Saturday, June 30, 2012

So how are you.....really?

I've been getting that question a lot lately and before I write this post, yes, I know you all are sick of hearing about my uterus. Believe me, I am too!! But I really am touched at all the phone calls/emails I've been getting and it's been hard for me to get back in touch with everyone for a decent-length conversation so I figure this is as good a place as any to let y'all inside my head. And now we can spend our phone/face time discussing gossip and other fun things instead of my internal organs, haha. I'm tired of the focus being on me - I want to hear about you guys!!!

I am happy to report that, right now, things are feeling good. The bed rest got off to kind of a rocky start as we all settled into the routine, and I was convinced that we were all going to kill each other. But by the end of the week, we all seemed pretty happy and I was even able to send Steve off for a wakeboard day for his birthday (don't worry, my wonderful sister came to stay with me and Anna while he was gone!).

Having the date set for the c-section has helped me feel better too. So many things are up in the air right now that just having that date on the calendar gives me some comfort. I have at least one more appointment with all of my doctors, and Steve is going with me to those visits. Our only goal at this point is to make triple sure that all of the doctors are on the same page, and that we know what to do and what to expect (as much as can be predicted, I mean). It is a little odd to be both terrified of a specific day and also really excited for it, but that's exactly how I feel.

Knowing that we're in the final stretch is really helping. I think the last couple of weeks were the hardest for me - I was stressed about the B.H. contractions, I hated being so tired, I hated going to the doctors because it seemed like every time I went, there was some new thing that I needed to be worrying about. I have hated feeling like a ticking time bomb. I have hated SO much being so physically limited. I showed up to Anna's friend's birthday party in tears because I had been having the contractions the entire way over there, after a day of taking it easy (this was pre-bed rest). Luckily my friends talked me into staying (they parked me in a lounge chair, aimed an industrial-sized fan at me, and took Anna off to play) and we all had a good time, but it's been really really frustrating being so limited. Even sneaking in a few loads of laundry the other day had me contracting for almost an hour, so it was a good reminder to take the bed rest seriously and to let Steve take the reins. And as much as I feel guilty for saying it, I am relieved that they scheduled the c-section for 36 weeks instead of trying to push to 38. And now I am pushing all the worries to the back burner and relishing all of the baby kicks and enjoying the baby hiccups - they are way too cute! I am even planning to take some final belly pictures, on a day where I am wearing real clothes and makeup.

We have been grateful for the wonderful people around us - our neighbors have been dropping off dinners and even taking Anna for a play date to give us a breather (and you know she loves playing with the big kids). My sister has been happy to play never-ending games of Words with Friends and Draw Something, or to come over and even offers to go to the store - with a 2 week old!! The women in my play group have been wonderfully sympathetic and supportive, and the moms group coordinator is already working to line up some meals for us after I'm home from the hospital. Accepting help has been an adjustment - I'm usually the one signing up to take dinners and offering to help, so it feels a little weird to be the recipient but we have really been grateful for the help, and I am so thankful that we are surrounded by such loving and caring people.

Like I think I've mentioned before, Steve and I have come to peace with only having 2 kids, despite what we wanted before. I know this sounds silly but it gives me comfort to feel like WE made the choice to stick to two, versus letting my uterus/lack thereof decide for us. If all goes unexpectedly well at the c-section and we get the full clearance from the docs a few years down the line, then yes, we might consider a third, but as of right now we are embracing the two that we have and are grateful for them and aren't willing to push our luck. And most of all, no matter what happens, I refuse to dwell on what "could have been" and I refuse to be bitter about it. I have way too much to be grateful for and to celebrate. After next week, whatever happens, happens, and in my mind, it's over and we're moving forward.

I told Steve the other day that I wish we could just fast-forward to the fall. October would be nice, maybe. We have a lot to look forward to in the fall and winter - plenty of new babies being born, a few low-key out-of-town trips planned, and even a Disney trip near Christmas (and yes, I am already planning matching outfits for the girls!). I am excited to be mobile and active again. I love the fall and winter here and I'm looking forward to the cool weather, planting our fall garden, getting back to the park and the zoo, the leaves changing, and all of the holiday festivities with my beautiful family. Steve and I have been talking a lot about our fall/winter plans and it helps us get our mind off of the next couple of weeks and to give us something to look forward to!

So there you go, enough of my ramblings. I'm going to waddle off, drink a gallon of ice water, and tackle my stack of library books!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Motherly Musings

You know you are in the third trimester when you get up to go to the bathroom, and by the time you get back to your seat, you have to go to the bathroom again.

You know you have a toddler when you have to tell someone you'll call them right back because there's avocado and hot dog all over your phone.

I think the colored pants/jeans/whatever trend is really cute and I hope it's not hopelessly un-trendy by the time I'm skinny enough again to fit into them.

I'm not sure which truly makes Anna happier - eating Goldfish crackers, or feeding them to Kingsley.

Steve affirmed his above-average intelligence by telling me that he was "glad I bought more baby clothes because Madeline should really have some of her own things". Smart man, that one.

I wish the Publix deli delivered. How amazing would that be?

I was outside for maybe 3 minutes the other day and it made me insanely grateful that I can be a hermit this summer. Holy hell.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Final Countdown

Well, today was my first official day of bed rest. And I did very little resting because I had two doctor's appointments scheduled today, haha. Maybe tomorrow can count as the first official day.

My first appointment was at the high risk doctor's office, complete with a full ultrasound panel and then a chat with one of the high risk doctors. It was fun to see Madeline again, she spent the entire hour kicking at the ultrasound wand and sucking her thumb. Apparently everything looks good with Madeline, and they weren't really able to tell anything new about the accreta. The ultrasound tech estimated that Madeline was currently about 4 lbs, 5 oz. She also confirmed that Madeline was now head-down (she used to be transverse, across my stomach) and I've had fun poking at her little feet as they kick! The doctor said that they would love to see her get to 5 lbs before she's born but at this point, their main focus is on me. Madeline will do okay, hopefully with minimal intervention from the NICU.

She is waving in these pictures! Hi guys!
 Although "my" high risk doctor was off today, I got to have an in-depth conversation with the doctor that was there today, and she was awesome. I told her that Steve and I really wanted to understand what the surgery process was going to be like, especially compared to our first c-section experience. We also told her that we weren't even sure which doctor was doing the delivery!!

Well, apparently, ALL the doctors are doing the delivery. The high risk doctor will be there as well as both of my regular doctors, and there will also be another doctor there to monitor my blood situation and administer transfusions if I start to hemorrhage. They are also going to perform the surgery in the main operating room at the hospital, instead of the smaller labor and delivery operating room that we delivered Anna in. The doctor also confirmed that I will be under general anesthesia instead of just the epidural, in case they have to move to a hysterectomy or if there is another emergency situation. And yes, I'm upset about that. All of the doctors said that they are hoping they won't need the majority of these preparations, but that they would rather have the operating room staffed and stocked than to have everyone scrambling if things go wrong. I told them I am okay with that strategy!!

The doctor also said that my hospital stay could be anywhere from the normal 3 days up to a week, depending on what happens during surgery. Luckily for us, SuSu will be here for the duration and it's comforting to know that Bean will be in good hands while I am out of commission. And I am also thankful that we are 5 minutes from the hospital, so Steve can come and go easily. I know he really enjoyed getting to go home and shower and nap for a little bit during our Anna stay, and I know I enjoyed him bringing me good coffee!!!

The high risk doctor said that they wanted to schedule the surgery for 36 or 37 weeks (I will be 34 weeks tomorrow). Later this afternoon, we had an appointment with one of my regular doctors, and she said that the Braxton-Hicks contractions that I've been having seem to be more intense than she is comfortable with, and she wants to schedule it for 36 weeks. And that she'd have the office manager coordinate with the hospital today and they'd call with dates. So...omg, I'm going to have a baby!

I am happy that it feels like all of my doctors are fully in the loop now and that we have a strategy. I have one more appointment with each office next week and am for-real officially on bed rest in the meantime. Now just to get a surgery date set and hope that it doesn't go into an emergency situation before Madeline's scheduled arrival....2 weeks to go!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

21 Months!

Our beautiful Anna is 21 months old today! It's becoming more and more real to me that she will have her second birthday coming up soon and I seriously cannot believe it.

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This has been an interesting month for us and Anna has been handling it like a champ. I've been increasingly less mobile, and our days are now spent in her playroom or doing easy chores around the house. I thought she would be miserable but she has been so content to curl up with me on the couch and read books, or do her puzzles, or sing songs. Of course, she has also had waaaay too much time with the iPhone so I am happy that Steve will be taking over full-time next week! We've got all her favorite activities lined up and bounce places pre-paid, and Steve has promised to take her out every day. Hopefully it will keep her entertained and give her plenty of attention before her baby sister comes!

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Picking out a puzzle

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Stickers! And we had just cleaned up the play room. It doesn't stay like that for long, but hey, we try.

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Anna got her little paws into my baking chocolate stash!!

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One really fun development this month has been her helping. Until recently, her "helping" has really been more of a hindrance, but now she actually contributes to the chore in her own little way and it is the sweetest thing to watch. Her favorite things to do are to hand me dishes out of the dishwasher to put away, to carry over a water bottle from Daddy to me on the couch, and to hand me hangers out of the laundry basket. Anna has also gotten pretty good at putting away her toys into the basket, and putting her farm magnets back up on the fridge. She was highly amused by the little handheld Dust Buster that I pulled out the other day to clean up Goldfish crackers, and that was promptly wrestled out of my hands so she could vacuum too. Oh, and she will also grab our microfiber duster from me and take over dusting duties - let's hope she's still interested in dusting when she's tall enough to actually reach everything that needs to be dusted!!

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Kingsley loves it when she eats at the table - plenty of sharing!!

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Another cute thing Bean has been doing this month is falling asleep clutching random objects. It's never anything consistent, and it's certainly never either of her two bed bunnies. It's usually a book, but it has also been her toothbrush, her hairbrush, a pair of socks, and even a Disney princess tennis shoe.

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My front camera needs to be cleaned, what do you think? haha

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Eye!!

Anna has also been helping me get ready for Madeline's arrival. The other day, I had Steve pull out the storage bins with all of Anna's newborn and 0-3 month clothes, and I sat on the floor to sort out what I wanted to keep and re-wash. I kept squealing as I found old favorite items, and I can't believe how SMALL those clothes are! When I would find a specific onesie or dress that I used to love, I would hold it up to Anna and exclaim how little she used to be and how I can't believe that those clothes used to fit. It was adorable watching her admire the clothes and putting up with her crazy mother, haha. Bean was also infatuated with her infant car seat that we pulled out - it was hilarious seeing her long legs hanging out but she must have been pretty comfortable because she kept climbing back in!

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This picture is from one of her obnoxious Mickey Mouse apps, haha.

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Since she loves reading so much, I treated to her to a little book shopping spree while we were at Babies R Us picking up a "welcome to the world" present for Daniel. Anna currently LOVES any kind of counting books, so we bought several of those. She has put herself to sleep on several occasions with this book:

 She just loves counting those fish!! And my bookworm heart loves it when she is fresh out of her bath and ready for bed, and I tell her to pick out a book to read - she will bring over an entire armload of books to dump into my lap. Of course we read them all!

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Shopping spree! And yes, I managed to sneak most of her selections back onto the shelves, haha.

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Apparently my bump is a pretty comfortable pillow!

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The pool has been in frequent use now that it's so hot outside!

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I'm hoping that the next month won't be too sparse with pictures - maybe we can all encourage Steve to take lots of pictures while they are out and about together! Regardless of photo documentation, this next month is gonna be a big one - Madeline will be coming and Anna will be a big sister!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Linguine with Peas and Garlic

One of the shows that Steve and I discovered this year and had fun watching on Netflix was "The Fabulous Beekman Boys". I had never heard of it before, but had picked up their cookbook on a whim at Williams-Sonoma, and the cashier told me to watch the show!

We have tried several of the recipes, which focus on seasonal dishes, and one of our favorites is their "Linguine with Peas and Garlic Scapes". Unfortunately, we have never been able to find garlic scapes, even at the farmer's markets, so we improvised a little. We also add chicken for some protein. Overall it's very tasty and quick to pull together, and we love being able to use fresh mint and lavender from our own garden!

We usually double the recipe, which gives us plenty of leftovers for busy weeks. And Anna seems to like it too!

Linguine with Peas and Garlic

8 oz linguine pasta
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb chicken breasts, sliced 
1 cloves garlic, thinly slivered
1.5 lbs frozen peas (or fresh, if you prefer)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh lavender
Salt
3 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

In a large pot of boiling water, cook linguine according to directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the chicken until no pink remains. Add the garlic and stir for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the peas, 1/2 cup water, the mint, and the lavender. Season with salt and cook until the peas are bright green and crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes.

Drain the pasta and return to pot. Add the pea mixture and the cold butter, swirling until the butter is creamy and coats the pasta. Season with salt.

 Source: adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook

Pre-Baby Prep

I'm 33 weeks today and feeling a little better this week. Steve is back from his guys weekend (thank God) and having him back here makes taking care of Anna SO much easier. I have been on modified bed rest this week, because I am still having the Braxton-Hicks contractions and also some pretty fast swelling in my feet if I'm standing for too long. I move to full bed rest next week so wish us luck!

The other pregnancy development is that the nesting impulse has come back full force. It hit me at my last doctor's appointment that Madeline could be here literally any week now and we haven't done a single thing to get ready for her. I'm convinced she will be making an appearance early so this week's mission is to get everything ready, just in case, and before the full bed rest starts.

Luckily for us, we have almost everything we need already from Anna's newborn days, so this process has really just been getting everything pulled out, sorted, and freshly washed. We have a few bigger things that we still need to buy, like a double stroller, and a small list of little items like newborn-sized clothes (Anna never fit into newborn sized and I suspect we don't have much!!). I'm thankful for Amazon Prime because I can guarantee you, the bulk of the shopping will be delivered right to my front porch, haha.

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The other logistical thing we have been contemplating is what to do with the bedrooms. Right now, as you know, we've got the nursery set up with Anna's toddler bed, and then our guest room is still the guest room. We put our plans to move Anna to her big girl room on hold, given the bed rest and c-section situation, so that Susan would have a good place to sleep when she comes to help and visit. Plus I have been so excited to do the big girl room project, I really want to wait until I'm back in full mobility/energy so we can do it the proper justice it deserves! In the meantime, we are going to create a little nursery nook in our master bedroom...luckily for us the room is easily big enough to fit the crib and glider. And that way Anna can keep the room that she's used to, at least during the initial baby transition. Once the baby is home and settled, we will move them both into their new rooms, but for now I think we've made the right decision!

The last item on my immediate to-do list is to pack a bag for the hospital. After hearing that my poor sister slept in her contact lenses during the first night at the hospital, I realized that I too would be pretty miserable without my toiletries and a change of clothes. I am a creature of comfort, what can I say? Yes, we live 5 minutes from the hospital, so it wouldn't be the end of the world, but I know I would feel better knowing I had a bag packed just in case!! I know I over-packed during my stay with Anna (surprise surprise...me?? over-pack?? lol) so I'm trying to keep it reasonable this time, but I know I want to load up my Nook with some new books, make sure I have a phone charger, and also pack a few healthy snacks.

It feels good to have something productive to focus on - let's just hope this sense of urgency is normal nesting and not an indication that Madeline is ready to come!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful...Beautiful Boy!

So my Facebook friends already heard the good news, but my sister had her cutie-pie little boy this week!!! He came a little early and Allyson insists that it's completely my fault - I had just been telling her earlier this week that I really needed her to have her baby next week so that I could come visit before my bed rest started. And what happens? Her water breaks just a day or two later, haha. Baby and Mama are both doing great - Allyson is a natural and I'm told that Tulio is even handling a bunch of the diaper duty!

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16 hours of labor later, Allyson gave birth to healthy 6 lb peanut Daniel. And today they came home from the hospital and Anna and I came to visit!

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Anna was very intrigued with the tiny baby, especially when I was holding him. She gave him quite a number of dubious stares and refused to touch him...it will be interesting to see what she thinks when "her" baby is here! She did warm up a little bit near the end, and kept pointing to him and saying "bay-bee!", so that was really cute.

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Welcome to the world, baby Daniel!! We all love you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

32 Weeks and some Belly Babbles!

Today I hit the 32 week mark and whew I'm starting to feel it. I had been feeling completely energized and normal and then it feels like I've hit a wall the last week or two. Madeline has gotten a lot stronger and I can finally REALLY feel her kicks around that pesky anterior placenta...I had a lot of peaceful moments feeling her move in there while I stared out at the ocean last week!

Well, as you readers know, this has been a complicated pregnancy. The high risk doctor received the MRI results last week and I was surprised when he called with the results himself, although it did mean a lot to me that he did that. He was on the phone with me for probably about 10 minutes, and he never once sounded rushed, which is crazy knowing how busy they are! The very good news is that they weren't able to see any places where the placenta has actually grown through the uterus or any of the surrounding organs. This was the "worst of the worst case scenarios", and if they had been able to see that, some pretty crazy surgery plans would have been put into place and I would have been having a baby in about 2 weeks. So I am very thankful that this doesn't seem to be the case!!

Unfortunately, he said that there is a distinct area near the placenta where the uterine wall appears to be thinning. He said that with those MRI images, and all of the other factors that we already knew about, he is pretty confident that there is at least some degree of accreta. We won't know to what degree the uterus is damaged though until the c-section, so I still need to prepare myself for the possibility of a hysterectomy. I have another appointment with him at the end of the month and I know they are planning to do some more ultrasounds, so hopefully we'll be able to get a few more clues on what to expect during the surgery.

Steve and I have been talking a lot about this recently (obviously) and although I will be very upset to have a hysterectomy, we would have to have some serious discussions if we did decide to try for a third child in the future. Additional c-sections just further compound the risk of previa/accreta so we might be right back in this boat again, and we aren't convinced that it's worth the gamble with my health/life to try for another baby. We have reached the point that if a hysterectomy happens, it happens, and we are going to be perfectly happy with our family of four. I am glad that we are both at peace (well, relatively) with that possibility, because I think it will make it easier to face if it does in fact go that way. But...I would be so happy to at least have the choice in the future, and obviously there are a lot of emotions tied up in this.

I had an appointment with my regular OB yesterday and I mentioned to her that I had been having a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions over the last week and that they've been getting harder to stop. She was very concerned about them, because any kind of contraction or pressure could cause me to start hemorrhaging. I'm on strict orders to take it easy for the next week or two and to have my feet up as much as possible, and then I move to full bed rest at 34 weeks. I have been feeling so tired and rotten lately though that we might move bed rest up to 33 weeks, if we can make it work with Steve and Susan's schedules. It will be a relief to me to be able to hand Anna over to them, honestly, because I don't feel like she's been getting the activity and interaction that she needs. We used to keep so busy and I know she must be getting stir-crazy, although thankfully she has seemed pretty content so far to sit with me and do her puzzles or read books. Or cover herself in stickers. But yeah...mommy guilt is in full force.

One cute side story with Bean is that she has been kissing my belly a lot lately, and giving it lots of rubs and pats. I always tell her that her baby sister is in there, and the other day she repeated back, "Bay-beeeee!" Who knows if she actually understands it, but it is pretty cute, either way!

My doctor said that we will schedule a c-section for 37, maaaaaybe 38 weeks, and that she would be beyond thrilled to get to that point, but that if anything starts to go wrong she's going to move immediately to c-section. Every week at this point is crucial for Madeline's development so I am taking the "take it easy" seriously and hoping for the best. My doctor did say that if they have a premature baby, they always hope it's a girl - apparently premature girls are usually stronger and able to stay healthy more easily than boys, which I didn't know. So...good job on being a girl, Madeline!

I have gotten really awful at responding to emails and blog comments, but please believe me when I say that I really truly appreciate all of the sweet thoughts and prayers that y'all have been sending me. I'm pretty much a zombie at the end of the day so if I have neglected to respond to an email or text or phone call or anything, please know that it is completely unintentional and that I really do appreciate them!

Anyway this blog post is beyond long enough and I'm rambling (see? zombie), but hopefully this has gotten y'all in the loop with what's going on. Please keep us in your thoughts and join us in hoping that we can get to that 37/38 week mark!!

Flip Flops and Beach Bellies

The Forbes family made the annual trek to Sunset Beach, North Carolina last week. It was a really low-key week with the weather being rainy and kind of cold the first half of the week, but the second half of the week was sunny and beautiful and we all got our beach fill! Stevo enjoyed having a full table for board games, and I took advantage of plenty of playmates for Anna so I could relax and put my feet up. I also took about a million pictures but you guys are used to that, right?

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Anna had a lot of fun pointing out all the birds this trip - and there sure are a lot of birds at the beach!! Apparently, though, kids morph into seagull activists somewhere around the age of 4 or 5, so keep that in mind if you decide to throw flip-flops at the gulls. Stevo got quite the little lecture, hahahaha. 

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Our sleepyhead conked out on a walk with Daddy!

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Picking out her dinner at Sharkey's

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Crabbing with SuSu - this was right before Bean tried to climb into the cooler with all the crabs!

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Dance Party with Daddy - do you like all her stickers?

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Running in the tide pools

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Happy girl!

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They were playing in the mud and Bean leaned over for a kiss - I love catching her kisses on camera!

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Buried in the sand

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Alex and Kristy building a sand castle

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Burying Daddy

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Sand doodles

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Let's go fly a kite, up to the highest heights!

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Steve and Alex built this crazy sand castle, and then the game was to not let the incoming tide get the sunglasses. I think the ocean ended up winning but they apparently put up a good fight.

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Poppy and SuSu

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I don't really know what's going on here.

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Enjoying the sea air and eating the last beach breakfast on the porch

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See you next year, Sunset!!