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oh, Christmas tree

It is Christmas day and I wasn’t planning on blogging tonight but my boys have gone to bed, chores are done and I’ve seen the Hallmark movie that’s on right now (haha!), so I have a little me-time before I crash. So, our Christmas tree this year is pretty special. It’s the first time we cut our tree and we had so much fun doing it – from having breakfast with Santa, to making the spontaneous decision, driving out to the beautiful countryside, sipping on fresh cider, running around the tree farm, picking out the perfect tree, to cutting it down and having the husband haul it back to our car. I believe we just started a new family tradition. New experiences are a big deal to me and Jof. We always look for new things to do that eventually become hobbies and traditions. We want Alex to have childhood memories he’ll love sharing when he grows up. And so far, I think we’ve been pretty successful in filling the memory box. We definitely enjoy the perks of living in a small town. But back to our Christmas tree! My husband has blogged some photos already and I don’t mean to start a blog war with him but I still have a lot of Christmas spirit left in me that needs to come out! Sorry, babe! Haha! Okay, so at the end of the day, we ended up with a 7 foot blue spruce and it is perfect. We really didn’t check out other kinds of trees, we were just drawn to the blue spruce’s pretty grey green colors. They are indeed beautiful but their needles are brutal! They are sharp and they hurt, but obviously that didn’t stop us. There’s nothing tough gloves couldn’t handle! We most certainly enjoyed hanging lights and ornaments, but that’s a whole different blog post. I thought of sharing photos from our Christmas morning with this one, but then that would mean lots and lots of pictures! So I’ll give it a couple days!

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Ahhh… these photos are so special to me! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! xo

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beachin’ on highway 30A

Okay, so I’ve wanted to share our photos from Highway 30A in Panama City Beach, FL since we got back but life just happens every time I try to (not to mention how crazy I get when I try to narrow down a few hundred photos to somewhere below a hundred, haha). We drove six hours from Orlando to Panama City Beach. Alex did so well! He loves road trips, this boy. The drive was so well worth it! I think it’s safe to say that this trip to the white sand beaches of Florida was one of our BEST vacations eveeeerr! We didn’t have a plan; we just went. We walked around and explored, appreciated local stores and had fun conversations with other visitors. We ate at random restaurants and I have to say the food down there was just too good for words! Jof and I love seafood and Florida did not disappoint! The lobster roll from this little joint downstairs from the condo we rented was the best lobster roll we’ve had (so far)! While Jof and I inhaledΒ all kinds of seafood left and right, Alex had a cereal, pasta and pizza diet. He had so much fun on this trip! He loved the beach! He especially loved running around on the white sand, digging for ‘special shells’ and looking for fishes in the clear emerald waters. He actually did catch a couple little fishies with his little net and he was so excited! But he knew what he had to do and I clearly remember what he said: “I think their mom and dad are looking for them now. It’s time to go back to your family little fishes.” Then he let them go. I’m so proud of my little guy! So that’s how it worked – we just let him play in the sand for hours until he got tired – but he really never admitted he was tired! I could go on forever with cute stories from this beach trip but I have so many photos to add to this post! Haha! I may just upload them without captions because there are A LOT. I tried to pick just 20 or 30 but I just can’t. I could post more than what I’m about to but my husband has already warned me not to. Great! Haha! Our family photos are my ABSOLUTE FAVORITES!!! What a beautiful place. Definitely our happy place!

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apples, pumpkins & things

It’s apple-picking season and we weren’t going to miss it this year, so we planned a whole day out in the country to do just that. Since we went a little late this year (we went in August last year), it was just easier to pick apples and pumpkins on the same trip. Alex enjoys picking fresh fruits, so he was really looking forward to this one. It was raining a lot the week before we went, but fortunately, the ground was all dried up and the weather was perfect, with clear skies, the Sunday we went. My Joffoto took a lot of cute photos of our boy and with the help of his most useful tripod, we have some cute family photos as well.

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What a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains! One big reason why it’s so hard to leave Northern Virginia.

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I just love how he makes every activity so much fun for all three of us.

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After walking around the apple orchard, we set out our blanket for a little family picnic. Funny family conversations and that amazing view right in front of us were the highlights that day.

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We stacked apples before we packed up. Just because, haha!

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Family, fall, fun, apples, boots and that vintage sassy plaid blanket.

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My husband and his camera. I still believe he loves me more.

JFT_7401JFT_7418“I can help you, mom!” Thank you, my love.JFT_7415JFT_7360

When my husband tells me to “Stand right there, babe.”, this happens.

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He really did carry that heavy thing around.

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He took a little breather after all that heavy lifting. My big, strong boy.

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As if two pumpkins were not enough, he had to get a third one.

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Our photographer and his jump shot. I think I did pretty good!

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And another one! Because it looks just as cool as the one above.

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“What daddy does, I can do, too.” kinda mindset. He’s cute.

– – – – – –

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I am a lucky mama and a lucky wife; my two Jofs make me the happiest. Sure, our life isn’t perfect, but we make the best of what we have. Jof and I, we both grew up living a simple family life, and we still do. And with that in mind, we started to instill our own family values to our little boy. With simple family living, quality family time is very, very essential. So, may it be in our little home or outdoors, togetherness is our priority; it’s what makes us happy. Bottom line is, just being a family makes us happy. Simple as that. πŸ™‚

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magic kingdom

Exactly one month ago, we spent a whole day at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. This visit was our third. Our first time in Disney World was about four years ago, Alex was only 10 months old. Jof and I celebrated our birthdays there, as well as our goddaughter’s 1st birthday. We had so much fun that time that we went back only three months later. Alex was already a year old at the time and we knew he wasn’t going to remember that family vacation, but still, we figured it would be a really nice family road trip down to Florida that winter and a very special way of welcoming 2012. Anyway, Jof and I have been showing Alex photos from those times we went when he was still a baby, so he’s asked us a number of times to take him back. This was the perfect timing. Initially, we planned for a lazy beach vacation in the gulf coast, but since we were heading down to Florida anyway, we thought why not spend a couple days in Orlando? And so we did. I seriously have no idea how I was able to pick only the following photos from hundreds that we took, but I just love these. I love all hundreds of them! They’re a mix of digital and film photos of my Joffoto.

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Hubby doing what he does best. A few people actually thought he was one of the official photographers since we took our time taking pictures. Hah!

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Alex was still very excited about his white belt at the time, so he was showing off his kicks in front of everyone! I love him!

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This one. This happens to be my favorite from our Disney film rolls. We were just super happy!

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My heart! He was overjoyed when he saw Mickey and Minnie!

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Prince Charming’s carousel – definitely one of our favorites.

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We love to picnic, so we carry our picnic blanket everywhere. Yes, even in Florida. After a lot of standing in line and a few rides, we needed a little break. So we found this cool spot by the water, had a shade, had a nice breeze and a wonderful view; perfect place for a power nap.

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My boys. We played with lights and bubbles while waiting for the fireworks – which was magical, as always.

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We waited in line for an hour to meet Mickey Mouse and it was well worth it. Alex was so excited he got to have a conversation with him! They talked about pirates and ‘The Enchanted Tiki Room!’ #CHILDHOODMEMORY

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What a wonderful experience that was for our little man! It made me and Jof really happy having seen Alex’s facial expressions of joy and excitement that day. Jof and I made it a point to have him choose which rides he wanted to go on and what he wanted to see. And we just really took our time walking around. I’ve said it a lot of times already – I think it’s safe to say that our most recent Florida trip was the best family vacation we’ve had so far. And I’m not even done blogging photos. Next up: beach pics!

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orlando in film

On September 13th, my husband’s birthday (the day after my birthday), we spent the whole day exploring Orlando. Well, it rained cats and dogs in the morning, but that didn’t stop us from leaving our hotel. We had a lovely lunch at a local Asian restaurant to make sure our little one gets to eat a complete meal being the picky eater that he is. After that, we did a little shopping at the mall then headed off to the famous Lee and Rick’s Oyster Bar. Me and Jof, we love anything seafood! We had been dreaming of this place days before we flew into town, so you can imagine our excitement when we entered the restaurant. This place did not disappoint! We learned from a local who sat beside us at the bar that Lee and Rick’s is basically an “institution” in the area. I mean, rightfully so, they’ve been there since 1950! How we wish we lived closer! Below are our favorite film photos that Sunday, shot mostly by Joffoto.

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The clear after the rain. What a beautiful view!

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If it were up to him, he probably would’ve stayed out and just sat there on that boat.

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The cool scene outside Lee and Rick’s Oyster Bar.

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The birthday boy’s view: a big ol’ bucket of fresh oysters, crackers and a beer.

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Since we’ve never tried steamed oysters before, we thought we’d try it while we were there. So you dip the steamed oyster in warm butter, place it on top of a cracker and that was it – another new fave. #icanteven

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We sat at the bar, watched our very friendly shucker shuck the oysters in front of us, we drank beer and sweet tea, and we just really took our time.

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Of course, our Starbucks Birthday Rewards! One of our birthday traditions.

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Happy baby. I mean, it can’t get any better than that. It was the best way to start our family vacation! After Lee and Rick’s, we walked around Downtown Disney and ended the night there. But that’s another fun story.

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dc in film

I believe I have quite a bit of catching up to do here. Our weekends have been hectic to say the least, as we try to do as much before winter comes. Jof and I have a lot of albums lined up we can’t wait to share, which is a problem because I seriously do not know where to start. But before I go crazy with our vacation photos from Florida, I think I’ll start with the local stuff. Below are my faves from my husband’s rolls of film. He’s been playing around with his film cameras, so naturally, me and Alex are his main subjects at the moment. No edits!

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Georgetown always makes for a lovely family walk (and shopping, hah).

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Baby love and macarons. He is always so sweet! I love him!

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Now this… this is a great action shot! Good job, baby. We love stopping for DC street music and dancing. So much talent around!

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So, while we were enjoying dinner out on patio seating, flock of birds were flying to this one tree across the street from the restaurant, literally in the middle of the city. This went on for about 15 minutes and of course, everyone had their phones and cameras out. We couldn’t miss it, either.

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Ending this post welcoming mine and Jof’s favorite season, autumn.

Photos by Joffoto

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back at the farm!

Last Sunday, while we were on our way out to the country so Jof and I could do some wine tasting and Alex enjoy a pony ride, I happen to ask Alex if there was anything else he had in mind that he wanted to do. He replied, “You know what we keep forgetting to do mom? Dig potatoes!” And he was right. I have been telling him for the past couple weekends that I was going to let him dig potatoes at the farm. So instead of heading to the winery, we took a little turn. While he was on the roll of reminding me and Jof things we’ve forgotten,Β he also reminded us that we needed peaches because “we ate all of them for breakfast” that morning! Times like these make Jof and I feel really old! But we are very glad we have our son to remind us of things we forget. We are very proud.

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Forks and shovels ready to go!

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His first find! He was so excited! “I want to find more, mom and dad!”

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Dig-Your-Own-Potatoes was a great father and son activity. It didn’t help that I was wearing a dress so I was mainly on camera duty while my boys were digging away.

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That fork was heavy but he really wanted to hold it, so daddy had to teach him how. He was so proud of being able to dig a little bit of dirt that would expose baby potatoes! So cute!

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Here’s a closer photo that shows all the hard work and sweat. That’s my boy!

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Digging potatoes was tons of fun! It was a good excuse to get our hands and feet dirty, and just a great family experience we would do again any day.

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Potatoes we dug out! Some of them eventually became French fries later that night!

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After our fun in the dirt, we went to the peach orchard to pick peaches – another family activity we really enjoy. This is the second time we’re out to pick peaches this summer so Alex knew his way around the orchard.

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Also, it’s just a great place for him to run around. If he’s not trying to reach a peach, he’s running around chasing bugs. You know, being a boy.

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While at it, we also picked vegetables, berries and sweet corn. It’s like grocery shopping but waaay better. I truly believe we lived in the country and/or possibly farmers in the past life. Picking fruits and vegetables, driving out to the countryside, these little things make us really happy. They also make our fridge really full, haha!

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And a plus: pick summer blooms for free! Always a treat!