Watch Me Whip

Watch Me Whip. Now watch me nae nae. You know the song, right?  I know it all too well.  First, I learned about it from my darling fourth grade students as they always choose to dance to it during our brain breaks.  Then, my nephews and niece started doing it, too.  That’s when it really stole my heart.  They are so hilarious to watch and I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that it makes me want to break it down with them each time.  And I do.  But you’re not seeing my moves today!  Watch Me Whip plays frequently at my house, my parents’ house, and my sister’s house, so it’s no surprise that William has begun to catch on to his mom’s cousins’ moves.

watch me whip

Seriously so funny.

Since it’s spring break, we’ve been spending a lot of time with my sister and her kids.  She actually watched William for a day last week when I still had school, and then I had her kiddos for a day this week.  Since she’s super mom and all, she took all three munchkins to the zoo!

steph jacob audrey mar16

And then they stumbled upon a St. Patrick’s Day parade on the way out of the zoo.

st patricks day parade 16

I asked Jacob if he purposefully matched William.  (Blue gray camo pants and blue shirt.)  The answer was yes.

Besides the random snow we got, we’ve really lucked out with nice weather in St. Louis this week which means we’ve spent lots and lots of time outside!

biking mar16

William is learning how to pedal on a bike. He was especially excited to borrow Jacob’s helmet.  It’s the little things in life… 😉

We’ve made some trips to the park.

slide mar16

We’ve also gone on countless walks this week.

walk audrey mar16

And we’ve even gone on some runs…

running jacob aud mar16

I’m telling you, we’ve been LOVING the sunshine!

What have you been up to this week?

Hello, it’s me

Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these days you’d like to me to blog
To go over everything
They say that time’s supposed to make ya write
But I ain’t done much writing

Oh, that’s not the Adele version you know? Weird. Holy moly blog hiatus!  I don’t know what happened there!  Actually, I do.  Last week, William and I both were battling a horrible head cold. I had no energy and went to bed shortly after he did every day.  By the time Friday rolled around, we were both wiped.  I put him to sleep, went to bed, woke up at 2:30 in the morning to William throwing up in his crib.  I brought him in my bed; he puked 30 minutes later.  I changed his crib sheets, threw in a load of wash for both of our sheets, and went to sleep in the extra bedroom.  He woke up at 4:30, I brought him in bed, he woke up at 6:30 throwing up on that bed.  Again, at 8:00 in the living room. And one final time at noon in the kitchen.  Gross, laundry, sanitize, sleep.  That was the drill.

William was feeling better Sunday when, naturally, I started feeling funky.  I’ll spare you my details, but I thought my insides were trying to leave my body for a good portion of the day.  Needless to say, I took the day off work on Monday.  Now, we’re both healthy and keeping all our food inside.  Thank goodness.

So HI! What’s been going on?!  Besides sanitizing the heck out of my house and doing a thousand loads of laundry, not a ton has been going on around here!  Here’s a photo to show you that I’m still alive and kickin’…

steph jan16

Stephanie often jokes about how William has no boundaries when it comes to nursing, yet she’s the one who comes in to take a sister selfie WHILE he is nursing!  Talk about no boundaries!  Can you spot his little hand?

We’ve had some crazy nice days of weather which we’ve been sure to get outside as much as possible, especially given the nasty germs inside.

walk jan16

William is talking up a storm these days.  My mom, his Yaya, gets him to talk the most and they converse in full sentences for hours on end.  He babbles and babbles and picks up and understands everything you say. He literally talks in complete sentences now.  It’s quite amazing!

You know how everyone jokes about the “Freshman 15?”  When you go to college and inevitably gain 15 pounds?  Well, the school where I teach looooves to eat. Instead of the Freshman 15, there’s our school’s 20… As delicious as the donuts are in the teacher’s lounge every week, they’re not so great for anyone’s waistline.  This is why I helped to start “Wellness Wednesday,” where we do a 15 minute workout in the morning and share healthy snacks in the lounge.  After National Popcorn Day, I reached out to SkinnyPop and asked if they’d like to sponsor a Wellness Wednesday.

skinnypop snacks

To say teachers were happy about the healthy snack that day would be an understatement!  That SkinnyPop went like wildfire!  Those individual bags are so perfect. I always love SkinnyPop, but sometimes it is hard to demonstrate restraint and portion control when eating out of the big bags. The snack bags are perfectly portioned at 100 calories.  Big thanks to SkinnyPop for being awesome and encouraging healthy snacks!

Robes.  I live in them.  First thing in the morning, I put it on, and it’s the last thing I take off at night.  Right when I come home from school, I undress, put my pajamas on, and then my robe.  I literally live in my robe.  My family constantly questions me as to why I’m always, always in my robe.  “Because it’s so darn comfortable,” I tell them over and over.  Well, for Chanukah, one of William’s gifts he received was a Thomas the Train robe.

robe jan16

This makes my heart so happy! #robes4life

Alright, that’s it for today.  Short and sweet, yes.  Let’s just ease back into this blogging thing. That was my longest hiatus in my four plus years of blogging!

Catch me up – what’s been going on?!

Who is there for you?

Whenever I go through certain situations, good or bad, in life, I am reminded of who is there for me.  The answer is always FAMILY.  Don’t get me wrong – I have the most amazing friends a girl could ask for.  Friends who will be there in the drop of a hat, friends who text and call to check in or just say hi, friends who are shoulders to cry on, smiles to laugh with, and hearts to celebrate with.  But there’s just something about family that provides an irreplaceable bond and everlasting love.

Who are the key members of my family, my roots that keep me grounded:

My mom, William’s Yaya.

yaya read books dec15

My mom is an incredible woman, everyone would agree.  She’s selfless, caring, wise, and always there.  It’s no wonder William asks for Yaya 5,000 times a day upon waking up every morning and before bed each night.  “Yaya?” he says.  “Yaya says, ‘Good morning!'” I tell him.  “Or, ‘Yaya says it’s time to go night night. All the little boys and girls are going to sleep now,'” just as she would say to him.  Yaya reads William books while he sits at the big boy table to eat.  She gets him to eat more than I ever can. We both smile and our hearts are full every time we’re with her.  All kids who know Yaya, whether they’re family or not, call her Yaya.

My sister.

steph dec15

Oh Stephanie. You can’t choose your family, but if I could I’d definitely choose you as my sister!  Stephanie has been my constant cheerleader, my best friend, my stylist, William’s second mom, my photographer, and I could go on and on. There’s truly no bond like sisterhood and she’s definitely the best.

My dad, William’s Pops.

pops guitar dec15

Smartest man I know.  Pops knows everything and can do anything.  He’s always right, never wrong (this is where I get it from!).  He’s been playing his guitar for William since the beginning, and William has learned a love of music from him.  I hope William grows up to be just like Pops!

My grandma, Mama, William’s great grandmother.

yaya mama pooltable dec15

I’ve always had a special bond with Mama. She was the first person I told I was pregnant. She can keep secrets better than anyone I know. Grandparents and great grandparents allow children to do things that normally would not be ok.  Putting William on the pool table is one of them.  Mama taught William how to roll balls on the pool table (as opposed to throw them as he does with every other object) among many other things.  When we go over to their house, getting on the pool table is the first thing William wants to do.  As you can see from his priceless reaction, it clearly makes him very, very happy.

My grandpa, Papa, William’s great grandfather.

papa first pool lesson dec15

William got his first pool lesson from Papa last week.  Papa has taught all his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren about pool and many, many other sports. While Mama lets William sit on the pool table, Papa has him stand on the bench he built over 30 years ago for small little ones to be able to reach. He shows William how to put two hands on the pool stick, aim, and hit the balls.  Everyone is continually impressed with William’s athletic ability and, undoubtedly, it comes from Papa.

Family is everything.

kootman

Just some of my mom’s side of the family.  Family get togethers are so special, and even more so as we get older and bring our own children.

My grandpa, Poppy, William’s great grandfather.

poppys 87 birthday

Poppy just celebrated his 87th birthday!  He’s the youngest and best looking 87 year old, eh?  I am proud to have William named after Poppy and carry on the “Williams” name.  As evidenced by the bottom photo, Poppy with his three sons, he’s instilled a love of family into his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  I know my siblings will have this same strong bond when we reach my dad and his brothers’ ages.

Audrey, my niece.

audrey couch dec15

Audrey is William’s youngest mother.  He is “her baby.”  She taught him pretend play and how to use his imagination.  In this photo, they were pretending to go to sleep.  Jacob wanted in on this photo, and she snapped, “No! William is MY baby!”  “You go up and I’ll go down,” she told William when posing for the picture.  She wants William all to herself and is the kindest and most gentle with him that I’ve ever seen her.  She’s four going on 14, so this is kind of a big deal.

Me & William

nap dec15

William has taught me so many lessons during his 21 months of being here.  He’s taught me unconditional love and has brought me more joy and happiness than I ever knew possible. He’s taught me to slow down and cherish every moment in life.  There’s nothing more important than love and everything else can wait.

bath nye15

Pure happiness. My little man. My everything.

Some days around here can be challenging, I’m not going to lie.  But William reminds me that everything happens for a reason. I need that reminder and I need to believe that.  It will all work out exactly how it’s supposed to. Regardless how it ends, my family is / has / will always be there.  Thank you, family.

Who is there for you?

Thanksgiving 2015

As expected, Thanksgiving 2015 was awesome!  It’s 9:30 on Sunday evening and I’m hoping to get to bed relatively soon, so this is going to be more like a photo dump post with a few comments.  The long weekend was magnificent.  It was a nice break to be off of school, and it was even better to spend so much time with family and friends – the people who matter most and what the Thanksgiving holiday is all about!  Without further ado, here’s what’s been up the last five days:

My family went out to dinner at Bricktops on Wednesday evening.  All but my momma came as she was at home busily preparing to host 30+ people for Thanksgiving!

justin steph nov15

No family photo that evening, but Stephanie and I were just so happy our baby brother was in town!

There weren’t many candid snapshots taken on Thanksgiving.  I guess that’s what happens when you have so many little ones running around!  Stephanie did set up a Thanksgiving photo booth again this year, so I’ll be sure to post those fun pictures once they’re available.  We tried to take one whole family photo, but that wasn’t until 9:15 in the evening when some of the kiddos <<cough cough William>> were more than ready for bed.  Next year we’ll be sure to do that FIRST! (Right, Mom?! #notecard)

In my family’s true fashion, my siblings and I met at an Orangetheory Fitness bright and early on Friday morning to burn off some of that turkey!  The class was challenging, and we had a great time sweating together!

family orangetheory workout

We hung out at my parents’ house for a good chunk of Friday, ate leftovers at least a couple more times, and the kids cuddled up with Stephanie for story time.

steph reading

Kids always gravitate towards her and there’s always room for everyone on her lap – just how our own mom is!

linking up with katie and erin

Jacob and William’s new thing is piggyback rides.  Even when I tell them that’s enough, William literally crawls on to Jacob and demands “uppy!”  Jacob more than happily obliges and whizzes him around the house!

jacob piggyback

As if we didn’t eat enough on Thanksgiving or the days following, on Friday evening we went to Crown Candy for the first time.  Crown Candy appeared on The Food Network for their BLT (there’s seriously a pound of bacon on it!), but their milkshakes made with real ice cream is what stole the show for me!

crown candy

I really don’t give William sweets (like, at all. I just see no reason to.  He will have his whole life ahead of him to make those decisions on his own!), but very occasionally I’ll give him a bite or drink of something extra delicious.  This chocolate marshmallow milkshake was one of those times, and we both approved!

Saturday was a day to recover (holy cow was I sore from Orangetheory!) and relax, although I didn’t really relax as I got a good chunk of my holiday shopping done.  Chanukah comes early this year… like in six days to be exact, so shopping and wrapping was needed!  It was a productive day, that’s for sure!  I ended the night early by watching a movie in bed – something I haven’t done in years, literally!

Sunday was the perfect day to end the marvelous weekend.  We took William to the St. Louis Science Center for the first time ever, and it was unbelievable!  I think this is where we’re going to spend our winter weekends since there is so much to do!

human hamster wheel

Human hamster wheel?  Yeah, I had just as much fun on that thing as he did!

William loves fish, mainly because he gets to feed the fish in Yaya and Pops’ pond.  However, I think all kids are captivated by fish.  I’d get some for our home if I didn’t have to change their water and clean their tank so frequently, haha.

fish

The weekend concluded with a big family dinner at my parents’ house to celebrate one of my grandfather’s birthdays.  We had such a good time with my family.  William was in an especially good mood.  He loves loves LOVES being with his cousins.  He even got to sit at the kid table (which worked out perfectly since most days he boycotts his high chair).

thanksgiving kidstable

Clearly they had more fun than we did.

thanksgiving kids table

I know I say it all the time, and other parents certainly know what I’m talking about, but he is growing up so fast!  He had on the cutest outfit, too, with a denim button down shirt, navy slacks, and slip on boat shoes.  Ah, can’t handle the cuteness!  Oh, and he even brought his plate to the sink when he was finished.  What?!

Naturally, Stephanie and I had to snap a sister selfie:

steph nov15

Couldn’t ask for a more unbelievable sister!

And Yaya.  Oh, Yaya.  Yaya has a way with kids.  (That’s an understatement.)  All kids ADORE her, William especially.  He asks for Yaya all the time at home.  If he’s upset, I’ll ask him if he wants to call Yaya. “YEAH!” he happily replies!  When asking him to say hi to Pops, often he will say, “Yaya?”  Last night was no different.  Yaya had William full of belly laughs multiple times.  In fact, it was so hard to capture a good photo of them because they were all blurry!  But I think I got one sweet one:

yaya nov15

Those belly laughs didn’t stop all night.  My Uncle Steve was pretending to drop a baby doll and William just thought it was the most hilarious thing EVER.

laughing nov15

What a wonderful weekend.  I hope you had a special Thanksgiving filled with delicious food, good health, and being surrounded with those you love.  I know I did.

What were some of your Thanksgiving weekend highlights?

Halloween 2015

Obligatory Halloween 2015 post NOW!  Few words, lots of cuteness, here we go!

halloween2015 thomas train

After not wanting to wear his Thomas the Tank Engine Halloween costume for a few weeks prior, William cooperated on actual Halloween and kept it on.  He wanted no part of the conductor hat and bandana, but hey, the shirt was the big part of the costume, so I’ll take it!

The tradition in my family is to go to my grandparents’ house on Halloween with all the cousins and take picture in front of the infamous tree that William is standing before.  For decades (literally), kids and families have been getting their picture taken in that exact spot.  All the St. Louis cousins:

halloween2015 cousins

William would have preferred that I hold him (momma’s boy!), but one of his cousins held him in place long enough for Stephanie to snap the picture.  I love all their different costumes!

Mama and Papa with 11 of their 14 great-grandchildren:

halloween2015

How amazing?!  We were just missing the three Houston cousins.

linking up with katie and erin

William was quite a trooper on Halloween.  St. Louis does “trick or treat” (I don’t understand why other cities don’t do this…) where you have to tell a joke or do a trick in order to get your treat.  William’s trick was saying choo-choo just like Thomas!  And he actually did it for several houses!  He was loving walking around from house to house; I couldn’t believe how much he walked!  And momma was more than happy to take / eat all his candy.  Since he doesn’t know what candy is right now, I figure there’s no reason to introduce it to him this young.  He’ll have pleeeenty of years to discover it and eat it.

halloween 2015

And one last picture since you all know how much I love my niece Audrey.  This picture Stephanie took of Phil throwing her in the air is just awesome and will make your day.

audrey halloween

All photos courtesy of Stephanie Cotta Photography

What did you do on Halloween?  Did you or your kid(s) dress up?  I went to a Halloween party on Friday and dressed up as a nurse!

A Sweet Weekend

It was a sweet, sweet weekend, both figuratively and literally.  Figuratively because it was wonderful and filled with fun and love, and literally because the amount of sweets consumed this weekend was kind of out of control.  I’m never one to deprive myself, but between Friday night candy apples to Sunday morning donuts there was a lot of sugar eaten.  I got the crockpot going yesterday to make a huge batch of vegetable soup to take for lunch this week to get back on a healthy eating track.  I literally combined whatever vegetables I had on hand (celery, carrots, cabbage, corn, onion, tomatoes, peppers) with chicken broth, quinoa, and lentils and let it cook in the crockpot for a few hours.  That took care of meal prep and healthy eating for the week!

After school on Friday, I picked up William and headed to Thies Farm.  This was my first time there and if you’re local to St. Louis with kids, I highly recommend it.  We only spent 30 minutes there since they closed at six, but it was jam packed with things to do.  William had a blast and especially loved riding on a John Deere, just like his Pops!

john deere

We picked up a caramel candy apple from Thies which totally hit the spot once William went down.  And then had another one on Sunday evening, as well!

Saturday included soccer practice for William, errands, getting my hair colored at Preston Salon, and a delicious dinner at Grapeseed.  Check my Instagram (@itzlinz) for food pictures from the weekend.

Sunday morning began with donuts from Vincent Van Doughnut.  The vanilla mascarpone with raspberry was awesome and definitely a sweet way to start the day!  We went back to Thies Farm, but it was very busy and we had just a short amount of time.  We saw the horses, pulled wagons, and bought more candy apples.

running oct15

William loves the fresh air and is always on the move!  In the afternoon, we went to a baby shower for my cousin who is just three weeks away from her due date!

yaya oct15

My mom was one of the hosts and always throws fabulous parties!

linking up with katie and erin

Afterwards, we went grocery shopping, made soup, baked dessert for school, and headed to my parents’ for Sunday night dinner.

yaya pops kids

It’s been awhile since we’ve done Sunday night dinner and it was fun to have everyone together again.  My parents are such role models for everyone, and we’re all so lucky to have them in our lives and the kids’ lives.

Cuties:

aud pops oct 15

Right after this, Audrey said, “Now just me and William!”  If you know Audrey, then you know that what Audrey wants, Audrey gets. 😉

aud oct15

She was giving him kisses.  She always takes such good care of her baby William.

The only thing that could have made the weekend any better was if I went for a run or worked out at all.  I actually planned on running Saturday, but then totally chickened out and blamed the cold 40-degree temperatures.  My bad.  I’m so not ready for this colder weather.  Can we have summer back?  I’m starting Monday with a quick 15-minute workout with my co-workers at school.  Something is better than nothing!

What were you up to this weekend?  Workout?  Eat any sweets?

Durango to Silverton Train

One thing my family likes to do during family vacations is stay busy.  We went hiking.  Our latest adventure included the Durango to Silverton Train.  It was a great way to see some beautiful sites, explore the town, and make memories by having new experiences.  In our group, there were nine adults and six kiddos.  Doing anything with that large of a group is sure to make an adventure.  We drove a short distance from our resort in Durango, hopped on the train for a two and a half hour ride to Silverton, ate lunch and walked around the town, boarded a bus, stopped at Molas Pass, and headed back to Durango.  It was a busy day, everyone was worn out by the end, but it was an experience we certainly couldn’t have had in St. Louis.

When we first got to the train station, we had a short wait.  The area was covered in rocks, and if you know anything about the children in my family, they love rocks.  They pick out “special” rocks to save, ask every adult to hold them for later, and love searching and sorting for the biggest, shiniest, and coolest rocks.  Although William is just 15 months old, he, too, joined in on the rock collection fun.

rock train

Look, Momma! A rock!

We put all the rocks in a pile “for later,” and the excitement peaked when we heard the train approaching.  I got a quick picture before the adventure began, and we were on our way for William’s first train ride.

train colorado

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad winds through spectacular & breathtaking canyons in the remote wilderness of the two-million acre San Juan National Forest for an unforgettable year-round adventure. Experience the adventure of traveling by a coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive on the same tracks miners, cowboys and settlers of the Old West took over a century ago. Relive history with the sights and sounds of yesteryear for a truly spectacular journey on board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

The train ride was fun with countless spectacular sites.  Everyone’s eyes were glued to the outside, and between all of us, probably hundreds of pictures were taken.  We stopped a couple of times, and of course Stephanie captured it perfectly.

river

Like I said, every sight was spectacular.

Linking up with Katie and Erin.

When we stopped in Silverton, we were ready to get off.  The town was quaint and bustling with people ready to eat, walk, and explore.  We snapped a quick photo of most of the group (sorry, Dana and Justin, you missed this one).

train

We walked around before finding a restaurant that could accommodate our large party.  We ended up at the Shady Lady Saloon which was built in the 1880’s and was the last brothel in Silverton.  The last madam, known to the trade as Jew Fanny, permanently closed her professional doors in 1947.  The food was mediocre, but it filled our bellies and we still had some time before the bus came.  We walked some more and ended up on a rooftop of another restaurant.  Arm wrestling and other shenanigans took place.

justin dad arm wrestle

The bus driver suggested stopping at Molas Pass on the way home because of the view.  He was certainly correct, and we stretched our legs, snapped some photos, and took in the fresh air for a short time before getting back on the bus.

yaya pops

William with his Yaya and Pops.  So lucky.

With the beautiful view in the background, I had to attempt a handstand.  It had been far too long since I’ve gone upside down somewhere cool.  Not the best, but it worked:

handstand colorado

What kind of adventures do you go on during vacations?

Hiking in Durango, Colorado

Our first full day in Durango, Colorado was awesome!  The weather is perfect – not too cold, not too hot, and it just so happened to rain during nap time.  No big deal.  We started off yesterday with a family hike.  I absolutely love staying active while on vacation, and to do it with family is even better.  This was William’s first time in the mountains, and he did great!  Ok, so he didn’t really have to work hard… or at all, but I know he enjoyed all the fresh air and beautiful scenery.

hiking durango

Babywearing for the win!  I’m loving this Ergo 360! So easy to use and so comfortable for both of us.  The total hike was about three miles and took just under two hours.  Not bad for hiking with six little ones.  We went downhill first, and the hike back up was definitely challenging.  This altitude thing sure puts your fitness into perspective.  We are all in pretty decent shape, but were huffing and puffing at some point.  Not to mention this sack of potatoes on my back…

babywearing hike

…who caught a little snooze during part of it.

Before we began, Justin gave directions to the kiddos.  Basically all he said was, “No running and stay behind me.”  Necessary rules for hiking.

There wasn’t a bad view in sight.  Everywhere we looked was gorgeous.  Stephanie captured it perfectly.

durango colorado

Picture perfect.

And to top it all off, we were all together.  All four of us siblings.  Stephanie posted this picture on her Instagram and wrote, It’s a pretty incredible thing to have the relationship that the four of us have with each other… It has not always been without fights (oh, the days when we were little and my parents had to deal with all of that), but there is not a single thing we wouldn’t do for each other. I am so thankful for my parents for instilling in us the importance of family and for bringing us all together on these vacations.”

hiking family

Do you enjoy hiking?

We’re in….

Yesterday was a very busy day because…

We’re in…

durango

Durango, Colorado for my family’s summer vacation! Follow along our adventure on my Instagram (@itzlinz).  There’s an absolutely, ridiculously hilarious video that you must check out!

Our day began with a noon flight.  The family all met at the airport.

jackson audrey

Always fun with my little munchkins!

We all boarded the plane, and shortly after, my mom, Yaya, brought out her healthy snacks that she packed for everyone.  She sure knows how to travel!

mom audrey

Audrey (and everyone else) was definitely a fan of the turkey sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches, nuts and dried fruit, apple slices, snacks, and a few pieces of candy.

William was due for a nap and fell asleep on his momma for just a short time.

sleep airplane

So peaceful.  I tried giving him a couple bites for a snack when he woke up, and thanks to his lovely active gag reflex, he threw up all over me and my nephew Jackson.  It was disgusting on its own, but even more so dealing with it on the plane.  My mom helped me get him cleaned up and Stephanie changed him while I tried to wipe myself and Jackson off before changing shirts. Oy. Note to self: next time pack an entire extra outfit, not just a shirt.

The second flight was on a tiny plane and it was the most turbulent flight I’ve been on in quite some time.  Not only that, they ended up having to circle for about 45 minutes in order to avoid some bad weather.  An hour flight turned into an almost two-hour flight.  William slept for the majority of it, but we sure were glad to finally touch down.

Once at the airport, we collected ALL of our luggage… which was a lot.  My mom sorted out the details at the rental car company while we kept the kiddos entertained.

luggage

From the airport, we went to the grocery store to stock up for the week.  One of my sweet friends let me borrow her Ergo 360.  This was the first time I’ve used it, and I loved it!  I knew William was tired, so I wore him on my front, but I practiced at home with having him on my back and he loved it!  My little mini me HAD to have her baby doll wrapped up, too, so we went out to the car to figure out how to make that happen (and prevent a meltdown).

babywearing

We love babywearing!

It started drizzling on the way to the condo, but there were TWO bright rainbows!

double rainbow

Every view we saw was beautiful and I’m so excited for this year’s summer vacation!  More adventures to come.  I’m not sure of the frequency of blogging during this trip, so be sure you’re following me on Instagram to keep up.  Otherwise, I’ll update you when I can!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Are you or have you taken any vacations this summer?

‘Merica Y’all!

The past weekend, the Fourth of July, can be summed up with ‘Merica Y’all!  It was said, shouted, screamed, and shrieked dozens upon dozens times with the happiest smile on whoever it was coming from.  I’m pretty sure my sister Stephanie is who got everyone started on the ‘Merica Y’all train.  Check out her Instagram to see her adorable three year old daughter (my mini me) yelling it between giggles.  My family headed out to Innsbrook, which is always a blast.  We had a good-sized group including my family and many friends.  The crew:

4th of july group

All photos in post by Stephanie Cotta Photography.  Big thanks to Stephanie for taking out her big camera, editing, and sending them our way!  We always love your pictures!  I posted a million candid iPhone shots on my Instagram.  (Follow me – @itzlinz)

Just the kids:

4th of july kids

Hey, it’s hard to get everyone smiling!  Ok, maybe it was just William who wasn’t having it.  But how cute is that pouty face?!

There was lots of water play on the lake, tons (TONS!) of good food, smiles, laughter, running (especially by William!), playing, and an unbelievable fireworks show!  All thanks to my wonderful parents who graciously hosted our big group:

mom dad fourth of july

Beyond grateful for them, not to mention they throw the best parties.  And I love how festive they are.  They got everyone in our family new Fourth of July shirts.  Everyone we saw was decked out in their red, white, and blue.  ‘Merica Y’all!

My cute little firecracker:

4thofjuly

William’s shorts, which I’m obsessed with and are actually “bloomies,” are from one of my new favorite Instagram shops called FuzzyPeachThreads.  I had him in them all weekend long, because why not?  They were so festive and so stinkin’ cute!  Oh… and they were just ten bucks!  I got a couple pairs for him!

Check out these sassy girls:

4th of july girls

And these boys riding in style:

4th of july boys

Linking up with Katie & Erin.

I love this image Stephanie took of Jacob:

jacob four of july

When we woke up in the morning, I promptly changed William out of his sleeper and into this amazing outfit.  I think it really shows off his bod! And those rolls… 😉

4th of july morning

Seriously, I love those shorts.  And those curls.

And to end the post, a shot of pure happiness from him and me both:

4th of july happy

Freedom.  ‘Merica Y’all!

What did you do over the July 4th weekend?