I just got back from my whirlwind tour of MD and NE.  Phew! There was so much going on that I didn’t take very many pictures (I was too tired!).  However, Kira helped me out and I think we got some good ones. I will share what I have (warning: this will probably be a LONG post).

First things first—Kira’s Birthday Party!

Kira had her 5th birthday while I was out in MD.  It was at an art studio and the kiddos got to make some pretty neat sculptures.  Angie and I (but mostly Angie) made her cake, so we got to be creative and have fun as well.

This is Angie icing the 4 layers of strawberry cake.  The layers alternate between pink and purple, but it was a little hard to see until we cut into it.  The icing was homemade buttercream. Soooo good :)  We (and by “we,” I mean “Angie”) decorated with more pink and purple—pretty much anything Kira said she wanted on the cake, Angie took it as a personal mission.  What a great mom!


Kira really enjoyed her birthday party! She got to wear a special dress, have a special cake, and run around with all her friends!  Too cute!



While in MD, I finally got a chance to see Mary and Tim’s house. And meet their new puppy, Jake!  However, the time change was beginning to get to me, so I was too tired to run around taking pics.  Lucky for me, Kira took an interest in my camera. She is, of course, a much better photographer than I am.  So, while I took this super cute pic of Mia trying on Uncle Tim’s hat:


I’m pretty sure Kira took the rest of these (though my dad may have taken 1 or 2 to show her how the camera worked).






Truthfully she used up my entire 1g card taking photos. I had to toss a bunch, but it was really tempting to keep them all and recreate Mary and Tim’s house in a collage.  :-)

And then came the roadtrip.  20+ hours in the car.  We tried to stop and rest in Iowa, but all of the hotels were booked. So, we drove straight to Omaha in one trip.  We did get out and play at the rest stops:



Angie and Kira even did their exercises! Go Angie and Kira!


Cuteness overload. Where was I? Oh right! We’re in NE now…

Well, we went to Desi and Brandon’s beautiful wedding.  None of the pictures of the ceremony turned out well.  I didn’t have enough light for my camera to get an un-fuzzy shot.  However, Kira ran around with my camera at the reception. More pics by Kira (except the few that she’s in—I took those):






Naturally, we stopped at the Book Store. Had to get some NE gear so that we could fit in when we walked around town:


The day after the wedding, we made a trip to the zoo with family. It’s always fun to see the cousins!

Kira actually walked across the bridge this time! So brave! And, in case you didn’t know, the NE zoo is AMAZING!









And, we got to visit a couple of times with Grandma Hotovy! She snuck me chocolate.  What can I say? The woman knows me :-)

Kira took all these photos (love that girl!)


My new favorite pics of my dad:


“Make a silly face Aunt Rachel!”



It was so great getting to see Grandma. Now you all know where Angie and I get our good looks from. And our love of chocolate :-)



Well, I think this post is getting ridiculously long. But, I just can’t resist a couple extra pics of my super cute nieces:




Alright, I’m done now. I promise I’ll post all the pics (these are just a few) on facebook so that people can tag/share them. Some day. <evil laugh>

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