meanwhile in sea isle

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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.

Brian and I got burned to a crisp during the 3 hours we were at the beach. I'm not sure how we got so crispy but the rest of the Smith family made it out unscathed. Perhaps they applied additional sunscreen when I wasn't looking. All I can say about this is: never again. It was the best experience lying out on the beach chatting with Christina, but once I got back to the house my skin started to tingle and I knew the burn and peel combo was coming. Someday in the middle of winter I'll look at my translucent skin and wish for color. But for now I have to agree with Christina: this is why Irish shouldn't try to tan. (Okay, perhaps that was directed towards Brian – I'm not actually Irish. But I am Scandinavian and my tanning success rate is far lower than Brian's.)
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After Declan's birthday party Brian and I went to the little rented cabin down the street for a bonfire with Maeve, Maura, Mags and their families. Even though we were beyond exhausted from the sun and the long day of socializing, it was still completely worth it to sit around the fire and catch up on everyone's lives. All the little cousins are growing up so fast! It's fun to watch their personalities grow, too. Elena is great with the kids. She is super attentive to them and endlessly patient. She is the entertaining "big cousin" that makes pretend play so fun. I love watching them interact.

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This is the cutest photo of Mary Alice. I caught her sticking a marshmellow in her mouth. It cracks me up every time I see it.

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On Sunday we made the executive call to stick around for the 8pm Redskins game. It was a lazy day of watching football, snacking, playing with Declan and his new toys, and putting away all the party stuff. Sasha spent the entire weekend as a free-roaming dog. She loves exploring, as evidenced by all the burs I had to continually untangle from her fur. The rest of us were a bit lazier. Other than Declan, the Determined Climber who prefers to make decisions just out of arms' reach. He is the cutest little keep-you-on-your-toes boundary tester. Megan and Tully, you've got a keeper. <3

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Were we ready for the Redskins game? We were born ready! HTTR! Also, major shoutout to Tully because he gave me that jersey. I'm gonna have to wear it every game. That's the new rule at my house: Game on, jersey on.

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It bears repeating – of course there's no way you can go to New Jersey without stopping at Wawa. The two things are synonymous. Saturday evening (post-party) Sarah showed up at the house with a pumpkin spice coffee latte mix which she let me try. To put it succinctly, it was sugary pumpkin bliss. How does she think of these things? Culinary genius, that one. I treated myself to the same delicious concoction the next two mornings in a row…obviously!  #wheninNJ
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Thanks for hosting us, Megan and Tully! We had a great weekend with you guys. Let's do it again soon.

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