Archive for the ‘family’ Tag

Cape Cod 2015 (Part 3)

Monday, October 5th, 2015 by Jen

Our other big activity for going to Cape Cod is always the beach! We went for two big trips, and then again for some picture taking sessions. The kids loved digging in the sand. Celia and Josie loved going out deep in the water and playing on the boogie boards. They were a lot more confident this year than last and wanted to go out beyond the safe areas. At one point the tide was coming back in so fast that we almost got in over my head and I had to pull them back in against their wishes. Also for fun in the water was the new phone case I got my dad that is waterproof. So we took it out in the pool, and out in the ocean and it kept working and snapping and we didn’t even loose it!

Ewans early morning face

The mulligan clan

Silly Celia

The three loves

\My parents laughing

My dad flying his kite! We didn’t lose it this year!

Kite flying
The kids up in the lifeguard chair!

Up on the lifeguard chair

Ewan on the beach Josie on the beach

The picture of Ewan with the duck whistle, RIP duck whistle 2015.



The turtle wars!!!IMG_0914

Smiles on the porch with sisters goggles!


One day I made oobleck for the kids, cornstarch and water. Cheap easy entertainment when you can get messy outside!


Jordi under water!


Josie in the water!


Celia on the boogie board!


Post beach nap.



Ewan on a boogie board!


Here’s how non-graceful I end up looking on my photo shoots, this time I had to do it in a dress. It was super windy!


Lots of these photos are courtesy of my dad.

Cape Cod 2015 (part 2)

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 by Jen

Brr as fall starts to set in around here I better finish remembering our summer. At the end of July we were at Cape Cod and having a lovely time at our rental house in Mashpee.

A lot of our time at the cape we spend hanging out in the backyard and playing in the pool. This year we saw some fantastic leaps in swimming abilities for Celia and Josie. Josie had been swimming without any flotation device in lessons this year but she was still a bit nervous about it. Celia loves to use her floaties, but she made the mistake of jumping in once without them and then swimming across the pool. Then I pointed out to her that she had done it by herself. At first she was shocked and scared, but eventually she was proud of herself for having done it. As always with the pool comes the ice cream! That is one of their favorite parts. I prefer not having to clean the kids up after eating, as they just get wet and cleaned in the pool mostly. They are not neat ice cream cone eaters.

Ewan enjoying his ice cream

Josie enjoying her ice cream

Celia about to go swimming after the ice cream

My parents had brought a bunch of inflatibles, a giant ball, two turtles and two tubes. The turtles were fun for having ‘turtle wars’ where you try to bounce them into one another and see who comes up on top. The girls spent a lot of time hopping in and out of the pool with the toys, riding on different ones. Ewan was harder to convince to get into the pool. He spent more time walking around it although we did get him to wear the puddlejumpers a lot of the time so we wouldn’t feel the need to chase him constantly. He liked to play with water on the side and pour it into cups. Eventually I dragged him into the pool and he started to like riding around on the turtles which he calls ‘ugas’, short for ‘tortuga’ (turtle in spanish). I made him do some swimming too but he wasn’t terribly fond of it yet, or even jumping in. He used to enjoy jumping in last year.

Another toy we brought with us was Jordi’s new water rocket he got for fathers day. We took it out to the high schools field with lots of space, and it was good we had the space. This rocket really launches! It was super cool and lots of fun to fill it up and pump it up with the bike pump.

Dad flying his kite

Rocket launched!

This was Thursday morning right before lunch. As we were doing all this I started to get some phone calls from our carpenter. Our neighbor it seems had found our front doors open that morning and shut them for us. We had a cat sitter coming in twice a day to medicate the cats (argh). Somehow she managed to leave the front door open although swears she wasn’t using it because she couldn’t figure it out. The carpenter had the keys and went into the house to check on the cats at the behest of the neighbor. He couldn’t find a cat (two were upstairs, but only one was found downstairs when there should have been two). So I called the cat sitter and she came from work and couldn’t find George either. We let things settle a bit while we had lunch, I made some more calls back and forth and still no George despite ripping the house apart. There was no sign of him so we made the decision that Jordi would go back home to look for George. Good thing we were less than two hours away at least.

Jordi went home that afternoon, confirmed George was still missing and stayed up late trying to find him. Early the next morning thankfully George reappeared outside in our garage and after chasing him a few times around the house, Jordi was able to catch him and return him to safety. But that cost Jordi a day of vacation by the time he was able to clean up, eat and drive back. Then again at the end of the trip, the cat sitter managed to lock her keys in our house and called fire department before talking to us (and our neighbors who had a key). Thanks to the AFD for showing up, but we did finally get ahold of a neighbor with a full set of keys. But that cat sitter will not be back.

Back again with one more installment about the beach, and the ‘gift’ I conveniently gave my dad for his birthday.

Cape Cod 2015 (part 1)

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 by Jen

As summer draws to a close, let’s see what I can remember from our fun trip to Cape Cod this year. We went at the end of July and stayed in the same house as last year which thankfully we all enjoyed the copious space and bathrooms. It is a nice three bedroom, three bathroom house with a pool in the backyard. We had a slow start to the week with some not so great weather but we enjoyed some indoor activities such as science projects, painting, and other art.



Each year since Josie was little, I’ve taken the kids out early one morning to the beach to have some dunkin donuts and play on the beach while everyone else sleeps in. I take pictures, they enjoy some morning quiet time. Lately though the kids are sleeping in too late for the sunrise, I started when they used to get up waaaay too early. This year though, there was a fairly heavy but not total cloud cover that I knew would burn off as the morning got going. So I rushed them out the door, found a new local tiny beach that was only a few minutes away, and had them try HoneyDew donuts and egg sandwiches instead. We made it to the beach and I got a bit of good sun, and enough shade to take some fun pictures at least although not the most gorgeous ever. They did a whole bunch of shell collecting and watched some kids show up to an early morning boating camp.




We went back to HoneyDew a few times as I took each of the girls out for some one-on-one time with me during Ewans nap. Donuts are much bigger than dunkies!

Graybills visit in July

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 by Jen

Last month we got a visit from my aunt Diane, uncle Todd and cousin Abby. The kids were super excited to see them, and Ewan associated Abby with cookies because Josie had baked her some the week before. We’d say Abby and he’d say ‘cookie!’ It was a very fun and busy trip and I opted mostly to leave the big camera at home because we did so much. We definitely wore them out that weekend. They arrived on Thursday and we ambushed them at my parents house, already waiting for them there. We let them eat and drink a bit while the kids demanded lots of attention as usual. We had a nice easy dinner on the grill before heading home for a the busy following day.

Friday morning I took the kids into the city at frog pond to wade in the water, play on the playground and wait for everyone else. Jordi took the rest of the crew on the Google tour of the building to give Abby a completely unrealistic idea of what most working environments look like. Once they enjoyed their coffees they drove downtown to meet us at the common and we went to lunch at PF Changs. After lunch we headed over to the public garden and rode on the swan boats for the first time in the kids lives. Ewan at first refused to get on the boat at all, but once it got going he enjoyed the nice leisurely pace and the sights to see around the pond. After the ride I put him in the stroller and within the first few yards of walking I think he fell asleep as we went to look at the swans and other water fowl on land.

Next we headed towards the giant public art project on the greenway via Chinatown. We stopped for some bubble tea, tried to find a public bathroom which was a nightmare, and eventually made it to the greenway. We found the cookie monstah truck and had split an ice cream sandwich and then took a nice long break sitting on the greenway chairs as the day had gotten quite warm. After our rest we found the giant string art hanging in the air, but weren’t all that impressed. I had heard better things about it at night. At this point it wasn’t too far off from dinner and we were pooped, so I took Abby and the kids and went home on the train while the rest of them took the car which took way longer. We picked up some pizza and ate at our house before crashing for the night.

Saturday we went for an early trip to the beach, we tried to go to Good Harbor but were too late and just barely made it into Long Beach. We had a nice day of frolicing in the sand, water and eating some more ice cream. Our immediately family didn’t make it out to dinner as we’re not too excited about a seafood place. But then we met up again in the morning at our house for a quick tour of our new upstairs and breakfast from quebrada. It was quick, but it was lovely to get to see them all and hopefully we can all visit again soon!


Javi and Bruna came to visit… a few months ago

Saturday, July 4th, 2015 by Jen

So a few months back, like mid-April, Jordi’s brother and his girlfriend came to visit us! They are very chill visitors and mostly just hang out with us doing our regular thing. They first came in and we took them to Josie’s choir rehearsal since it was that afternoon and they got to see her enjoy her music lessons. Then we enjoyed some easy dinner at home with everyone. Since it’s been a few months I am now sadly getting spotty on which day we did what, but one day we took them to Google offices to see the sights and enjoy some lunch with Jordi. Then they headed into town, I think this was all on Monday. Saturday we had swim lessons in the morning and they took the opportunity to relax without the craziness of kids for a few hours. One of the days we went to the zoo! Javi walking with Ewan

Javi showing Ewan the big cats

Josie, Bruna, Celia, Javi and Ewan

Don’t they look great with three insta-kids! I like how Josie is wearing a t-shirt and Javi has a hat and scarf on. That’s April for us around here, we’re ready to break out the tshirts!

I remember having a lot of fun, and particularly in the evening we played Cards Against Humanity which was hilarious. We’ve had the game a while, but hadn’t really found the right company to play it with until now. Hope they’ll come visit again soon!

P52 #18 – Having a ball with Bubie

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 by Jen


This past weekend we visited my grandmother for an early Mothers Day brunch. Jordi was under the weather so he stayed home. We brought some food, toys and some balls and the kids played around in the grass while we ate and talked. The girls also gave a choral concert to Bubie with at least 8 songs. Although I don’t think she could really hear them, she could follow along with the beat by watching their mouths and really enjoyed their efforts.

Playing with the ball and dandelion

Here’s a quick shot of my grandmother, still going strong, although not quite sure who each one of us is anymore. She really liked the strawberry banana coconut milk smoothie I brought and appreciated our cards.

Giving Bubie her mothers day card

Christmas in Pennsylvania 2014

Monday, May 11th, 2015 by Jen

Yes here it is May, the middle even, and I’m finishing up writing about Christmas. C’est la vie. It’s been a busy spring. But back in December, before we had the terrible winter, we had a lovely visit to my dad’s sister and her family. We got a hitch put onto our minivan and bought a rack for the back that can hold stuff and so we put large rubber bins on the back of the car to hold presents and other gear, leaving most of the interior space for us. It worked out very well. We wrapped the bins in trash bags, strapped them down with ratchet straps and put 7 people (including three car seats) into an 8 person car. It was a fairly comfortable ride and the rack in the back didn’t change much except when going over really bumpy spots. We stopped at our usual haunt on the way there and on the way back, catching a swim both directions and dinner at a local Italian restaurant.

I’m going to let the pictures do a lot of the talking. First up, the classic holding your stocking in front of the fireplace picture! The kids all love to play with all the little Christmas decorations at my aunt’s house.

The classic stocking photo

After we settled in early on Christmas eve, we headed to church for the service and then went to my cousin Sue’s house for a yummy dinner and some gift exchanges.



Here’s Abby, not feeding Zeke.


Here’s my lovely aunt and cousins!


My kids are no longer the only little ones in the family! Ewan’s got a buddy just a few months older than him now! Here’s them trying to sit together. DSC_5475

Here is Ewan stealing her book, because we got her each one of our kids favorite board books, so he wanted it too. DSC_5485

Josie and Celia needing some snuggle time with Layla. DSC_5496

The delicious spread which has graciously gotten more vegetarian over the years, at least the years we show up 🙂 DSC_5514

My dad and cousin Sue who was hosting us all. DSC_5516

My dad and uncle. DSC_5524

Most everyone at the party, it was tough to get everyone’s cooperation to get in the photo, and clearly I needed it raised up some more. But still we’re (almost) all in there. DSC_5552

After eating and opening, we head back home to sleep before Christmas morning! Here we have the girls opening up their santa gift this year, tickets to Frozen on Ice! Santa should have rescheduled the snow storm for us too! DSC_5588

Photo in front of the tree before Ally went off to a mission trip so we could get us all in there.


After gifts and breakfast, we go for the stockings! Here’s my dad opening his. DSC_5626

My aunt and Ewan. DSC_5633

Phoebe the cat, who has sadly passed a few months ago. She was very excited about getting her photo taken. DSC_5649

My uncle and Ewan. Everybody likes to hold the baby! DSC_5658

And our final heading on our way home shot. The time always goes by too quickly. At this point we will hopefully see them again sooner now than it’s been since Christmas! DSC_5672

We are family: March 2015

Sunday, March 29th, 2015 by Jen

I actually remembered the photo while it was light, and while it was still March! Score!

All of us March 2015

And this was Josie’s suggestion for a pose arrangement. I think she’s been looking over my shoulder too much while I laugh at Awkward Family Photos. Celia seems to be unable to make a normal face in a photo lately, despite talking about it right before starting.

Josie's family photo shoot idea

Disney World!

Thursday, February 5th, 2015 by Jen

Let’s get back to November, when it was warm and there was no snow! Although actually it got rather chilly in Orlando and rained a lot of the day we went to Disney too. On Monday of our visit Jordi’s parents took us all to Disney World! We amazingly got up plenty early and even parked and arrived prior to the park opening. As we pulled up on the monorail from the parking lot we got to see the cast of characters waiting to arrive by train to the opening gate! We got our first (and only) glimpse of Anna and Elsa and some other characters. We arrive to the main gate, get our tickets checked and the show starts right away complete with song, dance, and fireworks!

We walked straight up main street, trying to see if we might be able to meet up with Anna and Elsa in fantasy-land, but didn’t want to drag the kids in a race and ruin the beginning of the day. So by the time we got to the line it was over an hour and a half. Basically the only way to get to see those princesses is to stay at a disney resort so you can get a fastpass many months in advance, none were available by the time we could set our fastpasses. Instead our first stop was the winnie the pooh ride!

Winnie the pooh house

We spent the morning going around from ride to ride, using a few fast passes but mostly things were moving pretty quickly since we weren’t going on the more intense rides (snow white, or space mountain). We got onto dumbo and flew. One of Josie’s favorites was the smaller roller coaster, the barnstormer, I think she went three times with different groups of adults. Ewan was not particularly fond of most things as he didn’t like the dark, or loud noises, or being restrained and he was in a clingy phase as well. We visited the tea party cups too. It was a lovely morning visiting a number of rides, including the driving one, and sending Jordi and his siblings off to space mountain which Josie opted out of riding this time. We also visited Buzz Lightyear and played the space game which Ewan loved, but the girls just hid from. It was very unpredictable which ride would please each child.

Then we headed across the park to frontierland to ride splash mountain. I had to physically drag Celia onto the ride as she was quite nervous, but I kept her safe as she will attest! And Josie hid herself to keep from getting wet too! Then we headed off to lunch and found some great options for us vegetarians at Columbia Harbor house. Then we headed back towards fantasy land and got to see Ariel’s ride before it started to rain on us. We snuck into the Carousel for a quick ride while other grownups went to other scary rides.

Ewan on the carousel

At the carousel

Sometime around now, it started to pour cats and dogs, and unfortunately continued for the rest of the day. I think we had short line waits because of the predicted rain, but it did rain on the upper end of what was predicted sadly. So we dashed between rides and the camera didn’t get out much anymore. We saw small world, and the favorite ride for all three kids was Enchanted Tales with Belle. No actual ride, but a cool storytime with real people and animatronics. Javi got roped into being a guard up front, my girls couldn’t be convinced to play a role but hung back with us in the audience.

Celia and Josie with Belle

Belle was nice enough to look at my camera too, not just their professional photographer! Celia was rather wary of getting near any of these characters and had to be convinced to hold hands. We also found that the line for Cinderella and Rapunzel was only half an hour (still over an hour and a half for Elsa and Anna) so we waited to see them.



Ewan kept running to the front of the line and I had to retrieve him. Waiting in line is not a strong point for a 1 year old! The princesses were very kind and friendly with the girls, but Josie and Celia didn’t really know the Cinderella story too well and definitely didn’t remember Rapunzel. We taught them some more stories when we got home, but next time I’d review the stories before the trip so they get a bit more into the ideas! Such lovely costumes and decorations. Towards the end of the evening, all wet and tired we had a nice dinner at the italian takeout place. Then we wandered back toward tomorrowland and enjoyed the laugh floor from Monsters Inc. That was very clever and enjoyed by the adults. Finally we watched the castle which still looked beautifully magical in the rain before we trudged up mainstreet thoroughly exhausted, with a few small shopping errands to do. We got a treat and they spent the end of their Disney money.

Celia and Josie enjoy some cake pops

The park closed by 7, which turned out to be just right for us as the kids were definitely ready for bed from such an exhausting and exciting day at magical kingdom!

Hanging around the house in Orlando

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 by Jen

While we were in Orlando we kept things pretty low key except for the one day at Disney World. The house and company were plenty to keep us having a good time. We enjoyed the pool, getting in it almost every day. The day before we left when it went below 60 even I was unwilling to get into the pool with the girls, Josie was severely disappointed. We did lots of reading, cuddles, bubbles, swimming, playing and just hanging out talking. Several of Jordi’s paternal relatives live in Orlando and they came to visit us several times.

On Sunday morning, Tere through Celia a belated 4th birthday party. We had in fact found good reason to celebrate most every day as many birthdays were right at the same time! Josie made Celia a tres leches cake, but Celia insisted that she didn’t like tres leches cake, so we left off the tres leches from her cake, hence the missing corner of cake from the picture. Otherwise we also got to visit with Sean, a friend of Jordi’s from high school and his own little girl. She liked watching the big girls and playing with Ewan a bit.

Blowing bubbles with Vani

Reading with Javi

Josie jumping into the pool

Pulling the strings on the pinata

Celia's cake with the square missing

Ewan and Maddie playing in the blinds

The whole Albornoz gang

Javi, after some improvements

I did the makeup on one of these people, take a guess which one 🙂 I think Tio Javi went home with a bit of a red nose that day even after all the scrubbing.