Welcome to mid-February, friends! This year, as expected, is already breezing by. And this year, as expected, has already been filled with its fair share of ups and downs, highs and lows. Sadness and happiness. This is life, am I right?
On one of the happier notes, Lotte and I just returned from a solo mom/daughter trip back east to celebrate my niece Rosalie’s first birthday. I can’t believe how quickly that year flew by, so I can only imagine how her parents must feel. This trip was super quick — just Thursday night through Sunday — but it was so amazing. We got to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the fam, I got to visit my grandmother, we celebrated Ro at her first birthday party and saw so many friends and family<3 Going back east is always a whirlwind, but it’s never not worth it. And this solo trip with Lotte — our first since Grace was born, our third in total — was so much fun. At 3.5, Lotte is at, I believe, the perfect travel age. Despite the fact that she’s traveled quite a bit, flying on an airplane is still magical to her (as it should be!), and she has the best time eating snacks, watching shows, coloring, reading … basically all of her every day activities are made that much more fun when they’re done mid-air.
A very merry, bright and happy holiday season to all of you! It has been super quiet on here lately because, to be honest, the final few months of this year have been the busiest of our lives. Selling a house, buying a house, having two small children and jobs has basically consumed all of our time. We are very happy to be spending some down time at the end of this year with Chris’s brother and his wife (visiting from Australia!), as well as with my sister and her husband and their baby. It’s a quieter holiday than we’re used to, and we are very happy about it! Before the clock strikes New Year, I wanted to take a second to round up a year that included our daughters’ first-ever international trips, my first-ever girlfriend getaway since having kids, Chris & my first-ever overnight trip away from the girls, my first-ever Mom-daughter trip with G, a lot of fun press trips, the happiest amount of trips back to New York, and a bunch of other fun mountain getaways sprinkled in, as well.
Hope you are all having fabulous, relaxing holidays with your loved ones – and cheers to a fabulous 2020!
January The beginning of this year — which feels like decades ago — started out with our little family having the time of our lives visiting friends and family in Australia (here, here and here). We had about a week back in the states before Grace and I turned around and took our first-ever solo Mom-daughter trip out to New York for my sister’s baby shower. It truly was amazing to be able to start our year off in such a spectacular fashion …
November/December November and December have been filled with prepping a house to move and moving into our new place. We celebrated a low-key Thanksgiving with friends in town, prepped the house to host Christmas, I flew to New York for a super-quick holiday visit with some family, we hosted MomMom & Papa and Grandpa Robert and celebrated G’s 2nd birthday, and we are now relaxing and enjoying the final few days of the year with Ben & Lauren, Steph & Brian & Rosalie.
Going back through our adventures from this past year I am reminded of how truly, truly lucky and blessed we are. There have been times throughout this year when I’ve felt stressed and overwhelmed. There have been times I’ve felt like I wasn’t doing enough — whether that was with the girls, in my marriage, traveling, in my career or on this blog. The truth is, though, it truly was a wonderful year, and it really is a wonderful life. Life is what you make of it, friends, and if you’re lucky enough to make a great one, enjoy every moment.
Bis bald, friends – and cheers to all the adventures that 2020 will bring!
Happy Tuesday, friends! We’re still here in New York, where we’ve been since last Wednesday, and we have done all. of. the. things.
We flew in. Rented our car. Drove to Liberty State Park. Spent one night at my sister’s before driving to stay with my friend at her place in Woodstock. Threw Lotte a third birthday party. Drove back to my sister’s. Visited my grandmother in the hospital. Took family photos at an amazing sunflower farm near my sister’s house and, today, I babysat all three babes while my sister, Brian and Chris worked.
I have a secret to share, friends … I’ve never really been a huge fan of summer.
There, I said it. Anyone who actually knows me is rolling their eyes right now and thinking, “Duh, who doesn’t know that?” but to others, this might come as a surprise. As a curly headed woman who didn’t grow up near water but did grow up in a home without air conditioning for the longest time, the only things I had to look forward to when the weather got warmer was frizzy hair (okay, I admit, that was a year-round problem) and just the most awful humidity. These days, though, I’m making a concerted effort to change my ways … for the girls.
Well friends, yesterday we said good-bye to Auntie Kate. That’s right. We packed her up, had a final day filled with fun, and sent her on her way back to Australia.
We always knew this day would come, but man oh man did it come fast! While we are incredibly sad to say good-bye, we’re also super excited to see what fun and adventures await Kate when she gets back to Australia.
Plus, our basement is always open to more visits 😉
So, here’s to sisters-in-law that are more like sisters, and aunties that are more like second Moms. Our two little ladies sure will miss you, Kate — and so will we <3
Happy Tuesday, friends! Grace and I returned yesterday from our first-ever solo mom-daughter trip, and we had a blast! I’ve taken Lotte out to New York by myself twice in the past, and although it’s always a ton of work (major shout-out to all the single parents out there … oh my gosh is it exhausting!), I always have the best time bonding one-on-one with the girls individually.
This time Grace and I flew out to New York so that we could attend my sister’s two baby showers, one of which was actually in Pennsylvania. We got to hang with so much family, and Grace got to be the sole recipient of so many cuddles and kisses … plus she didn’t have to share her toys with anyone, which was a huge plus in her book! My sister had Monday off last week anyway, but then she ended up having snow days on both Tuesday and Thursday and she got out early on Wednesday, so all-in-all it was a great week to be visiting.
I mean, could this family be any cuter? The answer is no. No, they could not.
The day after Boxing Day, the Connor Clan headed over to a park in Bathurst to take some professional family photos. Of course waiting for professional photos to arrive really isn’t my thing, so you know I had to snap a couple of my own.
^^ All these cute Connor grandkids together makes my heart pretty happy <3
While there were a bunch of things that Chris and I were excited for when it came to this trip, one of them definitely was taking a night away, just the two of us. Believe it or not, Chris and I had not been away together just the two of us since we had kids, and I have only ever been away from Lotte for one night, and never from Grace.
In other words, some time away was definitely overdo.
So after our family photo day, Chris and I packed up and headed over to Mudgee, which was about two hours from Chris’ parents house. We stayed at the Parklands Resort & Conference Centre and took a wine tour with Country Escape Tours, where we visited three wineries, one distillery and a cheese making company. The town of Mudgee was so cute, and the wine tour was really intimate and fun. Unfortunately we did return to a pretty sick Lotte (the next day after we got back was when we brought her to Urgent Care), but sickness aside, it was really nice to take the time away.
^^ It’s not so hard leaving your kids when you know they’re in great hands.
^^ We headed out to Mudgee Brewing Co for dinner the night we were in town. They had live music and we ate outside in their pretty garden and I had a delicious shrimp salad. It was pretty great, friends.
After we returned and took a couple days to get Lotte checked out and feeling better, we spent our last couple of days in Bathurst ringing in the New Year with Chris’s parents and brother and his wife, taking laps around Mount Panorama with the girls and having a picnic in the lovely Cook Park in Orange with Chris’s grandma.
^^ This is potentially my favorite shot of the entire trip <3
And that takes us pretty much through what I think of as the first part of our trip. After Christmas and New Years in Bathurst and Mudgee, we packed up the car and headed back to Sydney to spend our final couple of days in Australia staying at Chris’s aunt’s place, and then his uncle’s, and touring around all the best parts of Sydney, according to us seasoned pros. I’ll take you through our final couple days in two more posts, but until then, bis bald!
So much amazing Aussie family goodness in that photo above, am I right?
Our Aussie Christmas Eve and Christmas were filled with good company, good food, and for the first time ever, no rain on my Aussie Christmas day! Seriously, though, this was my third time in Australia for Christmas, and it was the first time it didn’t rain 😉
Rain or no rain, we would have had a great couple of days celebrating Christmas with our family, anyway, We splashed around in the pool (well, Lotte & Chris did, while G and I spectated), cracked open some Christmas Bon Bons, and ate some delicious food.
Christmas was also the first day that Lotte & G got to meet all five of their cousins, which was only the most fun ever. Sophie was born three months before Lotte, and Jasmine was born only one hour after Grace! It sure was great finally getting all seven of these little ones together.
^^ Grace’s face in this picture cracks me up!
^^ Christmas morning with Auntie Sarah — is there anything better?
^^ I may or may not have purchased these Christmas outfits about four months in advance for way too much money. Totally worth it.
^^ Grace & Jasmine = all the cuteness you can possibly handle
^^ Lotte was a straight-up celebrity on this trip, and you just know she ate up every second of it!