como zoo

This is the story of seeing Melissa + Co. after having not seen her for seven years. Susie, her oldest, just turned ten. I remember being at home school band when Melissa showed up all fancy and engaged to "Daniel" (the rest of us called him Dan) and showed us her blingy new ring. Fast forward to 2018. She and Dan have been married "for forever" and are parents to six totally awesome kids. Melissa hadn't met Charlie yet, so while she was soaking him in, I was staring in shock at her own kids. Where had they come from?? Last time I saw Melissa she had one, maybe two kids. Now there were six. They looked nothing alike, which I mentioned to Melissa. Melissa said sometimes people ask if they're tired of having more kids but she replies that since they're all so different, there are no repeats and they're still interesting. :) 

ashley & ashley

I thought this week would never come! I was just pushing through my work, trying to write reports and cross milestones in order to meet The Big Deadline right before I left for Minnesota. At 10pm Thursday, I logged onto my computer to check in for my morning flight and I was still getting work emails! The point I'm trying to make is, I didn't get a chance to look forward to this vacation until I was on the plane flying to MSP. And then it hit. I was off work for five days and my BFF of 20 years (whaa-) was picking me up from the airport! Cue all the dance music! 

breton bay

Can you believe it? Sixty degrees and sunny! Sarah and I were itching to get out of the house so we took the two dogs down to Breton Bay for some sunshine and exercise. Dogs are so fun! I can't believe Sadie is 16 and Sasha is 10. Where has the time gone?

cultivate conference


Source: Cultivate

The weekend arrived so much faster than I thought it would, and before I knew it, Maura and Sarah showed up at my house to pick me up for the women's conference! Even though it was nearby, Maura booked a hotel room for the three of us. After a late lunch of blackened fish tacos, we headed to the hotel to drop out things off and get a quick workout in at the hotel gym. We had just enough time to get changed and head over to Reston Bible Church for the Friday evening portion of "Cultivate". Cultivate is Kelly Minter's ministry. She was the keynote speaker, and her teaching was phenomenal.

nova nation



It was the day of the Super Bowl: Eagles vs. Patriots (should have been Vikings vs. Patriots… that still stings). But we had a more important game to attend. In Philly no less. What was it? NCAA Mens Basketball: Villanova vs. Seton Hall. This was a special game, not because of who was playing, per se, but because of who was watching. The whole "Jersey Crew" showed up in support of Shanathair's birthday. Shan's alma mater (one of them) was Villanova, the prestigious Catholic university in Philadelphia. 

FL part one: baby alligators

We went to Florida! …Again! After two months of terrible fluctuating weather and knock-you-on-your-seat illnesses, both Brian and I were desperate for some Vitamin D. That Vitamin D came in the form of a one-day trip to Florida. We flew out early Saturday morning, spent the day goofing off, and caught a 9pm flight back. I wouldn't recommend this as a regular practice, but every once in awhile it's worth the long day (and subsequent sleep recovery days). And just looking at pictures of us wearing shorts makes me smile.

meanwhile in sea isle

sea isle collage2
Ah, New Jersey. How I've missed your salty air, your wonderfully sunny beaches, and your small town charm. It's like coming back home and being greeted with 20 oz. of Wawa coffee. It never gets old. I forgot about your "teacup handle" left turn roadway design. Not impressed. Perhaps we can discuss that later.

happy birthday declan!

declanbday
This little goofball turned two! Tully and Megan invited us up for Declan's big birthday bash. And it was big! There were easily 50 people there, at least a third of whom were kids. A lot of family traveled in to make it, plus friends and coworkers with their kids in tow. Brian and I came the night before and helped with setup. In all, the backyard held a tent for shucking oysters, a wildly popular inflatable bouncy house, a cool sandbox house, and Tully's newly licensed and purchased hotdog cart (Hero Dogs). That doesn't even account for the food and drink spread. At first I thought, "why would you go through all this effort" but then I saw the massive windfall of gifts – plus the fun of hosting a party – and my mind totally changed. Big birthday bashes for everyone! :)

grandad & carol visit maryland

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…so of course we went to the best seafood restaurant on the Patuxent River.

The week leading up to this weekend was long for both Brian and me. Extended hours at work with new projects and "school" with fast-approaching deadlines meant that we didn't see much of each other. While we wanted to see family, we also wanted to collapse in front of the TV, or maybe just sleep for a few days! That is not how real life works, though. :) Saturday was full of chores and errands. The funny thing about that was, once the house was clean, the fridge full, and the dog walked, I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders and I once again had the energy and desire to give back to other people. And that's good because we had big Sunday plans!


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