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!

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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:

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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!

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::  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.

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::  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!

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::  Baby’s 1st Haircut  ::

We will categorize this as slightly traumatizing.

But he came out smiling! What a stud.

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::  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  ::

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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.

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::  Hanging with Family  ::

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

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Great Grandma & Grandpa!

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::  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.

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

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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.

xoxo

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,

Erin

::  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.

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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!

 

 

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!

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

In October, my girl turned three!

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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!

 

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Make a Wish Makenzie Ruth!

 

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

 

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She thought it was funny to see me this young.

 

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Family photo fun

 

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Group hug!

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Listening to the awesome Miss Liza

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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.

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“This one Mommy!”

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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!

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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.

 

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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:

 

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.

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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!

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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.

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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

 

Cheese!

 

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.

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And they lived (mostly) happily ever after…

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

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xoxo

Seven Months!

Seven Months of this sweet face!  Ohh, he sure melts my heart.

  

  

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On the Eve Eve of my son turning Eight Months it is time I finish up his Seven month post.  #SecondKidProblems   This is how my favorite little guy fills his time:

::  Crawling… everywhere!  ::

He is well ahead of where Makenzie was at this age.  There’s no doubt that he does not want to miss out on a minute of fun with Big Sis.

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It is impossible to keep this kid still to change his diapers. We have had poop smear in more places than I’d like to admit, eek!

:: 
Standing & Scooting  ::

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7 month bum!

“Look at me standing, Mom!”

Making messes…

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Babyproof means nothing to this kid. He is all boy!

FaceTiming Elmo…

Best. app. ever!

::  And hanging with Big Sis!  ::

I hope these two continue to be this close in the future. Makenzie is his little mommy!

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Mitchell Dennis adds so much to our family!  He is still waking up long before the roosters but he gets away with it because of those blue eyes and that cute giggle.

On a serious note, this month brings a new set of nervousness because he continues to have breath holding/pass out spells.  They seem to be harmless but we need to take him for some tests to be sure.  Thank you to everyone who has been asking about this.  Fingers crossed everything comes back normal.

It’s hard to believe that we are getting to his very 1st Holidays and then his 1st Birthday.  We’re thinking of making it a Mitch-a-palooza theme.  Free juice & Live music… totally appropriate right?  I can see the Pinterest board now.

Or maybe we will just go with an Elmo theme.

Love,

Mom of the Year

Dear Mitchell, a very important note for you

Dear Littlest love of mine,

In all the chaos of you and your sister, it appears that I forgot to teach you something very important.  I’m so sorry!  Hopefully this note will make up for it.  Read it, take notes, and for the love of all things Mickey Mouse please try to follow each and every step…

 

How to sleep through the night:

1.) Take a bubble bath (I’ll do most of the heavy lifting with this step buddy, you just try to not pee on me).

2.) Slip into cozy jammies and an overnight diaper.

3.) Enjoy 7 ounces of your lukewarm & delicious nighttime bottle.

4.) Close those pretty blue eyes.

5.) Roll over & snuggle in.

6.) Dream of airplanes, baseballs, puffs, whatever floats your baby boat…

7.) Keep those eyes closed.

8.) Wake up when the sun comes up, and not a minute before then (please, pretty please).

That’s how you do it.

 

See you in the morning.

Love,

Your tired mama

xoxo

Five Months, Six Months and Counting…

Mitchell Dennis, you are just growing so fast!

You are my littlest Love.  You are six months old already, and quickly approaching seven months old. Happy half Birthday to you sweet boy!!  Oh my, how fast time flies.  Didn’t we just bring you home from the hospital?

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Wasn’t this last week?

You are growing so fast and quickly turning into a little boy. In case you someday don’t remember this phase in your life, I’ll fill you in on it.  (And to be honest I never finished your five month blog post so let’s step back a bit.)

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::  Transitions  ::

From four to five months you so much changed.  You grew out of your swaddles and started sleeping in your crib every night.  You now love to snuggle up on your belly with your butt up in the air, but despite our best efforts to bribe you to sleep through the night, you just don’t want to do it.  Lots of coffee?  You bet!

Then from five months to six months even more changed.  You can now (almost) sit up, you can scoot, and just this week you started crawling.  Go little buddy, go!

::  Getting More and More Handsome  ::

I’ll let the pictures do the talking on this one.

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June 15, 2015 – 5 Months old!

 

Such an adorable little bum.

 

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My little stinker

 

July 15, 2015 – 6 months and a new haircut

 

Those chubby leggies!

::  Eating  ::

You are getting closer and closer to participating in family pizza night, but until then, you’re loving all your baby foods.  Sometimes your big sis even helps you eat.

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“Mitchell, here comes the big  choo choo!” -Big sis

::  Adventures  ::

Mitchell, your baby resume is chalked full of experiences.  By the time your sister was 6-months old we barely unpacked her from the hospital, but that’s not the case with you.  In the past few months we’ve done everything from road trips to helicopters rides (kiddie park style of course) and a hundred things in between.

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Getting baptized. Given his screams during almost the entire process, I’m going to chalk this up as an adventure. Denny and I were sweaty messes, but our wonderful Pastor Debi didn’t seem to mind one bit.

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Grocery shopping trips!  Next stop, baby food aisle.  Hold on tight little guy!

 

Helicopter rides at the kiddie park.

 

Ohio road trips to hang with his big cousins.

 

Barefoot rides on the swing.

 

Erie Museum visits to see his other cousins.  (Please disregard what looks like a baby toupee, even tots have bad hair days)

 

Mamaw snuggles in between exploring time at the museum.

 

And a very special meeting of your Great Grandparents. They loved you Mitchell!

A day trip to the new Outer Harbor playground where you showed off your daredevil skills!

::  Lots of giggles, snuggles and baby fun  ::

Mitchell, aside from your car seat (which you seem to despise), you are such a content baby!  You are a pretty laid back little guy, which is shocking considering your parents.  Maybe it’s the whole second kid effect?  Check out all these good times!

Little M and Littlest M sharing some after nap snuggles.

 

4th of July giggles. You are a blast buddy.

 

And some bath time giggles.

 

Blue-eyed stud!

::  Pirate party  ::

Littlest M,what six-month old wouldn’t feel complete with a visit to a pirate party?!   Thanks to your Nana, you got to hang out with the big kids while you enjoyed Jake & the Neverland Pirate fun.

Shiver me timbers!

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MitchMan, You daddy and I could not imagine our world without your big grins and constant attempts to keep up with Big Sis.  We have some fun surprises in store for your next six months and beyond.  Stay tuned!

xoxo

Mom

 

The 52 best gifts

It’s a beautiful Friday afternoon and guess where my kids are… right here, in our own home, hanging with me, the luckiest mama on the planet!

Shortly before maternity leave ended, it started… that awful feeling deep in my gut about my role in life.  I was starting to question everything.  Was I a bad mom to work?  Would it hurt my family to stay home?  Would I be happy at home?  Would I be happy at work?

So I did the most logical thing.  I cried and stressed out about it.  Clearly the right thing to do.  After a few weeks and some encouragement from a dear friend (thank you Emily), I asked the question… is it possible, might I be able, is it even an option… to not come back to work full time?  And quicker than I asked it, I had my answer.  Yes!  Wow.  Who knew?

Yes, I can work four days!  Yes, I can still keep the career I love yet still keep some special Mommy time with the kids I adore!  Yes, it is possible to make it work.  AMAZING!!   There’s no doubt that this adjustment means some extra time on the laptop at nights, and some occasional extra stressing that comes with reduced time in the office, but being with Makenzie and Mitchell greatly outweighs all of the downsides.

Now I spend my Fridays with my favorite little M&M’s.  These days are undoubtedly the 52 best gifts I’ve ever received in my life.  I’m incredibly grateful for a workplace that gives this option, a supportive boss who authorized it to happen, a team of great people around me who understand why it is allowed, and a husband who works hard so we don’t have to stress about the financial implications.

Our babies turn from newborns to kindergarteners in about 250 Fridays, and now I am thrilled to know that I won’t be missing these.  Instead I’m filling our Fridays with dance parties, waffle breakfasts, play dates, trips to the splash pad and visits to story time.  I could not imagine it any other way.  I’m appreciative, grateful & incredibly lucky to have this extra time with my little love and my littlest love.  Here’s to my favorite day of the week!

xoxo

Erin

Such a good big sis (although she did ask me if she could push the stroller into a mud puddle).

 

Hanging out in the splash pad on a beautiful sunny Friday!

 

More splash pad fun.

 

Enjoy the ride. Life is short but sweet for certain.

Just because

In the midst of the two-kids, two-careers, too-little-sleep chaos I do not want to forget the little goodness that happens every single day.   John Lennon said it best, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

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Here are a few little snippets of life

::  Blue eyes  ::

So handsome.

 

::  “Freezies” with the awesome neighbor kids.  ::

Have I mentioned how cool our neighbor kids are… many of them are in high school yet they still take time to hang out with our kiddos.  They make Kenzie feel like she is the bees knees.

Kenz in all her glory with Will, Rachel & Emma!

::  Bumble bee rides at the playground with friends  ::

These two are such buddies. 🙂

::  Sunnies during bubba time  ::

Because you would too if you were this cool.

His future’s so bright he needs shades.

::  And last but not least, Friday Story time!  ::

Check out this cute duo!

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On that note, sweet dreams!

Xoxo