And…we’re back.  Where were we? Oh right! Family Vacation Part II, or as I like to call it- Sunshine’s Photo Session.

The Cape May Zoo is literally the coolest zoo I’ve ever visited. The kids loved it- even though it was pouring rain! Sunny called it the rain forest-  very clever.

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This is a very Jersey thing, and I have to say I really don’t get it. Every zoo has these animal cut outs- instead of the actual animal. The local zoo has this awesome train ride where you should technically see zoo animals along the route, but instead there are cut outs of polar bears and elephants. My kids might be confused if they ever see an actual polar bear or buffalo.

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I’m well aware of how overexposed this picture is- but I love it. It’s so where they are right now as a Father & Son.

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Saint also loves jumping in puddles during a storm. He was soaking wet, but oh so happy!

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The final day of our trip we rented bikes and toured Cape May. It was amazing. We stumbled upon the Cape May Lighthouse and that’s wear Sunny and I had a mini photo session. I know someday I’ll look back and think “gosh, she was so little” but right now I see these pics and all I can think is “gosh, she’s so big!”

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That is the magic of photography and video- it captures the now so we can savor it later.

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Luckily the girls were in neighboring Ocean City that weekend- so we spent a day with them at the ocean and the local carnival.  The carnival is part of a much larger boardwalk. It’s all very Jersey and all very cool. I just know in my heart these pictures will be priceless as these girls grow up and attend the boardwalk as teens and later adults.

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I took so many photos and videos- I’ll have to make a Little Love Story and share it with you guys.

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For the longest time we’ve been taking family vacations with our extended family. We love our family, and love vacationing with them, but it became increasingly important to me to take a vacation that was just us.

We had a few rules: 1. Must be within driving distance 2. Must be kid/family friendly 3. Must have both pool and beach access

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We settled on Cape May, New Jersey…the greatest place on Earth. The locals probably don’t say that, but I’m saying that- I want to live there and I plan on retiring there. Everyday I thought of a new way make money with Little Love Stories in Cape May. Sadly, Matt was not as into my plan to leave it all behind and move to the shore- but he’s warming up to it!

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We left on Jude’s birthday so we celebrated the night before with cake and presents. He was SOOOO happy and his sister was sooo happy for him. They were really cute together.

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First stop was the pool. My kids are obsessed with going under water and swimming like little baby fish.

IMG_9626 IMG_9630 IMG_9635Normally my little people love the beach, but if given the option, they prefer the pool. So there we are on a beach vacation with the most amazingly soft sand and bar service and cabanas and… we went once! This was one of those moments where I can’t wait for them to be older so I can hang at the beach and read a book- alone!

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This little two year old is going through a rough patch. It’s all Mama, all of the time. I thought separation anxiety was for 9 month olds- but Jude has other ideas.IMG_9672 IMG_9677I find it very hard to resist this little face…

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IMG_9742  At night our hotel had live music and a bonfire. Sunny was all smiles. Dancing and making new friends while wearing princess pj’s? Not a bad deal.

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I took some time a few mornings to photograph the town. It’s about the cutest place on Earth.

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My sweet friend Courtney ( who moved to NJ and then promptly moved to LA because she and her husband are super fancy) had a new baby named Louisa! Cape May built this cafe and chocolate shop in baby Louisa’s honor.  New Jersey is just kind like that. I’m not sure if LA built Louisa her own place yet- but I can’t say for sure.

IMG_9815 IMG_9816 IMG_9817 IMG_9822 IMG_9823This beautiful Cardinal visits me a few times a week no matter where on this great Earth I am. This is the first picture I’ve ever gotten of him though. He likes Cape May a lot too!

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Hey Jude,

Happy 2nd Birthday. It seems to me that you just arrived in my arms and into our home, but there is evidence of you everywhere. Your name is written on my heart. We’re connected in a space that knows no time or boundaries. I’m so grateful you found me. Here’s your Jude At Two list- it’s everything you need to know about you at two.

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You are Mischievous. Oh my dear how you get into everything. You must touch, explore, throw, and stomp on every object you find. I know, you know, you’re being terrible- but you have this devilish grin that helps you get away with even the most horrible of offenses.

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You love sports. You call every sport, ball. If we pass a park you shout BALL!BALL! You love to play catch. You love to play soccer. I tell myself that all that throwing will someday pay off once your drafted and you buy me a house on the shore. I want to be very specific- any Victorian in Cape May will do. I deserve it Darling, keeping up with you is a lot like chasing a new puppy around a glass showroom. That’s right kid, buy your Mama a house!

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jude in the grass

You are a cuddle bug. You will cuddle any time, any day. You will cuddle anyone who would like a cuddle. You are most likely to cuddle after you wake up and when you’re sick- those are the best cuddles around. Your Dad really takes advantage of this on the weekends! You’ve had this ability to cuddle since you were a newborn- as long as you can hear a heartbeat you are content to stay put.

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You are beautiful. You are so beautiful. Big brown eyes, loopy curls on your head, and the sweetest sun kissed cheeks. You’re so adorable that I just know you’ll be a heart breaker someday and it will be 100% my fault because I cuddle you all day long and tell you how cute you are even when you’re being terrible. (see this full list for reference)  Don’t let it go to your head darling, there are millions of beautiful people! Do your best to be a gentleman & scholar- you’ll stand out from all the rest.

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You are (sort of) adventurous. I don’t understand your need to make my heart stop 10 times a minute. You love to swim- but you don’t know how. You love to jump- always too high. You love to swing- you’d love it more if I’d let you flip over. Your all adventure and dirt. BUT there is this tiny part of you that is really hesitant to try new things. You’ll get there but you have to warm up to the idea. Once you have the hang of it though, there’s no stopping you.

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You are moody. This might just be part of  you being a two year old but, I’m already over it. One second you’re supremely happy and the next you’re uncomfortable and cranky. Check back next year to see if this trait has improved.

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You have a HUGE sweet tooth. You don’t eat. You could care less about food of any sort but, God knows you LOVE dessert. You will ask for two things every morning: Tommy (Thomas the train) and cake. You say it so sweetly like we give you cake every morning. Cake? Cake? Mama, cake? No. No. Jude, no! You act like if you repeat any one word over and over I’ll somehow forget it’s 7am and feed you cake for breakfast.

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You are relentless. My sweet boy you will stop at NOTHING to get what you want. I don’t know if I give in because you’re cute or because I simply can’t listen to you beg for something any longer. This will serve you well once you’re a man.

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You are of the ocean. This is the truth. When we go to the shore you want Daddy to hold you. You lay your head on his shoulder and shout WA-WA! over and over until he stands in the ocean while waves crash all around you both. You will fall asleep just like that. You don’t seem to care that you weigh 35 lbs and Dad’s arm goes numb- but he doesn’t care either. Your soul belongs to the summer and salt water and sea my love. The mere mention of water or a pool will get you up and moving.

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You are a Mama’s boy. This might have made the list last year.  Spoiler Alert: this will make the list every year.

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You are smart. You are not smart in the way Gracen is. You are smart in the way a con-artist is. You are always 2 steps ahead of me. At first I thought it was a fluke- and now I realize that saying yes to one thing to you means that you have a grand(er) plan down the line. I have to really think before I answer some of your request because you always have a plan and it’s usually naughty.

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You are calm. We should have named you Laid Back Jack- because you almost always have your hands behind your head and take big giant exhales. This life is sooo exhausting for you Jude. SOOOOOOO tiring.

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You are a ladies man. I don’t want to rush to judgement but, you LOVE women. You flirt. You do all sorts of stupid human tricks to impress older women. You smile, you giggle, you’ll hit your head 100 times on a table if it makes a pretty girl smile. Your ridiculously charming.

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You are loyal. You have one main friend and that’s Natalie. Any other little girl you meet you refer to as “Not Nat-Nat.” You don’t care whose feelings you hurt and you aren’t looking to expand your roster of friends..yet. You love your sister, the girls & Devi, Natalie, Papa, Your Uncles, Cheese the Cat, and Cubby the Dog, and that’s about it.  If it’s not one of the above mentioned souls, your uninterested (for now) . This sounds harsh but it’s an awesome trait to have because it’s the quality of those connections that counts- not the quantity. Plus being the little brother to all of your sisters friends will have it’s benefits as you get older.

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You love animals. Every dog you must pet. Every cat you must touch. Every animal at the zoo you must wave hi to.

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You say Hey, which makes me so happy. Everyone says Hey Jude to you- so you keep saying Hey ____ to them. It’s so cute.  I hope you’ll always say Hey ___ because Hey is way cooler than Hi- and it’s your thing.

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You’re a complex little soul my boy. You have carved your niche into this family and I wouldn’t want to know life without you. I think our souls have traveled here and there and everywhere together. This list will surely change and grow as you get older- but what will always stay the same is my adoration of the very essence of you.

Jude B&W May 2014

Have the greatest year of your life Jude.

Jude with Chalk May 2014

 

Love, Mama

 

 

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Dear Jude,

Today was the last day you’ll be one years old. This is it. There will be no re-do, no pause button, no going backwards. I still can’t believe it’s been 24 months of Jude(ism).  I think these late in the evening photographs stand as the greatest expression of your last day as a one year old.

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We went to the town pool today and you ran and jumped and dove under water even though you have no idea how to swim and no real assurance that I would reach underneath the water to save you. When we got home you insisted on going in our kiddie pool- diving and swimming all on your own. I would say this is a perfect way to welcome in the terrible twos. It’s going to be the longest year of my life.

Happy Birthday you gorgeous and terrible little monster.

xoxo- Mama

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IMG_9285Sunny had been begging to go to the NJ State Fair and I so wanted to take her, BUT, I really didn’t think that her little brother could handle the crowds or heat. After days of pleading I finally settled on a family trip to Central Park where the AMAZING Victoria Gardens is located. Have you been there? It’s so perfect for little kids. So flippin perfect. They have rides designed only for tots ages 2-12 and Sunny was tall enough to ride  every ride there- so we got the comfort of a carnival, the beauty of the city, and the pleasure of seeing my kids dominate fun rides. You’ll note the bright lighting and lack of blue in the sky in all of these pics- it was ( no joke) 100 degrees that day. I’m not kidding. The haziest, hottest day so far! We walked from midtown west all the way to Victoria Gardens pushing a broken double stroller- like pure idiots. BUT if I make a promise I keep it- even if it means certain dehydration and a possible trip to the ER.

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Matt really lucked out marrying me. We have a system where I take the pictures and he enjoys time with our kids. They might grow up and wonder where the heck I am- and I’m always behind the camera. Also I’m not much of a thrill seeker so mostly I just hold hats, water, snacks, and my camera while shouting “Do not drop my babies!”

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Note to self: Saint hates heat and carnivals and the city. Sunny is a city girl though- it’s in her bones, it speaks to her soul.

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He does love a good water ride though…

 

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You can barely make out my Sunshine Girls legs in this pic. She insisted on riding the swings by herself. Both Matt and I held our breath while she was up there- but she was so happy and so proud of herself! Sunny isn’t much for breaking rules or anything that looks remotely dangerous- so this was a big moment for her.

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After we left Central Park we headed back to the car where our double stroller died a terrible death. It went 100% flat on 59th street. So, I took the kids to Columbus Circle while Matt got the car. The upside? We rode the elevator to the top floor where Matt and I had our very first date. I posed them at the exact spot- but then Saint ran away like a crazy person.

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So Sunny held him in place. I don’t care that these pics are blurry. I’m so happy they stood there- where it all began.

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No children were hurt in the making of this fun filled day!

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