Friday, April 3, 2020

February 2019

Surprise! Christopher accepted the new position and the Traveling Shenks got ready for an exciting adventure in moving to Vermont!
(Which I recognize you already know because it was a year ago, but just go with me on this one.)


Sharing his moving buddies with his sister. Must be love.
Our little Minnie girl enjoys some reading time in her room while she can.


Once the decision was made, we had to start getting the house ready to be listed for sale. As I've mentioned before, we bought quite the fixer-upper and spent four years slowly turning it into a house we loved. I will do a post on the before-and-after of our home soon, but February was mostly prepping for the big upcoming move.

We were lucky enough to enjoy a little time with our friends, Bronze & Symoni, and their daughter, Mirai, who used to be our neighbors in Utah. They had a long layover at the Orlando airport and I happily picked them up for a few hours of lunch and fun at a park close to the airport. It wasn't long enough, but it was great to catch up.

These two have been friends since birth and I loved seeing them together again. :)
Throwing the football around on a gorgeous afternoon.
Mr. Bronze gets some bubbles going for Ellie to chase.
Always have a great time with this girl. Miss you, my friend!


Knowing we would soon be leaving the state and our village of friends and family, we tried to spend as much time with our people as we could. 

Leo cuddles up with one of his favorite people (and mine), Reese
Unka Dave works on his reading skills with Ellie.
Kim surprised me with a night out at Hamilton which was as good as the hype,
 and an amazing gift from an even better friend. 💕
Jess and I got our paint on (and our wine, don't judge). More fun than my mediocre paint skills would suggest.


At the end of the month comes one of my favorite days of the year... the celebration of James! 2019 marked a decade of this beautiful boy (see this post) and we celebrated with go-karts and a Shenk family dinner. 

Just look at this adorable ten-year-old face! 
Go-karting with Dad is always at the top of his list. 
Super excited to get the thing he wanted most--Nintendo Switch. Thanks, GrandPoppa!
One very proud Momma and her birthday boy.
Ellie got dressed up in honor of her bubby's birthday.
I will celebrate these two forever. 
James went with pizza for his birthday dinner and the Shenk clan obliged.
Blowing out the candles on his birthday cake ice cream with peanut butter (don't ask, he's 10).

Friday, March 27, 2020

January 2019

January in Florida is a pretty nice time to be outside so we took advantage and enjoyed the beauty of our own backyard, time at Disney (one of its least busy months), and a race weekend in Daytona. But the biggest happening of that month was a potential job opportunity in Burlington, Vermont...


Happy girl in her swing.
Ellie's awesome big brother takes her for a spin in her wagon. 
Love that golden hour glow. 😍


James' Christmas gift from us was some go-kart time at K1 Speed so he and Chris enjoyed a few hours tearing up the track. 

Chris didn't tell him where they were going until they parked outside. Love that happy face! 
James loves all things mechanical and/or motorized, so naturally he thought this was AMAZING.
Ellie has her own form of fun transportation--elephant rocker--
and hair finally long enough for a tiny fountain ponytail on top of her head.
Having decided to grow out his hair, James now has enough for two tiny fountain pigtails.
James asked if he could read to Ellie and be the one to put her to bed. Melt my heart.
James loves to get creative with her toys while she's napping.
She's always so surprised to find what's waiting for her. 
Spent a fun day at Epcot with my dear friend, Stacy. 
Family day at Disney!




As his milestone 10th birthday was just around the corner, James was deemed old enough to spend the whole weekend with the race-fan Shenks at the 24 Hours of Daytona. He had waited a long time to be able to go for more than just a few daytime hours and he was thrilled! I'm pretty sure the experience did not disappoint. He's still talking about it...


Making a sign for his favorite driver, Jordan Taylor.
Catching a glimpse of Jordan Taylor's teammate for the race, F1 champion driver Fernando Alonso.
Shenk family on the track!
James gets the chance to sign his name at the Start/Finish line. 
I happily stayed home with this little fashionista.
Being that adorable is clearly exhausting and yet she remains so stinking cute even while she sleeps.


After a few years in his role at Maestro, Chris was feeling the time was right to move on and make a change. In the spirit of adventure, and because we are The Traveling Shenks, we decided to open the job search up nationwide. After a series of successful phone interviews, a company in Burlington, Vermont requested an in-person interview for him, so we went up together to determine whether it was a move we would want to make if the opportunity was presented to us. The kids enjoyed a fun-filled weekend with Mimi & Papa Shenk. Our outdoor activities were decidedly different...

Based on the last-minute flight options, we flew into Manchester, NH and drove 3 hours northeast to Burlington. 
Taking in the view of the very frozen water of Lake Champlain.
Back in Florida, James enjoys the sunset view on the water from a kayak.
Chris and I actually walked on water... well, technically it was ice at that point, but we are standing on Lake Champlain.
James and Ellie walking towards decidedly less solid water. Unlikely they will walk on it.

Stay tuned for February's post to see if we move to Burlington... 😆

Monday, March 16, 2020

New Year's Trip 2019

The day after Christmas 2018, the Traveling Shenks hit the road for a trip out to Dallas to celebrate the New Year with our dear friends, the Carignans. We always love an excuse to visit with them!

Shenk Family in the car, road trip ready. Ellie's hand is in James so she's represented as well. 


After waiting somewhat patiently, I was finally able to give Kerri the quilt I had spent years trying to finish. I quilted the entire thing by hand, so it took quite a bit longer. Plus, I have kids. Thankfully, the woman who has 4 daughters and waaaaaaaaay less free time than me understands and seemed very happy with it. 

Kerri's quilt (front)
Kerri's quilt (back)
See? She looks happy!


Loving those four smaller Carignan girls the way I do, I decided to try my hand at making dresses for them again. Last time, there were only three of them, and I went with the same dress fabric, but different colored trim. This time, I was able to find the same fabric print in four different colors! I was really thrilled with how they came out and the girls seemed excited as well. 

Love these beautiful girls! 
Evie was so happy to have her "baby Ellie" come to play and loved to hug her.
Sweet James wanted in on those Evie hugs, too. 
James shows off his mad chef skills cooking up some eggs for the gang.
Ellie gets up close and personal with Aunt Kerri.
In the midst of a major laundry room DIY project, Uncle Chris
happily takes a time out to brush Evie's hair. 
It wouldn't be a party without a conga line!
All six kids watching a movie together... makes my heart so happy! (Mads has already claimed the new quilt.)
This adorable little stinker is trying to take a spin in a car made for dolls. 😍


New Year's Eve included sparklers outside with friends next door and a fun (early) countdown for the kids thanks to Netflix. 

Evie discovers the love of fire sticks that we all share. Welcome to the club, kiddo!
Little Miss Independent Ellie wanted to hold her own sparkler, thank you very much.
Ringing in 2019 with these two is pretty freaking awesome. 
This guy really lights my fire. 
I just adore these two knuckleheads, even if they refuse to simply smile for pictures.
This was their NYE countdown jump. So fun!
Ellie enjoying some time with Uncle Chris. She's a big fan.
Chris times two working on the laundry room remodel. Who needs HGTV with these two outside?
Ellie and Evie all wrapped up in animal towels after the world's cutest bath together. 💕
We were lucky enough to get an evening out sans kids and it was SO FUN! Looks like we clean up alright.


On the drive home, we overnighted in Mobile, Alabama and made time to visit the USS Alabama. It was such a neat experience getting to explore inside the ship and learn so much about how life works on a battleship such as that. 

Family selfie outside the USS Alabama.
Chris and James explore the deck.
Like father like son, his eyes lit up when he saw that machine shop.
Taking turns steering. Those big wheels are no joke.
Humor can be found in the unlikeliest of places.
Freed from the baby carrier at last, she was eager to explore on her own.
Momma and Ellie enjoying the sunshine. 💗