Easter, Parties, and the big TWO!

It's been over a week since Easter but I still wanted to document it for myself here on the blog (even if no one else reads it), along with Ella's birthday celebrations.

After our trip to Florida, we unpacked, did laundry and basically re-packed and left for PA the next morning. Lots of family time on Saturday and on Sunday we made our way to my SIL's house in NJ for Easter and to celebrate our favorite almost 2 year old.
My brother-in-law does bouncies on the side as a business and he had set up an entire bouncy just for Ella (like last year's party). She looooooved it! Her cousins got in there with her and jumped and played which was a blast. 
We had a delicious lunch and then did an Easter egg hunt, which took Ella a little bit to figure out. 
Then we had birthday cake, and must have sang happy birthday about 7 times in a row, so Ella was well-versed in it by the time we were done haha. She enjoyed that cake! We cleaned up, and hit the road home, listening to someone sing "happy birthday" to herself on the ride home.
This past weekend on Saturday we had a birthday party at MyGym for Ella and all of her friends came! It was so cute to see her playing with everyone and just being a big explorer. 
Obviously pizza and cake was the biggest highlight of the day!
We asked for no presents because honestly she doesn't need it (and her family has already spoiled her plenty), but we did come home with some books--always a welcome gift--and a couple of clothes!
Can't believe my girl is 2 years old today. How far we've come from 2 years ago when I was holding my little baby girl for the very first time.
Happy birthday, my little love!

Our last days in St. Augustine

Tuesday morning we went to Marine Land to see the dolphins, sharks, sea turtles and fish. The views from there were beautiful too, so while we waited for our tour to begin, we got some cute shots up on the cliff.  
My dolphin-loving heart was happy to get to see the dolphins playing in the tanks, and Ella was pretty into them too. The tour itself kept Ella's attention for the most part, but I think goldfish snacks are always a highlight for her haha
We stopped at a store, grabbed lunch and then made our way back to the hotel for Ella's nap. Afterwards, we got our pool time in, and ran into our friends again. Ella loved hanging with their daughter Lena, drinking ice out of a cup like a big girl, and eating lemons (because she's a weirdo :). 
We headed back to get changed and to meet up with Rachel, her husband, and their twins who are 5 days older than Ella. They picked a delicious spot, MangoMangos, that was totally kid friendly, and the adults managed to chat a little too haha.
We had to get some shots of these cuties together and luckily managed a few successful ones!
Happy birthday to the twins today!!!! 
Wednesday morning we decided to go into Old St. Augustine again and take the trolley around. We went past the Fountain of Youth, and then decided to do a tour at the old jail. 
This is my new favorite pic of my sweet girl
Our tour guide was fully into character, and the tour was good, but probably a little more than Ella could handle. We tried to get the trolley back to where our car was, but didn't realize the trolley only goes in one direction and the rest of the ride was an hour! Luckily one of the trolley guides helped us out, and got us a shuttle ride back to our car. They were so so friendly (and took pity on our stupidity haha). We ate lunch at Harry's which was SO delicious! I definitely recommend it if you're in the area.
During Ella's nap, I went down and read outside and it was so peaceful and relaxing. Nice to get some solo mom time in (thanks MG!) 
After nap time we hit up the pool for the last day and ended up making friends with another couple with two kids. The mom and I went to neighboring highschools, and were a year apart. They live in Charlotte, NC now, but what a small world. We had adult beverages poolside, the kids played, and we all chatted. Love making friends like that!
We had dinner at Salt Life that night and the food was good. Ella discovered that she likes lettuce (and a lot of it haha), and then we made our way back to the hotel, played on the grounds a little bit, and then got littles down for bed.
Thursday we left the hotel around 9am, drove the hour to the airport, and our flight was supposed to be at 2. During lunch we got a text saying our flight was delayed, and it ended up being delayed 2.5 hours. We got upgraded to first class which was awesome (Ella's second first class flight in her under 2 years of life!), but we didn't get on the plane until 4:20 with a toddler who hadn't napped all day. Luckily she was good for most of the flight minus a 5-10 min span where she lost it. Apparently a mid 50's woman behind us was holding her ears like a child (MG saw this, I didn't) which just annoys me. No one likes a crying kid on a plane--I certainly didn't enjoy it--but have a little compassion.
We made it home that night by 7pm, and got Ella a bath and into jammies ASAP since she hadn't slept the entire day. 
We did a quick turn around of laundry and re-packing so we could head up to PA for Easter weekend the next morning!

{WHW}: St. Augustine #1

Hey all--I'm back from a long absence on the blog because we were traveling for my Spring Break. 
We headed to St. Augustine on Sunday morning at 5:45 am (not the most ideal with a toddler, but she was excited for the change in our routine and the adventure). 
We made it there without incident and had an hour drive from Jacksonville, where Ella took a much needed nap. 
We were staying at the Embassy Suites in St. Augustine which was recently updated, right on the beach, and beautiful. It was ideal to have a separate bedroom and living area so we had somewhere to hang once Ella went to bed at night.

Unfortunately it took about 3 hours for our room to be ready, so we had lunch and drove around killing time. Eventually we got into the room, changed,  and made our way down to the pool area and the grounds to check it out and then the complementary hotel happy hour.
Ready to enjoy the sunshine!
They have a great "grassy" area that has huge games of Jenga , Connect Four, corn hole, badminton and other games
We ended up running into an old friend of MG's, his wife and three kids. The youngest was 5 and adored Ella, and we ended up staying and hanging out until Ella's bedtime.

The next morning we decided to go to Gatorland and it was actually much cooler than I thought it would be. They had gators, monkeys, a bird sanctuary, vultures, etc. Ella was engaged the whole time and learned the word "gator" and "dinosaur". It was crazy how LOUD the alligators are when they are talking to one another. Scary loud!
After that we drove into Old St. Augustine to explore and grab lunch. There are so many cool little streets to wander down, shop at and get lost in. We did that for a while and then grabbed lunch and ate outside because the weather was beautiful.
Afterwards we headed back to the hotel so Ella could nap, and then hit up the pool for a few hours and saw our friends from the night before again. Ella was adorable in her little sunhat and swimsuit (thanks Lynn for the suits and cover-up!!)
We decided to drive back into Old St. Augustine that night for dinner and found a quiet place to eat outside, with a view of the fort. Unfortunately it took over 45 minutes to get our food which meant Ella was losing it by the end, so we made a quick exit to get littles back home and into bed as she had woken up early that day, took a crummy nap and was just ready to go to bed. Mom and Dad enjoyed wine that night while unwinding from the day and putting an overtired toddler to bed.

So I don't photo overload you, I'll recap the rest tomorrow!
In the meantime, share with us what's hap-"pinning" with you: