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A Wedding Portrait for my Sister

29 Jan

If you remember all the way back to last month, I shared all about my sister’s fabulous wedding cruise. Once we returned, I planned to make her a special wedding portrait (like the one I made my brother) and I kept putting it off for a bit. I finally sat down and sketched out the plan based on her beautiful wedding photos.

I love that you can personalize every bit of the portrait so for Katie and Craig, I made sure to mirror their hairstyles, height difference, styles and colors of their wedding outfits, and Katie’s bridal bouquet. I was terrified that I was going to run the whole thing by trying to freehand a bouquet, but their wedding was held at a botanical garden… so I really wanted to include the flowers if I could.

I’m so happy with the finished project!

And here it is compared to my brother’s wedding portrait. It’s it amazing how distinctive you can make the little guys?!

I’m already looking forward to doing another one for my sister Kelsey after her May wedding!

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Poll Results: How Often Does Your Elementary School Aged Kid Shower?

26 Dec

Last week I was feeling super lazy and was trying to get out of throwing Jack into the shower, so I thought I’d procrastinate by running a random Facebook poll…

Jack is typically on an every-other-day shower schedule most of the year. We bump it up to an every-single-day schedule in the summer when he goes to camp, because he comes home each afternoon smelling like stinky feet.

According to everyone who voted in, the majority of kids are on the same schedule:

There were also some comments on the post saying that their kids are on the ‘less than every other day schedule’ which I’m totally cool with too. There have certainly been days where I’ve given him a sniff and decided he was fine for another day!

I guess it would be different if Jack was 100% on his own for washing activities… but I still need lean in to give his hair a good scrub.Which means I end up wet, the floor ends up wet, and Ollie also sometimes ends up a little wet.

Which brings me to ask, when are kids old enough to do it all on their own and get ALL their bits and pieces cleaned to a satisfactory level. Or, do you just not worry about how satisfactory the level is as long as you don’t have to stick your hand all up in their undercarriage?

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Movie Review: Mary Poppins Returns

18 Dec


Last night I had the opportunity to go to a screening of Mary Poppins Returns. My friend, Lindsey and I made a girl’s night out of it with dinner and a movie on a Monday night… so fantastic!

A photo from outside the theater, since they confiscated our phones before we went in.

By the way, the crispy brussels sprouts appetizer at the Cheesecake Factory is SO GOOD! There’s bacon involved. Anyways, after stuffing ourselves full of yummy food and even yummier conversation, we walked over to the movie theater.

We were both super excited to see the movie and holy moley, it did not disappoint!

You can see the movie trailer here:

The new movie re-visits Jane and Michael Banks, now adults with problems of their own. There are three adorable children, John, Anabel and Georgie who are dealing with the loss of their mother. The practically perfect in every way nanny, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), and her friend Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) help the family rediscover joy, wonder… and of course, magic!

To be completely honest, I basically watched the entire movie with a huge smile on my face. The sequel was like returning to visit old friends with new, exciting adventures. The movie somehow keeps the feel of the first movie, even though it was made more than 50 years later. It was absolutely MAGICAL and Emily and Lin-Manuel were perfection.

My only nit-picks were that it could have done with maybe one or two less songs for Mary Poppins. I love her – and her voice – but I would have liked a teensy bit of character development spoken, rather than sung. Also, the mustache on the now-grown Michael Banks’ face drove me CRAZY.

My favorite parts were a song very reminiscent of Step in Time, and a couple surprise old faces that made me tear up a bit.

Mary Poppins Returns comes out in theaters on December 19,2018. If you are looking for a wonderful, family-friendly movie with quite a sprinkle of nostalgia, I highly recommend it!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the screening at no cost to me.  

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Celebrating My Sister’s Wedding with a Family Cruise

12 Dec


We had the BEST time last week on our amazing cruise! I’ve actually been putting off writing this post because I’ve just been savoring it and don’t want to admit that it’s over.

As I’ve mentioned before, this is a year of weddings. My brother (Jason) got married in September, my sister (Kelsey) is getting married in May and my other sister (Katie) got married last week… in St. Thomas.

For Katie’s wedding, she decided to have an amazing cruise vacation on the Oasis of the Seas with 60 of her closest friends and family. The ship cruised out of Florida and then had three stops – Nassau, Bahamas, St.Thomas, and St. Martin – as well as a few days at sea. While on the ship we had her bachelorette party, an amazing rehearsal dinner, a cocktail hour, group dinners in the dining room, etc. The actual wedding was held on St. Thomas at Villa Botanica, their botanical gardens.

I could go through the entire week day-by-day, but I thought it would be more fun to just hit some of the highlights!

What I read:

I was super excited to turn off my phone (and all social media) for the duration of the trip. I had asked you all for some book recommendations before I left and you certainly delivered! Many of the suggestions are on my ‘to be requested at my local library list’, but I did download a bunch of books to my Kindle (mostly free) and got some reading done.

  • The Magnolia Story, by Chip and Joanna Gaines
  • Match Making for Beginners, by Maddie Dawson
  • The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang

I loved all three of the books and highly recommend all of them. The first two books were free on Kindle Unlimited and The Kiss Quotient cost $10 to download (but you could probably reserve it at your library if you are patient).

What we did on the ship:

The Oasis of the Seas was an amazingly huge ship… much bigger than any ship I’ve cruised on before. In fact, the balcony in our room overlooked Central Park… an actual PARK with living greenery in the center of the ship. There were tons of places to eat, as well as lots of different activities like the kid’s camp, zip lining, and rock climbing. There was even an ice skating rink and an aqua stage.

 Jack loved the kid’s camp, especially when they offered science lab and art studio activities. We also all tried rock climbing, and Travis and I both did the zip line across the ship. Travis and I also took a sushi making class where we learned how to make our own sushi!

We also saw a bunch of shows… our favorites being a diving show at the aqua theater, Fly With Me (a show with aerial acrobatics), and Frozen in Time (an ice skating show).

We also ate ALL the food. The rehearsal dinner was at 150 Central Park and it knocked our socks off!

{In this photo from left to right is: Jack, me, Katie (the bride), Kelsey (her twin), and Jaclyn (my new sister, by way of my brother’s marriage). Me, Kelsey and Jaclyn are all about the same height within an inch or so… Jaclyn is just wearing super tall heels. And yes, we all kind of look alike!}

What we did off the ship:

Nassau: For our Nassau, Bahamas stop we decided to book an excursion which took us by ferry to the Blue Lagoon Island and included a Stingray Encounter. Upon arrival, we spent the first portion of the day sipping fruity drinks and floating around the ocean.

At the end of the day, we walked over to the animal area to learn about and touch the stingrays. Jack wanted NOTHING to do with them, but both Travis and I were able to pet the stingray, kiss it, and even put our fingers in its mouth to feel its teeth.

Yeah, that’s right. I put my finger IN a stingray.

And I totally love that photo of my husband cracking up!

 St. Martin: I’ve been to St. Martin a few times before and it is one of my favorite islands. I spent a week there about 15 years ago with my friend Annie and have re-visited the island a couple more times on cruises. Once we got off the Oasis, we walked a bit, grabbed a taxi, and then rode the scenic route over to Mullet Bay.

The water was perfect. The beach was perfect. I basically never wanted to leave.

The wedding:

St. Thomas: Due to an emergency on board the ship, we ended up getting to St. Thomas later than planned. However, even with a little delay the wedding was fantastic. Our uncle officiated the wedding, I was honored to serve as Matron of Honor, Kelsey was Maid of Honor, my new sister was a Bridesmaid, and my brother was a Groomsman. It was quite the family affair.

And yes, there were tears.

After the ceremony my sister and her new husband, Craig, did the sweetest choreographed dance for their First Dance. And then the rum punches happened… so many rum punches. And SO MUCH dancing. It was an amazing night!

I probably have a million stories I could tell from the cruise. I know I certainly have a ton more photos… but didn’t want to spam you with them all. I can’t wait to see all the professional photos from the wedding and may share some more at some point, maybe with my rehearsal dinner speech…

All in all, it was a wonderful way to celebrate my sister and her new husband. He’s been with us for 11 years, but now he has been formally welcomed into the family! It was such a great way to spend the week and it made it even more special that I had my parents, siblings, their spouses/fiancé, and a ton of their friends on the vacation with us.

Oh, and we also got a pretty fantastic Christmas card picture by the full sized Christmas tree in the Promenade. ON THE SHIP.

So I guess I should probably start thinking about Christmas now. And ordering those Christmas cards. Oh yeah, and Christmas gift shopping. Um… and cookie making.

Sigh… I think I want to go back on vacation…

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