What's Up Wednesday

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I'm linking up with Shay and Shaefer the last Wednesday of the month again for What's Up Wednesday!
What we're eating this week: 
It's finally time for comfort food! We're eating my favorite chicken pot pie, easy chicken enchilada soup, and I'm trying a few new recipes recommended by friends. (Fun fact: when I was in elementary school, frozen mini chicken pot pies were my favorite breakfast food with frozen burritos coming in a close second. I can barely stomach either of those now.)
What I'm reminiscing about:
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Our beach trip to Seagrove Beach, Florida last week! We had such a fun and relaxing (as possible with two little kids) time! Full beach post ---------> here.
What I'm loving:
The Dollar Tree and the Dollar Spot at Target! On our way home from the beach, we stopped at our old  Dollar Tree in Homewood, AL and got some much needed cheap entertainment for the rest of the ride home and it had the best selection I've ever seen at a dollar store.
These CAT tractors were definitely a hit! (Except we can't call them tractors in front of Jack - it is an excavator, a digger, a bulldozer, and a dump truck - he corrects us every time :) He hasn't stopped playing with them.
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I also bought these cute Nemo figurines to save for another desperate time - I'm beating myself up for not stocking up on all of the Disney figurines they had. They had the Frozen characters, the Mickey Mouse characters, and the Cars characters. I went to our Dollar Tree in Davenport as soon as we got home to buy some but they didn't have any of them at our location :(
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I think the biggest hit of all were the spray bottles. Jack and David have spent HOURS this week outside "spraying" the bugs, "cleaning" the rocks, and "watering" the plants.
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 David's outfit kills me :)
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I LOVE the Dollar Spot at Target! My favorite finds were these pumpkins and this "BOO" banner.
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I have been eyeing these Pottery Barn Kids' holiday plates but I just can't justify buying them when Target had a cute and much cheaper alternative. My mom gave us the plate on the top left a couple of years ago but I bought the other three this season. Jack and David love eating off of their "spooky plates" :)
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What we've been up to:
Preschool, park outings, story time at the library, and trying to fit in as many zoo trips as we can before the weather gets too cold!
I've mentioned this before, but turtles are Jack's very favorite. Turtles are the first thing he thanks God for in his prayers, and when we go to the library, he knows right where the turtle section is. I love my quirky turtle loving three-year-old!
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There is a brand new baby monkey at our zoo right now! I love it!
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What I'm dreading:
I can't think of anything I'm dreading off the top of my head and I'm thinking that's a good thing.
What I'm working on:
We've been working on building our food storage. This month, we bought some 7-gallon water storage jugs and updated our 72 hour kits with food that our kids will actually eat. We based ours kits loosely off of these milk jug 72 hour kits.
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What I'm excited about:
The entire month of October! October may be my very favorite month of the year and having kids makes it even better. We put out our Halloween decorations this week and Jack has been asking every single day if it's Halloween yet :) I am no interior designer, but Halloween decorations make me happy! (And they are my weakness! I always end up buying more Halloween decoration every year.)
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Frankenstein is Jack and David's favorite :)
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What I'm watching/reading:
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I seriously don't know why we were so slow jumping on the Parks and Rec bandwagon but WE LOVE IT! Spencer rarely laughs to tears but it happens about every other episode when we watch Parks and Rec :)
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I read A Prayer for Owen Meany for book club and I really liked it! It is a story about a boy and his friend Owen Meany growing up together in a small town during the 1950s and 1960s. Owen believes he is an instrument in God's hands and the book is all about the boys' friendship and how Owen's life was all a part of God's plan. The movie, Simon Birch, was based loosely off of this novel, and now I want to watch it again!
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This was my "guilty pleasure" book at the beach and I'm a little embarrassed to admit how much I liked it :)
Confession: I am not a fan of the Bachelor, but when I lived in Alabama, some friends from church got together every single week to watch the Bachelor or the Bachelorette. We might as well have announced over the pulpit every Sunday that Monday night was Bachelor Night ;) I went to girl's night just about every week and obviously got sucked into the Bachelor too! The only two seasons I've seen from start to finish are Emily's season (when Sean finished third) and Sean's season. Sometime during those seasons I found Sean's sister Shay's blog (that to this day it is one of my very favorite blogs) and I got totally sucked into their family and their lives! I started following Shay's blog, a few of her friend's blogs, her Instagram account, Sean and Catherine's Instagram account, and now I'm even linking up on her blog for "What's Up Wednesday" (and I should really stop typing now because I am starting to sound very pathetic and very creepy :) So thank goodness I don't like the Bachelor because there is a big possibility that every season I would get sucked into their family's blogs and Instagram accounts and that's just too big of a commitment for me ;)
So long story short, I really liked the book and I am surprised (but not really considering I have invested a lot of time cyber stalking this family;) that I would actually recommend it!
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I read this book at the beach also because I had read and loved the same author's book, What Alice Forgot. This book was a good, quick read, but I didn't like it as much as What Alice Forgot and I probably wouldn't recommend it because there is too much adult material. 
What I've been listening to:
Voxer! Voxer is a voice messaging app that I love because I am able to have so many more "phone conversations" with friends. It's a lot more convenient than phone conversations though because you can just respond or listen when you have time. I usually catch up on conversations when I clean or drive in the car or listen to group conversations when I go running. You should get the app so we can talk :)
What I'm wearing: 
After reading Shay's blog on Friday, I convinced myself that I needed this shirt from Target! I plan on wearing it all month long!
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What I'm doing this weekend:
Hanging out at home and watching General Conference. Who wants to bring me homemade cinnamon rolls?!
What I'm looking forward to next month:
All of the Fall and Halloween things!!!!
What's up with you?!
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Beach Trip


Back in May when Spencer officially graduated with his MBA/MSHA, we decided to celebrate with a beach trip. We found a killer deal for a week in September at our favorite beach (Seaside/Seagrove Beach) that our friends introduced us to when we lived in Alabama. The sand is white and the water is clear and blue and warm and gorgeous. We also really love the beach town - Seaside was were the Truman Show was filmed and I could ride my bike coveting/looking at all of the perfectly cute beach houses all day :) We got back from the beach this last Sunday and we had a blast! We loved visiting off-season because the crowds were gone, the weather was cooler (but still warm!), and it was a lot cheaper. It also miraculously didn't rain for the entire week! The weather was perfect.

We started the trip off with a miserable 18 hour drive with a pit stop in Birmingham. In Birmingham, we drove by our old apartment, we ate one of our favorite fast food places (Backyard Burger), we played at our favorite castle park, and we stalked up on Bluebell Ice Cream since it is only available in Texas and Alabama right now. They didn't have our very favorite (Butter Crunch) but we took what we could get!
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We did the same exact thing every day at the beach with very few variations - we woke up before the crack of dawn, we watched the sunrise at the beach, we rode our bikes to the park in the morning, we played at the beach all day, we finished off our dinner with Bluebell Ice Cream cones, we put the boys down at 7, we watched a couple episodes of Parks and Rec, and we hit the sack by 8:30. It was amazing :)

The very first hour of the very first day on the beach, Spencer miraculously caught a fish with a toy net (and then Jack and David expected him to catch fish on demand for the rest of the trip... he never caught another one :) Jack was so happy to have the fish in a bucket, but then David "re-caught" the fish and set it free. (It was devastating and traumatic for Jack and probably for the fish too ;)

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For a few days, the purple flag was up which meant "marine pest present". We weren't sure which pest they were talking about because we saw sea slugs, crabs, sting rays, shark (a lot of schools of six-inch sharks and two 3 foot shark (eek! We saw the bigger ones early one morning while we were walking on the beach).
Sea slugs

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Sting Ray
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Crabs (David was a little too daring!)
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"Crabbing" at night
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Spencer also caught a really big crab and I couldn't get the boys to look up and smile for the life of me! haha
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I think the biggest marine pests were Jack and David though :) Jack loved EVERYTHING about the beach - digging in the sand, swimming in the waves, looking for seashells, chasing seagulls, crabbing... everything. David's favorite things were swimming in the swimming pool, eating food (ha!), chasing the seagulls, and touching all of the marine pests :)

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David is a HUGE daddy's boy. If I ever held David or helped David, David would get mad and cry for Spencer. I really didn't complain about that ;)
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Chasing seagulls while holding a toddler is a lot of work :)
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The curls grew back, thank goodness!
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Jack was my little seashell buddy. We would go out as the sun was rising and look for seashells and crabs :)

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Wednesday was the only day we ventured out of our beach routine. We drove to Destin Harbor and went to a crab leg and sushi buffet. It was so good!

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Jack was DISGUSTED that we were eating crab legs! haha
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We got donuts one morning at one of our very favorite donut shops ever but I have to say, after trying Bosa donuts in Arizona, these just weren't as good as I remembered. #darnbosaruinedallotherdonutsforme
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We literally had ice cream every. single. day. When the amazing Bluebell ice cream cones ran out, we went out to get some different ice cream!
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Jack and David loved hanging out at our condo because of the balcony and because of Disney Jr. and Nick Jr. :)
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I'm still not sure how I feel about my selfie stick yet... it's pretty awkward ;)
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And now for the sunset portion of this blog post ;)

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God is pretty awesome :)
Our drive back to Iowa was absolute hell but a price worth paying for a great week at the beach! I hope we can go back some day!
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