Back to School Goals

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We reached the end of yet another wonderful and memorable summer. I feel so lucky that we are able to spend the summer with our family making amazing memories. This summer was no different. We were able to take a trip to the Keys, a trip to the beach and one last stop at the river. To say we have had a great summer is an understatement. Now with our hair lighter, our skin tanner and our hearts much fuller we find ourselves diving head-first into the new school year. 

Since I was in school myself, I have always looked forward to the start of a new school year. I get the same fresh-start feeling I do in January. I have decided to take the idea of a fresh-start and turn it into a New School Year-New Resolutions tradition. I tend to internally set new goals at the start of the school year but this time I will put them here to keep me accountable. 

With two kids now in elementary school, it is important to set up routines and schedules so that the school year goes smoothly. With that in mind, reading and homework are going to be really crucial this year. Establishing great study habits early will help now and in the long run to create great learners. Here are some of our goals for school and homework.

Set minimum reading times. Both of my kids are required to read for at least 20 minutes each night. We are going to go ahead and set this at 30 for everyone. My fourth grader will read his books to himself and I will help read to and have my first-grader read to me each school night.

Set a specific time for just homework. When the kids get home from the bus, after their snack, homework is the first thing we work on. Once it is complete, they can play outside/watch tv, etc until dinner. 

Set ourselves up for stress-free mornings. This is a big one. I am not a night person at all but one of my main goals is to get as much done the night before as possible, to make sure our mornings are somewhat seamless. That means I will make sure lunches are done the night before. This really helps get us out the door more quickly in the morning.

I also, put the kids clothes in a hanging closet organizer for the week so all they have to do is grab them and put them on in the morning. 

Dinner. Another thing that over the summer we have really gone away from is eating dinner together as a family. During the summer when we weren’t in our own space we would tend to eat in shifts. I would cook for the kids then eat later with the adults. During the school year the rule is we all sit down and eat dinner TOGETHER with NO ELECTRONICS. I’m hoping we can all discuss our day with one another and just really connect. 

Meal Plan. This helps us save money and really eat healthier. I’m going to start a Pinterest board for new recipes the whole family will like.

On the health front I have certainly imbibed this summer and need to get back on track. I am going to get back into the gym and my classes each day during the week before work. It makes such a difference and I’ve been missing the routine. 

So those are a few of our goals. The summer definitely lacked routine so getting back on a schedule will be great for the whole family. The kids may complain about certain things but I know they thrive when they are part of a structured environment. 

It is hard to believe the summer is already over. Before we know it, we will be in the thick of the holiday season. It is certainly true what they say, the days may be long but the years are short. 

-xo

New Year New Mantra

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This year I don’t have a list of resolutions. Each year I check each one off much to my satisfaction, but again it is usually a long list and I feel the normal guilt, disappointment when there are things left unchecked. I’ve decided this year I am only going to try to take one idea and put it to work in all aspects of my life.

PRESENCE

I am really going to push myself to be present in every aspect of my life. Present as a mother, wife, business owner, friend and family member. I am putting my phone down and watching the cartwheels, the skateboard tricks and the looks on my kids faces when they are happy, sad, excited or mad. The way their shoulders shrug when I ask them to sit down and do their homework, the way their eyes light up when I say we can have breakfast for dinner and especially the way they look at me when they know I’m proud of them. These moments are fleeting and I don’t want to miss a thing. I want to play with them, let them know they are important and really work hard at getting them ready for the crazy world in front of them. 

 I understand that being able to do this means that I am going to have to say “no” sometimes. Saying “no” is not easy for a person who says “yes” A LOT. But being present with my family means I may be absent from other areas in my life, and I’m not upset one bit. I know that saying “yes” so much means trying to do lots and lots of things none of which are done at 100%. I want to be at least close to 100% at just a few things- being a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend and business owner. I am totally good with that. Because that is what matters to me right now. 

This might mean that you will hear me say “no” to you, but please know it isn’t because I don’t love you, it is because I have got to say “yes” to family time, “yes” to the watching the cartwheels and skateboard tricks and “yes” to putting my family first. 

Happy New Year!

-xo

2016 Year in Review

This year has been a doozie. We have had our share of ups and downs and I’m looking forward to a new start in 2017.

Here are some of our favorite memories from 2016. 

JANUARY
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The highlight of this month was a special birthday surprise for our Princess. We had so much fun as a family exploring Disney World. It really is true that you really see the magic through the eyes of your children. They had so much fun.

 

FEBRUARY
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This month was all baseball all the time. When we weren’t at practice or games we were putting in extra time at the batting cages.  We also celebrated Little Man’s eighth birthday. 

MARCH
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Spring Break was the highlight of this month. We froze at the beach but enjoyed spending time as a family. This month also started the Orlando City Season.

APRIL
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The definite highlight of this month was the purchase of our new boat! We love this boat and try to get on it as often as possible.

MAY
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We celebrated a birthday and a Spring recital. 

JUNE
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This little one graduated from VPK.

JULY
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One word to describe this month – Keys.

AUGUST
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Back to school and we welcomed this little cutie to the family.

SEPTEMBER
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This was the month of the farmer’s market. We went several times and I never get tired of this skyline.

OCTOBER
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We celebrated my birthday as well as Halloween.

NOVEMBER
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After

Thanksgiving and a new hair color were the highlights this month. 

DECEMBER
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Party was the main theme this month. We went to several holiday celebrations that were great fun. We are also now very tired and I am ready for a fresh start in the new year. I am sure there will be a resolution post soon as I seem to be consistent with those. Hopefully this year will be the year of more blogging. Fingers crossed.

See you in 2017!

xo

Summer Vacation 2016: What We Ate

We ate really well while on vacation. I mentioned here that we ate in a lot which not only saved money but also saved my sanity. Taking children to a busy restaurant at night after a long day in the sun is not my idea of fun. If we did go out to eat it was normally for lunch when everyone wasn’t too tired and the restaurants weren’t too busy. 

Here is a look at some of our meals over the course of the month.

Breakfasts looked something like this for me. The kids ate eggs and bacon almost every.single.day.IMG_1421

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Lunches were salads if we were home, sandwiches if on the boat.

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Dinner was normally on the grill.

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We did go to a few restaurants that really stood out.

While in Key West we ate at Schooner Warf for lunch and it was great!

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Fish Dip

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Tuna Nachos

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Conch Fritters

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Blackened Snapper Sandwich

IMG_7321This place was no frills. It is open air and everything is served on paper plates with plastic silverware. That didn’t bother us at all because the food was DELICIOUS. 

We also ate lunch here one day. We sat by the water and it was great! The shrimp were amazing.IMG_7354

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Mango Mojito

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Royal Red Shrimp – These were a special and were amazing

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Fish Dip

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Cracked Conch

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Mahi Sandwich

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Conch Chowder

While in Marathon one day we ate here for lunch. They are known for their Lobster Reuben so I gave it a whirl. It was great!

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The No Name Pub was close to us in Big Pine Key. We ordered take-out a few times and ate at the house but we did go in for lunch one day. Their pizzas are great and their fish dip is amazing. I got the Taco Pizza and it was great. I love any kind of pizza you can put a salad on. Sorry it is really dark in there so the picture doesn’t really do it justice. IMG_1677

We definitely ate at home a lot but there are no shortage of great places to eat while visiting.

If you are ever in Big Pine Key you definitely need to put these places on your list.

Square Grouper – I have personally never been here but everyone I know who has gone has loved it. I would suggest going for dinner and getting there early. It fills up fast!

Bistro 31 – This place is a great spot when you want a restaurant to cook your catch. We did this last year and it was fabulous. We brought in wahoo and the chef fried it for us. It wasn’t heavy at all. Super delicious! Their spaghetti was also great.

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Wharf Waterside – This is another great dinner spot. They have live music and great specials. Their mussels are wonderful!IMG_1659

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Boondocks Grille & Draft House – This would be one of my least favorite as far as food goes, but the atmosphere is great. There is live music and the whole restaurant is open-air. The kids also like it here 1. because their meals are served on take-home Frisbee’s and 2. there is a put-put golf course attached. So be ready for your kids to beg you to play the entire time you eat-ours did. I would suggest the appetizers over the entrees. IMG_1432

 

Eating in the Keys is somewhat of a sport in and of itself. There are so many amazing places to explore. You could really center a whole trip around just restaurants and I would definitely recommend doing that if you have the opportunity. 

Now, excuse me while I go do some additional Burpees to work off all the vacation food.

Next up, I will post about what we took. A good trip all depends on good gear. I will share what worked for us.

If you missed where we stayed, you can find it here.

If you missed, what we did you can find that here.

xo

#orlandostrong

We’ve had a rough couple of weeks over here but I have never been more proud of the city we call home. I was broken-hearted glued to the TV that Sunday as all the gruesome details unfolded. But by the end of the day I was just amazed with the resilience and support this community showed with lines upon lines at all the local blood banks. We are strong and hate will not win. 

I grew up in Central Florida and have always been happy to call this place my home. Now more than ever though, I am proud of my city, proud of my neighbors, and proud of everyone that has shown that humanity is alive and well here. We do and will continue take care of each other.

I’ve been holding my loved ones a little closer and a little longer lately. I want them to know that love is stronger than hate.IMG_1066

Stand With Orlando

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xo

A Day In The Life

I really love reading these types of posts because I’m a blog-stalker. I thought I would give it a try too for my own selfish reasons. I want to document one random Tuesday at this point in my life so I can look back and remember how fun and busy these days are. I might be pulling my hair out now, but one day (too soon I’m sure) I will really miss these crazy days. I took all of these pictures with my phone and my house is dark, so not winning any photography awards I know.

 

6:34 Wake Up. This is really a little late for me. I normally try to get up at 6:00 to have some peace and quiet before the craziness of the day begins but some days I need the extra z’s.IMG_0227

6:38 First things first. Coffee. We just recently got this Nespresso machine and I am in love. I was really happy with our Keurig but we were visiting my girlfriend who had a Nespresso and my husband decided it was a must-have. We found one on clearance at Target and haven’t looked back since. The coffee is really delicious.

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7:00 I wake up the munchkins. Sometimes they will creep out around 6:45 but normally I have to wake them up on school days (weekends of course they are up at 6:30). They grab blankets and watch TV on the sofa while I make their breakfast. This usually consists of waffles or pancakes with bacon, eggs and fruit. Milk to drink.

7:27 Pack lunches. Little Man will eat at school most days but I have to pack a lunch for The Princess as her school only provides lunch one day a week. Here are what her lunches normally look like. There is also ham hiding in there somewhere.IMG_0230

Between 7:30 and 7:45 the kids finish eating and get themselves ready to go (not without being asked multiple times). Mornings are tough. 

8:07 Out the door. Here is my first breakfast. Looks gross but will hold me over until after my exercise class.  Half of a banana with almond butter.IMG_0231

8:15 Leave to take the kids to school. Cuties.IMG_0233

8:55 Once the kids are dropped off I stop by the post office to get some stamps and send a certified letter. IMG_0235

10:00 Bootcamp at the gym. This is such a tough class but I always feel great once I’m done. It is a 45 minute class with a mix of cardio and strength training. IMG_0236

10:48 Not bad for 45 minutes.

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11:08 Second breakfast. This is a smoothie with almond milk, spinach, frozen bananas, strawberries, protein powder and almond butter. IMG_9636

11:25 I put a pork shoulder in the crock pot. This is going to be a long day with ballet and baseball so dinner being ready when we get home is crucial. I just used a boneless pork shoulder, seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon pepper. I added about 1/2 cup chicken broth and called it a day.IMG_0239

12:30 Hair appointment. Love the chandelier at the salon I go to.IMG_0241

2:30 Lunch is on the go. I packed a cooler (I use this one) because I needed to include snacks for the after-school activities for the kiddos too. I ate this in the car after my appointment on the way to pick up Little Miss. This is romaine lettuce, broccoli slaw, cucumber, avocado, carrots tomatoes and deli turkey. IMG_0394

3:56 On our way to ballet. This normally happens on the drive. Sleepy girl πŸ˜‰IMG_0242

4:30 Ballet and tap time. I usually take this time to check emails and make phone calls while I wait. On this particular day I didn’t go into my physical office so I had a little bit of housekeeping to take care of while our little ballerina twirled away. Other times I bring my IMG_02445:30 Leave ballet and head to a baseball game. Little Man ate pizza and rode with one of his teammates (it takes a village) so he could be there on time and with a full belly. My husband was out of town this day so it was just me and I needed a little help from my village.

6:15 Baseball time. Unfortunately, we didn’t win this game but the boys played hard and I am always super proud of my little guy. Luckily there are several sisters that stick together during the games so Little Princess stays occupied and because of my little cooler she has a full belly too πŸ˜‰

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The games normally last an hour and a half which I think is pretty late for 8 year-old-boys on a school night but we survive. After the game we head home.

8:47 Dinner. Pork roast, rice, lima beans and avocado. I also cut up Wickles Pickles in mine. Wine is definitely a must after this day. The kids have pork and rice too.IMG_0256

9:00 The kids are beat and I put them to bed. I am right behind them.

9:15 Watch “Fixer Upper” for about 5 minutes before falling asleep. Night.

Not every day is this full. Tuesday’s seem to be our really busy days with after school activities. Some days of the week are super boring because I am in the office all day, others may include field trips, marketing for business and errands. I’m so lucky that what we do allows some flexibility so that I am able to really enjoy this time with the kids. I love seeing them grow and learn new things even if it means I put 100 miles on the car in a day πŸ˜‰

Hoping your days include at least one thing that makes you happy too.

xo

2016 Goals

Since it is February I’ve think it is about time to post about resolutions.

I have decided have goals this year instead of resolutions. I really enjoyed making a list of things to work on last year so I decided to go ahead and do it again this year. I feel like the word “resolution” tends to make me feel a little pressure and I really don’t want to set myself up to be disappointed if something doesn’t go exactly as planned. The word “goal” feels a little more forgiving and reaching goals might be a little easier to achieve rather than sticking to resolutions.

Anyhoo here goes the list for this year (I think it will resemble last year’s quite a bit.)

Fitness

This one should be pretty easy. I have really found an exercise schedule that works for me and has made a huge difference in my strength and endurance. I think it is important for me to make my health a priority so I don’t think I will have any issues with this one. I do want to try to incorporate different elements. I want to play golf and more paddle-boarding. I enjoy both of these things very much and look forward to getting them into the rotation.

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Food

I really want to branch out with my recipes this year. I want to try new things and get a little out of my comfort zone. I am also on a mission to get my kids to try new foods as well. We have got to get away from the chicken nugget/mac and cheese cycle. I will also let them help me more in the kitchen. When they are part of the process they are much more likely to try new foods.

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Family

Schoolwork and family time are going to be really big this year. Little Man is to the point where homework is really important and making time to do this every day is crucial. I want to make this time fun and enjoyable, not tedious. In order to do this I am going to create a new homework station for the kids. I hope this will make homework and study time fun. 

Photography

I need to work on this. Most of the time I walk off and forget my big camera and only use my phone. The pictures are good but I really want to play with my camera more to really use it to get some good shots.

Travel

This was one area we really excelled in last year. We have several trips already in the works for this year and we are super excited. Spending time as a family in fun places is definitely something to look forward to.

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“Keep Improving” will be my motto this year. I want to be a better mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, boss, co-worker, you name it. If I can keep improving.

These goals are pretty basic and I tend to have monthly goals as well so hopefully I can keep up with them!

Here’s to your goals this year as well! May we all have a great 2016!!

xo

2015 Year in Review

2015 was definitely one for the record books. I know, I know I haven’t posted since February of last year (really??!!)-eek. 2015 was filled with fun and adventure but at the same time I felt like my inspiration for this little blog moved to the back burner. Not because it wasn’t important anymore but because I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted it to go or what I had to say. I was feeling lack of inspiration and really that is it. When the inspiration isn’t there it shows and I didn’t want to post just to post. 

I’ve realized now that although I have nothing groundbreaking going on over here, this space is important to me. I love having a place to look back and see how my life was going at that particular moment. I love seeing my kids grow and I love having a place to share with others. So with that being said, I will post my resolutions for the year soon, and needless to say blogging regularly is definitely on the list.

Before that though, here is the year that was 2015. Be ready for tons of photos.

January

January

Last years resolutions were definitely in effect. I really worked hard on getting strong and healthy. Exercise has always been an important part of my life but now even more so. January started off with a bang.

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We also celebrated a 4th birthday.

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February

Another special birthday.

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Baseball also started.

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I started a membership at the YMCA. I was able to start trying out new classes.

Spin was a new one for me. 

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I also dabbled again with eating Paleo-ish.

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March

We stayed in a hotel that reminded me of “The Shining”

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We went to a hockey game.

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April

More baseball.

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We celebrated my Mom’s Birthday with a shrimp boil.

 

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We had a ballet recital.

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May

This month had celebrations.

Memorial Day

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And someone special’s birthday

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June

This month marked our first trip to the Keys for the year.

This little fishy learned to swim.

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We made a Summer Bucket List and were able to check off almost everything!

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We visited a beautiful beach and found hundreds of shark teeth.

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July

This month was filled with travel and fun.

We spent the majority of the month in the Keys.

We had a great Fourth of July.

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Midway through the month the grown-ups flew to the Windy City.IMG_6308

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Then back down to the Keys to finish of the month and catch some lobsters.

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August

Back to school and back to soccer.

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September

This month was quiet except for some school events and a pretty epic wine and cheese party.

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October

This month we were busy with birthday celebrations and yummy food.IMG_7438

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November

I hosted Thanksgiving for the very first time!
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We took a quick trip to Savannah.

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December

This month was filled with Christmas celebrations and tons of family time. 

ParadesIMG_6664

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I loved our tree this year.IMG_8008

The kids LOVED our Advent calendar.

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A much needed girl’s night out.IMG_8279

Waiting patiently to open presents.

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We cooked a Christmas duck and it was amazing.IMG_8390

Aren’t these the prettiest Yorkshire Pudding’s you have ever seen? My mom made them and the were the fluffiest most delicious things ever.IMG_8934

After Christmas we took one last quick trip to South Carolina.IMG_8967

We had such a great year. I was able to really stick to my resolutions and I am definitely proud of that.  

While all the photos look like tons of fun I definitely still deal with the craziness that goes along with having two children, owning a business and trying to stay healthy and stress-free. We worked hard and played hard and made so many wonderful memories.

2016 has a lot to live up to.

xo

Year Seven

Little Man,

About two weeks ago we celebrated your seventh birthday.

Wow. It is hard to believe it has been seven years since you changed our lives (for the better) forever.

You amaze me every day. You are so smart and sweet. Everyone loves to be around you especially me. My favorite time of day is when you snuggle with me on the sofa at night right before you fall asleep.

Here are some of the things you really like right now.

Sports (all the sports) Hockey-you love to watch the Lightning play on T.V. When you fall asleep before the end the first thing you do the next morning is ask Siri who won. Baseball- you are really doing well playing and listening to the coaches. I know you have fun out there and it makes me so proud to watch you play. Soccer- you love to watch Orlando City on T.V. and played really well this past season.

Xbox- you got this for Christmas and would play every day if we let you. I know it is fun, I just don’t want you to grow up too fast.

Shrimp- you LOVE shrimp. It is really cute and I like that you are branching out even if just a little.

Reading-you are really good at reading and I hope you keep it up. There are so many exciting adventures out there in so many amazing books. I hope you find a love for reading. It is so fun.

 Things that you really DON’T like right now.

Being patient with your sister-we are really working on this. She just wants to do everything you do. You are her hero. Cut her a break every once in a while πŸ˜‰

Being a graceful winner-you like to win. You REALLY like to win and when you do everyone knows about it. I’m hoping this will calm down a little bit.

You are becoming such a neat little man and I love you so much.

I’m looking forward to what this year has to offer.

xo

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Year Four

My Beautiful Princess,

It is hard to believe you turned four last week. I am constantly amazed with the little person you have become. You are determined, kind, imaginative and funny.

Here is a little peek into what you LOVE right now.

Skirts and Tutu’s – You will not wear any sort of pants without the addition of a skirt. It is adorable and also a little frustrating (searching for the last clean skirt as we are running out the door).

Cheese – You are your mother’s child. You can’t get enough of this stuff.

Being Pushed on the Swing – You could do this for hours. You ask me to push you when I drop you off at school and when I pick you up. You are getting really good at doing it yourself. You go super-high!!

Taking Showers – I can’t even bribe you to take a bath right now (although I try). You love taking showers and you giggle and sing the whole time. It is super-adorable.

Walking next to the cart a the grocery store – You no longer want to ride in the cart (sniff). You are actually very helpful and you never run off (if it is just the two of us). If your brother is with us all bets are off and you have to ride (for sure).

Strawberry Milk – Who doesn’t?

Now to a few things you do NOT LOVE right now.

Hearing the word “No” – It is getting better but we definitely need to work on this one.

The dark – This is a big one right now. You are very fearful when the lights are out. That is why we have not one but 4 night lights strategically placed throughout the house to guide your way πŸ˜‰

Leaving any party/visit/playdate, etc – Even when we prep hours before any event and let you know that we have to leave at a certain time, you seem to always melt down when it is time to go. I really can’t blame you, I don’t want the fun to end either.

Only being 4 – You wish you were as big as your brother. Trust me love bug, you will be there before we know it and I won’t know what to do.

Happy Birthday My Little Princess. Your Mommy and Daddy love you more than the sun, the moon and the universe.

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xo