My little family!

My little family!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

OBX 2017!!!!!

Hi sweet friends!!!

I hope everyone is having the very best last few days of summer.

I'm sad to see this season end but so excited for a new school year!

Layla is getting ready to start 1st grade at our local elementary school - this means ALL new friends (literally - she doesn't know anyone) - taking the bus - homework - all the fun things that come along with a new year!

Benny is getting ready to start Pre-K at his new school as well! He started camp there in June so he's a little more used to it but it'll be a whole new ballgame for school. I'm confident we made the right choice switching from our beloved school to here - I miss CSS SO much but we needed something closer (his new school is about 3 minutes from our house) and he'll make new friends that will go on to be at the elementary school with him.

Lots of big changes! Josh is doing GREAT at his new job and each month is better then the next as he finds his footing - PLUS, he's working from home now so he's able to help with getting Layla on & off the bus, breakfast in the morning and homework at night. It'll be great to have his support.

I'm doing really well -- I'm loving Orange Theory SO much and work is amazinggggggggg. I'm still with my sister and we've hired two new amazing women to help us grow the business. It's all so exciting and fun.

Now onto the reason for my post -- our vacation last week to OBX! This was our 3rd time going and most certainly NOT our last. We started going in 2013 when Layla was 2 and Benny was 7 months old. It's all 20 of us (my parents, my siblings and their families and us!) - so that's 10 adults, 10 kids in ONE giant house on the beach in Corolla, North Carolina for one week. It's the absolute best time and this year was just as great as the others!!

Here's what we do.....

We start on Twiddy - this is the property management company. We personally like to stay on the 4x4 beach so when we choose our house, we filter by Corolla, then the 4x4 beach. This literally means you drive your car ON the beach and our house this time around was 7 miles up the beach. In order to drive on the beach, you need to have an all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive car. Our first year, we rented and these past two trips, we have used Josh's Jeep Grand Cherokee. When you get to Twiddy, you let the air out of your tires to get the pressure to 18 -- and you keep it like this for the week.

Once you check in, you drive to your house! AND there you stay for a week!!! The town itself is lovely but quite small - there is a huge grocery store (Food Lion) so you can do all of your shopping once you get there (our first year we brought all of our groceries with us -- lesson learned, you don't need to do that!) There is a Dunkin Donuts, Dairy Queen, Mexican restaurants, pizza places, mini-golf, ice cream places and assorted other restaurants around but that's basically it.

This is the type of vacation for strictly family time and beach time!!! We spend the week doing the same things - wake up early, walks on the beach, breakfast, playing on the beach, swimming in the pool, dinner, hot tub and board games! It really forces you to disconnect and enjoy each other's company.

The houses themselves are magnificent - we have stayed in Bubba's Beach House, Dune Maker and most recently Southern Exposure 2. They are all incredible - HUGE, the best views, the coolest amenities. We personally like staying beach front (this past time, we were one row back and I'd much prefer to wake up with views of the ocean)

Please feel free to ask questions if this is a vacation you are considering -- I'm not an expert but I sure do love it. From Philadelphia, it's about 7.5 hours away by car (flying isn't really an option due to the airports distance) -- but we make the drive part of the fun!! Lots of cool Farmers Markets, etc. The kids do great -- I'd say its 80% fun, 20% annoying (haha) -- also, the road directly into Corolla can get quite traffic-filled so we prefer going Sunday-Sunday versus Saturday-Saturday (less traffic).

Happy vacationing friends!!

All my love,


Professional pictures by the amazing Danielle (my sister in law) of Bee Dee Blue Photography! 

OBX 2013

Our first family picture in OBX - 2013

Our family picture - OBX 2015

OBX 2015 group picture

This Year! OBX 2017

Family pic - OBX 2017

10 cousins jumping for joy!!

Shirts by talented sorority sister, Michelle of My Custom Shirts --cousins in birth order - ages 11-4 :)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Benny turns 4.5!!

My Baby Boy -- I'm sorry this is a 2 + weeks late. 

HOW ARE YOU 4 AND A HALF??? I can't believe another 6 months have passed since your awesome 4th birthday at Bounce U. 

Buddy -- there are no words to describe our love for you. Your zest for life, your love of fun and family and friends is contagious and your high-spitted (and tough) attitude is teaching ME kindness and patience and empathy. You are the best little buddy. You keep us on our toes with your energy and joy. 

How you look... You are SO HANDSOME!!! (And you constantly ask me if you look handsome) -- you really, really care about your looks. I don't know if this is good or bad but it's certainly a big part of YOU. You are TALL and getting SKINNY -- as a little babe, you were so chubby but now? You're just SOLID. Big brown eyes. Gorgeous light hair. Now that we are in the midst of summer, your tan lines are too cute. 

Your Schedule....You are doing OKAY in this area. You've quit napping a while back but you're going through  a period of FEAR. If it was up to you, you'd sleep in Layla's room (or she'd sleep in yours) every single night. You get very scared at bedtime and it takes you a bit to settle down -- BUT...overall, you're doing well. You go to sleep around 7:30 PM and wake up sometime between 6 AM - 7 AM. The rule is to wait for the green light to turn green at 6:55 AM (and read books if you wake up earlier) - you mostly follow this rule. You are adjusting to your new camp/school and it's been a tough few weeks for you... lots of tantrums, attitude, stress. BUT -- I'm hoping you'll get back to normal soon which will result in sleeping better, happier mornings and a better day overall. 

Your Likes....You love playing with your sister. You love wrestling. You love board games (Chutes & Ladders, Shopkins Go Shopping, Perfection). You love playing with ALL of your guys (Batman, Superman, all the villains). You love reading books. You love to lay with me on the sofa and cuddle up for a movie. You LOVE Brian. You love sucking your thumb. You love sleepovers at anyone's else who will take you (right now, you're at sleepover at Uncle Adam & Aunt Heather's house). You love when ALL of your cousins are together. You love go to Florida to see Grandma & Grandpa. You love dinners at Mom-Mom & Pop-Pop's house. You love the zoo, the Aquarium, the please touch museum. You love the library. YOU LOVE YOUR FRIENDS. SO SO much. Especially Brody. He's your main squeeze. You love swimming and you are finally jumping from the side on your own. 

Your Dislikes: You don't like getting dressed - you have a really hard time (STILL) choosing an outfit for the day. You don't like being alone. You don't like change. You don't like going to a store and not getting a toy. You don't like when Layla gets to do certain things and you don't. 

Your Food: You LOVE food!! Your favorites -- Chinese, Moes (burritos), pizza, brownies, cereal, strawberries, grapes, chocolate milk, lemonade. You really are willing to try anything and you're so much fun to dine with.

Your Thoughts: You are SO curious -- you slowly take in the world around you and ask the sweetest questions. You are are smart and silly and curious but content. 

Benjamin Sawyer.... you are the cutest, smartest, most lovely boy. Even when you're screaming at me "MEAN MAMA" and growling and hissing over who knows what? -- Once you calm down, you curl up on my lap and whisper over and over "I love you, Mama". You tell me every single day that I'm beautiful. You are full of love and I can't wait to watch you grow. Just not too fast, okay? 

We are excited for this upcoming school year..... Pre-K buddy!! A new school, all new friends.. and I think you'll be having a bowling party for your 5th birthday! Exciting stuff!!


**Some pictures from the past 6 months.....**

This is how I'll always picture you in my head <3

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The past few weeks........:)

HAPPY SUMMER 2017!!!!!!!!

What a whirlwind of a few weeks we have had.... all amazing, fun, beautiful things.

As a side note -- can we talk about my new workout regimen!! I am ALL in on Orange Theory Fitness... it's the best workout I've ever done. I'm going twice a week and I'm obsessed. My friend Shari got me hooked -- I've never said that about working out. Despite my gym going the past 5+ years (3-4 times per week), my workouts were boring, stagnant and dumb. NOW??? I'm busting my booty and burning some serious calories. You should try it - your first class is FREE! Ok...moving on.

This was my workout this morning....boom!

Let's rewind to June 9th. Layla was Shabbat Girl for the last time at CSS. It was unbelievably bittersweet. She did a beautiful job and we were so proud of her. That afternoon, Josh's parents flew into town.... after a bit of a rocky start (Josh's mom left her pocketbook in the airport bathroom and it was FOUND by the airport police - wahoo!) - we settled in and got ready for our weekend!

How cute is her class??? 

That's my girl ... and that's her brother, always by her side :)

On June 10th, the 6 of us (Josh, the kiddos, his parents and myself) boarded the train to NYC! Overall, the day was nice but exhausting. This was Layla's 5th trip to NYC but Benny's first. I should have known that he would have a harder time. Layla LOVES this city - she likes exploring and is way more go-with-the-slow. Benny is a typical (and adorable) 4 year old boy who can't be bothered to sit & wait at restaurants/on trains/for a cab, etc. SO... it was a a nice day but I won't be running back to the city with everyone so fast. We had a nice lunch at Juniors (great food, easy but they don't take reservations so it was at 45 minute wait) -- then we saw the Lion King on Broadway! I saw the first year it opened (I think i was in 7th grade?) -- it was nice to see it through my 33 year old eyes. We had front row mezzanine seats -- they were good but I definitely prefer orchestra. After the show, we made a dash to the Disney Store in Times Square. HOLY MOLY. Busy, busy, busy...two floors, too overwhelming for our little Benny. Layla quickly picked out a stuffed animal from Lady & the Tramp as her gift but Benny could NOT decide... he later chose something and immediately regretted his choice resulting in a 1 hour break-down. Between the heat, the walk to the train was all too much for him. UH. BUT -- we made it home safe & sound!! AND...totally random, but we met the sweetest family on our train ride home. It turned out they were sending their daughter to the same camp as Layla -- and they are in the SAME BUNK! What are the odds?? So fun.. Layla & the little girl sat together the whole ride home. Adorable.

On June 11th, we celebrated Layla turning SIX!! We had a big party at Chuck-E-Cheese with many sweet friends & family. It was so much fun and Layla loved it!! After wards, we had a few people over to swim and eat and it was a great day all around. She really has some amazing friends... I love this age!!

On June 12th, Layla was supposed to go have a reading test and tour her new school. She woke up and told us she didn't feel well. We figured she was just tired from her big weekend. Long story short, we drove to her new school (which is maybe 5 minutes away) and she puked all over my car. UHHHH. SO, no reading test, no tour. Big bummer. I dropped her at home and she rested on the sofa with Josh & his parents all day. I took Benny to school for his last day of CSS and I worked. I was SO upset/worried because the next day was Layla's big graduation from Kindergarten. I gave the kiddos bathes and really prayed...

On June 13, our prayers WORKED! Layla woke up feeling great and we all got ready for her big graduation. It was a BEAUTIFUL day.... I cried the entire morning. After spending all of these years at CSS (we started Layla in December of 2012), it was time to say goodbye. The teachers, the program, the's just a wonderful school and will always hold a special place in my heart. The ceremony was so sweet and so special. After wards, we had some quick treats before we were off to lunch at Layla's favorite - Las Marg for Mexican! It was quick and yummy and then we were off to drop off Grandma, Layla & Benny at the house before Josh, Grandpa & myself were off AGAIN..this time, to the AIRPORT!! We dropped Grandpa at his gate and Josh & I made our way to American Airlines. Our flight was on time but we sat on the plane for 1.5 hours waiting for it to be fixed/for the storms to pass...and then we were off to San Fran! It was a tough flight for me. I'm not sure what happened but between the constant turbulence and the tight space, I basically had a 6 hour panic attack. UHHHH. I was always a great flyer but lately, as I get older, this seems to go away. HELP! I may need to start taking Xanax before I fly!! ANYWAY...we made it safe & sound to the beautiful San Fran airport. By this time, it was late (maybe 8 PM Cali time which was 11 PM East Coast) - we got an Uber and made our way to Sunnyvale where we stayed for a couple of days... Josh had work (Google flew him out for training and I tagged along). Our hotel was really sweet and pretty. I spent my time there working/exploring and eating In-N-Out.

Then, Josh was all done work...and were off to stay in San Fran for a couple of days! We picked up our rental car (an awesome Ford Edge - it was SO nice - I'd get one!) and made our way to our Air BnB. It was our first time doing this and won't be our last! Our property was beautiful. It was literally on top of a mountain (my ears popped every time we went home) and overlooked a canyon. It was unreal. My only complaints were that the master bedroom didn't have a TV and that the bed wasn't a King (but again, these were probably on the website and I ignored it). The condo was beautiful, spacious and clean. I really enjoyed it.

Thursday night, after exploring our AirBnB, we decided to cancel our dinner reservations and be tourists! Our first stop was Haight & Ashbury (it was exactly how I expected -- all Hippie goodness), off to Fisherman's Wharf (so much fun!! we walked around, hand in hand, exploring and giggling and just enjoying each other). Josh kept saying how much fun it was to just explore and I agree -- we are always on the go, with a felt nice to just BE. We went to a great dinner at The Franciscan (overlooking Alcatraz), found the sea lions and pier 39 and ended our night at the Full House HOUSE - C'mon, ladies of the 80s, you can relate in my giddiness.

Friday, we were up EARLY....after staring at the fog going through the canyon (crazy), we packed it up and made our way across the Golden Gate Bridge (eeeee!!) to the Muir Woods. While waiting for recommendations, this place kept coming up so we knew we wanted to add it to our list. The drive was a little scary (like all the driving in San Fran - crazy inclines, crazy hills, crazy roads!) but we made it!! I was told to get there early because parking was right. We made it there a little before 7:45 AM and found out it was free before 9 AM (yes!) - so we started off on our 2 mile + hike. It was breathtaking...the redwood trees are just insane. It's very spiritual and I think that was my favorite part of our trip. The drive back was really cool and while crossing over the bridge, the fog was so intense I could barely see. We decided to check out Chrissy Field for awesome views of the bridge. We made our way to In-N-Out Burger for lunch (yummmmm) - followed by LONG afternoon naps back at our place. We woke it up and went to Bobo's Steakhouse - eh.... not so great. But fun nonetheless. Back to pass out for another full day of exploring!

Saturday, we woke up and realized we had checked most of our to-do list ...and our flight wasn't until 10:40 PM. WOAH! We had a lazy morning before checking out of our place. From there, we went to an awesome roof top brunch at El Techo (highly recommend - especially the guac!). After that, we decided to check out the San Fran Zoo!! While searching, we stumbled upon the beach and the Pacific Ocean. We ended up parking there (like literally, on the beach) and walking across the highway to the zoo. It was SO beautiful! We really loved it - we are big zoo people and it was so sweet to see all the animals. Really beautiful. THEN.. we realized we still had many hours until our flight. We were hot, tired and did what any normal adults would do. We went to see WonderWoman in the movies - hahahaha. From there, we went to the airport to return our car and spend 4 hours waiting for our flight. We boarded our red-eye flight where I slept for a total of 7 minutes. UHHHH. Everyone around me was able to sleep and I was WIDE AWAKE. Not quite panic attack but not comfortable.. uhhhh. BUT..we made it!! My mom was so sweet to take over once Josh's mom left (it seriously takes a village and we're so lucky to have all these people willing to help watch our babies so we can take some time out together). SO - my mom slept over. We were home at 8 AM! The kids were happy but we were SO it was Father's Day! Josh & I promptly passed out on the sofas for 2 hours..woke up refreshed (ish) and had the whole family over for swimming and hoagies. It was a nice day, though a bit of a blur.

That Monday, Benny started his NEW camp/school!!! CSS was over 45 minutes from our house and his new place is literally about TWO minutes. We are living a whole new life!! Layla was able to go with Benny his first 3 days and I think that really helped Benny feel comfortable. He seems to really like it!! I'm hoping I get used to it soon... I loved CSS because I knew every single teacher and every single parent. Here, I'm the new mama. SO -- I'm sure I'll learn to love it but for now it all feels very new.

And yesterday, Layla started her new camp!! This is the first summer she's attending a "Real" camp - it's insane. SO amazing.. they have everything. ALL the sports (tennis, soccer, baseball,  basketball, etc), Horseback Riding, rock climbing, trampoline, art... just so many amazing activities. PLUS - half of Layla's Kindergarten class is at the same camp. It's really great!! She seemed to really love it - I know she'll have a great summer.

SO..that's where we are!! My sister is away as the medical director of her week-long camp for children with cancer and their siblings (Camp No Worries) so I'm holding down the fort for work.

Otherwise, things are gooooood. That's a quick look into the past few weeks.

Things we are excited about?? 4th of July next week, Brooklyn in a couple of weeks for Kaplan's wedding, Josh's 35th birthday and OUTERBANKS!! I love summer.. I just hope it slows down.

My next post will be July 14th - Benny turning 4 and a HALF! :)

all my love,