CSB 2k12

we went on our annual beach trip last week. it was phenomenal as usual. this is our 8th(!) year going with the beloved harper family.

year one we got invited because the rick (the dad and our campus minister at georgia tech) needed someone to come who could supervise and play with grayson, the youngest harper. jesse and i had been dating just over a year at that point. i shared a bed with tiny grayson and jesse slept on the pull out couch in the condo's living room.

since then we have gone as engaged people, newlyweds, trying to get preggos, having a newborn, being pregnant AND having a one year old, having a crawler and a 2 year old, and finally this year: a 1 year old and a 3 year old. holy wow.

this was the best year ever. perfect weather, perfect condo, kids old enough to enjoy the heck out of vacation magic but young enough to nap like rock stars. for the first time ever i didnt get so sunburned that i needed medication or peeled. we ate like kings and swam like fish. it was flawless.

allow me to prove it (more action shots are all over our instagrams: @putapuredukes and @jessedukes phones are easier to take to the beach and restaurants than big cameras):

highlight of the week: finding out layla has jesse's pigmentation! she was an infant last year and we didnt let her out much, but this time, she browned like crazy even through tons of SPF. praise the lord, we are genetically culling my white horror.

stank face and tiniest of pectorals

another highlight: deciding to stop worry about every roll, dimple and crease on my body and just BEING in the moment. i already hooked my hottie and he has seen 2 babies (and poop) come out of me. i think he can handle some bikini overhang. the freedom of really letting my brain go to this place and put down that burden was UNREAL. i may have looked my worst ever, but i FELT my best.

so much to explore

yes, he has a bad attitude, but look at those traps and shoulders!

bossy lady commandeered my chair!

fact: layla adores garrett (the eldest harper boy). it's hard to blame her

so god forbid garrett go anywhere without her

"oh, i am 1 year old and cant swim, no problem, i'll just bulldoze my way into the ocean to get to my buddy!"

it was a fabulous night for a moondance


calling forth the waves.

garrett had an idea

hahaha the tables have turned. now grayson is 15 and is chasing my kids around the beach

my favorite family shot from the whole trip: after filling up on grouper at the marina!

despite being totally potty trained for months, the whole peeing and pool situation really threw him. re REFUES to pee in the pool like we told him (and like we ourselves model) and when we'd send him over to pee in the bushes, he would without fail just stop and pee on the concrete side of the pool. usually pulling his pants down first. layla was thoroughly confused.

jesse dilutes the pee into oblivion for the benefit of everyone.

he was in timeout for something. i dont think he's striking the right contrite tone here.

her mouth is open 90% of the time. its wonderful

isnt this the picture that ladies are required to take on vacation? consider it done.

consider this done too.

layla drinking pool water from the pee-rinsing jug

i would pay perhaps $20 for the foreground to be in focus here rather than the background. i wasnt quick enough in spotting this moment.

i did catch this one on my phone. he is in midair. there was much boardwalk bounding on this trip. sometimes without our permission or supervision. those jokers are fast.

100% candid. amazingest.

possibly more amazing: i saw this hug about to happen and set up the camera to capture it. before layla got to judah, she epic faceplanted in the sand. it was awesome. and then the hug happened and we took a picture and pretended like life is picture perfect and gravity doesnt affect people as awesome as us.

stop it.

stop it now

i cant even stand this

she is beyond smitten. (join the club, lay)

aw. she's just a little sweet nugget. how could she ever be sassy?

"oh no you did-unh!"

baby redtongue got lots of popsicles

i love her just north of "infinity"

if smiles could kill

yes. he ate my earring

annnnnnd left me with a mouthful of drool in my wavy tendrils

it was BEYOND bright and the kids were melting down so we pushed through for a fampic. i think this was the best. if youre thinking its not even that great, you should see some outtakes.

like this


except for maximum effort was required to not lose our minds.

everything's sunny at the adult table, but clearly there was trouble upstairs at the kiddie table! layla is CONCERNED!

that's better

yes. this was supposed to be "dukes family blows a kiss." instead, it came out, "dukes parents are outraged that the ref missed that call and the kids are popping pills"

not even joking! he was copying layla. garrett get full credit for this amazing moment captured on camera

we put the sun and the stress behind us and tried for better shots. success.

love this family.

layla loves aunt beffie

manly stoicism. judah told jesse he needed to peepee at this moment. jesse said wait just a second. judah proceeded to pee all over them both as this was being taken. always obey the toddler who has to pee.

since judah got to take off his clothes after the accident, she totally want to too.

8 years strong! we have locked in a FOREVER clause on going with this family. jesse wins the MVP award here because he put back on his peed upon short and judah pee clothes to get this picture once we realized we hadnt gotten one yet.

the end. (dont you wonder what he is saying?)


  1. Oh my heavens. That last one.
    LOVE the out-takes.. hilarious bad call ref and pill popping kids!!

  2. So don't tell anyone I know (since they would be offended, then gleefully happy), but the pictures of your kids, made me want to go make my own babies! Pictures of kids I know... not so much. I guess that makes me a bad (fr)auntie.

  3. Ha! The one of you guys yelling at the ref is just classic. :)

  4. SUCH good pics! You've got a great eye. The ridic cute kids don't hurt, either.

    That one of dude running down the boardwalk...in love!

  5. Umm, btw, you look your best ever. Hello, all those friggin road races this year! I feel the same way when I go to the pool. I still wear the smallest bikini and just let it all hang out... because I'm a rockstar, pushed a kid out of these hips and feed her exclusively with teetas, booyah. It's a part of maturing - not giving a damn what ppl think of me lingering linea negra.

  6. I can't believe you have been making that trip for 8 years and how grown up the Harper boys are. Crazy how life happens. And I agree with Joanna- You look great!

  7. Ha, the "blowing kisses" photo really deserves its own special place on your walls. Looks like a wonderful vacation of which I am a mite jealous. Our Great Lakes are rad, but they are frigid.

    Infinity points to Gryffindor for just accepting yourself. I have been feeling the same way lately, especially as my husband keeps telling me I am "the hottest ever." Like, even over 21-year-old me. Wha? Okay, then, I can be naked all the time. Warbly thighs are no problemo.

  8. This is so funny! You are a fantastic caption writter AND you have an adorable family!

  9. Best beach pics ever! Seriously! The one of them hugging is priceless...and of course the last one of his bum :) Love y'all

  10. Your captioning wittisms + outtakes + ref call/pill popping photo = made my day. I think my family thinks I'm slightly off kelter as I sit reading and simultaneously bursting into laughter. Ah well.

  11. "yes. this was supposed to be "dukes family blows a kiss." instead, it came out, "dukes parents are outraged that the ref missed that call and the kids are popping pills"" I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants... that quiet stiffled laugh becaues I was in bed and my husband was asleep so I was choking down my laugh. Good stuff, I tell ya. Good stuff. That really is what it looks like. ;)