June bug

In California, we have june bugs–metallic green scarab beetles that emerge every summer and feast on fresh fruit.  Blissfully, in Maryland, we have no such thing.  But we do have Nellie–a messy little monkey who goes through just about as much fruit as the beetles.

It’s June, and the sun has responded with a nod to summer this weekend.  The weather on Saturday was perfect for the annual lab rescue dog walk.  Lucy was in her element, and Nellie breathed in the fresh air and the sea air and slept for the entire walk (but thoroughly enjoyed hanging out beforehand, and eating out afterwards).

We arrived early, as we always do, and set up camp under one of the tents that was vendorless at the time.  To our delight, that particular vendor never showed, so we had a private cabana on the park.  It was a lucky thing, too; while G, Nellie, and I were happy to sit in the sunshine and enjoy things like goldfish crackers and fruits, Lucy tugged her leash just long enough to find a spot in the shade.

G and I took the afternoon off and let Nellie dogsit, which was nice.

Lucy, as per usual, liked the pool portion of the walk way better than the walk portion of the walk. You’d expect all the labs would jump into the water, but no–just Lucy.  She claimed the pink pool.  She subsequently claimed the blue pool.

I’m not sure whether it was the walk, the swim, or just being an only dog for the day, but Lucy was one happy pup.

Nellie was…still asleep in her stroller.

We spent some time by the water before finding a spot for lunch (that accommodated babies and dogs–not an easy feat!).

Lucy approved of the day. And then she rode home in the front seat of trucky, ready to brag to the other two.


This was actually going to be the last post in my Florida vacay series.  It was the last evening of the trip, as well as the last set of pictures I took on the trip, and also I think that everything is better when it ends with cake.

But it’s Friday (and Fridays go well with cake), and more importantly, it’s K’s birthday.  And since we can’t be in NY tonight to eat cake with her, I thought I would send pictures of babies eating cake and maybe that would be just as good.

The cake we were eating was actually in honor of Mikhail’s ONE YEAR BIRTHDAY.  (I think that means our babies are getting old…sigh…)  His birthday is just one week away, and Gramma and Pappa celebrated on our last night in Florida with a surprise smash cake–his first!

And since Mikhail is a generous boy (and the cake was larger than anticipated), it was a dueling smash cake festivus with each baby facing off in a who-can-smash-better cake contest.

It’s a good time to note that Nellie lost.  Badly.  She gave a small taste to the frosting, but wasn’t too impressed.  She didn’t even get any frosting on her pretty new outfit.  On the other side of the deliciousness spectrum, Mikhail eventually was so covered in frosting that he resembled the Hulk.

It’s fortunate that Nellie has two months left to practice before her real smash cake experience–this was a poor showing by the monkey.

But the entire event, which G caught on video, was hilarious.  Cake not only makes everything better–but it makes kids even cuter.

As you can see, Nellie thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  She just didn’t find it nearly as delicious as her cousin did.

~ Day 5 of posts from our trip to Florida. They might go in order, they might not.  They might be themed, they might not. They will all be adorable. ~

In the Villages

With the exception of the farm, we pretty much stayed around the house for our vacay (and why would we leave when we had a pool, air conditioning, delicious food prepared by Pappa Tom, and an embarrassing amount of beer?).

Editor’s note: G and I went into separate stores looking for beer.  We were both so shocked by how cheap it was that we returned to the car with multiple six-packs each.  I mean, we drank it all, but it required a bit more effort than normal.

When we needed a break from all the good stuff at home, however, we did make it out a few times to see life around the Villages (America’s friendliest home town, if you’re not familiar).  On Friday, while G and his dad were playing golf, the ladies and the babies went shopping and dining at one of the town squares.

This was after a delicious Greek meal, and Gramma is being very brave here — what you don’t know is that Nellie is covered in hummus and baba ganoush.  Kid smelled like the restaurant for the rest of the day.

On our walk after lunch, we ran into ducks, ducklings, and more ducks!  They had no fear of two kids in strollers, much to the delight of Nellie and Mikhail.

We also hit my very favorite village, Lake Sumter (and I love it for reasons other than its Starbucks), for a post-farm lunch and walk.

The kids rocked it at the Roadhouse.

And I even got a picture of mom and son at the end of our walk.

After all that sunshine, Nellie was just happy to get back in her little pool.

~ Day 4 of posts from our trip to Florida. They might go in order, they might not.  They might be themed, they might not. They will all be adorable. ~

When you think Florida, you think palm trees and water and manatees — you probably don’t think farm animals and hayrides.  But on Saturday, Gramma K and Pappa Tom took us all to a farm to meet some adorable (and decidedly landlubbing) animals.

We were greeted by some friends of the feathered variety.

But Nellie only had eyes for the bunnies.

Both of the kids got to pet the velvety rabbits…

…though Nellie was reluctant to let go.

Gramma K couldn’t resist either.

Mikhail was brave enough to pet the tiny chicken…

…which Nellie found to be very silly.

We saw miniature horses…

and milked goats…

fed deer, chickens, and goats…

(Lizzie was the most popular goat feeder of all)

made faces at emus…

and went on a hayride, where we fed bundles of sweet hay to the cows in the field.

Nellie enjoyed every minute of it, but her very favorite part was feeding and petting the baby goat.

I asked G if we could take one home.

I’ll ask again tomorrow.

~ Day 3 of posts from our trip to Florida. They might go in order, they might not.  They might be themed, they might not. They will all be adorable. ~


The last time Nellie and Mikhail were together was in September when Nellie was only six weeks old.

Just look at them now!

It was so much fun to bring them together again, eight months later. They are only two months apart, Mikhail turning one in June and Nellie behind him in August.  As babydom goes, however, two months time can mean worlds of difference.  Mikhail is walking (everywhere!), while Nellie is just experimenting with weight on her feet.  And while she will launch into a pretty mean crawl if she spies something she really wants (dog toys are high on this list, as are remotes, phones, and hot beverages), she is otherwise pretty content to stay in one spot and play.

Even though Nellie would have loved nothing more than to sit and play with Mikhail, he had places to go and things to see — like what the drawers and cupboards and rooms were hiding. Nellie tried her best, though.  She tried to hold his hand, and when he turned away from her, she spied another way to make him pay attention to her.

Baby girl isn’t subtle.

There were moments of playtime together.

With drums.

With rattles.

And with a scooter.

But for the most part, they were two separate little personalities with separate interests exploring separate worlds of fun.

Even when we tried to pose them for pictures in their fancy new outfits from Gramma K and Pappa Tom.

I like to call this picture, “how many hands does it take to keep Mikhail in a seat”.

As you can see, he has boundless energy.

But even Nellie wouldn’t sit still for photos.  Places to crawl, and toys to lick.

~ Day 2 of posts from our trip to Florida. They might go in order, they might not.  They might be themed, they might not. They will all be adorable. ~


We’re home again.  The house is mostly in one piece.  The dogs are in good moods.  And, blissfully, our clothes are clean because we did our laundry last night.  I have so many pictures and so many stories that I’m not sure where to begin this post.  But it’s late — pretty much Nellie’s bedtime — and I’m exhausted.  So I’ll start at the beginning, but with just a few tonight.

Florida was time with Gramma and Pappa, time with Aunt Liz and Uncle Drei and cousin Mikhail, time in the sun, and Nellie’s first time in a pool.  She had three swimsuits, two swim diapers, and one swim float, and she had a blast.

Here are a few shots from her first day in the water.

Way more pics tomorrow, and a real post with words.  Right now: bed.


It’s our last day in Florida. The sun is shining and the baby is napping. There’s been no time to blog because we’ve been busy.

Busy swimming.


Busy going to restaurants.


Too busy to blog and way too busy to worry about hair.


But the fun ends tomorrow, and Nellie has a lot of amazing pictures to share when she’s back.

Happy Memorial Day! (Early)