Thursday, August 30, 2007

I couldn't resist

I love looking at other people's photo montages and decided it was time to make one of my own! This one is an ode to the first year of "The Better Baby" as we lovingly and jokingly call her. Maybe some day I will get around to making one of Iris's first year, as a fun retro-spective!

Enjoy!

Yikers.

If you have ever had the desire to order anything off of IKEA.com, I would like to suggest against it. Out of curiosity, I decided to see how much it would cost to get this dresser shipped to me. I'm a little lazy and IKEA is a decent trip away. How much could it be to have it shipped? How much, you ask? Well, IKEA likes to make you wait for things. First you go the website and "order" a product. Then they tell you that you will hear back within 48 hours regarding the final cost and to set up a delivery time. Okay. So I get an email later that day saying a representative will call me to discuss the final total with me. Okay. So then the next day I get a final invoice saying that it will cost $262.48 to ship a $230 dresser. Seriously? Seriously? I think I would carry the dresser home from Renton on my back before I'd pay that much money to have it shipped. Who can afford that? If you can, I'm thinking you're probably not buying your furniture from IKEA!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Seriously TMI-- consider yourself warned!

So, this is my blog and I can write about my period if I want to. Yep, my period. You have been warned.

I have been a lucky mama, indeed, this time around, at least. It appears my period has officially returned to my barren, infertile body. The joy! Okay, not really. Now that I no longer will bear another child, having a period feels even more awful. A monthly thing to deal with. I don't want to deal with anything else, damn it! I want my period to just go away. For good. Before I got pregnant with Iris I took birth control pills (okay, obviously I wasn't very good at taking them, but I digress) on a schedule that gave me my period only four times a year. It was pretty fantastic, and something I will do again once Eloise weans. The things I do for my babies, no? I will let her wean on her own time, just as I did with Iris, and I will face a monthly cycle, just as I did when I nursed Iris. I just won't be happy about it. Not even a little bit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Baby Yellow!

This evening Iris announced that it was her doll, Baby Yellow's, birthday today. I asked her how old Baby Yellow and Iris answered "five and a half". She is looking remarkably young, I must say. Please see the picture below, taken just a few weeks ago.



Iris proceeded to bake Baby Yellow a cake. When I asked what kind of cake it was, she said it was a banana cake. Baby Yellow likes banana cake. She also mentioned that Baby Yellow had a hard time eating the cake because she didn't know how to use a spoon. Yes, I see how that would pose a bit of a problem.

Baby Yellow was sang "Happy Birthday to You!" and Iris asked me if she could play some piano for her (on her four key Little Tikes piano) after dinner. How could I say no?

Well, Baby Yellow. You're growing up so fast! Happy Birthday to you!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The zoo

The girls and I went to the Woodland Park Zoo today. I had promised Iris last night that if it was nice out today we would go, and lo and behold, it was gorgeous out this morning. Apparently every other family in the area felt the same way because there were tons of people there, which I though was odd for it being a Monday. I love our zoo. It is so insanely big that you can literally go ten times and see completely different things each time. This time we opted to check out some less popular exhibits and it was fantastic! We saw red pandas, cranes, weird Japanese goat-type thingies and all sorts of birds. For the first time ever we went in the butterfly exhibit and in to the petting area, where apparently all you can pet are goats and one sheep. Eloise was so excited to be that close to the goats I thought she was going to hyperventilate. It was so much fun, as well, because Eloise did a ton of walking. She toddled all over and was tremendously proud of herself. I was, too. I can't believe what a big girl she is turning in to! Even Iris did a great job being calm and gentle while at the zoo. We had such an excellent visit, maybe we'll go back later in the week?

On the way to the zoo Iris kept asking if we were going to see Stephanie, James and Ruby at the zoo. The last time we were at a zoo was when we went to the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison and met the three of them there. She also kept asking if we could go back to the petting zoo where we saw Jen, Alison and Ian when we were in Michigan. Sigh. Three year olds don't necessarily understand the concept that those places are thousands of miles away.

I would have taken some pictures, but carrying a backpack carrier, pushing a stroller and wrangling a 3 year old and a 1 year old doesn't exactly leave any free hands. I chuckled at myself several times at how silly I must have looked wearing an empty backpack and pushing an empty stroller while the girls ran around.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Eloise's first birthday party

Well, we had a bit of a whirlwind weekend. Yesterday was Eloise's first birthday party! We gathered with some friends at a nearby park and pretty much just relaxed. The weather was perfect, we had some snacks and cupcakes and Eloise got so many fantastic gifts. Of course, as soon as we got home Iris claimed most of them for her own, but what did we expect?

Here are some photos of the party:

Eloise enjoying watermelon.

Melissa's little guy looking beyond adorable in his party hat.
Another friend in her party hat!
A little friend trying out Iris's trike.
Eloise and the balloons. We got these with the intention of passing them out to party guests but somehow, inexplicably, they were covered in chocolate frosting by the end of the party so everyone graciously declined the offer of going home with one.

Another friend at the party.

Mmmmm, Cupcake Royale cupcake!
Me. The one responsible for birthing this gorgeous babe so we would all have a reason to party!




After the party we came home and crashed. It turns out partying is exhausting work!

Today we took a family power-walk around Greenlake. It feels so good to get out and get exercise, especially as a family. Matt has had some physical ailments that kept him from doing much exercising much over the summer, but he's feeling so much better now and has been asking more and more to go out on walks. Yay!

There aren't too many plans for this week. Preschool is on a break between the summer session and the regular school year, so we'll have to find something to do to entertain ourselves.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Asshole.

We had an exciting afternoon planned yesterday. The girls and I were going out to pick up some things for Eloise's birthday party and to sample some cupcakes and place our order (I had decided that cupcakes were the way to go!). We stopped at Trophy Cupcakes but, damn them, they didn't have enough time to make a couple dozen cupcakes by Saturday afternoon. Their cupcakes are so amazingly beautiful. I think that some day, when I get married, we'll have a cupcake tier instead of a regular cake.

So, after checking out that place, we headed over to Cupcake Royale, where we knew they would have time to make cupcakes for us. The cupcake shop is on a busy main street, so I was excited when I spotted a big parking space right out front. A space big enough for two cars and there was already a car pulling in to the spot. I stopped and waited and he pulled ahead in the space, leaving enough room for me to park behind. I looked at the driver and noticed it was the father of a child that Iris goes to school with. So, I parallel park in the space and the guy, let's call him Mr. Asshole, gets out and comes over to the passenger side of my car. "Oh!" I thought, "He's coming to say hi!" and he bangs on the window and I roll it down. He starts yelling at me that the spot he stopped in has a white line on the curb and that he was going to back in to the space I parked in. "Oh, I'm sorry" I said. He then starts yelling that I almost "slammed in to him" (which, you know, I came nowhere near doing) and then walked away. I was absolutely floored. I pulled away and I was shaking and mad. I didn't say anything, but Iris was really freaked out. She kept asking me why that man banged on the window and why was he yelling at me? It was a great lesson for a three year old, that sometimes adults don't act very nice and that he should have used a nice voice with me, even if he as upset.

So, it was so weird. I thought, damn it, I am going to email Mr. Asshole and make him feel like a total piece of shit for treating me that way in front of my girls. I requested some advice off of the message boards and was surprised that most of the mamas thought I should just let it go. Let it go?!?! How?! But, you know what, they were right. I am not sure how confronting some crazy lunatic about his out-of-line behavior would solve much. I'm just going to be steering clear of him, which may be hard since our school is so tiny. Oh, well.

What is the deal with people?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Multiple wardrobe changes

The newest struggle I have at home is dressing Eloise. She's in that phase where she's still crawling most of the time that she needs to get somewhere quickly but is constantly practicing her walking, as well. It makes is difficult to outfit her cutely and also practically considering her movement needs. She is also only half an inch taller now at a year old than her sister was at just six months, so I grossly over-estimate the size hand-me-downs she should be wearing. This morning it took three changes of clothes before I got her in pants that weren't dragging on the ground and impeding her walking. It's like a little fashion show up in here!

I'm finding the size difference between the girls at the same age fascinating. I wonder if Eloise won't end up being as tall as Iris.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

She walks!

Eloise is walking! She took her first steps a couple of weeks ago but today she was walking almost 50% of the time. Before too long she'll be cruising around like she owns the place. It's soooo cute to watch her toddle all over. If I'm not in eyeshot of her I can tell she's fallen by the thwack-bonk I hear as her hands and knees hit the floor. She gets right back up, though, all on her own without holding on to anything! The girl's got mad skills!

Enjoy a short video of Pooties in action:

Friday, August 17, 2007

Eloise is ONE today!

Eloise one day old.



Eloise one year old.



In, let's see, 55 minutes Eloise will officially be one year old. I can't even believe it. It's insane, absolutely mad, how fast this past year has flown by. At a "blink and you'll miss it" rate.

One year ago at this moment I was working on birthing my little babe in a tub in the corner of my bedroom. I was sure that someone out there in the big wide world had it in for me and that was their way of punishing me severely. Labor and birth, while amazingly powerful and life-changing, is not an event I'd wish on my worst enemy. Yet, out of that pain came this beautiful, perfect child. A child I couldn't even imagine I could love as much as I do. Until the moment she was born I couldn't understand how I would have the capacity to love aother child as much as I loved Iris. And it turns out, love doesn't just double, it grows exponentially. My love extends to each of them individually and both of them as a unit. As my babies. Forever my babies. Babies I carried and birthed.

The addition of Eloise to our family has made us all feel more whole, like we finally have a solid family unit, the four of us.

In the first hours of Eloise's life her big sister threw a Dora sippy cup at her head. Well, yeah. That pretty much sums up the relationship she's had with Iris over the past year. It's been really neat, though, to see those moments of tenderness between them. When you actually get to witness them loving each other instead of just assuming it to be true. It's also fun to see how tenacious Iris's relentless bullying is making Eloise. Little does Iris know, but she's slowly building a super-strength sister who will one day be able to pick her up over her head and toss her across the room. Tee Hee.

If you care to revisit it, Eloise's birth story can be found HERE.

And, of course, there was today. Her first birthday. She woke up snotty, thanks to yet another cold. She was pretty crabby today, but enjoyed checking out some new toys and spending time with her Grandma, Grandpa and Auntie Maegan who came to see her. We had her favorite dinner, beans, rice and chicken, followed later by her first birthday cake which her Grandpa wanted to get from Coldstone Creamery. Yummy.

Riding her new elephant rocker that her sister helped pick out.

Practicing walking with a book in hand.
It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to! Applauding our rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday!"
"Mmmm, this ice cream cake is good!"
"Oh! No it's not! It's terrible!"

Happy birthday Pooties!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My trip diary, day eighteen

On Friday it was time to say goodbye to our time at the cottage. Most of the morning and early afternoon was spent packing and cleaning. We shoved off at about 4:00 and headed east towards Grand Rapids where Matt's aunt and uncle and cousins and cousin's sons live. It was just over an hour drive through small Michigan towns and beautiful countryside. Grand Rapids is an adorable little town, as well.

We had a blast at his aunt and uncle's house. Matt's cousin's boys were, oh, I hope I remember this correctly, but I think they were 11, 9 and 4. I immediately assumed they would be, well, boys, and more interested in, you know, destroying things and spitting than they would be in playing with two little girls. I couldn't have been more wrong. The boys were incredibly, mind-numbingly, sweet with Iris and Eloise. The 4 year old and Iris played most of the night and the older boys entertained Eloise. We ate delicious food prepared by Matt's aunt and visited and snapped bunches of photos.

That night Matt and Iris camped out in the backyard in a tent big enough for Matt to stand upright in. You might think this isn't a big deal, but Matt is 6'7", so that was one tall tent! Eloise and I stayed in the comforts of the house and had a rough night of sleep. Eloise was coming down with a cold and spent most of the night awake and coughing. Not fun.

Playing pool. Check out that technique!



Being sweet with Eloise.



A group photo.



Entertaining Eloise.



Matt's cousin, the mother of the three boys. The tent behind her is the one Matt and Iris slept in.

My trip diary, day seventeen

Thursday morning we woke up four people lighter. My brother, his girlfriend and their two daughters had to leave very early to catch the ferry back to Wisconsin so they could spend some time with other relatives before heading back to New York City.


My dad had promised Iris and I a chance to use the kayaks and we were very excited. Iris is a huge fan of kayaks, though I'm not sure why. She ended up being pretty damn bored but I think we really pushed our luck by going out on a looooong trip with her in the morning. I really enjoyed paddling a kayak, I wasn't sure how I would like it, but it was alot of fun. I think it's incredibly cool that my 60-ish year old parents own kayaks. The least I could do was try to keep up with them!

Safety first!


There I go!


My dad and Iris.



That afternoon we decided that it was the perfect day for a trip to Duck Lake. More specifically, to the little channel that connects Duck Lake to Lake Michigan, a place which is pretty close to my idea of heaven. Seriously. Hopefully my pictures even begin to do justice to this place. There is a long, shallow, winding channel flanked by the most gorgeous sand ever. There is a decent sized beach and then on the other end is Lake Michigan. The lake was the perfect temperature, with a perfect sandy bottom, with perfect rolling waves. I grew up swimming in Lake Michigan, so being in that water felt like home to me. It was absolutely hypnotic. My dad and I had spent most of the early afternoon driving all over Michigan for beach umbrellas for our afternoon at the lake, but it was worth it!

Matt and the girls relaxing on the channel. The water was so shallow that we could set Eloise in the middle of it.


Our little set-up. The sand and sun is pretty un-forgiving, but with the umbrellas it was actually quite nice. At one point several of our group was napping here!

A nice scene of the beach and channel.

This is closer to where the channel connected to Duck Lake. It went underneath the road and made a cool little waterfall. That is Iris on the bottom left.

From left to right, my dad, Eloise, my BIL and my mom.


My sister is an amazing cook. She makes mouth-watering pizzas from scratch, which she did for us that evening. I think we didn't end up eating until close to 9:00 at night, but it was delicious!

My trip diary, day sixteen

So come Wednesday we really starting hitting our stride at the cottage. The whole big group of us went on dune rides and it was a blast. It was one of those things that every single one of us truly enjoyed, from Eloise up to Grandpa. It was something I had ever seen before, as well. I was so enamored with the dunes I was loving the idea of renting personal dune buggies, but alas, I was the only interested in that adventure.



This is what we looked like on the dune ride :)




My SIL two nieces and nephew.



Iris, with Eloise on her right and my sister, sister's husband and their son on her left.



The four of us. I have never before worn Eloise like that in the Mei Tai, but it worked really well for the ride. We were told we could hold babies on our laps and I just couldn't help but feel like that was exceptionally dangerous.



This was another dune buggy that we passed.



Matt and I.



After the dune rides we walked over to get some food and ice cream. Here is my younger nephew with my younger niece and Iris. I love this photo, my brother captured it.


We came back to the cottage and had a mish-mash dinner, including the corn on the cob my mom roasted over the fire.



After dinner there was more swimming and then I finally got my wish and twisted enough arms and we went out to roast s'mores over the fire. Yum! Here is my dad by the fire.



After all of the kids and my mom and dad went to bed the rest of us sat out by the fire for a while and relaxed. My brother's family had to leave really early the next morning so it was our last night to spend with them.



What is the deal?

I don't understand this behavior at all. Maybe someone can shed some light on it for me? Why in the world do other mother's discipline your children or otherwise take over the situation when you are right there? This has happened to me in the past. I pretty much tried to shake it off as a weird one time thing, but in different situations, it keeps happening. Is this common or am I seen as some kind of laissez-faire mama who can't be trusted to mother her own children?

Today we were at Iris's preschool picking her up. We were waiting for the director to get us all of our forms so we can officially register for the fall (yay!) and Iris, Eloise and the director's one year old were literally at my feet. I could have reached down and touched any of them. They were all trying to get at some toys and I was watching them. On a low shelf were some sea shells of all sizes. I saw them. I knew they were there. I knew the two younger ones were eyeing them up and were going towards them. Out of no where another mama, who was at school as the helper today, swoops in and gathers up all of the sea shells and starts saying to the children that those were too small for them and not to touch them, blah blah blah. I smiled at her and said "oh don't worry about, I'm watching them!" but really what I was saying was "what the hell is your problem?" Not five minutes later she was directing Iris away from something else, again, I was right there and was watching every move she made.

I don't understand this at all. Please, someone, anyone, shed some light on this.

I do know that some of my friends will be more freaked out about what my girls are doing than I am. My dear friend Melissa practically has a coronary every time Eloise shoves a rock in her mouth while I just sigh and leisurely fish it out (after Melissa points it out, of course). But see, Melissa and I have a thing. We are close. Our kids are close. We know each other very well. We don't discipline each other's kids, but we watch out for them.

I'm the first to admit I'm more on the laid back side about alot of parenting things, but I really, really do not appreciate other people swooping in and taking over. It makes me defensive and mad. And then my mama claws want to come out. Grrr.

Yum.

In an effort to eliminate alcohol in our home I've recently discovered a drink I never thought I would enjoy: gin and tonic, only without the gin. Just tonic and lime. Yummy, yum, yum. It's such a grown up drink! I know this because Iris couldn't stand it when I let her have a sip. Diet Coke? She loves it. Coffee? She can't get enough. But tonic and lime? Finally, I've found a drink she won't try to wrangle from my hands!

Speaking of my three year olds love of coffee, we were leaving the grocery store the other day and she spotted the cafe and asked if she could have a coffee. Since we haven't been anywhere near decent coffee for the past four weeks I decided that yes, she could get some. We walk in and there are two older girls playing near the toys and Iris immediately walks up and says "I'm getting coffee!" to which the girls reply "no you're not, you're not old enough!" and then they looked at me and said "she's not getting coffee, is she?" to which I replied "Well, yes, actually, she is". Their jaws just about hit the floor. As I handed Iris her mocha (they were on sale that day, she's not picky) the girls asked me again if it was coffee. I told them it was actually a mocha. Their mother looked at me strangely, I gather that she was the one who told the girls they weren't old enough for coffee, and I felt the need to explain I started a bad habit but that I only give her decaf. Then I thought, you know what, who cares? I don't need to explain to random strangers about my daughter's coffee habit. Hrmpf.

This morning in the car Matt handed something to Eloise and she said, clear as day, "dee doo" which, for the unaware, means "thank you" in baby language. Genius!

You would think, being that Eloise's birthday is tomorrow, that we would have her big fancy first birthday gift picked out. Well, we don't. Not even close. We have gotten her a few things over our vacation and kind of thought they would be for her birthday. For instance, we got her these as her first walking shoes, but she's been wearing them already. Sort of takes the fun out of it, no? So we are trying to figure out if we want to do something bigger. Matt and I are both interested in these two things, a Rody and a Rockabye rocker. Both are pretty cute, huh? We'll see. You know, it's less than 24 hours before her birthday now.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Okay, I think I give up!

I have really found the task of documenting the rest of my trip too daunting to finish just now. You see, I came down with a bummer of a cold the very afternoon we got home and I have lost every ounce of creativity as I deal with my sleeplessness and snotty nose. Ah, fun times. I'll figure out what to do. In the mean time you just get the regular ol' daily updates.

Eloise is ever so slowly getting closer to really, really walking. Today we watched her get herself up to standing all on her own. Like, from sitting in the middle of the floor to standing. Then she toddled a few steps. Amazing! She's a genius! It's so much fun to watch her go through this. With Iris I was just so ready for her to grow up already, hurry along and meet the next milestone! But Eloise? I'm enjoying the journey so much more. Every night as I rock her to sleep I honestly think about how grateful I am that I can still rock her. That she needs to be held in my arms to feel safe and comfortable while I lull her to sleep. With Iris I couldn't wait for her to fall asleep on her own. With Eloise, I love every minute of it. Well, I don't so much love the over-tired screaming bits, but those are getting fewer and further between, so we're good.

Iris has been all over the map these days. Some days, like (most of) today, she's this perfect little gem. Being as sweet and beautiful and loving and gentle as can be. Some days, like (most of) yesterday, she's a rotten little demon whose sole purpose in life is to pound on her sister and make me freak out. It's a good thing I love her so damn much. Because, really, I do, so we take it day-by-day.

She absolutely adores her summer preschool. I have been sweating bullets over the fact that as of this past Tuesday we didn't know where she would be able to go in the fall, but we were just told they had two days open for her if we wanted them. And boy howdy, did we want them! I couldn't be happier. Her school is just amazing. It is the perfect place for her, and us, I think, so now I can rest a little easier.

We are definitely weaned at this point, as well. The past couple of nights Iris asked to nurse again, for the first time in four weeks, and I knew it was just because she wanted to stall for time instead of go to bed. I told her no, that we were done nursing, and she simply moved on. I think now I can say without question we are done. It's a fantastic, triumphant feeling. To make it just over three years of nursing feels like such an amazing accomplishment. I don't feel sad at all, actually. I don't know, should I? I also don't feel uber-relieved. It just feels right. Like it's very much the right time.

In 48 hours, almost to the minute, it is Eloise's first birthday. I can't even believe it. I am so dumbfounded that this year is coming to a quick close. Everyone said the first year is the hardest so I'm thrilled we all made it through in tact! Matt's parents and sister will be here for a small celebration on the big day. I'm looking forward to it-- her Grandpa wanted to bring her first birthday cake, which I thought was about the sweetest thing I have ever heard.

In completely unrelated news, my boyfriend apparently doesn't know what an engagement ring is for and thinks he can get away with just buying me a cheap-o wedding band when it's time for us to tie the knot. Um, hello?!?! What? No, there's no engagement (and there won't be until there is a rock on my finger, damn it!). That is all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My trip diary, day fifteen

Tuesday morning started out with me packing up all of our stuff and getting ready to leave the cottage. I was pretty mad and Matt was upset that I was so mad about some apparently deep-seated and long running family issues. Amazingly, my brother, the person in our family I am the least close to, sat down and talked me off my ledge. I could probably author an entire blog about the weirdness in my family, but I'll spare you all the details. I'll just say that all was well after he and I talked and I realized that I didn't really want to leave. We unpacked our stuff.


That afternoon the girls, Matt and I met my friend Jen and her two children for some play time at a petting zoo. She is a mama I know from a message board and Eloise and her son were both born in August 2006. Matt and I had the girls and my sister's youngest son with us, which was a blast. The kids loved feeding the animals and Jen and I had lots of fun chatting. Matt snapped tons of pictures and he and I got a feel for wrangling three little ones! It wasn't nearly as hard as I expected, though.









On the way home from the petting zoo we stopped and bought floaty rings for all of the kids. They were a HIT! After a big spaghetti dinner some of the kids and I went out swimming. The water was calm and warm and perfect for a dip. We ended up swimming until the sun sank behind the trees. I think that night was my best time at the cottage. I felt like I was 8 again and had a really, really wonderful time hanging out with the kids.

Monday, August 13, 2007

My trip diary, days thirteen and fourteen

The cast of characters at the cottage was: the four of us, my sister, her husband and their two boys (age 4 and 7) and my brother, his girlfriend and their two daughters (age 4 and 9). My mom and dad were there, as well, but technically weren't staying in the cottage as they slept out on their sailboat every night.

We woke up on Sunday morning at the vacation cottage to a gorgeous day. In fact, every day was gorgeous while we were there! The weather was perfect right on the water. If you went in to town or away from the water at all it felt a bit hot and uncomfortable, but the cottage was fantastic. We spent some time on Sunday swimming, eating, playing bocce ball, drinking bar. All the fine things in life! The cottage was on White Lake and the water was so amazingly shallow. You could walk out for yards and yards and it still wasn't any higher than my knees.



The cottage from out on the dock.




My parent's sailboat. If you look closely you can see the line where the water is a little brownish and then turns to blue. That's where the drop off was. You could walk yards and yards out in the water and it was no deeper than my knees until you hit the drop-off.



The living room at the cottage.



My mom and sister in the kitchen. I think my sister spent the vast majority of her time there!




Matt, my brother and my niece and Iris playing bocce ball. I think the girls won :)


Iris and her cousin relaxing.



Hanging out in the dinghy.



Going fishin!



Monday ended up being a pretty terrible day, actually. I'll spare you the gory details, but there was lots of drama. Lots and lots and LOTS. I was very upset with my mother, my sister got upset with me, Matt and I got in a huge fight. Oh, it was bad. In between all of this upsetness there was some swimming out off of the sailboat and just before sunset we all went out to a beach on Lake Michigan and had some really amazing professional family photos taken. They all turned out so nicely. Matt and I kissed and made up pretty quickly after our fight but there was still alot of tension in the cottage between me and my mom and sister for the rest of the day. Blech. I didn't want to be there anymore.

My brother and his girlfriend and their girls.

Iris and I swimming. She was so brave! It was the first time she had ever been in open water like that.
My brother diving off of the sailboat.
A view of a bunch of us on the sailboat.
My older niece jumping off of the sailboat.


There were about a million great shots my brother got of the photo shoot. The setting and light were amazing. We all looked pretty sharp in our coordinating white tops and jeans, if I do say so myself!

My sister and Eloise, getting ready to go.


The four of us getting our family shot taken.


My brother's family.


My sister's family.


Me.


The guys.


Making sand angels.





Hanging out on the beach.My nephews.