Family Wedding Weekend

Brian’s sister got married June 6. It was a very fun time with family and her wedding was absolutely beautiful! We recently got pictures back, so I am finally posting about it.

The rehearsal dinner was at Pete & Sam’s. Margo’s teacher kept the kids so we could actually eat a meal and talk with people. 🙂

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The wedding day was very exciting! The day was a bit crazy, because Brian was helping his dad in the morning and then had groomsmen activities that day. The kids didn’t have to be at the church until later, so we hung out together and I had to figure out how to put P’s tux together. I think I did okay! Brian came home for about an hour and half so that I could go get my hair done. I loved how she did it – two little braids on the sides and fastened in the back. My big curls stayed all night!

The wedding was at St. Louis and the kids did a fabulous job as ring bearer and flower girl. The reception was at The Columns downtown. Here are my iPhone pics!

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And the professional pics!

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Congrats to the happy couple!

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Easter Weekend: Another Half Marathon

Even though it was several weeks ago, I want to make sure I capture Easter weekend. It was big for us!

I signed up for the Oak Barrel Half Marathon at the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg a while back, and was pretty excited to take on this very STEEP and hilly race. It would be my 3rd half marathon in 6 months. We’ve had awful weather and treadmills aren’t for me, so I had not been training like I should have.

The kids were out of school Friday, and I was running the race Saturday, so we loaded up the family and hit the road! We had a nice drive and saw lots of Tennessee Walking Horse Farms and beautiful green pastures. We arrived in Lynchburg and our first stop was at the Lynchburg Cake and Candy Company. Best stop! We picked up some whiskey cake, chocolate and pecans. He signed the cake for us!

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Then we went to the Jack Daniels visitor center. Brian is a Tennessee Squire, so we checked out the squire room and walked around the area. We walked into the square and checked it out, too.

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“Show me your silly faces!” Inside the Visitor Center.

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Since it was Good Friday and we needed a meat free meal, we grabbed cheese pizza. We headed to our hotel in Fayetteville, about 15 miles from Lynchburg. Margo was NOT into the hotel and was up most of the night. Another reason I didn’t think I’d have a good race! Preston, however, slept just fine…
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Bright and early and ready to go! Representing Memphis runners in my 901 shirt from Breakaway. 🙂

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We got up in the morning early and headed down for breakfast. The room was FULL of runners fueling up for the race. Meanwhile, I was the only crazy person running all over trying to get my kids breakfast. ha! Brian and I were quite the show down there. We loaded up the car and headed into Lynchburg for the race! Brian had to keep the kids entertained for 2 hours while I ran. There was no way to really spectate because of the steep course and rural area, so they hung out at a breakfast place and then a candy store before heading to the finish line to watch the runners come in.

This race is known for its difficult course and its “medals” – they are actually made from the whiskey oak barrels. By far the coolest medal I have from running.

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I snapped this with my iPhone just before the race started. Look at all the people!

The race was every bit as challenging as all the reviews say. I surprised myself by finishing in 2 hours and 4 minutes, roughly a 9 and half minute mile pace. I finished 30th out of 114 in my age group. Not a PR for me, but I expected to run this course slower due to the challenge. We were blessed with a beautiful day for running, and I had a lot of fun out on the course. I am still a bit amazed at myself that I can run for 2 hours straight without stopping – I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to do it, and now I’ve conquered it 3 times. Because this race was so hilly, it worked out parts of my body I’m not used to, so I did experience soreness in weird places that lasted about a week.

When I ran past the Visitors Center and knew I had a quick turn and the finish line, it was an awesome feeling! Really precious story: Brian and the kids were in the town square when an announcement was made that the winner would be coming in shortly. Preston excitedly asked “Is it Mommy?!?!” Ha! Brian explained that races are not always about finishing first, and doing your best is what matters the most. When I finished, the first words from him were “Mommy, I’m sorry you didn’t win, but you did the best you could!” He is just the sweetest.

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Get me a Gatorade and Port-a-potty ASAP!

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We headed home that day and got to celebrate Easter with both of our families. I haven’t had a chance to edit any of these pics, but I’m already a month late so who cares! Margo wore a dress my mother hand smocked for me when I was little and Preston wore one of Brian’s childhood sportscoats.

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Britt made a quick trip home from UT for Easter.

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Playing with Mal!

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Such a fun weekend!

Auction, Soccer & More!

Back in February, we attended the auction that benefits P’s school. It was our first time attending and we got a table with some of the other couples in P’s class. It was really fun! I forgot to mention it back in Feb. I took a couple pictures that night. It was Memphis-themed, and the decorations were super cute. The party was very fun!

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Our whole table!

 

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In March, P started soccer. He was excited about it leading up to it, but the morning of, he didn’t want to go. We coaxed a little and he agreed. However, he got out there and had the time of his life! Brian took him while I took Margo to the pediatrician for an ear infection. We arrived for the tail end of it, and Preston had the biggest smile on his face and was having a blast. He asked if he could go every Saturday! He was running everywhere, giving his coach high-fives, and chasing after the ball. It’s a great little intro to soccer if you are in Memphis – here’s the link for what we signed him up for. It’s no pressure and fun for the kids! I’ll have pictures soon!

Also, Brian and Matt participated in a rib cook off in Robert’s backyard. 🙂 Even though they didn’t place, they had a good time cooking ribs and tri-tip and the kids had fun running around!

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P with his godfather and buddy, Robert!

 

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“Where did all the food go?”

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Birthdays have been in full swing around here. We went to Declan’s at the Little Gym and Connor’s at his house where Mr. Joe made a visit!

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Margo sat in the middle and stared at Mr. Joe for quite a while! She didn’t know what to think.

 

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P with a few of his buddies from school

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She is quite a fan of the Little Gym!

 

Also, I have to give Preston some props here. His behavior has been absolutely awesome lately. To my friends and family reading this, we are celebrating nightly here at our house. We are knocking it out of the park, getting all of our stickers at school, using much more respectful tones, and learning that it is okay for others to be first and best sometimes. When you are four, life is pretty hard to figure out, especially for strong-willed little guys, and I think things are really clicking with our little guy. We are proud.

Grandparents Day at P’s school was last week. Mimzie (Brian’s mom) and Mook (my dad) were able to make it. From what I hear, P loved having his grandparents there, and they did a cute little song for them on the stage in the gym.

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Margo and Preston continue to be best friends. They always ask for each other and are best playmates. They rarely have problems between the two of them, and are happy to share with one another. The only time we have issues is when they play too rough together and we’re worried about one of them getting hurt (usually Margo) but they are truly the light in each other’s lives and it makes us smile.

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Another year older

On Sunday, I turned 31. My sister-in-law and I are just a few days apart, so my family had a joint party at my parents house to celebrate. We made homemade pierogies and pasta and had an outstanding meal! It is always a good time at my parents house. Margo and Preston had fun seeing all their aunts and uncles on that side, too. It was really fun!

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Pierogi making is serious work

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Ready for the skillet

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Of course, P had to blow out my candle! He also asked if the presents were for him. Ha!

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We gave the kids baths and put them in pajamas over there. After that, they were serenaded a bit by my brothers. The kids were dancing and absolutely loved it! They always beg for live music at my parents house and they almost always get it!

We came home that night, put the kids to sleep, and at around 10 or so I started to not feel so good. A little later, I started throwing up and didn’t stop until morning. It was HORRIBLE. I spent my entire birthday laid out in bed, running back and forth between my bed and the bathroom, staying away from my family. I could not attempt to get out of bed until Sunday night and that was just for more Sprite! It was not the best day, but I am so glad we had Saturday night as the main celebration.

I even had to miss work Monday. Being the sweet guy he is, Brian still tried his best to make it special for me. He surprised me with Moscow Mule copper mugs and tickets to see Jonny Lang in April in Tunica. We saw him a long time ago and had a blast- he is so good! I can’t wait to see him again. Brian really spoiled me this year.

My family had some sweet cards, gifts and surprises for me too. So thankful for all of them! Here’s to the thirties!

Weekend Recap – A Half Marathon, Grizz Game, and Christmas!

What a whirlwind! Friday night, my mom took the kids to my parents house to spend the night and we were kid-free! We got suite tickets to the Grizz game from my work, so we invited Marley and Matt for a night out. Even though the Grizz lost to the Spurs, it was a huge game and a lot of fun to be there. There is nothing like the atmosphere of a Grizz game.

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Photo opp at half time!

photo 2 After the game, we decided to stay out a little longer and head over to Overton Square. We checked out Lafayette’s, which was really cool. I didn’t drink, since I was running a half marathon bright and early the next morning, and to be honest, was a bit worried for myself when we got home at midnight! We had a great time. photo 3   Our alarm clocks went off early, and Brian and I were up heading downtown for the St. Jude Marathon. Neither of us had ever been as spectators (we are sad to say) so this was a first for both of us. The weather was in the 50s, making it extremely difficult to choose what to run in, so I brought extra clothes with me. Ha! Brian and I parked easily and made our way to the start line at Beale and 4th. I choose Corral #5 (8:55 – 9:15 pace), because I was really trying to finish in under 2 hours. Brian held my stuff, walked all over the route, cheering for me and others he knew on the course. I saw him on Beale, around the 5K point, and then again at the 13th mile marker.

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Got my music, my water bottle, my GU, my Sports Beans and my lucky visor. Let’s go!!

 

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The start line! A St. Jude patient sang the national anthem and they started. As it got closer and closer to #5, I loved hearing the announcer, and he said “All this training, all the hurting and sweat, it’s all for right now. Enjoy it!” It gave me chills! When they released the corral, we were shoulder to shoulder for the first mile, but it was so spirited and fun!

I honestly cannot say enough about this race. What an experience! There are really no words. At the start line, I was behind a man wearing a shirt that said “St. Jude dad. I’m running for my daughter, Luca.” I just can’t imagine what that dad has been through. Another runner near me had a shirt saying “Bone Marrow Transplant Survivor thanks to St. Jude.” Incredible! Along the route, there were bands, entertainers, supporters, etc. It was just awesome! Walking back to the car, Brian said “I’m doing it next year!” I really hope he does!

During the race, I stayed with the pacers for the first 5K. After that I passed them, and stayed in front of them until Mile 11. My favorite parts of the race were running down Beale Street and down 2nd, running through St. Jude and seeing the patients, families and staff, through Overton Park, and running down Riverside Drive. This race felt good, much better than my last half marathon. My legs were stronger. The elements going against me were the WIND and running against it, my nose running like crazy, and being really hot in the shirt I choose! Other than that, my body felt great and my mind (let’s face it, miles 9-12 are all a mind game) was strong. At one point around mile 10-11, I realized I probably wasn’t going to finish in under 2 hours. I was struggling, met some rolling hills, and my pace slowed. I started to get kind of worried and tried to push my pace. I got to Sun Studios and could see AutoZone Park (the finish) in the distance and pushed, pushed, PUSHED to the end. I saw Brian at the 13 mile marker and it gave me that last burst I needed to get through. I stomped the finish line, shut off my watch, and saw 1:59:35. I got tears in my eyes and said “Could I have cut that ANY closer?!?!?” About two minutes later, I called Brian and he answered his phone saying “You did it! You did it! You got under 2!! I’m looking at the official time and it’s under 2!” I was so happy. Like, so so so so happy. I met up with him outside AutoZone Park. We relished in the morning all day and most of the next day. Memories I never want to forget with him! My biggest fan and partner, Brian. Now, if we cross the finish line TOGETHER next year – cue the real tears! photo 3

Official Stats: Time: 1:59:35
Pace per mile: 9:07
Overall Place: 1,079 out of over 6,600 runners
F, Age 30-34 Group Place: 89 out of 748

After the race, we picked up the kids at my parents house and headed to get our Christmas tree. Which is amazing, because after the Greenline Half, I couldn’t walk for three days – haha! So, we got the tree, brought it home and started getting Christmas stuff out. We ended up going to dinner at Las Delicias that night to celebrate meeting my goal time.

Sunday we went to church, where we saw a couple of the boys in his class in the donut room. Sweet boys! They were so happy to see each other!

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When we got home, we decorated the tree with Preston and Margo and finished putting all the Christmas indoor and outdoor decorations up and played with the kids.

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Margo absolutely loves baby dolls. She rocks them, holds them, strolls them. It’s truly the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life. This was just before nap, hence the pacifier. We’ve been cutting back to nap and bedtime. As long as she’s busy, it’s fine. 🙂

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To say this boy is excited about Christmas is an understatement.

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Reading a bedtime story with both of them in my lap. Margo is a bit under the weather, but I loved the moment with both of them! They actually stayed through two books. A miracle!

 What an awesome weekend. If only they were all that great!

 

Thanksgiving Weekend

The Thanksgiving holiday was nice this year. On Wednesday, both the kids’ schools were closed, so I took the day off and stayed home with them. I rarely do that, since I save my days for days when the kids are sick, so it was nice to have both of them home with me and they were both well. 🙂 We played all the morning in the play room and Brian came home around lunch for the day. It was so nice just being home with the four of us.

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When the kids went down for their nap, I decided to run 10 miles. I headed to my usual running destination – from my house, down the bike lane on Shady Grove to the Wolf River Greenway. The weather is cold, but with the falling leaves and woods, it felt more like a trail run. Just beautiful. I ran all the way to Germantown Pkwy and back.

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I took the time running to talk to God and think about all the things I am thankful for. It started to rain a little bit at the end of the run, but what a great run it was! 10 miles in an hour and half, around a 9:15 minute-mile. I’m running another half marathon this week and Marley and I signed up for a winter off-road trail race series in Jan-Feb around Memphis. That consists of 4 races, so I’ve gotta stay in shape! When I got back to the house, one kid had just woken up and the other was still sleeping, so I was pretty happy I didn’t miss time with them that day.

Thursday morning, Thanksgiving, we played at home and slowly got ready for the day. We headed over to Brian’s family’s Thanksgiving meal. The food was delicious and the company was great! What a nice Thanksgiving it was. 🙂 Most of his family and extended family were there, so it was good catching up with everyone. Before we ate, we all went around and said what we are thankful for. When it was Preston’s turn, he smiled sweetly and said “I’m thankful for my mommy.” Of course, I lost it and cried. It was just so sweet!

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Oh my! He looks so big here!

 

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Kisses for sweet Ms. Liz!

 

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We headed to my parents house after that for dessert. My brothers, my sister-in-law and my sister-in-law’s mom were all there. Nice to catch up with them! Margo ate pumpkin pie and cake and was in pure heaven!

Friday morning after lunch, we headed to Alabama to visit my grandparents. They have been experiencing some health issues lately, so we wanted to go hug them and spend some time with them. It was so great so see them, albeit it brief. We stayed one night in a nearby hotel, because we didn’t want to disrupt them too much. Kids can do that! We loved catching up with them, having some good meals with them, and taking some pictures of them with the kids. After we left their house, we ventured into the little downtown area and had some lunch and walked to Spring Park to see the ducks and geese before heading back to Memphis.

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One precious thing Margo had started doing that I want to document: We say “Margo, where’s the baby?” And she points to her tummy. So adorable! She is also learning her body parts too, and can point to her head, nose, mouth, tummy and ears. She just turned 14 months old and is getting more and more precious every day. 🙂

 

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Preston and Margo with their great grandparents, Nannie and Gramps. I will always treasure this picture!

 

Saturday night, my parents rented a carriage at Starry Nights at Shelby Farms. The weather was perfect and we had so much fun. Margo loved the ride, and Preston was really into all the lights. It was a lot of fun! Mark, Melissa and her mom joined us. It was nice to a bit more time with them!

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We had a music themed carriage too – it’s like they knew our family! Haha! We missed Joe and Danielle, but they were enjoying the Egg Bowl.

 

Sunday, we attended the baptism of our friends’ little girl at St. Peter’s downtown. We took the kids to Mass before hand, and after the baptism headed back to their house for a nice reception. I love going to baptisms. Such a sweet sacrament! We realized Preston and Margo skipped naps or in Margo’s case, napped on the go, Thursday – Sunday. A couple of nights they were falling apart before bedtime, but actually handled it pretty well!

Such a nice weekend spent with family. 🙂

Halloween Weekend

Halloween was really fun this year! Preston was the Big Bad Wolf and Margo was Little Red Riding Hood. I have to admit that both of these were solely Preston’s idea, and he was thrilled with both costumes! He is so creative and fun, and really enjoyed every aspect of Halloween this year.

Since Halloween fell on a Friday, I ended up taking a half day at work to attend both kids school parties. First up was Preston. When I got there, he was already in costume along with the rest of his class. Brian met me there, too, and Preston loved having both of us there. We had snacks, read a Halloween book, did a mummy craft, and played games. At the end of the party, I asked him if he wanted to leave early with me or go to aftercare. He quickly said “aftercare!” and went with all of his friends. 🙂

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Poor Preston! His costume was too small! I ordered a Small (4-6) on the website, but clearly, it would really fit a 2-year-old. He didn’t seem to mind that the pants were capri pants and it was a bit tight in the bottom area! haha!

After I left there, I went over to Margo’s school for her party. First of all, it’s just hilarious to have a Halloween party with a group of 12-month-olds. They had no clue what was going on, did not like the costumes, but really enjoyed the party snacks!

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Margo left with me and we went back to get P. We headed home to get ready for trick or treating in our neighborhood!

Off we headed to trick or treat, but first we met some neighbors in our front yard for a quick photo op. Have I mentioned how much I love my neighborhood? Nice families, sweet kids, and lots of fun! They have really grown over the years!

Back: Bennett (Spiderman), Case (Darth Vader), Griffin (Doctor) Middle: Caroline (Dorothy), Tyler (Lion), Emery (Unicorn), Emma (Princess Elsa), Anne Marie (Princess Anna), Baby Caroline (Snow Princess), Michael (Olaf), Preston (Big Bad Wolf) Front: Libby (Ladybug) and Connor (Puppy) Not pictured: Margo (Little Red Riding Hood) and Emily (A Bumblebee)

Back: Bennett (Spiderman), Case (Darth Vader), Griffin (Doctor)
Middle: Caroline (Dorothy), Tyler (Lion), Emery (Unicorn), Emma (Princess Elsa), Anne Marie (Princess Anna), Baby Caroline (Snow Princess), Michael (Olaf), Preston (Big Bad Wolf)
Front: Libby (Ladybug) and Connor (Puppy)
Not pictured: Margo (Little Red Riding Hood) and Emily (A Bumblebee)

Margo and Brian stayed home to pass out candy and Preston and I were off. I couldn’t believe the difference in him this year. He totally got it, and I didn’t even have to go to the houses with him. I stood at the street with the other moms, and he ran from place to place, ringing doorbell after doorbell. It’s funny and a little bittersweet to watch him be such a big kid sometimes. We actually trick or treated for over an hour and did the majority of our neighborhood. It wasn’t until the very end, and his bucket was totally full that he said he was ready to go home because his bucket was too heavy! I carried it and we walked home with our next door neighbors in the freezing cold. Such a fun night! Every day since he asks “Can I have a treat from my blue bucket?” and we’ve been using it for rewards. I have to laugh, because Brian ate a piece when Preston wasn’t around, and later, Preston noticed it was gone! I don’t know how he did that, but we had to laugh!
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We got up bright and early the next morning and headed to Pickwick with Marley, Matt and their kids. Getting out of the house was quite a feat, because we hadn’t packed a thing, then we decided to switch everyone’s car seats – P moved to a high back booster and M moved into his convertible seat. We finally figured out the stupid Britax carseat and how to make it rear face again (why do they have to make it so hard?!) and we were off!

It was chilly, but we played outside a good bit and Marley and I went for a long walk/run. The woods are so pretty with the leaves changing, and the kids just enjoyed playing together. Matt cooked burgers and we enjoyed eating dinner together and the best part – putting the kids to bed! We stayed up and watched football and saw the Vols win against South Carolina in overtime. Woo hoo! We stayed up talking and finally called it a night. We got up in the morning and played and ate lunch. The time change threw us all for a loop, and we headed home after lunch.

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This girl cracks me up.

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They make my heart skip a beat!

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Walking Tallulah. Tallulah chased a chipmunk and actually caught it! The kids were amazed and we were all entertained. Thankfully, the chipmunk was okay (we think).

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Cute Henry! He was talking up a storm this trip.

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She fell asleep on his shoulder during our walk. Definitely due to the “fall back” time change!

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Love this pic of the two of them!

Such a fun Halloween weekend spent with friends!