17 hours, 5 states, 3 gas stations, 1 hotel, and endless snacks and movies later we made it!!!!
wish i had pictures of the moment we all met and hugged...it was magical! after a quick lunch in this lush green yard...yes dave and i were experiencing a bit of shade envy...it didn't take the girls long to start a game of keep away.
and a little "spying" on the parents and note taking on what they're up to.
i think there was even an ipod or two set up in the bushes as a listening device. sneaky, sneaky girls!:)
janey got the little ones involved in a dance or a show or both...of course!
and riley instantly had her eyes on that tree.
i remember climbing trees like a squirrel as a kid.
guess she inherited that from me!
we ended the night with an amazing dinner, great conversation and a viola/clarinet concert and dance show!
none of which i photographed.:(
**********on wednesday we headed to their pool. one of things i was most excited to do on this trip was all the "normal" things they do. visit their pool...play in their backyard...play in the playroom. so glad we had a good balance of the everyday and the "special"!
...insert really great pic of the big girls swimming...
we were all surprised by how much they loved playing on the playground. yes, a game of chase in the sand beat splashing in the pool...go figure!
and this just cracked me up...
they were determined to get that thing movin...
and they did...one way or the other!:)
lunch at the "snack shack", playing cootie, coloring and chit chating!
the conversations went from planning future visits, to college, to stories about the characters in their drawings.
yes this pic is blurry but i just had to put it in.
after a day of swimming and play and a daddy's pizza night dance party...they got all cleaned up and in matching jammies.
and just look at those dreamy smiles!
on thursday the daddies and the big girls went on an adventure. a tubing adventure!
just look at that colorful bunch!
they were a frozen bunch when they got home but a good time was had by all!
meanwhile...tara and i played an intense:) game of mermaid island with the little girls then took them to paint pottery.
this was such a treat because both little sisters have seen their big sister's works of art before and now it was finally their turn!
aubrey knew immediately what she would paint...a real piggy bank! she has been wanting one for soooo long!
so bummed all my pictures of abigail and her elephant didn't come out...remember i'm trying to learn how to take "real" photos from the pro here...so i lost some in the process!
what a sweet, sweet morning!
and i just had to pop this super blurry un-great photo in because i think it is the only one either of us took of the girls in the playroom. and let me just pause for a minute to tell you about this awesome playroom! more amazing then any classroom you have ever seen...filled with all things wonderful to spark the imagination! our girls were in heaven here!
after a yummy lunch and more play time...little house toys being the big hit with the big girls...(fluffy grace strikes again!) we took a beautiful drive through connecticut to reach the beach.
the light was so pretty here and while tara was working her photography magic i was just trying to get a few in focus!:) haha
a little word about scott. what a dad! patient and kind and the perfect match for tara! so glad dave and him hit it off so well!
collecting shells in bags and pouches made of pulled up little girl dresses...pure happiness!
a rousing game of truth or dare going on here.
just look at abigail! i think this was right when she dared janey to go drink a shell full of sea water!:)
and let me just pause to say a few words about this little bundle of spunky joy! what a love. had dave and i laughing all weekend...tara promises to show more of her spunky side on her blog...right tara??;)
we ended this magical evening with dinner here.
dave was in seafood heaven!!!
this lobster roll was only 1/3 of his dinner by the way!!:)
carousel rides where you can really grab the ring...wow!
we were all surprised by how much the big girls got into this suuuper small, suuuper slow, but suuuper fun carousel but they did!:)
buying one final ticket and planning out just where they would sit. love it!
big girls in tara's car watching beauty and the beast and abigail and aubrey in ours watching heffalump. all snuggled up and sleepy.
perfect, perfect night!
on friday we headed out on a hike.
it was a hot day...but the trail and the views were just beautiful.
these two little cuties blew us all away!
they took off in the lead and never looked back.
and never complained or whined or asked to be picked up.
which was a very good thing!
sweet friends in pink and french braids! (thanks riley...!)
we made it to the top.
the view...and the cold water and tara's cookie bars made it all worth it.
then we climbed to the top of the tower.
and i spied the big girls taking off through the woods.
the pro at work.:)
lining up that perfect shot.
this is where the big girls were heading...on a little rock climbing adventure of their own.
even when it's a short hike there's nothing quite like that feeling of seeing the car in the parking lot!! haha
aubrey was determined to be first so she sprinted ahead.
i think she's ready for soccer this year!!
later that evening we had dinner out and walked around their downtown area. never took any pictures there but it is such a charming little city. compared to what we have in our rural little town they had it all!!:) we spent waaay too much time in charming charlies trying on bling and then ended our evening at barnes and noble. the big girls bought a book to read together and matching bookmarks!
another fantastic evening!
for our last day together the dads went for a burger and we went shopping!! a little home goods. a little toy store. lovely!
we braved the dreary weather (and my totally bad hair) and headed out for a photo shoot with tara. she took us to one of her favorite spots and worked her magic. it was so fun (not to mention informative) for me to watch her at work. she truly is amazing!
dave made us chicken tacos with all the fixins for dinner.
they were a hit.
the girls tried to soak up every minute of playing together...again little house being the favorite...
we saved one of our favorite activities till the last night.
we started scrapbooks together! the girls wrote an introduction page that told how they met and then they added a few of their favorite letters. after writing to each other since 2012 they had quite a stack to pick from.
look at abigail trying to punch that heart out in the second picture...too adorable!
so glad dave had the sense to go grab the camera and snap a few pics. tara and i were too caught up in the awesomeness of the moment to even think about the camera!:)
the intro letters the girls wrote about each other and the sharing of old letters and the laughter and the smiles and the sweet music playing in the background was all so picture perfect! i think they will remember that always! and the best part is...we are gonna keep these books and add pages for all the photos taken this time and in the times to come. cause as tara so beautifully put it..."life is long...and this is only the beginning!"
well...the morning we had all dreaded since tuesday was here.
we had to say goodbye.
the last time we would walk through the doors of this adorable home where our sweet friends live.
the sweet friends who welcomed us and played with us and made us feel so loved!
after a delicious brunch and a quick play session in the playroom we headed outside to try and make this goodbye as quick and easy as possible.
but when 5 girls are involved...saying goodbye is never quick and easy!
sweet abigail, we will miss your giggle and your mermaid hair!
oh..and your kisses!:)
sweet anna, you are so smart and so funny! you made us smile and i loved when you said that scrap booking "was just like art...a beautiful way to express yourself."
tearful jane...made better with an abigail kiss
blurry...but the last hug as we walk to the car.
sadly one of the few pics tara and i took...and of course it's at the end when we're all teary eyed and my hair looks terrible!!:) haha
i had such an amazing time with this lady!
she is every bit as amazing as you think she is and more.
i left her home wanting to tackle the world...and do it all in a pretty skirt with my nails painted pink and an apron on covered with flour from the yummy treats i just baked!:)
thank you so much tara for loving my girls, for chatting with me about life and mommy-ness, for making every moment special...even the quiet ones and mostly for being such a good friend!
we can't wait to see you in illinois...and make it quick!