Last Sunday was family fun day at Alexander Springs in Altoona, FL. We arrived a little after 10 a.m. to find we were one of the last to get into the park. They are super busy this time of year and reach capacity early. When we left hours later, there was a LONG line waiting to get in! We had a blast! It's a great spring for little people. Lots of shallow area to swim in. It was pretty crowded...we bumped into some folks in our raft...but then again, we had a four year steering us around! Overall, we had a fun day with no sunburn, no bug bites and lots of shells we had to throw back cause they still had critters living in them (try explaining that to a four year old hoarder!)
Yesterday we had the pleasure of skipping work and school to visit Rock Springs at Kelly Park with our dear friends, The Edward's Family. For the past four years, we have met them every Spring at one of Florida's springs. We've been to Blue Springs, DeLean Springs, Ginnie Springs and now Rock Springs with them. I have to admit, Rock Springs is my new favorite spring! The water is chiller than the others (68 degrees!) but it was PERFECT for Juliette with a large area of shallow water for her to swim and play in. They even had a sand "beach" for her to play in. We had a wonderful day and cannot wait to go back!
A month late and a dollar short...story of my life. Anywho...we celebrated Juliette's birthday last month. The Big 4! We skipped the big party this year for a trip to The Happiest Place on Earth. And it did not disappoint. It really was a magical few days...especially her actual birthday which we spent at Magic Kingdom. She LOVED it. She loved the rides (She rode her first roller coaster, The Barnstormer!). She loved meeting all the princesses and characters. She loved the people watching. She loved the dancing (oh, and how cute is she when she dances!). She loved everything.
On Sunday, we (Juliette, Josh, myself and Grams & Pappaw) spent the day at the Animal Kingdom. Afterwards, we met Emily at Disney Springs for Juliette's birthday dinner at Rainforest Cafe. Juliette was more excited about her Little Mermaid cake than anything else!
On Monday (her birthday), we headed to the Magic Kingdom...and got there right as they opened. We were able to ride lots of rides and meet a ton of the characters! We stayed all the way until the park closed! It was the best day ever...for all of us! Happy belated birthday my sweet baby! Oh waut, you keep reminding me that you are not a baby...so happy belated birthday to my big/little girl!
We had the best Christmas ever! Having a three year old makes Christmas magical! It's as if I am a kid again (and I want her to get ALL the Barbies possible!).
This year we spent a good solid month being festive. Juliette helped my decorate the trees (Juliette's tree & Mommy's tree...no tree for Daddy). We saw Santa at the Jacksonville Zoo. We made cranberry cookies from the recipe on the back of the book called "Cranberry Christmas". We made salt ornaments for the tree. We listened to LOTS of Christmas music. Juliette sang "Jingle Bells" a gazillion of times.
Juliette wouldn't nap on Christmas Eve due to all of her excitment for the next day. I spent the day painting the kitchen and prepping for Aunt Jenny to tile our new back splash. Juliette spent the day running around the house like a lunatic and watching Christmas movies. We did put out some homemade chocolate chip walnut cookies, chocolate milk (cause Santa likes CHOCOLATE milk Mommy) and some carrots for the reindeer that night.
On Christmas Day, Josh & I patiently waited for Juliette to wake up. And of course she slept until later than normal! She woke up and walked out to see her goodies...and all we heard was "MOM! DAD! MOMMY! DADDY!" So we got up from bed to see a super excited little girl. Santa was good to her and brought her everything that was on her list. She got her Paw Patrol Airplane, her new Dory Watch, Princess Ariel, inside trampoline, American Girl Bitty Baby, and more! I made some homemade cinnamon rolls (for the first AND last time ever) for breakfast. They took me a solid FOUR hours to make. Later in the day, we went to see the movie "Sing" since Juliette has been talking about it for a while now. Afterwards, we drove around and saw some Christmas lights and grabbed some takeout sushi/Thai food. A great day was had by all!
And the next day, Juliette said to me..."I do that again!"
Juliette has been asking about seeing Santa for a few weeks now. She is definitely in the Christmas spirit! She helped decorate the tree (and redecorates on a daily basis). She helped bake cookies. She loves finding her Elf, Elfette, each morning. She sings "Jingle Bells". She is feeling it.
So I told her earlier in the day that we were going to see Santa. When it came time to leave, we pilled into the car and I asked her "Juliette, where are we going?" "To the North Pole to see Santa" she replied. Duh, of course we were going to see Santa at the North Pole. I guess the North Pole is just a short drive away from St. Augustine, FL! In this case, the North Pole was the Jacksonville Zoo and their annual Zoolights. She was super excited to see Santa. She ran right on up to him and started chatting away. She asked him for the Paw Patrol airplace, Princess Ariel and a watch, I have a feeling the big guy will be coming through on those wishes!
It had been a while since I had my friend Meghan of Meghan Vail Photography take some beautiful pictures of Juliette. It was time. We headed to Crescent Beach (just south of St. Augustine) to meet Meghan for a sunrise session in early August. I've been waiting these past few months to share all these fabulous pictures. I love all of them! Here she is in all her splendor :)
The month of October flew by this year. I feel like with the hurricane, we just skipped half the month. Now that life is feeling pretty much back to normal, it was nice to be celebrating Halloween! Juliette had two costumes this year. One was "Skye" from Paw Patrol and then Nemo. She was all gung-ho about being Skye. She wore Skye to her Halloween costume parade at school...which was about the cutest thing EVER! When I picked her up from school that afternoon, she proceeded to tell me that she couldn't wear Skye again. "Skye dirty." So Nemo it was for Tick or Treating!
Juliette's boyfriend (and future husband), Harrison, joined us for the nights festivities. They had a blast! It is so fun watching them running around together. Probably the cutest little couple to ever walk on this planet. After walking a few streets, we headed back. They loved passing out candy almost more than going trick or treating. And we got to watch Harrison dance for a while. Such a fun night! Cannot wait to do it again next year!
Juliette as "Skye" and the rest of her class shortly after the Halloween parade.
And a flashback to #harryandjuju from last year. Be still my heart!
Last week was a bit stressful for those of us in Florida. As the week went by, Hurricane Matthew came closer to our beloved town of St. Augustine. By Wednesday, officials were saying that the coastal areas were going to be under a mandatory evacuation. Since I work at the beach, that meant no work...for at least a few days. So, I left work early and got Juliette from daycare. We packed up the car (including two dogs that don't travel well) and headed north. We left Daddy behind (not our choice, but he refused). I drove all night...which I cannot imagine ever wanting to do again...and made it safely to Grams house in KY. Here's a little peek at out impromptu trip...
The headlines in The Kentucky Enquirer...a picture of St. Augustine under water.
Monty finally got off my lap to sleep for a few hours in the passenger seat. He won't be going on any long car rides for a LOOOOONG time,
After the storm passed and we knew our house was ok and Daddy was fine, we had some fall fun at Neltner's Farm. We were so excited for a REAL pumpkin patch (no church parking lot for us this year!). It was a beautiful day...it felt like Fall! We picked some pumpkins, visited their farm animals, Juliette rode their train, we listened to a live Bluegrass band and took a short walk through their corn maze. We'll have to go back!
We also got to see Granny, Pappaw, Aunt Jenny, Uncle Ryan, Cousin Olive, Grandma Betty, Uncle Andy & Aunt Maggie and a bunch of the Schroeder's. We made lemonade out of lemons on this trip!
Unfortunately, St. Augustine didn't fair as well. Our little town is now recouping. Lots of folks lost their homes on the beach and the coastal areas. The houses around the Club on the beach are in rough shape. Many had major damage...and quite a few are considered condemned. But St. Augustine is resilient. She'll be back in no time!
Here's a short video that pretty much sums up my feelings for this place!
After the Grand Canyon, we had two days left to explore Phoenix & Scottsdale. We stopped by the Desert Botanical Garden. We spent a good two hours walking around and seeing the native plants. It's amazing how many types of cacti there are! Following that, we had lunch at Flower Child with my good friend Amy. She's been a great friend of mine since our Flagler College soccer playing days! It is always wonderful seeing her and catching up! Of course we had to hit up the local Sprinkles too! Juliette is a big fan of chocolate right now!
The next day, we took Juliette to the Children's Museum of Phoenix. The museum is just darling and Juliette LOVED it. We had a hard time prying her away! She got to paint a robot pink...and some other kids helping paint the robot were so kind as to paint Juliette's hair pink too. We had lunch at Matt's Big Breakfast. Best bacon I've ever had! Later in Old Town Scottsdale, Juliette nabbed herself a pair of shiny black cowgirl boots. She's been obsessed with them ever since. We finished up the day with a trip to Baked Bear. Matt had told me that we would enjoy this place...and he was right! I had an oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwich that was delish! Juliette had herself a chocolate chip cookie eaten with a spoon. Weird kid.
And she's outtttt...we had a wonderful trip! Thanks Uncle Matt & Aunt Anne for letting us crash with you and for being great tour guides! Can't wait to come back!
Our next stop, the Grand Canyon! My first thought when we saw the canyon was, "This is fake" It honestly is so amazingly HUGE that my brain was having issues grasping that it was a real place. We spent the whole day traveling around the South Rim. Every viewing area brought a new sight. We brought a picnic lunch that we enjoyed at the Desert View. I have to admit, Desert View, was my favorite viewing spot. The tower was closed, but the Canyon was just spectacular there. The first thing Juliette said when she saw the canyon..."So big." This kid just loves being outside so we could have really taken her anywhere and she would have been happy! Next time, we'll take Daddy with us!
Thanks for stopping by! My name is Jen and I am the proud Momma of Juliette Margot! We are so blessed to have a healthy and happy baby girl. Check back often and watch as Juliette grows...you never know what great adventures are ahead of us!