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I just came back from a week-long trip to Florida. Intended to be a business trip, my boss gave me the blessing to make it a personal one as well. I have over a dozen first cousins (my Dad being the oldest of 10 children) in Jacksonville, Florida; I haven’t seen most of them in over 10 years! They were kids when I last saw them and now many of them are college grads, in their career, homeowners, parents, etc. Even though I only had a few days with my cousins, we were able to build amazing memories together that make me smile or giggle when I think about them. Truly, truly grateful for these amazing people I call my cousins and my family. I miss them so much. :(


Ella’s First Trip to Hawaii

Last month, the Hubby and I took our little Ella on her first trip to Hawaii. It was the first time she had ever been on a plane (and she did a great job). It was the perfect opportunity to give Ella our undivided attention before her baby sister arrives. I look back at that vacation and smile every time knowing that we were able to share something special with her that she can have all to her own. Here are some pictures from our trip.

Ella, I hope you enjoyed your first trip to Hawaii. You were a very good traveler and I’m very proud of you, Big Girl! I smile thinking about the excitement on your face during every part of the trip – from riding on the plane, to playing in the water, to trying Bubbies ice cream. You didn’t complain about all the walking and even when it rained, you told me “It’s ok if it rains, Mommy. It just means there’s more water in the pool.”  : )You even showed your appreciation as soon as we landed by holding mine and Daddy’s hands and telling us “Thank you Mommy and Daddy for taking me to Hawaii.” I love you and I am so glad we have this special vacation to call our own forever…

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Snow Trip 2012

This past weekend, our family went to Big Bear, CA to enjoy a few fun and chilly days in the snow. Everyone who knows me knows I’m not a “camping” kind of girl. I do love those little luxuries like a toilet, running water, heat, and a roof (one that is not made of fabric) over my head. Thankfully, my SIL arranged for us to stay in this lovely cabin that had all those little luxuries, plus had a camping-like ambiance. I absolutely loved it! There were so many “firsts” like Ella and her sister seeing snow for the first time and playing board games as a family for the first time. I was impressed to see how fearless Ella was in the snow – she braved the high hills with her big brother and sister beside her and even went tubing! It was pretty amazing to watch. So many wonderful memories made – it looks like this could be a new family tradition. : )

One of my favorite shots from the trip...they had a blast!

The cabin

The family

Snow angel

The family taking over the hill

Top Five: Places I’d Visit If Time & Money Didn’t Matter

1. The Motherland: I’d definitely love to visit the Philippines and meet all of my extended family out there. I visited when I was 13 years old, but I definitely didn’t have the appreciation for it back then. I am certain that I’d look at the whole experience a lot differently and with more of an open mind…as  a 13 year old, I was just homesick. :(

2. Jacksonville, Florida: My Dad is the eldest of 10 children, in which all 9 are on the other side of the country, primarily in Jacksonville, FL. Although, I cannot stand heat and humidity, I am willing to endure all of that to spend time with my cousins. Many of them are parents too and I’d love for our kids to meet.

3. Hawaii: The Hubby and I dream of taking our kids with us to Hawaii one of these days. I would love to rent a house on the country side to enjoy the private beaches and then drive over to the city side to enjoy the action of the island. One day…

4. Canada (NorthWest): I have only heard wonderful things about Canada – I would love to visit with my Hubby one of these days.

5. Spain: I would love to visit Spain with my Hubby, who has never been to Europe. I’ve visited 6 countries in Europe, but Spain was not one of them. I think it would be a romantic adventure for both of us. :)

Family Trip: Las Vegas

Fabulous Las Vegas

Our 2011 summer family trip was a success! In fact, I think this is the best vacation yet for our family. I realized two things during this trip: 1) How important it was to be ‘in the moment’ with my family and 2) How fast our kids are growing up. Bittersweet, but that’s why these vacations mean so much. Every minute of this vacation was nothing short of blissful, relaxing, memorable and full of joy for me. The kids made me laugh all throughout the trip, and for that, I’m thankful.

We took them to some places that we knew they’d enjoy including an All You Can Eat sushi restaurant (oh yes, they were in heaven), M&Ms World, Serendipity 3, and the Coca-Cola store where we were able to sample 16 Coca-Cola drinks from around the globe. Our plans including something for everyone (we have four kids ranging from 3 to 18, remember???) So thankful to our good friends P&T for lending us their timeshare for the weekend. We had the best time!

The Island Roll was the family favorite!

Serendipity 3

M&Ms World

Tastes Around the World (Coca Cola)

Bellagio Dancing WatersLazy River

The Grotto