My Freshman & Senior

It’s funny how the little moments of life are often the ones that become the big moments… The times when your heart feels so heavy with nostalgia that you can barely catch your breath.

I had one of those the other day.  While I was sipping (or more appropriately, chugging) my coffee, while I was singing a song with the kids on the way to school, while I was glancing in the rear view mirror… I had one of those moments.  It was nothing special, but everything special all at once.  And I realized how fleeting these moments are.


Two car seats, too little sleep, two silly & hilarious little passengers… and it’s all going too fast. Way too fast.

Here’s where we are for the moment… Mitchell and Makenzie are both at the same school.  They spend their days a short walk down the hall from each other.  Mitchell is a one-year-old freshman and Makenzie is a three-year-old senior at their school… but don’t blink.  In just a few days my baby girl will turn four, and in just a few weeks my baby boy will officially be a sophomore.  Crazy!  And then they won’t be a freshman and a senior together until they are in high school around the year 2030.  We will have had at least 2 more Presidents.  There will have been another 13 Super Bowl champs, and Denny & I will be well past our 20th wedding anniversary.  But don’t blink.  I’m sure that will be here in no time.

So for today, I’ll savor this sweet moment of having a freshman and a senior.  Here’s what they are doing.

My little freshman still loves to wake up well before the sun rises and play, play and play some more.  It’s early but it’s honestly one of my most favorite one-on-one times with him.


Early bird!

He loves all things sports, and he even gets to sleep on his cot in the ball pit in the freshman room!   How cool is that?!?


Loving Bills day!


He LOVES this. 🙂

My little freshman is very active and even more affectionate.  He’s working on learning words and he’s working on keeping up with his big sister.


He will follow her to the ends of the earth.

He melts our heart on a daily basis and we couldn’t love him more!


Makenzie, my senior, is turning into a beautiful big girl!


First day of pre-school – September 2016!

She loves all things creative and can spend hours coloring and drawing.  She is really proud that she can now spell & write her name.


Makenzie’s dragon. Perhaps it’s a Nile red dragon?!

Makenzie is an awesome big sister and loves to drop off Mitchell and pick him up in his classroom every day.  She usually gets so excited to see him that she sprints to his classroom to see what he did each day.


They are usually buddies and enjoy most things together BUT on occasion they can annoy each other as only siblings can do.


A particularly cranky day at Target. Even a trip down the toy aisle couldn’t distract Makenzie from the annoyance of a little bro who kept pinching her.



A better day & a trip to Olcott Beach before the end of summer.


Denny and I both had a time when our older siblings were seniors while we were freshman, which makes it pretty cool that our kids get to experience this.  Melissa and I spent one year at the same high school and then another year of overlap at OU and these were two of my favorite years of life because it was when I realized that she was a best friend.


Makenzie sometimes asks if she can keep him forever. I can only hope that she does.


Off & running!

I hope Makenzie & Mitchell someday look back and appreciate these days together at Childrens Kastle.  My freshman and senior will soon be all grown up, but until then, I’m going to savor the millions of little moments because I know they won’t last forever.



Eight is Great!

Wasn’t is just yesterday that we were worried about the seating chart and the intro songs?  Wasn’t it just yesterday that we traveled to Athens, Ohio to get married?  Wasn’t it just yesterday that we met at the end of the aisle, said I Do and sealed it with a kiss?  Wasn’t it just yesterday that we started our life together as husband and wife and waited for our Someday to begin?

wedding sunset pic

A rocking party if I say so myself!


Wasn’t it just yesterday that we honeymooned in Aruba?

And then it did…

Our Someday began and it’s been good and it’s been fun.  It’s been challenging and it’s been emotional and it’s been memorable.  It’s been a Sold sign, a Masters thesis, a flooded basement.  It’s been a few trips to the Caribbean, and a few trips to the ER.  It’s been a lot of neighbor parties, and a lot of paint colors.

It’s been an I’m Pregnant!   It’s been a broken heart.  It’s been another I’m Pregnant, and a lot of pink to follow.

FB - First family photo

Party of three!

It’s been baby showers and dirty diapers. First cries, first smiles and first steps.  It’s been breast pumps and postpartum emotions.  It’s been so fun that we did it again.  A little boy, and a little baseball mitt…


Late nights, lots of coffee.  It’s been ear aches, blowouts, diaper rash, two screaming babies and too little sleep.  It’s been juggling careers, and friends and bills.  It’s been hard at times, so damn hard.  And then just when meltdown seemed imminent, it’s been soft & sweet & real.  It’s been cuddly naps with cuddly newborns.  It’s been dance parties and baby hugs and family trips to the zoo.  It’s been a glance in the midst of chaos.  It’s been an occasional date night.  It’s been Disney and the Polar Express and Lake George. It’s been all I thought it would be and more.


It’s been tough, but more important than that it’s been pretty awesome.  It’s been us, and our two little sidekicks.  It’s been us, growing older and growing wiser.  And it’s been a walk through life that has long surpassed that walk down the aisle.


It’s been eight years and it’s been a pretty great start to our Someday.  I can’t wait to see what the rest of the ride entails.


Happy Anniversary Denny!  There’s none else I’d rather hang out with during this crazy ride called marriage.


Lake George Love!

::  The McGee Family vacation 2016 is officially in the books!  It was the perfect blend of fun, giggles, new experiences, antibiotics, meltdowns (toddler meltdowns don’t take vacations people!) and even a few cold Blue Moons.  ::

lake george love


We only get 18 summers with the kids before they head to college (insert sobs here!) so Denny and I are big believers in taking time each year to get away from the stress and chaos of everyday life.  This year we picked Lake George, NY!  It is less than 5 hours away (a huge requirement when you have a squirmy little boy who despises his car seat) and it offered all types of toddler-friendly activities.

The days leading up to the trip started out a little bumpy with 2 trips to the pediatrician, a round of croup, a 104 fever and an ear infection (who knew this could happen after getting tubes?) BUT we still managed to head to Lake George within 14 hours of our originally planned departure time.  Yes!!


Here are the highlights for each of us:


  • Steps that do NOT have a baby gate

He spent hours going up & down these steps.  It’s ultimate freedom for a toddler!

  • The washing station that people use to get the sand off their feet.

He couldn’t get enough of this.

  • The hotel water slide!

He cried for 25 minutes after we went back to the room. This little boy loves to swim!

  • Morning explorations – Mitchell is still an early bird so Denny and I took turns taking him outside each morning.  He loved checking out the property every morning at 6 am   (and once I grabbed my coffee I didn’t mind the cute company either.)   🙂

“Stay close Mom, we’re heading into the woods!”



No line for the slide at this hour!

  • And oddles of fun on all the kiddie rides!

These two had a blast at the Magic Forest, which was perfect for the kiddos!




  • The beach!   She loved playing in the clear waters of Lake George and playing in the sand.  She made a giant castle for “Punzel” aka Rapunzel.

Beach baby 🙂


After the castle came the creation of Lake Daddy, appropriately named after the lead digger on the project.  Mitchell even left the steps and the foot washer to get in on the fun.

  • Visiting Santa at North Pole, NY!   We realized that Lake George was within a short drive of where Santa lives so we had to stop by and say Hello to our favorite jolly old guy.

Asking Santa for a balance beam


Here’s a shot of Santa’s house in case you were wondering.  It’s a 1 bed, 1 bath little home with great curb appeal and solid schools.


The flying bobsleds!


Who doesn’t love a holiday moose?!?


Christmas carousel with Daddy!


Blitzen was hungry!

  • More rides at the Magic Forest and the giant 4-story slide that she bravely went down about 20 times.

She flew down this slide then got up and ran back up the stairs for more!

  • And a giant lollipop, yum!

She requested that the lollipop also be in the picture with her. 🙂


Admittedly, Denny and I are exhausted from chasing these kiddos around a non-baby-proofed hotel room but we had a really fun vacation too.  Here are our highlights of the trip.


  • Housekeeping and no cooking for a week!   Be still my heart.
  • Beautiful scenery.  Lake George is undoubtedly a gorgeous area to visit.

Picture taken in Lake Placid (in full disclosure the picture was taken from a moving car with two squirmy kiddos in the backseat en route to Santaland – site seeing didn’t exactly occur on this trip)

  • One-on-one time with the kiddos.  We each had an individual “date” with the kids.  Kenzie played her first round of mini golf on her night with Denny, and I took her to see the boats in the lake.   Mitchell and I had a chance to dip our toes in the water and dance on the beach to some live music!


  • A few days away from the normal stresses of life – no work, no bills to pay, no dishwashers to unload.  Talk about bliss!

Family time rocks!


We are super grateful to have had the chance to get away to Lake George and we can’t wait to go back again soon!

Vacation love,


Life in the slow lane, and that’s okay with me

Sweet, sweet summertime.

A little thing in life that I have come to adore is the smell of my babies covered in sunscreen.  It usually means that we are on the brink of leaving for a fun day – swimming, riding beep beeps at the kiddie park, or running through the splash pad.   Some of the best memories that we have made with the kiddos involved the use of sunscreen.


This summer has been a little bit different than we expected and we haven’t quite used as much sunscreen.  Mitchell’s episodes have gotten worse (more about those here) – more frequent, worse in duration and still plain scary to see – so we have toned it down and shifted to the slow lane.  It’s hard to say what will trigger an episode, but we know that they are exacerbated when he is overtired, overwhelmed, or overheated.   Although they have no consequences on him in the no-long term, they are exhausting on him in the short-term and often lead to an immediate nap.   In general they are something we strive to avoid at all costs.

But in a weird way, there is a silver lining to this whole situation.  His breath-holding spells (which fortunately will subside in the coming years, hooray!) have helped us find fun things to do close to home and within our normal routine.  Rather than spending hours chasing down fun or pushing the limits with schedules and activities, we have been able to savor the little parts of life.

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These two! 🙂

We have been living up summer with two toddlers in small ways.  Water balloons, hide n seek, walks around the neighborhood, indoor Olympics, tunnel races, short (yet sweet) trips to the kiddie park and extra story times.


Sweetest & happiest boy ever!


Water balloons!


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Imitating Big Sis during the indoor Olympics

Kenz had her dance recital in June and is now loving “nastics” class so she hasn’t noticed the slow pace.   In a few weeks we’re even hitting the road to enjoy the slow pace in Lake George, which I’m pretty sure will be good for all of us.  And it may include sunscreen, but if it doesn’t that’s okay too.


Such a proud night

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Loving “nastics!” and getting excited for the Olympics!


So here’s to a great summer!   Here’s to enjoying life, being silly and making memories in unexpected moments.  Here’s to getting out and wearing sunscreen, and here’s to staying in and having just as much fun.  Here’s to trips near and far, and loved ones on our street and on our minds.  Here’s to life in the slow lane and here’s to appreciating it.

And here’s to all of us taking a deep breath and just focusing on the really good stuff in life.



slow down

Cheers & love,



:: Life Lately ::

Gosh, these kids of ours make life fun!

It’s crazy and tiring… there’s sippy cups and toys everywhere… we’re sometimes stressed and often tired…

But we LOVE it!!

::  A rare slow moment of snuggles in the midst of a busy weekend. ::



Blogging has sadly been moved to the (way) back burner, but here’s what’s happening in our little world…

Mitchell Dude!

Mitchell is officially healthy!!   We are so incredibly relieved and happy.  Friday was (hopefully) our final trip to the pediatric cardiologist where he received a perfect report on his EKG and echocardiogram.   This means that the expected diagnosis of cyanotic breath holding spells is the official outcome.  He’s still having pass-out episodes but now we know exactly what it is.  (Insert huge sigh of relief)  In two weeks he gets tubes put in to dodge to pesky recurring ear infections and then we will be ready for a summer of fun!

In other fun updates, he is walking all over the place.  His cute baby legs can’t get him places fast enough and we know that the running phase is next.  Might be time for the baby leash!

::  How lucky am I that this little boy likes to hold my hand? ::

His personality is emerging and he is so sweet and lovable.  He is full of smiles & giggles and often gives big wet kisses.  I couldn’t imagine life without this hilarious little guy.

::   Mr. Giggle Pants   ::

Mitchell has a huge heart for all animals!   He adores our kitty and he loves trips to the zoo.  Yesterday he spent about 5 minutes just pointing and petting the Target dog.  One more reason to love this place!

::  Mouth open and drooling… that’s the same thing that I do while I’m in the Target dollar shop.  ::

Makenzie Ruth

Not even sure where to start with this girl, or should I say teenager/threenager?  She has become so smart and determined and independent.  We are slightly sad to see our baby girl growing so quickly, but we are so thrilled to see her turning into such an awesome little girl.

::   Purse full of toys – check! Big kid puffer vest – check! Ready to go – check!   ::

Makenzie is full of love & affection and spunk & humor!   She continues to be an awesome big sis and gives Mitchell tons of daily hugs and kisses (even when he is too busy playing and has no interest in her smooches).


::  Hugs for the little bro!  ::

In just 3 weeks our girl is going to be in her 2nd dance recital.  Last year we were in Mommy & Me together, but this year she will be dancing with just her friends up on the big stage.  I’m pretty sure I will need some tissues watching this little tapper.

:: Cheese! ::

Kenz is a great helper and loves to run errands with me.  This weekend at the grocery store she even picked out her very own sponges so that she could help me clean the floors (score!).  Secretly I think she wanted to pretend to be in the movie Annie because when we got home she asked me to turn on Hard-Knock Life while she scrubbed the floors.   🙂

:: Gotta love the beep beep carts! ::

One of Makenzie’s favorite things to do is hang with the neighbor kids!  She is our version of neighborhood watch patrol and she always tells me who is coming & going.  She loves to yell out the window when the kids are getting on and off the bus, and she is even happier when she gets to play with them.  Luckily, they are all AWESOME and they let her tag along with the fun.

::  Abbi, Kenz, Strawberry Shortcake Bailey (aka the Cabbage Patch doll) and Will. 🙂   ::


We are super excited for a fun summer with these two.   Here comes the warm weather!!

:: Warm weather, Woo Hoo!! ::

Have a great week!


Clarity about Mitchell!

Clarity!  What a beautiful thing.

It’s been a long & emotional few days but given the huge amount of support we’ve received lately, I owe a blog post to give updates on what we discovered at Cleveland Clinic.


On Sunday we headed to Ohio in preparation for our visit to the Cleveland Clinic on Monday.  Some time with Nana & Papa always makes things better, especially on the day before an important doctors appointment.


“Can you turn on Elmo, Mom?”

There is no doubt that the Cleveland Clinic is amazing.  We met with a fantastic pediatric neurologist who did an incredibly thorough job of understanding what’s going on with Mitchell.  Here’s what we learned:

  • Mitchell is experiencing cyanotic breath holding spells.  These are usually caused by either a change in the child’s breathing or a slowing of the heart rate. These reactions may be brought on by pain or by strong emotions.  In cyanotic spells the child’s face and lips turn blue and then they lose consciousness.  And in case the doctor wasn’t sure, Mitchell confirmed that it was cyanotic when he passed out smack dab in the middle of the appointment while the doctor was in the room.  Good timing little buddy!
  • As for the suspected seizures, it’s not what we thought.  Mitchell is actually experiencing hypoxia due to the lack of oxygen during the breath-holding spell.  Think of a computer rebooting.  His body is doing the same thing after some of the episodes.  Although he is not responsive while in this hypoxic state, the Dr. said this is not harmful because he is breathing.  I’m not exactly comfortable with this yet, but we will take it one day at a time.


We have a few more tests to confirm everything we discussed, and then it’s back to normal.   Or our new normal as I’ll call it.  Unfortunately this might get worse before it gets better because this type of situation peaks between 18 months – 3 years so we are preparing to have many days with many pass-out episodes.  It gives Terrible Two’s a new meaning.   But by age of 6 or 7 at latest this should go away completely.  Hooray!!

So now we do our best to manage this.  To be honest it feels slightly overwhelming right now, but we will just take it one day at a time.  There is a huge part of me that wants to snuggle him up forever and never let him go, but I realize it’s just not possible.   So we will choose to focus on the good!  And there is plenty of good for this cute, sweet, lovable baby boy of ours!   And despite the fear this causes, we are SO incredibly lucky!   Mitchell is able to live a normal & happy life, and we finally know that this is not going to cause him any harm.

On another note, Mitchell just can’t stay away from the doctors office (perhaps he will go to med school someday?).  Tonight we found out that both he and Makenzie have left ear infections.  Looks like we might be headed for tubes in his ears.

Our deepest appreciation for all the thoughtful notes and positive thoughts!

Much Love,



For you Little M

A quick update on the Littlest M

Talk about being blown away by support!  We know that you all have your own busy lives but since posting about Mitchell’s frequent pass-out episodes a few weeks back we have been inundated by calls, texts and messages from people who have experienced this and wanted to share their insight, and from people who just wanted to say that they care.  Thank you everyone!   Our kids are so lucky to be so loved!

M & M say Thank you!!

But on a serious note, we are still in search of answers.  The pass-out aspect seems to fall clearly in the category of the involuntary breath-holding syndrome, but we are still baffled by the (potentially) seizure-like activity that sometimes occurs after the episodes.   Our little guy had an awful episode this week and spent about 7 minutes in an unresponsive state.  So scary.

After weeks of doctors visits and few answers we decided to head to the best of the best and we were highly fortunate to get an appointment with a well-known pediatric neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic.  We are thrilled!  We are also nervous but overall we know that this physician could be the one to help us gain clarity.

Our little boy ready for more carefree days at the park!

We will ideally know more early this week.  We will keep you posted.  Thank you SO much for all the good thoughts!

Much love,


Holding our Breath

One of the hardest parts of being a parent is when to react and how to react.  It’s usually not the situation that needs triaging, but it’s the reaction.  First time parents are notorious for this.  Us included.  Within the first 24 months of life Makenzie went to the ER and urgent cares 3 times because we thought she had either concussions, broken bones or both.  All false alarms.  Lesson learned.

So with kid #2 we were ready to be laid back & relaxed.  But then kid #2 started passing out.  At the sweet age of 4 months, Mitchell lost consciousness for the first time.  Then it happened and again and again.  Approximately 60 more times in the past 10 months, including 4 episodes in the past 24 hours.

We are no longer laid back or relaxed.  We’ve been to our pediatrician’s office about this multiple times.  In fact, we used to call them after every single episode.  It was the least we could do after watching our son turn blue, go limp and lose consciousness.  We came close to dialing 9-1-1 every time but then he would wake back up.  He would start breathing, and so would we.  But it continues and we recently saw what we think was seizure-like activity.  That warranted a 9-1-1 call but the paramedics knew less than we did.

What we have been told is that this is most likely a form of involuntary breath-holding syndrome.  Likely it will go away by the time he is no older than 7.  And likely there is no long-term effects.  But yet, we are still highly unnerved.  Somehow it doesn’t seem normal to watch your child lose consciousness for something as simple as a diaper change or a loud noise.

So now we’re continuing on the path of figuring out where to go next.  Ultimately we just want a physician who deals with this regularly to give us a thorough understanding of why it’s happening and what to expect.  Dr. Google has led us in circles.  Our pediatrician is wonderful but is not an expert on this.  The neurologist was perhaps an expert but poorly able to communicate anything helpful to us.  In one sentence he said it’s not a big deal, and in the next sentence he said we need to see a cardiologist.  So that’s where we head next.  But we feel like we’re driving along without a map in a fog.

Perhaps it’s time we stop and ask for directions.  There has to be someone out there (or many someones) out there who have been down this road before.  Is there an expert out there on this, or another set of parents who have figured out which tests to run and which tests can wait?  If so, please pass along your insight!

Much appreciated,


It takes a village (with coffee)

Hello… is this thing on?

I have been MIA from pretty much everything lately because 2016 has been sickity-sick-sick.  These poor kiddos can’t seem to catch a break… strep, croup, viral infections, colds, 5 infected ears, flu and many more Mitchell pass-out episodes.

There have been many nights where Denny and I looked at each other with the what the heck are we going to do look that all you parents out there know so well.  The look that asks, “How high is too high for a fever?… “Who’s going to miss work again this week?”… “How can we possibly go another night without sleep?”   This year has included lots of looks.  Looks of concern, looks of frustration, looks of exhaustion.


The look of an ear infection 🙁

The look of a tired boy (dino jammies rock!)

The look of a little girl with strep.


But just when we thought we couldn’t juggle one more schedule, or squeeze in one more trip to the doctor’s office, we realized all the support around us.  And we realized we are incredibly lucky!
Our pediatricians have squeezed us in over a dozen times, our parents have driven hundreds of miles, our bosses have understood, our co-workers have done favors, our favorite Timmy’s drive-thru employees have kept the coffee hot, our neighbors have kept the thoughts positive, and the EMT’s have kept us calm in the most unexpected of situations.

And now that spring is getting closer, we’re hoping the season of sick is getting further away.  We’re ready for healthy kids & happy outings.   But before we get back to normal we owe a few Thank you’s to some of our favorite people.  Thank you, thank you, thank you to our awesome village!!  Thanks for all the good thoughts & thanks for all the hot coffee!



PS  Does springtime = blog time?  Let’s hope!

The look of Better days! 🙂


Double Digits – Littlest M at 10 and 11 months

In just 2 days my brand new baby boy will turn ONE!  Whoa, that means he is no longer a brand new baby (insert sobs here).  I have no idea how that happened but we are excited about the chance to celebrate our favorite little guy!


Didn’t this just happen?!?

But before we celebrate 12 months, we need to celebrate months 10 & 11.  Here are the past two crazy months in a quick little blog post:


10 Months

Mitchell has been busy:

::  Growing, learning, babbling, smiling & melting hearts ::

November 2015 – Check out this sweet little boy. I can’t get enough of him!


::  Wiggling, jumping & dodging the camera ::

High roller in his fancy (stick-on) tie

Strike a pose!

This is the point when I gave up on trying to get cute smiling photos and I just let him jump.  Check out that cute little bum.


::  Celebrating the holidays  ::

Baby’s 1st Thanksgiving & Baby’s 1st Christmas!  It was fun having such an energetic little guy making the season bright.

On our way to the Polar Express.  PJ’s, hot chocolate and lots of family fun… we will definitely make this a tradition.


Meeting the Big Man!


::  Baby’s 1st Haircut  ::

We will categorize this as slightly traumatizing.

But he came out smiling! What a stud.


::  Partying like a frat boy  ::

This kiddo of ours still continues to wake up before the roosters.  He is often up & playing by 4:30am.  Coffee please!

Waaaaake up Mom!!!!!

And 11 Months

Mitchell filled the last month before turning One with tons of activity:

::  More Pictures  ::


I couldn’t imagine wrangling him into a onesie to try and get pictures so I just put the sticker on his crib and called it a day.


::  Hanging with Family  ::

We were so lucky to see so many people we love over the holidays.


Great Grandma & Grandpa!


::  Playing, Climbing & Having Fun  ::

Our little boy is climbing everywhere and he is full of energy.  Mitchell is completely fearless and he doesn’t think twice about diving head first into anything and everything.    He is getting closer to walking every day and we know he will be running shortly.  Now that he is more independent he loves to try and keep up with his Big Sister!

Checking out the new fun zone at the mall. A huge hit with both kiddos.


Santa brought a bounce house! He loves jumping in it with Kenzie. These two are inseparable.


And now it is almost time to party!!  We are just a few days away from Mitchell’s Winter ONEderland!  We’re doing a small party to Celebrate this adorable, giggly, wild, blue-eyed boy of ours.

We can’t wait to see what the next year will bring.  Happy Birthday Mitchell!!  We Love You to the Moon & Back.