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photo credit Yan Palmer

As I start my maternity leave, I am trying to soak up every moment with my first daughter before the baby comes.  We are tangled on the couch reading Curious George after nap, running through every splash pad in Boston, exploring the bakeries (my sweet tooth has come alive), and meandering down the cobblestone streets not thinking about anything except for the rocks to be picked up and plopped in Sammy’s little tin pail, which we carry everywhere.

It’s so hard to imagine how life is going to change in the next month…right now though, I just want to be here with her, just her and an occasional belly bump kick.

So if you have a favorite a place for us to explore or a gem of a place to eat at let us know… just don’t make me waddle too far :)

Oh, and don’t worry I will be back in October photographing beautiful families, but for now stay tuned for our adventures and Baby #2’s arrival.

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I looked up from picking my first handful of strawberries and glanced over at Sammy… her face was already completely stained with red juice, her chin dripped onto her overalls, and the over flow of juice in her hands was running down towards her elbows.  She was crouched down next to a bush pounding every strawberry she saw- red ones, not yet ripe white ones, dirty ones that fell of the bush… stems and all!

Sammy-Strawberry-Picking-Ipswich-MA-2Sammy-Strawberry-Picking-Ipswich-MA-5Sammy-Strawberry-Picking-Ipswich-MA-7Sammy-Strawberry-Picking-Ipswich-MA-8Sammy-Strawberry-Picking-Ipswich-MA-3Sammy-Strawberry-Picking-Ipswich-MA-4We had so much fun at Marini Farms Strawberry Festival (just up on the North Shore of Boston) and will definitely be going back. We ate strawberries all afternoon till our bellies hurt. I think we washed Sammy down at least 5 times from almost head to toe.

And Sammy loved their huge bouncing pillow- its ginormous and I have never seen anything like it, blow up castles, old fashioned duck racing, gigantic bubbles…we didn’t even get to the face painting, slides, oh and they had animals too… crazy goats that scaled the fences trying to eat everything in site.  I have heard that their strawberry deserts are a definite must… but we were just stuffed.Sammy-Strawberry-Picking-Ipswich-MA-6

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As we approached the docks, Sammy used only two words, “boat” and “me (said with a pound of her chest).” As the captain stepped off the boat to give us a few instructions, Sammy began to pull my hand as hard as she could towards the ramp.

The captain told us that he couldn’t guarantee we would see anything on our whale watching tour, but that would be a rare scenario.  He set the expectations low, so I figured the best we would see would be a whale way way way off in the distance.  I don’t know if that was a strategy of his or if we just hit the jack pot!
Whale-Watching-17Whale-Watching-5Whale-Watching-8We watched pods of dolphins surround the boat! They were jumping all over the place!  We also saw seals lounging on rocks and a few followed us in the water; leaping in and out as we cruised along!  Sammy called them sea puppies :)  And to top it all off we saw multiple humpback whales breach and one even went under the boat…that’s how close we were!!!  I was blown away by how much we saw.  We were surrounded by some type of  sea creature almost the entire trip. We loved every moment!Whale-Watching-14Whale-Watching-11That’s a sea puppy (seal).Whale-Watching-12Whale-Watching-6Whale-Watching-13Whale-Watching-9Whale-Watching-16And that’s a humpback whale’s tail…Whale-Watching-10Whale-Watching-4Whale-Watching-18Whale-Watching-3

I would definitely go again in a heart beat…I just might wait till after I am pregnant.  A baby bump really doesn’t help with the whole balance/sea legs aspect.

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You are going to smile..it’s unavoidable when eyes, cheeks, and 7 little teeth look you in the eye and smile the biggest grin they know how.  Boston-Cape-Cod-Family-Photographer-1-Year-7Boston-Cape-Cod-Family-Photographer-1-Year-3Boston-Cape-Cod-Family-Photographer-1-Year-8Boston-Cape-Cod-Family-Photographer-1-Year-1Boston-Cape-Cod-Family-Photographer-1-Year-9Boston-Cape-Cod-Family-Photographer-1-Year-4Boston-Cape-Cod-Family-Photographer-1-Year-5Boston-Cape-Cod-Family-Photographer-1-Year-2Boston-Cape-Cod-Family-Photographer-1-Year-6

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We heard that we had to drive up the Coastal Highway towards Malibu on our trip to LA. Now, I have never been a lover of Sunday drives or scenic routes that take twice/three times as long…and Sammy is a city girl that still dislikes any amount of  car seat time beyond 15 minutes.

So with not much expectation (at least on my part), we started off our drive at Sammy’s nap time and began weaving our way up the Coast…and I am so glad we did because it just may have been my favorite part of our entire trip.  Just take a look at the view…
malibu-vacationWe stopped at Malibu State Park where we hiked our way down to the waters edge.  At the base of the cliffs, surfers were riding the waves and spilling off their boards as they approached the underwater rocks.  Sammy, of course, ran straight for the water only to find it was just as cold as Boston!

toddler-family-malibu-vacation-14malibu-vacation-3-toddler-familytoddler-family-malibu-vacation-15She is such a little explorer, just like her daddy.  And I think it is just the cutest thing ever when she examines things up so close to her nose that she goes cross-eyed.malibu-toddler-family-vacation-8malibu-toddler-family--vacation-2toddler-family-malibu-vacation-4The two of them together make my heart melt, especially when she snuggles into his arms.  It had been a long day of travel and after an hour of exploring on the beach, she was tuckered out.malibu-toddler-family-vacationmalibu-toddler-family-vacation-12malibu-vacation-10Malibu, we will be back…because you were breathtaking!  So glad we hopped into the car and took the chance.

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