Beach Vacation | Stone Harbor by T.J. Mousetis

brookecourtney_vacation_stoneharbor_blogger-15.jpg

You guys, I did it. I'm only four months "late" with this post, but here it is. This past September, we spent the first week of the month in Stone Harbor, NJ, enjoying our last "beach week" as family of three. We stayed with my parents who'd rented a house (thanks Mom & Dad!) for the week, within walking distance of the little town and ocean.

Once we'd settled into our room the first day, I said to T.J. "Let's just walk down to the beach so she can see the ocean, so she knows where we are." To which he laughed and replied "Yea okay, and NOT get in... right? She's gonna run straight for it." Annnnnnnd she did. Clothes and all. 😂

T.J. and I had decided before we even left for our trip that we were really going to make an effort to stay off of our phones during our vacation, so for me that looked like taking my "real" camera with me most places. It really worked for us, too! We got to the end of the week and I'd taken mayyyybe 5 photos on my phone and I don't even know if T.J. had taken any!

Now I guess we did have to wait like four months to really see the photos, ha ha, but oh well! It was worth it.

Note the last image in the set below where June is clearly negotiating with T.J. for "one more time" of running into the ocean with her clothes on.

Watching your kid enjoy the beach and all that comes with it is so much fun, minus sand in ALL the places of course. It was our first vacation where June really played in the water, collected shells, "helped" T.J. dig holes and chased the seagulls. I am always grateful for how active and involved T.J. is with June, but I was especially grateful for it at the beach. Splashing around in the ocean at 20 weeks pregnant just didn't sound like the most fun thing to me.

We went to the boardwalk one evening to get molasses paddles from Douglass Candies and crab fries from Chickies & Petes. June spent a lot of the night twirling around in her beloved pink dress, and asking every three minutes if she could have more "sprinkles"... aka, sucking the sprinkles off a $4 chocolate covered pretzel. 

Most of our mornings started off slow with breakfast at the house or walks downtown to get coffees and doughnuts and play on the playgrounds. We spent one day at the local Cape May Zoo, which I just love. It's free to the public, although you can give a donation to the cute old man who hands out the maps when you drive into the park. I feel like I barely got any photos of Junie at the zoo because she literally just sprinted from one place to the next until we got to the very end. I was having a hard time keeping up, let alone getting out in front of her to take a photo. 😂

After the zoo, we came back to the house so June could nap, and then went to the beach for the afternoon once she woke up. I think she and T.J. ran to and from the waves about a thousand times, while I sat in my chair and ate cheese and veggie straws. #livingthatmomlife

I love how windy it looks in the photos below and that June's hair looks so light in color and salty. It's definitely gotten darker the last few months and seeing these images from September makes that super obvious. Also, SUNSHINE. Just look at the warm sunshine in these photos! There is HOPE!

Our last day on the beach was a little bit colder than earlier in the week, but that didn't stop June from wanting to run full speed towards the water and then be chased back onto the beach by myself, T.J. or my parents. The joy on her face, mixed with the blue sky and puffy clouds, just makes my photo-loving-heart so happy. 

So, there you have it. A little glimpse into our beach vacation from this past September. Editing these photos realllllly makes me want to travel somewhere, or start planning this year's vacation! Crazy to think that we'll also have a 6-9 month old in tow (depending on when we go to the beach) for our vacation this year.

What are you favorite, family friendly, beach towns? I've grown up going to Stone Harbor, which is why we love it, but I'd be interested in trying somewhere new, too! Let me know in the comments!

Tiny Town for Pearl's 2nd Birthday! by T.J. Mousetis

brookecourtney_tinytown_lancasterpa_blogger-7.jpg

June and I got to tag along to Tiny Town for my niece Pearl's 2nd Birthday last week, and although I'd seen pictures of Tiny Town online, we'd never been! So, both June and I were excited to go when Aunt KiKi invited us!

As you can tell, it's exactly what it sounds like! A tiny town for kids to play in, with a doctor's office, mechanic's garage, grocery store, diner, hair dressed, library and more! June just kept walking around pointing at things and saying "It's so little!"

Other than both Pearl and June having a few meltdowns due to having to share certain rooms with other kids 😂, it was a super fun time and they both loved it! We will definitely go back again. 

Happy 2nd Birthday Pearl! We love you!

Camels & Llamas by T.J. Mousetis

brookecourtney_eastlandalpaca-12.jpg

A few weeks ago, on a very cold Saturday morning, we went to a local Alpaca farm for one of their open house days. My sister-in-law Kelsey told us about it, so we met up with them to let the girls, Pearl and June, run around and see the animals.

The entire time we were there June called them "camels" and Pearl called them "Llamas", no matter how hard we all tried to correct them. 😂

One of my favorite moments was when T.J. was trying to keep one of the alpacas in one place so Kelsey could take a selfie with it. It totally didn't work, but was a solid team effort and gave us all a good laugh anyway.

We couldn't believe how tame the alpacas were, and how little they seemed to care that hundreds of people were walking around in their pastures with them. They did pay a little more attention to you when you tried to give them some of their pellet food, but other than that, they literally just walked around and ignored you. (Which made all of us look like a bunch of idiots trying to heard them into one place and take photos with them!)

In typical June fashion, she didn't feel comfortable getting down and walking around until we'd been there about 30 minutes... but by that time we were all freezing and ready to go! T.J. did get to snap a few photos of June and I though, which was nice. 😊

Also, I'd like to point out that I'm sure not I've ever seen Kelsey so happy as she is in the second to last photo below, where she's taking the alpaca for a walk. 😂 Pretty sure her dreams were coming true right then and there.

Visit Eastland Alpaca yourself! Follow them on Facebook

Junie the Unicorn by T.J. Mousetis

brookecourtney_halloween2017-7.jpg

There's something ironic and hysterical about having to bribe your 2.5 year old with candy to put on her Halloween costume... so she can go out and collect even more candy from strangers. 😂 June dressed up as a Unicorn this year (again, thanks to Target), and we got the entire costume on sans wings with little to no tears. Ha ha ha! We weren't kidding when we said we bought it a month in advance so she could warm up to the idea.

June was equally excited about her $2 pumpkin bucket, which she's still carrying around the house to collect all sorts of trinkets, toys, and candy wrappers.

It was a year ago to the day that I posed about June being a Kangaroo for Halloween 2016. Look how little she is in those photos!!! Both her and Clara, her neighborhood BFF, are so small!

They were so excited to see each other this year it was precious. June kept saying "What you wearing?" And Clara would reply "I Poppy." Over, and over, and over... 

My brother Taylor, and his family, joined us for Trick-or-Treating this year in Manheim, since our street is easy to walk around and everyone participates. Pearl fell asleep in the car on the way to our house and was OUT. Like, they couldn't even get her to stand up she was sleeping so hard. 😂 Eventually she woke up and got the hang of things. 

The kids went to about 10 houses or so, and then we were done. It was getting dark so quickly, and quite cold. But June was pummmped up about her candy and all the other kid's costumes. She's still talking about the "scary ones"... 

As always, we're already looking forward to next year--- especailyl cause we'll have a new little lady to dress up in a costume, too!

Family Sessions / Limited Spots Available! by T.J. Mousetis

brookecourtney_familyphotos-3.jpg

I am super excited to tell you guys that I am offering a limited amount of family photo sessions over the next few weeks! Around this time of year, I get so many requests to photograph friends and family for their Christmas cards, that I figured why not make it official and offer it to a few of you as well!?!

Plus: I could have alternately titled this blog post "Sponsor Baby #2's Nursery"... because I have hit the nesting phase hard and am feeling like "I NEED TO PAINT AND RE-DO ALL THE THINGS!" So a little extra cash leading up to the holidays and Baby #2's arrival will be put to great use. I mean, have you seen how cute this mobile is?!?! I need it in my life. 

HERE'S THE DEAL: $300 / 30 Minute Family Session

1. Send me an email -- brookecourtney[at]me.com -- to let me know you'd like one of the session spots, and what you'd like to use it for: family photos with little ones, maternity photos, just you and your Boo and your dogs. Just you... alone.... forever.... I mean, whatever you want! 

2. We will find a date/time that works for both of us. If the weather is beautiful that day, we'll shoot outdoors at one of my favorite locations, of which I have like 15. 😂 If it's a gloomier day, we'll shoot in the all white photo studio at SUPPLY! (Which looks like this!)

3. After photos, you will receive an online gallery of images that are totally yours to use how you see fit. Download them, print them, share them, Instagram them, make Christmas cards, turn them into giant wall murals to embarrass your kids. #youdoyou 

There you have it! Send me an email and we'll get things moving! 🙂 I'll provide you with a list of locations I love, what to wear, and a little advice on how to not be a weirdo in photos. I'm kiddddding, you're all amazing. Hope to hear from you!