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!

Valentine’s Week Wrap-Up

Our Valentine’s last week was everything BUT quiet 🙂

I started things out with putting up our usual few decorations around the house to spread some love & cheer. However, this year, I wanted to do something new & started THIS project I found on Pinterest. I put one heart up a day from Feb. 1st through Feb. 14th. for Liam. Each heart listed a positive attribute for him ❤ — he loved it & that made us happy! He said, “Thank you so much, Mommy!” after he saw the heart on the 1st day & gave me a great big hug! I hope to do this every year now.

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For his class Valentine’s this year, we looked through a ton of designs, and he chose THIS astronaut valentine, and we thought it was super cool & fun! The free printable was found online, so I printed it out on card stock. I literally ordered a bucket of astronaut men from Amazon and then used neat, sparkly black washi tape to secure them. LOVE IT!

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Since Valentine’s was falling during the week, we took advantage of the weekend before and had a date night. Bahama Breeze patio seating was perfect! 🙂 — Wee Man enjoyed a night hanging with his karate friends while we relaxed!

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After church on Sunday, we had a family Valentine’s breakfast at Keke’s — YUM!!

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Then, on Valentine’s eve — everything got turned upside down for the rest of the week 😦

I got a call at work that our sweet boy had fallen off of the slide at his aftercare program and hurt his arm. Not the best type of call you want to get, but you drop what you’re doing and go get your love.

After a visit to Urgent Care, it was determined that he had fractured his humerus bone in his left arm. They put a splint on it for the night.

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I didn’t even realize until looking through Facebook memories throughout the week that his burn on his little arm also happened during this week two years ago. Ugh…we need some good vibes on this week from now on.

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The next morning, the doctor and staff got him all fixed up with a shiny, red cast {he picked the color…his fave} 🙂 — he’ll be wearing this baby for 3 weeks. The doctor said for this type of fracture, it is very common to need surgery, but he does not. We are VERY thankful and blessed for that news!! We are also hugely grateful for the care and compassion for everyone at Nemours Urgent Care and Pediatric Orthopedic Clinic — They have been just absolutely amazing during this difficulty time for our little family.

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For the rest of the week, little dude insisted on sleeping on the couch. As long as he was comfortable and resting, we were ok with that ❤

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His teacher and class were so sweet and collected all of his Valentines while he was out 🙂

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While we had an adventurous week, we are very thankful that everyone is okay and that what is broken can be healed. Little man’s injury definitely could have been much worse. Being a parent will always keep ya on your toes. Kiddos are full of surprises and definitely don’t come with an instruction manual 🙂

Hugs,

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It’s Christmas Time!

As we wrap up this 1st full week of December, I am definitely feeling the Christmas spirit all around. Maybe part of it is because decorations have been out in the stores since August….#kiddingnotkidding

No, but really, we were completely excited to break out the holiday decor as soon as we wrapped up Thanksgiving. It was a busy weekend after coming home from my dad’s for Turkey Day, so it took us a bit longer than I had planned to get everything up, but the house is looking festive now ❤ …Of course, the kitty is keeping us VERY busy with his mischief & antics with the Christmas tree.

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Last week, we kicked off the season with our annual Gingerbread Decorating Party. This is always a great time with our friends. A few of us girls gathered together a couple nights before the party to put all the houses together & have a few laughs 🙂

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Liam was excited to get to work on his house. It was hard to even snap some of the pics this year because almost every time you asked him to stop and ‘say cheese’…he would reply with “I can’t, I’m busy.” …hilarious!

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I might have bribed him to get this pic ❤

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This was his, ‘can I eat another piece of candy?’ face 🙂

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He wanted to spread the icing himself this year and he picked out all the candies. He’s getting to be so big and he’s very creative. He also knows exactly how he wants things to be & look.

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Finished!

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And, of course, as soon as the kiddos wrapped up, the big kids jumped in. Lisa & Stephen have gotten very serious about their joint decorating adventure over the last few years. It’s quite amusing!

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We joked around this year that this party is going to turn into the kids just playing & only the adults decorating houses. Hahaha!

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I have to say that their house turned out pretty amazing! They were impressed with themselves, too, as you can see from their pic below 🙂

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The Bengel’s neighborhood has a cool Santa that comes by, and the night of our party was actually the night he came! It was SO exciting for everyone.

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We grabbed all the kids really quick and headed out front. Santa came up the driveway, greeted everyone, and gave each kiddo a little box filled with small trinkets & candy. It was so sweet ❤

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Afterwards, we headed inside & had our gift exchange for the kids with a few of our friends.

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Liam was stoked — he got his 1st NERF gun! ….P.S., Daddy was too 😉

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We’ve really enjoyed attending our new church home this past year, as I’ve mentioned in past posts. It’s such a blessing to share a deeper learning and understanding  of the Advent season with Liam.

We had a guest speaker, Brad Gray, last Sunday for the 1st of a two-part series about the meaning of Advent. Let me tell you ….it was so good!! He covered so much education & history about the Bible and what was happening in the world at the time of Jesus’ birth. I honestly had no idea. I can’t wait to hear the rest of his message this weekend!

It’s called the Fullness of Time and I highly recommend you take a listen, as it’s available online HERE

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Sunday morning, before church, Liam popped up & immediately declared he had to write his letter to Santa. So, that’s what we did ❤
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Had to grab a pic of these two putting the star on top of the tree 🙂

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It felt good to finally have the house decorated by the end of the week. This pic is kinda dark, but the living room looks so cozy with just the glow of the Christmas lights & the fireplace.

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Some of our other decorations….and Christmas cookies about to bake!

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Can’t forget the outside decor, too!

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And, this gem! If you read my last post, you know we went to see the big guy last month, so I’ve been saving this for awhile now. We LOVE our Santa at our local mall. Liam was a little nervous again this year, but he went up to him without any forcing. He asked him for Hot Wheels. Afterwards, you could see the excitement in his eyes, and he said to me, ‘that wasn’t bad at all‘.

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We have a lot to look forward to this month & much to share! This is truly a magical time. Especially when you share it through the eyes of a child. Hope that your Christmas season is off to a fantastic start, as well!

 Until next time, friends!

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Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

Happy Thanksgiving! Our pastor said the following sentiment at church on the Sunday before turkey day, and I thought it so appropriate & super cute…..

We hope you & your family had a holiday weekend filled with the five F’s:

FAITH

FAMILY

FRIENDS

FOOD

FOOTBALL

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We took a road trip for the holiday & headed up to Jacksonville to my dad & stepmom’s. Keeping with tradition, we kicked off our morning with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was so cool that this year’s parade was it’s 90th anniversary!

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He drives us nuts at times, as any 5 year old does, but this boy is the most loving kid ever. Definitely take pause on this day to celebrate just how blessed and thankful our family is. There is MUCH to be thankful for each and EVERY day….all the little things that we all too often take for granted.

As I look back on year’s past pics — HERE , HERE , and HERE ….I am amazed at just how much Liam has grown. Especially since last year. What a growth spurt! His little baby face has changed so much ❤ …definitely tugs on this mama’s heart strings.

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These two silly boys 🙂 …They were permanent begging buddies in the kitchen. Hilarious!

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Cooking up some yumminess in the kitchen! Almost time to eat!

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We had a great spread for our Thanksgiving Day meal — all the traditional trimmings, and including both a turkey and a ham. Stephen helped with keeping an eye on the ham, which we cooked on the grill. So tasty! Liam even helped baste it at the end.

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The day after Thanksgiving, we took full advantage of living in the Sunshine State and went for a walk on the beach. It was a little cool but definitely refreshing. We even took the dogs with us, and Timber had a ball! It was his 1st time with his paws in the sand in years ❤

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Timber followed Stephen out to the sandbar and then swam back to me. So cute!

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Buddies! 🙂

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We headed home on Saturday. I had full intentions on putting away the Thanksgiving decor and putting up ALL the Christmas. LOL! — it was a good plan. It ended up taking me most of the week but no worries.

What was super fun was that Mr. Elf flew back to see us from the North Pole on Saturday night! Liam woke up to him hanging out here on Sunday morning ❤

He brought him some new pj’s and some candy. More about that next time!

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It was a great weekend, overall. We hope you all had a restful & fun holiday weekend, as well.

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We are THANKFUL you have taken the time to stop by our little spot on this great big cyberspace.

Until next time, friends!

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Splashing Good Birthday Fun!

Last weekend, we had a splashing good time celebrating Liam’s 5th birthday with family & friends. While his actual birthDAY is not until this weekend, we opted to hold his party a week early due to venue scheduling. We had such a great time at the Oviedo Splash Zone last year for his party, that we held it it there again this year. It definitely did NOT disappoint!

Little Man selected STAR WARS for his theme this year. I found these clever invitations on Etsy:

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The quiet before the storm of kiddos. The weather was already hot at 9:00 am, but we were thankful for gorgeous FL sunshine! Wee-man was ready to get his 5th birthday par-tay on 😉

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 This place is seriously amazing. It wasn’t even a question to not come here again this year. It’s literally a playground in the water ❤

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Since we are surrounded by water and everyone is playing, we keep the decorations simple. We decided to go with cake pops this year in lieu of cupcakes, and they were THE BEST. Ms. Lauren from Little Boy Blue Bakery in Oviedo completely outdid herself with these fantastic Star Wars themed pops. Be sure to follow her on Facebook and Instagram (@littleboybluebakery) and see all of her amazing creations!

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What kiddos doesn’t love a good party favor? Keeping with the simple, yet fun, theme, I found THIS idea online and was thrilled with the result! The TAGS were another find from Etsy 🙂

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One of my fav shots of the R2-D2 cake pop! // photo credit: Little Boy Blue Bakery

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I really have to brag about these pops because all I told Lauren was the theme and she completely delivered. We had Darth Vader, the Death Star, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and Stormtroopers. And, of course they ALL were SO delish!!

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Here’s a snap of 4 of the 5 masterpieces ….all of the Death Star pops were eaten by the time I thought to take this…lol!

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Jase & Liam 🙂

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Liam & James….

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Trying to get these boys to stop playing for 5 seconds and say cheese was IMPOSSIBLE…hahaha! // Brandon, Bryce, Liam & Jase

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Love these girls! They always have my back ❤

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And this lady has had my back since birth 😛 …my momma! So happy she’s back in the sunshine state with us!

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Sillies….

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Liam & Matthias…

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double trouble 🙂 ….Liam & Kenadie

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My heartstrings….my boys ❤

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We had ordered a Darth Vader cupcake from Sweet! here in town so we could put a candle in it & sing to him. As cute as they made this for him…..he loved Ms. Lauren’s pops so much that he never ate this 😛 …he later declared that he “loves loves loves cake pops” ….so, I believe we have a new fav around here!

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Love this family of mine….

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Munchin’ on a Darth Vader cake pop!

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….and, back in the water to play some more! All the kiddos had a great time & played ’till the facility literally turned the water off on the playground equipment to signal the party was done. Then, all of us parents had to pry them out of the pool 🙂

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One VERY happy & blessed boy!

{who shockingly did not fall asleep even on the drive home from the splash park}

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Thanks to everyone who came out to splash around with us! It really was such a great day & a super fun time to celebrate this sweet boy turning 5.

Hugs!

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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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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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