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?

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A rocking party if I say so myself!

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

xoxo

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

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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!!

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Here are the highlights for each of us:

::  MITCHELL’S VACATION FAVES  ::

  • Steps that do NOT have a baby gate
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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.
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He couldn’t get enough of this.

  • The hotel water slide!
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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.)   🙂
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“Stay close Mom, we’re heading into the woods!”

 

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No line for the slide at this hour!

  • And oddles of fun on all the kiddie rides!
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These two had a blast at the Magic Forest, which was perfect for the kiddos!

 

 

::  MAKENZIE’S VACATION FAVES  ::

  • 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.
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Beach baby 🙂

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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.
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Asking Santa for a balance beam

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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.

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The flying bobsleds!

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Who doesn’t love a holiday moose?!?

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Christmas carousel with Daddy!

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Blitzen was hungry!

  • More rides at the Magic Forest and the giant 4-story slide that she bravely went down about 20 times.
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She flew down this slide then got up and ran back up the stairs for more!

  • And a giant lollipop, yum!
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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.

::  OUR VACATION FAVES  ::

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

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

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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,

Erin

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.

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::  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.

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::  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.

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::  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.

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Crawling through Radiator Springs.

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A bonus visit with Aunt Margie & Uncle Mike!

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::  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.

Eeeeeek!!!!!

 

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!

 

 

And miles to go before I sleep

There are few things I love more than words.  Words are so simple, yet when connected with other words they create powerful and meaningful messages.  Perhaps that’s why I love writing.  So I’m sure it’s no surprise that certain stories and poems regularly dance through my head.

One in particular is Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.  The final verse is this…

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
These words danced through my head while I stayed up all night packing before my many college moves.  These words danced through my head when I stayed up all night preparing for exams in grad school.  And these words definitely danced through my head during 3 am feedings with my little ones.
Tonight Denny and I drove home from his parent’s house and the words of Robert Frost again played over and over in my head as we made our way down the highway with our two little loves in the backseat.  Our initial plan wasn’t to come home at night but after our drive there we realized that Mitchell is not a fan of his car seat.  So around 9 pm with large coffees to go, we started the four-hour trek home in hopes that both Makenzie and Mitchell would sleep.
Makenzie was so uncomfortable and unable to sleep that I eventually had to climb into the backseat and squish between the two car seats with the hope of calming her down so that she could get a few winks of sleep.
The closer we got to home, the tighter I squeezed my buckled-up baby, and the more my mind raced.  We had miles to go, but I kept thinking about everyone else in our life who has miles to go.  During the past year we’ve seen some of the people we love most walking many long miles on life’s journeys.  Some journeys are to strengthen relationships, some are to learn to let go.  Some journeys are to find answers and some are to find cures.
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It is now 3 am. We’re home and our babies are finally sleeping in their beds.  The Easter Bunny stopped by the house and we’re just a few hours from Easter morning, yet my mind keeps racing.  So as we approach the sunrise of Easter morning, perhaps the Hope of this day will bring new strength to all those who have miles to go before they sleep.  Perhaps we will all try to be more mindful of those around us silently trekking along on journeys.  And perhaps, if we’re lucky, our miles will have someone we love to hold us until we make it home.
 Sweet Dreams and Happy Easter to you and your families!
XOXO
Erin

Trading in my Rookie status

I think I’m ready to trade in my Rookie Mom status.  I’m no pro but I’m nine weeks into my second maternity leave and I’ve learned a few things along the way…

When it comes to kids, 99% of tears can be solved by one of the following: a binky, a bottle, a swaddle, a clean diaper or an episode of weird Disney collector on YouTube.

Cat food is non-toxic and therefore is not harmful when digested by children (thank you Poison control center).

The world doesn’t judge you if your baby cries in public.  In fact, most people don’t even notice.

Kids look to their parents to determine their mood.  You’re cranky, they’re cranky.  You’re happy, they’re happy.  You’re calm, they’re calm.

Diapers leak, bottles leak and boobs leak… don’t leave home without a spare onesie, burp cloth or scarf.

And when it comes to moms, 99% of tears can be solved by one of the following: a glass of wine, a nap, a few minutes of HGTV or a hug from a little set of arms.

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Armed with these lessons, an overflowing diaper bag and a little bit of momfidence, my babies and I have been taking full advantage of my time off work to live it up!

Here’s what we’ve been doing over the past two months:

::  Making it out the door.  Some days this is a victory in itself.  ::

“Smile kids! We are all wearing pants, we are not covered in poop and we are out of the house before 11 am.”

 

::  Enjoying play dates  ::

It has been SO wonderful to spend time with many of my fellow mom friends who I often only see on Facebook.  We’ve been hosting and attending lots of play dates and it turns out that play dates are just as much fun for the moms as they are for the kids.

Kenz and one of her favorite buddies.

 

::  Bouncing around town  ::

So far we’ve been to the science museum, Rollie Pollies, Explore & More, story time at the library and this cool bounce house place.  Mitchell sleeps through most of our outings but Makenzie is having a blast.

This girl has no fear

 

Being worldly and checking out the Dutch windmills at Explore and More. Following this we continued our European education by enjoying some French fries from McDonald’s. Oui Oui!

 

::  Going for walks  ::

Now that Elsa broke the Frozen spell on Lancaster we’ve been enjoying a few trips around the neighborhood.  We can’t get enough of the fresh air and the extra hour of daylight.

Kenz carrying her baby like Mommy.

 

::  Roadtrippin  ::

Call us crazy but we decided we needed a trip to Ohio to see some of our favorite people.  Luckily we have two good little travelers.

Tired dolly

 

Kenz and her future boyfriend Keene.

 

Breakfast with Nana and Papa

::  Soaking in the smiles  ::

Usually we plan a day or two each week to just hang out in the house and have fun.  It’s a good place to be when you get to see grins like this all day.

Littlest M showing off his grins.

I’m still years away from Mom Pro status but each day I learn a few more lessons about how to be a mom of two kiddos.  My next lesson is going to be how I’ll leave my little M’s to head back to work. I work with awesome people and we have a good support system so we will just have to take it one day at a time (and plan on lots of take out).  Until then we’ll soak up our days together and enjoy a few more weeks of road trips, play dates and time in the slow lane.

xxoo

Erin

Cape May – the 1st official McGee Family Summer Vacation

Today we went back to reality – back to alarm clocks, back to schedules and back to real shoes.  It was the first day in about a week that I came home and didn’t find sand everywhere.  But despite being sand-free, today wasn’t nearly as good as the past week and a half.  Last week was the 1st official McGee Family Summer Vacation.

Beach, Sun, Sand, Strolls, Family Naps… the GOOD stuff of life!

We spent 5 days in Cape May, NJ, and we had a great time!  I could ramble on about our visit, but I think the pictures tell a pretty accurate story…

The McGee Mobile all loaded up and hitting the road (just kidding, it’s not our car but I wanted to make sure you are paying attention)

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Kenz living the dream – Baby Einstein, jammies, a paci and her big girl car seat. She was a rockstar traveler!

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View from Room 209. Not too shabby!

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And the lovely little views on Beach Avenue.   Cape May Is such a cool little town…

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Too cute!

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Voted favorite house on Beach Avenue by cute hubby.

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Voted favorite house on Beach Avenue by your (hopefully) favorite Mommy McBlogger.

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Happy little picket fence

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A snapshot of the houses looking out to the Atlantic Ocean.

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And the lovely little views of Mom-cam.

Say Cheese!!

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Makenzie’s 1st dip of her little tootsies in the ocean

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And Makenzie’s 1st dip into the pool (how cute are those chunky thighs?)

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She Loved the sand – playing in it and eating it!

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And she loved the view (so did I)      🙂

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We sure loved Cape May!!

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And it sure tired us out…

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See you soon beach, we’ll be back!

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