Archives for May 2013

Picture of the Week *Our Little Water Baby*

One of the items on the McGee Family Fun List for the summer was Sign Kenzie up for swim class.

Makenzie turned 6 months in April which meant that she was officially ready to be in the Shrimp Swim Class at the Y.  So I stalked the registration site until non-member registration became available, and bam, we made it into my preferred Saturday 9am swim class group.  Heck yeah, check that off the list!

We are now halfway through with our swim classes and it has definitely become one of the best parts of our week.  Makenzie has a great time and I get the fun of being her buddy in the pool.  She splashes, kicks, and sings songs (well I sing and she gives me that “Mom please quit singing in public” look).  And if I toss the little pink starfish away from us, she is great at spotting it and swimming over to it.  It could because she is truly a swimming prodigy, or more than likely, because she likes to catch it and chew on it.  Either way, we have fun.

And right around the time when she turned 6 months we brought out her big girl ducky tub.  She was so proud to sit in it and splash.  The girl doesn’t go a day without cracking us up!

Check out the pictures… it looks like she’s turning into quite the little water baby!

Water baby collage


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RSVP’ing for 3 instead of 2

There is something to be said for annual events.  Whether it’s the family dinner on Turkey Day or the first day of school, these repeat occurrences force us to acknowledge change.

In this case, it’s our neighborhood’s annual Memorial Day bash.  Thank you to our very kind friends just across the street for rolling out the welcome mat each and every year regardless of weather, busy schedules and prior year’s alcohol-induced behavior.

Yesterday was another great get together.  But for some reason, this year really made me think.  It’s crazy how being in the same place at the same time every year can really clarify all the changes – both good and bad – that have occurred in the past 365 days in our neighborhood, in our families and in our world.

This year the biggest change for us is the head count from the McGee house.  For the first time, I RSVP’d for a family of 3 instead of 2.  When Denny and I started attending the annual Memorial Day party a few years ago we were the ones leading the charge for more and more rounds of flip cup.  We’d roll home way past midnight and then sleep a solid 12 hours all the while thanking the national holiday gods for the fact that we didn’t have to work until Tuesday.    This year, we rolled a baby stroller home to ensure our munchkin could get 12 hours of sleep all while thanking our lucky stars for the littlest guest at the party.

Talk about change…really good change.

But then there’s all the other change, some good and some not so good.  It’s crazy to think about the power of one year.  Over the course of phone calls, for sale signs, text messages, trips to the hospital, conversations shared over coffee and conversations shared in driveways, the twists and turns of life are carved out in our worlds.

For some of us, change consists of a 4 new walls, new neighbors, and a new home.

For some of us change consists of welcoming a new life, or saying good-bye to a life you knew.

For some of us, we choose to leave for what we think is a better place.

For others of us, we fight like hell in hopes that we get to stay in what we already know is a really good place.

This change that we face is not always fair, and it’s not always easy, but it’s always there.

No matter how many years pass I still find it impossible to ever expect or to ever be prepared for all the change, yet I’ve learned that the trick to navigating it all is to have a good little support system around you.  And if you’re really lucky that little support system will start right at your doorstep.


Darn you Rosie!

It’s been one heck of a week!   I’ve missed bedtime 3 times.  (Insert sad face and extremely guilt-ridden Mom).

I’m glad to have a job I really enjoy.  And I’m so incredibly lucky that I have one heck of a husband who has no problem taking over all bedtime duties when I’m tied up with work.  But during weeks like this when I need more time, I get frustrated and blame the most obvious person there is.

Rosie the Riveter.  Rosie the darn Riveter!

Darn you Rosie!!

Rosie, I truly applaud your ambition and I fully respect your dream to create equality among the genders, but really Rosie… really?!  We Can Do It?!  C’mon,  this is a lot of pressure for women.  You’re killing me girl!

And honestly If you had just sat back and baked cookies a few more decades, Pinterest would have emerged and you could have used all that bustling energy of yours to craft yourself silly.

In some ways Rosie, you have a point. We CAN Do it all!   And We do DO it all every single day.  (Way to go Moms!)

But times have changed and I think it’s time your slogan does too.  It’s certainly not going to be the same for everyone but here are a few options…

rosie the riveter part-time basis

Sigh, Imagine how different like would be if Rosie Posie would have gone with this slogan

rosie the riveter spa

Ladies, I’d get this in writing

rosie the riveter cleaning lady

(A Roomba can be substituted if you can’t find a local Merry Maid)

So to the women of the world feeling the pressure of a slogan from the days before color TV, pressure no more!!  Take that darn slogan and make it your own!!

Here’s mine!

rosie the riveter flex time

PS  On a good note, you don’t have to do anything for another 3 days, wahoo.  Happy Memorial Day weekend to all!!

Changing Diapers or Building a Cathedral?

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I work in a really cool place (thank goodness or else I’d never be able to leave Makenzie’s sweet little face each day).  I work in the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.  Our goal is to be a resource for business owners and  strategic players in companies as they take their business to the next level, essentially invigorating the WNY community.

When connecting with these business owners about their purpose, there is a little story that we use about how perspective can make a huge difference.  If you haven’t heard it before, here it is…

A man came across three bricklayers busy at work. He asked the first bricklayer, “What are you doing?”

“I’m laying bricks,” the first bricklayer said.

The man asked the second bricklayer the same question.

“I’m putting up a wall,” was the reply.

The passerby then posed the question to the third bricklayer.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“I’m building a great cathedral,” the third bricklayer replied.


It’s a pretty cool story, right?  And today it got me thinking about being a Mom.  Being a Mom is similar to being a business owner; it’s not always easy.  It can be exhausting, frustrating and trying, to say the least.  It’s non-stop and it can sometimes make you pull out your hair.   So I figured I’d share this story for all those over-worked, under-compensated, and over-tired Moms out there.

Think of it like this…

Yes you are constantly changing diapers, wiping spit-up and struggling with sleep deprivation.  But what you’re really doing is creating an amazing little life for your sweet baby.  You’re teaching your son or daughter everything about your world, your values and your focus on life.  You’re slowly but surely building the foundation for your child; and on that foundation, they will someday create a beautiful cathedral.

So on your tough Mom days, give yourself a break and take a minute to catch your breath and drink some water.  It’s not easy to build a cathedral one brick at a time, but you’re doing it!  And you should be very proud!

Pictures of the Week *Seven Months!*

Makenzie Ruth is 7 Months!

5_7 7 months 2

It’s going SO fast and it’s been so fun!   Here’s what the little munkin (one of our favorite nicknames for her — mix of munchkin + pumpkin) has been up to this month:

Eating:  Kenz-o LOVES puffs!  She can feed them to herself and she can’t get enough.  And when it comes to other foods, she’ll eat anything – prunes, green beans, apples, pears, bananas, peaches, you name it – EXCEPT if it is mixed.  Lately we’ve tried some (what we thought were) delicious combos like peach oatmeal, apples & bananas, and strawberry blueberry, and she hates it.  Really hates it.  We’re talking meltdown city every time.  Perhaps she’s the kind of kiddo that won’t want her food to touch on her plate?

Learning & Exploring: She’s SO excited to explore everything — touching, grabbing and putting it all in her mouth!  She’s talking and giggling all day.  And she’s just about crawling now and pulling herself up too!  The below pictures of the photo shoot tell it’s own story of her activity level.

imageDoes that really say 7 Months?!?    I’m a BIG girl now!


Oooh, that looks yummy!


7 Months, here I come!


Darn, Mommy moved it too far away and now I can’t get it


Guess I’ll just sit here and grin. 🙂

Sleeping:  Our girl is officially in the crib and sleeping through the night in it (I realize this may have jinxed it).   Who knew she would resist going from the Rock N Play so much, but I think we’ve finally get her on board with the crib plan!  It might be due to the 78 pacis that we sprinkle all over the crib for her to ensure she’ll always be an arms reach with a self-soothing little piece of rubber, but who cares??  When it comes to parenting I’ve learned that you’ve gotta do what works!

Teeth:  Still none yet, although we’re officially The Parents that cried Teething We’ve been convinced that those unusually fussy days have been due to teething for about 4 months now, but we’ve been wrong every time, oops.   I’ll be kind of embarrassed to buy another box of Hylands teething tablets if those little buggers don’t show up soon.  Live and learn.

Best part of being 7 Months:    All of it so far!  I guess we’ve been having so much fun that we’re really behind on blogging since our little girl is almost 8 months.   And more to come soon but Kenz has had lots of firsts during her 7 months – swim class, big girl baths and trips to the zo0 – stay tuned, the fun is just beginning!


Follow Makenzie’s journey month-by-month

Mommy McBlog


Dear Makenzie… A mother’s Day note from me to you

Dear Makenzie,

In case I haven’t shared this with you, my goal is to live to at least 100 so I can watch you grow, cheer for you, teach you, discipline you (sorry kiddo, it’s part of the game), comfort you, support you when you have to learn those necessary but difficult life lessons, and love you unconditionally.  I’m the only Mom you’ll ever have so even on the days when you swear that I ruined your life forever (followed by a dramatic door slam) just know that I’m still here for you.  Basically you’re stuck with me for good.  And I have about a million things I’d like to share with you so we’ll definitely need a good 50-70 more years together.   But in case we only get 49 years together or in case I forget something I want to teach you (not that I’d ever forget anything, except your bottles the other day, oops), I figured I’ll write it all down so you can someday read it.  So here goes…

Tomorrow is my 1st official Mother’s Day (unless you count last year when you were hanging out in my tummy) but I don’t need or want anything from you.  Instead I want to tell you that you’ve made me one of the luckiest mamas in the world.  The day is supposedly about appreciating Moms but without you I would not be one so let’s share this one together.

When I first laid eyes on you in the wee hours of the morning on October 4th, you absolutely melted my heart.  You were (and continue to be) the coolest baby of all time!  I’m not sure how you do it but you amaze me, you crack me up, you make me get up in the middle of the night without a second thought (a miracle in itself because I love my sleep), you make it okay to sing Wheels on the Bus all through the grocery store, and you make my heart feel so full that I honestly think it might explode some days.


Kenz, you’re kind of like hitting the baby lottery (except you make our bank account smaller not larger but you know what I mean).   And I’m still not sure how your dad and I got so lucky to have such a happy, healthy and sweet baby girl but we did.  We promise to never go a day without thanking our lucky stars, and to never ever take you for granted.

So let’s take each Mother’s Day as a chance to be extra appreciative that we have each other.  Let’s use Mother’s Day as another excuse to not worry about the obligations and To Do lists in life (which could be particularly difficult if you’ve inherited my Type-A traits), but instead use it as a day to hang out longer, stay up a little later and share some extra time together.

On Mother’s Day, it you & me, girl!  Who knows, 70 days like this might just fly by so let’s kick tomorrow off in style.  Snuggles, playtime, Elmo dance party, brunch and all your favorite books.

Love you SO much Kenzie, xoxo


PS  Let’s also take tomorrow to be SO grateful for all the other wonderful Moms, Aunts, Nanas, Mamaws and Great-Grandmas in our little world.  I can’t say it enough, but how’d we get so lucky?

Makenzie's GREAT grandparents.  What a lucky lady she is to have 6 grandparents!

Makenzie’s GREAT grandparents

5_4 Kenz Nana

Nana and her girl

5_5 Nancy and girls

A long line of McGee ladies

Auntie Melissa, cousin Jack, Kenz and Mom

Auntie Melissa, cousin Jack, Kenz and Mom

And last but not least some long distance love to Grammy Boo in Texas. See you soon, xoxo

What a great (and very Pink) Year it’s been…

Last year on the Saturday before Mother’s Day we found out if we were having a Boy or Girl!!   The year has flown by and has been full of happy (pink-filled) memories.  But it was such a fun day it was worth looking back.   Here’s the recap:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Power of Pronouns

I’m very much an English geek. It has always been my favorite subject in school and my someday dream job is to be a professional blogger. But this weekend made me realize how much I LOVE pronouns.

She ~~ Her ~~ Shes ~~ Hers

What beautiful words!! These are music to our ears!

Let me take you back to Saturday morning…

Denny and I had the long-awaited ITSA party to find out if It’s A Boy or It’s a Girl! It was hands down one of the most amazing weekends we have had in years.

I was wide awake by 6 AM! I could barely sleep because I was so excited to find out about the little person joining our family. I was 99% certain it was a boy but I wanted to see the blue balloons to be sure. I thought Denny was 99% certain it was a boy too, but at the last minute he came downstairs in a PINK shirt with a blue vest. Pink shirt?!? I was shocked, but he said he had a last-minute feeling it could be a girl.

Denny and I were so fortunate to have a lot of friends and family join us for the big reveal. By 11 AM, the excitement was out of control, and our neighbor Theresa brought over the box (she was kind enough to pick it up from the florist).

Here it is, YAY!!!

Our friends and family were really anxious and almost everyone dressed in either pink or blue.  It was so great to see that everyone was excited as us.  Check out this spirit!


By noon we were ready for the reveal.  Our hearts were racing as we realized it was time to find out if we were having a boy or girl!  I’ll let the pictures tell this part of it…

“Ready to do this?”
“Hold my hand, I’m nervous”


So Shocked, So Happy…

So Emotional!

We’re having a Little Girl!

Everyone was beyond thrilled!  The rest of the day was a blur filled with phone calls, texts, and a trip to Babies R Us.

It is still sinking in for Denny and me, but on a walk tonight we discussed what this means to our friends and family.  It’s fun to see where she fits in our little world.
Baby Girl McGee will be the first grand-daughter to both sets of our parents  (Denny’s Mom never thought she would have a granddaughter, and already promised to buy her diamond studs when we get her ears pierced)
She will be the first girl to be born to a Quilty cousin in about 10 years (this ends the streak of about 9 boys).  She will be the first girl to be born on the Synk side since me (but in fairness, my cousin PJ was the only other birth)
When it comes to my college roomies, she will be girl #4 out of 4 babies total.  Apparently none of us will ever have a boy.
On our half of the street, there has not been a new baby boy in about 16 years (the few boys that live near us moved here later in life)
So there you have it… One AMAZING weekend!
Now it’s time to Think Pink!

It’s A…

…Recap of one year ago today!

It was the Friday before Mother’s Day and we were SO EXCITED to get an answer to the Big Question… Boy or Girl!  We were having a Gender Reveal Party on Saturday (Mother’s Day Eve) and we would find out the truth about Baby McGee alongside some of our closest friends and family.  It ended up being one of the BEST weekends in McGee history, and I still get giddy thinking about that day.  I definitely think it’s worth the stroll down memory lane.  And stay tuned this weekend, I’ll re-post about the day we found out Team Pink or Team Blue.   You obviously know the verdict, but it’s fun to get all sentimental and sappy once in a while (sniff, sniff, get out the tissues).


Friday, May 11, 2012

In Just One Day…

We will officially find out if we are becoming parents to a boy or girl!  This week has been a mix of emotions– lots of excitement about how our life is changing, an ounce of trepidation about how or if we will ever find all the time and money to be great parents, and a bit of tiredness (let’s be real, all this party planning can be tiring for a mama-to-be).  We only want a healthy baby but the reality of this is starting to sink in.    Tomorrow our life will change.

We will find out if…

Denny will have a daughter to someday walk down the aisle,
If I will have a son to teach about how to treat your mom.

We will find out if…

Denny will have a son to take outside and show him the essentials of baseball,
If I will have a daughter to take to dance lessons, cheerleading tryouts and Prom dress shopping.

It is incredibly exciting yet very surreal!  It will be a great day regardless if the box is filled with pink or blue balloons.  We want to savor it and remember every minute of this because I’m pretty sure the next 18 years will fly by, and before we know it we will be spending our Saturdays in May at Graduation ceremonies, college Parents weekends and perhaps even weddings (speaking of, do we need to start saving for that too?)
Have a great weekend everyone, and an especially Hapy Mother’s Day weekend to all those amazing women out there that we love, that we miss, and that we admire for their compassion, endless energy, and amazing courage.  XOXO Mamas!

Picture of the Week *Ryan is 2!*

We are still recovering from a super fun weekend in Ohio and one of the highlights of the trip is that my favorite little buddy Ryan turned 2 this weekend!   How did that happen?  It seems like it was just a few weeks ago that we waited all day and all night for him to arrive.  He’s such a cutie pie and we love him so much!




Check out how much he’s grown and check out his awesome 2nd Birthday celebration (way to go Mom of the Year Melissa!)


Awesome Cars theme Party!


Family photo shoot!


And in honor of his Big Birthday, I figured I’d recap Ryan’s arrival into this world.  It still remains one of the happiest days of my life and I’m glad that I was able to be there and meet him when he first arrived.

(This post is an oldie but goodie from the old blog)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Ryan!

On May 3, 2011, I woke up at 5:30 AM to find out Melissa was officially in labor!!  Hooray!!
So off to the hospital we all went…
Mama-to-be Ready to go!!
It turned our Ryan wanted another Birthday; he wanted May 4th to be his day.  And he was the one in charge of the day so we waited…
and waited…
My cousins Leslie and I made Melissa pratice for the scary parts of labor…
Then we ate…
Then we waited more…
When we got bored waiting, we pretended to sleep while we continued to wait…
And FINALLY about 26 hours later,
one of the cutest, sweetest, most beautiful baby boys arrived to the world
(well worth the wait and the calories)!
Family photo!
Meeting Nana and Papa
Little cutie!
Happy Birthday Ryan Paul Bixler! 
We Love You so much and you have brought more happiness into our lives
than we could ever imagine!
We can’t wait to watch you grow up!
xoxo Uncle Denny, Aunt Erin & Cousin Bean