Latest & Greatest News, May 2016

Our {Long} Weekend Recap

We headed to my dad & stepmom’s up in Jacksonville for Memorial Day weekend, and we had a great time with them. We don’t get a chance to take many overnight trips, or ‘get-aways’ so it’s always nice to head up there when we can.

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It was a relaxing & laid back weekend, overall. Those are always the best ones, right? Liam loved helping his Papa-G and G-Ma with various tasks around their house 😉 …Here’s a pic we snapped of Liam helping bake some cookies ❤

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We all enjoyed some fun in the sun out at the MOST gorgeous beach house in the Ponte Vedra area. The weather was beautiful & the we soaked in the rays & splashed in the water. This view will never get old….

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Love this sweet boy ….

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He was the best swimmer all weekend. We were so proud & we know Ms. Katie would be, too 🙂

Hanging out with his Papa…

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Swimming with G-ma…

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The house had it’s own private boardwalk out to the beach. So very nice….

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We played on the sand & in the waves for a bit. The rip currents were pretty strong, though, so we didn’t go too far out.

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Love this family of mine ❤ ….

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We will definitely be frequenting the beach this summer! Liam loves it just as much as I did as a kid, and still do!

Until next time friends 🙂

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Latest & Greatest News, May 2016

Memorial Day ~ Past & Present

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us , friends! While many of us celebrate this as the unofficial start of the summer (my family included), let us not forget that this holiday weekend is not really why we are all taking a pause from work & the dailies….

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Here are some facts I found to begin to teach Liam about the holiday:

It started on May 30, 1868.
Union General John A. Logan declared the day an occasion to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers, and thus, was called Decoration Day.
Twenty years later, the name was changed to Memorial Day.
President Richard M. Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971. 

Going through our pics in recent weeks, I found that we have made a tradition of photographing this holiday. So, here’s a look back…

2012 — 1st Memorial Day at 10 months old. He didn’t want to keep the hat on & wouldn’t give up the paci for this pic 😉

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2013 — We placed American flags in our yard to help begin to teach our little man about the importance of this holiday.

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2014 — I will admit that this weekend has become our family’s tradition of our 1st beach trip of the year. Even living in Florida, we do take a break from the sand for a few months, so this does kinda kick things off for us for the summer. I think it’s more because it’s the 1st long weekend we have off of work in a while.

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2015 — Last year, we did American flags & pinwheels in the yard. Liam was a great helper!

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And now, a look at this year…

2016 — It was essential that we got our American flags, again, this year. Liam actually saw them in two different neighbors yards earlier in the week, first, while we were driving to school. He remembered that we had put up our own flags, and specifically requested to get ours out after school that day. You bet we did 🙂

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Happy Memorial Day, friends!

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Latest & Greatest News, May 2016

Easy Summer Fun With Your Little Ones

Hi Friends!

My latest post with Orlando Moms Blog is up today….just in time for the start of summer, which is sneaking up on us, right?!?!

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Easy Summer Fun With Your Little Ones

You can link to the full post HERE.

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I’m definitely not a fan of over scheduling our family time – which can be easy to do these days! I want to focus on making memories this summer, so this post gives you a simple list of activities to do together this summer!

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happy reading!

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Latest & Greatest News, May 2016

Catching Up

I mentioned in my previous post that through the craziness that is life, I’ve gone on a hiatus from blogging, so let’s try to catch up! We’ve definitely been busy these last few months….so, here are some highlights:

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At the beginning of March, Liam went on his very 1st field trip! It was to the movies with his class at Pre-K, and they saw Zootopia. He had a blast, but I have to tell you that his most favorite part of the entire experience was riding the school bus! The director took this pic of him before they left. She said his face lit up when they got on the bus & started pulling away. It was all he could talk about when I picked him up. They could have just drove around the block & he would have been thrilled. LOL! He has seen the daycare’s school bus for the last few years each day, and has always asked when he would get to ride it. So, you see, this was a BIG deal!

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Easter came early for us this year. It fell during the last weekend of March. We really love the Easter Bunny in Casa de Murphy & he brought lots of fun goodies for wee-man again this year ❤

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Liam woke up before the sun came up….although at bedtime, he cautiously asked if EB would be gone before he got up. He loves him but he does not want to see that gigantic guy….lol! Can’t really blame him for that…I think the mall EB’s have left an impression on him. However, all of that was forgotten when he woke up, and he was stoked as he went through his basket & checked everything out.

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The EB always hides eggs in the front yard & this year was no different. However, there was no deterring this 4 year old’s excitement. So…..we hunted eggs in the dark (before 7 a.m.) WITH a flash light. It was awesome!

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I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I wanted our little family to get back into church, as well as give this essential foundation to Liam, so he could build his own relationship with the Lord. I’m very happy to say that we found a wonderful church home early this year & it’s just been a blessing for us all. Service on Easter Sunday was great!

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Easter weekend was jammed packed for us! It also brought on Stephen’s BIG 40th Birthday! We always share Liam’s milestones, but this was definitely one for Daddy 😉

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Since his big day fell on a Friday, we had a yummy dinner out at Kobe with friends.

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The next day, we celebrated with our little guy ❤

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The festivities continued right after the weekend, as my mom flew in from North Carolina for a few days. Liam was so excited to see his Grammy, as we hadn’t visited with her since she moved up there last summer. It was a great time with her 🙂

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While she was down here, we spent the afternoon at Disney Springs. I hadn’t been out there in forever, and was really impressed with all the renovations & changes. We will definitely be back, again, soon!

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So fun that there are a few rides for the littles there now, too!

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In April, I had the pleasure of working alongside my fellow Orlando Moms Blog mamas for Bloom 2016. It was a great time & a huge success.

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Great information was shared for both new & expectant moms by several guests in our local community. We gathered at a local coffee shop downtown — Credo.

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City Moms Blog Network gave us these fab swag bags — LOVE THEM ❤

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Honored to be part of this team…..

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Are ya still with me? 🙂 ….We’re almost caught up!

At the beginning of this month {May}, we met up with our FABULOUS swim instructor, Ms. Katie Mosley from SwimSprout for our spring swim refresher lessons for Mr. Liam. If you’ve been following along with us over the last few years, then you know we’ve been swimming with them & Liam has been doing amazingly well in the water. Here’s a look back HERE and HERE. This season was no different, except that it will most likely be our last refresher with Ms. Katie, as Liam has been doing so well, and is now at a point with his muscle memory, that he is retaining his skill. So proud of him!

He has quickly gone from his basic swim-float-swim to jumping off the side of the pool & also diving for rings. We can already tell that this summer is going to be super fun poolside!

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Last, but certainly, not least, is an impromptu  dance performance little man graced us with after dinner over the weekend. I have laughed every time I have watched this. He loves to dance & is SO good at it. Love this kid!! I posted a snippet of this on IG & FB, but this is the full-length feature 🙂 ….Enjoy!!

Until next time, friends!

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April 2016, Latest & Greatest News

Fun at the Zoo

We took a trip to the Central Florida Zoo on a Sunday afternoon just the other weekend, and it was so much fun checking out all the animal friends! This was our 1st visit to this particular zoo, and honestly, the 1st time Liam was feeling like he was going to the zoo, as he doesn’t really remember our previous trip to the Brevard Zoo a while back. Crazy as it seems, that trip was just about 3 years ago….so yeah, I guess little man really wouldn’t remember it at this age. 🙂

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Checking out the river otters….they were so fast, it was hard to snap a pic! Definitely love to swim & play around, though. It was really cute.

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Liam is really into butterfly’s right now, and there was a butterfly garden next to the giraffes. He loved that he could stand amidst the flowers and the butterfly’s were all around him.

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Giraffes! Gotta admit that I was kinda disappointed with this set up compared to Brevard. It was hard to see them with the fence 😦

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Rhinos! Liam said after we got home that these were his favorite animals that he saw there. When we got up to them, they were wrestling (playing?) over the mud pit area ….lol! We stood here & watched them for a bit.

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Leopards!

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Camel!

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Cougar! …this guy was kinda fiesty ….It was dinner time & he was looking for his food to come. Same with the camel above. He could care less about us walking by….he was eyeing the staff bring his food over 🙂

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This turtle was huge!! We love these guys so were excited to say hi to him. P.S. — there is a reptile exhibit house that we checked out & Liam was very into. This mama just couldn’t bring herself to take any pics of it…lol!

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Checking out the bald eagle….

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We took a little spin on the train they have at the front of the zoo. It chugs along through the front of the property. Very enjoyable!

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Family selfie on the train.

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We had a great afternoon at the zoo, and the weather was gorgeous! I love little trips like this because it’s both educational for our wee-man and an adventure. Definitely a win-win! On our list still is to take him to the Jacksonville Zoo and the Lowry Park Zoo.

We also have passes here at the Central Florida Zoo for a few more months, and they have a pretty cool splash pad for the kiddos….so, we’ll definitely be back again, as the temps are already heating back up 🙂

Until next time, friends!

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April 2016, Latest & Greatest News

Colorful Fun ~ Crayola Experience Orlando

Somehow, it’s been almost 2 months since I posted an update. Seriously?!?! — Definitely not from lack of activity around here. In fact, quite the opposite. Life gets busy and blogging gets put in the back seat sometimes. So much fun to catch up on, though!

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At the end of February, we spent the afternoon at the Crayola Experience Orlando. This was our 1st time visiting this attraction, and it was such a neat experience to be surrounded by all things Crayola!

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Right from walking in the door, you could tell this was going to be fun for the whole family. I loved the gigantic markers & crayons that decorated the entrance. Liam thought it was the greatest, too! 🙂

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There are over 25 activities to do throughout the attraction and it’s spread across two floors. Of course, you also can’t forget to visit the Crayola Store on your way out. As pictured above, there are rows & rows of every shade of crayon AND marker you can imagine. We all were in heaven! ….We filled up a tin with all our favs ❤

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One of the cool things you can do there is the Crayon Factory, where you can name your own shade of crayon. Liam’s favorite is green, so we did two different greens — ‘Hulk Smash Liam’ and ‘Boo Boo Man Green’ (nick-name of our fur baby).

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Have you ever seen this many crayons in one place?!?!

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The ‘Melt & Mold’ and ‘Drip Art’ activities were very engaging & you were able to choose your crayon colors for each station. We did those a few times. While the place did fill up after we were there for a bit, I loved that you could do each activity as many times as you wanted & the wait time wasn’t all that bad for any of the activities.

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I think we probably spent the most time here at the ‘Stomp & Play’ ….the images on the ground moved when you stomped on them. Liam had a ball with it!

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This, however, was Liam’s favorite part of the whole experience — The Crayon Factory. It was a live theater show starring a crayonologist, and he showed us how they make the crayons at the big factory & prepare them for shipment. It was so cool because he used the machines on stage and actually made some red crayons right in front of us…and, we got to take one with us on the way out!

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It was a great afternoon at the Crayola Experience! I like the mix of fun and education for the kiddos. We will definitely be back soon!

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Special thanks to my fellow blogger friend, Tracy, at Around Mount Dora for sharing her comp tickets from the FL Blogger Conference! So grateful for a day of fun with the family! Note: All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Until next time, friends!

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February 2016, Latest & Greatest News

Our Happy Valentine’s {Recap}

Last weekend was such a fun-filled weekend for us. We hope you all had a lovely (total pun intended) Valentine’s Day, as well! ❤

Hop on over HERE for a look back on last year’s festivities, as well as previous year’s photos of this sweet day.

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Our fun began on Friday, as little man had his Valentine’s party at school. He was super excited for this. Party days always mean fun treats for all friends, and we were bringing special plates & napkins to share this time 🙂

I tried to get him to wear his Valentine’s shirt from the previous 2 years but he was NOT having it. When I showed him the shirt with the heart & the truck (see last year’s pics) and told him he would still fit into it….he said ‘No’ 😦 …this mama was sad. Not gonna lie. He basically said the shirt was for babies and his friends weren’t going to have shirts like that. Sooo, while I can still get him to humor me with the holiday shirts, I got him an updated, more ‘big boy’ shirt to wear this year 🙂

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We are big into coloring right now & all things crayon, so we made these super cool heart-shaped crayons to give out to his classmates for Valentines. I wrote about it over on Orlando Moms Blog 🙂 …Liam even did extra work this year and signed all his cards!

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Party time at school!

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My boys surprised me with flowers ❤ …Liam picked them out all by himself!

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Checking out his valentines from his friends. We made a box for the 1st time this year that he had brought to school so he could have a place to put all the cards in. It was a lot of fun decorating it together….although, he did get distracted a bit in the process. HA!

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An awesome surprise arrived in the mail from his Pepe Murphy….a personalized Valentine’s book. LOVE IT! I always had wanted to make one of these for him. Such a cool idea.

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While Daddy worked on Saturday, we made cupcakes. Someone couldn’t wait to get his hands on them.

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Always being silly 🙂 ….even when I was trying to get a nice, smiling photo of the two of us to show off our finished products. I have to tell you that he chose to eat a cupcake with NO frosting. What?!?! …complete nonsense.

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This cutie was waiting for me Valentine’s morning. I love that Daddy helped him to work so hard to write everything out himself. Liam hand-picked the card, too. ❤

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We let him choose where he wanted to go for a family Valentine’s Day brunch after church….he chose Golden Corral because of the chocolate fountain (i’m totally not kidding….his words). Hahahaha!!! Gotta luv it! ❤

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Our weekend was filled with many smiles and a whole lotta love. Wouldn’t have it any other way. Hope yours was, too!

Until next time, friends!

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February 2016, Latest & Greatest News

Melted Crayon Hearts ~ Valentines Fun

Happy Friday…and, almost Valentine’s Day ❤

I’m over on Orlando Moms Blog sharing my most recent post with you and just in time for this special day of love. A perfect chance to have some fun with the littles. I hope you will check it out 🙂

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You can link to the full article HERE

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You can also check out a few fun Valentine’s projects I did with Liam last here and shared with OMB.

First up — Valentine’s LOVE Art Canvas

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Link to the full article HERE

We also had so much fun Growing Heart Lollipops

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Link to the full article HERE

We are looking forward to a fun-filled family weekend. Hope you have a Happy Valentine’s, as well!

Happy Reading!

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February 2016, Latest & Greatest News

4.5 Years — Oh My!!

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was posting about how much fun we had at little man’s 4th birthday party? How are we already half way to 5?!?! Ya know that saying….”The Days Are Long, but the Years Are Short“? …well, it’s SO true! Don’t.Blink.

Keeping up with our photo tradition, here’s the latest of Liam with his teddy bear. You can catch up on all our previous monthly/yearly updates HERE.

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AGE: 4.5 years // 54 months

WEIGHT: approx. 42.6 lbs. (he was 41 lbs. at his 4 year check up)

HEIGHT: 42 1/4 inches – or – 3 ft. 5 1/4 inches (he’s grown an inch 1/4 since his 4 year check up at the end of August….WOW!!)

CLOTHES: We stayed pretty steady all of last year in 4T but I would say we are pretty strong into a growth spurt now & are quickly growing out of that size. I am now buying all  “big boy” size 5 or size XS. No more toddler clothes! He also just moved up a size in shoes and is now in size 11.5.

FAV FOODS: if we could buy stock in Publix popcorn chicken, we would. That’s a definite ‘go-to’ on days when we are short on time and he is a HUGE fan. He tends to be more of a snacker or likes smaller meals. He likes cereal, mandarin oranges, bananas, cheeze-its, cheese, and peanut butter sandwiches.

FAV WORDS/PHRASES: I should log a journal for all the hilarious things this little man says to Stephen and me. Seriously, some of comments that come out of his mouth are unbelievable. He really has the best sense of humor! If he sees we’re upset about something, he’ll say, “you get what you get and you don’t get upset“. Yes, admittedly it’s a sassy response & one that he most likely heard from a friend at school, but the 1st time he said it, I laughed so hard. It was SO unexpected. When he gets mad at us, he says “I’m not your friend anymore“, and likewise when he really wants you to do something for him, he says “Please, I’ll be your friend“. Ah, such persuasion.

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FAV ACTIVITIES: We recently re-modeled the office/playroom, so he loves to play in there with all of his Imaginext toys, superheros and cars. Watching & listening to his imaginary play is something I could do for hours, and of course, it’s super fun to join in & play with him. He also LOVES to listen to music and sing and dance. I still say he’s going to grow up and do something in the arts. His teachers at school say he was Latin rhythm and ask us where he gets it…HILARIOUS!!

DISLIKES: There’s not too much this little dude doesn’t enjoy. Since Pre-K started, I guess you could say he has not been the biggest fan of doing the structured writing activities and learning to write, in general. In a way, I don’t blame him, as I was kinda on the fence for how much is expected of our little 4 year olds, but I didn’t want him to fall behind. We encouraged him and have been careful to not push him…and, I’m really happy to say that he’s made remarkable grown since August. He has learned so much and it’s crazy to see how much his handwriting is improving. Very proud of this boy! /// On another dislike note, I have to say that this boy is JUST like his mama and completely dislikes waking up in the mornings unless he wakes up on his own. Poor Stephen! haha!! 🙂

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As I began writing this post last week, FB showed me these gems in the memories feed that we’ve been graced with lately. I don’t know about you, but I am so enjoying these blasts from the past. Such sweet, sweet memories ❤

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This photo captures the heart of our sweet boy. His pure joy. He asked to pose like this after we did the regular teddy bear pic, and how could I say no?

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Happy Half Birthday, Little Man!! — Mommy & Daddy love you so VERY much!

Until next time friends,

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January 2016, Latest & Greatest News

Legendary Circus Fun

Recently, we headed downtown to the Amway Center for an afternoon of family fun! If you’re familiar with the Amway Center, then you know it’s home to the Orlando Magic….they have a cool name display outside the arena, and we had some fun with the letter ‘M’ (of course!).

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We had a great time checking out the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDS show. It really was a dazzling performance for both Stephen & I to watch and also to enjoy through Liam’s wide-eyed amazement 🙂

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One of the things that I personally love about the circus is all the colors, and we were not disappointed. The entire show was filled with rich, vibrant colors. Absolutely stunning!

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These performances made us laugh, in true circus fashion….llamas, goats, dogs, & one amazing pig!

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The Asian Elephants are magnificent creatures and this was the last time we would be seeing them in the Ringling Bros. circus.

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Lions & Tigers….oh my!! Trainer — Alexander Lacey has great skill when it comes to working with both the elephants and these big cats. The lion was pretty feisty during the performance. I don’t know if it was part of the act, or not, but it was entertaining!

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Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson with another legend that Liam was enthralled to see come out …. unicorns!!!

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This was a cool stunt act by the Torres Family. They rode their motorcycles altogether in that metal sphere…..crazy!!

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EIGHT of them going round & round….

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This was Liam’s favorite part of the circus this year….the trapeze. This act was the Solar Hawks, and they were fantastic! Liam absolutely loved that there was a sort of gigantic trampoline to catch them. I think the whole thing reminded him of gymnastics (which he still loves) so it really had his attention.

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Just clowning around….

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Finale….

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDS was definitely a show we will soon not forget. Going to the circus is a memory I have from my childhood, and I am so happy to now make these new memories with my boys ❤ …..They truly do put on The Greatest Show on Earth! I hope you had a chance to check our their show. If you have not, and they are still scheduled to come to your area, you can find their tour schedule here.

Until next time, friends!

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NOTE: I was invited by Feld Media to attend the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDS at the Amway Center in Orlando. No other compensation was given & all opinions above are my own.