10 Tips For a Safe July 4th!

Happy Birthday, America!

I want to share another post I wrote a few year’s back for Orlando Mom’s Blog, as the tips are still relevant for each & every 4th of July holiday. Many of us choose to celebrate with fireworks (who doesn’t love them, right?), so let’s always remember to be safe while we are having fun celebrating this great holiday for our nation.

When I think of the fourth of July, I think of fireworks. Yes, I realize that we are celebrating the birth of American independence, but ever since I was a child, I have always associated this holiday with those beautiful colors that light up the night sky.

Even at 34 weeks pregnant a few years back, I made my husband take me out in what seemed like 100 degree Florida heat to gather around Lake Eola here in downtown Orlando to see the spectacular fireworks show. Now that we have our little man, we have continued the tradition of returning to see this show each year. I truly love seeing my son’s eyes light up as he watches what he believe to be magic!

Whether you are like our family & choose to go to public fireworks events, or you like to do them at your home, please always remember to be safe! While fireworks are fun, we must not forget that they are dangerous. Only adults should handle them, and children & pets should be closely supervised while around them. Children like to do sparklers, and admittedly, we let our almost 4 year old do his 1st sparkler this past weekend. We made sure we stood right next to him & he held it far away from his body, but I will tell you that this momma was still a tad bit nervous. If you are not comfortable with it, don’t do it. Simple as that. Little arms are short, and sparklers can heat up to a staggering 1,200 degrees. A great alternative to sparklers is glow sticks! I know my little one LOVES them & never turns one down.

Here are my TOP 10 Tips for Fireworks Safety this July 4th:

1. Obey all laws regarding the use of fireworks.

2. Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents.

3. Point fireworks away from your body, other people, homes, and keep away from brush and leaves and flammable substances.

4. Light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never relight a dud.

5. Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they’ll run loose or get injured.

6. Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.

7. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.

8. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

9. Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.

10. Never try to make your own fireworks.

Did you know there is a National Council on Fireworks Safety? Many of my tips were taken from the recommendations on their website — www.fireworkssafety.org

I hope you & your family have a happy & SAFE Independence Day holiday!

5 1/2 Years!

As we said good-bye to January, we said hello to 5 1/2 years old for this little man. In keeping with our family photo tradition, here’s the latest teddy bear pic ❤

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February was a pretty eventful month for us, so the time slipped away from me before I could get this update posted. We had some fun playing with his shadow one evening after school just before we broke his arm — sooo, this WAS pretty close to his 5 1/2 mark, which technically fell on January 31st.

AGE: 5 1/2 years // 66 months

WEIGHT: 51 lbs.

HEIGHT: 3 ft., 9 in. // 45 in.

CLOTHES: size 5 or 6 to a size small — depending on the brand ; He went through a major growth spurt over the summer and continues to get taller. I feel like we had about a year & a half where he had slowed down a bit with growth and now he’s definitely making up for it 🙂 — He also is very into his own style of dress and I think I said this before….gone are the days where I can buy & dress him in whatever I want. He knows what he wants to wear on any given day and will often fight you on it. At least, he is into matching colors. HA!

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WHAT’S NEW:

Liam has continued to immensely change & grow since his birthday. Since he’s our only child, it’s hard for me to compare him to anything else, but at this point, I would say it’s probably this age. He’s just like a sponge and it’s really amazing to watch him learn and be curious about the world around him.

Since just after his birthday, he began Kindergarten. As I recapped in THIS post, he has far surpassed both Stephen and my’s expectations for what he’s been learning. Most currently, he is reading beginner sight word books, and eagerly asks what words are that he doesn’t recognize. He picks up on the meaning of things that I wouldn’t even dream about him getting. For instance, in the Disney movie, Moana, I didn’t think he would understand the significance & connection of the grandmother’s death and the stingray. As we were watching, he immediately told me, ‘I think the grandma just died and that’s her in the water now as the stingray to help Moana‘. I was blown away.

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In September, he started taking Taekwondo lessons. If you see my posts on Instagram, I usually refer to them as karate, but the boys are quick to correct me, as it is technically Taekwondo, and he is now certified with the American Taekwondo Association. He just completed his 2nd belt promotion and competed in his 1st tournament, so not only is he excelling but we are also so proud of the hard work & dedication is showing. A separate recap post is coming soon on all this, but of course, I’m running behind {story.of.my.life}.

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Our new obsession is Disney. We love ALL the parks here in Orlando, and for the 1st time for any of us, we are feeling total Disney magic being able to drop into  any of them when we have free time. Santa brought us annual passes and let me tell you, we have been totally been taking advantage of that! I haven’t counted exactly, but I think we’ve visited the parks about 8 times since the 1st week in January. I have so many super fun pics to post soon! 🙂

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NOT SO INTO:

I’m putting this update under the ‘not so into’ as it was a bummer. On Valentine’s Eve, little dude fell off a slide during after-care and got a hairline fracture in his humerus bone on his left arm. He was in a cast for 3 weeks. He did very well with it, but it was an adjustment. We had to keep it dry, so bath time was interesting, but he & Daddy did great with that! He is a lefty, too, so he was a trooper with getting by with his school work & using his right-hand for a while.

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The struggle is REAL people with homework, friends. Little man does fantastic with his schoolwork, and while he doesn’t get a whole lot of homework…he is NOT a fan {I mean, really, who is?} …We do the bulk over the weekends, and there is usually some timeouts involved & stern talks…lol! One day, I’m sure we’ll look back on this & laugh, but man, this is the one area where he really pushes my buttons.

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At some point, over the last few months, we magically {maybe?} entered the gaming universe {help me!}. I think it partly is due to the fact that there is an XBOX and a Wii at the after-care room he attends, so he’s been exposed and allowed to sometimes play it since school started. We also gave him my old iPhone {as an iPod} not too long ago when I upgraded. All I know is that one day, I feel like I blinked, and he was playing games on the iPod, iPad, and Wii more than he was touching his regular toys. I started complaining to Stephen, and he just laughed. Not cool! LOL 😛 — He was back in his play room over this past weekend digging into his toys, so needlesstosay, this mama was over the moon. I love technology, but I’m also all for old-fashioned fun for as long as possible.

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You can catch up on all our previous monthly/yearly updates HERE.

Happy Half Birthday, Liam Michael! — Mommy & Daddy love you SO VERY much!

xoxo

Until next time friends,

Catching Up From Winter Break

Time is, once again, ticking away faster that I can keep up with. With that said, I would be so mad at myself it I didn’t post these pictures and stay on track with chronicling our little family adventures, so here goes….

It already feels like a lifetime ago, but we had a bit of a vacation during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Liam was out of school and I was also off of work.

Liam had almost 2 and a half weeks off of school, in total, for his winter break, so his fun started the week before Christmas. Stephen & I were both still working, so he spent that week in camp. He enjoyed some fun with his friends, including a trip to Light Up UCF where he got to go ice skating for the very 1st time. Since he was on campus, I was stoked to be able to walk over on my lunch break and hang out with him for a bit 🙂

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The weather was gorgeous while we were off, so a trip to the park was a must. I was so impressed that Liam now knows how to swing himself — another milestone down in the books 😉 !

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Our local Christmas carnival made it’s way back into town, so of course, we had a great night of family fun! ❤

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We usually steer clear of the carnie games, but this time, we let wee-man stop & play. He was pretty pumped. He had to throw darts to pop the balloons…..and, he won a Scooby!

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Bumper car boys 🙂

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Liam was completely discouraged that he was still too small to ride the regular Himalaya, BUT found he was loving this mini-Himalaya {not that ya couldn’t tell from his face here}.

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We were definitely in an awkward ride phase this year. Not a fan of as many of the kiddie rides this time, like this one, but again, still kinda small for the bigger ones.

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Still had a blast at the carnival, once again! 🙂

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One of our other adventures on winter break was heading over to the Science Center to check out the NEW KidsTown. We had been anticipating this expansion for the longest time, so were super stoked to visit. We’ve always loved KidsTown when it was on the 1st floor, but now it encompasses the entire 2nd floor of the Science Center, and is just about 3 times the size of the old version at a total of 11,000 square feet 🙂

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As we walked through each of the room, honestly Liam and I were just amazed! It was so much more than what I thought either of us anticipated. There was a whole room for the orange groves that all the kiddos love. We didn’t even stop to play there on this visit, so definitely next time. He saw this ClimbTime structure and that was all she wrote, folks. LOL! We spent most of our time here. It was so much fun!

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DripDropSplash is the new water table & play area that is also WAY bigger than the previous water structure area and so sleek looking too, I might add ❤

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Toytopia was the traveling exhibit that was on the way out, so we stopped in for another look before we called it a day. Loved this gigantic Monopoly piece!

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At the end of the week, we were excited to have Papa G and G-ma come for a visit. These two had a blast hanging out ❤

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We closed out of winter break with a trip to the movies — SING!

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It was definitely nice to take a break from the hustle & bustle of work, school, homework & the daily grind. We enjoyed some good, quality family time and made some good memories ❤

Until next time,

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Our Merry Christmas {2016}

Merry Christmas!

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With Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, we had a whole weekend of fun-filled holiday goodness! Liam was out of school the week before, so he had a ball at winter camp with a few field trips & activities. Both Stephen & I had to work through the 23rd, and that evening, Liam had a very special celebration, but more on that soon! Once we wrapped all that up, it was full-on Christmas mode! I have been blasting Christmas tunes  everywhere I go since just before Thanksgiving, and this weekend was no different. I LOVE Christmas music and it really tickled me this year because we noticed that Liam now knows many of the words to the songs we play on the regular.carpenterschristmasChristmas Eve, Liam woke up to a special present from Mr. Elf. He also delivered his good-bye letter to him that included a note that he could hug & kiss him bye again this year for a few minutes without his Christmas magic leaving. Mr. Elf was set to return to the North Pole with Santa that evening. Last year, Liam was VERY sad to see his friend leave, so we were anticipating that again this year. However, it was not as bad this time around because of the gift he brought Liam. He had asked Santa for a stuffed Mr. Elf toy, and THAT is exactly what he got from Mr. Elf! He was ecstatic!!

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That afternoon, we attended the Christmas Eve service at our church. Towards the end of service, there was a candlelight activity as we shared how Jesus is our light for the world ❤

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Some of our family was unfortunately sick, so thwarted plans landed us out to eat. We chose Bahama Breeze, and it was a perfect dinner! We beat the crowds, and the weather was amazing to sit outside.

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Liam was even able to play corn-hole while we waited for our food 🙂

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Once we got home, little man helped me to make cookies for Santa! We even made them from scratch this year. If you know me, then you know that’s means LOT 😉 …I haven’t made this cookie recipe in years, and was honestly so happy to do it with Liam this year. They came out so cute!

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After cookie baking, we put on jammies and put out the reindeer food in the front yard. Liam thought he kept hearing Santa’s sleigh ❤

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Even though he knew Santa wouldn’t come until after he fell asleep, Liam was not happy about bedtime. When we put out Santa’s cookies & milk, I asked him to smile for a picture. This was as good as it got. Ha!

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….and, once he was fast asleep — Santa arrived! ❤

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Christmas morning, wee-man slept ’till about 7:00am. Stephen & I laugh because, as kids, we can remember waking up before dawn with excitement. Not our kiddo. He {like his mama now} loves his sleep, and has snoozed till early morning every Christmas so far. When he did get up, he came into our room to wake us, and said, “I got presents! There’s a big bag & that’s my drum set! Come look!

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Daddy & Mommy picture courtesy of Liam 🙂

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So, he went for the big gift bag 1st to open, as he was convinced that was the drum set he had asked Santa for on his list. It wasn’t {it was the castle in the pic below}. However, Santa did bring him that drum set, so he was stoked when he did finally open it!

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Silly boy….

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Liam’s BIG gift this year was one that we were SUPER excited for, as well — ANNUAL FAMILY PASSES TO DISNEY!!!!!

Liam had a special gold box to open with a few things inside to reveal the gift:

Santa wrote him a letter to explain that he was getting the passes & why.

A fun “ticket” that said, Liam is going to Disney! All by himself, he actually read it & that was awesome!!

A Disney autograph book to take to the parks.

Magic Bandits to put on his magic band once we get them.

His Mickey ears {fun fact: I found these in his closet from when we took him on his 2nd bday for his very 1st trip there, so this worked out perfectly. You can check out that post HERE}.

*special THANK YOU!! to everyone who helped make this happen ❤ *

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His face as he was reading his ticket ❤

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I would say that is the face of one happy, little man!

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The animals were not left out of the morning, either. Santa brought them some treats. Timber snoozed most of the morning, though, while Simba raced around stealing bows & pieces of wrapping paper. Don’t be fooled by this cute pic….the tree skirt later was dragged half way across the living room! By Wednesday, this year, the tree was down. We have always waited to take our decorations down until after the New Year, but this crazy boy kept me on my toes just a little too much 😛

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After a relaxing afternoon, we headed over to our good friends to have Christmas dinner. Plans turned into the three of us having dinner at home, but we are very thankful & blessed to have great friends who insisted we not be alone for Christmas dinner. We really had an enjoyable evening! Here’s a pic of Liam & James playing out back with James’ new boat.
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We are so grateful & have full-hearts as we wrap up another magical Christmas season! We had a lot more fun throughout the rest of Liam’s winter break this past week, & I’ll be sharing more of that soon.

For a look back on our previous Christmas celebrations —

2013

2014

2015

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Much love…

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A Winter Holiday Celebration

Little man has been busy spreading holiday cheer, and we are eating it up! Look at this super cute angel he made in art class ❤

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Last week, I headed over to his school in the morning to catch his Kindergarten Winder Holiday Celebration. Each of the five classrooms performed a Christmas themed song. He had shared bits & pieces of his class’s routine with us at home, but he made sure to tell us that we had to wait to see the whole production in person.

This little smirk is what I get from him often ….sometimes it means he’s being shy (as he was a bit in this pic) and sometimes he’s up to no good 😉

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The song his class had was ‘Groovin’ Elf” ….so, of course, they all came in dressed as cool little elves. LOVED IT!

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Mr. Mason, his music teacher 🙂

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No stage fright for little man Murphy….

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At the end of the show, all of the classrooms got on stage together and sang — We Wish You A Merry Christmas

After the show, his class had their holiday party, and they made a few crafts. Last Friday was also Pajama Day at school, so he was stoked to wear those PJ’s to school!

The bell craft was fun, as it’s a countdown to Christmas. He gets to cut a ring off each night. He knows when it’s just the bell left….it will be Christmas!

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A few weekends ago, we had also went up to his school for Breakfast with Santa ❤

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The cafeteria was decorated so cute by the PTA. Liam asked if the real Santa was there or if this was a helper. {We tell him that the Santa’s that he sees out & about in the malls & stores are helpers that report back to the North Pole}. I told him this was also a helper, but he looked at this guy, and told me I was wrong. This was the real one ❤

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Love this boy & all the holiday magic he brings into our home. It’s just THE best!

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ICE! at Gaylord Palms ~ 2016

It’s become one of our family traditions at this time of the year to head over to the Gaylord Palms Resort and check out ICE! This is literally two-million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures that we can walk through to a different holiday theme each year. There are also ice slides and the whole scene tells a cute story. Not to mention, the attraction is kept at a super cool NINE degrees!! BBRR!!

You can see our fun from last year HERE.

We were so excited to go this year, as it featured A Charlie Brown Christmas. This is one of our childhood favorites, and of course, now one of Liam’s ❤

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As we waited in line to enter the exhibit, the staff member literally reviewed this with us. Seriously, this was hilarious!! 🙂

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The details in the ice sculptures are just mind blowing. While the chilly temps will literally, at first, take your breath away, lol….walking around looking at these beauties will, too! So, so pretty!!

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While we laughed at being told not to touch the ice, little man kept asking to touch it…I mean, look at it….for a kid, even for us….you really do just want to reach out & touch it!

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They did such an awesome job of capturing all of our favorites moments from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. LOVE IT!!

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Charlie Brown & Lucy ❤

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This was the ice slide room! Super fun!!

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Schroeder!!

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Linus …and he was holding a real blanket ❤

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Both Liam & Stephen went down the slides (there were four). My hands were so cold that my phone didn’t register my fingerprints to take the video & it messed up (such a bummer). While I was waiting for them to slide down, another lady’s phone froze….THAT’s how cold it was in there! Really!! So, here’s a screen shot of when I tried to 1st start the video 🙂

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Say cheese! …It’s the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree!

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We were seriously just so in love with all of these vibrant colors & details!

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Once again, the last room was the Nativity Scene, and it was breathtaking ❤

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Such a fun-filled family day!

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Until next time, friends!

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Priceless Memories ~ Family Pictures 2016

Last month, we got together, once again, with our favorite photographer, Dawn Geraghty, for our annual family pictures session. As always, she did not disappoint with the amazing shots  & moments she captured of our little family.

We love working with the natural light & elements outdoors, and Dawn does a fantastic job of capturing that vision. We are also just absolutely blown away by how much Liam has grown since last year. That is one of the main reason’s why I ensure we do these pictures annually because our little man is definitely changing right before our eyes. I want to capture every moment that I can ❤

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You can contact Dawn at: dawngeraghtyphotography@aol.com // facebook: Dawn Geraghty Photography // http://www.dawngphoto.com/

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We were anticipating this would be a fab session, so while we had his Kindergarten pics taken with his school, we really didn’t invest in a package with them. Instead, Dawn captured this image & it really show’s Liam’s true personality…..

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Total silliness but LOVE it ❤

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And, some more gorgeous updated shots ….

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Here is a look back on the family pics from the last few year’s:

2014 \\ 2015

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Until next time!

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