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.


Our completely imperfect perfect little Christmas

Here it is… a mere 4 days until Santa arrives and the full-on frenzy is underway.

Maybe it’s the fact that we have 2 kiddos this year, or maybe it’s the fact that life in general has been demanding, but this is the absolute least ready I have ever been for Christmas.   The house is semi-decorated at best, the cards are partly sent, the gifts are unwrapped and the cookies are a complete & total write-off.  Life is a blur of coffee, wrapping paper and holly jolly panic.  Who’s with me?

But here’s what we’re getting right…

Visitors, hot cocoa, late nights (aka 9 pm) cuddling with our favorite little elves watching Elf, a trip on the Polar Express, completed letters to Santa, a night of gingerbread house decorating & Jingle Bell dance parties.

It turns out that the exact reason I’m behind on anything & everything (hint, hint: Little M & Littlest M) are the exact reasons I need to loosen the reins on my type-A sleigh and just enjoy the ride.  These two little people who bring us so much joy & chaos & happiness are the reasons we need to accept imperfection and embrace the fun.

So for this holiday I’m doing my best to be like Elsa and Let is Go.  I’m giving up on the 12 days of Pinterest, the fancy wreaths and the festive cookies.  I’m accepting that half-way decorated in the eyes of a Mom can mean beautiful in the eyes of a little one.  And I’m focusing on spending time with people versus spending money on things (excluding all things Amazon Prime, obviously).

This Christmas we’re busy teaching these kiddos the real reasons for the season.  So please excuse the card you may or may not receive from us (just know we’re thinking of you!).  Forgive the messy half-lit house and don’t stay up all night waiting for me to deliver cookies.   But please take a moment to stop over and join in the dance party.  You’ll be glad you did!

It’s pretty fun when you stop to enjoy the completely imperfect perfect little Christmas.

From our house to yours,


::  A Few Holiday Highlights  ::

Girls night out holiday fun!


Polar Express – So much Excitement!

Meeting the Big Man!

The coolest Dad out there!

Getting it just right.


And my favorite holiday photo… this perfectly sums up our life right now.   Perfectly imperfect!




I get it. I get the Disney magic!

For the first time in forever… we get it.

I’m not exactly sure how it happened but somewhere between our first positive pregnancy test and our first seven-passenger car…  Somewhere between Makenzie’s first steps and the kid’s first steps into the Happiest Place on Earth… somewhere between “Honey, let’s take a small vacation this fall,” and “Honey, we’re going to Disney” (I’m still not sure how that even happened), we get it.

Denny and I are just back (well, about 4 weeks ago but that’s how long it has taken me to finish this post) from Disney and we understand why people love it soooo much.

We get why people go year after year.

We get the magic.

We get it all.

i believe in the magic

We had an awesome, short & sweet trip to the Happiest Place on Earth and we were blown away by how fun it is.  It was no doubt stressful at times to travel with 2 kiddos, but both Makenzie and Mitchell did great!   We’ll give the trip two thumbs up and we will be back soon.


::  McGees Go To Disney!  ::

Mamaw and Makenzie’s 1st plane ride


We’re here! This is when I was first hit with a wave of amazement and the tears started.


::  Chef Mickey’s  ::

Meeting this Big Man on campus.

Smitten. Makenzie had no words.

A Minnie kiss for Makenzie. Mitchell Man was reaching out to see if she was really real.

More amazement. More happy tears from me.  Denny’s tears came when we got the Chef Mickey’s bill.


::  Art of Animation  ::

We really loved the Art of Animation Resort.  Good food, great suite set-up and ahhh-mazing pools (plural).  Two thumbs up!

The Big Blue Pool. And each day there was a Disney Jr. pool party perfect for Kenz with games & songs!

Get in there, little buddy!


Hanging out with some of the Cars characters. We walked down Route 66 each day to get to our room.


Crawling through Radiator Springs.


A bonus visit with Aunt Margie & Uncle Mike!


::  Magic Kingdom Day  ::

Whoa, bring on the tears.  I had no idea how this place would impact me as a Mom.

7am and on our way!! Kenz thought it was awesome that she did not need a car seat. It’s the little things. 🙂

We hit up the carousel, Flying Dumbos, Little Mermaid ride, Teacups, and then it was time to meet the princesses.   Makenzie told me she was nervous and wasn’t sure what she would say to them.  Mitchell Man wasn’t as impressed but he did get a big kiss from Rapunzel, which made him very happy.

She was so sweet and Kenz didn’t want to let go of her.

And then came Cinderella. Wow! It was undoubtedly the best part of our entire trip. I’ve never seen Makenzie look so happy.


Ariel was super sweet too. She read Makenzie part of her book.

We took a long mid-day nap, and then when we came back we walked directly towards the Dream Along With Mickey show taking place at the castle. Such a cute show!

“Daddy, looooook!!!!!”

Minnie, Snow White & Cinderella dancing & singing… talk about the happiest three-year-old on the planet!


Going strong late into the night with Mamaw at MK!

Carousel ride as we waited for the Electrical Parade to start.

Hey, there’s that handsome husband of mine! Remember when we used to fill up the digital camera with pictures of just the two of us during pre-kid trips?! This is as good as it gets now, but we’ll take it. 🙂


And just when we thought it couldn’t get better, a last minute FastPass opened to sneak in and meet the Frozen gals.



Seriously magical!

::  We’ll Miss you Disney!  ::

Like all good things, our trip had to come to an end.  We had such an awesome visit & we’ll be back.

All smiles watching for our plane to pull up.


See ya!



Let them be Little… tales about my growing Littles!

let them be little cause theyre only that way

Let them be little, they say…

but how is that possible, I ask… when they keep growing, growing, growing!


I’m behind with the updates (again), but my babes keep growing.

In October, my girl turned three!


Makenzie Ruth – I could squeeze her all day!

::  In just one year she became a dancer, a non-stop talker and a big sister.  Here are some little things about her I hope I never forget  ::

Favorite color: Purple

Favorite food: Pasta, pizza & candy

Favorite book:  Pigs in Hiding (which was mine when I was a kid) and Carl’s Birthday (she pretends she is the little girl in it)

Favorite Things to do:  Color, play hide & seek, visit the neighbors & play with her dress-up clothes.

Famous Quotes:  “Mommy, I wanna hold your hand… forever!”  Talk about melt your heart moments.

    “Ohh yeah, that’s a great idea!” when you suggest pretty much anything fun to her  🙂

    Nana: “I love you to pieces, Makenzie.”  Kenz: “But Nana, I’m not a puzzle!”

Favorite toys: Hungry Hungry hippo, puzzles and Tubes (aka Youtube when she is allowed to play with our phones)

Favorite movies:  Mary Poppins & Annie

When she grows up:   She said she wants to be a doctor, just like Doc McStuffins

Best friends:  Mitchell!  And Kenz definitely thinks that she is one of the big girls and her other best friends are the Signal Drive girls.  They are just so sweet to her!

Kenz and ‘Liva’! I love these two.

Party time:  We had a fun little party for her at her dance studio (DanSations Rocks!).  It was a great time and a perfect reason to give tutus to all!



Make a Wish Makenzie Ruth!



Me on my 3rd Birthday in the mid 80’s! (Thanks to my mom for bringing this to the celebration)



She thought it was funny to see me this young.



Family photo fun



Group hug!


Listening to the awesome Miss Liza


Love my tiny tapper. 🙂

What this year will bring:  On the night Kenz turned three we asked her what she wanted to do this year.  You’re never too young to make a strategic plan!  She was very thoughtful and her list included… eat popcorn at night, ride a train, fly in a plane, help Mitchell to walk & teach him tricks (aka somersaults), meet Ariel & turn into a mermaid, poop on the potty (let’s hope this happens before she’s 30), and count to 100, just to name a few.


“This one Mommy!”


We’re a month in and we’ve already achieved some of these, score!

Makenzie is definitely a first born.  She is confident, independent and she loves to be silly & have fun.  She is incredibly maternal to Mitchell and she is so full of love.  She is a rule follower, a thoughtful little soul & the sweetest little girl we could have ever imagined.

We can’t wait to see what this year brings!


And our Littlest M is now 9 Months and getting very close to 10 Months!

He is a busy & adorable little boy.

Favorite things to do:  Crawling, climbing, clapping (his newest trick!), saying Dada, and playing with Kenz.

Medical update:  We finally have clarity.  We know the involuntary breath holding will continue for potentially 7 more years, but we also know the stomach challenges are related to reflux.  Our pediatrician has been incredible and we will (hopefully) not have to go through any more tests.

Foods:  He finally enjoys eating.  His favorite foods are oatmeal and puffs.


Drummer boy.

9-month photo shoot

A blur! This boy is soooo busy! This sums up his activity level.


Mr. Giggles. 🙂

And more activity & giggles.



M&M sure make our lives complete.  They make life crazy, exhausting & more fun that we could ever imagine.

My home is filled with toys, has fingerprints on everything and is never quiet. My hair is usually a mess and I'm always tired, but there is always love and laughter. In 20 years my children won't remember the house or my hair, but they will remember the time we spent together and the love they felt. ♥ We've got so many more fantastic parenthood quotes on Joy of Mom - drop by and visit us! ♥ www.facebook.com/... #parenthood #quote #kids #children #love #joyofmom:


Mitchell Man at 8 months

Eight Months with our Mitchell Man!

The funny thing about baby #2 is how little one-on-one time you get to spend with them so Denny and I have been making extra efforts for some individual time with this little buddy.


Sneaking in some post-bath time snuggles!


Party time with Daddy! Just this month he started saying “Dada”!


This kid is all boy.  Check out his 8-month photo shoot.  I’m sweating again just looking at the pictures.  He is a blur of activity, giggles and spit ups.


Soooo busy!


Here is how our little monkey spends his time:

::  Cruising around the furniture  ::

This guy is on the go.  He is ready to take steps on his own any day now.  I can’t imagine how pumped he will be to keep up with his big sister.  He likes to crawl around the house in attempt to keep up with her but he always cries when she gets out of his sight.

Hi Mom!

Clothes optional when you look this cute!



::  Boy Time  ::
Littlest M loves his guy time.  Now that football is in full swing, he likes to spend Sundays with Daddy in just a onesie (Mitchell in a onesie, not Denny) cheering for the Bills and Steelers.  He also likes cruising around on the Laugh n’ Learn pup with his big cousins.


“Let’s tighten up these lug nuts things behind the pup ears, and find some torque something-or-other.”

He can also hold his own against Uncle Scott!

Jab, jab, jab, right hook.



::  Dreaming about the day he can participate in big kid activities  ::

This picture says it all.

Someday buddy, someday.


::  Laughing and having fun with Makenzie  ::

These two are awesome together.  Mitchell loves it when his sister wakes up in the morning and always crawls in to see her, and then greets her with tons of grins.  These two love to hang out in the crib together.


Giggle fest!


Watching for Daddy!



::  On a very serious note, we’re finally getting answers on all this medical stuff  ::

This month has undoubtedly been the biggest roller coaster thus far of having kids.  All rational thought goes out the window when it comes to your baby’s health.

Mitchell continues to have pass out spells.  These are completely terrifying, but we now know they are harmless.  He was diagnosed with involuntary breath holding spells.   Read more about these here.  If anyone knows another family dealing with this, please let us know!

He did really well during his EEG and we ruled our seizure activities.  Yay!  More tests to come next week due to his reflux but we now know definitively about the breath holding incidents.  Thanks for the good thoughts you’ve been sending our way.

He was a champ!


We love this little guy so much and we could not imagine our world without his sweet smile.  The rest of October will bring our first family of four vacation and then Mitchell’s 1st Halloween.  Let’s hope that everyone aboard Southwest Flight 983 shares his enthusiasm.

We love you to the moon & back Littlest M!


Mom & Dad

Dear brand new Mom, a little note for you to read in the wee hours of the night…

Dear brand new Mom,

Today I ran into you and I saw in your eyes something so real and something so raw. I saw how fulfilled you were with love and gratitude for this brand new amazing life that you created.  Your baby is just so beautiful!  But right along with that I saw your feelings of doubt, of exhaustion and of complete overwhelm.  Today I wanted to reach out and hug you and tell you to go and take a long nap.  Today I want you to know that I know exactly how you’re feeling.

And guess what? It’s okay.

Three years ago today I was you. I was home with a baby who was only single digit days old.  She ate nonstop.  She cried nonstop and she rarely, if ever, slept.  The adrenaline of meeting her had subsided and in its place were all kinds of feelings I never expected.  I was in pain and I was sore on every inch of my now deflated body.  I was more tired than I ever imagined.  I was somewhat sad that my once-controlled life seemed to have vanished completely.  I was feeling so damn lonely.  And I was beyond embarrassed that I felt any of this.  I couldn’t stop thinking that I spent my whole life wanting this… how dare I feel this way when I was so incredibly lucky to be a mom.

New mom, I want you to know that this entourage of feelings will be gone in a blink, and in its place will be a baby who you get to know better than yourself.  In its place will come giggles and full nights of sleep.  In its place will come confidence, slowly but surely, about how to raise this sweet baby of yours.  And in its place will come healing, control (somewhat) and believe it or not, a sense of sadness that those brand new baby days have come and gone.

But for now, just take it one hour at a time.  Just breath in and breath out.  Just forget about your bathroom that needs cleaned, and forget about that meal you were going to cook.  Just forget about those Pinterest perfect baby announcements and forget about those thank you notes.  Just forget about breastfeeding for one or two feedings and get some sleep (I promise your baby will not grow warts if he or she has formula).

New mom, you are on a brand new journey and the world wants you to know that it’s okay to feel the way you feel.  We all know that you feel that way not because you are a bad mom, but you feel this way for quite the opposite reason.  You feel this way because You are an incredible mom…. You are a beautiful mom… You are a grateful mom…  New mom, the world is lucky to have you and so is your sweet new baby.




The (really) Great Pumpkin Farm

It turns out that life with 2 kids is definitely not a fairy tale…

Denny and I are incredibly grateful for 2 healthy kids, but I would be lying if I said that it isn’t hard work every single day.  Some days we just lack the energy and motivation to pack the bags, make the picnic lunches, find the matching shoes, wrestle the kids into the car seats… the list goes on and on.  And on those days we just scrap the plans, toss the kids some Tim Bits, and settle in at home.


But Saturday was different.  I’m not sure why, but Saturday we hit our stride.  Saturday we got it together and we headed to the awesome Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence, NY.  (No fairy godmother assistance required)  And I’m so glad that we did!

 The cutest little pumpkins in the patch!

The cutest little pumpkins in the patch!

It was one of those rare meltdown-free days.  Makenzie loved all of it… the singing chickens, the magic show, the rides, the jumping pillows, and of course, all of the pumpkins.  She had endless energy, and she even had a pumpkin themed shirt.  Score, two bonus points for this mom!

Mitchell loved it all too.  He was mellow while we watched the entertainers.  He was sleeping when we explored the kiddie coaster and swings.  And he was perfectly adorable when we finally ventured over to the pumpkins.  Way to go, little buddy!


By midnight the spell was over.   The mellow, happy, Normall Rockwell-esque kids returned to our crazy muchkins who fight naps and wake up at all hours of the night.  My clean mom attire turned back into spit-up covered sweats.  And our carriage was really just a family-sized SUV all along.  But we were left with lots of great memories and of course, a pumpkin or two.


I don’t have a glass slipper to prove any of this, but I do have a few pictures…



Baby’s 1st autumn!  Checking out these big orange things




I actually made it in a picture.


She’s such a big girl on the swings!


Pumpkin farm express


Testing out the new pumpkin farm jumping pillows. Two thumbs up from this girl!


All tired out.


Petting the bunny, Abby Cadabara! This little furry guy was her favorite part of the magic show.


<3 these two.


And they lived (mostly) happily ever after…

thanks to bribes, wine & a good sense of humor.