A Weekend in Marco Island!

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Last weekend, Stevie and I took a little trip down to Marco Island, Florida! We wanted to celebrate our 12-year wedding anniversary (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) and also get a little babymoon in before this little one arrives in a few months. 5 months is always a sweet time to travel because it’s not too uncomfortable yet, so we planned a fast 2-night getaway so we could connect, read, eat and talk without our other two cuties pulling on our time.

IT WAS THE BEST.

We had never been to Marco Island. We had heard about it and had some flight points, so we picked the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and just went for it. The resort is gorgeously situated on the water, has a seriously delicious buffet breakfast and a killer amazing spa. We weren’t expecting the food on the island to be so legendary, but it is basically all Italian and all INCREDIBLE. I’m not usually one for pasta and pizza on the beach because, I don’t know, I don’t want to feel carb-loaded when I’m in a bathing suit, but being pregnant has it’s perks. I’m always bloated! So we ate like we were in Italy! And it was magnificent. Really and truly.

EATS.
If you’re visiting, we ate a fancy, celebratory meal at Sale e Pepe (incredible fresh pasta and fish!) which was a quick walk from our hotel and has the most beautiful views of the ocean. The pizza and salad at DaVinci almost made us cry and of course we had to indulge in gelato at Dolce Mare where they also home make chocolate truffles. Get the caramel sea salt. More incredible pizza at Joeys and we also loved brunch in Naples at The Cafe on 5th where they had the best juices and crepes ahhhh. I’m drooling just typing all this.

We took lots of pictures, and these are all from my iPhone!

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^ The view from our hotel! So lush and tropical.

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^My 5 month baby bumps vs. Stevie’s (below)

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A lot of the buildings lining the beach were actually condos and not hotels. This is a place for snow birds and we were actually visiting in the off-season! It was truly tropical weather. Like HOT and humid. Most of the snow birds hang out down there Jan.-May.

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Old Navy Suit (sold out in yellow, still in stock in black top and bottom)

^One morning we decided to split up and do whatever we wanted! I crave alone time SO much and Stevie always wants to play golf, so that’s what we did! I ate breakfast alone (SUCH a luxury), laid on the beach and read, and then went to the spa for a pedicure. It was seriously the most indulgent morning I’ve had in years.

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^My tan is so fake you guys. I normally don’t lay out in the sun but since I was only out for about an hour on this particular morning I went for it and ended up spending most of that time in the ocean because it was just SO hot. But I really love getting an organic spray tan at RAW Bronzing Studio and that’s how I look and feel tan without actually baking for hours in the sun ;)

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^Just having a mermaid moment

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JCrew suit (past season, similar here) Target Hat, Target Sunglasses

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Target Dress, Target Sandals

^It was so dark by the time we went to our dinner at Sale E Pepe, but it really is worth visiting! It’s styled like an Italian art museum, with frescos painted on the walls and arched walkways and fountains. It’s really special.

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^That dinner view. I meannnnn.

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^It was so tropical! I couldn’t get over the bird songs and the lush flowers and exotic plants.

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^Downtown Naples! We didn’t get to spend a lot of time here, but we want to plan another trip to explore more because it was SO stunning. I mean, look at this pink building! Is this real life?!

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^Pistachio and Hazelnut gelato. Glory be.

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ASOS dress (sold out, similar here), Target Sandals

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This trip was truly a dream. We ate SO well, we read on the beach, we even went to the spa together and got massages one morning! Stevie hadn’t had a massage in 10 years, so you could say he was due for a de-stressing morning. He was so funny when he came out of the massage room - we met up in the little spa garden and drank cucumber water and he was like, “I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW GOOD THAT WAS.

I don’t feel bad about getting some pampering before entering into another season of sleepless nights and busy baby days. Feeling very grateful for the time we got together, to dream and talk and laugh and wonder about what the future of our family will be like with 3 kids! I am so so grateful to my parents for taking over and watching the big boys while we got away. This was an extra special trip, just getting Stevie all to myself for a few days of fun and relaxation. Hurray for beaches and babies!

40 Hours in Nashville.

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Girls weekend in Nashville! My friend Savannah and I trekked up to the center of the Bible belt to celebrate my friend Holly’s birthday, and I have to tell you - I was seriously looking forward to this weekend. Something about planning ahead and being able to look forward to a super fun girls-only trip, well, I don’t know about you but that always seems to motivate me. Need to clean the house? Just think about Nashville. Need to finish mailing a zillion DoTERRA packages? Think about Nashville! My kids are going nuts, there’s no food in the house, dinner has to be cooked by someone, I need to wake up early to exercise… think of Nashville! Having this trip on the horizon really kept me motivated, and it lived up to all the expectations!

I haven’t ever really “done” Nashville, even though its not all that far from Atlanta. We went to a wedding there a few years ago, and it was a total blast, but we were in and out of that city within like 24 hours because Everett was a baby and all that good stuff. So this time around Holly took us around to all her favorite spots, and even though it was a fast trip, we managed to do SO much (its amazing how much you can do when you only have to feed yourself and tie your own shoes).

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This little spot called Cafe Roze was kind of like, the most perfect little cafe in all the land. I mean, when you have a choice between a rose cardamom latte, an orange blossom latte, and a black sesame latte, how do you actually choose?!

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Cured is a nail salon that does a lot of extra special glittery, foiled, holographic & iridescent wonders to fingers and goodness gracious, I am still going gaga over my nails. We all went with the foiled technique and it was a GOOD CHOICE.

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I have this thing for floors. Said every basic girl, basically ever.

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Frothy Monkey, Frothy Monkey! Because one hot beverage per day just really isn’t enough. Although I really need someone to teach me how to man up and enjoy a matcha. I just can’t, you guys.

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Also, we did a crazy good dinner at Milk & Honey and I am still dreaming of that porky fried rice. Also, the burrata and fig on sourdough toast situation was exactly what the doctor ordered. Still kind of dreaming on that one, too.

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I got a little carried away in Lemon Laine, which is this wondrous natural beauty and wellness shop where we all got to geek out. You all know how much I love me some green beauty products! Lemon Laine had an ample smattering of skincare products specifically, and I was able to sample so many clean products that I’ve only ever seen online. It was really fun to try out so many things while we were in-store! I purchased a few fun things to try out so I will report back with thoughts! The green beauty trials live on!

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Then we got gussied up and went out to celebrate the woman of the hour. There was dynamite food (I forget the restaurant!), a really fun crew and mayyyyybe even some dancing. I basically didn’t sleep but it was worth every moment of exhaustion for all the laughter!

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I’m so grateful for these friendships in my life. I just have to say, becoming a mom can be really all-consuming, and I honestly have felt like in the years since becoming a mother that my focus hasn’t really been on my friendships. I’ve been figuring out family, figuring out who I am all over again, and figuring out how to run a business while staying home with my kids. I have relationally really leaned into my family over the past several years and I am so grateful that I have had my sisters and parents who’ve been so supportive.

But there is truly nothing like having girlfriends! At the beginning of 2018 I made a promise to myself to take more intentional time for my friendships, and you guys, it’s been like the best 2 months ever! I have had so many lovely coffee dates and connect times with some beautiful women who inspire and uplift me, and I am so grateful! This trip was one of those experiences that left me feeling so full of love and admiration for life!

I just want you to know, if you’re in a season where you feel like your current situation is all-consuming and you can’t possibly add anything else to your list - I get it. I really really do! Be good to yourself and don’t stress about it. My biggest piece of advice would be, when you feel a little space in your mind open up (because I truly feel like you need space in your mind, not your calendar!) - carve out the tiniest bit of time to lean into 1 friendship at time and see how you do. There is truly nothing like the “iron sharpens iron” that comes from friendships with people who love you, know you and want the best for you.

Like me and Nashville. We just met but we’re already besties and I think it’s already time that I make a second voyage ;)

P.S. - I made a little Nashville travel diary over on my IGTV if you want to see more video clips of these spots! xx

Tips and Tricks for Disney World!

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We went to Disney World right before Christmas and it was SO much fun! I wanted to share a few planning tips that helped us have such a fun and happy time together. When it comes to Disney World, planning and being prepared really does make all the difference when it comes to NOT stressing, so I wanted to compile all of my thoughts here for any of you who are planning to take your family to the happiest place on Earth, too!

Planning:

  • We used a travel agent when planning our trip and it’s probably my BIGGEST recommendation for a Disney trip - if you take no other advice from me, please please please have someone help you plan your Disney trip. Alyson Pitzer of Magical Moments Vacations helped us tailor our trip perfectly to our family and I would highly recommend her to anyone! We didn’t have to pay her either - she is compensated by Disney so when you purchase your tickets through her or reserve hotels, she is compensated by Disney. But she does SO much more than book things - she truly helped us tailor the trip perfectly for my kids’ ages, character preferences, height requirements, EVERYTHING - she helped us schedule our fast passes, make dining reservations for character meals, and explained how to actually execute a Disney trip - everything from transportation to meal planning to where the best hidden places are in the parks to grab a bite to eat, change a diaper, etc. She is a wealth of information and I hope everyone uses her because gosh, we certainly will be using her services again! #disneycruiseupnext

  • Park Hopper! This is so helpful to have along with your ticket if you want to move around a little bit. It’s really fun to spend a morning at Magic Kingdom and then head over to Epcot to eat in the afternoon. I didn’t utilize our Park Hopper much this time, but my extended family did and they really liked being able to move around! I feel like this is helpful if you have multiple park days and older children who are a little more mobile).

  • Rider Swap - It’s hard for me to explain how this works but it is SO helpful. Since Daxton is still too little to ride roller coasters, Stevie and I could utilize the rider swap to switch off taking Everett on rides and not have to wait in line each time. Like I said, hard to actually explain but it is so worth utilizing!

  • We used the My Disney Experience app to organize all of our fast passes (you’re allowed to plan up to 3 per day and continue to add more as you use them up), and our dining plans (reservations are required for sit-down meals, and booking 6 months in advance for some restaurants is a must!) Again, our travel agent was absolutely amazing in helping us get all of this set up, so we just had to show up on our trip and our app told us what was happening. It was literally amazing.

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Eating:

  • If you can swing it, the Disney Meal Plan is evvvverything. You pay ahead of time for the dining plan and then your Magic Band is automatically loaded with daily credits for meals and snacks at the parks and hotels. It is a total gift to all the mamas! A true vacation for me is one where I do not have to cook. Can I get an amen?

  • All that being said, I wish I had packed my kids some pb & j sandwiches (and a few healthy snacks) as an extra during the days. They love something simple like that and they didn’t always eat the chicken nuggets or whatever it was that we got for them that was on the dining plan. However, Stevie and I always used their dining credits, so I still think the plan is totally worth it!

  • Just so you know, you can get Starbucks coffee on the dining plan - it counts as a snack credit and it is the BEST to grab one in the early morning when you get into the park. It gave me a little extra motivation to get to the park right when it opened! Which is also the time when the park is least crowded.

  • Fave restaurants:

    • Magic Kingdom- Be Our Guest (I like breakfast here best), Sleepy Hollow (get the waffles!), Casey’s (get the corn dog nuggets and don’t think about the calories), Aloha Isle (get the Dole Whipped Treat!!!!), and Starbucks on Main Street (I personally like to grab an early coffee here and walk very slowly down Main Street - it’s perhaps the cheeriest place I’ve ever been and I always want to soak it up!)

    • Animal Kingdom - Tusker House (my favorite character meal!)

    • Epcot - Oh gosh, I ate everything here! This is the best place to walk and munch literally all day long. Christmas Tea in England, tacos in Mexico, kettle corn in Canada, crepes in France, mac’n’cheese in Germany, orange chicken in China and mulled wine in Germany!

    • Hollywood Studios - 50’s Prime Time Cafe

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Attire:

  • You have to wear Mickey ears at The Magic Kingdom! I got this 12-pack on Amazon, which had both Mickey & Minnie ears, and we wore these the last time. This time my sis Lauren also snagged a pair for me from Claires (that look similar to this) and I loved having a fancy glitter pair!

  • We wore Mickey and Disney gear the entire trip because its fun to be so festive! I shopped at Target for a few months before hand and just picked up things here and there that would coordinate well for the days we were at the parks.

  • Wear comfy shoes. Do NOT wear flip flops. Just trust me on this one, friends. I’m on your side!

  • Pack an extra layer for yourself and your kiddos if you are going to stay for the whole day into the evening - the temperatures definitely drop at night!

Getting Around:

  • I personally loved renting a van and driving to the parks everyday. Even though the monorail and bus system is super efficient, our hotel didn’t have a monorail option and sometimes the buses can take a while to arrive. With little kids (and nap times and the need for urgent potty breaks!), I just really liked having the control of leaving when we needed to. However, this is totally a personal preference thing and I have lots of family that really liked using the bus system!

  • I will also highly recommend arriving at the parks 15-30 minutes before they open. I know, that sounds crazy, but just hear me out here. Many of the parks actually open their doors 30 minutes prior to actually opening and beginning the rides, so if you are able to get into the park, grab a coffee, and have a leisure walk to your first ride, then when the park officially opens you are already standing in front of your first ride. It can be hectic trying to get to the park that early, but it is much less crowded in the mornings and it’s easier to jump on rides. Trust me on this one - the park is the most crowded at 11am because that’s when most people manage to get there after eating breakfast, etc. Just trust me here! Get to the park early and enjoy the peace and quiet! You will ride 3x as many rides this way!

  • If you have a child that naps, you can either stay in the park and hope that they nap in your stroller, or you can head back to the hotel in the early in the afternoon and give them a proper nap. We have done it both ways, and we really make the decision the day of, depending on how late the park will be open that day. For example, if Magic Kingdom closes at 5pm, then we will probably try to stay at the park for the day. But if it closes at 10pm, we would try to get to the park at 7:30/7:45am, ride rides and have fun until about noon, eat lunch and then head back to the hotel for rest time and naps until about 5pm. Then we would grab dinner and enjoy the park in the evening - making certain to catch the fire works!

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Gear:

  • We brought our Double Bob Stroller and we LOVED having it. They boys could ride around in it when they got tired, we could keep them contained (which is a big deal, because otherwise we were holding their hands while we walked with them in the crowds). It was also helpful for letting Daxton nap in the afternoons. Overall, it was just SO convenient to have it and Disney has tons of stroller parking everywhere (with people keeping an eye on the strollers!) when you couldn’t take the stroller directly to the rides. It was so helpful to have a hub for all our STUFF. Because man, we brought a lot of stuff.

  • Speaking of stuff, I packed my diaper bag each day with the following: an extra pair of clothes for each boy, a full refillable water bottle for each person, lots of snacks, diapers and wipes, hand sanitizer, sun glasses, chapstick, tissues, a little toy for each boy (to play with while we were in line, but honestly, we didn’t need these), and when its really hot, I would also recommend a mister fan, a hat and some sunscreen.

  • I would also recommend packing a portable phone charger (you use your phone SO much at DIsney, between taking photos and using the My Disney app to keep up with your Fast Passes - this is helpful if your phone battery isn’t great!)

I think that’s all! Goodness, it looks like a lot of info, but this was our second time taking the boys to Disney and it was an even better trip! I truly think having a travel agent help us make an amazing plan made all the difference - we have never used a travel agent for any other trip, including international travel with the kids, but I feel like at Disney is it completely necessary! We absolutely LOVED our time there this year and I even made a little Travel Diary on IGTV, which you can see here.

I hope this was helpful for you! Please leave your fave Disney tips and tricks in the comments section so we can all learn from them! xx

More Autumn Fun in Charlestown, MA & Portsmouth, New Hampshire!

Continuing to share a bit about our New England adventure (part 1 here). This was a long but incredibly spontaneous day. Which I’m learning I really really love and makes me feel alive, making spontaneous travel choices. Don’t get me wrong, I plan a ton for the trips when we travel. But then once we’re finally there, I like to deviate and have lottttts of flexibility within “the plan”. Which makes for a fun day! So on this particularly chilly autumn day, we started off walking around Charlestown, touring the Battle of Bunker Hill and showing Everett the U.S.S. Constitution (he was obsessed!), but things started getting seriously wet and cold… so we had to make a choice. Go back to the hotel and hunker down. Or, you know, drive to Maine and get some lobster rolls. Which one do you think we chose??


Charlestown, Massachusetts

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Outfit Details:

Anthropologie Top, Old Navy Jean Jacket (like 10 years old! Similar here), Nordstrom Jeans, Sebago Boots, Madewell Scarf, Stella & Dot Knot Bracelet


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(And this is just a side note but I found the most amazing natural nail salon in Atlanta where they do fancy polish and nail art - Lark and Sparrow!)


Portsmouth, New Hampshire

We drove up to Kittery, Maine (such a great lighthouse!), and then turned around and found our way into Portsmouth, NH. These towns are right next to each other on the water, and we decided to walk around quaint little Portsmouth and find some dinner. Not too many pictures from this spot because it was drizzly, but we all cozied up in a little cafe and the boys had quesadillas and we had lobster rolls. I know, we are all sorts of culinary excellence ;)

Truth be told, we had to pull out the kindles for this meal, and Stevie didn’t love it. We don’t like to be those parents who shove technology in their kid’s faces all the time, but sometimes if you want to have a nice meal, and you’re all traveling together, and things are getting fussy… yep. Kindles to the rescue!

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And that was our drizzly cold, 40-degree day in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. Okay, the Maine part barely counts, but it’s still KIND of fun to count it because it makes us sound like road warriors. Which, in a van with two toddlers demanding “Frozen” songs over and over for hours, we kind of became.

What are your travel go-tos when your children are sort of melting down? I would love to hear!


Visiting New England in October!

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I guess I’ll just start off with the truth.

We almost moved to Boston this summer. Or I should say, we almost moved back to Boston this summer. There was a job opportunity that we were seriously considering, and during that time, I was chatting with Everett & Daxton all about New England. Well, we ended up staying put because another (better) job kept Stevie working right here in Georgia, which was a relief because we have so much family here, but after sharing with my boys so much about Boston, I thought we ought to take a trip. And what better time to visit than autumn in New England??

I’m going to break this post up into a few so that I can share about where we ate, what we did, and most importantly (to the boys!) - where we played. Because we played a LOT. I will do a separate follow-up post about traveling with our two boys this time around - please let me know in the comments section if you have specific questions!


Downtown Boston

This shot cracked me up because it was COMPLETELY candid and they all looked so pensive.

This shot cracked me up because it was COMPLETELY candid and they all looked so pensive.

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Color like POW.

Color like POW.

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I love this statue. She’s representing the angels who worship at God’s throne.


Beacon Hill, Massachusetts

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Are you seeing the streets lined with gold? Goshhhh.

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Just casually posing on the quaint cobblestoned alley. LIKE ALL BLOGGERS DO. Sometimes we’re a little bit ridiculous.

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Outfit Details


Loft Top (half off right now!), Madewell Jeans, Banana Republic Scarf (similar), Franco Sarto Flats, RAW Bronzing Studio Tan, (my leather jacket was purchased overseas, similar styles here and here)

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My little sweetheart.

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I never want to forget them like this. Everett is wearing this top and these pants, Dax is wearing this top and these pants.

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Leaf confetti.

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Not the tour we were on but I wanted to get a shot of how the truck goes into the water! So cool!

I think this is our only family photo of the trip but gosh, isn’t Daxton just the sweetest? That child is growing up.

I think this is our only family photo of the trip but gosh, isn’t Daxton just the sweetest? That child is growing up.

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What We Did.
We walked the historical Freedom Trail (if you go without kids, I HIGHLY encourage doing The Freedom Trail Run - it’s a 5k tour of the Freedom Trail and ends with a ferry ride back to where you started! SO efficient and helps you squeeze in a workout while you’re traveling!) We wandered the Boston Public Garden and the Boston Common, which are two of the most amazing public spaces you will find in Boston (I’ve previously overshared the Public Garden here and here).

We also found several amazing playgrounds, one in Beacon Hill called the Myrtle Street Playground, where we played with the kids for a few hours one perfect morning. The golden leaves kept falling around us like confetti and the air was cool and I just thought, “This is it. A perfect moment that I don’t want to forget.” Whatever those golden trees are, I need to plant one here in Georgia. We also played at the Esplanade, on the Charles Bank Playground along the river, and this was the perfect way for the boys to get out wiggles when they were sitting in the stroller for too long.

We also took a Duck Tour in the afternoon, which Everett was really excited about, because (all you boy mamas, listen in!), the tour truck transforms into a boat and goes into the Charles River. Yes. My boys were losing their minds a little, because at any mention of “transformer”, they are shook.

We took the boys to the Curious George toy store in Harvard Square and let them each pick out a toy. It’s kind of a fun thing we’ve started to do - minimizing the toys we buy at home but letting them choose something to play with when we travel. I think it helps them create a special memory reminder of our trip AND gives them a little something to play with on those long travel days where extra patience (and distraction!) is sometimes needed. Our one rule is that the toy must be small enough to be packable! And by the way, they picked out some of these Green Toys and we are loving them!

Where We Ate.
Call me boring, but we did a lot of Starbucks on this trip. My boys are carb monsters and tear through the muffins and bagels like its their job. I like having a few things I can count on them actually eating, so we did a lot of Starbucks in the AM. My order is a grande Americano and the Bacon, Egg & Gouda breakfast sandwich - it’s so good! We also packed the boys apple sauce pouches, snacks and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day, which really helped them feel comfortable (because they eat a lot of this at home!) However, Stevie and I didn’t hold back! We loved our juices and smoothies at The Juicery, dinner at our favorite restaurant in Harvard Square called Grafton Street, and a must-have yogurt at Berryline. Yum.

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This trip was such a blast and we did so much on each day! I’ll share in a separate post about hanging out in Charlestown, where we ate the BEST brunch and cannolis, and why we took an impromptu trip to Maine for the day ;)