one, but TWO BABIES? I would be that genius or crazy mama depending on how you think. 😀 We went from MD to NJ to NY to NJ to FL to NJ then back to MD in two weeks. Yes you read that right, in TWO WEEKS! Whew, did I mention that hubby wasn’t even with us? 😯 Like I said, genius or crazy mama?

It was a stressful time for the babes and me, but I was determined to make their day one to remember.   Just about everything was a DIY-er, another not so smart idea. I actually crossed a few things off the list because there just wasn’t enough time. Isn’t it funny how time seems constant when our to-do list is empty, yet passes at the speed of light when we have things to do. I swear everytime I looked at the clock it was 6 p.m. 👀

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My favorite DIY-er were the rosettes. I think it provided a great backdrop for the table as well as for photo-props. It’s a simple project, but requires quite a bit of time. I definitely will be making them again for my daughter’s 3rd birthday Princess Party!

Despite all my planning everything came down to the wire and the party started hours later, but if you’ve been to any of my parties you know the start time is just a suggestion (he-he) but from the smiles I would say it was worth the wait; even the HUGE POT OF EXTRA SPICY cabbage that barely had leftovers.

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I hope you enjoyed checking out these pics! We had a blast!!! If you weren’t here, you truly missed a great one!

See you at the next celebration…

~TOODLES~<
Stacey

Cake:- SweetsbyBee (Her cakes are just as amazing as her, well maybe not as amazing)

Flowers:- My hubby (I think he missed me during my travels) 😚

Candy:- Sixlets, A.C Moore

Tuxedo boxes:- Dollar Store

Cake stands:- Home Goods

My tutu:- DIY