Livi’s bday celebration

Hi friends! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Ours was pretty busy – Livi had a friend’s birthday party, and we had a family event for the Pilot’s work- but still relaxing and fun. I apologize for the lack of “real life stuff” around the blog lately; there’s been a ton of fitness content with Winter Shape Up! Last week I posted 7 all-new workouts (plus 4 follow-along videos!) and everything is up now. If you’re just now joining in the challenge, check out all of the details here

So I think the last time I wrote a recap here on the blog, we were celebrating Liv’s birthday. 

We had a pretty low-key celebration here at home,

Bday girl

(her fave buttermilk waffles with candles)

I took emoji cupcakes to her class at school,

Emoji cupcakes

(They sang the cutest birthday song. They got around her in a circle and she picked 6 friends to be her ‘candles.’ When she blew the candles out, each kid squatted down. It was pretty adorable.)

and we ate dinner at Mellow Mushroom, her favorite spot. 

Mellow mushroom

Instead of having a traditional birthday party, she asked if we could go to Disney World. I was like, “YESSSSS.”

Disney balloons

Planning parties is a lot of fun, and I’m happy to do it, but the thought of riding rides at Disney World with the girls instead of last-minute stuffing party favor bags sounded like a dream come true. When I mentioned it to madre and nana, we were so excited when they said they could join us for the Disney party.

Small world with the fam

We drove into Orlando on Thursday night and headed to the hotel. It was about 10pm but the girls and I stayed up until midnight waiting for the Pilot to come back with the nanas (<— they flew into Orlando, which was perfect!). The giggles and pure joy when they arrived was pretty much the best thing ever. We had a hard time getting them to sleep – they were way too excited – but we finally crashed out and slept in a little bit the next morning. 

We had Dunkin’ Donuts at the hotel and then went to Magic Kingdom for the day.

Tom and P

Liv and me

We did SO MUCH while we were there: Small World, Peter Pan, Barnstormer, the train, The Little Mermaid, the parade, a great lunch, the carousel and met all of their favorite princesses.

with Elena


(Funny story: P is obsessed with finding and poking bellybuttons. She yells, “BUTTON” when she does it, and thankfully it’s never happened to anyone outside of the family. The entire time she was sitting by Ariel, she was staring intently at her bellybutton, and I was like, “Omg, she’s going to poke it.” Her arm reached out, and I looked over at the Pilot, silently pleading to him to save Ariel and her bellybutton. Ariel was unaware of her impending attack. Meanwhile, the Pilot and I were holding in our laughter, and right as she was about to poke it, the photographers yelled “Smile!” and saved the day.)

Disneyworld at night

The girls had the best time and it was probably my favorite Disney trip so far. When we go to Disney, we have a “whatever happens happens” mentality and don’t really plan a lot, besides our dining reservations (everything books out so quickly). As the girls get older, I’m finding that we’re riding a lot more rides and checking out more sights, which is a blast. 

Dinner was in the ice cave at T-Rex (Livi’s fave restaurant. We all know I’m terrified of dinosaurs, but I just drink a giant margarita and rally.),

ice cave

and then we drove back to Valdosta! 

Since we’ve been back in town, we’ve enjoyed a solid mix of cooking at home and going out to eat. Of course, we had Birdie’s, 

and for dinner one night I made a cheese board,

Cheese boards are life

plus meatballs with homemade sauce, spaghetti,

Spaghetti and meatballs

salad and sourdough bread. (I can do a marinara sauce post if you’d like!)


We also had taco night here at the house, and madre, P and I made the tortillas. (Liv and Nana snuggled on the couch watching a movie.)  

Their first flight out was canceled, so we went to Woodstack to celebrate with some southern bbq and sangria. 😉 Each time their flight was canceled (3 times!), we had an awesome dinner out and cocktails. 

We all enjoyed quality time with them and it felt so much more relaxed with all of the weekly to-dos. 

It was the perfect way to celebrate Liv’s birthday and we all love that her celebration was extended with the canceled flights. 

Do you live near family or no? I definitely miss living by everyone, but am so thankful for any chance they have to visit.

Have a great day and I’ll see ya in the a.m.



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  1. Jodie on January 23, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Love the belly button story:) . That cheeseboard looks amazing.

  2. heather @Lunging Through Life on January 23, 2018 at 6:54 am

    That’s a really fun birthday celebration, and I love that your mom and gram could join in!! I can’t get over how much P is looking like Liv these days!

  3. Anna on January 23, 2018 at 6:55 am

    OMG! What a cheeseboard!

  4. Cassie on January 23, 2018 at 6:58 am

    Liv is getting so big! I’m grateful to live near my parents. The in laws have a house here so they come up 2x a year for 6 to 8 weeks each. I am bummed my sister’s live very far away though.

  5. Janice O'Kane on January 23, 2018 at 7:42 am

    The belly button story is so adorable! I have my mom and brother close, but my sister and other two brothers live far away. My husband’s family all live in the Denver area near us and have for several generations. Yes, marinara sauce post please!

  6. Caroline on January 23, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Livi is my type of girl as she chooses Disney World over a birthday party! That sounds like so much fun. I was at Disney a few weeks ago and I’m convinced January is the best time to be there because it is mercifully way less crowded. Your girls are so precious and I’m amazed at how much older Livi looks (I first started reading when she was about 3)! Have a wonderful day!

  7. Cindy Childers on January 23, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Hey! Please forgive me if this posts twice….I typed a note to you Gina and then went I hit “send” I have no idea where it went. Anyway, yes please to the marinara sauce recipe…and also would you pretty please post the corn tortilla recipe you and your mom and grandma use. Here in the UK they don’t do corn tortillas (Waahhh!!!) the best they have at some stores is 1/2 corn/ 1/2 flour. I’d love to get your recipe! 🙂 Cindy xx

  8. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on January 23, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Aww what a fun day! Happy belated birthday to Liv!

  9. Emily @ Pizza & Pull-Ups on January 23, 2018 at 9:17 am

    That belly button story is too funny! Glad you got some madre/nana time and Liv had a great birthday!

  10. Lorna on January 23, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Do you have the Belly Button book by Sandra Boynton? I highly recommend it if you don’t!

    • Christina on January 23, 2018 at 1:11 pm

      I 100% agree! My two year old loves belly buttons and this book.

  11. Melissa C on January 23, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Love the belly button story..I love P’s face- Looking With Such Intensity! Lol Lol. Beautiful cheeseboard! And Yes To Marinara Recipe! Also my First Thought On Your Instagram Pic…was “she Is So Beautiful” . Funny How we Can be So Hard On ourselves when other people can look at us and see just beauty:). Thanks for always keeping it so real!

  12. Lissy on January 23, 2018 at 9:30 am

    I gotta live within driving distance of disney world one day 😀 Glad she had a magical birthday

  13. Reenie on January 23, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Happy Birthday Livi!!

    Your cheese board looks soooooo good.

  14. Blair on January 23, 2018 at 10:30 am

    The bellybutton thing is so funny! What a wonderful memory to have of a toddling P. My mom still talks of a similar story with her older brother when they were little LOL. I cannot wait to take our family to Disney World this year. They are giddy with anticipation. I wish we lived closer so we could make the trip more easily (think 3 littles a med flight and all the things)!

  15. Juliana on January 23, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Yes please do a marinara sauce post!
    My family is pretty close but my brother lives in England – which is as awesome as much as it sucks. I don’t get to see him or his fiancee that often (though lately it’s been every 6 months or so which is awesome – once it was two whole years!), but whenever we do it’s a party and/or adventure. Last time I was there, we went to Spain for the weekend. Last time they were here, we went to Hawaii. I def miss being able to see them more often, but it’s awesome to always have an excuse to make awesome plans.

  16. milania dela cruz on January 23, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    That cheeseboard and belly button story. 🙂

  17. Amy Ramos on January 23, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    LOL! Oh P!!

    I would love for you to blog about the marinara sauce! Thank you for sharing.
    Liv is growing up before our eyes!

  18. Brittany Taylor on January 23, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Such a fun birthday! And my oldest has the same shirt as Liv in that top picture:)
    And the bellybutton story is hilarious #reallifeparenting

  19. Becky @ The Bex Factor on January 24, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    The belly button story made me LOL!

    • Fitnessista on January 24, 2018 at 9:28 pm

      she is the funniest little nugget haha

  20. Jennifer on January 25, 2018 at 9:22 am

    I betcha Ariel wouldn’t of handled that “button poke” like a champ XD

  21. Diana on January 25, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Oh man, we’re all about the Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton at my house so I can totally relate! My little one always pulls up shirts or starts digging at the bottom of your shirt chanting ‘bee-boooo.’ It doesn’t help that my Dad (who lives 3 hours away, and we skype with regularly) always asks to see their bee-boos and then shows them his haha! When I saw that picture I knew EXACTLY what she was thinking 🙂

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