Virginia to… Virginia

I started this post in May; it is now the beginning of August.  Such is life these days.  During that time, we packed up our lavender Charlottesville home and settled into a tiny brick house in Del Ray, a wonderful little neighbhorood in Alexandria, Virginia.  Though we moved from Virginia to Virginia, this move felt more drastic — and perhaps a little more unsettling — than others.

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Perhaps this move ruffled my feathers because it is our fifth move in five years.  I feel D.O.N.E. with moving for a while.

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It seems only yesterday that I titled a post, “Farewell, Alaska.”  Indeed, it was just over one year ago that we journeyed from Anchorage to Charlottesville.

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As with every move, we were sad to leave our friends behind but excited to make our new home.  Reeves and Hickory have been champs and are adjusting especially well to their new backyard.

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Charlottesville 

Backing up, an update on life in Charlottesville…

When we first arrived in Charlottesville, I was hopeful that I’d find a job, ideally part-time.  I never found anything that was the right fit for me.  In the end, I am so glad.  Our time in C’Ville was an amazing nine months for me and Reeves.  We were so blessed to stumble accross a wonderful playgroup with whom we’ve been meeting every week since August.  We have also done weekly music, tumbling, and art classes.

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At nearly 20 months, Reeves is a true toddler now.  He is determined, spirited, vocal — so vocal! — and loving.  Perhaps what’s so golden about this age is that I can demand a hug or a kiss — even mid-tantrum — and he does it.  Melts my heart.  Will has also taught him how to scratch his back during family time in bed.  Might get me off the hook…

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Reeves is a wildly active little guy, and by far his favorite activity, which he asks to do every five minutes, is to “walk, walk.”  (He does this while flapping his arms like a chicken… no idea where that came from.)  In fact, from the moment he could talk he said something similar to: “Shooshoowaaa.”  We finally realized he was saying, “Shoe, shoe, walk!”  When he wants to go outside, he brings our shoes to us — often trying to put Will’s flip-flops on for him — and insists we “walk.”  He loves to be outside, and for that we are grateful.

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Another obsession: vacuming.

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Last time I posted, Reeves still had little hair.  He has now turned into a little towhead.  We see whisps of red hair from time to time, but as the summer has progressed his hair has only gotten blonder.

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Travels 

Last spring, we took a trip to San Antonio to visit family and witness the baptism of our sweet nephew, Jacob.

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Playing with Daisy in Grammy and Bop’s backyard

Then, after moving (dumping) our belongings to Alexandria, we flew out to Seattle for a visit before facing the music of settling in.

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We hit up all of our favorite places: Discovery Park, Whidbey Island, a sailboat trip in Lake Union, and of course, Reeves’ first M’s game!

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Reeves adored spending time with his cousins on both trips.

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R looooved the Mariner Moose!

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It was indeed hard to say goodbye to that gorgeous view!

Reeves 

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Reeves’ true love in life now is trains, or “choo choos”!  Not a car ride passes without him asking whether we’ll see a “choo choo;” not an evening goes by without him asking to watch a “choo choo” video; and not a day goes by without him playing on his “tracks,” the amazing train table his grandparents sent.

Incidentally, we could not be living in a better place for a train lover.  Alexandria was once home to the busiest train yard in the country, Potomac Yard.  Although many of the rail lines are now gone, we frequent a new park that is adjacent to the Amtrak and Metro lines.  When one sits in the swing, he happens to get the perfect view of trains coming down the track.

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The big news around here is that I got a job and Reeves started school (daycare)!  We are both a bit terrified about the changes, but I think it will be great for us both.

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I leave with with a shot of our evening “truck watch” at the new house.

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Here We Go Again

Hello!

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We spent a glorious few weeks in Seattle over the holidays.  We took over my parents’ home, visited old friends, celebrated the baptism of our niece, and nursed a teething toddler at our family cabin on Whidbey Island.  It was wonderful.

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My sister-in-law’s family was in town from France and Singapore, and we enjoyed a huge Christmas feast together.

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Reeves was delighted to be surrounded by his older cousins, albeit a little frustrated when everyone happily watched Little Mermaid while he still wanted to play.

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Grandpa with his grandbabies 

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Cousins, getting to know each other

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The celebration continued with the baptism of my beautiful niece.

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After the festivities had died down, we headed to Whidbey Island for a little R&R, i.e. cuddling a certain fussy little boy who was getting his molars in.

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Still, there’s nowhere on earth I’d rather nurse a cranky baby.

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Saying goodbye never gets easier.  Reeves grew so attached to his Grandma and Grandpa during our visit.

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Woodland Park Zoo 

Reeves Update

Our little baby is no longer a baby.  He is alarmingly strong — when he falls he does a little tuck n’ roll that amazes onlookers, can clamber up his high chair (ahhh!), and now wants to climb stairs like a big boy, holding on to the railing with only one hand.

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We also have a “toddler” on our hands.  We have a had a few ‘tantrums’ in public when we have tried to leave a place Reeves clearly wanted to stay.  Feeling completely unequipped to handle such ordeals, I promptly ordered The Happiest Toddler on the Block.  (The five S’s from his other book were a godsend when Reeves was an infant.)

So far, it’s been very illuminating and valuable. Although, I am not sure about the advice to, when I want Reeves to stop a certain behavior, say, “NO, clap my hands vigorously, and growl.”  I tried the no-clap-growl combo tonight and Reeves burst out laughing at me… I’m such a softy.

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His vocabulary is exploding, which is so much fun.  He still loves his “Da” (dog) and now says “Nigh’ nigh'” whenever he reads Goodnight Gorilla or goes down for a nap.  “Wooooow, uh-oh, hiiiii, bye, no-no, and ball” are all still favorites.

Other current obsessions: light switches, toilet seats (again, ahhh!), trucks, older kids, his trike, sticks, and thankfully, books!

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And now, to the title of this post, “Here We Go Again.”  We are on the move again.  Yes, we will have moved FIVE times in FIVE years.  But, who’s counting…  We will sorely miss our little lavender house here, but are excited to be moving to Washington D.C. in June.

Finally, I will leave you with a video of Reeves’ total obsession with Hickory.  Best buds.

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One Year

December 10, 2013

One year ago we welcomed Reeves into our lives.IMG_8851

Weighing 7 pounds 12 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches long, Reeves was born at 9:52pm at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska.  On the night he was born, there was a big snow storm.

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One year later, and nearly 15 pounds heavier, he is a vivacious, determined and joyful little guy.

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It is a true delight to watch his little (big) personality shine through more and more each day.

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And here we sit, in our cozy little Charlottesville home in the midst of (what they deem) another snow storm.

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Our little one-year-old has been keeping us busy.  Now that he is so active, we look for new adventures daily.  One of our current favorite pastimes — cruising!

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Reeves’ generous aunt, uncle and cousins gave him a new trike for his birthday.  He can’t get enough.

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We recently took a weekend trip to Washington D.C. to visit friends and introduce Reeves to his mom and dad’s old stomping grounds.

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First Carousel Ride, National Zoo

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Tearing it up at the National Building Museum

We welcomed my parents to town for Thanksgiving.

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Per tradition, the men deep fried the turkey while we women watched aghast.

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Finally, Reeves had his first trip to see Santa at Will’s JAG holiday party.

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Happy birthday, sweet Reeves!  We love to you the moon and back.

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Calling Virginia Home…Again

As tends to happen in the military, we have moved again. East, to Charlottesville, Virginia where Will is getting an LLM in military law at the JAG school.

untitled-4Since arriving in charming C’Ville, there have been quite a few milestones for us all. IMG_2200

We bought a house!

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We live in a lovely neighborhood filled with kindhearted neighbors and lots and lots of little girls.

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Nearly every afternoon, the doorbell rings and we are greeted by two or three little heads peaking in through our front window — “Can Baby Reeves come play?”.

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We love our neighborhood and feel grateful to have landed in such a tight-knit little community.

While not a milestone per se, overcoming the summer humidity here felt like one.

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Needless to say, big changes on the climate front and it took us all some time to get adjusted to the heat.untitled-12

As true Alaskans, Reeves and I both looked like we might have a heat stroke throughout each play date.

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Thankfully, we took full advantage of Charlottesville’s abundance of splash parks.

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We have been fortunate to find a welcoming playgroup.  What’s particularly fun about this group is that many of the babies were born within days of Reeves.  It’s a joy to watch the different personalities, temperaments and activity-level of each baby.  (Reeves would be on the HIGH end of the latter.)

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My Anchorage play dates were largely relegated to our homes and restaurants.  Here, we have the rough job of meeting at wineries, apple orchards, and pumpkin patches.

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One of the wonderful things about being back in Charlottesville is that we are close to Will’s aunt and uncle in Staunton.  (We lived here in 2009 for five months before moving to Korea.)  They live on a bucolic farm just outside of Staunton.  I am not sure who enjoys visiting more — Reeves or Hickory.

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While we miss Alaska’s grandeur dearly, we have tried to keep up our hiking adventures.

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Thankfully, Reeves enjoys his new throwne and seems to shares our love of nature.  He dictates our hike for us, “Da, Da, Da…”  (“Da” is his word for dog and every other creature he sees.)

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Another favorite is “Wooooow.”  I think he gets that from me.

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Fall arrived and is just lovely here.

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Finally, for the biggest milestone of all — Reeves is walking!

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From the moment he was born, it has been a joy to watch Reeves explore the world.  Now that he can “steer” himself, it seems a whole new world has opened up for him…which is both entertaining to witness and exhausting.  Nothing is safe from this boy’s grip.

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I miss Alaska more than I anticipated.  I miss the “realness” of the people, our dear friends we made there, the fresh fish — oh, how I miss the fish — and yes, even the snow.

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But, watching Reeves delight in new sites and people helps us appreciate each new adventure.  It is hard to be far from family, especially on days when I long for a nearby Grandma/Grammy to send an SOS.  We have made fast friends who support us day in and day out though, and feel blessed every day for our little family.

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Our little owl is almost one year old!  I vowed that we wouldn’t have a party and that I wouldn’t become a Pinterest-obsessed mom.  As Reeves’ December birthday nears though, I have found myself searching and pinning “healthy first birthday cakes.”  I love to bake after all — how could I not bake something special for my favorite person on earth?

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Pinterest, here I come…

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Homer

Although Reeves is quite the consumate air traveler, he had yet to experience our favorite form of travel: a road trip!

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Over Memorial Day weekend, we packed the car to the brim and headed south with friends to Homer.

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Homer, also known as “the cosmic hamlet by the sea,” or “the end of the road,” is a little town located on the Kenai Peninsula. We enjoyed a wonderful long weekend of good food, phenomenal scenery and lots of firsts for Mr. Reeves.

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We were blessed with unusually clear and calm weather. The surroundings were truly spectacular and it is easy to see why Homer is a favorite destination of so many Alaskans.

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Reeves was a fan. Can’t you tell?

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We shared a lovely condo with our friends at the Land’s End Resort. As its name suggests, the resort is located at the end of the Homer spit.

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Our traboard the “Danny J” to Halibut Cove was surely a highlight of the weekend.

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One lucky guy was invited into the wheel house to stay warm. (Ah, the beauty of a female captain and deck hand.) Our captain was an energetic, friendly woman who lived half the year in Hawaii and half in Halibut Cove. She was sent to live in Halibut Cove with her aunt and uncle 46 years ago and has lived there since.

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Located on the Kenai Peninsula six miles southeast of Homer, Halibut Cove is a tiny community situated in Alaska’s first state park, Kachemak Bay State Park. The park area is a total of 400,000 acres of mountains, glaciers, forests, coastline and ocean.

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According to the census, the Cove is home to only 35 residents, 17 of whom are resident artists. Aside from one restaurant and a coffee shop, the cove is home to three tiny art galleries. One of the cove’s most famous artists, Diana Tillion, has worked almost exclusively in octopus ink since the 1950s.

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We had an incredible lunch at the cove’s only restaurant, “The Saltry.”

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The food was fresh and delicious. I was too busy trying to keep clam chowder out of a certain someone’s mouth to take pictures of our food.

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After lunch, we took a stroll along the boardwalk that stretches along the coastline.  We said hello to many bald eagles and a few sea otters.

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On our final day in Homer, the boys took a fishing charter while Erin and I “relaxed” with the kiddos. I was more than happy to miss out on the fishing expedition as long as my freezer would be filled with fresh halibut and king salmon at the end of the day.

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The boys delivered. (Er, the charter company delivered. I am not sure the boys felt that the much skill was involved on their parts in their “catches.”)

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Regardless, Will and I have been dutifully eating our salmon filets since arriving home. There’s nothing quite like fresh Alaskan king salmon.

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We capped off our days with beachfront s’mores and wine after the kids had gone to bed. The baby monitor juuuuust stretched far enough. Bliss.

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Sadly, that is our last trip to Homer for a while as our new home in Charlottesville, Virginia awaits us this summer. But, I highly recommend a trip there should you find yourself in Alaska.

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Back on the range, Reeves is breaking all sorts of new ground. He seems to have grown inches overnight (and is now in the 95% for his height), and is suddenly constantly on the move. He is sitting up like a pro and on the verge of crawling.

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The poor child is finally discovering grass after living under a blanket of snow and slush for the first four months of his life.

We also ventured into solids…sporadically. 

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We have tried sweet potato, avocado and banana. Of course, banana was the biggest hit – nice and sweet.

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We also had our first (and likely only) heat wave last week.

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We will surely miss you, Alaska.untitled-49

Especially this guy!

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Next week our little guy turns six months old. Every month is better than the last!

 

 

 

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Texas Christening

Our little man is racking up the frequent flier miles!  A few weeks ago, the three of us traveled to San Antonio to spend time with family and have Reeves baptized.

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We were blessed with gorgeous weather and Reeves wasn’t quite sure how to handle life outside of a snowsuit and wool hat.

Our first day in San Antonio we went to the zoo with Reeves’ sweet cousin — and birthday girl! — Emma Kate.

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Reeves enjoyed lots of play time with his sweet cousin, who could be heard often exclaiming, “It’s okay, Baby Reeves, it’s okay!”  And a bit of neked time to combat the very non-Alaskan weather.

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The weekend was particularly special because the Nicholson siblings gathered for the first time in over three years.

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Cruising the Riverwalk

Grandma and Grandpa Joe also made the trip down from Seattle to join the festivities.

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And the big event of the weekend was Reeves’ baptism.  The occasion was all the more special because our brother-in-law performed the ceremony.

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Reeves was so captivated by Jason’s commanding voice that he grabbed onto his sleeve and wouldn’t let go throughout the entire ceremony.

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“Mom, is this gown really necessary?”

Reeves had the honor of wearing a baptism gown that was made by his great-great-grandmother and has been in the Nicholson family for over 100 years.  The gown has been worn by Reeves’ great grandmother, Vera, his Grammy, Grammy’s sister, Will’s cousin, Will’s sister, and Reeves’ cousin, Emma.  (Reeves was the first male to proudly (attempt to) wear it. It didn’t quite button around his massive little neck.)

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We got such a kick out of this rediculous hat that came with the baptism outfit I bought him.  Our little Pillsbury Doughboy.

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We also had the pleasure of seeing my dear cousin who drove down from Houston and her adorable daughter, Caroline.

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Back on the homefront, Reeves had his 4 month well-baby exam.

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Reeves continues to grow like a weed, weighing in at 16 lbs. 2 oz. (75%) and measuring 25.39 inches (66%).  And he sprouted his first tooth last weekend!  Mom and Dad are ridiculously proud.

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Getting ruddy cheeks from our hikes.

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And Grandma came for a visit!

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Grandma’s grandbabies taking over her bed

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Funny story about Grandma in Alaska.  You see, people here seem to think that  Grandma Jill looks just like — or is – Senator Lisa Murkowski.  On a few occasions it was apparent that people actually thought she was the Senator, e.g. the normally fairly subdued staff at our local bakery eagerly greeting my mom with, “HELLO!  HOW CAN WE HELP YOU, MA’AM?”.

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Senator Murkowski (source)

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I have no idea where they see a resemblance…

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Reeves wearing Grandma’s “Chewbeads”

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And with that, I am sure you are all thoroughly Reevesed-out.  Until next time!

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Lately

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More daily walks.  Looking forward to the day when we don’t have to yank on the snow suit, hat, gloves, boots and yaktrax before heading our for a stroll!IMG_9573

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Still enjoying discovering new toys.  And still refusing to smile for the camera.

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Easter finest

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Meet my husband and his mini-me.  Seriously, am I in this kid anywhere? IMG_9563

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Trying out facing forward.  Although he looks quite unhappy here, he actually loved it.

And that’s all for now!

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