Thursday, September 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Ell Pond

Dear Em,
There's a hiking trail in Rhode Island that immediately became one of my favorite Rhode Island spots. After going for the first time with my college RA staff, I took Daddy (we were dating back then) on a hike at Ell Pond. We returned back there a number of times in the spring & fall, our favorite hiking seasons.

The hiking trail is surrounded by leafy trees, bright & green in the spring & multi colored beauty in the fall. There is a bit of a climb in some spots, making for a great workout without needing actual hiking gear. It's such a great spot to take in fresh air & all the amazingness of nature while getting some exercise. We like to end our hike by climbing up a great big rock that overlooks the pond. It's a beautiful and calming way to relax after a good hiking workout.

Daddy & I actually went for a hike at Ell Pond the day before he proposed.

We had no idea then that someday we would buy a home only 15 minutes away from our favorite Rhode Island hiking spot. Although not as often as I'd like, we've been fortunate to have been able to return to Ell Pond again and again throughout the years (it's tough, because it's not a trail I'm comfortable taking you on just yet so we can only go when we have a babysitter). Somehow, we seem to find ourselves there during many of our important life moments.

Two Year Wedding Anniversary...

Friend's 30th Birthday Celebration...

I'm so glad I got to return to Ell Pond a couple times this summer. One of the excursions was part of our dear friend's bachelorette weekend. It was so fun to share one of my most treasured Rhode Island spots with a group of great people.

Sigh, I'm such a Rhode Island groupie! Ha! I'm so glad we've had Ell Pond throughout the years & we'll have it for years to come. One day, I'm looking forward to introducing Ell Pond to you.

I love you so,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Recipe for a perfect day

Dear Em,
Things have been busy. You're back in school and work has been hectic for both Daddy & I. On top of that, you're participating in soccer, swim, & gymnastics this fall. I signed you up for everything & thought, "no problem, we got this." But as we were trying to rush you out the door (lately, we always seem to be rushing, with no time to just see where the day takes us) for soccer practice the other night, you looked at me with the saddest eyes & asked me, "Mommy, when do I get to just play?" It was at that moment that I realized I may have overextended our family.

This weekend, Daddy & I wanted a weekend for just the three of us. I can't really remember the last time we had a full weekend just the three of us. You had soccer on Saturday morning, but we decided we would spend the rest of the day doing some of our favorite things...just Daddy, you, & me. Em, it was truly a perfect day. We had...

Sunshine & Soccer:

The weather reports threatened rain, but it was a gorgeous day to play soccer. It is a beautiful thing to watch you when you're trying your very best.

We changed you out of your soccer gear & headed straight over to the...

Umbrella Factory:

It's become one of our favorite after soccer activities. I love being welcomed into the beautiful gardens.

Ever my little budding photographer, you asked to borrow Daddy's phone so you could snap some photos.

You took this photo...

...and this one (see the little navy croc?)...

...and this one (also complete with a little croc)...

...and this one.

We headed past the gardens to check out the baby ducklings & chickens & goats.

I think Daddy's favorite part of the Umbrella Factory is the bamboo forest, which you proudly led us through.

Getting a little hungry, we said goodbye to the fun of the Umbrella Factory & headed to our next adventure...

Watch Hill:

I don't think I've ever been to Watch Hill during the peak summer season. It's always such perfection in the late spring and early fall. With no crowds to fight, it always feels like it's our little secret & our little spot (remember our fun adventure two years ago?). We stopped at Bay Street Deli for chowder, sandwiches, & a donut for you (not the healthiest option, but we went with it).

We headed over the giant dune to return to one of my very favorite beaches.

We didn't bring your bathing suit, but let you head straight to the water anyways. Then we stood back & let you be you. The expression on your face was pure joy, and it made my heart so happy. I am so dazzled by you, little girl.

You were soaked & freezing, & we changed you into the jean jacket & leggings you were wearing earlier. Daddy & I laughed at the hodgepodge outfit we put together. You & Daddy played tag in the sand. God, I love watching the two of you together.

You wrote "I love Mommy" & "I love Daddy" in the sand (love is one of the few words you can spell by yourself without having to sound it out, & I LOVE that) before we headed back over the giant dune & off the beach.

We watched ominous clouds roll in as you gave us performances in the gazebo.

Trying to beat the rain, we got into our car. Your eyes looked so heavy as we drove to our next destination...

The Grocery Store

We don't often go to the grocery store as a family, but we have so much fun when we do. We give you the scanner, & you ensure that everything is scanned before we place it in our bags in the cart.

After a job well done scanning, we surprised you as we pulled into...

Lickety Splits

Yes I know, we had already fed you a donut. We're not usually so committed to hopping you up full of sugar, but Lickety Splits will be closing for the winter soon. Ice cream just seemed like the right thing to do on our perfect day.

The rain started to come down pretty soon after we got home. I smiled, thankful for the sunshine we had enjoyed that day & ready to spend some inside family time playing...

Wii Party

Daddy made us the most perfect grill cheeses (I know, it was a really healthy eating day). We ate dinner & then snuggled in for...

Movie Night

You were so tired after the movie, you told Daddy you might fall asleep while the two of you read your bedtime books. I smiled. It felt so great to be just you & me & Daddy that day. It felt so good to enjoy the sunshine & outdoors & the salty air of Rhode Island. It was such a perfect day, a day I wish I could bottle up & save for always. Not every day is perfect (& believe me the day still had some less than perfect moments), but I'm so thankful for the precious moments we get to share together.

I love you so,
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