Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth!

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

You know those posts when people go on and on about their vacations and seem to post every. single. picture?  Annoying, isn’t it?  Well, this is one of those posts.  Sorry.  You can scroll through and miss the commentary without hurting my feelings.  Promise.


Two weeks ago Robby and I took Ayla and Noah to Disney!  It may seem a bit unusual but Robby had time off during the week he had to take and I wasn’t up to anything so we decided to take the kids and knew they would have a blast sharing the experience with each other.  Boy, were we in for a few surprises!  But overall, we had a blast!

The night we arrived we had dinner with the characters in our hotel.  Ayla wasn’t totally sure about them, probably because of their size.  So long as dad was in the middle though she was pretty agreeable.




Noah wasn’t interested – SHOCKER – but when I asked him to do it for Walter so he could see how much fun we were having he agreed.  Please excuse his shorts.  Unfortunately he’s only growing taller and is in the same shorts from two birthdays back.  They’ll be Daisy Dukes next summer.

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The desserts at the restaurant (in the Swan Hotel) were ridiculous!  We got a little bit of everything to try and one thing was better than the next.  I wish we had a before photo, I’m sure it would have been much more appetizing than the aftermath of half eaten treats.



The next morning we were planning to go to the Magic Kingdom.  Unfortunately an all day rain storm had the same agenda.  It rained ALL DAY.  Luckily it didn’t slow us down.  In fact, besides the ponchos, the park was fantastic.  There was no one there and there were no lines!  Score!


After this photo we went to breakfast.  On the way back from breakfast, Noah walked into a wall.  The wall won and he had a bloody nose for the rest of the day.  Excuse the leftovers in the rest of the photos.  Yes, he’s fine.  I think he must get his clumsiness from his father. :)


The kids were anxious to get on the monorail!

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Once we got in the park we immediately bought the classic Mickey poncho.  Somehow Noah’s was HUGE.  I still don’t know if they gave him the kid size!

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To dodge the rain we went to the Country Bear Jamboree.  This was a first for Noah and I think maybe me too.


Exciting stuff.



We had to hit up It’s A Small World, I think that’s a given!

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It still amazes me how mesmorized the kids are by this ride!



And then, believe it or not, WE WENT ON DUMBO.  That’s shocking for a few reasons.  1) I haven’t been on Dumbo since I was Noah’s age.  2) I don’t go on rides that go in circles.  I almost had Noah talked out of it but I eventually gave in.  3) The line for Dumbo is usually crazy long.


In my efforts to get out of it we ended up behind Robby and Ayla but at least we kind of got to take a photo of them!

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At Mickey and Minnie’s house the kids touched everything.  Here they are making popcorn.


And here we are waiting to see Mickey and Minnie.  Wet but thankfully, it wasn’t cold!


I can’t quite remember how I bribed Noah into this.  It wasn’t his favortie thing of the day – clearly – but he did it!  I was shocked and proud!  Ayla wanted nothing to do with them.

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But she did want to see the Princesses… which Noah wanted nothing to do with.

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Ayla was quite the talker with these beauties.  We really got a laugh when she told Cinderella that Noah was shy, told Belle that he was her Prince and they were married, and then told Sleeping Beauty he was her brother.  Maybe you had to be there but we were hysterical!

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The Princess and the Frog are a new addition to the lineup and they were quite a pair!  They were dead ringers for the characters in the movie and they had such great personalities. 




Then we rode the bumper cars.  I haven’t been on this for a very long time too!  See the reasons up at the Dumbo portion of the trip…



And Noah met Buzz Lightyear.  He kept telling me how excited Daddy would be when he told him they met!

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And Robby’s favorite ride… The Carousel of Progress.  I’m pretty sure this was my first time on this.




Afterwards we had dinner at the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom.  Another first and we loved it!


Ayla wasn’t so sure about seeing these characters but if Noah can do it – anyone can!

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Afterwards we went to see the fireworks…

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The kids were way ready!  They had snacks, light up necklaces…. but there were no fireworks.  We were misinformed and therefore an hour early.  Again with the lying fibbing, we were able to escape to the car, unharmed by the crowd or the kids.  Fireworks will have to be another time.  Robby and I were beat! 



I’m not sure who enjoyed this trip more – the kids or the grown ups!  I would do it again, rain and all, in a heartbeat.  There’s nothing like experiencing Disney through the eyes of a child!


Magical Birthdays!

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Hello Internet Friends.  Why do I always feel like I’m apologizing for being absent?  My computer died – hard.  And as soon as it went and was replaced my monitor followed suit.  So now I am writing to you from a gorgeous new computer setup and I’m able to upload photos FAST! 

Unfortunately I’m behind in my updates, and boy have we been busy, but hopefully I can catch up and post more often.

In August Walter turned the big 4-0.  Two days after that I turned 31 (I’m officially “in my 30′s” and feeling old).  To celebrate we took the family to Disney.  For support we brought my mom.  We had no idea how the kids would handle the heat of Disney in August.  I wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge, but we had a blast, and mom got to squeeze in some relaxing while we checked out the parks.

Thanks to our great friend, Lauren, we got to stay at the Swan Hotel.  It was so great being a short boat ride to Epcot!


At the hotel they had a dreamy restaurant.  It was outdoors (ick) but it was so beautiful and the food was amazing!


The comfy seating got two thumbs up from Noah!




And the rest of the property was equally as entertaining…

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And beautiful…



During our stay we only made it to Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.  Both were incredibly hot!

Noah, who used to love giant characters, was pretty lukewarm about the whole thing this trip.  We even did a character breakfast and as far as he’s concerned, the highlight was the bacon.  He seemed to love the Under the Seas and Spaceship Earth (the big Epcot ball ride) the most at Epcot.

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We were at Epcot on Walter’s actual birthday.  For his birthday I gave him smiles.  Lots and lots of smiles, and patience.  If you know me and you know how I feel about heat you know this was an amazing gift and very difficult to deliver.  It came naturally to Kate though.


And I also bought him dinner.  We left Kate with my mom at the hotel and went with Noah to Coral Reef, the restaurant at the Living Seas in Epcot.  The view was incredible, the drinks were delish, and the food was amazing!  It was a great dinner!



Afterwards we watched the Epcot fireworks then went down to the boardwalk for ice cream and people watching.  It really was a magical day!


Magic Kingdom was a little more fun for the kids since its pretty much geared toward them.  We didn’t have a lot of time but we enjoyed the time we had!

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Noah got a water bottle/fan/squirty thing that he is obsessed with.  He sprayed everything, and I mean everything, but at least it kept us cool!


We rode Winnie The Pooh…


And then Noah and Walter went on the Barnstormer, Noah’s first roller coaster!



He loved it!




And of course we went to see Mickey and Minnie.  Again Noah really wasn’t interested but Kate was in love.  She was so excited, I thought she was going to take her first step into Minnie’s arms.  She was also a huge fan of her giant ears!



And of course we had to hit up the gift shop so Kate could get ears!

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And since we were so close we took a little detour to go see my Aunt Love and Uncle Kenneth.  They just finished renovating their new home and it’s amazing!  It was quite a project for them but I can’t imagine it turning out any better.  They really put a lot of work into this house that they decided to buy as soon as they saw the view from the front door!



Noah says they have good taste in furniture too!


We also took the opportunity of being with family to use the facilities!  Noah had a flood accident the first night in the hotel.  His poor monkey got soaked and was in desperate need of a bath!  Luckily we were able to make that happen.  Noah insisted on supervising the whole ordeal though!


Here’s that view from the front door (looking in).  Let’s pray the hurricanes stay away!


The kids made themselves at home.  Unfortunately the home wasn’t made for them.  I’m still so sorry about that figurine that Kate wanted to play with!

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What’s Up!?

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

What’s up and where have we been?  I’m going to answer it for you all right now.  Yes, we’re still alive.  Yes, we remember your phone number (or have it somewhere).  No, we haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth.  No we’re not mad at you.  Things have been busy.  Crazy busy.  I have been neglecting everyone.  I am very, very sorry.

I have been working tirelessly at launching a new business.  With the two kids always within earshot it has become very hard to plan weddings for clients who expect my full attention (and deserve it).  So until piss and vinegar, I mean Noah and Kate, are both out of the house for a chunk of time every day I’m trying to use my talents for other things.  I just opened “Oh My Bride” (  It is an opportunity for me to still make money and play in the wedding business without having to be on call 24/7 or at the beck and call of a bridezilla with a cell phone.  Sure, I still have “office hours” and plan to interact when I need to but at least the majority of my dealings will now be online and through email to keep me from having to screen calls and dance around nap schedules.  I am still doing weddings, at least until this new venture gains momentum, and I’m looking forward to a packed dance card this winter with events.

As I mentioned before, my sister and her children were in town for 10 days and we took every opportunity to enjoy their company.  We also did my niece, Natalie’s, senior photos while they were here.  With so many interests though it turned into a bit of a marathon and we are still editing.  Here are a few to enjoy for now.

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This is Natalie in her Junior Prom dress.  It was my sister’s (her mother’s) Senior Prom dress but has been reinvented.  Talk about vintage!  We also took some photos of her in her Senior Prom dress but you’ll have to ask her for those.  Wouldn’t want to give too much away before the big event!

Yes, that is a real train.  It was FLYING by.  I’ll spare you the photo with the look on her face that says “You want me to do what!?”.  We have so many beautiful ones to choose from, this is hard!




This isn’t even a sampling of all the shoots.  Like I said, we’ve been busy!

And in the spirit of photos we have (finally) started to embrace our love for the craft and share it with others.  We used to do photoshoots back when film was in and we were still a little (ok, a lot) unsure about the whole portrait thing.  Then it was only for us, then we included friends and family since we’ve learned not everyone can take a photo without chopping heads off.  Fast forward 10 years and hundreds of practice shoots later and we find ourselves getting inquiries left and right.  Family and friends always pushed us to do this and we have seen the light.  To mainstream things a bit and have one central location for our favorite photos we’ve created Yap Originals (  Our friend Lauren actually branded us and always bragged about how many “Yap Originals” she had hanging in her home.  Thanks Lauren!

Here are some photos from our most recent newborn shot.  Isabelle is a doll and she has an amazing family.  What a love!  We have so many other recent shoots that I wish we could share.  Oh, what I could do with free time!





Isabelle’s dad is a firefighter… and she has her own boots!


We were also MIA because we were off getting older.  Walter and I (who are 2 days apart) took the kids to Disney for our birthdays.  It was soooooo hot but also a lot of fun.  We have a million photos to share and will, soon.


The one thing keeping us sane and us as with it as we are (which isn’t very “with” as it turns out) is Kate’s new BFF, Falan.  Falan is the newest addition to the scenery around here.  I hate to call her a nanny, because that sounds so snobby, but she’s so much more than a babysitter.  I don’t know what we’d do without her.  We originally hired her to help until I got Oh My Bride off and running but I’m not sure how we could ever part with her.  Hopefully things start running smoothly and prosperity finds its way to our door so we won’t have to worry about that.  In addition to being amazing with the kids she is ridiculously beautiful.  How lucky was I to talk her into modeling a few hair accessories for Oh My Bride?

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So we’re here.  I appreciate all of you who have reached out to us.  We are grateful for your love and friendship.  Hopefully things will slow down here just a bit so we may have the opportunity to get back into the social scene.

Love you all!

Holiday Road…

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

This 4th of July holiday weekend we took off for a mini vacation.  We headed south to my very favorite hotel, the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood.  It was everything we hoped it would be and more!  The weather was perfect, the pools were fun, the beds were super comfy, the kids were even well behaved!  We were lucky enough to have a lot of friends with the same plans and because of that we enjoyed many laughs and large meals.

Here are a few photos from our relaxing weekend, there are many more to come -

First, let me show you why I love this place so much…


Yes, really.  And yes, really, these are photos from this weekend.  The pool and beach didn’t look like this for long but they were still very beautiful and very relaxing when other people showed up.  This is one of four pools at the hotel so you never noticed that the resort was bustling; there’s so much room to spread out!


And this is how excited we all felt when the plans were made and we were on our way.  A family vacation was so overdue!


The one photo we got of the kids together this weekend…


She may owe that pole dinner.

At the pool…



Our friends Bettina and Dan and their daughter Helena happened to be staying the weekend at the resort as well.  The kids loved swimming together!



Rachel, Robby, and Ayla were also at the resort as were thier friends Nicole and Chris and their children Nicholas and Carsen.  You haven’t lived until you’ve looked for a dinner reservation for 11 people 30 minutes before you’re hoping to eat!

Nicholas is such a cool kid!  A lover boy with a little Dennis the Menace mixed in for good measure.  We had a blast, he has such personality!  At one point I was holding Helena (above) and Nicholas (below) was playing with us.  Someone joked about how easily I could pass them off as my own kids.  I’ll just have to borrow all the redheaded children and wish their parents luck with the stubborness and sass that comes with the color! 


Chris and Carsen                                                                     Little Miss

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For the fourth we were unknowingly misinformed and decided to take our chances watching fireworks from Rachel and Robby’s room.  Little did we know we would have been much better off on the beach, where we originally planned to go, but then we would have missed this amazing view of the city and the light show.


The city after a few cocktails…


The monkeys…

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And a certain little someone learned a new trick while on vacation… she now STANDS!  Where does the time go!?  Buh-bye baby Kate, hello toddler land!


And just for fun we relived a few moments.  I told you this place was my favorite!

(Noah at 4 months)


(Kate at 9 months, who doesn’t know how not to smile)


(Noah at 7 months)


(Kate at 9 months who apparently heard she was going to be late for lunch)


Still think they look exactly alike?!

Unfortunately when we got home reality smacked us in the face!  Monday was right around the corner, grocery shopping needed to get done and the laundry fairy never showed up this weekend.  Oh, and there was a leak in our roof that was flooding our laundry room because of all the rain.  Fun times!  At least we’re tan!

M-I-C-K-E-Y Mmmm.O.U.S.E!

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Walter and I were really hoping to get Noah back to Disney now that he’s a bit older and really into Mickey Mouse.  Our last visit was a bit of a disaster and no one enjoyed it.  A great opportunity (excuse) came knocking on our door and we couldn’t pass it up – The Brady’s were Disney bound!  Kimmie, Kelly and the twins (Sydney and Peyton) moved to DC a year ago and we miss them terribly so there was no question that we had to make this work, and we did!

We were very ambitious and decided to go up and back in one day.  Kate stayed with my mom since she’s still not a fan of the great outdoors – or crowds, or car rides, or eating on the run.  We went up super early and met the Brady clan at their hotel, The Polynesian.  The girls lei’d us but I’m pretty sire Sydney ended up wearing everyone’s petals.

Syd on the monorail

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The barbershop was our first stop.  Noah needed a haircut (we were having family photos the next day) and the cuts at Disney are quite the experience.  Of course he wasn’t thrilled but like a good kid he put up with my request.


He even let the guy put sparkles all over him.  Someone commented that Tinker Bell must be spitting up again.  Noah got a box of chewy Gobstoppers at the confectionery for his tolerance.  He wasn’t sharing those with anyone!

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Here we are at the castle now -                                            and before.  Noah still hates the camera lady!

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Noah’s first ride was Buzz Lightyear.  He loved it!  Even waiting in line was fun!


You basically ride around in your cart and shoot at targets.  Noah was our navigator (to ensure motion sickness to all!)





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There was no way I was getting on those teacups, they make me so ill!  Luckily Walter and Kimmie agreed to take the kids.



It was a gorgeous day!  It wasn’t very crowded either.  Wednesday is the day to go!


Everyone on the carousel!


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Then we headed to “It’s A Small World”.  I’m not sure what the lure is there but the kids loved it!


The Brady’s went back for a nap but we stayed.  Noah had to see the parade!  He loved all the characters!


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And then a past wedding couple came to visit!  Victoria and Irwin live in Orlando and they recently had a baby, Jake.  We were very lucky that they were able to pay us a visit!  Isn’t Jake gorgeous!? 


I haven’t seen them since their wedding (photo courtesy of Focused on Forever) and I have never seen them happier!

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After the character performance we went back to the Brady’s hotel.  Back in the day my sister, Lindy, made them dresses for their first birthday.  She wanted to see how they worked as shirts so although the lighting was quite unfortunate we got some fun photos and the kids had fun running around.

Here are the girls when they first got the dresses -


And now -



The whole Brady Bunch


“Look!  Here’s how you get out of this thing!”


Sydney had quite a crush on Noah all day so we let them go for a romantic stroll under the moonlight.  Rest assured, it turned into a healthy game of “Boo!” very quickly.


After the kids ran out of steam the Brady’s treated us to dinner at their hotel.  It was the Disney version of Chima and the bread pudding was to die for – really!  We headed home after dinner, around 10pm.  If I had it to do over I would have either stayed over or left after the fireworks (at 7pm).  It was a very tough drive home but so worth it for the time we got to spend with our good friends.  Hopefully we can get together before another year has passed!

The ‘Nati

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Well, I was able to go to Cinicinnati and attend our friend Jill’s wedding.  It was looking a little iffy between hurricane Ike and baby Kate, but luckily Ike missed us and Kake decided to hang in there a bit longer. 

I flew up on the 11th (Yikes! That day will never be the same.) and stayed the night with Dan and Diane.  I hadn’t seen them in like six years!  Wow time flies!  Their oldest child at that time was just over 1.  And now look at them!  They’ve grown so fast!

The day of the wedding was raining and overcast.  I didn’t get to see much/any of Cincinnati at all because of it.  Thankfully it did stop raining in the evening so it didn’t ruin the wedding.  It was hot and muggy though.  It reminded me of Florida.  Anyway, Jill was a beautiful bride and I was glad that I was able to make it.  Everyone was pretty disappointed that Dawn couldn’t come but unfortunately she was too far into the pregnancy.  Here are some pics (of course) …

The church …

The beautiful bride …

The reception …

And the happy couple …

I actually stayed at a hotel in Kentucky that night to make it easier to get to the airport the next day.  It turned out that Saturday was beautiful (in the morning anyway).  Here is a view of Cincinnati from the Kentucky side. (Click the picture to Zoomify – enlarge, zoom and pan)


And I’m not sure what it is with Cincy and pigs with wings …


It was a lucky thing that I flew out on Saturday because it turns out that Ike visited Ohio and the airport was shut down and over a million peeps lost power, including Dan and Diane! Sorry guys!

Our Orlando Weekend

Monday, March 31st, 2008

This weekend we went up to Orlando with the Friedman’s (Rachel, Robby and Ayla) to see our friend (and my colleague) Karla Fountain (  She’s a wedding photographer who is starting to offer family and child portraits.  We had a wonderful time playing at the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton up there and we’re so excited to see the photos.  Being patient is so challenging!  Here are a few from the weddings Karla and I have done together, she’s amazing!

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While we were up there we decided to go to SeaWorld as well.  We took Noah about a year ago and while he had fun he had no idea what was going on.  This time around he was much more into it.  We had breakfast with Elmo and his friends where Noah decided they should be BFF.  He loved petting Elmo and posing with the other characters.  He took several turns going up to see them and wasn’t afraid of anything.  Ayla on the other hand needed to warm up a little before getting too close.  She’s their biggest fan when it comes to Sesame Street on TV but must have been a little surprised to find out they are so big!  Other highlights from the day included the animal shows (doesn’t everyone love Shamu?), the kids’ play area where Noah got to take Walter on a big ride, and the Elmo show.  Less enthusiastic moments were highlighted by the meltdowns just prior to nap time.  We all had a great time though and with a complimentary upgrade to a seasonal pass we can’t wait to go back!

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Ayla warmed up enough to share a smooch with her main man, Elmo!


And the Cookie Monster almost started his stand up act.  The characters were so much fun!


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And here’s Noah standing in for the real trainers – Shamu, JUMP!

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The show was incredible!

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And then Noah treated us to some entertainment in the kids’ play area…


Before dragging Walter on to Jazzy Jellies.  Walter says he grinned ear to ear through the whole ride.  He didn’t want to get off!  I could never go on this thing, it makes me queasy to think about the spinning!

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And Ayla had her caricature drawn -


While they napped we checked out some more animals…

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Once they were up we made our way over to “Elmo and the Bookaneers”.  I’ve never seen these two so mesmerized!  Noah sat still through the entire show (quite a feat if you know him), he clapped, Ayla danced, it really was a treat!  It’s funny how you get so much joy from your child’s happiness once you’re a parent.  I never would have gone to this show before Noah and now I’m thinking it was one of the best parts of the whole day.  Go figure!

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Like mother, like daughter…

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