The Big 3 Adventure

For Sarah’s birthday this year we decided to surprise her and take the girls to The Gulfarium. It turns out it’s only an hour drive and it was a great success! Sarah kept saying we were going to a “sueprise” and kept asking if there were going to be animals. Clever girl was on to us.

The moment we walked through the aquarium doors both girls were speechless. They went straight to the portholes where they saw dolphins swimming.

I think Sarah’s face says it all…

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They both really loved the giant aquarium

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Waving to the fishies

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We spent the afternoon looking at all the different habitats while also going to see the dolphin show and then a sea lion show.

Checking out the shark moat

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Lookout point where Sarah and Stephen went to view the beach, alligators and giant turtles.

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Checking out the sting rays. Some of them were huge. They shared the tank with baby sharks, which I think were hammerheads.

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Stephen got Sarah an ice cream sandwich as a birthday treat.

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Then, at the Dolphin Show, a complete stranger, a teenage girl, gave Sarah a sea lion stuffed animal. She held on to it like it was the best present in the world.

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At the end of our visit we let the girls play at The Sea Lion Beach. It’s a great little area with sand and beach toys for kids to play with. A great little area to sit down and relax, until you tell kids it’s time to go, haha. Kids never wanna leave a giant sand mound, especially when there are lots of other little kiddos around. We saw many “noooo, I don’t wanna leave” tantrums take place. It works out though because it makes all the parents feel good that there kid isn’t the only one ;)

 

 

A giant chair picture, because why not…

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While leaving the house that morning Sarah got to open up a card she got in the mail. She carefully peeled the envelope and was very excited when she saw a picture of flowers and I told her it was a Birthday Card from GG. She kept stating “A Birthday card for ME?” in question form. Silly kid.

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A well deserved nap on the car ride home.

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Happy 3rd Birthday, sweet girl!

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All Fueled Up

A couple of weekends ago I spent a few nights at my parents house while my brother was in town.

Our church had it’s youth Disciple Now that same weekend, and our house was hosting the boys, so the girls and I checked out for a few days and left Stephen to fend the fort.

We arrived Friday morning and stayed until Sunday evening. I made Sarah a pallet on the floor in our room and Elanor stayed in the pack-n-play with a blanket fort surrounding her (away with you, morning sun). One of the nights we had a crazy lightening storm so Sarah crawled into bed with me. She used to be a giant bed hog, but has turned into a sweet little cuddler, so I didn’t mind one bit.

We spent the days outside and the evenings dancing and chasing the girls around the house.

The older these kiddos get the harder it is to catch them on camera. They move fast, and really kept me on my toes.

One, going on 16

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Watching the kids play out front

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“Higher, Mommy. Higher!”

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Outside snacks with my little love

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Look at that gut!

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While there I made a Saturday morning breakfast for all the girls.
It’s not weekend pancakes without sprinkles ;)

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The Girls

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Our Sweet Little Graycie

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This girl!

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Our Awesome Mom

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Happy 32nd to my Big Brother :)

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The girls were exhausted exhausting, and had a blast! My parents were gracious to take us in with such a full house. Full days, nice and quiet evenings, it was just my style.

 

Icy Fun

That’s definitely not a title I thought I’d write, in relation to our normal day to day at least.

All this crazy cold weather has taught me something I never thought I’d say – bring on the heat! Guys, it is so much more work getting kids dressed, comfortable, potty-trained, diaper changed, bags packed, and carseats buckled when it’s freezing outside. Not to mention all the mismatched shoes and socks tossed about in the back floorboards of the car. Why do kids hate shoes so much?!

This past week the temperature dropped nice and freezing. It seems no matter how many blankets and shirts I wear my temperature does not rise. Our poor heater hasn’t stopped running in almost 2 days. Not looking forward to that electric bill. Yikes.

Stephen’s office closed early on Tuesday so people could get home before the roads iced over and/or closed. Crazy thankful for that foresight because all of Stephens paths home closed later that day. Before we put Sarah to bed that night Stephen took her outside to play with icicles. She loved it. The only way we could get her to go to bed after all the excitement was telling her about how fun it would be to play in it in the morning with Elanor.


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The next morning we made plans to meet our neighbors out front. I was surprised and excited to see they had real sleds! We pulled the girls up and down the driveway and they loved it. I quickly had to go back inside and search the house for gloves. I don’t think my hands have ever been that cold. Thankfully Sarah was recently gifted a pair from friends at church, so one kiddo was covered. Elanors tiny hands were still gloveless so I found some fuzzy warm socks and she never knew the difference.

Our long driveway was perfect for sledding. All the rain made for a super long iced slippery slide.

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Elanor had a BLAST!
sock-gloves are where it’s at

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Sarah pulling her sister

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Playing with icicles in the backyard

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Icicles

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Sarah has such an adventurous and curious spirit

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Love my little E

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who also has gotten very curious and adventurous

(click here if video isn’t working)

 

 

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This last clip was pretty much how our day in the snow and ice concluded. Sarah told me she wanted to pull me on the sled so I got in. She pulled me about 10 feet and pronounced “Mommy, you’re too heavy” and then headed for the front door.


(If the video isn’t working, click here to watch )

After this we headed in, got Elanor down for her nap and Sarah and Stephen cuddled on the couch while watching Tangled and drinking hot cocoa.

It was a great day at the Ringl house.

A Wells Family Christmas

This past Saturday we celebrated Christmas with the Wells side of the family. It was a fun and very people-packed house. My parents sold their house back in October so they are living in a rental right now and the living space is a lot smaller than what we are used to.

To start the festivities off right, we had our custom pigs-in-a-blanket for breakfast, followed by gift opening. It didn’t take long until we decided to let the little ones open all their presents first and let them go play in the kids room while the adults did gifts. The girls came out occasionally and helped us open our packages. Sarah and Graycie are getting at such a fun age for holidays and special events.

We had a delicious lunch of ribs, sweet potato casserole, squash casserole and whipped salad. Later in the day we gals made Rice Krispy Houses while the guys watched Home Alone/napped on the couches.

On Sunday we all met back at my parents house for lunch and we played 3-round Charades. It was a lot of fun.

Sadly, we have not been back at my parents since Sunday. We had fun plans of girls going out together and kids going to the park and I had a few craft projects planned, but those weren’t able to happen. Elanor woke up around 11pm Sunday night with a horrible virus/stomach bug. Stephen stayed up with her most of the night until we finally put her in bed with me so he could get a little sleep. The next afternoon she seemed a lot better, though exhausted, and then Monday night Sarah had the same thing happen. You can tell both girls have been confused and unsure about how to handle their bodies hurting them. I only caught a piece of it and we are so thankful that Stephen has been healthy (although completely sleep-deprived) through it all. I can’t imagine all 4 of us out of commission at the same time. Stephen was our rock these past 2 days. The last time I was sick was just before I had Elanor and I always forget how life-altering it is when you have children to take care of.

We are hoping and praying for a restful and sick-free night. Stephen and I are going to be ringing in the new year resting on the couch, if we aren’t already in bed asleep by then (actually, he’s been asleep since 8pm, I’m not sure if he’s out for the night or just grabbing a catnap).

You guys make sure to disinfect your house, toys, doorknobs, carseats, and anything else you have taken out of your home. This stomach bug is a nasty jerk and I hope you all stay clear.

On a lighter note, I do have a few pictures to share from pre-sickness.

With 10 adults, 3 toddlers and 1 infant I think we did a great job at getting a picture where not 1 kiddo is crying!

 

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Looking at all those pictures feels like it was weeks ago. It’s weird how being cooped up in a sick house for a few days can make time slow down.

Happy New Years Eve! Here’s hoping the fireworks don’t wake all babes and pets out there!

A Ringl Family Day

Merry Christmas, 2013 Ringl family edition!

Ringl Family Christmas

Hope you all had a wonderful and Merry Christmas. We are celebrating with the other half of the family on Saturday when my brother and his family come into town. Sarah is going to LOVE tearing open presents again. She’s gotten really good at it today.

Have a wonderful week and Happy Near Year! 2014 is going to be the best yet!

Tree Time

We started off the holidays right and continued our tradition of getting our Christmas tree the weekend of Thanksgiving. This year we went on black Friday, which also happened to be Elanors 1st Birthday. It was a fun way to celebrate our sweet girl. She had a blast playing with all the lights and Christmas decorations at the store.

That morning we met our friends Brandon, Nicole, and cousin Kate and after getting our trees headed back to their house. We decorated the McKenzies tree while the boys did the lights outside the house. After decorating their place we headed home so the girls could get their naps. While they slept Stephen and I setup the tree and he put the lights on the house so they would be surprised when they woke up. I strung an insane (and awesome) amount of lights on the tree while he was busy outside.

Both girls loved waking up and finding the tree already lit up. Sarah helped me put the ornaments on while Elanor tried to take them all off. We quickly decided that the ornaments were going to be a bit higher this year. Sarah enjoyed being picked up high each time to place them all in place.

Here are some pictures of the occasion.

Elanors 1st Tree Day

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Playing with all the music & light decorations

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Our Tree Spotter

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Sarah helped Stephen pick a great tree

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Tree Acquired

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Stephen on light duty

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House lights

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 The Birthday Girl 

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2013 Christmas Tree

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We are so excited to start some new traditions this year with our girls. Sarah is at such a fun age and she has really gotten into the spirit of the holidays. She even asked us if she could go see Santa. We were both pretty surprised. Now, as for if she will actually sit there with Santa is a completely different scenario. I guess we will find out soon!

Party Time

We had a great time celebrating Elanors 1st birthday this past weekend. Her actual bday was the day after Thanksgiving, which we enjoyed by getting our Christmas tree and decorating the house. We had a simple party at our house that Sunday with family. A few people ended up not getting to make it, so we had lots of leftover food and dessert. We all had a fun afternoon celebrating our sweet girl turning 1. She and Sarah both loved having their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a cousin come over for a visit.

We 4 Ringls with our birthday girl

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I love this sweet girl!

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Showing off her skills

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Food was simple. We grilled and had chips, apple slices and cheerios. For dessert I decided to try something new.

I love the taste and texture of cupcakes, but the liners drive me crazy bc I feel like they’re so messy & crumbly. Thank you pinterest for solving my ridiculous avoidance of delicious cupcake goodness. Enter the cake-filled cone. Conecake?! Cupconecake?! I don’t know, all that is certain is they were delicious! Although Stephen mentioned they would have been even better with chocolate in the bottom.

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Elanors Cupcake

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I made a special plate for all our birthdays

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Love them!

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I also made a gallery/kids art wall in the kitchen. I look forward to Elanor having her pieces hanging on the wall with Sarah’s :)

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(thank you for the encouragement card Aunt Vicci, it meant SO much)

Sarah & Aunt Kelley

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Little Addison had fun too!

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Uncle Stephen loves holding cute babies

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pre-cupcake snaking on cheerios

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Sisters: We think so alike we both braided our hair.

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That, or we are both too tired and busy with kiddos to blow dry our hair most mornings

Stephen cried and it made Addison upset, so she joined in too ;)

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Sarah made this face after she discovered that I ate her lunch (which I thought she was done with).
(In case you didn’t know mom lunches are usually their kids leftovers)

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Sarah was more than willing to teach/help Elanor open her birthday gifts

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Cupcake Time!

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One of Sarah’s MANY desserts. I found 3 or 4 cones with just the icing licked off. Silly kid.

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Sisters

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The chocolate icing was a HUGE hit!

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She was the ideal 1st birthday cake eater. Made a delicious mess in her hair, ears, nose and all through her fingers.

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Gooey sprinkled fingers

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the remains

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Uncle Jason

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Ri & Jeff

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with Papaw & Nana

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Ringl Fam

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Aunt Ri

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Why play with the toy when you can play IN it?!

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Sarah telling Grandma an important story

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Grandma & Grandpa came later that day after mom got back in town

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the girls have not stopped playing in the ball pit they brought

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We had a wonderful day with our sweet girls. In another 3 months we will be celebrating Sarah turning 3 and then I know I’ll blink and Ella will be 2!

We live a crazy beautiful life.

The Smith Family

Last week I got to take some family photos for one of my best friends. I’ve known Melissa since the first year of high school when we rode the bus together. We survived high school together and while in college had many late nights with pizza and sunkist. I am so thankful for her friendship and was honored to photograph her beautiful family. She and Nate had a baby boy in July and he was the perfect little smiler for us.


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This was the first time I’ve done a family photo session (other than my own families) and I had a blast.

Living in Florida makes for finicky weather, so after a reschedule from rain we were able to get together when it was happily not hot. The skies were overcast, which made for some great lighting (and a lot of learning for me)!

I had a great time and loved getting to capture this season of their life. Watch out Melissa, this time next year he will be running bases with Nate! Love you guys.

Some Recent Firsts

This summer has been one crazy, awesome, fast paced and packed time! With chasing two kiddos around (since one runs and the other now CRAWLS!), I have been more exhausted than I knew possible. Each night, after the girls are both in bed, I pretty much just want to lay on the couch and drift off to sleep. Which I do pretty often, Stephen can attest to it. We have been watching through the show ‘Community’ (thanks for the tip, Jeff & Ri) and I have had to rewatch far too many episodes alone due to dozing. What was this post about? Oh ya, summer.

Over the past few weeks we were able to do two particular things that Sarah went absolutely gaga over! The first was when we visited the airport.

My parents went to Kazakhstan and I decided to surprise them with Sarah there to pick them up. Sarah, Miriah, and I were there to greet them and THEN we went to mom and dads to surprise dad with a birthday cake. They arrived home on his birthday.

 

Here we are passing time in the gift shop

She is getting SO big!

Watching planes land and take off

Surprising Papaw & Nana

Our second exciting excursion was going to the movie theater. It turned out to be an all girls day, and to top it off the theatre had 2 for 1 and kids were free!

Sarah & Elanors first movie: Monsters University
Sarah LOVED it (& E slept, which was perfect)!

Aunt Kelley

There you have it, our two newest memorable moments. Sarah had so much fun and I am so thankful that I’m able to be there with her during these exciting times.

Here’s to a great finish to the last few months of “summer”, because let’s admit it, it doesn’t cool down enough to feel like any other season until after thanksgiving.