Mar 3

Three Years Old

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Avery woke up this morning and burst through my door, “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!” she yelled with a huge smile on her face. She giggled after because she knew it wasn’t her birthday just yet. She had to wait one more day until she was three years old.

While you’d think that she was this cheerful because her birthday was approaching, it’s not. This is just Avery. She wakes up every morning with a smile on her face and it continues well throughout the day until she goes to bed.

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I put her to bed tonight and gave her one last kiss as a two-year-old. “Tomorrow you wake up three years old,” I told her. “Yes I do,” she replied. “Tomorrow I’m a big girl!” And it’s true. While I’ll always call her my baby girl, this year has proved that she’s anything but a baby.

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Year three has brought so many changes for Avery – a new little brother, a new town, a new house, starting preschool, and yet it hasn’t phased her at all. Through all of it, she’s kept the smile and the desire to have everyone else smiling with her.

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She’s gone from being the baby of the family to being a big sister and I have loved watching her fall so comfortably into this role. She’s taken charge and looks out for Macks as only a big sister should. And in return he looks at her with such fondness and love.

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When I think of Avery, I can’t help but smile. This year I’ve watched her personality shine. She’s always so caring about others and doing whatever she can to make us laugh. Whether it’s a saying something funny (the other day out of the blue she told me to “put your hands in the air just like you don’t care.”) or making up dance moves, or just laughing so that you will laugh, Avery wants you just as happy as she is.

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Her funny faces are epic.

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Her smile is infectious.

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The way that she looks up to her big sister for guidance, yet still wants to show her how much she can be there for her too is heartwarming. Their relationship is something that most would dream of.

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Avery makes our world shine a little bit brighter.

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And our days are funnier with her in it.

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My heart is full of love for this sweet girl.

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Avery, Thank you for being you. For your smile, laughter, and love. Your selfless nature and desire to make everyone else around you happy is something I hope you’ll never lose. Happy Birthday, A. A. I love you.

 

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Mar 2

Weekend Recap: Washington DC

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MacKay travels to DC often for work and when he had to be there over the weekend, the kids and I decided we would tag along. I love DC and don’t visit quite as often as I would like to and Har has been learning a lot about the Presidents and important places in DC in school, so this was the perfect time for us to go. We stayed at the W Hotel that is literally next to the White House. I love W Hotels (no, they are in no way paying me to say that) and they are always so accommodating to us as a large family.

As soon as we got there on Friday morning, I had to run out to the bank to get some money. The bank happened to be right across the street from the White House, so the kids and I took a quick look before heading back to the hotel. Har could not wipe the smile off of her face and just kept telling me facts about when it was built, which President lived there, and on and on. She’s definitely a daddy’s girl when it comes to her love for History.

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On our way back Harlan kept asking me to name all of the Presidents. Of course I didn’t know the answer, so I told her I’d find her a book of all of the Presidents. We saw a touristy shop on the way home and if you spent $10 you get a free picture in the “Oval Office.” We couldn’t say no to a deal like that. ;)

That day also happened to be MacKay’s birthday, so we got a sitter for the night and went out for dinner and drinks. The hotel happened to have some of the best views on the roof that was overlooking the entire city. We just sat and talked the entire night. We don’t do those kind of nights very often and it made me realized we need to do it more.

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Our room had the perfect view of the Washington Monument. Avery and Har both loved to stare out the window to see it. They even caught the President going by a couple of times.

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Saturday was dedicated to being a tourist and seeing monuments and museums. Before heading to The National Mall, we made our way to the back of the White House which was equally as thrilling to the girls as the front.

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It’s always nice when a stranger offers to take a family photo. We never have enough of all five of us!

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The kids started to get a bit cold from being outside too long so we made our way over to the National Museum of Natural History. It’s full of so much, yet small enough to get through in a couple of hours. It kept the kids attention the entire way through.

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Macks was quite amazed and just wanted to walk around and touch everything.

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On Sunday before we left, Harlan wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial. She studied a lot about him in school, so this was the perfect memorial to show her first hand.

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It was rainy/sleeting, so we drove over and her and I got out to see it with just the two of us.

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As we walked up the stairs she started screaming with joy. “I remember this. This was in one of my school books.” She hadn’t made the connection of what we were going to see earlier, but as soon as she saw Lincoln, she knew exactly what it was. She was in complete awe. It made me so happy to be able to experience it with her.

I’m glad we had such a great weekend because our drive home was less than stellar. Due to all of the snow/rain, what should have been a five-hour drive home turned into 10. We never made it over 45 mph the entire drive because the roads were so bad. We got home that night tired, but so thankful we made it safe. The kids were cranky at times, but overall were complete troopers for being stuck in a car that long. I am so thankful we travel with them often, otherwise I’m not sure they would have done as well as they did.

This weekend marks the fourth weekend that we’ve been out of town. As much as I love to travel as a family, I can’t wait to just stay home. This weekend we have nothing planned other than spending it inside and being extra lazy.

Hope you had a great weekend!!

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Feb 26

Must-Have Gifts for the New Mom

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As a mom of three, I often get asked what to get new moms as gifts. While there are so many wonderful baby products on the market, I love creating a little gift basket for a new mom that is filled with all of the firsts that a new mom will experience in her journey of motherhood. Here are a few of my favorite items:

1. For the First Time Baby Gets Sick: I remember the first time Macks got sick. He was only about six weeks old and it was so heartbreaking knowing that I couldn’t do much other than cuddle and love on him to help make him feel better. To help keep mom prepared for that unexpected moment, I love to give them this Little Remedies® New Baby Essentials Kit that has everything you need to safely and effectively relieve your baby’s most common symptoms. Little Remedies has always been a favorite of ours since Harlan was born and I continue to use their products with all three kids. The kit includes Infant Fever/Pain Reliever, Soothing Syrup, Saline Drops, Gripe Water, Gas Relief Drops, and Nasal Aspirator. I’d never want a new mom to have to run out to the store when her little one gets sick and this kit has everything she would need in a nice convenient travel bag!

2. For the First Time Baby Reaches Those Important Milestones: Because you all know I love taking pictures, these Milestone Cards are perfect for every milestone your baby makes (big or small.) The set that I have comes complete with weekly cards, monthly cards, and moments like the first smile, first time they slept through the night, crawling, etc. that has a place for the date to be written on them. It’s a great gift for mom to help remember all of those special moments.

3. For the First Time Baby Starts Teething: This is a classic baby toy, but one that all three of my kids have used and has proven to help while keeping them entertained. Sophie the Giraffe  is made of a soft rubber that is safe for baby to chew on. The little legs made it easy for them to grasp with their tiny hands so that they can get a good chew on Sophie’s face. This toy definitely helps relieve some of that discomfort with teething.

4. First the First Time Baby Sleeps at Home: Taking your little one home for the first time is nerve racking. All of those things that the nurses and doctors did in the hospital are now left for you to do. I was never good at getting the baby swaddled perfectly like the nurses did, so I used this Ergobaby Swaddler to swaddle Macks to bed each night. It’s easy for me to put on, is secure, and even has a flap to change the diaper without having to un-swaddle the baby. Although Macks wasn’t the best sleeper, this swaddler helped give him the comfort he needed each time he fell asleep.

5. For the First Time Mom Takes Baby Out: When I had Harlan I was scared to leave the house in fear that she might cry, want to eat, have a blow-out, and anything else that could possibly go “wrong.” Little did I know that it’s absolutely necessary for new moms to get out of the house in order to avoid cabin fever. For that first trip out of the house, I loved bringing a swaddle blanket with me. My absolute favorite it the aden + anais merino muslin swaddles. They are so soft and can be used for nearly everything. I’ve used blankets to cover up the baby, as a sunshade for the car seat carrier, as a nursing cover, changing pad, and so much more. It’s a great item to always have with you when you are out and about with baby.

6. For the First Time Mom Needs a Pick-Me-Up. We all know that those sleep deprived nights can get the best of us. A gift card to a coffee shop is the best pick-me-up for mom so she can get some extra energy to help her get through the day.

 

What do you love to give new moms?

{This post is sponsored by Little Remedies. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks again for your support.}

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