Disclosure: This site contains sponsored posts, affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale) and is part of the Amazon affiliate program, but all opinions are strictly my own.

SeaWorld Giveaway for the San Antonio!

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

You are here to enter to win the SeaWorld giveaway for 4 tickets to SeaWorld and Aquatica in San Antonio?  Well then you came to the right place!  I’m so excited to offer my readers a chance to win this really dandy prize.  Why?  Because it’s one of our most favorite places in San Antonio.  We were definitely frequent fliers at this amazing theme park when we lived there.  So much fun and so much sea life to educate and entertain every age.  Plus our visit there in March helped us to not feel guilty about taking Banjo out of school for the trip.  I mean he learned about dolphins, killer whales, and more.  Things that he could definitely not learn in a classroom.  So it’s okay to occasionally miss school for such things.  Just occasionally.  If you would like to read more about our time at this great park then you won’t want to miss my SeaWorld review.  Here’s just a peek at what you will miss out on if you don’t check it out:

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That’s our Banjo when he was just a wee little one.  We didn’t realize that we were sitting in the splash zone.  Shamu got Banjo and us.  He didn’t seem to mind.  It was hot out.  It was San Antonio.  It’s always hot in San Antonio.  *wink*

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 Now for the SeaWorld GIVEAWAY…

Enter to win the SeaWorld giveaway for those tickets to the San Antonio park via the Rafflecopter below. Don’t live in San Antonio?  Enter to win because you can just plan a trip!  Have friends or family in San Antonio or in the great state of Texas?  Be sure to tell them all about this very dandy giveaway!

*This giveaway is open to US entries only.
*The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the evening of Monday, May 11th and will be emailed.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.
*Good luck to all!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I received free tickets for my family and I to experience SeaWorld San Antonio for the purpose of writing this review.  All opinions are strictly my own.

Dandy Holiday

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

The weather has turned cold here in the Lou.  Really cold.  Like in the 30’s cold.  I don’t think that I’m ready for this, but I guess snow is pretty dandy???  So…  I gotta look at the positives and outweigh the negatives.  Snow is kinda dandy…  Am I right?  It looks dandy.  The smell of it all fresh as it falls from the sky.  Big fluffy flakes.  I’m making this sound better and better.  More and more dandy.  If I keep up the mantra then I will believe it.  *wink*   We only had flurries the other day.  I’ll be sure to let you all know when the first big snow storm hits.  I’m sure you will be waiting on pins and needles for this announcement.  *wink again*

I’ve always loved how the Brit’s refer to vacations and trips as, “going on holiday”.  Could be my British ancestry speaking, but it’s just more dandy to call it a holiday.  After all holidays are time spend with family and loved ones.  So if you are going on a trip with your family then why shouldn’t you call it a holiday???  Well, last weekend we got out of St. Louis and took an overnight getaway kind of holiday.  We headed west on I-70 a few hours and came very close to entering another state.  That’s a clue as to where we went.  It was great to get out of town and spend time together as a family.  This family adventure was truly a grand time.  In fact we went on a tropical adventure.

We stayed warm by the fire:

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We were greeted with warm cookies upon our arrival:

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And we spent time in a sauna like atmosphere.  All misty and warm air.  Safe and protected from the outdoor elements.

WHERE  DID  WE  GO???

Just for funs I’ve created a puzzle for you to help “piece” together where exactly we went.  Hey, it’s too cold to go outside these days, so I’m spending a lot of time indoors.  Oh and the pun was definitely intended.  🙂  Enjoy!

Stay tuned for a detailed post on the new blog, Seeing Dandy.  All will be revealed soon.  🙂

*I received a discounted hotel stay and park tickets in exchange for my review, but all opinions are definitely my own.

GrooveBook {Giveaway} – CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

I’m a picture taking fiend.  Okay I used to be.  Well, I still am…  Just in a different stage of life with my picture taking.  See back in the day I actually took photography classes.  I’m talking college level photography classes.  I used (still own ’em) fancy cameras.  As in plural.  More than one fancy camera.  There are even some fancy lens to go with those fancy cameras around here somewhere.  The Audi and I traveled to these exotic places.  To Belize.  To Europe.   And I took pictures.  I liked to photograph architecture.  Or beautiful scenes.  Not people.  I detested people pictures.  Well, then we had children.  Our exotic vacations became trips to a certain magical theme park.  Nothing wrong with that.  We are loving this time in our lives.  Our vacations are now magical, because our children are having a magical time.  Do I have time to whip out my fancy camera on our magical vacations?  No.  The kids are way too fast for that.  Who has time to mess with the camera of my dreams when the kids will bolt?  I have to snap pictures In. The Moment.  What do I always have on hand?  This:

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Pay no attention to the fact that I have a few text messages that haven’t been viewed yet.  Also, pay no attention to the fact that I have over 60,000 emails…

So now I take pictures with my cell phone.

Hey, it’s still fancy, does a good job, and I preserve the memories!  🙂

Before GrooveBook my photos would just hang out on my phone.  Until I had no memory left.

Now I get them put in a book once a month:

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What’s GrooveBook you ask?  Well, here you go…

 

The app is so easy to use.  You just upload your pictures each month (up to 100 photos) right from the convenience of your very own phone.  Then you get a dandy photobook instead of a full memory card.  Plus, each book is only $2.99 and that includes shipping!

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More?  A way dandy cover!

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I cannot wait to see which cover I get this month.

Try out GrooveBook for FREE!

Use coupon code ‘SMITH11’ and get your very own FREE GrooveBook!

Ready for the giveaway?  It’s a great one!!!  🙂

One very lucky winner is going to receive 12 months of GrooveBook!!!

An entire year of GrooveBook!!!  How dandy is that?!

(Enter to win on the Rafflecopter below.)

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 *This giveaway is open to US entries only.
*The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the evening of Monday, August 18th and will be emailed.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.
*This posting and giveaway are sponsored by GrooveBook.  I received 12 months of GrooveBook for doing this posting and giveaway, but all opinions are strictly my own.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Joovy theBabaSling {Review}

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

Remember how I told you there would be an upcoming review from Joovy?  Well, well, well.  Now is the time.  First I have to take you back to the beginning of May…  If you follow us at all on Facebook then you will remember that we were vacationing in WDW at that time.  (Yes, we busted Banjo out of school to hit Disney before the crowds got crazy.)  Joovy sent us theBabaSling before we left on our trip.

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I’ve always liked to do the whole baby wearing thing, so was ecstatic to take it with us on our pre summer vacation.  Plus, theBabaSling is uber chic looking, so I’d be styling.  But then I got to thinking that I wouldn’t use it all that much, because we were after all taking our Joovy Caboose stroller.  Cache would just sleep in the main seat of the stroller, Ruby would sit/stand on the platform, and Banjo would walk.  That was the plan.  And all went according to plan…

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For about half of our first day in the magical world of mouse.

At first all was right in the world.  Baby Cache just road along sleeping, Ruby was more entertained by jumping off of her seat on the “train” and running around before getting back “all aboard”, and Banjo was quite content to walk along with his cousins.  Then EVERYTHING deviated from the plan!

Ruby became a hot mess and didn’t want to ride on the platform any longer.

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She wanted to SLEEP.

Need I remind you that this was our very first day in the most magical kingdom on earth?  And Banjo?  Well, he grew tired of walking.  He grew tired very fast.

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What happened?  Where did we go wrong?  Well, for starters we should have purchased a Joovy Big Caboose Triple stroller before heading Orlando.  That would have been the solution.  However already being in Florida when we made this discovery… We didn’t have that option.  We will definitely know for next time.  But since I had the handy, dandy BabaSling all was right again in the world!

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The hammock style of the sling was perfect for carrying tiny Cache and the  comfort padding… perfect for my bum shoulder.  The shoulder I’ve had surgery on twice and I’m now a candidate for a total shoulder replacement.  What?  I’ve never told you about that before?  Yeah.  Remind me to tell you sometime all about my shoulder problem.  😉

This sling carried Cache all over the parks.

He was able to meet all the characters just like the big kids.

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Can you believe that Stitch actually sports a Dandy Giveaway logo???  😉

TheBabaSling comes in sooooo many beautiful and vibrant colors.

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As you can see from our vacation photos we have it in Scarlet Red.  I can’t tell you how many compliments I received on it while at WDW.  Too many to count.  One stranger just came up to me to say, “That’s a nice looking sling!”  Why, yes.  Yes it is.  🙂

Since Disney I’ve been using the BabaSling all over the place.  Particularly on the 4th of July at the lake.

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It was a long day.  The BabaSling put Cache right to sleep.

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It’s my hero.

*This posting and review are sponsored by Joovy, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Kansas City Sea Life Aquarium {Giveaway} – ENDED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

Remember how back in April we went to the Kansas City LEGOLAND for Banjo’s birthday weekend extravaganza???  Well, we also went to the fabulously dandy aquarium right next door.

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Compliments of the Kansas City Sea Life Aquarium, of course!

 Hey, you only turn 6 once.

Not sure what we will be doing next year for Banjo’s 7th birthday, but we have A LOT to live up to.

Banjo has been obsessed with underwater sea life ever since first being introduced to that movie about the little, lost clown fish.  Okay, he used to watch that movie All. The. Time.  There was a point where it was a daily occurrence.  Seriously.  Now he hasn’t watched it in quite some time, but I just know that he still longs for those days.  I know that I do.  😉   My little boy is growing up!  These days he’s all about the educational aspects of things and learning all there is to know about sea life.  I guess kindergarten tends to do that to a little person.

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Our visit to the Sea Life Aquarium was the ultimate finale to our Kansas City adventure.  This place was amazing and definitely a place that we will return to.  Seriously.  We are already talking about when we will be making the trek out West to KC again.  One day soon.  I’m sure.

There’s an entire area for “meeting” and “greeting” some of the sea life:

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 Sea Life Kansas City is also the home to a Bow Mouth Guitar Shark.  That’s her up above.

Very unique addition to the aquarium, because there are only 8 of these in the entire country!

And what trip to the Sea Life Aquarium would be complete without…

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LEGOS!

There’s also a really fun quiz throughout and the kids are awarded a prize at the end.

They loved it!

The winner of this giveaway will receive FOUR tickets to the Sea Life Aquarium in Kansas City!

(Enter on the Rafflecopter below.)

*This giveaway is open to US entries only.
*The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the evening of Monday, June 2nd and will be emailed.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.
*This posting and giveaway are sponsored by the Kansas City Sea Life Aquarium, but all opinions are strictly my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Baby-Kini {Review}

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

Wait, why are we advertising swimwear in November?!  Don’t tell me not one of you is going on a cruise or atleast flying to someplace warm during the holiday break!  I’m jealous of all of you!!  But really, have a blast.  And pack your cutest swimsuits.  Does your baby girl have one?  You’re probably not packing yet, but have you thought about swimwear for her?  Think about all the pictures you’ll be taking!  Good luck finding a toddler size swimsuit in any local store this month, let alone a cute one.  You’re gonna have to start looking online, and might I save you some time and trouble and direct you straight to Babi-Kini!?

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Babi-Kini is a custom couture children’s swim wear boutique with some of the most darling suits I’ve ever seen!  I love all of these!!  I really love that they aren’t the typical baby pink with ruffles or something smothered in Disney princesses.  These have so much personality in them!

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I was sent the Charm School One-Piece to review, and I can’t get over the cuteness!  Since its a bit nippy over here in Boston, and there ain’t no way we’re having a play date at the beach anytime soon, we made a little pretend beach at home 🙂

IMG_8486All of the Baby-kini products contain a blend of top quality swimwear fabrics and trims, and are manufactured in San Diego, California.  Given the 30+ hours I spent on sewing up swimsuits myself this last summer, I can attest to the quality of this suit.  Strong knits, excellent stitching, no imperfections.

IMG_8488Oh this tie in the back!  Darling, and just the perfect way to make this suit adjustable for growing bodies.  By the way, sizes range from XS (birth-6 mon) to XL (4-6yrs).  These little rosettes on the front?  Stop it.

IMG_8490Baby-kini has been seen on Kourtney Kardashian’s daughter, Penelope!

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Go check out all the cute styles and prints, and be sure to follow them on the social media sites below.  Safe travels and spend a few hours at the pool for me!

Online Store / Facebook / Twitter

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Hello Dolly!

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

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Another adventure that our family went on while in the Smoky Mountains was to a truly unique theme park… Dollywood!  As you walk through the gates you are transported to the days of Country Fairs and the laid back life in the Smokies.  We just happened to be there on the opening day of the National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration.  It was the perfect day to be there!  Dolly Parton was somewhere in the park, but unfortunately we didn’t cross paths.  However, we got to see singer Louise Mandrell!  She was there to receive the James D. Vaughan Impact Award from the Southern Gospel Music Association.  The Association actually has a Hall of Fame and Museum at Dollywood.  In fact before we realized the significance of the day we were surprised that a red carpet greeted us at the entrance.  For a second there I thought the folks at Dollywood were pulling out all the stops to make sure our family (with their “mommy blogger” tickets) had an amazing day.  😉

We did have an amazing day, though!  There’s so much to do at Dollywood.  From the family friendly atmosphere… To the country stores…  To the shows…

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To the rides…

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Hanging out with their cousin!

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There’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy at Dollywood!

 

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While we were there everything was decorated for the fall season and it was gorgeous!  I can’t even imagine what it looks like all decorated for Christmas.  Maybe Santa will send us there in December.  😉

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Thank you for showing us a really great time, Dollywood!

This review was sponsored by Dollywood, but all opinions are strictly my own. 

What’s to do in the Smoky Mountains?

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

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Remember that little ‘ole government shut down that took place… Oh, back in October?  Well, we were actually on vacation when that whole thing went down.  Yep.  On Day #2 of our vacation to be exact.  Our vacation to…  Wait for it… The Smoky Mountains NATIONAL Park.  Day #1 we went into the park just fine.  Day #2 we were greeted by this:

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Talk about throwing a wrench in someone’s plans.

Fortunately for us there are tons of other fun things to do in the Smoky Mountains area besides the park!  Prior to making the trip to Tennessee we were invited to attend the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show.  So even if the park had been open we were still going to attend the show.  Dinner.  Great show.  How can you pass that up?  Well, it ended up being such an amazing show!  Lots of laughs and delicious food to help us get over not being able to go back into the park.  🙂   Plus, it’s fun for the entire family!

Even the grounds of the theater are fun:

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Our Banjo being a mummy.

Now back to the show and the food…

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Everything is served family style and it’s what you would expect out of a real Southern feast:

  • Feudin’ Fried Chick’n
  • Open Pit Pulled -to-Pieces Pork Barbeque
  • Southern Style Creamy Soup
  • Smashed Mashed Taters
  • Buttery Corn on the Cob
  • Keep It Comin’ Cornbread
  • No Tellin’ What’s In It Coleslaw
  • Granny’s Famous Specialty Dessert

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We couldn’t even eat it all!  You are given plenty of time to eat before the show starts.  That way you can really focus on the entertainment.

The story of the Hatfields and McCoys is told in a way that I had never heard before.  So that kept it interesting!  In terms of entertainment there’s music, dancing, “fighting”, romance, and a great story line.  It all comes together for a feuding good time!

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Will we go back to this Pigeon Forge, Tennessee show next time we are in the Smoky Mountains?  Most definitely!  The kids loved it and it was definitely one of the best shows around.  Stay tuned for my thoughts on another great show…  The Smoky Mountain Opry!  🙂

 

This review was sponsored by the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud, but all opinions are strictly my own. 

Gatlinburg Falls Resort

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

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Isn’t the fall simply breathtaking?  All the changing of the season going on…  When the leaves take on various hues of splendor.  If you live where there’s no change in season then I’m very sorry for you.  🙂  Because you are missing quite the sight!  It’s one of my most favorite times of the year and here in the midwest we get to enjoy the change in season.  So if you are missing out then get yourself very fast to a climate that changes or just visit one once in a while during the fall months.  😉

My family and I (all 9 of us– my little family, my parents, my brother and his family) spent the first week of October in the Smoky Mountains.  Now that is a sight to be seen.  Remember that Audi and I have been to the mountains of Tennessee before, but it was August.  Definitely pre-season to the change.  The leaves were just starting to change there the first week of October, but we’ve been told that we missed the really gorgeous peak which is happening right now.  I’m sure it’s always a beautiful part of the country, though!

For our stay we were welcomed by the Gatlinburg Falls Resort.  Our accommodations were spectacular and made the trip that much more enjoyable.  Especially since the National Park closed the day after we arrived due to the Federal Government Shut Down.  Nice, huh?  The park is open now, though!  Without the wonderful cabin we would have been quite sad, but it brightened our vacation immensely.  We stayed in the Treehouse cabin:

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And was it ever decked out!

It had its very own theater room:

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Hot tub:

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And game room that we had trouble prying the kids away from!

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Plus, all the essentials:

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Washer and dryer, sleeper sofas, 3 bedroom, 3 full baths, and two half baths.

Each bedroom had a king sized bed, its own bathroom and fireplace:

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My favorite parts of the cabin came on the outside…

Great porch views:

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A cul-de-sac and tree house for the kids to play in:

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Can you tell that we had such a dandy time???  If you are looking for a Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg cabin then look no further than Gatlinburg Falls Resort.

We cannot wait to go back!

 

This review was sponsored by Gatlinburg Falls Resort, but all opinions are strictly my own. 

New family members!

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

The end of July we went on our annual vacation to Lake Powell.  It’s in Utah/Arizona and always a family reunion of sorts.  ALL of us stay on a houseboat for an entire week and there are A LOT of us.

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This time around there were 28 of us.  Again… all on one house for a week.  Fortunately for us it’s a big houseboat.  🙂

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It’s always a fun trip, but this year it was also very eventful!  The second night we were all surprised when my niece’s boyfriend (who joined us at the lake this year…brave boy) proposed!  It was great news and we were all very happy.  After that how could the trip get even more eventful you ask???

Well, the very next day my brother-in-law and his wife received a phone call (on the boat) from the adoption agency they have worked with in the past.  They have been on the waiting list for quite a few years to adopt again and to no avail.  Out of nowhere a birth mother selected them to adopt her 10 month old twins!  It has been over 5 years since their last adoption and we were all ecstatic by the fabulous news.  So now in addition to their two girls they have another girl and a boy!

My friends over at Joovy wanted to be involved in the blessed union of adoption and welcoming the newest additions to our family.  They are the experts on baby gear and knew that twins require double the gear.

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Joovy was nice enough to send my brother-in-law and his wife a fantastic welcome home gift for their twins.  The Caboose Too Ultralight!

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Aren’t they adorable?  My sister-in-law said that it’s the perfect stroller for doubles.  It’s really light weight and the back seat can easily be converted to a tandem for when the babies are older.  Most importantly due to the positioning of the seats the babies aren’t able to pull each others hair!  We were able to officially meet the little cuties last weekend at the wedding of our niece.  They of course had their Caboose stroller in tow.   🙂

Oh and here’s a picture of the bride and groom with the happy parents of the bride looking on admiringly at all of their children.

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Love them all!

Thanks again Joovy for sending the stroller to my family and helping to congratulate them on their newest additions!

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